Sunday, May 31, 2009

Really Rustic

Determined as I am to make all that raw Jacob fleece come to a good end, I am almost ready to admit defeat. The yarn is incredibly itchy, nubby and still filled with bits of hay and God-knows-what. I found a dried up beetle in it yesterday. I can only imagine that wearing these socks will feel something like having razor blades taped to your feet. I was totally ready to throw them away when I thought that my little sister's husband would just love a hand knitted pair of socks like these ugly, nasty, old things to play golf in. Poor guy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Summer Queue

The best part of everything is the anticipation. With only a few weeks left until summer vacation (woo hoo!!!) I have been filling up the house with hot weather projects. The organic cotton market bags from Knit Picks are gorgeous and perfect for on-the-deck knitting in the heat and humidity of a DC summer. I have only just begun the bottom of the first one and already ordered another kit to make a total of 4 bags. One for me, one for daughter and two for several unsuspecting recipients that take going green seriously.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mine grows inside. I have given up on growing stuff outside. Too much shade. Too many deer. Lots of bugs. My counter sprouters are the ideal way to get green stuff in my tummy without a lot of effort. I grab out a bunch and throw them on anything that a sprout would taste good on. The ones on the right are broccoli sprouts and on the left is a mixture called French Garden which is a mix of clover, arugula, cress and radish . I get them all from Nervous Nelly that I am, I did a lot of reading about the safety of eating sprouts and I can report that after several months of dining on them, I have not had a single tummy trouble to complain about.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Out Of Control!

This month's Sheep and Wool Fest, midnight eBay and Etsy surfing and several too-busy-to-clean weekends in a row have created a stash explosion in my little craft room. This has gotten way out of hand. This is just the stuff that can't find a home. I won't mention the stuff that is packed away. I suppose I am off to Walmart for more tubs but that solution just isn't working for me. Out of sight equals out of mind and since the tubs are not where I can easily get to them, it is easier (and more fun) to buy more than to dig it out. This summer I have got to find the time to figure out a way to organize this stuff so I can start using what I have. I read somewhere that wool can spontaneously burst into flame if it is not stored properly. Imagine that.

Memorial Day

I am very thankful that for me, the day that marks the beginning of summer fun is only about the potato salad and watermelon. For the many families who will spend the day staring at that empty place at the table, I wish you peace.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

From Sheep to Sock

So far, I figure, that it has cost me about $500 to make this little skein of yarn.

It all started with a box of this dirty old stuff.

Then I had to buy a bunch of these things in different sizes to straighten out the mess I made when I washed it.

That gave me a few handfuls of this nubby stuff to spin on that used Ashford Traveler that I had sent all the way from New Zealand.

The resulting yarn still has enough vm in it to give you splinters but I'm determined... there will be socks.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Blast From My Past

Yusuf Islam was on Steven Colbert's Show this week promoting his new album Roadsinger. Back in the 70's I was madly in love with him when he was known as Cat Stevens. I had all of his.... um...8 tracks. Yes, I said 8 tracks. Laugh all you want. They were cool back then and so was he.

He's pretty hot for an old guy. I think I still love him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Funny Ha Ha

The biggest laugh we had this weekend in Iowa was when my kids went through my stuff to see what I had packed for my 4 day weekend. They thought it was especially hilarious that I had brought along two knitting projects but they all went completely hysterical on me when they found the spindle. They couldn't imagine why I would need entertainment that was not THEM. It's hard to explain that at 6 am when I am wide awake and they are nothing more that lumps in a bed (or sleeping bag in Zak's case), that they are just not that entertaining. In spite of all the hilarity, I managed to put a lot of miles on all the stuff I brought. It was also the maiden voyages of my new red Nano, my Ravelry tote bag and my little snapping craft box system that will hopefully protect the millions of dollars I have invested in Harmony Needles and tiny Golding spindles. Have wool. Will travel.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Awe-Summm? Who Me?

Truth be told, I am not much of a blogger. There is a lot about all this public spilling of guts that I just don't get. Case in point, daughter just sent me an award that comes with major strings attached. I have to earn it. I have to list seven reasons I think I am awesome. I am the anti-awesome blogger. I go out of my way to write about the stupid things I do. I would be much more comfortable writing about what a dum-asss I am, so here goes:

Seven Reasons I am a Dum-asss!!!

1. It's 9 am on Monday morning and I am reading knitting blogs.

2. I am seriously considering buying the new Knit Picks baby sweater kit and I have no grandchildren or even a chance of one in the near or far future. (I did buy it and in 2 colors!)

3. I packed 2 of my hand knit shawls for my Iowa trip and no actual shoes. I had to stop at a Walmart and buy some.

4. I ruined an entire Jacob fleece because I didn't know the difference between combing and carding.

5. I was too embarrassed to cancel an $80 online back order even though I had already picked up the items at the MD S&W Festival.

6. I actually stood in line to buy Socks that Rock and then was so flustered by the people behind me waiting that I bought a $20 skein in a color I don't really like.

7. I never swatch. This one alone should count for at least 3 reasons.

Enough of this fun. I drove 15 hours yesterday (crying big, sad ass mommy tears about half of that time) and walked in the door about 3 am. I am going back to bed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Since I am on the road this weekend, and not able to show off any knitting/spinning/weaving accomplishments I would like to take the time to show off some other projects I have been working on for the past 31 years. They all grew up to be way cooler than me but I have something they don't. A dusty box full of memories that I can scan whenever I am in the mood for a good brag. Love you guys!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Road Trip

The dress is bought. The hair has been tamed (some what). The knitting packed. The ipod loaded with podcasts and audiobooks. Today I am driving all the way to Iowa to see #2 son receive a law degree since his chemistry degree was apparently not enough of an accomplishment. They say that kids get their intelligence genes from their moms and I tend to agree. He got his cute genes from his daddy though. Way to go Zak. It's always good to have a lawyer in the family, especially with your sister.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Arrival

It looks as if my spinning wheel exploded, but this is the contents of the huge box that arrived here from New Zealand. As I have mentioned before, I bought another "warmed up " wheel off ebay and spent the best part of Saturday evening figuring out how to put it together. Ashford has a great deal in common with Ikea when it comes to instruction manuels. At least with Ikea I never have any parts left over but this time I have a washer that can't seem to find a home. I also have only 3 of the little screwy thingamabobbies that hold the watchamacallits together so it was off to the hardware store Sunday morning.

A few days of cussing and head scratching did lead to this much being put together. Of course I could not find the right size metal thingys that fit into the holes, but I made due with some large screws. Everything seems to be in the right place and working fine. She is intended for hauling out on the deck and spinning all that really nasty stuff I have been unable to keep myself from buying off ebay so that annoying squeak in the treadle that took me hours to finally give up on is probably not going to be a very big problem after all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Way it Should Be

Mother's Day was perfect. A sunny day on the deck with my new wheel, my new combs, my drum carder and a bag of raggedy jacob. The weather was cooperative with just enough wind to carry away all the vm and noils I had no further use for. The new wheel is a bit on the squeaky side even after a thorough oiling but spins like a dream. Not bad for $200. I can tell we are going to be very good friends.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Mother's Day is for your mom even though you may be the mom of many. Even after she is gone, it is still and will always be her day.


I am not trying to be sexy here with the bare shoulder pose, just show off how incredibly GINORMOUS my Palette cardi has become. I still have to cut the front steek which should take a bit or two off the front. No matter, I'll still be swimming in it. I have to look at it as the experiment in fair isle that it was intended to be and not as something I will actually ever wear. Not in public anyway. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder from now on to SWATCH and CHECK the DAMN GAUGE when working with colors.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Meet the New Twins

Even though I am now a proud owner of a Golding, I just love these little spindles that I get for only a couple of bucks from The Knit Store on ebay. I can't get enough of them. I have lots of them stashed all over the house for making samples of all the many bags roving that I have piled up around here. They are so pretty that I just keep buying more instead of unwinding them and reusing them. When you stick them in a vase they look better than flowers. They last longer too.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Very Creepy Crawlies

Surprise, surprise. Upon opening my mailbox this afternoon I noticed a few ants climbing around on a box from Knit Picks. In the spring it is not unusual to have them take up residence but this time they went too far. Inside the box they had built what appeared to be a condo development with hundreds of eggs packed in every nook and cranny of the contents. Poor things. I really wanted my 6" Harmony doublepoint set and my Montavilla string bag kit so I had to disturb them. I still have a bad case of the heebie jeebies from watching them scurry around in their panic while I carefully dug out my things. Thank goodness Knit Picks packs their stuff in plastic or that cotton yarn would have surely been a goner.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Worth its Weight in Gold

The purchase that sent me running to the Port-O-Potties at the S&W Fest this year was this itsy bitsy Golding Spindle. I knew when I first picked one up that I had to have one but the price put my stomach in a knot. So did the crowd I had to fight my way through to even get into the booth. I had to go get some fresh air and talk myself into my happy place in order to go back in and hand the guy the money. After playing with it on the car ride home I feel much better about plunking down the big bucks for something so small. It is worth every penny, maybe more. Everything you read about these incredible spindles is true so don't be a big baby like me and go get one-or two.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Daughter HATED the green morning surf scarf that is about 1/3 completed. She declared it "too bright" to actually be worn. She oohed and aahed over all the multi colored pastel roving at the S&W Fest so I came home that night and dyed up a large chunk of some incredibly soft BFL that I had to spare. I hope this meets with her approval but you really never know until you spin it to see what color turns out to dominate. There is an awful lot of yellow in this and I am not sure she is really fond of that either. Sigh. I still have to finish all the bright green that is on my wheel at the moment so I am going to have to keep her in suspense for a while to see how all this scarf drama turns out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Yes, that's me in my festival duds looking like a frumpy, lumpy bag lady. Looking at this, I am happy I didn't go with the pink crocs after all.
It was the year of the lace shawl at this year's MD Sheep and Wool Extravaganza. Each year there is a distinct trend and this year the number of gorgeous wraps that were parading through the wet venues was impressive. Draped on young and old, over the shoulders or around the necks singly or in layers, the beauty of the things left me awestruck. I had my raggedy old Flower Basket Shawl tied in a lump around my waist so no one would notice my over spun singles that had defied even the fiercest of blocking. It was knitted to wear to this year's big event and wear it I did because #2 son dared me to, although it was sadly reduced to a giant pink fanny pack. Near the end of the day, while emerging from a Port-o-Potty, a sweet little girl at the giant plastic sink shyly told me she thought it was pretty. Wow. If it hadn't been too damn itchy for her little girl skin I would have taken it off and given it to her.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Part 2: What I Bought

The extraordinary thing about this year's Sheep and Wool Festival is that I came home with only a handful of change. Most years I am too overwhelmed to make any decisions on how to part with my hard earned cash.
Not this year. This year I came home with:

Wool carders

2 "Party in a Bags" of handpainted roving (where I learned NEVER to put down the bag you really want when anyone is watching you) in spring and autumn colorways

2 bags of Merino and Merino/Silk blend roving

An adorable Golding Sweetheart spindle

1 skein of Socks that Rock in the Jabberwocky colorway

8 oz of Finn Comb Top in an a lovely pink/green colorway

Buttons from Jennie the Potter for my CPH and to get up close and personal with Heather Ordover (where I learned I am NEVER allowed to open my mouth when in starstruck mode EVER again)

It doesn't look like much for a whopping $200 but all in all the day was priceless.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Part 1: What I Did

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2009

The sum of today's extraordinary events goes like this:

ATM for $200

Wait in traffic forever on Rt 32

Wade a mile or so through knee high wet grass to the front gate

Ribbon fries for breakfast in the rain

Wait in long line for ladies room

Watch dogs chase sheep

Pet dogs

Get Ravelry button in a crazy crush of knitter frenzy

Wait in long line for Socks that Rock

Look at: llamas, alpacas, dancers and goats

Look at: Jess, Casey, Amy Singer, the Rainey Sisters and Heather Ordover like a starstruck schoolgirl

Go home and dye wool because it's not like I didn't already buy enough today

What a great day!
It's a shame I have to wait 356 days until I can do it all again.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Off to the Frog Pond

My second Morning Surf Scarf is turning out to be really gorgeous but I have grave doubts that I am going to have enough of the homespun to make it long enough to be called a scarf. What are the chances I can pick up a matching bag of roving at this weekend's Sheep and Wool Festival? If I can't, I am going to have to pull out all this hard work and start over with a much smaller width. It is also predicted to be a rainy weekend. Oh my goodness, just imagine the smell of all that damp wool.