Friday, May 30, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
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".
Saturday, May 24, 2008
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!
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
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
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
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!
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
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 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.
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
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
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!
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.
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!