Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I'm so scared, and on the verge of a nervous break-down. I needed to post somewhere, as there is no one reasonable around here to talk to.

First of all, lets make this perfectly clear : I did not want to get my doggie pregnant!!! I knew I would freak and be super nervous. My boyfriend wanted it, and even before we got her pregnant all the care and stuff was on my shoulders. I had to arrange everything, from vet appointments to the actual meeting with the breeder (and the guy-dog :D) to all the other preparations. And now something might be going wrong everything is putting the pressure on me, especially the boyfriend.

The last 2 nights I haven't really slept at all. Yesterday I spent on the couch with the dog and I probably will do the same if the pups don't arrive before bedtime (not a chance really).

The most stressing is that everybody keeps calling me to ask about the pups. My mom called and asked me if I was sure the pups were still alive and the dog could actually go through a labor! Then about an hour later my boyfriend came up with the most stressing story. One of our employees had told him we had to be carefull when we let the do out to pee/... to make sure she didn't push out one of the pups!! (he had that happen once). Even worse was that just a few minutes ago the boyfriend just let the dog go out and didn't even do an efford to watch her. We have a huge place for her to run so it's not easy, but I've gone out with her all day and it's not that difficult.

I really am ready to break down and just cry. The whole day I felt like the dog was going into labor as her behaviour had changed, but now it's totally the old way again. And the boyfriend is upstairs and I'm so angry with him. He doesn't even care, while this was all his idea. I would have just bought another pup from the breeder. I swear I'm not going through this all again, ever. Not with him that is.

On the brighter note, I had a lot more energy today - despite the huge lack of sleep - and got a lot done. Let's start with the pictures of the yarn/roving I died yesterday :

Handpainted merino and Mohair, before carding Handpainted Merino/silk
Handpainted variegated sock yarn - reds and purples Handpainted yarn for calorimetry from knitty
Handpainted sock yarn - black/purple

From left to right, top to bottom (if they appear to you that way :D)

- mohair and Merino, both 100gr, in shades of purple, to be blended together
- Merino/silk, 150gr I think, same shades
- Sockyarn (90%merino, 10%nylon) dyed in shades of puple and red (the red is a bit to red for my taste)
- Superwash yarn for calorimetry , will probably knit this together with a strand of 2-ply wool/angora to get gauge
- Sockyarn dyed with all the leftovers poored together (black, purple, red), came out a lot better in daylight then I had expected

So today I started working with my carder! The first thing I did was try a bit of a different blend : merino, cotton, flitter and fake cashmere.

Batts Merino/cotton/flitter/fake cashmere

I had less then 50gr of merino left over so wanted to experiment a little. I weighed about 50gr of cotton (bought in Turkey last summer) but I ended up using only half. The flitter and fake cashmere were died (flitter gold, cashmere purple) for a previous blend. I have still A LOT left over! Anyway, my carder is not specially for cotton so it was a bit strange. I first carded about half for the batt, removed it, carded it again and added more. I had 4 batts in the end. So I started spinning it on my Louet S45. I knew I wouldn't be able to spin a smooth yarn but that didn't bother me at all. And it's not really thin either, but I wasn't going to ply it anyway.

So I ended up with a nice skein of very nubby yarn! I filled to bobbin to its max. After skeining it I weighed it and it was only 70gr. It's about fingering to sport weight, but the cotton settled in nubs so it's thicker in some places. I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the result. I tried to take a picture of the skein before setting it (it was fairly overspun but it's my first time spinning cotton so I'm happy with it) but it was already getting dark so it's not a good picture :

Spun Merino/cotton/flitter/fake cashmere

Yeah, you can't really see the yarn, though you can see the colour-parts in it (both the cotton and merino were undyed, so the only colour you see is the flitter & cashmere). I'll try to take a better picture tomorrow.

This is the first "novelty" yarn I spun. I've been concentrating on spinning a nice evenly laceweight single to get a nice sock yarn. I would love to be able to spin a decent fingering weight 3-ply, and a very fine 2-ply (that's how I prefer my sock yarn, very fine). I'm getting better at it. But it's hard for me not to try to get that "perfection". This was a nice excercise and it was freeing! I'm going to do it more in the future! I just need to find a way to use this fiber. I was thinking of a small scarf with lacy holes to show the yarn better, but I'm not sure yet. I might just put it on display for a while!

Now after putting the cotton etc through the carder I carded the merino/mohair (I just ordered merino/mohair roving to dye and spin in the future as that'll give more colour options, or at least other options, as the carding gives a very equally dyed yarn). I seperated each roving in 8 equal parts, and then carded one part of merino with one part mohair. I split the yarns and put them through the carder, then took the roving off and put it through the carder again because I wanted a nice balanced yarn (not strips of mohair and strips of merino next to eachother). It's the first time I'm doing this and it's really neat! As I said, this gives an almost solid yarn with little changes in colour. It might be nice to use similar colours (instead of the same colours) and then blend them, but I'm not sure yet. I am going to experiment with this though, and also with merino/silk blends (I have that in roving, as you could see, and I love it, but I haven't carded it together myself just yet). Anyway, the result :

Carded Merino/Mohair

I swear these feel like clouds!! I'm so in love! I have about 200gr, and I'm going to try to spin a very fine laceweight single and make a fine fingering weight 2-ply, either for a lace scarf/shawl or for socks. I haven't started on this yarn yet, maybe tomorrow or on Friday.

As I said I just ordered merino/mohair and merino/tencel roving to play with in the future. These mixes aren't available here (in Europe I mean), or at least not through ebay (I don't know many other ways though). I can easily get merino, mohair, silk, etc in fiber so that's ok. I am going to experiment more with my carder in the near future. I am however not really eager on trying to card merino & tencel myself, as I think that won't be so easy. Let's just buy that roving, right? :D

At the moment I'm spinning some BFL from Hello Yarn. It's actually the first time I'm spinning this! :D It's not really as nice as the merino or even german wool I have here, but it's nice. The colours are gorgious! I want to try more yarns. Shouldn't be much of a problem as I am part of the Spunky Club and Amy seriously does send out a lot of nice rovings! But, back the the BFL. I've realized that pre-drafting is so important in spinning a nice, even yarn in a laceweight. So before I start spinning I spend about 30min pre-drafting. Most of my yarns become 2-ply sock weights, so I split the roving in 2. Then I start pre-drafting one half (depending on the yarn I will look at colour repeats if possible) and put the stuff in a small basket. And then I don't have to worry about it anymore while spinning. I used to pre-draft in between spinning but I lost a lot of rythm that way. This way is so much easier. This is how my basket looked this morning :

Predrafted BFL from Hello Yarn

Nice and fluffy! I spun the first bobbin and pre-drafted the rest of the roving for tomorrow. Hopefully I can finish then.

I think this is about it! I should get more used to writing here. I have so much to babble about. Once I get started I can easily write a whole story! But well, I'm not always motivated and well, I don't have stuff to show all the time.

By the way, sorry for babbling about my dog all the time now, hopefully it'll be more happy puppy talk soon, but I don't have high hopes.

** Edit : My sister went to our vet with her cat this evening and she asked about doggie. Vet said not to worry at all, it can take up to 70 days! 63 is the "norm", but we all know how that goes. If it's a small litter it can take long. Her behaviour of today can say though it won't take that long anymore. But we'll see. I've thought this a few times but there are no pups to see yet.**

Me needs sleep!

I would really LOVE to get some sleep right now. So why am I not going to bed now (is "ain't" correct in this sentence? After just reading Stephanie's post one would be scared to make spelling mistakes, even though I'm not a native English speaker - I'm a perfectionist - and not many people actually do read this blog) is simple : the dog still hasn't gotten her pups and so I have to stay awake. Well, If I don't she'll make sure I don't get much sleep. So I promissed the bf I would sleep on the couch as otherwise his nightrest is not so well either. Ok, that sentence really does sound weird (I'm getting paranoid here).

Anyway, I am hoping the doggie will decide on having her pups some time soonish, 'cause I can't take it much longer. I'm on sick leave for being over-exhausted and guess what ,I'm still not sleeping. :( I'm nervous about the whole thing taking so long too, and I'm a bit sad that more and more it's showing we will probably only have one or 2 pups (the longer it takes for a dog to give birth the smaller the litter, or so they told me).

Speaking about sick leave, I think I really, really don't like the new doctor I'm going to now. For a couple of reasons. I was already annoyed with him yesterday as he treated me less then friendly. Then he gave me medicine that kills me. One has a side-effect of giving you a "heavy/full stomach feeling" and the other one - which was supposed to make me tired - as the side effect to keep people up and I have both side effects. The stomach isn't fun at all, though it might help my diet. It does avoid me from doing sports though, it feels like I actually have that brick in my stomach (popular saying to name a Belgian person, as all Belgians like to own their own brick house! - which is ok as those bricks provide my yarn :D). The sleep thing, I'm not sure if it's the medicine or the dog. No clue when I'll find out either.

Different subject, back to the spelling thing. At work there's this annoying mother of a kid that keeps correcting my French (not good, need to improve a lot). Ok, I need to learn so the correcting isn't that bad, but it's the way she does it. She by the way is taking Dutch classes but only uses French to communicate with us.

But now, maybe knitting? I'm making good progress on Glee which is ok, but not so ok either. I really needed a breack from all the more complicated knitting I was doing. I'm doing fair isle, cables and lace (luckily all in different probjects) and I missed that easy stockinette project. For that "easy" part, but also to be able to watch something on tv! Though I do "watch tv" when I'm knitting I usually don't manage to actually watch and just listen. Often that's enough, but when there's a new episode of one of the programs I like I prefer something simple! Now if I keep going the way I am going I might be done with this soon. Not to bad, I think it's going to be a nice sweater to wear!

I'm also spinning again. I wanted to do that for a while now but never got anything started. I have a ton of roving in my stash but it's hard the choose. I'm afraid of messing up certain rovings. But again, I do need the practice or I won't get any better!!! :D I did try to find some Merino/tencel blend and Merino/mohair blend, undyed. Not easy for me, as with living oversea and all. I can get a lot of rovings in the UK, but not these blends I'm afraid.

Speaking of blends, I'm going to try my hand on blending with the carder once again. I'm not good at it, all my batts are far from ok. I could use some help, but again, my situation of living here isn't that great. I can card wool just fine, it's just the blending part that doesn't work that well. I'm going to try blending merino and mohair, 50/50. But mostly dark purples/black, so I can put the whole thing through a few times without messing up the colour.

Yep, I dyed again today. I'm really addicted to dyeing! I whish I could do more with it. Anyway, I never seem to be able to stop after what I wanted to do, so after dyeing the merino, mohair and some merino/silk roving, I als painted to skeins of superwash merino sock yarn and a skein of wool for Calorimetry . Lets hope it turns out ok, it was dark by the time I finished so I'll see the result tomorrow!

I think I'm going to spin some more!

** See what happens when I'm tired? I ramble and write complete nonsence! Sorry guys! Please don't run away, those few still out there! :D Just kidding **

Monday, February 26, 2007

Some FOs to show!

I'm home on sick leave again. :( Not fun. I hate being ill so often. 2007 doesn't seem to be pretty good healthwise. I still need to see the specialist about my hips and knee, but I'm scared. Well, I'll try to call tomorrow.

Anyway, when I went back to work after the breack for my hips I immidiately was blessed with an awful could, kindly given to me by one of the kids. It seems like not many kids are kept at home these days when they are ill and so the germs are freely flying around at my workplace. We see all kinds of kids so also all kinds of germs! (Me believes that in one classroom the germs are limited ...). Now it has been over 4 weeks and I hadn't recovered at all. I was dead tired from not sleeping well and my nose kept being shut. Plus I have been having big headaches. Friday I totally collapsed and even a weekend of relatively doing nothing didn't help. So I'm now on a bunch of meds. I am going to relax though!!!

No news on the dog front. She's supposed to have her pups today but she might hold them in a couple more days, as usual with smaller litters. Pff, I'm so nervous!

ok, I did manage to finish up a few things the last week, so here are the FO's!

First of all, finished early this week :

Anemoi Mittens

Pattern : Annemoi Mittens by Eunny Yang
Yarn : Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4ply in pink and brown
Needles: 2.5mm for cuff, 2.75mm for the rest
Started/finished : February 1st till February 20th, yay!!

I love these, they are lovely! The yarn is a bit to texturous for pattern but I still like it. I don't think I'll be able to wear them though as we seem to have landed in Spring over here :(.

Secondly, something that has been on the needles forever :

Bolero Jacket

Pattern : Bolero from Vintage Knits by Sarah Dallas
Yarn : Textiles De La Marque Soyeuse (60%wool, 40%silk) in black
Needles : 3.25mm and 3.75 mm, addi turbos
Started/Finished : I don't remember at all when I started it, but I finished it on Sunday (Febr. 27th, 2007).

I liked knitting this and the yarn is great though very splitty. I hope to have a modelled shot soon. I does feel like a bit big at the body, but that was before the blocking.

Lastly, I also finished this one :

Kureyon Scarf version 2

Pattern : Saartje Knits
Yarn : Noro Kureyon #159 2 balls
Needles : 4mm inox circ
Started/finished : no idea when started, finished this weekend (I think febr. 24)

This is going to be gifted to my friend if she likes it, the colours are a bit to bright for me!

I did start a few new projects. A lace scarf for my LYS, socks for the bf (who has been asking for a sweater but I'm refusing that one! :D) and I swatched for Glee from ZephyrStyle. I'm using yarn from Klaziens Kreatie (Shetland wolle) and I'm going to make a long sleeved version. I just don't know why I like this design so much, probably the simplicity. I don't have that body though so I hope it'll look ok on me.

Speaking about body, I'm trying to loose some weight. I might not do much this week, but I did start rope skipping at home and doing sit-ups and such, and I'm watching what I'm eating. I do need to loose 5kg, if possible even more. I just keep eating all the time and that's just not good!

More to tell about in the near future, but it's off to my knitting now!

Monday, February 19, 2007

It's been a while

I've been fairly busy, but mostly very tired from fighting of a cold. Still not getting rid of that one. it's getting very annoying. If it's not any better by Thursday I'm off to the doctor. Some colleagues just told me they used to battle colds all Winter long and never went to the doctor as they would just get some medicine and all. Honestly, I'm very tired of this whole cold thing and I don't care, I'm not going to keep this going till the end of the Winter. With the Belgian weather you can never really be sure when it's all going to end. Plus I want more energy again.

Schools are out this week but I am working. I don't have enough holidays to take every schoolbreak off, so I had to work. I'm not working for that long since being ill, so it's not that bad. But still, I'm ready for another break. I'm dealing with confusing feelings about my job right now, but I'll talk about that later.

It's a knitting blog, right? :D Well, I do have a little knitting to report about. First of all there are the socks I finished this month.

First there's the tiny baby socks I knitted for the piano-teacher of my sister :


They are knitted in Regia 4ply (the dark blue) and Pinguin sock yarn (light blue), they have a short heel and round toes. The thickness of the yarns is slichtly different which I found out when I switched the colours for the second sock. But they are cute and nobody will notice!

I'm happy I managed to finish up another pair of socks I started these ages ago!


They were originally for my Sockapalooza pal (in the last exchange) but I changed my mind and knitted another pair for my pal. I finished one sock of these and the ribbing of the second one, and that was it. They were in my knitting basket for ages! I decided to gift them to a friend and I wanted them ready by last Sunday (well, yesterday actually). Putting myself to it I finished the second sock in hardly 3 days, mostly train knitting! I still don't get why it took me so long. Anyway, they were finished on Friday, blocked on Saturday and gifted to a very happy recipient on Sunday!

The dark blue is Regia 4ply (same as the baby socks), the puple is a variegated yarn I died myself ages ago (even way before the socks were started!). I figured out the slip stitch pattern after seeing a picture of a vintage magazine (from Beehive). the sock was knitted on 2.5mm addi turbo needles over 64 stitches, short row heels, round (dutch) toes.

Another pair of socks went to the frogging pond :


This picture was taking just after starting the sock over, just before ripping it! This was the lacy knee sock I was designing but I wasn't happy with the design, so I ripped. I am in love with the yarn though (sock yarn by Hello Yarn) so I will use it again soon!

I also started my socks for project spectrum this month. As you might remember I was going to knit something fairisle (mostly socks) for every 2 months of Project Spectrum. It took me ages to work out this design and I already had to rip back some, but these are going to be knee socks :


I'll show another picture in a week or so when I have more, 'cause this was just after the ripping (I ripped about 8cm or so!). I'll tell you more about it then. It's totally my own design and I'm so happy about the way it's working out! I'm using white as the "second" colour, the main (background) colour is actually 3 shades of blue and one gray in a 3-3-3-1-3-3 repeat (does that make sence?). All the yarn is pure wool from a cone, handdyed. The darkest blue was bleeding on the white though so I cut the thread, skeined it and cooked it ones more with some vinigar. Hope it won't bleed, 'cause some of the white is now light blue (I'm wondering if it'll just wash out if I don't use hot water).

I'm really enjoying knitting this! I'm also working on my second Anemoi Mitt in Yorkshire Tweed 4ply (rowan) which is almost done. Then I want to start the Rowan Fair Isle sweater again (this one) and I want to start Eunny's Venezia Pullover! But I first need to finish the other stuff. I'm in the ban of fairisle though! We'll see how long it lasts.

There is so much out there I would like to knit! I have the new Rowan magazine and there are quite a few nice summer knits in there. Most are with cotton though which isn't my favourite to knit with, but I can use sweaters all year round. I'm always cold and the Belgian weather isn't to be relied on. I mean, 2006 was hot, but only July was, August was one poor month. So either I replace the cotton with wool or a wool/cotton blend, or one of those new bamboo/seaweed yarns. I don't know yet. I hear a lot of positive of some of the cottons of Rowan.

I am very proud of myself so far for not buying yarn and finishing old projects!! Well, I have this bollero from Vintage Knits that is almost finished, but I needed to knit a long 7 stitch ribbon (of about 2m), K1P1, and I got so bored I stopped knitting it. I think I have about 1/4 left of that to knit, sew in the sleeves and sew on the band, and it's finished. But I am not getting it done! Stupid.

Oh, and I did start another project. I got some Rowan Cork in black on sale, 3 balls to be exact, and I want to knit a scarf out of it. I miss having a black scarf in my "collection" to wear daily. It's often something that goes nicely with my clothes. I am using this free pattern from Hello Yarn, but I'm not sure about it. I wanted to rip the whole thing but I'm going to keep knitting for a while and see where I get. The yarn is really nice but it bleeds a lot! My hands are always black from knitting with it!

I'll leave it for now, but I have more to write about! :D