Monday, February 27, 2012

The grand reveal!  The yarn is done!

pretty yarn

This is the Fiber Optic 50:50 superwash merino and bamboo top, in "Catamaran Batik", that I bought at Sock Summit.  I finished plying it Saturday morning, and it has had a nice warm bath.  It is beautiful.  That's all there is to it.  It's beautiful.  I can't believe I spun this on a spindle.

 Can you SEE how soft it is?!

pretty yarn

Anyway, the stats.  This is a 4 oz. (114 gram) skein, and is very skinny yarn.  Ready?

It contains 2,068 yards of 2-ply.  Wowzer.

I was just spinning as fine as was comfortable, figuring I would get about 1,600 yards, based on my previous two Kuchulu skeins.  Apparently the fine merino + fine bamboo let me spin extra-fine.

pretty yarn

As a side note, I had a terrible time photographing the colors in this yarn.  All my pictures came out too dark or too washed out or too blue or too red or too yellow.  I did some extensive adjusting in Photoshop, so if the color looks weird on your monitor, that's probably why.  In real life, the yarn is mainly turquoise and purple, with some sapphire blue and sea green.  Really, really pretty.  Imagine it somewhere in between all the pictures that are in this post.

pretty yarn

This yarn represents a pretty large time investment:
  • ~38 hours to spin the singles on my Kuchulu (calculated based on the time to spin 1 gram, tested 3 times)
  • 9.5 hrs to ply on my wheel
  • 0.5 hr to wind off the bobbin onto the skeinwinder
  • 0.5 hr to count the wraps in the skein
  • 0.5 hr to rewind the skein after washing
I am thrilled with the final yarn.  It's so soft and has such a lovely sheen.  I can't stop petting the skein. I didn't take any special care to match the color sections as I plyed, I just let the barberpoling happen as it would.  It turned out with good distinct runs of color, and should look lovely when woven.

To close, let's just take a moment to ponder the fact that 2,068 yards is 1.2 miles.  Of yarn.  Of 2-ply yarn.  That means approximately 2.4 miles of singles.  From 4 oz of fiber. Spun on a spindle.

pretty yarn

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I feel empowered this morning.

When Emma and I were eating breakfast, I happened to look out the window and saw that the rear passenger tire on my car was completely flat.  Pancake flat.  Yikes!  What am I going to do now??!!

So I simply went out, took off the flat tire and put on the spare.  Emma packed up her bag, and was ready to go when the car was ready.  We took ourselves to the closest gas station, topped off the pressure in the spare and the rest of the tires, and off we went.  I called the repair place from the parking lot of her school, and they said they have time this morning to look at it.

Emma got to school on time, I dropped the car off at the repair place to get the tire fixed (and an oil change, also needed), and then walked half a mile to my office.  I was 20 minutes late, but I got here in time for my meeting.

All is well.  I am invincible.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

TA  DA!  A major milestone was accomplished at 10:30 last night.  I finished spinning the singles of my 4-oz braid of Fiber Optic "Catamaran" merino/bamboo top!

All spun up!

I can't believe it's done.  I'm excited to see the finished yarn but also sad, because I so thoroughly enjoyed spinning this.  I started at the end of August, and it took a long time because I spun the fiber ridiculously fine and mostly had it as a travel project.  It was on the go for almost exactly six months.  The bulk of these singles were spun at our weekly Crafty Night at Anne's house.

I'll be plying these on my wheel tomorrow, and am plotting to weave a scarf/stole/shawl with the finished yarn.  Length and width will be determined based on available yardage.  I was debating about adding beads to the yarn while plying, but I think I'll forgo that and add beads only to the fringe of the finished piece since I want the yarn to take front stage.

So that was how I ended my birthday.  The rest of the day was equally lovely, spent in the company of good friends.  (I am truly blessed to have a friend like Anne.  And don't forget Rachel and Meg! Thank you!)  Anne took me and Emma out to lunch and then we went to another lampwork bead class.  Emma had to tag along and I set her up in an adjacent room with clay, drawing supplies, and snacks.  I was worried that the whining quotient was going to be high during the 4-hour class, but there was NOT ONE BIT of complaining.  (I am truly blessed to have a daughter like Emma.  Thanks sweetie, that was the best birthday present ever!)

I made another lovely pile of beads:

bead class

I concentrated on making sets this time, and smaller beads that will be made into earrings or necklace/earring sets.  I started off with some purple,

bead class

and did a couple variations of blue spotty ones,

bead class

a cute little pair of clear with blue bumps,

bead class

plain blue (rounds and flats) with a bumpy blue and white focal,

bead class

and a teal and white set.

bead class

Making glass beads is so much fun.  It was a wonderful birthday.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Today I turn 41.  When I was in grade school I read a book that had a female character who was "on the far side of 40."  That seemed so old. The phrase has stuck with me, and I remember my 10-year-old self feeling sorry for that character, who was so old and washed up, and certainly couldn't have fun like the children who were the main characters in the book.

Now suddenly, somehow, I find myself on the far side of 40.  Not very far on the far side, to be sure, but past the marker all the same. And I still just feel normal.  I'm tired, I have some battle scars (can you call them scars if they haven't healed yet?  proto-scars, maybe), I've learned some tough lessons, and still sometimes feel really bruised and raw, but I don't feel old.

I was going to write that I still just feel like me, but that doesn't really seem right.  Who is "me"?  I feel like I don't really know myself anymore.  The ordeal of my crumbling marriage over the past couple years has seriously shaken me off center from my grounded sense of self.  Self-worth, self-value, self-trust..... all seriously compromised.  I have a hard time trusting anyone anymore, including myself.  And I think that is what I regret the most.

I would like to think that in years to come, I'll look back on the year that I was 40 as the worst of my life.  Wouldn't that be nice?  If you knew that the horrible time you have already lived through was rock bottom, that it is all uphill from here?  To know that there are definitely bumpy ups and downs still to come, but that the valley you are struggling out of is deep as you will ever get.

I know that this is something one can never know for sure.  There are many, many things that are far worse than where I have been, and I'm quite sure that I will have plenty of problems in the next 40 years.  But a girl can hope, and maybe even learn to trust her own inner strength again.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

new dyed yarn!

Yesterday I took the plunge into becoming a wholesale yarn supplier.  My little local fabric/yarn store is now going to be carrying several varieties of my hand dyed yarn, as well as some of my handspun.

new dyed yarn!

She put in an order yesterday, which I will deliver on Saturday.  We’ll see how it goes, over the course of the next couple months.

new dyed yarn!

Wholesale obviously doesn’t pay as much to me as selling retail on my own, but it balances out because I don’t have to do the whole photographing/listing/advertising/shipping thing that I would if I listed all these skeins individually on Etsy. (But I am still going to be on Etsy!)  And a large check all at once will be nice, too.

new dyed yarn!

Eek!  Me! In a yarn shop!

new dyed yarn!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Some evil person put out a box of Thin Mints cookies out on the counter at work.  I had one.  I couldn't help it. 

I was bitterly disappointed.  Back when I was a Girl Scout, Thin Mints were the best cookie ever.  The one I had today tasted like Crisco.  Blech.

I'm currently having a cup of Stash Organic Cascade Mint tea to get my minty fix.  Zero calories and SO much better.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

white cheddar chicken pasta

I tried a new recipe tonight.  All I can say is YUM.

This is White Cheddar Chicken Pasta, recipe here.  I didn't have any cheddar, so I used some of the delicious Crowley Extra-Sharp cheese (a Colby variant) that my dad gave me and Emma for Christmas.  It was quick, ready in less than half an hour, and so flavorful.

And super yum.

Friday, February 10, 2012

new teas to try

I had way too much fun on the Stash Tea website last weekend, and received my order yesterday.  I got smallish samples of several plain and flavored black and oolong teas, a big pack of mint, and a couple white teas to try just because I've never had white tea before. About half my selections are in tea bags, the rest is loose-leaf.  Not pictured is the Coconut Mango oolong that I already took to work, and the Darjeeling that they forgot to send.

I've only tried a couple kinds so far, but WHOA! One knocked my socks off.

Do you like floral teas? Dragon Phoenix Pearls jasmine white tea. Seriously, get some now.

It's intensely fragrant, smooth, sweet, and not at all bitter. It's one of the more expensive kinds I bought, but you can infuse two or three cups from the same leaves, so it works out about the same (or less, even) as a single-use tea bag.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Dear Self,

How long is it going to take you to realize that continuing to beat your head against this particular brick wall is not a productive activity?  How long until you realize that this HURTS, and maybe you should stop?

Just accept that the brick wall is there, and go around.


Monday, February 06, 2012


In approximately 8 weeks, after they build it for me, one of these beautiful wheels is coming to live at my house!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

My contribution to the Seventh Annual Blogger's (Silent) Poetry Reading:

Grande Ronde River
by Robert Frost

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?