Thursday, December 13, 2007

We are Siamese if you please..

Yes, it turns out my pitty (pretty) kitty is a traditional flame point siamese who at the present moment is playing with his ziplocked bag of treats, trying to open it up.. I really should take more pics of Sam, but this will have to suffice in the meantime..

Monday, December 10, 2007

Life being owned by a cat...

About a week ago, a beautiful cat showed up in our stairwell and didn't have an owner. Now I am thoroughly in love with a beautiful white flame point male siamese mix 6 month old male. He is CRAZY!!! Tonight, he invented a new sport: extreme table jumping... Sam always runs around the apartment, but tonight, he came running from my room, jumped up, launching himself from the floor and landed on the table. Thank god there was junk all over the table, otherwise, he would have sailed across the table, clinging to the table cloth, and hit the wall! I wish I could catch it on video....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Almost done!!!

My EZ fair isle yoke sweater from Knitting Around is almost done! I have been knitting and knitting and knitting on it for the past two weeks and I finally am in sight of the finish line! I LOVE this pattern! It is soooooo easy to do as long as you get your count right when you attach the sleeves and are ready to do the first set of decreases! I will definitely be making more of these, especially for kids!

Me wearing the sweater when it is almost done!

This sweater has been very forgiving of my more ample chest and I have lots of extra room through my back and arms even before the blocking, so I'm happy..

The yarn I used was Patons Classic Wool in Winter White, Worn Denim, Grey Mix. New Denim, and Leaf Green in case anyone is interested.

And one gratuitous close up for you to drool over:

Later: I hope that blocking can even out the problems that developed in this sweater... As I worked on the neck, and continued with color work closing up the shoulders, I came across a massive problem: gauge. i should have remembered that the gauge shrinks and the fabric becomes LESS elastic when you switch to a color work design! For someone who has worked on fair isle sweaters before, this should have been a no duh, but I failed to take this into account. As I slipped the sweater over my head and expected it to fall easily around my shoulders, I was shocked to discover that the neck was resting around my vocal chords because of the wonky shaping of the second row of decreases.. some good tugging and i was able to make it look a good bit better, BUT I am hoping that the wet blocking will take care of my problems. I am hoping to enter this in the fair this year. I have a good number of entries I want to take over including this sweater because the color work really is very beautiful. I would feel awful if it didn't fit properly at all, though.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Wrapping up projects

The summer has been very good to me, even if I have not told you about everything. I have finally moved into my own place which I am loving to no end. I have no extra spending money, but I have a roof over my head, food on my plate, electricity, and stash to fill my needles. I am so thankful I had built up my stash over the years. I now have stuff to keep me busy until I have money to refill the stash.

With that, comes the finishing up of projects that have been sitting around.

1) The Pi Shawl from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Almanac that I changed up just a bit.

And the obligator close up of the detail:

I am also knitting up a storm on that fabulous fair isle yoke sweater Elizabeth created so many years ago that launched her Opinionate Knitter magazine! While I don't have any pictures right now, I hope to once I get the body attached to both sleeves which are already done and ready to go as soon as I have enough on the trunk.. I am sooo excited about having it done and ready to wear this winter.

My fair isle sweater is being much more of a pain. The sleeves are being very difficult. I have now had to switch to the double pointed needles, and anyone who has done fair isle stranding on double pointed needles knows how easy it is to make the stranding on the back of the material too tight. So it is coming along, but it is not something I am relishing picking up at the moment. I am even contemplating undoing the sleeves and reknitting them from the cuffs up. Am I willing to put up with the facing around my arms and get the sweater done faster or shall I continue with the sweater as is and risk NOT winning Best in Show at the fair next year? Choices, choices! I am beginning to see what I must do to get it done to my liking, but it is a very hard decision to make. My last experience with sleeves and facings was NOT good (Baby Norgi) but for reasons that were beyond the pattern itself.

I guess I will decide when I finish my fair isle yoke sweater and have a chance to model it for you!

Monday, June 18, 2007

A hard lesson learned

In my overwhelming desire to keep things on the cheap side while I save for the first month's rent, I decided to take the cheap route in touching up my hair ( yes, I dye it regularly) rather than going to the salon. I picked up Loreal's Natural Match in Deep Auburn ( there is a reason for this information) and promptly applied it yesterday afternoon. BIG MISTAKE. My hair turned PURPLE. Not a pretty dark auburn, but PURPLE... my younger sister started calling me Barney and it was totally stripped of all its moisture. Today, with a baseball cap firmly planted over all my nasty purple frizzy straw, I made my way to the salon to see what they could do about rescuing my hair. Over $100 later, I walked out with very dark, but manageable dark auburn hair that i can live with... perhaps it is not as gorgeous as the color I was shooting for, but stripping the deposited color was not an option, nor was buzzing the entire thing. I might be my own girl but I'm not as brave ( or crazy) as Britney Spears. My comfort in this is that the color will fade gradually with time and I can go back to my old lovely shade already picked out at the salon. I have to congratulate Loreal for choosing to pick up the tab on what has turned into my most expensive day at the salon, but the emotional damage has already been done.. Never again will i trust my locks to their coloring stuff.

Lesson: If you are coloring your hair, just go to the salon. It's worth the extra money in the end.. oh, and pics to come soon!

Et Voici!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

My Own Place..

After entirely too many years at home because I couldn't afford to move out of my parents house, I am five weeks away from moving into my own apartment! I am so giddy with the excitement that my head is spinning, and I have not gotten much sleep as a result.. oh well, I can always catch up on that later!
I have been very lucky in having access to so many yard sales and thrift shops. They have allowed me to put together a fantastic apartment with just about everything I will need except a TV. I'm sure you will all agree that they are entirely too expensive these days and if you don't get a flat screen TV ( who has the money for them?), you end up with a massively heavy CRT with a 2' bootay on it. I am NOT carrying one of those up 3 flights of stairs! What to do?? still not sure, but I'll think of something.... in the meantime, I'm telling everyone what to get me for housewarming presents! LOL

In the realm of knitting, I have been busy on just two projects lately: a pair of Trekking socks for me, and a handspun baby sweater a la EZ. It IS the patter from her almanac, and the yarn was just screaming for it. I'm sure you'll agree.
Sock and gratuitous close-up:

The colors just SCREAM summer, don't they??? I love the punches of magenta and lime, and as conservative as I usually dress, I can definitely see myself wearing these.. go figure! Here is the baby sweater yoke, it is top down and it's the second one I've made with this pattern. The first is for my little nephew due in October. No lace... but this color was screaming for it. Such a pretty color for a little girl.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Successfully Enabled!!

Isn't it amazing how someone could enable you without even trying?? I went to my guild meeting on Sunday, taking along a baby sweater I am knitting out of handspun.. Nothing else.. I definitely traveled light that day. Well, all around me are all of these beautiful single drive Ashford Traddy's... it was too much for me to take, so I went up to my LYFS today and ordered the blasted thing. Nancy ( I love her to death) looked at me like I was an alien from another world when I told her I wanted to order it. She couldn't understand why the DD wasn't working... well, the damn bobbins are too hard to take off, I HATE having to constantly readjust the drive band when I change bobbins, and I'm afraid my sister might break something because she has an even harder time taking the bobbins off than I do.
So now, I'm cleaning up my items (including all 12 bobbins for the DD and hi speed whorl), and trying to figure out how to advertise it best. Perhaps I'll sweeten the deal with a whole huge fleece I will never get around to spinning, as I'm trying desperately to downsize my whole stash of stuff before I move this summer... Finally, a place of my own!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

To save.... or to indulge...

I am stuck with an awful quandry. I have been lusting after a standard flyer assembly for my Ashford Traddy double drive for over a year now. The bobbins change faster, the other kits are less expensive to buy, and the standard bobbins are cheaper (should I decide to buy more of them rather than keep the DD bobbins I already have. The other side is that this is money I would otherwise be putting toward my down payment for a condo around here. I need $15K give or take. Do I use some of that extra paycheck coming up next month or stash all of it in savings? Please, help me make up my mind!!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

MD Sheep and Wool Candy

I told you all I would have pictures of my finds when I got my camera. Well, the camera came home today, and it's fabulous.. love it already... Some of my spoils I have already spun up, of course and it's fabulous stuff! Enjoy!
This merino has been screaming Pi R Squared shawl to me since I saw it at Misty Mountain's stall. And it's such a nice neutral, I could wear it with anything!

Gratuitous close-up for drooling purposes.. I also found my hand cards.. a fabulous pair of Howard hand cards at 120 psi.. they are pretty much flat faces, but work beautifully.. none of the others really called to me... go figure, they were also the cheapest!

I also found some beauiful red heathered top at Misty Mountain and some yummy green, yellow, and blue merino at Ohio Valley Natural Fibers where I also found the hand cards.

I really don't know what the red wants to be, but it was screaming at me. This has to be the best quality merino I have worked with to date.. it's spinning like butter, but be warned you can't handle the top too much without it felting slightly on you.. definitely worth it though...

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Maryland Sheep and Wool goodies

I had a BLAST yesterday at the sheep and wool festival. I didn't actually get much for myself, but I did a great job of enabling a friend into a new Sonata and two pounds of yummy wool. Made me feel like I bought a lot more. I wanted to say thank you again to Misty Mountain Fibers in Gettysburg for helping me to successfully avert a huge catastrophe and making me a very happy girl. Your thoughtfulness will never be forgotten! I will definitely be back for more merino! I was also able to find the most amazing set of Howard hand cards (120 psi) and some very yummy painted merino roving and just had a ball.

I promise from now on, I will have many more pix up... I have finally broken down and bought a digital camera, camera dock, and memory card! I hope this will last me a good 5 or 6 years... with that in mind, does anyone want a cheap, barely used Canon Sure Shot 105 zoom S 35mm camera ? make an offer!!! I think I might have put two rolls of film through it and just realized I couldn't afford the film habit anymore. It has pretty much been sitting since then, waiting for a loving home. E-mail me if interested!

Also, I have news on the naming of the wheel. Thank you to all who submitted ideas! After much thought and trying out of names, I have decided on Caroline, after my best friend! I couldn't think of a better way to honor her!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Shearing Day

Well, I had the wonderful opportunity to join my friend at Nobella Farms for the shearing of her alpacas. We had a lovely time and I learned soooooo much about the animals. I swear, she is going to turn me into a total alpaca snob. The fiber on her animals is so fantastic, it becomes hard to match that same quality elsewhere! It makes me very hesitant to buy elsewhere because you just don't know! I came home with 4 pounds of alpaca seconds that could easily be prime fiber: 2 pounds of caramel from Carina and 2 pounds of black from Gaston.. yummy, yummy yummy... can't wait to dive in and start spinning!

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Fair Isle gets a neck and a sleeve!

I have finally successfully set the collar and knit up the collar. I sewed the steeks on the collar and had a bit of trouble with fraying. So, I tried crocheting the steeks for the left sleeve. It has worked beautifully. One thing: the smaller and tighter the crochet edge, the better the steek will hold. I used a 2.00 mm crochet hook with this sweater and it is VERY stable now.

The sleeve steek before I crocheted and cut:

And now, the first sleeve:

I was able to match the patterns so the sleeve would match up with the sweater when my arms are down at my side.

And the beautifully neat inside:

My Spinning Supervisor

I just wanted to share this with you: Toby, my spinning and knitting supervisor.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fabulous Fair Isle

After experimenting with my fiber blend during the weekend, I have been sidelined by another wave of mono so it is back to my fair isle sweater, which has been badly neglected in my zealous spinning lately. I must say, for once in my life, I have only one project I'm working on right now. Truly and unusual thing for me. I usually have three or four! At any rate here is a picture from a little while ago.. the collar is now properly centered and almost ready to go, thank God.

And of course, the required closeup of the work:

I must say I am VERY nervous about my steeks and how stable they will be after being cut open. It's rather nerve wracking, really. The thought of crocheting the steeks, picking up the stitches and knitting a few rounds before cutting the steeks has crossed my mind more than a few times. The last time, I cut steeks, I ended up with a lot of fraying. Too much fraying and it went right into the body of the sweater which produced much wailing and nashing of teeth. hopefully my deeper, wider steeks will help that this time around. 'Tis better to crochet two times than have an unraveling sweater.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The First Yummy Skein!!

Well, here is the first yummy skein. It's actually some of the bulkiest i've spun so far, and I'm loving it! I might just have to retrain myself, because this truly was instant gratification!! Now, to see if I can talk my friend into letting me play with her drum carder so I can do whole batts of this stuff!

Surprisingly, this yarn changes color depending on the time of day.. in broad daylight, it is really blue, and you can still see some highlights of that in this pic, but honest to God, it looks grey to me right now!

Just for comparison, here it is next to the blue corriedale that was part of the blend... I was so surprised, especially considering the color it was on the bobbin last night!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My First Blends

For the past few months, I have been slowly gathering a variety of fibers ( grey CVM, blue Corriedale, blue-grey kid mohair, and natural tussah silk noils) with the thought of recarding them and blending them together. I was still unsure of how it would all turn out, but after seeing some of the stunning effects achieved by other fiber artists, I had to try it... so, here are the initial rolags, after a thorough blending..
and of course the close-up...

And the first spinning of the blend... please, let me know what you think!

You can barely see the grey in it now, and I added very little of the corriedale and mohair to it...I adore the luster it has though, and it is spinning into a very nice bumpy, noily worsted weight, which I really have to concentrate on.... I will say it is spinning up very quickly, and this one bit was shot after about a half hour of total spinning!

In other fiber news, my fair isle sweater is coming along beautifully with a newly placed collar, much wider steeks on the neckline after my last botched attempt, and the trunk is almost finished!!! Yay!!!! Pictures to follow!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Alpaca Affair

I have been doing a fair amount of spinning lately, particularly alpaca, and some I have absolutely fallen in love with, like this, a wonderful BFL/ alpaca blend.

A completely unnecessary close-up:

I was able to get ahold of 18 oz. of this at my LYFS, and has drafted out beautifully, especially when I tore the top in strips. I have also been working on my first 3-ply yarn, a beautiful local rose gray alpaca named Shawnee who now resides at my friend's farm.

This of course was all possible, thanks to my beautiful wheel, which actually remains nameless except for ONE suggestion of Fred.... you know who you are, girl! Anyone have any ideas? I will announce at a later date..

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My New Home!!!

Being that I have been blogging on yahoo 360 for almost a year now, I decided it was time I settled down with an honest to goodness blog of my own! For those who do not know me yet, I am an avid knitter and spinner, and lover of all things having to do with knitting and spinning. I also love reading about knitting, and love getting my daily dose with other blogs out there as well as reading my Elizabeth Zimmermann (Hail! goddess of knitting!) collection over and over and over again. I always manage to learn something new each time I read her books! There will be much more later on about my latest spinnings, my adventures with My First Fair Isle, and other musings..