Short Track Medal

Short Track Medal

Friday, June 26, 2009

Eye Candy Friday - Caladium

ONE of my Caladiums finally sprouted...wear are the other 17 plants that I planted?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Natural BFL

I spun this last night, plied this morning, washed and whacked, hung to dry. It's perfect.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Eye Candy Friday - Handspun!

We interupt this post to let you know that we have been unable to photograph nature in its finest due to the massive drenching downpours we have been having. It has rained and rained and rained pretty much every single day since Memorial Day weekend. Therefore, today's eye candy will be handspun fiber.

I am becoming the spin master and ready to tackle new obstacles, to boldy go where no fiber has gone before! To spin and spin and spin things that have yet to be spun! What's on the frontier? Dog hair, dryer lint, paper from my shredder...


I spun my Candied Hearts, a bit over 6 oz, washed, whacked and nearly dry now.
I attempted to preserve most of the colors and have only a limited amount of barbershop pole which, it appears, I did to a degree. The skein isn't perfect but it's really nice. It is perfectly balanced and hangs in a nice relaxed loop. I had a little trouble with this fiber. There were a few places where there was some matting. I need one of those thimble sized flickers that could just comb out those spots. I was tugging and tugging and couldn't draft at times. Part of it was the matting and part of it was me. I'm getting very spoiled spinning commercially prepared merino / tencel top which is like spinning pure silky hair. It's icy slippery but gorgeous. I have spun about 4 oz so far so I have 8 to go.
Speaking of 8 oz. I bought some alpaca/llama/some wool at the Guild meeting the other night. It is lovely and stripey and burning a hole, calling to me from it's plastic bag, "spin me, please spin me". If I send the kids to school and do nothing except could be on the bobbins tonight. The issue is that I have only 6 bobbins and I have other stuff on some of them now. Hmmn...I'm spinning the unloved Rose Quartz, the Deep Sea merino / tencel and a I want to start a third project? What about cleaning and organizing my fiber, stash, library, needles and office? Plus, I have an ark to build.
Best get the kids up and off to school. Stay tuned for an update!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


A few weeks back, maybe longer, I bought Socks From the Toe Up so I could, you know, look at the pictures. I haven't knit a sock toe up yet. I actually tried to do two at a time, Magic Loop, toe up but the dog attacked it and I haven't gone back. :(

I am really enjoying the pictures in this book! I decided to tackle my nemesis, a toe up sock. While I was tackling, I tackled Judy's Magic Cast On. I must admit, dealing with the magic cast on is much nicer than dealing with waste yarn and unzipping. It wasn't overly difficult to figure out, I think once I got the hang of it I thought it was ingenious. It's also alot easier than casting on two socks at once, 70 sts each, all those strings hanging, one circular. This was cake compared to starting a top down sock.

So, first, I picked a "wild" handpaint, STR Minestone.

The colors are pretty. I don't really like the name for this colorway. It reminds me of snow covered evergreens with pine cones not a mine. Winter Pines or something like that would be nicer than MINESTONE. But alas, I don't get to name yarn.
Then, I attempted the cast on. This took awhile. I practiced it a few times so I would feel confident.
Here's the top view.

And here's the back or the bottom view.

It looked like it was right and like it would work. After you do this, you just flip it over and start magic looping.
Here's the tip of the toe after a few rows of increases. I do have a small hole where the tail is. Hmmn... Nothing that I can't snug up when I weave in the yarn. I also have small ones where the M1's are but I didn't know if twisting them would be uncomfortable or ugly so I did them the normal way.
See, you can't see any holes from the side.

Then, I stuck it on my foot to see how it would look....
Of course, this is as far as I'll get. I don't know how to knit toe up socks! I'll just make one long foot - clown feet!
Stay tuned to see what transpires...pattern details and progress coming soon to a blog near you.....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Eye Candy Friday - One Night Stand Edition

It has not been a good week. I haven't been to my office in days. I am off today yet again and will return on Monday. In fact, I actually miss my desk and my work computer a little...

DS came down sick on Sunday afternoon and tested positive for strep, one of several illnesses currently taking out the elementary school. Fortunately, the Boobette is still looking healthy. He was home, with a 104.5 at times, three consecutive days which were exhausting for me. I sent him to school on Thursday and he went back up to 102 so he's home again today.

After a few days of feeling 'weird' and hearing things that weren't there (no, not the voices, I heard the phone ringing, my blackberry dinging plus crackling, crunchy sounds) I got an earache. Wednesday night, it really started to hurt so I saw the doctor on Thursday morning and she confirmed that it's an ear infection. This was done ever so professionally, she looked in my ear, jumped back and said, "EW!!!" Oh, yeah, she gave me antibiotics, too.

Being home, I called up my pal, Elizzabetty, who is also home. She came over so I could swipe her handpainted yarn. You can read all about it on her blog. I liked the colors very much and suggested that it be turned into 'One Day Beret' which I was sure that I could knit in one day...or one night. So, we had tea, played show and tell which took like an hour because I haven't seen her in six weeks, and knitted. She has this house in Vermont that she tends to every now and again and then she returns back to civilization. Any way, she's been up there playing, taking pictures, floating about town, looking for a job, mowing the back 40 and handpainting yarn.

She made this one and I stole it, thinking it would look superb in a hat.

I told her that I would knit the hat, quickly, but first I had to finish my Blueberry Scarf. You remember the scarf from the other day? The one that I had to rip back 36"? Well, I reknit it and I was up to the point of where I was before discovering The Mistake exactly when she arrived. It was the homestretch on the scarf that I had the pleasure of knitting...twice!

I took the yarn anyway and put it on my To Do list, just behind this scarf.

I knit another foot last night, wove in the ends and voila, another FO. It's about 65" long.

Ah, my first handspun FO. I'm very proud of this scarf.

Anyway, I got back to playing with Blue Iris.....

Then, I wound the yarn into a ball.

Then, around 9:45 last night, I casted on and knit for a bit. I got all the way to the brim and decided it was time for bed. That was just after David Letterman's monologue.

This morning, I got up and finished the hat. It was great! No pooling!

(I know, I hardly ever show you a picture of myself , I'm like Wilson.)

The hat took me just about four hours to knit so it was certainly a One Day Beret. However, being we crossed over midnight, It was really a one night stand. I knit it last night, we woke up together and I still loved it so I finished the ribbing and I'm done with it. I know nothing about blocking hats except people do it on balloons. I hate balloons so I'll give this to Elizzabetty and let her do that.

Maybe next time, I'll tell you about balloons. I have some good stories about them.

I must get back to tending to sonny boy and spinning something else.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Curses! Curses! The F Word!

Well, I have been knitting along happily on my delicious blueberry handspun scarf. In fact, it's nearly done! This is a piece of cake pattern and I love the drape and the feel and I keep checking it out and trying it on and cuddling it.

I expected to be done with this tonight; however, if you look carefully at the purl rows, you'll see what I saw.

About dead center....UGH!!!

The Mistake is conveniently located oh, about a yard back.

So, I had to do the F word. Frog it.

What did you think this post was going to be about?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

There's Something About It

Some things make me very happy. I really like when I bake fresh bread. I love the way it stinks up the whole entire house.

There's something about it that separates it from store bought.

Well, the same is true for yarn. I am finding it soooooooo incredibly satisfying to be knitting with yarn that I made from fluff. Maybe I should buy my own sheep! Back to knitting....details on Rav soon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Eye Candy Friday - More Spinning

It's raining and it's 58 degrees today. I'm off because we have off 8 Fridays over the summer and this is one of mine which means it'll rain. It seems to me that we're in some kind of awful weather pattern and it's cold and rainy. The good side is, I've only turned on the AC once so far and it's June. My budgeted bill says, "Balance in your favor: $172.33". So, if I don't leave things on, I should be good. I make a conscious effort to go green, honest. I recycle as much as I can, I do not ever ever litter, I buy energy efficient appliances. The only thing I don't have is a hybrid car. We drive a minivan and an Equinox. I love them both dearly. The Equinox wasn't available as a hybrid when I bought mine but I would consider buying one when this one needs to be replaced. We'll see. Also, I don't have solar panels but did look into getting them. It's expensive and you can only make electricity when the sun shines. You can't store it up. Considering that we've seen the sun exactly three days in the past 3 weeks...well, use your imagination.

So, I'm home. I'm recuperating from a long week that I made harder than I should've. Work is really slow right now and I'm using the time to get my desk in order, clear out my every overflowing e-mail box, clean up and organize my files. (The soft copies, not the physical ones). I'm also taking some days off. There are several school events conveniently scheduled during the day so that working people can attend them. I have the good fortune of being able to telecommute as well as being located about a half mile from the school. Some of the events are an hour and I can run over and make them. Some are all day. Like Field Day. Field Day was supposed to be today but being it's 58 degrees and pouring, it's next Thursday. There's also Kindergarten picnic, 1st Grade Picnic, Kindergarten Moving Up, a smattering of birthday parties that my kids want to go to and scouts.

The other thing I've been noticing is exactly where my money goes. In the past it was, "I just don't know where it goes" but now I do. Check out the checks I wrote the past few days:
Spring Pictures - proceeds to PTA. $36 for each kid.
Teacher gifts: $5 each kid
Next year cub scouts fee: $80
Next year girl scout fee: $12 (What's up with this? So cheap, no? The boys do alot more though)
Lunch card refil: $20 each kid for 10 lunches and 'snack' each.

That's nearly $200. How am I supposed to buy things for me? Say, a bunch of bobbins and some more fiber?

The childcare credit is simply too small.

Maybe I'll write Obama and ask for an increase in that, an increase in Flexible Spending and Childcare pre-tax accounts (right now they're $5k each) and the implementation of the "Working Mommy" pre-tax account.

Working Mommy eligible expenses would be those things that working mommies need:

1. Housekeeping service not to exceed $60 a session or 10 sessions a year. These are to be used when you're in a bind, say, when you're planning Thanksgiving at your house and have to work the day before and the bathroom looks like the battlefield at Normandy. (Tomorrow is D-Day, btw.)

2. Errand runner. Not to exceed $500 a year. This is someone who is hired to do small errands that make working mommies insane because they can't ever get to them even though they take only a few minutes. i.e.: going to the car wash, DMV, returning library books, going to the post office, food shopping, picking up the Chinese Food order and prescriptions.

3. Quarterly Spa Treatment. No description necessary.

4. $100 towards a weekend retreat with hubby, say, in the Poconos.

5. 20 sessions per child - tutor for the kids. We actually have this at our library. High school kids tutor the younger ones and I am considering signing my son up for it. I think it's free. He is more likely to work with someone other than me.

Instead, we have what we call, "Mental Health Days". Those are days that we take off to recover, relax and clean our house in peace.

OK, now that I'm settled a bit, enjoying my Mental Health Day, let's talk about my yarn. I have selected the pattern for the blueberries and will keep it a secret until I'm well enough along to show you it. (Just in case I change my mind or something....even though I won't. I want it to be a surprise. I am highly recommending that anyone wanting a nice silky soft and smooth yarn visit Opalessence's website and e-mail her inquiring about this. According to the show schedule, she will not be at Rhinebeck, darnit. I am so regretting not buying a case of the 70 Merino/30 Tencel at MDS&W. The blueberry yarn is so luscious that even DH was caught fondling it. But alas, I'm in Love, It's all spun up... (yes, reference to the King here.) and now, today's eye candy.

Eye Candy Friday - Candied Hearts!

I'm trying something new......This is Candied Hearts, 100% Merino from moonlightbaker's shop on Etsy. The roving I bought was 6 oz and change and handpainted and beautiful. I am ATTEMPTING to spin across the top and preserve the solid colors because I'm not really overly fond of the barbershop pole one gets from making 2 ply yarn out of handpaint. So, I'll spin a single and do my Navajo plying which I'm beginning to really truly like! The yarn comes out so nice and round. So, let's just say that I need a little more practice in doing this. It's not easy to make it as even and doesn't feel like a natural motion. It's going slowly for me because I'm trying to be careful. It seemed like the red portion was ENDLESS. This is going to be a scarf for my little Boobette as these are some of her most favorite colors and I'm hoping to get about 250 yards but we'll see. I'm using the 6:1 ratio. Right now, I only have 6:1 and 8:1 because I cracked the whorl. I am going to try and repair that today. I have a feeling this is going to be a skinny lacy scarf..don't know yet.

Don't know if you're keeping track but I have yet to knit out of anything that I've spun. Nothing, not a stitch. Not even a swatch. I've been spinning for nine months and just collect the skeins. It's as if, I don't want to knit with them, just take them out and play with them.

Do you see why I need more mental health days?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's Blueberry Season

Blueberry season means blueberry yarn!

I have finished spinning 8oz of Blueberry Merino/Tencel that will be knitted into a nice scarf very soon. (VERY soon) I washed it around 11 PM last night and hung it on my kitchen cabinet knobs to dry. That wasn't going over too well with DH so I used a tree in the backyard for a bit.

Except for a small piece of about 30 yards, all of it is really consistent. It is well balanced and hangs in a nice loop, as it should. The 30 yards was from when I first started and I decided that that was a bit too fine so I went a wee bit thicker. I'm really, really happy with the finished 338 yards of this. I just don't understand why the yardage is so skimpy when it's homespun. I didn't measure WPI yet but this is probably a normal light worsted sized yarn. It's SOOOOOOOO soft and silky. I wish it would dry already though!

I'm in spinning bliss right now. Now, let's whip out the new strawberry colored fiber and......

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Because it's June, June, June June!

Ah, June. Father's Day, weddings, graduations, last day of school, beaches requiring beach passes, coughing up money for summer camp, trees filled with leaves, the Belmont Stakes, the OFFICIAL start to summer, D-Day and the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. It's also...Blueberry season!

(Comon, you must like this segue, I mean, it is so good, they could've used it on the news! Ernie Anastos would be proud of me.)
Blueberries in the garden and blueberries on the wheel. I was telling you about that deliciously scrumptious blueberry merino/tencel blend that I got at MDS&W and here it is, spun into singles. It's so blueberry like that you can nearly smell the freshness.

(Note: No, I don't have a Woolee Winder. I'm anal about trying to balance out the yarn lately and try to get it on the bobbin all nice and pretty manually.)

Go ahead, breathe it in. My singles are really nice and even but I think that bobbin #1 (the one on the right) was a wee bit thinner. When I ply, I'll Navajo ply and switch among the three and hopefully will produce a nicely balanced yarn....hopefully. Actually, I'm really happy with my spinning lately. This looks much better than the earlier attempts, right?

Here's a photo of my Rose Quartz fiber, also Merino/Tencel.

Isn't it pretty? The yarn it produced was nearly solid silver with little to no rose highlights and that was a bummer for me. I bought a full pound of this stuff. I haven't washed it yet so the twist isn't set and it looks a little sloppy. It'll be fine.
I was thinking of knitting a tank top out of it. I have plenty of time because before I do that, have to lose weight, of course. I mean, I wouldn't want to run out of yarn......
As for knitting, I started another pair of BLACK socks, seeded ribbing pattern. It's really hard to knit with black yarn and after I finish this pair, it'll be something light or multi colored. Maybe a nice dense pair out of some STR or other handpainted yarn I have. No photos yet.

Ok, now let me tell you about my kids. Those of you not into funny things kids say can stop reading because spinning is done.

Last night, I made pizza. Homemade dough, sauce (ok, I bought the mozzarella, that's really hard to make at home.) I made it on my new pampered chef bar pan and even put the cornmeal on the bottom. It looked beautiful and made a nice crust.

"Mmmn.. Mom, this rich cheesy pizza is really good" (he reads that off the lunch menu..)
"Actually, Mom...this is as good as the kind they give us at school".

I guess I'll have to try a little harder next time. That goes for spinning and pizza.