Monday 28 April 2014

Wonderwool 2014

AKA, the one where I bought All The Yarn.

Yes, Wonderwool has been and gone again, already. We stayed in the same bunkhouse, I slept in the same bed, we had dessert for breakfast on Sunday again, it rained again, I bought too much yarn....again.

It's always so obvious what my favourite colour is at times like this.

Clockwise from the top left - with intended project, because I realised this weekend how much I enjoy coming back and looking at what I had in mind years later when the yarn has become something else entirely:

  • Roving - 400g; I intend to make some thrummed slippers with the final leftovers of the Debbie Bliss Maya
  • Huge cone of purple 8 ply cotton - I intend to make a hexapetal t-shirt from it, I think
  • Blue C4 linen (one of two cones) and coral C4 linen from Texere - after my success with the cone of pink last year I decided I would partake of their bulk discount. There are lots of suitable  patterns in the spring Knitscene for this year and I think an Oud Tank might be nice worked in blue with coral detailing, if I can convert the pattern from worsted to 4-ply. 
  • Louise Harding Colline, five skeins - No idea. It's a cotton/alpaca blend. I said I wanted worsted weight in jumper quantities - here 'tis. I found this on a sale table right after we arrived on Sunday morning. Sunday was a much better day for me - way quieter. 
  • fivemoons Nanna Not Sock - BFL and silk blend that I just kept coming back to and so had to buy when it was still there on the Sunday at luncthime. A nice shawl from Victorian Lace Today, I think - possibly for Mother Hand.
  • Freyalyn blue tweed sock yarn - I love this colour. Yarn Garden had almost this exact shade in a worsted tweed and I reeeeeally wanted it but it was a bit spendy to buy a jumper's worth, even for me. I'll settle for the socks for this year. 
  • Artesano BFL DK, eleven skeins - another bargain that I found on Sunday morning and then came back for. Love this navy. I am thinking some kind of v-neck with maybe some subtle cabling on the ribbing. 
  • Laalbear Naturals in cream, ten skeins - to go with the leftover brown from last year. I am tempted to knit a Telluride in it and then use the leftovers to attempt a jumper based on an Escher picture I have been thinking about for years. 
  • fivemoons Luna Merino DK, five skeins - I saw this on my first pass on Saturday morning but refused to allow myself to buy - it was my biggest splurge by a long way. Time ticked on. I visited it again - it was still all there. By 1pm I was making my way back and feeling very nervous at the prospect of some of it having been sold, so I bit the bullet and went for it. The chap remembered me the next day when I came back for the Nanna Not Sock - "Didn't you buy a load yesterday?" he queried. I should have said I'd knitted it all up already. I want it to be a glorious jumper of soft lusciousness. Worthy pattern not yet found. 
  • Knitwitches Seriously Gorgeous BFL/Silk/Cashmere, four skeins - enough for a Milou sweater. A sale bin purchase within ten minutes of the show opening. 
  • Knitwitches aran silk - another sale bin purchase, handed to me by Jenny. It was meant to replace the skein I bought last year and lost on the ski trip. It will probably become a cowl with the three abalone buttons that you can see below.

In that replacing-the-lost vein, I also bought a new Karbonz sock circular to replace the one I lost. So, it was sod's law that when I checked my email on the Saturday night, the other school had emailed to let me know they had my knitting bag in their lost property. Hurrah! But if I'd known that was all it took to get it to turn up I would have ordered the new needle two weeks ago.

What else? A copy of the new Interweave, and a full set of Chiaogoo Twist Red Lace Interchangables that I have been coveting for months. Mr Z said he would fund them for me for my birthday. I quite like that, because he bought me my Knitpicks Harmony set for Christmas a few years ago when I started getting into knitting; so it feels fitting that he should buy the next set. Purlescence had a Wonderwool special - three extra sets of tips - so it was deifnitely worth it.

And the buttons, of course! There are always buttons. I was relatively restrained this time, though.

I only just realised that I might have had a bit of a thing for squares this year.

Definitely my biggest haul by a long way; perusing stashes from previous shows makes me realise that I pushed the boat a LONG way out this year. I think I was over-excited about the fact that I have knitted up almost everything from last year and that encouraged me to buy what I liked. And I liked a lot of things.

I left exhausted and excited to get home and gloat over all my new things, and so wasn't really thinking when I drove FORWARD out of my car parking space instead of reversing, and consequently got stuck in the mud. Poor Claire, who was sharing my car, had to help me push the Gingemobile out of its ruts and even got sprayed with mud when I tried to rev it free. In the end we resorted to brute strength and shoving, sliding in the mud, in the driving rain, until it was free. Eventful. Remind me to reverse next year.

Monday 21 April 2014

Weekend WIP

I sulked for a few days about my missing knitting (stop press: the teacher from the other school thinks he *might* have it in his office at work...I'm on tenterhooks) and so didn't have anything very knitting-group-appropriate OTNs at the start of the weekend. Then I had to get up early and wait for the proofs of the book rewrites to be delivered... an aside, I as SUPER excited to get the first set of proofs of the first edition through and capered a lot. Now the proofs come through and I just look at them and think, ugh, more work I don't have time to do. Jaded already....

...and so I picked up the black lace scarf I started for Parpy Jo last year and got so into it that, even though the proofs arrived at 9am and I had a new, easy pattern on the iPad to take for casting on at Knatterers I stayed at home and worked on that instead. And then carried on for the rest of the weekend.

The pattern specifies 48 repeats for a 60 inch scarf, but this thing is 42 repeats and already at 55 inches with no border, and that's only with crap blocking for the picture. I am considering guillotining it now and getting started on the border. Really though, it's because I've long since memorised the pattern (it's only a 6 stitch repeat over 4 RS rows) and knitting black lace on dark wooden needles requires my spotlight to be on even when it's sunny outside (I kid you not) and I don't know if I can face six more repeats. Maybe with a good film I've seen half a dozen times that does not require much focus. I don't think 6 repeats would take me much longer than a decent film to complete.

I quite like the pattern, although the yarn isn't great. It's Zitron Filigran and the ball got itself tangled up, and then when I tried to rewind it, it had thin bits and kept breaking. I wonder whether maybe it was wound overly tightly but I can't understand how that might have happened. Luckily it spit splices back together really easily. I am hoping it will bloom a bit when I block. It's not as nice as the Malabrigo Lace, but I remember that black version of that being too charcoal for my liking.

The Update

I concluded at the end of last year that my absenteeism in the spring was largely to blame for the struggle I had to get to my intended post count by the end of the year. Yet, even armed with this knowledge, I have been absent for the past over-a-month. I had been concerned that something horrible was going to happen workwise in March, as it has for the previous three years; but actually, nothing did. I just became astonishingly busy.

I've had two job interviews; both were unsuccessful but I caught myself at the second one wondering why I was applying for jobs which would pay me the same money for taking on a load more responsibility. I am still pondering this. It's difficult: I feel like I need a careers adviser. If I get more book-writing to do it will reach its zenith around this time next year and I don't want to be doing that at the same time as managing my first exam series as a head of department. I have just completed lucky ski trip number 7 and can't wait to do it all again next year. I have yet to find a school with students as nice as mine (I know, I know, it's relative). But, I fear if I don't move on soon I will be there forever. I mean, it's been over a decade.

I've done a couple of wildly successful exam-busting days, in the north and the Smoke, which I really enjoyed. I'd like to do more like that, really.

I've been observed as part of the History observation week; I didn't get the email the day before and so it was entirely unexpected, and therefore terrifying. Sweat. So much sweat. Luckily it was just about my favourite class and at the end I was awarded my first undisputed Outstanding (in the past I've had a grade 1 from one observer that the other disagreed with) so that was nice. My observer told me the lesson made her feel inadequate as a human being...I wonder if I can put that on my CV?

I went skiing, of course. Pictures and a write up of that to follow. I had another weekend away at a teaching conference, too. Learned some fascinating science stuff about the teenaged brain.

I've also been popping down to Portsmouth a bit more as Mother Hand is down in the dumps again and requiring a lot of encouragement to get herself back on track. This has been ongoing since last half term and has been taking up a lot of my time.

And knitting? Well, yes, there has been some, but it all counts for nothing because most of the fruits of my labours got left somewhere between Austria and home. I am almost certain I put it on the coach and I didn't touch it between the hotel and home but the coach company can't find it. The hotel isn't replying to emails. This leaves our partner school, who might have collected it from the overhead locker. If not, my juicy watermelon socks and my bright silk hat are both consigned to be UFOs until the end of time. Quite sad really, but there you go: no sense dwelling on it. There is always more to knit, especially with Wonderwool coming up next weekend.

I'd turned the heels and everything - AND there was a line missing from the pattern so I had to email the designer. 

Spring has definitely sprung and it's 100 days exactly until my long Italian summer holiday with Tutt. That doesn't seem like very long to cram in all the things I need to do first.

It's nice to spend some time admiring the flowers, though.