Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another FO, and a surprise

Pattern: Licorice Whip
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic dyed cotton, shade Stone
Amount used: Just under 400g
Needles: Addi Turbos 5.5mm 40cm & 60cm. Also 60cm 60mm for the edging of the body
Size: XXS
Started: 04/08/06
Finished: 18/08/06

The pattern
As you can see I didn’t knit the pattern as written. I wasn’t sure about the lace pattern on the sleeves, or doing yarn overs for the raglan increases, so I omitted the sleeve lace and increased along the raglans using the usual kfb.

I shortened the body from 16” from underarms to 14”. The pattern for the sleeves has you decreasing from 42 stitches to 28 stitches. At a gauge of 14 sts per inch, and even allowing for the fact that the lace pattern would have widened the sleeve somewhat, it seemed to me that following the pattern was going to result in a very narrow sleeve! So I only did 2 sets of decreases, knitting straight after decreasing to 38 stitches.

Apart from this, the pattern is extremely well written and easy to follow, and I would definitely knit it again. Being top down, there is no seaming to do, and the more I knit in the round the more I hate the thought of knitting a large garment flat.

The yarn
What can I say? This yarn is buttery soft. I never would have imagined a cotton yarn could be so soft, and so lovely to knit with. You get great yardage, and it’s not an expensive yarn (I paid £5.95 per 100g skein). Stitch definition is great. This yarn would work really well with a cable pattern. The only downside is that, due largely to its softness, I fear it will not be very hardwearing and may well pill. Nevertheless, I love the finished result.

Now, on to the surprise. Postie delivered this the other day

A gift from Carolyn. It’s an absolutely fascinating little booklet. Written in 1769 by John Wily who, I think, was some kind of government official in the “colony” of Virginia at the time. Not only is it a wonderful essay on producing wool, it’s also a fabulous insight into the thinking of the time:

“I must therefore beg leave to inform the public that I was some years concerned in a woollen manufactory, which thoroughly convinced me a large sum of money might be saved in this colony annually by manufacturing the wool that is raised differently from the usual method (spinning it up into coarse cloth for the Negroes) which I look upon to be next to throwing it away.”

Thank you so much Carolyn, it was a wonderful surprise!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Waterlily Top

Pattern: Waterlily Top from Interweave Knits Spring 2006
Yarn: Colinette Giotto. Shade Banwy. Used 2 x 100g plus tiny bit from 3rd skein
Size: 30.25”
Needles: Addi Turbo 60cm – 9mm, 8mm, 6.5mm
Cast on: 28/07/06
Finished: 03/08/06

This was a lovely, quick pattern to knit, and I’m delighted with the end result. The top is knit in the round to the armholes, and the large needles make the knitting fly by. Changing gradually from the largest to the smallest needles create the shaping of the garment, and I have to say it is incredibly flattering to wear (though I appreciate it’s not easy to see this from the craptastic photo).

There were a few firsts with this project: first time knitting in the round from the bottom up; first time using Colinette yarn, and first time knitting with ribbon yarn. I’m very impressed with this yarn – it knits up really easily, and the resulting fabric is lovely. I had feared that ribbon yarn might be a bit scratchy to wear, but this top is wonderfully comfortable.

Of course, since it came off the needles the weather has reverted to the usual crap British summer weather but this top will definitely be going to France.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Who stole my clothes?

The goats were sheared on Monday

I think they were glad to get rid of their fleece after all the hot weather we've been having. Of course, now they've been sheared it's cloudy and cool!

A pretty exhausting day - we started at 7 a.m and finally finished sorting everybody out at 10 p.m. The shearer finished at 7.45 p.m - he sheared 78 goats and must have been knackered.

The baby bucks (19 of them) have now been penned in a barn on their own for a couple of weeks while they deal with being weaned, and we can keep an eye on them - long time readers may remember we lost Smiley's brother Pig Pen last year after his first shearing, the result of his developing an odeama. This year, to try and help with the stress, they all got a dose of aconite spray. I've been doing a bit of research into homeopathic remedies for animals and have also bought some apis mel tablets which, amongst other things, is supposed to help with conditions which result in water retention - which is basically what an odeama is. We've heard positive things from other breeders who have used homeopathy to treat their goats, and to be honest if there is a natural remedy I'd far rather try that than pump them full of drugs.

Anyway, fingers crossed they'll all be alright. A couple of the buck kids have got mild odeamas already (difficult to see when they're in full fleece), so they're getting apis mel 3 times a day. The fact that they had odeamas before being sheared was quite a surprise, as we've not encountered this before. It could well be due to the stress caused by the severe heat in recent weeks.

Today is another first for us. We have sold 3 of our does to another breeder and they are going to their new home this evening. They are going to a much smaller flock than ours, and to a very nice home where I know they'll be loved so it's not too much of a wrench, but it will still be strange to watch them go.

We've reached the stage now where we really must control numbers, and only keep the best of the best, so we will be having a bit of a cull at the end of the summer. There's also no way we can add another 19 bucks to what we already have so these kids will gradually be thinned out over the winter. Hopefully there's another Smiley in there somewhere!

I've already cleaned about half of the kid fleece that was sheared. I hope to get the rest done over the next couple of weeks and then it will be sent off to be spun into yarn. I'm planning to get some done as pure kid mohair, and some as a kid/silk mix (very much like Rowan Kidsilk Haze). I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Talking of yarn, I'm finally knitting something that isn't socks!

This is the Waterlily Top from Interweave Knits Spring 06

I've just reached the point where I divide for the front and back, and hope to finish it within the next couple of days. It's an enjoyable knit so far, but let's reserve final judgement until we see how it turns out!

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