Sunday, April 29, 2007

Archaeological Find

Cleaning in my work room this weekend I uncovered a bit of my knitting history - My Very First Sock, cir: 2003!

Very First Sock

I had two knitters helping me with this; a Friend that lived in Washington State and a cousin who was in Colorado (who once had to email a friend in New York to answer my question) - remember now I live in Southern California. We all were connecting by email and digital photos. Using Edie Eckman's pattern I slowly test drove the process using size 8 needles and worsted weight acrylic. I can still remember my amazement of the fact that I had turned a heel for the first time and seeing the neat cup at the end of the heel flap.

You can see I had the traditional beginner's hole in the corner of the gusset
First Gusset

And my first attempt at the Kitchner Stitch needed lots more practice.

But it looked like a sock and fit; I was so proud of it!

Now four years later with dozens and dozens of socks behind me, I teach sock knitting in a local Yarn Shop. Maybe I should carrying MFS (my first sock) with my teaching kit?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Date in a Box - Just add People

My older daughter and SIL celebrated their Third Anniversary April 17th, which is the day after daughter's Birthday. (I warned her; our Anniversary is the day after Christmas!) I have a hard enough time figuring out what to get for her Birthday that I'm out of ideas when it comes to an Anniversary present for the two of them. This year I went with gift cards but I still wanted to be able to hand them a present.

Date in a Box
I made a stab bound book, each page held a gift card.
Four gift certificates to cover a date night: dinner, a movie with Starbucks and Cinnabons for afterwards all conveniently located in one local Mall not to far from their home.

This book went into a covered box tied with a blue bow.
blue box and bow

the box and book
date in a box

and close-up of one of the pages

That BookArts class I took seven years ago has really enabled me to creatively give a gift certificate with out having to just hand over an envelope.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mother's Day Present - a month early

The Photographer told me to go ahead and order the wheel I'd been saving for, he'd pay half the amount as my Mother's Day present. I was online ordering in minutes after his offer.

I ordered it from Pacific Wool and Fiber and in eleven days look what I found waiting on the front porch.
Sonata delivery
A Kromski Sonata a full size folding wheel with carrying case.
I easily put it together and only had to refer to the directions to put on the brakeband.

It spins so effortlessly. I can start the wheel moving in either direction with my feet everytime. (Half the time my Traveler gets locked into a position that I can't budge it with my feet and have to give the wheel a push to get it moving.) My plan is to spin singles on my Sonata and ply on the Traveler which will permanetly have the large mother-of-all and bobbin installed.

Have to thank Michelle here for letting me try out her wheel to confirm my choice. Five minutes spinning and I could tell this was the wheel I wanted

A head shot
Sonata Head
I'm spinning a Crosspatch Fibers batt.

The reason for getting the wheel now rather than waiting a month is so that by mid-June I'll be up to speed on this wheel. It's traveling with me to Oregon to the Black Sheep Gathering; I'm taking a class from Judith Mackenzie McCuin called "Three Wild Downs: Bison, Cashmere and Yak"

I've bought both cashmere and yak fibers but have been too chicken to try spinning them; maybe this class will give me courage to work with these $$$ fibers.

And my the first epi flower of the season
This flower is the size of a soft ball.

(Note: I haven't a clue why this post has so many changes in the fonts. Sorry)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mean while...

Thanks for all the Sympathy messages; it's good to knows others care about one old orange kitty. Sam and Ty, my other cats, seem to be rather clingy the last few day; guess they know Willy's gone and miss him too.

Mean while here are some of the things I finished in the last two weeks but didn't get photographed and noted here.

Round Two of Sockmadness was a pattern called Madtini
Madtini Socks
I used Lorna's Laces Shepard Sport in Watercolor (18).
Cuff close-up
Madtini cuff
and heel close-up; notice the accent stitch down the edge of the heel flap
Madtini heel

The challenge is down to the final four; see why I was eliminated in Round One, I've only just finished Round Two's socks. The final four will start Round Five April 28th. They really have had some challenging patterns.

When I was up in Ramona for the Spinning day on the Farm I bought half a Columbian Fleece named Patches. A gorgeous fleece with patches of every natural color I've seen in a Fleece. Here's a close up of the crimp.
Patches Fleece
This fleece was off a coated lamb and I have to mention how clean and easy to wash this is. The VM is at a minimum and there's very light lanolin/grease to wash out. Sooo much easier washing than a fleece off an adult. I've learned from this and I will never consider handwashing anything but a lamb or first shearing; everything else will be sent off to be professionally processed.

Speaking of professionally processed I received a huge box of fleece back from Morro Bay Fleece Works. I bought a Morrit Merino Fleece from Shari in Morro Bay that came from Nebo Rock Ranch. It's 5 pounds of the softest roving I've every handled.
Any suggestion on what to make or tips on spinning Merino? It's so soft I'm thinking something next to the skin.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Some Cat!

Yellow Orchids

1991 - 2007

Willy, (Dec. 10, 06 Blog entry) after a brief illness, is gone.

He was such a sweet cat; he will be missed by all.

As Charlotte would say, he was Some Cat!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, April 09, 2007

Spinning at the Farm

My Spinning Class was invited to spend the day on a sheep ranch in Ramona, CA during the first week of Spring Break. It started out beautifully clear and warm.

We spun, we talked, we tried each other's wheels.
Spinning at Lorraines

We learned about skirting a fleece
Fleece 718 - skirting

We bought Columbian fleece with the most amazing crimp
Crimp 718
and staple length
Lock Length 718

We could visit the sheep that had just last weekend been sheared of our newly purchased fleece. How often can you do that!
Sheep 719

As the day progressed the clouds came in, then the wind started and finally on the way home there was drizzle on the windhshield. Our single day in the country felt like we had experienced several seasons.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Clean-up Spinning

I've finished some Hand-Spun, Hand-Dyed Yarn! Pictures you ask? Of course!

Here is a 3-ply Colonial Wool Top (7 oz., 295 yds) spun worsted
3 ply Colonial wool top

beautiful yarn, boring to spin; I'm not a fan of working with Top prepared fiber.

Hand dyed Jacob roving, 2-ply (3.5 oz, 196 yds) spun woolen
Hand dyed HS Jacob

This roving felted slightly during the dyeing process because I didn't watch the kettle close enough and it started a very gently boil for less than a minute. I've a new twist on an old saying, "When dyeing, an unwatch kettle WILL start to boil." Lesson learned!
Hand dyed HS Jacob 2

Last Semester my Spinning Class was challenged by our Teacher to make something with our HandSpun. I started a scarf but ran out of the colored yarn so this is what I made to finish the project. I'm also using a dark yarn I spun the first year I learned; it's so thick that I had to Navajo ply this to get it to match my earlier yarn. (Navajo plying still makes me feel like I wasn't born with enough hands!)
Hand dyed Navajo plyed
(Don't know why this photo is so dark it was taken under exactly the same conditions as all the others in today's post??)
Hand dyed Navajo Plyed 2

I started spinning this yarn so long ago I can't remember what fiber I used; it feels like merino. Twisted Sister's Sock Book instruction's was what I tried to follow. (7.7 oz, 653 yds) spun worsted with a bit of overtwist to both singles and 2-ply
yellow sock HS
(another dark shot)
Yellow Sock HS 2

And last is (3.7 oz) commercial Superwash Blue Faced Leicester yarn from Wool 2 Dye 4. I've been trying to work towards colorful Koigu-ish looking yarn. My Sock on a Rock in the previous post was part of this dye method trial and error.
Hand dyed Blue Faced Leicester