Friday, 6. October 2006
Well... It seems I managed to hide all batteries out of sight.

I think that the charger may be faulty - or maybe I am just too stupid to operate a simple charger? I tried four times to charge the same two batteries - brand-new, too, only used once. I went out and bought some normal batteries, but that does get expensive at lenght.

My mother and brother both have digital cameras though, so maybe they will share the wealth if I bring along my 1gig card?

There is so much I want to show.

The "Beatrice" (Christening Shawl) edging is all fine and finished - I finished it Monday, with three days to spare before Thursday where I had planned to end it. Wouldnt a month be a good timespan for the rest of the shawl, too? I am trying. Currently at 6 rounds, 3 pattern rounds. I just started the first round of flowers. I love this pattern and this Yarn! It will be very special once I finish it.

Also, my spinning projects. I have not spun a lot for a long time, but recently a group I belong to has gotten into Kathryn Alexander's methods, prompting me to do a few pratice and visualization test pieces. Very simple work, but it really got me kickstarted with the wheel again.
I have two sets of samples:
1) Wool, dyed, and 2) Tussah, undyed.
Then there is a sample of colourwork with a Z and an S plied thread. Interesting.

I have started to sort out my wool for the Handspun Sweater. Some lovely grey wool from my mother, and a 2lb bag of "Black Welsh". I decided that the black/brown sheep I got a fleece from was a "sitting on the porch and carding/flicking/picking" business, not a "Sitting inside in the winter on carpet floors" business.

Then there was this, which I got as a present earlier in summer:

300+ grams of dyed Merino - originally grey and white, now turquoise, green and yellows.

I have spun roundabout half of this, and plied 1/3. I do it by taking quite big chunks of each colour, and just randomly spinning them, hoping for an even colour distribution. It works quite well, and I love the yarn I am getting - in the skein. I seem to get a yardage of 300-350m/100g. Not all that consistent between the skeins, but I hope it will do.
For the knitting, I will probably pair it up with a dark blue yarn and do some sort of "Stained Glass" pattern.

See... if I had had my camera handy, this post would have been chock-full of pictures. I dont. So there is only one picture that I had made when I was gifted the wool originally.

Have a really nice day


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Monday, 7. August 2006
This flax sure it a funny thing.
Subject: I had such high hopes for the two of us.

Dear Flax.

I recieved you for the lousy sum of 1$ to test how we would go along - usually I am not one to pay for such pleasures, but you were so alluring that I had to give in and succumb. Your stubborn brown-ness and interesting texture had me from the first moment we sat down together and started to spin a common thread.
We started out fine with a strong and durable relationship, much cherished and oohed over by other people who were near us, marveling at the pace at which we progressed.

Now, however, I think you have cooled down, as I cannot find the magnificent togetherness again that we shared yesterday. Not even adding soft, white wool to your coarse coolness helped - you are lying there in your brown-grey skein, laughing at me while I look at you, frustratedly tapping my fingers on the keyboard.

Why is it that you find pleasure in mocking me, Flax? I have done most everything I knew for you - I washed you, I carded you, spun you, plied you - while almost cutting off circulation in my fingers - and skeined you - I made you everything you are! Please reward me for all this work, please show me that you appreciate my doings - and spring like a butterfly out of your cocoon, show me what you want me to do.
I give up.

Please behave, or I think that you must learn to enjoy the hamsters companion - he needs new bedding!



PS: It is the lifelessnes of you that does it dear Flax - if you were just a tad more willing to bend and stretch yourself, I am sure we would have a very fulfilling relationship, with happy pictures of us two and all - you know you want it to happen, too!

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Sunday, 6. August 2006
Spin-in at the summer cottage.

We had a wonderfull time in the garden

Five wonderful ladies showed up to a six hour long spin-in, complete with a wonderful brunch where everyone had brought something good - one had baked bread, one brought fruit, one brought cheese and so on.

One did not come for the brunch, but she brought something really good too:

Unspun flax, a bag for one dollar!

She wanted to show us how to spin this - and it was really a blast. I learned to use water on your fingers, but it worked much better for me to work with dry fingers. It feels really weird thought when you spin it, because it has no spring and does not show the twist in it. I spun a 30 yard two ply skein, and marveled at it for the rest of the day :-)
The rest might get carded together with some regular sheeps wool (20/80) and spun into a sock weight yarn - maybe for a top or something else.

Single on a bobbin, flax

Last, but not least, Karin from Esbjerg was there too and she brought several things. She brought two presents - one for me and one for my mother - each containing around 300g wool dyed with blues, greens, yellows and turqoises. She dyed on two different colours of wool: White merino and natural grey merino. So rich, so pretty, and I am thinking it might become an "Ariadnes Jacket" from Spin-off (Summer 06? Maybe).
She also brought this mountain of wool:

Silks, wools, and alpaca.

She is a very skilled dyer, and her colours have a brilliance that I adore. Sadly, her prices are not exactly affordadble, so I only bought two 200g skeins of overdyed grey merino wool, not the same dye lot but quite close to each other. 400g is enough to make something substantial, but what? I dont know. I only know that petting it is quickly eating up my knitting time :-)

A good time was had by all, and the last ones left just a few minutes shy of six after having arrived before 11 in the morning. It was just too much fun to say goodbye at five already. To top it all off, IK arrived!! We all gushed and oohed and aahed over the magazine, the first one I have ever held in my hand.

I fell Head-Over-Heals in love with the "Wanderlust Hoodie", and almost cried when I discovered that it used 22 balls of a bulky yarn, to be knit with a 7.5mm needle! I had so hoped that it would feature a worsted yarn, enabling me to spin a yarn for it. Plus, that I am not ever going to knit myself a sweater out of yarn that bulky (again). I still love the idea of a cabled hoodie, and I love that cable pattern, but I do not feel up to changing the pattern. I am not at the size I want to be (yet, another 35 pounds to go), and my gauge is a story on its own, which is why I only knit shawls at the time being :-)

Shawls are so good as confidence builders. You need not worry about gauge, fudging is allowed, they look very complicated and people think you are a knitting whiz for completing such feats. I never tell them that they are less complicated than a pair of socks - Really, some shawls are just rectangles with a 4-row-repeat! Unless I want to encourage them to knit shawls themselves, of course :-)

Have a really nice day


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Tuesday, 25. July 2006
Spinning for a Faroese Shawl.
Three years (so long already??) ago I visited the Faroe Islands with my scout group, for a two-week-long trip, with lots of fun and new discoveries.

Among other things, I discovered "Sirri", the only company on the Faroe Islands who sells genuine faroese yarn that looks and feels like the traditional yarn that was handspun for hundreds of years on the Faroe Islands, made with Faroese Wool, too.

On the first day in Torshavn, I discovered a Faroese Shawl for sale in one of the tourist places. I wanted it. I NEEDED it! I could afford it. But, when I wandered further into the city, I found "Sirri" and decided to photograph the shawl and buy enough yarn to knit one. How much is enough? I kept on buying the (extremely affordable) yarn, and ended up with 600 grams of a nice brown. (I needed 150. I sold/swopped the other skeins for nice yarn :-)
By chance, we met an aquintance from Denmark who is native to the Faroe islands, and who showed us the fabulous book, "Färöyar Bindingarmünstar". We bough it on the spot! Bought needles, and off we were, my mother and I.

This is not the topic I wanted to adress, but it is an introduction.

Spinning for a Faroese Shawl

As in all handicraft, the first you need, it to know what the finished product should be like.
A Faroese shawl is usually a sturdy and very practical garment, often lined (with another shawl, knit without lace pattern). It could also be very lightweight and delicate. This shawl, however, lies somewhere in the middle, needing a fine two-ply yarn, or a sturdy and thick-ish single.

What wool?
The Faroese wool is not merino-soft, nor is it scartchy, but it has a nice hand and semi-long staples. Shetland wool, Icelandic wool, even "sheep" (You know, the kind that has no race or heritage, and whose wool you get for free) would do well. If you can get your hand on Faroese wool, by all means, use it, but you would be hard pressed to find any wool that has been grown on the Faroese Islands, as they... *shudder*.. Throw it AWAY!!

Spinning Style:
Worsted. For a strong, non-pilly yarn you will need a worsted-style yarn spin quite finely and plied with medium twist. When saying you need a "fine, 2-ply yarn", my mind is thinking along the lines of "baby" yarn, or sock-weight.

Try aiming for 1000 yards as you spin your yarn, but spinning-as-you-go is not bad, especially as I do not know exactly how much will be needed, yet.

Have a really nice day, everybody!


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