Tuesday, October 30, 2007

oh, dear...

... i've gone & done it now.

majacraft little gem 1

i spent saturday driving up to fife, to visit a mythical & glorious place, that i have oft heard of (from india) but never visited. when i came back home, it was with this in my back seat...

majacraft little gem 3majacraft little gem 5majacraft little gem 4

it's a brand-new majacraft little gem II spinning wheel - isn't it gorgeous?? it's a portable wheel that you can dismantle & pack up into a padded bag the size of a largeish sports tote. but although it's quite teeny, it's incredibly stable & solid to spin on, & so smooth to use - i'm completely in love. i can't stop spinning on it - i've been using it non-stop since i brought it home on saturday night. i've already spun up a full bobbin (& the bobbins are huge - they hold over 100 grams of fibre!) & started a second bobbin - i'm totally addicted.
here's what's on the wheel right now - sock hop superwash merino roving from crown mountain farms in "secret agent man".

majacraft little gem 2

the first batch of this roving that i spun up on my old wheel worked out at more of a DK weight than a sock weight. but this wheel is so easy to use that i'm spinning finer & finer singles on it, & i think that this might manage to be an actual sock-weight yarn (we'll see!). i'd like to blog more, but i have to go spin now...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

day off

ok, it's up - lots of lovely new stuff in the shop!!

black coffee laceweight

some fabulous new colours of handpainted yarns, lusciously squeezable handspun hat kits, and a couple of new handspun skeins. there's still more to come - i have a few undyed hanks of yarn hanging about, and lots of fibre still to be spun. but i've given myself a well-deserved day off today to watch films, drink coffee, and knit. i've been working pretty hard on all this new stuff (apart from a couple of days off for puking) & i definitely need a little break!
i'm off to twist fibre on saturday to look at a new spinning wheel (the majacraft little gem) - i'm looking into buying a wheel that's a bit more portable than my old workhorse wheel (an ashford traditional), and thought if i was planning on dropping over £300 i should go have some hands-on experience first! i'm sure i'll get sidetracked into buying even more fibres & dyes to play with, so i should have even more lovely new things to add to the shop soon. but for now, i'm off to put my feet up...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

sweet nectar of the gods

aaaahhh... coffee. this was my first cup since friday morning, what with being ill & all, and i enjoyed every second of it. i'm not a huge caffeine addict, but i do insist on starting the day with one good cup of coffee. the RSA makes it in a little stove-top espresso pot before work, drinks half, and leaves half for me to heat up when i get up later. & i'm pretty sure that without my first cup of coffee in three days, i wouldn't have been able to organise all of this:

a huge pile of lovely new handspun hat kits, some individual skeins of handspun, and some newly dyed lace & sock yarn, all to be added to the shop soon! my caffeine for the day is starting to wear off now though, so they probably won't be up till thursday, if you can hang on till then.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

sick as a...


yep, i've been sick as a dog, all weekend! i don't think i've ever been this ill before - i'll spare you the gory details, but there was a LOT of puking. eventually, i had to phone NHS 24, who thought i sounded so ill that they sent an on-call doctor out late last night with some marvellous drugs to stop the puking, and i feel a little bit better now.
to distract us all from the yucky sickness, here's something pretty:

uptown boot socks

pattern: "uptown boot socks" from favorite socks
yarn: colinette jitterbug, unknown colourway (one of the mill-end bargains from the trip to the colinette mill shop)
modifications: deliberate modifications included making the ribbed cuff longer than written, and doing an eye-of-partidge heel flap. i also reversed the cabling on the second sock to make it a mirror image of the first. accidental modifications included a couple of cables on the second sock being twisted the wrong way, and the second sock somehow ending up about an inch longer than the first! (i may have accidentally worked an extra cable pattern repeat on the leg).
hopefully that will tide us over until i'm feeling better - luckily, i finished them on friday, since i'm even too ill to knit (& that's how you know it's serious!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

mondays are for spinning

handspun in progress

so are tuesdays, wednesdays, thursdays, and every other day of this week & last! they're also for plying, and dyeing, and skeining, and reskeining...
sorry i've been so absent from the blog lately - it's been hectic. most of my last batch of handpainted yarn sold out quickly, so i've been dyeing up some new colours which will be going up for sale soon. & i've also been spinning up a storm lately! it suddenly occurred to me that it's now autumn, and the winds are getting chillier & chillier, which makes it perfect weather for handspun hats. but i've only got a couple left for sale, and i'm not 100% happy with the ones i've got left. so i've been busy working away at a new kit - i'm halfway through all the spinning, and will be knitting up another prototype hat to test a new pattern. which not only means that there will be lots of new hat kits up on the old maiden aunt site soon, but that all the old ones will be going on sale to make room for the new ones... keep your eyes peeled!

Friday, October 05, 2007

taking stock

i'm beginning to feel a little... overwhelmed. it's not an unusual state of affairs for me; having aspergers pretty much guarantees that i'm nearly 100% stressed, nearly 100% of the time. most of these stresses are from outside influences, and are just something i have to live with. but the current stressor is definitely self-inflicted...

works in progress - 5 oct 07

my ever-growing pile of works in progress. clockwise from top left, they consist of the shetland triangle in some mystery spanish yarn, a cabled raglan sweater in rowan scottish tweed chunky for the RSA, a plain drapey sweater in colinette cadenza with contrast hems for me, a pair of plain stockinette toe-up socks in wollmeise "zenzi", also for the RSA, and the uptown boot socks in colinette jitterbug, also for me. also currently in progress, but not pictured as it's living at work to be knitted there, is the tangled yoke cardigan in rowan felted tweed. & in case you weren't counting, that's a grand total of one shawl, two pairs of socks, and three sweaters.
part of the problem is that i'm making a couple of the projects up as i go along (the chunky sweater & the cadenza sweater), and have reached a point where i need to sit down with a measuring tape & a calculator & work out what i'm going to do next. & part of the problem (a big part) is simply that i'm far too impatient.
why would i want to do math & measuring (yeuch) when i could be knitting? why would i want to keep knitting away at this same old project when i could cast on something new & fabulous? & why, oh why, would i want to wait to try the just-arrived, oh-so-beautiful, wollmeise yarn when i could cast on with it immediately??
well, it's all getting a bit out of hand. time to buckle down & finish something.
or maybe, i could just cast on for these...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


just popping in quickly to share this, as it has stirred my wrath!!!
one of my very favourite blogs (where i lurk regularly, but never comment) is yarnstorm. if you've never been there, take a minute to visit her (i'll wait here till you come back). her writing is fantastic, and her photographs of her various creations (knitting projects, crafty things, and oh, my lord, the baking) are stunning. i wish with all my heart that she would pop round one day & bake me a cake!!
her work is so beautiful, in fact, & she has so many fans, that she has now published a book about craftiness - which, apparently, is proving to be very controversial, and provoked this article here in the telegraph.
it's been a bit of a thing with me lately - i'm so sick of women putting other women down. we seem to have forgotten about feminism; or, we have forgotten how to hold each other up instead of trying to push one another down. i do it as well - i catch myself making catty comments about someone's outfit, or thinking bitchy thoughts about someone i don't even know. so i'm trying hard not to be mean, in the hopes that maybe, eventually, other people will start doing it too.
so, if you're a reader of yarnstorm (or if you're not, but you went & took a look & liked what you saw) take a few seconds & leave her a nice comment. given the hideous article that was just written about her, she'll probably appreciate it. & maybe, if you're lucky, she'll bake you a cake... & you'd share it with me if she did, right?