Friday, December 19, 2008

My spinner's challenge

OK so my spinning group that I have been going to for a couple years decided to do something a bit different. Our usual is to meet once a month and spin. Well in June we had a dye day. Several of us met on a Sunday and dyed 10 pounds of wool. Our goal was to match four different colorways that was featured in a Weaving magazine. I have no idea what issue or when it came out. Then we were to spin it up and make something. Well I am happy to say I am finally finished with of of the 3 colorways that I brought home that day. It took me so long because I had to have a trial separation because when it came to the knitting it got so boring.
The spinning was quite fun. What I did was lay out the color in order and spin a lace weight single. Then I plied it with a mocha brown to dull the colors a bit. Which it did as the light green was a lime color and the orange was really bright. I ended up with some where in the neighborhood of 950 yards.

While I was spinning the yarn an issue of Spin Off came out that had an article about dropped stitch scarfs. Well I really like the pattern and decided to use it for my shawl. I did add more stitches to the cast on (72) and knit until I ran out of yarn. Even though the colors are in order. From dark brown to gold to bright orange, to light orange to lime green to light green. then it repeated and then ended with dark brown. The color changes don't match. One color may have 5 repeats and the match has 3. It does look uniform.

The final size is 16 inches wide and 102 inches long. I think I had about 2 yards of yarn left when all was said and done.
Even though it took me over 6 months to finish this project I am really happy with how it turned out and I can't wait to wear it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A candy of and Idea

So I was in a swap for 4 ounces of fiber. I wanted to make it somewhat of a holiday theme, but not quite sure what my partner celebrated I didn't want to make it to Christmasy. So I thought for a few days and one day while shopping I came up with a candy of and idea. I love winter mints, you know the green and white spiral mints. I'm not a huge fan of peppermint I definitely like the green ones better. So after looking at the candies I got to thinking I wonder what would happen if I dyed roving in this pattern.
My first step was to soak the roving in white vinegar and warm water. While that was soaking I mixed up the green dye. It was a mix of kelly green and a bit of lime green to brightness.
Step 2 was to lay out the roving to be painted. Instead of the usual way I coiled it.
Step 3 was to dye. I used a old squirt bottle from when I dyed my hair. Yes I admit it I was away the grey any chance I get. I followed the pattern of the candy.
I then set the dye in the microwave in the usual manner. I don't have a pic of the roving in the final state. What it ended up was a nice mix of green and white. My partner just love the result. So next time you are trying to come up with something new why not look to candy for inspiration.

Christmas is in the air!

I am to say I am all done with my Christmas knitting and spinning. I must confess I have been done for a few days. Right now I am working on finishing up all my UFO's My plan is to have everything finished up by the end of the year so I can start 09 with fresh projects. I do have some idea of what the project will be but I will save that for later.
What I have been working on are 2 pair of socks, 3 pairs of fingerless mitts, two shawls, and some handspun yarn. My UFO's are a hooded cardigan for my youngest daughter, a shawl that has been in the works sense June and a pair of socks. I will be sewing in the zipper for the cardigan tonight so she can wear it to school tomorrow. The shawl should be done maybe tomorrow if not Saturday, the socks should be done by the end of next week.

One of my Christmas projects this year was a mohair shawl that I knit for my MIL. She is coming for Christmas this year and she doesn't like wool so I thought I would use some bright yellow mohair that I have had in my stash for years and years. As a matter of fact I bought it at a thrift store. Its so old the label says its from Sears!. My MIL love the color lime green so after the shawl was complete with fringe I put it in the dye pot and turned it into a gorgeous lime green. I think she will really love it. My husband is making her a shawl pin to go with it. He is a blacksmith and has been making shawl pin from some antique steel he was given. It came from a Victorian homes fence that was taken down.

Some of the other projects that I did this year was from reclaimed wool. What I did was go to one of my local thrift shops and bought three 100% wool sweaters. I then took them apart and re-knit the yarn. My BIL and his family all like to ski so they asked for ear flap hats. I asked them what their favorite colors were and they all said black. How boring. So I ended up using the same heather black from a reclaimed sweater and added some colors to make them more interesting. I have to say by the time I got to the last hat I was really tired of knitting them. The one with the white stripes is actually glow in the dark yarn. My nephew is a bit of a joker so I thought he would love the glow in the dark stuff.

Another reclaimed yarn project were hunting socks for my father and brother. They both love to go hunting and were asking about warm socks. These were from a free pattern that I found online. If you google Civil War socks you will find the pattern. They worked up really fast as I used size 5 needles.

Out of all the Christmas projects that I did this year This shawl was my favorite. I have a dear friend that is the nicest person I have ever met. She is always so helpful and generous to anyone in need. Every year for our birthdays and Christmas we exchange gifts. I usually give her some fiber or yarn or a spindle. this year I wanted to do some a bit different. Instead of giving her something that she can use to make for someone else I decided to make her a shawl . I love this pattern its called Pi with sleeves. Its from a old issue of Knitters and I have made this a couple of times ans just love the pattern. I used Cascade 220 heather in a sage green. My hubby is also making her a shawl pin to go with it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

natural dyes

I thought I would share with you my first real try at natural dyeing. At my husband work there are several walnut trees. For the past few years I have collected the nuts and tried to make a dye bath. The first year I forgot to tell one of my daughters that it would not be a good idea to leave the collected nuts in a Walmart bag on the front steps. The next morning the squirrels even took the bag with them. The next year I forgot all about the dye bath that I left in a jug on the back steps. It froze. Well this year I had a plan. First of all I collected about two Walmart bags of nuts still in the hulls. When I brought them home I placed them in a wire cage that we use to carry cavies in. It is like a small rabbit cage that locks, so I was able to let the nuts dry out with out letting the squirrels get to them. Once they were dry. I placed the nuts in a pot of water and boiled them for about a hour. I then let the pot cool for about 24 hours. I had placed the nuts in a stainer so I lifted it out and then put the nuts on the front steps for the squirrels could have them. Which they did.

My next step was to prepare the roving. My plan was to start with dyed roving and then mute the colors with the walnuts. So my starting point was lime green,yellow, orange and bright pink. I used jacquard acid dyes and then wrapped the roving in plastic wrap and then cooked it in the microwave for about 10 minutes.

I was happy with the result. After I let the roving cool I then washed it to get any left over dye out of the roving. I was hoping the walnut dye would tone down the bright colors.

After the roving was dry I then placed it in the dye pot with the cold walnut dye. I then slowly turned up the heat to a steady simmer. I simmered the roving for about a hour to a hour and half. I then let this completely cool, about 24 hours. I then rinsed it and let it dry. This is just about what I had pictured in my head. The one thing I would have liked to see was more of a difference in the pink and orange and the green and yellow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Wonders of Fall

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the fact that I live in an area that has all four season, although I'm not totally on board with the hot summers. I just love the changing colors, but there is one big draw back with fall. Marching band. My oldest daughter is a senior in her marching band and she just loves it, so as good parents we have volunteered to help out. So for the past few months we have been going crazy with all the football games and competitions. I am happy to say that my daughters band won second place in their division. Which is a huge thing as they didn't have a colorgaurd this year. So at the competition they started out with minus 50 points. They only lost to first place by 10 points so they are really happy with the results.
Because I have been so busy with marching band I just haven't had the time to blog. Now that band is over I have a bit more time on my hands. So I thought I would update you on some of the things I have been working on. I have been knitting and spinning, even at games and while I wait for the band to play at a competition. I am usually seen with some type of project with me.
To start off I have been slowly working on my spindle yarn. In the last post I talked about how I am working on some lace weight for a shawl from some fiber from Wooly Wonka. Its a merino,silk angora blend. Its spinning up really nicely and I do love the way its going even if its slow. I do plan to start on some red wool that I bought on a shopping day last week. A few of my girl friends and I went to see some of the fiber and yarn stores in the area. I have been looking for the perfect red fiber to spin and knit a scarf for a friend of mine. She is one to always stop and admire my knitting. So I thought it would be fun to spin and knit her something for Christmas. At first I didn't think it would be so hard to find the right read. I wanted a real rich blue red. So I was finally able to get just what I wanted and I can't wait to get started. I haven't totally found the perfect pattern yet but I do have a few in mind. I will keep you updated on my progress.

There have been a few things come off the needles in the past few weeks. I have made some socks from the Greensleeves pattern called Foggy Mountain socks. If you ever get the chance to take the spinning for socks class from Elizabeth Dailey then do. I love the pattern and it works up really fast as its a 3 ply sport weight yarn.

I have also knit a baby surprise sweater for a class I taught on it. This next weekend I will show how to add a collar on it but I am really happy with how the hand spun work up. When I was spinning this 2ply I didn't pay attention to color placement so I think its really cool how the colors worked out.

I have also been working on one of my favorite shawl patterns. Its from Knitter fall 2000 its called Pi with sleeves. I have knit this before and just love the looks of it and it wears really nicely too.

I am at the point of the bind off lace edging, then I will add the sleeves. This is also going to be a gift this year. As matter of fact this is the first year I have started on Christmas so early. So here's hoping I will get everything done in time.

Another really fun little project that I made for my youngest daughter what a Amigurumi cheese burger. If you have not try to make one of these little toys I say you should. It was so much fun. I decided to use Sugar and Cream cotton yarn as I had all the colors that where needed. I didn't have a solid yellow so my daughter chose a yellow with little specks of color in it so its pepper jack cheese. Don't you just love the lettuce and the tomatoes?

Well I will stop for now and be looking for more updates to come. I have done some really fun dying that I will share with you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A new project A new challenge

Every once in awhile its nice to knit something easy and to spin something easy, but every once in a while its really cool to challenge yourself. So here starts one of those challenges.I am entering a contest that runs Sept 1 - Nov 30. Yes that means I am already a month behind. The contest is to spin on a spindle at least 200 yards. If you ply the yarn they is also has to be done on a spindle. The theme of the contest is Calm, soft, variegated but monochrome. I thought this sounded like it would be fun so I went to look through my stash, as I don't have the funds right now to buy some fiber. I was able to find 6 ounces of a angora,merino and silk blend from Wooly Wonka. I belief I picked up last spring at a fiber fair. Anyway I thought this would work our great for soft. The color way is a light lemon yellow with a hint of peach and pink, so I think it will work for calm and monochrome variegated. Because this is such a soft and luxurious fiber I decided that I needed to use a bit classier spindle then my Greensleeves bare bones. So I am using my Jacob Ethan that I also picked up at the same fiber fair. I can't remember what the woods are but it is one of my favorite spindles. Its a very light weight one so it really can only spin lace weight, which of coarse what I am doing. Thus the challenge. I need now get at least 200 yards done by the end of November. My thought it I will have enough to most likely knit a shawl with it. So I looked through my One Skein Wonders books and I figure I will need at least 1000 yards to make a nice sized shawl or wrap. I do know that the latest One skein Wonder book will be out in a couple of weeks so I may find something in there that I like better so we will see. I still plan to try to reach the 1000 yard mark. So far I am really happy with how the single is turning out, because I am spinning it so find I do plan on making it into a 2ply. I will let you know how my progress goes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I want to take a minute today to stop all the love of all things fiber and Remember today. As I remember that morning, I can't help but think about all those feelings. The feelings of shock, the feelings of sadness, the feelings of fear,the feelings of anger, and the feelings of strength.
The feelings of shock, can this really be happening!
The feelings of sadness, how can all these people be suffering so much.
the feelings of fear, that day, just as it was all happening I had to take my daughters to school. They were so afraid that we in Boise would be next.
The feelings of anger. Anger towards all the people in the middle east cheering the destruction and death in America.
The feelings of strength. Even though this was a terrible event in American history it will not be its end. Even though the people who planed this attack expected us to be destroyed in only made us stronger.
I know no one who either died on Sept. 11 or was hurt that day. Boise is a long way from the events that day, but I am a proud American and when one suffers we all suffer. So today I ask that at some point in your busy day take a moment to remember that even though tough things happen We are American and we are proud.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Now that all it quiet around here HA HA HA

Well school is back in session and the kids are gone during the day, so you would think its quiet around here. Well I'm sure it is as I don't seem to be home to find out. Because of changes at my daughters schools I have to drive them all. It usually takes be about a hour and half in the morning and then anywhere between 1 to 2 hours in the afternoon. The good news is I do have lots of time in the car to knit. As a matter of fact I have a top down sweater going that just stays in the car for me to work on as I wait for someone to get out of school or while I am stopped at a stop light. Which seems to be all of them. So far in the two weeks that I have been driving I have used up two balls of yarn and am on the third. I will post pictures when the sweater is complete. We are all guessing it will be before September is over. As a matter of fact the girls have started a list of sweaters they want me to work on for them.
My car sweater is not the only thing I am working on. I did start the gansey KAL on Sept. 1. So far I am having so much fun with the pattern. Which by the way is Meg Swansen's guernsey pullover from the Wool gathering #76. I am not using a traditional yarn, as a matter of fact its Berocco Ultra Alpaca in a heathery purple. I'm not totally sure if I will have enough yarn so I plan to make it a bit shorter then the 28 inches that Meg did. I also decided not to put my initials as I really don't want to advertise that fact that I am MES. I have also been working on some hand spun hunters mittens for my hubby. I bought some alpaca roving while I was attending a spinning retreat this summer, that is dyed in camo. He just loves the colors and is impatiently waiting for me to get to the knitting.

I haven't been spinning much as I have found a new to me thing. Weaving. I have a couple of friends that have been trying to get me to give spinning a go for about two years now. So I finally gave in. One friend loaned me a Schacht Rigid Heddle loom and the other friend came over last Friday and showed me out to warp it. Well my first try was a bust. I had chosen a alpaca that was not spun real well and it kept braking. So I cut it off the loom and started again. What I did was use Galway as the warp and some of my handspun as the weft. Well it was a learning project. I did learn that I really need to watch the tension when advancing the fabric. I also added floats that I think worked out well.
I have a project in mind for later. I'm not sure I am totally hook with weaving as I am with spinning and knitting but I thought it was fun.

I have been invited to attend a spinning and weaving retreat later this fall. We will be making a vest from swatches and other bits of handspun and fabric. So as I have been gathering goodies for the retreat. One of things on the list of supplies is a Weave -it. For those of you who don't know what that is its a mini loom. I went on ebay to see if I could buy one. Well I could buy an old one for about $30 or I could buy a new one from Hazel Rose for the same price and I got the choice of woods. Mine came yesterday and I have to say I love it. I think I like the mini loom over the rigid heddle. I was able to make a 4 inch square in about 20 minutes. So have added some of the other loom to my Christmas list.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where has summer gone?

Where has summer gone? I guess I have been so busy with stuff that I think I just missed it all. I can't believe summer is almost over. My kids start school next week, which is a good thing, and a sad thing. This summer I made a point to spend more time doing things with them instead of the usual. We went to the YMCA a lot to swim and cool off. We went to the Zoo a lot too. Over all I would say we all had a lot fun throughout the summer but its now time to get back to the usual. My oldest daughter starts her senior year. She is really excited about all she has going this year. My middle daughter starts her 8th grade year in the same school but with a new building. My youngest starts the 4th grade in a new school. So this fall brings lots of changes for all of us. For me I have been working for month on fair projects. I have always been pretty successful at the fair but I have never been able to win the top Sweepstakes awards. Last year I won the Needle arts sweepstakes, but not the Grand Sweepstakes. So that has been my goal for the year. Well I am happy to say I did win both the Needle arts and the Grands Sweepstakes.

I have to say it was lots of work and I am not sure I will ever do that again. Towards the end I was beginning to really hate knitting. I know its hard to believe. I think what happened is I just got really tired of working on a deadline. So I think I will change my approach to knitting and all my needlework. I want to slow down and enjoy the projects more. I have a couple that I am planning for the fall that I am really excited about, I will talk about them in a late post.

One of the projects that I did this past year was a shrug that I hand spun for. I have never been able to spin a soft and light 3ply yarn so The was a real treat for me to be successful. I have also never won the best of division in handspun. So it was really nice to be awarded the ribbons for my effort.

One bummer of the fair is that I made a little needlepoint pin cushion that was made with hand spun yarns and it lost to a braid that in my opinion was not worthy of any ribbon. As a matter of fact its falling apart as its displayed. Oh well, you can't have everything.

At the fair I did see a couple of things that have intrigued me to try. Both of them are crochet which is nice as I have not been inspired by crochet for a long time. So I am on the hunt for these patterns so that I can give them a try. I think my mother inlaw would love the lighthouse so I think I will try to make it for her for either Christmas or her birthday. I think I will make the afghan from hand spun.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

It seems like forever ago

Well it does seem like its been forever ago that I have updated my blog. I do have an excuse. I have been really busy getting ready for the State fair. I have been knitting, spinning, crocheting, needlepointing, and even candlewicking. Last year I won the NeedleArts sweepstakes but not the grand sweepstakes so that has been my goal this year. Well now that I have everything all done. I am at the point where I just don't care anymore. I'm not sure I will even try for it again. By the end of July I really hated knitting. Which is a first for me. I decided that I needed to take a break and just make something for the heck of it. So now I am looking to the future. What will be my future projects, etc.

Also this summer I have been busy doing the mom thing. Taking the kids to the YMCA, helping them with their 4H projects. My oldest daughter went to Mexico on a mission trip. So as you can see I have been busy. One thing that I also did this summer that was totally fun was attending a spinning retreat. I am not a big camper. OK I really hate to camp. I just hate being dirty. Well last week I attended this retreat and boy was it worth all the dirt and cold nights. I had so much fun. I will update you all later on that.

I will also update you on what I plan to enter at the fair next week along with how I did.

But for right now I want to tell you about the Ravelympics. I did spin for the Tour de Fleece, which was a lot of fun, so I decided to join in on the Ravelympics. I have entered two categories. the Handspun heptathlon and the shawl relay. My local knitting guild is hosting a party tomorrow night at the local yarn store. We are calling it a cast on party. We plan to have a dessert pot luck and watch the opening ceremonies and cast on for a shawl. The original idea was to cast on a shawl from the book Folk Shawls. Which was what I was planning on doing, until. Until I couldn't decided what yarn to use for what shawl. So I am doing something different. My spinning group had a dye day back in June. We dyed roving from 4 different colorways that were shown in the fall issue of Handwoven. I fell in love with the fall colorway, which are not my usually colors. I really like jeweltones normally. Well we ended up with about 1 to 2 ounces of 6 different colors in the colorway. So what I did was spin them in order. Starting with dark brown, gold, orange, and green, then repeated until all the samples were spun up. I then plied the single with a chocolate brown single to tone down the colors a bit. My plan is to make the scarf on the cover of the current Spin Off. I plan to cast on more for a shawl. I ended up with 942 yards of a sport/ fingering weight yarn. So I think I will have plenty to make a wrap/shawl.

For my spinning project I have 3 pounds of a dark chocolate wool that I believe is Cooridale but I'm not totally sure. I bought it a few years back at a fiber fair and the receipt says top so I'm not 100% sure. Anyway its looks wonderful and is soft enough for a sweater, which is the ultimate plan. I want to use the yarn to knit the Back to Vermont Sweater that is in the book Nature Knitter.

So as you can see I will be once again a busy little beaver for the next couple of weeks. I am also working on some yarn on the spindle for some mits and I do have a pair of monkey socks going using yarn that I dyed as sock blanks. I will show you more as I get them going.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Hush-Hush Handspun Hootenanny Questionnaire

1. How long have you been spinning? What skill level do you consider yourself? I have been spining for about 7 years. I would say I am intermediate with leanings to advanced
2. What kinds of yarn do you create (singles/2-ply/3-ply/art yarn)? Well I would have to say all of the above. I usually do 2 plys but I also do 3plys and art yarn often.
3. What do you spin with (spindle/wheel/both)? both
4. What are your favorite fibers to spin with? Anything you don't like? wool is my favorite but I also like exotics. I really hate cotton even though I can spin it.
5. Who are your favorite fiber sources (etsy or otherwise)? Spunky Fibers
6. What kind of fiber do you want to try? boy I don't know I have tried quite a few. I always love to try new rare breeds of wool.
7. Is there any techniques you would like to learn? not that I can think of at the moment
8. Do you dye fiber? If not, would you like to learn? yes
9. Do you have fiber prep tools (and like to use them) or would you prefer ready to spin fiber?I do have the tools but I would much rather have ready to go fibers, so that I can get to spinning as fast as possible.
10. What do you do with your handspun? What projects have you completed? Knitting and crochet. I don't know how to weave yet. I have finished quite a few as you can see on my blog
11. Are you in need of any spinning gadgets (WPI Gauge, threading hook, etc)?I love a good new gadget
12. What colors "fall into your shopping basket"? Greens and purples or jeweltones and naturals are neat too. Any colors you just can't stand? pastels
13. What is on your wheel/spindle right now? Last month's Spunky fiber club.
14. What other crafts/hobbies do you have?Knitting, crochet, tatting, needlepoint
15. Other than crafts, what are you passionate about? My day job is a Needlearts teacher so I will say I am passionate about all the needlearts
16. Do you have an online wishlist? no
17. Is there anything that you collect?Sheep
18. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What magazine subscriptions do you have? I can't think of any books that I don't already have. I subscribe to Spin Off
19. When is your birthday? April 26
20. What book or movie character do you most resemble in personality? I would have to say Abbott and Costello
21. What is the climate like where you live around this time (need to know for careful shipments of anything meltable)? Right now its realllllllly hot. Boise is actually in a high desert so we will have hotter temps through Sept and maybe Oct.
22. Tell us one weird fact about yourself! I am a huge Seattle Mariners fan. Yea I know but to be a Mariners fan you have be dedicated
favorite painting/picture(link): can't think of one
Candy: Sugar free Dark Chocolate
Food: this time of year Fruit
Drink: Decaf sugar free moca
Movie(s): I love a good old musical comedy from the 30's and 40's
TV Show(s): Chuck, Heros
Book(s): mysteries
Guilty Pleasure(s): Dark Chocolate

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I'm dead! Yes I died today. What the heck am I talking about? Sock wars 3. I received a really nice pair of sock today that signed my death warrant. I must confess that I am not sad at all. I have been so busy with school getting out, dyeing days, knitting for the fair that I just have not been able to really sit and knit as much as I would like on the socks for the war. So I will be heading to the post office tomorrow and send my started socks to the knitter who killed me so she can set her sights on her next victim. Thanks Taija for the a wonderful pair of socks. By the way the yarn is Tofutsies and the colors are pinks and purples.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

From this to this

I was able to sit down and finish up some spinning today. So I went from this to this. I really love how the colors blended. I don't as a rule try to keep the colors together. I like the barber pole effect. Because some of the dye areas are quite large so there is some areas that the colors blend with the same which is OK. I ended up with about 490 yards from the 8 ounces of roving and its about a DK to sport weight yarn. I wish you could feel how soft this yarn is. Over the past few months my spinning has really gotten soft and much better plied. I have no idea what I am going to knit with this but it sure is pretty.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Every now and again a deal comes your way

So I had a few minutes this morning, so I stopped at a local antique mall. I have been looking for a couple of things. 1. a really cool jar to hold my spindles. I was able to find an old mason jar with no lid for a 3 dollars. I am also looking for wine bottle holders. You know the ones that look like a tall skinny hat box. I plan to use them for when I give spindles as gifts. No such luck on that front so far. I have looked everywhere. But while I was looking around at all the neat stuff I found these two knitting books. I have been wanting a WWII knitting book for a long time but am to cheap to pay ebay prices. I was in luck I found this one for again 3 bucks. I also picked up a sock book too again for 3 bucks. So its true every now and again a deal dones come your way.

Whatcha working on now

Lately I have been working on samples for either a yarn company that I do some things for or for the shop I work at. I can't show you the things for the yarn company because they want them for a coming show and I don't want to spoil the surprise. I will show you some roving that I am spinning for the shop I work at. This is called Neapolitan as if you couldn't tell. The fiber is Blue face and yes its spinning up like a dream. I hope to have it all spun and in the shop by Thursday.

The next thing I am working on is an afghan. The pattern is such a simple one and its from am old Red Heart booklet. The pattern calls for a size 13 needle and two strands of worsted weight yarn held together. I chose Cascade Ecco wool in a deep purple and am using a size 10 1/2. I love how this is turning out , I can't wait to use it this fall on my couch as I read a good book.

I know its just spring and summer is just around the corner, but it gets really hot here in Idaho and I really hate the heat so I am already looking forward to cooler temps.

The other knitting project that I am working on is a pair of Monkey socks from the famous Cookie A. pattern. I am using some 50/50 merino angora sock yarn that I was given on my birthday. I was given the yarn in a kit and I really like the pattern in the kit but I started the sock on my trip to Idaho falls and I wanted an easy pattern to work up. One that I didn't need to refer to my pattern all the time. I have the monkey memorized so its has become my travel project.

Spindling for socks -class?

OK so you all know I love spinning on my Matchless wheel. So why in the world would I want to take a class on spindle spinning? Well I'm not totally sure but I really did enjoy it. For a while now I have been thinking that I really need to improve my spindling skills. So I signed up for the class. Now I know from experience that if you want to buy a spindle you have to get there early for best selection. That is exactly what I did. So before classes even started I was at the Greensleeves booth. As I was looking all the spindles over I did see one that I thought was really cool but I wasn't quick enough and another collector grabbed it first. As a matter of fact she got about 5 or 6 before I even had a chance to look at them all. Now that she had her selections made she helped me pick one for myself. I ended up with an Ethan Jacob. I am in no way disappointed I really love the look of this spindle. I love the cup shape and the dark woods. I forgot to ask what they were so next time I see her I will ask. The spindling for sock class was not until the next morning so I had to wait until I had more time to test my new spindle. Yes that was the first thing I did in my motel room that night. I am in love.

So the next morning in the class we were given a kit, of roving ( color of our choice) three spindles ( her bare bones) and a pattern. We were given the option to buy the spindles at a discount after class. Like one of the other students I had to buy them because I became attached. I chose a dark grey for my roving. During the class time ( about four hours) I was able to spin and then ply a 3 ply sport. I think I ended up spinning about 20 yards in class.
When I got home from my trip I divided up the remaining roving into three equal balls and then got to the fun part. I spun it all up. I did cheat a bit. After all three spindles where full I then used my ball winder and took the single off the spindles and then using my wheel plied them together. I ended up with about 230 yards. I am real hopeful that I will have enough yarn to complete the socks. Elizabeth said her socks weighted only 3 ounces and her foot looked a bit larger then mine so I am hopeful. I have to finish up a couple of other knitting projects before I can get started on the socks. I plan to have them done by the end of July. I will be attending a retreat that Elizabeth with be at and I want to have the socks with me.

Back from Snake River Fiber Festival

May 16-18 what the date for this years Snake River Fiber Festival. I was again able to go with a girl friend and her brother. As you may have read in previous posts we have been having a bit of a rough time of it lately. The Monday before I was scheduled to leave my father in law passed away. So my husband was with his family during this time. He was able to get there before he passed and he stayed about a week after helping his mother make plans. So by the time it was time to leave for Idaho falls I was a bit shell shocked with all that had been going on. I just about didn't go but my three daughters talked me into going. I have to say I am really glad I did. One of my daughters said it was good because I left looking worn out and came home with a smile.

I took three classes while I was there. The first was on spinning for self striping yarns. I really enjoyed this class as I learn a lot about using a color wheel, which is an area that I am a bit weak in. My second class was on spindling for socks, this class was taught by Elizabeth Daily the maker of Greensleeves spindles. All I can say is I am totally hooked. I will talk a bit more about that class in a later post. My last class was a bit of a disappointment. It was on spinning bamboo and other plant fibers. Well I was disappointed because we weren't really taught anything. the teacher talked about what the fibers where made from and then told us to spin them. no helpful hints or anything were given. It was a fun afternoon just spinning and chatting but I didn't think I really learned anything.

Between classes I was able to pick up a few things to add to my stash. When I go to a fair I usually have a list of things that I want to pick up for future projects. I usually do that on the first day and then on the second I go back and pick up whatever stuck in my mind that evening. Well when I was showing my husband what all I picked up the first thing he said was "Wow we have been on a downer". Just about everything I bought in the way of roving was glittery.

I also picked up some wonderful fiber from Wooly Wonka. This is merino,silk and angora, its not my usually colors but I just fell in love with them.

Lastly I picked up some Ashland Bay roving in a colorway called Northern lights. I plan to crochet a shawl from this. I may even add some glittery threads as I spin we will see.

I did pick up a few spindles too but I will talk about them in a later post. All in all it was a very fun weekend and it was really nice to get out of town and not have to think about all the stuff that has been going on with our family.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

sock a manic swap

Thank you Jean. I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve the sock yarn. I have been hearing about how wonderful Dream in color smooshy is, but I have never toughed it.So this was a real treat. I can't wait to knit with it. I love the colorway too. I would have been thrilled if in the box was just the yarn but no there was so much more. The chocolate was a great hit with my girls and I. Hubby is out of town with a family matter,so he didn't get any. I love the teas and the knitting goodies rubber stamps and note pad and pencil. I have had a pretty crummy month or so and I have say this was such a nice pick me up. Again thanks so much.

I'm not lost - just been a lot going on

I'm not lost, we have had a lot going on around here. We have had several deaths in the family and a couple of our friends. So I have been tied up with all of that. I have been knitting and spinning so. As a matter of fact I have just about all of all of my UFOs finished up. The must have cardigan fits just perfectly. I have also been working on some little things. First was a pair of wool socks for my hubby. They are thick ones that he will use for hunting. The pattern is a Civil war pattern that you can google to get the pattern. I used some wool that I had in my stash and I think it was size 5 needles which means they knit up really fast.

Our family are Civil war volunteers. We had a big event on May 1-3. We have an encampment and on Thursday and Friday we have about 2700 5th graders come through and there are 18 stations that they can learn something about the Civil War. My hubby is a blacksmith and I talk about spinning and knitting during the war. This year on Saturday the ladies of the group were able to fire the Napoleon cannon. I have to say its was a total blast. Yes pun intended. I was able to ram rod it twice, which means to push the charge down the barrel. I was able to set the charge, which means to put the charge in the barrel. I was also able to pull the pin which means I got to fire it. It was a tiring time but it was also so much fun. I can't wait for next year to add more information to my display,and maybe fire the cannon again.

On the spinning front I am getting ready to attend the Snake River Fiver Festival again. Its this weekend and I am planning on taking three classes. The first is called Spin your own stripes. I will be making self striping yarn with colored rovings not dyes. I can't wait to see how this it done. The second class in spindling for socks. This class it taught by the maker of Greensleeves spindles and I'm looking forward to improving my skills on the spindle. The last class I am taking is from the author of Spin to Knit. I will be learning to spin cellulose fibers. Which are bamboo, nettle, soy silk, etc. I am also looking forward to adding to the stash a bit. It seems like I have not added to it for a while. I will let you know how it goes.

The last thing I wan to talk about it a chemo hat that I just finished. My husband has a co-worker that is beginning to under go some cancer treatments. So I was asked to knit a hat. Well after some thought I came up with some Lion Brand organic cotton that was in my stash and knit a simple hat. I really like the feel of this cotton,which I have to say I don't usually like to work with, but I think it turned out nicely.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

March socks

I have been sick for the last week or so with what was just a little cold. But I just couldn't seem to get out of bed all last week. I have never had a cold that made me so tired. Needless to say I really didn't get a whole lot of knitting done. I have been working on a pair of sock all month, which for me is really rare that it takes that long to get a pair done. I wanted to make a pair of green socks for spring. I spun this merino a few months back. I got the roving from Spunky fibers. It was one of the roving of the month ones. I'm not sure when I got it but I really loved the way it spun up. I found the perfect spring pattern. Its comes from the current issue of Piecework (March/April 2008). This Nancy Bush pattern was inspired by Leili Reimann's Pitsilised Koekirjad ( knitted Lace) book. The pattern is called Wishbone and it was so much fun to knit up and I think it works just great with my handspun