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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

From tomorrow

I'm starting my resolutions a little early and in fact this year I'm changing them from resolutions to a plan.

1.  Health:  The biggie and I'm talking physical health here.
I have started making smoothies, unfortunately this is going to increase the vege bill a bit till the garden gets growing properly.    Today's was a fruit smoothie cos it's my birthday and it was made by my eldest.  Tomorrow I'm back to the green ones, will have to check if Dh bought me some spinach today.  Today is the last day for sugar, warning there may be a grumpy bear in the house for the next week.

Exercise is a big sticking point for me.   I know I need to, but usually I just don't.   I'll be trying to fit something in each day to help with the RSI and my health.

2.  Spending:  I did some today, but it was new undies for Dh and some figures for him.   I sold my e-spinner yesterday and am going to endeavour to keep the money in the account and not just spend it.   No more yarn or fabric or fibre unless it's for a specific project which I don't have sufficient yarn/fibre/fabric on hand for.  There is one exception, I got a voucher today from my parents (thanks mum and dad) for The Fabric Store which will likely be spent on Saturday on something pretty.
Concentrating on the mortgage again.

3.  Crafting:   There are some things I want to work on this year. 
-I want to finish all my knitting WIP's and am not allowing any new cast on's for anything except my travel knitting till they're all done.
-I need to finish the king bed quilt, it's been sitting around for a few years now and it'd be nice if it was done for winter 2015
-On weaving I need to do the mohair rug and I got more yarn for that today (thanks mum!), so if the first one goes smoothly I might make another.   There's more weaving projects as well of course.
-Spinning - I have a bin with 12 fibres of over 2oz each to spin over the next 12 months; as well as that there is the current perendale and my East Fresian and silk blend to do too; they come first.
I dyed the EF/S today in teal, might be carding it I think and try corespinning
-Sewing - there needs to be some everyday sewing.   I need more workout gear and more everyday stuff to wear.  So do the boys.   There are plans for more historical clothing, had been thinking about 1805 but am now thinking maybe 1600's so I can look at the SCA.   Maybe both eventually, but not this year as both will need new support garments as well as the actual dress.   Hmm, should I go earlier and make a dress that doesn't need stays.....

Monday, December 29, 2014


My RSI is playing up a little, but I wanted to finish it before my birthday and I did manage that, if only by a day!   There will be modeled shots later, but at the moment she's blocking on our bed
Soaking ready to block

from the tassel end, love those leaves

and from the patterned end
It's not quite dry yet, but it had better hurry up cos it's too big to shift!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Well, I didn't get some things done, the original plan involved making a spiced apple cake, and not hitting my thumb with a tree and having to have bark extracted from the nail bed.   Never mind, it doesn't hurt a lot now so I've got some knitting and spinning done.   Casting on a new pair of socks for travel knitting; trying something I saw on Ravelry where a 2-colour yarn was knit up with all one colour knit and the other colour purled, I thought it was a great way to treat the yarn.   The yarn I'm using is one I dyed ages ago in dark green and purple to look like an iris.  Purple will purl and green is knit.

Before I cast on anything aside from the travel socks though I need to finish other stuff.   I need to finish the test knit which is getting closer, one edge is complete
The edge on the bottom of the photo needs doing and the tassles on the narrow end
I finished the last pair of travel socks last night, the yarn seemed to have a little prickle factor to me when I wore them for a short time, hopefully that'll reduce with wear.   They are very slippery on the hard floors though, more so than my usual hand knit socks.
Hermione's Everyday Socks blended with a double gusset heel.
I used my new lace kit for Esme as well, 20WPI 2-plied laceweight yarn is the result using a merino/silk blend
Yummy laceweight, will probably be a pair of mitts, or possibly a hat. 225m total.
George has got started on his first warp on his loom, the heddles are all threaded and next will be the reed and tying it off
This will be a scarf
And there might have been some yarn arriving as well, I hadn't planned to originally but then I sold my Little Grace Special wheel so there was yarn and Xbox games; don't think you need to see the games, but here's the yarn!
Red Utiku Possum yarn, this will be a jersey; probably Ease

The purple Max is new, it's to go with the teal and grey and will be a Pixelated Pullover

This was an impulse purchase, it has pinky tones and is probably going to be a Pirate Danger and has gold sparkles in it

More merino and possum type yarn, not sure what this is for yet, but it may well be another jersey, this will be the main colour

and this will be the contrast

Rainbow top, I was lucky to get this.
I think that's it for now.  I'll be warping up the loom in the holidays but can't start weaving till my tail detangler arrives (for horse tails, but apparently really good on brushed mohair).

Friday, December 12, 2014


At this point in my life there is never enough time.   I need time to do work, to do housework (yes, that's another type of work, but unpaid so separate), be with the kids (reading to them is now requested again each night), baking, computer and of course crafting.    Unfortunately I can't fit it all in and of late the kids and crafting have been losing out.  

Last weekend we spent more time with the kids, partly because it was George's birthday party and partly because even if it hadn't been I wanted to spend some time doing stuff with them that wasn't housework or garden related.     We went kayaking and it was hard work and fun!   George was a natural, one of his friends was ok and the other took 10 minutes to get the hang of it and then took off.   Ian started in his own kayak and ended up in with me in the double.   I got very wet, Ian got mildly damp and I also got a darned good workout as I was doing all the work, lol!

George was very lucky, he got the Minecraft game from us as well as the time spent kayaking.  He got money from his friends and spent it on more Xbox games (both Lego ones) and he also got a wallet and a little robot from his paternal grandparents.   He's still to get presents from my family and also his paternal aunt.

We have plans for the holidays, aside from the holiday programme I'm taking the boys to learn weaving at the guild and George and I will be warping up the table loom too.    I don't think a lot of housework will get done in the holidays, some because we have to, but not a huge amount.   Gardening will be done because we want to be able to eat home grown if possible; we have potatoes, zucchini, lettuces, peas coming on and there's also beans and tomatoes considering the possibility of future production.
I'm also thinking some baking together would be nice, both boys love gingerbread and there's other yummy options in my books, we can take some baking down to the park and have a picnic.

I've got to do some planning for my next weaving project too, I have the yarn, but need to change some of the plan in Anne Field's book as I want to use all of my mohair yarn in one go if I can.
My test knit is getting there, I'm working on the border now, so it feels like progress is being made.  Photo's will be taken once the border is a bit further along; it's only about 1.5" in so far.

I did finish the neckwarmer though

Saturday, November 29, 2014

On Black Friday

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting a little tired of all the Black Friday adverts everywhere.   I admit I've taken advantage of a couple to get some Collete and Sewaholic patterns that I would otherwise have simply drooled over from afar, but for most things the shipping to NZ is still appalling.   The patterns are all PDF's so shipping didn't come into it, I might be playing a different tune though when I'm printing them out, running out of ink and sticking them all together.

As tempting as it is to buy yarn from overseas I've held firm.   There is some coming from the North Island but that's not for me, it's for eldest to learn to weave with on his new (to us) TekoTeko table loom.   I've got some merino/angora yarn on the way for that so his first project will be soft and wearable.   It's the beginning of my career in teaching weaving (I think it'll be a while before I'm good enough to teach anyone else, lol)

In order to help pay for this I've listed some yarn on Trademe and will soon be listing some of my books as well.

In crafting news I've finished a cowl aside from the buttons
The yarn is Noro Silk Mountain that's been in my stash for a long time.
 I think I have enough of this yarn left to make a hat in the same colour.   I have 2 other colours as well (Rose and Purple) but they may end up going as I've decided I don't like bulky yarn that much to work with.   12mm needles are not user friendly for me.

The socks I'm working on are up to the heel flap now and the test knit shawl I'm about to hit row 17 of 47 for the final body chart; I'm going to need more beads though I think.   I've got 1.5 tubes left and a lot of beading to go!

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I've been documenting my fabric stash into an Excel spreadsheet.   So far I'd say I've done about 80% of it.   There's still some in one 60L box, some more in a drawer, a few bits in my wire basket stacker and then there's the large sea chest in our room.
In case that wasn't enough I went to the new fabric shop (The Fabric Store) that opened on Thursday today.   30% off made it worth while and I only came out with 3 things; 2 of which I went looking for.
As a result I now have 1.5m of lovely linen gauze (blue), 8m of silk taffeta (salmon) and the item I hadn't been looking for is the goat pelt
The linen is going to be a shirt for me, I used to have one I loved in a light yellow many years ago but it wore out.    That was a 1980's oversized one, so this one will be more fitted and it's a little more see-through so there will need to be careful choosing of bra colour but it will be nice to wear.
The silk is another 18th century gown, or will be eventually.  I want to redo the original as the fit wasn't quite right in the bodice (too long in the body and too wide in the neck).   If I change my mind I should have enough to go 19th century instead; will wait and see.
The goat which was the unplanned purchase is going to be a muff; it looks like faux fur, but it is definitely real and I am totally in love.

I've not got much done in the crafting side the last week or two; instead I've started the 30 Day Shred workout programme again to help with my fitness and the RSI.   I've also done some prep work and painting on the concrete structures at the end of our driveway; that was hard work and I'm still feeling tired a day after I finished.

I've sold enough yarn to pay for the fabric above and also a Majacraft Stylus kit for my wheel which was nice.  I'm getting the lace kit for Xmas and birthday so there will be laceweight and woollen spun in my future.  Neither will arrive for another week or two though.

Sewing: Nothing since the skirt but there will be more soon, if nothing else school wants me to do some for them
Weaving:  Also nothing since the scarf, I've got the yarn ready for the next project but can't warp up till I've finished cataloging my fabric.    I also need to finish the application for the new weaver's award.   That is pending me finding the original planning for my placemats which I know is in the studio somewhere......
Spinning:  Another 195m of yarn plied for the stockings, over half a bobbin filled leading towards finishing the Perendale.
Knitting:   Finished chart 3 of the test knit, having issues with the first section of the next chart, but I think I know what the issue might be so about to test that theory.
Isn't it pretty?  Almost up to the second ball

Second sock started in my Merino Possum yarn, loving it.  I think I will be using the double gusset heel in future; cups my arch so much better than anything else I've tried.
Apologies for the low light cellphone photo.

Have cast on a cowl, well, I've done the slip-knot.   The yarn is Noro Silk Mountain and I finally found a pattern that I think will suit the yarn; the 2-hour-artists-loop.  

Our garden is doing well, the corn is a foot high, eaten a few strawberries and the peas have been popular too.   Zuchinni not quite so happy, had to plant a third one as the second is trying to die.   Beans are in pause mode, but the spuds are up and looking good.
The corn is looking good, in the background are our lettuces which are going down a treat.
Tomorrow I'm hoping it's not quite so hot, want to do another workout and there's some sewing to do too I think.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Two Thirds Done

I've finished 525m of the yarn for my eighteenth century stockings, which means another 300m approximately to go.   Some of that is on the bobbins ready to ply, but I will need to spin up some more.
Gilled perendale spun worsted, approximately sport weight as planned.
 This morning we went out on a road trip to The Iris Garden in Motukarara; it's been a few years since I was last there and it's just as beautiful as I remember.   It's only open for a few months a year but worth the trip.

I think this is the one I bought, very similar to my Supreme Sultan, but a little lighter and smaller, it'll be planted further along that same bed.

Loved this butterfly and there were tonnes of bees as well.

We also have some new life here, baby praying mantis; so cute!
Back to the knitting now, going to try and get another repeat of chart 3 in for the test knit before dinner.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I've been busy

The scarf is finished and ready to go up north as part of my application for the Beginner Weaver's award (fingers crossed)
Superwash point twill scarf.   2.3m plus fringes.   Selvedges are straight (whoop!) and it's mostly even.   Superwash is hard to work with though, it doesn't turn into a true fabric but it has such lovely drape and the bits that aren't quite right I'm told are me just being picky.

Heel is turned and I'm halfway through the gussets on the merino possum sock.   I'm afraid my shawl has stalled as the RSI was unhappy after the weaving so I've given things a break.

Perendale plying, this is now finished but still on the bobbin cos I've not had time to wind it off yet.

My favourite iris

and the lovely maple which is beautiful in spring as well as autumn

and my latest project; a linen A-line skirt with ribbon trim and photobombing cat.

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


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

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