Saturday, December 11, 2010

There has been some spinning!

I have finally caught up with pictures, lots of spinning going on but not much posting. First - some lovely Polwarth pictured above - 2 ply, woolly spun and bulky - finally! Pretty consistent too - this has been my focus - spinning heavier woolly yarns consistently. I am happy with this lovely SCFAntarctica, October club, about 112 yards.
In working towards woolly, heavier weight yarn I spun
up this Border Leicester that was my first indigo dying (almost felted!) then hand carded with some light blue angora. It is about 12 oz worth and it took me to the end to get the hang of long draw. Now I am ready for spinning my next sweater project but more about that in the next post.
This lovely colored BFL/Silk is 187 yards of Spunky Eclectic, August Club Eclectic Jam. It is my best effort at n ply to date - more spinning progress! 3 oz, DK wt..
I have also been working on low twist heavier wt singles, yet another blue in Merino, SCF Olympia and Spunky Eclectic Romney Tuxedo Rose which is my most consistent low twist single to date. Next post - Knitting projects!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Toby 1998 to Sept.22, 2010

Pets give us so much and ask so little. When they die it is such a loss. My cousin Elaine sent me a quote

"I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race: for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of 10 or 12 years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?" Sir Walter Scott

There seems to be no real customs to mark the death of a loved pet. Thank you to all family and friends who have been supportive. I wanted to mark the life of the sweetest dog I ever had – so this blog.

Toby lived with us only 6 years, we never really knew how old he was – he was picked up by after a weeklong chase by animal control in the Bethlehem area with a missing tooth and a broken front leg. It was presumed he had been hit by a car. When no one claimed him a second cousin of mine whose daughter worked for the vet that treated him – took him home. He lived happily with her and her mom until she married but couldn’t take a dog to her new home. We lucked out and Toby came to live with us. He was about 6 at the time.

He was so smart and so sweet. The first winter he was with us he loved running around in the snow – he had spent most of his outside time on a lead but here he could run. I never saw such a joyful dog running back and forth in the snow. He was always gentle with children. At the dinner table he would do the rounds, putting his head in one lap after the other – looking up at you with his beautiful brown eyes. He had the habit of listening to you talk with his head cocked to the side and those lovely eyes staring right into yours. He begged by putting his front paws together and moving them up & down. No one knew where that came from. He loved getting in the car but was happiest when the end of the trip was at home. He was most attached to my husband – Charlie went out, Toby went out – but both of his people in the same room was the best. It is so hard to be without him – he will live in my heart.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beach Week 2010

We aren't all happy to be at the beach - here is my sweet puppy Toby, sad, sad, and resigned. He loves to get in the car but then wants to go back home - 2 days of travelling to end up somewhere hot with water and without his dad isn't his idea of a good time. While I feel bad for him I know this is actually better than him at home while Charlie works a 12 hour day, 3 days in a row but Toby doesn't know that. I have enjoying my vacation - knitting, spinning and - TA DA - my new loom picked up on Monday. Most of what is woven here was done by the individual I bought it from but I did throw a few shots myself. It is just the loom I wanted! Notice in the background on the left - the newest puppy in the family, 5 month old Milo sleeping next to his mom on the couch.

I still need to work on my Ocean Waves Cowl for the 4 Oz. Challenged but I have gotten some knitting done on my Featherweight Cardigan, cast on during Beach Week 2010. So glad it is only Tuesday and I have 4 days here to go!

Here is my progress so far on the Featherweight - One sleeve to go yet then the band that goes up one side of the front, around the neck and down the other side of the front. I think that will be slow going.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Craft Weekend

I had a lovely time last weekend at my cousin Susan's house. We do a craft weekend every month or 2. Well, actually is is Quilt Weekend but I haven't quilted since I started knitting. My sister in law Barbara comes, sometimes my sister Leslie and we have had others join us at different times too. Last weekend it was just the 3 of us - the top picture is a detail from one of the quilts Barbara is currently working on - she is very focused! I love this one with the sheep in the center block. The whole wall hanging, minus one block is laid out below. I think this is going to be my favorite. I love the colors. the pattens and the layout.

It is so much fun for me - I contribute design advice and the next time we get together - I see my suggestions completed! I get to do the fun part - design! Here is Barbara on the left and Susan on the right. Barbara is wearing a crazy quilt shawl she designed and put together. There are so many lovely little embroidery details I had to take a close up.

We had a great time, I got some more knitting done on my Featherweight sweater. Don't think I will get it done before Beach week but should be able to manage finishing AT the beach. One sleeve left to go plus the band that goes up one side of the front, around the neck and down the other side. That will take some time I think.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Never enough time!

Work takes too much time away from fiber activities and the blog writing ends up near the end of the list (definitely before house work - LOL). I was determined to get in at least 2 blogs a month - it is today or fail!

Lots of fiber activity since last post. Finished the Annis Shawl (pictured with my sweet Toby, not a cooperative poser - always lays down! Also a picture of it blocked) - a KAL with the Southern Cross Fiber group on ravelry. I was pretty pleased with the 2 ply I spun (one single Bombyx Silk and on BFL/Silk - both in the Southern Cross Fiber colorway "Green Tea") and happy with the drape and feel of the fabric BUT the cast on edge (started with the lace edge) was not loose enough and after one wearing the small points I was able to block into the shawl were just about gone. Next time I block it I will block for a scalloped edge. Not a huge deal I guess and definitely a leaning exercise!

Also completed was spinning the last,single, that will be a 4 ply, not plied yet. I have spun a worsted weight single (to be used in the 4 Ounce Challenge! Another ravelry group project. Pictured to the right) I have done some work on my design, Ocean Waves Cowl) which is a part of the challenge. The goal is to have more patterns available for knitting out of 4 oz. of handspun. I have been working on a cowl design that will highlight the color changes in handpainted, handspun yarn. This is my first design project and very exciting, more learning! I have until the end of September to finish that project.

I am back to knitting my Featherweight Sweater - started Sept. 18, 2009! Time to finish that one - would be great to take along to the Outer Banks (Sept 12!) that is my deadline for that project. Need to get some of these projects completed - I am picking up a used table loom in Kitty Hawk during my vacation so will have more projects underway! Should I mention the 1 and 3/4 pounds of handpainted fiber I got in the mail last week???

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Family, Fiber and Fun!

6:00 on Sunday - I am tired but happy. It has been a weekend full of family and fiber fun. A lightning fast Saturday at The Mannings Handweaving School and Supply Center (trying to get that name to stick in my mind!) at their annual knit in with 3 cousins. One brought her brand new wheel and had her maiden spin on it! I just can't believe how fast the day went. I always want our time together to last longer. Got home today in time to unload my car and leave for my Spinning Guild where I finished single 3 of what will be a four ply - 4 oz. per single. I also managed to finish the last nupp row on my Annis shawl. No pictures of either of those projects so here is the yarn I finished after TdF - Southern Cross Fibers Merino "Bluestone"

I am thinking I will use this thick&thin fiber for a cowl pattern that I am trying to design. This will be my first pattern. It is turning out to be much harder than I thought it would. The 4 oz. Challenge's goal is to increase the available patterns that you can make after spinning 4 oz. of fiber. This merino is so soft it will be great around the neck!

Keep spinning!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another start

My cousin has inspired me to start blogging again. I am really enjoying checking in each day to see what she is up to.
What have I been up to ? - spinning of course. The fibers to the right were spun during the Tour de Fleece last month. My fist sweater lot in one go - 2 pounds of Spunky Eclectic "Champagne" plus 4 oz each of Southern Cross Fibre "Double Dog Dare", "Angelfish" and "Bluestone". Only managed an oz of "Bluestone" before the end of the TdF but it is finished now. My goal had been 3 pounds spun - ended up with 2 pounds 9 oz. and 2317 yards. Pretty close! Here is my original fiber plan:

My plan changed along the way. The Hades" combo (Red and Dk Brown) is waiting for the additional 8 oz. I ordered so I can spin for another shawl. The 2 fibers in the left of the lid are getting spun up now - they will be plied with the 2 singles pictured on the bobbins for a 4 ply.
I have also joined the 4 Oz. Challenge on ravelry - design and knit (crochet or weave) a project with 4 oz. of fiber. I do have a plan I will be sharing at a later date. Also joined the Annis KAL - luckily I had that project started already so I stand a chance of getting it completed by the end of September - not so sure I will make that deadline for the design project.
This Saturday is The Mannings sit & Knit. Looking forward to a cousin get together with spinning and knitting!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ravelympics underway

So far so good! I have finished my 4 ply (3 singles were spun before ravelympics started) and I am very very pleased. It is my most even yarn to date. 2 singles each from Southern Cross Fiber Polwarth "Katoomba" and "Funhouse". Probably destined to be a shawl but not sure right now. Finished Spunky Eclectic Wensleydale "Cold Front" today - no pictures yet. Also finished up the left over singles from the 4 ply - Funhouse in N-ply and Katoomba 2 ply. Now off to get some more knitting done on my Twilight Trees Fingerless mitt!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Here are the pictures of the dried fiber from my 2 kool aid experiments. (Check yesterday's post for details) I am pretty happy with them both. With the first I really wanted no white so when I spin I wont get pink. The fiber is arranged in the picture as it was in the dye dish. There is a bit more variation in the color than the picture shows but I think when it is spun it will look kettle dyed. I should have used more grape to get a darker purple in the middle.
My second also made me happy and I am really looking forward to spinning it. There is quite a variation in colors so my spinning decisions will make a big difference in my finished yarn. The bowl I used to dye was round, smaller on the bottom. I am excited how the different layers (bottom of bowl is top left in picture - go clockwise, top layer in bowl is at the bottom left)maintained the different colors I poured. Looking forward to spinning this!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Better Month

I am happy to say that I am making progress knitting, spinning and dyeing! Today I did my first Kool Aid dyeing. First 4 oz. of Merino for the Ply by Night group on ravelry. The colors voted in were Black Cherry, Grape and one of the reds, I had Tropical Punch and Cherry. My process was:
1 - Mix the Kool Aid with water: 2 packages of Tropical Punch, 2 Grape , 4 Black Cherry.

2. After soaking 4 oz. of Merino, squeezed water out and placed one layer (back and forth from one side to the other) in rectangle corning ware dish. Then I poured each color on a third of the fiber, squished with my gloved fingers to ensure all was soaked, added water to almost cover then sprinkled with one package of Cherry on top. Covered dish with cling wrap.
3. I microwaved 1 1/2 min. several times with at least 5 min cooling period between each go around (about 4 times). I was too nervous about putting the fiber in the microwave to do 2 min at a time) until the dye was exhausted.
Project 2 was a combination of colors I wanted to try - Lemonade, Orange and Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade. Again I dissolved the dye in water. I used 5 Lemonade, 2 Orange and 4 Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade.
After the Merino/silk (50/50) soaked for over an hour and was squeezed out water and coiled one layer at a time in a round bowl. I poured dye on each layer. Bottom was blue, for the next layer I mixed blue and yellow (half and half), for the third layer I added some orange to the blue and yellow, the top layer I poured what blue was left, then what yellow was left followed by a little orange (did not use all of the orange dye). Pictures tomorrow of the dried fiber, of current spinning projects and knitting projects!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lots of plans - little progress!

Istanbul Sunset

I seem to have gotten bogged down in making spinning plans but not actually getting a lot of spinning done. Since the partial spool of alpaca I did manage to spin up a spool of thin singles in South African Fine (4 oz.) - "Istanbul Sunset", November Club fiber from Spunky Eclectic. Last night I started "Cockatoo" a Tussah Silk from Southern Cross Fibers but it just got too late to make much progress there. I plan on plying the 2 together. Also on the plan list: Wensleydale Dec. SE Club fiber "Cold Front" spun as a single; SCF "Funhouse" and "Katoomba" spun as a 4 ply and the already mentioned purple alpaca with SCF "Funhouse". Those plans don't include the 10 bumps of fiber on my way from SCF or the January SE Club or the fact that I am planning on participating in Ravelympics!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Lots of knitting going on - 5 projects on the needles and at Thursday night sit&knit I will be starting my Ulmus shawl. In addition to all this knitting I seem to be having trouble focusing on one spinning project. I have been spinning an alpaca single (pictured to the left) for a possible future Plying Games project even though I have settled on how I will spin Plying Games Project 2. I will use Southern Cross Fibre "Funhouse" (Falkland) and "Katoomba" (Polwarth) , each will be spun in 2 singles, fractal spinning, for a 4 ply. I am really excited about this but had already started sampling the alpaca by the time I decided. I really didn't like including the Spunkey Eclectic "Istanbul Sunset" (South African Fine) which I sampled too, that seemed to wash out the colors. Just as well since I plan to ply that with SCF "Cockatoo" (Tussah Silk) - maybe project 3? The Alpaca will be plied with SCF "Deep Thought" - yikes, Plying Games project 4. ANYWAY, here is the picture of all my sampling for Plying Games Project 2:

Now to just get busy and SPIN!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Another First Day

January 1, 2010 - wow, a new year with another shot on resolutions. Spinning and knitting goals set for the year along with a healthier life style. 2009 seemed like a hard year - not sorry to see it gone. I am going to give blogging another go too. Spending the first day of the year spinning and knitting - YEA! I have some lovely alpaca given to me for Christmas by Mackenzie. I am still overwhelmed with her gift - 3 10 oz. balls of Alpaca. The one I am spinning today I may end up plying with one or two Southern Cross Fibres ("Deep Thought" in oatmeal BFL -the one with browns and/or "Ulyssyes" in Merino/Cashmere) for the Plying Games thread activities. The Alpaca is almost a perriwinkle (the picture of it alone is more accurate), very bright and very soft. This is my first only alpaca spinning experience and it is lovely to spin. I am still working on Christmas knitting, socks for Chris.
I am excited about all the new things I have to learn about spinning and knitting. I am also planning on setting up my loom as soon at the Christmas tree comes down. Weaving ahead for this year too. Sounds like a fun year ahead.