Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ta Da!

Woo hoo! It's my first bobbin of plied Cormo! I started this in July for this year's Tour de Fleece. Don't ask me what I am going to do with it because I have no idea. Since I have so much of it, I had wanted it to become a sweater but it's just not looking like a sweater to me right now.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Odds and Ends Revisited

That faux Noro scarf that I began from scraps has taken a turn in an entirely different direction.

Forget the itchy leftover handspun. I have several giant bags of lovely soft leftover Merino that would make a wonderful scarf so why not spin some just for it?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Never Enough

The walnut dyed Cormo is being eaten up by a chunky 3X2 ribbed cap. I am almost out of my raggedy yarn and I still have a long way to go. I see some lots more batt cranking in my future.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Just For Fun

Yarn Harlot had a post last week about knitting with unspun silk. While I was cleaning up the stash mess, I happened to remember that I have a bag of hankies so I thought I would give it a try.

I You Tubed a video that showed how to poke a hole in it.

Then you keep stretching the hole until you can pull the circle out to the size strand you want to knit with.

I used the backward loop to cast on a few stitches for a simple garter stitch scarf.

As warned in the videos, silk is hard to work with if your hands are rough. The tiny strands catch on everything. It is like knitting with a cobweb.

It does have a gorgeous shine and when knitted it makes a lovely soft fabric but I must also say that it takes a while to get used to knitting with it. It's actually been a little terrifying. You have to get in control of this stuff and not be afraid to play rough with it. If you let it have its way, it just wants to float away or go up your nose.

Friday, November 26, 2010

All Tidied Up

In order to make room for Thanksgiving guests, my tiny craft room got filled with all the toys that are normally spread out all over the place. The rest of the house looks pretty empty right now. It looks like a regular, normal people house. It's been nice for a while but I sure couldn't live this way. There's nothing to do. But eat and watch TV.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

Confession: I stole the drawing from this blog. This expresses exactly how I feel better than I can say it. It's just too early in the morning to have my hand up some poultry hoo haa, but there it is.
Dinner's at 2. Come on over.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The Cormo singles that I have been spinning since this summer's Tour de Fleece are being plied on the Ashford Traditional using my tensioned lazy Kate. I have no idea what the yarn will become but whatever it is, it better be good because this has been an ENORMOUS amount of work. If I gave myself minimum wage for the hours I have spent working on this single skein of wool, I would have to charge myself about a million dollars for it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Little Rough Stuff

My walnut dyed Cormo batts are spun and I am in the process of chain plying them on a spindle. I get quite a good workout throwing that spindle all over the place while pulling the loops through each other. I am still pretty terrible at it but it gives me that "just learned to spin" look that I want for this "guy" hat. It has a rustic look but not a rustic feel. I know I have said it before but I just have to say it again. I love Cormo. It is so light, soft and springy. Not an itch anywhere in it. If I hadn't washed it myself I would never believe that this came off a sheep.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nom Nom

Yarnies are always describing their wooly things as if they were food. The words yummy and scrumptious are used quite often. Very few wooly things actually deserve to be described as delicious but Malabrigo certainly does. The Merino sheep that this stuff falls off must be like little clouds from heaven. Let's hope the gift scarf (Spring Bandit) that it is intended to become is deserving of all this beautiful purple yumminess.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Odds and Ends

Whenever I get bored with what I am doing, I start a project that I know is doomed from the start. I have a basket of leftover balls of handspun just sitting here waiting to be moth food so I am going to start a 1x1 ribbed scarf a la Brooklyn Tweed"s striped Noro. I'll never wear it. The yarn is too itchy but I can hang it somewhere and pretend that I am going to. I could also put it in the same box as the leftover sock yarn scarf that has been in hibernation for 3 years.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The yarn is dry and I am going to ball it up and get going on the vest again.

I can see a difference in the colors and it's not too bad. The only other thing would be to rip it all out and alternate the yarn. I'm not ready to go there just yet so I am just going to keep calm and knit on. I can rip it out later if I can't stand it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fresh Figs Three

I finally got the second dyeing of the Fresh Figs plied. It took me several days. For some reason I was not motivated. I think it has something to do with the fact is that I have to make some hard decisions on the Crepidula. The colors are not going to match. Do I knit on and ignore the fact? Rip out and incorporate both colors from the start? I dunno....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You Get What You Pay For

Remember this? It's the Knit Picks mini sweater/ornament that Daughter wants a full sized version of.

I honestly figured that she would never really wear it so I ran out and bought the cheapest yarn I could find. I am not a yarn snob so I have no problem raiding AC Moore's for on sale acrylic. I got a sweater's worth for about $20.
I knit my brains out for 2 days and then decided that I was making a giant pot scrubber not a sweater. The acrylic was just too stiff and shiny for outerwear. The more I knit the more I hated it. I've ordered replacement yarn that is a step up but still in the affordable range. The crappy yarn is not wasted. It will make a very nice granny square afghan someday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Pair Down....

I have two pairs of these purple socks to knit and gift. This is the lighter purple of the two I am knitting from Knit Picks Stroll Tonal. These go so quickly that I made them a bit taller than I wanted because I just couldn't imagine that I was ready for the heel. I am hoping they fit. Making surprise socks for people I don't know is hard. I always tell the recipient to gift them to someone they will fit, then send me their measurements for a replacement pair. It's the best I can do.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holidays in Norway

Daughter fell in love with this mini sweater in the Knit Picks holiday catalog. The thing is though, she doesn't want a mini version to hang on her tree, she wants to wear it. Her exact instructions were for me to make her something to lie about the house in.

Thank goodness for Amazon. I found this used booklet for a couple of bucks. It has everything you need to design your own Norwegian style sweater. I made a swatch (yes, a real swatch) using some of the designs and techniques from the booklet. Daughter wants something chunkier than the fingering weight recommended so I am using worsted weight. She wants it finished before Christmas. Yeah, right.....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Black Walnut on the Wheel

The photos are a bit fuzzy but so is the wool. The Black Walnut dyed Cormo is doing what I expected it to on the wheel. It is becoming a giant tangle of lumps and bumps that will make a lovely rustic style stocking cap. I want to spin thin these days so to get something thicker I am using a 2 handed long draw and not looking at the wool as I spin. Sounds crazy, but it works for me. I don't want a fingering weight yarn and that's all I seem to be able to make these days. I am going to chain ply it to add even more thickness.

I am not so sure I like the addition of the black, but its too late to turn back now. I will spin up these batts and then make a few without the black since I still have a bag of the plain brown left. I did not get the rich brown like the author in the Spin Off issue did so next year I will gather the hulls earlier in the season when they are still bright green. That is when you get the strongest dye. I will also try to get them before the squirrels get to them. I don't want to disturb their harvest, but I am sure they can spare me a few.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Naughty Socks

I have had such a terrible time with my second pair of purple socks. They are a simple 2 by 2 rib with a tiny cable on each side. How hard is that? I have started and restarted them several times. I even got past the heel once and then had to rip them out. First they were too small, then the cables were in the wrong place, then I tried to cable without a needle. FAIL. They were intended as a gift but now the bad knitting mojo has taken over so these may just end up in the back of the drawer where all the other naughty socks go.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Real food! There are raisins in my rice pudding. Beans in my salad. Lentil soup. And yes, that is red wine. You have no idea what it's like to be able to eat real food again. Small portions, yes, and low fat, but finally real freaking food!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Labor of Love Revisited

A while back I posted about the quilt my dad had started, using scraps he found in my mother's sewing basket. I had been helping him put his hexagons together until my tummy troubles forced me to give up anything I had to bend forward to do. I just can't seem to sew sitting up straight. Since my surgery I have been able to spend a few minutes a day doing some of the things I had given up like spinning, weaving and quilting. The loom is still empty but I have been trying to put a few pieces on the quilt each day. Today marks 8 years that we said our last goodbyes to Mom. It seems like only yesterday. It has been more than 30 years since she used this material to make maternity tops for me in anticipation of her first grandchild. Time flies but it certainly doesn't heal all wounds. Some are just too deep. Miss you, Mom.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Mess of Another Kind

Usually I am dyeing the counter weird colors because of wool, today it was because of cupcakes.

I went to Micheal's and bought a bunch of cake decorating stuff from Wilton's. I know nothing about these things so I had no idea what I had or how to use it.

The boxes had directions I could follow so I easily made some fondant leaves and flowers. Then I brushed them with some glitter dust.

I had lots of fun.

Then I experimented with different ways to put icing on. I used a bag, I melted it and I put it on the old fashioned way. This is all tub icing by the way. I added a bit more powdered sugar to stiffen it up so it would do what I wanted. Four hours later and it's all still looking good.

Why all the trouble? Saturday is Daughter's engagement party and she is gluten free. We have cakes ordered but to pay a fortune for a few wheat free cupcakes is crazy. This was a trial run to see if I could pull it off. I think I've got it covered.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Little Fluff

I did something I never do this morning. I used the carder inside. I usually make a giant mess when carding with hay bits and snarly lumps all around. I decided just to have the vacuum in standby and it all went pretty well. The dining room is none the worse for wear.

I was carding the Cormo that I dyed with the Black Walnut hulls. After it was dry and fluffed, I could see that I did not get a wide variation in color so I dyed some black and carded it in for contrast. I also carded in some white.

The resulting batts are little brown and gray clouds. I can't wait to spin them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Home Ec

I am giving myself a C+ on my latest adventure in apron making. I made a few of the same mistakes I made on the first one I made because I neglected to make notes on the pattern warning me of problems ahead. I did scribble all over the pattern this time so I am hoping that my winter version will be at least a B.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oh Nuts! Part 3

After rinsing the black walnut dyed Cormo I was happy to find that all that simmering did not felt the wool.

My layering of colors also seemed to be successful as I ended up with several different browns.
Now to let it dry without poking it. Leaving it alone for a few days is always the hardest part.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Love Affair With Jacob

If I could own one kind of sheep, it would be a Jacob.

I love working with Jacob fleece. It isn't fussy at all. It is easy to wash, easy to card and easy to spin.

The color variations make it fun to work with. You can get white, cream, brown and black all from the same fleece. It does not tangle easily so you don't get many annoying lumps and bumps.

It's long staple length and overall volume make cranking out batts fast and efficient. These two monster batts took about a half an hour.

It knits up into a lovely rustic fabric that is warm and almost as waterproof as Icelandic wool.

It's on the coarse side, but it softens as you wear it. The next time I am tempted to buy a giant bag of wool I hope it is Jacob. I would like a sweater's worth, please.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Preparing For Winter

I have enough "Little House on the Prairie" in me to need to put up provisions for the coming winter. Digging through the fiber stash, I found the remaining Clun Forest that needed to be turned into batts. It has the cutest little locks.

I teased them open with my mini carders and then ran them through the drum carder.

Here is my finished pile of Clun Forest batts that should keep me busy over the cold winter months. I'd like to think of myself spinning in front of a roaring fire watching the snow fall but I will more than likely be spinning in front of the week's Netflix arrival while wondering if we will get any snow this year. I think we used up all the snow last year.