Monthly Archives: December 2008

Busy Spinning

Who knew spinning was so addictive? I was starting to run out of fiber that I am willing to spin right now when my orders arrived in this morning’s mail. I quickly realized last week that I would need more fiber in the stash. So I placed some orders for more roving. And the orders arrived in the nick of time.

My first attempts at actually making yarn

My first attempts at actually making yarn

Over the weekend, I managed to spin several different yarns. And practice really does make perfect. I have gone from a definite bulky weight yarn to something close to a DK weight. I have spun various types of wool and wool blends. One of the wool blends even had alpaca which is supposed to be a bit slippery but I liked it. I have ventured into plying yarns too. I even tried plying with thread. One advantage to being a quilter is that you have quite a bit of thread on hand. And my niece has volunteered to take any hand spun that I don’t want. Of course, I loaned her a drop spindle, some roving and some directions. She is hooked.

My first attemtp at 3 ply and thread plying

My first attemtp at 3 ply and thread plying

And I am still spinning.

Dyed Romney that really should have been carded more

Dyed Romney that really should have been carded more

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Happy Christmas!!!

Happy Christmas

This is the creche that I have always set up since my brother and I pickked it out when we lived in Naples years and years ago. Even back than I had a love of sheep. There are more sheep than camels, donkeys. chickens, or ducks.

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday!!!

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New Yarn

Yes, I am always tempted by new yarn. But I did not purchase this yarn. I made it instead!!!! You know how sometimes certain people can be a bad influence? Well I seem to be surrounded by spinners. And they have been slowly slowly influencing me towards buying a wheel. It started with me wanting to learn about fiber so that I could be an informed buyer. And it slowly turned into learning about roving, fleece, sliver, top, and how different fibers draft. And talk about drafting led to me learning to draft. And drafting lessons led to buying spindles. And spindles led to learning about wheels. And after almost two years of searching and resisting, I have finally broken down and bought a wheel of my own.

My first wheel spun yarn

My first wheel spun yarn

I actually bought my wheel last Friday but didn’t bring it home until Saturday. It was pouring down rain on Friday and I didn’t want it to get wet after all. I have been practicing treadling and pre-drafting fiber all weekend. I kept getting frustrated with the drafting until I had the light bulb go off to try drafting as a leftie instead of a rightie. I took a spindle class at MDS&W a few years ago that was taught by Judith Mackenzie McCuin and she had suggested that I try spinning as a leftie since although I am technically a rightie I do many things as a leftie. Once I made the switch everything came together. I am not saying my handspuns are smooth and even just quite yet but what is on the bobbin looks nice.

Surfer Dude!

I still need to practice more before my drafting is nice and easy. But practice yarns can still be knit!!! And for those who want to know what wheel I bought, I bought a Schacht Matchless. It was the wheel I kept coming back to after looking and trying several different wheels. Of course, now I am hooked on a new craft.
Blue Yarn

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Conversation with a Teenage Boy

My 14 year old nephew and I had this conversation last night. It definitely gives some insight into the mind of a teenage boy. He was the initial photographer for Dragonberry Fire Cowl. He fell in love with the color of the yarn and asked me to see if Kate could dye some in a weight that would make a hat. Kate dyed the yarn and I was talking to him about what specifically he wants.

Me – So what sort of hat do you want?
Boy – One that fits my head.
Me – One like I made you last year? With ear flaps?
Boy – One that fits my head.
Me – You mean a beanie?
Boy – One that fits my head.
Me – Do you want cables or all ribbing?
Boy – Don’t care so long as it fits my head.
Me – Get your sister to help you decide and figure out what you want.

Making him ask his sister should resolve the pattern. She may not be an experienced knitter but she has a good eye for design. He also wants a scarf to match the hat. Maybe he will decide what he wants before next winter. Although he was hoping for a hat and scarf for this winter. Anyone else have problems trying to get an answer out of a teenaged boy?

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My Holiday Present to You

Okay, I have posted some photos before of the Dragonfly Fire Cowl before. The pattern is finally finished thanks to P. I wrote up the basic pattern and she has turned it into a beautiful pattern. The pattern is available free to everyone. The yarn I used is Dragon Berry Dragon Sock yarn from the wonderful Kate of Dragonfly Fibers. The cowl will also look wonderful in the new Lux Sock Yarn from Woolarina, Watershed Shed Sock from Neighborhood Fiber, and Tornado Sock Yarn from Storm Moon Knits. Any fingering or DK yarn will work as well. The pattern will be available from these four indie dyers and up on Ravelry. It is also available here on the blog.

dragonflrecowl1

Enjoy!!!! There is plenty of time to knit one or two of these up before Christmas. Mine only took two evenings and I was creating the pattern as I knit.

Dragonfly Fire cozing up to the holly berries

Dragonfly Fire cozing up to the holly berries

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Christmas Elf Time

It is rapidly approaching Christmas and the knitting is not done. The sweater that was started in August at least is ready to split for the sleeves. I have only finished two of the four pairs of mittens that needed to be done by this past Monday. They will be late presents. And as to the sweater, well my nephew will not be surprised to receive it still on the needles. I will finish it before I start the new hat and scarf that he just asked me to knit him.

One good thing is that the stockings are done. I may have time to finish up one more stocking before the holidays. The all pink one is drying and blocking on top of the dryer right now. And since I have several loads of laundry to do tonight, it might be dry tomorrow.

The weather outside is has been such that you want to stay home and knit. So far today, there has been rain, sleet, and snow. And there is supposed to be freezing rain later tonight as the temperatures drop. I think I will stay inside and knit.

The sleet has managed to pick itself known.

The sleet has managed to pick itself known.

Or maybe I will try spending some time with my drop spindle instead tonight.

Yarn waiting to happen

Yarn waiting to happen

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Winter Rain

I have finished the roller derby stocking but I need to duplicate stitch the team name onto it. I will take a photo once the team name is stitched on the stocking. I am starting a third stocking for the week. This one is a gift for a friend’s husband. She knows what the colors are since she helped me pick them out. I really like the colors for this latest stocking and the frou-frou that will go on top is what is going to make it. Now to find some coal to stick in though…..

The weather yesterday and today has been very dreary. It starting with drizzle yesterday and it has rained all day today. It is one of those days you want to stay at home and knit all day curled up on your couch. Or spin a a nice wheel if you have one. And next to you on the table would be a bright and cheery teapot full of steaming hot Irish Breakfast tea and maybe a hot scone or two. And the fireplace would be crackling and popping as the logs burn with a with cheery warmth. But of course, that isn’t an option. Instead I am stuck at work but at least I have my knitting with me and a nice warm mug of tea.

Water droplets on red leaves in mid-December

Water droplets on red leaves in mid-December

One nice thing about winter rain is that it does make for excellent photos at least.

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Starting to Look Like Winter

I had planned on posting yesterday but my computer was not being nice to me. It seems like every time I go to the post office, there are more and more catalogs in my box. The one company that I seem to receive at least two or three catalogs a week from is Coldwater Creek. (And yes, I have been asked to be removed from their mailing list.) A recent cover on one of the catalogs had hand knit stockings on it. The price on the stockings was $45 and they are imported. I knew that I could make a better stocking and knit my own. I have been trying to not buy new patterns. But I was sorely tempted when I saw Ysolda‘s latest pattern for Last Minute Stockings. I broke down and bought the pattern and started a stocking Friday night.

Colwater Cover

The stocking was done Sunday evening. I have finally figured out how to do the mysterious figure 8 cast on and a Japanese short row heel. That is the only reason that the stocking took so long to finish. The best part of the stocking is that I was able to use some of that novelty yarn that has been stuck in the darkest corner of my stash for way too long.

The first of what will heopefully be a series of stockings

The first of what will heopefully be a series of stockings

Between the finished stocking and the fact that it snowed Saturday evening, it makes it feel like winter and Christmas are almost here.

A freshly cut log dusted with snow

A freshly cut log dusted with snow

And there is another stocking already on the needles. This one in the colors of a friend’s roller dery team.

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Friday Eye Candy

Been busy doing photo editing and holiday knitting. Plus cleaning. So enjoy the eye candy.

Dragonfly Fire cozing up to the holly berries

Dragonfly Fire cozing up to the holly berries

(Yes, that is a new cowl design. The pattern should be ready next week hopefully!)

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Food & Knitting

The holiday weekend was spent eating, cleaning and knitting. I did take some photos of the food. I took a photo of the baked potato casserole that I posted the recipe for last week before baking. There wasn’t that much of this dish leftover.

Unbaked

Unbaked

I also took some photos of the roasted veggies that I made Thanksgiving day mostly for myself. Although my nephew kept sampling them when I took them up to my brother’s house. This is a child who normally does not eat veggies willingly. But he kept “sampling” them while everything else was finished up. And he still manged to eat a decent helping of the roasted veggies at dinner.

Straight out of the oven

Straight out of the oven

I have been working on a cowl design that I managed to finish the sample in time for Thursday. My nephew was nice enough to photograph it and critique it. I have frogged the cowl slightly and shortened it so that it is a better fit. The pattern should hopefully be finished and posted by the end of the week or the beginning of nest week.

New cowl design

New cowl design

I finally cleaned up the garden on Saturday afternoon and put it to bed. I have been putting it off for quite awhile. I normally just pull everything out of the large planters but this year I actually dumped even the dirt. I have been re-using this dirt for about 4 or 5 years in some of the pots. I dumped the dirt into some of the holes in the yard and the rest went into the compost pile.

Sunday was spent cleaning the living room. Actually my method of doing a deep cleaning is to rearrange the room. I want to bring upstairs from the front room and put in the living room. But in order to bring it up, I needed to rearrange the living room. I am not quite finished with the deep cleaning yet, but I have managed to do most of the rearranging. By moving the couch to the end of the room where the windows are and moving the tv to where the couch used to be has really opened up the room. The room is actually quite large but it never felt that way before. Now it is open and very large. I will post photos of it after I am done with the cleaning and the dresser is upstairs. I am thinking of breaking down and actually buying a rug and getting some new curtains for the windows after everything is done.

One thing about doing this deep cleaning is that I am also going through all of my yarn that is in the living room and finding a number of UFOs. A few of the UFOs have been frogged. The yarn from some of these frogged UFOs will be recycled into new projects. Some of the yarn will be given to P. She has a few projects that she has been wanting to make but didn’t want to buy the yarn. And the frogged yarn is what she needs. So we are going to swap yarn. And the last bit of frogged yarn or unloved yarn will be making its way to knit group.

I am going to be making mittens and cowls for the next several weeks I think. They use up a skein of yarn each and are quick to knit. Plus mittens are always appreciated. So don’t be surprised to see alot of small projects over the next few weeks. Plus I need to finish a sweater that is a Christmas present for the boy.

A pair of mittens that only needed thumbs and finishing

A pair of mittens that only needed thumbs and finishing

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