Saturday, 20 April 2013

Celestarium

All my materials for the Celestarium shawl arrived this week so this morning I settled down on the sofa and cast on.  The circular cast on gave me some trouble (I found a helpful video here) but I figured it out in the end.  There are pages and pages of charts, which get longer as the circular shawl is knit outwards from the center.  I'm on the 'D' charts at the moment; Ursa Minor is complete and other constellations are emerging.  


I'm using Blacker Classic 4-ply yarn in navy, which is a British yarn spun from Blue Faced Leicester fleece blended with Lleyn or Charolais fleece.  I havn't knit with pure wool for ages and this is reminding me how good it feels to work with.  After this I may be a bit spoilt!

I think I'm going to enjoy making it, although it's a high attention project; certainly not the mindless knitting I've got used to doing.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Home brew,socks and a heavenly shawl

Hello, it's been awhile since I last posted; what have I been doing?  Lots of bits and pieces!  I spent the Easter weekend visiting my Mum and Dad back in Stoke and saw a friend for a couple of hours too.  She has a baby and a toddler and works full time (phew!) so it can be hard to have a good long chat on the phone, and living 90 miles apart means we don't see each other much, but she's visiting in May and I'm looking forward to it.  I'm planning on being a tourist in Leeds for the day and going to the museum, art gallery and other great free places in the city, and of course we'll be chattering at high speed all the while.

I've racked off one batch of home brew twice to try and get as much sediment out as possible, and now it's in the cellar to clear further as putting it in a cold place helps the process.  The Vimto wine had a good, long ferment, smells sweet and alcoholic and now I've added a campden pill and will be racking it into another demi john to start clearing in the next day or two.  I started another batch of grape juice wine last week and it's fermenting madly in the warm Home Brew Corner near the radiator.  The last batch of wine we made from supermarket grape juice came out at 13% abv; not bad for about £1.30 a bottle!

I've been on a sock knitting binge since mid March as my sock stock was sadly holey and depleted   I've finished one pair, knit one pair and am half way through another.  I'll have to post a photo of the ones I'm working on now because they're made from left overs from all the other socks I've knit over the years and I like how they're turning out.  

However I've put socks aside for now as I'm trying to finish some outstanding projects to make way for something new.  I've splashed some cash on yarn, pattern, needles and notions for Celestarium, a shawl that accurately depicts the view of the night sky from the North Pole, using yarn overs (deliberately placed holes) and small, silvery beads.



It's a long time since I've knit anything so demanding (you should see the charts!) and I nearly chickened out, but I really want it and I want to challenge myself with my knitting again.  I used to take on lots of pattens I wasn't confident about so I could learn something new, but I've become lazy and tend to stick to making variations of the same things.  A friend I met at the Leeds knitting group is planning on making it too so we'll be having a bit of a knit along.

Other than home brewing, sock knitting and blowing my budget on yarn I've been getting into my astrology course and reading a lot for it.  My Dad gave me an old book he had about Mind Mapping and it's helped me to get a handle on the course material and start taking it in and fitting it together.  I'm going to have to pay for an extension on the course as I'm so far behind, but now I feel confident that I can complete it.  Mind Mapping has been a massive help but as it's something I'm still practicing I'll wait and give over a full post to the subject later, because it's a useful tool to have.

I've also started writing a book but I'm too shy to talk about it yet!  It's aimed at 8 to 12 year olds and writing it is entertaining me.  Through it I'm learning about plot and characterisation etc and it's led me to read lots of contemporary children's books to get an idea of tone, style, length and so on.  Some of the books have blown me away and, in particular, 'Moon Pie' by Simon Mason is one of the best books I've read in months.

Well writing this post has sparked off ideas for things I really want to share with you, so I'll jot them down somewhere and write about them soon.

Tata,

Laura