Wednesday, May 30, 2007

When I saw my buddy Teenuh was a Ring Finger I had to see what finger I was.....

You Are a Pinky

You are fiercely independent, and possibly downright weird.
A great communicator, you can get along with almost anyone.
You are kind and sympathetic. You support all your friends - and love them for who they are.

You get along well with: The Ring Finger

Stay away from: The Thumb

Best matched to a Ring finger... no wonder we get along so well...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Spinning again.

Yeah, so now that I can do a fairly decent job at it, I find myself addicted to spinning while watching tv and my knitting progress has suffered terribly for it. All I've done lately is spin and spin.

Ah, yes, I have also been busy with my drum carder carding some unwashed suri alpaca that has been fun to process. I am thinking I will never buy unwashed again, because washing it in batches in a bucket in my bathroom has really been, um, interesting? I had a massive alpaca hair clog when one lock escaped and immediately spiraled down the drain. The drum carder is SO fun. Although I have learned a valuable lesson when I got bitten by the slicker. Damn that thing is sharp!! I accidentally poked my finger on one of the spikes and man was it more effective than any lancet ever made. My finger bled and bled. *Note to self - don't poke finger on slicker.* When I got it I was totally hoping I could get the kids to crank the handle and push in the fiber, but now I don't even want them to stand near the thing, not to mention putting their precious little fingers anywhere near it. All I can see is the slicker munching their hand and shredding up their skin. It terrifies me. I am sure it will be a subject for nightmares to come.

So far I have made 2 suri alapaca batts. They are silky and luxurious. The carder couldn't be easier to use. My learning curve has been steep. Lesson 1, don't hold the fiber tightly as it feeds under the licker because then it wraps around the licker instead of rolling onto the drum and then you have to pick it off and that is dangerous. Lesson 2, when they instructions say "small amounts" they mean small amounts and not smallish large amounts or it gets tangled up and the fiber doesn't roll onto the drum smoothly and more fiber gets wrapped around previously mentioned evil licker. Lesson 3, They give you a flicker card for a reason, using the flicker card or a comb makes a more even bat that doesn't have the ends of the locks still bunched up. Lesson 4, keep your damn fingers away from evil licker drum.

Well, off to sit and spin.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Spinning on the dream machine.

Gosh do I LOVE this little spinning wheel. Two pedals are twice as good as one. I can spin a lot longer without my back hurting from having to sit with my legs weird to try and alternate feet. It is a LOT easier to get consistent speeds too. Here is my handspun Merino Silk blend from Angora Cottage. I think I should have plied it the opposite way for a softer yarn. I can do it on the next one, since I have like 12 more ounces of it left. This came out as a 2 ply lace weight. It is the finest, most consistently spun skein I have made to date (you may notice I have never posted a pic of my spinning before because it was simply TOO hideous to be seen). I'm sad looking back at my skills when I ruined, wasted ugly spun some nice flame colored red, yellow, and black superwash. I still have some left, I just don't know if it will be enough to actually make socks or anything with. It makes me excited to start spinning the merino tencel I bought at Stitches.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Felted Bowling Ball Style bag is done!

The Patons wool felts really nicely. The Cascade 220 sucks! It hardly felted at all. The long band I knitted to make the sewn on stripe accents with was barely felted after 2 runs through the washing machine (the patons felted completely by the first run through). It was knitted on size 11 needles with 2 strands held together. What crap. The hardest part of the bag is getting it shaped after you have felted it. I am not sure that I did so good.
Here it is before felting.
Here it is after felting.
It is pretty ugly. I have given it to my DD and she is as thrilled as can be. I also cranked out this little one skein purse. It was supposed to be bigger according the the directions but came out about 2 inches smaller. It was made using Patons SWS. It is nice and soft and felted quite nicely.
Before Felting

After felting. Last but not least my Bauerliches socks in Lisa Souza "South Pacific" colorway. Yeah, sorry for the bizarre picture I laid on my back on the couch and stuck my feet up on the back of the couch and snapped. Before you go, a closeup of the stitch pattern.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hooooooooray for Saturday.

Teenuh and I went on a merry yarn tour yesterday, visiting 6 wonderful yarn stores of the Bay Area Peninsula. We ran out of time and did not make it a perfect 10 by missing 4 of South Bay stores. The day started with me driving around in circles, having forgotten my cell phone at home. I picked up Teenuh and she gave me this lovely potholder set she knitted and felted. Then off to San Mateo to check out the Ashford Traveller, which turned out to be simply fantastic. I purchased that little jewel and the gal selling it offered up her entire fiber collection to sell piece-meal, which was simply too much for me! She dappled in spinning (meaning she jumped in with both feet and about 15 + lbs of various fiber) only to decide that spinning wasn't for her! My goodness did that luck out for me. Here is my new spinning beauty, I tested it out last night at 3 am after Teenuh and her DH went home. It spins like a dream. Double treadle is AWESOME. Here it is pictured next to my Ashford traditional. You can see the size difference is quite significant.

The first stop on our yarn tour was Nine Rubies in San Mateo. It is a new store, very nice, friendly people, the setup and locale reminded me a lot of Commuknitty. Teenuh made a purchase there, but not me, though when she got her bag, I had total bag envy over the heavy duty black polka dotted back she received. Our next stop was Purlessence where I really controlled my self and bought only 2 oz of silk hankies from Rainbow works. In yummy browns and golds. In spite of the Sheep To Shoe kit that had AMAZING purples and greens in it that SCREAMED my name. We proceeded on to Yarn Place to partake of their best 20% off everything sale. Some shiny black mohair roving. A cheap drop spindle and a nifty felting needle set, that can use 1-6 needles (scary, scary I can just see stabbing myself in the hand or leg or something with that) completed my Yarn Place purchases. We then drove back up to The Knitters Studio in Menlo Park to see the Annie Blatt trunk show, but bought nothing because of the high price of everything in the store. Then schlepped over to Full Thread Ahead in Los Altos where I sold myself on a some more Seasilk in this yummy aqua blue to beige-ish silver blend. So yummy. As well as some white Cascade 220 to make the edges on the Seven Ten Split bowling bag from Anticraft that I've started in black. Why is it so hard to find WHITE 100% feltable wool?? Doesn't anyone believe in white wool? Apparently only Cascade seems to. Our last stop was a dash to Uncommon Threads, just a few streets away from FTA. We arrived just before closing and had only 10 minutes to peruse. They have a nice selection of Lana Grossa that I want to go back to and sift through some more.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Duh, it seems like I've forgotten how to post!? Really, has it been like 10 days since I posted? I guess so. So yesterday was my birthday (unenthusiastic Eyore type cheer here *yay*) and I got to pick out my own present when the hubby let me spend the big bucks and told me get a drum carder (for this so called Birth/mother's day combo present) . So after extensive research I went for the best and I ordered a Strauch's Finest drum carder (405) yippee. I can hardly wait for it to get here. I also ordered some unprocessed Suri Alpaca fiber from Homestead Wool and Gift farm, that came SO quickly (like 3 days after I ordered it from Wisconsin even!) That I know is going to be super nice once it has been washed and carded. It makes me crazy eager for that carder to get here. I just can't stand the tedium of hand carders, *brush brush brush* *pick pick pick* *brush brush brush* repeat. I want to go *crank crank crank crank crank* *pick pick pick* *crank crank crank* and be done with 20 times as much fiber in 1/4 of the time. The carding is most certainly NOT the fun part. Maybe it will be now right?

Looking forward to a fiber filled Saturday of fun with Teenuh. We are going up to look at an Ashford Traveller double drive, double treadle spinning wheel a woman is selling, hopefully that will work out. Also we are going to look at Nine Rubies an lys in San Mateo, catch the Yarn Place sale and have a jolly meandering day of fun. Although most any day I spend with Teenuh is fun fun fun. Pics of my socks to follow soon, I am binding off the second one later tonight and I will be ready to wear them for this unseasonably cool weather.