Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Was Not a Funday

No knitting or other fiber fun this weekend. It was me versus the IRS. I think I won but I always think that until I get the letter that tells me I did everything wrong-again. I don't care if the IRS thinks I am too stupid to add line 27 to line 28 and then subtract line 16. I think their forms are stupid. I don't even know what they are talking about half the time so I just ignore those lines and just fill in the stuff I do understand. I envision some guy at a desk scratching his head at my return and then having a good laugh when he turns it over and sees I'm a teacher.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Some Bling for My Consideration

I've got it in my head that I am going to weave a navy blue wrap that has glittery threads running through it. I have the new heddle for my loom. I have the blue. Now I have all this glitter but I am not so sure I have the skill or the patience. These threads look so fine compared to what I have been using. If I warp up my loom with this stuff it could take me years to finish it. That's a lot of commitment. Weaving is very different than knitting in that regard. I can have many knitting projects going at the same time but I only have one loom so choosing projects take a great deal more consideration.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Other New Toy

In addition to those new sock blockers, I decided to also buy these Knit Picks blocking mats. They snap together like a giant floor puzzle and you can just pin right into them. The best part is that even after you have something pinned on them you can lift the whole thing up and move it out of harm's way which around here means getting it away from little doggy butts.

I have just finished a very small shoulder shawl so I thought one carton would be enough. Wrong. So wrong. The ends of my Flower Basket Shawl are hanging off the edges. I could not get the top edge straight either. I need more mats and I think it's time to buy those blocking wires that I have been telling myself to buy for a very long time. I just can't seem to spend THAT much money for wire. It just seems wrong. Until I look at this picture.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Too Sick to Knit

...but not too sick to play dress up with my new sock blockers. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would own a pair of these goofy things but when Knit Picks offered some up for a reasonable price I decided to go ahead a get a pair. I confess that I NEVER really block socks. Never. I just throw them in the sock drawer and rely on my sweaty feet to do the job. I bought these for one reason and one reason alone-to be able to take decent photos of my socks for posting on Ravelry. Real feet just don't show the details of the patterns like a flat piece of plastic. Go figure.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Love Rexenne

Everything I know about fiber I have learned from YouTube.
Even if you have no interest in learning how to prepare wool you can't miss any of the videos produced by Rexenne. They are hilarious but they are also the ones I turn to time and again to see just how things are supposed to be done.

Friday, March 20, 2009

10 Reasons I Hate March

1. Crocus killing temperatures
2. The early time change-why am I getting up in the dark again?
3. No real holidays-St Patty's Day doesn't count.
4. Too much indoor recess during an epidemic of spring fever
5. Little muddy dogs on all the furniture
6. Damp and moldy smells from the wood stove
7. Coats and scarves that are left behind wherever I go
8. My white hairy legs
9. Mud, wind and drizzle
10. Wind, drizzle and mud

I thought I was going to have trouble coming up with 10.
I could have gone on forever.
Happy Spring.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day

I've got no shamrocks but I do have a niddy noddy full of newly plied sock yarn in the Emerald colorway from Red Barn Farms to share. Since all my adventures in navajo plying have been a disaster, I had to make do with the barber pole look once again. Too bad. The colors of the singles were spectacular. Before I spin another bobbin full of anything, I am going to learn how to ply it correctly in order to take advantage of all the gorgeous colors of roving I own. I have quite enough clown socks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Please Sir, I Want Some More

I promised myself when I started this blog that I would resist the temptation to turn all my pets into a cast of characters. Last month I broke my rule when I found my pet parrot happily gnawing away at a new box of Milk Bones. I also can't resist this shot of my 4 month old "grandkitty" trying to get a paw on her breakfast. She is spending a few days with grandma while her mum's out of town. This is my second night of no sleep thanks to the loudest purr I have ever heard. Her idea of a comfortable place to spend the night is on top of my head. Now I remember why I never replaced our cats when they went to the big litter box in the sky several years ago. But she sure is cute.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Two at a Time

I had such a horrible time with the shaping of the fronts of my Central Park Hoodie that I decided to knit the two sleeves at the same time in order to make sure they match. I wish I had thought of this when I was making the front panels. I could have avoided all the ripping. From the beginning I was tempted to knit the whole thing in the round like many people have done but I have just finished several in-the-round sweaters and was not anxious to have a massive mound of wool in my lap again. This thing knit up ridiculously fast. I give myself a year on sweaters due to the fact that they are big and boring but this one has been a joy. Of course I have no idea if the thing fits yet so my enthusiasm may be a wee bit premature. It does look rather small.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Completely Batty

Just when I thought I had wasted an entire beautiful spring-like weekend washing and picking all that dirty raw fleece along came two of the cutest little batts I have ever seen. The Jacob fleece was such a dirty, knotty mess that I could not have hoped for a better result. Due to my impatience they are on the skimpy side and they are still a bit lumpy but for my first try on the new drum carder these are not too shabby.

I spun up a bit on my drop spindle and it looked like some nice rustic sock yarn so onto the needles it went as another spin as I go project. I don't really need another pair of funky handspun socks but since this stuff is on the scratchy side it's either socks or another feral cat bed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spindling With Jacob

Before I got out the drum carder, I had been hand carding and spindling little bits of that giant mound of raw Jacob fleece that I bought and washed last weekend. It was really a tangled mess so after carding I still had to take the rolag and pull it out and spin from the fold. I managed to get a decent little yarn but it has a scratchy halo that reminds me of mohair. The black fleece spins up much rougher than the white but when it is plied together it looks really nice.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Too Much Fun

In January I was tired of stepping over the huge box that my new carder arrived in and wondering why on earth I bought the thing in the first place. Last Saturday I finally unpacked it and drug it outside and spent a happy hour or two trying to figure out how it works. After lots of false starts and bloody knuckles I finally managed to produce a single fluffy little batt using all the bits of roving I had leftover from earlier projects. It was fun running the thing over and over and adding different colors each time until I got the mix I wanted.

I was so excited by my little creation that I sat right there and used a drop spindle to spin up a bit of it. It was lovely to work with. The new batt was light and airy but at the same time strong enough to take being dropped. I can see a new obsession in the making so now the question is whether I can really add the drum carder to my living room decor. Spinning wheel, weaving loom and drum carder? I dunno.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Big Mess on the Deck

I spent yesterday afternoon carrying buckets of hot soapy water out to my big metal wash basin. Some of that yucky fiber I have been buying all winter got a bath. I am starting to really doubt that I have what it takes to carry through with this raw fleece processing. It is still a dirty tangled mess after many soakings. It looks so white and fluffy in the photo but it actually is pretty disgusting. There is so much vm stuck in it that if I planted it would probably sprout. I have two big boxes of this stuff so I better figure out something to do with it all.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

At Last

As if on cue, the winter snow politely disappeared yesterday so spring could get on with its business this weekend. I seemed to have worried needlessly about the crocus that were budding at the same time our freaky March blizzard was pounding the area with temps in the teens and a foot of snow. As for my usual Saturday morning routine of shamelessly indulging myself for hours with a pot of tea, my latest audio book and my lace project, it seems that the house was too much of a mess to ignore. I am going to reward myself for all this drudgery by dragging out the new drum carder this afternoon and spending a few hours making a giant mess on the deck.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Real Heel

Painfully slow. That is how I would describe the progress on these socks. I thought it was the spin-as-I-go issue that was the problem but the real culprit is time. Socks are my on-the-go project and my on-the-go self has been constantly in motion these last few weeks. My world has become either too efficient (doctor's waiting rooms) or to stressful (work). The minute I take these babies out everything erupts into some crisis that I always need two hands to fix. I did manage to turn the heel last weekend. The end is somewhat near but that toe still seems very far away. Although so does next winter. If they were finished, they would just be doomed to be packed away in the next few weeks with the rest of the winter garb so they might as well spend the spring in the bottom of my bag waiting for those few spare moments that are sure to come.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

This is one of the fronts of my Central Park Hoodie. I can't tell you if it is the right or left one because I am not gifted that way. Anyway, as you can plainly see, I have made what amounts to a big boo boo-anatomically speaking. The neck edge and the armhole shapings are on the same side. Good grief. This is why it pays to fit your knitted pieces together from time to time to be sure your garment will actually fit a human body. This was not a major catastrophe but it did make me wonder where my brain has been hiding these last few weeks.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Good Use

I spent a good part of last August wrestling with these Lopi mittens. They were my misguided Ravelympics entry and the entire process was miserable. It's just too hot in August to fool with Lopi no matter how small the project but I refused to call it quits. I wanted on the podium and I wanted it bad. It all came to a good end this morning however when my little car needed its first snow clearing of the winter. Nothing beats Lopi in the snow. Nothing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I have had to wait 3 years to wear the Lopi sweater that you see me trying in vain to take a decent photo of myself in. I made it for one purpose. It is for sledding. I have a hill that doubles as a bobsled run when we are fortunate enough to get snow. Although cautious by nature, I have no problem throwing myself face first onto a sled and screaming down the hill, dodging trees and sticks that could poke your eyes out. If I am not dangling over the creek at the end of my run I consider it a bad ride. No matter how many times I fell off my sled tonight and lay there taking the time to admire the winter sky, that Lopi stuff kept me warm and dry. I wonder how much you would need to make some leggings?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Major Accumulation

It is 8 am and it is still coming down. It has been snowing all night. For once this winter the forecasters got it right. On this cold Monday morning we are in the middle of our first major accumulation. That is a very powerful word here in the DC area. The word recession doesn't even create the horror that the thought of white stuff sticking on pavement does. The metro area was in a total panic yesterday in anticipation. Lines everywhere to buy everything. No jokes here about what you need to survive a few days of being stuck indoors. I had a cart full of stupid stuff too.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

In Like a Lion

I have a bad case of spring fever. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to an ice covered world and a forecast of up to 10 inches of snow by tomorrow morning. I love snow. I really do. In December. March snow is just a sloppy nuisance. I am ready for flip flops not snow boots. I don't even know where the snow shovel is anymore. I have crocus blooming for goodness sake.

In case we do have a snowday tomorrow, I have something to keep me occupied in between the shoveling. I have a gorgeous cloud of soft corriedale roving that makes me happy. My spinning ego has taken a big hit lately with my woeful attempts at making lace weight but I am the master of sock yarn. These colors are so pretty on the bobbin that I can't wait to see what happens when I ply them.