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Sunday, 30 November 2014

New Toy

Oh dear!  It looks as though I'm becoming as bad as Eric with his guitars!  Look what arrived during the week :-

Yep, it's another spinning wheel!  I've had my eye on this wheel for quite a while, but waited until my private pension paid out a nice little lump sum (yeah, showing my age here) before I ordered it.  It was sent direct from the manufacturer in New Zealand, but unfortunately didn't survive the journey totally unscathed.

Those are scratches, some of them quite deep.  I have to admit to being a little bit disappointed, but not really worried because I knew the nice people at Majacraft would sort out the problem for me.  I sent an e-mail with photos of the damage and they immediately replied saying they would send a replacement part.  This may take a few weeks to arrive, and I decided I couldn't wait that long to try out my new wheel, so yesterday afternoon I set all the pieces out and started the rather daunting (to me, not being very technical) task of putting it together correctly.

A not-very-flattering photo of the workman!
After a few hitches and confusions (and a bit of help from The Resident Engineer!), it was finally finished:-

Ta Da!!!  My new Majacraft Aura, and what a pretty girl she is!  They've used beautiful wood for her construction - New Zealand Rimu - and every bit is fastidiously finished to a high quality.

So, now to play.  I'd read on Ravelry on the Majacraft Owners site that this probably wasn't going to be an easy wheel to get used to because of it's very different and complex tensioning systems.  Well, they were right.  After spending a frustrating couple of hours trying different tensioning possibilities, The Resident Engineer got involved again.  Another couple of hours of him tweaking, removing bits, putting them back and altering the whole set up, and I finally managed to make some progress.

Not the best yarn I've ever spun, but it's a start.  And today's Sunday so I can play some more!

I'm just a bit worried about these though . . .


Tuesday, 25 November 2014


Remember this grubby looking character?


Amazingly, he just turned into a Dragonfly!  Well, a Dragonfly Wings by Boo Knits to be exact.  The fleece was taken from his very first shearing - his cria fleece - and spun with some charcoal bamboo and a bit of sparkle to make this yarn :-

140g, 375 yds, 14 wpi

My camera won't pick up the sparkle for some reason - maybe the light was wrong.

I'd been wanting to make one of these since seeing a Ravelry friend's version, Fran's Chamomile Wings, and thought this yarn would be quite stunning.  You can check out Fran's whole experience on her blog here.

The pattern was very easy - very easy - so why did I make so many mistakes?  It was laid out row by row and at the end of each row the designer had noted the number of stitches you should have.  So why didn't I?  I was usually just one stitch out, but that one stitch would have ruined the whole thing, especially when I got to the lace section.  It ended up taking me five evenings to complete and I think I must have wasted about half of that time unpicking rows and re-knitting them.  Carelessness and not enough attention to detail were probably the reason, and tiredness (it did get quite late some nights) my excuse.

Anyway, here it is, and I'm really pleased with it.

Again, the peacock green flash angelina that I used, doesn't show up at all, so I took a few close up shots and think you may just be able to see it.

I didn't use a lot, but I think it just makes this shawlette a bit more special.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Green Cotton

At last!!!  My first green cotton boll has opened.  I've been checking them every day in the greenhouse, sometimes twice, to see if any were showing signs of opening, but until today there was never any indication that they might start to ripen.  This is from one of the first two flowers, so it makes sense that it should be the first, but actually there are much fatter bolls than this so I was never sure which one would win.

I suspect the one on the right may be next as that is from the other of the first flowers. The cotton is still a bit damp and hard-looking, but I think it will fluff up with a bit of warm sun.

You can see that it's definitely green inside.  Apparently, once it's spun and boiled, the colour deepens.  Hope I get enough cotton to try that!

The sun is much lower in the sky now, and early morning/late afternoon the greenhouse isn't getting much in the way of sunshine.  Also, for part of the day, the greenhouse is shaded by a large oak tree at the edge of the garden.  So, today I moved this pot outside (it's a gorgeous sunny day today) and put it in a place where it will be in full sun all day. Hopefully it will help the cotton dry out and fluff up, and may encourage others to open. I'll put it back inside for the night time.

A few sunny shots, but I think the colour shows up better in the top two photos.