Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not alot!

I don't have alot of great pics to share unfortunately. Things have been uber busy here though, my family came to visit for a week, I've registered for school, I'm up at 4:30 because of the dog...hurrah!

I've been knitting like mad and never seem to get anything finished. I'm working on Nadine, the sweater from hell for what seems like years and continually fail to get it right on putting together the finished pieces. I am taking out a side panel for the FIFTH time beecause I can't get it right. Me. Not the yarn (although that was the culprit the first 3 times). We sidestepped that by substituting sock yarn in a matching color and then I very neatly assembled the panel..upside down. Here I went again, picking out nearly 90 stitches of Kitchener and cursing like mad. This last time, it's just puckered and I can tell I didn't pick up stitches as neatly as I could have, hence go round #5.

I've done a few preemie caps, have a dog snuggie on the needles, did a couple of crocheted gnomes..Mostly I've been spinning. The spinning goddess smiled upon me and allowed me nearly a laceweight in a merino, something before unattainable for me..yay! I am plying it with a fine, sparkly thread and it's lovely. Rather it was before it began falling apart because I failed to give it enough twist to begin with. ARGH. I re-spun it and this time it seems to be holding its own much as I'm holding my breath every time I sit down to ply a few more yards. It truly is lovely if I can just finish it before spinning guild tomorrow.

Thats my news, not much at all.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I've been knitting on my first baby sweater ever for my friend Christy's baby shower last week. I knit Bamboozle in Caron's simply soft shadows, dark blue and I love the way it turned out. Hate moss stitch with a purple passion though, just FYI.

I just haven't taken alot of pictures of other blog-worthy stuff although I'll look and see if anything is worth viewing here:

Jack and Sarah in the pool last week..Sarah isn't so sure about this although Jack Russell's are supposed to love swimming...

I finished painting the master bedroom. As you can see the walls were sort of mud green/gray previously and I think the golden yellow is the bomb. The one wall with the door is now a very dark maroon and the whole room looks so much better!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

It's been a good holiday weekend for me - Saturday was the Middle TN Fiber Festival in Dickson, TN and my friend Nichol drove us both over there for the day. I watched shearing:

And tried new wheels:

And bought fiber (sorry, no pics of that yet)

Then today I continued on the wash the wool program after spinning up a lovely bobbin of it this morning:

The washing is gross, people. The water is gross, the slimy feeling is gross and I'm damn glad to have it to do regardless, this wool is BEAUTIFUL!

I'm fortunate that my other friend Mary has lent me her hand carders for the weekend so here's my little bundles of wool, ready to spin.

I'd like to be ambitious and say I want to get a sweater out of this fleece but the reality is that I'll probably get a great purse/tote and some other smaller items. I'm not spinning well enough yet to produce sweater yarn, I don't think.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Social Networking

Is Everywhere! I swear, I spend so much time social networking that I never socially network for real it seems! By the time I get pictures onto Flickr, or Ravelry or Facebook (a new one for me) I forget I need to blog and post here!

It's been busy around here. I spent yesterday in the first step of processing that fleece which meant laying it out on a sheet so that all cut sides were down and tip ends up. This took a bit since it'd been compacted into a box from Colorado to be shipped here. Next, I gathered pieces into 12x15 zippered mesh bags, the kind you get at Dollar Tree 3 for a buck. I bought 12 and filled them all; this accounted for about a quarter of my fleece.

Next I put it into water in containers in my backyard where it's soaking until tomorrow to get the first round of goop out. My friend Mary says this is an exceptionally clean fleece and it might take only 1 soaking before we wash.

Last Saturday I went to a Dye Class that Mary taught for the Spinners on the River Guild. It was very cool in that each of the 10 folks there chose a different color to recreate then followed the recipe out of Mary's master book and to get the shade. Each of us got a card from one another with the recipe written out, including any variances we found that day that affected the final colors. It was amazing. I chose shades of green (go figure) and set about making my dye. I ended up with this amazing Big Bird screaming yellow. THEN, I put it into an indigo bath for 5 minutes. The interesting thing about indigo is that it requires oxygen to complete the color change. You can imagine what people inside the University of Memphis thought to see a bunch of adult women out on the lawn spinning lengths of yard madly to get the oxygen into them. It was a sight to put it mildly. The end result was almost exactly the same as the master book. My variances were 90 minutes cooking instead of 60 and 1 indigo dip instead of 2. I'm very happy with the results and wish I had a bunch of undyed yarn and the materials to recreate this colorway at home.

Sunday was Spinning Guild and our program was on short fibers. We had samples of yak, cashmere, cotton, denim, New Zealand opossum with gorgeous merino to blend it all with. I brought home little samples of everything and spun a few inches of opossum and merino while there on my drop spindle. Short fibers aren't my favorite yet. I mostly spun a batt of some blue roving that came with my wheel. It has a sister batt in a ruby shade of the same fiber blend; I'll probably ply the two to get more yardage. I still have no clue how many yards I will get out of anything I try to spin.

Finally, I spun some raw alpaca and got 7 good yards (don't laugh, I really struggle with raw locks still!) to send into the Spin Off thing by June 1st.

In between all this I am knitting the now never ending sweater, a market bag for Mary, a gift for an upcoming shower and the nefarious second sock. Obligatory knitting content inserted.

Serene Cat Photo

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Wool!

There's new wool all around here on the home front or will be! I will have new 'wool' tomorrow after I go and get my hair put into dreds, something I've wanted to do forever! I'm getting tiny ones and hopefully it won't make my hair so short I look umm...strange. We'll see.

I had new wool going on in the sweater I'm knitting, Nadine from French Girl Knits. It's a llama/cotton blend that is delightful to work with. I'm a little worried about drape though, I did a hat out of it with a lacey sort of pattern and it is softened and lost in the translation. At any rate, I have the 2 side panels done, they double as shoulder straps and more boring sweater parts I don't think I've ever knitted. They made reverse stockinette exciting when I started the connecting center panel. Truly.

I belong to this Thrifty Knitters n Spinners group on Ravelry cuz I'm often broke and looking for ways to get more bang (or fiber) for my buck. One morning I was reading along as I had coffee and behold! Right there in the "Cheap or free fiber" thread was a lady in CO who Had Enough Wool. Really. She had All She Needed. (this is an alien concept to me but ok). As a result, she had 3 fleeces to offer, either half or whole for little more than the cost of shipping. I danced, screamed, waved my hands and sent off a PM hoping to snag the gray one. It arrived today, all in it's smelly, skirted glory. I've put it aside until next week when my friend Mary can help me lay it out into a sheep but of course I had to grab a few handfuls to wash.

I'm not sure the camera does the smoky, silvery gray justice but this thing is to die for. I spun it out in the washer and it should be dry enough to spin in the morning. Oh fiber goddess, you are truly divine...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Really old. I mean, this sock has grown gray hair and a beard. I have dragged this poor sock on it's size 2 needles up and down the red line when I lived at Lawrence and Pulaski. Then to the end of the line when I moved to East Rogers Park. I bought the yarn in the old Loopy location when I had a fixation for sock yarn and yarn in particular that had aloe and jojoba in it even though $22 for a sock yarn was outside of my budget. I bought the yarn after taking Vicki's sock class, knitting several pair and giving away every damn pair. These were for me. It's been napped on after I zoned out at the beach. It's travelled to DC on vacation and survived a switch from Clover to Crystal Palace needles after Krista talked me into them at the new Loopy location.

Do you think I can knit a second?

All mourn the never ending sock - it ended. (I actually WON a ball of yarn at a guild meeting for having the oldest project there) I told my friend Kirsten I finished and she said "the one you had at the Yarn Harlot appearance?" Embarrassing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

3 Ply Attempts

So, this is my attempt at 3 ply yarn. It was going to be for a Wooly Wormhead hat but then I found out their (UK) bulky was really an Aran or something crazy to me so now it's just another pretty yarn. Tragic.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


My new basket supposedly made in Ghana to decrease the poverty levels and create financial independence amonth the women there..LOVE this basket, seriously.

It's been a 'rains and pours' kind of day, kind of couple days really. Knitting guild last night and I think the swap went pretty well, everyone seemed happy with their gifts. Nancy made me 3 cloths in chocolate and lime that were just lovely! They seemed so thick as to be double knitted and I immediately rolled them up into a basket in my guest bath, see? I hope my swap person liked her stuff - of course I forgot to take pictures before I sent it along, stupid me! I made her a Grrlfriend Bag and tried to make her a blue row counter bracelet with limited success. It was pretty though!

Jack has been working hard at designing me a skein winder in her garage and nearly has it figured out. She made me this small prototype and finished it yesterday and I'm pretty proud of her for it. I wound a little alpaca I'd tried to spin into a mini skein on it tonight and it turned out really well also. See how small it is in relation to the tennis ball? From this experiment we have decided we'd rather have a full size winder that was not a windmill style, rather a table style. She is putting a long bolt on the end so I can wind from my spinning wheel bobbins if I want.

I've been knitting a Wooly Wormhead hat in cotton to celebrate my upcoming dred-dom, Meret. This was interrupted by some yard work I tried to do today. I had the big green city can rolling it around the backyard for bits of tree I'd trimmed all over the yard. Took a step forward with my right foot and stepped onto the giant lid..lid slid forward, wheels turned, can began to tilt and I'm trapped on this wild escaping trash can thats sliding all over the place. Lovely. Ended up on my left shoulder (and my face) in the yard with some serious contusions and swelling. Double effing lovely. I get my dreds on the 12th and it will take around 3 hours to do. I'm excited because I've wanted them FOREVER!

On Friday I am going to Collierville with my friend Mary for a school's Pioneer Day. We're going to demonstrate spinning and I think knitting and it should be alot of fun! I like spending time with Mary, she's very smart and funny and her studio just makes my mouth hang open.

Last but not least here's my funny girl. She follows me everywhere and barks incessantly like someone just blew helium into her gut. Times like that I don't mind that they had her de-barked so much.....

Monday, April 27, 2009

Meerkat in Memphis!

What a Handsome Fellow!

Our friends from Chicago were visiting last week and it was a great chance to see some of the things Memphis has to offer that of course we've been too busy to just stop and visit ourselves!
We went (of course) to the Zoo and it was a BEAUTIFUL facility! Almost all the exhibits contained running water and overall it was clean and friendly and didn't cost an arm and a leg and some quivit for entry. This guy stole my heart along with the other meerkats there..between they and the lemurs I am smitten!

Yesterday I mowed for the first time this season..saw something wriggling, wriggling like mad and swooped on it. Baby bullfrog I nearly chopped into soup! Yikes! I gathered him up and of course in his distress he 'peeped' at me repeatedly while I carried him through the house insisting to Jack that we put him into an aquarium. Jack convinced me to release him next to the pool however. We were also in the pool for the first time yesterday - water temp was 77 and It Is Not Even May. Woo Hoo, take THAT Chicago!

Our Spinning guild met last Sunday and did the 2nd half of our program on silk that Mary was teaching. We soaked cocoons, pulled out baby silkworms and their 'ahem' leavings, stretched them over frames we'd built, reeled silk onto cardboard and dyed a layer of silk hankies all in one afternoon! Some of my new friends were there and it was fun to sit and chat with them also! I don't feel as if I learned much other than how to remove the worms from the cocoon honestly..there were alot of participants and it was difficult at times to hear but I had great fun and brought home a little sample pack of all the offerings for my spinning notebook!

I've been deadline knitting for 2 weeks and most of it is swap/secret pal stuff that I can't post pics of until after our Knitting guild on Tuesday. I have 2 projects going for that plus the sweater from French Girl Knits that I don't have any decent pictures of yet.

May 9th is All About Women and I'm excited about being there in a spinning/knitting capacity in the 'life' section of the convention, where women learn about ways to enjoy life and just have some down time. On May 1st I'm scheduled to help my friend Mary with Pioneer Days at a school in Collierville with a spinning demo as well. Fun!

Ok, enough for now. May 1st is NOT that far off and I also have 35 of Jack's Department Heads and Managers coming to our house that day for a quarterly meeting which means 'get busy'!

One more pic - Buddah helps us keep it in perspective (to his belly, that is!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pearl after a bath

I went over my wheel Pearl with some fine sandpaper and a bottle of wood feed/cleaner today because she's going to be travelling just a little and needs to look good and I think she does! Her wood is really coming into it's own after some care and removal of old paint and decorations.

This was a good spinny week for me - Mary's package arrived from the Butterflygirldesigns Spindle and Fiber Club and it's a beauty. No pics yet but it's a flower shaped spindle of gold flecked glass and 3 oz. of Tuscany fiber which is exactly what it brings to mind..golds, rusts, deep reds and wood tones. It's 1.3 oz and very fast from the little twirl I gave her!

Our friends Nancy and Chris arrived last night from Chicago and it's SO good to see them! They are our first houseguests and the closest thing we have to family as a couple. They also brought Artemis, who is recovering from bone cancer and chemo with an expermental drug treatment. Artemis is 120 lbs of very loving Rottie and it is great to see her looking so good although our little dogs aren't sure how to act!

I am knitting a secret swap gift and knitting like mad to meet next week's deadline. I had started a pattern and it was looking very strange and scary so I opted to start something else less experimental for my swap partner. Once I finish I'll post a link to the pattern cuz I thought it was just the coolest concept EVER and it's very fun to knit!

I also need to post pics of the guest bedroom now that it's looks awesome even if I did do it myself! Jack has been busy with her new tools and made stretching frames for my spinning class on silk for myself and a new spinner that's joining me today. They are nifty and I'll take lots of pictures today.

It's a monsoon out there..I love the storms but jeez..I'd like to unload my wheel without trying to protect it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


A friend recently gifted me with a couple plastic grocery bags of raw Alpaca seconds (from these trash bags full she was gifted with!) Since my experience with less-than-processed fiber is minimal, I decided to try and flick a bit to see how it looked after I messed it up, I mean worked with it. I'd been told it was still quite full of vm so I put down an old pillowcase to catch the fallout and got started. I didn't know Alpaca had no lanolin until my friend told me! She also said I could spin directly from the wool but I wanted to see what it looked like before and after flicking. (I also didn't feel particularly like spinning right that second!)

Lump O Alpaca- I think the crimp is lovely (especially for free fiber!

One little lock

Nice shot of crimpola, gad I love it

pile of fiber with nice 5 inch staple

Thirds (I guess..this is the stuff out of the brush after flicking) I am always a little horrified at the 'waste' but I guess I'll learn.

Finished little basket of fiber

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Already!

I'm not sure where the weekends go! I did manage to finish a square for a chemo-afghan and Jack dropped it off at Hank's for me on Saturday. I also frogged back mohair lace (sigh) a few rows to find out where I was on a pattern I'd put down for a bit, Voyager Stole from Elann that I'm making for my mother for Mother's Day. (I have too many projects going) I don't know why this picture insists on being sideways..just turn your head to the right and you'll get the idea....

I finished the Lemur King for Jack. ARGH, the knitting was easy..the putting together, see for yourself:

I stripped the original warp off of my pvc loom and started a simple strap for my Traddy. Angela showed me this ingenious strap she wove that she just ties on and it makes a shoulder strap for her wheel! When not in use, it just falls out of the way to the floor! This is the first foot or so of that:
It's going to be interesting because the loom really isn't designed for longer pieces but I wanted it all woven at once for strength. If you look you'll see the 'V' shaped improvs, we'll see how it works in reality. Right now it's holding a tight enough warp for weaving easily. Here's another pic of the pretty colors (Peaches & Creme cotton)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trying to keep up!

I've decided to 'try' and keep up a little with blogging here - there's SO much I'm doing, spinning, knitting and I've gotten really lazy about uploading pictures and messing with Blogger. Sorry about that.

This is Jack and our new dog renamed Sarah..they are howling at the moon together while Kasey looks on in amazement. (and me, I never heard a person howl quite like that)

This is some yarn I spun recently. An Etsy seller named Michelle is on Etsy as Knitkass. She is like the nicest person EVER in my book. She sent me a part for my brand new wheel I'd broken without ever talking to or meeting me! Wouldn't even take postage! I got her first handspindle from her store along with this fiber. It's hard to tell but it has a little 'glitz' in it also, and my technique is getting SO much better! Yeah!

This is my first spindle and fiber from the Butterflygirl Designs spindle/fiber club and I'm loving it so far. It's merino/bamboo/firestar blend and I'm going to do it in a SAL challenge on Ravelry. Again, the pic doesn't do justice, the fiber has this gorgeous blue/green sparkle to the bamboo that looks amazing with the black merino. The spindle is Italian Resin and I adore it.
Here is a picture of Sarah - she is ALL Jack Russell and has adopted me as her forever person. The former owner had her de-barked (ugh, I don't want to know details) but it's made her sound really funny, like she's sucking helium right before she barks, heheheh.

Other than this stuff, you can always find me hanging out around Ravelry, most often on the spinning boards. I'll try to get better about keeping up here!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Finally Friday!

I don't know what I'm whining about, being home all the time means Fridays are not nearly as big as for those who work outside the home! I'm really tired lately though, not sleeping well so perhaps I'm dreaming of a sleep in on a Sunday morning...

The keyword around here is S P I N

It's all I want to do. If I'm not spinning on my wheel I'm playing with spindles. I've jumped into trying Merino even though it hates me and I can't spin it. I've stopped looking at my stash as if it's gold and I'm poor and stopped being afraid to try it (for the most part)

I do still have a lb of forest green merino I won't touch but that's for laceweight someday. Right now I'm trying for laceweight (and getting fingering) on a light spindle from Butterflygirl Designs that was part of her fiber/spindle club.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Insomnia Sucks

Here I am at 3:52 am blogging. ?? Hello?? Normal people SLEEP at this hour. They aren't drinking coffee and wishing they could crank up the spinning wheel without making my partner crazy with it's adorable little 'click' as it goes round n round.

I think the fiasco with the alarm people has caused this. Yesterday he arrived 2 hours late to do our install. Ok, needed a ladder and you're clearly a kid. I began to have reservations but continued to do the laid back, nice client routine and listened to him explain that this was his first ever install by-his-lonesome. Uh-oh.

6 hours later he calls for reinforcement. God only knows what he was doing all that time since I was a little consumed with the new dog we just adopted. Her former 'mom' had come by to do a house visit and brought her because our first interview went well and she felt good about us overall. The reinforcement arrived, saved the day and left again. Now I've had this green kid in my house for 9 hours. NINE HOURS of a stranger, even worse a sweet, nice stranger that you can't be rude to. UGH. To top it off, they discovered in hour 8 that some contacts already in place on our windows were wireless. A call to our sales guy resulted in "Tell them the wiring for that is an extra $45 a window. ($45 x 5 above and beyond our quote means Jack is not a happy camper) We in the kitchen heard "I'm not mad YET but either you're going to fix this or you're going to experience MAD" They fixed it but really pisses me off that the guy thought we'd just bend over and say thank you to over $200 in cost not quoted. By the way, the keychain remotes were never programmed. He was prepared to stay another hour (!!!, keerist Noooo) to try and do it (hadn't done that before alone either!). We politely kicked him out until today.

At any rate, the dog is a sweetheart. Her name is Hero and she is 4. She's a Jack Russell that immediately began to run like the wind with our other dog, Kasey.

I've been spinning ALOT. This is my homemade tensioned lazy kate, taken from a web pictorial (thanks, unknown web spinner!) and my plied, kool aid dyed yarn that I'm in love with.

Here's my new, gorgeous, huge diamond that my wonderful Jack bought for me. Speaks for itself.

Here is the DIY weaving loom I built because I don't have enough fibery stuff to keep me busy. I need to find more