Monday, July 6, 2009

I've Dyed and Gone to Fiber Heaven

So, I have all this really ugly fiber that has been sitting in a hamper for about two years. It's Ugly Batt fiber and it really is ugly because I've spun all the pretty parts of it already. What I am left with is just butt ugly...sorry, it is! Since money is tight these days...boy! is it ever...I'm not getting any new fiber for spinning, that's for sure! We don't even have enough money for a birthday gift for me, that's how tight things are. Not complaining, but it sucks to be poor. Just hoping next year will be better. But, I digress....the ugly stuff. Anyway, I decide I want to dye some of it just to know, no biggy, not looking to become a wizard with this stuff, but I could just give it a try. I pull out the Kool Aid-that's safe, non-toxic and won't make the house smell like poo. All good things! I spin a couple of hanks and tentatively query someone at one of the dyeing forums on Ravelry...I so love ravelry for all fiber related stuff, you can find out everything there!!! They say, give the red family a try. I have koolaid going to waste, so to speak, in my kitchen drawer so I pull out a pack of Cherry and two packs of Orange. Soak the handspun yarn in some vinegar water for about 1/2 hour then mix up the beverage with some water and more vinegar. I figure you can't have too much vinegar and I sure want this color to set, not fade away. Well, I guess I did it my way, but it worked so that was good. I packed the wet yarn into a Pyrex bowl with the beverage water, stuck it in the microwave and zapped it for 2 minutes. Let it sit for another 2 minutes and then zapped it again for 2 minutes. Long enough I figure.
I figured right...OMG, what a gorgeous shade of reddy-orange tweedy yarney goodness! It was was was wayyyyyyyyy prettier than I ever thought it would be!!! I had to do more!!! Let's see, I thought to myself, I have some grape and some pink lemonade and some more cherry!! I'll dye the ugly gray/navy/vomiity yarn!! What did I get???? MERLOT!!! GORGEOUS, SHINY, TWEEDY PERFECTION!!! This is too good. I am thinking about my stash of natural good stuff-stuff I have paid high prices for! I have Merino Roving, I have Angora, I have Corriedale all to be spun and it can be dyed!! I remember that I have a kit of Jacquard dyes I bought when I thought I was going to take up silk painting (I didn't)!!! I can use that-the sky is the limit and I am a color chemistry whiz...really, color is my thing. I know how to mix to get what I want! I am on my way to the kitchen ladies and gentlemen, to whip up some moss green for a butt ugly yarn that wants to be used in my hooked rug! Life is good!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I'm going to rant...I just am.
I don't like Noro yarn. I don't see the attraction to it at all. Is it colorful? Yes, but that is where any sort of attraction for it might end...but personally, all those color combos really aren't that attractive..some of it really is barfy, butt ugly yarn-it is!! The yarn is harsh, the yarn is knotty and I absolutely cannot stand the way it feels in my hands. Eeeeeeeeewwwwwww, like nails on a chalkboard!! Another thing, the price is rediculous. I mean, really! Why would you pay anywhere from $10 to $22 for a ball of yarn-yarn that is essentially spun singles. I guess some people would think they're getting a bargain, but actually, if they look to some of the home grown indy spinners, they're going to find the same thing but a whole lot cheaper and the yarn will feel a whole lot better-with fewer, if any, knots. How do I know this? I make yarn like this and even better. Singles yarn is good for some things, but not for everything. And another thing, it does not knit nicely either.
So, there is my rant on Noro...ditto Malabragio, but because I detest pooling yarns. Nuff said!

On a cheerier note, I'm on vacation finally!!! Friday was last day of work for me until July 27th...then back to school. First day for the kidlings will be Aug.10. It gets shorter and shorter every year. We're not really doing anything as we have no money this year. The economy has been wickedly brutal this year to Tom. No work to be had and I am sure it is so with a good many others. Not to worry though. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table and health insurance. Hoping that 2010 will be a much better year...or we win the lottery!! LOL

I'm spining the BFL for Tommy's Aran this month and hope to get all 2 pounds spun and plied by the first of August so I can start knitting before September and he can wear it in October. Also knitting up some of my unfavorite stash that is just too glitzy for me. The black silk and sterling silver will be a scarf/stole that I hope I can sell and I have some Sari silk/Alpaca that I want to do the same with...maybe a little triangle shawl which does look really cute on small framed women going dress up somewhere elegant...not me because I am not and we never go anywhere like that!! Ha!

Found an excellent pattern that I want to try. Joined the KAL for it on Ravelry. Faery Ring. It is just too cute and I hope will be written up in kids sizes. It would be adorable on Shannen!!

So, that's about it for I am back to my knitting and spinning until next time. Hopefully no more rants about pricey, ugly yarn.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spinning With Enthusiasm

I had so much fun yesterday teaching my friend Cathy to spin and she took right to it! There is always the learning curve, but really, she did amazingly well for the first time at the wheel...better than I did my first try! I think she's a natural! Even better, than that, I now have a friend to talk spinning with-not that Tommy doesn't listen or isn't enthusiastic about my spinning. After all, he is the one who encouraged me to do this and enabled me with stash fiber and bought my wheels. I think she will dig right in there with me though and another plus is being able to share fiber...if we ever want to purchase fiber that is outrageous, we can go halvsies on it...or fleece. We can try our hand at dyeing fiber too. That should be interesting...
I loaned her a couple of books and the Traddy to practice on with a bag of various fibers to practice with. I know she will quickly get the hang of spinning. She has a friend who is going to send her some Alpaca fiber so she's anxious to learn the whole process.
We will be attending the Peachtree Handspinners Guild meeting next Saturday and not only that, we're planning on a trip to SAFF in October. That will be so much fun! She wants to get bunnies...I must resist the urge to buy furry babies though. I really can't do that. Cathy is also a real pro at gardening too, so we talked about planting veggies-I really do want a small container garden-and she left seed catalogs and gardening books. I am overwhelmed by the choices!

I'm taking Shannen to the park this evening so must get something done this morning, even if it's only a few rows of knitting or start something on the wheel. I just hope the pollen won't kill me right off. It's so bad this year!

Friday, April 17, 2009

OK, I'm the gajillionth person to say this but...

Susan Boyle is amazing! Today I heard her recording of "Cry Me A River"...I wanted to. OMG, this woman's voice is gorgeous. She may not look like what society deems beautiful, but I say she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever had the pleasure to hear sing. Brings me to tears every time I hear her. I joined the Susan Boyle group on Ravelry...had to. I have to keep up with her because I am getting her first CD when it comes out and if she is ever performing in Atlanta, I'm going! I forsee great things for her and she so deserves them!

Well, I finally got around to grafting the hose top for He'Mo Leanan and now I'm ready to get the garter section worked. Not sure how my left-handed knitting is going to skew these but, what can I do? I am left handed. Still, so far, they look like the photo-so far, so good.

Tomorrow I am teaching Cathy how to spin, so today is reserved for house cleaning...I'd hate her to see the clouds of doggy hair fluffing about as she walks and frankly, I'm a bit weary of it myself. I don't know where she's getting all this hair and why it is shedding so much this year! Overnight my beige carpets are turning black from doggy hair!! Arrrrgggghhhh Anyway, I'm going to let her use Bess and spin the Corriedale because it is so easy to spin. I think she will take to it quickly because she's a fiber person and very artsy craftsy...which is one reason we are friends..sympatico. She's a better artist than I am though-drawing wise. I've got to decide what we'll have for lunch. I think she likes cheeses and breads, so maybe we will have that sort of thing. I gotta go to the store this evening and get stuff. She's also bringing seed catalogs for me to browse so I can get a patio garden going. I really would like to grow some veggies this summer-cut down on the grocery costs.

So, I'm off to get started on the cleaning. I'll feel better once it is done and everything is de-Argie'd.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What do you do when you don't have anything to do?

I'm not speaking of myself of course....I have plenty to do as would be evident by the state of cleanliness (un) of my house and all the fiber that needs spinning and knitting that needs to be done. I choose the latter two of course...No what I mean is
PEEPS JOUSTING. My sister told me about this today on the phone. She lives in SC, me, in GA and we talk a few times a month. So anyway, she hears about this activity on the Johnboy and Billy radio show on her way to work one day. Seems like you take Peeps..the marshmallow Easter kind and line them up on opposite sides of a paper plate and stick toothpicks in them. Put the jousters in the microwave and as they expand toward one another, they joust. The object of the game is to expand them as much as possible without them exploding all over your microwave. I think the inventor of this little passtime needed to come to my house and I'd have given him/her all the housecleaning chores so I could knit and spin. Oh well.

I''m procrastinating today for some reason...could be the allergies. My head feels like a baloon. I only have today and tomorrow left of Spring Break and I'm feeling a bit let down. I sure didn't do everything I wanted to do during the time off...but then, I never do. If I were a better organized person I could accomplish something I think.

So now, really, I'm off to...let's see, what will it be?...Spin-yes, spin. After a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

If it's Tuesday, it must be allergy season

One thing I hate about Georgia is that every year I get the scratchy throat, itchy eyes and a really bad case of clogged head...and I snore. Tommy had to get up and go to his studio to sleep last night. I woke myself up...but had no place to go to escape myself. You'd think that the one week I have off for Spring Break I'd be well enough to enjoy it. But no.
About all I can do is hang out indoors and knit and spin, so that's a pretty good deal-even though I can't hang my head over too far or I'll drip all over my wool...lovely.
It snowed today. Not a real snow of course, but there were white flakes blowing about and it was cold and windy. Not at all like Georgia in April should be, but then, lately nothing has really been "right" has it? It isn't pleasing to have all this wrongness going on. I wish it would straighten out so things could feel right again.
I'm really enjoying my knitting today. He'mo Leanan kilt hose for Tommy. Oh they are so pretty and I do love the knotwork...Celtic patterns. Anne Gilmour is such a talent and I do hope that she will decide to publish her Celtic patterns. I'm trying to encourage her to do that. She's such a nice lady and I am thrilled to know her and be her friend. Her hose on Ridge are shown...I've only just begun mine...the red ones and can only hope they turn out as well as hers!! I did start a KAL for these hose on my Ravelry group Kilt Hose and Flashes. So far there are 4 of us knitting them!!
That's about it for today. I'm off to get myself something warm to drink and get back to knitting...or maybe, knitting I think.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

She's Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack~

I can't even say why it has been so long since I posted here...lazy? Busy? Out of words to say? I don't know. Sometimes I just get that way, but I really would like to try to keep up in a more timely way than I have been~a few words every few days at the most.

So, enough said about not keeping up. It's Spring Break you know. No school/work. I have seven glorious days to knit and spin and do what I want to do; although, we all know that at the end of it, I'm going to be cleaning house and doing laundry and all that other necessary stuff right along with the fun things. I love Spring Break-it gives me time to forget all the nit picky, back-stabbing stuff that goes on at school. There's always something-which is why I love my soon-to-be-lost private office where I can go and just do my work without all the chaos. I'm not thinking about next term having to go back to the front office and be right out there in the open with all the germ ridden kiddos traipsing through my office space. Yes, I'm old and crochety! SO!

On the bright side-besides Spring Break-I've been knitting and spinning as ususal. I made a lace coat for a friend of my sister. No pics of this because, to tell the truth, it was a PITA! Fuzzy yarn-oh yes, fuzzy yarn. But, she wanted fuzzy and that's what she got-the pattern called for it, though God knows why anyone would design a lace pattern with fuzzy yarn that cannot be ripped back if an error is made. I did have to rip back and it was the biggest PITA EVER!!! Oh, and not only was it fuzzy, boys and girls, it was BLACK YARN as well...nuff said. Still, it is done, sent to the happy recipient and I was paid nicely for it. I just finished another sweater for same person-this time, much easier but also F-U-Z-Z-Y Y-A-R-N. Seems to be a pattern. It really is a cute sweater, although I would personally knit it with some nice worsted wool if I made it for myself-which I might do because now I have the pattern (mmmmmwwwwwwhahhhaaaa) I will take pics of this sweater before it wings it's way to Michigan next week. Next in line for same person-a very pretty but much cabled sweater jacket that's going to set her back some bucks, but at least she's going to use worsted (hopefully wool not acrylic)because you can't make that jacket with anything but worsted and have it look right. Another cute pattern to add to my collect as well-It's a win-win for me and her.
I just finished spinning and plying my first 3 ply-got enough to make a pair of socks I think and it turned out nicely. Fiber from ForestFiberWorks on Etsy in the Vintage Sweetheart colorway. I thought it would be much redder than it is but actually it's more bronzey red and I like the three ply a lot. I got 315 yards, 12wpi so it will make a nice sturdy pair of short socks...or something else.

I'll be back...