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Well it’s been an interesting couple of days around my house. I barely got any dyeing done this weekend since I spent Sunday helping my sister pack up her apt for her big move to la-la land. Since we both moved to Seattle in 1998 this is the first time we haven’t lived in the same town. Before that I was in college in Eastern WA while she lived in Boise, only a 6-8 hour drive away. Now she will be 2 whole states away and it feels weird. Guess I will just have to think of reasons to go visit LA. They have yarn shops down there right?

Send good travel thoughts her way, I got a text msg this afternoon saying the kitty tranquilizers weren’t working and Ebi has almost lost her voice from the nonstop meowing/crying. It’s only day 1 of the 2 day drive. Poor baby kitty..she really hates cars.

As for me, well I did get a little bit of dyeing in on Friday night and dropped off a lb of targhee to Victoria at VY&T for her own personal spinning.

forest targhee

Isn’t it pretty? So soft and squishy.

I cast off on Blu on Saturday, the pieces are washed and ready for their embellishments and seaming. Somehow they have managed to hang out on top of the dryer for the last 3 days. I can’t imagine why I haven’t seamed those up already 😉

After that I made a halfhearted attempt at the mermaid wrap so it might be an inch or so longer now. Still got a ways to go. Since knitting wasn’t happening for me I thought it was time I pull out those Loop batts again and really get serious about spinning them. I had only spun maybe half of one of the 8 mini batts. Between Saturday and Sunday night I finished spinning all the batts and plied them up.

What started off as this. (large pics for full effect)

kimono batt

Became this

kimono handspun

That is around 256yards/3oz. I lost a few yards towards the end when I got tired and messed up my Andean plying but I’m happy with what I got. It ranges from a laceweight to a fingering weight I think. I have to admit it looks a little red hat like but I think it looks great. Those batts were amazing to spin, there wasn’t a clump or snag anywhere. Just dreamy.

Now if only I could buy more for stash but I think my fiber stash is close to surpassing the sock yarn stash. I’m up over 6lbs of personal fiber stash. Not good.

Nicki took a little unplanned trip to the vet yesterday and has not been in the best of moods since then. He is now on antibiotics for 2 weeks and I need to bring in another sample for them to check on something else. Once he gets past the twice a day torture that involves me cramming a pill down his throat he might be pleased to know per doctors order he is to only ever eat wet food from now on. Thankfully the visit only cost $80 this time. Over the years he has turned out to be one expensive cat but he is also my very first “real” pet and I admit while he is a spiteful evil bugger a lot of the time I dread the day I have to say goodbye. (damn just saying that made me teary-eyed)

So I don’t know whether it was the high of knowing a couple pills will make him all better, or maybe feeling like I needed to fill the void with my sister’s departure but I bought a little something for myself last night.

Just an itty bitty something.

Really.

We won’t talk about how much it cost (or about how unbearable I will be until it arrives).

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I often get weird looks when I KIP, I don’t know whether it’s me specifically they are looking at or if folks just aren’t that used to KIP in Seattle but I have learned to deal. Now I’ve never tried spinning in public and I often feel strange just driving around with the wheel in the backseat when I am on my way to VY&T to spin with friends. I can’t imagine what the people at the parking garage I use thought on the day I went to spin night right after work.

Today when I was leaving Office D with a big box of bubble wrap when a car pulled up beside me. I figured ok here is comes…the look. To my surprise the woman passenger got out, saw the wheel, turned to me and said “You go girl”. Not only did she know what it was but she approved! You could have knocked me over with a feather. I of course smiled, said thanks and we went on our separate merry ways.

It’s good to get that outside reassurance that you aren’t a complete nutcase for enjoying knitting and spinning outside of your core group of fiber friends. I wish it had been the right kind of moment to ask her what she did. Was she a fellow knitter, a spinner, a quilter? Who knows. It was just wonderful to have that completely random moment when you recognize that the stranger in the parking lot might be just like you.

cake

I did it!!! and with plenty of time to spare. I’m hoping I can get a better picture of the cake from the photographer, I couldn’t find the cake topper at the time and my camera battery was dying on me so I was just aiming at the cake and hoping a picture would turn out. The topper was awesome, it was a pregnant bride and a friend altered their faces/hair to look just like Becky & Tom. So cute!

I’m off to bed now after a very exhausting couple of days. I’ve got my new book to read tomorrow and lots of dyeing to do. I plan on sleeping in if possible…7.30am seems like a nice late time to wake up 🙂

I can now officially add the inability to mark down the CORRECT important dates on my calendar.

You know that wedding cake I’m supposed to be making for next Saturday? Well turns out it is THIS Saturday. I had the damn invite in my hands when I marked it on the calendar and I still got it wrong.

Needless to say I left work early to make cake, enough cake for 200 people. Somehow I think this will test me the way my first wedding cake did when the helpful busboy dropped a tier he was carrying for me. I never knew I could keep my calm and fix a wrecked cake like that until I had to do. So now I will find out whether I can really throw together a great tasting and beautiful cake in less than 42hours. While juggling work and a birthday dinner tonight.

I guess on the bright side it means I’m free all next week to dye fiber 😀

Lets just say I never thought I could ever love a piece of cookware on the same level as my Kitchenaid and my Wusthof knife. I was wrong. That big giant steamer made it possible for me to get through 4lbs of roving in 2 not so backbreaking evenings. It holds up to 2lbs of roving at a time, doesn’t leak steam, keeps an even temp…what can I say except that it is well worth the $36+tax that I paid for it.

Want to see what I’ve been up to?

I decided against 16 unique colors because you never know when someone wants more than 4oz plus I wanted to see how easily I could do larger batches of colorways. So 16 rovings, 11 colorways. Want to see them individually? Go here to check out the temporary photos for colorway naming purposes.

The success of doing these 4lbs without wanting to cry in frustration makes me less freaked at the idea of dyeing another 8lbs by next Friday. That’s when I want to post another shop update to etsy. Of course planning that task in the same week as when I have a wedding cake scheduled is probably not ideal so we shall see what happens. Oh and lets not forget the last book of a certain series coming out this Saturday.

Of course all this dyeing means no knitting progress has been made. I feel like so many of my WIPs are being neglected and I still keep wanting to start more. I never used to be the kind of knitter that had 3 or 4 projects going at once, I maybe had 2 going and only because 1 of those is that damn Hoover baby blanket that may never get finished. I think I need to put myself on a ‘no new projects’ knitting diet until the existing WIPs are finished.

Of course I only really have Blu, the cardigan, the Mermaid wrap and a sock on the needles. All very different projects if that makes a difference. Blu is something I just need to knit and be done with, I think the prospect of all that seaming makes me not want to finish it. It was easy and fun though so I think I need to just get over it, the seaming will need to be done eventually and preferably before the baby makes an appearance in the world. It is for the baby of a friend who is making my very cool new knitting bag. The bag that I tell myself I need before I work on the cardigan again.

See what I do? I am the master of excuses. I tell myself I can’t work on the cardigan because it barely fits in the bag it lives in now and if I knit on it the thing won’t fit back in. Hence the need for the new bag before knitting can continue. 🙂

How about I work on Blu, exchange that for the finished bag in 2 weeks so I can work on the cardigan? Those are my two oldest projects and the ones I really want off my plate. It means MS3 won’t happen anytime soon which is too bad but I don’t think I want 2 lace projects going on at once. It also means I might have to hide the Favorite Socks book that I bought in order to stay focused. Think I can stick with that plan?

On the way home from work today I swung by the Chinese market near my house. I walked out with this.

steamer

I now have a GIANT steamer for my roving. It is about 14″ across and who knows how tall.

cat food steamer

Cat food can for size comparison (and yes I am well aware there are ‘better’ cat foods out there but this is the only one Nicki will eat). The new steamer is going to make a HUGE difference in how I dye. I could only fit 2 or maybe 3 bundles of roving in my stockpot to steam at once, at 30-45 min per batch you can see how a shop update of 12-15 bundles can take forever. With the new steamer I think I can comfortably fit up to 8 bundles in one batch. What a difference that will make just in time and of course power used. Should make dyeing during the summer a much more pleasant experience. After all who would want to be steaming roving for 3+hours in 90F weather?

I haven’t made much knitting progress lately, in fact I don’t even have any pictures to show you. I cast on for Coupling in my dark teal Opal and didn’t even make it through 2 pattern repeats before it had to be frogged. How I managed to lose 3 whole stitches is beyond me. I’m also doing the Magic cast-on instead of a short row toe. It’s the weirdest thing, I used to love short rows, thought they were wonderful, easy, and all in all the best thing in sock knitting. Now..not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the short row toe/heel just fine but I’m not feeling the love as much anymore.

There was a little progress made in the Mermaid wrap this weekend, Saturday was pretty much a bust and anyone from the VY&T group can probably confirm that I sat there like a zombie for most of the afternoon. The meds the doc gave me on Friday knock me out big time, needless to say I didn’t take any on Sunday until the evening. Don’t worry, these aren’t lifesaving meds, just something to make the mosquito attack from hell more bearable. There is no way I’m taking them 4 times a day when I have to chug tea/coffee/diet coke with chasers of candy bars just to try and stay awake.

If it wasn’t for the hour wait at the airport last night I would never have gotten any knitting done this weekend, as it was the wrap is maybe 7inches long. I think I have a ways to go 🙂

Now if you excuse me I have some roving to dye (12lbs to be exact). If you see me anytime in the next few weeks I apologize now, I have a feeling I might go insane.

I did it!! I set myself the goal of finishing my Bellatrix socks last night so I could wear them the day the movie came out (yes I’m just THAT geeky).

Bellatrix

The second attempt at grafting finished up around midnight. Yes I said the second attempt. While my kitchener stitch has improved by leaps and bounds since I first tried it almost a full year ago not much can be done except frogging a toe when you miscount and forget an entire pattern repeat on the foot. Sigh.

I loved knitting these socks, I wasn’t sure about the dropped stitches and the potential pooling nightmare of STR but these worked out well I think. I made a couple changes, firstly I don’t like plain knitted heel flaps so I went with the sl1,k1 approach. Secondly because I have freakishly short feet for my shoe size (the person who said that will go unnamed) I made much shorter toes. If I’m reading the pattern correctly it called for decreasing the toe to 12 stitches total and I typically stop at 20-24. 12 stitches would make a very pointy toe IMO and not something that suits my foot shape. Oh and I made shorter cuffs too but only by 1 pattern repeat. It was a great pattern and really an easy knit. I highly recommend going to Socktopia and downloading the free pattern.

I’m very happy with them and I’m wearing them now 😀

Bella and Nicki

Nicki got very excited when I went to take sock photos this morning, I think he likes them better now that they are finished so I can stop using him as a sock model.

Of course being finished with Bellatrix means I can spin without guilt and what is going on the wheel next? Why the Kimono batts from Loop of course! Thank you Sobe, I can’t wait to start spinning.

That is what I think my Loop batts are like. Little fluffy clouds of fiber crack. I promised better pictures so here they are.

Aren’t they pretty? I have no idea what I am going to do with it. Laceweight was suggested just to get the most out of it.

And as if that wasn’t fiberlicious enough I came home from work and spotted a little package on the stairs. Could it be? It looked so nondescript but once it was open it revealed something wonderful.

The first Abby’s Batt of the Month fiber!!!! It’s superwash wool, silk and nylon (just shy of 7oz). It is so pretty. You can’t really see the sparkle in the big picture so here is a closeup for you.

Just enough shimmer but not too sparkly. I have no idea how to spin this up though. Do I spin the blue purple and then the multi separately? I wonder if this can make some decadent socks? I guess I need to come up with a plan before I start spinning.

Why must I get wonderful fiber in right when I’m trying to stick to a knitting deadline? All I want to do is start spinning one of them. I think the Kimono will see the wheel next just because I have been coveting it for so long. Not until Bellatrix is done though. I can knit a sock in 2 evenings right?

I got an amazing package right before I left for my camping trip so I wasn’t able to blog about it right away. I’m in fiber heaven. My SP sent me this.

kimon

It’s 3oz of the Kimono batts from Loop. Alpaca, silk and merino with a touch of sparkle. It’s beyond dreamy. I have no clue what I am going to spin with this but right now one batt is unwound and wrapped around my neck. It’s soooo soft.

I promise better pics of this in the flickr album once I have time to take photos during daylight hours. Indoors flash pictures don’t do it justice.

My SP even included other items to make it a very Japanese themed package. I got some of my favorite green tea, a little teacup plus some Hello Kitty candy 🙂

Warning: this post is long. 

It seems like lately I’ve only been spinning and dyeing and avoiding all knitting. Never fear there has been some knitting going on. Not very many finished projects, well actually only one so far but there is something new on the needles and making good progress.

First up the FO. Remember the Cascade 220 I got at Three Bags Full in Vancouver? Well that purchase became this.

finished booga

I have to admit I don’t felt/full knitted items very often, mostly because very few of the patterns out there interest me. Ok the list only includes Fuzzy Feet but now I can add one more pattern to the list. I followed the modifications that TBF emailed to me, using the Cascade double stranded and only knitting 56 rows instead of the original 64. It made a sturdier and slightly more square bag which I really like. I probably still should have knit the bottom in a k1,sl1 for a stronger base (that was a suggestion that I found online somewhere). The next one will probably be done that way.

It always amazes me how much felting/fulling an item can change it’s size. I couldn’t see how the bag I knitted would shrink down enough, I thought for sure it was going to be too big. Well 3 wash cycles later (I have a low water front loader) I had the bag close enough. It probably could have gone through another wash but I was out of laundry by then. For size comparison I give you this picture.

Sammy is maybe 8lbs. You can probably also tell he also doesn’t like to pose for pictures. The Booga bag needs to be wrapped up and mailed to England. It is going to the same cousin who got the socks. I’ve been informed that she thinks they are very pretty.

In other knitting news I cast on another sock!! It might not sound that exciting but I haven’t been having the best sock luck this year. I started off having to frog 3 pairs right at the beginning of the year and temporarily got the sock mojo back only to get sidetracked with spinning and dyeing fun. I had set myself the goal to knit 12 pairs of socks for myself this year and 1 pair a month didn’t sound that unreasonable. Well I have knit 6 pairs as of end of June only 2 pairs weren’t for me. I’ve been told that still counts but I’m not so sure about that.

Then I happened to head back to the Socktopia blog to check out the themes for July. I’ve been a bad participant mostly because most of the themes so far haven’t inspired me. That is when I saw Bellatrix. Momma-Monkey is giving away 3 free Harry Potter themed sock patterns this month to celebrate the movie and the final book. Go check them out, a new one will be posted each Sunday. Link is in the KAL list.

How could I resist a Harry Potter sock? I had preordered my copy of the book on Amazon the day they started taking orders. I kept looking at Bellatrix and pondered what in my sock stash would work well. It couldn’t be a bright cheery yarn because well Bellatrix isn’t a bright cheery charactor. Then I remembered my STR stash, the stash I have seriously considered trading because I wasn’t feeling the STR love anymore. It came down to Puck’s Mischief and Lagoon.

nicki and bella

Lagoon won. Doesn’t Nicki look happy modeling the sock? I think this next picture sums up his feelings.

“Makes a good pillow Mom”

This is attempt #2 at the sock, mostly because I can’t seem to count. I managed to turn an 8 row pattern into a 6 row pattern and while it still looked good the closeness of those dropped stitches made the sock feel less sturdy and a little loose. So 3″ of sock got frogged and knitted according to the pattern and on smaller needles this time. Much better. I’ve completely ignored the gauge on the pattern because I find 7st/inch way too loose for my liking so these are around 9st/inch.

I’m going to see if I can finish these socks in time for the movie opening on the 11th (I’ll wait till the weekend to watch) and at the rate these are knitting up that is totally doable. That is of course assuming I don’t drop a sock in the campfire this weekend. Between Bellatrix and Blu I think I will have plenty to occupy me when I’m not busy reading a trashy romance novel, making french toast or mixing up cocktails.

This camping trip is something I look forward to every year, sometimes it is the only time I get to catch up with old college friends and yes we all share the same idea of what we consider “camping”. Lets just say our camping trip is best summed up with our coffee. Organic, small independant roaster french press coffee. We are such camping snobs it’s embarressing sometimes.

Now wish me luck. The “featured animals” list includes bears, coyotes and skunks. Why the hell is a skunk a featured animal? Why on earth would I want to see one?

Flickr Photos

Dragonfibers

On the needles

February Fitted Pullover

Sapphire Waves of Grain

On the Bedside Table

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (ok not really since I can't find the book anymore)

on the wheel

Absolutely Nothing.

Stashdown 2009

January 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 233 Total Weight:33.13lbs Total Miles: 27

February 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 213 Total Weight:30.09lbs Total Miles: 26

March 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 218 Total Weight:31.95lbs Total Miles: 27

April 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 217 Total Weight:31.45lbs Total Miles: 26.5

May 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 229 Total Weight: 33.8 Total Miles: 28.4

June 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 210 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.7

July 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 201 Total Weight: 30.5 Total Miles: 26.5

August 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 228 Total Weight: 34.0 Total Miles: 28.8

October 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 254 Total Weight: 38.2 Total Miles: 31.8

November1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 224 Total Weight: 34.9 Total Miles: 29.9

December 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 206 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.1

KAL

World Bread Day '07

July 2007
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