hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
2015 continues to be the best year of my life (so far). All my hard work at the beginning of the year paid off; I got the coolest, most me job ever, and the mental health benefits I get from not being a student have left me with more energy and inspiration to Do Stuff than I've ever had before. (And I've impressed a lot of people at work, so I'm half expecting a permanent job offer so I don't have to go back to school. Or at least maybe the possibility of getting to work there again next summer.)

This post will be photo free because I really don't enjoy the photographing, editing, and other faff that goes into illustrated posts. Some of the things I'm going to write about have been badly photographed and posted to Instagram (petra_4_8) but the things I've made are invariably far prettier in real life than in pictures, so.

Knitting: Finished a purple laceweight alpaca cardigan that was going to be waist-length but fortunately ended up hip-length by complete accident. Currently working on a two-colour fair isle baby vest in a cotton/bamboo/merino blend that will be a display item in mum's brand new yarn shop that opened about three weeks ago. I unfortunately hate the yarn -- there's no give in it, which hurts my hands a lot! But it's very pretty and soft so it should be a great choice for anyone who knows they like to work with cotton.

Spinning: Hardly anything. Finished a Navajo-plied reddish alpaca and started a (hopefully) laceweight merino/silk blend on the wheel. Spun a tiny hank of laceweight angora on a drop spindle at the Renaissance market a few weeks ago. I hadn't tried to spin angora since last summer, and it was quite a revelation to see how much better my spinning is! I also think angora is very well suited for a super light spindle, because it gives you the time to draft it.

Historical sewing: I did finish a forehead cloth with rolled hems, a coif, and an apron. They are super duper awesome, and the apron especially makes the outfit come together. I've bought some linen fabric at fleamarkets, which I think may be appropriate for a dress/kirtle type thing, but I haven't had the time to think much about it, and I still don't know where to start!

Modern sewing: I bought a sewing machine in May! So far I've made a pleated skirt out of an Ikea fabric that has blue flowers on white, and a jersey dress with blue Dala horses on cream. The jersey dress has a circle skirt (the hem is 6 metres!), the bodice pattern was made using a tank top, and I drafted sleeves (!!) using an online tutorial. It's almost perfect in terms of fit (thanks to being in a stretchy material?!), and I learned so much about sewing jersey that the final seam (at the neckband) is really kind of perfect. Before I started sewing this summer, my entire sewing experience was a skirt in 2008 and a whole lot of mending the thighs of jeans, so I'm very happy with my adventurousness and progress.

(My work is related to education, and I sure do get a stab of envy every time I come across someone who is studying at one of the well-known textiles/tailoring/design schools. I have to keep telling myself that the hobby level is enough for me!)
hyperbole: Mr Happy from "Mr Men and Little Miss" in a cross-stitch design made by me. (Mr Happy)
1. School: Once we only had a few short weeks left until deadline on our humongous group project, I was able to face reducing my personal life to just eating and sleeping for a while in favour of FINISHING. And we did. The coming four days include: one exam, a few hours to proofread our thesis, two days to produce a presentation of our thesis and a critique/opposition type thing on another thesis (don't know what it's called in English?!), the start of our next module and the thesis defence. Today I sit around, revise for tomorrow's exam (it's a novel feeling to have had zero hours left over to care about it until literally the day before; usually I revise a little here and a little there but it has just not been POSSIBLE this time?! Fortunately my brain is awesome and I'm a pro at exam taking), take a walk, and maybe wind yarn (ON MY SHINY NEW NIDDY-NODDY) or start a pair of awesome feminist mittens or something. Whatever I feel like. I'm also NOT going to talk to anybody because I've been around people most of my waking hours every.single.day for like three weeks. Did I mention we FINISHED our thesis though? (Also I expect there will be a price to pay for having over-exerted myself, along the lines of not doing a lot in April, but it feels worth it because I know I have the resources to cope.)

2. Awesomeness: Last weekend I took a much-anticipated trip to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival with one of my dearest friends. It was awesome. I bought a niddy-noddy, a drop spindle, and tatting shuttles; also 800 g of yarn for a pair of mittens and a CABLED ALPACA SWEATER; and 700 g of fibre from various species and breeds and of various shades. I haven't been home enough in the last week to unpack it properly so it's all still lying in a pile on my floor next to my bed where I dumped it because I needed to fill my backpack with a laptop and textbooks instead. (I'm still impressed that I could fit 1.5 kg of fibre things into my hand luggage.) I also got to spend time with friends and new people, "meet" knitting world celebrities, and visit some of my favourite places in Edinburgh.

3. Personal progress: I'm working hard to conquer some of my deepest fears. And I'm actually making really good progress, in spite of how stressful school has been for the past ten weeks. I feel like I've joined the Renaissance Guild "properly" now, and I'm on my way to making knitting groups at least a semi-regular thing in my life. I've applied for summer jobs. These are all things I've been unable to even try to do in the past because I've had so many more urgent issues to work on, but after several years of sorting through all that other stuff I'm finally here and it's super hard but also kind of glorious. (I didn't realise until recently that I didn't even know what not being depressed for long stretches of time in one go looked like before. For me it's all about not automatically going "can I really be bothered to [do a thing]? Nope, sigh" all the damn time. I go on walks just because I love going for walks, and I do four loads of laundry in one go. I haven't found a way to keep on top of the dishes yet but other than that I'm keeping my flat reasonably clean in a sustainable way. It's not about constant rainbows and unicorns and sparkle, but less thick black mud to fight against.)
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I recently finished a pair of mittens I started designing a couple of months ago: the Coldfinger Mitts. I'm wearing them for the first time right now and they're not as good as I imagined, but they are warm! I have ideas of how to make reality match my vision better, so I might make another, slightly different pair if I happen to find the right wool.

I haven't been knitting much for a while, but I took this opportunity to get some photos of things I've finished in the last couple of years--it's a beautiful day and the light was good, but as the temperature just dropped below zero yesterday, getting photos quickly trumped getting pretty photos. So my Ravelry projects page is all spiffy and updated--hats, mittens, shawls, socks ... I even found some items I'd forgotten about.
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I started my purple, laceweight, learnt-from-my-mistakes Featherweight cardigan on Sunday. It was awesome. But something was slightly off: my needles seemed to have shrunk. I thought that was a natural shift in perception resulting from having made several pairs of socks on 5mm needles and went on my merry way.

Until this afternoon, when I was lounging in front of the TV, resting a little from my knitting. And glanced below the TV, and saw ... a glass fruit bowl full of hexipuffs. Cue lightbulb moment: after I swatched for the cardigan, I found my hexipuff WIP at the back of a closet and started working some more of them on my favourite needle, the slightly bent 3mm circular that fits my hands perfectly. Which was also the needle I swatched with. But which wasn't attached to my newly started cardigan.

Normally I frog quite gleefully, but this time it's tough. It looked wrong and felt wrong, and I should have realised straight away that that pristine needle definitely was not my well-loved 3mm. But nope, over a thousand stitches and several hours of work for nothing.

I don't always love knitting!
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I finally started spinning the purple merino/silk blend I got from the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. It's lush!

9 pictures of fibre, from unspun to knitted )

I am also nearly done with the cabled cowl (it is so much fun OMG), and accidentally went to my LYS when they were having a sale and came out with 2000m of purple laceweight alpaca/merino for another Featherweight cardigan. It wasn't completely unplanned, and this is a more colourful and even cheaper alternative than what I had been eyeing. (Purple is my favourite colour, and this is a gorgeous shade. But I am wary of putting that much work into something that colourful because I know me. But then, £1 per 100m of yarn this luscious is *amazing* and would make for a whole lot of shawls if I decide it's too risky. */justifications*)
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
It's less than two weeks until I graduate and move back to my homecountry, which means that I'm very busily not packing and not taking care of admin type things to do with not living here anymore. Much of what I do instead is fibre things.

Knitting: Nennir cowl, 1 photo )

Spinning: The grey is practically done! 4 photos )

Estimated yardage is somewhat more than 160m, and I forgot to weigh it before soaking but I think I had around 30g of fibre. I'm very surprised by the sheer amount of wool that came out of that little fluffy piece I started with!

I'm excited to see what it's like when it's dry, too: right now it's completely unsquishy and very scratchy, but it looks like the soak has really relaxed the twist. I'm thinking of knitting a couple of basketweave potholders, though they may need to be doubled up since the wool is so thin... Hmm!

In exciting and related news, in about a month I'm going to take a course in bobbin lace making! Yaaaay! I have attended this course before, but it was two years ago and I've been too busy to keep working on those skills since then, so it'll be very awesome to meet a bunch of old ladies and get some hands-on teaching. Last time I tried on my own, I messed up the width to length ratio in such a way that what were supposed to be symmetrical rhombuses looked more like...carrots, really.
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
Yesterday I got to unpin my newly finished cardigan and go get some photos in the sun and wear it to KnitSoc all in one go. It's very warm even though it's so light (I've been told that alpaca is seven times warmer than standard sheep) and I love it so much! I've got some more details on the Ravelry project page.

But photos! )

I might ask my grandmother to buy me a shawl pin as a graduation gift, because I love the look of the rolled collar when I pinch the sides together at my waist. Yay variety!

I've started spinning again, and it's great fun but very slow. I expect to have finished spinning the fibre I'm working on right now into singles by the end of the year... I've also cast on the Nennir cowl to use up my last 2.5 balls of alpaca. It's high on complicatedness and thinking but sooo pretty, so maybe a good complement to non-thinky spinning?
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I'm having a lot of thoughts about community and putting myself out there and FEAR and stuff, which is part of the reason why I haven't posted here since my March spinning glee. The other part being: finishing my degree! AKA getting through lots of exams, including stressful orals. That is all done now and I want to post and so I will post.

I haven't actually been spinning, but I have been knitting. I finished the second sleeve of the Featherweight cardigan (with improvised lace cuffs) last night.

Photo! )

And, inspired by my awesome creative inspiring daring flatmate (who will only be my flatmate for another month, sadface), I sewed a skirt in an afternoon last week, and then wore it to the cinema about three minutes after finishing.

Another photo! )

Next up in crafting is to continue spinning (a month of exams left little energy for new and exciting things, so knitting to cope was the way to go), and to keep thinking about maybe making the Carnaby skirt. (I would make it longer, and wider. But then it'd get very heavy and I'd not want to wear it, so maybe I'm better off looking at pretty shawl patterns for my leftover BEIGE alpaca instead.)


hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)

August 2015



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