Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Musicals as life philosophy

I love musicals - especially several of the older ones that I grew up listening to on (here I go really dating myself!) the Hi Fi record Player my dad built that took up one whole wall of the living room (a "folded horn" speaker system that he had big speakers to start with - my brother tells me they ended up being sold to a recording studio!). Dad use to have my brother, sister and me lay on the floor. He would start Ravel's Bolero, at almost normal sound level - not the very quiet beginning that it is suppose to be the beginning and be thrilled at the end, "Can you feel the floor vibrating?" he would ask as the music soared. He was very proud of his system! We also had several records of musicals among the varied musical mix.
From The King and I took "Whistle a Happy Tune" very much to heart. I found it so true and expanded it into any area that I feel unsure and anxious - just move ahead, act confident and before you know it you are fine. Speaking to a group of 60 people for the first time? Try this advice!
Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I'm afraid.

Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are....

Then there is a line in Pippin, from the song War is a Science that I love - "It's smarter to be lucky than it's lucky to be smart". I have always felt like a lucky person and really appreciate all the lucky things that have happened in my life! Although I do usually try hard to do my best, often it is luck that made the difference.

Another song that often plays in my mind is from South Pacific, You have to be Carefully Taught:
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

That one makes me sad. There is still a lot of careful teaching going on. South Pacific started on Broadway about 1949 - hate and fear is continues to be shared around in the world wrecking hancoc in a big way. Let's hope we are all lucky.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Boucle finished
Who knew Boucle was so complicated and time intensive to create! Not me until the Spunky Eclectic Boucle Challenge. There are three yarns needed - a core yarn lightly spun s wise (counter-clock wise), a fairly thin yarn more tightly spun z wise (clock wise)is used for the loops - Ply those 2 together s wise - then a third, thin binder yarn which has been spun tightly z wise to use as the binder. Then a second ply - the result of the first ply with the binder (third yarn) whew!
Boucle challange yarns
These are the yarns I used and the first ply result. For the core I used a three ply I spun from Southern Cross Fibre "Tendrils" (bottom). The 2 oz. skein was over spun so I ran it though the wheel again to take out spin (I think I over did that a bit), then my loopy yarn is Spunky Eclectic "Angkor Wat" (top middle) spun single. The yarn on the top left is the loopy and the core plied together. I chose to use a metallic thread as the binder (top right) The picture at the beginning of the blog shows that yarn plied with the binder.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Projects!

Don't we all love starting new projects! Now that my Christmas knitting is finally complete I have started a pair socks for me. I am so in need of socks - only one pair of socks left that don't have many mends. First up for socks is Carolyn Kern's TATU pattern knit out of my handspun Jacob "Tendrils" colorway from Southern Cross Fibre April 2011 Club which I spun as a 3 ply.
Tendrils 1
What beautiful fiber this was!
Next will be simple striped socks, again with Southern Cross Fibre yarn, using David's Toe up Cookbook. Again I spun 8 oz. of fiber, this n ply, so I can do tall tops. I am using Feb 2011 Club Polwarth "Wide Awake"
Wide Awake finished
Look at this lovely fiber, mid spin on my Matchless at my LYS, Gosh Yarn It!
TdF Day 6
This coming 3 day weekend will be picking fiber for more planned projects - love new projects!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hannah's Hat

Hannah in her hat2
Felted hat done! This hat will accompany my niece on her way to Korea. She is at the airport now, flies out in the wee hours on Valentine's Day. This is my first felted hat. Doesn't she look pretty in it! Hannah in her hat1 I have done a few French Press Slippers before but this is the first hat. I am doing one for myself next but a different pattern I bought from Lisa Cruse. I got the Katya hat pattern and plan on doing a lot of embellishment on mine. Hannah picked out the shape she wanted - couldn't find exactly the pattern to use the fiber I bought so I did a swatch, measured the shrinkage, measured Hannah's head and worked a pattern using that information.
Here are some pictures for scale, the knitted hat is Charlie's Blaze Hat. Before felting:
Hannah's hat pre felt
After Felting:
Hannah's Felted Hat size comparison
I love the effect of felting!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Sweater from Scratch - it is a process!

I am mid way through my sweater from scratch and it has been an experience. It started with seeing and buying the most beautiful, very clean 5.2 pound corriedale fleece from Rupperts at my second MD Sheep and Wool Festival in 2009.
My First Fleece
Isn't it beautiful! I scoured it next - not a little undertaking! Several washes in special soap, temperature controlled with no agitation (to prevent felting). Here is a little I combed:
corriedale combed
Next dye - I decided I wanted a rich multifaceted red. I had some Greener Shades dye and did three batches of wool, kettle dyed. Results in the next post!

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Leafy Mitts

I had such a lovely weekend at my cousin Susan's. Morgan and I drove down on Friday and home on Sunday. While I was there, besides having some wonderful meals (I now have a really yummie new Quiche recipe from my sister-in-law Barbara), I almost finished one fingerless mitt for myself out of Handspun I bought from DebbieB called "Easter Grass". When I saw the yarn pictured in my ravelry groups I just had to have it. The bits of color poking through the green - lovely. The pattern, Leafy Mitts, is the same one I used for my sister's Christmas present.
Easter Grass Fingerless Mitts
I might end up with a bit left over after the mitts to play with too.
Easter Grass with mitt
I finished up knitting Hannah's Hat, need some more felting on that.One run through the washing machine was not enough. I only put the swatches through once but I didn't put them in a bag first. Maybe I will run the hat through again without a bag. Pictures coming soon on that!