Monday, October 13, 2008

Uneven Spinning and Other Things

I finally plied and skeined (is that a word?) my Finn wool. I have about 750 yards of what (on average) is around a DK / sport weight. I think it's enough for Miss Priss a sweater. A very "handmade" looking sweater.

The color is more accurate in my last post - the lighter blue areas are really a light blue-green. I am still on a learning curve with the woolie winder - this is so loosely plied it is going to be like knitting with two energized singles. I am learning. I thought about running the whole thing again to make it more balanced, but I am too short on time (lazy).

Indiana was irritated that I wasn't out there to pet him.

I am also making progress on Miss Priss' dress, but I don't think I'll have time to get it finished before the wedding this Saturday.

Ignore the poor composition of the above photo. My lunch was on the stove and I was in a hurry. I have divided for the armholes and started on the right back. I measured it on her and it seems like it will be fine, which is good because I couldn't find a yarn locally that I could get gauge with and still have a nice fabric. I have too much going on this week to expect to finish it. But I can hope.

I haven't done anything much for my sculpture class, and it's past midterm. In order to work on my sculpture, I have to have a space to work. In order to have a space to work, I have to clean up my sunroom/studio. My life is one of those sliding puzzles - you know, the ones that have four columns across and four rows down and the sixteen spaces are filled with fifteen little tiles that you are supposed to slide around until you have a picture. I have to go through lots of steps before I can complete anything, it seems. Here is a small portion of my sunroom:

Scary, isn't it? I am only posting this because when I posted pictures of my sewing and weaving areas, my husband said, "that would be a lot more impressive if people knew what it looked like when you started." I like having clean places, but when facing deadlines and due dates, sometimes stuff gets spread out. And then it gets piled back in the room where it goes, but not put away (because that takes more time). I have to remember that if I would take the time to put things away, it would save me a lot of time later.

Okay, back to work!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Squeaking In Time

Look!  Spinning!

I love my new woolee winder! I love my new woolee winder! I love my new woolee winder!

As busy as I am, I have been squeaking in a little time to do some things I like. I am now teaching full time (I go to an elementary school in the mornings and finish up the day at a high school). That kind of eats into my lesson planning time and my working-on-grad-school-projects time, but I am learning to manage my time better. So I am making it. And Joe starts a new job in a week and a half, only a few blocks from the house! He will be working 8-4 M-F and 9-2 every other Sat., so it is a much nicer schedule than he had before. At his current job, he will have three nights next week where he will have to work until 11:30 pm in Huntsville. And we probably won't see him at all his last weekend there because they are having a big sale.

So my job has changed some, Joe is changing jobs, and Miss Priss started a new school last week. She is going to the school where I teach in the mornings. She really seems to like it. They have already had a field trip to a wildlife center, and they will be learning to bowl in the gym next week, wrapping up the week with a trip to the local bowling alley. We finished this tonight, so it can hang in the hall with all the other kids' paper bodies:

I am hoping to make her the Jane Austen dress from the new Mason-Dixon knitting book before a wedding we are going to in mid-October. I haven't gotten very far yet. I'm only halfway through the ruffle at the bottom of the bodice:

In other things, we are very excited that the guys from Brotherhood 2.0 are going to be in Gadsden in November! We are SO there!

And that's all the news that's fit to blog.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Loose Ends

Wrapping up some loose ends because this may be the last post for a while...

I hope not, but realistically, work and school and some outside obligations will probably prevent my posting for a while. I will if I can.

I participated in Ravelympics '08. I had to carve a little time away for myself, and this was a great excuse. I competed in the Handspun Heptathlon for Team Splurk, turning 4 oz. of merino from Smoky Mountain Spinnery into this:  

I also competed in the WIP Wrestling (for works-in-progress that you think you'll never finish) for Team Red Sox Nation. I finished Miss Priss' baby blanket (yes, I know she's five now). But she loves it.

It took a really long time, especially since it was in garter stitch. She is so excited that it is finished!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Red Scarf Project

What happens to a child in foster care when they are too old to stay in the foster care system?

Many of them go to college. Can you imagine going to college as an eighteen-year-old and being totally alone? No parents or family to come home to, no one to guide you or help you if you stumble?

This is where the Orphan Foundation of America comes in. Their website states:
OFA defines an orphan as any child who has lost the love of their parents through death, abandonment, abuse, or neglect.
In addition to scholarships, guidance, mentoring, and work training, the OFA sends out care packages to those teens who have "aged out" of the foster care system and are trying to make it in college. These packages are sent out three times a year. The Red Scarf Project is a project to make scarves (red ones) for the packages that are sent out for Valentine's Day.

If you go to the OFA's Red Scarf Project page, you can see lots of pictures of pround students showing off their scarves. I am working on one now. They don't have to be red, just unisex, because you don't know if a girl or a boy will get it.

Here is the info, straight from their site:

Scarf Size: Approximately 60" long and 5" to 8" wide. Scarves should be long enough to be wrapped around the neck, with tails long enough to be tied in the front.

Style: Think unisex collegiate. Ask yourself if your son, brother, and/or husband would enjoy receiving the scarf. Fringes are optional. Your scarf should drape and tie easily.

Yarn: Preferably DK, double fingering-weight, worsted weight, or light bully yarns. No laceweight, super-chunky, or mohair yarns as there are many people who find mohair too itchy. The yarn should be soft.

Color: Red! However, this could mean burgundy, cherry, russet, red stripes with other colors, or multicolor hues including red. Other unisex colors, including black, navy, teal, olive or gold are also welcome.

Finished and tagged: Yarn ends should be securely sewn in. For a personal touch, attach a tag saying "Handmade for You" with your first name, city, and group affiliation, if any. Donors have also included washing instructions, messages of encouragement, gift cards, burger bucks, books of stamps, etc.

Scarves will be accepted between Sept. 1, 2008 - Oct. 31, 2008. They need to be mailed to:
Orphan Foundation of America
The Red Scarf Project
21351 Gentry Drive
Sterling, VA  20166

Even if you don't knit or crochet, you can help. Spread the word! In fact, Scout of Scout's Swag is having a contest. If you promote the Red Scarf Project on your blog, Ravelry, Flickr, etc. before Monday, she will enter you in a drawing for some lovely yarn and a $25.00 gift certificate to her store!  Details here. And you don't have to knit/crochet/sew a stitch!  But you should, you really should.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

School's In!

School has started, and everything is going well so far.  Scheduling is crazy, with one child close to the house but having frequent band practices, the other child all the way across town (Kindergarten!), and my school (work) somewhere off to the side.  I will add my school (grad school classes) in a whole 'nother town on the 18th.  I will go Monday and Tuesday nights, and all three classes should be easy & fun.  They probably will not be as much work as the ones I have had the last three semesters.

I have been participating in Ravelympics 2008, on two teams.  I am spinning 4 oz. of a lovely purple merino in the Handspun Heptathalon event, for Team Splurk (spinning + Plurk).  I am also trying to finish Lorelei's log cabin blankie that I started . . . umm, five years ago.  That is in the WIP Wrestling event, for Team Red Sox Nation.  For those of you non-knitters, WIP stands for "work in progress."  

Also for those of you who don't know, Plurk is a great time-waster.  It is like Twitter, only better.  At least that's the consensus of what I have seen from people who use both.  Of course, now that school has started I haven't had time to Plurk much.

Friday, August 01, 2008

A List

I have a lot of things that I want or need to do, and I hope that by putting them in a visible form it will encourage me to spend more time doing these things and less time 'piddling' and doing things I am not as interested in.  So, here goes:

Need to:
organize sunroom
make that tabletwoven belt
Bagatelle stuff
go through the box of Miss Priss' schoolwork from the past year
go through all the "what on earth is in this box?" boxes
finish Nana's socks

Want to:
do some dyeing of yarn
knit that Danish tie shawl
organize yarn / fiber stash
cataloge WIPs
add pictures to ravelry projects
make new garb
finish my quilts
get into the pottery studio
finish test knitting sock pattern

In my dreams:
post stash to ravelry
post knitting books to ravelry

I will edit this post as I think of more...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Plurk has motivated me to update my blog. I have finished another room, the second-worst in the house. I present to you the sewing room:

It's not really a room, but a section of the downstairs that is blocked off by my storage shelves and cubbies:

On the other side of the blue shelf and white cubbies (my cheap acrylic storage, decent yarn is on the other side and really good yarn is upstairs) is the TV area. Working around the room, you can see the rest of the shelving on that side (and the 'door') and my fabric storage (unspun fiber is on the other side).

I am very happy with how it has turned out. I still have to organize my fabric and yarn, but it will do for now - the goal is for me not to be ashamed for someone else to see it, and here it is on my blog, so I need to work on other areas of the house next. 

My sunroom is next. It is where I do my painting, jewelry making, and all other artwork except for knitting and ceramics. I will have to move some things around in the closets in my sewing room (if I haven't used what's in them in the past year, I probably can get rid of it) so I can move some things I don't use so much down from upstairs. Then I will have space to get things done. Right now I don't have space to move up there!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Swing of Things

Well, school is finally over for the summer and I have a week before I start teaching again (as long as everything goes as expected).  I have spent all of my free time organizing, trying to make my house something that I'm not ashamed for other people to see.  I started with the laundry room, which is also my closet.  One of the perks of living in a 100+ year old house is very little closet space.  Instead of ankle-deep in laundry (or deeper), like it used to be, it now looks like this:

That is all of my dresses, suits, skirts, pants, and SCA clothes.  No more dirty clothes on the floor!  The washer and dryer are here:

That is 'line dry' stuff on the small wheeled rack (I love it!), and everything else - tops, coats, sweaters, purses, shawls - is in the two closets and the small drawers below them.

Spare linens are in the top cubbies.

I have been able to keep the laundry room like this for about a month, so I hope it is permanent.  What I am really excited about is this:

It used to be the computer room (but now we use laptops and don't need the big desk, CD's, etc.  I have been calling it the weaving room or weaving studio.  Joe calls it (insert drumroll and in a deep voice, announce) "The Loom Room of Doom" - dum dum duuuuum.  

He built the shelves for me:

 and I have spent three days working on it and my sewing room (hopefully pics to come on that soon).  I hope to post more later!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Can't Believe It's Been So Long

It's been a long time since I've posted.  I am done with grad school for a couple of weeks, and I will be done teaching for the summer in two weeks, and things are going well.

On the knitting front, I have finished a pair of socks from some pink & lime yarn I got from the fiber festival in Murfreesboro a few weeks ago, and have started some socks in the Frootloops pattern from - but I will probably frog them as the yarn is too colorful for the stitch pattern.

I hope to update and post pictures soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Clay Conference Pictures on Hold

Until Apple sends me my computer (which I have been trying to buy since Monday, Feb. 11), I can't show all of my Alabama Clay Conference photos. So I will show you what we found on our treasure hunt today. Miss Priss got a metal detector for Christmas. We took it out for its first real test today. You find a bunch of junk - but for all the foil candy wrappers, bottle caps, nails, and can tabs that you find...

...occasionally you find real treasure!
Yep, we came back a penny richer. But we didn't need the metal detector to find the real treasures:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Update Coming Soon - I Hope!

I went to the Alabama Clay Conference this weekend, saw some friends, and had a good time - I even got some knitting done! I hope to post soon, but it will probably be Monday - too many tests and babies due and inlaws coming and my apprentice and her whole family visiting, and our group's event... Yep, probably Monday.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Year's Break

Originally uploaded by astabeth
I finally finished and turned in my Advanced Printmaking class (yay!), but it was on the first night I had new classes, so I have homework already. No rest for the weary. But I have a little room for procrastination, so I am updating my Ravelry stuff. Here is my first contribution:

Astabeth's Lush Scarf

Yarn: Classic Elite's Lush - 50% Angora / 50% Wool, Aran weight, 2 skeins

Gauge: Not critical; I got 18 stitches per inch in garter stitch

Needles: US8 or whatever gives you appropriate gauge or drape

Stitches: sk2p = slip one stitch, knit two together, pass the slipped stitch over


Cast on 25 stitches. If you want it wider, add stitches in increments of 6.
Knit 7 rows for the garter stitch border.

Pattern rows:

Row 1 (wrong side) and all odd # rows: Knit 3, Purl to last 3 stitches, Knit 3

Rows 2, 4, and 6: K4, *yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1; rep from * to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 8: K5, *yo, sk2p, yo, k3; rep from *, last rep will end with k5.

Row 10: K4, *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1; rep from * to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 12: K3, k2tog, *yo, k3, yo, sk2p; rep from * to last 8 stitches, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k3.

Repeat these 12 rows until you are at the end of one skein, do not bind off. Cast on with the second skein and make another identical half.

Weave the ends together - kitchener, three-needle bind-off, or your preferred method. Block gently.

Stitch pattern is "Spider Stitch" from Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.