Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Surgery updates

My MILs surgery on Dec. 3 did not go well. Surgeon cut the procedure short because he found that the cancer had spread beyond what he could deal with. So we're on to Plan B-Chemotherapy, as soon as she recovers her strength. Since she was such an active woman, I suspect it's driving her crazy to be bedridden and/or have limited mobility. I try to visit at least 4 times a week, give her shampoos and rub her feet/arms with moisturizer to make her comfortable in what I consider an overheated environment (if you've spent any time in nursing/rehab centers, you know that they crank up the heat a bit because the clients are usually elderly or wearing little clothing). In the meantime, I'm making sure that FIL gets enough rest and eats well so he and I can be supportive for her.

Second surgery, a risky cardiac procedure for my brother, is scheduled for Dec. 28. Once he returns from the hospital, I will be providing transportation and support to his family. This brother has a love of split pea soup and his doctors usually approve of my leaving a potful in the nursing unit's fridge so he can have a healthy evening snack. Looks like I'm making soup over the Christmas weekend!

I'll be back as soon as possible. I still have the third set of socks to spin and knit and many fiber adventures to report. As they say, the world keeps on spinning (pun intended)........

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sorry to have gone missing

This is just a quick post to let folks know I'm still around. I've had a series of medical issues with elderly family members which is taking up all my spare time. Actually, it's taking the main part of my time and the spare time is used for laundry, making dinner, etc. LOL! Hopefully, all surgeries will be accomplished by the end of the year and I can go back to filling my Etsy shop, contributing to Phatfiber boxes and spinning up the third and final sock batts from my series.

Have a lovely holiday, and be nice to each other!

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Prime time to reassess looms"

OK, did anyone else take that as some sort of possible sale on weaving looms? If you're a true fiberholic, it sure did!! It's the headline on a story in the local paper, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, talking about the ongoing argument about reassessing our homes. However, when I went looking for the article online so I could link to it here--the first 2 Goggle ads were for weaving looms! Go figure......

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How To Spin My Posy Toes Batts--Sweet Peas final

Hey! Remember this photo? It seems to have taken forever to get these socks finished. Wrapping up the outside work for the winter, getting samples ready for the October Phat Fiber Sample Box, preparing for a workshop on Textured Yarns that I'm teaching, yadda yadda. The socks are finished, washed and sitting in my sock drawer--yah!

Now for the techie stuff. This method of spinning yields a mostly-worsted yarn, which means I got more yardage out of the same weight of fiber--406 yards, to be exact. The size was the same, 16 wpi, but the yarn was less lofty and I had 158 yards remaining. The yardage used for these socks was 248, while I used 246 for the Snake Plant socks. Same pattern (You're Putting Me On socks by Judy Gibson), same needles (maybe).

So the difference in yardage can only be attributed to the spinning method. I have to say, the Snake Plant socks feel much thicker when wearing them in my Birkies! I think somewhere in the house move I switched needles? It looks to me like the left sock is thicker (US #1) while the right sock is rather wimpy and long and thin (US #2). Or perhaps my spinning changed in the 1-2 months between sessions? They feel just a little bit different when on my feet, which is a lesson on not letting your sons/friends pack and move your precious fiber and yarn!

Next up is the Caladiums batts, which will be spun in the third and final method recommended on the instruction sheet included with the batts. Since we're entering the holiday stretch here in the US, please have patience. I host all the holiday dinners here in addition to trying to keep my Etsy shop stocked. Speaking of Feistywoman Designs, I contributed to the Phat Fiber Sample Box for the first time in October--some of you who bought boxes may have already received yours! I've blended up a series of hand-pulled sock rovings especially for the holidays because, well, I just love wearing sparkle on my feet during the holidays and I thought some of you might, too! Here's the Snowdrift socks I just finished (fiber available Thursday) .....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fingerlakes Fiber Festival

We took a week of vacation, ostensibly to visit the son in NYC but really just a way to drag hubby to Fingerlakes again (sshhhhh, don't tell him). In the last several years I have become disenchanted with the bigger festivals. It's not that they aren't nice, but I always enjoy being able to talk with the vendors and stroll the grounds in a leisurely manner. There's less of the hottest trendy stuff, but there's so many little treasures tucked into those booths if you can get in there to look around--I just love the little festivals. Last year we spent at least an hour solving the world's problems with Jonathan Bosworth--try THAT at Maryland!

The purchases. Usually, when I attend a festival with like-minded addicts, we throw all our days' purchases on the bed and play Show n' Tell. Since I was with hubster, you folks will have to play stand-in so I can show off my stuff. I usually have specific colors or fibers in mind; this year it was blues, greens and reds and BFL.

First stop was Winderwood Farms tent (actually it's always my first stop). I love Bob's dyework and can't get enough of his tops.

I found some really superb dyed tops at Cloverleaf Farm in the main barn. She repeats the same colors in various blends, so if you want to make plied yarn of different fibers it's quite possible with her tops. Here we have (l to r) Merino in Craisin colorway, Wensleydale in Southwest colorway, BFL in Raisin colorway, and Wensleydale in Gems colorway. The Wensleydale is for an experiment I have in mind. She also dyes silks in the same colorways, wonderful if you work in fabric!

Then back to the Ag Building to visit Maggie's Farm. She's a teacher in central NY who also happens to have a farm where she raises sheep, angora bunnies, makes soap and sews the greatest bags. I bought Mother Fiber (wool IS the Mother of all fibers, isn't it?) in Magenta and Navy to ply with some of the roving you'll see next.

The photos just don't do these fibers justice, but all I had for studio space and lighting was the window of the hotel room with early evening light. Ah well, we do what we can.

Last stop was Bob Geigers Farm. I'd met his wife Linda last year when she tried her hand at dyeing. What an enthusiastic lady, with a good eye for color. Sadly, she passed away this year but I undersatnd that her husband has vowed to carry on her dyeing. He's done a great job of it if you ask me! All fibers are BFL, my fav to spin.

That pink/purple one in the middle is a thank-you pressie for my kitty sitters. They take care of the boys just like I would if I were home, and the cats love them. Hope you liked your pink, Margie Girly-Girl! The other two will look smashing plied with the navy Mother Fiber in some way. I'm just not sure which novelty technique I'll use for spinning the yarn but it WILL be interesting.

Enough for tonight. I've had a long day, including packing up my samples for the October Phat Fiber box, and need to climb into bed so I can get up and do it all again tomorrow. 'Night all.....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh dear, I'm off-schedule yet again

Well, I really had the best intentions to post the beginning of the Sweet Peas socks this week, I really did! Then life got in the way again. We're heading out for a short vacation soon and there was lots of day-to-day stuff to be done before we can leave--like washing my clothes so I can pack them. And then there was the knitting to be packed, which is always the first thing I do when I'm heading out on a trip. Yep! I packed the Sweet Peas sock, so no stats on it and no pix. I CAN say that there was a total of 406 yds spun and they came out at 16 wpi, just like the Snake Plant yarn.

Hopefully, I'll get a chance to see some friends at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival next weekend. I'll be the short chubby one with the dazed look on her face, wearing a Steelers shirt......stop me and say hello!

Friday, September 4, 2009

How to Spin My Posy Toes Batts--Sweet Peas

I apologize for being a few days late with the blog post. I ate some eggplant on Monday that didn't agree with me and have been sick for several days. It was not wasted time, as I started work on a Christmas present--can't say who or what because they will read my blog and spoil the surprise. At any rate.....

For the second technique and pair of socks, I chose the Sweet Peas colorway because....well, I just wanted purple and deep pink socks! And I know that the worsted technique described on my handout as 'stripping the batt lengthwise' will yield long repeats of color. I usually spin up 1-1/2 batts onto a bobbin and then ply it on itself from a center-pull ball, then repeat for the second 1-1/2 batts. This mixes the colors in a way that I enjoy. I started by unrolling the batt on my dining room table.

Then I split the batt down the middle, leaving about 1-2" still joined.

I then split each of those halves in half again in the same direction, leaving a join at the ends. With this batt, I split the batt so each color would have just a bit of the next color included. Once I have 4 sections split, I start from the other end and split those 4 in the opposite direction, leaving a join at each of those ends. When finished, you should have 8 sections of the batt pulled apart lengthwise like a series of Z's. When I was a kid we used to cut a piece of paper in this fashion and open it up to make a long 'rope' of paper (we were easily amused kids).

The next step is to attenuate these Z's into a useable 'top' and rolling it into a ball. Starting at one end, with your hands about 5" apart, gently start to seperate the fiber as though you're drafting to spin. Actually, you ARE predrafting the fiber. Doing this makes spinning a fine yarn much easier as most of the work is done for you before you sit down at the wheel.

This is the yarn I've spun up on the first bobbin. This bobbin has been plied and the sock begun, but we'll talk about that next week.

I'd like to end with a little philosophy I learned in the last few months. As you've heard me mention ad nauseum, we've moved into the family home which my oldest brother occupied for many years. He managed to alienate himself from just about everyone and almost lost his life because of it. He had a 45-year long argument with the next-door neighbor who wanted him to cut down the walnut trees, and they haven't been on speaking terms for 20 years. It was this neighbor who called the EMS when the wife noticed that my brother had not been out of the house for 3 days, and she thereby saved his life. Tonight I delivered homemade soup and muffins to them because she's had a hip replacement and can't be on her feet long enough to cook (no, her husband can't cook--he can't even boil water!). And WE haven't cut down the walnut trees either, although we did have them trimmed thoroughly, and they've stopped asking us to cut them down. It was so simple to have a conversation about pruning the branches that hung over their yard and solve the problem instead of the name-calling and silence that had ensued for 45 years on BOTH sides of the fence. Life is too short to hold grudges and hate people (unless they're dangerous). Most problems are solvable with good communication; silence is the weapon of the truly stupid, and it NEVER works the way they think it will.

Off my soapbox and on to the knitting.....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How to spin my Posy Toes batts--Snake Plant

The Snake Plant socks are finished! I have 80 yards left of the yarn, and realize that I never posted the total yardage. And now I've either lost the notes or packed them in some box somewhere. Oh well....

At any rate, they are thick, soft and spongy to walk on. I think they will do well in my Birkie clogs this fall and winter. Too thick for dress socks, tho. But it's nice to know how this particular method works up. Notice how different the striping is on the socks? That's due to the haphazard way in which I just grabbed a handful of fiber and spun it up.

I'm working my way through the Sweet Peas fiber. I have one sock started and the second bobbin ready to ply. Will post pix next week and talk about yardage, wpi and all the other techie stuff. In the meantime, here's a panarama (left to right, back of the house to front of the house) of my studio 2 months ago when we moved my fiber/yarn boxes in. I've added a dissembled loom, a carding table and some more boxes since but at least I have all the books on the shelves and the sock fiber unearthed so I can make sock batts for Etsy. Just have to figure out which fiber will be stored in the knee walls and how to know what's stashed in which cubby.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's done! Well, sort of....

We've managed to mostly complete the move, and we're still married to each other and actually still talking to each other. Which I understand from friends is rather unusual. Never again. I will die in this house, or pay someone else to pack and move/donate my stuff.

But now we have to UNpack all that stuff, and still go through the junk we left behind to see if there's anything we still want, then clean the house and list it. I will be glad when it's all finished. Some things we learned:
1. Start WEEKS earlier than you think you need to. Although I was working mostly by myself, I should have started this packing back in February.
2. Never underestimate a salesman. One moving company salesperson sent me a contract which I never signed. Figured he'd get the message. Nope. His company showed up an hour after the one we'd signed with, but the crew was more than happy to go home that hot humid day.
3. Never believe the moving agent. If they say it's okay to NOT pack the freezer/refrigerator, they really don't mean it because the truck driver WILL make you pack both before they'll even consider putting them on their dolly.
4. Hire a moving company who hires professional truck drivers. Joe backed that truck into our driveway with inches to spare, because he thought about what he wanted to do and knew how to do it. Joe, here's to you!
5. Pack yourself a lunch. Otherwise, you'll be stopping at the local coffee shop for a quick muffin and brew. The truck crews usually pack/buy their lunch and eat it while in transit to the new house, and you won't have a spare minute to stop for a McNasty burger.
6. Swallow a dose of your favorite pain med and/or sleeping pill before going to bed that night. You'll be so tired and overwrought that you won't sleep without them.
7. WIPs make lovely packing material. They cushion the breakables and lighten the load. However, prepare yourself for the rude awakening when you realize just how many WIPs you really have!

When all is said and done, I'm glad to be here even tho the work isn't finished. Even tho we've named the rabbits here Hassen and Pfeffer and named the deer Stew, Burger and Little Stew, and named the groundhog #%&$* because she and the kids leveled my garden--it's still a great place to live. And I can't say enough good things about South Hills Movers--they were professional, supportive, thorough and hard-working.

I have begun to spin the second Posy Toes batts for the series I was writing on spinning my sock batts. The first batts were spun and one sock is completed. I'll continue the series soon--I need to download photos and figure out which box I stuck the sock knitting into. I know I was packing the CDs when I used it for packing material...wonder if it's in the Living Room boxes.....(wanders off to check)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The first step is admitting you have a problem

I/we need a 12-step program. We rented an econoline van yesterday in order to move our boxes of stuff to the new house so we wouldn't have to pay burly guys to do it for us. And hubby and I have received our Godsmacks today. The four of us loaded the van with my fiber and yarn boxes and drove off to the new place. Unloaded. Oldest son and I stayed behind to hang light fixtures while youngest son and hubby went to load up again. Second vanful was half boxes of fiber and yarn--and there's still bits and pieces of yarn at home! The other half was boxes of hubsters books. And the third van was more boxes of books. (Although I have to say that MY boxes were MUCH easier to unload than his--we had to use the riding mower and trailer to drive them from the van to the door and then walk them up the stairs.)

Oh dear. We. have. a. problem. Is anyone interested in becoming our Executor of Fiber and Books? I think the boys' inheritance is tied up in our collections and they'd probably like some cash when we die instead of wool and history books. They've already threatened to hold a big bonfire in our honor, fueled by my fiber and his books. And today they took bets before we started packing, trying to guess how many loads it would take to move my fiber/yarn. It's just embarrassing.

Won't stop me from going to another fiber festival, tho! Phffft!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Temporary hiatus

I haven't posted for 12 days, shame on me you say? But, but, but.....I have a good reason! We've stepped into high gear on finishing the 18-month-long renovation and getting ready for the upcoming household move, and I can't seem to keep a straight thought in my head any more. Had to send the hubster out to threaten the carpenter today because I was busy chasing down the last 2 cans of matching paint for our interior trim--company changed their line of paint when I wasn't looking, humph! I certainly shouldn't be at a spinning wheel trying to make fine evenly spun sock yarn if I can rarely drive one block without thinking of 3 things I forgot to do and almost driving into oncoming traffic!

So.....posts on spinning sock yarn will be sparse or nonexistent for a bit. I'm cleaning, painting and packing boxes. But I'm definitely thinking about how to spin the next batts. I just can't manage it right now. Will hopefully post pix of packing/moving soon!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How to Spin My Posy Toes Batts--Snake Plant techie stuff

Hmmm.....I suppose I should throw some numbers out there for those of us who enjoy them? Or want to copy my socks exactly? (that's not gonna happen. handspun yarn will differ every time because it's our hands that control the yarn, and our hands are not machines built to churn out exact duplicates. besides, I want my students and other miscellaneous spinners to follow their own karma when making yarn)

Now that I've exposed yinz to my rarely-humble opinions, here's the relevant stats. As stated a few days ago, I like to put a lot of twist in the singles and ply tightly to produce a nice tight yarn that will stand up to the wear that socks get. My yarn was spun on the 16:1 whorl of my Bosworth Journey Wheel. I did not keep track of the tpi (twists per inch) because I've been spinning sock yarn long enough that I just do it to my usual standards, which are engrained in my brain. Sorry. However, the 2-ply washed and finished yarn came out at 16 wpi (wraps per inch) which is standard sock yarn. Since it was spun semi-woolen, this yarn was spongy and bouncy and I felt it needed to be knit at a tight gauge. So I've used US#0 for the toes and heels, US#1 for the body of the sock, and US#2 for the bind off. I'm using Judy Gibson's You're Putting Me On Socks pattern and so it's very easy to switch to the smaller needles when necessary. The gauge I'm getting is 7.5 sts and 10 rows per inch over Stockinette. It's a nice tight fabric and a nice thick sock, yet soft, flexible and springy due to the Merino content in the batts and the semi-woolen spinning technique.

I've gotten one sock finished already (a 4-day sock! amazing!) and have cast on for the second one. I've not yet started spinning the next set of batts for a very good reason. I've been spending a good bit of time this past week at the almost-renovated family house, dealing with a stray pit bull that's been hanging around. That means lots of time to sit and knit on the porch while I wait for her to wander back into the yard, for the police to respond to my call (didn't happen--wonder if they'd come in a REAL emergency?), or for the county dog warden to stop by again. This dog would sleep on the front porch but would run away when we got within 30 feet of her. Last night the dog warden left a humane trap on the porch with a big bowl of kibble. We caught her this morning! She's an older dog and a bit thin from living outdoors for several weeks--she was shaking with fear when we talked to her inside the cage. So sad. But she's now in a safe haven that's run by a very kind man who loves pit bulls, and will either live out her life with him or be adopted by a very special person. Saving her is the best reason I can think of for not getting my spinning started.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How to Spin My Posy Toes Sock Batts AND Hiking Pix!

The Snake Plant yarn is finished.

It was spun on the 16:1 whorl of my Bosworth Journey Wheel, as will all the sock yarns in this series. I like to put a lot of twist in my sock yarn and then ply it tightly so it wears longer.

The sock has been started, and I can see the subtle variation between the forest green and the teal colors. The tan seems to be mixing in well--I wanted it to appear serendipitously in the sock. Hopefully I'll have the time this coming week to start spinning the Sweet Peas colorway.

On another subject altogether.....
We went out early this morning to a local park, Raccoon Creek State Park. The Audubon Trail is at it's peak at the end of April and I LOVE wildflowers!

Trout Lily and May Apples

About 9:30 we heard honking and saw a pair of Canada geese calling for their buddies to join them. After a bit they flew off and circled the area a couple of times before heading out to their destination.

"Hey Mable, it's time to leave!" and a Trillium

By 10:30am I was getting pretty sweaty walking around in the valley, but it was so worth it. sigh....If only I had the time and enough colored wool to interpret all these flowers in sock batts.

A hillside of Virginia Bluebells and Carpets of tiny white flowers

Virginia Bluebells and Wild Phlox

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How to Spin My Posy Toes Sock Batts: Snake Plant colorway

I started on the Snake Plant colorway last week and am about halfway through the 3 batts. I'm spinning them by grabbing a handful and spinning from the side of the handful. In the above photo, I've unrolled one batt in preparation for yanking off a couple of handsful--notice my favorite sheep watching over the proceedings. I decided to work across the batt for no other reason than it's easier to tear the handful away if I move in that direction.

I'm hoping that by using this method I will be able to mix the pale tan color more thoroughly with the green and deep teal colors. It's not that I don't find a green-and-tan stripped sock to be appealing, it's more that I have already started knitting a pair of green stripped socks and just don't want duplicates in my sock drawer. (There's already enough confusion in my life without my willingly adding more!)

This is a shot of my spinning technique--fluff out the handful and spin from the side:

This technique is yielding a semi-woolen yarn which is thicker than my usual sock yarn. However, since many of the fibers are no longer parallel within the yarn, the sock should also be warmer.

I'm hoping to be finished with the spinning and twist-setting in the next 2 weeks. Then it's on to knitting the actual socks to see how the yarn behaves.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How to spin my Posy Toes sock batts: Introduction

While carding up some batts yesterday, I decided that a tutorial on the 3 spinning methods I recommend would be interesting. I've spun the batts myself but never compared the results, and I think it would be instructional for me and for my readers. What I plan to do is spin a colorway in one of the 3 methods, photo/post pix of the yarn, and then knit up a sock with the yarn. Seeing them all in one place and perhaps side-by-side (if Blogger will align them all) will be something we can all learn from.

I think I'll start out with the "grab a handfun and spin it" method, and will use Snake Plant for this. This colorway has two close greens and a light tan--I think I would prefer that the tan be mixed into the yarn more and I think this method will work toward that end. Give me a week or so to spin it up and we'll see what happens.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A week of spinning

I'm rather amazed at the amount of spinning I've been doing lately, especially with all the renovation I'm dealing with! This past week I finished off 2 skeins of Delicate, a superwash and Merino wool and silk yarn. I was playing with an idea for sock blends that would be different, and while this yarn probably isn't appropriate for socks I still love it. (The silk waste formed clumps in the spinning which would not be comfortable as socks but is still way cool.)

When I plied the bobbins I had quite a bit left on one bobbin and, not to be a wasteful slug, I plied it on itself. And THIS is the yarn I absolutely love and exactly the one I was looking for when experimenting with carding those batts! I call it Marbled yarn because the colors melt into each other in much the same way as marbled paper. It's suitable for socks, and as soon as I can get enough carded up it will appear in my Etsy shop.

During the recent spinning-and-carding spate, I also got some Posy Toes Bamboo batts carded up. The yarn I spun from these batts isn't photographed yet (it's raining outside today so photos will have to wait for the sun to reappear). However, there's 3 lots of batts in the shop for those who want to celebrate Spring or the next St. Patricks Day by wearing green socks. Hopefully I'll be able to get more carding done this week and will be able to offer the last of the Bamboo sock batts, Petunias. Then it's on to the Marbled series--I can't wait to play with this and see what colors I can create.

Take care and have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What was I thinking? Renovation of a money pit

Yeah, it's the family house that we've owned since 1943. Built in 1911. We were doing the last bit (we thought) on the diningroom, then finish the flooring installation in the diningroom and kitchen, and have Sears install the oven/cooktop. Then we could move in and enjoy the acre of trees and the garden. It. Ain't. Happenin.

The second floor of the house has not had the wiring replaced since 1911, and we thought we'd do that in the future. However, we discovered an exposed junction box in the diningroom ceiling that had to be rewired so thought we should have the second floor rewired while everything was exposed anyway. Unfortunately, the electrician and I discovered this week that the rooms that had been rewired in 1968-70 were done in the 4 years that electrical wiring had to be made of aluminum because the copper mines were on strike. The 1911 wiring is very dangerous to say the least. The aluminium wiring is only marginally less dangerous. sigh.......

The diningroom ceiling--junction box in question is at the point where the two heat ducts meet.

However, I DID manage to get lots of skeins of yarn finished and put into the Etsy shop this week. There's 6 skeins of a pastel beaded yarn called Hibiscus Patch (so-named because the deer have eaten all the ones that popped up at the house, and I just needed some hibiscus somewhere!)

And a skein of DK/Sport weight sock yarn in my Posy Toes Bamboo, Sunflower colorway.

The Hibiscus Patch is tempting me to knit a spring shawl. But I already have at least a dozen shawls and 35-40 WIPs sitting around. Do not need another shawl/project. If I say it enough, perhaps I'll convince myself.....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I learned something new today......

I often tell my students that although spinning is relaxing, there are just some times that you shouldn't spin. For me, I can't spin during Steeler football games because I've been known to jump up and knock the wheel over! You have to know yourself and learn when you just can't manage to spin a decent yarn. Today that lesson was brought home to me yet again.

I had some minor surgery this morning, the second of two that were scheduled, and it's always traumatic for me to undergo ANY medical procedure. I'm the woman who gave birth twice with Lamaze because I can't stand the thought of them sticking a needle in my spine, that's how bad I am. So, last time they gave me post-surgery painkillers based on acetominophen which does me NO good whatsoever. This time I requested an aspirin-based painkiller.

Once the anesthesia wore off this afternoon, I took the first one. Felt pretty good so went into the studio and carded sock batts for a couple of hours. When it came time to take the next one, I sat down at my wheel to spin the snowy white sparkly sock batt. And at one point the yarn drifted apart because I'd treadled in the wrong direction for one or two revolutions, I thought. Fixed the problem and soldiered on, although the pill was making me drowsy enough to almost fall off the chair.

This evening I went to ply the bobbins on the wheel and discovered that, at the point where the yarn drifted apart, I'd somehow reversed my spinning direction and spun the last THIRD of the bobbin in the wrong direction! If I'd tried to do this intentionally, I'd have had to rig the yarn somehow on the bobbin so it would work. But being 'under the influence' meant I just did it without thinking and almost botched up several hundred yarns of fingering-weight yarn. Problem is fixed, taking me an hour to respin the incorrect yards and the lesson is learned:

Do not spin during Steelers football games, nor when taking really really good painkillers. Sheesh, y'think I'd be old enough to know those things already? Maybe I can blame it on the stress of surgery.....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New stuff happenin--I'm excited!

I'm re-energized this week, coming off the "Cabin Fever" months of January and February and having lots of good things happen in my life. Last weekend during a nasty windstorm/cold spell that kept me inside hibernating, I finally came up with a solution to an art project I've been wanting to do for years. Back then I thought I had to draw or paint the idea, but realized that it would work best in cross stitch. It's about my family and is very internal and private, but cross stitch is a medium Grandma and Mom would have used and understood perfectly. I really don't want to go into the entire backstory or show the finished project, but I can say that it's been incredibly cathartic to finally get this thing out of my system. I'm sure some family members will not appreciate it, but hey! it's not always about YOU, folks!

And, most exciting of all, there were 3 fiber art connections this week. First, KnitDance on Etsy had purchased a skein of my Jordan Almonds yarn to make fingerless mitts for HER shop. Here they are, and didn't she do a wonderful job?

I was also invited into the Fiber Friday Carnival over on Alpaca Girl's website. I consider it an honor to be included with lots of great textile creations and creators.

Lastly, I've decided to become a sponsor of the Makin' Cookie's forum over on Ravelry. They've formed to knit socks from Cookie A's upcoming book and are soliciting prizes. I'm donating a bag of my sock batts (enough to spin yarn for a pair of socks) which will be included in a gift basket with other items to enable (my favorite word, 'enable') you to make a pair of Cookie A socks from scratch. I think it's a lovely idea and would like to thank Theresa for initiating and running the forum. If you're not on Ravelry, you should be! Go there now and request an invitation!

I must be off to get some work done today. Am having minor surgery Thursday morning and so won't be able to attend the Spinner Central gathering at the shop that evening. I do hope to make the Ewe Guys spin-in on Friday though--I miss Ewe Guys (pun intended)!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New shawl is finally done!

I have finally finished the last lace point on the shawl and blocked it--woo hoo!! I have a love of deep lace on my shawls, but it takes forever to knit. I love this version of my Red Dog Redux shawl, made of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in Blueberry Mix as the main color and Noro Kureyon Sock yarn as the contrast color. The half-circle shape is fun to knit and wraps around me in chilly reception halls like it was tailored for my body.

Both the rose shawl (which is the original version and which won first place in handspun knitted shawl category in 2005 at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival) and the brown shawl are knit with my handspun yarn.

I wish I'd remembered to pack the brown one when we were in LA for BILs wedding last year. The day of the wedding it dipped to 50 degrees--shocking in LA but still manageable for us Pittsburghers. The poor bride was freezing, tho, as she had to stand around outside for 2 hours while the wedding portraits were taken, wearing a sari and little red slippers. I spent over an hour wishing I had the brown shawl to wrap around her--maybe she wouldn't have come down with flu the next day?

ETA: The pattern is available on my Etsy site but is not yet available on Ravelry--has to do with glitches and other stuff that Casey does that I don't even PRETEND to understand.

Friday, February 20, 2009

How does this happen?

Somehow life got away from me again this week. You would think, in this economy, that a young man would be glad to have someone finance his business startup, right? We took the chance because we'd known this fella for 10 years and had watched him mature into a hard worker, and so when he approached us to propose that he do the renovation on my family home we gave him a chance. Last week we had to fire him and hire another more-established contractor to finish his work. Which involves sending carefully worded letters that let him know why he was fired so that we can take him to Small Claims Court to recover the costs incurred in paying for the second contractor. And then cleaning up the mess he left behind because he decided that partying at the house was a priority. How does this happen? Did he not listen when we and the local Small Business Administration told him that construction work is hard and that being the boss involves solving problems? His average work week these past 2 months was 10 hours/week which will not finish the renovation in this decade! This is his little 'Nintendo Nest' in my mom's bedroom.....I spent yesterday morning emptying bottles and tossing his garbage.

The the piles of construction materials which require us to hire a dumpster, fill it ourselves and have it hauled away.

And then we hired a contractor to put down new flooring, so next week there will be TWO table saws and at least 3 guys in the house making noise and sawdust. But at least we can finally see some progress in the renovation and are more confident that we'll be able to move in before June. Yay!!

I'm still plugging away on the Red Dog Redux Shawl.

When it's finished I'll redo the photos on my pattern and post it on my Etsy site and in Ravelry. It's a very easy shawl to knit with two different lace edgings--a shorter one that goes rather quickly and a longer one which I love to death and which takes longer to finish up. I have about 8 repeats to do and then the blocking--should be done this coming week. Then I need the weather to cooperate so I can get decent photos outside.