Monday, February 26, 2007

A little painting

On Saturday I got together with my mom, aunt and sister. We painted a few pictures to adorn the blank wall in my dining room. We only got through these two, but plan to paint a third in a similar style.

Then, Michael and I went for some 'refreshments' at Old Chicago.

I tried to post yesterday and encountered this:

So I spent the rest of the day working on my sleeve, or so I swore. I was distracted with bowling and several different games with Michael and a mutual friend. Finally, I finished my sleeve at 2 in the morning while Michael slept next to me. All in all, I had a wonderful weekend.

Friday, February 23, 2007


So, as you could have bet, I went to the yarn store today. I decided that I didn't really NEED any new books so when I got there I made sure to make a beeline past the books and right to the fiber 'nook'. When I got there I knew for certain I'd have to get some colored fiber becuase they had clearly gotten a shipment of fiber since I last gave it a good look. I almost forgot to get some undyed fiber! In the end, I left the store with a pound of undyed merino top, a pound of purple merino top, and a niddy-noddy.
The purple in this picture has a lot more sheen than it does in reality, otherwise the colors are fairly accurate. I can't WAIT to get started spinning up that purple. But I really shouldn't forget about that reddish-orange merino top I bought a couple weeks ago. Can you see it? CLEAR ... over.... there?
How about now?

It's sitting with two finished skeins... what is it doing over there? I think if it could answer that question, the reddish-orange merino top would say, "Being ignored." I'm going to have to spin some of that up, lickety-split.

Before I took the Lendrum back to Maggie's shop this afternoon, I had to ply some yarn up because some of it was on a Schacht bobbin not belonging to me. This is what that dyed fleece looks like spun up. It feels naked in this form and, thus, does not photograph well.
Here you can see the variations from green to dark blue, but it is really not as obvious as it should be.
This picture is of a triple ply between the dyed fleece, a washed fleece, and an unwashed fleece.
The picture is a little blurry, or at least looks that way because of the plying effects. But you can see the white and yellow-ish colors of the two undyed fibers in contrast to the dyed strand. I plan to over-dye this skein with a teal-ish looking green in effort to lighten the over all color of the yarn. I'm really pleased with how this first triple-plying project came out and will probably do more in the future!

I am a weirdo

You know all that stuff about how I would never buy myself a Lendrum? Well......

Yeah... I'm a weirdo. I brought a Lendrum home after Dye Day and did quite a bit of spinning, trying to use up a bunch of fiber before I had to return the wheel the following Saturday. And the Lendrum just grew on me. Maybe I'm just a lover of all wheels. I think I could live with that. Anyway, this wheel serves the purpose of being a first wheel, is easily portable if I should decide to join a spinning group, and is less than half the cost of the double treadle Schacht. It sure sounded like a good deal to me!

I'm really happy with my purchase. If I had gotten the Schacht or the Lendrum, I wouldn't have gotten a choice in the finished look of the wood, so that was a toss up and you can bet that I'll be getting a Schacht in the future when I become a wheel collecter! :)

This morning I've had quite a lot on my mind. I need to return the Lendrum I was using for the class either today or tomorrow. I have plans with my mom for tomorrow, plans that will take up the whole day so I would have to return the wheel before then. But if I return the wheel today should I buy more fiber? If so, how much? I also need a niddy-noddy and a copy of the Sensational Knitted Socks that I was holding captive from Val for so long. But I also want the new book Favorite Socks. I've seen it and love most of the patterns!

Ok, wait. I just bought a new sweater book and have a couple sock patterns that I'm going to knit up. I geuss I won't buy the second book, but I really need the first!

If I do end up going to the yarn store today, I'll post about my purchases. Ok, now I can move on to Eye Candy Friday. If you live in Colorado, you will truly appreciate this weeks selection. I can't post just one, I'm too happy to see so many signs of light and life!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tada!!! A post!

Aside from the knitting that I did yesterday, I spent the week not knitting. I did not touch a single fiber of anything from the Friday post to Thursday night during spinning class. I just had a hard week emotionally. All the dreary weather finally got to me and put me in a funk. I almost didn't go to spinning class on Thursday! But I'm much better now. And for future reference I'm really trying to keep this blog positive so that it will keep me excited with my fiber related activities. Now, on to the news.

I have known pure bliss. And it comes in the form of a functioning spinning wheel. When I got to class Thursday night I didn't know if I still wanted a wheel anymore. It was bad, I needed a very quick rescue. And I got it. Maggie plopped a Lendrum in front of me so that I could actually spin during class. As soon as the fibers started flowing through my hands and producing that gorgeous yarn, all the stress of the last week just started to melt away. I actually said to Val, "I feel as if I've just had a glass of wine." It was amazing. And I don't even like Lendrums. Maggie allowed me to take her floor model of the double treadle Schacht home for one last try, as long as I brought it back on Saturday.

When I got home I plied up all the yarn that I had left and spun a little more. I felt whole again. I'm not going to lie, I was schocked at how much of a difference having a wheel in my life made. I put in an order for the double treadle Schacht yesterday. The VERY sad thing is that it won't be in for another 5 weeks!

Yesterday was Dye Day and the last day of class. I returned the Schacht and brought home a Lendrum. Throughout the day we dyed 12 1/2 oz. skeins of our yarn using various natural dyes and mordants. I won't pretend to be knowledgable about the subject but I'll post the information for those who might want to know. We used a mix of red and white onion skins, osage orange, cochineal, and cutch as our dyes and iron, copper and alum as mordants. When I saw the finished products, I determined that I liked all of the alum yarns the most because they seemed the most different.

I don't think that I could really become interested in dyeing because I didn't really care to witness the VERY subtle variations between the different dyes.

Here is the rest of the yarn drying in my strainer. I wouldn't say that the colors in these pictures are entirely accurate but they can demonstrate the palate that we were working with.

We also dyed a fleece with blues and greens so that we would have something colorful to spin up for the last week. Here it is drying on my table. (It's very hard to take a good picture of fleece)

There is quite a lot of variance in the darkness and color of the fleece. I'm excited to get spinning with it! I also have my red/orange topthat I bought a couple weeks ago that I haven't started spinning with yet. I might actually wait until I get my own wheel to work with that. We'll see how much spinning happens before I have to return the wheel.

On the knitting front, yesterday I finished up the first sleeve of the sweater, finally!

I also put in some time on my shawl. I had forgotten how much I enjoy knitting up the lace and watching the pattern unfold as I move through the repeats.

Val and I also agreed to a yarn trade. She gave me two skeins of her Redwood Forest from KnitPicks in exchange for my one skein of Koigu. I couldn't really see myself knitting anything worthwhile out of only one skein of yarn and I needed more yarn for the Jay Walkers that I want to do. I can see myself getting started on the Jay Walkers this week or next week because I feel I could use a new, smallish project.

However, I have realized that I prefer to knit sweaters in pieces (so far) because I feel like I get finished products faster. There are definite feelings of accomplishment when I finish the front panel or a sleeve. We'll see how I feel when I have to do the first seaming that I've ever done in my life.


Yesterday after class Val and Stacy and I went to Borders and Barnes and Noble looking for the newly released Fitted Knits book by Stefanie Japel. I LOVE IT! The book has both classic styles as well as modern, more fashion forward knits as well as some unique ideas. I won't be taking picture of the pictures of the patterns that I like because there just too many. Perhaps I could do a one a day or a one a post type thing.

Also, I had an interview with Kforce on Friday (they are a scientific staffing firm). At the end of the interview the recruiter actually had a position in mind for me!! Its with a growing company in Golden called LUCA Technologies. They are working with methane producing organisms in an attempt to find alternative sources for energy. The recruiter said that they have 30 people right now and want to have 90 by the end of September. SO, if they hire me they would be training me and most likely creating a position for me! I'm really excited and hope that they contact me soon for an interview!

Well, I think that covers everything. I will be looking for a simple cardigan pattern to knit up for the spring. I'm thinking of a pale pink cardi with elbow length sleeves with the possibility for some embroidered flowers. Or I might just do some cute buttons or a pin. We'll see what I can find!

Brief Hiatus

Sorry for the last week or so when I haven't updated. There wasn't much going on until about Thursday when I experienced true bliss in the form of a functioning spinning wheel. I promise a full update on the recent events of my life sometime tomorrow! With pictures hopefully.

Friday, February 9, 2007

I may have made a mistake...

Last night at spinning we learned how to ply our yarns. I really think that mine turned out pretty good, for a first time. I looked like a fool while doing it, what with all the strands getting tangled up and trying to keep the wheel spinning in the counter-clockwise motion and remembering to move the in-coming yarn to a new hook quite often so the bobbin would still be functional. But I'm pleased with the results! Now, I just have to wash it and let it dry before the dye-day (in two weeks or so).

But the mistake that I made was bringing home the single-treadle schacht:

I tried to ply the rest of my yarn the last night........ DISASTER! I finally let Fez take over, he seemed much better at it than me:

Note the incredibly happy look on his face as he lays amongst all that mess, yarn and bobbins and all. That was nowhere close to the look on my face at the time. I decided that perhaps I should fall back and re-learn how to spin the normal uncarded fibers on the wheel first. That is my goal for today: re-learn spinning.

As for closing remarks about the Ashford, which I didn't get to yesterday, I don't like it. As painful as it is for me to say, it's true. I'm in love with the double-treadle Schacht and if I'm spending that much on a wheel, I'd better be in LOVE with it. Wednesday night, with a new bobbin on the Ashford, I let the wheel do what it wanted. Well what it wanted was spider-thin lace weight yarn. I filled up a bobbin with said yarn, simply because it was the only way that the wheel and I could get along. There was no peace for me when spinning with the Ashford. If I tried to make the yarn that I wanted, the wheel fought me every step of the way. If I let the wheel do what it wanted, I was unhappy with the weight of the yarn being produced.

I also talked to Maggie last night, she convinced me that I should get the Schacht too.. :)

Then I convinced myself that I needed to be certain that the double-treadle was the one for me and that is why I brought home that trouble-some single-treadle.... thing.

I also brought home some gorgeous fiber, something with a little color because I felt like I might be losing my lust for spinning because of all the bland white-ness that I was working with.

I don't think you can tell, but there are subtle twinges of orange and yellow amidst all the red that should make for an interesting spin. I, of course, won't be spinning this beautiful stuff until I can get the hang of the single-treadle.

Now, onto a more knitting front: I have finished the front, or back, piece of my Alexander McQueen Knockoff. This piece is so long that it is difficult to get an accurate representation of the whole in one shot, so here are two:

And I apologize for the somewhat inadequate quality of these pictures. I had to take them quickly because this was coming soon:

He makes things a little more difficult than one might want and I didn't feel like fighting him today. Also, I think that those last three pictures will have to be my entry for Eye Candy Friday. They are quite hilarious if you play the 'movie' in your head.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


So today I was just clicking along... reading the many blogs that I like to read in the morning... I got to the Yarn Harlot and noticed that she had referenced an email I had sent her... I looked a little closer and she actually linked my blog!! This is VERY exciting for me! I, of course, HAD to click the link.... and then I came to that horrible picture that I took of my grandmother's socks on my way out the door. I thought, well that won't work! I'm trying to get more people to read my blog, not look at the worst picture they've ever seen and click away!

And so I give you.... a day in the life of Fez:

I've also been discussing things over with Val again, about spinning wheels that is. I haven't mentioned here how heart-wrenching this deciding on a wheel thing is. I used to be in love with the Ashford traditional simply because it was gorgeous. Then I spun on the Schacht for a week. I fell in love with that wheel, the one that I never thought I would like because it looked much too modern for my tastes. I feel like the Ashford isn't quite working with me when I spin, at least not the way that the Schacht did. And of course it isn't! It doesn't cost $900... unlike the other one. I could get either one, I have the budget. Actually, 'the budget' means the money that I got from various sources for graduating college. Anyway. I could get either the Schacht or the Asford and a new chair for the living room in which I could do my spinning. This is the chair that I want.

Val convinced me that I should get a wheel that I love in every way, one that won't fight me when I want to spin some yarn. I wouldn't want to buy, for example, a husband who just sat in the living room looking pretty instead of working with me to make my life better. I shouldn't settle for something like that in a wheel. It has been decided. And just for the record, this is more money that I will be spending in one place than I ever have before (not including education, living space, and cars).

Monday, February 5, 2007


I finished Grandma's socks yesterday, just before we left for my parent's house to watch the Superbowl:

This pattern was MUCH more enjoyable than the original pattern. I actually had no problem getting through the second sock, at least nothing related directly to the sock. I got out to the post office and mailed them today. She should get them by Wednesday if they don't lie on the automated post office machines.

During the superbowl I continued work on my Alexander McQueen knock-off... I'm not sure if the sizing is right. I do not have a short torso but it's looking as if the sweater is going to be longer on me than it looks on various other people who have provided pictures of their completed works. However, I think that I'll continue to work on it, finish the front, cast-off and block the first piece. I'd rather not scrap the project just yet.

I've done a little spinning since I last posted. Friday I spun some greasy wool and yesterday I spun some clean wool. As per my experiment, the only difference was the cleanliness of the wool. I really think that spinning greasy wool is easier to remove the slubs before they cause huge bumps in my yarn. In the future, I geuss I won't be cleaning my wool pre-spinning even though I hate teasing and carding the dirty wool.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Spinning Class #3

As you can see from my late post yesterday, I got to bring home the Ashford Traditional! I didn't buy it, it's one of the wheels in rotation in the class. After spinning on the Schacht last week, I finally got used to it Wednesday night. I think I'm going to experience something like that with this wheel. Once I tried a new wheel I realized that I had actually grown to love the Schacht! I would love to own one, but they are a little too expensive for my budget. Anyway, we oiled the Ashford up in class last night but when I got it home it started to squeak REALLY bad. I'm going to take it back down to the yarn shop today and see if it just needs some more oil.

I also got some more wool last night! And since I am so excited to start spinning on the Ashford, I gave the wool a good washing when I got home last night. Here is a before and after picture:

Because I had already spun all of the clean wool throughout the week, I had to spin dirty wool during class last night. While I hated teasing and carding it, spinning it actually seemed to give me more uniform yarn than I had been getting with the clean wool. So I am going to try an experiment (this explains why only half the wool in the picture has been washed). I am going to spin with dirty wool today and then clean wool tomorrow. This will allow me to compare my carding and spinning abilities. I might just be getting better at carding, picking out the stuff that I know won't spin up well, or it could be something about the lanolin in the fibers that is giving me a more uniform yarn. But we'll find out!

And here is some Eye Candy Friday. I took this picture during one of our recent flurries. The snow is dry and dusty so I knew if I didn't get the picture right away, it wouldn't be there for long.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Geuss who....

Another wheel possibility?

I was randomly looking through blogs and found someone with a Kromski Minstrel that caught my eye, so I did a google search. These kromskis are within my price range and are actually very nice to look at! I think I even like these more than all the other options, aside from the Ashford! They still have that traditional appearance in their spokes but are more streamlined like more modern wheels. The only problem is I don't know anyone who supplies these locally so I wouldn't have the chance to sit down and play with one before I bought it.

Plying tonight?

Tonight I have another spinning class. I'm not as excited for it as I should be. I suppose part of it is because of this damn SAD and part of it is because I'm out of wool. Val thinks that we'll be learning how to ply tonight so we won't be needing wool. Hopefully Maggie will give us some more wool, otherwise I'll have to buy some. I am getting tired of spinning up boring old clean fleece, so I might just go ahead and buy some dyed batts anyway.

I've also been thinking about spinning wheels again. Last night I made the realization that the Schacht that has spent the last week with me appears more beautiful than it did when I first brought it home. I looked through some spinning wheel suppliers again and composed a list of a few acceptable wheels.
These four are within my price range and met crude requirements of aesthetic beauty. I'm going to have to examine these wheels tonight and possibly try one or two to see if I can cross a few more off my list. The only reason I would not get the Ashford is if the orifice not being directly in the center of my body turns out to be a problem. Also, I was looking through various albums and noticed that I would like a darkly treated ashford, it would probably go with my decor better. One more thing, I don't like the way that the Lendrum slants towards the spinner, over your legs, when treadling.

I probably should not make any decisions until I'm out of this SAD slump. I'll have to keep telling myself, "NO WHEEL. Don't you buy that!"

The Sock Saga, Cont.

This morning was one of those mornings when I really had a hard time rolling out of bed. I usually have a small problem with SAD during the winter and it's really been hitting me hard lately. I just graduated and haven't found a job yet. Even though that is entirely normal it's really not helping me feel better. I just sit at home alone knitting and watching crappy day-time tv. People will say, 'You should exercise, you'll feel better.' Well, I already exercise every day. I do yoga and pilates. This leaves me feeling a little more peaceful and physically spent for a while, then it's right back to the lonely uselessness. So you can see why it might be hard for me to get out of bed in the morning.

But now we'll move on to more knitty stuff. I finished the first sock for my grandma yesterday and I must say that I am quite pleased with how it turned out. There are no pictures of me trying it on because my grandma has smaller feet than I and I didn't want to stretch it out or hurt it in any other way. Rest assured that I have tried it on once or twice to make sure that it is shaping up nicely and that it will, indeed, fit a human foot this time.

Here is a close up of the heel so you can see how wonderful it looks! This is a garter stitch heel flap so the edges were done in garter stitch and this is the first time that I've successfully picked up the required number of stitches in a way that the heel still looks like a part of regular sock anatomy.

Immediately after finishing the first sock I cast on for the second. I haven't gotten very far because I kept getting distracted for some odd reason. I usually knit in front of the tv and don't have any problems keeping track of my progress, but I did last night!