Saturday, December 23, 2006

Pecular title

I can't decide which one of these I like best - what do you think?

Barbara Anne the Lush is great, but "in the Middle of much madness on Avon has a great ring to it.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Excellency Barbara Anne the Lush of New Porton Wells
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Empress Barbara Anne in the Middle of Much Madness upon Avon
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The brown blob blocking

I finished the Forest Canopy Shawl and it is a delight to knit. Very easy to memorize the pattern and the instructions are very clear. I did many more repeats than the pattern called for, as my yarn was finer and my gauge swatch was more stitches per inch. My first lace shawl.

I knit this out of a fingering or lighter hand spun yarn. The wool is chocolate Polwarth from and I blended it with some silk I bought at SOAR. The ball of yarn weighed 6.5 ounces and was 850 yards. I have very little left.

The colors of the silk are very hard to see but give the yarn quite a bit of tweediness in some places. I am not sure that I like it, but will wait to see what it looks like after blocking.

Blocking on the Tri loom, if I was going to do it over I would change how I put it on the loom. I did the top first and then tried to do the sides. I should have done it from the center out three ways.

More pictures when my camera starts working again. I think I need to replace the batteries in it.

Guild Meeting of the Queen Creek Yarn Yankers

We had a little holiday/birthday party last Saturday at our guild meeting. The food was fabulous and this is Ellen trying on her new hat over top of some novelty yarn I spun at the last demo.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Knitters without Borders

Once again the Yarn Harlot has challenged knitters to step up and put our money where our heart is... hmm somehow that didn't come out right.

Please take a look at this post and consider giving to this great cause - even if just a little bit in this holiday season. Paraphrasing Steph - each of our donations is a small stitch amoung many and each stitch is necessary to the whole.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Knit from your Stash 2007

Wendy has started a Knit from your Stash 2007 idea and I am going to participate.

My own little twist to the rules is that I will also spin from my stash. The two exemptions are fiber bought at fiber festivals and my monthly fiber of the month club package.

Otherwise I will attempt to knit and spin from stash from January until September.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

NO fiber content whatsoever

I saw a great quote today on another blog about consequences and it struck home for me today especially.

My 34 year old son has been living with me since he was released from prison last August and recently he stopped doing what he was supposed to do. You know - see his parole officer once a week, keep a job... etc.

It's always hard to watch those we love act in a way that we know will bring them nothing but trouble and will break our hearts. I know this first hand

Just a little while ago I got a call from D saying that my son was in an accident and she was going to see what he needed. Still not sure what happened, but the police ran his record and his parole officer already had a warrant for his arrest out there - so back to prison he went.

I am destroyed......

Monday, December 04, 2006

Computer Woes

I have been pretty much offline for quite a while now due to one of the nasty cats pissing on the keyboard of my laptop. I can do some functions, but basically it's not usable.

I have another computer in the office - a huge old slow desktop that I really hate, but between the two of them I can get some of my draft posts completed today.

I took the day off work as I have to burn thru some of my PTO before the end of the year. We switched to a use it or lose it policy for time off and I had quite a bit accumulated prior to the change. I get 25 days PTO per year and another 4-5 days of personal holidays. I had at least 15 days on the books at the start of the year so I've gotten creative at using up vacation time.

Next year I will have to use the rest of my legacy time of 10 days in addition to the 29 days for 2007. I have been sitting down and planning days off for the whole year - mostly around fiber retreats and festivals. I'll have the time off - now I have to save for the events themselves.

The first vacation will start January 26th and last until February 11th - we are taking a 15 day cruise to Hawaii. 4 days at sea, 5 days around the islands, 4 days back to Mexico and then back to Los Angeles. I have never been on a cruise and I am desperately trying to figure out how I can pack 15 days worth of spinning and knitting - (not to mention books) in luggage I can actually carry. LOL - D will probably only need one of her checked bags, I can use hers too.


It was great to have Bill here for the holiday. Here he is holding Zachary. The guys on the couch are my nephews Tyler (on the left) and Matthew.

My sister Juanita has lost a bunch of weight and looks great here with my best friend Jackson.

Patrick and his father - really the reason I brought Bill down here was so that he and Pat could have a little time together

Sarah looks so cute wearing Melody's hat

My family - That's D on the left, my son Patrick, me in a hideous dress and Bill.

Green Socks

I finished these green socks quite a while ago, but pulled them out to wear recently. I have completely crossed over to the dark side of knitting - yes that's right! I know wear socks as well as knit them.

For a long time, I considered my self on the grey side - I knit socks but did not wear them. Barefoot is the way to go as far as I have always been concerned, but the weather here has hit a cold spell and I tried on these green socks.

That was all it took. These have a cable running up each side of the instep and then two cables on each side of the leg. This is a 2 ply handspun superwash merino. I cannot remember who I got the fiber from.

Holiday presents finished

when I was at SOAR, I purchased a couple of kits from Lambspun for their "One Ball Shawl" the kit had all these fun fur and other novelty yarns in it and was wound in a ball with each yarn tied to the next. It was like knitting a surprise. I knit both of those up and gave them to my two younger sisters

This past weekend, I was at the craft store looking for some "unnamed items" for a couple of holiday presents and saw the novelty yarns all stacked up and decided to make my own kits for holiday presents. I bought about 10 skeins all different types, mainly browns. At home, I divided them up. some skeins into 3 parts, some into 4 - depending on the number of yards in the skein and how I liked the color or texture. Then I sorted those little bits into 7 piles and then arranged it so each pile had the colors and textures in a "different from all the rest but pleasing" sequence.

I started knitting one of the kits in the everyday - cast on three and increase 4 every other row - triangle shawl that Sarah is modeling below. That came out so well, I immediately cast on for Maegan's poncho. The girls loved them so much that they took them home with them instead of waiting for the holiday party.

The scarf to the right is for one of the other nieces and I knit it out of one of the kits too.

I still have 4 kits left - I am going to knit D's granddaughter a scarf and perhaps my mom and sister in Missouri.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Here is 500+ yards of Optim, 4 ounces, from a roving I got at SOAR from Janel at Chameleon Colorworks.

It's so pretty,I'm not sure what I am going to make out of it - I think I will let it age in my stash for a little while.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I have been working on the design of a yarn from my SOAR purchases.

The chocolate polworth, the brown and orange silk - the cashmere/alpaca blend... what to do, what to do.

so I did something different this time. I sampled. I spun up a bobbin of the cashmere/alpaca, a bobbin of the polworth and a little bit of the silk. I tried plying the three together, that didn't thrill me - so I tried two plys of the three combinations. Didn't really care for any of those either. The silk was too much contrast to the polworth and got lost in the cashmere tweediness.

I went to the drum carder and blended some of the silk with the polworth and spun up a bobbin of that. Back to sampling. Plyed all possible combinations of the three bobbins and then knit a test swatch of each sample. This is a picture of the test swatch.

6 different yarns and I like the one on the right side the best. This picture doesn't show the silk shine, but the right hand yarn is the polworth plyed with the polworth/silk blend.

This skein is about 6.75 ounces and over 800 yards of pretty pretty yarn.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tarot Card

It's been a long time between posts. My camera is not working and I have been feverishly working on the design of the yarn for my sweater.

Here is an interesting test I took today

You are the World

Completion, Good Reward.

The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.

The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; you've done everything right.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Soar Retreat classes

I took 4 Retreat classes at SOAR - here are the results from two of them.

The first class I took was painting handspun yarns with Deb Menz. I took a drum carding class last year with her and it's made all the difference in my color blending on my drum carder.

Anyway, this is 1600 yards of grey polwarth spun laceweight or cobweb. It weighs 6.5 ounces and is amazing yarn that I still can't believe I spun. I experimented with some different colors, but knew that I wanted to keep it simple so as to not detract from the lace shawl that I intend to knit from it.

The color theory in class really helped me decide that I wanted the different colors to have roughly the same value. Every chance to take a class with Deb, you can bet I'll jump on it.

I was standing there, afraid to put dye on my yarn cause it took so long to make. and she said: "don't make it too precious, you can always spin it again" - this gave me the freedom to just dye it and not agonize over whether it was going to turn out great or not. Luckily, it did. I love the colors and the way they go together. I am leaving it in the skein form until Guild tomorrow night for show and tell. Then it's off to the ball winder to get it ready to knit with. I still don't have a pattern for the semicircle shawl that I want to knit from it.

This is from Maggie Casey's class on Boucle the easy way. The bottom sample can't be seen very well in this picture, but it didn't come out as boucle as the others anyway.

This is the result of spinning one finer ply of soft wool with one ply slightly thicker of adult mohair. The two different white samples were both rambo roving with different preparations of mohair - the top one was mohair roving and the bottom one mohair top. After spinning, you shock the yarn to shrink it - agitate it in hot hot water and then plunge it into cold water. Instant Boucle! What a great class. I took a class with Maggie last year on spinning skeins for submitting in a skein contest. She looked at my niddy noddy and instantly knew who made it. What a fount of knowledge she is.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Update to SOAR shopping post

I learned how to make words into links in my posts - so I linked to each of the vendor's websites in my original post listing my purchases at SOAR. I am so moving into the technological world.

I always wondered how people put all those links in their posts and now I know how to do it too.

woo, and also, hoo.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Stash enhancement project

This doesn't look like much does it?

Even spread out, it's not really that much.

Left to right top: three 4 ounce braids of superwash, 2 ounces of camel down, one ounce of alpaca, two 4 ounce bumps of alpaca/silk/cashmere, 2 lbs of chocolate polworth

Left to right bottom: 4 ounces dyed tussah, two 4 ounce braids of optim, two more 1 ounce samples of alpaca, two 4 ounce braids of merino tencel, three different 1 ounce cashmere samples

Promised Harlot picture

Here is Stephanie holding my red sock up with her blue one. She was so friendly and said nice things about my sock.

She rocked the tent on Thursday night.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

More Yarn Harlot

If I was able to upload my pictures - right here would be a shot of Stephanie holding up my sock with hers. As soon as I get home, I'll add a post with all of the pictures.

She was sitting at the book signing last night and I asked if I could take a picture of her with my sock. She was so nice about it - and said very nice things about my sock and the yarn that I am knitting it with. It's just one of those feather and fan socks that I like to make with a purl ridge added right before the pattern row to make it fancier.

She said that she recognized my name and blog address once I got over my star-struckedness and told her what it was. I babbled something about reading her every day - she was very gracious. When she complimented me on my sock, it was all I could do not to just give it to her right then and there.

Friday, November 03, 2006

We had Harlot last night

That's right, Stephanie came to SOAR to give the speach last night. It was raining and cold, the water was seeping in under the doors to the tent and we all sat there enthralled by her.

She kept us laughing the whole time and every word she said echoed for me.

Like a goof, I left my camera in the room, so no Harlot shots from me. She is sticking around and perhaps I will run into her at one of the workshops or at a meal.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

SOAR shopping

The market opened at 9 am sharp and it was like a feeding frenzy. Once again, I felt the space for vendors was too small. The booths were very crowded and it was hard to look at everything.

But persevere I did, and came away with many many goodies. This is truly the year for browns for me as you will be able to see as soon as I get home. I did not bring the camera USB cord and this laptop does not have the little port for my camera memory card.

Some will not be posted here yet as they are gifts, but a list of the haul so far includes:
  • 2 lbs washed polworth fleece in a gorgeous deep brown from Rovings
  • 3 different colors of alpaca From McKenzie Alpaca Breeders
  • 3 superwash braids in browns and oranges from Royale Hare
  • 4 ounces of dyed tussah - again - brown and oranges from Nebo Rock Textiles
  • 2 braids of superwash merino/tencel from Chameleon Colorworks
  • 2 braids of green/yellow purple optim from Chameleon colorworks
  • Toni at The Fold had some amazing cashmere - I got 3 different blends of cashmere from her
  • 2 four ounce bumps of cashmere/alpaca/merino from Shirley at Lambspun. There was more I wanted from her, but it was so crowded.

The market will also be open after check in at 1 this afternoon, but I may be shopped out. I think I want one of the shawl kits from Lambspun and that may be it for me.

SOAR update

The flight was uneventful, but the altitude is getting to me pretty hard this year. I had a headache all day yesterday and was sick to my stomach after dinner last night.

I met some wonderful women yesterday. Re-connected with Shirley from Lambspun that I took the Deb Menz workshop with last year and met Maggie Sefton who has written some mystery novels set in the Lambspun shop. Now I have to run out and get her books - she may have some here as she is doing a book signing.

I also met a woman from St Louis MO on the ride from the airport. Again, I will have to look an see what her name is today as it escapes me from yesterday.

A nice girl name Michele came from Winnepeg - met her at the airport. Her luggage didn't arrive with her - what a bummer that must be. Luckily she is meeting her mother here and her luggage may come soon.

I keep running into a woman that is also staying in my building, but cannot remember her name for anything. I'll look for her at breakfast and commit it to memory - she was so nice to me at dinner last night.

I saw some of the Arizona contingent and said hi to Susan.

I'm looking forward to market today. I've set aside lots to spend and am determined to spend it all. I want another polworth fleece and some more rovings from Royale Hare. I will probably spend quite a bit at Lambspun too. Her stuff was so pretty last year, I kicked my self for not getting more of everything.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I am packed, it's not even 6 am and I am waiting for my son to come take me to the airport.

My flight doesn't leave for almost 4 hours and it's only a 20 minute drive - anxious - ya think?

The cats are fed, the dog is sleeping - all is ready for me to depart.

It's going to be a crazy couple of weeks with travel around here. D left on Monday for a business trip. She returns this evening, but I am leaving this morning. I get back on Sunday afternoon, she flys out Sunday morning. We won't see each other until next Wednesday.

I have friends who hate it when their spouses travel, and others who can't wait for them to leave. I'm kinda in the middle. I love to travel, I like it when D is out of the house - and love it when she comes back. We are comfortable with each other - and that's what I've always wanted.

Enough of this, I'm going to go work on my sock.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Preparation for SOAR

Ok, I am starting to lay out all that I need to take to SOAR with me. I have to take my really big duffle bag that I got in Hawaii earlier this year, in case I get to bring back another wonderful fleece. I lucked out last year cause my friend Alicia drove to SOAR and was able to cart some of my additional purchases back to Phoenix with her.

Now, do I need to take my swift? I have already decided that the drum carder and the combs can stay home, the ball winder is going as is the lazy kate and the niddy noddy.

I have 3 knitting projects and 2 books to read - that should be enough? Oh my gosh - the spinning wheel - I have to break it down and put it in the suitcase. Hand cards - yes, I need the hand cards.....

The cat isn't going. Hey, I haven't packed any clothes yet. Or my laptop. I wonder if I should pack my coat? I hardly used it last time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stitch markers in action

Here are the stitch markers in action and I can already tell that I do not have nearly enough of them.

I have only added one repeat of the pattern on each side and have used all but two of my new stitch markers. They are very cool and easy to slip from one needle to another. They also hang on the right side all the time due to their size - added bonus.

So, I either have to make some more real quick - cause every 32 rows I will have to add two more markers, or go back to using the plain white ones (which I have 50 of).

I still have lots of the split rings and other findings - and it's not like I don't have a gazillion beads - I just don't care for the idea of mounting the beads on the head pins and then bending a loop. My experience is very limited and it's not as much fun as I want to have.

The other thing is that I don't think I like this yarn. I can see that the colors aren't going to give stripes as soon as I get some more stitches going on this. It would probably stripe nicely for a narrow scarf, but as soon as this gets a little wider, each color won't be even a single row stripe..

It's very soft, the silk and the wool give it a very nice hand - but the color changes are bugging me.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Stitch markers

How cute are these?

I balled up one skein of the dark grey polworth and silk, intending to cast on for a lace shawl and found that had no idea where any of my stitch markers are. I usually use the plain small white markers found everywhere. So, off I trot to Walmart - cause it's so close and I know where the craft section is - and while I was cruising the aisles I found these cute little charms for a bracelet.

A couple of split rings later and I have this darling set of stitch markers. I love the little teacups and teapots...

Guess what all my knitting friends are getting for holiday presents this year?

Isn't this the prettiest little pouch to put them in? A friend gave it to me recently and I have been looking for just the right thing to carry in it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Polworth and silk - half way done

This is the charcoal polworth and the dyed silk from a couple of weekends ago.

I've been spinning the silk for what seems like forever and finally got to start the plying yesterday.

1070 yards and 4 ounces so far with 4 more ounce to ply up. I think it's gorgeous - not at all what I wanted, but pretty nevertheless.

I was really wanting the silk to be dark saturated colors, but the violet was lighter than I thought it would be and the silk roving didn't get dyed in places in the middle of the roving. The Burgundy turned out to be a very red brown and the dark green is nice - but the violet really throws off my autumn colors plan. Don't know what I was thinking with that.

I will ply up the remaining and look for a beginners lace pattern for a lacy shawl to knit with this.

Or, it really looks like the long color repeats might be nice for a woven piece - I'd have to sett this closer than I've ever woven before, but it might be the incentive I need to get the Macomber set up for a warp.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bulky grey polworth

Here is 24 ounces - over 700 yards of very bulky light grey polworth. 6 skeins of 4 ounces which average 120 yards each.

This is about 6 wpi and was fun to spin once I let go of trying to control the size of the yarn and let the wheel pull it out of my hand.

I'm hoping that I have enough for a sweater or vest - I think I heard that it takes a pound of yarn for a sweater so I should have enough.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pulling a roving thru a diz from a drum carded batt

Pulling a roving thru a diz from a drum carded batt can give a great preparation to spin. Here is the roving started. I use one of those plastic marketing credit cards with a hole poked in it as a cheap diz.

This shot shows the diz threaded with the beginning of the batt.

I pull the fiber away from the drum, the diz usually comes with it.

I then push the diz back towards the drum while maintaining tension on the roving.

Repeat all the way across the drum. Sometimes some fiber is left on the drum - it can be lifted up with a utensil to be incorporated into the roving

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More polworth carded

I demo'd for about 4 hours yesterday at the Mesa SW Museum with some members of my Mesa Guild - The Telarana Weavers and Spinners.

I was asked to bring my drum carder and show how wool was/is processed. I brought along some more of the never ending grey polworth and between the children that stopped by and I, we managed to card up about 16 ounces.

Ruth and I experimented with dizing from the drum carder and here is the roving we produced from that.

I have already started spinning this on my Lendrum. It wants to be a bulky lofty yarn and I am having to concentrate to keep from spinning it finer.

This roving turned out so well, that I re-carded all the batts and pulled rovings from them all.

Finished plying the polworth laceweight

Woo hoo! I finally finished plying the polworth laceweight and it is beautiful!

This is 1500 yards of yummy grey yarn. It's a hefty 6.5 ounce skein - I was barely able to ply the whole thing onto my Louet S-10 bobbin.

The yarn is nice, but I don't think it's the best use of the polworth. This grist doesn't show off the softness of the wool as much as I would like.

I can put it against my neck and it's not itchy, but the cloudlike softness of the carded fiber is not evident.

I will probably knit this into a lacy shawl. I haven't knit any lace other than the feather and fan pattern, so this may be the opportunity to pull out some of the stitch patterns I have been dreaming over and see if I can find one with an easy repeat to memorize.

I hate reading charts or patterns. Much better if I can find a pattern I can remember.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

plying the grey polworth

Plying and plying and plying some more. The never ending cobweb weight polworth grey singles. This is 6.5 ounces of the light grey polworth that I purchased from at SOAR last year.

I have to ply this on my Louet S-10, even though the ratios on it are lower, because the bobbins are the only thing I have that will hold this entire ball plyed back on itself.

It filled the Majacraft bobbin to within 1/4" of the top, so I had to find something with a bigger bobbin to ply this onto.

This is not plyed tightly enough, I have to watch it very carefully to ensure that I have enough twist prior to letting it wind onto the bobbin. The singles are very stale to prevent tangling while plying from a ball, this makes it impossible to check for balanced plying by just looking at the way the yarn hangs.

I should have taken a piece for a sample before I started, but did not. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Light grey polworth

Here is the grey polworth from Rovings that I got at SOAR last year. It's a varigated grey washed fleece with a staple length of about 5-6". I fell in love with this and stood in line for an hour to pay for it.

I've spun quite a bit of it up. The down side to this fiber is that I can't quite make up my mind what to make of it. I have drum carded it, combed it, spun it thick, spun it thin and no matter what, it comes out beautiful. I use it in many of my batts and it blended well with every fiber I put it with All this sampling has not led me to a decision.

It is so fabulous that I feel that I should design something wonderful to make with it, but, I do get bored spinning the grey.

Here is 6.5 ounces that wraps to 35 wpi in a 2 ply. This is just the singles. I am trying to decide if I am going to ply it back on itself or find something to ply it with. Posted by Picasa

Two of the other monsters in the house

Here are my DP's cats.. Stormy on the top and Candy on the bottom.

Stormy is quite the b---h - terrorizing Cameo, Baker, Maggie - everyone but Matilda the Dachshund...

Candy is sweet most of the time, hence the name.

These two were adopted from a rescue organization and are about 1 year old now. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fiber animals

Here are my two fiber animals. Cameo is my 12 year old cat, she came to me a 4 week old ball of kitten fluff barely as big as my hand. I love her coloring, calico's have always been my favorite. I especially like her white belly and chest.

She does not like to be brushed, so I only have a very small bag of her fur. It's flyaway and soft like angora

And here is Madame Thatcher - Maggie for short. Notice the similarity in coloring? Yeah, I like it in dogs too. They are nothing alike in temperament though. Maggie is a typical dog, loves everyone, will do anything for attention. Cameo on the other hand will come to you when she wants something and otherwise prefers to be left alone.

Maggie is almost 2 years old. She was about 3 months old when she came to live with us. I used to have Mastiffs, and when I wanted a dog of my own again, I could not make up my mind between wanting a small dog that could travel with us or a big dog to love on and play rough with. The bulldog gives me both. She's not too big to travel with and will roughhouse until she drops.

She does not have spinnable fur though. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The wool from Sunday

Here is the merino top I dyed on Sunday - it's very dark and not pretty. The burgundy came out brown and the dark green looks muddy.

I will probably spin it up eventually, but it's not going to be one I pick up anytime soon.

I need to get a better camera, I can't seem to take a picture that gets the colors right. Posted by Picasa