So where did we leave off? I think I was madly spinning along to the tour whilst simultaneously trying to finish off everything that could ever need to be done at work so that I could go on maternity leave with peace of mind, go to NCT classes (antenatal) and try to acquire enough sleep to keep me functioning. Suffice to say blogging and other useful activities such as housekeeping and cooking food that requires more than turn on oven, put in oven, take out of oven when buzzer goes rather went by the wayside. We managed a wonderful flying visit to the westcountry to see my parents and it is a mark of the sleepiness of the heavily pregnant Carie that I not only slept most of the way there and a good chunk of the way back, but I did not knit a stitch the entire time - most uncharacteristic!
Anyway, I'm now, well not exactly a lady of leisure (see above mentions to 'housekeeping - the lack thereof'), shall we say a lady who naps?
So, the tour - when I last reported in I was merrily spinning another singles yarn, again from a mini batt from Purldrop Studios, this time in Magic Pumpkin. I split the batt horizontally in two to try to spin two matching-ish skeins with the same colour progression to play around with in colourwork mittens, and apart from the fact that one skein is almost 10 yards longer than the other - I got what I wanted:
1.6oz of fibre turned into a total of 163 yards of DK ish weight.
And with all of this successful spinning, you know there had to be some balance:
My final tour project, admittedly finished on a lap of honour after the tour completed. It started as 100g of alpaca from Wingham Woolworks, some of the fibre I choose when H gave me my wheel, and I have spun it into 362 yards of nicely spun two ply garden twine. It isn't quite as bad as all that but when I pick it up I don't want to knit with it so I suspect that it has a future either tying up runaway garden plants or as 'dressing' on a parcel.
Maybe I need to take a class on how to spin a lovely soft fluffy alpaca yarn, or maybe I need to remember that actually I don't like knitting alpaca that much (mohair does very little for me either). I'm not too disappointed because it was all about the learning experience, and just as when I first started knitting again seriously I bought things that have subsequently been purged from the stash, I suspect my fibre stash could do with a little purge as I learn what I like to spin, and the finished products that I will actually use.
So, in all it's glory:
My tour 2010:
~ I spun every day that the tour rode.
~ Everything came from the stash.
~ I spun two singles yarns.
~ Only one skein is sock yarn.
All of this means:
Je porte le maillot jaune!
I'm never going to be one of the climbers going for crazy mileage or weight goals, not with the job and next year the job and the baby, but I loved playing along and it reignited my great affection for my wheel which had been a little neglected in the rush of pretty little baby things.
Fast forward a week I found myself scampering out of my final day at work surrounded by beautiful presents for the baby from my colleagues (and a giant pink french fancy cake for me - you can tell why I love my job so much - it's all about the mutual cake appreciation!). H and I did a quicky turnaround at home and then headed down south on the train - destination Knit Nation.
It's difficult to write of Knit Nation without drowning in a sea of superlatives - suffice to say that there was not a moment that disappointed and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I took the full day class on top down sock design with Cookie A which turned out to be everything I hoped it would be and more (top tip - Japanese stitch dictionaries are wonderful things) and a day spent in most excellent company (well two Caries together was always going to be a winning combination).
We spent the morning playing theory and maths, in an engineering classroom which H as the family engineer found deeply entertaining. By the lunch break I had a great plan for the sock I was going to knit, only to be completely thwarted by the fact that you can't turn a lace pattern upside down. Some day I have a great design for a toe up sock - and yes I had written in my notes, "remember the pattern will be upside down". Cookie suggested looking at the stitch dictionaries upside down!
Take 2, post lunch break and lots of deliberation finally got a cast on, and whilst I initially had a bit of a love hate thing going on - possibly stemming from the fact that it was very hot and I got pretty tired by the end of the day - now that I have a full pattern repeat knit up:
I think I quite like it - the centre panel seems to have elements of a phoenix rising from the ashes which seems only appropriate after my first 'crash and burn'.
The yarn I have no such doubts - Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in I think Smaller Yellow Ant or something similar. This is seriously gorgeous yarn - i can see why it's so coveted.
But you didn't really want to hear about the class did you? Not when there was a marketplace, and a marketplace to rival all marketplaces at that. It's possible that my recent tour activity has influenced my shopping because a good chunk of the goodies that came home with me are in the some assembly required stage of yarn:
I also seem to have been having a thing for orange and turquoise on Saturday! Clockwise from top left we have BabyLongLegs Spring Meadows, Two braids of Easy Knits Luala, Easy Knits Stary Stary Knight, Sparkleduck, and Old Maiden Aunt Two-Thirds Water. Some will be hats or mitts or maybe, just maybe, a pair of socks!
But now, lest you think me possessed of an altogether supernatural restraint, let us talk of the Wollmeise. I have no pictures of the stand, there are no words to describe the sight of more yarn than the average wool shop carries, more yarn than I have ever seen in a booth at a knitting show, and all of it in the most gorgeous deep saturated colours. I know now that there is not a skein of Wollmeisethat I wouldn't like - and that my friends is a dangerous piece of information.
So here we have it:
All Wollmeise apart from the skein across the top which is a fantastic Sparkleduck skein that made me think of fireworks and lightening. It's all so beautiful, and I want to knit it all right now!
It seems too that my luck was with me on Saturday because my name was called in the door prizes raffle and I am now the happy owner of a Lucy Neatby DVD - a wonderful treat and so very sweet to be double congratulated, once for winning the DVD and again when I stepped forward to claim my prize for the impending arrival of the little bear!
I had intended to go the the Ravelry party in the evening and I'm sure it was wonderful, but after the class finished and I'd tottered around the marketplace for one more trip to Wollmeise I was wiped out and I ended the day eating chips and apple crumble off the bump before an early night claimed me.
All in all, a perfect way to start my maternity leave - and boy was I glad of my nap today!