Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Little Emperor's First Lost Tooth

The Little Emperor has had two very loose teeth in front on the bottom for several weeks. Today, when I picked him up at school, he told me he had lost one of them. My little boy is not so little anymore!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fibery Updates

These all get bigger if you click 'em.

Dormant Fair Isle

I hadn't worked on this for a while, and finally put in some serious time on the first sleeve over the last two days. I'm anxious about running out of one color, which I bought from a yarn shop in Ithaca NY around 1990, and it was discontinued even then. But I think it'll work out. I hope.

The Merino/Yak Down Spinning

Just made a small 2 ply skein of this, about 135 yards, about fingering weight. It's fun to spin and I've learned a bit about making better batts by spinning what I've carded. I have more of this to blend and spin, but I'm not in a hurry on this now that I've experienced a bit of it. Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy it. I did. But now I've had a taste, I can work on other stuff that's calling to me. Do you like my Brooklyn Tweed style artsy shot?

A Bit More of the Shetland/Alpaca

I did another three ply skein of this, 165 more yards, and think it will be great to knit with. It has a pleasing hand, nice texture, and will not scream "Home Made!" in the finished object. Still a bunch more in the bag to spin up as time allows.

And now, I must run a few errands while the kids are still at school. How can a seven hour day fly by so fast?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

(A Blog Post in Search of a Title)

What have I got that I can show you this week?

The overview...

Some stuff from Wisconsin Sheep and Wool: Merino from Rainbow Fleece Farms in teal and moss.

Owen chose the teal. I bought the moss with the intention of carding it with some yak down I bought in NH last summer.

I made a small sample of the teal and moss carded together and spun up nice and fine.

I'm eager to get into this for real.

Here's a bit of the batt with mossy merino and yak down. I'm eager to spin that, too.

What I've been doing meanwhile:

I bought a pound of this 80% natural black Shetland/20% dark brown alpaca. I've been spinning the singles a little on the thin side, but not microscopic and making three-ply out of them. I'm pretty pleased with how it's turning out.

So far, two hanks totaling just over 300 yards.

Here's the close up.

This fiber has some of the lanolin left in, which I've been appreciating. However, when I washed the yarn to set the twist, the water turned a dingy brown color. I wonder if the alpaca was kind of dusty? Because though there is some grease still in the fiber, certainly a lot has been removed. It took two washes to clean up nicely.

Additionally, I've been trying to slowly restore our household to something closer to normal from the brink of chaos. We had a yard sale Friday and yesterday and managed to move out a bunch of toys. I'm planning to set up again next weekend, weather permitting, and add some clothes and other stuff to the selection. It's more about cleaning out stuff than making money at this point. I gave the kids the money from the toy sales, figuring it would motivate them to pick out more stuff to sell.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sue Made Me Do It

Your Score: Sad Cookie Cat

57% Affectionate, 50% Excitable, 95% Hungry

You are the classic Shakespearian tragedy of the lolcat universe. The sad story of a baking a cookie, succumbing to gluttony, and in turn consuming the very cookie that was to be offered. Bad grammar ensues.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Waspy Visitor

If you are seriously squeamish about buggy close-ups, don't scroll down. Just click away from this page.

Today our neighbor found this critter on her tote bag. She got home from a jaunt to the mall and opened her mini-van sliding back door. And it was sitting on her tote bag. It's some kind of wasp, with a 4" long appendage off the back that they use to drill into trees, says Dr Science, aka Mr. SABLE. The neighbor was afraid to deal with it, and so I went with my camera, a container, a lid, and two assistants who are home from school for an in-service day (already! not even one month into the year!), to photograph and catch the specimen. It's now resting in the container on the porch.

I'm leaving lots of space so those who don't want to see won't have to.
You can still click away...

click to make it bigger!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A very quick post...

to say that I finished knitting the submission AND the deadline was moved for everyone until the 17th AND I got permission to send my entry a wee bit late if needed. So, I just this evening finished up knitting and washed the item and now it's drying. I hope tomorrow I'll be able to get a couple pics and send it all off. Otherwise, the 18th for sure.

And now I can resume my regularly scheduled life.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I was knitting knitting knitting on the couch yesterday and I heard a ruckus coming from the front yard. Went out and saw this squirrel scolding my cat at length. He posed for about 10 photos, some better than others.

ETA for Emily:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Busy as a Bee!

So, the picture doesn't have anything to do with today's post. I think. Maybe that'll change as I type. It's just a spare picture I haven't used yet and it's ready to go, already up on Photobucket, and I don't have anything knitterly to photograph for you right now. (Yeah, yeah, the new loot from Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, but I'm busy.)

Busy as a bee! the title and the tie-in, in one AHA! moment.

The kids are back at school and I'm finding my creative self. And got a fun idea for something that might work for Winter Knitty. Only, I really only started knitting yesterday and the deadline is Sept. 15. So, yeah, I'm busy.

The weather is delightful: crisp, bright, sunny. Hard to believe that last week was AC weather and this week feels like heating season.

The kids are settling into their school years just fine. Owen will be transferring to a magnet school soon, so perhaps more adjustments ahead. It's wonderful news that he can go there. A much smaller school and I doubt they have anywhere near the discipline issues that his current one has.

Now, I'm must go knit knit knit like a crazed woman. I've started the pattern writing and done most of the schematic. (I wonder if I can get an extension?) Back to the lair.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

All The News That Fits in One Post?

The kids went back to their respective schools this week. The Little Emperor went on Tuesday and Owen on Wednesday. While I enjoyed the time that this gave me, I am definitely looking forward to the coming week, which will be a full week of normal length school days.

Yesterday I spent a little time planning my fall projects. I definitely want to finish up some patterns I started last year (including the Kelebek Vest and Morgan Cardigan) and make them available. To that end, I really need to follow through on this website stuff. Then I have knitting ideas to work on and of course, WIPs to finish.

Oh yeah, and I need to spend some time purging our house of stuff we no longer need so that we can live like quasi-normal folks again. I think I can even get the kids in on the plan, because they like the idea of making money at a yard sale and they are both tired of the stress that living in chaos brings to our lives.

Last night I plied some more of the singles from the merino-romney cross.

I'd been noticing that my plied yarns didn't look as nice as others I see on the internet, and decided to ply a bit more aggressively. I'm pleased with the difference this makes and I got a nice balanced skein out of it.

I'm planning to turn most of what's left from that batch (a very large bag full) into three ply yarn, but I have enough done as two-ply to use in a smaller project or two.

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool
I took Owen along and we met up with Kathy and Sue.

I think I'm trying to express some maternal admonition through a gritted-teeth smile here. What do you think?

Kathy and Sue presented me with a wooden swift as a thank you from my fellow campers for organizing the Alternative Knitting Camp last month. What sweeties! My other swift is a metal and plastic one I've had since about 1992. It doesn't hold the larger skeins I'd like to wind on my niddy noddy, and it's a little temperamental. This was so kind of them! Going camping with adults is such a treat for me in and of itself! (But I'll keep the swift and use it with great joy.)
(edited to include Kathy's correction.)

Sue, sorry this one isn't great. But I think it's pretty good.

Kathy, I had a choice between this one or the Dueling Cameras shot. Even though your eyes are closed, you have such a serene smile on your face. Like you're meditating on the perfect piece of pie.

I haven't photographed my loot yet, but I did not come away empty-handed. Owen is a great enabler, even with fiber stuff, and I did buy several items I would not have, had he not been in tow.
I bought:
  • two bobbins for my wheel, an important purchase.

  • 1 pound bag of 80% natural black Shetland and 20% dark brown alpaca roving. MMMM. I dove right into that once I got home.

  • Some merino roving to blend with some yak down I bought in NH last summer.

  • Some other merino roving because Owen liked the color.

  • Four other balls of generic wool roving, because Owen liked the colors.

  • That's all folks!

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    End of Summer

    click it for a bigger view

    click for a bigger view

    Mr SABLE building a model sailboat. He's putting itty-bitty planking on the deck.

    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    More Spinning?!?

    I decided to work on this merino romney cross that I got in the big lot of fiber earlier this summer because I already had a bobbin partially filled with singles and it has been out of circulation for other spinning for several weeks. I plan to buy another bobbin or two at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool next weekend, but meanwhile, freeing up all three of the ones I own would be nice.

    So, this is truly local yarn. The woman who sold Fern and me the mountain o' fiber had bought the fleece from a farm in Illinois. She had it processed at Blackberry Ridge, which is about 16 miles west of where I live. It still has some lanolin in it, which is making my hands feel nice, even if they smell a bit sheepy. I feel like I've finally got the hang of the long draw, as I saw it being done on a help video. This fiber is perfect for that: kind of springy and it just wants to pull out into a nice thin, even strand with only the slightest coaxing.

    I made this 2 ply because I wanted to see how that would work out from my singles; because I had so much yardage, I didn't want to wind it all on a cone, and because I was impatient to make yarn with it. Also, I think it'll make a nice lace project, like another Mead Scarf, only chocolate. I'll make some three ply from more of the same fiber after I get more bobbins, because I think it will make a delicious hat or mittens, or maybe a vest or sweater, if I persevere.

    p.s. I tried to take some artsy-fartsy photos, in the style of Brooklyn Tweed, using a very narrow depth of field and shooting obliquely at the yarn. There was a very small sweet spot in focus and a whole lot of blur. I guess it's just not my style. But I did realize things weren't as bad as I thought when I put on my glasses. The woes of aging eyes.

    Another WIP!?!

    When in doubt, cast on!

    No, it isn't a headdress for Queen Amidala. It's the beginning of a scarf/shawl hybrid using Wendy Wonnacott's Gioia pattern, but with finer yarn and making it bigger. At least that's the plan right now.

    Here's a detail of the stitch:

    In the spring, I bought a bunch of Tahki New Tweed from the half-price bin at The Sow's Ear. It's 60% Merino, 14% silk, and 26% viscose. I didn't get enough for a garment for me. And it has a drapey quality to it that I think one can't fight too hard. I like the way this stitch pattern has a substantial three-dimensionality to it, while being lacy at the same time. The only thing I'm not sure I'm liking so far is that the growing selvedge is rather inelastic compared to the rest of the work. I'm tempted to undo and reuse the stitch pattern in a different way. BUT, I really like shape of Wendy's Gioia. It's kind of horseshoe shaped, which allows it to stay put on the shoulders without being tied or pinned. Hmmm.

    I think for now, I'll soldier on and see if the inelastic edge bothers me too much once I split for the two long extensions.