Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Friday

I need this weekend. I had to take the day off work yesterday due to some shellfish finding its way into my chicken piccatta. I spent the morning in the hospital getting holes pocked in my arms for IV's cortisone and some new blood. (I now officially have someone else's plasma flowing through my veins and it kind of creeps me out.) I woke up at 6AM yesterday unable to breathe and when I made my way into the bathroom a balloon from the thanksgiving day parade was staring back at me. Out of the hospital at 12PM they gave me strict orders to remain in a seated position for the rest of the day (something about lying down and airway blockage) so I did what any hyper obsessed fiber artist does. I spun. I dove into the stash monster and pulled out some roving. Spunky Eclectic FOTM from September in the Aspen Colorway
50/50 Superwash Merino Tencel
2 oz
26wpi (laceweight)
300 Yards
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Then when that was done I picked up some yarn I had spun from locks bought from Aspenmoonarts on etsy.
This started out as like so
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3.7oz of Merino Corriedale mixed locks
I washed them using my handy dandy small batch technique and then combed them out using my indigo hound double pitch combs that were purchased at rhinebeck. The final combing resulted in about 2.2 oz of usable roving, the rest was sent through the carder to make the Sea Glass batts for sale in my etsy.

Then I spun two bobbins of worsted technique laceweight yarn and plied them together to make 220 yards of fingering weight.
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Which is slowly becoming a Branching Out for my mom's Birthday next week
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Speaking of my mom, she's now officially a star. Through some very random turn of events she now stars in her own commercial. Click here to watch her, I honestly can't get through the thing without dying of laughter and calling her up to scream 'Tender to the Touch" over and over again but that may be because I'm immature and she's my mom. On a side note my mother really does have Fibromyalgia and I'm glad that she can help get the message out about this strange disease.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

FO!

Here's the Thrummed mittens I had posted about in all their finished glory!

Pattern: Thrummed Mittens by Knitfreak
Yarn: Handspun 70% Coopworth 30% Silk spun from 3.4 oz batts sold by AspenMoonArts on Etsy, I think I may still have enough yarn to make a matching hat but I don't think the yarn is good hat yarn.
Thrums: Mill Ends from the sheep shed dyed with Brazilwood
Without flash
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With Flash
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Thrum side out
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This was a great pattern for tiny hands like mine. I must say it was a daunting first steeking experience. The pattern has you pick up stitches on alternating rows and then cut the row in the middle with no reinforcement what so every. My first steek was a bit clumsy and I had to sew up the ends with some leftover yarn but my second steek was very pretty. It is nerve racking cutting into your knitting but I think this was good practice for what I'm going to have to do to the Kauni when I'm done. The thrums are super soft and squishy and I know these are going to be warm mittens, they feel like UGG boots for the hands. This was a quick knit probably taking only 6 hours knitting time total and I knocked them out during a wine and turkey induced haze from thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hot B*tches making out

Ha-ha the only hot bitch in this post is my dog, she's one warm little puppy!

video

Monday, November 26, 2007

Family Overload

This past weekend (and by weekend I mean Wednesday - Sunday) I spent more time re-countimg the reasons Rob and I were no longer together then eating turkey, watching football and sleeping combined. I can tell the story backwards and forwards in my sleep and as far as my family is concerned I will never produce children for them to dote on (not that I intended on producing children in the first place but I digress.)

Late Wednesday night I picked up my sister and drove out to CT where we would stop for the night before continuing the drive up to Bahhhh-ston. My family is not from Boston, we are true blue born and bred New Yorkers. My Grandparents were born in NYC as were my parents and me but my Uncle's family lives in Boston and they have the biggest house so each year we pile into the cars and travel 6+ hours to eat turkey and say "wicked cool" or "go Sox!!" (I'll never willingly say the second one as long as I live.)

I knitted to stay sane and finished the thrummed mittens. They are quite cute and still blocking (stupid wool won't dry) so no pics yet. They were a great quick and easy project and it was my first steeking experience. I must say there is no greater rush/revulsion at cutting up your knitting. The pattern is a bit precarious because instead of giving you a steeking area you pick up stitches on two rows and then cut the row in between, which gives you an entire steeking area of 1 row!! I'm quite thankful I used handspun made of coopworth/silk blend. Coopworth is a sticky wool and better for steeking then superwash or even merino would be.

I got home Saturday night and was wired from the weekends activities. I knitted the Kauni which I'm proud to say I still haven't abandoned. I cast on the extra stitched for the arm holes last night so I'd say I'm almost 60% done with it. I worry about the yarn being so damn itchy because the last thing I need is another itchy sweater.

I finished spinning the corriedale merino locks I bought on Etsy. They needed a good washing and combing but spinning combed wool was nice and easy. I have about 210 yards of fingering yarn and I'm thinking a lace scarflette for my mothers birthday in two weeks. Any suggestions for a good pattern?

I received some wonderful craftster swap packages this weekend. First from Ilovemystarbursts in the Blythe Pullip Swap I received these great Jeans for my girls
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and from Mandalinn I received all these goodies (she really out did herself I feel like my package was not even close to what it should have been)
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On the Etsy front I combed up some batts this weekend and they are listed for sale
Mermaids Tail - Merino/Alpaca with gold glitz 3.7oz
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Sea Glass - Merino, Angora, Bamboo, Wool Top, Corriedale and white gold glitz 3.4oz
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hiya Chuck!

I love that line, I love all things peanuts and proudly declare my love in printed tee-shirts and pajama pants. Nothing pleases me more then curling up on the sofa with Dessie-pup a hot cup of tea and a Charlie Brown holiday special, last night was no exception. Though I have seen all the holiday specials more times then I can count, and can repeat the lines word for word before the characters say them I still find great joy in their simplicity and honesty.

Last night my knitting group tried a new location. We abandoned the Beechwood Cafe (too many snotty attitudes and the kitchen closes before a normal 5 year old's bed time) and ventured into the wild of Jersey City. We settled on the Brownstone Diner and though it wasn't as "roomy" as the Beechwood there was real food, light and blessed silence. I'm not sure this will be a permanent locale but it was a nice change of pace and I had a good dinner.

I took my Mystic Water stole with me, and I must admit I'm terribly behind in this endeavor. There are people out there who jump on the clues and finish in a day or so, but I'm lagging back on row 61 and no where near where I "should" be. I blame this on my yarn. Its Valley alpaca silk and its lovely but fuzzy and the plies keep splitting apart making what should be a straightforward lace project aggravating and slightly stabby making. Still I plug along, I should also not that I am way way way behind on the Nautical Knitter stole as well so I'm going to need to find some serious lace knitting time. On a side note, bringing a lace project to knit night is not really the best idea, I feel so consumed that I couldn't really enjoy myself like I should have, next time I'll bring the garter stitch jacket I'm working on, nice and mindless so I can talk and maybe even order an adult beverage *gasp!!!!*

I got home last night and though I should work on the Kauni (its been sitting there way too long) I cast on for yet another project. I have about 220 yards of DK handspun from my October Spin Along on Ravelry and I've been coveting thrummed mittens, I figured I have Ugg boots for my feet so I should have "ugg" mittens for my hands. I cast on from this pattern with this yarn
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and some mill ends roving I dyed up with Brazil wood awhile ago. The effect is nice the yellow/green yarn seems to go well with the pale pink/peach of the roving and I will post pics as soon as the first one is finished.

In other knitting news I finally Cast Off the baby sweater I knit for Nicollette's baby
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Its from this pattern, but I decided to knit it up in Berrocco Foliage yarn (which is bulky thick and thin) and not change colors because the yarn is variegated. I have one skein of the yarn left and I am trying to figure out if I should knit a hat for the baby or a hat for her older son. I don't think I have enough yarn for both but maybe I can blend it with something I already have in the stash monster.

I also listed a new item on my Etsy Store
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Hand dyed washed alpaca fleece in "Dusty Rose"
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Isn't it lovely, I love this alpaca (I have like 10 lbs in the stash monster) its soft and clean and with a little combing or carding it spins up so well. I like to wash my alpaca before I spin it because all the dust and VM makes me a bit ill but I know there are people out there who like to spin without really cleaning or prepping first. As they say to each their own

In Craftster news I'm organizing a handspun art yarn swap so if your a member and want to join up click here.

As they say in Kindergarten "gobble gobble happy turkey day!" (which doesn't make sense because I don't think the turkey is very happy)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Three Day Week

It's been awhile and you all should scold me for being so neglectful but I have updates and I promise at least one pic this week.

I sat down on Saturday with a bag full of washed and dyed Merino/Corriedale locks, and my Indigo Hound double pitch combs and combed away. 4 hours later I sat with a basket full of top and a bag full of short fibers that are begging to be run through the drum carder. I worked at my Majacraft little Gem and began spinning what will probably become lace-weight 2ply. I've been working in lots of blues lately (my fav color) and this is no exception, its a little more sea foam then blue but its nice and heathered from the combing process. I've grown to appreciate the combs, they are not as easy to use as the drum carder but they are much easier to use then the hand cards. I've also started creating Diz's in all different sized because pulling roving is so much fun and very stress relieving.

I was able to finally enjoy a quiet weekend. After all the insanity that has been going on in my personal life it was a true joy to just sit quietly in my new home feeling comfy and warm. There is something to be said to peace of mind and quiet time to ponder one's thoughts.

I enjoyed a nice walk Saturday with puppy-girl and after we played in the dog run (haha I just typed god run) I stooped by the farmers market that sets up shop in Van Vorst Park and bought some squash and fruit. I do like the farmers market and I will miss it during the winter months.

This is a three day work week for me so I'll be enjoying an 5 day weekend!! I'll also be answering all my families pressing questions about the state of my love life. I can't wait!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Freaking Tired

I swear I can't keep my eyes open today. I'm sitting at my desk trying to figure out how to crawl into the space underneath and nap a la George Costanza. Mollie had a terrible week last week and called to tell me that one of her room-mates made a racial slur about her brother. I love Mollie like a sister, and even though she is very light-skinnded (as she likes to say) she is still half black and any comments about African Americans strike her deep because she knows that most people can't tell she's a minority from the surface. Well you best believe that when she told me this girl called her brother a "half-breed" I was in the car with my war paint on in 2.5 seconds. No one insults my girl like that and damn if I can't help her get through this. I've been having her sleep over until the room-mate leaves and well lets just say angry friends and too much wine don't make for a restful night.

Rob came to get the last of his stuff this weekend and though my heart is heavy its really for the best. There is something so sad about seeing physical holes in your bookshelf and realizing that they are a poignant metaphor for the holes in your life.



On the craftin front I have some spinnies from last week
"Butter Nut Squash"
110 yards
1.7 oz
fingering weight
70% Coopworth
30% silk
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And
"Lady of the Lake"
74 yards
3oz
bulky novelty yarn with slubs and beads core spun around cotton thread
mohair and corriedale
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Lady of the Lake is available at my etsy

I also finished my Blythe/Pullip swap package and sent it out. My partner received so I'll post what she got
This hand sewn jumper with a snap clasp in the back
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These hat sets
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The purple hat came with a wrap around shrug and the white had came with a drop stitch scarf. I think I may offer the white hat set at my etsy because its an excellent use of left over yarn and the pattern is 100% original.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Random Photos

Halloween came and went in a chilly October night. Seeing as I have no children and a terrible sweet tooth I dressed up the dog for some trick or treating.
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She kind of hates me for this. But I too got into the spirit
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Fimo devil horns made during the 11th hour the night before. I strung them up and actually wore them to work. I think I was the only adult on the train in costume at 8 in the AM.

I created a new colorway
Arctic Chill
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Then I exhausted the dye bath on some Border Leicester locks
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both are available at my etsy.

I have been working on teeny tiny doll clothes for the Blythe/pullip swap over at craftster and I think I have created a good slouchy hat pattern that I will post. I also knitted up a drop stitch hat from some handspun which I can post but I have to work out the math first. I tend to knit first and take notes second but I promise I will try my best.

Monday, November 5, 2007

This Is The Way We Scrub Our Wool

I had the pleasure of having some time this weekend to scour some wool for Necia so she can spin it up for stranded mittens. I figured that this was a good a time as any to take pics and post a tutorial for my scouring method. I like my method because even though you can only scour small batches (think 12 oz) it works well and you don't ruin the washing machine or dirty the tub beyond recognition. I would like to note that if you can't get your tap water hot enough it really makes it easy on your self to keep a pot of water at a low simmer through the process to add a bit of boiling water to the bath. I'm also assuming that you have picked all the large bits of VM out of the fleece, because that's what I do, though I think you could use this method if you haven't picked out the bit first.

Scouring Wool
You will need the following items
1. A large stock pot
2. Dirty dirty dirty fleece (seriously this guy was skirted but smells like an old urinal)
3. A sieve or colander
4. A towel
5. Powdered laundry soap (not pictured)
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Lets get a closer look at the dirty fleece
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Yucky!

Step 1
First run some cold water into the pot
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Then place the fleece into the pot
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Push the fleece down using the sieve or colander. And let sit for 10-20 minutes.
Use the sieve/colander to lift the wool out of the pot
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(Please ignore the blue, I figured since I was washing for Necia I could clean some dyed merino too :)
Your water should look like this (or worse)
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Empty the cold water and give the pot a quick rinse.

Step 2
Get your detergent and take 1/2 a scoop and put into the pot
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Add hot (as hot as you can get) water to the pot with the soap.
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If your water isn't hot enough this would be the point where you would add a few cups of the simmering water you have on the stove to the tap water you have in the pot.
Add the fleece back to the pot of hot soapy water and cover with the lid.
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The lid helps the water stay hot. Leave the fleece in the hot water for 15 minutes. Do not leave it in too long or the water will cool down and the lanolin will redeposit itself on the wool, making your efforts null.
Scoop out the fleece from the hot soapy water
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Drain the pot and rinse, repeat Step 2 one to two more times with the detergent, and then without the detergent until the water looks clear when the fleece is taken out

Step 3
When the water looks clear after a washing the fleece is clean. Lift the fleece out of the water and allow to drip dry in the sieve for an hour or two
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Once all the excess water has dripped out place the fleece on a towel
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Start to roll the fleece in the towel gently squeezing to remove excess water
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Now the fleece should be comfortable in a nice towel burrito
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Find a nice dry spot (outside or in) and lay the fleece out an a different towel to finish drying
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Want to see a side by side before and after?
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It looks like a totally different animal.

I hope this helps you. Please let me know if you have any questions. Fleece cleaning is not a daunting as it may seem.

You what's more difficult then cleaning a fleece? Cleaning a dog!
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Seriously at least the fleece doesn't struggle with you and look at you with sad dog eyes as if saying "why are you doing this to me? I do not like this thing you are doing!"
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And yes that is the fleece in the pot sitting next to the dog I bathed them together. So I would only have to clean the tub once (I'm so lazy/smart)