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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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Progress, Finishes and Plans

On the progress front I have done a little sewing on the polonaise.   Not a lot, youngest was off sick on Monday and eldest off today, but at least I've sewn another seam.   Hoping to get the bodice lining turned tomorrow and maybe the front side hem done as well. 
I used the Juki a bit more too, did brilliantly on fake fur which is one heck of a test!   So far definitely happy I bought it.

I've finished one rainbow sock and youngest wants a pair for himself too; might have to try dyeing that myself though as another lot is not in the budget!
Fish Lips Kiss heel on plain vanilla sock; colours are off as it's a night shot; it's a true rainbow.
I've also done my first fine spinning on Esmerelda and I enjoyed it so Grace is now up on Trademe along with my E-spinner and my wooden ball winder.   Although I'd love to keep Grace I need the money to get a couple of accessories for Esme as well as some extras for Violet (my loom).   I particularly want to change Violet over to using Texsolv heddles as the string ones are all different which affects the shed.
Here's my first fine spinning on Esme prior to plying; I'll ply it in the next day or so hopefully.
Anna Harris's merino/silk.  There's 50g here and I'll be Navajo plying it.
 I finished plying the neverending white too, used Esme for that as well and she performed just as well as the E-spinner but with more control
A kilometer of DK here; and that gingernut coloured yarn in the corner?   That's the latest Vintage Purls sock yarn club yarn which will be in my next weaving project on Violet.

Speaking of Violet I've cut my second project off her, still awaiting its bath to finish it off but here it is:
8 placemats using 2/2 twill with various twill patterns on the ends.  All in 8/2 cotton.

A close up of the last one I did, the contrast in some linen/cotton blend.
 I'm pretty happy with how it looks pre-bath, won't know how it finishes off till after my next course date on Tuesday as that's when we go into wet finishing.   I've already decided what's next on the loom, but it has to wait till I finish at least one more thing (the dress hopefully).   When I do though I'll be warping up with the gingernut yarn and using some handspun as a weft.   Planning my first point weave with this as a scarf
handspun on top, gingernut below, I think this will be really pretty; gingernut is not showing at its best in this photo though.
I've got at least 2 more projects yet to start in knitting too, aside from the jersey that's been on the go and some colourwork socks that are also getting old.   I've got 2 shawls to do, one is a test knit for Valerie with lots of beads and the other is a handspun shawl.  I need more time, more money and a lot less RSI interfering with everything!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weaving again

Today I started at the Guild, while Thomas and the boys explored the area around The Tannery.    I managed to get my final bobbin of the neverending white spun so tomorrow I'll ply it on Esmerelda.   All going well I'll then be putting Grace and E-spinner up for sale.

Last night I got some seam trimming done on the 18th century dress and a little knitting done.

This afternoon though I got the first of 6 placemats woven:

At this point I had about 1" left to go; have since done that and added a bread with another colour so I can see where this one ends and another starts.

This is the right side; will still be a few days before I get the rest done and cut this off the loom.
My socks are looking good, not sure on the fit yet, but this is my first Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Rainbow socks!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Changing Dreams - a ramble

I was just thinking about dreams, what we wish for and how that changes as we change.

When I was young I wished for fame and fortune; eventually I realised that I didn't want fame, just fortune.   I'd still like fortune, but have extended it from fortune in money to also include fortune in family and health.    When I was 18 I wanted a Toyota Supra and a mansion.   Now, I want a family hatchback with good storage, excellent fuel economy, reliable and with a high wheel base.    I actually want the house we have now with some extras.   Double glazing, solar hot water and power, a decent fire and a heat pump, a shed for the bikes and another to store yarn/fibre out of the studio and a vege garden that doesn't get away on me.

Then I wanted a top of the line sewing machine that could do everything except wash the dishes, now I want a machine that does a great straight stitch and a darned good buttonhole.    I have what I want now on that one too, it's TOL for a basic computerised machine and it doesn't do embroidery, just some fancy stitches and an alphabet.

I want good health for my family, a cleaner so I can spend more time making stuff and the money to not have to work.    I don't want to be a billionaire anymore; maybe a millionaire, enough to do the above and for us both to stop work and be able to spend more time as a family, enough to be able to help out family and friends and the guild.

Dreams change and I think as we get older for most of us they become better.

In the meantime I'll do what I can to spend time crafting to keep me happy, to spend time with my family to keep us all happy and to do as little housework as I can get away with!

I did some crafting today, not for me though, school asked me to make snake hoods for the school play; here's what I came up with:

These took a fair bit of the week, one day to find the fabric, one to sort the pattern (I used part of an Ottobre pattern), another to prewash and cut out the fabric and today was sewing them all together and using eldest to test that they weren't too big/small.

Tonight I am going to spin and maybe knit as well.   I will trim the seams on the gown so I can turn the bodice the right way out so it's ready for sleeves.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

My New Toys

I now have my new sewing machine - a Juki HZL-F600; I've only done a wee bit with it so far.   Tested it on stretch fabric, some straight stitching on my eighteenth century dress, a test buttonhole etc and I'm happy with ease of use and stitch quality.   I'll do a proper review once she and I have had a chance to get properly acquainted.    I do like her size and weight though, she's got a good solid feel to her and she comes with a great hard case which many machines now don't and a good range of feet too.  
I've had to take some time out to test my old Elna SE Air Electronic and list her on Trademe.   She has a name; Ellie.   Once the Juki and I have had some time together she'll get a name too; most of my tools do.  Some come with them of course like Grace my spinning wheel, but Ellie, Bernie (my Bernina) and Bonnie (my dress form) have all earned theirs.

Without further ado, here she is:

Also joining the family is Rose who comes with her name, but may get renamed if she wants that; we'll see.  Once again I've not had time to do much with her yet, had a wee go and I know that it'll take a bit for us to get used to eachother.   She didn't come with an orifice hook so I'll have to sort something out for that; can't steal Grace's as hers will probably be finding a new home as I don't have room for 2 wheels.   She's beautiful though and I love my custom design on her.
Just finished assembling her.

My lovely morepork; I actually drew this myself from a photo; really happy with him.
There's certainly no lack of things to spin on her; picked up my processed fibre today.   I really need another 24 hours in each day I think, and a cleaner cos that's what I spent half of today doing was cleaning the dining/kitchen area.   I still need to finish the neverending white on Grace and then ply it on Rose to see how that goes.   If it goes well then I'll be selling the E-spinner (with Woollee Winder); fingers crossed as I need the money and space from that.

Tomorrow I need to spend some time with both these ladies.   18th century gown needs a little seaming on the skirt and to have the lining applied to the bodice, so the Juki will get a play with that.   I need to do some basic worsted spinning on Rose to see how that goes; my test run was with carded alpaca and I did long draw which went well, but I normally spin worsted so that's my next test and if it goes well she'll come to the guild on Saturday to meet all my friends.

I've done a few more rows on my rainbow socks and decided I'm going to use the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern on it to test it out.    Need to get back onto the loom and if I do sell the things I'm hoping to then she'll be getting new heddles as I have decided I don't like string heddles very much.   Texsolv would be better, but only if I've got some money.
There will be no more yarn or fabric or fibre, I have tonnes and I need to start creating space by using what I have.   I may even consider reducing some stash, this is however a thought I need to work on as it's not something I find it easy to do.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Unexpected Knitting

Tonight I haven't slept; instead I spent several hours in our emergency department getting something checked out.   Luckily all is well, and instead of sleep I got to listen to a lot of very unwell people and I got to knit a rainbow.
I had done about 2 rows on the ribbing when I left; now over halfway down the foot!
There were a couple of people who were very interested; probably a change for the doctors and nurses to the usual books and cellphones.    It also meant I didn't ask how long the wait would be, I just waited and knit instead.

Today was originally going to be spent working and sewing etc, but I think I'm just going to vege and look forward to an early night instead.   And no doubt later this week there will be a bill from the ambulance service to add to the taxi I took home, but I don't begrudge it.   I do feel they need more taxi's though; took a good 30 minutes for them to arrive from when I called and from what I saw on TV3 a little while back it's not due to them being too busy, but due to there being less taxi's on the roads since the earthquakes.    I suspect a lot stopped due to the horrible roads and the continuous bills to fix the cars after driving on them.

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