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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.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Ready to Go!

12" of 8-10 cotton warped up to make 6 table mats.   I'll be using the same colour for most of the weft and a mix of pink and brown for a 2" band on each end of each mat.   On Tuesday I'll be winding my weft onto the bobbins ready to go and hopefully also checking my tie up before getting started on the actual weaving.

I've also finished Thomas's socks
The colour is much richer in real life and they fit T better than they do me
We've been busy here, getting prices for retro-fitting double glazing.   We don't have the pricing yet, but depending on how much depends on whether we're going for the whole house or just the lounge and bedrooms; either way we won't be doing the conservatory; that'll just stay cold in winter I think.   I knew this house was cold in winter, but the new studio rooms on the garage have made it more obvious just how bad the house is.   The walls and roof are insulated, but the windows are really big so we lose a huge amount of heat out of them despite having thermal curtains.   We're only looking at real glass options, no nylon or DIY as although they're cheaper they're also more prone to failing.

Now it's time for me to unpick some seams on the eighteenth century dress to get it ready to re-fit and test on my new machine in the next couple of days.   I'm also going to wind a ball of yarn for my next shawl and do some ironing (oh joy).    Then I can do some spinning of more white and work on my 2 year old jersey for spring (Breakwater is the pattern)

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