Sunday, August 20, 2006

Betty Crocker meets Macguyver (without the icky duct tape)

I've been working like a fiend this week - barely been home even, and when I was there I was desparately trying to keep up with the work I had to do from there. This next week isn't going to get any better until next Sunday either - something major to do each day. So that's why no posts, and why likely no posts this week either. Nothing wrong, just frantic, chaotic, and very busy.

But I had to come on and confess that She-who-should-update-her-blog and Anj were right. Like this should have been a surprise?

See, two MDSWs ago we all bought some mohair/wool bumps of fiber from the same vendor. The two of them were both disappointed when they went home and spun theirs. I had no problems with mine at all. The thing is, we got several different colors among us. For me, the apple green and the multi color was just fine. They kept saying their's didn't feel clean, I kept saying mine was fine.

And then I spun tried to spin up the copper. A glorious, gorgeous, rich coppery color that was just warm and happy to see. And a bit like spinning chewed gum. BLECH. So as a test, I separated some out, and decided to wash it. Hauled out the ole crock pot, the Dawn, not the camera (sorry) and set that puppy (er, goat) to simmer.

When I rinsed it, you'd think I'd been cooking KoolAid for all the color that washed away. Now I have clean mohair that is an orange I would not have bought (pretty, I suppose, for a Halloween pumpkin, but not the amazing copper I paid for).

Well, blast.

In addition to that, I was helping out at Cloverhill this week so they could get some seasonal moves done, and in moving a bit of furniture, one of my very expensive, high class shoes (okay, it was a three dollar flip flop) got caught under the bookshelf and ripped apart. Of course this happened early in the day, and of course there wouldn't be a good time for me to go home and get new shoes. So I thought to myself "what would Macguyver do?"

I tried staples, but that only worked for about an hour before they ripped out again. So the next step was to try to tie the thing back together... if only I had some string or something....

I did eventually figure out the idiocy of thinking "if only I had some string or something" while standing in a yarn shop, grabbed some scraps that even matched the no-longer-flipping flop and tied it back together.

I felt very special all day.

Even thought I'm down eight ounces of fiber and one three dollar flop.

And now I gotta run - teaching a long spinning class today!

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

My baby sister is six months old today.

Shame she's not growing at all, eh?

In other news, I have a sneaking suspicion Oscar has been bit by a snake. His ear got very red and rashy this weekend (of course, the vet was closed) and after much careful cleaning and spraying with Bactine (which he did NOT like) and massaging with Neosporin (which Aslan liked very much) it's signficantly less red and rashy right now. And a close inspection showed two small puncture wounds right next to each other on the back of his ear.

So maybe it was a vampire.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I come by it honest...

I'm of Scottish, Irish, Italian and English descent.
These are not peoples known for giving up easily.*

So when I'm borrowing a friend's wheel to play on a double drive and figure out the hard way that an Ashford Traveller's bobbins are significantly smaller than a Lendrum's bobbins, I do my ancestors proud, and I do not give up.

I pack the bobbin beyond an inch of its life.

And when I discover that this new-to-me wheel puts a different amount of twist in than I'm used to, and I don't really see just how much until I go to ply and I'm unhappy with the results, I do my ancestors proud ... again.

I ply it again.

Why, yes, you can get four ounces of yarn on a Traveller bobbin, why do you ask?

This is finished now, and lovely and yummy and soft and pretty.

It's going to an unsuspecting victim in the mail, I think, though it's going to be hard to say goodbye... fortunately I still have 4 more oz in this colorway with which to console myself.

And thanks to all of you who purchased the Toto,Too pattern. If you haven't yet, you can click on this link or the one over in the sidebar and get your own. What you do with him once you've made him is your own business. You could even make all the patrons of the Borders cafe look at your knit group a little funny because of the weird thing you're doing to a stuffed toy in a public establishment, right, Mama?

You are welcome to wear it as a hat, and no one ever has to know.

You can make him a friend for someone you love.

Or you can make innocent little puppy eyes and cuddle up with him all on your own.

Don't forget, one dollar of every sale will go to this lovely young lady here:

*we may be stubborn, but we make good tea.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Horse of a Different Color

Somewhere over the rainbow, a little girl doesn't feel very well.

She has a sister, and a mommy, and a daddy, and hundreds of friends who all love her very much, but still, she doesn't feel well.

And at three years old, she doesn't understand why. She doesn't understand that a cancer is attacking her blood, and that the chemo that makes her feel so horrible is needed to save her life.

All she really knows is that she loves to watch The Wizard of Oz over and over and over again, and she names her favorite stuffed animal "Toto" so she can take a little bit of that movie with her everywhere.

You could see why she might want to do that, right? Why she might relate to a young girl who's thrown into a scary world with a few friends to help her along the way?

I could.

And when Toto went missing one day (as toys of little girls are wont to do) I decided she needed a new friend. I couldn't replace the old one, of course, but I could make something soft and cuddly and warm and filled with love and prayers.

So I did.

And I'm told the first thing she said when she saw it (before being told his name) was "Wow! That is a great Toto!"

I started this thinking of Samantha
- and discovered after the fact that purple is her favorite color (whew!). But as I worked, I realized I wanted to do more. So you can make Toto, Too!

If you purchase the pattern, I'll donate a dollar to Samantha's Light the Night team. I'll do that no matter how few or many patterns sell. If you'd rather just give directly to Samantha's Light the Night team you can do that at the site linked there. I thank you for that.

Also, Samantha and her family are having a lemonade sale this weekend to help raise funds. If you're in the Columbia MD area, please consider dropping by.

Toto, Too

*Less than 130 yds each of two colors of Muench Touch Me,
I used Silver & Medium Bright Purple

*Less than 35 yards each of two colors of Paton's Cha-Cha,
I used Night Club & Disco. (or 1 ball of one color, knitter's choice)

*5mm needles in whatever method you choose to knit small circumfrences
(most of Toto is knit flat, but you can work the whole project on one set of needles)

*Less than 8 oz machine washable stuffing (actual amount will vary according to your desired firmness)
I used FiberFill

*Optional: fabric in coordinating colors for use as lining pre-stuffing.

Remember, one dollar from every purchase will go to Samantha's Light the Night team


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Some more details...

This is 4 oz of Amy-Boogie's Waternymphs roving, spun up with no regard to color placement. It's yummy, lovely, luscious stuff. So yummy, lovely, luscious, that I got more.

Here's some of the more - 4 oz in progress of her Poison colorway. It's done now, but we keep having power outages (which takes me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out when I'm working on a laptop) and I haven't been able to get the finished skein of 252 yds uploaded. This was a three-ply, and the first time I've split the roving lengthwise to attempt color-balence. It worked okay, but not perfectly. I like the resulting yarn, and I've got more of this colorway, so I may try again, more carefully. Or I may not. I'm crazy like that.

This is some of my favorite sock yarn - Schaefer Anne. Really amazing, a joy to work with, terrific colors and extremely generous yardage (I could possibly get two pair for my tiny feet out of one hank). The whole time I work with it I sit there saying "wow, I love this yarn". This color is actually a deep, rich, orange, not red, but Schaefer's colors are all terrific. And you know how some brands tend to be all bright, or all pastels? These run the whole stretch.

I can't help it, I see garish, glaringly bright Dale yarn, I want preppy fair isle socks.

This is part of a little project I'm doing for Mama E because I love her so much. It's one-eighth of a project that is one-third done.

A top you'll see more of in the future, one of my own design. I was tickled pink (no pun intended) that I found beads that exactly match the two yarns there, old Katia (I believe discontinued) cotton. I haven't done a beaded design before, but I walked past someone on the street wearing a top in the shape this will become, and it sparked me. This will be very different from that one, but I'm excited about it now. I say now because I tend to hate my designs when I'm done with them, but I'm still in the early fantasy phase with this, so I'm looking forward to the progression.

Still more Amy-Boogie's roving - this is Mermaid. It's just a two ply, though I'm not sure why, because I don't care for two ply yarns. But I like the way it turned out, and if I remember next time there's power I'll offer some pretty amusing photos as proof of my stubbornness. Let's just say I have proof you can in fact fit four ounces of yarn on a bobbin that claims to be much smaller. And I can do it twice.

I believe this will make some lovely winter gloves for me. It's a wool/angora/teensy-bit-of-angelina blend (the angelina is what makes the sparkles, Suzie, it's sometimes called firestar as well). I'm working up a blend of just white angora and more angelina for a third ply, and then I'll have a soft, warm, slightly sparkly, fine yarn for gloves.

This is super cool stuff. A few weeks ago, I went to my favorite LYS (who happens to now employ me as a teacher) with Laura to help her try out wheels. While we were there, we saw a huge bag of intriguing stuff and asked Chris about it. She told us she'd found it in her storage at home and doesn't remember how much she paid for it, but if I wanted she'd sell me the whole lot for $10. Nineteen and a half ounces, baby.
Oh, and what is it? Wool blended with shredded blue jeans.
Could you plotz?
I know, it's way cool, and SO fun to play with. I'm not usually a fan of the novelties, but this is really a blast.
Plus, I discovered my mother is possibly color blind, as she couldn't guess what it was, and when I said the color was a giveaway, she said "sheep colored?"
So now everytime my spinning group wants to know about something blue, they say "you know, the sheep colored stuff".

And this???

Well, you'll have to come back tomorrow night to find out more about this....

Tuesday, August 01, 2006



See? I've been busy!

Marriage is love.