Noblin activity of the knitting variety.

Including Noblin Designs, How to identify Noblins,
Advice on how to catch a Noblin, and How to keep your Noblin happy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

So now I'm tidying up

After the last post and then telling my sister in law an easy solution to her problem of not having enough space would be to tidy up the spare room (which, incidentally, looks as chaotic as my bedroom but I actually live in mine) I realised I should take my own advice and tidy the hell up. This does not come naturally to me but whilst I am generally very messy, I have noticed that I've been keeping my bathroom tidy since allocating a home for all items - a place for everything, and everything in its place.  The bedroom is still a step too far that might tip me into madness, but I have guests visiting next week so I focussed on the living room.  Three bin bags, a trip to the charity shop, some dusting and sneezing later, and my bookshelf has been nearly emptied and nearly refilled. At this rate, I'll have this flat under control just at the point when I'm ready to move out.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yarn explosion

The yarn in my house seems to be breeding. It no longer fits in the boxes and bags designated for it and has spread all over my living room. I'm trying to knit as fast as it breeds but I'm losing the fight.

I have started Rock Island for my mum's xmas present. It's going mostly smoothly.  The edging was surprisingly quick but then the first pattern row of the main shawl proved I can't count to 6 consistently. 
Having a new project means a new project bag.  I picked this one up in London when I saw the Lion King with my neice for her birthday.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to wet block Echo Flower Shawl

Or any triangular shawl really.

What you need:
Sink or washing up bowl
A towel
Blocking wires
Pins (many)
Tape Measure
Large floor space or spare bed
30-45 minutes blocking time plus soaking time plus drying time

1) Soak the finished shawl.  I use only just warm to the touch water, swish some Eucalan wool wash in first then place the shawl in the sink. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes, or all day if you're easily distracted.

2) Collect the wet shawl from the sink and squeeze out as much water as you can. Wrap shawl in a towel and stand on it to squeeze some more water out. Best done in barefoot or crocs, otherwise you end up with damp socks.

3) Transfer to where you're going to end up pinning out the shawl.  I use my living room floor. Thread blocking wires along the longest edge (usually the top edge).  I use two wires, one for each half either side of the centre.
 Echo Flower Shawl doesn't have a yarnover edging so I used the central hole in each flower along the top edge, formed by the 2 into 9 or 3 into 9.

5) Spread the shawl out on the floor, evenly along the blocking wires. Pin the blocking wires at either end without pinning the shawl, to secure the blocking wire in place.

6) Measure the top edge either side of the centre and pin in place.  Don't be afraid to stretch a little.

7) Pin the centre spine in place, again stretching the fabric so the lace pattern opens up. Wool based yarns will have a bit more stretch than the pure silk I used. If the centre has a has a yarn over spine, you could thread it onto more blocking wires. Check the measurements and compare them to the pattern and to what you'd like.

8)  Ease one side of the triangle out and pin along the outermost flowers. Don't pin the edging for now.  Check weather you can stretch the pattern out even more.

9) Repeat for the other side.

10) Check the shawl looks reasonably symmetrical.

11) Pin out each point.  Start at the left edge and ease the points out until you reach the centre.  Repeat for the right edge.
12) Leave to dry.  Feel smug.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

McAfee killed my internet...

...but my dad fixed it :)

It seems McAfee can be a bit sensitive and on Saturday, after it updated, it came upon an infallible way of stopping me downloading any malicious software.  It stopped me getting online at all.  My dad spent many hours first figuring out the problem, then carefully removing McAfee so it didn't cause more damage and putting on AVG.  It's a shame, as I don't think MacAfee is that well known for this problem as I don't think it's that prevalent.  My dad only found one example online of someone else who had the same issue, back in June, so I think I was unlucky.

I have finished the Echo Flower Shawl and it is beyootiful.  I even wore it on Sunday but didn't take any photos.  I have started something new, even though I was planning to finish an old project first. I went to see my mum on Saturday, and took her Rock Island round to start.  I think I'm half way through the first edging - I have to work 71 repeats in total so better get back to it.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Yarn Yard Steeplechase Club

I received the 2nd instalment of the Steeplechase lace club yesterday. It's rather behind the original schedule of mid-July but I wasn't disappointed by the contents. It's a beautiful colour, a beautiful yarn, probably something that I wouldn't be brave enough to buy for myself. It arrived in two skeins of 50g, 600m each which is less daunting than one whopper of 1200m. I've no idea what to make with it so I'm content to look at it and cuddle it lovingly.  Click on the photo below if you want to see - I didn't want to include any spoilers for people who hadn't received theirs yet. 

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Natural Dye Studio Great British Wool Club

These are my July and August instalments from the GBWC.

I was a bit concerned about the July instalment. It is undyed wensleydale plied with BFL. I was expecting something dyed and I didn't like the barberpole effect.  It also reeked of sheep and I didn't like it.  I'm happy to say the smell has faded and the colour has grown on me so much, I'm looking forward to using it.  Go figure.

The August instalment was much more immediately my cup of tea. A blend of wensleydale and dorset poll and dyed a lovely shade somewhere between petrol blue and navy.
All the yarns in GBWC are spun to the same specs so they can be used together on larger garments.  I'm going to wait to see what September brings before I make any decisions on these, and whether I want to sign up to the next three months...which I mostly do want to.

Here is the Sirene I bought earlier.  I briefly thought I could use them all together as I liked the colours together but the Sirene is much finer, and I want to make a Rock island with it.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Literary heroines

I've been musing about the books I read as a child. It's my neice's 8th birthday soon and she loves reading but seems to be stuck on the drivel that is the rainbow fairy series. OK, I haven't read any of the rainbow series but her mum is sick of it. The only time she was excited about it was when we saw a girl on the tube in Japan reading Japanese rainbow fairy drivel. Whilst I'm keen to encourage my neice to read, I'd like her to branch out so, on the recommendation of some ravelers, bought Earwig and the Witch.
I didn't realise it would be hardback, and it's such a lovely presentation that I couldn't resist reading it myself.  The writing is big and there are wonderful illustrations and it's about a young girl who can make people do everything she wants to do. It's a great book but I hope it doesn't give my neice too many naught ideas.

If Earwig and the Witch is pitched too young, then the next book I ordered may be pitched a little high but I hope she enjoys a more challenging read.
I also bought The Name of This Book is Secret, which has an 11 year old girl as its heroine.  She's interesting, smart, tough, brave, kind, makes mistakes and learns to say sorry and how to lie to her mother.  When she's older, I'll introduce her to The Hunger Games and later The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, although it's hard to imagine that point in the future when those books will be suitable.  I'm sure it will come round far too quickly.

I'm not sure how many role models I read when I was young and I know there were dreadful ones in the films I watched.  Save me prince this and rescue me prince that. Suprisingly, Enid Blyton may have created the best characters, from the Five Find Outers series to the Adventure series to the almost identikit Secret Seven mysteries.  The Naughtiest Girl at School was probably the most interesting.  I remember wading through all the Willard Price books at the local library and by the end being rather disappointed there were no female characters.  I read Fellowship of the Ring when I was 9 and I think it was the first book I'd read where a main character died.  I remember so vividly the image of Boromir with arrows in his chest, while sitting in Mrs Adams's classroom.  There weren't really any girls in that, either, although a couple of Elves dropped by briefly.

As an adult, there are many more books where the woman is in the driving seat, but they're often uninspiring too. I did read a whole book this weekend with one of my favourite heroines, Deaadlocked.  Sure, it's about vampires, werewolves and southern fried food, but when you get past the supernatural side of it, Sookie is a strong woman.  She goes through a lot of crazy troubles and is often alone in her world, but still she gets out of bed every day and pastes a smile on her face. She doesn't let people push her around, earns a living, occasionally shots people but only ever in self-defence, and at least once in my life, I've found a way to keep going by asking myself What Would Sookie Stackhouse Do?

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Friday, August 10, 2012

FO Simplicity Cardigan

Simplicity, she be finished.  I haven't had a chance to wear it yet, but I blocked it a few days ago, concentrating particularly on the back as that was very curled up.  I ran out of yarn before the sleeves were finished but that was okay as they're meant to only be 3/4 length anyway.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2012


I've started the edge chart on Echo Flower Shawl and now I'm into the real meat of it - nupps.  They are bobbles worked over two rows and are one of the trademarks of Estonian lace.  (I don't know what the others are but I imagine there are more than one.) Nupps are incredibly time consuming and run a certain degree of risk - if you get it wrong on the RS, you're going to struggle on the WS.  I decided to work 9 stitch nupps which means in one stitch I knit, yo, knit, yo, knit, yo, knit, yo, knit, then continue as usual.  On the WS row I purl all of those 9 together, making sure not to miss any as this leaves straggly loops hanging around.  On the first row with nupps, I worked them loosely but it turned out they needed to be a bit looser to make the p9tog less of a drama.  On the first row with p9tog, I averaged somewhere between 7 and 8, so had to go back and pass some extra loops over the worked stitch.  Last night I managed two rows in the whole evening of knitting.  Tonight, I had to work two nupps for every repeat, and take extra care to keep them loose, so I only managed one RS row and less than half of the WS.  I'm also finding the silk tough going so my arms need some stretching and maybe a break tomorrow. 


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Very much over the olympics

I overdid the olympics last week, tried to watch everything at once, surfeited, and became so sick of it I didn't even watch Lochte race. I'm even over Lochte. I tuned in only a little to keep track of Jess Ennis, but mostly read a book*. Remember, Jenny is a mindworm. I really want to finish my Echo Flower Shawl but each rows takes forever and regardless of how little I'm now watching the olympics, I've less than a week to finish my socks.

I went to Balham yesterday to collect some old belonging that had been in storage care of a very good friend for several years.  There were old photos, paints, and books in there, even older photos and a few things that didn't belong to me.  So a box went in the bin, a box went to the charity shop and a suitcase came back home full when it had left empty.  I have to post a few things to the person they belong to or I could bin them.  I'm 80% devided on what I'll do.

*The woman Who Died A Lot, Jasper FForde

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Inspired by the olympics

I went for a walk. It wasn't for very long but it was more about the principle of exercising every day to get back to fitness for running. I can't help being inspired by the Olympics - I've been glued to it since it started but I can't help thinking that it would be a shame if I spent the whole two weeks on the sofa watching it, especially as I spent the two weeks prior to it on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. I woke up last Friday, feeling the most miserable I've felt for ages. Not quite crying into my cereal a la Toni Collette in about a boy, but far closer than I feel comfortable with. I think the combination of poor weather, stress at work and lack of exercise came to a peak but since then I've been buoyant.  The opening ceremony was electric, I went for a walk on Saturday, a swim on Sunday and then a walk every day since.  The sunshine from last week must have filtered through to my brain and the cooler nights mean I'm sleeper better and waking up before my alarm.

I think I've done 13 repeats on my Echo Flower Shawl but I decided to work an extra repeat so I could use all of my Olympic RingOs. I even managed to use the in the correct (but reverse) order.  I'm now using three whole sets of ten for the pattern reps and 4 to make the edges and centre.  I'm currently having a minor mental battle about whether to buy some more, after a lovely message from their creator letting me know a new set is in stock.  I think I'll have to miss out this time as I'm sure they'll be plenty more temptation in future.

Each row is taking ages now and if there's exciting sport on, I switch to my sock.  That backfired today during the gymnastics though as I forgot I was still decreasing for the gusset. I had to tink a few rows, keeping one eye on Uchimura winning gold, with Kristian Thomas missing out due to not landing his vault properly.  I'm enjoying knitting with 100% silk but it is causing some aching in my arms and hands.  I was anticipating problems based on experience with cotton in the past, the lack of elasticity in the yarn being the culprit, but I managed to get far further through before it started. I'm pleased as I'm a much looser knitting than I used to be, dude, and this seems to be helping.

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