Not much knitting to report at the moment although I have plenty of ideas. I am working on a pair of socks with the handspun yarn that I had to frog recently, but progress is slow – not due to the speed of my knitting but because the pattern is released in weekly parts as it is May’s Mystery Sock-a-long on Ravelry (link here for those of you on Rav, the rest will have to wait until they’re finished). I’m enjoying the knitting so far – they’re toe-up socks but with a gusset heel rather than my usual short-row but I may be converted to this type of heel as it is very neat and you don’t have to pick up stitches, Yay!
Spinning has been pretty much non-existent recently apart from a small amount of the Winehouse fleece which I have spun into a chunky 2-ply. I knitted a small swatch and felted it by hand – it’s very hairy, but I think it will make a very durable fabric, particularly if I felt it in the washing machine. I’m leaning towards a bag of some description, but need to think some more on dimensions and fastenings.
Although I have been spinning for a while now, I do not consider myself to be experienced or accomplished as I tend to spin the same type and weight of yarn all the time, stemming from a lack of proper techniques. In a bid to improve matters I decided that a bit of drop-spindling would be a good idea as it would help my drafting and control. I have had a drop spindle for ages, but it was a rather cheap, solid thing that came from Ebay some time ago and although I produced something that vaguely resembled yarn, it was never very satisfactory and my attempts leaned more towards “dropping” than “spindling”. So, I bought this:
Isn’t it gorgeous? The little coloured pieces you can see embedded in the resin of the whorl are pieces of glass picked up on the beach in Dorset and smoothed by the sea. It came from Wildcraft and I heartily recommend them – service was very quick and the spindle came very securely packaged in its own golden rigid cardboard tube which can double as storage. It is well balanced and a joy to use. The stuff on there in the picture is some recycled sari silk fibre that I’ve had for ages; it’s not the easiest fibre to spin, but looks fantastic when finished. I also spun a mini-skein of merino (I think, it wasn’t labelled) which has come out quite nicely – a huge improvement on my previous efforts.
Yesterday saw me in the garden (not my favourite pastime) as I took part in the annual fight with the hedge-cutters attempt to bring order out of chaos. It looks better than it did, but in my ruthlessness I have created some gaps that are crying out to be filled with something pretty – any ideas as to what shrubs can survive in salty sea air? Have also decided that I loathe grape hyacinths – they look nice enough when they’re in flower, but they are extraordinarily prolific and you just can’t get rid of the little b*****s. I never planted them in the first place and have no idea how they came to take over be in the garden. I also tried to sort out the rose bush in the back garden which has inexplicably started to lean over rather alarmingly and needs to be taught a lesson staked to the wall; after several unsuccessful attempts and a completely unprovoked attack, I have had to retire hurt, so am now sulking on the sofa as the injury sustained is making it a bit tricky to knit. I never realised that gardening was a combat sport…