Monday, November 25, 2013

Travel home

I was met at the airport by another Christmas tree. This one looked very African to me.
I also was able to get some nice photos of South Africa from the air.
I connected through Dubai and I probably should have taken some Dubai at night photos from the air but I was sleepy. To stay awake during the 3 hour layover, I walked the entire length of the airport twice and then I sat down and spun a little on my Kuchulu. I had started a new cop in the hotel after finishing up the sample on the Aegean. This is the same Briar Rose Cormo I am spinning on the Hansen. That is the other single.

I had seat 55A on the way from Dubai home and thought I'd be right in the back of the plane. WRONG! I was on a A-380 double decker plane and 55A was right in the front of the lower level. This thing holds 500-odd people! It has a lovely tail camera in addition to the usual front and bottom cameras.

There it is, at Shanghai airport. There were 3 jet bridges that came out to meet it. One for the upper level, one for first/business class and one for the lower level.
Or maybe the entire upper level was first/business class. I am surprised the large plane can fly!

Back home I pulled the Kuchulu out again. It is such a pleasure to spin on a fast little spindle.
There she is, on my ipod touch to show her size. I adore her. She travels with me a lot though I don't always spin on her.

And that is all f-f-f-folks! It is good to be back home!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Early Christmas and other tales

It is already time for Christmas in South Africa. My hotel lobby has this lovely tree with sheepies and a gingerbread house.
I also ran into Christmas at the Nelson Mandela Square.
There is a giant statue of Nelson Mandela there - surprise! I am just kidding. It is a lovely square with restaurants all around and places to sit and people-watch. My only regret was not bringing some spinning or knitting with me.
Speaking of spinning, I pulled out my new Jenkins Aegean and spun up the sample fiber that came with it. I spun a single and then chain plied it on the Aegean but not via the ply-on-the-fly technique. I did it in two separate steps. I like this better but I still don't like plying on the spindle. It took 2 evenings to spin the single and 1 to ply. It is a sweet spindle.
Partial spun single:
Completed single:
Plied yarn:

I chain plied it because the color changes are quite dramatic in such a small amount of yarn. It goes from the green to the purple.

I brought more knitting and spinning and may do some more tomorrow. I want to cast on for some mittens and then I think I will spin on the trindle trying to complete my TdF project. There is a long way to go but if I don't do a bit every now and then, I won't ever finish it.

I've also learned something about myself. I am happy to spend the evening in my pajamas, holed up in my room with my spinning or knitting, eating a light room service meal. It is relaxing and I enjoy it more than going out to dinner and sitting around endlessly waiting for food to be delivered and people to finish eating.  In my younger days, this would have been just the opposite. I guess I'm turning into a grumpy old woman.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I know I posted already today but I had to add some awesome news! I didn't want to just update the other post because this is too momentous.

I finished plying the Corgi Hill Farm Mangosteen that I've been plying on the Swan forever! Yay!
There it is! All plied on the spindle and the little core of the plying ball next to it. That is actually some sample yarn I need to wind off and finish.
 Woo hoo! This will probably be the last time I ply a full braid on a spindle. I really didn't like the process. Maybe the ply-on-the-fly technique but not this. This was too boring and as the weight of the cop builds up the spindle spins slower and longer and really hurts my hands.

But it is done! Onward to more fun stuff!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A no-news post

I am between business trips. I thought I would knit on the train to and from Beijing but all I did was sleep. So no knitting progress.

I'm off on a trip again early tomorrow and am taking the Viajante with me for plane knitting and stuff for a pair of mittens in case I actually finish the Viajante - yes, it is that long of a flight going and coming.

In the meantime, there's nothing to see here folks. So move on!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spinning with a purpose

So far in my spinning, I have been content to just spin and then decide what I'm going to make with the results. This has worked out quite well and given me the opportunity to experiment with a lot of different spinning techniques without worrying about the end result.

This year has been different. I am still trying different techniques and still spinning a lot without thinking about what the end product is going to look like. But I have spun a couple of things with a planned project in mind.

The ITW Romney is the first of these. I thought a little bit about it and decided to spin a thicker yarn, not my usual fingering or lace weight. I also thought that Romney is lovely silky long wool, not soft to the touch but durable. So I spun a lightly twisted thick single that I plied with a tight twist to get what I hope will be a lofty yet durable yarn. I wanted a sport weight but the actual thickness is between sport and worsted. No, I don't spin that consistently yet!

I also knit the mittens with a firm gauge. It actually hurt my hands quite bit to knit them. And they are chunky but quite warm and I can curl my fingers inside the mitts to keep them warm.

And here they are, all complete.
I love the colors, not particularly fond of such chunky knits. I am a fine gauge girl at heart but these are warmer than my sock weight fingerless mitts, even though those are stranded with two colors. I am willing to give these some time but if I don't like wearing them, I'll frog them and make them into regular mitts. They didn't take that long to make that I'll mind redoing them.

Now I'll go back to my thinner yarns.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The best laid plans....

If you remember, a long time ago, I bought some buttons to put on mittens I was going to make with handspun Romney.
I suppose I could have used them had I planned my mitt better. There are two problems with using these buttons. The first is that I have 10 buttons but I made 6 button holes on the first mitt. Since there should be 6 buttonholes on the second mitt to match the first, 10 buttons just won't do. sigh I did think about not putting a button on the last button hole. Which brings us to the second problem.

Let me remind you of what the mitt looks like:
It is a chunky, bold sort of fabric and the buttons are rather delicate and small. In fact, they are too small. The yo buttonholes I made are too big for the buttons. double sigh

This past Sunday, we took a trip back to the notions market, mitt in hand. I found these lovely lilac and pewter looking buttons. I couldn't find anything that matched the colors in the mitt but there is a darker lilac and I thought the contrast with the lighter color brightened up the mitt.
I did buy 12. I put only 4 on the mitt as they slid off. I will be traveling over the next couple of days and will finish up the second mitt and then I can sew them all on. I had to buy sewing thread to match. The thread shops had these huge cones of thread and I thought I'd have to buy one of those (think serger thread on steroids). But then one shop had sets of smaller amounts in related colors. I found one set with a color I could use.

So maybe I will have a completed pair of mitts by next week.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

There's been some spinning going on

I pulled out some Cormo/silk to spin and I'm loving it. I had started spinning it on my Kuchulu but I was getting impatient so I decided to start spinning the other single on the Hansen.

I've been making progress slowly but surely. A little bit every night helps.
I had 2 balls of roughly 3 oz each. I am spinning a very fine single. Yes, I know I should measure the wpi. Maybe I will. But I'm just enjoying spinning a fine single and feeling the fiber flow from my hand. I decided to start this as I wanted a pop of color.

I also knit a little every so often on the Viajante. I am up to about 5 1/3 balls and it is getting pretty gigantic. Since the weather is getting cooler here, it isn't too bad having it my lap.

I photographed it on the chair so you can see how big it is.
One of the other reasons I've been making slow but sure progress is that we now get All Sports Network which shows us NFL and NCAA football games in the evenings. They show the games live but those are in the middle of the night here. So it is nice that they rebroadcast the games in our prime time. I like it because I get to watch a game every night. If I don't pay attention to the scores, it is just like watching them live!

I also have been trying to ply on the Swan about 30 mins every day. I haven't made every day but I try to. That is the only way that is going to get done. I just can't do it for longer than that.

That's what I've been up to. Maybe there will be more interesting stuff soon. I am in a hibernate and spin/knit mood. These are comforting and fit the bill.