Monday, June 28, 2010

Peaks and Valleys

I know we all have times in our lives that mark everything else that happens to us. You often hear people say before "the Depression", "the Earthquake", "9/11/", "Katrina" this was this way and that was that way. These events have become a demarkation for them - what changed their lives from that point forward and has become their measuring rod.

Saturday June 26th was such a day for me. We were decorating for the party and my Mom and Sister and I were here alone and it was like when we were kids helping Mom get ready for a big family dinner. Only our roles have reversed and my Sister and I are now the hostesses. The party was a huge success, all of my Mom's friends for countless years and our cherished relatives were here. My Uncle came from Atlanta to surprise her, a cousin came from Long Beach to surprise her. A good time was had by all guests and the birthday girl. We reached our highest peak.

Indy had been having breathing problems since Thursday night. We took him to the vet on Friday and they took x-rays and gave him anti-biotics. Saturday he was very confused and we kept him upstairs out of the crowd. My Sister, Brother-in-Law and I took turns sitting with him. The last guests left around 9 or 9:15. I had just stepped into the shower when I heard my Mom call up and say come down when you get out of the shower. I knew. I just got out and went downstairs. He was lying in the kitchen floor, he had followed her into the kitchen like he always does - Grannie's baby, and he collapsed and died. He was my first and only puppy, and I loved him very much. He had been badly abused before Furry Friends found him and he had been adopted out twice before he came to us. We were his last chance before euthanasia. Luckily he got along with Micky and became part of our family. We loved him much, and well for 11 years. We will miss him for many more. He is being cremated and his ashes scattered on Monterey Bay. We reach this lowest valley.

Good Mailman

The mailman actually rang the doorbell when he delivered the latest additions to my yarn collection. Please don't judge, I have few vices and none of them hurt anyone else. I used my Taking it To The Streets RSC discount code for these:
2 sheep to shoe kits, Quinault Canopy and Dragon Dance.
All of the yarns in the photo below are listed in my Ravelry stash, 10 are lightweight and 10 are medium weight. I also bought a Sock Summit Tote Bag which I love.

I also got my Loopy Ewe yarn, two of the new solids Malachite and Evergreen. And a sweaters worth of Malabrigo in Emerald Blue. I am swatching the Malabrigo for Cobblestone. I did not get gauge with my first yarn choice.

I got a shipment from Wild Hare Fiber. I love spinning her fiber. I have taken about 100 pictures of the Crush yarn I spun. Here are a couple of pictures of the skein and my new fiber, also bought with a discount for Tour de Fleece team members.

Indigo Inc.
The Bermuda Triangle

Last, but most definitely not least is a WIP shot of my LaLa's Simple Shawl. I cannot put it down, I have not knit on anything else since I cast it on. I love the yarn and the pattern!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More Fiber More Yarn & a Birthday

I received many birthday wishes and cards, this is from the front of my favorite card this year.

New project and notion bags from Jen and Wendy of piddleloop which came with birthday goodies.

I got some more fiber in the mail, 7 8oz tops from Crown Mountain Farms, 3 braids from Gale's Art, 8 Corriedale and 1 Merino top from Paradise Fibers, and 1 lb of White Merino Top from Palace Yarn. Gale very generously sent some silk samples along with my order. So pretty. I finished spinning another 4ozs, Espresso from Lavendarsheep.
I drafted a small bit of the Peacock Merino Silk top from Gale's Art, which is next to go on the wheel. I have 12 ozs. Hoping for really good plied yardage.
A Day At The Fair all skeined up.
A skein of Monet.
This is Crush all spun up, the skein is hanging up to dry.

I had some real issues with the Mystic Desire, Chart B Fri. and Sat. The right side stitch count is wrong every row. I have had to tink back on every row from 69 to 79, I am pretty fed up with it. My nupps however have come out perfect. The Signature Stilettos make the nupps and k3togs much easier. I am giving it two more rows, if the problem persists I am frogging it and moving on. I have too many projects in my queue I want to work on. I cannot spend all this time unknitting and reknitting the same stitches over and over. I hope Signature Needle Arts offers circulars in more sizes soon, I absolutely love them. I wish I had them in sock sizes US 0-3.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Still Spinning and Finishing

I finished spinning Monet and I am half through spinning Crush. Crush is so bright and pretty, like sherbet cotton candy. This is what I have left to draft and spin.

MAIL CALL!! I got a big box of luscious Tops from The Painted Tiger; 5 are Corriedale and the last one on the bottom row is Superwash Merino. I was wondering if I was crazy to order 8 oz tops, but considering how fast the Monet and Crush spun up using the high speed whorl - I don't think 8 ozs of fiber is too much to work on at a time. The drafting is the only thing really, will I get tired of drafting the same colors and fibers through 8 ozs.? We'll see, cause it's mine now 8~} [Details on Flickr and in Ravelry.] I am still getting kind of low yardage because my spinning is still a little bulky, I want to make sure I have a enough yarn to knit a project with. I thought - for now - spinning 8 ozs at a time should give me enough yarn to do something with. My bobbins are getting full, I need to get the finished yarn skeined up.
Next on the wheel will probably be Espresso from Lavendarsheep. I want to get away from the blue greens for a moment - I know, shocking.

A few more shots of my Wendyknits Faro Easy Shawl - still unblocked. This is the 6th shawl I have knit in 2010 which means I am right on track for the 10 Shawls In 2010 KAL. ETA: Correction - this is my 7th shawl in 2010, I had forgotten to add the Travelling Woman shawl to my 10shawls2010 Ravelry page. I am going to get back to the Mystic Desire this week. As usual, I am glad I waited until the Kal was over. The errata has all been incorporated into the final version of the charts and I have seen enough finished projects to know exactly what I am aiming for. I want to make the larger version instead of the small version as I originally planned to do. I will work on that tonight after I draft.

Heavy sigh, I wish I had more time!!!! I really really like the last two Rockin Sock Club patterns, but I don't have time to knit them. I still need to wind the yarn for the Norwegian Rose Sock KAL 8-/

Friday, June 11, 2010

In Other News

I received my Mini Sock Swap Package from my pal Jackie aka Raynanjyl from the Knitter With Critters podcast. She has a great podcast so if you haven't heard it, go check it out. She sent me a yummy soup recipe, a beautiful mini KP Sock, a mini skein and a surprise - a set of note cards. So nice.

Mini Sock Swap Package
Mini Sock Swap Package

I am making much progress on my Wendyknits Faro Easy Shawl, I started the final chart last night. I love this yarn, Fiber Optic from The Loopy Ewe.
Faro Easy Shawl

Faro Easy Shawl

My First Yarn

A Day at the Fair - ready to be put on the niddy noddy.
A Day At The Fair
Gum Ball. I am so proud of this stuff, I think it's beautious!! I ordered a second roving in this colorway because I only got 116 yards. I want to be able to at least make a pair of socks or mitts. Maybe a cowl or keyhole scarf if I get around 300 yards total.
Gumball Yarn
Gumball Yarn
I am going to finish spinning this Monet first though. Isn't it pretty? The braid looked mostly white, but when I drafted it the fiber became blues and greens, lilac and whites just like impressionist paintings by the master. Amazing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ooooh Shiny

I really need one of those "ooh Shiny" buttons from Kiping It Real. Anywho, I bought myself (another) birthday present. You know my motto, shop early and shop often for my birthday presents. I ordered a Woolee Winder with extra bobbin (just 1 for now). I put the high speed whorl on Miss Kitty last night and she flys. I spun some serious fingering weight singles. The ONLY problem is every time I stop to move the yarn to another hook. I either loose control of the twist or started going counter clockwise when I start to treadle again. Everything goes smoothly until I have to stop for hook changes, so I ordered a Woolee Winder . Taking the hooks out of the equation. But geez 8 weeks estimated delivery 8~[ I may not have it in time to train for the Tour de Fleece (TDF). I am on the Rookie and The Knit Girllls teams. My goal is the gorgeous Dyak Craft batt and the Sanguine Gryphon roving. They are each 4 ozs. I also took full advantage of the discount being offered by The Painted Tiger - 15% off for TDF team members. Lets call that a birthday present too! 8-)

The favors for Mom's 75th birthday came and they are fabulous. I am so happy I got them. I ordered 48 of the assorted ice cream cones and 24 of the assorted cupcakes. I am so glad they are towels, so leftovers can actually be used for something. I cannot tell you how many stale party favors I have around the house from showers, weddings and b-day parties!!! They are from Beau Coup Party Favors

In previewing that first paragraph, I realized that I have learned another new language. I now speak spinning. It is so funny, when I first got into knitting all of my posts were written in knitese, now I am writing in spinese. I am also now Tricraftual. I need to make a button for my sidebar. Maybe there is already one out there in the blogosphere I can grab.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Gum Ball Hank & More to Spin & Knit

I have finished my first hank of handspun yarn.

I finished spinning the Gale Arts Gum Ball roving last night. This morning I wound it from the jumbo bobbin onto the niddy noddy.

** A couple of notes to self here: great idea to wind it onto a bobbin as the spindle got full. I need a much bigger niddy noddy. **

There were too many strands to get a count so I still don't know the yardage. I soaked the spaghetti looking yarn in a warm bath of Kookabura and then rinsed it. I rolled it into a towel for less than a minute. Huge fear of felting!!!! Then I looked at it and decided that I did not want it to dry that way. I am using directions from both Spin It and Start Spinning. They both say if the yarn is for crochet or knitting projects it can just be left to dry on the towel. Uh, I don't think so. It's still too curly, even after a few gentle pulls where the ties are. I decided to hang it in the shower. I have a set of acrylic stands so I set one in the shower and hung the hank on it. Much better - there was a downward pull on the damp strands and much less curl. Then I thought - the small stand is about the length of the hank, why not wrap the hank around the stand? So that's what I did. The measurement around is 36 inches, how cool is that!?! All I have to do is count the strands and I will have my yardage.

I finished drafting the rest of the A Day At The Fair Roving to spin on Miss Kitty (my Ashford Kiwi wheel) over the weekend.

Next on the drop spindle will be Monet. I will start drafting it after lunch.

I finished my third Clapotis. Interlacement Tiny Toes (#s 203 & 209) and Cherry Tree Hill (Tropical Storm) Sock yarns on size US 6 / 4.00 mm needles. I added 3 extra sets of 12 row repeats in sections 2 and 4 to make a bigger scarf/shawl. I think the next one I knit will be in Socks That Rock. I have decided all of the ladies in my extended family are getting Claps for Christmas. Carolyn, Davielle, Sedonia, Harmony, Lacey, Julie, and Doreen. I have already knit one for my Sister, but I think she wants a blue one. My brain just twitched, what a great way to knit down my Socks That Rock stash and my Wollmeise. ( I actually have Wollmeise in my stash that I don't like in the particular colorways - True Love being one of them.) So what's that come to? Eight more Clapotis. I probably should cast another one on this weekend. 8~}

Next to be cast on for myself is the Travelling Woman Shawl in Fiber Optic Lazy River. I must have this shawl knit properly with the charts in the right order. LOL, I have completely lost count of how many shawls I have knit for the 10 in 2010 Shawl KAL. I need to check Ravelry. I am counting the Clapotis because I have knit them all oversized - 60" in length - which I believe meets the minimum for the KAL.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Stieg Larsson

The final volume of the trilogy has arrived. If I can tear myself away from my fiber pursuits, I plan to read this over the weekend.

"The exhilarating conclusion to bestseller Larsson's Millennium trilogy (after The Girl Who Played with Fire) finds Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant computer hacker who was shot in the head in the final pages of Fire, alive, though still the prime suspect in three murders in Stockholm. While she convalesces under armed guard, journalist Mikael Blomkvist works to unravel the decades-old coverup surrounding the man who shot Salander: her father, Alexander Zalachenko, a Soviet intelligence defector and longtime secret asset to S├Ąpo, Sweden's security police. Estranged throughout Fire, Blomkvist and Salander communicate primarily online, but their lack of physical interaction in no way diminishes the intensity of their unconventional relationship."

Written by Stieg Larsson (1954–2004)

I have almost finished spinning the Gum Ball - love it. I am really good with the spindle now if I must say so myself. It actually looks and feels like yarn !! YAY!!!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Completely Unexpected

I oiled Miss Kitty and practiced treadling. I thought, hmm, while I am treadling I could be drafting the fiber I plan to spin first. I ended up spinning half of the 4 oz bump of A Day at The Fair. The yarn on the second bobbin is definitely better than the yarn on the first bobbin. I am really pleased with the yarn I spun on my first try. I am going to spend at least an hour drafting tonight. The lesson I learned quickest is well drafted fiber spins the best. My first yarn on the spindle came out better than the yarn I spun on the wheel. The spindle is easier for me to control right now. I think I will finish the Gale's Art Gum Ball roving on the spindle.

I finished my Cherry Tree Hill and Interlacement Tiny Toes Clapotis last night. I ran out of yarn and had to go stash diving. I had 5 skeins of Interlacements in other colorways. The colorway #209 was the closest, so I finished the last part of section 4 and section 5 with that. I weaved in all the ends and took a few pictures.

The Vogue Knitting wrap came off the blocking boards and I weaved in all the ends. I joined the two rectangles and I am wearing it today. It came out fabulous - thanks Gail (Gail Knits, Las Vegas, NV) for recommending this pattern. Instead of picking up one of my socks, as planned, I picked up the Wendy Knits Faro Easy shawl and knit through row 25. I love the yarn I am knitting with so much I want to finish the shawl RIGHT NOW.