Saturday, October 28, 2006

It Ain't Rhinebeck...

...but it's all we have down here. Today Lorelei & I went to Harvest Days in Murfreesboro, TN. There is a fiber festival, dancing, dulcimers, and funnel cakes. I went for the fiber, of course. I was pleased that my mom & dad & grandmother went with me, along with my nephew:

That's at a convenience store on the way. There were news crews there:

I wish I could find out if Miss Priss made it on the news. Anyhow, I spent all my birthday money:

I got a pound of "Finn" wool, a pound of "80s Merino" wool, a wonderful pound of silver baby alpaca, a little over a pound of dyed merino top (colorway: Blue Danube), four oz. of black alpaca, two skeins of handpainted sock yarn, a new spindle, a "PreColumbian" spindle whorl on a handcarved shaft, and a "Felted 100% sheep tallow soap bar" for my secret pal. It's sheep tallow soap with roving felted around it to make a scrubbie of sorts. I also bought a set of 5 size 0 bamboo dpns, very short ones. With the needles came two packs of seeds for pumpkins (Black Futsu Winter Squash and Akahime (sp?) Japanese Pumpkin). Quite a haul! I am using the size 0 dpns now to test a swatch of brown three ply that I spun a while back. We will see how it goes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Birthday Goodness

Well, I had more of a celebration yesterday than today. I got to school and found out that I had UNCONDITIONALLY passed my portfolio review. Whew! Glad that's over with. Then I checked my mail (I only check my campus mail about once a month) and I got a scholarship! I didn't even know that I was in the running. I guess I was in the system from when I applied for the Art Dept. scholarship. AND I got lots of compliments on my fingerless gloves.

Then, when I got home, this was waiting for me:

A package from my secret pal! Inside was this:

...and these:

The polka dot package was for Lorelei. She didn't waste any time:

...getting it open:

Inside was EDIBLE monster money!

She won't eat it (she won't eat any candy but chocolate, her choice), but she has fed me a couple of the pieces she has broken. She has been going through the house with her toy shopping cart 'buying' stuff with it. She was thrilled.

My goodies:

In no particular order - a Mason Dixon Ballband warshrag, some lovely french soaps, a yummy peach lip balm, a 'Knitting is Knotty' sticker, two skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk (the only silk I've ever had was a skein of recycled sari silk - this is NICE!), and a skein of Mongolian Cashmere (never had cashmere either - yay!). Thank you SO MUCH to my secret pal - this is the best! I said to my husband, "what will I do with it?" I was envisioning all kinds of possibilities, and he said, "you'll pet it and show it off to everyone and roll it into balls and look at it." He nailed it. He also said I'd know the project when I came across it, and I know he's right. Right now I'm just enjoying petting it and showing it off. I'll have to go through books and shop for ideas later.

In other news, my funky scarf swap pal emailed me that she finally got her scarf and the mugs I sent her. I was getting seriously worried! I'm glad she got them okay.

I have finally cast on and started the first of the sleeves for Lorelei's sweater. Got to finish it before it gets any colder.

Whew! That was a long one!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Spin to Knit

I am very pleased with how the blue/red/purplish-black is looking. I spun and Navajo-plied one bobbin so far, and I liked it so much that I had to try knitting with it to see how it would look. Here it is on US 8s:

It is a lot softer than I thought it was going to be. And even the back of it looks good:

I like it so much, I wanted to keep taking pictures of it!

Monday, October 16, 2006


Three posts in one day! I really AM procrastinating!

The (dubious) Jacob wool I mentioned in the comments:

Also, my first stitch markers (do you think my Secret Pal will like them?):

I hope it's okay to post pictures of goodies for our spoilee on our blog. They'd only have to go through hundreds of blogs to find their spoiler, so I'm guessing it's okay.

More SP9 Questions

I just found out I was supposed to have this on my blog:

List your favorite:

Actor - Harrison Ford, Kevin Kline, John Cleese, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Palin
Actress - ? Lukewarm here. Emma Thompson, Diane Keaton, Tina Fey, Nicole Kidman, Jamie Lee Curtis - I don't know. No one in particular.
Animal - Cat
Band - Crosby, Stills & Nash (& sometimes Young) or Grateful Dead or Pink Floyd or Concrete Blonde
Beverage - Mt. Dew or Chai
Book - I'm a bibliophile - I can't answer this. We have bookcases (plural) in every room of our house except the laundry room & one of the bathrooms.
Bubble Bath - Don't use
Candy - Dark Chocolate
Color - Purple or Green
Flower - Lavender
Food - Tiramisu
Lip Balm - Coppery tinted Burt's Bees
Lotion - Any really thick creamy stuff - usu. Bath & Body Works - for my dry "pottery hands"
Movie - Too many to pick so at random - A Fish Called Wanda
Song - Too many to pick so at random - The Highwayman by Loreena McKennitt
TV Show - Heroes, right now.
Yarn - anything soft and 100% natural. Or something I can dye.
Vacation Spot - St. Augustine

One Down, Forty-one to Go

Well, I put my UFOs in a database. I am really procrastinating finishing my midterm & portfolio work (due tomorrow). Anyhow, I have columns for what I call it (like Lorelei's Hat), brand of yarn used, color / dye lot #, size needles, future recipient, % finished, where I got the pattern (book, company, or URL), and notes. Somehow the forty on my scrap of paper wound up being forty-two when I got them all listed.

I was dismayed at the number of projects where I don't know the needle size. Like one of a pair of fingerless gloves. So I did the database to keep it all straight.

And I finished one project! I had made Joe and myself hats from EZ's Knitting Workshop book, with the intention of making Lorelei one in the future. Now she and Joe have a periwinkle blue hat with gray decoration, and I have a gray one with blue decoration. Hers is knit with bigger needles to give it a chunkier look.

Sorry about the flash shadow - it's pouring outside and we (obviously) need more light bulbs inside.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Organization Continues

I don't know what's wrong with me. I guess I got tired of having patterns and books scattered throughout the house. I still haven't found my latest Interweave Knits. Maybe it got left in Virginia. Oh, well. Anyhow, today I turend this:

Into this:

...and this:

...and this:

In other news, I got this on eBay for a steal (hope it's worth it):

It looks like it will spin okay:

I also got my scarf from the Funky Scarf Swap in the mail today (the photo doesn't do it justice):

I love those two colors together. Sorry for the crappy quality of the photos today, I've been busy!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

FO (singular), UFOs (very plural), and Mail Goodies

The Funky Scarf Swap scarf will go in the mail as soon as it's dry. Maybe tonight. This is how it looked when I got done with it:

I attempted to block it. I wet it and gently squeezed out the water. I spread it out and tried to get it even. All the pictures I've seen of blocking something in a lace pattern were lightweight shawls with points where the pins are all in the pointy bits. I didn't know how to block something with straight sides. I didn't have a whole lot of pins, either.

Does this look right at all?

You can see the pattern better. You can also see the big honkin' error where I made a leaf two rows too long. See it?

After I finished that (and lots of projects for school), I went through to organize my UFO piles. And I cleaned out my knitting bag. I have FORTY (count 'em, 4-0) UFOs. Seven of them don't really count, as they are in the bag with the pattern and yarn and haven't been cast on, but 33 have been cast on and started. And that's just what I found walking through the house! I didn't look in the pile o' stuff by the bed or downstairs beside (and behind) the recliner.

The first ones I need to finish are these:

From L to R, Mona's scarf (a present from LAST Christmas!), a baby sweater (the baby is now a toddler, but I could finish it for my niece), and Lorelei's sweater (started two years ago, but I had enough foresight to start it big - but she can wear it now and I need to finish it before it gets any cooler).

I also combined and sorted the others, kind of:

The clear bag is 2 pair of fair isle socks, the smaller bag is all my unfinished socks and fingerless gloves (except the pair in my purse and the pair by the bed), and the big bag holds everything else.

Doing this helps me get excited about some of my old stuff and (hopefully) inspires me to finish something. I used to make up rules, like finish two before I can start a new one, but that doesn't work.

I also got mail - my husband called me at school yesterday and said I had a box. "It looks like yarn." I had him dig farther - "It looks like that stuff you had on the porch last week," meaning some unspun, unprocessed wool.

It was this:

Raw alpaca. I swapped some Knit Picks needles for it on the Knitty boards. It came with this:

Unspun recycled sari silk! I have never spun any, and it looks to be quite the adventure.

I just read what I just typed. My standard of what constitutes "adventure" has drastically changed over the past few years.

Now I just need to find info on spinning sari silk...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Knitting and Spinning and Socks, Oh, My!

...and here they are, in reverse order.

The socks that killed me:

Sock Wars is over, for me at least. I'm dead, killed by these lovely red Socks of Doom. Here they are on my feet - they fit me like they were made for me. Duh. They WERE made for me! This is the first time that I can think of that someone has knit something for lil' ol' me.

In a quiet moment Wednesday morning, I plied the rest of the brown mystery wool that has been hogging my bobbins. Three plies will do that.

I had a little left over, even after trying to even out the bobbins to run out at the same time. I Navaho plied it to knit up just to see how the yarn does. That's what the little skein is. Now I have to figure out what to do with it. It's still pretty lightweight - someone suggested a lace shawl, but I have no idea how much yarn there is. Hmmm. I'll have to think on it. Anyone have any suggestions? Or ideas? Or HELP?

Now that the brown stuff is out of the way, it's time for this:

It seems to spin up as a black yarn with some depth and variation - or maybe that's just the light in the basement, where my wheel is. It's not as dark before spinning:

Anyhow, I don't have time for spinning - and very little time for knitting. I have lots of deadlines at school next week. I feel guilty just taking a break at the computer, but I'm eating while I post, so it's not like I could be working.

I have managed - through bits in the car and while listening to speakers, etc. - to finish one half of the scarf for my Funky Scarf Swap pal and start the second half:

Which is good, because it has to be mailed next week. I hope my pal likes it!

Back to the studio...

Monday, October 02, 2006


I am so excited! After finding out about the Secret Pal thing just after the signups for SP8 closed, I can now FINALLY participate in one. On to the questionnaire:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

My favorite thing to knit with now is Lush - I have a couple of balls I bought when I had a little extra $. I like anything soft. I hope to finish a pair of fingerless gloves and a scarf out of the Lush before it gets too cold. I am on a budget (I did budget for my pal, though!) so I don't get to knit with nice yarns much. I like alpaca, and I think I would like cashmere if I ever tried it.

I hate whatever the fuzzy, furry, manmade stuff is that is sold under the Yarn Bee name at Hobby Lobby. I am making a scarf out of some for someone (they picked the yarn) and it's impossible to see what you're doing or rip anything out. It's even hard to get the yarn out of the skein - it comes out in sticky clumps.

I don't mind manmade microfiber stuff that's soft - but I prefer natural fibers. I occasionally knit my daughter toys out of acrylic & I don't like to knit with that. I've never knitted with linen and would like to try it sometime.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

My straight needles are in a zippered vinyl bag with a pocket inside, except for the long ones, which are in a tall tin (I think wine came in it). I don't use them much. I mostly use circs or dpns. My circs are in a zippered pouch, all mixed up. I keep my Knit Picks Options set in their case, along with a couple of small circs that I bought with them.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I have been knitting for almost three years. I learned from a book. I would consider my knitting skill to be intermediate, my knowledge of techniques to be advanced, and my finishing skills to be beginner.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, there's a link on my blog.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)

I like lavender, sandalwood, rose, patchouli, rosemary, almost any kind of flower or herb.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I like dark chocolate. I am trying to eat healthier than I used to, and don't eat sweets much, but I really like dark chocolate. Anything with caramel, pecans, and coconut, too. I also like chai.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I spin, weave, dye, tablet weave, and I'm about to get my BFA in Ceramics in May (yay!). I also do encaustic painting, beeswax collage, and mixed media artwork, usually relating to women's issues. I am currently beginning yoga (just learning).

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

Hmmm, that's hard to answer. I don't listen to a lot on the radio now. I like what I guess you could call '80's Modern Rock - REM, the Cure, etc. I also like Crosby Stills & Nash, Pink Floyd, the Pogues, Concrete Blonde, U2, Lorenna McKennit, etc. I would like to hear more Indian / Middle Eastern music - I like the drum rhythms and instruments.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I like jeweltones, and greens and purples. Don't like orange much. Except I do like red-orange with turquoise.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I have a three year old daughter and a wonderful husband (ten years in January!). We have two outdoor cats.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I don't wear mittens or ponchos much - I don't like not being able to use my fingers and I'm never sure what to wear under a poncho. I will occasionally wear a scarf for decoration, and I love a hat when the weather's cold or wet.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Small items that don't require a lot of finishing. I like to knit fingerless gloves, washcloths, scarves, hats, socks - anything easy to carry around with me.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Socks for Sock Wars, a scarf for Funky Scarf Swap in a lace pattern, a log cabin blanket for my daughter (upstairs hanging-out knitting), socks and gloves for Christmas presents. I need to finish the sleeves for my daughter's sweater, too. This, Sock Wars, and the Funky Scarf Swap are the first knitting swaps I've done online.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Circular or DPN, depending on project, and bamboo for smooth yarns and nickel plated for yarns that won't slide. One of these days I'd like to try some hardwoods.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yes, got lucky & found them secondhand.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

I have crochet items that will always be UFOs since I learned to knit! But my oldest knitting UFO that I can think of is a little over a year. But I probably have older ones that I am blocking from my memory.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Halloween. We decorate the house, take Lorelei trick or treating, and go to a friend's house for dinner afterward. There is none of the stress associated with family gatherings, huge dinners, relatives in town, and presents. Just lots of fun.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Umm, besides knitting needles and yarn? I collect small pieces of pottery by local artists - I pick up a piece when I go to a craft fair, if I can. I collect old weaving / fiber odds and ends - the huge old thread bobbins and shuttles, things like that. I also collect toy cast iron stoves, but I haven't done anything with them in a long time.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I subscribe to Cast On, Spin Off, and Interweave Knits. The only things I can think of right now that I would really like to have are Vogue Knits and two pair of small size 2 circs. I have never looked at a Rowan magazine, I would probably like to see one of those, too.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Can't think of any. I love to try new techniques, so when I see one, I go for it. I do want to try knitting a lace shawl, though. I think blocking scares me, I need to learn about that. The scarf I'm knitting will be my first real blocking experience and I'm nervous.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I don't know the measurements, I can measure when I get home - but I wear a US size 9 or 9-1/2 regular width. *Edited to add: 8" around at ball of foot, 9-1/2" long.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

Oct. 25

Yay! That was easy. Although it would have been easier to answer a couple from home instead of school.