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I listened to the latest Yarnspinners tales podcast, and she encourages spinners to issue themselves an Olympic spinners’ challenge (most knit blog readers probably know about the Yarn Harlot’s immortal knitting olympics, which, as far as I know, will not take place this year but only at the next winter Olympics in 2010). The Olympic games will take place from 8-24 August. I’ve decided that my challenge will be to spin up one of the packages from the Fyberspates fibre club. They are about 4 oz each, and my choices so far (by the start of the Games I’ll have received one more) are:
This doesn’t sound like much, but the explanation is that the days of the Olympic Games, 8-24 August, will be the busiest period of my life for several years. I will move into a new home and start a new job. If I manage to spin anything at all, let alone 4 oz, it will be a pretty good indication of how important this new hobby is to me. If I do manage to meet my challenge, I will consider (gulp!) getting a wheel. Wish me luck. If you do decide to make yourself an Olympic spinning challenge, I’d love to hear from you!
Speaking of spinning, I have a couple of new WIPs:
I started this a little while ago, but haven’t posted a picture before. This is Fyberspates silk hankies in plum and gold, on my Bosworth mini (17 g) in zebrawood. Silk hankies are fully drafted before you spin, and require a great deal of pulling and tugging, much more than I’m used to from wool. The colours in this fibre are absolutely glorious.
This is some carded wool bought at a hobby store when I first started experimenting with spinning. It was natural-coloured, so I dyed with some bags of Kool-Aid grape. I divided the fibre, all 250 grams, into several pieces of different sizes, wet them and put them into different microwave bags. I mixed up different amounts of the Kool-Aid, poured into the different bags, closed them and steamed the packages for 40 minutes. I’m very excited to see what the finished yarn looks like. I’m spinning it on my Bosworth midi in maple using what I think is long draw. Since this is a carded fibre, and the dyeing process compacted the fibre a little, I thought that woollen spinning would suit it nicely.
Inspired by KnitLit, I thought I would do a quick summary of last year’s knitting and crocheting.
1. your best FO of the year
I had a long blogging and knitting hiatus during the first trimester of my pregnancy, so I’m not so happy with last year in terms of crafting. But I think it would have to be the Shetland Triangle that I knit for my mother.
2. best FO of the year made by a blog you link to
I think maybe Maude Louise from Knitting Kninja, or maybe that was from 2006? I like it very much, and I also really liked reading about Kninja’s design process and her struggle to write a good pattern.
3. best yarn you tried
There is a very limited yarn selection where I live, it’s mostly acrylics and blends. I mainly buy yarn in Norway when I’m home on holiday. And even in Norway it’s hard to find several types of yarn which American knit bloggers seem to take for granted, such as tweeds, worsted weight yarns (Norwegians generally prefer fingering or sport weight) and handpainted yarns. When on holiday in London last January, I bought five balls of Rowan Tapestry, a wool/soy blend with long colour repeats. While the yarn is something of a pain to knit with because it sticks to itself, it’s wonderful knit up. I used it for my sister’s Argosy. In terms of tactile pleasure while knitting, I think Trekking XXL has to be the highlight of last year.
4. best new book/mag/pattern of 2007
This is hard. I *love* books, and started buying knitting books as soon as I started knitting. I have a sizeable collection already, after only a year and a half. I like Strikk til Nøstebarn very much, and plan to knit several things from it. For inspiration and beautiful photography, though, I think it will have to be Crochet Me: Designs to fuel the crochet revolution.
5. best new knitting technique or gadget you tried in 2007
Two socks at once on magic loop, without a doubt. Especially if its toe-up socks using the magic cast-on. Everything about it is magic…
6. top 5 inspirations–what five things inspired you the most over the past year?
Ooh, difficult. Great knitting blog photography is one, like January One or Brooklyn Tweed. This year I started subscribing to Interweave Knits, and that’s been another important inspiration, even if I haven’t actually knit anything from it yet. The new crochet books have been very inspiring, such as the above-mentioned Crochet Me. Also, the knitting podcasts that I’ve recently discovered, mainly Stash and Burn and Cast-on. That’s only four, I know.
7. designer who most amazed & inspired you throughout the year
Norah Gaughan! I don’t know when I will finally work up the courage to try one of her designs, but I love her style. Knitting Nature was one of the first knitting books I bought, and I love leafing through it.
8. knitting resolutions for 2008–what’s next for you and your blog?
More knitting for myself, especially sweaters and other garments. More crochet, mainly garments. Also, I’d like to blog more often and not just use Ravelry for my documentation needs. I spend a lot of time on Ravelry and like it a lot, but it is no substitute for blogging about the progress and setbacks of my various knitting projects.
Project: Blueberry roll brim hat. I dyed this yarn on Thursday, cast on for the hat on Friday and finished it today (Sunday).
Yarn: Dale Baby Ull in the completely uninspiring steel blue colorway, Kool-Aid dyed with two packs of cherry and two packs of grape.
Needles: 3 mm 80 cm Addi Turbos. Not ideal for magic loop, but okay.