Wednesday, 30 November 2011

WIP Wednesday and a little Yarn Along to boot!

First off, welcome to any new readers today!

I don't take part in Yarn Along often, as I usually forget to mention what I'm reading!  For the last few weeks, in bed, I've been reading A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin.  I'm a bit late to this series, as with most series, but it's pretty good so far, if not rather huge!  I'm only half way through the second book, and I think after this one I am ready for a break for a while and read something a bit more light-hearted.  During the day reading I have Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and her husband Jon Halliday and How Not to F*** Them Up by Oliver James.
I have read Mao before.  A few times actually.  I first heard of Jung Chang when Wild Swans was recommended to me by a friend, years ago now.  At that time I was in the middle of a great Communist China obsession - I couldn't get enough of Chinese modern history, and Wild Swans was one of the best personal stories of that time I had read.
When I was in Melbourne a few years later, and found out Jung Chang and Jon Halliday were doing a reading for their book on Mao Zedong, I had to go.  Hearing her speak about her experiences both in the distant past and near past (for the writing of Mao) was something I never believed I would ever have the privilege of doing.

If you have a love of history, I would urge you to read Wild Swans and Mao.  Even if you don't have a love of history, Wild Swans is still a heartbreaking story and is still one of the few books I recommend to everyone!

Now for the yarny portion of today!

I cast on Have You Made a Jumper Yet? on Monday.  I've been wanting to cast-on for a while, and this is the first pattern from A Stitch in Time I am doing!
So far, so good.  Though it's hard to go wrong with stockinette!  I'm using Knit Picks Palette, and hopefully it'll look ok!  I'm a quarter the way through the main body (which is knit in one piece), so it shouldn't take too long, and hopefully by the time I've finished the knitting portion I'll be ready to rock the crochet portions!

This pile of yarn barf will be a scarf one day, when my crochet mojo returns!  It is a kit I bought while at Ally Pally, from Toft Alpaca.  The pattern isn't on Ravelry yet, but it is on their website.
Yarn is Toft Alpaca something (4ply?  does that sound right?), and it is really really nice to work with.  It doesn't have the squishy feel of most alpaca yarns I've used, but it should have awesome stitch definition if it was knitted.

And if course, Shapeshifter is inching along slowly.  I'm about 9" off the finish line now!
The yarn is Araucania Nature Wool Multy, but I cannot remember the colourway (I'm on a roll with the fine details today).  This picture is blowing out some of the colours, as it is quite a bit warmer than the photo shows.
I have also been doing some spinning this week, currently the single sits at 24wpi, so I really need to practice getting it a bit thicker!  I'm pretty pleased with it, since it's only my third attempt at creating yarn!  It's not hugely even throughout, but just because I was being silly and trying different methods (long draw vs short draw - love long draw, but need to get better at it!).  The fibre is a Jacob top I bought a couple of months ago on sale, I love it!  It's a kind of grey/brown colour, but I also have it in black which will look divine!

So that's it for today - I am off to regain some control of my house which is being over-run by books, paper and trains!  Be sure to pop over to Ginnys for her usual Yarn Along, and to Tamis for other WIP Wednesdays.

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