Friday, June 29, 2007

Note to self...

Apparently, when they say "Contents under pressure may explode", by "contents" they mean "the shave gel" and by "pressure" they mean "temperatures above 100 degrees F"

....and by "may explode" they mean this


Well, when your hovel is a small tin box and the power goes, it gets nice and warm pretty quick. I was giving a cranky Oscar sponge baths because he was bordering on overheating, Trevor was just melted all over the place, and Aslan decided that was the best time to cuddle (there's something wrong with his internal thermostat, I swear).

Ten balmy hours later, at 2:30 in the morning, the power came back on, and my snugglebum kitty decided to hog all the cool.

(you can ignore the clothes strewn sexily behind him. It wasn't sexy at all, it was desparation. You may, instead, enjoy the little windblown fuzz on him, which is way cuter an image.)

Once the power was back and I was able to move more than three inches from a fan, I finished spinning this three ply BFL. I forgot to take an attractively posed photo of it, so here it is dripping dry in my (now shave-cream-less) shower.

Pardon the blurriness, it refused to stay still for the photo.

I rushed to ply that up because spinning is tonight and plying can be tempermental in a group. So tonight at spinning I'll bring along this 8 oz braid.

80% wool, 20% cashmere, and if you look close you can see trace elements of Aslan (it's pretty impossible to keep him away from goat fibers) I'm thinking it will become gloves and a hat, hard as it is to imagine that in this heat...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tired Bee

I've been crazy busy the past week or so, and that meant that today needed to be a day of nothingness. It took me all day to get some fabric loosely cut for a project, and it was a pretty darn small quantity for all the drama. I didn't want to knit, I didn't want to spin, I wanted to sleep. So I did a good bit of that, too. Feeling better now, so hopefully I'll be up for working again tomorrow.

A week ago I took a finishing class with Lucy Neatby. I knit a lot in the round, and so don't get as much finishing practice as I'd need to be truly happy with my work. Plus, I've tried lots of different ways to set in sleeves, and never really been happy. Thanks to this little beauty, that problem is solved - found a new way to seam stitch tops to stitch sides that had me giddy and Lucy blushing (this may have also been caused by my saying to her "I know you're otherwise involved, and I am too, but I'm a little bit in love with you right now.")

On that little blob there's a steek (which I've done - no qualms about hacking into knit fabric here), the heavenly sleeve set-in, the self-reinforcing buttonhole (new to me, but I might use again) and... uh... something else... oh - a different way of explaining grafting.

I've been continuing work on the fun green sock that Emily dyed for me, and also working on this - my first (and quite probably last) top-down raglan. It feels like it's going SO much slower than bottoms up. But I'm only 8907675 rows from the fun part of the pattern. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. But the pattern will get fun soon (my own design) and I'm hoping it works out to be as cool as it is in my head. I really like that tweedy oatmeal kinda yarn - it reminds me of aged parchment scrolls. Not that it looks even a little bit impressive here.

But maybe you can help me out? I got the yarn in a swap last year sometime, and have stuck in my head that she said it was "Maggie" yarn, but none of the balls have labels anymore. And Google is bringing up lots of lovely knitters named Maggie, but no yarn by that name. Anyone have any idea why I think that's its name?

In other news, Oscar got a new harness to try for walks, and I am blown-away impressed with it. If he's focussed, he's not too bad with me, but he's strong enough that if something exciting runs by he can pull me over (and drag me several feet, if he's really motivated). That hurts. We tried the Halt-ee head collar, and he can get out of it in under ten seconds. Hates it (and frankly, I'm not crazy about the look, since it looks like a muzzle and that implies dangerous dog, which he's not, and I don't want to encourage others' belief that he is). So I tried this Gentle Leader Easy Walk Harness and LOVE it.

I was a bit skeptical - having the leash attach to the front didn't make sense to me, and it looks odd on, since it fits lower on the shoulders than I'm used to. But the explanation they give is that when the leash attaches to the back (as is the norm) it encourages the dog's pull instinct - what makes sled dogs do what they do. When you attach the leash to the front, when he goes off track, the harness redirects him, rather than causing him to pull harder. For the first time ever, I walked Oscar with only two small tugs to my arm, which were immediately and easily redirected, and the rest of the walk the leash was so loose it was dragging on the ground between us. He wasn't upset or frustrated, and wore the harness around the house perfectly happy - absolutely no signs of discomfort or anything that would make me think he was bothered by the new method. So this was just our first walk, and it was short, but I just might be a full convert to this method.

(hmmm... I bought mine at Petsmart for the same price listed there, but it wasn't reflective and didn't come with the leash... I may return mine and buy the one I linked to!)

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I got a lovely package in the mail on Thursday, promptly (well, a few short hours later) took photos of the loot... and then went back to my life, apparently forgetting that the blog doesn't update itself. Hm.

Anyway, here it is, in all its glory.
My Knitter's Tea Swap bounty from Emily.

You see there tons of great teas - a lemon tea (LOVE lemon!), an apple tea, some black tea and some spiced tea that must smell pretty amazing because Trevor is offering to sell his soul if I'll just let him chew on the plastic. There are also two boxes of soft yummy cookies, a sinfully rich vanilla honey, a tape measure which is already in my knitting bag, and a cat (which didn't come in the box, but is in the background there).

Good stuff.

Did I forget anything?

Um. Well, she also sent some yarn, which was cast on practically before it was unwrapped. STUNNING. Terrific color, terrific hand, and I got halfway through a sock before forcing myself to be responsible and go back to the knitting that I have to do for work... her yarn will be car knitting for a trip to see my brother tonight.

But I wasn't kidding about the color - take a look:

And to boot, she dyed it herself. Do you have any idea how tricky it is to dye yarn in a way that it looks virtually the same on the hank as on the fabric? I do - it ain't easy. This was either sheer luck, or sheer brilliance. I'm going with brilliance.

Thank you, Emily! I hope you're half as thrilled with the package I sent you!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Spinning on World-wide Knit in Public Day

Every year, The Mannings has a Spinning Day with lots of demonstrations and fun. Being good little knitters and spinners, we went to play, and being a not-particularly good little blogger, I've had to restart the computer five times to get this far into the post. Grrr.

Anyway, no day at a farm focussed on spinning and knitting would be complete without these balls of cuteness.
SO sweet and snuggly, I got slobbered on a good bit (for some reason sheep and horse slobber makes me happy, dog slobber irks me. Go figure.)
Anyway, it was a gorgeous day, nearly ten degrees cooler than the day before, but even so, a bit warm for a heavy wool coat.

So something was done about that.
It wasn't actually done very well, the poor little guy had quite a few battle wounds, and ruined the fleece to boot, but he looked a little happier once he was a naked sheep.

There were sweet alpaca that I still think would have fit in Coleen's car on the way home (I wanted the black and the dark brown ones)

and teenager-y llama's that rolled their eyes at Jolene (they sensed the motherhood vibe from her)

a scruffy beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat almost as cute as the one I have at home

note: the local wegie disagrees and wants to point out how well his eyes match this yarn

A tiny grey kitty that would have fit in Jolene's purse if he weren't so squirmy

and his orange/buff brother

ahem - kittens are fast
Take 2

Afterwords the big rowdy group of us (6 in all) went to a diner where we completely astounded our waitress. She looked a bit taken aback by nearly everything we said, which is likely why we all completely forgot to have her take the photo of our self-portraits, drawn on the back of our paper placemats. In liu of that art, I leave you sheepy sculptures.

Oh, and since we weren't allowed to smuggle home any alpaca (or kittens), I brought this small haul home. The book found it's way to my via Jolene, who still has the copy I loaned her, although now slightly coffee-colored. There's also a small kit for a knitting basket ornament, because I seem to have a slight knitting-themed-ornament obsession, and nearly four thousand yards of laceweight cotton. 3,800 yards, to be more precise. And it cost FIVE FREAKING DOLLARS. Two large shawls worth, for FIVE FREAKING DOLLARS. Blow me down.

P.S. ~
A very Happy Anniversary to two people who showed me what marriage is all about.... My parents have been married well over seven-hundred years, and haven't killed each other yet.

Friday, June 01, 2007


It's obviously still a work in progress (and my part of that work is greatly slowed by my computer issues) but here's just one of the things I've been working on in the past months. It will continue to grow, and will feature videos for all the techniques as well (and if you've got any techniques you're dying to see, please let me know and I'll see if I can get them up there!) but here you have it - Mingled Yarn.


(and tell my brother what a great job he's doing on the technical side of getting it all together!)

Marriage is love.