Saturday, December 30, 2006

Waiting for the drum carder

I hoped it would come today. Yes, it is Saturday; but I still hoped the UPS guy would venture out my way and bring me my new drum carder.

But it's all good.

I had a good talk with Eleanor and she has been giving me wonderful hints on how to get things to work better with my spinning.

First she sent me upstairs to find that old dog comb and with it I teased out some of Kate's washed fleece and got this.

Here is the before shot.

Here is both side by side (or one over the other in the photo).

Such a difference! I'm looking forward to spinning more of this now. What do you think? It may not even need a carding.

There was a lot of waste. The second cuts came out and a whole bunch of the vm and broken tips. Eleanor suggested I put it outside for the birds. I'm thinking it's a little early in the season for nest building but if I put it in the garden, if the birds don't want it it will just turn into dirt eventually anyway. In any case, I've put a brown paper bag up there in my fiber room and am collecting the yucky bits to toss outside later.

Then when I was lamenting the fact that the drum carder hadn't come today (because I wanted to go ahead and get started carding some of the alpaca with this nicely combed Kate wool), Eleanor suggested that I spin the alpaca separately and ply the two together like I had for my mother's hat. My sister, Kiki, who lives in Colorado, wants a duplicate hat since she saw mom's.

I whined to her that she had apparently forgotten that I had already tried to spin the alpaca on her and it kept breaking and just seemed beyond my current skill level. She indicated that I should come closer and she showed me how she had let the drive belt slip down to the smaller diameter and had moved the tension forward a bit so the uptake was gentler. The smaller diameter, she explained, was the next smaller ratio and would allow for more twists per inch (for the smoother fiber) and the lighter tension would not as likely pull the singles apart.

I agreed to give it a try and sure enough, it worked just fine. The singles are actually pretty over twisted but she assures me that this is okay because during the plying, much of the twist will come out again.

I will take pictures when I have a bobbin full.

She whispered to me that she would like to try some of that merino upstairs but hasn't decided what color she fancies just now.

I'm very much enjoying Eleanor's company.

Her Name is Eleanor

I was talking to the spinning wheel this morning. She really is an excellent conversationalist and only interrupts when she has something to note or needs you to change hooks.

She has informed me that she has a name and it is Eleanor. She was named after that very great woman Eleanor Roosevelt.

I could not have done better.

Here is a nice picture of her. Or part of her rather. It's an art shot.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Gym

I joined the gym. The YMCA specifically.

It's not that I adhere at all to the Y's philosophy. They just have the best equipment for the best price with the very best hours. I might actually get in there and work out from time to time now. Certainly, I should be able to get down there and walk on the treadmill for a little while two or three days a week on my lunch break.

I did not get there today. But I was there yesterday. I am planning on going tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Boys and Boredom

When I was a kid -- even a teenager -- it was a big deal when we got an opportunity to visit our dad at his office. It happened only about once year and while we had to get cleaned up, dressed up and be on our very best behavior, it was also an exciting thing to do.

For many years I have worked inside a men's prison. My children could come to the lobby but were never permitted to come inside and see where their mother and stepfather actually worked.

Now I'm working in probation and parole. I have an office that they can come and visit.

They are not amuzed. They are not amazed. They are not interested.

I'm disappointed.

I wanted very much to show off where I worked and show off my kids to my co-workers.

I think I'm more upset about this than I should be, but it's shocking to me that neither boy has the least bit of interest in what I do for the majority of my time. What is to become of this next generation that has no goals?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Navajo Plying on the wheel

This is one of those things that has one of those catch phrases:

A minute to learn : A lifetime to master.

I believe I was successful to a point in that I got just over 50 yards of multi-colored Correidale spun, plied, and skeined. I can knit with the stuff. But it does have a couple of issues. I have two knots tied into it because my single broke while I was futzing with the loop. I have some loops that are massively long (as long as my arms)
and some that are very, very short (like a couple of inches) because I was experimenting as I went.

Here are some pictures:

This is the roving.

This is a picture of the 2-ply above some of the singles that I spun first.

And this is the 3 ply on the top in Navajo Ply. Below it is the 2 ply.

I found out that it is quicker to do the short loops with the Navajo Ply..

I learned that the uptake can vary a good deal the more fiber you have on your spool. I had to adjust it twice while filling a bobbin.

I like Navajo ply very much, for several reasons.
  1. I get a nice round, stable yarn.
  2. I can control the color changes if I pay attention.
  3. It feels quick and I suspect I will get quicker with practice.
  4. If you take your singles off one full spool, you get one spool full in return. There are not left overs to worry about.
  5. The completed yard is very balanced. (At least this first one was and that's a pretty good sign).
There are several reasons I need to keep practicing and keep my options open to cabled yarn and two-ply:

  1. If you are slow to handle the loops and let the wheel do it's take up thing too slow or too hard, you end up with lots of broken bits of yarn.
  2. If you don't pay attention and you care about the color flow, it's easy to screw it up.
  3. Because it is 3 ply, it's a slightly heftier yarn than you get with 2 ply so you must spin your single fairly thin if you want to end up with worsted. You must spin it VERY thin if you want sport. And I don't even want to think about lace yet.
  4. You really don't want to stop in the middle because it wants to come undone
  5. You must watch your uptake tension carefully or you end up with a mess.

Yet another hat order

My sister traveled all the way out from Colorado for the holidays. She came out of the Eagle Airport so did not have the same troubles the folks in Denver experienced. I gave her a six pack of some beer she liked that she can't purchase in Colorado. But she really liked the hat I gave my mom (the brown rambouillet with the fawn alpaca) and while the one I made mom was a little short on her head, I am going to make a longer one for her. I will probably blend the alpaca with the rambouillet when my new drum carder arrives and so it will be a little different from mom's but it should be good.

I still need to make a hat for my son's friend Niko and a hat for me.

I'm thinking ahead to next year. I think my boss needs a nice, manly scarf he can tuck into his overcoat. And my other boss... she may need a lace scarf. I might get these done this spring and tuck them away with lots of soap so the moths can't find them.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Thoughts on Spinning

Is it me or are a lot of folks spinning now?

I know we are in a groundswell of knitters and I know I got into knitting because crochet (which I really enjoy a lot, too) gobbles up three times as much yarn as knitting. I started spinning because I had this delusion that I could make my own yarn cheaper than I could buy it... because it seems like a whole lot of my income was going suddenly to yarn. Basically, I'm cheap but want to have my crafting things.

Well, the knitting is so darned addictive that I have virtually abandoned crochet (although when folks need drinking horn cozies, I'm there).

I do need to provide a picture of a horn cozy as I think I was making them BEFORE BLOG.

And yes, if you are a mead maker, you must drink from a horn at least once in your life. There is a secret to keeping the mead from glogging in the horn and splashing you in the face after you take a sip (or while you are sipping). Turn the point of the thing down. Or is that up? I will have to try it because I forget just now. But it is one or the other.

But the whole matter of the spinning craze -- Where did it come from? Did all knitters get the same notion that I did and think they would save money and then get hooked on the spinning?

Or is it just my distorted thinking that just because I'm interested it seems to me that lots of other people are interested?

But I made a mistake. It is a false idea that I would save money by spinning my own because I ended up spending more on better quality materials than I did when I just bought pre-made yarn.

I also had this notion that I should be able to have many basic survival skills should our country have a meltdown, invasion or some other catastrophe and those skills included things like:
  • Preserving food (I know how to safely can food, pickle food, salt food, dry food, freeze food and smoke it without poisoning the people I'm trying to feed.)
  • Make clothing (I now know how to spin, knit, crochet, hand sew, quilt) I do not yet know how to weave but bet I could figure it out if needed)
  • Tan hide (I can do this both with and without fur attached)
  • Fish
  • Raise vegetables
  • Identify edible wild plants
  • Identify and use medicinal plants
  • Make candles (will need to install a couple of bee hives)
  • Make soap
  • Make cheese
  • Make mead (again the bee hives would come in very handy here)
  • Hunt (I know how but currently have no hunting weapons... an investment to be made soon, I think)
Lest you think I'm one of those crazy survivalist types, I'm not. I just know that these are skills which are rapidly disappearing and yet provide human kind with the ability to survive in dreadful circumstances. One of the biggest problems my household faces with the extended loss of electricity is the ability to pump water. I'm thinking a solar panel system that would provide back up power for running the deep freezer and pumping water is not a bad idea. In addition, if we installed a heat pump, it might also provide supplemental heat as we do not currently have a wood stove.

So thinking about these things we still need to buy:
  • Five more acres of land (nice but not completely necessary as we already have an acre)
  • A wood stove (this will involve repairing a chimney)
  • A rifle and or shotgun and ammunition for same
  • Solar power station (this includes the battery and converters, etc.)
  • Sheep (a small flock -- to provide milk, meat and wool)
  • Milking goats (probably easier to deal with than the sheep for milking)
  • Fencing to keep them in
  • A pig (would provide meat, and fat for soap)
  • Beehives and bees (for honey, wax, fertilization of plants)
  • Equipment to finish the greenhouse. This can be solar heated.
  • More hand operated woodworking equipment.
  • A good supply of rope
  • Vegetable seeds that I can store for a year or two
  • Large water storage container.
  • A windmill pump (might require digging a shallow well)
We already have chickens which could be turned loose and allowed to free range and we could take over their small yard for the pig as it was originally a pig pen anyway. The shed with a long southward facing roof where the solar power station could be set up and the batteries put inside. Access to fishable waterways, hunting grounds (for turkey, deer, groundhog and squirrel) all within walking distance. Access to wild blackberry and raspberry canes within walking distance. Apple tree, fig trees, plum tree is on the property and I would like to put in a few blueberry bushes. We also have pecan and English walnut trees on the property. There are plenty of white oaks and black walnut trees within walking distance.

You KNOW you are getting OLD when...

  1. All the songs you listened to in high school can only be heard on oldies stations or are piped in as "easy listening" music at the dentist's office.
  2. You wake up from a sound sleep because your joints hurt.
  3. You wish it would hurry up and rain so your joints would stop hurting.
  4. The clothing you wore in high school that made your parents crazy is fashionable again.
  5. Bedtime is nearly the same time it was when you were five years old.
  6. You wake up before dawn and don't roll over and go back to sleep but get up and get your day going.
  7. It doesn't matter if your kids get you a gift for the holidays so long as they are with you for the holidays. (This might be maturity rather than age.)
  8. All the music the kids listen to now sounds awful to you.
  9. You have to ask other people in the room if it's hot or cold because you can no longer trust your own body to tell you the truth about temperature.
  10. You own at least four pairs of reading glasses but you can never find a pair when you need them or you have to ask your kids to read the label on the medicine bottle so you know how many pills to take.
I know there are more... see what you can come up with...

Other gifts

Ken got a new jacket and two sets of long underwear, the hat I made him and a game for his computer from John (Ghost Recon). He also got some incense sticks from me and two shirts from his daughter.

Matthew got an Amazon gift certificate, a speaker set for his Ipod, and an odd assortment of other stuff.

John got money. It's hard to know what to buy for a soldier because they tell him what he needs and tell him what he can't have. He's rather had to buy for. So money is a good gift for him.

John brought me two music CDs: A Winter Solstice V and A Winter Solstice VI both by Windham Hill. I like these because they are not overly "Christmasy" and I can actually listen to them year round. They a bit on the side of elevator music, but it's nice background stuff for any occasion or situation. I would play these at the office, for example.

Michelle (my step daughter), got me some incense cones which are very nice and a $25 gift certificate to Michaels. You know that will be put to good use.

Marie (my step-daughter-in-law) made me a really nice necklace to go with some of my new office outfits.

I got a small bit of some dark blue wool (close to navy) from my mom along with $100 that I can use towards another fiber related purchase.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My new ridiculous title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Serene Highness Lady Catherine the Formidable of Kesslington under Ox
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I found this on: The String and I

Fun stuff. Go head try it. You know you want to.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

40 yards and counting

I spent a good part of my day today (it's now only 2:34 p.m. so the day is actually far from over) playing with my new toy. Never mind that I got up at 5 a.m. as usual and also went to the grocery store for an hour. The rest of the time has been spent on the wheel and checking emails.

I spun out half a bobbin of the silver-grey Shetland and two bobbins full of the multi-colored Corridale top and learned several lessons in the process.

  1. If you let the twist get past your "guard" fingers, it's the devil to get out and catch up.
  2. If you let yourself get mesmerized and forget to change hooks, you end up with a mess.
  3. If you relax while treadling, it's a lot easier to treadle.
  4. It's up to me to let the yarn feed onto the bobbin (I have it set on double-drive right now) and if I hold it back too long, I get curly pig tails (i.e. highly over spun singles).
  5. Plying removes a whole lot of twist so over spinning singles may not be a bad idea.
  6. It's easier to make bulky yarn on the wheel than it is on the spindle: on purpose or accidentally.
  7. If you have made a mess of your bobbin by not changing hooks, you have a terrible time doing the plying because the singles are all tangled and don't like to come off the bobbin.
  8. If you wind yarn onto the niddy-noddy wrong, you get a massive knot. (I finally threw out half a bobbin worth of Shetland rather than break down in tears of frustration).
  9. It's currently easier for me to spin finely on the spindle than it is on the wheel, but I am still set up on the largest whorl, so going smaller and drafting finer SHOULD result in a finer yarn.
  10. I can see myself making my own sock yarn and sweater yarn and enough yarn to make just about any project in a reasonable amount of time.
Here is a picture of the finished skein of the multi-color.

The Shetland, alas, is in the bin for I could not bear to look at it any longer.

The hat is done

I finished the hat I started for my dad made completely from homespun. It is made from the Rambouillet singles and the Alpaca singles plied together. Gave it a nice tweedy look I think.

But, I am going to give it to my mom instead.

Ken found the perfect gift for my dad. A hydraulic log splitter. Ken went over there the other day to help out and ended up splitting a lot of wood. He was sore afterwards and we realized that this is a really heavy job for an older gentleman like my dad to be trying to do. The log splitter is really cool because he just pumps it to build up to 10 tons of pressure (reminds me of cross country skiing pole motion but without the skiing.) But we found nothing suitable for my mom and quite frankly, the hat will look better on a woman, I think.

I'm overall, very pleased with the hat. It's soft -- almost silky to the touch. It does have some lumpy bumpies but I've pushed most of them to the outside. At the very end, I used an alpaca single paired with a Rambouillet single rather than ply them together because I ran out of time and wasn't going to get the last bit plied and washed and dried and knit.

This is a picture of the Rambouillet on the bobbin. I'm going to finish this bobbin then do another just like it and ply them together. No idea what I will do with it, but I will find a good use for it soon, I'm sure. Perhaps I will make a hat for Dad, after all.

And this is a picture of the teapot cozy for my mother-in-law. Fortunately, Ken found a good gift for her, too. He's a smart man and does not put all his eggs in his wife's basket. In any case, you may be able to see that there are no needles in this thing. Somehow, someway, I managed to make the beginnings of the little armpits and then CROSSED THE GAP about three rows into the next section! So cozy is sitting in the frog pond right now until I can find the patience when I'm calm and sober and have good light and can go back and pick up all these stitches.

I did get Ken's hat done but wrapped it before I got a picture. I will try to remember to get a photo (perhaps of him wearing it).

And besides all this work, I've been playing a bit (experimenting if you will) on the wheel. The alpaca was nigh unto impossible for me on the wheel at this point. Too slick for the level of pull I was getting. I'll figure it out eventually, but decided to try out some of the shetland. So far, this is what I have. I'm going to pull this off and set the twist and see if I'm still happy with it and will report back.

I'm also going to play with some of this stuff. This is the last bit of two pounds of multicolored Corriedale I had from my spinning class at Hoot last summer.

I'm hoping I will get fairly comfortable with the wheel fairly soon and then I can tackle some of the other several pounds of roving sitting in bags upstairs. I have some really nice merino/mohair brown and white roving from Sheep's Shed Studio that I want to spin into worsted weight and make into vest for me. And I've got over half of the Rambouillet fleece still to wash and the other half to card. And there's other stuff up there.

After the holiday's, when I can get back into my new "studio" (Matt's old room where John is staying now), I will move in with my wheel, a radio/CD player and just have a grand old time. I think most of my knitting will be accomplished in front of the TV downstairs. Perhaps a small TV for the studio will be on my wish list next year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy YULE!!!

I am home again after a week of learning more about my new job and the challenges that may face me as I undertake this line of work.

John has made it home for his leave furlough for the holidays. I was able to meet him at the bus station with Ken and Matthew and they took him home while I went back to the Academy.

I was rather depressingly reminded of how fat and out of shape I am. It's a lot easier to practice self-defense techniques when you aren't lugging around an extra 100 pounds. I am determined to get my ass to the gym.

And I finally returned home this evening to this:

You know I really love my husband.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Oh dear, oh dear...

I'm really excited about the dark chocolate colored wool that I'm spinning and plying with the fawn colored alpaca that I'm spinning. I'm even more excited about how the hat is coming out. It might actually fit my dad (unlike other hats we have purchased for him). And it will be warm and soft.

The trouble is that I'm headed off to the Academy for training this coming week (starting off tomorrow morning at 4 a.m.). I will be staying down there this time instead of staying with friends or coming home each night because of the long days: Class will start at 8 a.m. and not end until 6 p.m. Monday we will be in the classroom and I can probably get away with knitting like I did the first week I was there. After all, it helps me focus on what the speaker is saying if my hands are well occupied.

I know better than to try to knit lace or follow a pattern in which I have to count while in class because I will miss both stitches and class content. So the hat is really pretty perfect (at least until I get to the decreases at the top).

But I don't have enough yarn spun and plied. I have been spinning like crazy, but because of the lovely weather we have turned off the furnace which means my "rapid dry" method of drying the skeins by hanging them in front of a heater vent isn't available. I've hung two skeins outside to dry, but my homespun comes in tiny skeins having been done on a spindle.

I need to complete about two more of my mini-skeins before I can finish this project. I'm thinking that I MIGHT get it done on Christmas day, which might not be so bad... but wow, is this a close call.

And, I still need to finish my mother's lace scarf. I'm about halfway through. I can work on this in the evenings at the Academy as there is really nothing else to do there. I will probably be 3/4s of the way through by the time I get home. I can spin in evenings as well. But I don't think I can subtly spin while sitting in class.

We decided that the tea cozy can be my mother-in-law's birthday gift in February and Ken got her a nice gift certificate instead from both of us for the holiday.

I am fairly certain I can work on Ken's hat while in class. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are all "gym days" which involves a lot of standing around waiting for instructions and opportunities to practice "attacking" and repelling attacks from my fellow students. Self defense classes are always a good time for standing around knitting something simple because I can toss it down fairly easily.

Thought it was interesting to note that while the alpaca (the light brown) and the ramboulliet (dark brown) were skeined off the spindles onto the same niddy noddy, after I wash them and hang them to dry, the real difference in elasticity becomes very apparent. The wool pulls up at least four inches. It's not shrinking, as I can pull it out to match the alpaca in length.. it's just that springy. Neat, huh?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Soldier comes home

John is supposed to be coming home from the Army on Tuesday for furlough. His bus getting into the city bus station at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

I'm so excited!

And of course, I'm at the Academy that week.

In some ways this is a good thing because I will already be in the city (or near it) and can bring him home without too much difficulty. But I have to report back at the Academy on Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. which means I have to leave the house no later than 5:30 a.m. And that means I have to get up by 4:00 a.m. Yuck.

And to me the worst thing is that I won't be home again until Thursday evening. In some ways this may be good because he can kind of get re-acclimated without his mother up his butt; on the other hand, I won't be there for the first two days he is home to make him home cooked food, pick his brain for information and generally drive him nuts.

I have decided that one thing I really want is a picture of all three of my boys together. I'm really hoping Wes makes it down and I can get the three of them to stand still together so I can get a group photo.

If I have one regret from the time when my boys were little is that I was too poor to have baby photos made of them. I didn't get a digital camera until Ken and I got together and I couldn't afford to buy film and have it developed very often. As a result there are very few photos of the boys when they were little.

So I'm hoping Wes and his future bride manage to get down to visit for the holidays but he is being a bit evasive on this issue right now.

John has to leave again, unfortunately, to return to the base for more training. He has to be back by January 2nd.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Spinning away the stress

I spent a long day at work today seeing lots of folks for monthly check-ins.

I get an hour for lunch but was so far behind on phone messages and email that I spent about half my lunch break dealing with that stuff. Finally, I forced myself to go outside and breathe in the lovely fresh air and soak up some sunshine for a few minutes. I walked around the side yard of the office building spinning some the light brown alpaca. It was a nice way to spend a little time outside.

Unfortunately, I stashed my spindle up on the shelf when one of my clients came in early and left it there tonight. I will have to retrieve it tomorrow.

Got a little knitting done on Ken's hat in between clients... but not much as most of the visits were crammed back to back. Thank goodness most days aren't this bad.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Yule Tree

We have our tree up and it is now decorated.

Here is a picture with just the lights on. Please excuse how trashed my music room/living room looks. Eventually, all those odd boxes and stuff on the table will disappear. The junk on the drums will go away and the instruments will be arranged near the tree in a pleasing manner.

I hope.

Passing it forward

I have put together a box of sampler fibers to send along to a friend who I managed to get hooked on spindling this summer.

I sure hope she can use some of this stuff.

Ken mailed it for me this a.m.

Surprise gift box

My dear friend "T" send me a really lovely gift which I received today.

In the box was the following:

Some wool in a beautiful blue.

Wool in beautiful indigo (it's almost purple) and my husband got rather excited at seeing it... (grin).

White nylon (which I can blend with wool and spin for sock yarn).

And some white Ramie which is really nice, silky stuff.

When I called her to thank her for this wonderful surprise, I ended up passing the phone over to Ken and got to overhear that he ordered a rather large package for me.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Trip wires and deadlines

I'm coming down to the wire now and I have a bad feeling that I'm not quite going to make it on all the projects I hoped to get done.

I'm only part way through spinning the wool for my dad's hat. The resulting yarn is wonderful, but I won't have enough to complete the project and knit it in the next 15 days....

Well, I might if I didn't have all these other projects to work on, too.

There is the tea cozy for my mother-in-law.

Then I have a hat to finish for Allison. (I had completed another one for her, but my niece also wanted a red hat, so I decided to make a different version of the hat with a little more grown-up feel for Allison.) I will get this one done.

I've started a hat for Ken in Navy Blue Merino that I purchased. He will be able to wear this one with his uniform on those very cold winter nights.

I'm still working on my mom's lace scarf.

I have decided to give Wes and John money. Matthew will probably end up with a gift certificate for someplace.

And my red socks are just about ready for a heel flap but they will have to wait until all these other projects are finished.

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's been a week

It's been a very long week. I'm very glad that it's Friday.

I've been at our training academy (at least I was there Monday through Thursday). I sat in the back of the classroom and when I found myself nodding off or being distracted from the lecturer due to my brain wandering or other classmates side conversations, I would grab a knitting project.

It was amazing how much this helped my mind focus on the lectures! Once in a while, the speaker would make a point that needed to be jotted down and I could just lay the knitting in my lap and take some notes. But over all, I found that knitting in the classroom to be a very good thing to be doing.

On the other hand, I'm still not sure I was able to regurgitate the material on the test. I made the mistake of staying with friends in city instead of living at the academy. Had I stayed at the academy, I most likely would have had time (made time) to review the lectures for the day with my classmates and when it came time for the test on Thursday afternoon, I might have done better.

I am totally convinced now that the Lyme Disease from a few years ago really and truly fried my brain. I did fine on the multiple choice questions because there was a little reminder tickler there (the right answer was there shining out at me) but when it came to the fill-in-the-blank questions... well, my old brain interpreted that to mean it was supposed to "go blank." And it did. I could not bring to my mind, despite much gnashing of teeth and biting of nail, a single answer for the blanks. It was horrible! Really, truly humiliating.

I will probably have to repeat the first week. I'm so upset about it!

Anyway, I've decided to make flash cards for myself from my notes and from the class materials and drill myself every night until I have all those statute numbers and terms and the alphabet soup down pat. If I didn't pass, perhaps they will be willing to re-test me when I come back on the 18th. In any case, I will be ready.

I did get a lot done on the hat for Allison (red, of course), the tea cozy for my mother-in-law, and the red sock. I did not take the lace projects as I figured that trying to follow a chart or count stitches would just be too much while trying to pay attention. Everything I worked on was plain old stockinette.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mead pictures

It's funny how many comments I've gotten on the mead making.

Anyway, here is a picture of the meads currently in progress. I still haven't set up the one gallon methoglins (herbed meads). And Ken has yet to put together his prickly pear mead.

Here is a picture of a carboy in a sweater from a year ago. Worked great as a cozy until the sweater donor wanted his sweater back. I keep thinking I should knit a carboy cover or felt one. Meads do best when kept in the dark. But you want them out where you can check on them regularly and make sure they are still bubbling away when fermenting.

One of those projects for when I have absolutely nothing better to do with my time. ...

Something worked....

Well, I don't know what worked or why, but I now have a functional bar with all the layout and design tools. I will attempt to add some pictures here shortly.

I am on the final decreases for the pink hat for GD #2 and am starting on the red hat for niece #4. I ran out of the red yarn from Knit Picks so I'm using a ball of the Aurora 8 that I bought last year. I've been waiting for just the right project as I have two reds, two in turquoise, two in black in the Aurora 8. I love this stuff. It is wonderful and silky.

I have started spinning and sample plied some of the wool fleece with some of the light brown alpaca for a hat for my dad. I think I will try to blend it using the hand carders for the next skein and see if I like it better. In any case, it's the same materials the the colors work well together.

I've done a little work on making Navajo plied crazy yarn for the crazy scarf. I'm not real thrilled with it.

I've also spun up some of the Grey Shetland Fleece in lace weight. I really like this stuff. I will have to use it for something special.

The lace scarf for my mom continues. And I'm making some progress on the teapot cozy for my mil. I may not get all of them done, but I'm having fun and I will have stuff to work on while sitting in classes all next week.

I planning on sitting in the back and working quietly on my projects and doing a little spinning while on breaks. I do retain the information better when my hands are busy. I'm getting most of the projects (like the hats and tea cozy) to the point I don't have to do any counting. The lace will have to wait until I come home I think.

So here is a picture of everything currently in progress EXCEPT the lace shawl for me.

Frustrations with Blogger

I switched over to the Beta format because it seems to offer some features I like, but the formatting bar has disappeared and the help desk has gone away. I'm frustrated because I can't even go back to the old way. It appears I cannot post pictures anymore. I just don't like this. Does anyone have an email where I can write for help or file a complaint?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Alpaca spinning

I have finally gotten around to the alpaca fiber I want to use in the hat for my dad. With 23 days left to complete this project, I may not get there, but the spinning this morning went very nicely. This stuff is a dream to spin. I am going to ply it with some of the nubbly stuff I spun from the Ramboulliet and see how that comes out. As soon as I figure out how to add pictures to this Beta, I will take some and add them too.