Friday, May 30, 2008

it aint nothin' but a sock thang, baby! aka- i'm an OG of sock knitting!

i was so jealous when i first started knitting of people who could knit socks, and this before i knew there was an ENTIRE sock knitting movement!!! i had never seen ANYONE knit on dpns, but i heard they were not for the intrepid knitter, and they were semi-hard to master. so i pined away longing for the day i could learn, until one day i decided to look it up online. i felt like i was looking up knitting porn!!! i found a tutorial through google *wish i could remember where it was, but this was a couple of years ago!* that explained it, and then at the bottom there was pictures!! upon laying my eyes on those pictures i gave up hope! i thought there was no way i could do it without years more experience! the printed-off pages sat in my knitting note book for a while, when one day i decided to just do it. *this is a theme in my crafting life, i force myself to do something i thought i never could, and sometimes it actually turns out ok, other times, i end up with yarn/fiber everywhere, sitting in a pile around me, exasperated* all i can say, is this must have been god's gift to knitters! whoever wrote this tutorial did in such a way that it was actually understandable!!! and the pictures!! i don't think i could have done it without the pictures! before i had seen them, thinking to myself "knitting with 4/5 DOUBLE ENDED (!) knitting needles at ONE TIME!!!" who tortures themselves that much? but when i saw the dpns with knitting on them, held together all in a neat little square, it clicked, and it seemed so easy! the concept all the sudden made sense! and after my first pair of successful socks, i was hooked like morphine in my IV.... it was life changing!
amongst many other things going on right now, i'm steadily working on kyndra's socks, although they have become such a pain in the arse and i haven't even finished the second sock yet! oy- how frustrating. there have been many bad sizing issues. i think what's happened *although, of course, i didn't figure this out until probably half way through* was that because the patterns i was pulling elements from all adult patterns and then plugging in my gauge instead, the instructions for "knit until piece measure measures two inches less than desired..." were shorter than two inches, because instead of decreasing a ton of stitches, i have only 28 in the entire sock, so it was many less rounds, making my elements about an inch, instead 2 to 2 and a half inches. so now at least i know why i frogged probably 5 socks now that were way too short for her, and now that i know, i can fix it! ;) for this reason i wish they were toe up, so i could try them on her much easier, and then i wouldn't have any length issues to begin with... oh well! i've learned my lesson, as soon as i get my transfer from my paypal i'm ordering the book sensational knitted socks! i'm really excited, from what i've read it's supposed to be, like, the best and only sock book you'll ever need! it's sort of like the twisted sister's sock workbook, except for the fact that it DOES actually give you sock recipes where you can alter the pattern to your heart's desire (see the previous post), and tons of stitch patterns to customize the look! i can't wait! i hope it's as good as it sounds! i did debate getting the sequel book (MORE sensational knitted socks... DUH!!) because it says it gives instructions for 4 and 5 dpns, magic loop sock method, toe up and cuff down, for ALL the patterns, where number one doesn't, plus OODLES more stitch patterns to complement the first. but i figure, if i like the first one that much, i'll get the second one later!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quaint in the country

so, today, the knight in not-so-shining armor is standing guard over my posting! have i lost my mind? not sure. read on to decide.......

yesterday, i got a much anticipated break. my grandmother, mom, sister and I all had lunch together. no kids allowed. i really needed it, too! a little breather, a rest from the chaos. time to refocus.

only a couple of blocks away from my house, there is a quaint little house-turned-restaurant called Queen B's. the people who own it are from england, and so, the entire menu is traditional english-style food, high tea, cucumber sandwiches, scones, and trays of dainties *which i'd never heard of before, but they're the cutest, and most delicious little mini-pastries i've seen!* you are even welcome to wear a very snooty high-class hat and feather boa. not really my style, but the women of my family love it so much, i indulge them, and the food is pretty good. the ambiance is like that of a spa, twinkling nature music, soft voices.... and my ears can always use the break. it's also part antique store, the walls are lined with shelves and antique buffets, and then vintage paintings, pictures, mirrors ,anything imaginable going all the way up to the ceiling. the shelves and buffets are packed with hundreds of tea sets of any kind imaginable. old, new, vintage, kitschy 70's crap, princess diana and prince charles commemorative sets, a whole collection of salt and pepper shakers and costume jewelry. it's pretty cool to look at them. so much eye candy, i love to just look around in that place. it's part of their "charm".

front-view of Queen B's
in other, less english news, i have almost finished the second sock i've been knitting for kyndra. i'm not sure it qualifies as a second sock, really. i kind of hated the first one, and it didn't fit well at all, so i started a second one, one size smaller and with a 1x1 rib instead 2x2 to see if it would fit and look better. so i guess this is more of a sizing experiment! i can whole-heartedly say, i love the way it looks, and i'm thinking *and crossing my fingers* that it will fit better! i wish i could've used a pattern for these, and i tried on the first sock, using the "socks at any gauge" article in spin off, can't remember what issue, and don't have it handy. but, as it turns out, A-i didn't like it *not for a baby sock, anyway, it would be great for me however!* and B-it was a little confusing once i got to the gusset decreasing. so i turned to my twisted sisters sock workbook for help. i found a much better written *or just better, i'm not sure* way to do a gusset, and toe shaping, too. so i just made my own way! what a surprise... but it actually worked really well, i was even able to do it again for the second sock! and now, all that's left is a kitchner stitch bind off!
i have actually been wanting to talk about that book since i knitted my first pair of socks from it. but that was before my blog, and i convinced myself not to bore my husband with the gory sock knitting details! so here's my chance, and i'm stepping on the soap box!!
i wanted to order the twisted sister's sock workbook ever since i heard of it. as a beginning knitter, i desperately wanted to learn how to knit socks. and then, once i became a spinner, i REALLY wanted it, as half the book is about spinning and dyeing, too! killing two birds.... before ordering it on amazon, i read some of the reviews, as i usually do. most were good, but then there was one that stood out most in my mind. to my horror, a girl had ordered, anxiously awaited it's arrival, and then once she got it and started knitting from a pattern, she became really confused. convinced it was her beginning pattern reading skills, she took the book and WIP to her mother who had been knitting for like 20 years or something. and not even her mother could figure out this damn thing. she said it was horrible, don't get it, blah blah. i was devastated. but, being that i don't give up on something once my mind is set, i ordered it anyways.
i immediately began trying to knit a pair of handspun socks, after dyeing my first Kool-aid merino roving and navajo plying the yarn. i found it was written in a way that was hard to understand, but not as bad as this girl had thought it to be. and i had only been knitting a year, give or take a couple of weeks. i was overjoyed i didn't find it as misserable as her.
but the ultimate point of this book is to enable you to knit socks with almost ANY handspun, at any gauge. and this is the part i found terribly dissapointing. there are two actual "patterns" in the book, one toe up, one toe down, but they are given as very strict patterns, such as: this fits a women's medium size foot, cast on this many stitches, and so on, WITHOUT ANY intructions as to how to customize this to fit ANY size foot *man, women, or child* or how to plug in certain stitch patterns. although, it is to be said, there are a number of different cast ons, rib patterns, different heel and toe patterns, and bind offs *if there are a little limited*. only now have, after more than a year of knitting, have i really "gotten" the concept of interchanging different elements in a sock pattern, because, even without instruction, these things DO come with time. but for those of us who DON'T want to wait, it can be a big let down.
now, don't get me wrong, there are a number of handy features included in the pages of this book. some that i refer to recently while knitting custom socks are the gauge chart, there is a very helpful page on how and where to measure your foot for knitting custom socks, and a chart that tells you how many stitches to cast on for your particular yarn gauge and foot measurements.
and lastly, the thing i found most inspiring about this book was the pictures of all the socks, knit from hand dyed and handspun yarn. the photography is beautiful and everytime i pick up the book for a new project, or need inspiration for dyeing i will longingly browse the book. but if you're ONLY looking for a book to teach you how to knit ANY sock, with ANY yarn, i don't think that this book is worth the price of admission, and you'd be better off looking elsewhere.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


today i got a couple of hours to myself with no little monsters to look after. it was very nice to get a break as we don't have anyone who watches our kids for us... NO ONE. sure, i may get out of the house without a monster on the rare occasion, but the hubby is at home with them, and vice versa. so as anyone with kids can imagine, i get a little run down. not that i'm saying i don't love my kids or anything, you get used to it, really. but being in my OWN house with time to myself, it never happens and it was nice.

the first thing i ABSOLUTELY had to do was take a shower, these hot texas days are really kicking my ass. but after that, the rest of my time was spent in front of my spinning wheel! :)

but then what was supposed to be my happy time, turned into me being depressed about not having time to devote to my spinning. my etsy store has only four yarns left, the latest being the super kid mohair yarn, and that was FOREVER ago. i wanna be one of those AMAZING spinners that grace the message boards with their beautiful work every week. it's so inspirational. and they have like, 5 new yarns a week, and that's only what they've finished, not counting the yarn on the bobbin still and all the prep work it takes, and i'm thinking, seriously, HOW DO THEY DO IT?!?! i want to be that productive! i want to spin that much! that's what really gets me down, i just want to be able to put that many skeins out at a time. and people say it will get better as the kids get older, and i know it will. hell, my son will be enrolling in pre-k this august. it's only three hours a day, but it's still "he's going to school" and then my other half is thinking "what's going to happen when DOES go? what will i do?" i don't even want to think about him going full time and then when my daughter goes to school? god, the way this economy is going, by the time they are in school, i'll probably have to get TWO damn jobs!

which, thank god, brings me to my next topic, no more wallowing and lamenting.

the economy in today's day and age, is a direct link to the earth, in my opinion. i get physically ill every time i hear about the gas prices going up. i may not be the most educated about what goes on in the world today, and the things that are the biggest factors in the literal disintegration of our planet, but i know enough to be scared, and i know enough to realize that it's happening. and i think everybody does, politicians and the us government may not WANT to say it's happening, but they know it is. and it is devastating to know that virtually NOTHING is being put into action to try and help the situation. i literally can't even think about most days because i always end up just feeling helpless, like there's nothing I can do to help out. i mean, i turn the light out when i leave a room, we've switched to those energy saving light bulbs, but come on!!! that's not helping all that much.

on to the point:i didn't mention this on the blog yet, but a while back, i ordered some ugly batts from high prairie fibers, now i'm aware that most people are not going to know what an ugly batt is, check the link. these monsters are AWESOME!!!! A FULL POUND of left over and orphan fibers, carded into ONE GINORMI BATT!!! this being my first experience with these phenomenas, i didn't really know what to expect, but i'd heard great things! being a little late to get in on the newest batch, there were some slim pickins *the "pretty colors" go first, COME ON PEOPLE, THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE U-G-L-Y!!!* so i very excitedly snatched up two grayish looking batts.

these are the most foreboding batts EVER!!

but when i opened the box they came in, two bags stuffed full of fiber came spewing forth at me. upon inspection, these batts have every type of fiber anyone could dream to have on hand, coarse, hairy salt-and-pepper-style wool, down-type brown wool, every-color-in-between wool, white-as-snow alpaca! you literally never what's next, with each draft you discover something new! it's the ultimate, edge-of-your-seat spinning kind of batt!

the batt on the right of the 1st picture: this is the more mellow of the two

but the one that spoke to me instantaneously was the left one, it is sprinkled and striped in flame red, grass green, some shade of tanish-yellow, primary blue, and some pure white. i knew what it was.... it was the earth dieing. it is her swan song. i felt the pull to spin some right then and there, no plan, just spinning. i pulled off a hand-sized chunk, and watched with the amazement of a child, the colors flow through my hands like the wind coursing through the grand canyon, like the wide open plains of east texas,like the sun barely kissing a sleeping baby on the cheek, like the crashing and violent waves of a tsunami, like far away land soaked with the blood of men, dieing in vain. and so, this yarn is my statement.

this is a great cross-section of the earth's destruction batt, although it doesn't have that much teal in it, only on this one side. it has much more green

this is a great cross-section of the colors, you can see the green, bright blue and the tan/sandy colors better here

this will be the first yarn from this batt of a planned series.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

YAY- lots of fibery goodness!!!

well, first off, i do have something blog-related to announce. although it has been my intention to give updates every couple of days, it just hasn't worked out that way. i've been a little busier lately than usual, and i really don't have too much computer time *along with family time, fiber time, me time...etc* to fit in too many posts. so i have decided to scale down *a LITTLE bit* and have decided to try to blog weekly, maybe more if i have time! besides, that's about what i've been averaging anyway!

on to happier news! a big hunk of thursday through the beginning of this week was spent trying to prepare for my first craftster SWAP; fiber of the month swap (may)! i was so excited and slightly nervous, it being my first time and all! so i was super-absorbed trying to find stuff i already had in my stash to send to a partner with an entirely new set of likes and dislikes, it wasn't too hard, but i really strive to please! so of course i forgot to take pictures of everything i sent her, i'll see if i can get some pics from her, but until then, here's a gallery for the may swap, everyone's pic should start popping up everywhere, bc the SEND OUT deadline was only yesterday, but there were some early birds! uh humm ;)

ANYWAYS- swappers fill out a few questions about what they like/ don't want, favorite colors, allergies and whatnot, and hers said her favorite color is green, and she really didn't care WHAT she got, as long as it was fiber!! what i sent her, and she should've gotten it today bc we sent out the same day, was a silk cap I DYED... oh yeah, all by myself! *some of us may remember dye pot anarchy* and it was beautiful!!! not a disaster! i used turqoise, ELECTRIC blue, goldenrod, canary yellow, and emerald green. so i REALLY hope she enjoys it, bc it was my first EVER successful dye, and i used acid dyes! i also sent some carded batts: 2 black/white wool *the roving i got from sheep shed studios!!!* and one white wool base both carded with the AMAZING sari silk i got from wool peddler (i tried to use LOTS of greens! :D) some tencel, white icicle and a few locks of mohair. and finally, i sent a ziplock baggie FULL of the same mohair locks in grass and neon green, yellow, and a few in varied other colors, but i tried to stick mostly to her green! i hope she likes it! i sent lots of different stuff, not intended to necessarily go together, mostly just to play with, or add to some of her other projects!

now in knitting news: tonight i watched the season premier of so you think you can dance while frogging the onesie i was supposed to knit my daughter for WINTER!!! *sorry honey, mommy really does love you!* and YES, i do watch cheesy tv shows, i'm a stay at home for crying out loud, the tv is always on, and i watch practically EVERY show presently on the air! but it hit me like a ton of bricks the other day, an idea to frog the onesie, and use the yarn to make her a little tunic/shirt. i've got pink and brown, so i'll do the chest in one color, and the bottom in the other. i want it to be close to the body on top, and then drape away on the bottom, i have an idea of HOW i'll do it, which i'll start explaining once i start doing it. but i'm expecting it to be SUPER-freakin cute! i took her chest measurement before she went to bed tonight, but doubt i'll cast on till tomorrow, i always spin at night, knit during the day bc knitting needles can be put down faster, and when i spin, i don't like to stop or be bothered and interrupted.

but i started to knit her a pair of socks a couple of days ago... presumably out of guilt from not finishing her onesie. the yarn is from my first dyeing project EVER- Kool-Aid dyed merino top which was supposed to be rainbow colors, but turned out more autumnal and i love it for that! i thought since it was kool-aid it had to be rainbow, but this was a super-fantastic surprise! anyways, i spun it SUPER thin and navajo plied it *BOTH first-time experiences!* and knit a pair of ankle socks for myself last year *and as fate may have it, i just remembered while writing that sentence that those were the socks i wore in the hospital when i had her! *heart melting as i type!* and my mom exclaimed to the nurse, after she commented on my LOVELY socks, "SHE EVEN MADE THE WOOL!!!" lol, i die laughing. YES, mom, i turned into a sheep and sheared myself, then retook my human form to spin and knit this lovely yarn... isn't it funny how people who don't spin will presumably never get it! lol

anyways, i'm sorry i'm such a rambler, so i've finished the first sock, which was a little big, and she took it off INSTANTLY.... i know this sounds so dorky, but it hurt my feelings. my husband put it on her again, to make me feel better, and she just took it off again in an instant. but, i persevere, this time casting on 4 fewer stitches, and it looks like this one may be the right size, wether or not she'll EVER wear it, i can't say, but at least when she gets older, i can say "you see, here it is, i DID knit you something!" i haven't made it past the 1X1 rib yet, the last sock was knit in 2x2, but i didn't like it, i think it was TOO stretchy, and i'm having a vague memory of 1x1 being tighter and stretchier, so i'm trying that this time.

and in my last knitty update, i went to a baby shower saturday, the recipient being the woman i was knitting the blue garter stitch blanket for, she was much appreciative of her handmade gift, she's a little kU-ntry (in my best back woods impersonation!) so she LOVES handmade, hell, we all do down here. it's something about the south, now i'm not saying that pioneers up north didn't make quilts either, but the south tends to have a poorer heritage, where people made quilts to survive. and they didn't go to the store and pick out the most beautiful fabrics they could afford, they used the rags, old clothes and gave them new life. my german oma has given me three handmade quilts, one that was given to me on my graduation, and one for the birth of each of my kids. these quilts are like the personification of how i feel about old, traditional hand crafts. spinning, sewing by hand, it's my connection to my heritage. and that's why i don't understand when people ask me "why do you do that?!?!"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

getting in a tangle with handspun

a couple of days ago, i awoke to the sounds of the little monsters messing around in our bedroom. after a few moments, i pulled my head up to see a trail of yarn snaking around the bottom of the bed, and down the hall.... in my exhausted state, i had left my plying project laying at the foot of the bed, with the yarn and the TWO BOBBINS of thread i was plying with from ON THE GROUND!!! i immediately scream to my husband who untangles our one year daughter, he does not understand the gravity of the situation. he stares at me, bewildered, as i'm frantically looking around assessing the damage. "just cut it off" he says nonchalantly. right. like it could be that simple! some people may think this is a simple solution, but not this beautiful yarn, i will not degrade THIS yarn! those beautiful peacock rovings that i painstakingly carded and pulled into roving, now lie with the handspun broken off below the wheel's orifice, the thread leading down to yards upon yards of my beautiful freshly spun yarn in a huge defeated lump on the floor. have you ever seen a HUGE tangled mess of fishing lure? that's what it looked like, i've had a lot of nightmarish things happen while spinning, but never anything as bad as this! i was furious, and knew if i wanted to keep my cool, i should just walk out of the room.

so there the lump sits, uncared for, and actually totally ignored by me, for a couple of days, untouched. yes, i'm avoiding it.

now, i consider myself an untangling expert. i used to sit patiently and untangle my mother's necklaces when they would become wound around one another at the bottom of her jewelry box. but this is HANDSPUN!!! so beautiful and fragile!!

it's devastating. i've worked on it a few times now, each time growing more impatient and frustrated with the whole damn thing. still not even CLOSE to being finished. and cursing myself the entire time for choosing to use TWO damn plying threads instead of one!!! DAMN YOU, SPINNING GODS!!!

this is spinning in the real world, damn it! no prince charmings or fairy godmothers, no magic wands, and no xanex!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

well, there's not alot of news to report around here lately. i'm still waiting for a few lagging packages to come in from my first etsy haul-in *it's getting so big i don't think i'm going to be able to take pics of it anymore! not to mention the fact that i hate taking pics!*

the rain has started falling outside as i write this. it rained last night also, woke up the baby, she was freaked out, it's the first time we've really had a thunderstorm here since she's been old enough to be scared. she's almost 13 months, and i can't tell you when it rained last. it's quite depressing.

anyhoo- i do have a small but very exciting thing to mention! i joined the "fiber of the month swap" for may on craftster! once a month, people get paired up with partners, and then you send each other a similar weight of fibers, and then you get to spin all your goodies, and show them off in the forums! it's quite exciting, i looked at the archived forums for april and march, and literally EVERYONE was thrilled with what they got, and they're all really nice! i got paired up with the moderator, frankierevolver *i think bc i had made a post about not wanting to be a crappy swapper bc i was nervous my partner wouldn't like what i sent them, but she's SUPER-sweet, and we both like to spin the more funky, artsy type yarns, so we're perfect partners for each other! i can't WAIT to see how it goes!

right now i'm carding up some batts for her with the black and white mixed roving i got from sheep shed studios with this AMAZING sari silk i JUST got from woolpeddler, it's still attatched to woven pieces, it's like, they literally just removed it from the loom when they messed it up, but it's not cut or ripped or anything, so there's all these amazing little woven bits and little strips that look like ribbon, and i will send her some of this too, on the side. the only other thing i KNOW i'm going to send her right now is this silk cap i dyed yesterday, in these AMAZING colors, they are just beautiful, and while i was dyeing it, i thought it was going to look like shite all together, but it came out really nice! *i foiled the dye pot anarchist!!!! mwahahahaha!!* i hope she likes it, she said she'd never spun from a silk cap before, so that will be nice!

this pic may look weird to you, it's a drying rack on top of my clothes dryer, but it doesn't exactly fit, so it has to be hung over the back, and then the front feet come over the front *when i bought i was pretty sure the listing said it fit in a normal bathtub, so i figured it would fit on my washer/dryer.... it doesn't fit on either* anways- that's where the weirdo nobs are coming from

and some gratuitous shots of the monsters! well, they're not TOTALLY pointless, this is ONE of my etsy purchases *from the 1st round* this is a pound of leftovers i bought from a lady who didn't know what to do with them, and she had this INCREDIBLE talent to stuff an ENTIRE POUND of fibery bits into this tiny little box. so when i opened it, i could only see what was on top, and could think of no better way to rifle through it all.....than to dump it on the kitchen floor. the monsters approved 100%, as you can see! seriously, they played in it for over an hour, and then cried when i put it up!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

a walk into the past....

ok, so updating about the things that happened while our computer was dissmembered has been harder than i thought! but this stuff is important because pretty much all i have been doing lately is buying more stuff! *that's important to every junk collector!*

so, i love thrift stores! i love everything about them.... but the part i love most is finding the ugliest weirdest stuff that nobody would dare buy *that ugly dress that's been drooping off the hanger since 1984* and knowing that i can take it home, cut it to pieces and give it a new life! it is worth saying, however, that because i live in such a small town, it is rare that i find good stuff. you know, in like austin i bet they have the sickest thrift stores ever!!!! but, it is also worth saying that, because this tiny crappy town is a retirement town, and there's nothing to do here, most of the senior citizen's hang out at a place called the dietert claim center, where they do crafting classes and groups of all kinds. and so, this is where it gets morbid, when these people "move on" they have usually told their family to DONATE ALL THEIR GREAT STUFF to the dietert claim, who also happens to run a thrift store for profit. and for a small town, there are alot of thrift store, and the local hospice ALWAYS has tons of craft stuff and fabric. so anyways, we're all helping each other here!

although i rarely have time to go, i finally got my chance last week! i got some pretty good stuff, some light blue and orange lace trim from the 70's, some scarves *not sure of their age, they don't look too old, but one of them looks hand dyed!* and some weird lilac/mauve colored tacky irridescent sparkly lace fabric from the 80's. it's horrible as fabric, but i think will look great cut up in small pieces and spun into a yarn!

clockwise from top left: white head scarf with black paisley patterns and red edging, red to pick head scarf *the hand-dyed looking one*, the horrible purple 80's fabric, and the two lace trims, which are actually guite lovely!

i did the close up here, because i wanted you to be able to see the structure of the lace, i'm not a big lace person, but this one really speaks to me, and the colors look weird in the photo, but my house has crappy yellow lighting, they're pretty in person :X

and now, drum roll, please, this is my all-time best thrift store buy EVER!!! i found a piece of undone needlework, better yet, never started, it was an iron-on design, and more than one sheet of designs were on the one piece, but not even one stitch was ever made! it's a small design printed on some crappy muslin, but the design is so cute! it's a little deer standing under a tree with these sort of jacobian stylized flowers, it's amazing! it reminds me of something aimee ray would design *from 'doodle stitching' fame* she's amazing! but i will warn you, the pictures didn't turn out great, because the iron-on ink has faded out somewhat, so i hope you can make it out!!! it didn't occur to me, until just this second, that i could've ironed them first! i'm sure there will be many more pictures to come, i will post if i start working on it, i'm not sure what to do with it yet, i don't know if i should copy the pattern and leave this one untouched, or stitch on the vintage one and take the risk of ruining it?

you can see the deer standing under the tree/flower thingy, with the rolling grasses beneath him. the red ink is the original pattern and the blue is an add-on, this would be another good reason to just copy the pattern, and not use the original, because they sort of don't go together. if anyone reading this knows where to get things like this, either this type of pattern *scenes* and or prints on cloth, PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008


so, i must be honest, the past month or so has been absolutely void of any exciting inspiration or creativity. i know, drag. every one goes through dry spells, and i consider this a job just like any other.

so there i am, sitting at the computer, innocently searching through a ravelry spinning forum, which was pictureless i might add, not like fiber porn, when BAM!! it hits me like a bolt of lightening! and i felt that tingle in my loins! oh yes, it was a fiber artist's wet dream. and the funny thing is, i've had this very idea in my head for MONTHS! so i'm not sure what made it different this time, it was like a melting together of all the random ideas into one, and i had to card right away.

i got the idea to do a yarn with peacock feathers, like 6 months ago after seeing something like it in a magazine, but it was uninspired. and then, as if by magic, all these ingredients in my head just for the peacock feather yarn just came to my mind's eye, whispering, "put us all together, and we will be magnificent...." and i ran to the living room, pulled down my drum carder, and gathered all my ingredients.

and i new exactly what to do, and it was beautiful.

top and bottom: black tie affair being carded. and yes, that is a barn in the background :)

and there is actually more exciting news! i also learned a new technique! i wasn't initially drawn to a post about batts, but after reading most of the newer ones, i was running out of posts to read. well, little did i know that there was a link hidden inside it, to an amazing photo tutorial on flickr by askthebellwether about dizzing roving right off your drum carder! if this is something you'd be interested in, you should definately check it out! and these are my first-time results! ;)

roving after being pulled off the carder

Thursday, May 8, 2008

killing spree, and fiber spree

well, the killing and fiber spree go hand-in-hand, actually. the fiber spree is killing all me money and any free time to blog or spin :/ i've been buying, buying, buying and not even half of it has come in yet....i live for receiving packages! but i'm not going to post any pics yet, i really want to to take pics of the whole mass together, so you can see the insanity/beauty!

so, this post will be another back track story, from the time-span of the evil *super-infected* computer.
Shearing Day!!!

on saturday the 26th, i traveled about 45 minutes away to enjoy a day of shearing! the lady i had emailed about the bug-infested llama fleece had invited me to her farm while she was shearing her 8-10 llamas, oh yeah, and take ANY AND ALL of the fleece i wanted!! what an opportunity! i mean, this doesn't happen everyday! every year, in april, they reserve a shearer for the day, and invite people from all over texas to come have their llamas sheared, all on one farm. and there were actually people that lived a couple of hours away that came. but it was a llama only event, and boy were they stars!

i was a little nervous because i had never met this lady before, didn't know where i was going, and knew there were going to be quite a few people there, and i have social anxiety.... that's why people think i'm weird when they meet me... little do they know i'm like that every day :P
AND i was supposed to bring my spinning wheel, and i was going to spin ALL day, and just have something for people to look at while waiting. but the night before, it rained cats and dogs *ALL night long* however, apparently it didn't rain ONE SINGLE DROP 45 minutes away! i think deloris was a little dissapointed, but everyone was too busy to care anyways! maybe next year, i'll take my wheel and spin for them as a way to thank her for her hospitality this year!
i arrive, and walk up to the little barn, and they are in full swing, they have a llama in the "shoot". they are like half way done, but this llama is pissed!! it was spitting and crying, and i have never seen either of these things happening, i've seen llamas in person, but not spitting! it was disgusting, i didn't know it smelled so bad!!! it was disgusting, and for good reason: apparently this "spit" is actually bile and/or stomach contents! *i learned alot that day!* anyhoo- although this was not a very good introduction to llama shearing, the rest of the day went off without a hitch, all of the remaining animals, except one, behaved beautifully! and deloris *the farm owner who invited me* was extremely nice, and tried very hard to make me feel welcome!

i just stood right there at the front of this little barn, watching all day long. i'm a big observer, i always have been, so it was fascinating to me. and the people were very nice and welcoming *no spitting involved here* most of them were repeat visitors, so they new i had never been there before. and i would ask people what they would do with their fibers if they were keeping them, and i was quite surprised that only a few people weren't keeping theirs! some of the people had family members involved in some form of fiber arts, they were a few spinners, and one lady whose neice is a weaver. but the people who weren't keeping their fleeces, were very generous to let me have them! it was a very lucky day for me!

top and bottom photo: two people who i'd never met who were generous enough to give their fiber to a good home!

so, the shearing continued pretty much all day, and i had to be there all day, too, because the farm owner's animals always went last *of course!* but she made the most scrumptious BBQ sandwiches on chiabata bread for the shearer and some friends who were helping, and even me! we had a nice little pic nic style lunch by the pond, then after we ate, her llamas were up!

the master at work, he brought his son along to help, and he kept calling his dad "the llama whisperer"! and he was! it was an interesting experience to watch him work.

unfortunately i had to leave pretty much the second they were done, to go pick up the kids, i felt kind of bad, i hope she wasn't offended. but it was a really fun day, and i'm super glad i went, dispite the searing sunburn i got only on my right shoulder, because of the way i was standing half in and half out of the barn *in pretty much the same place all day!* dur

i wish i had better pictures, but i was more interested in watching the shearing and playing with the llamas who were surrounding me! not to mention that i had to take the pics through the fence! these were deloris' llamas, coralled into the pin, there were ALOT more! *check the sweet lil' baby ones! how sweeet! one was three months and i think the other one was 8 or 9

Monday, May 5, 2008

i'm back.......let's make up for lost time!

ok, can i get a sigh of relief *or a blood-curdling scream, not sure which* to those of you who've been waiting for new posts.... well, at least i hope some people like to read about my spinning mishaps!

a quick run-down of the computer problems: some of the programs needed a spring cleaning, and because my husband is a music junkie, he needed to install stupid limewire, which, for the record, i was absolutely opposed to *whose husband listens here? no hands raising? that's what i thought* this of course led to "5 or 6 trojan horse viruses" the computer expert says, in his own words, with NO prompting from me, of course! i'm not even going to say anything! B U T, it's all fixed now, and we're back to our daily news!

so, as you can imagine, my brain is swimming trying to think of where to start first.... i have no sense of time and have a hard time remembering what i ate for breakfast yesterday, but there is actually some pretty BIG news!

my majacraft mini combs came in!!! i was so excited to get them, and luckily, i had that beautiful targhee fleece all nice and washed, just waiting to be played with! so i slapped some on the combs... and it was so easy! i was surprised, having a minimal knowledge of how to use them. but i think old school spinners want new spinners to be scared of more advanced tools and techniques. the process is easy, i'm just the kind of person that likes to read things a million times, until i fully understand! and i like to build the anticipation...there are few things in a person's daily life that bring that much joy!

the complete set, with wool on combs, top after dizzing, the actual diz and threader, and the wooden box that clamps one comb to the table to aid in pulling the wool off the comb *set also comes with a C-clamp and comb holders*

so, the wool was amazing before even being washed, so once combed it was just spectacular! and i'm happy to report that although i thought i hadn't done a very good job scouring my fleece, the combing took out the dirt and the little vm that remained after my 10 washings! *i know, who has to wash a fleece that many times?...only me!* so after pulling the combed wool through the diz, it was pure white, like virgin skin, and light as a feather! i was really impressed, i heard combs were good, but i didn't expect them to be that good!

i've only found one disadvantage so far: being mini combs, they do make very small strips of roving, leading to more tiny balls of roving than i know where to put. if i knew how much MORE wool you could process on regular combs, i probably would've bought those instead, considering i buy more than a pound at a time of base yarn wool at a time *i'll buy smaller batches of wool, but more for accents in a yarn*

closer look of top wound into little balls. the big ball was only made after filling the comb to capacity *which you're not supposed to do* the smaller ball is about the average amount i can efficiently comb in about 3 passes.

but i love them all the same. and of course, being from majacraft they are made from the same beautiful rimu wood as my little gem. so they are also aesthetically pleasing. and, surprisingly, the one thing majacraft doesn't say about their combs is that the tines aren't sharp! i think louet is the only company who states this in the product description for their combs, and rightly so because it's a big freakin deal, especially for people with kids! so i was happy to have that extra safety feature.

i will be posting more frequent but shorter installemnts than usual to make it easier to read *i hate super-long posts on blogs*

let's make up for lost time!