Saturday, October 28, 2006

A new experiment

So I obsessed yesterday about creating Kureyon-type yarn. I got out the drum carder and made a series of batts and spun them in order.

This is a high contrast (no kidding!) skein of three colors blending into each other. I did one batt of solid, one 2 parts that color, 1 part next color, one 2 parts next color 1 part old color, solid of new color, going around from green to orange to lilac and back to green. I was trying for worsted weight but since it's 176 yards for 2.25 oz, it's more like DK. I really must tape a sample to the wheel!

Anyway, I like this yarn in theory. But I'm not sure a singles yarn will really go over well with judges for a competition. It is, however, quick and dirty! I might go back to my other idea, 3 ply yarns. But that is the next experiment. Wanted to do something more instant gratification! It did get the drum carder out, which I love playing with. Can you tell I spend all year planning my Fair project? At least in my head?

What do you think about for the future of your knitting?

10 days to Karmageddon! Demand a paper ballot!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Please go read this

What William Pitt said.

Let's roll.

Bobbins, bobbins everywhere

I got some new bobbins and I have absolutely nothing new to show, well, except for a bobbin:

When I did the dye run the other day, I promised DS he could do some and his favorite (by far, since infancy) color is (drum roll, please!)...Green.

The ironic thing is I like his roving better than mine. So I'm spinning up some of it because I have ENOUGH BOBBINS!!!

So I thought I would show what's on the old bobbins:

First, some silk top dyed by me last year. I plied most of this with some BFL at my mom's last winter but with the knitting needle/shoebox kate I was trying to use, it was a lot of tangling. The little skein is lovely, though. Don't know what I will do with the rest of this.

Next is some wool/mohair that I got from Paradise Fibers, a rhapsody roving, that I tried out one day when I couldn't decide what to do. Sometime I will finish it as it will make great (bright and beautiful) sock yarn!

And last, this is what happens when you don't have enough bobbins. Some superwash from Spunky Eclectic, some Turkish Carpet, who knows whats under there?

So that's what's on the bobbins. Now I have some empty ones, though, so who knows what will follow...

In other news, congratulations, New Jersey, my home state, for being a bit less behind the curve on equal rights than some. Let's hope the legislature handles this well! And there was an article about the Googlebomb in the New York Times today, woo-hoo! If only we could tell if it's working. MyDD will let us know, I'm sure!

Only 13 days to Election Day! Demand a paper ballot!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Googlebomb attempt

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Have a lovely!

Monday, October 23, 2006


I simply cannot believe that The Daily Show is a repeat today, the day after George W. Bush said "We've never said stay the course." I can only hope Jon feels the same!!

Demand a paper ballot!

More dyeing, more sampling

I had to try yet another dye run this weekend, although my results were again mixed. What's the opposite of "on a roll"? Off a bialy?

Here's the roving. I meant it to be black, purple, orange and Margaret Hamilton green:

Black is grey, orange is red, green is dull. Purple is fine. It still looks seasonal, though, so I spun up a sample of, of course, 2 ply sock yarn:

Not so bad and it could go into my purple/green collection. But not the Socktoberfest socks (no progress, eek!). I will sample some more later.

Some lovely stuff I "finished" this weekend:

On the left, Spunky Eclectic's offering for the end of July, silk in The New Black. This is spun on my Cascade Little Si Spindle while I was on vacation. Finished the cop the other day. It's very nice. If I spin the other half, I can have some handwarmers, I think. On the right, 174 yards of laceweight Navajo plied BFL, dyed by me in better days. The singles broke quite a few times but I spit spliced and finished it up yesterday. 174 yards you say? I also say, WTF will I do with that? Perhaps it goes into the collection!

Hope you're having fun today. I begged off all of my (myriad) volunteer activities today due to illness. And I am actually sick, more's the pity. Comments would make me feel better...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

What's in the works?

Lots of things going on here. Usual stuff, school, homework, piano, Brownies, kids' choir, grownup choir, karate, work, everything but housework. Why? Craftiness!

FIL sweater progresses apace (color is very washed out in this photo):

The moss stitch ribbing is not as tedious as I thought (good thing since there are miles of it). Did at least an inch at karate last night. I'm trying to stay ahead of it a bit so I don't have a giant panic at the end. Good luck to me! I'm sure I will get majorly distracted eventually and pull a couple of all nighters in December sometime.

I've started swatching the second Twisted Knitters yarn:

This time I'm doing a sock-sized swatch a la the Twisted Sisters book so that if I decide to, I can make it into a sock. I can repeat this yarn quickly if I decide to do another one. This project might end up being socks out of various yarns that I made in these experiments, which would be fine with me! I just have to make two little balls of each yarn instead of one.

The last photo is my favorite.

This is the Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club offering for September and I love it. Some of it is the exact color of Cream of Tomato soup from childhood. I should manage to finish the first two ounces of singles today and ply them together. I will, as usual, save the other two ounces for later. I have this terrible fear of running out of beautiful fiber.

I have been doing dyeing experiments this week that have all been awful. I tried dyeing fleece in a net bag and hardly any of it actually stuck to the wool. I tried kool-aid with the kids on some more fleece and it was just a mess (trash). I need to do one more dye project to get the jinx off so I will probably do something with Halloween colors, orange, purple, black, maybe witch green. Anybody have a good formula for Margaret Hamilton's face color? Too fun unless I screw it up again. Ho hum.

Sorry about the Rhinebeck whine. I SO wish I could go to that or Maryland Sheep and Wool sometime. But I'm never out east at the right time of year. Trek, have fun wheel know you're getting one.

Have a great weekend, Rhinebeck or not!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck!!

If I read one more blog about people going to Rhinebeck, I shall surely LOSE MY MIND!!!

That's all.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

*Project Runway Finale

Knitting/spinning content later, promise.

What did you think of the Runway Finale? I really wanted Laura, but they were all talented. Clearly, Michael needs more experience, though, and Ule did not do as well as I expected. I thought the gold/silver stuff was a bore. Laura's dresses were all beautiful. But Jeffrey has always had the most innovative, the most original garments so I was very relieved to see him NOT be disqualified (he didn't seem like a cheater to me, especially after all the things he went through in his personal life) and he is very talented, even if I wouldn't wear most of it. I did love his signature dress with the zippers and would definitely wear it.

Anyway, it was pretty satisfying in the end. All four should work in fashion quite easily, I hope. Thanks, Jill for babysitting for sushi. Sorry, again, that we didn't bring you dinner. I should have asked!!! We had a lovely dinner out for our anniversary and a good time watching the show.

Hope you had a nice evening, too!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Enough, already!

Clearly, too much free time today.

My second experiment in plying 2 colorways for the Twisted Sisters project:

I will swatch this up tonight or tomorrow, hoping that I like the results better. I certainly like the yarn better!

1 ply is my autumn colorway, the other is Interlacements Turkish Carpet. The colors were some contrasting and some similar, some lined up together, some not. I really like this yarn. Don't know what to take from it, though. Except that I should use colors that I love all the time.

On the other hand

It is our 8th Wedding Anniversary today, yay us!!

DH and I met in rather unusual circumstances, singing in a Baroque opera together where we had to (among other things) make out for two acts under a pin light in the audience, lie down together like spoons for the 1/2 hour between when the house opened and our first cues, kill everyone else in the cast and have standing sex over their bodies, then bring them back to life so as to do the whole thing over again. Three times!

So some thank you's to DH today:

For picking up the phone.
For not thinking I was crazy (even though I was).
For making me grow.
For making it work.
For being just the right guy for me.
For being the best Daddy in the world.

I love you!

This is the day, my friend

The day America became...something else.

Anyone can be thrown into prison, indefinitely, with no counsel, no right to find out what charges may be leveled against him, can be tortured. Anyone. Citizen or not. Terrorist or not.

Purely on the say-so of a pathological liar.


I am sad and ashamed. And hoping that someday we can find ourselves again.

Peace be with you all.

I learn something new every day...

But this one I should have known.

I spun up the singles for a sample skein of the blue and autumn rovings and here they are plied together:

Nice yarn, huh? Looks kind of blue, kind of orange, kind of multicolored?

Here it is in a swatch:

The warm colors completely negate the cool blues. This ended up looking like a tweedy orange/red/green/brown sort of fabric. Which is fine. But not what I was looking for.

I should have remembered: Warm beats Cool.

So if I want the semi-solid ply to dominate, it needs to be the warmest color in the mix, not the coolest. Which takes blue right out of the running in a 2-ply. Now, of course, I'm thinking of other ways to do what I want. And I'd still like a Noro-like singles yarn fine (except for judges!). And since I'm only competing against a standard these days, not the other spinners, a perfect singles yarn might very well do the job.

But first I will try other combinations of rovings, possibly even two different painted rovings in long repeats at the same time. Too much fun!!

Have a lovely day!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Well, that didn't turn out like I planned...

My professional dyeing career may be a bit thwarted by the UGLY roving I dyed yesterday. Then again, the Twisted Sisters say to wait until it's spun up or plied with something to decide. And so I give you yesterday's attempt:

I was trying to make a variegated blue roving by the hot pour method, but the colors split. I like it, though, and will use it for sure. The second one was trying to be from the other side of the color wheel but, as usual, my yellow was tainted by everything else and there is no yellow there, just too much green. What is the thing with green? It takes over the world!

Tonight or tomorrow I will spin up a sample of these two plied together with a long color repeat of the autumn colorway and a random spin of the blues. Then I will knit a swatch. If I hate it, back I will go to the dye pots, bummer! ;0)

On the other hand, I have started swatching for the FIL sweater:

Gauge too big on what I think are 6's. WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH NEEDLE MEASURING THINGS???!?!? I can never find one. I have bought and bought. They must be shacking up with the tape measures and giving birth to...tapestry needles?

So I switched to what I think is a 5 midway and will continue on. I am not the most careful swatcher in the world (needless to say, at this point!). I may very well go buy some stuff at Michael's tomorrow...

And lastly, something I dearly love:

These are destined to be Navajo plied for socks. There's not enough here for a whole pair so I will have to combine it with something else. But I love this colorway (dyed by me, much better!) and would like to recreate it or something like it another time. My favorites, red-orange, turquose, cobalt blue.

Photos of samples tomorrow. Have a lovely evening!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I need suggestions again!

I want to make enough yarn for a sweater. The yarn should have long color repeats a la Noro yarns but be 2 ply. So I can enter it in next year's Fair as a sweater. I have been thinking and thinking about this for months.

My idea so far is to spin singles that change color every 10 yards or so, 13 colors. I was going to do this as all singles yarn but I think it would be better to ply for judging purposes and all.

So if I want the sweater to be primarily purple, spin those singles for one ply and purple singles for the other, ply them together, I would get a subtle, purplish yarn that would have wide stripes, right?

Has anyone made these yarns at home?

Help me before I start!!

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The Gods have smiled on me!!

As you can see the socks have made it home in good time and are being worn as we speak. I think I can wear the bigger one on my bigger foot. They're both about equally too big that way. Of course, the smaller sock fits my bigger foot PERFECTLY, but what can I do? Knit the toe over again, blech.

And for Socktoberfest so far:

Something new and fun, Love Me Tender from Crown Mountain Farms:

I'm thinking about going ahead and using this yarn with the Sloopy yarn for socks for the Twisted Knitters knitalong, but hope to get to dyeing my own by Friday. If I can do that, I will be golden. This roving has orange and turquoise in it that I couldn't see in the photo and I could not be happier! Thanks Teyani and Joy who enabled the purchase!!

I would show you Rogue but it's just a huge swath of Carrot yarn. I have made it to the shoulder shaping. It seems big, but I am going for more oversized and I think I will like it. I could have made a more fitted sweater, but that's not my style right now. I could always do it again later! The cables are lovely though I had to check the tips online for the big closure decreases.

I don't think I'll get any spinning done today as work is hitting a frenzied pace, but should get through the heel of the first sock sometime.

Have a lovely!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Back to the Real World

Lovely time at Family Camp, took not a single picture, however. Probably because my very best friend did not attend this year, boo-hoo!! But we still had lots of fun. Our theme this year was "keeping the Sabbath" and we tried to take time out. Now all I have to do is manage it at home. We can't really do it on Sundays as I work in the morning (church choir section leader/soloist). But Friday after school to Saturday before Brownies might work...but only if Karate class counts. 24 hours might be too difficult, but we can have a nice dinner together and have quiet time on Saturday morning.

Now I will try the current meme:

10 Knitterly (and Spinnerly) Things You Don't Know About Me

1. I like to buy vintage needles at thrift stores. I think the fact that they have been used (and sometimes bent!) by knitters before me to make things with love for others adds to the love that goes with my gifts.

2. I really dislike Intarsia. My edges never look nice enough. I much prefer fairisle and cables, even though I don't have huge amounts of experience with either. But I'm not afraid of anything!

3. I was taught to knit by the old lady across the street at about age 9 and had no success whatsoever. I didn't understand letting the yarn flow through my hands and was knitting on the tips. The square got tighter and tighter and the biggest thing I made back then was a doll blanket for a Dawn doll (about the size of a Polly Pocket for you youngsters).

4. When I was working as a legal secretary in New York, there was another secretary who knitted as well as crocheted. I had just learned to crochet and immediately became obsessive. I asked her, "Is knitting harder, or was I nine years old?" Her answer, "You were nine." And so a Knitter was born.

5. I ruined my first sweater by blocking. It was knit from Wool-Ease in black and Oatmeal and the pattern was from Vogue Knitting. It was really cute, IMO. But I blocked the ribbing out (it had ribbing all the way up the ribcage) to the full width and killed it with the steam iron. Threw it away.

6. I hate spinning white fiber. Hate it. Won't do it. The dye pot is my friend!

7. I own way too much spinning fiber and sock yarn. My linen closet is 2/3 fiber, 1/3 linens. I have three partial fleeces in the garage and a spacebag full of dyed fiber. I have three other cupboards in the house that hold exclusively fiber and yarn (and UFO's). And yet I continue to lust after and (only occasionally, but thanks, Joy!) purchase more.

8. Although I am a total color junkie, I often wear neutrals. But not my socks. My socks are almost always bright, bright, bright.

9. I have a terrible fear that my fair entry socks and yarn will never be seen again. If so, I will take is as karmic payment for getting DS back at the fair and will NEVER regret their loss. If they do come back, the gods are on my side...

10. If I could knit while I'm sleeping, I would.

If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. But let me know so I can go over and read yours!

Pictures soon of my Socktoberfest socks from handspun, progress on Rogue (am at the back shoulders) and Navajo plying of some very old singles I'm finishing up. Then I shall spin my Spunky Club fiber for this month, which is exceedingly lovely.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Family Camp Weekend

We will be off this afternoon for our annual camp out with other families from our church. So I leave you with this (h/t Firedoglake)

The hard part about being a Christian is not that you have to live in a world where evolution is taught in the schools, or that John Kerry is allowed to take Communion, or the fact that you can buy your contraception at the grocery store. This is the hard part about being a Christian. This part, right here. Humility. Acceptance.


– Charles P. Pierce

The can't protect our children, they can't protect our ports, they can't protect our cities, they can't protect our food, they can't protect our workplaces, they can't protect our planet, they can't protect anyone but themselves.

Had enough?

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Socktoberfest! (AKA, avoiding the sweater)

I'm going to try to answer Lolly's sock history questions. I'm not sure I remember the answers...

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

I started making socks about 5 years ago. I taught myself.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?

My first pair was a pair of baby socks out of Encore Colorspun and they took me TWO WEEKS, at 24 (?) stitches around on worsted weight yarn. A bit of diffuculty, I guess, but they got me started on quite a roll. I don't know how they held up, but since they were never walked on, it depends on whether they got lost or not...They were for my stepfather's cousin/coworker's new baby.

What would you have done differently?

Nothing, really. They were very cute. My second pair was out of Silja and I knit them at too loose a gauge for my taste now. But I still wear them and they are OLD. Never been repaired.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

My own handspun is by far my favorite. Not that it's the best yarn ever or anything, but handspun has such a life to it and a fun level of mystery about how it will knit up, especially if I also dyed the fiber. Commercial yarn, I would say I don't have a particular favorite, although I don't buy Regia much because I like the colors of other brands better. I look forward to trying Knitpicks Gloss the next time I'm ordering from them. I do appreciate Knitpicks in general for good prices for good quality since I'm on a tight budget.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

Have not crocheted socks. Too thick, I think, plus they take WAY more yarn. I generally knit on DPN's, although I have tried 2 circulars and still sometimes do that. See answer to next question for why I most often do not. I enjoy DPN's and don't worry about SSS. I find my second sock always goes faster.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

I GREATLY prefer PGR's short row heels to any other heel I have tried, and I have tried lots. Why? I have it in my head, no pattern needed. Plus, it's extremely easy to replace (so my socks never get thrown out). I actually enjoy reheeling socks with this heel! However, they are impossible to do on circular needles 2 at a time, which is how I usually do that. I guess I could do them one at a time, but then why not DPN's, which are faster for me? I lose time in the sliding the stitches down to the ends all the time. But I did do the Fair socks on circulars because of all the fairisle. It was too hard to strand across that many transitions between needles, so I switched.

How many pairs have you made?

I don't really know. I have made more pairs by far to give away than to keep. I have done many, many pairs for CIC, but don't remember the number. My goal is to not have to wear commercial socks this winter EVER. I do have a week's worth for myself, so I can stop soon. But socks are my portable project so I always have some on the needles. In fact, right now, I have five pairs in progress. How many will I finish before spring? Who knows! But the new ones out of handspun will get finished before Christmas...I hope.

Pictures later of new socks, some new singles I'm trying to finish to clean off a bobbin, Rogue after separating front and back, prize orifice hooks.

Oh, and if you were wondering, no amount of alcohol, gayness or loneliness could make anyone who is not already a pedophile act like one. No amount. Got it? Had enough? Good. Me, too.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Because she has so many comments already (UPDATED)

I would like to send the Yarn Harlot and her new DH my best wishes for a long and happy life together!! (She has over 1000 comments on her thread!)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Are you ready for the results?!?!?!?!?

I will build up to it.

The Spinning Contest was BRUTAL.

But first, here's a challenge suggested by , spinning different weights of yarn from the same preparation:

Left to right, laceweight, sportweight, worsted and bulky. This was fun. And made me feel very competent in preparation for...the spinning contest!!

Challenge #1: Spin and Navajo ply a DK weight COTTON yarn. Have you ever navajo plied cotton? Well, virtually impossible is not an overstatement. I ended up with exactly 1 yard of yarn. I felt rather pathetic after that one.

Challenge #2: Spin a bulky weight woolen yarn from the wool samples. I did a single of some smooth brownish wool and a single of some wool with silk noil (I think) blended in. I was very proud of this yarn as it came out exactly like I wanted and was balanced as well.

Challenge #3: Spin a laceweight singles yarn from a silk hankie. I am not yet good at hankies or caps. I did okay for a while, then it kept breaking so I stopped. I couldn't get it attached again. I was not confident in this yarn.

However (drum roll, please) I WON THE INTERMEDIATE BLUE RIBBON!!!!

Thank to all who challenged me and encouraged me and a special thank you to Joy for going with me and cheering me on. She might have been more excited about my win than I was! Of course, now I have to compete as an Advanced Spinner, so it will take me another five years to ribbon again. But it's all good!

Have a great day!
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