Friday, February 27, 2009

Choppin', yes indeed

When I got to work this morning, I found that the ice storm last night had put a huge sheet of ice on the sidewalk that runs from the parking lot to the entrance. I tried chopping it sans salt, but all that did was hurt my arms. So, I spread about 5 lbs of ice melt, waited 2 hours, and was able to chop it all away! Of course, it hurts like a ---; every strike runs up my arms and almost numbs them from the shoulders down. Oh ice.

I'm going to my parents' house tonight for a delicious meal of homemade pizza. Nummy. My mom makes sicilian style pizza, which is not DP's favorite, but I was raised on it, so I'm pretty excited. It'll be nice to be at my parents' house and just relax. At any rate, I'll need to rest up tonight for all the adventures tomorrow.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I really want to make something for my sister, but I'm not sure what. Ever since she had the baby, she's had a problem with getting clothes that fit (surprise, surprise). And now, her feet are a size bigger and seem to be staying that way! We both have size 10 or 10 1/2 feet (depending on the time of day) but she's up to 11, so none of her shoes fit anymore. A nice pair of custom made socks will take care of that. But what about a sweater/cardigan?

I was thinking about the February Lady Sweater, because it looks like everyone and their third cousin twice removed is making it, but would it make someone with a post-pregnancy tummy look pregnant again? I haven't seen my sister since I came up with this idea, which is why I'm throwing this question out. I'd like to show her some pictures of things and see what strikes her. Maybe something in cotton for spring?

I also need to make a sock monkey for my sister in law. The latest Knit Picks catalog had a sock monkey pattern on the back, quaintly named Mr. Foster. I ripped the page out and have it posted by the phone to freak out DP. However, yesterday he told me that Mr. Foster is growing on him, and that I should make one for his sister, along with a couple outfits. He'd write a book to go with it. (He writes children's books but doesn't ever try to publish them.) The baby shower is Saturday, but since it's in Missouri, I won't be going, which means I have ample time to concoct a monkey ;) I read somewhere that a sock monkey for a baby is good luck, and my sil loves monkeys, so it's a match made in heaven.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Completely forgot

I can't believe I forgot to post pics of the batts, the undyed yarn and the dyed yarn from this weekend. Grrr.

Here are the little batts:


The top two are the wool/angora, and the bottom two are the wool/silk.

Here's the spun and plied yarn before its koolaid bath:

angora silk bfl blend 2

The detail:

angora silk bfl blend

And after dyeing:

orange sherbet

orange sherbet detail

I spun this all supported long draw, which I've hardly ever done. I can see how production spinners would love this method, and I think with some practice (and no neps or noils in my fiber) I could get an awesome singles out of it.

Also, here's the first half of the second batch of Big Yellow Taxi from Crown Mountain:

big yellow taxi

Again, supported long draw, about 6 oz.

I love spinning!


I hate it. Nuff said.

I got nary a stitch of knitting done yesterday; I went out to dinner with a friend and didn't get back til 9, so I figured I'd just pack it in instead of aggravating my arm.

We did have fun walking back to the car, because my friend said (in a loud voice) - "oh yeah, I still have your pot in my basement!" In a college town, that's not something you should shout :) It's a nice unchipped enameled stockpot, perfect for dyeing yarn and fiber. Since I had been dyeing at her house, I had left it there...for about 9 months! That's one of the reasons I've been dyeing with koolaid lately. DP was surprised to see the pot, but he did remember it, so I didn't have to fend off questions of "where did you get that?"

I can't wait to get home to my cardigan! It's a little further along than this:


(pardon the crummy picture) I still haven't decided about the sleeves yet - whether to finish them before the body or after. Eeep.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I'm developing it. Argh.

I hardly knit a stitch over the weekend, thinking that it would make my arm feel better. What I didn't think of was that spinning 400 yards of yarn after spending two hours carding it is not really all that easy on the arm either! I can be a dummy sometimes.

After work yesterday, I decided to knit on my Juno until DP woke up. That gave me about 2 hours of knitting time, with some breaks for pattern reading (I really enjoy reading Big Girl Knits for some reason) and cheese & cracker eating. I have about 6 more inches to go on the body of the cardigan, and I'm almost to a decision point: do I go ahead and make the sleeves once the ball of yarn I'm using for the body runs out? It would be easier to not have to spin the body of the sweater around during the sleeve caps, but for such a short amount left on the body, should I even care?

I'm also trying to finish DP's green and purple socks so I can make him another pair in Cascade 220. He really wants thick socks, and they go so quickly, I can't resist.

This weekend I'm going to Sheep in the City with my mom. Never been to it, but it sounds fun. Saturday will be crazy: Sheep in the City in the morning, my uncle's b-day party in the afternoon and the opera that night. I'm going to be wiped out on Sunday :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The thrill of spinning, the agony of skeining

A propos of my angora craving, I spent yesterday afternoon carding up two batts of bfl/angora and bfl/silk, making singles of each and plying them together. I ended up with a little less than 2oz of sport/worsted weight. I'm trying to decide if I should dye it and then make something out of it, or just leave it as is. It's so soft...I really want to make gloves out of it, but I don't know if I have enough.

The agony part of the procedure was winding the plied yarn onto my swift. I guess I wound a bit too swiftly, because I didn't notice that a loop had wrapped itself around the upright part of the swift - which is coated in beeswax so that it's less squeaky. Argh! I had to take the skein of the swift, then unclamp the swift to get the yarn off it. Of course, the skein fell off my arm and tangled itself up immediately. I spent an hour yesterday untangling it, and left the rest for this morning. It's finally wound up, but argh!

I think that today I'll finish up my sister's curtains. I'd pinned and ironed everything out, but for some reason just didn't hem them. My craft room is not that big, so having the curtains across the futon really clutters it up. Of course, the huge bag of quilt scraps in the middle of the room probably doesn't help either!

I still haven't been to the hardware store to buy paint for the craft room...DP doesn't want to live in this house long term (just a few years) so I don't know if I want to spend time and money to make the room into something I like if I'll be leaving it for someone else. Still, even if I don't paint the walls, I will be making new curtains. When I was spinning in there yesterday, the curtains were really bothering me. The ice blue really sucks the energy out of the room.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Perfect buttons

I found these buttons for my Juno...I'm so excited! We have a silver maple in the backyard, and I think it's bark goes well with the yarn.

Here's a pic of the finished sock from Wednesday:

holi sock 2

The second sock is still just a toe, because I didn't get home until 8:30 last night, and I was too tired to knit :)

I'm trying to find some good fiber to spin...Squoosh on etsy has great stuff, but I'd like to try something new. I'd really love to spin something with angora in it; my angora socks are getting threadbare.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Socks soar on size 1.5s

I finished the first green/purple sock for DP last night. Since it's on size 1.5s and only 64 st around, it almost finished itself! He tried it on and loved it, even the garter square toe, which I was afraid he might find too bulky. I'm doing these one at a time, so I'm crossing my fingers that the second sock matches the first :)

His only minor complaint was that the sock felt thick...I think it's because his favorites are made out of Schaefer Anne and are as thin as dress socks. I have another skein of the Anne for his next pair of socks, but I think I'll wait on those til the summer.

I started the toe of the second sock on the bus this morning, and I'm about 45% done with the square. (My bus ride is 30 minutes, but I don't like to knit for the second half of the ride because the bus fills up.) The toe yarn, Claudia Handpainted, is amazingly nice. I'm surprised because the last pair of socks I made out of Claudia were so horrible on my hands...they were black, so maybe the dye process made the yarn harsher. The limeade yarn is like silk, and it's only 2 ply! I think that I'm going to end up with another skein or two, to see if it's generally pleasant or unpleasant to work with.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ugh - bugs

A propos of my infested handspun, I decided to go through all of my fiber. I have most of it in plastic bags and the bags in a rubbermaid tote, but I was afraid of what I might find.

Sadly, the creatures had attacked. I had to throw out two fleeces - one down breed (can't remember which) and one shetland. The shetland wasn't actually a good fleece to begin with, so I'm kind of happy that I had a good reason to chuck it out. My angora and the silk and cashmere were okay, but one bag of linen had to go. The bison fluff was also unscathed...I don't know what I would have done if it was corrupted!

What this makes me realize is that I've been hoarding fiber - buying a beautiful fleece or some roving and being too scared to actually spin it. I decided to start spinning more and using my handspun. If I don't, the only winners will be the bugs that are munching it up.

I also decided to pull out my drumcarder and combine some of the more interesting fibers in my stash. I have a Louet Jr. drumcarder, so I really can only make .5 or 1oz batts, but for this sampling, it was fine. I combined silk, cashmere and Finn, mohair and silk, Finn and Cormo, Cormo and cashmere, and I think a few more...maybe some BFL? I make .5oz batts, spun them up all on one bobbin and navajo plied it. I made a garter stitch triangle out of the yarn, and I decided that the Finn/silk/cashmere blend was the best. Before I put the carder away, I cleaned it up the best I could and sprinkled pennyroyal oil on it. I know that it's poisonous, but my drumcarder was bug free, even though it still had fiber tufts on it, when the rest of my stash was infested. I may make up some wormwood sachets as well, just to be on the safe side.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I finished my sil's socks:

guilt socks 3

I'm pretty happy to be finished with them.

I also finished a pair of slipper socks for DP's best friend:

shire slippers2

For some reason, I could not get a non-fuzzy pic of them. They're made with Blue Sky Alpacas organic bulky cotton, and they're super soft.

I started working on the LotR sock club installment, Hobbiton. Unfortunately, the amount of cabling has injured my right arm, so I'm taking a break from them. I started a plain stockinette pair for DP:

holi sock 1

I'm pretty happy about the toe. I used Cat Bordhi's garter stitch square toe, but instead of casting on one side of the square, I cast on one stitch, increased up, then decreased down. It made for an extremely sproingy square with no hard edges.

Hooray for socks!