Monday, March 31, 2008

Project updates, blasphemy and a list

Even though a majority of my posts lately have been about spinning and dyeing yarn, I am still knitting. So, I think a project update is in order. I apologize for the lack of photos...The Teen stole my camera batteries for his xbox guitar and didn't stick the dead ones in the charger.

Socks That Rock socks...I am going to go way out on a limb here and suggest that I don't really like the Socks That Rock (STR) yarn. BLASPHEMY!!! I LOVE the colorways, but the yarn is of the tight twist variety and it's knitting up all crooked. I've tried several different knitting methods, but I swear it's wanting to bias. Hmm. The colorway is drop dead gorgeous, but I'm getting a bit freakish over the wonkiness of the stitches. Has anyone else had this problem? Doomed to never be finished...we'll see.

Zack's afghan...I lost the pattern. It's really no big deal since I have the actual block pattern memorized. I just have to redo the pattern so I know what colors go where. This has, however, kept me from progressing on this project.

Vibe tote...I finally bought some fabric for the lining, again. I bought a cool batik fabric for the lining a while back, but ended up loving the fabric but hating it as a lining. Now I just need to line the sucker and figure out what to do for handles. I am convinced that it will be a great project bag once it gets done.

I'm navaho plying the rainbow yarn. Whoa, talk about an energized yarn. Holy cow! I'm plying on my slowest setting but it's still twisting back on itself. Maybe a couple days in time out on the bobbin and then a nice soak in a warm bath. It seems a warm bath always gets the kinks out, right?

And now for a list things that will make a person more pleasant to work for. I realize there are only about 2 people who read my blog, but I will try to be as anonymous as possible. Although the aluminum foil and acid washed jeans might give it away.

  1. Trust your coworkers to meet deadlines without constant (passive aggressive) reminders.
  2. Keep your office door open. When it's closed we think you're doing something you shouldn't be doing.
  3. Acknowledge requests as soon as possible. Even if you can't get to the request in a couple days at least acknowledge it.
  4. Say "good morning" before barking out rude orders.
  5. Book your own hotel room if you want to make sure your room overlooks the ocean. If I book your hotel and you whine about it, the next time you want an ocean view you'll be looking out over the dumpsters for the Red Lobster next door.
  6. Say "please" when you make an unreasonable request, like wanting me to make sure your room has an ocean view. Actually, in this case please isn't going to help worth a darn (see #6) but it will make me bitch about you less.
  7. Say "thank you" too.
  8. 99% of the time the code of after hours get-togethers or weekend get-aways with co-workers is "no bosses allowed". Period. Get over it.
  9. Don't bring everyone in the office brownies that are wrapped in recycled aluminum foil that is clearly marked "2 pieces taliapi". Gross. Gross. Gross. (If you want the proof in this one, I'll take a photo of the foil. I kept it...had to...too good to pass up.)
  10. Don't sit in your office with the door closed for hours on end only to emerge and sigh heavily as you walk out. More specifically, don't sigh heavily at all. It's annoying.
  11. Do not wallow in self-pity because your life sucks, especially if you're doing nothing to change the situation(s).
  12. Ricola. Please.
  13. Short sleeved dress shirts and ties. No one has ever made this look good.
  14. Just because you can fit into the acid washed Billy Idol jeans you had in 1985 doesn't mean you should wear them.
  15. Leave things in the trash. They are there for a reason.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Party in a Bag

I finished plying "party in a bag". KILLER!!! This skein is about 73 yards, probably heavy worsted to bulky weight. I have one more bobbin that I need to skein, so I should have about 150 yards when it's all said and done.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Monday

I'm going to fire my housekeeper!! She didn't show up again this weekend. Seriously, I don't think she's been around since January. The lazy, no good, mumble, mumble... When I told my son that I was going to fire her, he said, "We have a housekeeper??" Too funny!

So, what have I (the housekeeper) been doing...besides cleaning house? Playing with fiber, of course! I dyed six skeins of yarn and a couple hunks of roving. I spun my "party in a bag" roving that I got in Gatlinburg, TN. Lots and lots of fiber play. On to the photos!!!

I call this little lovely hunk of fiber "Vintage Roses". This is 4 of the 8 total ounces of 100% alpaca top/roving for spinning. Kettle dyed by adding pink to one side of the pot and brown to the other. Then I crossed my fingers and walked away. I was hoping for more of a neapolitan ice cream, but ended up with a lovely shade of faded roses. I'd love to see it spun up, but it's for my Etsy shop .

This batch should probably be called the kitchen sink. I had an odd amount of Brown Sheep mill ends and several pots of dye with only a smidge left in each. Ta da!
I split the roving into sections and then poured dye all over it. I wish I could replicate the colors because the pea green in the center is KILLER! I'm not sure where the yellow came from, it was orange before I steamed it. (I'm keeping this one for me.)

Now, for my new favorite, Pansies! I got up Saturday morning and started mixing dye before my first cup of coffee. I'm in love! It's everything I expected! It really does look like my neighbor's bed of pansies. The deep rose is my favorite part, so is the green, and I like the teal...hell, I like it all! Also on Etsy.

This batch started out as a bag of wool yarn I bought at an estate sale.

I pulled the skeins apart and discarded the damaged outer layer and ended up with about 550 yards. It was off-white to start, but it was so BORING! So I hit it with some blues and purples. Also on Etsy as I Got the Blues.

Speaking of Etsy, I changed my shop's banner and avatar. What I had before was so boring!

I'm going to post the "party in a bag" yarn later this week. I want to ply it first and then I'll share the photos. It was a total blast to spin, and it took only a couple hours. What is "party in a bag" roving? It's basically everything. There were all different colors of mostly wool, but some cotton, a bit of silk, locks, sparklies...and a couple pieces of vegetable matter just so I wouldn't lose interest. It's absolutely gorgeous! Maybe I can ply it by the weekend. Depends...

Monday, March 17, 2008

And then she dyed

A little color play this past weekend!

Several weeks ago a found a tan heather cashmere sweater at Goodwill. It was ugly, so I frogged it. Then it sat in a sad little tan pile and mocked me. This past weekend I did something about it and into the dyepot it went.

From this:

To this:
p1010168Now, isn't that better?

I also dyed some rescued wool boucle that I purchased at an estate sale. Pictures will be posted soon.

I'm a loner this week. Zack's off with a friend for spring break. It's so QUIET around here! I hope to dye a little more, spin a little more, knit a little more. You get the picture. What's really cool is that I can make whatever I want for dinner (bring on the onions!) and I can play hours of xBox with no one laughing at me. I feel a round of Guitar Hero coming on. It really doesn't take much, does it?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Let the games begin

p1010137I've got a request to recreate the Sandalwood Spice colorway. Thank goodness I took a photo of the yarn before I reskeined it. I honestly don't know if I can do this, and the funny thing is I'm really nervous about it. I need to get a grip. This time I'm going to take notes and photos of the process. If I'm going to be serious about selling my yarn, I need to be serious about my creative process.

I have some cool vintage wool boucle that I rescued from an estate sale. It's boring as hell and needs a kick. I'll use that as my palette. Maybe...just maybe...

p.s. sold a skein of black cherry today! woohoo!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A little something something

Look at the pretty yarn, I'm going to bed.

I took new photos of Green Goddess... My Etsy photos are terribly lacking. I have a degree in photography for crying out loud! I knew I could do better and I did. Playing with depth of field on a digital camera is a trick. I'm very pleased with how this turned out. Now I need to reshoot all of them.

A sample swatch of Woodland Hyacinth. Both skeins sold on Etsy. Note the center pull ball... (I doubt the buyer is reading) but I will wind center-pulls if you ask nicely and in complete sentences.

I'm dying to cast on this sweater. The yarn came in the mail the other day. Light aqua blue cotton wool blend. Note the little bit of lace peaking out at the hem in the lower right corner. *Sigh*

Detail of an afghan square I made for "Warm Up America." These blocks are "therapy knitting" for me. Knitting without thinking. Very necessary. Without this type of therapy, I'd most certainly be in prison. I wish I could remember where I saw this so I could give proper credit--"I knit so I don't kill people." Crocheting works too.

Super chunky 3-ply wool/acrylic recycled yarn. Selling on Etsy. It was too good to remain on the hanger at Goodwill only to eventually end up in a dumpster. If it doesn't sell, it will end up as a hat and maybe wrist warmers. Recycled cashmere, angora and other tasty fibers coming soon. p1010088

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is it tomorrow yet?

Meet Manda...

It's already tomorrow for Manda. She is a Safety Manager at an aluminum mine in Australia's Northern Territory. That whole international date line thing just really blows my mind. When I read I her blog posts (Safety Boots and Crochet) they're from tomorrow. How cool is that?

But it gets even cooler! Check out what Manda is snuggling and hugging! It's my Rosewood and Spicy Sandalwood yarn! She begged me (with cherries on top) to ship to Australia. How could I refuse? She went on a yarn binge of epic and envious proportions and I am so honored that some of my yarn was chosen.

Thank you, Manda! For me, this is huge! There is a part of me in Australia. It's the coolest feeling! I sincerely hope our paths continue to cross.

Check out her blog, I've added it to my favs on the side bar to the right. I'm totally enchanted!

I'd post more but it's late...and only a few minutes away from tomorrow. I had a last minute invitation to see Lou Diamond Phillips play King Arthur in "Camelot" at the performing arts center. It was awesome! It's still so hard for me to envision someone other than Richard Harris play King Arthur, but Lou did a wonderful job. It's late, off to bed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Round and round the bobbin goes!

I’m freaking out because I’m out of bobbins. I hate that!

This is what's currently on the Ashford...

This is a mystery fiber. For the life of me I can’t figure out what it is. I normally label all my fiber, but I stashed this in a moment of panic. You see, my parents were coming for Christmas and the guest room was one pile of wool. You get the picture….

Ok, so the base fiber is maybe merino. But it’s softer than my other merino, but not as silky as any of my alpaca. About a 3-4” staple. Who knows. So, I dyed it with some kool-aid, nearly felted the darn stuff and ended up with what looked like pig intestines. Seriously. It looked really gross hanging from my shower rod. I had to pre-draft the daylights out of it in order to spin…but that’s ok. I also dyed some leftover cotswold locks and added them every so often.

This is what I’m going to ply with the thick, curly stuff.
I’m spinning it as thin as I can get it, but it’s slipping around like mad. I used a flick carder on the rest of the cotswold locks and I’ve been adding bits of fluff as I go. I’ve never plied a thick yarn with a thin…should be interesting.

You should see the box that came from the Sheep Shed Studio yesterday…OMG. Cripes, I need more bobbins!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Day After


I kind of like having 6 inches of snow one day and daffodils the next.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Originally uploaded by KnittyBits

Poor, Sophie. She's not quite sure what to make of her back yard. Zack is already out the door on his way to the battle of the century (aka snow ball fight). The day's agenda is quite full, but when you only get measurable snow once every couple years you've got to pack in as much as possible.
1. Snow ball fight
2. Snow man
3. Sledding
4. Snow angels
5. More sledding
6. More snow balls
7. Even more snow balls

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I am my grandmother's granddaughter. As I was mulling over the huge mess of orangy-pink merino top that I dyed this weekend, it hit me. I am a decendant of Louise.

I was so careful with this hunk of fiber yet those microscopic scales on each individual strand of wool still tried to interlock into felt. Really, I don't know what happened. My first step was a soak in some burgundy "exhaust" from a batch of Black Cherry yarn I had just dyed. I wanted a rather random pinkish tinge to the fiber and using the left over dye from Black Cherry seemed to be a good idea. I pulled it from the dye and my fibers were still nice and lofty. Then I commenced to painting it with Kool-aid. (Yes, very weird, but it works...go here. Then go buy 40 packs of kool-aid and watch the expression on the girl at the checkout.) I carefully arranged it on many layers of plastic (on my white counter) and dabbed on the various colors--pink lemonade, black cherry, something watermelony and orange. I let it set for a while and when I checked on it, it no longer resembled nice lofty merino fiber. It had transformed into nasty disgusting pig intestines. What the heck? Well, I rinsed and rinsed and then hung to dry. I pulled and fluffed as best I could and I may be able to salvage 90% of it. Cripes!

But why did it felt? Because I carry the DNA of Louise. My grandmother was felting before felting was cool. We had no idea that what she was doing to hand-knit woolen sweaters was so progressive, trendy and fashionable. We had no idea that anyone would actually want to do that to a sweater intentionally. But, if it was wool and in her house, it was destined to be felt. Every time I toss a wool sweater (reclaimed from Goodwill) into a washing machine full of hot water I think of her. She passed away over 20 years ago, but until right this very minute, it didn't seem that long ago. Oh she had a way with wool, let me tell you!

So, what am I going to do with the fluffy pig intestine fiber? Well, I also dyed some cotswold locks with fruit punch and black cherry. I'm going to spin the merino and add a cotswold lock at random intervals. Or I might spin the fluffy pig intestines into a lofty soft spun single, knit something and felt the crap out of it. Wait and see.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Time or the lack of it

I just realized it's been a week since my last post. For the one person who reads my blog, yes, we did have a snow day last Wednesday. It wasn't so much a snow day, but more of a black ice morning. But the kids got to stay home from school and goof off. It was a nice break.

A while back, I did some thrift shopping at Goodwill during a 50% off sale. I landed 4 cashmere sweaters and a bunch of wool. I probably bought 14 sweaters (I didn't count). Several of the sweaters have been felted and will serve a new purpose in life as either knitting needle holders or hand bags. I haven't decided yet. Some are going to get frogged and either sold or re-knit into something else. It just kills me to see all that beautiful yarn that's destined for the landfill. The sweater might be butt-ugly, but that's not the yarn's fault. Where else can you get a sweater's worth of yarn for $3? And I don't mean nasty "virgin acrylic." The sweaters I picked up were cashmere, lambs wool, icelandic wool, shetlant, silk wool blend, angora, etc. I'll post pictures when I get the sweaters back into nice neat skeins. And just how satisfying is it to pull a sweater apart? Try it. Great therapy...along with a good movie and a glass of wine.