Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My first attempt at knitting lace

It's fun to do but something tells me I need a lot more practice at it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Murphy's Laws updated

1- The husband has found a job. YEAH!
2- He sprang for a new computer for me so I can sell stuff online (windows 7 is so much nicer than windows 2000). YEAH!
3- The microwave is fixed. YEAH!



Friday, December 9, 2011

I have met Murphy and he has laws.

I think he's taken up residents in my house.

A few weeks ago, on Ravelry, while we were posting things that we were thankful for, I posted that I was thankful for having a roof over my head and a bed under it.
Shortly after that, my husband lost his job and with it, our only source of income.

To try to help ends meet, I decided to open an Etsy shop and sell fiber. I downloaded the USPS shipping helper program but it didn't work. I tried upgrading Firefox in the hopes it would work, and, it killed my 12 year old operating systems ability to access the internet.

And the icing on the cake? We had a tiny, non-programmable microwave. It was the size meant for a coffee cup and it only had an on/off feature. My mother took pity on us and bought the family a huge one for Christmas. I just tried baking a potato with the 'potato' feature and I set the potato on fire and broke the turn table plate for the microwave.

I think I'm going to start charging Murphy rent. Maybe he'll buy me a computer so I don't have to borrow one to to make money. Or a new microwave. I get the feeling he won't be helping DH get a job.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My birthday cakes

I'm not quite sure why she made two cakes, but my daughter was hard at work last night making our dessert for tonight.

Spice cake with cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

The flowers are made from chocolate and caramel candies. I love both cakes. They remind me of the 70's.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

When does your 'workplace' become your 'studio'?

Why do I love drum carders?

Because they take a compressed mass of mess and turn it into something soft and fluffy.

I was working in my workplace/studio..thing all day today and had to stare at this.
I've been hungry for peas, carrots, and red bell peppers all day now. Thank goodness I got out of there before I set the blue up to dry or I would have had to run out and get blueberries too!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Exciting news.. for me anyway.

Remember this post?

Well, that was all about this:

My mother received a nice sum of money that she didn't even know was owed her and was generous enough to share with several members of the family. After pondering long and hard I decided to use it like this.

Kaydessa Wool picker
Fancy Kitty drum carder
Card Weaver's Surf Board.

Can you see me doing The Dance Of Joy now?

The Kaydessa Wool picker is pretty neat in theory.
You put your compacted fiber in one end, drag the lid (containing multiple sharp nails) across the bottom (also containing multiple sharp nails), and as you do this you catch the fiber which opens it up to become nice fluffy mounds on the other end while all the vegetable matter (VM)is left in the bottom.
That's how it works in theory. The top picture is staged. You can't draw that much fiber through at one time. Also, that mohair was so compacted with tight curls that I had to pick it open with my fingers before sending it through so the picker didn't tear the fiber. The nice fluffy mound of fiber on the right hand side of the picker was hand picked once and sent through the picker twice after that. While it did help remove a lot of VM, there is so much of it in this fleece that I had to hand pick it once, send it through the picker twice, hand pick it again before drum carding it and still there was a pile of VM under the carder when I was done while the new bat contains too much VM for my liking. This is not the fault of the picker though. This fleece is terrible in it's amount of VM. So much so that I'm not buying from this local "award winning" shepherdess again.
Anyway, with a long fiber like mohair, the picker tends to pull and rip the fiber too much. I tried it with a small amount of merino/targhee x and it pilled terribly. I'm going to have to play around with this thing more to see what it likes to work with. I don't mind hand picking smaller amounts of fiber but, even with it's flaws, the Kaydessa wool picker will come in handy with 5 VM filled mohair fleeces to work with.

The Fancy Kitty 90/120 drum carder
This is what I thought I'd never be able to afford. It's taking some getting used to, and there's certainly more of a learning curve than when using combs, but it sure plows through large amounts of fiber in short order. In this picture I've carded some professional top, dyed by me, and some more of that mohair, also dyed by me. Orange and blue are not my usual colors but there's something about a drum carder that begs you to play outside your usual field.
I've carded two bats of this same blend and hope to knit some sock/slipper things with it.

My favorite purchase, by far, was the Card Weaver's Surf Board.
Please excuse the messy picture. It's sitting on top of my floor loom which was piled high with clothes sorted for an emergency trip out of state for a family funeral.
Anyway, I love this little thing. No more having to strap my work to my waist, or try to find a table or other surface that won't be needed for as long as it takes to finish a project. I LOVE this thing. There are a few things I would change about it but just the fact that it's light weight and oh-so portable makes it's well worth the money. There will be a lot more tablet woven bands around here now.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lose a crock pot - gain a dye pot

When the lid to my 7 quart crock pot bit the dust, I couldn't just throw the whole crock pot away. "Crock pot" doesn't sell replacement lids, and the way the handle broke off would mean super glue could potentially melt into our food if I tried to glue it back on.

This crock pot has been relegated to the basement as a dye pot and I'm having so much fun using it like this.

6oz total of merino/targhee x, finn/dorst/targhee x, and some cormo thrown in for good measure.
I pre-soaked the merino/targhee separately because that was the only fleece of this combination that wasn't coated and was full of VM (vegetable matter).
I used Country Classics dye in the Bluebonnet colorway.
I dyed it in two batches. I wouldn't want to try to dye more than 4oz at a time in this pot. Then I dried it on the sweater rack...
and when it was barely dry, spun up a tiny sample skein and plied it with some natural white finn/dorset/targhee x. I love this little yarn and have decided that I need to dye more of this color and ply it with more natural white because, this dye job has been slated for plying with more of Fiber Fancy's Weekend Enjoyment. Hopefully it will be a scarf that looks like just the light blue end of this one.
We both like the light blue end of this scarf better and now I have enough of the light blue to make a whole scarf like that.

By the way, if you've never tried dyeing your own fiber, it's very addictive.
This is more finn/dorset/targhee x in pine green. I have merino/targhee x in raven cooling down right now so I can dye the mohair that's been soaking over night to become what ever color strikes my fancy this morning.

eta: This is VERY addicting and if it keeps up, I'm going to have an excuse a reason for buying more fleece.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fiber play & Autumn fun

The "Enjoying the Weekend Blues Scarf" is finished!
It ended up being just over 7 feet long! I was going to knit until I ran out of yarn but it was getting ridiculously long so I cast off. It's nice and soft and warm though. I hope my sister likes it.

The only thing left I have to make for Christmas is the Plums and Olives scarf, which I'm spinning now. I'll block both scarves at the same time and make life a little easier on myself.

Fuggly is almost finished. He's the perfect size for sleeping on the couch so I'm keeping him long and narrow. He's about two and a half times the width of that picture but he's just more of the same ugly acrylic yarn so I'll wait to take a final/final picture. All I have left to do is crochet a boarder but I'm happy leaving him as is for now. What I really need to work on is my son's afghan in black, grey, and red. Not colors I'm looking forward to knitting, and I'm using Red Heart Super Save yarn (ick) but he needs some winter warmth. I've started knitting it in the same pattern I used for the Enjoying the Weekend Blues Scarf. It breaks up the monotony a little bit without making it so hard that I can't concentrate on it while I'm watching tv.

The weaving bug has bitten again and I've been weaving little squares with leftovers.
I'm really not happy with my little handmade looms though. I'm thinking I may just have to take all the junk that's accumulated on my floor loom (it's an automatic coat rack & table for taking pictures of my projects) and get someone to help me move my huge warping board to a place where I can use it and have a go at a larger weaving project.

Something totally unrelated:

Some of my kids still love the holiday. My daughter looks forward to it all month. This year she made adorable little cupcakes.
This one's my favorite.

She carved an awesome pumpkin
I just realized we didn't get a picture of my youngest son's pumpkin. I'll have to get one before it gets icky.

And, along with her sister-in-law became a Silent Hill nurse. That link will take you to a creepy/violent video. Be forewarned.
They both love the movie and games (as does my oldest son). I just find it very disturbing.

Last but not least, our walk in the park yesterday.

Credit: Cara took the last two pictures.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Plums and Olives in merino and viscose

I'm kicking myself right now because I forgot to take a before picture.
For reference, and for as long as it's up, I got this fiber from Fiber Fancy and the picture can be seen here.

After doing a little test knit, I've decided to keep it single ply and knit a scarf for my mother.

I really need to take the time to learn how to N-ply so I can keep colors together with a 2ply. This would be "SO Soft N Fuffy!" and gorgeous if it were a N-ply.

I'm still working on my other knitted scarf as well as Fugly. I just get bored too easily and need to move on to other projects every once in a wile. These two scarves WILL be done by Christmas though. If they're not then...well I'll think of something to threaten myself with.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I have just spent a scary amount of money.
Exciting news to come!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Why I don't watch television

So, my oldest son came over to the house with some DVDs. "This is a great show mom, you'll love it" he said. I made him watch Dr. Horrible recently, so I let him pop in the first episode of the first season of Supernatural.

One month later I have gotten through the first 5 seasons and I've turned into a soggy weeping puddle on the floor. Dang, good shows like this pull you in and then tear your heart out through you're eye socket, run over it with a truck, fillet it with a spoon, and then shove it back in sideways and they still expect you to function like a normal human being?

I get far to emotionally attached to characters like this. I've bought the 6th season (my son only had up to the 5th), and I'll have to quick watch all of that before the 7th starts airing this month. But before that, I'll be re-watching the 5th season with my daughter, who is also a huge fan but couldn't watch 5th season with me because she's been out of town all week.

Needles to say, no crafting done this past week. I can't knit, spin, weave, or do anything when I watch this show. I'm either on the edge of my seat, throwing something at the tv, or running for a box of kleenex. I'll return to all that fun crafty stuff after we've gotten caught up and I have to suffer through a week between episodes.

So, who else watches this show?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Enjoying the weekend blues

I've finished spinning the fibers "enjoying the weekend" and "blue gradient" and picked out a simple knitting pattern.

It'll get progressively darker as I get further along because I started on the light end of the blue gradient.

I will still have some singles of "weekend enjoyment" left for my woven afghan too. I love the colors in this. I really need to learn how to n-ply so I can keep colors together.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My poor old house

This morning a road crew/gas crew started changing out the gas lines in front of our house. They're also moving our gas meter from inside our basement to a new meter on the outside of the house.

I got a huge kick out of 5 tough men in hard hats and tool belts being more fascinated with my spinning wheel than how they were going to move the meter outside.

That almost makes up for the fact that they have dug up my front yard, back yard, front side walk, back alley, and driveway and are now pounding on the foundation of the house so hard that it feels as if the house will tumble like a house of cards.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

More than a nice scarf

Like I said in my last post, I thought two fibers plied together would make a nice scarf.
I wasn't wrong. After spinning and plying half the fiber (4oz), I thought I should knit some up just to make sure I was happy with it before I continued spinning it all this way. I spun and plied it very loosely and thicker than my comfort zone allows. I wasn't sure it would even hold together and I needed to decide if I wanted to ply all of it together or make sections of one pure color interspersed with the plied colors.
I shouldn't have worried. This yarn so SO soft and yummy and I love how the colors are turning out. If I had a couple pounds of this stuff I'd be making a sweater for myself. This was supposed to be just a test swatch but I couldn't sleep last night and got a little carried away.

I think I'm tempted to stop knitting up the merino/tencel and un-ply it to see if I can make it softer. It's too crunchy for my liking and I know it's from over plying because the singles I had left over are soft. I'm learning that it really pays to test knit my yarn while I'm still learning how to spin. I'll see what I can do with it once I've gotten this one finished.

Monday, August 8, 2011

And in this corner...

Fiberfancy's merino/bamboo/silk along with
Friendsinfiber's BFL/silk
together will make
A nice scarf.

I'm finding it very hard to find time to knit or spin lately. My 14 year old daughter has found out the wonderfulness that is the Beatles, and we've been enjoying their music, movies, and even the goofy Beatles cartoons I loved as a kid. She even has a favorite that just happens to be mine as well. I love that we both get along with each other so well.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I never did follow directions well

In my last post I told myself that I needed to pick a pattern and spin specifically for that, since I suck so much at knitting.

So of course I went on to knit something without a pattern.

This is the 2 ply lace that I spun for tdf this year. It's just the basic knit stitch and with 500+ yards I figure I should have enough yarn to make it a decent length. Hopefully the pretty colors will make up for my lack of knitting well.

Speaking of tdf, I won up to 10 patterns from KTLV! I figure it will be years before I'm good enough to knit any of them, but hey, I won something!

Monday, August 1, 2011

How much yarn could a non knitter knit if a non knitter could knit yarn.

A scarf that's only 26 inches long?
And I ran out of yarn before I could balance the end with the beginning, so if I were to keep it as a scarf type thingy I'd have to undo the last several inches to balance it.
Maybe I could sew it together as ear warmers?

I think my best bet, for next time, is to have a pattern planned and spin for that. Still I'll have to have a vague idea of how many yards you get per ounce.

The deconstruction of a scarf-type-thingy
This was once this
Which was once this
Which began it's life as this

It's always nice to look back and see how I much I can screw something up, don't you think?

No, I'm not really upset. This was a lesson I needed to learn AND, I got to use my little right side/wrong side sheep!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Post tdf

About half way into the tour I kept wishing I could wrap yarn around needles and MAKE something with some of this finished yarn. Now that there's time to do that
I'm reminded that I really suck at it.

Oh well. This blog will also be used to document my journey into the world of learning how to knit.

Because I'm not using a pattern I'll write it down now before I have to stop knitting and forget what it is I'm trying to do.
1-9 k
10-15 k3 p5 k3 p5 k3 p5 k3 p5 k3
16-18 k
19 - ? repeat 10-18
end with repeat 1-9 at end of yarn.
I'm hoping there's enough yarn to make a decent scarf.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

tdf day 23

I had to get pictures taken and posted here so I can post them to the tour board before I lost the light so, I'll get the complete pictures tomorrow.

Everything I've spun for Tour de Fleece 2011 except the skein of Leicester Longwool (it went missing ?!) and a little skein of Phat Fiber June box that I'm still plying. Total weight 1 pound 7.6 ounces (23.6 ounces). 1971 total yards spun.

All of the yarn (except that elusive Leicester Longwool & the Polworth that I forgot to include) that was spun for the Spinner's Study team.

All of the yarn (except the one I'm still plying) that was spun for the Phat Fiber team. 14.5 ounces.

All of the yarn was spun and plied on spindles for the Spindle team.

This has been an incredible experience for me. It was my first tour and I learned so much. I learned that it takes time, not only to do the spinning, but to keep the team boards updated and follow their rules. I learned to not be so afraid of the prettiness that I've bought. I know sheep will always make more wool but that doesn't mean I can afford it. I learned a little bit about colors and how they change when plied. By spinning 9 different types of wool I learned how different fibers react to being spun and how I react to them. I learned how many hours it takes to spin 4 ounces of fiber (and even that, how many hours each different type of fiber it takes to spin it), and through the support of the other team mates I've learned not to be afraid to show my less than perfect yarns.

It's been a good time and I'll be excited to do this next year as well.

watched: Dirty Jobs marathon


And if the tour didn't make me create enough yarn....
I had to pick this out and start spinning. What is the saying about it taking three weeks to form a habit? Well I guess it's better for me than smoking.