Sunday, July 20, 2008

Notes to Self:

My Tour de Fleece challenge is finished! All 16 oz. of fiber have been spun and plied and I've learned a lot in the process. Of course, I want to keep spinning other stuff now.

Note 1. You like to spin. Doesn't really matter how the end product turns out, you are a process spinner, as you are knitter and crocheter. However if you spin with intention, you might surprise yourself.

Exhibit A:
Crown Mountain Superwash Merino, 8 oz.
Color: Layla
3-ply, worsted weight, 325 yards
Divided into 3rds, top, middle, bottom
Comment: more muddled color & slubby than I thought it would be. Also overspun.

Exhibit B:
Lisa Souza blue-faced leicester, 2 oz.
Color: Berry Poppins
3-ply, aran weight, 80 yards
Divided into 3rds lengthwise, and pre-drafted
Comment: tried to intentionally match last year's spinning of the same fiber. I think I did pretty well, but it ended up being a little thicker.

Exhibit C:
Grafton Corriedale batts, each 2 oz.
Colors #1, 5 & 9
3-ply, light worsted weight, total of 325 yards

Note 2. Batts must be spun from the fold in order to align the fibers in a spinnable fashion. Until Sandi told me that, I wasn't enjoying this fiber. Now...I think I need to get more batts in the same color so I have enough for a shawl! I love these colors, and think I'll call the combination "Purple sunset".

I also, for the first time, played with the ratios on my wheel and found the one that for me, produced a perfectly balanced yarn. It had less than a half-twist in it before I set/whacked it.

Note 3: Before you wet-finish by whacking the heck out of the wet yarn, make sure you tie the skeins securely, so when you rear back with the yarn over your head and accidentally drop it behind you, you don't get a tangled mess.

Note 4: When you try to salvage the disaster you've created by laying out the yarn so you can rewind the hank, don't sit down on the ground with the dog outside. She will think it's an invitation to play, or to roll in your wet yarn!

If there was a videocamera around, it would have been a candidate for America's Funniest Home Videos. The Dog rolling in the yarn, tangling herself, me trying to stop laughing long enough to untangle her before she tries to run off...

Note 5:
My guys are now both knitters! The Dork decided that he would like to make himself a sweater. Specifically, a hoodie with a zipper. After looking through my books and Ravelry, he chose to make an Adult Tomten, using some stashed Noro Kureyon (discontinued color #55). He has swatched, we've done the basic calculations and cast on. Wish him luck! He'll be working on it while we're at the SF Giants' Stitch & Pitch game on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


through the Tour de Fleece and I'm a little behind! [So why am I taking the time to write a blog post, huh?!]
Anyway - there has been progress and learning!

Part I --
Crown Mountain superwash merino
Color: Layla
8 oz. = approximately 250 yards of 3-ply worsted weight.

Part II -
Lisa Souza Blue-faced Leicester
Color: Berry Poppins
2 oz = ???

This one, I'm spinning very intentionally, trying to match last year's spin of the same fiber. My prep includes remembering to pre-draft the fibers, as they were pretty tightly braided. I didn't remember to do this with the Crown Mountain, and I'm not entirely happy with how it came out.

Part III - 3 Grafton batts (pictures later).

Back to the wheel!

Monday, July 7, 2008


See, I really was spinning! This is almost one-third of the original 8 oz. of superwash merino. In 2 evenings I filled this bobbin. It feels really good to work on this, because I haven't spun since last February. I'm aiming for a 3-ply worsted-weight yarn that I have no idea what to do with yet. But it's purple!

Do you like my spinning studio? Right now, it is after 11 PM and it's 84 degrees inside the house. It's much nicer to sit outside in the evening with a bit of a breeze. There's not a very good breezeway through my house, and the air quality has been pretty poor. With Dear Hubby's sinus infection and breathing issues over the last week, having that poor air inside is causing havoc in his lungs. Can't open the window in our bedroom, even with the HEPA air filter, because it can't keep up with the crud in the air. He was happy playing with the dog, but had to go inside after only a couple minutes.

This spinning time has also given me a chance to make a bunch of phone calls to girlfriends I haven't talked with in months. Love my Bluetooth headset, and plenty of cell phone minutes that I pay for and never come close to using up!

All the pictures in this post were taken by The Dork who took a photography workshop at the Summer Nationals, specifically dealing with fencing photography (high-speed, poor lighting conditions), and he practiced some of what he learned by taking action pictures of The Dog and some of my spinning wheel in motion! (she's about to take off after her ball...)

Next bobbin...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Le Tour de Fleece

Okay, I've entered! I've needed to get back to spinning, and as my knitting mojo has deserted me for the last couple days, I'm going to start Le Tour de Fleece. Basically, my spinning goal is to spin and ply at least 16 oz. of fiber before July 27, the end of the Tour de France.

Stage 1 (I started a day late). I have an 8 oz. bump of Crown Mountain Superwash merino in the color Layla - purples, of course! I sat in my backyard last night, on the phone with a girlfriend and just started spinning. It felt right to be spinning again. Yes, I used my phone headset to leave my hands free! Pictures later...

Between that bump, purchased last November, 3 Grafton batts bought last month that I intend to ply together, and another 2 oz. of Lisa Souza BFL I got at Stitches West in February (matches the stuff I got from her last year), that should take care of the 16 oz. challenge. There, of course, is still plenty more fiber in the box that I can choose from.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Now you see it...

The first set of disappearances is that of a delicious brioche & blackberry bread pudding that my Dear Hubby made for dessert tonight. We had half of it, as you see in the picture (forgot to take a "before" picture).

now you don't!

In less than 5 minutes it disappeared, when I walked briefly outside to take some garden pictures.

Here's the culprit!

I thought about blaming The Dork because he was coveting it, and acting like it was going to disappear momentarily. However, we had just finished discussing the matter, and had agreed that he could have some for breakfast tomorrow.

I'll have to take some of the blame for leaving it out though.

The 2nd set of disappearances is that of about 3 boxes worth of junk that was in front of my crafting bookcase. The boxes were a convenient landing place for laundry that needed ironing or dry-cleaning, yarn that needed putting away. Okay, so I haven't ironed the clothes yet, but I did get the huge pile of magazines sorted, inventoried, and into magazine boxes.

A couple boxes into the recycling bin, a couple bags for Goodwill, a large stack of stuff to take to the used bookstore...(anyone want any cross-stitch magazines from the early 90's?). It's not quite the way I want it yet, so no After picture. However, you can see (and get to) all the books and one of the two shelves of magazines which had been completely hidden.

Part of the problem has been that my knitting mojo has deserted me temporarily. Once I finished the Grumpy socks, I've been trying to find something that keeps me interested. I've tried and ripped out a sock in Koigu 4 times now because nothing that I try looks right. I have to rip a few rows out on the Susie cardigan that I'm making for our housemate because I have an undiscoverable mistake in it and haven't had any brain power to figure it out. I can't muster up the energy to get excited about finally finishing my Twist, or my Ribby Cardi, which I really, really should do.

But I need something small and portable to work on, because I've been spending some of my time at the Fencing Summer National Tournament, which is taking place at the San Jose Convention Center (through Thursday). There are over 3000 fencers in town for this major tourney! If you're interested in watching some of what my Dork boy does for fun, go over sometime during the day. They start fencing around 8:30 AM, and stagger the start times for different events.

He is NOT fencing, though! He didn't qualify in his division. But it's fun to watch and cheer on the fencers we know, and he's been coaching some of the younger kids.

Oh, and Happy Belated 4th of July! Dork and I went to Nationals for a while, then out to the San Jose America festival a block away. The fencing club had been asked by the local NBC TV station to put on a demonstration, as part of the festival. It was tied into the Olympic coverage that they're starting to heavily promote. Some of the kids were filmed sparring behind the Weather Guy, while a few of us parents tried to prevent oblivious people from walking into their strike zone. Gotta love those Lookie-loos who are so busy watching the cameras that they fail to watch where they're walking. NOT!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm back!

Had a great time at the American Library Association's conference last weekend. Several good seminars, 6+ hours in the enormous exhibit hall, lots of author sightings, the Newbery and Caldecott Awards banquet, book cart drill team world championships, estimated 22,000 attendees...

Also included: time spent with family. Dinner with my in-laws (including SIL and niece), breakfast with my parents, sis and her kids. These are my sister's: A is 10, S is 8, G is 4. And of course, there is The Dork. He was staying with my parents because The Hubby was in New Hampshire at a separate event, and I wasn't going to leave a 16-year old home for 5 days!

And there was Disney's California Adventure, which was do-able because we only had about 5 hours to spend there. I would probably have been disappointed in trying to get to everything in Disneyland and not succeeding because of the time constraints.

The new Toy Story Mania ride is Awesome, even though I clearly do not play arcade games very well the first time around! It's a fun combination of a ride with 3-D games. The Dork did a great job on the blue side of the car. Me, on the red side, not so good! If the lines hadn't been so long (between 30-40 min.), we might have tried again and again and again.

Just for Mari: you found Tigger, I got Minnie to hold my sock!

I wanted to get both she and Mickey together, but he was heading in for some lemonade. It was over 80 degrees in the sun, and I can't imagine how hot it was if you were one of the characters!

There really was knitting involved with this weekend! Maureen, to answer your question, there are a lot of knitting librarians. I saw 4 others at the conference, and I wasn't really looking. Several more said that it was a great idea to bring their knitting and that they would next time. At the public library, my boss gets several staff members together around once a month to knit or crochet.

I finished the pair of Grumpy socks for me. The 2nd sock was cast on in the airport on the way down on Thursday, and finished on Sunday afternoon. Somehow, I managed to get an entire pair of socks, women's size 7, stockinette, with 3" ribbed 4x2 cuffs out of a single skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, 50 g. Hmmm, that means I have to do something with the 2nd skein I bought...

Bedtime sounds better right now, though! My goal in the morning is to reorganize my knitting books and patterns. It'll have to wait until I know if The Hubby needs to hide out in the bedroom all day tomorrow. He's not feeling well - and we'll blame it on the unnamed airline that he took getting home from New Hampshire. Let's just say that it took over 24 hours, due to a delayed plane, an unintended overnight in Los Angeles, having missed the connecting flight. No wonder he's gotten sick!