Monday, January 30, 2006

La Bamba!

Friday as I was driving into court to settle that ticket ($275 fine dissolved, thank you, just had to pay $50 court fees) I came to realize that I was driving nearly ten mph below the speed limit. See, Ella & Louis' Isn't It a Lovely Day was on the CD player, and I was feeling mellow and content. At that moment, I was reminded of a theory of traffic laws I once heard. See, the theory is that speed limit signs are too vague and abstract a notice. What we really need is to have notices that would make sense to us, for example, a sign that states that the dotted lines on the road should be passing in time with certain songs on the radio. So if you got pulled over, you could say to the officer "I'm sorry, Officer, I really thought I was going Lovely Day" and he would say "Pal, you were going La Bamba."


We have knit 552 socks so far. Less than one-twelfth through the year, we are one-fourth of the way through our goal. To be more specific, we're 27.6% done with our goal, and 8% through the time in which to complete that goal. We're averaging 18.4 socks reported per day. At this rate we will reach 2000 by 3pm April 18th.

Now, Stephanie says I've underestimated you in thinking we might not reach 2000. I'd like to defend myself against that statement. I had no doubts in your knitting prowess. No concern that you might not hold your own.

What I underestimated was not your ability to knit.

What I underestimated was your abililty to gossip. Who knew how fast word would spread? See, here I was thinking you'd casually mention it to friends at a Lovely Day kinda pace.

You? You were talking La Bamba.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

International Velvet

The opera was fun - The Bartered Bride, re-set to a local area. It was a loooong day, though, and I awoke this morning ready to work.

I've had to work hard to behave myself and finish the KR Yarn Swap yarn. I knew it would be rediculous to try to switch wheels mid-project (I considered plying onto the new wheel, but realized that would be silly too, to try to learn a new wheel for the finishing touches of the project) So I sat the new wheel in front of Fiona so that I could spin on Fiona and look over at the new baby. I'm big on putting the carrot out in plain view to encourage action. What can I say, I'm easy to motivate. Clearly it works:

103 yards of three-ply white dorset/ red mohair/wool Raspberry Slush

Once that was done (I'll separate it into 5-yard baggies and print up an information sheet for mailing tomorrow, when it's 100% dry) I got the new baby set up. A lot of thought was put into her name. I, too, considered Aurora - that's the name of the princess in Sleeping Beauty, and if ever there was a fairy princess wheel it was this beauty. But Aurora wasn't quite right. I should have known - most of my most comfortable decisions have been made so quickly I didn't realize they were made, and that was the case here. I perused baby name websites, I read fairy mythology, I looked over my library of books... and suddenly, out of no where came her name. Really, out of no where. I wasn't looking at anything but her, I have no recollection of seeing the name in any of those sources, and it's not a name I've considered before. But it's her name.


I looked it up - it means "elfin" if that matters. But mostly, it's just her name. I had to fiddle around with some issues I had at my lack of experience in putting a spinning wheel together from scratch, but she spins... oh.... it's breathtaking. She is a fairy sprite, a little elfin spinner on her own... It's amazing.

I started with some Polwarth I got from Jen because I thought since Delphine hailed from NZ I should break her in with some native wool. This stuff is unbelieveable. It's SO soft it's unreal, so I decided to use that to its fullest advantage and spin up some novelty yarn.

After less than two hours of spinning (I always forget how fast slubby yarn can go!) I had a bobbin full of the most gorgeous velvety stuff you can imagine. It feels like the lushest velvety chenille ever.

I'm in love.

While I'm still swooning over that, I did promise pictures of my surrender to the Jaywalking troops:

That's four hours worth of knitting (with interruptions) at the store Saturday. Obviously they're toe up, and they're also a little different from the pattern, since I started them according to her total number of stitches and after about an inch realized I'd be able to wear them over my shoes. So I just lessened the number of stitches between the increases and decrease, and I think it's turning out pretty cute!

Friday, January 27, 2006

I got home from work this afternoon and found this on one of my potted plants outside.

Do you know what that is?


Do you know what this means?

My house has officially reached overflow levels.

I brought in some fiber and handspun to show my boss (of the socks) at AC Moore, and she was so impressed she asked me to make a little display for a knitting event going on at the store tomorrow. The kindergarten teacher hiding deep within my soul was released, and today I did this:

It's tough to get a good picture, but across the top it says "Spin Me a Yarn!"

It starts with raw wool on the sheep.

Then the wool gets washed into roving.

Then spun into yarn.

Then knit into a sweater!

Well... I think it's cute. I mean sure, now I'm covered in spray glue and bits of wool and fiber are sticking to that, and I can't figure out what will take this glue off me (nail polish remover, soap and water, and various other household detergeants haven't worked so far) but the poster itself is pretty cute, don't you think?

In the meantime, I've given in to the tidal wave and started a pair of Jaywalkers. I know. It makes my skin crawl a little bit to do something so incredibly trendy (and not because I don't like the pattern - I do - I just have a deep rooted aversion to trends). But I'll need to be sitting and knitting at the store for about four hours straight tomorrow, I'll get interrupted frequently, and every single one of my other ongoing projects right now are either too big or require too much concentration to tolerate being interrupted by idiots. So I needed something incredibly simple, but still impressive looking. I figured since I memorized the pattern after looking at it once and I'm amused by the color combinations in my yarn this fit the bill. My only hope for surviving this is to put my own twist by doing them toe up, and with a slight variation to the zig zag pattern. I just got through the toe, so nothing exciting has happened yet. I'll take a photo tomorrow night... oops, maybe Sunday - I'm going to the opera tomorrow night after work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Santa Claus Came to Town (and he took pictures!)

At the beginning of December, while we were still trying to figure out what to give each other for Christmas, I saw a spinning wheel and pointed it out to GB. Turned out it needed some repairs, and lived in New Zealand, and so it was going to be a bit longer on delivery than your average Christmas gift.

But who cares?

Today, the most wonderful DHL man in the world (okay, I think it was a man... I was a bit fixated on the box) brought me this.

Of course, my fearless bomb-sniffing dog...

and fearless bomb-sniffing cat... had to inspect things to be sure it was safe.

While I went off searching for something to aid in breaking through the packaging, Trevor and Oscar worked their way around to the same section.

Eventually it was decided that two bomb-sniffing noses weren't needed.

After falling victim (again) to Trevor's mean left hook, Oscar decided he would guard me from explosives by sulking in his room. He went off to play with his pink teddy bear while Trevor continued assisting me.

At first crack I knew I love the woman who'd sold us this wheel.

I bet you love her too.

Wool... Raw New Zealand wool (I can't remember the breed she mentioned, I'll e-mail her and ask) ...
as a packing cushion.

Some in bags, some loose, requiring inspection from my little fiber snob, who doesn't care much about mail, but does like a good fleece now and then.

I really do have to find out what breed this is, because Aslan generally only cares for goat fibers (we know mohair is his very favorite) and corriedale, and I know it's not a corrie. She did tell me once what the breed is, and I didn't recognize it. Figures Aslan has not only expensive taste, but refined and rare tastes as well.

I set to unwrapping the dozens of small, well-wrapped parts and dealt with so much tape I had to take three gagging breaks.

An hour later I had this.

(I hope you appreciate that Trevor is pretending to be a wheel so you can imagine the full picture. He's doing a fine job in his impression, isn't he?)

And two hours after delivery, Fiona met her new sibling (please pardon the mess of packing and fiber).

The new child is made by Mecchia, a NZ company that no longer makes wheels, and now focusses on furniture and looms.

This wheel is 20 - 25 years old, sold because the owner was moving (to California, actually) and needed to down scale quite a bit. Better pictures of the new beauty are here, taken by the previous owner.

I'm trying to reserve gender assignment until I've spun a bit, but it does give off some feminine vibes to me. I am taking naming suggestions - I'd like something that combines some of my qualities with something that says New Zealand as well... so any AU or NZ readers may have some great insight. Are there New Zealand fairies or sprites?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pull Norman's Finger

Back in September, during the worst week of my life I got a ticket. A $275 ticket, leaving the airport parking lot to go home after Sharon's funeral, because my car registration had apparently been suspended. Did you know they don't actually tell you things like that? Apparently we should all just check our registrations every now and then just to be sure they haven't suspended for anything. It was suspended because I never took the Emissions Test. For this, I blame the world's worst mailman. I never got the notice. I care about the environment, I would have gotten it tested, if only I'd known that Norman was due.

In any event, we finally got the paperwork settled (I have a court date Friday when I hope the judge will forgive the outrageous fine because I did take care of everything else) and Norman had his test today.

He was a little uncomfortable having a strange woman touch him in such a personal way ("turn your head and cough, Norman") but he passed with flying colors! YAY, Norman! Way-to-go, little dude!


In celebration, I came home and carded up the rest of the raspberry slush - four ounces total

(Twelve-pound cat for scale. Seriously. It's good to have a cat who comes when he's called.)

I also had an adventuresome dinner. I decided to get some new movies* from Blockbuster and to get a pizza, since I'm still home alone (minus the furry men who aren't allowed to eat pizza no matter what Trevor says - Aslan and Oscar don't beg) so the pizza will take several days to work through. I parked between the Blockbuster and the Pizza Hut. This is probably not big news to many of you, and sure, the only thing separating the stores from being next door is a wide-ish alley and a small flight of four steps. But six months ago I wouldn't have been able to walk that far without a nap halfway through. So walking to Pizza Hut to place the order, to Blockbuster to pick out movies and BACK to Pizza Hut to pick up the food was a very exciting, big deal.

Another six months of health like this and I just might be able to walk on my treadmill for more than a minute without gasping for breath and bursting into tears and falling asleep while simultaneously falling off the back like a bad sitcom skit. Watch out.

* what is up with the new "Unrated Version" craze? Do moviemakers really believe that it will increase my desire to see their movie if I know that the only way I can watch the DVD version is with extra shots of breasts? Because I don't see enough breasts in my life. In fact, I would go to the movies more if only I knew that I could see women objectified and treated like they are nothing but carrier devices for breasts, so that breasts would have a way of getting out in the world. Okay, fine, so the majority of America seems to be proud of having the mentality of a 14 year old boy. I don't like it, but I get it. But even for that rare minority that doesn't consider excessive, gratuitous breast shots to be fine art, could you maybe think about offering the option? Like wide screen/full screen? Only this would be "How it was shown in movies" and "The version you play drinking games to"? Because clearly just asking the moviemakers to stop treating women like walking/talking Barbie dolls is way too much to even think about.

Monday, January 23, 2006

They call me "genius"

At least they do when they've been drinking very, very, heavily.

First the update. We are currently at 277 socks knit, that's 13.8% to our goal of 2000 and we're only 6.2% through year, averaging 12 socks per day. Obviously, we're well on our way, which of course means I'm starting to worry. Pace yourselves, people, we don't want to completely peter out just before the finish line!

To help keep you knitting steadfastly, Roxanne has offered us all a special deal. Her shop, Zen Yarn Garden sells sock yarn, and she's decided that anyone who mentions Two-Thousand-Socks when they place an order for sock yarn will get 10%! I want to make it clear that I cannot be responsible for any portion of any transactions with her, but it sure seems like a great deal for all involved. Happy shopping! (especially Amy who has betrayed us all by knowingly missing a local yarn sale. For shame, I say, for shame.)


Now, why would any dangerously drunk individual call me "genius"?

Because I spun up a good 250 yards of Lime Kiwi Smoothie (hey, if that's what Sarah Elizabeth says it should be called, who am I to argue?) singles, then promptly plied it into a lovely four-ply yarn.

I needed 100 yards plied.

250 divided by 4.... carry the one....

Yup. NOT one hundred yards.


Well, I don't want to use up the green, because I have plans for it - some Lime Kiwi Smoothie socks, and also a self striping thing (Lime Kiwi Smoothie striped with Creamsicle and Rainbow Sherbet, not yet spun)

So tonight I started blending again (heck, I can certainly use the practice with the carder).

I took this mohair/wool blend

blended it with this Dorset

and got this Raspberry Slush

(anyone else seeing a pattern here? I can't help it, the white wool blended with that glossy mohair just looks kinda icy)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Lime Smoothie

That's the name of what I made last night... mmmmm....

See, I started with some extremely dirty Southdown fleece. It had already been washed once, but was still filthy, so it got a little simmer time in the crock pot.



Then I blended it with a deep apple green mohair/wool blend I bought at MD last year

and got this batt

which spun this yarn

I'm not done spinning the batt yet, but I'm hoping there will be 100 yards (and I'm pretty sure there will) because I need 100 yards of a blend for a handspun yard swap on Knitters Review. I like both the color and feel of the yarn, and the southdown, while still pretty dirty, even after my crockpotting, is SOOOO soft and springy. It really wants to be socks, and the mohair adds a little extra strength. So once I'm done spinning for the swap, I'm going to take my drum carder to a special friend and get some tips to get the blending better and spin myself some pretty Lime Smoothie Socks.

I was so busy playing with fiber, I wore out the cats just watching me.

Or it's possible they were just stockpiling their energy.

When I got back from teaching this morning, I walked in mid-game. See, they knocked all the papers off a shelf onto the kitchen floor.

Beyond this the rules get kind of sketchy. I know that they had to start from one end of the living room, run at full speed towards the kitchen, and stop on one of the sheets of paper.

I'm not sure if it was speed or distance that was the goal, because I saw neither stopwatches nor measuring tapes.

But I do know it was great fun, and I am a horrible, horrible mommy for putting an end to the game and cleaning up.

I have a feeling I should sleep with one eye open.

I just added roughly 87 bazillion blogs to the Spinning Wheel ring - sorry some of you had to wait SOO long in the cue! I'll try to keep better on top of that, now that my health has settled down a bit.... I tried to welcome each of you, but if I missed you, sorry about that, too. Glad you're with us - Spin on!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Socks Run Away With It

There's this thing about the blogosphere - folks feed off each other, and improve each other, and generally make things better. (sure, it goes the other way, too, but we're focussing on the good here.)

Kim did that pretty darn well, if you ask me. She liked the Two-Thousand-Socks idea, and decided to take it, and improve upon it. And so she made a New Years ReSOCKlution!

You see, with every sock she knits for Two-Thousand-Socks, she's going to give one dollar to Heifer International, one of my favorite charities. She encourages you to do something similar.

You certainly don't have to. Two-Thousand-Socks was just about fluffy, socky goodness. But wouldn't it be great to put a little extra goodness out into the world? Maybe donate a dollar per sock, maybe donate more. Maybe knit some nice thick socks (that go faster than the thin ones anyway) and donate them to Dulaan (PDF is here) maybe give socks to a homeless shelter near you...

Again, NO obligation, NO pressure. Just a thought about putting a little more goodness out into a world that very much needs all the goodness it can get.

Thanks for the FANTASTIC feelings, Kim....

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Not Plain at All!

Jane just reported to me our 200th sock knit!!!!!

That means she pushed us over the TEN PERCENT completed mark!


In addition to being a wonderful, sweet soul, a kind friend, and a funny woman, she's a fabulous knitter, spinner and painter!

I also like what she's done with her Two-Thousand-Socks button - she keeps a tally of her own contributions to the cause!

Thanks for playing along, Jane!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Floating orbs, pink bananas and socks with thumbs...

Yeah, I totally pooped out and forgot to post last night - I did all the Two-Thousand-Socks calculations, then saw the Golden Globes were on (which means a blessed end to the stupid Joan and Melissa Rivers commercials for a while) and next thing I knew I was trying to decide why my local news anchor was accepting an award for best actor... turns out it was just past my bedtime, and off I went, without updating....

So let's handle that first! We're at 167 socks finished since January 1, 2006. Wow. That puts us at an average of nearly 9.3 socks per day. In order to reach two thousand by December 31, we'd need to finish 5.4 a day, so you can see we're well ahead of the game. In fact, right now we're 8.35% to our goal! Our biggest reporting day so far was Friday, with 31 socks completed! Impressive knitting, gang! I may have to come up with some prizes for milestones (I'm thinking every 500 socks or so) - let me know what you think of that idea, and if you'd like to donate something to that cause. It doesn't have to happen, and it certainly wasn't the intent of this whole experiment, but since we're having so much fun....


I had a lovely weekend, and got to spend the day Saturday with two wonderful ladies that I don't get to see often enough. We meet up about halfway between our homes and spend the day chattering and knitting and laughing and having fun. I brought that sock yarn I spun up last week

I got about halfway up the foot, looked down at it, and the little bugger slapped me across the face, let forth a stream of profanities and swore up and down it was a mitten, not a sock.


By the end of the day, my sock looked like this

(the only yarn changes were on the thumb, where I used obviously just solid green, all the stripes are sheer accidents brilliance in spinning)

I looked at the yarn I had left and decided I likely wouldn't have enough for the cuffs too (so thank goodness the socks are shaped like that, because I wouldn't have had enough for my feet, either) and went to my LYS for some plain black wool to spin into yarn for the cuffs.

No pattern, just out of my wee head.

I shocked that mitten, partly to see if I could get them to full just a little, but they're knit too tightly. I even washed my hands in really hot water with soap, while wearing the mitten, and it didn't felt a smidge. Which is a pretty good thing. The wrist is a bit tight, but can be stretched a little, and is just tricky coming on or off. But I think once I get back to them I'll be happy with the finished project.

Once you get back to them? Why, Amie, would you abandon such an adorable project that could obviously be finished in another day or two?

Well, you see, I read the comments from Friday, and SallyJo had a fantastic idea (yup, it's ALL SallyJo's fault - every last little thing can be blamed on her) that Baby Girl Radiology needed something handknit for her assistance in getting my test results. Soooo...

Yes, I should have done the socks, but I couldn't find my copy of Socks Socks Socks, and there's a free pattern for a hat, which I didn't actually follow because I made some pretty drastic changes, but still. I'll do the ribbing (I'll do a lace ribbing, rather than the plain ribbing in the pattern) in my knitting class today and bring it to him at the office right after.

The yarn I used was rather interesting. I was looking for a machine washable yarn that was three things: a nice pink (check), inexpensive (check), and feels fabulous (double check). I was not looking for yarn that didn't split if you looked at it crosswise, which is fortunate.

It's Plymouth's Sunsette (50 g, 88 yds, 60% Rayon/40% Acryllic, I got it for $4.25 a ball) and it really does feel fantastic - velvety, slick and soft. It also splits like a banana. I rarely have a problem with splitting yarns (I know some do, but it just doesn't happen with me all that often) and this was driving me batty while trying to do the increases. But overall the yarn feels so fabulous I think I would use it again.

Once I've delivered the hat, I have some house cleaning that I want to get started on (I've been too weak to do much of anything around here the past few weeks, and it shows) before I'll allow myself any fiber time. Then I have two half projects to finish up, one of which could be done today. Finishing is a good thing. Starting is bad. (if I keep repeating that, maybe I'll start to believe it....) finishing good, starting bad

finishing good, starting bad

finishing good, starting bad


All done and in the hands of the doctor who was very pleased, and said it was the first baby gift he's gotten! I doubt that's true, but he seemed happy nevertheless.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl Radiology!

The radiologist had his first grandbaby this morning, a little girl.

Because of this, he was late coming in.

Because of this, he was late going home.

Because of this, he was there to view my scan.

Because of this, he was there to give me my results.

Because of this, I can tell you that I am


I won't have to be checked for another year, and the best news is that I CAN EAT REAL FOOD AGAIN!!!!!!

I took a Synthroid in the parking lot, and I'm pulling out some gourmet sheep's milk Feta right now....

I'll talk to you again Monday if I recover from my iodine induced haze.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I've been walking around singing "One Day More" from Les Miz all day, in the hopes to rally my spirits that this miserable diet and lack of synthroid would be over tomorrow. Turns out I should have been singing... I don't know... Neverending Story?

See, despite the fact that I am currently mildly radioactive, having taken four large horsepills of radioactive iodine (that I have to take from a cup, because they don't want my hands touching the pills, so I don't get any on me. That's cute, isn't it? Eat this - but don't touch it! It's dangerous!!!), and despite the fact that I will have the full-body scan done tomorrow, the guy who will actually read the results of the test won't be there. The only time I could have the test, because it has to be 24 hours after taking the pills, is after that guy leaves for the weekend. So no synthroid, no real food, nothing like that for me until Monday at the earliest. Should he bother to call. But if he hasn't called by noon, I'm driving over there and beating him about the head and shoulders with a frozen crab. I can't eat it, what the hell.

Fortunately I was composed enough not to threaten the life of the poor schlub who had to give me those pills, and I even made it to the parking lot before I burst into tears. I would, however, happily, gleefully, and with great joy remove the thyroid of every single person who had anything to do with my scheduling, and not give them any synthroid for almost three weeks, and make sure they followed a strict low-iodine-diet. Fuckers.

It's possible I'm a wee bit cranky.

I did, however, finish some contributions to Two-Thousand-Socks....

That's a pair of socks, the first ever knit for GB. They count as being finished this year because they were a surprise - to both of us. He didn't know I was knitting them, and I didn't know how long his feet are. So after putting them aside until I could bear to look at them, I ripped back to just before the heel and re-did all that. So voila! A pair of socks and it only took 18 months!

The little one is a sample for a class I'm teaching (the cuff-down class that inspired the poll last week) That's what the students will do in class, I was testing the pattern, and I figured I'd make the gusset and heel flap and toe decreases different colors to better illustrate sock anatomy. And I actually really like the colors there.

But now with those socks done I can begin (again) these lovely puppies

I'm hoping to get through at least one pattern repeat tonight during "The Office".

Monday, January 09, 2006


We're 2.8% of the way to our goal! That sounds bad, but we're ahead of the game by .4%. If we averaged about 5.5 socks a day, we'd make our goal (with a little over). At this point, we're averaging 6.3 socks a day! DON"T STOP! I'll report every Monday our rate, since I think most of us get more knitting done on weekends, but of course the ticker will remain across the top. Remember to let others know, so that each sock gets counted (no sock left behind!!!) and don't forget to let me know, via comments here, in the sidebar, or in e-mail!



Now, you'd think I was knitting socks furiously all weekend, but nope. Not a one (I did turn a heel). See, Saturday was St Distaff's Day and like any self respecting spinner, I partied hard in celebration.

I started with this,

which became this

four-ply Dorset, which I think is my first four-ply (I have no memory of doing other four-ply, but with my mind, that's relatively unconvincing evidence).

While that hung in the bathroom "setting" I pulled out the drum carder.

That's when some funky miracles began.

Now, I'm not so good pretty bad embarrassingly inept with the drum carder. Things just never happen the way they do on all the videos I've seen. No one will mistake me for Deb Menz anytime soon.

So I was not surprised when I carded two fibers together and got something completely unexpected. I was surprised that the completely unexpected thing was rather nice. Because my math may be shakey, but it turns out that
Blue Faced Leicester/Border Leicester

equals a soft, cloudy batt that looks like this

And for some reason when you spin that soft, cloudy batt, and subtract some of the neps from over carding, and the clumps from under teasing

You get singles that look like this

And when you ply those singles, you get something that a bit more teal than hunter than this photo would lead one to believe, but still... prrreeeeetttyyyyy....


It's like a mermaid's yarn....

Marriage is love.