Saturday, February 25, 2006

Room to Breathe

A little room to breathe today, so I will play catch up. I did got to SPA last Saturday for the day with Monica, and met up with Cheryl as well. I'm a bit late for a trip report, but it was great to meet Monica and catch up with Cheryl again, and briefly meet some other people too. Both Cheryl and Monica have better reports here and here. Needless to say, SPA is an amazing experience, even as a day tripper. To just sit in a big room of people and spin, and wander over when you see something cool and ask and learn and explore, it was just a terrific vibe. I also realized that my body is SO not used to spinning for more than an hour at a time - my back and legs were so tired when I got home. But what luxury to spin all day long - the soreness was worth it.

I also finished my BunnyCrack scarf in time for our recent bout of cold weather.
It is nice and soft and warm, and my very first project for myself with my handspun. I will definitely be buying more of this fiber - it is a pleasure to spin and to wear.

I also might be able to make up my own luxury fiber mixes in the future. Thanks in combination to my restraint at the SPA vendors, Dan's thoughtful Valentine donation to my savings, and good old Uncle Sam giving me some of my hard earned money back at the end of the tax year, I am the proud new owner of this:

And that means that I was able to take all this:
a batch of my Lincoln/Coopworth/Wensleydale fleece, cleaned and dyed, and some milk fiber Cheryl gave me I dyed up. Into these:

Soft and fluffy batts of all of it blended up (there is more green in them in real life). What a time saver the drum carder is! Carding all this up by hand, with my limited time, would have literally taken me weeks to do properly. I did all this in little 15 minute increments over the course of Friday afternoon and evening. I am beyond excited my my new tool, and will put yet another plug for Adrian's shop here - I ordered this on Tuesday and it was on my doorstep Friday afternoon, plus she's got the best prices on Louet equipment that I can find anywhere. Thank you Adrian!

I will be spinning and carding and putting Rogue #2 together (I finished the hood yesterday too!) this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Its been a shit week with a sick child and a disabled vehicle, crazy work and just overall craptitude here at the Casa de Pumpkin. I want to write about SPA (wonderful) and show you my BunnyCrack scarf (luscious) , and tell you about a new addition to my fiber tools (squeal!) and I owe Carole a meme but I just can't spare more than 45 seconds. Hopefully tomorrow will bring calmer seas.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

D is for

Dan and Duncan, my husband and my son. I cannot imagine what my life would be without either of them, and I don't think I want to.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Yarn Love

In honor of Valentine's Day, I present to you what I received as my "Unloved Sock Yarn Swap" hosted by Beth. This is from the HockeyMom, it is Lion Magic Stripe, which despite not being a luxury sock yarn, I quite like. This stuff makes a very quick pair of socks and wears like iron. I have 2 pair in this brand already and they take a beating every week, inside my heavy hiking boots, then into the washer and hot dryer no problems. So, while Sandy had no love for it, I certainly will - this is good all-purpose sock making material. And some pretty-pretty (made by you?) stitch markers as well. Thank you!
And for head over heels yarn love, here is my BunnyCrack all spun up. This is 80/20 merino/angora. I got just under 400yds from my 3oz slice of heaven.

This is just divine stuff, and is becoming a scarf for me. I need a new one, and with New England spring on the way, I should be able to get some wear out of it this season.
As for a Valentine from my Sweety, what could be more romantic than "How about instead of me spending upwards of $100 on a dozen roses for you, we put that money into your "saving for a drum-carder" fund?" Music to my ears, my love - thank you, its just what I wanted! Won't be long now.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

C is for...

Cape Pogue. This is the location of my family's summer home on Martha's Vineyard. Words cannot adequately express how I feel about this place that I can only describe as my soul's home. Photos will have to do.

Friday, February 10, 2006

For Those About to Knit.....

...I salute you.

Just wanted to pop in to wish all of you knitting athletes participating in the 2006 Knitting Olympics bravery, strength and endurance. I am cheering you all on from my place in the stands.

Knit On.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Somebody Stop Me

Confession time. About a month ago , I asked all of you wise-in-the-ways of fleece for advice. I got some wonderful advice, a whole batch of goodies from Adrian to play with (which has been quite fun). Since that time I have also purchased.....wait for it.....3 fleeces. I don't know how it happened, but it did, and my husband is afraid I'm going to divorce him and marry a shepherd. Either that or ask to raise sheep in the back yard - I'm not sure which would unsettle him more.

My first purchase was a Coopworth/Wensyeydale/Lincoln lamb fleece which I don't currently have handy photos of - it has long wavy locks and is pretty filthy and somewhat difficult to clean, but when cleaned up its just so nice. I've been playing with getting that clean and dyeing some locks (a whole post on that one later). I have more than enough work ahead of me, just from this one fleece.

Then, Adrian sent me a link for some recommended all-purpose nice fleece on ebay. I resisted and just admired from afar. Shortly after that, Felicia posted about the new fleece listings at Treenway Silks, and I utterly caved and had to get one, I've been wanting to get some chocolately brown fleece anwyay. However, I couldn't stop thinking about that nice ebay fleece, and I went back and checked and they had posted some more, and I could "buy it now" for only $20 for 4 pounds of it.

Two boxes were waiting for me when I came home last night:
On the left is a Polwarth/Cormo fleece from Treenway Silks, and on the right is my Freesian fleece from ebay. They are both just so gorgous I can't even do them justice.

Closeup of the Polwarth/Cormo

Closeup of the lovely soft Freesian

So here I sit, with more than 10lbs of fleece, not to mention the smattering of all the good stuff Adrian gave me, as well as prepared top/roving of all kinds. I think I can safely say that I am done for fiber purchases for the forseeable future. Stop laughing, I mean it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

SockapalOOOza has begun!

I was so very excited to receive my sock-pal info last week. I was hoping to get someone who wanted A) a little adventure or B) a nice solid, textured "classic" sock - don't know why, but I was in the mood for one extreme or the other. Guess which kind of pal I got:

An adventurous one! My pal is not afraid of color and likes funky socks. I grabbed the opportunity to make my very own self-striping sock yarn. This is the KnitPicks dye your own merino and my very own colorway and striping pattern. I cobbled together my method from posts here and here, but I cannot bear to swatch for socks and I developed a brain fog when I thought about the math, so I mostly just winged it (wung it?) and I'm actually pretty pleased with what I ended up with. The pattern is the Mermaid Sock from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet. It is a very clever pattern, really very simple and gives a stunning effect. I've been wanting to knit this pattern for a while now. It does call for a short row heel, which I am so not fond of, but I'm not quite sure if I have the skills to modify it for this particular pattern. I won't worry about it til I get there.

On the Rogue #2 front, I took the ever-clever Margene's advice, and am doing my purl rows on one needle size down, and that seems to have mitigated my row gauge issues. I am on track to be back where I started and ready for the hood this weekend.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Boston Jaywalker

Just in time to make the deadline for the knitalong, here are my Boston-syle Jaywalkers. Boston style three times: pattern via Grumperina, yarn from Adrian, and knitting by moi.
Project Specs:
Pattern: Jaywalkers, by Grumperina
Yarn: Hand dyed from Hello Yarn, color "Triplet"
Needles: Brittany Birch#2 DPNs
Notes: a very nice looking, easy to memorize pattern.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mashpee, We Have a Problem

I've been happily trucking along with Rogue #2, and was so excited to be able to start the hood this weekend. After joining the shoulders, I tried it on and quickly discovered something is very wrong. When SIL and I discussed her Rogue, she tried on mine and deemed it the perfect fit. So, I'm knitting this with the same yarn, on the exact same needles (my Denises) in the same size. Are they the same, you tell me (crappy photos, I know, it is gray and rainy today):

Ummmmm.....no. Dammit. The good news is, however, that the row gauge issue is only when I'm knitting flat after separating the front and back, so I just have to rip down to the armpits and hopefully be ok on smaller needles without totally f*cking up my gauge in other ways. And for those of you keeping track, yes, both sleeves were knit with the same row gauge issue, but it is not as pronounced for some reason, so I'm pretty confident I can leave them as is.

A post later this weekend about Sockapaloooza, and completed Jaywalkers on the way!