Thursday, December 31, 2009

blue moon new year's eve

so whilst i was visiting my favorite blogs, i noticed that those blue moon fiber artists were finding a way to end the decade in style. i find it fascinating the there is a second full moon, blue moon, this month. end of month, end of year, end of a decade.
so i took the challenge and tossed the stash to find some socks~that~rock lightweight yarn. i decided to cast on the jaywalker socks {that i've been meaning to do} in this colorway that reflects blue moon to me. i'll nestle in with bubbly and let the celebrating begin......
happy new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

holiday knitting

well, as fate would have it ... i am doing some holiday knitting. and being me it can't be just holiday knitting, but spinning too.
it all started with cc. her honey requested a neck warmer for the holiday. knowing that i'm always looking for a gift to bestow on him ( and she had already knit..... nine) she sent the request my way.
so i went through my yarn. nothing that suited the project or recipient was found. now, i'm reluctant to share that info with my partner ( there's so much yarn here, you could open a shop), so i went through my fiber stash. what should jump out but some delightful alpaca/ border leister blend that amythefibergoddess had gifted me with. i divided it into two - 2ounce balls and spun it with my wooleewinder.
it was awesome!! i went thick and lofty, limiting the amount of twist so that it would stay soft. i took the fiber off the bobbin ( bummer, i only have ONE) with my ball winder, then plied them again with my wooleewinder. i love it! i thought that my yarn was much more consistent and i had a blast just spinning away.
cast on the darkside cowl adding and additional 8 stitches to accommodate a man-sized will be ready to gift on friday when we celebrate with them. oh and my honey? thinks he wants one too!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

fiber break

part of our holiday fun is gingerbread houses. i can't remember the year i started creating these (more than 12) and i've got it perfected. i make my own gingerbread, have the templates at the right sizes, use cake boards from wilton and my own frosting recipe. we buy lots of candy for decorating and, well here they are.
i do five each year, three of which go to the same recipients. the other two are gifted to folks that have wandered through our lives. new friends, a thank-you for an act of kindness, or just a way to say hello. this year all of the elves in my home decided that they needed to help. it is a statement to my constitution that i made it through the process!
we are off to deliver them today, and i'll be dragging along the last 'fun-fiber' scarf that needs to be completed. i'm planning on having those slippers ready to felt.

Monday, December 21, 2009

honey, do you think you can....

knit me a scarf? for a holiday gift? that i need tomorrow?good thing i saved all that fluffy novelty yarn. every year i'm so tempted to send it off to auction (or the trash) but something stops me. this must be why. i dug out the #17 needles, cast on and away i went. it was ponderous! i never thought i'd get this done. the needles were huge, making my arms and hands contort weird ways. remember when this was the type of knitting for fun? i started twirling yarn at the beginning of the craze (hence the leftovers in the stash) and i would make zillions of these, thinking that it was the best time.

it's a charming scarf and will look lovely on the recipient. and the stash is nearly depleted. so, when i'm out yarn-crawling i'll need to restock for that snowy day!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

tempting sales

i love a good sale. give me a percentage off, buy one get one, or free shipping and i'm there. so when i happened to wander over to the blue moon fiber arts website and saw a sale, i was intrigued. no, i did not need any more socks-that-rock yarn (and it was tempting) but it was the roving that captured my interest. i love her colors, they always seem to speak to me. so i treated myself to handpainted bfleicester roving. it was dyed over 75%white and 25%black. it is lovely. now that my wheel is ready to go, i'll be putting this in the cue.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the long version

so, back in the fall i was gifted with a woolee winder. it has been a niggling desire to add it to my collection and those in my family chose to meet the desire. i eagerly unwrapped it, slid on the bobbin and the flyer would not attach. no way, no how. so after calling the maker, i returned it to have the threads 'stretched'. when it returned, again i eagerly (but with some trepidation) sat at my wheel. would not attach. thinking that this had to just be a defect, i tried it on another wheel, just like mine. it slid on like perfection! now the story gets interesting. my calls to the maker have not been returned. at all.
i pondered my dilemma, and decided to try another route. a phone call to woodland woolworks to find out about replacement parts had the gal offering me a 'used' head at a very reasonable price. it arrived two days later, and was in excellent condition. so, out came the owners manual and with minimal fuss on went the 'new' part. this time there was no eagerness as i attempted to attach the flyer..... we held our breath...... it fit!

so this leads up to why i was spinning crappy fiber. i wanted the woolee winder to ply with and i needed fiber to ply. i sat down last evening and it was the smoothest process ever. i love it! my only complaint is that it only holds about 2 1/2 ounces of fiber. i'll live with it!

so here is the end product.... can't wait to spin more.

Monday, December 14, 2009

sticks and stone

while i was spinning away at the guild meeting (my favorite day of the month), it would seem i was commenting rather viciously about the fiber i was spinning. it was nasty, full of noils, just terrible! amythefibergoddess finally looked up and with a sincere tone, informed me ' you're a fiber snob'
i couldn't have been more complimented. having only been spinning three years, i was thrilled to hear that i could actually possess the ability to be discriminating. what i'm spinning is crap! and i know the difference!

it is very pretty fiber, in batt form, that i had purchased shortly after i started spinning. it was sitting in my stash all five ounces of it, so when i needed to spin something quickly to ply on the new woolee winder (tomorrows post) i grabbed it. i was attracted to the colors and obviously did not know what to look for in fiber prep. so as i'm spinning away, i realize this is not what i've become accustomed to. i'm doing lots of drafting and picking and b%&*^ing about it. i decided to throw all attempts at 'good spinning' out the window and just go. that has been liberating too! i don't need this to look good, even or special.

now it's becoming fun. and yes, i'm a fiber snob!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

catchin up

well, the eyelet cardi fits m a r v e l o u s l y!! i couldn't be happier with it. i was quite disheartened when the bands went awry. then i didn't think my fix would work. i'm really to cast on another. but then i looked at my to do list and had a moment of sanity.the socks that i started for amythefibergoddess are completely done! i finished sock one in time to be a sample on display at the fiber fest, but it has taken me forever to finish the mate. since these were going to be a bit long on me, she gets them. i have it on good authority that there is another skein headed my way!
does this not look exactly like autumn leaves? loved this fiber. i purchased 8 ounces ( i know, always get a pound) at rhinebeck 2008, and wanted to get a feel for it before i went this year. it is lovely. it may just look great in the yarn basket without becoming something, but hey, you never know.

my niece. never asks for anything. hands me a (yes, as in one) skein of joanns brand yarn to make a fun scarf to go with her new jacket. hmmmmm, i stewed about it....even stopped to try to buy more at my tiny joann's. no luck. tossed the stash and found great yarns to compliment the 55 yards i had. i kept altering the yarns that i was holding together and it came out exactly as i had envisioned. that's two for two, so i may be at the end of my good*fiber*karma. hope she likes it.

so now i've just got the february lady on the needles, wheel is empty and i'm addicted to knitting those wee little mitten ornaments. can't stop. yikes.

Friday, November 20, 2009


this is the eyelit cardi revised. when i finished it several weeks ago, i was not happy with the button piece. the pattern called for garter stitch on the fronts with a crochet button closure. it looked like, well....... crap. i tried blocking, i tried different shirts, i even dug up a bra and tried that.... nothing worked. so i ripped it out. couldn't find the left-over yarn. let it sit for a while as i considered my options. the february lady sweater (yes, i started that) gave me some insight on how this might work. so, i used 1x1 ribbing with three buttonholes at the top and put garter stitch around the neck. it's perfect. i'm hoping to take it out tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

where did the time go

it seems like just yesterday (now doesn't that make me sound OLD) when i was enjoying the month of october, finishing up those few projects and ready to immerse myself into some new project. well, guess who came to live in my house. this is our newest addition.... could she be any more darling?? and she is truly just as good a girl as she is cute! but it has really cut into my fiber time. the house is baby-proofed, all my wool is hidden and knitting projects? well, that sweater is giving me fits! the bands on the front just didn't look good, so i blocked it hoping that would solve the problem. it didn't. so it just sat in the bathroom glaring at me ( or i at it, depending on the time of day) finally, i ripped it all out. and it sat on the kitchen counter, this time with me pondering my next move. i cast on the feburary lady sweater, knit a pair of felted clogs, and finally it came to me. i decided to use a ribbed button band for the fronts and the garter band around the collar. when i get it done, i'll model!
so i desperately needed some fiber fun..... life was getting toooooo nutty here. so i spent the day with the guild group at stella maris.
lots of spinning to be had and i'm almost through the autumn leaves.then i'll need to choose another project!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

finishing up

i'm ready to get moving on some new projects! all those temptations at rhinebeck, all the ideas that started floating in my head...... need to move onto needles. knowing myself, i couldn't get started until i cast-off up my current items. here is the chick knits eyelet cardi. finished and blocking in the meager sunshine, i can hardly wait to put it on. i've not had super success with top-down garments fitting me the way i want, so i've got alot riding on this one!
next up is the starry-night hat for eldest spawn. this is my handspun from tintagel farms, fiber fest 2008. i used the morehouse merino frog-stitch hat pattern...... it's perfect. the plan is that this will be a layer of warmth under the riding helmet for lessons. i did have a fair amount left over...... so it looks like a neck warmer will soon follow!
finally, i celebrated another year on earth. my family gifted me with this:yes, a woolee winder. i've been considering this for quite some time and had absolutely no idea that my musings had been heard. i plan on using this for plying, but may toss it on to see how it spins. wow!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


another wonderful, woolly, event! we were anticipating (and prepared for) all sorts of stormy weather. while it was cold, we didn't have rain. cold + wet would have been bad.
the visit at laurel castle b&b was marvelous. we had dog love, lots of wine and yummy food! up and out early saturday morning, driving the colorful highway to our destination. i still don't know how i found it, but there was a link to pre-purchase and print tickets. with those in hand, we went right in the gate and started shopping by 9:15am
first stop was the mitten vendor, wool creations by carol. i scored four pairs of woolly mitts, two for me, one each for the offspring. we hooked up with amythefibergoddess.....

and made our way through everything. with the opening of another building, the vendors were spread out more, making shopping much easier. i chatted with barbara perry (foxfire fiber) and left with two bags of spinning decadence. next was maple row farm for some more of her roving. my 'friends' watched me buy a ball (eight ounces) of roving. luckily i came to my senses before we got to albany, and realized i needed to make that an even pound! there is an adorable sheep scarf kit, five 4oz balls of lustrous longwool, and the fiber of the year, leicester longwool top, dyed in my shades of greens! the item of the festival was a sheep mug for our morning coffee.
i was still feeling the woolly high this morning, and had but a few regrets. needed to get some creatively dyed yarn, and some foxfire fiber yarn.... and why didn't i get several balls of leicester top?
already planning for next year!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

something so sweet

remember those baby hats that i knit this summer?
well the recipients have arrived. my nephew and his wife welcomed two charming lads into our family. eli arrived first, followed quickly by isaac. all are hale and hearty and learning to love the new life they've entered.

here's the charming part of the story. i really vacillated about hand-knitting a gift. it's almost expected now (at least in my family), but i wonder if it is enjoyed. i even considered doing the dudes sweaters, but stopped at the hats. the mom was thrilled when i gave her the gift and time rolled on. well, grandma just told me that the new parents packed those hand knit hats and took them to the hospital and sure enough, auntie caroline's hats were on their little heads. i hope you can hear how very touched i am that those hats with all the love and hope and joy and very best energy knit in them, made it onto those two new heads!

i may just need to make those sweaters!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

as the wheel turns

it would seem that the choices of a few wacky spinners, has opened another door for me. optimism has never been difficult for me. i will take the 'glass is half empty' stance, but usually because the other point deserves being heard. when i stepped into the vast abyss of spinnerdom, i took the 'what's the worst that could happen' approach. well, it seem that we've found out.
my house is getting too small.
considering the square footage that there is, i felt that when we completed our remodel.... i would always have way too much space, and i would not be a slave to my possessions.
that was pre-spin. now, there is fiber in every nook and cranny, items are assessed for their fiber storing potential, and now.... i'm rotating antiques to the garage to make room for this..

how lovely is that? a great wheel is now residing in my home. with all her working parts, my quest is to learn to spin on her. i'm hoping to get some pointers from the guild gals, since they are indirectly responsible. i was even asked by the clerk if i was 'really going to spin' with it. she seemed quite tickled when i replied that i was. and my long-suffering spouse is thrilled to have it living here. (okay, i'm exaggerating slightly.... but i did say i was optimistic)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

dear pansy

that cute little pansy, tempting me greatly while i was trying to finish the tour, finally got spun. the colors faded when spun with the green really becoming predominant. i was less than pleased with this fiber prep. there were alot of vegetation in the roving and it made for a messy spin. i think that constantly trying to pluck the stuff out made for uneven singles.
you can really see the differences in this pic. i'm anxious to see if other fiber that i've purchased from this farm have the same outcome. but for now, i needed a break from wool/mohair.
so i gave the stash a toss and found 8 ounces of romney lamb from maple ridge farm dyed in an autumnal colorway. it is b e a u t i f u l!! i regret only have the one batch. this was a 2008 rhinebeck purchase so i'll be on the look out for more of this left thumb had an encounter with a knife blade... really slows the spinning down!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

a tisket, a tasket .....

my prize winning basket! i am quite tickled that i am showing progress in my fibery endeavors. the basket is full of the fiber i spun for cc during the tourdefleece. as i clawed my way through the tour, i thought that my spinning quality had faltered. the single skein took third place which confirms this, however the entire project garnered a first. wow.
those merletto mitts may look familiar. they were done for amy from her kettle-dyed fiber. she encouraged me to enter them. i was reluctant to do this. i've never entered my knitting in anything. i've seen some of those knitted items at the festival. i felt much trepidation putting them in. wow.
the guild display with the morning surf scarves. what a success that was. amythefibergoddess did an amazing job with this project from beginning to end! folks had a great time voting on their favorites and checking out the craftsmanship of these pieces. i think that this sparked interest in keeping it an annual event!
what a group of gals! enjoying all those fabulous fibers, woolly good friends....can't wait til next year!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

sample sock

amythefibergoddess, asked me in august to test-knit with her new yarn. she had sent wool the mill to be spun with nylon for sock yarn. she hand-paints the skeins and then sells them at the finger lakes fiber fest in her booth - stone edge fibers.
so, she dyed this to my request in more than ample time for me to have a pair done. well, life kicked me in the butt and i have just completed this one. it is quite lovely. i adapted several patterns, and even tossed in some of my own design. my gauge was 7.5 sts/inch on a us 1 needle. i used my kollage squares and liked them very much.
soooooo, at least their will be one sock on display!

Monday, September 7, 2009

so, i went to the fair...

and had a fabulous time! amythefibergoddess, won several awards with her fleeces. since i don't have many fair photos, i'll show you her prize winning wool!
spending the day spinning while the sheep are across the way chatting is delightful. i met two fellow spinners, in fact ann taught me how to navajo ply last year. we chatted about wool and all the cool things to see and do at the fair. i'm convinced i need to enter a skein next year.
it is also interesting to experience the addiction cycle. i came home with the name and website of a shepard in montana, with lincoln longwool sheep, convinced i need a fleece. you can see where that is going, right?
folks ask all the usual questions, 'what are you making?' 'can't you but it at a store?' 'is that what sleeping beauty pricked her finger on?' the guys are always into the engineering, the gals love the colors. i took that sassy pansy with me to spin, and it drew lots of comments. i'm almost done spinning the singles, so i'll have to decided what i'm doing next.
i may just wait and start something new from the festival!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

side tracked

it always seems that when i have lots of projects going on.... and deadlines to meet.... i'm launching myself into another!

how cute are these??? my nephew and his wife are anticipating the arrival of twin boys this fall. since i'm the knitting auntie it was only right that these be made. yarn is reynolds -wash day wool- in navy, blue and maize. i found it on sale at village yarn and fiber and knit these using the yarn harlot's pattern from knitting rules. using a size 3 (us) i cast on 95sts and knit away changing yarn every 5 rows. eldest child added the much needed pom pom as a fashion touch.

i'm thinking about sweaters to match?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

yarn thief!

this sweet little gal came to visit her auntie caroline this week. nella, a 14 week old yellow lab, is the newest family member for my niece. how adorable is she?
well....... she found my knitting bag that was innocently sitting on the deck. and she made a run for it! all the way across the back yard.
cullene (the wonder pup) didn't know what to think! she knows that this is not what you do with mommies yarn! mommy gets r e a l l y mad when her yarn is used as a toy.
the best part..... not a stitch was lost!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

what else did you learn?

in addition to spinning that nonsensical amount of fiber, i also achieved my additional goal of learning fleece. amythefibergoddess has been coaching me through this process, from choosing the fleece, to skirting the fleece to washing the fleece.
i again enlisted her expertise to check my work. i was able to wash the grey fleece in a washer with scalding hot water (thanks mom). i wasn't sure if i had used enough soap, or rinsed it well enough and in the land of endless rain, was it dry enough. i was deemed wonderful by amy, so she gave me instruction in drum carding, in fact, she even made me do it..... myself!so i now have three lovely fluffs of carded wool and i'm working at spinning it. surprisingly enough, my arms have recovered from the tour...... so i'm off to spin!
ps..... my honey is soooooo happy to not have huge piles of cleaned fleece in our bedroom :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


i'm still woozy from the wool fumes, but very excited with the results. this is the yarn from the wool batt. i had just over a pound and ended up with 990yds. i thought my yardage would be more, but the yarn is a bit thicker than i had hoped for. i'm thinking i can still get a sweater out of it. a simple, classic cardigan. batts are lovely, but a bit of a challenge to spin. they are not very portable, and i'm certain there is a better way to get through them. i just need to be more persistent!
here is cc's yarn. 1850yds of wool/alpaca roving. this was a joy to spin and the end product is lovely. my consistency is improving even with my late night push to get this done.
i'm still in recovery mode, trying to get the stiffness out of my arms. and that darn pansy fiber is still flirting with me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

stage 21

i did it!!! the ride into paris was long, but i got there wearing the yellow jersey!
behold all the fiber worked into yarn.... and that's a lot of yarn. i'm beginning to realize that my original 40 ounce goal was really much heavier. tomorrow in the light of day i'll sort it out... but for now? i'm done!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

stage 20

racing to the finish! i've got three balls to spin and then lots to ply. this is truly a mountain stage, but i'm up to the challenge!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

stage 18

still spinning.... and feeling the overwhelming threat of the deadline. in my fibery existence, i find that i like having a finish line, whether it is achievable or not! this challenge was not particularly overwhelming, but several things altered my course. finding that extra bobbin and batt of fiber increased the work load, and several alterations in life did the same. we'll see how it turns out!
here's the bobbins and finished yarn..... it is lovely! well i'm off to ply

Thursday, July 16, 2009

stage 12

still spinning the same fiber bump. it looks great on the bobbin, is really easy to spin. all is well. nothing new to show.
the other day when i washed the fleece, i had it all laid out on my balcony. this is a perfect spot for many things. it is right off the bedroom, so i can dry all sorts of things there and not worry about impeding traffic flow or that whatever is there will get harmed. perfect for a bath sheet of drying wool. so that evening, my honey kissed me goodnight (he's always done forever) and toddles off to bed. i resume my evening knitting/tv watching (second season of 'the closer') and about ten minutes later he comes back downstairs. he walks right up to me with the most serious of expressions and tells me 'an animal died outside our bedroom door'. as i sat there flummoxed, wondering how big a hole i need to bury something, he starts to smile and says 'you know, that sheep that exploded and died outside on the balcony'. ha ha. what a jokester. i couldn't tell him this, but it was funny and it did look exactly like a dead animal.

so here it is drying on the hot-tub.

now to wash the rest!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

stage 10

so i'm spinning away on the bumps of fiber......and it is quite easy. one of my personal challenges was to really spend time increasing the consistency of the yarn. using this type of fiber prep is making that happen. when i first started i was overwhelmed with everything to think about and learn. i was so happy to just get the *%#*%# stuff onto the bobbin. i heard all the information but it fell way back into the gray matter of my brain. the last several months i've been finding the information popping up again. i'm really aware of all the parts that can affect the end product from sheep breed, to staple length, to preparation methods. when it all comes together, it really is magic.
as part of my tdf challenge, i'm dipping into my skirted fleeces and getting my hands dirty.....or at least the washer. amythefibergoddess mentioned to me that today would be an excellent wool drying day. so late this afternoon i filled my pillowcases with wool and embarked on washing some fleece.
it was really dirty. this is the end of wash #1. this is the end of rinse #2. it is all lying on my balcony waiting for the morning sun. i'm expanding my fiber horizons!

Monday, July 13, 2009

rest day

so i'm back on track! this is all the fiber (i hope) from the batts. it is plied, washed and drying. i'll update with yardage totals when it's done in the sun. so that left me free to continue on with the bumps. there is a lot of fiber in those bumps, but i remain resolute to complete my challenge......even as a flirty pansy wool/mohair blend was trying to catch my eye today. it was just lying there in a sliver of sunshine, all purple and green, beckoning me to take it out and give it a spin. but i've got my eye on the prize and i think i'll make it to the end!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

stage 9 bump in the road

so last evening i'm feeling pretty good about my progress in the tour. i was reaching the end of the batts, planning to ply it all today and start on my next fiber. as i finished for the evening, i decided to set up the wheel with my plying bobbin to be ready to go. along with the plying bobbin i found this....another bobbin full of fiber and another batt. i was tired. i was slightly grumpy. i didn't need a surprise. i find that i'm getting better at embracing the unexpected, and making changes with a brighter outlook. with that said, i still muttered several obscenities. hey, it makes me feel better. i then decided that i would start fresh today, finish that spinning, ply it all and start the new fiber.

so i'm off...... and over that road bump!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

stage 8

the change in scenery is vastly pleasing to my spinning. i'm closing in on completion for the first amount of fiber. it was processed in batts and that is not the easiest preparation for traveling. but sitting in the sun yesterday, watching the kids splash in the water and seeing the paddle boat pass by..... was blissful!