Wednesday, 25 February 2015

February Spinning News

I do love my little spinning wheel and the more I use it the more I fall in love with the craft of spinning. I'm still not very good but every skein of yarn I produce seems to get better. A sure sign of improvement!

I am using prepared fibre rather than the raw fleece as I find it easier to use at this time. February's spinning was focused on the plain cream Merino fibre I purchased from Wingham wool works. The fibre was quite cheap and since I was a newbie I thought it would be okay to practice with. I am still a little scared to use all the lovely fibre I have stashed away over the last few months, I want to be able to give them justice and produce some beautiful yarn with them. 

I cant remember when I started to spin this fibre but it must have been towards the end of January I guess. Well last night I finished spinning it and ply'd the two bobbins together. I had to produce two skeins as I only have small bobbins currently.

My two little skeins total 113 metres and comes in at around an Aran weight with a bit of DK in there at times (I'm still working on consistency & evenness in my hand spun).

I racked up 3 hours and 30 minutes of spinning time in February which passed my target of 3 hours (I like to set these little targets to aim for). I'm using the Toggl app on my phone to track how long things take me, I find it really useful tool, it focuses the mind and helps me understand how long things take. I have loved my spinning time this month, sitting in the office/craft room spinning away accompanied by an audio book. The time fly's by, I got lost in the magic of my book while I spin. I look forward to spinning now, knowing I can listen to a book or a podcast and its a perfect way to relax after a busy day. Spin away the stress!

I have logged all my fibre on ravelry and it was great to be able to convert fibre to stashed yarn. I am feeling a little smug this month about my yarn and even Mr. M commented that it has to be my best hand spun yet.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Sock Surgery #1

Any one who has read my blog knows that I look on enviously at those who are able to knit socks. I have managed to knit a pair of socks on straight needles and then moved onto DPN's with a big fat fail. You may remember my Not Knitting Socks post? Fail!!! since this point I have wanted to pick up the DPN's and try again.

Well Shinybees to the rescue! Jo over at Shinybees often keeps me company on my commute to work (via the medium of pod cast of course). I love her humour, her enabling and her knitting chatter. Along with Clare Devine, Jo has set up the #Socksurgery and a year of knitting socks. I took up this challenge and based on Clare's January pattern pick, I chose the Rye Sock by Tin Can Knits. On the advice of my Best friend Mrs I.D (knit a smaller size) I knitted socks for little lady since she is only 7.

I have nothing but love for Tin Can Knits now. The pattern is so easy to follow and Tin Can Knits have a wealth of tutorials on their website, their patterns are written so well. As a beginner I loved that they told me how many stitches on each needle I needed, this was a great help to me. The heel turn and gusset Was the cause of my issues last time but this time it was a total breeze!

The Rye sock is knitted in aran yarn so you can imagine it knits up really quickly. I finished the first sock in less than a week (of course I don't sit an knit constantly, even though I would love to) and the second sock was done in a weekend, while also working on my Lapsang Hat (more on that in a later post). I used my Brigantia Aran yarn left over from my Chelsea Waistcoat. not strictly sock yarn but I hope they will be a nice toasty pair of welly boot socks for Little Lady.

Anyway enough ranting from me, now to the boasting!!!


My first pair of Dpn socks. 

Perfect fit for tiny feet!
Thank you to the #socksurgery I'm looking forward to my next pair which I am hoping will be from my new book The Sock Anatomy by Clare Devine. The book is filled with socks for children up to the age of 2 but Clare has released some of the patterns in adult sizes now which come through in digital format. I will make another smaller  size as we have lots of babies on the family currently so will make lovely gifts and I get to practice new techniques in the miniature as well!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

life's simple pleasures

I consider my self a wealthy person because I can partake in one of life's simple pleasure's.  I can read a book.

I love to sit down and loose myself in another world if even for a very short time. For a while I didn't read, I got out of the habit of reading books (other than my course books that is). Towards the middle of last year I re discovered the wealth hidden within books. Since then I read most days, and I am pleased that I do.

January reads included Terry Pratchett disc world novel 1 the colour of magic.  I have never read a Pratchett book before but often fancied it and with the 2015 book challenge I felt encouraged to read a Pratchett book. I am glad I took the plunge. I love the way Pratchett writes, so quirky and humorous.  This novel follows the cowardly almost wizard (I say almost because it seems that due to a spell lodging itself deep within his mind, Rincewind seems to have been unable to remember any other spells there fore not quite a fully fledged wizard ). Rincewind and his optimistic travelling partner Twoflower travel through a series of adventures on the magic disc which is balanced on the back of 4 elephants riding on a tortoise floating through space. What's not to love right? I love how the characters include death and fate as gods!

Many of you have advised me that this novel and the second did world book are not the best,  but they get better. Well book three onwards must be pretty darn amazing. Yes it was slow in places I guess this book is more an introduction to the magical world and the characters within. I will certainly read his other books.

I love being transported into another world for a short space of time, transported to the quirky little world

I also managed to listen to the radio 4 adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett good omens which was rather amusing I have to say, I may even read the book if I get the time.

Another read this month was Stardust by Neil Gaiman, I first saw the film a few years back and this is where I discovered Neil Gaiman as a great author. I've had this book for a while and eventually wanted to read it. Although the film loosely follows the story of the book they couldn't be more different. I loved the book, all the magical creatures within the book and the theory that the stars are shining people. I really enjoyed how the two main characters developed a deep love through the story. The fact that I had already seen the film didn't spoil the book for me as they were very different way.

Next book? who knows! I intend to stay away from Neil Gaiman & terry Pratchett books this month, I have many more books to choose from. If you have read my blog before you will know I like to have a day or so away from reading to allow the story to fully sink in before disappearing into a totally new world.  I have a couple of paper back books to read as well as a vast choice on my kindle too. what to choose? I shall spend the next couple of days considering this.I want to read something very different, any suggestions?  For now I am enjoying listening to the series of Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy on my commute to work (so very amusing).

I love to join in with Laura's (A Circle of Pine Trees) A Year in Books Challenge. I find all your reads very inspiring indeed.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Megan's Reading Corner

Here is a reading post with a difference! I will do my usual monthly post about the books that I have read in the coming days but today I wanted to share something new with you.

My gorgeous little lady, Megan, has turned into a little book worm. She is now 7 and over the last few months has developed a thirst for books. I update my reading through goodreads allowing me to keep track of what I have read as well as updating my blog too. However there doesn't seem anything available for children and goodreads has an age limit on it. Any ideas?

So I thought every month I would ask Megan her thoughts on the books she has read.

Since the start of the year Megan has read:

  • The Boy in the Dress, David Walliams
  • Awful Auntie, David Walliams,
  • Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, J.K Rowling
  • The Fantastic Mr Fox, Roald Dahl.
Not necessarily in that order. I went on Pinterest (you gotta love Pinterest) to get some inspiration and found a little template that Megan could complete when she has finished a book. This may evolve as Megan feels she wants to share more about her reads. Hopefully she will start to type these posts herself as she becomes more confident. 

So Megan's first book report is on the Chamber of Secrets...

Sorry the image is a bit dark, I hope to improve this as we go on. As you can see Megan loved the scene where the flying car crashed into the whomping willow and was smashed. Her favourite character was Hermione because she is clever. Filling in the little report made Megan think about what she has been reading and explain how she felt about it. She obviously enjoyed it as she read it in about a week and has given it 4 stars. 

I love that she heads of to bed a little early in order to read an extra chapter of her book and I am so proud that she reads so much and really enjoys it, Megan has a book shelf full of books to read but at the rate she is going they wont last her to long.