Monday, April 28, 2008

Updates and Acquisitions

Alpaca Fest Loot!

Some times you find an amazing bargain!
L&L Trail's End Alpacas, Richland Center, WI
I bought two 4 ounce bags at $10 each!!!

Sometimes it's not necessarily a great bargain, but a nice find never-the-less. 4 oz of lovely charcoal grey alpaca roving.

It's not even always alpaca!
This is Blue-Face Leicester from Sandy's Palette, Mineral Point WI. I got 8+ ounces of this roving. I know these colors won't do it for most of you blue-lovers out there. But I like the warm autumn palette. I'm curious to see how they mellow out when spun. Last night, I finished the last of the Mossy Merino/Yak and, of course, launched right into some of the new stuff. When I opened one bundle of this roving I was bit anxious about the spinnability of it. At first I was afraid it was just this side of felted. But with a bit of coaxing, it loosened up nicely.

Also from Sandy's Palette, about 4 oz of Merino/Tencel blend in a colorway that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I almost think this is too pretty for my taste, but I'm perverse that way.

In other news

Here's the last skein of the Mossy Merino batch. It's still a bit damp, but I'm impatient.

Here's the bunch of it all together. I didn't count yardage, but I think the weight is about 250 grams fingering weight 2 ply. Overall, I'm pleased with how this turned out. Now, to pick a project for it... hmmm.


The Knit-What-You-Spin challenge project, a basic garter stitch scarf. I made much progress on this at Last Saturday Knitting on Saturday. I get embarrassed when people want to look too closely, because I can see now what a crap job I did plying this yarn. But, it's a lovely bunch of colors and the garter stitch hides the flaws pretty well.

The Kauni Cardigan hasn't seen much action lately. I'm in the Pay Attention Zone now. Decreasing for both neckline and arm hole and at two different rates, and the neckline one is alternating between every third and every fourth round, you know, just to make things more complicated than they have to be. I need more alone time at home for that.

Last Saturday Knitting was a hoot, as usual. What a great group we've got! There was one young woman across the coffee shop, looking studiously at her laptop, who kept turning around and giving us the evil eye when we laughed uproariously. What, she doesn't think dog poop is funny? Or maybe she thought she was in the library. Whatever. The coffee shop people seem happy to have us.

I noticed this nest in the yard while out taking pics of loot.

I think it's new this year. Trouble is, it's in a buckthorn tree. Buckthorns are a nasty invasive species, brought to the US as an ornamental shrub. I spent many long hot sweaty days reclaiming our yard from buckthorns when we first bought this house. This one is growing on the fence line, just into our backyard abutter's yard. As soon as I think the nest is empty, I'm going to do what I can from my side of the fence to take down this cluster of buckthorns. Do you know how much I hate those trees? Don't get me started.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Professor Vest

Dressed up or dressed down, this men's buttoned vest with a simple texture is a wardrobe staple.

Heavy-worsted weight wool, US size 5 & 7 needles.

Pattern written in 4 inch increments for 36-52 inch finished measurement.

Immediate download $5 US

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


A very photo heavy post
And just kind of heavy, too.
Many of these get bigger if you click them.

I made my last trip down to Quincy Illinois yesterday, to retrieve stuff from my grandmother's house.

My grandmother was not an easy woman to love.

This house was built for my great grandfather, who was a prominent merchant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Quincy. It was a thriving Mississippi River city then. By the time I came to know Quincy, it was a small city with a dying downtown and strangely disproportionate number of old people living on trust funds. But I'm getting ahead of myself. My grandmother was born in this house and she died in it, too. In the intervening 96 years, she lived in some glamorous and interesting places, partied with great exuberance, and made life miserable for the people closest to her. She never stayed away from Quincy for long.

These stairs were the most amazing thing to me when I was a child. They're still pretty spectacular.

Some rusting metal lawn chairs in the back yard.

So much of the family drama played out in this room. It was built on during my great-grandfather's declining years, when he could no longer handle stairs. He died in it. For many years it was the preferred socializing space, less formal than the living room. My grandfather died in it in 1999, at age 96. My grandmother died in it at age 96, in 2007. A tradition that will not continue. The house will sell as soon as my parents finish emptying it.

The attic.

The river and the bridge to Missouri.

And while I was away, picking out some of her paintings and refusing many offers of vintage table linens, I found that The Garter Belt site has vanished. This was not unexpected. Just a strange juxtaposition on the day when I say farewell to things and places that are receding into the past.

Going forward, look for more of my patterns to appear here on the blog. And I guess I'd better get my butt in gear on that website, too.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Project Reports

Kauni Cardigan
It's just about up to the bottom of the armholes.

I was delayed a bit on this because I was working on other stuff: some gifts and some chores that aren't related to fiber at all.

Knit What You Spin Scarf
On Knittyboard, Sarah challenged us all to use some of that hand-spun yarn instead of just letting it hang around like a Finished Object in its own right. This is yarn I made in summer/fall '06. I was starting to get fairly even and thin in my singles, but still with progress to be made. My plying left a lot to be desired. I'm making a totally boring garter stitch scarf out of it. Roughly fingering weight 2 ply yarn, #4 needles. Easy to pick up and put down between domestic demands.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Recent Spinning...Sort of

In the past couple weeks I've been plugging away at a couple of longer-term spinning projects. The Mossy Merino/Yak blend on the left is more than half of the total I'll do of that. I have about 60 grams left of the the carded blended fiber, which should go pretty quickly. I'm too lazy to count yardage, but it's about a fingering weight 2 ply.

The brown on the right is the first of what will eventually be a sweater-quantity of 3 ply sport weight. This is from natural brown merino/romney crossbreed. I had most of a bobbin of singles sitting around for several months and finally made some more to at least get that plied.

More views of the same:

My plan is to finish up the mossy merino, then go back and finish a batch of Shetland/Alpaca blend I bought at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool in the fall. That's another 3 ply, kind of DKish and I have about 8 more oz to get through of a 1 lb bag. Then, when all that is done and my bobbins are empty, I'll resume plugging away at the merino/romney cross batch, since that's kind of a lifetime commitment. Or, feels like it at this point.

Friday, April 04, 2008

For Kathy!

Proof of spring's imminent arrival: tulips! These are in my yard right now.

And in sepia:

April 4

We've moved on from the tricks and pranks earlier this week. Owen feels the score was settled unfairly in my favor and plans to up the ante for next year, so I guess I better plan ahead!

I've spent the last few days on a totally utilitarian project, a gift for a pregnant friend, so no photos until after she receives it. I will say that it's going very quickly and using up a bunch of yarn I found while rearranging stash. This is good.

We really and truly are moving full-speed into spring. Yes, there are still dirty mountains of snow at the edges of parking lots and such, but most of the grass is exposed and the birds are all in their spring-time rituals. The cardinals are talking up a storm. This happens to be one bird noise I can mimic pretty well, so I like to chat with them. Of course, if they are fooled at all, they probably think I'm another male cardinal moving into their territories.

You probably noticed that I did not Flash My Stash this year. I thought about it. But I just couldn't get it together. I'm working slowly toward my goal making my entire stash fit on the allotted shelves, with no little bonus boxes tucked in this closet or under that desk. It's a slow process because I'm not willing to just give it all away willy-nilly. And I need to spend some time re-sorting and tidying up boxes and bins soon. I know there are some boxes with empty space on the shelves while yarn sits in bags out and about and it could be stowed. So, maybe while I'm tidying up, I'll take the camera down and snap a few pictures. And possibly be ready to Flash on April 1, 2009.

Pictures of knitting soon! I promise. Or maybe of spinning. Or some of each.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fool - Updated

My dear teen-aged son Owen pulled a little prank this morning. He put a rubber band around the handle of the sprayer on the kitchen sink. After I got the boys off to school this morning, I went to clean up the breakfast stuff. I turned on the water and got a good soaking down my front.

So, my revenge?
I tinkered with his laptop. I reset his browser homepage to open to I turned the brightness all the way down on his monitor. These two things don't really sound like enough, do they?


So, I bought some tootsie rolls and fashioned these:

And I put them on his pillow:

This seems like enough revenge. Don't you think?

Update at 9:45 p.m. He went into his room to get ready for bed, and a few minutes later said, "Thanks Mom," very sarcastically. But then he laughed. And he said he wasn't fooled, even for a second. His second utterance was, "What are those? Tootsie Rolls?"

No slouch, that kid of mine.