Tuesday, 19 October 2010

FO: Flower Waltz Shawl

I finally got a finished handknit to show on this new blog!


The pattern is Crow Waltz Shawl by Juju Vail. I first saw it in Socktopod Knit Night few weeks ago. I usually love airier and lacier shawl but when I saw the one knitted by Lucy (aka Rosealare on Ravelry), I instantly fell in love with this textured shawl.

Juju named the shawl as Crow Waltz because it is a song from her favourite band. I call mine Flower Waltz Shawl because the colours I used made me think of Fuchsia, one of my favourite flowers. Plus I do love Flower Waltz from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker very much!


I ordered 3 skeins of Old Maiden Alpaca Silk in Midnight, Bramble and Gothic. The shawl only requires two skeins but I wasn't sure if the colour combo could work out so I got three skeins to improve my chance. After winding up all three hanks, I found that Midnight and Bramble pretty similar so they may blend in too much. Therefore I picked Bramble and Gothic.


After I finished the edging, I found about half skein of Bramble has been used. Apparently I'd run out of yarn. I contacted Lilith of Old Maiden Aunt. She kindly reserved the last skein of Bramble of the same dye lot for me while I was waiting for her next update to grab more of other colourways. I really appreciate it!

I skipped one garter row before Picot binding and it turns out I didn't need to use the second skein of Bramble! I got about 6 inch of leftover! phew~ I am quite happy about it as it means I can use that skein of Bramble for another project. Maybe an Ishbel?


The pattern is very interesting. It uses slip stitches to imitate the distinct woven texture. I think I did the first few rows way too loose. next time I will try to get a tighter gauge.

The yarn was really a dream to work with. Very soft. It has the signature haze of Alpaca but not too fuzzy. I've ordered a few more skeins. Will try to make some scarves or shawlettes for Christmas pressies, though I somehow feel this yarn is toooooo lovely to give away and I might end up keeping ALL FOs.

DH is way too busy so I could only take a FO pic by myself indoor. My poor photos really can't do the shawl justice. I swear.


I blocked the shawl out using the blocking kit from Loop. I think it's one of my best investments in knitting so far -- honestly if I had to choose between this blocking kit and my Signature needles, I'd still pick this kit! It saves me lots of time and hassles!!! Guess I'll make more shawls as I no longer fear the pain of blocking!





My 4th spinning practice. I finished it last week but my laptop went dead so I couldnt upload any photo. I am now using our super old Asus Eeepc netbook. It's a bit slow and the wee keyboard is a bit difficult to use. But at least I can upload photos and blog. Shouldn't complain too much about it.

It is Superwash English Wool Blend top from Wildcraft Fibre in colourway Neptune. Finally I got more yardage and more consistent yarn. :)

This is my first time to obrain more than 350 yards/330 metres. The yarn is quite even (for a beginner like me)! Yay! :D

There is about 364 yards before washing and fixing. Some shrinkage after wash is expected but it should still be enough for a pair of socks in terms of yardage. However I think I underplied it. The yarn won't be strong enough for socks. Or maybe a pair of bed socks?

Interestingly I found some sparkle (sparkling trilobal nylon I guess?) in the roving! Maybe it’s some leftover from the carder? Love the positive surprise though. Very pretty! I guess I may try to challenge myself with some Sparkling BFL next time. :D

Had difficulty in using the fastest whorl. The tension was too great that I often found it hard to treadle. For the singles, as usual, the first quarter was way too overpun while the last quarter was underspun that the single broke for a few times . Need to learn more about control of tension.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

In Search of the perfect pumpkin

I am always a pink sucker. If you look at my Ravelry project page, you may find that about half of my FOs were in pink. I still am a pink sucker. Tutu was the very first skein I picked from Wollmeise booth in Knit Nation. I also grabbed two skeins of strawberry ice cream pink sock yarn when I visited Wolle Roedel in Munich last month.

But since earlier this year I've been experiencing some gradual changes in colour preference. I became more interested in greens and more open to blues. I blame the pleasant British summer here for changing my perceptions on colours. Green meadows and crispy blue sky are rare in my hometown.

Yet another change has happened. Again it may be related to the season. Autumn. October. Halloween. What would come up in your mind? Yep. Golden yellow or orangey tones. Or pumpkin in particular. I can't explain why. But I have been longing to get a skein of semi-solid pumpkin orange sock yarn for a while. Not the citrous orange. But more the subtler richer orange of a matured pumpkin.

I wanted to cast on the TTL Mystery Socktoberfest socks but always wanted to get the right orange for that. I found something close last night. There are two different indie dyers here offering pumpkin colourways. Unfortunately I am still not 100% sure if that's what I want. After all, orange is a hit or miss. I can be happily embrace many different kinds of pinks or purples. But for orange, it will either be the perfect one I can marry to, or it will end up being buried in stash bin forever.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Gap Sweater

Today I went to Gap and felt in love instantly with a sweater.

I almost bought it. Almost. The only problem was...  As a winter sweater, it has way too many yarnovers. I am not sure if it can really keep me warm. Plus the lace panel at the front is a little bit too revealing that I may not feel comfy enough to put it on without another top worn underneath.

But I guess I love a sweater like this. With different vertical elements running together, it looks trendy. Bet it's interesting to knit too. I should dig into Ravelry to see if I can find some similar patterns.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


I have had a pretty busy day.

After finishing up my application form this morning, I headed to C Wharf to lunch with DH. We had Birley's salt beef brisket sandwiches again. For some unknown reason, it didn't taste as good as it was. But still yum I guess.

At around half one, I went to Russell Square to submit my app. Geez the admission office was so crowded. Lots of people were doing last-minute app like I do. :P The lady said they should notify me the admission decision in 4-6 weeks. Fingers crossed.

I then took a bus to Waterloo as I always prefer going home by Jubilee line than Central -- the long walk in Bank to DLR platform isn't usually pleasant. Also I wanna go to iKnit to see if I can grab a needle gauger. My old one miserably disappeared. Plus I am interested to get a copy of Spin Off. Unfortunately none of them could be found there. I was so well behaved and just left empty-handed. (honestly I was tempted to get an Easyknits Sushi Roll but didn't find the right colour I loved there)

I arrived home at around half four. I was supposed to work on my Crow Waltz Shawl but my heart and hands had another idea... I finally got half braid of a Wildcraft Superwash English Wool Blend top spun up. Havnt decided if I should do two-ply or Navajo chain-ply yet. Let's see how I feel like tomorrow! But I think I should really do some more knitting tomorrow. I am far behind my Christmas pressie schedule!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Fibre Flurry. Tempted

I read about Fibre Flurry on Ravelry the other day. It will be held on October 30 in Birmingham.

I successfully resisted Ally Pally in North London last weekend. I told myself that I don't need to add more items in my yarn stash. I knit way too slower than I stash. My recent obsession of spinning doesn't help at all. The entrance fee to Ally Pally was also quite high (I think its around £14 if it's paid on the door) -- I am pretty sure that it worth every penny for people who loves knitting as well as other crafts such as sewing but I don't sew nor weave.

(Anyway, I am now trying to tell myself as many good reasons as I can find to rationalize my decision to skip Ally Pally so I won't feel regret too early...)

But Fibre Flurry seems to be very "fibre or wool-oriented". There will be Fyberspates, Felt Studio, Babylonglegs, Easy Knits, Posh Yarn, Natural Dye Studio...


I just checked the train ticket. The price isn't too bad. The cheapest daily return I can find for that weekend is £18 which allows me to stay in the venue for approximately 4 hours. Looks pretty good...

Very tempted.

Hum... Fibre Flurry. Shall I or Shall I not?

Monday, 11 October 2010

SPIN003: My First Navajo Plying

Okay, I promise, this one should be the last spinning post for... at least the next few days. I should really get back to my knitting needles and work for christmas pressies. My Crow Waltz Shawl has been in semi-hibernation now. Feeling a bit guilty about it. Plus I knocked out this 109grams of monster in ONE single day. Really need to let my knees rest a bit.

Again, it's from Wildcraft. A Shetland top. Colourway: Wild Rose. I LOVE the colours. But wasn't sure how I should divide or pre draft it so it won't turn muddied...


Finally, I did some crazy thing. I tried to divide the top lengthwise into 5 portions, each of different weights: 4g, 10g, 19g, 28g, 34g. I spun from the lightest one first, hoping to get an effect that the stripes would run longer later.


As I wanted to have more solid colours and less fuzzy changes, I did a navajo plying to ply the single with itself. It turned out to be a big URG. My Navajo plying is simply UGLY.


I was hoping to get enough yardage to make a triangular shawl. But not even close. I only got 260 yards after navajo plying -- I should have planned a simpler 2-plying instead! Then I could have got about 390 yards! :(

260 yards. Maybe it's still enough to do a small shawlette like Ishbel or Multnomah?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

In the clubs

May I announce that... I am now a proud member of the following THREE FOUR clubs:

- Wildcraft bi-monthly fibre club (will start in November)

- Thylacine monthly fibre club (will start in November too!)

- Knit Love Club 2011 by Alice Yu (Socktopus) (It's a sock club with her hand dyed yarn and matching sock patterns. Will start in January!)

- (Edited on 19 October 2010) Spunky Eclectic monthly fiber club (will ship in late Oct from US)

I know I know... I am just a beginning spinner, so the club fibre can be too challenging to me -- Indeed before paying for my subscription, I did contacted Megan of Thylacine to get some hints about what fibre she will offer in the next three months. The November fibre will be something quite challenging to beginner... But, I guess I'll still go for it. If I really can't handle it, I can always leave it in stash. Use it later when I become a better spinner. Or sell it later. It's still great to get inspired by other club members to see what they will spin up from the same fibre.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


Here comes my pinning exercise number 2!

I used a hand painted top from Wildcraft. It was an English Wool Blend, the cheapest hand painted top available on the shop. And it's only £5! A real bargain, isn't it?


The colourway is called Hopeful. A white top painted with red, pink and blue.


I divided the top into two fairly equal parts using the method called Fractal Spinning. People said it will have quick colour changes along with long colour repeats. I don't know it yet. Still can't find the right project to use it.


Before washing and fixing the twist, It is about 100 gram with 140 metres. Guess it's close to heavy worsted?

Honestly I love the colours! All sorts of pinks and purples. My favourites colours!


What can I make with it? Any suggestion?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Spinning spinning spinning! My spinning mojo is back. :)

As a beginning spinner who haven't spun anything for two months (I got my wheel in late July then I went back Hong Kong from August for a month...), I reckon I shouldn't waste the lovely hand dyed tops got from Knit Nation. Therefore, I got some BFL in blue and teal the other day.

I didn't pre-draft but only divided the rovings lengthwise.


Ta-dah! My SPIN001, that is, spinning practice 001, is here:


About 95g of BFL yielded 230 metres in total. Not very well spun. Not even at all. But I like it. Feeling glad to be back to this wonderful spinningland!


New Blog

Hola! I've got a new blog!

Long story short, I, as the Queen of Stupidity, managed to lose my password to access my old blog. Could have asked DH to fix it but he's very busy these days and won't be home till past 9.

Yet I need a blog to keep track on my knitting and spinning progress. I desperately need one to keep myself motivated.

Anyway, here's where I am going to blog, at least for a while. :)