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I tried to be so good about my spending at Madrona that I passed up the prettiest little basket at one of the booths. I knew I could find it another time so I held off.

Found it! I walked into VY&T on Saturday and spotted this beauty. It is a DellaQ small storage cube, dark brown and a shimmery blue fabric. I was in love. Thank goodness I had a full discount card 🙂

My reasoning behind getting the smaller cube (besides the obvious price issue) was because I knew a basket would be a temptation for Nicki. He likes to sleep in things as long as it isn’t his kitty pi. I also know that he doesn’t like to curl up into a little ball when he sleeps. He is more of a sprawler and has been known to stretch out on my bed so that I’m left clinging to the edge.

I underestimated the lure of a fabric lined basket with squishy fiber on the bottom.

He barely fits but damn he was determined to sleep in there. I think his recent weight-loss is the only way this happened since I can’t imagine him fitting in there when he was still 13+lbs.

See that patch of orange peeking out from under his paws? That would be 2oz of tussah silk and 2oz of a silk/cashmere/alpaca/something batt. My September Abby Batts! I guess I should be thrilled my cat has good taste but DAMN!!

I made sure the fabric was tied securely before I went to work yesterday and wouldn’t you know it he tried it again. I came home and the knot was tighter and the fabric was pulled down into the basket a bit. The little punk obviously tried to squeeze his way in there.

I’m not ready to will this basket to him yet so I think a trip to the craft store is in order and he can have his own basket. I will even line it with roving if he wants…it just won’t be silk.

One of the things I love about working downtown and being so close to Pike’s Market (3 blocks) is that on the first day of spring there are people stationed at key locations around downtown handing out daffodils. I happen to work on the same corner as one of those locations.

Like my classy vase? It was so nice to come into work on Friday morning and see that the remaining 2 flowers had opened up overnight. A bright cheery yellow sight was just what I needed. If you look closely you can see my desktop background is my Icky shawl, it’s been that for over a year now and I never get tired of looking at it.

My goal this morning was to take a few closeups of my newly finished sock yarn, I managed to snap a couple before Nicki wanted in on the fun.

Isn’t he pretty?

You can see the colors in the yarn a little better with the closeup. There is blue and dark green superwash merino and the streaks of red and grass green are tussah silk. The slightly silvery areas are due to the white bamboo. I still look at this yarn and smile, I can’t believe I made it. This is definitely not in line with my usual spinning and I’m hoping this means I’m improving.

I did a little knitting today with the usual Saturday knitting gang. It’s been 3 weeks since the doc said take it easy and my hands have almost completely healed. I figured I would ease back into it slowly so I spent last night frogging my bus sock knitting back to the toe because I decided that 60 stitches in stockingnette would make much more comfortable socks than 64 stitches.

I like negative ease and a 8.5″ circumference sock just felt too loose on my 9″ circ. foot. The sock has been reknit back to it’s original length pre-frogging and is holding up at a nice 8″ circumference.

However because I’m trying to be slightly more intelligent about my body (let’s ignore the baklava sundae I ate for dessert tonight) I’m not going to continue with the knitting until Monday. I have spinning I want to do and my biggest dilemma is what to spin next.

I have so many fibers I’ve bought that I really like yet I find myself stuck in that “Oh but it is too pretty to mess up” mode. I don’t want to ruin something precious, especially ones I can’t ever get again yet I certainly don’t want to waste my time spinning stuff I don’t enjoy. So for now I find myself staring at the tub of rovings and batts and going back and forth trying to decide.

For now, I’m going to get a little couch time with this guy.

After finishing Beaker last week I got the craving to continue spinning. I’m not sure how long this knitting hiatus is supposed to last but it’s been 2 weeks now and I’ve found that spinning doesn’t bother me at all. The numbness in my hands still comes and goes but definitely not at the same frequency or severity as before.

I planned on trying to continue the bus sock knitting this morning but alas at some point in time the 5th dpn managed to escape from the bag. I wasn’t in the mood to rearrange everything onto 3 needles and go from there so everything went back into the purse and I tried to wake up while listening to Bon Jovi Living on a Prayer. If you think that is a dated cheesy music choice…I listened to Def Leppard on the way home 🙂

Anyway, back to the fiber. I think in a previous post I mentioned getting to know my drum carder so I ordered some superwash merino, a bunch of tussah silk and some nylon. I wanted to make luxury sock batts. Something superwash but with the strength from the nylon and the shine and silkiness of tussah (I also tossed in bamboo). There was dyeing and then one round of batts were carded up and they looked oh so lovely.

 

Since I couldn’t very well pass up the chance to try it out (lets call it the QA Process) I started spinning. I was aiming for a 3ply fingering weight but considering my past attempts at that I wasn’t hopeful.

Holy crap I was wrong. I’m not sure how much of it was my determination to really see what the batts could spin up like or maybe for one I was actually paying attention but I did it!

4oz, 3 ply 338 yards of superwash merino, tussah silk, bamboo, nylon and a little firestar. It’s over 30% silk and bamboo so it has a great sheen. I’m hoping these will become some socks very soon.

I am itching to make more batts, it has been a plan of mine to eventually introduce something like this to the shop and hopefully that will happen soon. I figure that if I had a pretty easy time getting a good sock yarn out of these batts then a more experienced spinner should have no problems. The batts are definitely time consuming just because I’m dyeing everything myself but I like that I get to be involved in every step of the process (minus the silk worms and sheep shearing).

Since there hasn’t been any knitting lately I decided to do a little baking last week.

Pecan Sticky Buns. Damn these were good. I made a double batch to take to work and then made another batch for the Saturday knitting group. I think they were liked by all.

I did manage to get a little sidetracked at Jo*nns this weekend and while I can justify all my purchases as being on sale there is one in particular I wanted to show off. It was still $14 even after the 30% off but I couldn’t resist.

A sheep planter!!! With feet!!! It’s totally dorky and cheesy but he was too cute to leave there. Nicki will probably like a little cat grass this summer and there is funny sort of appeal in being able to watch him attack the grass from the back of smiling ceramic sheep.

7 women, 3 wheels, yarn and fiber everywhere plus 8 bottles of wine.

Sound like a good weekend to you?

I had a blast, we only made it through half the wine although I’m pretty sure I drank more than my fair share.

I’ve only been to Fort Worden once before and that was a drive by. The officers houses there are great big old houses that are in varying stages of remodel. Much of the original details are still there but you can see where the electricity was added in later, plumbing pipes aren’t always buried in the walls (hence the 2 pipes in the dining room) plus the kitchen has that strange church kitchen feel.

There was however this….

A closet under the stairs! I wonder if Harry’s room was that small. I believe there was talk about sticking a 4 Privet Lane label above the door.

I was good and still followed doctor’s order to not knit for a while. She never said anything about spinning though.

I finally pulled out the Dicentra Designs superwash merino that I purchased at OFFF last year. The colorway is Pelannor. I had to look it up since I couldn’t read the handwriting but apparently I bought LOTR themed roving! Go figure.

I’m hopeful the Fiber Salon turns out to be an annual event. I had a great time and it was so nice to get away for a few days and just hang out with friends.

I took some pictures but not nearly enough, there is a short video that I probably shouldn’t show people without Lainie’s permission.

Since getting home I have finished spinning and plying the Pelannor that I have renamed as Beaker (you had to be there).

My spinning is getting marginally better and in some spots I actually ended up with a truly 3ply fingering weight yarn…it was mostly a sport to dk weight. I also messed up in my splitting of the roving so 2 of my bobbins were slightly heavier. That also meant that my plan to have somewhat distinct stripes of colors was kaput.

I do like it though. Yes I know it doesn’t look like Beaker but believe me when I say it is appropriate.

Every now and then I listen to that voice of reason in my head and last night it saved me a lot of grief.

I was getting ready to toss in the final load of laundry when I grabbed the newly finished Endless Retro Rib socks that have been keeping my toes warm since they were finished. Into the washer they went…followed by 3 white items (including my pristine white WSU jacket).

Then right before I closed the door that little voiced spoke up.

“Don’t you want to soak them first and see if they bleed?”

Hmmm…maybe

Out came the socks and off they went to sit in a warm sink of water. If nothing happened they could go back in the machine.

THANK YOU little voice in my head!

Holy crap did these babies bleed! We are talking dark purple black water here. I finally gave up on rinsing them clear after 6 or 7 sinkfuls of water that still gave me a lovely purple bath. I wasn’t aiming for clear clear water but something that wasn’t going to immediately stain any whites it came into contact with.

I’m pissed. From what I can tell this is not uncommon with Bearfoot. While I realize that the yarn was incredibly dark and saturated so therefore more prone to bleeding during it’s first wash I personally think what I saw was definitely not cool. The socks are being handwashed right now and I will wait till they are dry to see if they have faded at all. I’m definitely not pleased at the prospect of always having to wash these separately from my other socks since I’ve been told by other knitters that their Bearfoot bleeds a little every time they wash.

Now that we have that grumpiness out of the way….

 

Those are batts! Lovely fluffy batts. Made by me 🙂

I finally pulled out the drum carder (who really eats at the dining table anyway?) and had some fun this last week going through my tub of roving scraps.

I also got in a GIANT box of fiber for a project I have in mind for the shop. Some of it is being dyed up right now for the first experiments.

I’m off for a weekend away with some fiber friends which I’m really looking forward to. It has been dubbed Fiber Salon. All about us getting away and enjoying the fiber amongst friends while we leave the troubles and worries of our daily lives behind.

If I remember correctly the idea came from our jealousy over those folks who have lots of money to spend on fancy knitting and spinning retreats that we can’t go to. So we made our own. Many thanks to Elaine for organizing it all!

I took a few days off 2 weeks ago to go visit the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. It is something I do every year and for the last 4 years I’ve also been helping out at Edelweiss Perennials. The couple that owns it are related to a good friend of mine so I always go and help out for a day. The payment in free plants is just an added perk 🙂

I spent quite a bit of time this year at one of the orchid booths. Orchids are one of those plants I love so much but just can’t grow. I bought 2 small plants this year in an attempt to see if maybe this time I might have more luck. If not, well I only spent $15 on both so I won’t be crushed. The first 2 pictures below are ones of the plants I bought.

 

 

After checking out some of the display gardens which were still not overly interesting to me I hopped in the car with a friend and headed south to Portland for the weekend. Just to clarify…it isn’t that the display gardens hold no appeal to me, I just feel that the last few years have been unimaginative. Thankfully this year I only spotted one cluster of hyacinths and the use of daffodils and tulips were at a minimum. Looking at 12 gardens that are all crammed full of the exact same plants is just plain boring.

By far my favorite was the Urban Garden Company display but that might have been because they had live chickens in it. Their approach to urban, sustainable and useful gardening is what I wanted to see more of. I despise the popularity of outdoor bedroom display gardens. Um hello? This is the NW…do you have any idea how impractical it would be to have your bed outside in the garden? I personally prefer to avoid sleeping on mildewy sheets but that might just be an odd quirk of mine.

Portland was as usual a lot of fun. I went to my favorite restaurant on Friday night for some excellent Lebanese food, then there was a trip to Jim & Patty’s for some coffee and coffeecake on Sat morning. There was a wine tasting on Sat afternoon where I had to start tossing some of my wine after I realized that drinking 7 half glasses of wine was probably not the best idea.  There was another trip to Jim & Patty’s on Sunday for more breakfast (see below) and of course the mandatory trip to Powells.

All in all a wonderful weekend. The sun was shining, the company was great and I even got knitting done.

There would have been more progress made but I got a little overenthusiastic while knitting the truffle section so I ended up with 62 ridges instead of 58. It took several attempts of picking up the celadon section and still ending up with the wrong number of stitches before I thought to look at my cheat sheet of numbers. Those extra rows have been frogged and I’m now back on track. I think I’m about 1/3 of the way through section 4.

Sadly both the blanket and my bus socks are on hold right now.

Why?

Turns out the increasingly frequent occurances of numbness in my hands are NOT something I should just learn to live with ( I am somewhat prone to that kind of behaviour)

It’s my fault for pulling out the knitting while I waited for the doc because when she showed up her first question was “Do you do that a lot?”  The visit ended with 2 weeks of meds and instructions to lay off the knitting for a bit.

The knitting hiatus is just vague enough I find myself wondering if she meant just a few days or the entire two weeks. I keep thinking about how if I’m really good about resting my wrists and taking those meds maybe just maybe a few days is enough. I know it is stupid bargaining and I probably do need the break but damn it I want to knit!

Saturday knitting was frustrating for me. I got there late and then I just sat there and chatted. Don’t get me wrong, I love chatting with my knitting friends but all I could think of was how those stupid doctor’s orders were interfering with my routine. I feel like a petulant child when I voice the previous comment so I’m trying to refocus my energy elsewhere.

For now I’m going to try be a good girl so I never ever have to hear the words “You should lay off the knitting for a while” again.

Flickr Photos

blackwork sampler

More 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

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