Thursday, November 29, 2012

No pictures today!

Sorry, muffins, but no pictures today. I realized that this blog had fallen a little by the wayside while I was so busy with work and travel and work and travel.....and I wanted to update many times, but I didn't. And that sucks. So today I'm ripping it off like a band-aid.

So, good. Continues to not suck. There have been some really neat things that have happened since last we spoke. Things have been knit. Things have been spun. Something was woven. I still have my job...I've been to India (and Las Vegas) for work, and am back in one piece. I've worked out. I've been bad about working out. I've gotten back on the wagon. I knit a pair of socks..I lost a sock before I gave it to the recipient...I lost a corset...I lost some sleep.

Oh, and I saw a movie from a long time ago called Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. I'd recommend it. Even more, I'd recommend it's central message  - be excellent to each other (at least this is what I took from it). Especially in this season when people are angry at each other about traffic, election results, religious (and non) holidays, and you name it. Whenever I see people being good or - "excellent" to each other I get teary. This is my favorite time of the year, just because of that.

I promise more knit/spin/weaving pron pics soon! But for now, I just had to make sure that I don't let this go dormant!

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Dyeing Day

 So, I spent a few days dyeing fiber in-between other chores. I don't think I ever bothered to post the pics for you lot, so today is a bit of a catch-up post of these pictures. The first two I did  were a purple and a pink. The dyes I have don't include these colors, so no idea why I chose to mix dyes in my first solo dying. Here they are drying on the right and the closeups below.

And here are the rest of the colors I dyed over that week. Just missing a true red - which is silly because there are two reds in my dye sets. Out of all of these, only the blue and yellow were colors in the sets. The purple, green, both oranges, and the pink were color combos I was playing with.

Overall, I'm incredibly happy with how these turned out. They are beautiful and make me happy. Still trying to decide what to do with them - do i spin them one after another and make a blanket? Do I card some of them together and make some awesome rollags? There is a universe of opportunities!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The sadness of moth-holes

Look at what some evil moth did to my lovely HANDSPUN Aeolian!

It may, in fact, be the saddest thing that has ever happened. To anyone. Ever.

I didn't care for detail in this pic, instead I focused (pun intended) on making sure that the big, ugly hole was visible.

So, what else was there for me to do but take up some of my leftover handspun and do my best to mend it as seamlessly as possible?

Below are two pictures of the finished mended section. I dare you to find the fix. Well, ok, you can find it, but it is at least a little difficult. Sadly, the reason for this being visible at all is that the handspun is not 100% even (my first time with this particular blend - includes tencel, etc.). But still happy with how it turned out. And have since spent some time moth-proofing my stash and closet.

After looking at the pictures below, I think you'll agree. The Aeolian is a gorgeous shawl, holes or not!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 2012 1st half projects

Well, I hinted at it in my last post, so why not lead with it in this one?


And then, you know, behold pieces of it in better focus, which show more detail and are really better at getting across what it really looks like....

Something like that, anyway

Here is the famous Icarus. I know I'm making mine a good 3 years after it was a popular pattern, but I didn't have a reason to make it before. It's for my friend, the Sexy Scientist, who just had a baby (HURRAH!). This was my version of a nursing shawl.
This plus the money, the baby shower, and the other presents I simply HAD to give her goes a little way to showing how special she and her family are to me. :)

I'm hoping that you can see the detail in these pictures. The Icarus was a joy to knit, if a little time-consuming. It also has a really fun border which changes so often that it doesn't get boring until the very last row, the bind off, which is just a lot of numb repeating.
 But it looks really cool in detail, so that's why I'm flooding you with so many closeups. I'm always struck how textured lace is, and how it looks close-up. I still think of knitting as a 2-dimension thing - and yet, here it is being all textured and obvious.

Here are the finished stripey socks for my friend, Gloom Cookie. In case you can't tell, they are grey on darker grey striped. I confess, I probably should have laid them out for a proper picture. I was able to give them to her at her Bachelorette party last Saturday and they fit. Hurray! It was my first afterthought heel, so I'm happy I didn't miss the mark.

And this is the finished pair of socks to my Stepdad for Christmas (I believe in starting early).  Hopefully I remember them. I love putting socks for my family in their stockings. There's something so meta about that.

But what's this? This is a huge back of my Olmpic spinning! I had 73 oz of fleece spun in singles on these bobbins. I generally wind 2oz off on each holder-bobbin. Although sometimes I miss the 2oz mark and wind 4oz. That would be the bobbin sticking out of the bottom of the bag.

 This is all of the skeins after I plied it. (missing the one little mini-skein). Can you believe this? It's 15 skeins! It's probably enough yarn for a long sweater-coat. And I think that may be in my future. It's straight romney, so it's pretty darn itchy. But it's really gorgeous in terms of color and sheen. So definitely an outerwear show-piece yarn.

And because I can't resist, below you can see a closeup. I spin purty!

Friday, September 07, 2012

What happened to August?

 Ummmmm...What happened to August? Seems like I blinked and it was gone. I know that it happened, and I have the pictures to prove it, but where did it go? Above is a pic of my kitchen one Saturday in August after I had come in from picking tomatoes.....

 I think I spent my August with tomatoes.....eating them, cutting them up, cooking them, putting them in jars, handing them out to friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Believe it or not, I have finally been convinced that there is such a thing as too many tomatoes......not too many overall, but too many at a time. 

But having too much bounty (if that is actualy possible) forces you to be creative. I made blistered tomatoes in olive oil and spices for people and put them into jam jars.

I cut up tomatoes of all sizes and slow roasted them in the oven with a light coating of olive oil and nothing else and ate them with goat cheese on bread.

I put plum-sized tomatoes into egg cartons left them on people's door-steps. It was a good time. Even better, it was a delicious time.

And then there was the crafting.....
Do you keep a spindle in your purse or bag?

I do.

I had it with me as we waited for seats in our favorite cafe a couple of weeks ago. The day was so bright that when I took this picture it washed out all the colors. My purse spindle is covered with teal. The teal has moments of green, white and black, with a little angelina and magenta thrown in. When I do the other half of this's going to be magenta with the other colors making cameos. Whenever I get through both, I'm going to ply them on my spindle.

Purse spinning takes a long time since I only pull it out when I have occasion, which usually adds up to 30 seconds to 3 minutes at a time. It's an exercise in patience.

Speaking of which......want a little sneak peak on something else I finished in August? Well, here you go. This is the bottom of my Icarus Shawl - knit as a nursing shawl for one of my friends.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More of July

 Well, it's official - I updated once in July and never again. But I did take pictures. So, why not give you a window into my soul? Or at least into my home life?

For starters, remember when I started a blanket to use up scraps when my husbean had surgery? Well, I've used up a lot of scraps. near the end of July, it looked like this ---->
Some people think it's hideous, others think it's cool. I'm just happy to be clearing out space from my stash and turning it into something I can use as soon as the weather changes.  I probably have at least this much again left, so now it's looking like I may make another blanket and sew them together. Spring cleaning?

 And the rest of this post will be foodie pics because, you know, that's how I roll. To the left, here, are cupcakes. Duh, right? Well these happen to have been made by a friend of mine and were delicious. I thought I'd take a picture because I was so  impressed with her sugar-work (the heart) and the frosting flowers. There are times I watch the food network and wish for the ability and time to do things this lovely, not to mention the drive..... Pretty damn impressive! (And did I mention delicious?)

Last up is the pizza I made for dinner last night. Nothing too special about this except to note that another oen of my super-talented friends made the crust. I need her recipe. I topped it with cajun sausage, basil from the garden, fancy left-over cheeses (I go through 3 expensive-ish cheese blocks for my Friday night potlucks so I'm always looking for what to do with the left-overs), and tomato-goo. The tomato goo is basically sliced tomatoes baked in the oven in olive oil, salt, and oregano. I made about 5 jars-worth of the stuff the other night to use more of my garden tomatoes which were going bad before I'd normally use them up.I'd already fed 20+ people off of home-made sauce and didn't want to do a sauce again. I wanted something that could be spread on bread and used as a snack/appetiser. This was a great substitution for the pizza because it was really flavorful and gave texture. I need to officially stop by the store so I can make more of it and perhaps properly can it for winter.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Olympian recaps!

 Alright, it has been a BUSY BUSY month. I will do my Olympics/Ravellenic Games recap, but first just a little bit of random housekeeping.

First off, tomatoes! My tomato jungle is producing like crazy right now. Below is what I picked in one day. I generally pick one day a week - typically this ends up being Saturday right after my workout. For the past three weeks, this is the amount of tomatoes I've picked. This is only the ripe ones - and the rotten or slug-attacked or splitting open ones get thrown down into the beds to (hopefully) spring up as voluntaries next year. How crazy is this? I think the best part is that I go through most of these in a week. It's no secret that I love tomatoes.....but this is a lot to get through even for me. So far I think I may have given away about 10 tomatoes. I can only hope that this bounty continues every year. I feel so fortunate to have so many good tomatoes to eat without having to hit the store for months.

And just because I can:  a closeup of the beauties!

Next up we have a picture of  my new sparkly copper heels. Aren't the fab? I know I know, this isn't a show blog, but seriously, how can people harbor anything but happiness in their hearts when shoes like this exist? 

 And now, time to get down to some serious Olympic business: The Ravellenic Games! So, most people who read this will know that the Ravellenic Games (previously the Knitting Olympics until the US Olympic peeps got mad and claimed copyright infringement) runs concurrently to the Olypmics. It's a chance for knitters and spinners, and other crafters, to support their teams by watching the events while practicing their craft. It's also the thing that's gotten me back into the Olympics, which I hadn't had any interest in for years. New favorite sport is gymnastics - the uneven bars are AMAZING! 

The lovely fiber you see to the left was my goal to spin during the Olypmics. I had a total of 73 oz, 18 of which I had already spun. That left 55 to finish during the Games. Each bobbin you see here hold 2 oz (except for 2 that have 4). I finished this goal early - by at least 4 days! I couldn't believe that I spun a full 55 oz in just over a week. I am, officially, a spinning machine. I also have officially hurt my left ankle doing it (re-injured an old running injury)
 But, looking at the picture, totally worth it. Now I just need to let it rest until my ankle calms down and I can ply it. 73 oz should make a good sweater! I award myself with the Gold for this portion of my goal.

Lastly, the Icarus shawl, from Interweave 2006. I, sadly, only get the Silver on this one. I think Silver is fair, and here's why:

I got through all the way to the 3rd row out of 5 total edging rows. That's right, finished all charts, and only stopped 2.5 rows short of finishing. The reason I didn't finish was simple: I ran out of yarn - and that's after I went the yarn store for more yarn mid-week. I still had time on Sunday and went back to the yarn store for my second yarn infusion and the store was closed. I then looked in my stash. No luck. So, although I had time and enough brain to do this on time, it was only lack of yarn that stopped me. I would have given myself the Bronze, but I think I bumped it up to silver by the 2nd yarn store trip + stash search. I'm looking forward to fully finishing this next weekend after I get the chance to hit the yarn store during open hours.

All in all, it was a very productive Olympics for me. I even managed to watch more of them than I have in years. I can't wait for the next challenge.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Beginnings and Ice Cream

In this post I want to talk about two main things, ice cream......and new beginnings.

New Beginning 1.

My friends are expecting their first baby. This is a picture of the two pairs of socks I finished. These were both mostly done at least a month ago, but I just kitchenered the toes a couple days ago. These socks are for those two of my friends as they become parents. I've been sneaky - claiming that the pair for the dad is for my stepdad for Christmas (they have the same size feet) and that I needed the soon-to-be dad to try them on - even said so on my podcast to throw off suspicion. But I was really using him to make sure that they would fit him. I just thought it was fair that he finally get a pair of socks, after all, his wife has received several, and now his soon-to-be son has 4 pair waiting for him. So, these will go to the future mom and dad. My small way of well-wishing for their family.

 New Beginning 2.
This is a pic of a pair of socks. I ripped out the toes - the first time I've really done that. The reason I'm doing this is because the socks did not fit my step-dad at Christmas. He never told me that about the multiple pairs of socks I'd made him, apparently most of the pairs I've made him have been "close enough" but this pair was just too far off. So, I'm making these from last year fit him by making them longer. I figured that as long as I was going to make them bigger, I may as well make them more fun, so I'm making the toes out of another yarn. Let's hope someday I actually finish this. I'd like to have at least two pairs to mail to him before it gets cold.

New Beginning 3.
This is The Fiboreum. My husband named it that. You can call it my studio. Now, you may not have known this, but this room used to have a different configuration and a hideous paint job. The paint job was silver accent paint as the wall paint on 3 walls and one dark magenta wall. With the mirrored closet doors it was.....well....a lot to take in. Now, thanks to one of my friends, it's a lovely sage green. I've been so excited to have a room I can actually stand to be in that I've been industrious. You can see my dummy for costuming that I've been re-doing. It was a shop dummy - about a size 0 - so i needed to change it to match me. It's close.  In my chair you can see the start of......

New Beginning 4
A new fleece to spin. 
This bobbin shows how it looks on the wheel. It's a very distinguished fleece. That means, it's got grey in it. It's either a brown so dark that it looks black or a true black. I'm not sure which. It's absolutely gorgeous. However, the issue is not that it looks bad, the issue is that it isn't very soft. Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely in love with how it's spinning up and I fully intend to use it. I'm just not going to use it in any pattern that requires me to have it next to my skin.

 And here's how it looks in on the storage bobbins. This is 4 oz of it, the first 2 days of spinning it. I took the picture in full sunlight in hopes that I could convey not only the color (I got close, it's darker than this) and the shine. The shine is what makes it looks lighter in the picture than what it is in reality. Looks at how lovely it is spun up? So crisp! Very low halo, and the tiny hints of whitish grey which give it an added dimension of color.

I finally bought the book: The Perfect Scoop. It was highly recommended by my friend Jasmin and my friend Lorien, two women who know ice cream and are foodies. After trying a number of the flavors that Lorien has cooked up, I was sold. After the book came, I found that I had a bag full of lemons off my friend's tree. So I made Lemon ice cream. This is what it looks like - a nearly white with tiny yellow flecks in it. The yellow flecks are 2 lemon's worth of lemon zest. The recipe says to blend/food process down the lemon zest until it's no longer discernible, but I think it looks so pretty like this that I left it partially intact. I'm hoping that spending the time working from home while I take care of my husband will give me a little extra time to make ice cream now that I won't have my commute. I've been working longer than normal hours, though, so no promises.

Monday, July 09, 2012


So, I haven't really meant to keep it a secret, but I haven't mentioned it here husband went in for surgery on Friday to get his Achilles tendon chopped up and a huge bone spur taken out. To say the least, this is the most difficult surgery I've been through with him. Believe it or not, having his sinuses "roto-rootered" (to steal the nurse's phrase) wasn't so bad. It was longer under the knife, but much faster to heal and with more manageable pain.

 Since there is really nothing you can do while your spouse is moaning in pain (after you've given them the full amount of pain killers), you kind of feel helpless. So, I knitted. I knitted a little sock to site at the end of his splint (he gets a cast or a boot or something in a week). There it is in all it's glory. I figured, at least I can keep his toes warm.


I also knit a lot while I was waiting for him. I started this blanket the night before the surgery. Did most of the very bottom teal stripe. The rest.....the rest I did during and after the surgery. I know it doesn't look like much, but that's at least a 3 foot width...maybe 4 or more. It's almost all the knitting I have had enough brain for. Plain garter stitch over and over and over and over. I started it because I needed something to knit during a recent podcast. Then, well, I figured I would make it a scrap blanket. It would be ugly, but warm, and I'd "clean up" some of my random stash bits that weren't really enough for a project on their own. Although I figured there's no way to get around it being ugly, the husbean is insisting that he thinks it's pretty. He's also on Vicodin.

Detail so you can see some of the colors closer up. Yes, that pinkish brown stripe is Noro. After I took this picture yesterday, I've put on 2 more stripes of a couple inches each. The thing comes up past my knees now. I guess I just needed something I could "do" without using my brain or needing to have an ending spot when I need to jump up and help the spousal unit with something. Let's just say I'm a little tired and brain dead.

Lastly, for those who may caretake for plants, here are some of mine. I planted this one yesterday in my one empty pot out front (the other still has flowers). It's basil, since I go through enough of it these days I figured I should just get myself my own supply......for however long that lasts.
And then, here is what I call my tomato jungle. I named it that way because a jungle is exactly what it is. These are all voluntaries that sprung up this year. If you can make them out, there are two short raised beds in this picture. The tomato plants are growing in the beds and between them. I was going to thin out the plants when I first saw them, but I kind of didn't want to mess with the whole Man-Eating aesthetic that was going on.  I have no idea how many plants there are, but I am getting a good couple of handfuls of tomatoes every few days, which is almost up to how many tomatoes I eat. 
 Here's a close-up of the front can see the plants are still coming through the cage, trying to reach out to grab unwary passersby. You can also see something like 15 tomatoes. The vines are so thick that I have to pry them apart gently and look for any sign of ripe tomatoes to pick. I've lost probably 10 to bugs and critters so far, which I pick and throw into one of my other two empty beds for next year. I think next year I'm going to thin out the voluntaries if they spring up again....and maybe invest in a couple cages. That is, if I survive this year.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Tour De Fleece 1, 2012

 So, as some of you may have heard, there has been a huge dealie going on between many knitters and the US Olympic Committee. Basically, many of us compete in the Ravelympics (now defunct - thanks to the USOC it had to be renamed, but that's a whole different story which many others have covered in depth) while watching the regular Olympics. Luckily, no heck has yet been raised about the Tour De Fleece, what many of us compete in (against ourselves) while watching and cheering on our favorite cyclists in the Tour De France.

It's very meta if you think about it. Watching spinning while spinning?

Let me be honest, I don't have a favorite cyclist, so I just generally cheer for the guy who seems the most determined and awesome.

But I do have specific Tour De Fleece goals. This time, my goal was to spin and ply 8 oz of fiber. The goal was first to finish a bump of crown mountain that I was already 2 oz in to. I think the color is Atlantis, which would be cool as I've been spinning it while watching Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis. Here a pic of 2oz of unspun. Isn't it lovely? Mostly white and denim blue with some blackish brown spots that are a warm beige. Wierd, and not really me, but I like it.

So after spinning the remaining 6oz of this bump and then plying all 8 (as well as spinning 2 oz on my travel wheel and another 2oz of a new fleece project), I met my goal. There was also a knitting portion, but that got completely derailed, as you'll see in my next post.

Progress pics. Here it is as a single.  As you can see, it's gone very much bluescale. The whiteish-blue and dark blue are more overpowering. The brown/beige is more or less lost in the singles. I tried to bring it out, but it didn't really work.

Here is a ply pic. As you can see (even though it is really blurry), some of the beige is also coming out. What I found while doing these is that the two halves of the roving (I spun it in 2 oz chunks - 2 chunks for each bobbin, then navajo plied) were pretty different. You'll see it in the skeins below.

So here's the first pic of the two skeins. I had trouble getting true colors to show up so I took a photo in natural daylight and one in diffuse light. Here you can really see the differences in the skein. The back skein is just darker, more saturated with color. There was less white in that 4 oz. The first has a lot more white and  a lot more beige.

My spinning is also a little different between the two skeins. The darker skein is a little more loose both in the single and in the ply. The second skien is a little tighter. I was testing to see what the differences would be. However, looking at them now, the differences in spinning are pretty minimal. Even in this light, you can really see the color difference

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Debie, the well-traveled fleece is finished!

 For those of you who are listeners to my podcast, you've already heard about Debie a lot. And no, that's not a typo, that's how the sheep's name was spelled on the tag. Debie, not Debbie. For those of you who don't listen to the podcast, let me fill you in a little.

I went to Retslaff spinning day (which I probably spelled wrong AGAIN) a few years ago and purchased Debie's fleece. Debie has a lovely silvery grey fleece and she was one of 2 grey fleeces I purchased that day. I was in a grey place. In fact, I think I may have purchased 2 additional silver fleeces that I said, I was in a grey place.

At any rate, I can't remember when I begun spinning her, but this is what she looked like when I started spinning her, a little angry cloud. I had literally POUNDS of her to spin.  But if I got her a couple years ago and was actively spinning her, why did it take so long? Well, 2 very good reasons. The first is that I don't generally spin anything  but "cheerful" fibre in winter. I get mopey if my spinning is grey while it's grey outside, so I primarily spin brightly colored items.  The second reason is that Debie turned into the Well-Traveled Fleece.

I bought Debie 3 years ago. I dropped the dirty fleece with my favorite processor, Morrow Fleece Works, and then promptly forgot about it. Afterall, when you drop off a fleece with them, it's like preparing yourself a surprise gift. Since they do so much processing - and since they tend to do all one color at a time, you can have a fleece sit with them for a couple months before you get it back. This fleece didn't show up, but I got an invoice. I paid it, but no fleece came. Then the truth came out - the only address I'd given for the shipping was my job - that I had left months ago. Whoops!

So, Debie was sent to my old work. But my old company had more or less closed it's doors by then, and forwarded the fleece to PA. I eventually had it sent back to the original workplace. Then I got to go pick it up. Debie was definitely worth waiting for. Look how silvery she is!

By the way, I apologize for the pics, I am HORRIBLE at taking pictures, even though I have had some very patient people try to teach me.

 Look at that! BUTTER! Grey Butter?  This is the - look at my surprisingly even spinning even though I did this over the course of a year off and on. Seriously. I'm impressed as I just spun it without thinking too much about what weight I wanted at the end or what the singles should look like. This was an endurance project, not a perfection project. My goal here was just to spin an entire fleece and, thereby, hopefully get better at spinning by spending the time practicing well....spinning. So the overall good uniformity is a pleasant surprise.

Here's a little bit of it knit up. I was trying to see about what it would look like on a few different sizes. Afterall, with more than a couple of lbs, this will likely become a sweater for me or for my husbean. I think he wants one, but I doubt he wants grey.
And here is a bunch of it piled up in my window seat. I believe I have something like 7 or 8 big fat skiens of this to knit. My handspun bin is getting very full. I'm going t need to start knitting more and spinning less (and I don't mean knitting more sock yarn!)