Sunday, 10 April 2011

Summer days

We've been enjoying summer temperatures of 22 degrees C and gorgeous sunshine, which is incredibly unusual for April in the UK. I actually wore a skirt and bare legs to the office on Thursday, although I still had to wear a light woolly hat in the morning on the way to the station before the sun had warmed up the air.  Our apple tree is putting on its annual show of gorgeous blossom and looks lovely.

It's been a bit of a frustrating week in terms of my new quilt frame.  The machine appears to be working fine, which is good news.  The poles on the frame, however, are so floppy and saggy that I haven't actually been able to get quilting.  I was also having trouble with the rachets (the plastic bits on the ends that hold the poles up) but I've sprayed those with silicone to loosen them up.  Both these problems are apparently known issues with the Next Generation frame, as I have found out on the Homequiltingsystems Yahoo group.  The mystifying thing is that many people swear by their Next Generation frame and how great it is.  I have tightened the join as much as I can, and it doesn't seem to have that  much play in it, so I really don't understand why they are so bendy.  In the USA, they can strengthen their poles by sheathing them in metal conduit, but despite visiting several DIY places and a few metal places, and extensive googling, I haven't found a source in the UK yet.

Meanwhile, I finished my Holden Shawlette in Malabrigo fingering weight.  It's come out a lot deeper than it looked in the picture.  Also, my picots were more like nubs, much less prominent than in the picture, so I don't know what I did wrong there.  I didn't try to block them out as they really are just little bumps, so I concentrated on the scallops instead.  I really like this colour and the yarn is so soft and cosy.

Bad news on my Cookie A Sunshine socks in Colinette Jitterbug.  I really love this yarn, and I had got far enough to try them on when I discovered that my cast-on wasn't stretchy enough.  I had done a loose cast-on but not a super-stretchy one, but it turns out this lacy cable pattern is very stretchy and my cast-on is too tight.  So I took this picture for posterity, pulled it all out, and started over with my favourite stretchy cast-on (cast-on over two dpns held together, and rib the first row using both the ball yarn and the end held together).

I've been doing a bit of Spring cleaning, inspired by a visit to 'The Cult of Beauty' exhibition at the V&A museum.  It made me feel deeply dissatisfied with my cluttered existence, so I had a bit of a turnout.  One of the things I tackled was a fair-isle sweater that I knit on the machine about 10 years ago using Jamieson jumper weight. The sleeves have always been about 2.5 inches too long, which contributed to it being rarely worn.  I finally decided to do something about it.  I threaded two circular needles through the rows on either side of the excess, opened up the seam slightly and cut through the knitting to unravel all the unwanted rows.  Then I grafted the two edges together and closed the seam again. Voila - sleeves that are the right length.  Why didn't I do this 10 years ago????

The rest of my time this week was spent in the knitting shed, cleaning the remaining 600 or so needles on the knitting machines, replacing them, and following the rest of the instructions on the maintenance video for checking brushes, tension masts etc.  So the machines are all clean and ready for use - apart from I discovered that my Brother 260 Chunky actually has a sponge bar in the ribber (which is now long dead).  I must have known that at one point, but I had been thinking that it was just a plain plastic bar like in my 881 and 950i ribbers.  I don't even know if you can still buy those, so I may need to recondition it myself like I did last year for the main bar. 

I've signed for the I-Knit Sock Club so I am looking forward to getting some nice treats in the post starting in May.  I've never been in a yarn club before but I've always been attracted by the idea - just been put off by the price, especially for the overseas clubs.  This one provides two patterns as well as the yarn, one sock and one non-sock, so it sounds like it will have a lot of potential and won't just feel like a sock treadmill.  Also the yarn sounds nice, with some big names like Cherry Tree Hill.

Hope you are enjoying some good weather where you are!

1 comment:

Daisy said...

Looking forward to seeing your sock club yarn. And thanks for the stretchy cast on tip, I haven't tried that one yet.

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