Monthly Archives: January 2009

Lightly Dusted

The snow was just sticky enough to dust the top of the plume

The snow was just sticky enough to dust the top of the plume

The ornamental grass next door is fun to watch in the winter. It makes wonderful noise as the winds shift around the plumes. And the color is nice too.

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Fairy Dust

The snow acts likes fairy dust on red holly

The snow acts likes fairy dust on red holly

Distracting you from actual photographs of actual knitting. And there is actual knitting going on. Must remember to photograph the knitting this weekend.

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Ice Storm

Sorry. Ice storm today. Regular post tomorrow. But will give you a clue as to what I am doing.

shetland fiber

shetland fiber

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Winter White on Red

I love my neighbor’s Chinese holly bush. The colors lend themselves to photography so well. And the first snow of the season made the reds pop. I love my shot of this bush with rain on it but I think the snow shot is even better.

First snow on Chinese holly

First snow on Chinese holly

And if you are reading the blog in a blog reader, you might want to check out the new header. Yes, I did change it.

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Old Fence Post

The first snow was so nice and fluffy. You could actually see the snow crystals if you looked carefully. We ended up with about an 1-1/2 inches. I hope we get more soon. But not until I make a run to the grocery store for a major stock up. I need to remember that although fiber is good for your diet, the fiber I am buying is not edible but spinnable. I really do need to do a major grocery shopping trip to refill the pantry and freezer.

The first snowfall on an old fencepost

The first snowfall on an old fencepost

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Cold

Okay, the cold days are gone for e a few days. And the mid-Atlantic never got as cold as other parts of the country. I don’t mind the cold if I do not have to go outside and if there is snow on the ground to go with it. (I only have to shovel one sidewalk since the driveways and parking lot are done for me.)

The creek across from the Mannings

The creek across from the Mannings

There has been lots of spinning going on but I haven’t had a chance to photograph it yet. And there is actually knitting going too. I have broken down and started myself a sweater. I have started Acer by the wonderful Kirsten of Through the Loops. I am using Seacolors from the wonderful Nanney Kennedy. I bought the yarn to make a different sweater but it is perfectly suited to this pattern. The color I am using could best be described as old roses. It is a dark heathery pink. I would have a photo of the sweater so far but let’s just say that there is a good reason to read the pattern all the way through before starting it. So I had to frog what I had already knitted because I forgot to keep track of my increases. SO I had to frog the sweater and restart. But the sweater does knit up fast. Photos soon of this sweater.

ONe of the fviews from the Mannings

ONe of the fviews from the Mannings

And the date for the Homespun Yarn Party for 2009 has been announced. It will be Sunday March 15, 2009 at Savage Mill conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC. Be sure to check out the blog for details. I loved this last year and offered to help out this year.

And we finally received some snow here on Monday. It is funny but the snow stayed north of the DC area. And yes, of course, I was out in the snow taking pictures. It was too pretty to resist. So the photos this week will be from a quick to the Mannings on Sunday and of the first decent snow of the season.

The barn that is part of the Mannings

The barn that is part of the Mannings

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Tempting Yarns

Here are a few more of my recent hand spun yarns. The first one is a wonderful soft pink called Be Mine. The roving was a blend merino/seawool from Creatively Dyed. This is the yarn I was spinning when I had a little problem with my wheel. Well actually the end of the bobbin popped off for some reason. My local Schacht dealer called Schacht and replaced my bobbin. She not only replaced the bobbin but rewound the singles onto the new bobbin with a loss of less than two yards!!!

Pink handspun fingering weight

Pink handspun fingering weight

The glue that holds the bobbin together didn’t hold for some reason. Schacht said that it should have never made it out the door. It is rare for them to have a problem but it was promptly corrected. And my dealer went above and beyond by making sure my singles were saved. Yes, I could have saved money by buying my wheel from an online place, but I would not have had this customer service.

One of the first things I learned about buying roving to spin is that I like to buy at least 8 ounces or more.I bought 12 ounces of a roving called Candleberry right before Christmas and spun it up. It was my first attempt at trying to aim for fingering weight. The first 4 ounces ended up around a DK weight but I was shooting for a fingering weight. It is living with the wonderful Jess aka Bunnysquirrel now. It keeps whispering to her that it wants to be mittens. I ended up taking the remaining 8 ounces and spun them up and ended up with more of a sport weight. I have lots of this yarn now. The colors are lovely and the yarn has not been whispering to me yet.

A DK weight handspun

A DK weight handspun

I am currently spinning a lovely dark pink merino that I bought from Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden. This yarn will definitely be fingering weight. I am thinking of trying to find a lighter shade of pink to spin up and use it to make this a three ply yarn. But it will be lovely as a two ply. And the colors as they spin up are reminding me of old roses so it is called Winter Roses. (I still have to spin the second half of this roving. I am still working on the first bobbin. It was a large bump of roving.)

Still spinning this one

Still spinning this one

And in actual knitting, I have finally broken down and started a sweater for myself. I still haven’t finished my nephew’s sweater but I want to start mine. I had bought yarn at Stitches East from Nanny Kennedy of Seacolors for a February Lady Sweater. But instead the yarn is becoming Acer. I will be ordering more of this yarn to make the February Lady Sweater and to have some sweater yarn in my stash soon.

And there may a pair of fingerless mitts on the needles as well. Stash yarn needs to be used up too.

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Spin and Knit

It seems that all I have been doing lately is spinning. But I have also been doing some knitting. I actually knit up another Urchin out of my own hand spun. I started it last Thursday and seamed it up Saturday afternoon at my stitch group. It is drying right now and I have to decide if I am going to keep it or give it away. It is really cute though.

Purple Urchin drying

Purple Urchin drying

Spinning seems to lend itself to doing things like laundry and cleaning. You throw a load of laundry into the washer and you have a a decent amount of time to sit and spin. I hate cleaning so I have set up a reward program with myself. If I clean for 30 minutes, I reward myself with 15 minutes of reading, knitting, or spinning. I have to set the kitchen timer so that I don’t forget to return to cleaning. I did not step foot into my sewing/studio room though. For some reason, that is the coldest room in the house. But I am going to have to brave it so I can finish finally cleaning it up..And I need thread to hand sew some bindings on quilts that are almost finished here in the next night or two. The temperatures are going to finally feel like winter. And when it is cold that is when I like to be under a warm quilt sewing the binding on. And in an old house with old windows, quilts are necessary. The storm windows do help but only to a point.

Alpaca/merino blend not as red as it appears

Alpaca/merino blend not as red as it appears

So what did I manage to spin Sunday? Plenty. I spun some bulky weight Finn yarn. I had purchased this roving at MDS&W last year but never realized it was slightly felted. I borrowed some hand carders and carded it. I spun the two colors that I had and plied them together to get a yarn that reminds me of the pale blue and green waters of the Caribbean in the shallows. Of course, I was watching Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. I also spun up a wonderful alpaca/merino roving from Zen Yarn Garden. The color reminded me of a dark chocolate. And I spun it while watching one of my favorite movies Chocolat. I love how DVDs have bonus materials because it gives me more time to spin.

Bulky yarn that looks like ocean water

Bulky yarn that looks like ocean water

I haven’t decided if I am going to keep all of my handspun yet. Some of it may be finding homes around the globe. After all know that I am addicted, I need to spread the disease.

And could some one please tell the snow gods that Maryland needs some snow? I don’t mind the cold so long as there is some snow to go with it. I am off to a new to me local stitch group tonight at the co-op. And Saturday, weather permitting, I am going to a spin-in on the eastern shore. And yet another spin-in next weekend. Now to go and figure out what I can take with me to the new stitch group tonight. Socks or fingerless gloves … or both?

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Pink & Purple

I have been forced to step back from my wheel for a few days. I had a little issues with a bobbin that means I can’t ply the yarn I had on it. The problem is being fixed and the yarn hopefully saved by the wheel dealer. Yes, she is that nice. But as a result, I have been forced to return to my knitting needles.

But what I did manage to ply before my bobbin issue turned out lovelier than I had thought it would. I have been striving to work for an even consistent yarn. And since my wheel seems to lend itself to fine yarns, I figured that I would aim for fingering weight. I do like to knit socks after all. I may have reached that making usable sock yarn!!!!

And I am in pink mode. After viewing some roving from Creatively Dyed that Kate had at a spin in last month, I bought some from the Loopy Ewe. I bought two different colorway but decided to try Be Mine First. It is a lovely pink. The seawool gives it some white where it doesn’t take the dyes the same as the wool. And it is resulting in a lovely pink yarn. I can’t wait to get my bobbin back tomorrow so I can finish plying the rest of the singles.

A small skin of lovely pink fingering weight

A small skin of lovely pink fingering weight

And when I went to the Mannings last Friday, I bought some hot pink merino/silk roving to try. Okay they called it fuchsia but it is really hot pink. The roving was packaged up in 2 ounce bags and I bought 3. I figured that I could practice with them 2 ounces at a time. Well, there is almost 6 ounces on one bobbin. I almost bought some black alpaca to ply with this hot pink. But I stopped myself. I remembered that I know some one who raises alpacas right up the road from me.

Tomorrow I am going to my new “crack” dealer. Okay crack really should be alpaca. I am even thinking of buying an alpaca fleece from her from the spring shearing. I haven’t even spun alpaca on it’s own yet and I am thinking of buying a fleece!!! But I can go right up the road and up the hill and visit with the alpacas too.

And I am knitting with my handspun too. I had to go to the dentist yesterday and decided to knit another Urchin hat out of handspun. I knit one for my niece for Christmas and since the colors of the handspun are purples, I am thinking that this one may end up in her hands too. Once you understand this pattern, it goes really fast. I took it with me to fiber guild last night was almost finished it. I just need to graft the live stitches together tonight. I think there may another one of these on the needles again in the near future.

Urchin out my own handspun

Urchin out my own handspun

And I am thinking that it is time to finish up some socks that are on the needles. My feet are getting cold. The one good thing about the new brace is that my left ankle stays nice and warm.

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New Addiction

I must say that spinning is really addicting. But I have already said that. New Year’s Day was spent spinning at a spin-in with a group of ladies from the Rose Hill Fiber Guild up near Hagerstown. I was working on my first attempt at sock yarn. After plying the yarn and setting it, it was more of a DK weight. But it was pretty!!! I don’t have a photo of that yarn because it has already gone to live with Jess aka Bunnysquirrel. She fell in love with it when she saw it Saturday, so I gave it to her. But latest attempt at sock yarn was much closer to fingering weight. I just underplied in a a few sections. So I will be trying sock yarn again.

Part of the old weaving mill in Savage

Part of the old weaving mill in Savage

Right now so far as spinning goes, I want to try every different fiber I can get my hands on right now. I figure that if I try a variety of different fibers now, I can learn about them and figure out what I like. Right now on the bobbin is some merino/silk in a fuschia/hot pink that I bought up at the Mannings this past Friday. I love the color but the skies are too dark and nasty looking to get a decent photo. I want to ply this pink with either black alpaca or a black natural fleece. And I will be going back up to the Mannings soon to hopefully pick up several more ounces of this fiber. I like the color and I like how the silk adds a bit of a white tweed-y look to the yarn.

I meet up with Woolarina, Anne, Ashley, and Jess on Saturday. There is another Homespun Yarn Party in the future and we were checking out a possible site. If you are interested in more info on the next Homespun Yarn Party,keep checking out the blog for details as they become available. I was in a section of my own state that I normally just drive past. I will be making trips now just to go and photograph certain sites. This place was really beauty in terms of natural beauty.

After checking this site out, we all headed up to Baltimore to Spinster Yarns & Fibers. I had never been to this shop before but I can say that I will be going back. It is easy for me to get to from the Baltimore beltway. I ended up staying Saturday night with Jess for the sit and knit group. The ladies at this shop are a real treat.

There is one other yarn shop I want to visit in Baltimore soon. I need to get together with Jess and see if she wants to go with me. I can get lost in Baltimore easily. I never have problems in the DC area though with getting lost.

An old tree that caught my eye near the old mill

An old tree that caught my eye near the old mill

One little note about how I ended 2008 was with a visit to an orthopedist. I broke my ankle at the end of September and it was a simple small break. The first orthopedist said that the ankle was healed even though I was still complaining of pain. And he never took a second x-ray. Well, I decided that it had been hurting enough and that a second opinion was in order. So early on New Year’s Eve, I drove over the mountain in really strong winds for a second opinion. Turns out that the ankle is still broken and is in worse shape now than it was to start with when the two x-rays are compared. Yes, another x-ray was finally taken. The ankle may end up requiring surgery to remove the bone fragment that has not healed and reattach the ligaments. But the new orthopedist wants to try some non-surgical methods first. Right now I have a very supportive brace that I have to wear except for showering and sleeping. I am waiting on a TENS unit to arrive. We are going to give this method a three month try and re-evaluate. If there is a little hint of progress, we will try this method for another three months. But if there is no progress, the ankle will require surgery. But on a positive note, I can spin and it is actually good for my ankle.

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