Have you ever caught a virus from a child? They're evil mutant diseases that take hold, and don't let go for ever and ever a good couple of weeks. Recently, I caught bronchitis from the kids. Two weeks of a deliciously mucusy hacking cough that puts so much pressure on your head, your eyes feel like exploding. I've spent a lot of time sleeping - coupled with eye strain, that meant very little time spent on spinning. The fifteen minutes of daily spinning I looked forward to began to feel like a chore. I slowed right down - instead of managing four or five batt strips in that quarter hour, I was only halfway through the second when the timer beeped. I was picking up the spindle with a sigh, rather than a smile. It made me sad that I didn't even look forward to my favourite activity anymore. I'd been working on Hen for a long time - my only current spinning project. Maybe putting Hen aside, and starting something new in the meantime would pick me up?

I dusted off one of my Secret Smorgling boxes from Nunoco and got to work. I chose the pink/green one (mostly because I'd be stripping the batts from the comfort of my bed, and the blue one has a lot of sparkly threads that I didn't want stuck to my bedsheets...) and started to separate the fibres according to colour. The Bilberry Zest batt was split into greens and purples, the batt dropping into pinks, greens and yellows. Dogwood was perfect for transitioning between green and purple, and Potion between purples and yellow/orange. Gooseberry Fool slotted nicely into the greens, Autumn Sky and Shadow fit in well with the light purples and lilacs towards the end. The mixed merino packs were split up and placed to keep the colour transitions going. I ended up with a gradient from pink to green to purple to orange to pinky/yellow and finally to lilac. Generally, I'm "free-spinning" - letting the fibre choose the thickness and seeing how things turn out. So far, there's no other way to call it but bastard-fine. It will make for a lovely chain-ply to preserve the gradient.

Also, I've been taking part in the Mystery Hat Swap from Buckaloo View - I've been busily stitching away on a slouchy mustard hat that's about halfway done, so far. I'm using 100% superwash new wool (I must find the label), and I love the crisp stitch definition. I've had a bit of a problem with laddering where the DPNs meet - they're holding a lot of stitches and it seems like the gap is much bigger than it should be. Needles 1, 2, 3 are holding the stitches, needle 4 is knitting. I've been "rotating" the needles, knitting a couple of stitches from 1 to 2, 2 to 3, before using 4 again. It seems to be working thus far, and I'm really happy with how it's turning out. I have until 25th February to finish, so plenty of time to make sure it's perfect!

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