Friday, 20 August 2010

Where is the Laundry Fairy when you need her?

I'm just back from a few days camping in the extremely wet south of Wales.  We were meant to stay another night, but we lost the will to live after it rained for the fourth night running, and all day on Thursday.  Everything we had with us is damp and nothing was drying because the humidity was about 98%.  So now I have a load of wet muddy laundry to do, as well as all the laundry from Knit Camp, plus the entire house is draped with sleeping bags, curtains, and bits of awning that we are trying to dry out.  We did have some intermittent sunshine the first few days, and enjoyed our visit to the Medieval Village at Cosmeston, and the fabulous National History Museum which is a big collection of historic Welsh architecture all brought together and rebuilt in one park (and there were some Welsh quilts in the gallery and on some of the beds).  There was a great haberdashery shop in Portcawl which was like an Aladdin's Cave, where I picked up some spring-loaded closures and cord with which to sew my own project bags for knitting.

While I was camping, I was able to follow a bit of the Knit Camp fall-out on my mobile phone.  Which has been very interesting because although there has been much more positive coverage as the knit campers start to blog their positive experiences, the car wreck fascination has continued.  Apparently one blogger who has portrayed her personal 'completely honest' account of her week has attracted over 3,000 hits, probably because her blog was getting re-Tweeted a lot. Even my little blog has shown a 276% increase in visits (I just checked my stats) because people are so interested to find out what it was really like. I don't think I have said that this was my first event that I have attended which was taking place as much in the virtual world as it was in the real world.  Even the campers actually in Stirling were still getting a lot of their information from Ravelry and from Twitter (partly due to the information vacuum on campus), and it was possible to attend an event or a class, then look online to see what other people thought of it.  Like a room of endless mirrors, with all the different experiences to compare to one's own personal experience - which then influenced one's own perceptions of what was happening.  And the post-camp post mortem has been more of the same, with some really positive Tweets and blogs from campers and tutors, versus the people determined to record every wart and blemish.  Which personally I think is a bit reckless, given that the internet lives on forever on back-ups and in archives.  I'm still really grateful that I had the opportunity to be there, and I made some good friends and have some really positive memories.

So I haven't been able to do any dollshousing for two weeks, and the sum total of my sewing is to stitch on two circles onto my applique project.  But I have been getting a lot of knitting done.

This is the right Sanquhar Glove, where I am just working on the third finger.  I have really enjoyed this project, despite being laceweight Shetland wool, it isn't a difficult knit at all.  The pattern is easy to memorise, and the construction is quite enjoyable.  I changed the order of knitting from the pattern by doing the little finger first, and then a few more rows before I started the four fingers.  The palm is a little loose on me but I am hoping that when I block it, it will shrink up a bit (and also that the stitches will even up). The pattern is one size but I am a loose knitter.



I made a start on knitting up the hand-dyed Sock Blank from my class with Debbie Tomkies during Knit Camp. I've really enjoyed seeing how the colours are knitting up from the diagonal stripes of colour that I applied, but I HATE knitting from this sock blank.  I know that they are sold with the suggestion that you knit them straight from the blank, and as mine was originally knitted with a double strand of yarn, I thought it would be a good idea to knit two socks at a time, straight from the blank as I unravel it.  But I think because the blank has been wetted, then heated, then dryed as part of the dying process, the kink in the yarn is very set and it has been like knitting with springs.  The kinks constantly wind around each other, wind around the knitting and generally get in the way of the knitting, and also the uneven yarn makes my stitches extremely untidy and is ruining my gauge.  I finally gave up in disgust and unravelled the entire blank by winding it around the atlas in the car, then rewound both strands into one ball, which has partially relaxed the kinks.  Ideally you would skein it and wet it again, but I've got the socks attached to it.  I am also finding the yarn a bit hard to knit with, it is splitty (but then I am using Addi Turbos which are very pointy) and it feels like all its natural oils have been stripped out, so that it is a bit coarse and lifeless - again, I wonder if this is a by-product of the dyeing process.  I don't think I will buy a sock blank again.

I did some more rows on my Haapsalu Shawl and have now completed the first repeat of the Reverse Lily of the Valley pattern.  It's hard to show the pattern as it hasn't been blocked and I've got twelve repeats crammed onto a short wooden needle.  I love the feel of this Garn 2-ply alpaca, it is so soft and lustrous. I think this will be a very cuddly shawl. I am getting on very well with the nupps now - the secret seems to be to release all tension on the yarn so that you can take really big stitches to make the loops, and then before proceeding with your knitting, to stick the left hand needles through the loops of the nupp and tug them straight.  Not only does this make them more even and uniform in size, it immediately tests whether you have left them loose enough to purl into on the return row.  On the return row, I again insert the needle and then before purling, I count the loops to make sure I have seven loops of the nupp - no missed loops, and also that I am not accidently including the next stitch.

I took my Neckwarmer in Malabrino Silky Merino on the camping trip but didn't actually get any rows done.  This is how far I got at knit camp.











While I was unpacking, I came across the sock yarn I bought from Artisan Yarns and the ceramic buttons I bought from Incomparable Buttons at Knit Camp.  These buttons are so gorgeous and by coincidence look absolutely fabulous with the Iris yarn I bought at the New Lanark Mill so I will have to find a project that I can use both for.

So now I am back in the boring land of laundry, and housework, and trying to sort out two weeks' worth of mail and bills and paper.... I miss Knit Camp!!!

P.S. almost forgot, but I just found the bag as I was unpacking.  We stopped at the wonderful Get Knitted shop in Brislington outside Bristol, on our way to Wales, and after fondling everything in the shop, I came away with a sweater's worth of Rowan Summer Tweed in a lovely burgundy shade.  I have two other jumpers in this yarn, and they have been perfect for summer wear, just warm enough without feeling as hot as wool, and really soft and drapey.

1 comment:

Quilter Kathy said...

I laughed out loud about losing the will to live while camping in the rain :) And I am fascinated with the whole cyberspace construction of an event and the "car wreck fascination"...lots to think about!

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