Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Great Upheval

Interesting times around here.  Mister has been sick.  Sick sick.  It started last week with a toothache that pretty much wiped him out.  Now the problem is we do not have dental insurance.  We get health insurance through his university program it is top notch.  He began calling places last Thursday and of course could not get in.  With the holiday on Monday, it seems a lot of health care providers took a mini-vacation.  We called the low cost clinic and they could see him at th end of March.

We have an appointment for him tomorrow for a friend's dentist and for his own doctor.  His toothache has subsided and we found what maybe the true problem - a raging, funky, aggressive sinus infection.  With him being out of commission, I've been trying to keep him and the house from falling apart solo.

Confession time.  With Mister sick, I've been a little bit very freaked out lately.  Since my dad got so sick and then died, I'm still processing his loss.  Any sort of sickness now touches my fight or flight reflex.  I know intellectuality things are okay, but my animal brain/emotional brain isn't coping well.

Not much spinning going on or knitting.  I did begin spinning up what I hope will be a companion yarn to the alpaca that I posted last week.  Yesterday, I drove Mister to work and spent the time while he was teaching knitting in the lobby.  I finished the heel flap, heel turn, picked up stitches for the gusset and began the decrease while he was teaching.  Perhaps my most productive knitting in a week.  I finished Mister's first sock in a week, but this match seems to be a two week sock.

It seems a lot of the people close to me are having a rough go of it now too.  Lots of illness, injury and just all around hard time.  Sending good thoughts and prayers for all you who are struggling.  I hear you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Etsy Listings

I've listed two skeins of handspun yarn this morning.  They were hard to let go, but really - how much knitting can I do?






My store has been updated a bit this month.  In addition to the two skeins of yarn, I also added a hand knotted pearl necklace this week.  It is hard to say what I love to do more - make jewelry or make yarn.  All my crafts give me pleasure.  Maya's Veil Etsy Store

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.  Today I head off for a spin in.  What is a spin in?  A bunch of spinners pack up their fiber, wheels, drop spindles and gather together for an afternoon for spinning, talking and a lot of fun.  I love to hear the collective whirl of wheels.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday's post on a Friday

Yesterday wasn't a good day.  It was rather hellish to be truthful.  I ended up going to bed at 8 pm and sleeping until 8 am this morning.  Exhasution took its toll and my body demanded some respite.

So I'll bring your Thursday's post today.

Remember the colorful alpaca fiber that I was working on?  Well it's finished and it's lovely.

Top: 2 ply fingering weight - approximately 141 yards. 
Bottom: 8 yards - chain ply (Navajo) ply - bobbin remainder.

I think I'll spin up some alpaca/wool fiber that I have in a pretty light blue to add to this yarn.  I'd like to knit it into a shawl.  I'll start working on that this weekend.  As soon as I finish Mister's Mardi Gras socks I can start on that project.

I'm getting ready to list some handspun yarn on my Etsy sight as well.  Look for it in a few days.  Here is a sneak preview:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Introducing....

Miss Crabtree


Yes, readers, my search is over.  A couple of nice people on Ravelry helped me out and now I have two bumps of this lovely fiber.  Miss Crabtree is in the queue for spinning this week.  I'm working on finishing that lovely purpleish fiber I showed you previously.  I had hoped to post pictures today, but I lost part of yesterday.  Valentine's Day and all.

I am thinking that Miss Crabtree will be spun for a shawl.  I'm currently pouring over patterns in hopes of finding the perfect one.  My fingers are itching to get started.

Monday, February 14, 2011

For my valentine

Two years ago I asked this incredible person to marry me.  Actually, I accidentally asked him to marry me.  He said yes and marry we did.

Frank Lloyd Wright Kraus Home - Kirkwood, Missouri
Photo taken during a Valentine's Day present tour.  Mister and I had a guided tour of many of the homes in Oak Park, IL during our honeymoon.  When I found out there was a local home here with tours available, I jumped at it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Knitting and Spinning Selections

I thought I'd take this time to share with readers some resources that I've found to be of use.  While spending the hours spinning away I've discovered many podcasts!  Here are few of my favorite (in no particular order):

Spin Doctor Podcasts - English professor reviews, shares tips and news on all things spinning.  From the website description, "SpinDoctor is a bi-weekly podcast hosted by Sasha Torres that reviews products, services, events and information for those passionate about spinning their own yarn.  It focuses primarily on spinning equipment, fiber and books, but it also covers fiber festivals, fiber processing companies, and information sources for spinners like DVDs and blogs."


Yarnspinners Tales's Podcast - Covering a range of topics - how to, reviews, dyeing fiber, plying, and spinning different fibers.  Be sure to check out the color theory lessons.


Knitmore Girls Podcasts - Mother & daughter team up to talk knitting, patterns, events, troubles and triumphs.


Of course there are so many website that I love too.  Here are a few you should know about.


Photo.Knit.Dog. - Lina is a gorgeous knitter, photographer and knitwear designer.  I get very excited when my Reader alerts me that she has posted a new blog post.  Check out her blog soon - she has a contest going on!

Yarn Harlot - if you are a knitter, you have to know about Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

Knitty - free patterns, reviews, articles, blogs, etc.  A super source for really great patterns.  Did I mention that they have great free patterns?

Spindlicity - A great all around resource - how to, project show and tell, reviews and articles of interest to spinners.


I'm spinning this weekend and working on knitting Mister's Mardi Gras socks.  I can't wait to share the results with you.  Coming up next Tuesday: fiber and some spinning victories.  Have a lovely weekend, readers!  I'll leave you with extreme herding.  I promise you I get a little teary each time I see this video.  As a former border collie handler, I'm just in awe of these dogs.





Thursday, February 10, 2011

Creating

My All Spun Up mystery fiber arrived.  Getting an accurate photo has proved to be a bit of a challenge.  The fiber is just lovely - purple, blues, greens and whites.  Lofty and full of life, I can't wait to spin it up.  In fact, I've started.

Spinning All Spun Up's Feb/March Spin Along fiber, Enchanted - Alpaca/Merino/Silk blend fiber.

The fiber starts off like this - tightly bundled in a bump.
Then I unbundled it to look at the colors and develop a plan.



The plan is to divide the fiber into two, draft (stretch the fibers apart) and spin them into singles (one thread per bobbin).  I'm doing this to elongate the color sections and really make them pop.  After I spin the two bobbins, I'll then ply them together.  The plan is to spin a lace/sock weight yarn.  We'll see what the fiber wants to do.
 I'd like to to become a shawl if I have enough yardage.  

Pre-drafting - spreading the fibers out.

More drafting - the result a lofty pile of color!  

The beginning of a single.

Want to see more - check back!  I'm still spinning...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Finish It Up!

I have finished my first pair of socks!  TaDa!


Slippery Socks
Yarn: Ancient Threads Sockittome

 I will send my photos into The Loopy Ewe as I've now completed the challenge.  These socks were a challenge too!  The cable was tiny, the needles were tiny (2.25 mm) and the act of making socks challenging.  I have room to grow too.  On my insteps tiny ladders have formed - I need to figure out a way to correct this in the future.  My first sock is also way tighter than my second.  My tension on my yarn was too tight due to lack of experience.  I also spent most of the knitting of the first sock fighting with bamboo needles.  These needles and this yarn were not a good combination - grabby, grabby, grabby!  Ugh.  I was so glad when I finally broke down and purchased steel needles.  They made for a much more enjoyable knitting experience.

Since I finished the sock, I have been wearing them for a time here and there.  They are super comfy (except, I wish my first one was not so tight).  Poor Mister keeps hearing, "Hey, did you see my socks?!"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

From Sheep to Rug

I thought my readers might find this interesting.  It is a lovely video.


shearing, washing and spinning from Christien Meindertsma on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Miss Crabtree!

I am on a mission.  Yep, a mission.  There is this lady that I've been lusting after.  She's a real beauty and I really want to have her and covet her.  Who is this woman?  Well, her name is Miss Crabtree and I'm just smitten with her.  She's just really indescribable.  Perhaps I should show you her picture.

Wanna see?

I have been stalking Miss Crabtree online for days.  Despite my efforts, she keeps slipping through my fingers.  Yesterday, I thought I'd finally gotten her.  Word got out that I was looking and someone emailed me.  We made arrangements, sent payment and cheered myself lucky.

Today I got an email from that someone.  She said that she had been stressing all day about our arrangement.  She really didn't want to send me Miss Crabtree, had other uses for her.....blah blah blah blah.  She was rather silly in her email plea.  What was I supposed to do?  I had already paid for Miss Crabtree, she was supposed to have been sent today and now this evening I find myself with this email.  I was NOT happy.  I emailed that someone back and told her that no, fine, refund my money and left it at that.  Wouldn't my mother be so proud of me? I did not say what I was thinking.

So Miss Crabtree had once again alluded me.  I've begun a new negations with someone else.  Will this finally lead to Miss Crabtree settling in with me?  We shall both find out.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spinning and learning

I've spent the last week spinning and spinning and spinning.  I'm getting better, but there defiantly is a saturation point to get too.  Today I realized that my technique has changed.  I'm doing a modified long draw instead of a inching short draw.  My wheel continues to be one of the best teachers in my process.  I love with the Ladybug wheel I can set it up to spin with scotch tension (brake band on the bobbin with a separate cord on the drive wheel - the large wheel that makes a spinning wheel) or double drive (long cord on both the bobbin and flyer which is connected to the drive wheel).  I had an hour lesson last week and my teacher set me up in double drive.  It was a great adjustment and I spent much of the time after spinning in double drive.  However, once the bobbin gets loaded with yarn, double drive can result in not getting enough uptake for the yarn you want to put on the wheel.  I've switched back to scotch tension and I'm finally getting enough of a feel that I can make the minuscule adjustments needed.  Horray for learning!

I have been doing a lot of reading online and on Ravelry in particular.  New spinners are writing in with much the same questions that I wondered about a time or two.  I understand now without frustration, why experienced spinners write back with an explanation that amounts to - "it depends."  So much of spinning depends on a host of variables: the material you are spinning, how fast you treadle (peddle the wheel), the desired yarn, the amount of yarn on the wheel, etc.

In my wheel, I've completed some yarn and worked up a finished object.  Presenting my first handspun yarn:



Brand: Anzula 
Fiber souce: Corriedale
Weight: Worsted
Colorway: Forest


And my finished object:
Two-One Cowl by Laura Treadway

My first handspun only produced about 60 yards of yarn.  It was perfect for the cowl, and I still have about twenty yards left!  A very satisfying spin and knit, I must say.

I am working on spinning up the Dyeabolical fruit salad fiber that I mentioned previously.  Want a sneak peak?
So much of the process of taking fiber to the finished end is a mysterious and magical process to me.  I have no idea what color will come through in my finished yarn.  Ask an experience spinner and what will that spinner say...."it depends" on how you spin it and ply it.

I've also been trolling Raverly destash pages to score lovely fiber.  Most of the fiber is on it's way and so I don't have photos to share yet.  I do have one though.....

Fat Cat Knits: Fresh Peas

I found a new indie dyer that I think I'll have a long and fiberous affair with.  All Spun Up is based out of Washington and has quite a following.  Her fiber is mind-blowing to me.  Full of the natural, saturated and perfect colors that I'm drawn too.  I've arranged to buy three braids of a very intriguing color from a woman in California.  This woman was so helpful in our emails back and forth.  When I asked who her other favorite dyers where she sent me a long detailed list.  I just love fiber people.  They really are very special.  

All Spun Up has a Spin Along many times a year.  I managed to purchase fiber for the February/March Spin Along and I'm very excited.  I have no idea what it will look like.  Can you imagine?  Spinners will pounce on her listing to buy, sometimes in mass, fiber they have never set eyes on.  I only know that the fiber will be 4 ounces of an alpaca, merino wool and silk blend.  Well throw my clothes off and let me roll around on it!  I'm very curious about the fiber and can't wait to get it.  I believe the plan is that packages will be mailed on Thursday.

In knitting news, I've been making a determined effort to finish my damn Loopy Ewe Cable Challenge socks!  I'm just getting to the heel flap on my poor second sock.  I've enjoyed knitting them, but I have Mister's Mardi Gras socks to knit yet.  And to tell the truth....I'm a little sick of socks for the moment.  I have a few shawls waiting for my needles and who knows where my handspun will end up.

Blogging news - I'm thinking about committing to a more regular posting schedule.  But for now back to spinning and knitting.