Monday, March 27, 2006

Going away

Okay, just wanted to post a little something before going away, pretty sure that family matters will get in the way of blogging...

It's crazy, I should be thinking of the clothes I need to take, making sure I have tix, passports, you know, little stuff like that. All I can think about is, "what knitting am I going to bring?" "Will it be enough?" "Are they actually going to let me take the needles on the flight with me this time?" I'm totally obsessing, but I have potentially 6-7 hours of knitting (EACH WAY) that can be done, that's a lot of knitting potential. I can't take Mrs. B. Sr's scarf because the needles are #1's and metal (I'm pretty sure they will freak out over those - usually at LHR, not JFK). I did make a little purchase for a booga bag (yarn sub, can't remember the name, too lazy to look), so I'm pretty sure that I will take care of one-way. I'm thinking that (if UPS actually deliver tomorrow) I can do a new scarf for Maureen - she lost her original on a cruise, and was most sad about it. What has my life become?

I started spinning the pink/red roving, it's looking super-pretty, no pics yet (too busy planning the trip etc.). It's a little trickier than the other stuff I was spinning with, so it's another learning experience for me. Okay, must go and gather my yarn :)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The reason for super-fast seaming

Yup, here is the reason for my need to finish the fish blanket so quickly. Doesn't it all look delicious? It's all from Oregon Trail Yarn (a wonderful seller on eBay). The roving is brown sheep co. with the red/pink being 100% wool (feltable) and the cream being 50% wool 50% mohair, I really wanted to start experimenting with dying (have to start researching, do I want to dye before or after spinning? Not decided yet. The sock yarn is for my first pair of socks, I think the next thing I will start, want to start with something relatively simple. I had initially decided that this would be for Dad - for a laugh, but having seen the colors, I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't be for him, so for me they will be - obviously I'm thrilled. The traced cotton is for another scarf (I'm thinking a leisel for myself), but I'm thinking that one skein isn't enough (oops!). Anyway, that's enough from me, must do some spinning and Mrs. B. Sr's scarf which has been totally neglected.

Here it is!

UPDATE: I found a picture of the original pattern online. You can click here and when you see the image you can make it larger and even save it (highly recommended).

Ta Da! The moment you've all be waiting for - the fish afghan is complete, and it's great. I went a bit nuts taking pictures, so I have selected my faves and here they are in no particular order:


Fish - up close

Both sides of the afghan, showing the stitching.

FYI: The pattern I used seems to have disappeared off the net, and I don't know if what kind of copyright I would be breaking if I posted it. HOWEVER, sakuranbon had kindly adapted the pattern, so the fish lay flat, and the pattern for that is HERE. I haven't tried this version since I had already started the fish in a different pattern and, quite frankly, I've had enough of fish to last a long, long time now.

The sewing went pretty quickly, the edging was easy to sew, I kept the fish flat on my knee while I sewed the fish together, being careful to only keep the stitches on the back side. I made a boo boo putting it together though, while I had made 100 fish and was going to sew 10 rows x 10 columns of fish, that somehow didn't happen. I ended up with 11 rows by 9 columns and only using 99 of the fish, I had to cast one away (pun intended). Despite that, I still ended up with an afghan 61" x 36" size, just right as far as I'm concerned. I learned a lot from the fish, particularly that chenille is certainly NOT for me. Glad the fish are done though, I can focus on some other projects that I've neglected in recent days/weeks.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lessons in Fishing

I'm kind of in limbo land right now. Not flying out until Wednesday since the funeral will be Friday. It's strange being here, it really doesn't seem real - some days are definitely better than others. Thankfully I have wonderful and amazing friends, co-workers and, especially, hubby, who are amazingly supportive and kind. I also have the knitting... wonderful, relaxing, meditative knitting.

The fish afghan is so close to finishing, I have 19 more fish to sew together and pictures will be coming very soon. So I wanted to share the lessons I've learned from the fish.

8 things I've learnt from the fish

1. Chenille sucks, it is a PITA, I hate it - REALLY, in all serious earnestness. It goes bald, it twists, it feels like plastic, hurts my fingers, dries my hands and even smells funny. If I ever have to knit, sew or even see chenille again (apart from this afghan), I may have to hurt someone...
2. The 3 needle bind off on the fish tails was not my best idea. The back of the blanket does not lay flat, and isn't so neat. I recommend sewing all of it instead.
3. Chenille sucks.
4. Weaving in the ends as you do the fish is HIGHLY recommended (I am resenting the time it's taking to do this while sewing the blanket together).
5. Sewing the fish together as you go along is about personal preference. I wanted to sew them all together at the same time for consistency, but some might prefer to do it as they go along, a little at a time (particularly if sewing is not your thing) but your sewing may vary day to day, so you might see a variation.
6. Chenille sucks.
7. Just having two colors of the fish really shows the tessellation effect - that may defeat the 'stash-buster' appeal for many doing this blanket - but if you can use 2 colors, it's great just MHO.
8. Most importantly, I dislike chenille intensely, and will never knit with it again.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Subscription/Fish Update

I wanted to let you know that I decided to change the subscription service from bloglet to feedblitz. I was having some 'issues' with bloglet (i.e. emails have not been going out when I've udated my blog), and I was getting no response from them, so decided to try feedblitz instead. As a result, those of you already subscribed to my blog will probably have to reconfirm their subscription with feedblitz (the bloglet account for this site will be closed as of this evening). Feedblitz looks like a good site, and I can assure you that your email address will not be sold or used in any way (except to send updates on my blog). As always, you can unsubscribe at any time. I also have the usual atom feed and bloglines feed (through feedburner), anyone who knows what that means will know that it's another way to subscribe. Okay, I'm pretty sure that I confused the hell out of anyone still reading this paragraph, so it's time for another.

Thanks for the well wishes about my grandmother, I feel that she is away from her pain now, and back with Granddad (a thought that makes me smile). The funeral will be next week, so we will be heading back to the UK at the weekend. This gives me plenty of time to avoid thinking about it all, and I have the subscription on this blog and the 100 fish (28 sewn together so far) to thank for keeping me busy in the evenings. Work will certainly keep me busy during the day, since I have to squeeze 2 weeks into one...

Must go sew some more fish before bed.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Finished the Fish

Yup, as of last night I have a grand total of 100 fish. Started sewing them together last night (well, sewed 2 together, but it's a start). Did some spinning and steamed the yarn - it smelled funny and I got into a right old tangle with it, but it's drying on the clothes horse right now (thank you kweaver for making me think of it by showing a pic on your site). No pictures today, not really in the mood.

The thing is, my grandmother passed away late Friday night, I'm stuck here in the US and all my family are 3,500 miles away. I will be flying out there after I've squared things with work (they are my visa and green card sponsor) and worked things out with my folks. In the meantime, I'm trying to carry on as normal, (with the odd crying fit thrown in). For example, I'm going to the MOMA with friends this afternoon as planned during the week. Okay, enough of this sad stuff. I promise I will post more pics soon, but it may not be until I get back.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

What a difference 3 days make

I posted a picture of the first 'skein' I produced on Sunday. Monday I took the day off spinning, come Tuesday I was back at it. Spinning had 'clicked' for me and now I've been working to thinner and thinner 'yarns'. Now look at the difference of what I did today compared to what I had done on Sunday, so much thinner now eh. Unbelievable! I'm so pleased with myself, and I've only been taking 10-20 minutes each day. Phew! I'm not a spinning idiot.

Before and After

Off topic: I sold my first ebay item today, not knitting or spinning related, but something I had won ages ago and decided to try selling since I had no use for it. I expected to make about $10-15 and instead was just shy of $25!

Back on topic: I was so happy with my paypal money (coming in, not going out, for once) and my spinning success. I combined that with pay day and came up with another ebay purchase - 2 15 oz balls [if that's the right word] of Brown Sheep co. roving (yum), a nice skein of Brown Sheep cotton fine and some stripy sock yarn for socks for Dad's Birthday (make myself feel better about the other purchases I think!!).

As for the fish (no, I haven't forgotten the fish). There is a grand total of 94 done - YES, 6 more to go. I will be out tomorrow night, so no fishing for me, but should be done (knitting at least) by the weekend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

So that's what 86 Fish look like

I hadn't posted a picture of the fish in a while, so here's a little pic of the 86 I have right now. It measures (kind of) 35 x 52). working it out, the next 14 fish will take it to 35 x 60, which I think is a reasonable size for an afghan. Now watch these last critters take the longest of all as I put off the seaming, try more spinning and get distracted by the other projects I have spinning around my head right now.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Computer - what computer?

The computer and desk are gone, in their place are shelves for the masses of books we have, and my little "fibre corner". Whaddya think?

Before - boring desktop computer

After (note the pretty little wheel in the corner and blocking board, and yarn, and bobbins and wips?)

Not a lot of other news, no spinning today (revamping the old blog site). Only one more fish knit today too (grand total = 85.25 fish to date).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

First "skein"

Just a quickie with a picture of my first hank of 'yarn'. It's overtwisted in parts and incredibly thick in others, but I made it! It's from a bunch of Lamb's Pride roving that I bought on ebay, has a nice sheen on it. Now I have to get back to spinning, see if I can figure out how to go a little thinner....


I wanted to post a picture of my wheel, along with my first attempt at spinning (not great). It's proving to be a tricky (to say the least), my main issue appears to be that I stop and start because I don't have a 'flow' going yet. When I stop-start, I end up with a wheel going the opposite direction, effectively unwinding the spinning I've just done. You will also see that it's extremely thick/thin, something I'm assured is normal for beginners and I'm sure it will improve with time and practice.

I did get some fish done yesterday though :)

Saturday, March 11, 2006


My wheel arrived today! My wheel arrived today! Wheeeeeee! I'm happy as a pig in the proverbial. It's all in pieces at the moment, I have had a good look at the directions and think I get how to put it together. I'm currently waiting for the glue to dry in the base before doing anything else (4 loooooong hours). It's sooo cool though. Here's a pic of it in pieces:

Now on to other noteworthy items. I now have, 77 fish - gulp! Getting closer to needing to sew. Nothing else knit-wise going on since I've been going out a little and focusing on the fish.

Trying to sell the computer and desk on craigslist (so we can make space for the gorgeous wheel and some bookshelves), it's proving to be a complete pain in the arse - I hate it when people piss me about, there's no need when we are selling the thing so friggin' cheap anyway, but that's the nature of people I guess. Must...stay...positive.

I'm not sure I mentioned my interviews at work, but long and short of the story is that I have had 5 interviews in 6-7 weeks for this position. I am supposed to have one more, however, the woman I'm to interview with will not be able to do it for at least another week (not her fault and I know I'm not being messed about). I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed and see if I get this job (with reasonable pay, I hope). I'll let you know.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Here's a pic of the blanket so far, there are 62 fish pictured here (you can see the 2 that escaped, they will have place soon enough). The blanket currently measures 30" x 41" at the moment. So I'm reckoning on about 100 needed for a decent size afghan. No sewing done so far, but I'm sure once the sewing starts the fish will fit together better, and (hopefully) lie flatter. The one good thing (maybe there are more than one) about chenille, is that the fish don't "bobble" in the body as other people have noticed with other yarns.

The Leisel scarf is now 18" long, so a fair way to go yet, but I'm well on the way. Here it is in progress.

Oh yes, and Mum opened her gothic window lace scarf today (as it's her birthday today) and she loves it! So glad she does.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Not knitting

Haven't done much knitting the last few days, just added another inch or two to the leisel scarf and another fish or two. Although on counting the fish I found a freakishly large one in the 'school'. I guess I will have to toss that one back, don't know how it happened, it's like I switch up 2-3 needles sizes!

Anyway, the reason for this post is to share this image that made me giggle. Of course I mean no offense to anyone who owns/wants to own one of these, I'm sure that it's a great idea for keen swimmers with little space. But the image just makes me laugh. I can just see me getting pinned up against the swimming pool wall!!