Brainiac and OMG AKC

G'day all!

So much happening here yet so little. You don't need to know how many more fleeces I've washed since we got back (only three or four). I'm not totally happy with the new wool scour - the guild's supplier of wool scour says they are not making it any more but here use this rancid smelling yellow stuff that is much thinner. I worked out one possible reason why I am not happy with the new scour:

See those spots? Each of those is a pH test. From bottom right we have our normal laundry powder, one brand of wool wash, two spots of the old wool scour, another brand of wool wash and the new wool scour. The old wool scour has spots of bright purple in it (which is contamination from the powder I am fairly certain - I had some on my hands) but is mostly green. The other detergents are a lovely royal purple - about as alkaline as it gets. The green spots mean about pH6.

I suspect the old scour was hair shampoo - it smelt ok and had a certain shampooey-gloopiness to it. The new one is a runny industrial cleaner as far as I can tell.

What am I doing about it? Emailing some companies to see if they can supply something that is like the old scour. I don't like the new scour. The fleeces feel quite dry and the tips are very brittle. I only had that occur with the old scour if I then dyed up washed fleece.

So why am I a brainiac today? Cos I brained myself! I bent over to pick up my dirty clothes in the shower at Monash and forgot about the hand drier right above my head. Ooof! Gosh it hurt some! I didn't see stars - I didn't whack my occipital area, just frontal cortex, nicely in front of the motor cortex of my right side. I rubbed it frantically, hoping no blood would come out. I am not good with blood, my own in particular (though I can do surgery on sheep, go figure!) and if blood had gushed out I probably would've fainted (and cracked my head again). No blood but I have a nice egg on my head. I had to bus and train home cos I couldn't put my helmet on. LOL At least the nice cleaning effects of my first shower in a week were not undone by having to ride.

Speaking of showers, do you like our shower as it was a week ago

and our new open plan shower?


So it seems I will be using buckets of water in the bath for some time to come, unless I ride to Monash.

Anyway, I was going to put some AKC up - Actual Knitting Content! Hooray!

Nathan's new sock in burnt sugar wildfoot:

He has to try it on before I can go much further - I hope the foot is the right length.

A hat and scarf completed in Colorado (almost). (excuse the pink concrete - the camera wanted to make the colours very blue and they still are not accurate.) I knitted a lot of the hat on the drive around Estes park and through Boulder. Do you like the gauge on the scarf? That is the gauge you get from my index fingers! Since knitters (and anyone else) on planes coming out of Australia are banned from carrying knitting needles, I used my fingers. People were fascinated. It is all yarn I spun up in a wild frenzy and dyed. It was a surprise to pull it out of my bag once we were off the plane - it is really very very bright but the lighting on the plane is dim and it looked quite subtle.

I would show you the fingerless mitts I finished off (and wore on that last day when it was f-f-f-f-freezing!) but I can't find them. Helpful, not!

The pink bellflower sock continues! It is now two repeats past the heel turn. Plus I find if I ever write up the pattern, it can have a not quite matching hat! (But I'd leave off the ruffles)

Just like the exquisitely slow progress on the bellflower sock, I have little progress to show on the Jitterbug sock. I love the yarn and the idea of what I am trying to do but I had to return the book with the pattern in it to the library and now have to make it up out of my head entirely, not just mostly, and my head hurts! Plus I had to do the heel about three times cos I stuffed the pattern on it up. Argh!

My New Obsession:

A big shapeless Thing. With a big hole in it (there's actually two big holes in it and hundreds of little holes too). In pretty colours. With a socks that rock keyring as a stitch marker.

Ages ago, I fell in love with a subtle colourway called waterlilies in some merino tops dyed by a local fibre artist. This is before I started playing with dyes myself. So I bought a bit and spun it up and plied it with some pale green plain merino. Then I bought some more and some more and plied the last batch with some mauve merino plus purple silk. I ended up with about 800m of yarn that varied between a sportweight/5 ply to almost worsted/aran weight. For ages I thought I would make a shawl with it.

On the weekend, I was looking at the yarn wondering if I should sell it. But then I remembered a pattern that has fascinated me for a while, and another that sparked more interest. So I looked at how the garments were constructed and boldly set out on my own version of things. So far so good, but I have to move the arm holes out some. Plus I have to do a different edging to either of the published patterns cos I want it a bit more ruffled. I am not entirely sure that I will manage to get sleeves out of the yarn I have either. We'll see.

Anyway it is fun pretty much making up the pattern as I go along. You can't see it well yet cos it just looks like a bunched up pile of knitting. There's over 500 stitches on the needles now I think. That is a lot of stitches - more than pretty much anything I've ever made (why no, none of the wraps I have made or have waiting to be completed have had that many stitches). I expect there will be more stitches soon as I plan to increase it some more, and then more again. I also expect that the casting off will be extremely boring, particularly since I may well do it a fancy way, not the quickest way I can. I hope to get it finished by the end of the week whilst my interest levels are high and my poor fingies not scoured of their fingerprints - the yarn is very very soft but after handling it for around four hours a day, my skin is very dry (that may be something to do with washing fleece even though I usually use gloves).

Can you believe that on the day of his interview at HP, my darling husband had to wear a ROPE as a belt? (A rope supplied by his new boss, no less.) He had forgotten his belt you see. We went out and bought him a new belt that evening.

Voila! (Back off girls and boys, he's mine!)



  1. That must have been some egg on your head if you couldn't get your helmet on!!! Nice knitting, especially the scarf!! And the socks look great. Nice belt for Nathan!!! I hate the way that manufacturers change a perfectly good product, or just stop making it. It needs to stop!!!

  2. Ouch - hope your head is feeling better!

    Wow, you've really gone sock crazy. Good luck with the spiral-style sweater! And I LOVE that you did a pH test to find out what's up with the new scour. Something so alkaline is suspicious and not good!

  3. Ouch!!

    We have this stuff in the states called Orvus Paste that's actually for shampooing animals - it's basically straight shampoo and comes in a gallon jug for about $20. It's what I use for wool wash, since it does the job and has no scent. I wonder if it's similar to the old woolwash you used to get?

  4. I hope your head is healing!

    All those WIP look fantastic! The Wildfoote socks are knitting up much differently than I had imagined, but I really like them! Are you liking the yarn?

  5. Wow - how on earth do you manage to fit everything in? Great travel log and fab photos as usual. DH has allowed me access to the pc for an hour to catch up and I've gotten no further than your blog! Glad to hear you get April Showers as well - it does make the thought of Autumn arriving in Oz a little easier! Lovely socks and a great haul from the US. Glad to hear it all went well and wasn't too intimidating, you sound like you took to it all like a duck to water! And what a lovely looking area it seems as well! Fingers crossed for those visas now!

  6. Carmel Hanna taught me to use Morning Fresh dishwashing liquid to scour fleece and it's the only thing I have ever used. It is fragrenced, of course, but there are several and you could probably find oneyou could tolerate. It is ph neatral, I think, and has worked well with the ancient stored greasy fleeces I inherited. Not that I have used it for a while, haven't spun at all for at least twelve months!

    Sent a friend off back to the UK last year with a belt made from a long strip of red taffeta left over from making Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle masks - amazing what can hold up pants when necessary!

  7. Duh read you last post first so I can now see that the jacket you are making is the same one I have in mind. I love the colour of your yarn and it does sound lovely and soft.
    Great piccies of your WIP love the belleflowe sock
    Intersting seeing how scouring using differnt products work out.
    I use dishwashing liquid to scour my fleece & any make I happen to have in !! maybe I shall try other stuff as an experiment
    Oh and I am glad your 'egg head' is on the mend :)Ouch it sounded painful !!


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