So much to talk about, I fear this will be a piecemeal post as I want to get caught up, and if I don't do it all in one go I will never get back to writing about things as they happen.
One of the perils of running an online based business is that it's very easy to feel like you've become welded to your laptop. Sometimes it's nice to take a complete break away from being online, and the pressure of having to write stuff, and be entertaining, and to show people new things. Don't get me wrong, I love writing blog posts, but sometimes it's nice to pause and draw breath.
I was away last weekend on just such a break, Skip North is a gathering each year up in Haworth (of Bronte sister fame), technically it's a chance to go shopping at the many treasure troves found in Yorkshire, but in reality it's much more than that. It's also a chance to catch up with friends, share skills, and be inspired. In fact, I bought no yarn whatsoever. I have no photos of the weekend, mostly because I was too busy doing "stuff", and I didn't bother taking my camera, and despite the craze to capture everything using the camera on iPad's and phones I'm not that much of a fan of any photos I've taken this way. If you do fancy reading about the weekend, I can highly recommend taking a trip over to Rachel at My Life in Knitwear, she has proper lovely photos to share.
Of course being away requires social knitting. The sort of knitting you can do on a coach, or while drinking wine, or while putting the world to rights. My knitting at the moment is pretty focused on making fresh stall samples, ones that show off my fibres, and highlight what you can do with 100g of pretty fluff. So before I left, I got this spun up.
This is my Bollywood Gradient, spun as singles so that the colours changed pretty rapidly. I'm combining it with some natural coloured commercially spun Alpaca to make a Spectra. I've got a fair bit of it done, but I've only just finished making a version for myself, so I am starting to get that poking yourself in the eye sensation. I have however made more progress on it over the past 2 days, as I've spent lots of time staring at my laptop waiting for it to do "stuff". My laptop is elderly, I bought it with my Golden Hello bonus when I started teaching, neither the "t" key or the "e" key have any paint left on them, and the glass covering the LCD screen has a hairline crack running across it, the CD drive also has to be coaxed in to action... however, it still works, and I'm a firm believer in not discarding items before their useful life is over. It was in need of a bit of maintenance though. 5 years of file debris scattered about, had left it with whirring fans, and a reluctance to carry out a task in a sensible time frame. So everything was backed up, the hard drive wiped, and I started again from scratch, reinstalling only the important things, and it's now much happier.
The Spectra isn't the only new stall sample on it's way. I also just finished making this.
Another Stephen West pattern, featuring my favourite garter stitch-handspun combo, and the chance to use up a smaller amount of yarn on the border, perfect. This one is worked in a semi-solid BFL/Alpaca/Seacell 2 ply as the main body, then I used some variegated BFL/Baby Camel singles for the contrast.
While I had the dummy out, I also took a photo of this.
I made this shrug 18 months ago, and never wore it because it kept falling off my shoulders. The pattern was one I made up, using the same construction method as the Two-Tone Shrug in Fitted Knits, it fitted nicely off the needles, and then I washed it. It was just before Glasgow School of Yarn, and I was in a rush to get it dry so I could take it with me, and put it over the top of my towel rail to dry. End result was a shrug that was far too wide, and fell off my shoulders, so I never wore it. One trip through the washing machine on the handwash cycle, and it's now back to the correct shape, and fits. A prime example of what The Yarn Harlot talks about in this blog post. Blocking doesn't just apply to lace.... it makes a huge difference to all types of knitting. The yarn is the first ever BoB club fibre, it's Jacob Silk in a beautiful semi-solid blue. The edging is the same fibre left un-dyed. Total amount needed, around 200g.