Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On My Toes

I know I have already posted these photos of my latest sock blank dyeing disaster, but it is necessary to show once again how things went so wrong. First, I dyed half of the blank in a dark concentration of dye. Then, totally taking leave of my senses, I added water to the dye pot diluting the color and then dipped in the other half of the blank.

I thought I was being clever by adding some dark stripes on the light part.

Things were going along pretty well until I got down to the toes. I knew that I had dyed the end of the blank too dark but just how dark was the question.

I am very happy this part of the sock is usually hidden in the shoes because this is just awful.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Law and Order

Now that I am officially fixed-income-P.O.O.R., I won't be seeing much stuff like this showing up in the mailbox anymore. This was my very last treat for probably a long while so I am happy it was a good one.

Sometimes when I order 4 ounces of some pretty little fluff, I am disappointed by the tiny braid that arrives. When this bag of "Felony" superwash Merino arrived from Micamynx, I was astonished by how much was there. True, it is 4.3 ounces but seriously, this is a LOT of fiber for the money.

It is also gorgeous. It puts my latest attempt at dyeing to shame.
I was also really intrigued by her Etsy profile.
In her own words:

In case you are wondering about the fiber colorway names...I am a criminal defense attorney by day, but as soon as I shuck the suit & stiletto heels, I play with fiber. I merge the two worlds by naming yarns/fibers after criminal defense terms. It could be worse, civil law terms are exceedingly boring!

Goodness gracious. I am really impressed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thank You Lynn!

My dyes were in a complete jumble until a friend found me the PERFECT sized box to store them in.
Note to self: I even have room for a few more.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One Down and One to Go

I've got one sleeve of my Classic Lines Cardigan finished but now I am worried that the sleeves will be too wide for my skinny-minny arms. I am rapidly becoming a bit of an old roly-poly but my arms have not yet got the message
It's always something.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ready to Go

The neon green batt is dry, spun, plied and ready to knit thanks to my Netflix choice of the week.

For some reason I thought Zombieland would be something I would enjoy. Instead it gave me a reason to keep my eyes planted firmly on the work at hand. I don't care much for blood and guts.

I also want to say that I love these colors together and I rarely say that about anything I dye myself. The batt was an absolute horror. The yarn not so much.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's a Mystery

My chain plied sibling socks, that have been in hibernation until it was warm and dry enough to sit outside and comb more fleece, have another finished ball. Since this color is so close to the last color stripe, it is going into storage until the latest processed batt is dry enough to spin and ply.

It is so strange how those odd little batts turn into yarn that looks nothing at all like them. Where did all that bright purple go? Dyeing is a mysterious business.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It Looks Like a Drowned Batt

Dyeing a batt is a scary thing. All that soaking and rinsing is very unsettling. When immersed in water they compress into a tangled mess.

After a spin in the salad spinner they are almost as good as new. Thank goodness.

When dry they fluff back up as if by magic.
This is yet another Corriedale batt dyed to offer some intentional contrast to the dullish color stripes in my first ever chain plied sibling socks. This neon green oughta do it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ladybug, Ladybug

I searched through my fiber stash to find something really special to be the very first project on my new wheel but came up empty handed. I did find a soy-Icelandic-mohair sock blend from eXtreme Spinning that I had bought last summer.

After a good soak, I added Jet Black and Fire Red.

I am hoping for some ladybug inspired sock yarn.

I am having a hard time being patient enough for this to dry so I can spin it. I suppose I should be spinning some scrap for samples to get used to the new wheel but that just somehow doesn't seem right.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More on the Bug

In addition to the little ladybug, I also have a flock of sheep watching over my new wheel. You can also see the black poly drive band that I think is so cool. What is not so cool is all this talk about ratios and whorl speeds. I have been avoiding the fact that I have no idea what all this means but now, I'm afraid I may just have to figure this out. My head hurts already.

In spite of the fact that I really have no idea how this spinning stuff actually works, I managed to spin this little bit of white stuff. The red stuff came on the bobbin along with a whole bunch of already spun white stuff. I replaced the already spun white stuff with my own white stuff just to make sure everything was in working in order. It is.

Monday, June 21, 2010

All Together Now

The Ladybug looks like this right out of the box. Most parts are already together.

The 3 screws in the plastic bag are all that is needed to get this little thing up and running.

Here she is all ready to go.

My own little ladybug is sitting right behind the wheel. The little card explains that each wheel has a ladybug stuck in its own special place so as to make each wheel unique. Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, June 20, 2010


My kids completely blindsided me yesterday with a retirement gift that leaves me almost speechless.

I don't have to tell anyone what the enormous box contains. It is happily all too obvious.

Thank you just doesn't say enough, does it?

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I sent The Prodigy home for the summer with lots of raw fleece to wash. Her idea-not mine. She will probably have it all washed, dyed, spun and knitted by the time she leaves in a few days for her home in China. She is planning on spending her holiday hiking the highest mountains over there. It figures.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The First Day of the Rest of My Life.....

....and all I can think of is Nora Batty armed with her broom spending her days keeping the front steps neat and tidy. As far as retired female role models go, Golden Girl, I am not, but Nora I think I can manage. I need a pinny.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The End

Today is my last day of work.
I am retiring after teaching at the same school for twenty years.
First grade.
I loved it.
It was a great job while it lasted but when educating children became big business it all went bad.
Very bad.
Tums in the morning bad.
Pepcid at night bad.
Tylenol all day bad.
Teaching children is simple. Very, very simple.
Clear directions and time to practice is all that is needed but when people have to justify huge salaries, things get complicated.
Too complicated and ridiculously ineffective for someone who really cares.
So I had to go.
Too bad.
I'm sad.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Keeping in Touch

Tomorrow is my last day at work EVER. I am NOT going to miss being a teacher but I am going to miss all my teacher friends. So that they may get a hold of me in case of any knitting emergency, I had some cards printed up using Zazzle and Moo.

The Moo cards were made from my very own Flicker photos. On the back is all of my contact info. They were easy and fun to make.

The Zazzle cards were not so fun to make. You choose from a stock photo, which I loved, but getting the printing right was difficult. I was VERY disappointed with the results. Even with my glasses on I can't read the tiny contact info. I tried to go back and redo the card with a much larger font, but gave up in frustration. The editing was just too complicated a process for me.

I am sure going to miss my little lunch time knitting circle. Ladies, keep in touch!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Cormo

I had my doubts about the ginormous 9 lb bag of Cormo I bought at the MD S & W this year. After washing it still seemed sticky and very discolored. After combing however, all my worries are gone. It fluffed up very nicely and turned a lovely cream color.

Using only my sampling spindle, I managed to spin a very lovely thin single with hardly any effort. This stuff really wants to spin thin.

After plying it remained very thin and bouncy. The yarn has amazing stretch.

It has a very slight halo and is softer than I could have ever imagined.

The tiny sample knit up best at a very fine gauge but I am now unsure what type of garments this type of wool would be best suited for. I am going to have to do some research before I commit to a large project.
And about those blue nails, it was "dress up as your favorite teacher day" at school. I picked Viola Swamp.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cleaning Day

My tools of torture gathered a lot of dust over the winter. I had to take them outside and give them a good cleaning this morning. I really need to figure out a better storage system. You should see how many poor little stink bugs lost their lives after falling into the basket. We had a stink bug infestation this year. Last year it was lady bugs. The year before that it was little itchy things you could not see but left big bites. I dislike all the little creepy crawlies I have to share my house with but all the same, I pity anything that lands in this basket. I already have a giant gash on my thumb and it's still very early in the carding and combing time of year.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Knit Not In Public Day 2010

The World Cup is on. I'm not going anywhere until July.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sunshine Spinning

I love to spin outside on the deck in the early morning. Even boring colorways like my newest Polwarth experiment don't look half bad in bright sunlight. The olive green was a disappointment as it still looks grayish brown but the other colors seem to be working together quite nicely.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dye Another Day

Little bumpy batt got a coat of paint. I needed to try and somewhat match the other batts I have spun for the socks in progress.

I don't think I came close but it is going to add an interesting stripe right before the heels.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This past weekend while playing with my stash of unwashed fleece, I remembered I also had a spinning project that needed another batt. I had started a card-as-you-go pair of socks where I completely misjudged how much yarn a few little batts would yield. I bought some washed Corriedale to complete the project but although I gave it my best effort, I could only use a small fraction of the tangled up mess. I spent a hot afternoon with a lap full of wool trying to salvage what I could.

I had to pick extremely small bits to run through the carder in order to avoid all the broken pieces and lumps.

I managed to get a small lumpy batt, but only after breaking into my stash of really good Corriedale that I had washed myself last summer. The rest of that awful stuff is getting dumped in the woods where I hope some little critter finds it more useful than I did.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time Warp

I have reached the point on my sock blank socks where time is standing still. No matter how many stitches I put on the foot, the foot is not getting any longer. I am also wondering where the dark half of the sock blank went. I thought almost one half of the blank was a solid block of very dark green but now that I am nearing the end of the balls I can see I was wrong. I had hoped that the foot was going to be all dark but now I have no idea where that change will happen.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ugly Socks Times Three

My experiment spinning strips of batts to get some interesting color changes certainly did NOT turn out the way I had hoped but I love my ugly little socks all the same. I can never predict what is happening with the color changes so I have a hard time putting them down once I pick them up. It looks like I will have enough for a fourth sock and maybe even a fifth since I still have a bit of the batts left to spin. Next winter I will have plenty of happy colored socks to stuff in my snow boots.