Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Found it!

I finally located that little sample skein that I spun using all the tricks that everyone was so nice to pass along last week when I was in complete dismay.
Here are some photos that clearly show the before and after. I am so happy to have finally reached some understanding about how spinning thin works. Now to figure out what to do with all that chubby Merino.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


This tangled mess is what happened after I started listening to people who know how to spin lace weight yarn. Everyone has been so kind in helping me work through my issues with learning to spin thin. Fear and laziness seem to be the two things that were holding me back: fear of spinning really, really thin and plying really, really tight and being too lazy to make samples before just jumping into large projects without having any real control over the materials. It seems that a tangled mess is what you are looking for in order to have enough twist. Who knew? You can see the difference in what I thought was lace weight and what is getting closer than I thought was possible.

My little sample skein dried so nice and straight and thin just like everyone said it would. I am going to knit up a little sample with it as soon as I find it. It seems to have gotten lost in all the September fiber frenzy. I am sure it is here somewhere.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Own Box of Phiber Phun

This time last week I was weeping hysterically (seriously) over my defeated efforts to get a September Phat Fiber box over on Etsy. After I came to my senses I realized I could just go and make up my own box. Instead of waiting anxiously for just ONE box of fiber fun, I could get boxes of fluffy fun all week. So I did. Much to the mail lady and the Mister's dismay, I received lots and lots and lots of boxes and bags stuffed full of some rather stinky goodness. Voila:

I even got more than I bargained for because most vendors included samples of things I just have to have. Like this little Moonbeam jewel from Moonwood Farms.

Here are the adorable little Red Hot Cinnamon batts the sample came with. The only thing wrong with them is that I didn't card them myself. They are exqusite.

For a measly $3.00 I got a large bag of silk hankie remnants from Bohemian Fibers in breathtaking colors.

From one of my favorite Etsy shops I got two bags of raw fleece in these gorgeous natural colors. One is merino and the other is Rambouillet X. Both are spectacular.

I also bought a huge box of some Cormo roving that is like sticking your hand in a cloud and a raw shetland fleece that is going to be lace someday whether it wants to or not. I suppose I have to thank Phat Fiber for indirectly giving me a another month of fiber frenzy but I swear, next month and I really mean it-that damn "secret" October email is getting deleted. Right in the trash. Cross my heart and hope to dye.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh No I Didn't...

Oh yes I did.
After a long snooze, the Thermal Socks were brought out of hibernation one lovely, cool Saturday morning. While enjoy all that early morning calm on the deck, I managed to pick up the wrong yarn end and create conjoined twins on the very first row. This pattern is no fun to undo but I am getting so used to it that the tinking back feels better than the actual knitting.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not At All What I Intended

I thought I was doing a really good job spinning a lace weight yarn out of my Party in a Bag Merino but after plying it, it puffed up into at least a sport weight, at least-maybe it's even DK. Ouch. My tiny Golding spindle made some lovely thin singles (I thought) which now are all fluffy and puffy. I had wanted a light springtime shawl for a-wearin' to this year's MD S and W in May-not another mid winter stadium blanket. I am so bummed.
Must. Do. More. Research. On. How. To. Spin. Lace. Must.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm No Quitter

After my enormous weaving disaster a few weeks ago, you'd think that the loom would be out in the trash. I'm a bit calmer now and trying to figure out what went wrong with the tension of the Harvest Wrap that went so horribly wrong. I started by taking myself to Walmart-yes, I said Walmart and buying a cart full of clearance yarn that felt stiff to my fingers. I won't mention any brands because I can't imagine how awful it would be to find my name on a skein of yarn that couldn't even be sold at Walmart prices. Semi-celebs who lend their name to yarn companies get my total admiration for even admitting they pick up the needles now and again, so who I am to poke fun. Using this cheaper yarn made warping easier and substituting a giant roll of felt for the paper on the back roller is keeping everything tight and in its right place. I am not breathing a sigh of relief just yet but I am starting to get my hopes up.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Update

Sunday was a fun day.

I don't really need many words to explain why.

Merino. Fire. Coffee. Need I say more?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Under Pressure

I now have 3 spindle-as-I-go projects in progress: my Phat Fiber hat, my Sheep to Sock socks and the MD S and W shawl that is not pictured due to total lack of photographical (not a real word, I'm sure) progress. Keeping up the pace of spindling, plying and knitting has been weirdly exhilarating. Being in a race with myself to always have the materials ready to work with is a great motivator when time is short and energy is low.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Agony of Defeat

This morning I got soundly whupped by the Etsy Cart God who decided these old fingers were fiddling a little too long with her saved address and let someone snatch MY September Fluff Box right out of MY cart. Arghhh. I have managed to get my hands on the last three so I am totally ashamed at my greediness but make no apologies because damn-those boxes are cool!

It hurt so bad until the mail showed up with plenty of fuzzy stuff to take my mind off my misery. I had just bought a lovely pound of raw *Corriedale that is intended for some autumnal dyeing and its arrival could not have been better planned. While that is stewing on the stove, I am busying myself sitting in the sunshine and spinning this incredibly gorgeous Merino that I washed and combed over the summer. Funk be gone. I have too much to do right now.

*Errata: That was not the Corriedale that showed up but the Columbia fleece. Oops. In my haste to get busy I neglected to actually look at the packing slip until Sunday.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rescue Me 2

Daughter's Noro bag, the one that she asked me to finish for her, now has a partially completed handle. I drug it all the way up to NYC last weekend to check the final measurements and to take some blog photos in some place a lot more interesting than my deck but never got around to taking any pictures.

Noro Lovers stop reading here.

I have not worked with Noro for ages. I remember ordering it online, paying a lot of money for it and then giving it away to Daughter because I didn't care for the colors. I was not a spinner way back then and I have to say, and I am trying not to be mean, but knitting with this stuff is like knitting with my worst homespun-lumpy, scratchy and filled with vm. I suppose I better start cutting myself some slack in the spinning department because this stuff costs big bucks and people love it. I have heard about grown women fighting over it. If you like this kind of stuff, come on over to my house. I've got tubs of it without the fancy label and price tag.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sorry, but I Just Couldn't Resist

In my miserable little life nothing seems to be funny these days so I just can't seem to get enough of well, you know...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Frankenskein Becomes a Hat

My Phat Fiber June sampler is slowly being turned into yarn which in turn is becoming a rather silly hat. One can't have enough silly hats to go with one's silly socks. Take a look at some of the stuff hitting the runway this week in NYC and you'll realize silly stuff is never out of fashion.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Get Your Hankies ready

After watching this You Tube video on preparing silk hankies, you are going to want to buy some too.

I got mine from Sara's Texture Crafts.
Thank you Yarnspinner for another great video.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New York, New York

I got back late tonight from visiting Daughter in her first ever apartment in the Big Apple. Here is a very realistic interpretation of the day's events:

Sad to say, but when I first saw this movie I was the Jane Fonda but these days I am totally the Mildred Natwick. Geez.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A New Trick

Plying on a spindle is something I never really liked to do until I saw someone plying from both ends of a center pull ball on You Tube. It took a while to get the hang of keeping the tension on both ends even but it sure beats dealing with all those bobbins (aka toilet paper tubes) rolling around. I do have a tensioned lazy kate that I use for plying on the wheel but I never liked using it with a spindle. It just seemed to big and clunky for my delicate singles. This trick also avoids the dreaded waste of precious handspun when you can't manage to get equal amounts on two bobbins. I love it when you come to the end and you have a pretty little loop that just slides right over the end of your niddy-noddy. It makes me feel efficient and clever.

Note to Kids: Don't worry about those blue fingers. My circulation is fine. I've just been in the dye pot again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

All in a Day

I had a REALLY, REALLY bad day at work but look what I found in my mailbox. Jackpot! I am climbing on the couch and taking the phone off the hook. If they don't get my mojo back nothing will.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Doomed From the Start

That Harvest Wrap that took me several exasperating tries to get warped came to a sad conclusion. The tension was never right, so silly me tried to unwind it all and re-roll it with something a bit thicker. Bad, bad idea. I ended up cutting it off and then noticed that I was not very fond of the way the variegated yarn was working with the plaid thing I had going anyway.

I keep reminding myself that you learn as much from your mistakes as you do your successes but it still felt pretty darn bad to have to cut all that pretty yarn off the loom.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Harvest Time

I can't grow doodly-squat in my heavily wooded yard so several years ago I borrowed a corner of my parent's yard to plant a fig tree. Saturday morning my dad called to say that the figs were finally beginning to ripen. The few that remain after the bugs and critters have their fill are the most glorious things on the planet.

The shelf life for ripe figs is about a minute or two so I used the leftovers to make fig preserves. They cooked all night in the crock pot and are now so sweet and gooey that my morning toast won't know what hit it. 6 AM might not feel so bad for a while.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bye Bye Baby

Daughter and boyfriend headed off this morning to their new life in NYC.

After all the tearful goodbyes, I was in need of cheering up so I took myself to my favorite place on the planet, Ikea. I'm not exactly smiling yet but a cinnamon bun is a pretty good diversion.

I won't go on and on about how rotten it is to say goodbye to your kids as they grow up and leave because the Yarn Harlot already said it all here this week.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

2 Plus 2 Equals Infinity

I find it hard to believe I only used 4 colors of dye on my Gulf Coast batts. Now that I am down to the heel on one of the socks, I can see that my idea of creating a repeating color sequences is right out the window. Turquoise, fushia, lime green and chestnut hand painted in careful stripes apparently equals every color under the sun and then some. No matter. I can always use another pair of crazy clown socks that probably will match one of my bazillion pairs of Crocs.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meet Frankenskein

Here is the first bit of yarn made from the Phat Fiber June Fluff box.
I think it's very pretty.

It's even prettier as a little ball.

I still have a lot of that fiber left to spindle before I can even think of knitting but I am just dying to swatch.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Much More Than I Counted On

Here is that little "shrug" I am knitting out of a giant mound of roving I bought eons ago and spun as my TDF challenge. It is my first attempt at spinning something human sized. I took the time to measure each skein and figured I had about 600 yards. That didn't seem like much after looking at some simple sweater patterns but here it is after using up 3 of my 5 balls of yarn. I still have a large ball for each sleeve so I guess my shrug is now a sweater?