Hello! This, unbelievably, is the first non-book-review post of the year.
Mostly, this has been due to the usual time-of-year-kicking-me-in-the-head thing; I've also ended up doing some work at home and some earlier mornings/longer days at work; and transport has been a bit terrible too.
I think the low point this year came on the week beginning February 6, when I spent 25 hours just getting to work and back (normally my week is extreme by some people's reckoning at around 17.5 hours just travelling) and then, as the kicker on the Saturday, failing completely to get to Kew Gardens for a wander about and Cake Crawl with some lovely knitters. Standing on a station for 45 mins in -13C (Ely; frozen points) has given me a greater appreciation of Arctic/Antarctic explorers; in terms of confirming my belief in their total insanity.
So, anyway; I've been maundering away feeling knackered thinking "nobody's going to be interested in my boring life; I've done nothing..." And that might be true; but this evening I, and the rest of the carriage, spent 45 minutes being treated to a woman directing her husband around Iceland. Enthusiastically; and extraordinarily loudly. Which would have been really interesting if she were talking about the country, rather than the frozen food shop. Unfortunately, it turns out Mum couldn't get to Iceland so she was going to send Dad round on a string. "Well, yes, chili chicken bits, but ARE THEY BREADED, TONY? ARE THEY BREADED?"
This set me a somewhat lower bar.
So; I got a loom for Christmas! A 24" Ashford rigid heddle loom, to be specific. It's a lovely beast. I loved it first because it involved the application of wax, a lot of self-assembly, and a wonderfully-constructed set of parts packed by someone from a company which feels confident enough in its workers and training that it gives each packer a business card with "Proudly packed by" on it. I've assembled an Ashford wheel, done bits for an Ashford carder, and now the loom - everything works wonderfully.
While I was waiting for the wax to dry on December 28, I opened my Christmas presents from friends (hadn't had time before I set off to my parents') and had two lovely skeins of sari silk from my friend Chai in Toronto; looking at the colours and the sheen, I wondered about weaving it...
So, this is what I got for my first project;
Warp was a purple bamboo yarn I'd bought to make a hat without realising that actually bamboo + hat probably means cold head. The weft was partly the sari silk and partly remnants of some lovely charcoal grey Jaeger Extra Fine Merino in charcoal. Here's the thing on the table. It's shorter than I was hoping, but taught me a valuable lesson about how much yarn you waste in the weaving process. And it still looks nice on the table...
With Chai (and her February birthday) still in mind, I decided to make a houndstooth check scarf from slightly thicker yarn in two different textures, and that worked out pretty well, too - this is the detail view on the loom
and this is what it looked like after washing
Warping with a yarn with so much angora was probably silly; it took ages; but I did love the final fabric...
And to come full circle; I warped up again the day I couldn't get to Kew. I'm sure Tina is responsible for the amount of red in this project, but it also reflects the amount of red/orange sock leftovers I had kicking about.
I'm still weaving this one, and enjoying it, although finding it more difficult to get the edges straight with the finer yarn...