Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Best Yarn

Hands down, the best yarn in the world has to be the one you spin yourself. I cast on a hat yesterday using some of the yarn I finished spinning this past weekend. I'm just doing a simple K1P1 ribbed hat, but it looks fabulous and feels even better. Pardon me for patting my own back, but I'm really impressed with the progress I've made in my spinning over the past few months. Amazing what practice and willingness to try something different will do. Carolyn, I feel sure you can spin thick singles. Just relax and go for it!

I'm currently working on a Valentine scarf using this pattern. I have loved this scarf since the day I saw it. I'm working mine in red Lanett Superwash wool. The scarf is going to need a gentle blocking to bring out the eyelets in the ribbing. I'm only about 4-5 inches into the scarf now, all ribbing. It's not a terribly fascinating knit at this point, but the result will be a beautiful scarf.

My Lendrum order is on the way from The Woolery. UPS tracking says it will arrive tomorrow, just in time for the weekend. I can't wait to play with my new goodies. Sherry, your comment about your long wait had me worried until I got my shipping confirmation.

Shea, regarding your comment from last post, I know exactly what you mean. I think we are in agreement so far as our views go. In fact, I really think we treat animals better than humans when it comes to end of life.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Spinning 'Round and 'Round

I'm on a spinning kick lately. I just can't seem to get enough of it. It is soothing in a different way than knitting. Right now, I need the spinning kind of soothing.

Yesterday, I finished spinning the blue wool/magenta mohair fiber that I got at SAFF. The yarn turned out well, I think. It's soft and squishy which is what I was aiming for. Here's a sample of some of the skeins:

I tried to spin this on the thick side and did not ply it. I have 5 skeins. I'm planning to do a hat and scarf set with the yarn.

I pulled out some sari silk waste yesterday afternoon to play with and decided it was more trouble than I had energy. The fibers are knotted, and there are some chunks of fabric that need to be shredded. I'm going to save this for another time. If you have any tips and hints on processing and spinning this, let me know.

Instead of the silk, I opted for some silky mohair locks that we purchased at SAFF two years ago. I flicked them open and have been spinning about a fingering weight. I'm so impressed with myself. I've not done much playing around with the different ratios on my Lendrum until yesterday. Wow. What a difference it makes. My yarn is even, fairly smooth, and so fluffy! I'm in love with mohair. The locks are so soft. A lot of people complain about mohair being itchy. They obviously are not spinners, or they'd know better!

Husband arrived home last night loaded down with a new (to him) loom, pounds and pounds of weaving yarn, a boat load of shuttles, a few fleeces (one is a mohair fleece, and it is for me), and I don't know what else. The loom looks great (I don't know the specs on it; he'll have to tell you) but has some rust on the reed and a couple other places. It should be great for weaving small blankets and throws. I may even learn to weave since I'm a sucker for a pretty wrap.

Given my new obsession with spinning in general and thinner yarn in particular, I placed an order from The Woolery for some accessories for my Lendrum. I have coming a fast flyer, a very fast flyer, an extra bobbin for the very fast flyer, and a jumbo drive band so that I can use our plying head. Since the three of us have Lendrums, we can all share these toys. Husband ordered a new reed for his loom--stainless steel, I think, and rust proof.

I want to thank you all for the kind words about my mom in law. We are facing the end times with her now. There's not hope of remission or anything like that. In fact, we're wondering if she'll last through the week. It's that bad. I'm so sad about this, but anxious, too, for her suffering to end. Just a few minutes ago, I looked out my kitchen window and saw this:

Maybe it's a sign that everything will be OK? It just seems a bit out of place for daffodils to be blooming when the outside temperature this morning was hovering in the low 20s.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Quick and Easy Hat

Do you have 100 yards of worsted weight yarn, a couple of hours free knitting time, and an average sized adult head in need of coverage? If so, then this is the pattern for you. It is written for Noro Silk Garden (packaged in 110 yard balls), but I used Cherry Tree Hill Possum/Merino worsted (packaged in 109 yard hanks) and had more than enough yarn. I whipped this thing out last night in just a couple hours and husband wore it to work this morning. It's a nice, close fitting little hat. I thought the yarn was pretty special, too. It is so soft and nice to knit with. I got this hank of jade color yarn as part of one of those CTH grab bag sales. I have several other hanks, all in different colors. I'll try to get a photo of the hat to post later.

Husband is teaching a drop spindling class at our LYS tomorrow. He has about 5 people registered so far. It should be fun for them and him. He needs a little fun in his life right now.

Husband is also going on an adventure later in the weekend. He's spotted an excellent deal on a loom and a ton of weaving accessories. The loom is a 48", I believe, but I don't know anything else about it. I'm not a weaver (yet). Husband assures me that the loom is an excellent deal and all this stuff would cost a catrillion dollars brand new. I'm sure he'll tell you all about it on his blog after the deal is done.

Now, on to the serious bit: I won't go into all the details, but many of you are aware that husband's mom is very ill. It's not good, folks. Cancer. Words cannot describe how much I hate that disease. It has robbed us of so many loved ones over the years. It really pisses me off. Please send special thoughts and prayers for my mom-in-law and family.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Stuff You've Been Waiting For

It was pointless waiting for a sunny day to take photos, so I just took them when the time was there! Here are some shots of my latest projects.

I've been spinning off and on this month. Here's some yarn I'm working on now on my Lendrum. The roving is a bright blue wool with a hint of magenta mohair. I'm trying to spin it a bit on the thick side.

This sock is for daughter. I'm using Trekking XXL in color 108. I just love the Trekking yarn. I've got a ball of color 100 in the stash that also belongs to daughter. My LYS had a bunch of it the other day, so I grabbed a ball. The pattern is a mini cable pattern that forms a wave design. I'm using a bent paper clip as a cable needle. The only problem is that the sock was too small for daughter when she tried it on (just got this far on the knitting) and I had to rip it out and start over!

I love the Forest Canopy Shawl pattern and am working on another one. I'm using some very old Koigu sock yarn that I bought on clearance several years ago. I wasn't crazy about the color when I got this, but who can resist Koigu at half price?? I have 3 skeins, so that should be plenty for my shawl.

Finally, here is my needle felting project. I took a class last weekend at our LYS and had the best time. I'd knitted the purse quite a while back using Cascade 220. Here is one side of the purse:

and here is the other side of the purse:

Cute, eh? I really enjoyed this. There is something cathartic about stabbing wool repeatedly with little pointy, sharp needles. It helps to take away the stress of the day in a way that knitting or spinning just can't. I see many more needle felting projects in my future!

What's in the works? I've been fondling some merino/possum yarn that I got from Cherry Tree Hill last year and finally found a project. I'm going to try to make husband a hat. I only have 109 yards of this color (a gorgeous teal) but I found a cute little hat written for one skein of Silk Garden. Silk Garden is only 110 yards, so this should work out OK.

I bought some white lace weight yarn this past weekend with plans to start The Sheep Shawl. I just need to find time to get out to the workshop with husband to use the jumbo swift and ballwinder. I don't think all this yarn will fit on the little Royal winder.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Here Comes the Sun?

Today was supposed to be sunny, but someone must not have mentioned that to Mr. Sunshine. He never made an appearance, and therefore, I have no photos. (Hey, cut me some slack. Any excuse is better than none!)

I attended a needle felting class at our LYS on Saturday. It was fun. I took a felted purse with me and put felted sheep on both sides. One side is predominantly white sheep with one black sheep in the mix, and the other side is just the opposite. I think it is cute. You'll get to see a photo one of these days. I promise.

Needle felting was fun this time around. I'd tried it a couple of years ago and not enjoyed it much. Of course, that first time, we were just trying to needle felt fla shapes. Decorative needle felting is more fun.

I'm knitting a sock for daughter using Trekking XXL. It's coming along well. I need to try it on her to see if the heel flap is the correct lenght.

Did I tell you my little darling is an actress now?? She's always been (and always will be!) a drama queen, but now it's official. She's singing and dancing in the chorus of the high school musical Anything Goes. The shows are in March.

Finally, I leave you with this. As a former extremely frequent business traveler and still occassional business travel, I am standing here applauding Air Tran for this!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Title Free Tuesday

I can't think of a title for this post. My creativity is zapped in that department, I guess. I've been writing semi-annual reviews for my employees, and my creative juices are drying up!

Sherry asked how I liked the heavier spindle (regarding my 2 ounce Golding). I'm still so new to spindle spinning that I haven't really developed a preference to one size spindle vs. another. I like the feel of the Golding, and I'm not sure if that's because of the weight or because it's just such a nicely balanced spindle. I also like my tiny little featherweight Bosworths just because they are nice spindles.

Robin, I'm glad you enjoyed the link to the Sheep Shed. I've never seen them at a show before and would probably not have found out about them without the swap where I got this roving. I just love the pretty colors. The fiber was nice to spin, too.

I'm currently working on another Forest Canopy Shawl using some Koigu sock yarn that I had in the stash. I don't remember the color number, but I'm pretty sure it is discontinued. It has teal, brown, purple, gold, blue, and lots of other colors in it. I bought three skeins of this yarn on clearance several years ago. The shop only had three skeins, or I'd have gotten more! I'll try to get some photos by the weekend. It's been very dreary outdoors today and not good for photography.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I'm not a morning person, so the idea of catching a lovely sunrise really doesn't rank among my favorite things to do! However, there is one kind of sunrise that I've been enjoying lately. That is this gorgeous roving from The Sheep Shed at Mountain View Farm in the Sunrise colorway. I got this roving in trade from someone on the Knitty board. I can't remember who. It's a merino/tencel blend, and it is divine! I finished spinning the yarn last night.

My new Golding spindle is heavenly. I'm thinking about ordering another one in a different size. I need to take a look, see what my favorites are, and then narrow it down based on spindle weight.

We stopped in at Hook 'n Needle yesterday to take advantage of the after Christmas/before inventory sale. Everything in the store was at least 25% off. Noro was 40% off, so I bought several skeins of Kureyon for my mitered squares blanket. Jaegar cones were also 40% off, and husband got three cones for knitting and weaving. I also picked up a ball of Trekking XXL for socks for daughter and enough Cascade 220 to make a Wonderful Wallaby for myself. I needed more patterns (well, since they were on sale and all) so grabbed two lace shawl patterns and a felted clog pattern, all by Fibertrends. One of the shawls is the Sheep Shawl, and the other is a sea themed shawl. I cannot remember the name. It has shells and starfish on it. I am looking for The Spinners Shawl but haven't seen a copy of it in any stores yet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Introducing Dad Who Spins

My husband has entered the blogging world. I must say, he puts me to shame when it comes to his writing, photography, and general fiber artistry! You are going to love his blog!

Finally, here is a photo of the gorgeous woven wrap I bought at the Distaff Day flea market last weekend. The wrap is made with hand dyed yarns. It measures 32 inches wide by 72 inches long not counting the fringe. I swear, I feel like I stole this thing from the lady who made it. She had everything on half off sale, and I only paid her $60 for this.

Here's proof for turtlegirl that my felted slippers really do fit me.

This first shot is with the cuff turned up. I made a longer cuff (pattern gives two options) because my ankles get cold. Here is what the slippers look like with the cuff turned down.

Truth be told, these things could go through another wash cycle and felt down some more. They are still about an inch too long and a bit loose on me. I'm wearing them today because it's chilly and my feet are cold.

My slippers are soft on the soles of my feet, but they are a little scratchy on the tops of my feet. The Lopi I used is not the softest yarn in the world which will hopefully lead to a long life for my slippers. If you are sensitive to wool, then you may not want to use Lopi for these slippers.

I don't yet have a photo of my new drop spindle or the yarn I'm making on it. I have two spinning projects going on right now and no knitting projects...except that skull and cross bones illusion which is on temporary vacation. I'm currently spinning some orange/yellow/pink colored merino tencel on my Golding spindle and some wool/mohair blend in bright blue with just a hint of magenta on my Lendrum folding wheel. I'll attempt photos later in the week. I've got to make you want to keep coming back for some reason! ;-)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Life As A Cat

When I die, I want to be reincarnated as a cat. If you wonder why, just take a look at this:

My kitties have had nothing better to do today than lie around and nap in the sun. It sure must be nice. They have the audacity to do this in my office, in plain view of my desk. Oh, I wish I could join them there in that warm, sunny spot!

I wore a hole in my Fuzzy Feet, so I decided to make myself some new slippers. I've not been terribly overjoyed with the Fuzzy Feet pattern, so I tried this one instead. I must say that this is an excellently written pattern and what I would consider a perfect "first sock" for the newbie sock knitter. I've been a fan of Knitting at Knoon for a long time now and find the demonstration videos to be some of the best on the 'net.

I completed these two slippers in just a couple of days. They worked up quickly on size 11 needles using Lopi bulky yarn. The pattern didn't specify that yarn, but I liked it!

Husband wasn't too fond of my using a Diet Coke can as a size reference, so he took this "technical" photo:

Yes, I do still owe you photos of my new woven wrap. I will get to that as soon as I have a little help taking the photo.

Good News! My Golding spindle arrived yesterday. I'll get a photo of that soon, too. I got the Midnight Sky 2 ounce spindle, and it spins wonderfully! I started on some merino/tencel blend last night. I got the fiber in trade, and it is dreamy!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Prosperous Distaff Day

We enjoyed the day with our guild--Peachtree Handspinners--celebrating Distaff Day. It's a long ride from here to Atlanta (a couple of hours) and the day started way too early for a Saturday, but it was worth it. There was a large and friendly crowd present, every kind of spinning wheel you can imagine, and loads of gorgeous stuff to look at and to buy. There were goodies aplenty to eat, too, as daughter and her friends could probably tell you! Every time I turned around, there was a gaggle of girls at the food tables!

I snagged some good bargains including a lot of patterns for $2 or $3 each, a skein of Big Kureyon that was too pretty to resist especially considering the bargain price, and the most gorgeous woven wrap you can imagine. It is soft and warm and just mmmmmm!

I'll post more details and photos tomorrow.

My Golding spindle did not arrive today as I was expecting. I hope it will come soon! I got to see a couple of Goldings in person today, and they are gorgeous spindles.

Monday, January 01, 2007


It's hard to believe another year has passed. Worse yet, it's hard to believe I only have one more day until back to the ol' grind. UGH.

We had a nice, quiet New Year's Eve--didn't leave the house all day. I ended up switching on Disney Channel, believe it or not, and we rang in the new year with a couple of Hannah Montanna episodes by adult choice. I just didn't feel any need to see the ball drop in Times Square. I've never quite seen the fascination of that myself....

I won't make resolutions--just can't see the point in setting those kind of expectations that some people are prone to then having the stress of sticking to these empty promises or the guilt of failure. Surviving each day is always a good thing. Having fun along the way makes it all worth while. Doing all this with the ones you love most makes it all the better. I think those will remain my goals for the coming year as they have been for many years now.

We're likely going to attend Distaff Day with our spinning guild this coming weekend. I've never been to a Distaff Day. There is going to be a market and goodies to eat, so it sounds like a nice party to me.

Happy New Year to you and yours.