Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Off Wheel

The romney is plyed and off the wheel. I ended up with about 280 yards. I think it's about a worsted weight...it's a bit thick and thin, but not too drastic. Romney is a bit scratchy by nature, so I'm not sure what this will be. It reminds me of an Easter basket.

This is a good way to really frustrate at kid. It's "snowing" outside and the counties that are dark blue on the map don't have school tomorrow. The light blue counties haven't decided yet. Davidson County is nearly surrounded by closers, with the exception of Rutherford to the southeast. Zack is freaking out. He's just dying for a snow day!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Vicuna = Crack

I actually got to feel the ultimate luxury fiber the other day at the Smoky Mountain Spinnery in Gatlinburg, TN (she's on the verge of getting a web site and I will post a link ASAP). I had heard tales of a fiber so soft you can hardly feel it, and I scoffed. It started with the gentle fondling of the Guanaco fiber that was on display. It was amazingly soft and something like $45 an ounce. Yeouch. A bit more than my bruised bank account could handle. As I reluctantly put it back on the shelf, the shop proprietress asked me if I wanted to feel something really soft. She retreated into the back room, rummaged around a bit and produced a sandwich-sized ziploc bag of caramel colored fluff. Vicuna. $300 and ounce. And she actually let me put my hand in the bag. I was almost afraid to touch it. The first fondle is free...

I scoff no more.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Road Trip Alert!

Destination: Gatlinburg, TN
ETD: 14 hours

I plan to visit the Smoky Mountain Spinnery sometime tomorrow afternoon. I'm so excited!

I think we have wireless internet at the chalet. Maybe I'll blog from the hot tub! Or not...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On the Ashford

This is the latest bit of yarn that I'm spinning. It's the last of Frankie Lee, a Romney ram from Indiana (soon to move to KY.) I bought this bump last weekend at YarnAlong. It wasn't my intention to buy more fiber, but it was just sitting there and needed to come home with me. That's the way it goes.

I posted this on Ravelry in the Ashford spinners forum and got several questions as to my dying technique. My "technique" is really not a technique. I just play with colors and experiment.

For this particular hunk of roving I decided to be a little wild with purple and green. I don't have a lot of room so I need to work in small batches. I wanted to control the colors a bit more with this batch, so I pulled the roving apart in 3-foot lengths. (I'm banging my head on the keyboard because I should have taken photos...drat!) I put copious amounts of plastic on my white counter tops and laid the roving out, side by side.

For the dye I mixed rather small batches in jelly jars. I used straight from the jar colors, which is pretty unusual for me. I'm a "mixer/blender." Oh, while I was prepping the area and mixing, "Frankie Lee" was soaking in a pot of water with a bit of vinegar. I squeezed out all the excess water before arranging it on the plastic. With an old turkey baster (never use dying equipment for food...once contaminated, keep it separate) I put down blotches of color working from left to right. First color was about an 8-inch section with chartruese blotches, then 2 inches of turquoise blotches, then about 6 inches of lavender, another two inches of turquoise, 6 more lavendar and then more chartreuse. I let the yarn sit and absorb the dye.

After about a half hour, I rolled it into yarn burritos. I divided it in half and rolled it up. Too much for one burrito. I put it in a zip loc and in another zip loc and then off to the microwave. I have a spare microwave in the garage that I use for dying. I put one bag in for 1 minute and when it was done, took it out, and put the other bag in for a minute. I alternated bags until they were hot to the touch. Not very scientific, but it works. After the microwave treatment, I let the fiber cool off in their bags. Don't get over anxious and open them right away as the steam is very intense. Once cool, I rinsed the roving in cool water and hung to dry.

When the lengths of roving were dry, I pre-drafted and wound into loose balls. All the balls are wound starting from the same end, so I'll hopefully get a somewhat consistent pattern. Once spun into singles, I'll ply into a 2-ply yarn. Should be about worsted or heavy worsted weight.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Quilt Preview

My mom is making quilts for the grandkids. This is a preview of the top for Z's quilt. Cool, huh?

Chrysalis Fibers

Etsy Update:
I've revamped my Etsy shop and am now Chrysalis Fibers. More yarn will be available in the coming days. There are a couple more colorways that are not photographing accurately, but once they do I'll add them. I also plan to carry fiber-related accessories in the future...as I find the time to create.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Road Trip Digest

The day's road trip to Henderson, KY was a huge success, but it wasn't at all what we had planned.

Our first stop was the Ruby Moon Winery and Vineyard just outside of Henderson. We sampled a few varieties and walked out with several bottles. The elderberry wine is pretty good!

From there we went to Princess Antiques Mall on Main Street, right next to YarnAlong. Great variety of "stuff" and reasonable prices. As we were browsing we heard the shop owner talking to another employee about an estate sale he went to that morning "on the hill near the hospital." Ah, a quest!

How hard can it be to find a hospital? Pretty easy, actually. We drove down the main street until we saw the blue "H" sign and then followed the estate sale signs. Easy as pie! The sales that you stumble upon are usually the best. Totally unexpected! I'll bet we poked through stuff for an hour or more and found some great treasures.

Then off to YarnAlong for some spinning. I was the only one who showed up with a spinning wheel. Lori, the shop owner, was sick and I think everyone else was still scared off by the snow. I guess a lot of the back roads are still pretty slick. I did some spinning for a bit, bought the last of Frankie Lee's fleece and then...

Wolf's Tavern & Restaurant on Green Street. I can't find a website for them, but they're not difficult to find. I'm all about trying the local restaurants and I'm rarely disappointed. This place was well worth it! (and under $10!!)

So, while we didn't spend as much time spinning as we had intended, we did find stumble upon some other cool stuff.

Trip meter: Success!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Say it ain't snow

From the back yard this morning. Ok, those of you who get real snow, go ahead and laugh. Before I moved to Tennessee, I lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, so I know snow. This is the most snow we've had all season, and I'm ok with that. I tried to get Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal perched on the "squirrel proof" bird feeder, but they got shy and I got tired of waiting.

Now, if you want to see some really impressive snow (along with drool-worthy knitting that will make you weep), check out the Yarn Harlot! Where does she find the time?

Road trip alert!
When: This weekend
Where: YarnAlong in Henderson, KY
With: Zsu-Zsa
Why: The monthly SpinAlong with StarzAbove
Can't wait!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Morning

Sometimes you wake up in the morning, fumble through the coffee-making process, walk out to get the morning paper hoping your neighbors don't see you in sweats and fuzzy pink slippers, and then really see something for the first time.

My front door has a southern exposure and today is a beautiful sunny day. Even though it's cold outside, if I open my front door, the heat from the sun will radiate through the storm door and warm the foyer up nicely. Sophie also likes to bake in the sun when the front door is open. She has it rough.

As I was opening the door this morning, I saw my door knob for the first time. It's really cool. I had to share.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Mohawk Mojo

Project update: the "Mohawk Hat" is coming along much better than I thought. It was giving me fits with the picking up of stitches along the crown of the hat. So, I ventured into Ravelry and read up on everyone else's progress. I'm right on track. Zack tried it on and the fit looks nearly perfect. Maybe a tiny bit big, but that's ok. I'm going to line it with a very light black fleece. Zack doesn't like the feel of wool against his skin. He's such a southern boy, ya'll.

If you haven't joined Ravelry yet, sign up now. You'll be put on a waiting list, but don't let that discourage you. It's a great resource. Caution: could be addicting.