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Monday, July 25, 2016

Tour de Fleece pile

I spun just over a kilo of fibre and just over 2km of yarn from that fibre.

Clockwise from top left:  Haunui in Daniels on Dk Grey, Barrier Reef long colour run on Haunui Grey, Rainbow gradient on merino, Inky Mix long colour run on merino, Blue Gum merino and angora which I drum carded and then plied with lurex thread, pom pom using Barrier Reef on dark grey Haunui, Bollywood on merino plied with Rose on merino, Bollywood spun as thick n thin (this needs work), Twilight silk hankies plied Twilight merino/silk, Alpaca long draw 2-ply.  Everything except the alpaca is by Heavenly Wools.
Top down:  Gotland plied with a Corriedale batt by Doe Arnott, Gotland plied with leftovers and Merino/linen from Vintage Purls.
I spun all the fibre in my last blog post bar one thing of silk hankies and that was because I still wanted to be able to use my hands afterwards.  One silk hankie bundle is enough for a start.  
I had to add a few extra items to fill in the time and as a result my boxes of next spin are now able to take the overflow from my overflow bin (blush, I have too much fibre)

Now that TdF is done for the year it's time to do some other things, so today I cleaned the oven (ick), tidied the lounge and cleaned that too (still a wee bit to do) and picked up the stitches for the neck on my current jersey.  Once that's finished I need to concentrate on Dh's socks and tying up the new loom properly.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Tour de Fleece and FO's

Tour de Fleece starts tomorrow and I'm starting with some fibre I was gifted from Heavenly Wools as part of the 6 month ambassador role I've been offered.  I'm going to spin it as a fractal gradient.  I've already prepped one bump.
My planned spin pile, all Heavenly Wools

and this is my ambassador fibre, it's the colourway Daniels on Dark Grey Haunui.  I can't wait to get started on this!
I've also finished some weaving, my tea towels are off the loom and all hemmed and washed.
cotton, not perfect but I'm pretty happy.
I've also finished a pair of jeans and a sewn cardigan, but there will be no photos of that until I've taken them and posted them on the Monthly Stitch blog which I can't do for almost a fortnight.  There's a dress too, but it's been too cold to take photos of that, it's more of an autumn or spring weight.  I will try to get photos this weekend of that.

I've also got a lot done on my handspun jersey, down on the ribbing hem at the moment which then leaves the sleeves and the collar to go.  I'll take photo's of that once the ointment on my hands has properly sunk in, the chilblains are not a happy thing right now.
They're actually worse now, this was yesterday, now they're properly red and like little sausages stuffed too firmly.  Hate the itch so much!

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Today was Woolfeast, the first large trading day with traders from all over NZ and a heck of a lot of knitters and spinners etc.  I popped in first thing this morning and there were tonnes of people already (it opened at 10am).  I went in with cash and came out with yarn and other things, no cash left and I might have used the card for a couple of items as well, which I now have to pay for from my spending money.   It was worth it though, we've never had one before, but I suspect it may become an annual thing; I certainly hope so.

I got to meet new people, some of whom I knew from Ravelry including Doe Arnott, one other parent from the boys primary school (that was cool), some I don't know at all, but it was easy to talk to everyone despite my normal reticence.  Also saw a lot of people I knew from guild.

And here's the haul:
Clockwise from top left:  Maniototo Wools Aran which will be knit into a coat for me, Chiao Goo Mini's (really wanted these), Knit Pro Blocking set (wanted these for some years), a Doe Arnott Corriedale batt, Zauberball which I'll use in weaving, Outlaw Yarns Bohemia Sport for knitting the Zelda Shawl by Truly Myrtle, Dark Harbour Merino in light fingering, Spinning a Yarn merino/silk fingering, Vintage Purls DK for socks for Dh, Hollyberry Yarns in a gradient for socks for me.

Next two pays my spending money will be going to pay for the final bits from this, I won't need much else though, just some silicon dots and a double boat shuttle.  Will be either taking lunches to guild or coming home early to eat.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Must start all the things!

This is how I'm feeling at the moment, I have (had) 3 projects on the needles and the loom was being slowly warped up plus one dress cut out (not the wrap one) but I've now had a case of wanting new things. 

The loom was easy, I finished warping it up and am now having fun weaving a brown cotton teatowel.  I looked at the instructions for the project and objected to the suggestion of cream and salmon, I remember what happens to white and cream teatowels when you dry an aluminium oven tray and it's not pretty.  Luckily my stash had most of a cone of brown cotton and I felt the dusty pink I also had would be a nice accent.
M's and O's in 8/2 cotton on my Bartlett Countermarche 4-shaft loom
I did have to take a break from this for a couple of days to get ready for youngest's party, he turns 12 this week and he invited a couple of friends from his old school (only one could make it), plus his Teacher Aide from last year (was overseas on holiday) and his teacher from this year (she came).  It went well, the kids enjoyed themselves and it meant Dh could meet the teacher for the first time.  This is the cake I made:
It's a snake cake, the duck and chook are doing a runner while the snakes slither through the undergrowth after them.  It went down well, there's one piece left for this year's TA.
I've also cast on for a new jersey for me in handspun, the pattern is Eased by Alicia Plummer and is going fairly well so far, though I'm not used to bulky yarn.  I spun the yarn especially for this pattern.
The jersey so far

The remaining yarn (my phone hates night photos), the yarn is on different bases so goes bright to dark muted.
I'm also working on ignoring my shawl as I'm just not in the mood for cobwebweight at the moment.  In the meantime I've done some work on two pairs of socks
Lucy in the Sky Socks.

Plain vanilla socks
And I've planned my next knitting project after all these are finished
This has been in the queue forever, but I have the yarn coming, Mary at Maniototo Wools has dyed me up 1kilo of Aran weight Merino in a good blue red; I get to pick it up at Woolfeast next Saturday; can't wait.  This is the same yarn I used for Strokkur which I loved knitting.
On the sewing front my next projects are:
The dress is already cut out, I'm doing view D again in the burgundy you can see under it.

And of course the Outlander pattern.  The pinstripe wool at the top is going to be the skirt and the jacket will be in the pinstriped cotton velvet at the bottom of the photo.  Luckily I already have all the underpinnings.  I wanted a plaid, but nothing to be had in my current pricerange.
My next weaving project?  Wavering between the next item in Anne Field's book (placemats) or a floor rug.   We don't really need placemats, but it says linen can be used (once you have more experience) so I really want to try that just cos it's supposed to be more challenging.   However I also need a floor rug and I've got all the yarn I need so it'll depend on what challenge I feel like once this one's done.

Oh, and I now am in the hospital system, I'm on the wait list to be seen within the next 3 months by neurology.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Sewing a Wrap

This is the Olivia Wrap Dress

I really like it, though I would have been happier if I'd finished it while there was still light outside
  • Since this is the New to You Challenge I decided to go with one of the patterns from the Chill Out Capsule and since it’s winter here the Olivia Wrap Dress by Named  appealed.  I don’t have a wrap dress at the moment and I had the perfect fabric in my stash, so that was another point in its favour.
  • The fabric was some merino/nylon from Levana Textiles bought off Trademe and in a perfect colour for me, I might have had to buy a little more as I'd used some for another dress and only had 2.4m left.
  • The pattern was mostly good, the fit is good for me with no adjustments but I would do the pockets differently in future.  They are inset after the side seams are sewn, normally I put them in before that and the result would have been much smoother that way.  I stuffed up a little and cut the fronts out with the wrong side of the fabric so had to change which side the dress fastens to fix that as I didn’t have enough fabric to recut.  I also changed how the elastic in the waist was sewn in and just sewed it over the seam and through the dress rather than attaching it to the seam allowance; what can I say, I’m lazy and I figured it’ll be covered by the ties anyway.  Finally I made the opening for the ties smaller after seeing comments about that being too large on Pattern Review.
  • I’m actually surprised at just how much I like this now that I’ve finished it and I think it’s going to be a staple in my winter wardrobe.  It fits well and is flattering too.  I want to wear it with my Caterpillar boots for some reason, and if it gets super cold I’ll wear a shawl to fill in the neckline.
  • Overall this was a fairly straightforward make, but did have some tricky bits and the instructions while fairly good didn't always choose the best way to do things in my opinion.

    Next up for me is another dress, a pattern I've made in the past for a fit and flare style dress using some cotton knit that's been in my stash for aeons, plus finishing warping up the loom (almost done).
  I've also installed a new waste disposer as our one died and cast on a jersey in handspun; no photo yet as it's not far enough along but there should be one later this week all going well.

Finally I'm now waiting on a referral to a neurologist, my MRI has some areas of demylenation on it, MS was mentioned as a possibility.  I'm not worrying too much yet but am still working towards clean eating and adding some extra supplements after my next GP appointment.  Despite that news I've actually been feeling pretty good over the last week aside from the side pain which wont' go away; it's improved a little, but still there.  I'll take the little improvements I think.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


My doctor tested my liver enzyme levels and one was a little elevated, but not as high as it had been, hence she doesn't think my pain is from my liver; however the other doctor who did lots of prodding noticed my liver was sensitive to being prodded.   Either way the elevated levels do suggest a slightly grumpy liver so yesterday I started taking Milk Thistle, it's from the seeds so not estrogenic (the leaves, stems and roots are).  I certainly hope that's right as I don't want to increase my estrogen levels and am in fact tapering out the HRT.   I did notice this morning though that my right side pain was reduced so have taken another one today and will continue to monitor the situation, this all started a month after starting the HRT, my doctor agrees I should taper off the HRT.  I'm taking some of my information from a website called Endo Empowered and some from various forums and some medical websites as well as my doctors.  The plan is to take this for a week and see how things go before adding anything new.  The next supplement will be DIM which is a hormone balancing suppliment best taken with a liver supplement (milk thistle and will add curcurmin which is the active part of turmeric).

My left side pain is still there, but not as bad as it was, suspecting adhesions from the surgery for that one as it feels like gas has got stuck and I've been burping a huge amount and despite the amount I'm drinking I'm having to resort to gold kiwi and prunes to keep the mail moving; this points to something interfering with peristalsis which also won't be helping my poor liver.   Today I've also started taking psyllium again, which means I need to drink even more.  I'm also hoping to get in to see Maree Frost who is a pelvic floor physio and can work on adhesions as surgery for them tends to be a cyclical thing and can cause more adhesions, oh joy!

I've also got back on the bike yesterday, did a 4.5km ride in between rainstorms.  None today as it's cold and windy and wet, but hoping it might calm down enough for one tomorrow as exercise will also help with getting things moving and reducing inflammation etc.

Right, if you've got through all that I think you deserve a reward, so here's my current projects; starting with the one keeping us warm now the weather has finally turned.

For the first time ever this is actually getting the house warm, I'm putting it down to the extra insulation in the ceiling since it was topped up and the double glazing.  We're running it at half at the moment, normally have to have it on full and are still cold!
Not much light for this photo, but this is the singles I'll be plying next; Heavenly Wools in the Great Barrier Reef colourway on light grey Haunui base, hoping it's the final lot for my jersey

and my current spin, also Heavenly Wools this time the Empress of India colourway on dark grey Haunui, this will either be left as singles or Navajo plied.  I'm leaning towards Navajo; it's a gradient.

Part of the new loom, I've got to do some more varnish on the bit on top, there was mildew so I've sanded it back to remove that and I need to do more sanding and 2 more coats of varnish.  I'm missing a couple of bits for it, waiting to hear back from the lady who gave it to me to see if she has them, otherwise I'll have to try to source them myself (hoping it's all metric).  I'll also be changing some parts with the loom I'm currently using, this one is 8-shaft but has some damaged parts in the wood, luckily they're the same parts with the same size as the other loom so I can swap them out seeing as this is the one I'll use most.  Unfortunately the loom maker passed away a few years ago so I can't go to him for parts.

Oh for some decent light!  This blurry mess is my colourwork socks, pattern is Lucy in the Sky and you can find the project on Ravelry.  The yarn is Wandering Cat Yarns Tabby Cat Fingering, which I don't think Val does anymore; loving how this is working up though.  It's one of only three current WIPs.

And this is my current travelling sock using Regia Galaxy; not sure yet if this will be for me or for Ian.  Longer leg than normal and I'm just past the gusset at the moment.

And my big project, this is about about 2 years old now and got put on hold because cobweb weight yarn is so fiddly!  I have to get onto it again though, it'll be my "when I'm feeling better" project as it requires some concentration.

And this even more blurry mess is my older loom which is mostly warped up.  I've just got to get the reed threaded and the yarn tied on to the front and then I can start weaving.  The light out there today is awful though and it's cold so it'll wait till a nicer day.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

More health issues

I'm back to the doctors again with side pain.  My original pain has been dealt with by physiotherapy, but this one doesn't want to leave.  More bloods taken to check inflammation and liver levels; looks like they may be thinking gallstones.
One good thing, apparently I'm easy to check out manually, I don't tense my stomach muscles when the doctor is poking around so she could feel my spine from the front!  She's also told me to start taking Panadol (tylenol to those of you in the US) to help with the pain.  I'm wondering if it's related to me being on HRT, according to some information I've found HRT increases the likelihood of liver issues and this all started after 1 month on it.  Will be checking with the doc tomorrow about going off it if it is liver, not making any decisions till I've got the blood results though.  If it's not then it might be endo back again, so once again I'd need to ditch the HRT (slowly and safely).  Funny thing, I thought after having my surgery all would be well, looks like I was wrong.

On the funny head thing, I've been told it's called "disequilibrium" according to the ENT and he's ordered an MRI to see if anything structural is going on in there.  If not then I go see another physio who deals in balance issues and possibly a neurologist as well.  That seems to have improved, though not gone away on the HRT, however I'd rather that than the pain.

I have managed to get some knitting done through all this though, I finished Strokkur just in time for the first cold snap
You can see how it fits here, a nice flattering line over my hips and it's warm.

and a very unflattering selfie, but the colours are showing up better, pain is not a flattering look either.
I want to make another of these, but a cardigan this time using the same yarn in different colours.  I'm not buying it yet though, want to be all caught up on my WIPs (only 3 left atm) and I also want to be feeling better too.

I've also almost finished warping up the loom, and got the bits of wood and so on that I need to make some Angel Wings to go on it; can't afford to buy them in from the USA with the exchange rate how it is, so going to make my own instead.

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