Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Goings On

There's been a lot going on here lately. I'll give a picture post with a few words to catch you all up!

The gamblers have returned, and along with them, a real, live POODLE has arrived at the house. She gets a proper cut when she goes to visit the breeder, and this time, she's got actual curls underneath, instead of puppy fuzz. MUCH better!

Here's what I've been spinning:

Inspired by the package I'm putting together for my Valentine Swap partner, I carded two different fibers from Windrose (ETSY vendor). Both were dyed "Princely Purple" but one was merino, one alpaca. They both came with the same shade of angelina, too, so I carded a bit of both rovings along with the angelina, then spun away.

Beautiful! It wasn't much, though (barely one bobbin full), so I thought I'd see how it goes with the Creatively Dyed braid full of wool and seacell in purples that I picked up at Stitches East this year. I'm carding it, too, to blend the seacell in a bit more:

It went from this:

To this:

And I love it!!! With as huge as this braid was, I'm thinking I'll try a three-ply yarn. Two strands of the Creatively Dyed and one of the Windrose. I'm still carding and spinning, though, so it will be a while. A fun while, but a while. I also discovered I'm in need of more empty bobbins (again).

As for knitting, I'm a bit through with myself for how many projects I've gotten myself into the middle of. Barring any forgotten UFOs, I am currently working on:

1. Morning Surf scarf (this is the end of the spinning study I was doing with a Ravelry group).
2. All Aboard - a shawl/wrap from Knitters a couple seasons ago (note - this is actually finished and blocking upstairs. I will give updated pics and a review once it's sewn together and worn!!).
3. Snow White (got stalled because of a mistake, and can't get started again).
4. Aurora's Surprise (Baby Surprise Jacket for a co-worker).
5. Wrap cardigan from the fall that I put aside because of an error (heard that before)
6. Cherie Amour - stalled because I suck at reading patterns for shaping.

And that doesn't even begin to mention the things I WANT to knit!!! LIke the Francis Revisited I said I'd knit along with a friend, or the Wrap Cardigan from Runway knits that I heart, heart, heart!!!

Inspiration comes from great ideas, though. With that in mind, my friend Heather told me about a brilliant plan to get more socks knit. Since I've been knitting NO socks at all, I thought this might just inspire me, and it has.

Here's the socks I plan to knit SOON. I've grabbed the patterns I love or want to try, and matched them up to sock yarn that's in my stash. Put them in bags, and then when you are able to cast on (note, I said "able" not "it's a good idea"), you grab a bag, and you're sure to say "Winner, winner, chicken dinner!"

The goal/purpose for all this? I want to cast on for one of those socks SOON. I'm setting March 1st as the cast-on date for a new pair of socks. That means finishing the baby gift and at least three of the unfinished sweaters before I can start any socks. That should make me feel better. Wish me luck!

I also decided to show my other little obsession going on (When there's time, that is!). I've been Wii-ing it, and here's a couple family helper miis, there to cheer me on during the Advanced Step. Sometimes they're there for the hula hoop sessions and running as well!!! Too fun! For those of you not in my immediate family, the lady in the green is my late Grammy (LOVE seeing her step!!), and the one in blue is my very own mother!!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome, Sir.

I am at home. I am warm. I am NOT venturing downtown to watch the festivities. My part of "living history" was the day I voted for Barack Hussein Obama. Now, he will be the president even if I'm not freezing my tuckus off on the Mall. I prefer to get a closeup view on my living room tv.

Besides, it's too cold to knit while I wait, so I would NOT be hanging out on the Mall no matter what was going on!

Welcome Mr. President (and please forgive me for the numerous times I've said "pe the Bresident" in my head these days. Runny Babbit will do that do you!)

Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to watch the festivities, spin some yarn, and find pictures for a timeline project the boy has due at school this week!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

All Bets are ON!

Why is it that, when you mention that you are going to be anywhere near a casino, people start throwing money at you? Why can't they do that on a 'normal' day?? My parents are planning their yearly trek to Las Vegas, and keep telling me of friends handing over their pocket change.$2-$3 at a time. I hope they don't plan to get rich. It'll never happen that way.

I'm not much of a gambler (the quarter slots were my friends on the cruise this past summer), but I might give some of the top online casinos if I were so inclined.

Right now, however, my "bets" if you will, are going toward yarn and knitting projects. That's my favorite kind of gambling. I think I win, no matter what the outcome. Either I play with yarn (which I love) with no good outcome, or I play with yarn (again, LOVE) and wind up with something yummy to wear. Win. Win. Win!!!

Now, with my new spinning wheel, I'm even more dangerous! Behold, I give you - my first wheel-spun, plied yarn.

Isn't it FABULOUS???? Okay, so actually, only one of these skeins is balanced (the one at the top of the screen - just slightly "darker" too, and I'm trying to figure out how to do that, but really? I made yarn. 305 yards of it in one fell swoop. Those of you who might spin with a spindle - you'll be the ones who really appreciate that. Spindle spinning is soothing, relaxing, you get into making the yarn and enjoying how the fiber spins up and all, but. . . Dude. You get like 50 yards when you're finished. And "finished" might take a couple days. This time, a couple days gave me 305 yards. Definitely enough for the Morning Surf Scarf I'm going to knit with the yarn. I may have to do a cowl for a giftie. I'm still considering what other options could help me use up every single solitary ounce of this yarn.

Can you tell, I'm VERY proud of myself!!

A shot of me plying on my Hitchhiker. I can see where a separate Lazy Kate, that would be able to sit behind me like I'm used to for my fiber, would be a good idea. For now, I'm broke and I'm using the on-board one. Sometimes you just gotta make it work.

This was the end of my spinning. What you see in roving here is the last of the lighter half of the roving.

Here are the two full bobbins I wound up with. One was from the front half of the roving, the other from the back (front = darker colors, back = lighter colors). They both look pretty much the same here, though, because I'd spun from the outside in.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

According to my NBC news channel, Las Vegas is "on sale" because of the economy. Some people might want to skip it totally, and go with an online casino (link deleted - apparently these people no longer want web traffic sent their way . . . ). Thanks to the internet, now people don't have to fly to get to their fix!

Speaking of NBC news, the Health and Fitness Expo is in full swing this weekend at the Washington Convention Center. The Boy and I love this event. I like that there are serious things for adults to check into, like glaucoma screening and diabetes awareness booths, but there's also a TON of things for the kiddos to do, to bring home the fact that we all need to make being active and healthy a part of our lives.

This year, I took the opportunity to meet up with an old friend from high-school (Hi, T!!!!) and his cute-as-a-button-son. The boys are close in age (6 for me, 4 for them), and had a ball running around the indoor track, playing a bit of tennis, getting golf tips, and playing a bit of 'smash-em up' soccer. They were appropriately worn out at the end of the day, and enjoyed each others' company very much. It was great to get back in touch with an old friend, and to find that we still enjoy each others' company as well! I'm looking forward to a renewed friendship!!

In knitting news, I had to do some frogging to my Spicy Snow White. I didn't really have things set properly when I joined the sleeves to the body, and kept trying to MAKE it work, but with ribbing, you just can't do that! Those stitches show, and it wasn't looking so pretty! So, this morning I spent about 45 minutes ripping it back, and putting the stitches back on the needles. Now I need to figure out the stitch marker placement again - and correctly this time! - so that I can knit the whole neckline again. What makes it even worse was that I had so little left to go on this top! I'd even done the cute little picot neckline!!!! Oh well, next time it will be right and will be something I'll be proud to wear!

The back - the part that actually WAS turning out properly!!!

The front, neckline, where you can SO tell that it was not turning out correctly. You could also tell at the underarms, where the sleeves had been joined, that I was flubbing it, and the ribbing decreases didn't match up. DANG!!!!

I really need to get this finished, because I'm itching to start a new project and can't decide. Surprise, surprise! I may have to put another little poll up to see what you all think. There's so many choices running through my brain right now, and what with the new wheel and all, I feel like I will never get to everything I want!!!

Speaking of the wheel, I am almost finished spinning up the CMF roving, and getting a bit nervous about plying them together! I bought two new bobbins to assist when I finally am ready, because all three bobbins the wheel came with are currently in use. Don't quite know how I thought I was going to ply without an empty bobbin!!!!!!!

I picked it up last night at my spinning meeting. I also got some Ashford hand-carders that I've been wanting. I really, really, really want to learn the long draw, and to use rolags to do it with, so I broke down and got them when I saw them at Cloverhill. I also got 6 more ounces of Corriedale to use with them. I had some previously that I got from our trip to Canada. It's not an exact match, but I can ply the two together (or use them together with the carders!!!!) and get something lovely for a rustic project. I can't wait!!! There's also other things I'd like to do with the carders. I think they'll come in pretty handy with roving that has become a bit smushed or matted/felted in dyeing or shipping. I tried them out this evening, and the rolags are so light and fluffy. I had to resist starting one of the new bobbins with that fiber!!!!

I can become QUICKLY addicted!! Oy!


Sunday, January 04, 2009

It's Here! It's Here!!!

With help from Santa, I ordered a Hitchhiker spinning wheel just after Christmas. Yesterday morning, it came. I am now a spinner of the spinning wheel kind (before this, I was spinning with a drop spindle like mad!).

I love it!

I could barely wait for it to arrive, and had to keep my hands busy, so I prepared some roving that I had previously tried out on an Ashford Joy at Cloverhill Yarn Shop.
My current knitting project - Snow White - was (and is) in timeout, because I'm silly and can't do shaping and ribbing at the same time. So, I'm taking it out on the project and not working on it! That'll show that silly yarn for tricking me!!!

I did swatch for two other sweaters at my new knitting group meeting. The Bowie Knitters are a wonderful, welcoming, knowledgeable group and I love them all!! The wheel came just as I was getting ready to leave to go to the meeting, but I managed to stop long enough to pull it out of the box, set it up, treadle a bit, then tie on a leader. It's all ready to go!!!

When I returned, I tried out the rainbow roving I'd prepared earlier.

And after some work and dinner, I started on the Sunshine of Your Love roving from Crown Mountain Fibers.

This wheel rocks, and I can't wait till we have all our kinks worked out and are spinning at full speed! I love it, I love it, I love it!!

Any suggestions on a name? I eventually plan to finish it with some pretty wood stains, but for now, I want to SPIN!!!!


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Be My Valentine, 2009

So, if you're on Ravelry and up for a cute swap, go join the Be My Valentine group. It's a knitterly swap for Valentine's Day. And a sure way to make sure that no one or nothing ruins your V-Day, cause - YOU GET A YUMMY PACKAGE!!!!

For Valentine's Day, I'm kinda like the kid on Polar Express - it just doesn't work out for me. Not even when I'm in a relationship have I ever had a good Valentine's Day. The one time it was all set up to work, HUGE ice storm and I couldn't go anywhere or get anything (like the roses that were sent!). Oy. Story of my life. Sooooooo. . . Me likey the Be My Valentine swap!!!!

Pre-P.S. - My wheel came today - look out tomorrow for pictures of it, and some of my first wheel-spun yarn!!!!!

Here's the 2009 questionnaire:

2. Are you mainly a crocheter and/or a knitter? Knitter
1. Are you a spinner? Would you prefer roving or yarn in your package? Yes I am a spinner. I’d love either, maybe leaning towards roving since I’m a new wheel owner and very excited!!!!
2. Do you prefer to crochet or knit with fine thread, lace-weight or thicker yarn? I tend to gravitate towards sport/DK weight, or worsted.
3. If someone were to send yarn, would you prefer several different skeins of yarn with a variation of colours and fibres or would you prefer all to be one and the same? I like “lots” of yarn – enough to complete at least one small project. Random skeins tend to not get used. :O(
4. Do you have any favourite projects? (As in, do you prefer to knit or crochet afghans, pot holders, sweaters, mittens or socks, or amigurumis? Or … what else?) I’m a sweater person, mainly these days, but shawls/scarves run a close second.
5. Would you consider your skills to be newbie, intermediate or advanced? Intermediate/advanced.
6. Which are your favourite yarns? (fibres, brands, colorways) LOVE Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece as a staple yarn, collecting Noro Silk Garden to do a luxury Lizard Ridge. Pretty much, though, I'm non-discriminatory - I love all yarns!!!
7. What are your favourite colors? Autumnal colors – greens, deep reds, brown.
8. How interested are you in patterns? Can you read any language besides English? Can you read diagrams even if the pattern is written in another language? I collect patterns to use up my stash. I can only read English, and I’m not that great with diagrams.
9. Dyeing? Any particular item in this area you would find appealing? I’ve dabbled with Kool-Aid dyeing, but don’t have the space or tools to do the high-tech chemical stuff. I’m very interested in Natural Dyeing, after reading the Interweave Press book.
10. Are you in need of any particular knitting or crocheting supplies? Or do you crave something in particular, a hand made crochet hook or perhaps wooden needles? A special book or magazine? I always say I want to have at least 10 more of those hanging row counters, because it always seems as if it’s in use somewhere else when I want it for another project, or need to loan it out to someone.
11. Fiber Allergies? (We wouldn’t want to send wool yarn to someone allergic to wool) Not allergic, but very sensitive to wool (Misti Alpaca Chunky I can't wear next to my skin - OY!). I usually only knit with merino or wool blends for next-to-the-skin projects.
About me:
14. Why is Valentine’s Day special to you? I’m in “love” with falling in love, even though my the love of MY life is a soon-to-be seven year old!!
1. Is there any particular item or symbol that particularly says Valentine’s Day for you? Hearts, definitely.
2. Do you use hair pins, scrunchies and hair bands? Hair bands when I’m having a bad hair day and need to get it away from my face. Occasionally pins to hold pieces back on special occasions. Earrings pierced or unpierced? Pierced ears. Necklaces or bracelets? Brooches? Yes to necklaces and bracelets, no to brooches.
3. Do you like vintage stuff? Yes Thrifting? Yes
4. Do you do other crafts? Not currently. Fiber arts are my obsession.
5. Are you a collector of something in particular . Turtles!!!
6. Dark or milk chocolate? Or (god forbid) no chocolate at all? Any, although I feel better about eating it if it’s dark.
7. Favorite candy? Tie between Junior Mints and Skittles.
8. Favorite anything from another country? Umm . . . curry????
9. Coffee? Definitely. Beans or ground? Ground, although a little grinder with some beans would be welcome, too! Tea? Love tea, too. Bags or loose? Either. Any particular favourites? Jasmine tea balls are always nice. Hold on while I go brew a cup. . .
10. Favorite fragrance(s)? Lavendar.
11. Allergies, food intolerances? Mushrooms (not very Valentine-y, right?)
12. Maybe it’s impertinent to ask but it could be interesting for your swap partner to know how old you are? Old enough.
13. Do you have kids and/or pets? One kid – 7 year old boy, and one standard poodle (female).
14. Is there anything else you would like to add that you think your swap partner needs to know about you? I think that covers it.
15. If your swap partner messes up and needs to send you a gift certificate – what on-line store would you like it for: The Woolery, or Crown Mountain Fibers.