Sunday, July 30, 2006

Something Actually Important

At a dinner party last night, our pastor came up to a couple of us and said that we need someone to rally around at our church, someone who can focus our progressive drive and help us to start taking back Christianity from the hatemongers and stop the media from putting us all in the same group. Some Christians, after all, are for tolerance and compassion, for helping the poor and underprivileged, for love in all of its guises, for truth and honesty and transparency in government. In other words, for America.

And so I give you Reverend Inman Moore, our Associate Pastor. Rev. Moore has a long history of political activism. And boy can he preach a sermon that makes you want to run, not walk, to the nearest anti-war protest and shout out loud! He served in the Navy in World War Two and serves our congregation now.

"Inman Moore is one of 20 pastors driven out of Mississippi due to racism...Inman was also one of the...pastors who 42 years ago signed the “Born of Conviction” statement denouncing segregation...Moore moved to California in 1963, just months after signing the "Born of Conviction" statement denouncing segregation with 27 other ministers in Mississippi....“You reached a point where you simply had to stand up, so to speak, and speak your piece,” said the Rev. Inman Moore, Pasadena, Calif., one of 28 pastors who signed the statement." Allison Scahill, United Methodist News Service*

I wish you could hear him preach, truly I do. He is inspired and he is progressive. And he is the kind of Christian we can be proud of.

Inman and I are going to work together to find a way for our church to be more politically active and I am so excited about it! It's time to stop being tired and start getting out there!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Reality TV

I am a bit of a reality TV addict, although not every show. I watch Survivor, Amazing Race and Project Runway religiously.

But there is a new show in town: Who Wants to be a Superhero?

I don't believe I have EVER laughed so hard at a TV show. This was great! The names, the personalities, the hero themes, all way fun!

I was, of course, appalled at how many of them missed the little girl in distress. And what's the deal with picking up other people's kids? My rule is don't touch unless they are actually hurt. And I'm trained in first aid.

What a romp! The guy in the red (I don't know their names yet) was so funny doing schtick everywhere, making the pigeons fly away, oh, my gosh!!

Anyway, no fiber content at the moment, but watch this show!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Okay, is Angela a witch or something?

For the second week in a row, Angela has miraculously not been cut. This week it was Katherine and she, like Malan, was not deserving of their dismissal! Angela has now proven that she is neither a team player nor a talented designer. All I can put it down to now is witchcraft.

For those of you wondering how ugly/wildly beautiful my evil mitred blankie is now:

I say ugly and wildly beautiful because it really does depend on your point of view. I LOVE IT! But it is every color in the rainbow (and some) and it isn't going to get any quieter as it goes along. I pulled out a bunch more commercial leftover yarns yesterday for the next levels and will soon have to start spinning sample skeins just to keep up.

And I have finally finished my Project Spectrum singles and they are ready for plying (think of me at 9:00 PDT tonight, I will be doing what needs to be done). I think this will make some really lovely sock yarn and might even spin the rest of it the same way.

My August Spunky Eclectic fiber club fiber has arrived and is really nice. I'll be spindling it on vacation. I hear I shouldn't Andean ply or ply from a center pull ball, so I will use once again my shoebox lazy kate I made at my mom's over Christmas to ply some cops, I hope.

Hope you're having a lovely day and staying cool!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

IK Fall Issue has arrived at shadowlandwest

And I like quite a few things in it. I have examined it for my most important criterion (after looks, of course) and many of these designs could be made from Knitpicks yarns!

I think the Sienna Cardigan (page 122) could be knit from my purple merino that I bought on sale at Unwind ($3 a ball for 14 balls but not enough for Rogue, only 1160 yards).

I also like the Spartan Pullover (page 100), a simple man's sweater. It looks comfortable and easy.

I think the Father and Son socks would look especially nice in Knitpicks' new silk/wool blend Gloss sock yarn, as the purl detailing would really pop in a somewhat shiny fiber. It would take some tweaking to fit ME, of course, and socks for ME are all important. But I'm good at that.

I also like Coral Crossing on page 78. It looks comfortable and sexy, but not overwhelming. Merino Style.

And the cover sweater. Since I live in a warm climate, it's nice to see a sweater without a high neckline (too hot), with pretty colorwork and NO RIBBING AT THE BOTTOM!!! I truly hate ribbing at the bottom of sweaters. Blech! Again, Merino Style, very nice.

But my absolute favorite, a sweater I am actually seriously considering knitting (as if I can with the queue what it is!) is the Gatsby Girl Pullover. What, it's not a cardigan? Suitable for layering in warm/cool SoCal? I think this sweater is just lovely, feminine and would look nice on me. Usually I go for rather boxy shapes, but this one is calling my name. Merino Style, once again.

Now, I know that Knitpicks yarn is not the best or the most luxurious in the world. And they don't have a huge array of colors. But they are affordable and perfectly nice, at least the ones I've used so far. I have been nothing but pleased with all of the yarns I have purchased (a lot) since they started their own lines. I look forward to trying them all!

Anyway, if I want to knit sweaters, I need a serious sale (on the right day) or Knitpicks. And Knitpicks is always there, with their Free Shipping offer and all.

In Fair news, Star's and my entries were successfully delivered at about 10:30 this morning. I even decided to pay the fee to have them mail everything back this year (instead of me driving out there AGAIN in October). It was fun, although I think they should open the onion rings place just for the day. It's so weird to drive your car right onto the fairgrounds and park next to the grandstand. During the fair, we park forever away!

Wish us luck!

Monday, July 24, 2006

We're Off On the Road to Pomona...

Almost! DH is going (I think) to take the kiddoes to swimming class so I don't have to take them on the long, boring (to them), hot drive to the L.A. County Fairgrounds tomorrow. I, myself, can listen to knitting podcasts and have a little time alone, even if it is in the car. And Star has way paid too much gas money!! Some of that will come back to you, dear! I didn't look in the box before we separated on Friday...

I will not bore you with further pictures of our fair entries. You will have to wait for the ribbon shots!

But here is a photo of the mitred blankie as of right now:

The more colors it has, the happier I am (and the better it flows, I think). It had too much green there for a minute, but I'm using more blue and purple now. I may very well be the only person in the world who likes this blanket but I will LOVE it!

DS (almost 5) has been playing with the digital camera quite a bit. Sometimes he gets some good shots, although he takes a lot of pictures of the TV. Here is his latest masterpiece:

Artsy, huh?

Today's good news is that our ex-co-Brownie leader who works for Comedy Central has wrangled my mom (also liberal) and me passes to THE DAILY SHOW!!!!!! So Mom and I will have a great road trip (probably by train) and fun, fun, fun! Wish I could meet Colbert (he's on my list!) as well, but I will manage to be completely starstruck by Jon, I'm sure. I am SO excited!!! I think these guys have really started the sea change that we are undergoing now. And Colbert broke the surface tension that was protecting the administration at the Correspondents Dinner. To his face! Unbelievable!! I will try my best to get Jon to sign DH's copy of "America: The Book" (which is signed already, but not with me standing there). Thank you SO MUCH, Sue!!

Hope you're all having fun and staying cool. Congratulations to Floyd Landis for an AMAZING race and to Star for an AMAZING spinalong!

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Happy Day

First, and most important, of all, Star is great! We had a lovely coffee (she had PIE, I'm so jealous!) in Studio City and talked like we had known each other forever. It was so nice! Then we got down to the yarns, of course.

These are the first two of Star's three Fair entries:

Aren't they lovely? She was having a hard time choosing between the pastel yarn and another one with more lavender in it, but this one won out. The blue and orange skein is wool with mohair and they are both just so pretty!

Her third entry is this giant hank:

Also gorgeous and have I said giant?

I also got to show her my fair entries, which are now completely finished and dry:

This is a skein of two-ply BFL that I dyed the top for in the colors of DH's play, "Pilgrim", in the spring. I'm very proud of this skein (it also has a mate) and it will be made up into socks or a scarf or something to wear to opening night when the show gets produced again. I'm keeping it till then as a good luck charm. Let's all cross our fingers (or say a prayer or something) that this winter they will have a successful run which leads more directly to New York!

And here is a good picture of the finished socks:

All of the above will take a road trip to Pomona on Tuesday and then we wait. Usually the ribbons are posted online on the first day of the fair, but last year it took a couple of weeks, terrible waiting!

Best results would be for Star to win this year, as it is her first time out and so the most exciting! But we both just want to be up in the cases. Now we need to work on her entering the contest. Remember, Star, they send you a free ticket to the fair AND a parking pass for the Sheraton if you enter...

Bottom line is we had a wonderful afternoon, thank you Star, thank you DH and DS for the time away. We went to two yarn shops and fondled and discussed spinning all the yarns we saw. I only spent $11.50 and Star got some light up needles, which I think would be especially good for camping...if only they came in circulars!

Hope you had as nice a day as we did!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I have an idea and THE SOCKS ARE DONE!!

Maybe they will (a la Top Chef), when they kick someone off for behaving badly, which we know they're going to do from the promos, have Malan come back and continue on. Otherwise, this whole season I will be sad, I think.

However, I HAVE FINISHED THE SOCKS!! They are wet and drying outside in the dark so I don't have a good picture, but here is a bad one:

They have washed up nicely and will do just fine, I think. I don't care if I win anything this year, I just wanted to do something more difficult. And they were. I would knit this pattern again, Bazaar Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts (with a little variation, intentional and un-) but would spin the yarns thinner still than I did.

All of these yarns were fun to dye, card and spin. And I have plenty left over except for dark blue and gray. Maybe I will do some stripey blocks in the blankie to represent these socks. Or maybe just solid colors. I do love the orange, the green and the red-violet.

Anyway, I'll have a good photo tomorrow. And on to something else...

Just for your viewing pleasure, my DS as a pirate.

McDonald's is giving away Pirates of the Caribbean toys these days and the Happy Meal box has a punch out eye patch and earring. Yes, I let them go to McDonald's. No, not very often. Today was especially rushed between swimming lessons and camp. Tomorrow I will take DD to camp and then spend (I hope) a goodly while getting to know Star and yarn crawling. DH is home to watch DS!!

Have a great evening!

(Project Runway Spoiler Alert) That was UNFAIR and also MEAN

Malan should NOT have been eliminated last night. It was rightly Angela and he was SO sad!! I feel like sending him an email of support myself! He doesn't have many friends and he liked them all. I know that's not a reason to keep him, but Angela was obnoxious, unhelpful, had no sense of teamwork, and can't SEW!!

My other issue, as I'm sure you will agree, is the ads for voting on the losers in the commercials, which totally spoils the surprise at the end. I'm going to write Bravo and let them know that I cannot watch ANY of their advertisers because of the spoilers. I will NOT see ANY commercials on that show EVER AGAIN.

Progress on socks but not enough to show yet. They should be finished today!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Good News and Bad News

Do you want the good news first or the bad news?

Good. Okay. Socks are almost done. Please give your opinion on this:

On the left is corrugated ribbing (sock 2). On the right is partially unraveled stockinette. I finished that one off with some rows of just dark blue ribbing and then a little stockinette roll but it really looked weird. On the other hand, I had to do something to make it not roll too far down (think I like roll tops?).

On the left we have a finished sock. It seems to roll a little too far, but when you put on the sock it sits flat with a tiny roll at the top for texture. I did Elizabeth Zimemrman's sewn cast off for stretchiness (just to contrast with the rest of the sock, which is NOT stretchy at all). I like the corrugated ribbing better, but I sort of wish I had thought of a better way to use the stockinette stripes. This will come with my own designs (for the BOOK).

And for those of you following along, a photo of the pair as they are right now.

The first one is bigger, the second one is a bit longer in the leg.

Idiot that I am, when I was casting off at the pool this morning I somehow managed to misplace one of the circular needles. So I'm doing the other one with one circular and two DPN's. Eejit! But I'm not stopping. I have to work tonight but will finish off sock 1 during Project Runway, one of my totally favorite shows! Who will be asked to leave and when? Will the Unabomber guy turn out to be any better than he was last week? Who is American Royalty, anyway? How many times will Tim say "Make it work?"

The bad news is our third co-leader of our Brownie Troop and our favorite volunteer mom are splitting off from our troop. Not in a bad way or anything, no hard feelings. They have plenty of skill and plenty of experience and just want to have their own troop. Also one of them is bilingual which means more Latina girls can join comfortably, which is a wonderful thing. They will have a great troop. I'm just having trouble with it. Sensitive, that's me. I was just getting to know them properly and think of them as friends. And now we'll all be too busy with our own stuff to really continue growing those relationships, most likely. I'll get over it as soon as J calls me to discuss, I'm sure.

More later!

Have a great evening!


Finished sock 2 except for sewn bind off. Liking the corrugated ribbing. Unraveled sewn cast off of sock 1. Waiting for needles to be free from sock 2. Will be back later with...finished project!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Evil, Evil Shelly

I have not only been taken over by Shelly Kang's Mitred Blankie, she is linking to me on her blogroll. This is very exciting! And yet, what is it I'm supposed to be knitting, again?

No, no, no, that's not it. That is ABSOLUTELY the WRONG PROJECT.

Ah, yes, fairisle at 10 spi. My hands hurt just looking at it. I have now reached the beginning of the most difficult band. It's just not at all intuitive. But the last two are easy-peasy. I'll be happy to get through this one tonight.

In Fair news, however, Star of Tour de Fleece fame, is going to join the merry band going to the Spinning Contest. Now to get her to is honestly the most fun EVER!! If they ever tell us the date, we will make real plans. I can ply her (ha!) with the details of two years worth of challenges and photos of skeins. I can tell her how to practice time trials and how long you can spin if you have to ply and skein within ten minutes. I can teach her how to spin the long draw and make yarn out of cotton balls from the DRUGSTORE...isn't this intriguing? Don't YOU want to enter the spinning contest? You're getting very sleepy, sleepy...

In non Fair news, here is a picture of DD and the new kitten. Do you think they've bonded at all?

I must admit, bad mother that I am, that I took photos of the children fighting on the couch this morning and threatened to post them to my blog just to embarrass them. But much pleading ensued. I will wait until next time...they've been warned. Summer vacation is very nice at times. Like now when DD is at Girlscout Twilight camp outside in the 400 degree heat. No yelling, no fighting, lovely. Honestly, both of my children (IMHO) are quite charming. Separately. Together, not so much. But then again, she HAS to put him to bed at night these days and he ALWAYS wants to play two player video games so she will play with him. And at least they are nice to each other with other adults than me.

Now I have a question: If someone comments to my blog, but I also read their blog, do I answer their comments on my blog or on their blog? I'm sure there's a rule about this that I have no idea of. I've been commenting back on my own blog so far if it references mine and on theirs if it references theirs. This is confusing. Help!

Have a lovely day!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Didn't do it

I had coffee yesterday, I had coffee already this morning. Addicted, that's me. I think it makes me tireder, though. Unfortunately (??!) my best friend will probably bring me iced coffee at 7:30 tomorrow morning and so it just goes on and on. Sunday I won't have any. I'll see if the swimming schedule keeps me off it for a few days next week to detox.

I'm still knitting the second heel, hence no photos. But I'm close. I did not knit a lot on the sock yesterday, nor did I spin. I was busy driving kids around and such and read too many blogs. I'm going to try to stay off the computer till dinner time now so's I can get more done.

I'm very happy to say that Star has taken me up on my offer to drive her fair entries to Pomona. Perhaps I can induce her to join me on Spinning Contest Day, as my friend who went with me last year has moved to Indiana (boo-hoo). We had such a great time last year! She was a perfect fair companion, not bored with my stuff, went off on her own when she wanted to, stopped for onion rings, the whole nine yards. I miss you, Jan! It was a great day at the fair. Too bad they are not having the Fleece Auction this year, though. But I still have plenty of smelly fleece in the garage from last year. I'm resolved not to buy any more till I've washed that lot up, but I have gotten some samples from farms so I have some places I'm not afraid to order from on the web. Let you know when I do!

Anyway, I hope to show some progress tomorrow. Happy knitting and spinning!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Should I give up coffee?

I'm trying to figure out whether or not coffee is making me have these huge mood swings that I seem to be having. I have in the past associated these with too much processed meat, too much sugar, etc. I have been off sugar for 4 years so those have gone away. But we've been off our regular school year schedule of dropping off DD at school and then going to the bagel shop for coffee and (free) mini bagels almost every day. But we went twice this week and both days, by the end of the day, I was Monster Mommy. Perhaps tea is more my speed... I've been on my post-nursing coffee binge for 3 years now and it might be time to sober up. I can always have a cup of tea if needed. No coffee yesterday, no particular loss of temper. I will continue to collect data and let you know.

On the knitting front, I'm knitting the heel of the second sock. Evidence:

This is going more quickly, probably because I don't have to stop and spin new colors any more! I shouldn't have any trouble finishing in time. The question will be do I have time to do the top band of the first sock over again, as I don't really like it, but it is finished. I should have time.

7/13 Finish heel, 1/2 of band 5
7/14 1/2 band 5, start band 6
7/15 Finish band 6, start band 7
7/16 Finish band 7 Sunday
7/17 Band 8
7/18 band 9 and finish sock.
7/19 Top of sock 1 over again
7/20 Weave in ends, wash, dry
(crickets chirping)
7/25 Drive socks to Pomona

Sounds like a plan. Wasn't that fun?

In spinning, I've been working on the Project Spectrum Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club BFL off and on, almost done with 2 oz of singles (I'm saving the other 2 oz for later).

I just love BFL, so glad I decided to try it based on advice from The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook. I have some washed and picked locks in a secret bag in the linen closet to play with later, mmm. Need to start thinking about what spindle spinning I will bring on vacation, what knitting, so I don't have to buy any yarn while I'm gone. I think I'll be working on Rogue at home and socks on the road. And taking pictures for my Socks on Vacation. I would really like to do Pomotamus out of some great Cherry Tree Hill I got on sale at Unwind. But I should finish the Jaywalkers (I won't right away). And Mom sent me a sock for a new heel that I haven't even unraveled. But I can bring it back to her when we visit, I'm sure she's not wearing them in July in NJ.

Off to put some more money in the bank, thank goodness, and DD to day 4 of crafts camp. And trying not to drink coffee. Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Things are looking up (a bit)

Looks good for Fiber Club after all, yay! DH got some unexpected work and I'm trying to minimize expenses this week as well.

Don't have any progress to show on the socks. I took most of the day off yesterday because my left hand hurt SO MUCH after the marathon on Sunday night. But I did do some spinning and should be able to finish the 2 oz. of Fiber Club wool today sometime. I'm saving the other two ounces for maybe plying with something else or future use. The only roving I've spun all of is the June (blue) as I wanted enough yarn for a One Skein Wonder later. I am past the halfway point on the first wide band of the foot, though, so maybe I'll get to the heel tomorrow sometime.

Have a lovely day and keep cool!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Money S*cks

Okay, I've been tagged (twice, if I count both blogs that told me anybody who reads them is). Heide is tagging everyone with Scout's meme. To tell something about yourself that might make your readers lose respect for you.

Right now, we are SO broke. I might have to drop out of Spunky Eclectic's Fiber Club for the month (even though I am hosting the darn Spinalong) due to the fact that $15 may be the difference between red and black ink (and groceries) this week. Sad. Yes, I'm a grownup, yes, I work, I actually have two jobs. And am a full-time caregiver to my two children. Yes, DH works, he works very hard. But sometimes ends and meeting, well, they just don't. So if this makes you lose respect for me, so be it. If you've been there, you understand. If you haven't, count your blessings. I have trouble not worrying over money, but when I'm being rational, I know that as long as I am doing everything I can, worrying doesn't help. Thank goodness we are healthy (touch wood) and the kids are taken care of. Many, many, many people are worse off than we are and we are rich in love. And I do, in fact, have plenty of stash. Although I did sell some off on ebay this week, also a good idea. There's the meme.

In more fun news, I finished the first sock!!!!!!!!!

What do you think??!?!?!? I am rather taken with it. If I have time, however, I will redo the very top of the cuff in corrugated ribbing. I don't like the way it ends all that much (following the pattern). I would rather have it ribbed longer and then have a little bit of roll at the top. I've finished the toe of the second sock, slightly shallower, and am hoping that it will fit better. This one is a bit too long. When they come back from competition, if I have more yarn, I will reknit the toes and heels and make them smaller. We'll see if I ever really do that!

Here is a picture of the cuff fairisle, unwashed, unblocked, forgive me!

This is a fun pattern. And I have learned more about both colorwork and socks. This sock has been full of newish techniques for me and miles and miles of two color knitting (in miniature). Spinning wise, I think I should have spun thinner. I went for regular sock weight yarns and they are, albeit not completely consistent, but very nice yarns, I think. But in future, if I know I'm going to use many colors together, I will go for thinner yarns. These are about 14 wraps per inch and 16 or 18 would be less thick in the end product. Live and learn! I still love them, and I will knit more complex socks again in the future.

Thanks for stopping by! Tag, you're it!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Some info about the L.A. County Fair (UPDATED)

I haven't called yet, but I have read the papers better. So, if you want to enter handspun or articles made from handspun, your entry FORMS must be postmarked by July 11 (UPDATED). If you are also mailing your articles, the ARTICLES must be postmarked by July 12 as well and the package must include a copy of the entry FORM. If you would like to deliver your articles (for example, if you are NOT GOING TO FINISH BY JULY 12, you can deliver them to the fairgrounds on July 25.

That will be me. I might very well finish the first sock tonight or tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, I can't submit the one sock. So I sense that I will be losing sleep for the next couple of weeks. Or not blog surfing :(

Luckily, I have already spun my wool yarn and my blend yarn (if I decide to enter it, probably not).

Pictures tomorrrow!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I certainly irritated someone!

I just had to comment on someone's Independence Day post. I just had to. And she replied quite succinctly. And deleted my comment from her blog. And I deleted her blog from my Favorites and that's that. Guess we can't agree to disagree.

In knitting, here is the sock as of yesterday before fireworks.

More progress was made at the park while waiting for DH to swim with kids.

A closeup of some of the fairisle work:

They are, oh, so unfortunately, too big for me. And quite possibly too small for DH, although they are my style not his. I would do this pattern again, though, or something like it, just with fewer stitches cast on and different patterns in the bands. Of course, then they would be my design, woo-hoo!

Have you ever gone to the website It's very silly and just what it sounds like. But I will end here with my cat on stuff:

Petrie and the treadles. She is the cat of a spinner, after all. She has had a bit of a try at playing with my fiber, but I have successfully discouraged her so far. She also tried to put her foot in between the spokes of the wheel WHILE IT WAS TURNING! Not too smart, but she didn't try it again.

Anyway, hope everyone is safe and healthy and happy this 5th of July! And if you didn't like my political message of yesterday, or even if you did, let me know in the comments. I would love to have a discussion with anyone who can be respectful of others' opinions.

Monday, July 03, 2006

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

I believe in America. I believe in our Constitution. I believe that our Constitution is important and not a "g*dd*mn piece of paper." Freedom and Liberty are the bedrocks of our country and what have made that country great. But I am afraid that our country is going down a road, has already traveled quite far down that road, that leads to tyranny, abrogation of civil liberties, codification of discrimination, barbarism and shame.

Yesterday I sang "America the Beautiful" at my church. I chose the song not because I believe that the words express who we are right now, but because I dream of what we have been and could be again. Because I believe it states clearly what we have been striving for lo these many years. And what we are in danger of losing forever.

So without further ado, "America the Beautiful" by Katherine Lee Bates, a remarkable woman, a lesbian, a college professor, a proud American. This to me, right now, is a prayer. Let us please think of what we could be and find a way to right the wrongs done to our country. Let it become an anthem of what we are.

America the Beautiful

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain.
America, America, God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Oh, beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life.
America, America, may God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine.

Oh, beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years.
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America, America, God mend thine every flaw.
Confirm thy soul in self control,
Thy liberty in law.

Have a happy Independence Day and be safe!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Now I really am thinking about writing a book

Any input would be appreciated. It seems to me that there is a place for a sock book about handspinning and using handspun yarns. The "Twisted Sisters" is great but it's mostly dyeing and a generic sock pattern or two. They don't go into detail about Navajo plying or wraps per inch, etc.

What if I started with spinning the yarns, different ways, ideal sock yarns, things like that. Then my basic pattern would be a toe-up sock, short row or not, where you determine gauge as you go along. Handspun yarn is hard to tell. Sometimes my yarns are more worsted and my gauge is very tiny when I thought I spun something about sport weight. Sometimes they fluff up more than the wraps per inch would indicate. Yes, I know, swatching is golden. But socks are a pain to swatch for, IMO. Do I do a tiny tube? Do I knit back and forth? If I start a sock from the top without a swatch, I can't even measure gauge till ribbing plus 2" has already been knit.

The thing about handspun, to me, is it has life to it that commercial yarns do not. It may be the bounce, it may be the sheen, it may be something unmeasurable, but it has something. Something that makes it special and compelling to work with. But you never quite know what you've got till you've knit it up. This is one of the things I like about spinning. I like the surprises. How will the fleece feel or look when it's washed? How will the dye run turn out? What spinning technique will work best? How will the yarn look? How will it knit up as socks or something else? The constant stream of surprises makes me happy.

Anyway, you could cast on the toe (two ways) then measure gauge to know how many stitches you really want. I could talk about negative ease, lack of same in fair-isle, intarsia in the round, texture patterns, mosaic patterns, lace patterns, patterns that make self striping yarns more interesting. Spinning self striping yarns (not dyeing them later).

These are the things that interest me, that keep me up at night thinking, how could I do that? What keeps you up at night?

Thinking, thinking...

Happy spinning and Tour de Fleece!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A quickie or else I won't spin for the Tour today!

Star wanted to see my blue ribbon socks from last year so here they are in a photo along with the baby socks that got second place the year before.

The colors are not quite as bright as represented here, but almost. I was surprised they gave me first place as the toes on the two socks were not knit the same way, but there weren't very many entries.

I also won second place for a skein of wool 2-ply and the Novice Class Handspinning Contest. This year I have to compete as an intermediate. I practiced A LOT for this and will do so again, although there's no telling what they will ask us to do. The 2004 winner gave me the scoop last year, pictures of her yarn and everything, and none of the challenges were the same. But I will ALWAYS spin soysilk from the fold (thanks, Mindy, Intermediate Winner!).

Trying to get my 30 minutes in today around swimming and work and haircuts and such.

Have a lovely day!
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