Monday, 31 January 2011

The Wollmeise goes to...

Sorry to be a bit late. I am supposed to do it last night but my home broadband was down all night. Luckily the internet has been back this morning.

I used the Random Integer Generator to draw a winner out of 8 participants who left me messages in the Good Karma Giveaway post.

The winner is Silja who picked the Wollmeise Twin in Arlene. Please contact me via email or ravelry message. I will try to get the skein posted this week via First Class post unless you prefer other mode of delivery.

Thanks all for participating and sharing project ideas! For others who haven't won this skein, please don't be too disappointed. I promise I will have another giveaway later. :)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

In less than 45 mins...

Packing for French Alps

... I am leaving to the French Alps!

But I still haven't packed anything to knit!

Shall I bring some DK yarn to make another beret or maybe a cowl? Or shall I start another pair of socks?

Maybe both? or maybe none?

Decision decision decision...

Alright, maybe I just close my eyes and randomly pick something up.  Will tell you what I bring and knit when I come back home next weekend.

I'll also do a random draw to let you know who's the lucky winner for the skein of Wollmeise. Good luck and have a wonderful week!

Friday, 21 January 2011

FO: Wavy Water Slouchy Beret

I still haven't found any of my cable needles. But I've got a FO!

(I finally used another Addi Click tip as a cable needle! Works like a charm!)


After struggling for a while, I decided to make my friend a beret for her birthday. The pattern is Star Crossed Slouchy Beret which is available on Ravelry as a free pattern. The yarn I used was Fyberspates Scrumptious DK in colourway Water, a loosely spun single with 55% Merino and 45% Silk.


The colourway is a solid grey watery blue. The wavy cabling pattern in blue makes me think of Ocean and water waves. About the colour, you may notice a significant colour difference between the first photo and the other two. I don't understand neither. The first one should be showing the true colour because the camera had got its white balance adjusted (with a grey card) before taking that photo. Hence that blue should  be the real colour we can see under natural sunlight. But I don't know. Because I haven't had chance to see it under sunlight yet. What I've seen indoor (with tungsten lamp) is very close to what shown in the other two photos. But no matter what, it's a beautiful blue right?


The pattern is well written and the easy cable pattern is just perfect for a timid cable beginner like me. It went really quick and only took me about 5 hours from cast on till cast off! A true instant gratification.

But I still have made some stupid mistakes... I misread the pattern so I missed a knit row after cable row twice! But could not bring myself to care enough to frog and reknit. This yarn was difficult to frog and looked torn and old afterwards. I reckon my friend may not notice it as she doesn't knit.

I am not going to block it as I really don't want it to grow further. So basically it's ready to be sent now. But I am hesitating again. Gifting others my handknit really needs some courage. Hum...

Where are my cable needles?!

Bloody hell. Am I or am I not the only knitter in the world who is constantly losing her cable needles?

I don't really make cable often. I've only knit cable 2 or 3 times. How could I manage to lose 6 cable needles?!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

SPIN012: Merino

I got 50 grams of merino from Sara's Texture Crafts in early October -- in fact it arrived with the BFL I used in my SPIN001 project.

Twice blended from four different commercially dyed colours: Lawn Green, Citrus Green, Forest and Light Green, doesn't it give you a lively sense of primavera?


I tried spinning for about 6-7 grams in October but didn't get any luck. Nada. The yarn kept snapping for 20-30 times on my wheel. Seriously it meant snapping 5 times for every gram I spun! I knew something's wrong but I didn't know what, so I concluded I wasn't good enough to spin Merino yet. I tried spinning Merino again in November, but I still didn't get the hack of it. Therefore I turned my back to Shetland, BFL and Cheviot, leaving Merino behind with a big "fear factor" label.

Last night I decided to confront my fear factor once more. This time I was luckier. The yarn still snapped and broke for 4-5 times, but it felt a lot less discouraging and more manageable.


As I only got 44 grams, I didn't play in order to get a better yardage. There was about 270 metres with 40 wpi spun up before finishing.


It looked like a Christmas wreath before finishing!

I didn't wreck it that much, though still have given it a very hot water bath followed by a cold one. I bet it didn't shrink a lot but should be given enough treatment to make the single a bit stronger.


After leaving it on radiator for one whole night, it's totally dried. Haven't measured the wpi yet, but it feels like a lace weight to me. I think 270m of lace weight should be enough to make a small Ishbel (I made one in Kidsilk Haze with about 230m), but will this blended colour too fuzzy for Ishbel? Hum... I don't know, but I really really want to make something with it!

But I think I do love this skein. It's my first formal encounter with Merino. Not very even but not too wildly uneven neither. I think next time if I can get a bigger braid (100 or 200 grams), I will definitely ply it up and hopefully plying can smooth out the unevenness and give a rounder, nicer yarn.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Knitting for friends?

The other day, I talked about knitting for friends with my friend Cynthia, who's also an avid knitter/crocheter.

Cynth told me that sometimes she got a bit pissed when her friends didn't even bother to drop a line to let her know the gift has safely arrived. She only found out it arrived and stop worrying after weeks.

Yes. I think if I was her, I would be really pissed. Honestly if someone doesn't bother to say Thank You within a reasonable time frame, obviously he or she doesn't really care enough about the gift. In other word, they just don't give a damm shit to it, however much effort or time you spent on it.

In fact I think I'd be more than being pissed. If a good friend did that to me, I guess I could never treat her the same again.

Then I remember Lindsay, from whom I got my spinning wheel. She told me that she once hand dyed and spun two skeins of lovely rainbow yarn for a friend. One day she saw them in a charity shop. The other time she handspun for another friend some gorgeous yarn from a baby alpaca having the same name as her friend's. Unfortunately that friend didn't show much appreciation neither.

I am quite a selfish knitter. I have so far only knit for my parents, in-laws and one good friend who lives next door. Oh and I once knit a scarf for my knitting friend Kylie in a swap. But that's all. It's partly because I am not confident about my knitting. But more importantly, we have to admit that some people just can't see the value of handknit items.

One time an ex workmate of mine saw the photos of my handknit shawls and socks on Facebook, she left me a message: Hey, why are you knitting so much? You are not making enough money to buy new clothes?

Doh. I so wanted to tell her that the yarn used to make that pair of socks cost more than her socks from Polo Ralph Lauren.

But I didn't say anything. I sort of lost interest to enlighten her.

In the last few weeks, I have been thinking about this again. Since I was thinking about my crafty New Year Resolutions, this question comes to my mind:

Should I or should I not knit for others more this year?

The thing is, one of my very good friends has her birthday coming in early February. She doesn't knit but she's crafty too. She draws and she arranges flower and bouquet. I think she should be the type who appreciates a handknit present.

But what if she doesn't?

It's gonna hurt if she doesn't. It'll hurt my feeling and consequently hurt our friendship.

But if she's not the one I can knit for, I can't think of any friend who may take my handknits better.

Hum... it's a very difficult decision.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Good Karma Giveaway

As promised earlier, I want to do a giveaway. Today is the day!

Can you guess what they are from their back?


Hint number one: Something starts with W, ends with -meise.

Hint number two: They're from Bavaria, Germany.

Hint number three: Each skein is at least 150g in weight and has an amazing yardage of over 500 metres.

Hint number four: Not buttery soft. But they make the most sturdy socks in the most vibrant colours...




Yes. They're Wollmeise. I am planning to give away one skein of Wollmeise from my stash.


The first candidate is Wollmeise 100% Merino Superwash in Versuchskaninchen, which means Guinea Pig in German. Claudia (The owner and dyer of Wollmeise) names many of her test skeins as Guinea Pig, so there are many different Wollmeise Guinea Pigs out there. This one is in my favourite fuchsia pink (the close-up pic above shows the true colour better than the top one). In fact it looks EXACTLY the same as my another skein of Wollmeise Twin in Fuchsia colourway in my stash.

This is the third Fuchsia Wollmeise in my stash. The other two skeins have a total of 1000+ metres, enough to make 3 or maybe 4 pairs of Fuchsia socks for me. Therefore I know I will never use this skein.


The second candidate is Wollmeise Twin in We're Different Arlene. A subtle variegated yarn in browns, purples and a bit of burgundy. The real skein looks slightly darker and more subtle than the above close-up photo. I have a big skein of Wollmeise Lace in the same colourway which is destined to be a lace weight cardigan for my mom some time in future. Usually I don't enjoy knitting in the same colourway again, so I know I will never use this skein of Arlene.

Therefore, they deserve a better home with a better knitters to knit them up.

Before telling you how to bring one of them home, there's one important thing:

Since it's a giveaway, I really hope the yarn can find a good home in which it can be knit up instead of being sold away. I'd appreciate if you agree not to sell it or swap it away for another skein. If you happen to find that the colour isn't what you are looking for (I can understand, sometimes it happens), please pass the karma on. Give it away to someone who loves it. Or you can let me know so we can draw another lucky winner who may enjoy having it. By leaving a message to participate in the draw, you agreeing to abide by this little Karma rule. Okay? All good?

Here's what you can do to claim your skein:

1) Leave me a message. Tell me which skein you like to get. If possible, please briefly tell me what you're going to make with it -- just for my curiosity and to make more fun. You're not obliged to tell in order to claim the yarn. But why don't we share some project ideas with others?

2) I will use a random number generator to draw a lucky winner next Sunday (30/1) when I come back from my holiday.

3) I will cover the first class non-recorded postage wherever you're from, as long as Royal Mail sends to your country. If you want to make sure the little beauty arrives safely, I am happy to send via recorded mail, but I'd appreciate if you can cover the additional cost. Sounds fair?

Okay. All good?

Hola 2011!

Belated Happy New Year!

Ahem... I know... It's really embarrassing to say Happy New Year in the third week of the year. I wished I could have written my first blog earlier but I have many good excuses reasons for that.


We went to Egypt for 9 days. It was awesome! I was deeply impressed by inspired by the Egyptian Hieroglyphics. The trip was full of fun even Egyptians basically don't knit and I couldn't find any souvenir yarn to take home.

After I came back in early January, I started studying and working on my Computing assignments. I am taking 4 courses this year. Three of them have monthly assignments. They are not impossibly difficult but there are quite a lot to read, research and write. Anyway, after working quite hard for 10 days, I managed to finish and hand them in last weekend. Yeah!

We then went to buy some skiing apparels for our skiing trip. I did skied twice or thrice in Japan and indoor sites. But they were all half-day trips. This is going to be my first skiing holiday. We will arrive the French Alps on Sunday noon and stay there till Friday afternoon. Hope I am not going to break my legs or arms... fingers crossed.

I also went to see a GP for my thumb, which I hurt a month ago. It still hurts. Any attempt to straighten my right thumb only results in agony. No. I meant AGONY. The doc has written me a letter to refer me to a hospital clinic for further consultation. Haven't picked up my letter yet. So don't know how long I have to wait though.

At the moment, I try not to spin. Or not too spin too much. I had been a good girl and stayed away from my wheel for quite a while, until...


... a beautiful maple lace weight spindle from Wildcraft arrived. The shaft is made of maple timber. A piece of red maple leaf is embedded in the resin in the top whorl. Simply gorgeous. I couldn't spindle.

I took a few grams of Corriedale (or maybe Falkland?) scraps out and spun right away. The spindle is so feather light (about 24 grams) and spins like a breeze. Great balance. If it was my first spindle, I probably wouldn't have bought my wheel out of frustration.

Last but not the least, I finally cast on my first project in 2011. It's a Hedera in Wollmeise Twin WD Kornblume (it means Cornflower) for the Knit Love Sock knitalong on Ravelry. My green Marlene was almost done, but I wasn't too happy about the size so I will rip off the toes off to reknit and add one more pattern repeat. Will try to do it later though. Now I am feeling like to start a new project! :)