Friday, 26 August 2011

Spinning Video

This is my first Youtube video and of course things went wrong in the process. It was fun though, so enjoy the finished product!

Apparently, Youtube in Germany doesn't allow you to watch videos with some copyrighted music, so here is a slightly longer German version:

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Fibre Fest 2011

When it comes to Fibre Fest, Wool Fest, and Fibre East, I am a complete novice. I never went to any such craft fairs before and didn't know what to expect when Helen, her mother and I headed down to Devon last Saturday to spend a day at Fibre Fest. It was a two-hour drive, which is perfectly fine, especially compared to how long it would have taken me if I had taken the train and bus instead. I was glad that Helen offered to give me a lift.

Having been directed to the car parking area by a number of cadettes with flailing arm, we then made our way to the area where the action was. Near the entrance were stalls selling mainly fleeces and there were a number of llamas and sheep. Knowing my tendency to be spat on by llamas, I kept a bit of a distance just in case.

One sheep in particular impressed visitors and was dubbed Emo Sheep by one of the passing men due to its fringe. It was a very nosey sheep, too, always turning to where the camera was. It must have been a celebrity among sheep.

A bit of shearing went on later in the afternoon and I was surprised to see they actually tied the alpaca (that I first thought was a sheep till a Raveler corrected me) to a stick to keep it still and stretched. That's a kind of shearing I have never seen before and I am not sure I like it either. Apparently, it is a good way to sheer them though and the alpaca didn't seem to mind. In the end, I didn't stay to watch for long, but it was interesting to have witnessed even for a little bit.

Due to the pouring rain during the first half of the day, some of us took shelter inside one of the buildings of Bicton College on whose grounds Fibre Fest took place. Luckily, the rest of the day was beautifully sunny and warm. It was just right for a bit of a rest outside with a pot of mysterious seabuckthorn ice cream. Some people described the flavour as similar to mango - it certainly has the same colour. Never having tried or even heard of it before, this was the flavour I just had to have. I was surprised by its sweetness and loved it!

It is amazing how wonderfully relaxed I felt while I was there. Though they aren't words I commonly use, blissful and serene is how I felt. Just walking around the place, looking at all the yarn, fibre and tools, talking to stall holders and random visitors, all of whom were incredibly lovely and in an equally good mood, was an amazing experience that exceeded my expectations by far.

The beautiful surroundings did the rest. Could it be any different in Devon? This was only my second visit to the area and both times I have loved what I saw. The south west of England is certainly a beautiful part of the country.

One of the three marquees was reserved for an exhibition of an entirely knitted coastal landscape complete with underwater tunnel. It may well have been the most amazing thing I have ever seen. There are more pictures of this exhibition in my album here, including all other photos taken that day.

The exhibition was in aid of the RNLI and I am sure that many visitors who saw this stunning work gave a little of what they had.
In the marquee next to the exhibition, visitors had the chance to try out drum carding with Jill aka Wrigglefingers whose workshop had been cancelled. I was immediately intrugued because I had never even seen a drum carder and had no idea how it worked or what you can do with it apart from obviously carding fibre. Jill taught me to create my own unique batt in the colours of my choice and I had a great time! If I had the space, I assure you I would have bought a drum carder then and there.

In about 20 minutes I made a 33g pure merino batt that I started spinning only a few minutes later. I named my creation Under the Sea. The colour is gorgeous and I love it. No idea what I am going to knit with it yet, especially since 33 g aren't a hell of a lot, really. However, I am spinning it very finely on one of my new spindles so I am trying to get as much out of it as I can.

I bought the spindles from Amanda of Manda Crafts and they are beautiful things from the Netherlands. I had seen them online before and was so glad they were available at Fibre Fest. The stall was very crowded when I got there, with most people going in and grabbing bagfulls of fibre almost at random, it seemed. I must admit the colours were wonderful, so I couldn't resist taking two with me as well. However, the main thing I wanted was a small 10g spindle I had seen Helen use at knit club. By the time I got through to where they were, only one was left and I grabbed it and made sure not to let it go again! I also went for a 30g spindle to replace my learner's spindle though I suspect it is heavier now and I prefer thin yarns. We'll see. So far I have not tried the new larger spindle yet.

And here are my purchases from that Saturday. It was a good thing I took a separate bag with me just for all the things I was going to buy. In the end, my large tote was full to the brim with fibre, yarn, spindles, and finally a proper pair of scissors that actually does the job. As I mentioned, I got two bags of tops from Manda Crafts that day, but that's not all. These are my treasures: the red is Spin a Rainbow (Manda Crafts) micron Falkland tops; orange is also Spin a Rainbow (Manda Crafts) Merino and Mulberry Silk tops; the blue above is a handcarded batt of Corriedale with angelina, silk, sari silk and rayon thread (Laal Bear); the plait is a Merino and silk blend (Krafty Koala).
So my spinning addiction has been fed, but I also bought three skeins just because. Oliver Twists and Artisan Yarns had such beautiful silk that I just couldn't resist. Mind, I did come to Fibre Fest with the intention to buy some silk, at least as a blend with other fibres. I just wish now that I had bought the lovely mango-coloured silk bricks for spinning from Oliver Twists, but I wasn't sure at the time if it would be easy to spin silk and decided against buying it. What I got instead are Peacock in merino and silk, Lacey Lacey in pure silk (both from Artisan Yarns) and a purple pure lace skein from Oliver Twists. Heaven! No idea what I will do with any of it, but I am sure there's something out there.

So my first craft fair of this kind was a complete success and I loveed every minute of it. Everything about it was wonderful and I didn't even mind the rain we had at the beginning. So I shall leave you with the words of a lady I met at Fibre Fest and say, "Goodbye, and may you have your very own craft shed one day!"

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Heart-shaped Pom Poms?

Yesterday at knit club Laura gave away a few of these pom pom makers because they apparently don't do what they are meant to do. Instead of heart-shaped pom poms, she said, you get ordinary ones. Since I still need to make a large pom pom for a hat I knitted almost two years ago, I bagged myself one of them.

So last night I tried making two pom poms, the first of which worked okay (but not great), resulting in a vague heart shape. The trouble is you still need to trim it into the right shape afterwards because you do not get a true heart shape out of it. A little pointless then, I'd say. The second one I made fell apart because I seem not to have tied it properly. Ah well. I guess if you want to make pom poms, a normal round one would be best, really.

I will use my pom pom maker when I need it even though it won't be too often. Though it's probably a good decorating idea for parties, Valentine's day and weddings.


Here is a video showing how to use the pom pom maker. Far too much trimming involved, if you ask me. Also, some things weren't even mentioned in the instructions that came with the tool.

Bachforelle Reloaded

In the end I had to frog all of the original Bachforelle I had begun because the fish just didn't show up in the Noro yarn at all. It took me quite a while to decide to start all over again so I am not very far yet. Instead of Noro, I am using my favourite Fyberspates Scrumptious lace yarn, this time in teal. It looks lovely and the beads I used in it look like actual air bubbles. I look forward to the finished product even though it is going to take some time.

Thanks to Wendy, who already made a readable chart earlier, I now also have a chart for my own Bachforelle which is twice the normal width. I am rather math illiterate (or just plain lazy, really) and didn't figure out how to make such a chart myself, so I am very grateful to Wendy.

Both of us are knitting the same shawl though she will finish sooner than me simply because hers will be smaller than mine. I shall try my best to keep up!

Monday, 8 August 2011

New Stitchmarkers For Sale

My obsession with tiny little polymer clay things is unabated. I am quickly running out of ideas of what to make. The latest idea were the fried eggs and bacon with toast that turned out much better than I had expected. Oddly enough, the matching coffee mugs I wanted to make didn't turn out well at least even though they should probably have been the easiest thing to do.

My sheep sold out very quickly on Ravelry so I made a few more. Luckily, they are easy to make even though they take a long time. These ones here have flowers and a four-leaf clover on them.

Finally, the macaroons were an experiment that turned out all right. they took a bit of practice, but they helped me get to grips with some thing that will help me make even better-looking cakes in the future.

These cake need sponge layers that actually look like they are fluffy sponge layers. Now I know how to to that, I think a few more slices are in order soon. Other than that I have no idea what else to make that I haven't made before. I have started keeping a list of ideas that I just need to try out sometime.

Anyone interested in parting with some spare cash (via Paypal) for these polymer clay markers or the ones from a previous post can contact me on Ravelry.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Book: Big Girl Knits

I've had this book on my wishlist for a while and last week I found it just by chance in a shop that was having a sale. Lucky me, I got it for all of £3.99! Now I am very glad I went there on a whim.

Though I haven't yet taken a close look at it, I can tell that it will come in handy if I ever try to knit a jumper at last. There is lots of information about what you need to think about if you are a larger lady and have to adapt patterns to suit your body shape. Of course there are also a number of patterns, many of which I may not want to use, but there is the odd jumper or accessory I may consider.

All in all, I have the impression that it is a helpful book that focuses on information, advice and technical suggestions rather than a pattern book. I find this quite refreshing and look forward to immersing myself in it properly at a later date. I am very glad I bought it, especially for this price.