Caspian

I’m not dead, I promise! Just busybusybusy and have had no time to knit. But look what Santa brought me!

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Actually, Santa had little to do with it, as the cable needle was from the Americans I’m currently housing, and the DPNs from myself. But they’re the new Caspian wood needles from KnitPicks and they are soooooooooo pretty. I kind of want to replace all my needles with them. Would be very silly. But pretty.

Oh, and if the DPNs look huge, it’s because they are.

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I’m not quite sure what I was thinking when I ordered them. They may be great for hat knitting, actually. If nothing else, they’re pretty.

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Spinning progress

I’ve been hard at it carding and stuck by the wheel trying to get the hang of spinning. And of course in the front of the fire practically boiling (flushed cheeks) all because we learnt last Saturday that wool needs about 23-24 degrees Celsius for the wool fat (lanolin) to melt and make the spinning a whole lot easier. So newbie and all I felt I really needed the best possible start.

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I have now proudly produced 3 skeins, two from fat wool and one from not so fat alpaca. The alpaca went best, not because of the fleece itself, rather because it was the last one I did. It’s a lot more even than the others. (The alpaca is heavenly soft! I want to spin more and more and more….)

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One trick is to spin with unwashed fleece to get the best effect from the fat. Even alpaca fleece is a little fat, although nothing compared to wool. But look at my fingers!

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Spinning 101

Yesterday, Anneli and I went to the first of two spinning classes at Boda Backe fårgård (spinning yarn, obviously, NOT the exercise kind of spinning).

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Upon arrival, we were greeted by these two gentlemen. Very curious creatures! The day then started with an introduction to different kinds of sheep, how to handle fleece and wool, and some other tips and tricks. Then it was time to start practising! We did some carding, both on a drum and on hand cards, and then got acquainted with the wheels.

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Focus, focus….

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Look ma, no hands!

Turns out it’s quite tricky to learn which rhythm to keep to keep the wheel from stopping, but still not going so fast that you don’t have time to keep up with the drafting (hence the above pictures, where I’m just practising using the pedal). I made a loooooooot of twisted telephone cord/lumpy umbilical cord unspun stuff, but at the end of the day I had some kind of eureka moments when it suddenly just worked. Hurrah!

I also got to try out spinning with a spindle, which was fun since I actually own one. The one I tried was much better than the one I have, which I bought on Etsy for pocket change, but when I tried it earlier today I had much more success than I did when I first bought it. (Of course, it came with some really weird fibre… the unwashed stuff we carded yesterday is MUCH “stickier” and easy to learn with.)

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Some of my first yarn. Perfect example of my umbilical cord style! The instructor told us that she can tell right away when people just won’t be able to learn, as they lack the coordination, and for a while there with nothing but tangled phone cord yarn coming out I was worried I would fall in this category (I’m RUBBISH at exercises like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time), but she assured me I didn’t, and the breakthrough at the end did boost my confidence a bit.

The next class is a week from today, and we both got to borrow a wheel for the week inbetween, so this is officially spinning week. Let’s see how it goes!

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Hooked

I don’t really crochet, other than the odd amigurumi here and there. I do have some on the todo list right now, though, and my sad sad stash of four crochet hooks didn’t include any that worked with the thread I bought for them, so I ordered some off a Chinese seller on eBay.

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I bought these from bgsxine and paid a whopping $2.97 for the three, including shipping. When you need something small like this and don’t really care about quality, Chinese eBay really can’t be beat.

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KnitPro Karbonz

During all my swatching, I realised I was missing a couple of quarter sizes needed and rectified this by buying 2.75mm and 3.25mm circulars from KnitPro, in their new series Karbonz.

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I’m normally very loyal to wooden needles, but I’m a bit wary of how brittle they are in smaller sizes, and don’t quite like how much give the small Knitpicks/KnitPro (I have both and can’t tell them apart) needles have, so I thought I’d give these a go.

So far I’ve only used them for swatching, so it’s by no means extensive testing, but here are my first impressions:

Good:

  • They’re super sturdy. I’ve tried bending them and they don’t budge at all. No need to be worried about breaking them.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Warm in your hands.
  • The cable is great – it seems slightly thinner than the purple one, is less coiled, and seems “softer”.

Bad:

  • The ends aren’t as sharp and tapered as the wooden ones.
  • I reaaaaally don’t like that clicky noise metal needles make.
  • They seem slightly grippier than the wooden ones.

All in all, not at all a bad knitting experience by any means, and I do prefer them to all-metal, but I notice them in a way I don’t notice my wooden ones, and I think that’s probably a bad sign.

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