Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More Gifting

Mom's birthday is tomorrow. I won't give her age but I will comment on the fact that she's the healthiest person I know who is her age. And she looks at least 10 years younger than she really is.
I had to laugh at her because a couple of weeks ago while she was visiting here for a minute, I showed her some of my handspun efforts. She snagged a very small skein of the most retched stuff I'd made so far and asked to keep it. I gave it to her without a thought. Now I'm fearful she is going to show it to someone and try to explain how wonderful it is. Ugh.

But mom is a knitter. A really good knitter, and she' really picky about what kind of fiber she uses. Wool -- always wool. Or sometimes, maybe a wool/silk blend. And I'm going to take a risk and hope she likes what I made her.

It is wool. It's the rose colored corriedale roving spun up and plied into worsted weight. To make it more interesting for me, I've also incorporated here and there tidbits of leftover corriedale roving in other colorways that have the same BASIC color in them as the rose (just so happens to be brown). I put those short bits in here and there throughout the two singles of bobbins, always alternating with the rose.

Anyway, what I've ended up with is some really interesting (at least to me), subtly striped two-lay yarn. I have 400 yards of it.

My brain is screaming "pillow!!!" for some reason. It really wants to be made into a pillow cover.

For mom.

But she gets to knit it.

Maybe she'll knit it for me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

You gotta feel this

There was a time in my life when I cooked a lot more than I do now. And sometimes the smells of what I was cooking were seductive. I used to wish I could share the smell over the telephone or the internet.

Now, I have a new desire. I wish I could find a way to let folks feel some of the fibers I'm discovering.

The first one is cashmere that I purchased from Hollyspring Homespun. It is a cream colored blob. Really doesn't look like much. A delicate, cloud of pure decadence in a long wonderful length of roving. Merino feels like steel wool next to this stuff. Really, you have to feel it to truly appreciate it. I'm afraid to spin it still because I tend to over spin and I don't want to ruin it. I will probably end up blending it with something to give it fiber length.

What's really remarkable is that she and her husband raise the very goats from which this stuff comes. Just up the road from her shop. Cool, huh?

The second tactile wonder I've recently purchased came from Kearney Country Alpacas in Ruckersville, Virginia. They have a very simple website still under construction, but they do have email and a phone number and are the nicest people. They also attend the Sedalia Spring Fiber Festival and the Fall Fiber Festival.

I found them at the latter. I purchased the brown alpaca roving from them that I spun and plyed to make my mom and my sister's hats. I ran out of the alpaca roving and felt driven to order more, so I found their email address and wrote to ask if they had more.

In no time at all, Mary Kearney wrote me back. She was patient throughout the theft incident and waited while I got my finances straight, and I finally ordered 8 ounces more of the brown alpaca. I must tell you, that of all the alpaca roving I fondled at the Fall Fiber Fest, theirs was the softest, yummiest alpaca and came in a variety of colors. At the time I could not resist buying four ounces. After all, it was only $10 for 4 ounces. And by using it as one of the plies in the hat yarn, I got two hats out of the four ounces.

Anyway, while we were figuring out the logistics of paying by check, mailing addresses and such, Mary mentioned that she also had a nice grey blend that I might like.

She said it was blend of alpaca, mohair and angora (about 10% angora). She is selling it for $10 for 5 oz. I wasn't sure but thought she was awfully nice to let me have 8 more ounces of that wonderful brown alpaca roving for just $20, so I sprang for that extra $10.

Darn good thing she's not a drug dealer.

I have not the slightest idea what I'm going to do with this stuff but whatever it is, it's going next to my skin. A lace camisole maybe? In any case, I'm going to have to get my hands on more of this blend. I wonder what would happen if I just showed up at their booth at Sedalia and bought all of it? I really don't want to share it. If other folks find out about it, they might sell out and then I couldn't get more when I needed another fix.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Part of the Team

I think.

I did it. I burned the popcorn.

We were just short of flames but considering the smoke, it would not have taken much longer to get there. The popcorn itself was tossed out the back door into the drainage pond where it apparently sizzled for a moment.

It took four minutes of un-attended popping in the office microwave to create this disaster.

I apparently burnt it worse than anyone in the history of the office.

And I was awarded (with certificate and full attendance from the entire staff at the presentation) with the Cheech and Chong Burnt Popcorn Award.

The funny thing is that they also gave me a replacement bag. I promised not to cook it without supervision.

Hear, hear!

If you haven't read Harlot's Valentine ... dare I say it?... rant, you must.

Real Love.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mom's Yarn

I think I'm safe in posting this because I don't think my mother even knows I have a blog. She may surprise me on that, but here is a preview of the yarn I'm making for her for her birthday.

Going for as much yardage as I can squish onto a bobbin.

I'm fearful, of course, that I will run out of these fibers before a fill a second bobbin since I want to make a two ply for her.

I suspect it will come out as a double-knit weight.

Yarn shortage!

My sister's hat is coming along. I'm about halfway through knitting this hat for my sister in Colorado... the one that is going to be a Made in Virginia.

You can see I've made good progress.

You can also see I'm nearly out of yarn!

I have a couple of ounces of the Alpaca left. I have a nearly limitless supply of the Rambouillet but it will require more washing and carding and prep.

So I have learned a lesson. Worsted yarn takes up more fiber AND doesn't go as far when it comes to knitting because it's easier to spin it finer and finer means you use smaller needles and so you get less square yardage per linear yardage.

I think it also interesting in the knitting process, I'm beginning to think I actually like the fabric better inside out. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hump Day Already

I am so out of sorts with my spinning just now.

My friend T, one of the ladies I addicted to spinning last summer, gave me a really darling spindle from Fox Den Fiber Arts. This one is stamped with an owl and is really nice. See this page. I got a small one of the owl. T bought herself a larger version with the owl.

I have a large, plain spindle by the same maker which I love for plying. This new one is purple (always a plus) and has two notches (unlike the larger version which has none.). Both are made from polymer clay. And I can tell that this spindle maker is just getting better and better as the quality, while very good before, is top notch in this newer spindle.

And it spins forever! She has it marked at 20.5 grams but it might be a lighter. I will have to weigh it after I get the current spinning off of it. But I can spin really really fine with it.

What was fun was to see the work T has been doing. This is truly one of those cases in which the student has far out paced the teacher. She is spinning professional level stuff and lots of it. I'm so proud!

Now we just have to get her making more stuff with her yarn.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I wanna make these

I have resisted making fingerless gloves. I just couldn't see the point. My fingers are what suffer when I go outside in the cold. I want mittens. I keep saying I'm going to make myself mittens. I have even purchased yarn for two sets of mittens. I just haven't made them yet.

Maybe after I finish :
  1. My sister's hat
  2. My green sweater that probably won't fit
  3. My lace scarf from spindle spun brick red (nearly done)
  4. My lace shawl in white
  5. My red socks (I've got two more rows of the gusset to finish on the first sock)
I'm also supposed to be making another hat for my son's friend, Niko. I think I'm putting that one off until the kid learns some manners. And Matt wants another hat in reversed colors to the one he has and John's friend, Stevie wants a hat, too.

But I just a found a really cute pattern for Picot Edged Fingerless Mitts and I really think they are cute and I can see myself wearing these in the office in the morning when the heater isn't quit awake yet and the arthritis in my knuckles is "aching me".

I think I may be a bit ADD when it comes to knitting.

We won't discuss the spinning right now but I got some cool stuff going on Eleanor right now and I'm very happy with how it's coming out. Pictures soon.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Babies Coming

Okay, a while back when I wrote about some white and purple two-ply yarn that is sock weight but for which I have just enough to make baby booties, but no babies in sight; one of my wiser readers suggested that I make baby booties anyway, because the babies would appear eventually.

Well, eventually is coming rather soon. I found out yesterday that one of my friends (and soon to be co-workers) is expecting her first child in July.

I got word from another dear friend today that she is expecting her second in August or September (no sure date yet).

I guess I better get to knitting... .

By the way, I really excited. My husband is taking me out on a date for lunch today. He's such a sweetie. Weather may be interferring with our travels to West Virginia this weekend. More updates later.