Thursday, January 31, 2008

The silk I dyed Monday is spinning up beautifully. It's drafting like a dream, and I love watching the colors shift.

The white that was left in the center of the roving blended with the dyed parts when I drafted it out, and for the most part just toned down the color rather than making big white patches. I like it.

I tried and tried this afternoon to take an accurate picture of the singles, but this flyer-in-motion shot was the only one that came out remotely close to the true color. So the singles are blurred, but the colors are close. Plus, it's artsy!

I'm spinning this fine, probably 50-60 wpi, though I haven't measured it yet. I'm planning on a two-ply yarn, possibly to be used for weaving. I was originally going to ply this on itself, for a 2-oz finished skein, but as I type this, I have two more ounces of the roving soaking to dye tomorrow. I enjoyed spinning this so much that I'm going to make a 4-oz skein!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I did some more dyeing on Monday, this time some silk roving. Yum.

This is 2 oz, 100% tussah silk, last seen as one of the potential prizes of my New Year's contest. It has been in its Ziploc bag on my desk in the loom room, and I just couldn't bear to see it sitting there all lonely anymore.

Despite soaking the silk overnight, the dye didn't penetrate all the way to the center of the roving, so there is still quite a bit of white, which is not immediately apparent from the pictures. I spun up about an ounce this afternoon, and it's coming out a pretty lavender/green mix. It looks like crocuses.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yesterday Cathy surprised me by award-meme-ing me! Thanks!

Now I'm supposed to "Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times."

It's hard to choose just 10, but here you go, in no particular order. Not all are knitting or even fiber-related, but all are people whose next post I look forward to:
  1. Cindy at Riverrim
  2. Kris at The Knitting Wannabe
  3. Deb at Chappysmom
  4. Renee at Froggie Meanie
  5. PJ at Golden Oasis
  6. Risa at One Crazy Fiber Lady
  7. GTR at Raising Frolic
  8. Leigh at Leigh's Fiber Journal
  9. Deb at Sand Creek Amanac
  10. Suz at Woozle Madness
  11. Laritza at Yorksett Arts & Crafts
  12. Caroline at Wool for Brains
Apparently I can't follow directions....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

So, finally, here's the spinning I did last week. This was a bundle of fiber my sister sent me for Christmas, from her local farmshare in Philadelphia.

The wool is a rare breed, Tunis, from Lindenhof Farm. A little google digging revealed that this farm is in Kirkwood, PA, 60 miles west of Philly, and the fiber was processed at Ohio Valley Natural Fibers.

8.2 oz.
425 yards
10-12 wpi

It was nice fiber, though not the softest, and the preparation was somewhat neppy. It also had quite a bit of VM, though mostly not-too-pokey grass. I was inordinately entertained by watching the little bits of grass fly out as I spun. I really enjoyed spinning this, and am envisioning it as the yoke of a sweater. The three-ply came out bouncy and just right for a cozy warm outer garment.

And here's what I did last night:

Yes, another pair. Same materials and needles as all the rest of the pairs I have made. The yarn came out a nice marbled purple. I made these in response to a request from a potential Etsy customer, but I haven't heard back from her so I just put them up in my shop, and as far as I'm concerned they're fair game if anyone wants them.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I posted. I guess that what an apathy-inducing sinus cold will do. All I've wanted to do is sleep. Or read. Or vegetate in front of the computer or TV. I have been keeping up with the exercise classes, though. Except for a *cough* slight falling-down *cough* during the Christmas/New Year's week, I haven't missed a class. Go me!

Today I actually managed to clean a third of my house. I undecorated the Christmas tree last weekend, and the crispy naked tree has been standing in the living room all week, dropping needles. I finally got around to taking it outside today, and it was so satisfying to vacuum up all the needles off the carpet. Emma and I got the living room and dining room done today, tomorrow we tackle the bedrooms, and Saturday is for the bathrooms.

I have been doing some spinning and some dyeing, though, and made some lovely things. I haven't taken pictures of the spinning yet, though it's been a WEEK since the yarn was done (see apathy, above). This is the dyeing I did last Sunday:

Four big skeins (ranging from 3.3 oz to 4.0 oz) of Jaggerspun Zephyr, sparkling in the sun, slightly washed out from the brightness and silken shine. Lots of winding and rewinding, but so worth it. I love Zephyr.

I called this one "Lilac Dream", mostly solid lavender with some pink and blue mottling:

This one is "Blue Pearl", shades of very very light blue:

This is "Aquamarine", light green and blue:

And this is "Windflower," swirled with lavender and green and blue and pink:

I put all these up for sale in my Etsy shop, just to see if they'd sell. It was hard, because they're so pretty, especially the Windflower.

However, I dyed these specifically to sell, and earn a little extra money since my hours at work have been temporarily reduced. (I don't think it's a permanent reduction, it's just that the winter is a slow season for field work. They're telling me it should pick up in the next month or so. The upside? I get four day weekends for the next little while.) And what do you know, the Blue Pearl already sold! Partial electric bill- check!

It was fun dyeing these. I've mostly done deeper colors before this, but I like the way the pastels came out too. Perfect for a delicate spring lace shawl or stole.

I didn't mean for this post to turn into a commercial, but the dyeing is just pretty much all I did this week, and oh-so-photogenic. Tomorrow, I'll show the spinning, which is NOT for sale!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Emma was playing in her room with her dolls earlier this afternoon- tucking them into their cradle, "feeding" them, rocking them, singing, completely absorbed in her play. I paused on my way to do laundry, watched for a couple seconds, and commented, "It looks like you're taking good care of them, sweetie." Just off-hand, you know, sort of laughing.

She looked up at me, very serious, and said "I learned how because you take such good care of me, Mommy."

I couldn't breathe. Talking was certainly out of the question. I will treasure this fifteen second interaction forever.

I gave her a big hug, she went back to her playing, and I continued on with the laundry. I have been thinking about this all afternoon. In that one sentence, Emma summed up... everything.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thanks, everyone who posted a comment in my little contest. It was interesting seeing what you hope to do this year, and really great to hear from a couple readers I didn't know I had. I rate this contest-hosting thing FUN!

So, without further ado, the random number was 5, and the winner is Christina! Congrats!

(I don't have an email address for you, Chris, so could you email me and let me know your address and which prize you want? My email's over there in my sidebar. Thanks.)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Are you tired of seeing my fingerless mitts yet? Too bad, that's about all I've been doing. This makes five pairs plus a pair of full mittens, in the past month.

This is the same yarn as the men's pair I made, but I didn't overdye this pair to tone down the green parts of the yarn. (Looking back, I apparently forgot to mention that when I showed the men's pair. Oh well.) I like the blue/green combo- it looks very watery.

I also finished the second green pair for my friend at work, but they were delivered before I remembered to take a picture. They looked pretty much exactly like the first green pair, anyway.

Don't forget that tomorrow's the last day to post in my little New Year's contest!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I finished spinning and plying the combed suri alpaca yesterday.

I like how it came out, though now that I look at the pictures I think it's a smidge underplied. I may run it through the wheel again and tighten it up a bit.

It's nice and soft, and though it looks hairy, the fiber is fine enough that it's more of a halo. It's a total of 605 yards and 67 grams, approximately 4100 ypp. The singles were ~75 wpi, and the two-ply is ~60 wpi.

I think I'm going to dye this a rich red and use it to weave something. The yarn is quite inelastic and pliable, and should drape beautifully.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In the past year or so, I have had the good fortune to be on the winning end of a number of blog contests. There was Liz's sweater suggestion at Pocket Farm (a blog that's now sadly shut down), Persian Pen Name's 2000th page view at Panda Bonzai!, Caroline's 500th comment at Wool For Brains, Weebug's random blogiversary comment at Weebug Knits and most recently, the birthday contests over at The Knitting Wannabe.

Now I'm feeling like it's my turn to give back, so I'm going to have a little blog contest of my own- my very first! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, telling me something you hope to accomplish in 2008. It can be lighthearted or super serious, fiber-oriented or not, as you like. Leave your comment before midnight PST on January 8, and I'll use a random number generator on the 9th to pick a winner, who will get their choice of one of these goodies (or we'll figure something else out if none of these appeal):

  • 3-oz ball of Jaggerspun 2/18 Superfine Merino (approx. 945 yards)
  • 2-oz bundle of 100% tussah silk top
  • 4.6-oz skein of my own handspun, from multicolor green Ashland Bay colonial top, 3-ply, approximately 260 yards
The merino yarn and tussah silk are white, but I would be happy to dye either, in your choice of color. I couldn't get a good picture of the color of the green yarn yesterday, because it's hard to photograph but there are a couple in my blog archives. It's a very deep forest green, with accent colors in red, yellow, medium green, purple, light blue, royal blue, and black. I used some of this yarn to make my fulled slippers and cabled mittens, and it was very nice.

Personally, this year, I hope to finish combing Herkel's fleece and spin it up into superfine laceweight yarn for my proposed square lace shawl. If I could get the shawl designed and started, even better, but let's not get overly ambitious, hmmm?

When I started this blog 3+ years ago, I never imagined that it would lead me to all the creative people I've "met" online, from all over the world, whose lives I get to see snapshots of through their blogs. I've met couple of you in person, but I expect that most of us will never meet face-to-face. Yet, I still feel like I know you, at least a bit. Technology is amazing.

THANK YOU for being who you are, doing what you do, and letting me share it with you. And thanks for sharing this blog with me!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

OK, sorry for being so grumpy yesterday. I think the exercise helped.

New Year's Eve wasn't horrible. Actually, it was fun. We decided to only go to one party, the one at my boss's house, and it was pretty low key. Four families, total of six kids, and the grownups played card games while the kids amused themselves. We were ALL up till midnight (Emma up till midnight! Yikes!)

Emma was the youngest by several years, and she pretty much bossed all the other kids around. She even had the two ~10 year old boys playing doll dressup with her. She also enjoyed chasing them around, saying "I'm going to marry you!" when she caught them. Oy. Keep in mind that she just met these kids last night.

Today we're lazing around the house. Emma's watching TV. I should probably go put some laundry in. Yawn.... Maybe later....