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Sunday, October 26, 2014

It's Traditional!

In New Zealand on Labour Weekend it is traditional to spend time in the garden and that's what we've been doing.   Admittedly I didn't get so much done yesterday as I was at the guild (wearing my eighteenth century garb, no less!), but I did get some weeding done in the afternoon.

Today though we'd originally expected to be stuck inside as the original weather forecast was pretty awful, but they changed it and it's been lovely!    As a result after me getting over an IBS attack (probably brought on by antibiotics for an ear infection) we went to Oderings Garden Centre and spent more than I wanted to on plants.   It was a good haul though, we got tomatoes, potatoes, asparagus, strawberries, beans, bok choy and marigolds.   They're now all in aside from the tomatoes which I think need to be a little bigger before being planted.   The boys chose most of the plants and then helped plant them

This is the back vege patch that was cleared yesterday.  It now has the bok choy, beans, marigolds and potatoes in it

Strawberries!

Zucchini, I love these things in the summer, hope they do better this year than they did last year.  These and the strawberries are in the flower garden bed in front of the living are.   No flowers in here!

And finally the main vege patch.   It's got asparagus, corn, lots of lettuce types and some marigolds as well.
We put in extra asparagus as the original one was able to be harvested for the first time this year and it was so much nicer than the shop bought ones!    Unfortunately it didn't produce enough, so in 3 years we should get a much bigger crop when the new crowns are ready.
Next weekend we'll clear out the old sandpit of weeds and the tomatoes will likely go in there.

No weaving so far this weekend, but I'm hopeful for tomorrow.   It's been making my RSI worse, so have given  my arms a break from it and have been doing some arm strengthening exercises and stretches to hopefully help them recover.  I'm not far off finishing the scarf though, so hopefully I'll get it finished this week; eldest now wants to learn too, but I think I'll have to find a smaller loom to help him with that.
This is what's on the loom, I've got 1m to go at the most I think.   Can't wait till it's off and wet finished.   It'll be one of the pieces I send up with my application for the new weaver's award later.
On the knitting front my test knit is growing.  I've done 6 repeats of the second chart and it's looking good.
I want to get this finished quickly so I can wear it before it gets too warm, but it's quite large and has a lot of beads and lace so takes time.  The yarn is Wandering Cat Yarns Slinky Solo Cat
 My travel knitting has grown as well, I'm about to start the heel flap
This is a mishmash of patterns including Hermione's Everyday Socks and Cristi Payne's double gusset sock. The yarn is John Q's Earth Wear which is a sport weight yarn with possum and is darker than it looks here.
In my other knitting I am about 2 rows off finishing the raglan increases for my jersey and I'm about 2 rows into the colourwork for my socks that need me to concentrate.   I've put a couple of projects on hold as I know I won't get anything done on them while the above projects are active.  Finally my Pi Shawl is not on hold, but not overly active either; I'm halfway through the first chart.   One of the ladies who started when I did has finished and I suspect all the rest are much further through than I am, I'll get there though!

I also need to start doing some sewing for the boys and me, but not till I've got a little more time.   Hopefully George might be interested in that too, I do have 2 sewing machines after all, and he enjoys it at school.

Finally on spinning.  I've got the first bobbin of my grey perendale finished and am over halfway through the second; they're for my eighteenth century stockings.   After that's done I've got a SAL for Artemis Fibres and I've got the coloured romney to finish as well.   Maybe then I'll do something from Heavenly Wools or something else in the stash.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Better Late than Never



I am now all garbed for the eighteenth century; there are some fit issues; the centre bodice is a bit long and the shoulders are too wide so I will need to do some adjustments for the next one.   The sleeve looks a little odd due to that problem so I'll pop out shortly and get Thomas to pin some darts in place; I'm pretty sure that fit adjustments would be standard for any gown even back then.  After all not all gowns would have been made by experts; mine certainly wasn't!

I'll endeavor to fix the worst of the fit issues this week; probably tomorrow.   It could also do with some boning in the front as well, apparently the original didn't have it, but I need it!

Oh, ignore the hair, they definitely didn't have scrunchies then!

The Challenge:  Terminology

Fabric:  Polyester curtaining - the weave is right, but the content is most definitely not!

Pattern:   Janet Arnold polonaise 1770-1780

Year: 1775 approximately

Notions:  thread, hooks and eyes

How historically accurate is it?    The pattern is, but the fabric isn't.   Sewing is a mix of machine and hand; so I'm saying about 50%

Hours to complete:  A lot, and more to come to change the fit a bit.

First worn:   for the photoshoot, planning on wearing it for a school drop off if I can get help to get into it and next Saturday to the weavers and spinners guild
Total cost:  Probably somewhere around $40 all up; hard to know though.

This came under several terminology items.    

Robings which is the trim that goes around the back of the neck, down the bodice and into the skirt; these are hand sewn and might be hiding one or two sins in the dress make up.

Sabot Sleeves:   The sleeves have a curve built in at the elbow to facilitate movement 

Not yet sure what my next foray into historical clothing will be, but I think there will be more effort put into fitting first. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

New Beginnings

That's the theme for this year's show and tell at our guild.   I was going to rehash some old yarn into something new, but after trying I've decided it's not going to work (mohair I used back in the 1980's).   Instead I've revisited my projects for this year and decided I already have something perfect!
Remember this?   It's my first woven project.    It's the first project also on my loom which is a new beginning for the loom, and being my first project is a new beginning for me.    It also was a new beginning for the yarn as I'd managed to have no idea of when that yarn would be used and it had been in the stash for quite some time!
It has proven to me that I love weaving and as a result I'm now working on my third project which is a little more complex than anything I've done before.

Here's my sample for the point twill I'm working on
You can see I've tried a few different beat options for the weft; I think I'm going to stick to the version at the top of this picture which gives a nice finished look and a nice flexible fabric.   This will be a scarf and I suspect will be well used next year.   It will also be part of my application for the New Weavers Award, but not the main reason I'm doing it.   I'm having fun!

On the knitting front I've almost reached the armholes for my jersey.  My test knit is on hold till my large Fleegle Beader arrives; hope it's soon!   My Pi shawl hasn't moved much either, the yarn is so fine it's not the easiest knit.   My argyle look socks have the first ribbing band done, will start the colourwork soon.

Sewing has kind of stalled; school holidays are part of that, and the fact that I handsew for a living means I tend to put off stuff I have to handsew for "fun".

I've been spring cleaning though, that's kind of put the rest on go-slow and now that the inside of the house is mostly done the garden is starting to scream for attention.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Guild of Weavers and Spinners new rooms.



The Christchurch Guild of Weavers and Spinners is now open in new rooms at The Tannery, 11 Tanner Street.   We welcome new members and visitors who are interested in any of the fibre crafts, including knitting and crocheting, in addition to spinning and weaving. We meet on Mondays, and Saturdays from 10am-2pm, and on Tuesdays from 5.30-7.30pm. Beginner spinning classes are starting on Thurs, 16 Oct, and Sat., 1 Nov, both from 10am-Noon and running for 6 weeks.

If any of my readers are in Christchurch, do come along; we'd love to see you!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sock Ownership

This week I finished the Rainbow Socks; they were supposed to be for me, but youngest has been admiring them since I started them and apparently my subconscious decided they were meant to be for him.   I'm going by the fact that although they do fit me, they're a touch shorter than I prefer, which means they fit him really well.
Apparently my camera is not too impressed by the colour changes and didn't cope well in night lighting.
I finally got a photo of the Drop Leaf Shawlette on me; selfies are not something that I take to naturally, but at least the scarf looks good!
From my iPad; oh for a real camera to capture the colours, but the DSLR is not good for selfies
As a reminder, this is what the colours really look like:

I'm in the process of warping up my next project using Vintage Purls yarn, here's the warp ready to go
The colour is called Lure
and the colour that's going with is is Faded Romance; I've chosen to go with the same type of yarn instead of the handspun as the handspun isn't superwash and the warp I'm using is.   I'll experiment later, but at this point I want a useable scarf and I'm planning on applying for the Creative Fibre Award for New Weavers so something that looks as I planned it is a good thing.
I think this will work brilliantly with Lure.
This project is my first pattern that's not a basic plain weave or twill; admittedly it's also my third pattern full stop, but I see no reason to keep it safe when there are so many lovely things to try!   This will be a point twill pattern so the threading is reversed in some sections and it should be very pretty when done.

Project Progress:

Test knit is now all together and ready to cast on.  I've made my beading assistant, got the yarn wound and the beads are chosen; might start on that tonight or tomorrow.

Evenstar Shawl is onto the first lace pattern and I've just realised it needs beads too, going to have to go shopping for that as my only pink beads are a blue based pink and will shriek.

Neptune High Socks have been restarted; I was going to do them knee high, but have never done knee highs before and doing that with a colourwork pattern seemed the height of folly.   Now doing my usual calf length

Breakwater is almost at the point of finishing the raglan increases; might turn this into my take-along knitting as it's fairly simple.

18th century gown - the sleeves are pinned in and I've got the extra hooks and eyes ready to go.

And now I need to go and do a little more work in the studio; at least 99% of the stash is now updated (including fibre stash).    Still have the fabric stash to do, but no Ravelry for that and the options I've found online don't fit my needs.   I really need a spreadsheet with photo's so will have to see if Excel can support that.

And to finish off, I have proof of spring here in Christchurch
Pretty tulips at the Botanic Gardens in Hagley Park

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Juki now has a name!

I've decided to name her Jemima, not sure why but it feels right.   She's done well on everything I've thrown at her so far which includes stretch fabric and faux fur (not good quality fur either).    I've done all the machine sewing I can with her on the eighteenth century dress, the rest is hand sewing.
The lumpy bit on the closest side is the sleeve; that's now partially pinned in place.
I have determined that I need more hooks and eyes on the front; there are currently 6 which is how many were on the pattern, but I think I need at least 5 more for a smooth front.   I may also need to shorten the body, but won't know that for certain till I try it on me with my stays etc.   I'll do that once the sleeves are in.
I've also got a new steam station to try out, Spotlight had a deal on a Semco one and considering I dont' much like my current iron I figured it was worth a go.   It's all set up and I'll try it out on the ironing today.

In knitting news I've finished the shawl I was working on, took me 14 days total and I love it!   Downside is it's taking up the studio floor so I can't get to the ironing board to test that new iron till it's dry.
The pattern is the Drop Leaf Shawlette by Tamara Ell and I've called mine Dragon on a Leaf as the colourway is called Dragon's Breath.
So now I need to work on Evenstar and some socks before the pattern and yarn arrive for my test knit.

First bobbin of 4 done, am about 1/3 of the way through the second and hope to finish that next weekend.
In spinning I'm currently working on some Romney that has been in the stash since before the first earthquake.   Once this is finished I should start on some grey to make stockings; I want to work with colour, but do kind of need the grey.
Speaking of spinning and knitting, if anyone reading my blog is in Christchurch and is interested in joining a group of very friendly knitters, spinners, crocheters and weavers do come along to our guild meetings.   We meet at 11 Tanner St on Monday and Saturday from 10am till 2pm and would love to have some new members.   Our fees are (in my opinion) very reasonable and you gain access to an excellent library and a lot of experience!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Best Laid Plans

I did manage to get my first spinning on Esmerelda finished this week
157.5m Navajo plied merino/silk approx fingering weight
But unfortunately I didn't get many of the other things I'd planned done due to illness in the family.   Monday was youngest who lost his breakfast, luckily before school, but then bounced back fairly quickly.   Tuesday everyone was fine so I got a little work done on the dress and also some more knitting and some cleaning.   Wednesday I got hit with what I thought was my version of youngest's bug, but it just turned out to be that time of the month getting to me more than normal; put me out of action for 2 days though.    Then yesterday youngest wasn't well again.  This time he'd lost his bounce, by halfway through the day he had a nasty cough and today once again no bounce and he's coughing and sneezing and running a slight temperature.    I did get to guild, as Dh looked after him which was good, but he's not a well unit and I think I'll be staying home tomorrow to keep an eye on him.  I can't see him going to school on Monday and the school play is on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so not sure if he'll be up to that even if back at school on Tuesday as it's a late night.

I think tomorrow will be doing hand work while keeping an eye on my wee lad, you feel so helpless when they're sick.

One good thing, I've got started on my Evenstar Shawl, I've had to resort to my least favourite needles to get it going, but circulars result in broken yarn (I'm using a very fine cashmere) so DPN's it is even if I do feel like I'm using an angry hedgehog to knit with.  This is part of a shawl challenge at the guild so will continue alongside other projects and will be a long-term one.

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