Monday, March 30, 2009

More to spin . . .

The roving and scraps I bought from Northern Lights Fiber came in the mail today and they are lovely. I still have some of the lovely chocolate alpaca to spin and then I'll start on these. That should keep me busy for a while (I hope).
I'm going to make the Ridged Eyelet Shapely Shawlette by Judy Pascale from the brown alpaca. The pattern calls for a sport weight and mine is a dk weight, but it calls for a size 9 needle, so it should be ok. I bought this pattern about 5 years ago and made a lovely blue shawlette from it and have used and enjoyed the product for a long time. And I enjoyed making it too, so another one in nice, soft, brown alpaca will be nice.
Tomorrow, I will post pictures of the needle felting the girls did this weekend. I would have had them today but it's very difficult to take pics of small things so that you can see them. I might have to have one of the girls take the pics for me.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

And now, it's yarn!

Lest you forgot how it started, this is what it looked like when it arrived on my doorstep. Four large hanks of roving, soft and smelling like lavendar.
Then, I spun it into singles that looked like this (well, ok not all of it looked this nice and even, but some of it did).

After I spun 4 ounces - two of those lovely hanks of roving - I put the two spools on the lazy kate and set out to ply them into yarn.
This is the yarn on the niddy-noddy. It's about 214 yards of 10 to 11 wpi which is between a dk and a worsted. It's slightly thicker than I wanted, but I'm ok with it. I think it will still make a nice shawl in the pattern I had originally intended, but it will be bigger than I had hoped.

This is a close up - I just wish you could feel how soft it is - and it's nice and bouncy too.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Socks

I finished the second pair of socks made from the Austermann Step yarn. They are footsie type socks, very plain, very simple. I only hope mom likes them.

I also finished my pair of socks made with the Guernsey yarn. I did mostly use the instructions from the Schoolhouse Press Two Socks on Two Circulars Knit-along. I like them.

Now on to the hedgehogs except I lost the yarn. Or more accurately, I put the yarn somewhere and no longer recall where that somewhere is.

It is Fun Fur so I thought I put it in the box containing Fun Fur. All the Fun Fur is there except for the hedgehog color.

I have a bag containing yarn for projects I am working on. I looked in there but that was just all the yarn for all the projects I have started or plan to start very soon, not to include the hedgehog hair yarn.

There is a huge box of yarn I haven't sorted through yet and that had the yarn for the hedgehog nose right on top. I had already looked once when I saw the hedgehog nose yarn on top but I took everything out and looked again. No hedgehog fur yarn.

Where or where can the hedgehogs be?

Love Alpaca!

I loved the sample of Alpaca/Merino roving that came in the April Phat Fiber box so I ordered some more! It came in the mail yesterday afternoon. As you can see, I ordered a good bit more . . . that's 8 ounces of roving in those 4 brown things. Maple, the very nice lady who runs North Star Aplacas and the associated Etsy shop included several little extras for me. The light brown fluff in the picture is some unprocessed alpaca - from what I understand you just spin it from the locks. I haven't tried yet, but since it was a gift, I will definitely try it. The black below it is pure alpaca roving (the brown is 25% merino, 75% alpaca). And my favorite thing that she included is the card with Sonata's picture on the front - Sonata and Orion were the two that donated to the roving.

And I didn't waste any time looking at the roving either - spun up half of one hunk last night after I finally got the girls settled.

My Job was to Scream like a Girl

The morning started off peacefully enough. I slept in, my husband slept in, the dogs slept in, one child got up quietly and the second child slept in. My husband gets up quietly and lets the dogs out and then all three come back to bed for a snuggle or two.

I get up and get ready for my day in a nice, slow, leisurely fashion. All is right in my world. As I walk through the living room on the way to the kitchen, I greet my middle child who is up and playing video games. I talked to the dogs as I start making breakfast. I talk to my husband as I get my medicine. My husband wanders off to talk to the child playing video games.

My breakfast is done and I wander slowly back towards the kitchen to put it together so I can sit down and eat. I stop in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen. My breakfast is mere feet away. I am hungry. But . . .

Instead of continuing into the kitchen I back up to the living room and mention to my husband and my son that the dog and the cat have an animal in the kitchen and I want it gone. Both of these big, strapping, strong, hero type men look at me as if I were an idiot and go back to talking.

Then it hits me. My Job is to scream like a girl if I want big, strong, strapping, hero-type men to rescue me and remove the rather large, very alive, totally unwelcome animal from my kitchen so I can safely go get my breakfast.

So I scream like a girl. But just the facts. "There is an animal in my kitchen." This doesn't faze either of my hero-types. In fact, they don't even look up. Okay, I can possibly understand that because there are always animals in my kitchen. Perhaps I should be more specific.

"There is a live animal in my kitchen being chased by the dog and cat."

This also elicits no response from my would-be hero-types. Again, I think, perhaps I wasn't loud enough or specific enough to truly convey the situation properly.

So, very very loudly I announce, "There is a HUGE animal in my kitchen that doesn't belong in my house. It is alive. It is moving. I want it gone." This, I feel, has fully defined the situation. And it did cause these two, tarnished hero-types to at least stop talking.

So I scream like a girl, "It is HUGE. It is alive. It is moving. GET IT OUT OF MY HOUSE." My husband saunters in to see what the fuss is. I yell at the child to stop the game and help his dad remove the HUGE ALIVE animal.

The son comes to help his dad laugh at me. The dad hero directs his wee little son to capture the fierce huge animal while he stands between the animal and the exit. Chaos ensues.

When the animal is finally gone, they both razz me but I didn't see either of them doing much except try to get the other one to capture the animal.

What was the animal? A rodent slightly bigger than a guinea pig with large rodent teeth and a short tail.

Where is the animal? Gone - thrown out the door.

My Job was to scream like a girl and I did my job.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Sock Knit - Along

Mom has created a new sock knit-along for the three of us. It is going to be fun and exciting. It is a round robin type of knit-along.

Mom will get the yarn.

Oh, she already has it.

She bought a skein of the Regia Special Edition Galaxy yarn in Jupiter Red. It is a gorgeous yarn that creates Jupiter style spirals and elipses. I think it is going to be gorgeous.

Now the round robin knit-along passes to Teresa. She has to create a pattern for the socks.

Oh, she already has it.

She created a gorgeous sock pattern called Toasty Twist Sock and it is available on Ravelry. I have downloaded and printed it.

Now the round robin knit-along passes to Dena. She will simply knit the yarn into the pattern.

Oh, she hasn't even started.


I was working on the Two Circular Two Sock KAL and decided to knit mom a pair of socks instead. Mom had a skein of Austermann Step with Aloe and Jojoba which is so very nice to knit with. Mom got me a whole book to use (Favorite Socks) for the pattern Embossed Leaves. The socks are finished and mom wore them to therapy to keep her feet happy. She says it kept her feet happy but the muscles from her hips to her knees are in agaony. I don't think socks will help that.

But I did have enough yarn left to make a third sock. Since mom doesn't need a third sock, I am making a pair of toe up and we will see how far it goes. So far, I have two toes. Mom has ten but I don't have much yarn.

Just couldn't wait could ya?

So, do you know how to take a Rubics Cube from this:

to this?

Well, I was going to post a video to show you, but the girl takes a little over 2 minutes to solve it and flickr will only let me upload a 90 second video. So you will just have to wait until she gets faster . . . sorry, I know you wanted to see that!

And if you remember that big knit 'bucket' I made from all the samples and handspun I made . . . .

Well, it felted remarkably evenly given the wide variety of fibers in it. It turned into the nicest (tho largest) Easter basket you ever saw. It's also quite sturdy - it's still a little damp in these pics, so isn't wanting to stand on it's own, but I think it will when it gets completely dry. Dunno what I'll use it for but I really do like it a lot. And now my first handspun looks an awful lot more even than it did a couple of days ago . . . .

What to do with all those samples?

First, take time to smell the roses . . .

Ok, so they aren't roses - those aren't blooming yet. But the magnolia that just four years ago was nothing but a branch I snipped off the piano teacher's tree is blooming. I'm not sure if it bloomed last year or not, but this year it has more than a dozen buds. It's gorgeous and was worth rooting.

The camellias are also blooming. This is the one on the side of the house - by the patio.

This is what I decided to do with all the fiber samples from the Phat Fiber box. First I spun them all up. Then I spun up some of the wensleydale roving I bought at SAFF. Ply the two together to make yarn. The pink on the bottom and top is the lovely roving that came with my wheel that I also used for practice.
I knit all the yarn into a huge 'bucket' for later felting. I was a little worried about how it would turn out since I didn't have a clue what kind of wool the pink was and I did know that all those samples were different types of fiber - everything from different types of wool to silk to alpaca and who knows what else. It's anybody's guess as to how evenly all those different fibers would felt.

Yes, that IS a large 5 gallon paint type bucket that the knit 'bucket' is draped over. And yes, it is too big for the plastic bucket. This thing is huge!

So, what happened when it went into the washing machine? Did it felt evenly? Or was it a huge mistake and waste of time?
Tune in Tomorrow for the answers to all your questions . . . .

Monday, March 23, 2009


So first the April Phat Fiber fiber samples. I spun them all end to end and then added one of the single ply handspun yarns onto the end. Then I spun some of the wensleydale roving I already had and used it to ply with the samples. Came up with about 66 yards which should be enough to finish my sample bag.

Next, do you remember the lovely Mossy Glen roving I bought from Feeling Sheepish? Well I spun that up and then made it into a two ply and this is what I got!

and just so I won't be without anything at all to spin, I bought some of the lovely Sonata's fiber from North Star Aplacas! Can't wait to get that to spin!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Phat Fiber

So I got very lucky - my clicking finger was fast enough to catch a Phat Fiber box for March. I think they went in less than a minute, certainly in less than 3 minutes. It arrived Thursday (I think) but I haven't had time to do anything with the contents - yet.

First the non-fiber goodies. Starting in the upper left corner, a bookmark from Becky's Paper Creations. She has wonderful note cards, stationery, and best of all handmade books and journals. Then the strawberry notecard from Marlyn's Corner Store - very cute. Then there are lots of business cards and then over on the left, under the bookmark is the cutest little sheepy stitchmarker - but I think I'm going to make a necklace out of it - from Yarndemon Designs. Her etsy store is full of the cutest little critters made from polymer clay that you ever saw. I've ordered some special ones for necklaces for the girls for Easter - but I can't show those yet or say more cuz they are a surprise.

Open the box and just look at all that fibery, smooshy stuff! Very super cool!

Again starting in the upper left hand corner - the biggest bag of Shetland Fleece from Baa Hurrah - not sure, but I think it must have been one of the big surprise prizes that they stuck in some of the boxes. Next to that is the Altered Visions sample - lovely green/gold fiber with bits of glitter and sari silk waste. The green next to it is a Tracy Rios batt - angora and wool and very soft and nice. Below that is a lovely little mix of alpaca, merino and silk - very soft and pretty colors - from Whorling Tides. And the dark green naturally dyed merino roving to the left of that is the sample from Natchwoolie - she's got some lovely roving in her shop that I have had my eye on. And last, but certainly not least, on the far left on the bottom, from North Star Alpacas - some lovely merino/alpaca roving from her very own alpaca girl Sonata.

And then there is the yarn! I wish the colors showed better in this photo. The top left yarn from Sparkleshan is absolutely gorgeous - she calls it Saturday in the park and it's full of glorious greens and flowery rose colors with bits of golden brown tossed in. Check out her shop because she has some gorgeous jewelry there too. The orange/red next to it is from Bohemian Knitter Chick and next to that is some recycled yarn from Jag's Funky Fibers. Below that, the green sock yarn is from The Yarn Side. The yarn below that is call Fjord and is from Katsara Luxury Yarns. In the center on the bottom is Wild Hare handspun in gold and glitz - called Pot of Gold and absolutely lovely - would love enough to make something nice out of this! And the last little sample from Laura Murphy of Wild Thyme is gorgeous with beads and glitz plyed into the yarn. She is really an artist and spins some wild and beautiful yarn.

Inthe first pic of the bits, I didn't show the pattern - Mrs. Dalloway - from The Crochet Side - wish I was into crochet but she does have a couple of knit patterns. And the lovely lavender sachet from Ambrosia and Bliss - Miss S snagged that one and I let her because she loves lavendar and I really don't.
There were a few things I would have loved to have gotten that I didn't get - two different and very nice shawl pins, needle felted mini sheep and alpacas, some lovely row counters and bracelets, etc. But all in all, I'm very happy with my box - again. Think I will try for another one in April. But for now, I think I'll just go spin some fiber up and see what it does.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Toasty Twist Socks Pattern Published & Available

Finally! I had a tough time getting it up on Ravelry but it's done! Available for free download is the pattern for my Toasty Twist Socks. (This is the pattern that won the NeedleNook sock design contest last year.)

So, for the specifics:
Toasty Twist Socks
take one skein of Numma Numma Toasty sock yarn (440 yards, but you'll have leftover).
Size 1 (2.25) and 2 (2.75) circular knitting needles - pattern is written for two socks at a time on two sets of circs.
Gauge: 16 sts & 22 rows to 2" in stockinette stitch.
Two sizes in pattern - women's M and women's L

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A little bit of this, A little bit of that . . . .

Remember those socks I designed? The ones that won the contest? Well, I've worked on the pattern and all I need to do is add pics and it's ready to publish. Should be available tomorrow sometime if all goes well.

And Ishbel is finished, ends worked in and blocked. It's lovely and that girl of mine likes it. It looks good on her too, so I might let her borrow it a time or two . . . .

Here are the socks I'm knitting for the sock-a-long. They are a little big around the foot, but not too much and I am not planning to rip them back again. Haven't figured out a pattern for them yet but I figured we'd add that to the cuff and leave the foot plain . . . . also need to figure out what kind of heel we want to do. Do you want to try one you haven't done before?

This is why I'm not getting my knitting done very fast . . . . having way too much fun with the spinning wheel. This is the Mossy Glen spun as a thin single. I'm on the second spool of it now (half done, actually), so should be able to show you the plied result tomorrow or the next day. It's very pretty up close - sort of twists of two colors alternating . . . .
Will also show the contents of my Phat Fiber box tomorrow.