Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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I've been tired lately and not sleeping well to boot so some nights putting together a post has felt like more than I can handle. Good fibery stuff going on, though. So here's a quick fly-by:

Flirty Skirty is almost done! Just a couple more rows to go. I tried it on a few inches from the end and the fit was still good. It's on short circular needles now so I can't get a feel for the final shape. I'll do a proper post soon with feedback on the pattern and knitting experience and all that good stuff, but let me just tell you, Anne's patterns are very thorough, with both charts and written instructions in all the right places, so you'll be in good hands. Plus, she uses several types of increases and I like how they're incorporated and how they contribute to the skirt's flirty shape.

I've squeezed in a good bit of spinning time, though I have few photos to show for it. The primarily green primaries dyepot is all spun up! 12 oz at about DK weight sure took a long time. It's soaking now so after I abuse it and let it dry, I'll be taking photos. I also spun up the other 4 oz of merino-silk from Cloverleaf Farms. The first 4 oz were in the autumn colorway and spun up in June. Good thing I kept a sample card I could refer to. This batch is brighter and I'm not sure how they'll blend. The idea is to ply them together. You can see the fibers side by side here. I thought the common golden harvest tone would tie both together, with the pinks brightening and the browns warming. Fingers crossed.

Cloverleaf Farms merino/silk - 4 oz x 2
newly spun on left, previously spun on right

What else... Oh yeah, wanna see what 10 lbs of fiber looks like?

10 lbs of fiber

Here are my feet for scale:

10 lbs of fiber with feet for scale

That's 5 lbs of merino superwash and 5 lbs of 80's merino from Henry's Attic. Guess I have a lot of dyeing to do... I also bought a mess of undyed yarns, particularly silks and some silk/merino. 'Cuz I'm a suckah (for silk). The 80's merino is verrry soft.

Oh yeah, I won a blog contest! Me, who never wins anything! Earlier this year I won some lovely alpaca yarn from Claudia's MS Ride. Now, courtesy of Arianie (thanks, Arianie!), I've won a pound of washed, uncarded Alaskan Malamute fiber, aka Chiengora, aka dog hair:

Alaskan Malamute fiber

I've read it is quite warm and Arianie says it's great for mixing with other fibers. It's soft and since it's washed, there isn't any doggy smell. Still, call me old fashioned, but the idea of spinning with dog hair spins my head around!

Alaskan Malamute fiber - closeup

I searched around and couldn't find much info on spinning with Chiengora, besides one or two people that offer spinning services to (mostly) pet owners. There are guard hairs that will need to be removed, but the undercoat seems quite fine and soft. Have you spun with Chiengora? What was your experience?

Now that I've won 2 contests this year, I feel my chances for winning something at the upcoming Fabric Place Knitters Breakfast (9/30) are definitely warming. I've been shut out at the last two. They say the third time's the charm! If you're in the Boston area, think about signing up. The food is good, you get a coupon and some patterns, and a lot of chances to win something. (Edited to correct date to 9/30. Thanks, Kathy!)

Carole asked what I was watching these days during my TiVo knitting, so here's what's on the list. It's a shockingly long list. With TiVo I watch more shows, but without commercials, it goes faster, and now I waste almost no time surfing or watching rubbish. (Except when Scott's in the mood to watch rubbish. Like Who Wants To Be A Supehero. Apparently, it had "train wreck" appeal.) I love fast-forwarding through commercials so an hour show takes 40 minutes; it's not so great for spinning, however, as I hate to stop spinning just to fastforward. (And yes, I'm getting to the point where I can spin and watch some TV, instead of just listening. It doesn't work for all shows, but it means more spinning (!) and a shorter To Watch list.)

The Closer
Battlestar Galactica (BSG) -- Is anyone else excited about the new season???
The 4400
Dead Like Me
Medium
Dead Zone
CSI (the original only)
Crossing Jordan
Saved

I'm also still watching Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, though the former is not the same without Jack, and the latter is not as gripping as the former.

I notice a trend: a little space Sci-Fi; a lot of crime drama; a good dose of the supernatural.

What are your must see shows?

Ever since we got the house just under 3 years ago, we've been bringing in sandwich meat and bread to work and making sandwiches for lunch. At first, it was out of necessity (and felt like punishment). We got used to it. After a couple of years, when we had recovered from mortgage shock, we continued because we:

  • finally knew the cost of eating out and wanted to spend the money on other things
  • realized that making sandwiches meant smaller portions and fewer calories, usually of a healthier nature

Turkey sandwiches get boring after a while, even when interspersed with chicken. So some weeks I get pastrami and heat it up in the toaster oven. Yum!

This week I even brought in some cheddar jack cheese. My tastebuds have been in heaven.

I layer the pastrami on one piece of bread and the cheese on the other:

Pastrami sandwich

then toast for the regular amount of time. Add yellow mustard:

Pastrami sandwich

and mmmmmmm. Tasty.

Last week at the grocery store I picked up a jug of vinegar for dyeing. At the register, my mouth hung open when I saw the price: $2.79. For a jug of vinegar! Hell, no.

I had been thinking about getting citric acid crystals. I heard they were cheaper and allowed brighter colors, but couldn't find any locally the week before (and what a hunt it had been). So, I resorted to the Internet. And picked up a couple of 5 lb bags of citric acid at BulkFoods.com. Plus some spices and snacks. Their flat rate shipping (they call it a $5 "handling fee") made it worthwhile. But dang, we now have enough fajita, taco, and lemon pepper seasoning to last our lifetime.

Ordering was easy and delivery was quick. Wanna know what 5 lbs of citric acid looks like?

Citric Acid

It doesn't look like much, but it's heavy. 5 lbs heavy.

Next up: a better scale for weighing dyes and smaller amounts of yarn and fiber. I'm keen to start dyeing up some triads after my dyeing workshop. Some people like to mix dyes willy nilly to find the right color. I'd rather dye a spectrum beforehand and then pick and choose the ones I want. Potayto, potahto.

1.

Seacoast Handpainted Yarns alpaca/wool in Ocean

This lovely Seacoast Handpainted Yarns dyed alpaca/wool yarn called out to me on eBay. There were mini bidding wars on most of her auctions (all in the last minutes, of course) and I lost several before I picked this one up. Right around the time I bought that CVM fleece. And some color cards. And some handdyed BFL. Hmm, eBay shopping spree...

When I opened the package, I reflexively whispered, "oooo, pretty". Always a good sign.

Just under 1000 yards, no plans yet. I resist urges to get more...

2.

BFL from eBay

The BFL was a new vendor. I was drawn to the autumn colors and figured I'd try 4 oz.

My problem is not so much with the fiber (though it's not quite as soft as other BFL) as with the vendor: No Email. I didn't get a thank you for ordering or paying; no confirmation of payment or shipment. After almost a week (and my CVM fleece had been won, purchased and received with time to spare), I emailed and found out the vendor doesn't send emails and usually ships "within 3 business days".

Is it just me?

It seems that, in the age of internet shopping, where good service is increasingly rare and all the more appreciated, where uncouth opportunists think nothing of stealing your money and goodwill -- it seems to me that a simple email acknowledgement goes a long way to both show appreciation as well as reassure you that your PayPal funds didn't "disappear into the ether".

If you went to a yarn shop, had someone ring you up and send you on your way without so much as a "hello", "thank you" or "enjoy!", would you go back? That's what I'm saying.

3.

Classic Elite Classic Silk

This yarn I bought without plans, to take advantage of a Fabric Place sale + coupon combo. It was the first time I gave in to such urges. I figured, no wool, neutral color, could become something for Scott, or maybe that black shawl my mom wanted.

Clearly, it was an inspired moment. Providence. My mom's shawl, of course, will be the ebony Zephyr. And the (Classic Elite) Classic Silk will become: Anne's Sangria! Yep, that cute flirty skirt is knit with, you guessed it, Classic Silk. And I get to test knit it!!

Anne's been raving about this yarn and I gotta tell you, she's right. It feels pretty good in the skein but it's pure delight while knitting. Delight! And did I mention it's got no wool? I would knit Scott a sweater with this yarn! I love it that much.

The swatch is done and I'm getting set to start the pattern, a slightly modified size small. Fun fun!

PS:  Don't worry, that's all the stash divulging I can handle at the moment. Back to normal (whatever that is) tomorrow.

Thanks for the sympathies and suggestions on Scott's allergy situation. And to be clear, yes, I would be willing to not knit wool for my kids so Scott can be near them until they're old enough that they can manage wool knits carefully (ie, remove them when they get home and learn to use a lint brush, haha). I would still knit with wool for myself and the rest of my family, though. I ain't crazy. And as Carole wisely suggests, we won't worry about future children's wool allergies 'til later.

Can you imagine, though, going to the doctor for a checkup and asking, "So... any way you can tell if the fetus is allergic to wool?" Innocent blink.

Or, being apprehensive about giving birth because it would be the moment of truth: allergic or not??? If the former, a whole 'nother kind of pain and post partum depression...

I was skeptical of suggestions for alpaca or finer fibers like cashmere, buffalo, quiviut, etc. But, I felt like I shouldn't just blow raspberries at you all so I brought a skein of alpaca yarn and a cone of cashmere yarn for Scott's touch test. Both passed! (Though shortly after, he did feel some tinglies in his hands, which he says may or may not have been psychological.)

The next test is to knit a small swatch and have him wear it. He's a good sport and willing to try. Who knows, there may be a lot of alpaca in this household soon.

Gram

On the Gram front, she's being moved to another assisted living place this week so we're all a little confused and agitated. We packed up some of her things before visiting today. 

From the website, the new place seems nice, and it caters to those with memory issues, so hopefully she'll be in good hands. I'm concerned that another move so quickly will throw her off even more; she's not quite settled into the nursing home as it is. Fingers crossed (which seems so inadequate a phrase, but I got nothing).

Going to Montreal was a nice break, but as soon as we got back, we felt guilty for not visiting. And today she was a bit emotional when she saw us. I'm trying to accept that we're doing a lot. Period. Without the niggling "but it's not enough" and "she deserves better" and "we should do more" thoughts that are so quick to follow. We're doing a lot. Period. It's hard.

More stash

I got me some JaggerSpun Zephyr laceweight in white, ebony and cinnabar*:

JaggerSpun Zephyr laceweight in white, ebony and cinnabar

and a cone of white in DK weight as well. You know. For all that dyeing I'm supposedly doing.

Here's a comparison of the laceweight vs DK weight:

JaggerSpun Zephyr DK & Laceweight

The ebony is for a rectangular shawl for my mom. I balked before on knitting a black lace shawl, but after seeing a few in blogland, I realize I am a big wimpering baby. I can do this. Without going blind. Without too much sulking.

Sand River

was blocked

Sand River - blocking

and is done!

Sand River

It blocked to just over 6 feet! I like-y. More pics soon.

Etc

I've got a few other exciting things to show you this week! And maybe some more stash.

What do you think:

  • too much stash = shock and disgust, or
  • woah, I'm jealous and now I gotta wipe my keyboard off but keep 'em coming


* Edited to add: The JaggerSpun Zephyr cones were purchased through a coop from Sarah Siegel, who has
an eBay store and a website. I have heard good things about her promptness and responsiveness.

I had a shocking realization last week.

Scott and I have been talking about, you know, when we have kids. Someday.

You all know that Scott is allergic to wool. He's very patient, understanding and supportive of my fiber habit, but it's always a concern:

  • I make copious use of two lint brushes for post-spinning, post-fiber handling, post-mohair-knitting, etc. I brush off my clothes, my chair, the sofa. After combing fleece or spinning for a while, I grab the Dustbuster and give the area a once over.
  • I rarely knit with mohair. It's too stressful. For both of us. At the sight of mohair or angora, Scott gets the heebie jeebies. At the sight of floating mohair fibers -- yeah, let's not go there.
  • In the fall and winter, as soon as I get home, I change out of my handknit sweaters and wool tops into fleece or cotton. So he can come near me.

Right. So I've known about the possibility of our kids being allergic to wool. Which would be very sad. Because I really don't like to knit with cotton. Because I love working with wool. I've known this, but figured I could always knit a few cotton and cotton/acrylic baby things. I could deal.

And then I realized: When Scott and I have kids, if the baby is not allergic to wool, I will still be knitting cotton and cotton/acrylic baby things. Otherwise, Scott won't be able to hold the baby! I know! No wool clothes! No wool booties! No wool baby blankets! As the Harlot would say, I need a lie down...

It gets worse. I was talking to my sister, who realized that if the baby is allergic to wool, I won't be able to wear wool clothing!

I feel weak.

Let's not talk about what happens to my spinning habit or my stash...

And if you come up with another realization along the same lines, by all means, keep them to yourself! I don't wanna hear it...

On the topic of baby clothes, here are some of the cute patterns in the 2 magazines I bought at Mouliné:

I love all of these:

from Phildar Layette, Spring-Fall 2006
from Phildar Layette, Spring-Fall 2006

And no. 8 and 11:

from Phildar Layette, Spring-Fall 2006
from Phildar Layette, Spring-Fall 2006

Scott likes no. 4, especially the flower:

from Phildar Layette, Spring-Fall 2005
from Phildar Layette, Spring-Fall 2005

I love no. 26 and 25:

from Phildar Layette, Spring-Fall 2005
from Phildar Layette, Spring-Fall 2005

Can you stand it? Hey, I can still knit for other people, y'know.

And here's the interior of MoulinĂ© as shown on their bag:

Mouliné in Montreal

It looks different; they've added more bookshelves or a wall that separates the back area into a real pattern area. But even in the drawing you can tell the mannequins have attitude.

I've been going a bit wild on yarn purchases lately... I don't know when I think I'll have the time. What can I say, I have trouble resisting a bahgain.

A few things from Wild String's closing sale (sad to see her go), all Cherry Tree Hill:

A few skeins of yarn...

Some Melange:

CTH Melange

Some North Cotton:

CTH North Cotton

And a shitload of Cotton Boucle:

CTH Cotton Boucle

The good news, no wool. The better news, $5 a skein (Melange retails for $24). The bad news, what the hell was I thinking buying so many single skeins??? Still, I see possibilities in combining the boucle yarns. And there were patterns for socks using North Cotton on the Cherry Tree Hill website. Anyone ever used it before?

Oh, and the bag they were in:

MDSW bag

My free MDSW bag that I got for volunteering. Forget to show it before. :)

I'm back! Phew. What a week. I had a fabulous time in NC and have plenty of stories to share. Tomorrow. Or later this week. Want a preview? Let's see, there was visiting my niece's 1st grade class and demonstrating how to make yarn (!); having my niece teach me how to skate backwards; teaching her how to use the Joy; hanging out with my brother and sister; bonding with my nephew... yup, lots of good times.

I came home to this wonderful surprise:

Dye-O-Rama angel yarn for me!

My Dye-O-Rama yarn! My pal went missing so Sheila of Wool2Dye4 was my angel. Sheila was a Dye-O-Rama sponsor and since I helped organize, we had sent a bunch of emails back and forth early on. When I found out she was going to be at MDSW, we met up and hung out. So I got to meet my angel pre-angel. How cool is that? Sheila included beautiful glass buttons from one of her customers, Terri Persing, that match the yarn perfectly, and some Eucalan wool wash samples. Of course, I'm most excited about the yarn. I can't wait to see how the red speckled one knits up. Thanks so much, Sheila!

I slept most of Saturday, but when I (finally) woke, another package was waiting for me:

Alpaca yarn from Sunrise Ranch

Lucky me, 2 packages in two days! Inside were my Prize Patrol goodies from Claudia's MS Ride: 2 skeins of lovely 3 ply alpaca yarn, so soft and yummy, from Deb at Sunrise Farm. Really. Soft. Deb also included a bar of handmade soap that smells wonderful. I'm thinking lacy scarf for the yarn. Ohhhhh yeahhhh. Thanks, Deb!

Speaking of packages, 2 more bits. Back a month ago, I had a birthday contest. Well, I finally sent out the package right before heading to NC. I didn't take a photo so you can head over to Anne's to see it. Yep, better late than never. :) Check out her beautiful lace shawl in her post from yesterday. Knit in no time. How does she do it?

Last, while I was in NC I got an email from Susan of Susan's Fiber Shop, asking me if my package had arrived. I ordered it quite a while back, but she was out of stock and more were being made. Guess what it is??? It should be here sometime this week. Picture Snoopy doing his happy dance. Yup. That's me. :)

I confess to feeling no guilt to those I made sushi-hungry. Sushi gooood.

Here's a good birthday thing I failed to mention. My sister recently returned from a month long trip to Japan (boy did I miss her) (and boy was I jealous). I asked her to bring me back some Japanese binders for my knitting projects. This is how I've been keeping track of my projects for as long as I can remember:

Knitting notebooks

Why? I can't say. It just fits. I keep all my projects listed at the very front with start and end dates, kinda like a table of contents, and create new project pages for each new project:

Knitting notebooks
Well, I haven't been as good about it since the blog...

As projects are completed, they get archived into separate binders by start date. That way I can find them again if I need to. It's come in handy.

With all the knitting I've been doing recently (ie, before learning to spin), I ran out of binder space and have had loose papers lying around in disarray. In fact, I just found another batch lying on my desk.

Enter the birthday care package:

New Knitting notebooks!

and they're already (all!) in action! Thanks, sis!

Also in the package was an awesome drawing from my niece, which will go to work with me:

Awesome birthday drawing

a handmade card, the best kind:

Awesome birthday card

some yummy snacks, and some birthday money, destined to help make yarn. That's a lot of love.

Speaking of birthday money, my parents always send some, so I chose this as part of their gift:

Noro Silk Garden Lite

Noro Silk Garden Lite. The plan: Clapotis, for me. (Isn't it odd that all the skeins have different colors on the outside? I just hope I don't have as many knots as Anne did...)

Speaking of Noro, did you know that Kureyon is the Japanese way of pronouncing Crayon? Interesting, hunh? And last time I visited Japan (or the time before?) there was a cartoon called Kureyon Shinchan, about a little kindergarten (?) kid that had a strangely deep voice and whose antics cracked people up. I could never figure out what was funny. Was it his voice? Was it a series of inside jokes? According to the link above:

Much of the humor in the series stems from Shin-chan's occasionally weird, unnatural and inappropriate use of language, as well as from his inappropriate behavior. Much of this humor is untranslatable for non-Japanese speaking readers and viewers.

Ahhh. I see.

This seems like a good time to show a picture of Obaachan (my grandmother) from my sister's visit to Japan, she's as Japanese as they come:

Obaachan
My parents, sister and her kids visiting my grandmother in her "group home"

Obaachan was having a really good day, recognized my mom, smiled, laughed:

Obaachan
Obaachan with my sister

Isn't she cute? (My mom tried to teach us to laugh that way, covered mouth, lady-like. Never worked.) Obaachan's been eating well and her spirits have really lifted since she moved into the group home. I'm so glad they had such a wonderful visit.

Thanks for your enthusiasm over Hansel & Gretal! I plan to write up the pattern and post it soon.

Post MDS&W, I felt overwhelmed by my fiber options and had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to spin. So many great choices, but also so many not-to-be-wasted choices as well. I didn't want to fritter away the cormo/alpaca or merino/silk, or (gasp) the cashmere/silk, but I wasn't in the mood to be overly focused and attentive to do these fibers justice. In the end, a non MDS&W blended batt pulled me off the fence:

Samples from The Artful Ewe
dyed mohair locks, dyed silk, dyed corriedale cross / silk

Pretty colors, no?

The batt (on the right) was a sample that came with my Forsyth combs that I ordered a few weeks ago from Heidi at The Artful Ewe:

Forsth combs
Forsyth double row combs, purchased on June's recommendation

scary sharp combs + I'm a klutz = recipe for blood shed   o.O

Heidi's prices on the combs and clamp are the best I've seen. The clamp was back ordered so I asked her to hold the order, and while waiting, I succumbed to several pounds of sale-priced natural blue faced leicester and corriedale cross. And cashmere:

Cashmere from The Artful Ewe
sooo soooft

And then forgot. Until I got back from MDS&W and got an email that my order was ready. Heh. I have a lot of fiber.

Heidi was great to work with, and included generous samples to accompany my generous order. :) In addition to the above, she sent:

Samples from The Artful Ewe
alpaca, yak, camel and Eucalan in baggies; corriedale cross, merino/alpaca and alpaca/blue faced leicester sample card

Cotton samples from The Artful Ewe
Pima and Acaia cotton

Cotton from The Artful Ewe
West Texas cotton

She also tempted me with these photos of her hand dyed fibers:

Handdyed fibers, The Artful Ewe
woah, fiber does grow on trees!

Handdyed silk, The Artful Ewe
hand dyed silk

And my jaw literally dropped to the floor when she told me this was the view out her front door:

Gorgeous view, The Artful Ewe

Sooo jealous.

Heidi has a workshop / dye studio and her shop reminded me of London-Wul in New Brunswick where another Heidi taught me to spin last fall. I wished I lived closer!

Incidentally, London-Wul Heidi has started a blog and is having an amazing contest. Go check it out! See, I'm sharing the love. It means less chance for me to win, so if you win, throw me a bone.

Speaking of new blogs, Lucy at Mind's Eye Yarns in Cambridge started up a blog and etsy store. You might know Lucy from her appearance on the Harlots' blog. Last week I was in town for a doctor's appointment and decided to take advantage of city-proximity and stopped in for their weekly spin-in. I had a lovely time! It was my first time hanging out with my wheel. BASD meetings have always had some kind of workshop so it's never been just hanging out. I liked just hanging out.

So yeah, the spinning. A simple 2 ply with the corriedale cross/silk batt:

Dyed Corriedale X and silk, 2ply

A little overplied, but pretty. I enjoyed drafting, and I enjoyed not worrying about what I was making. I also liked spinning semi-woollen from a batt. It was less work than spinning from top. It's fired up my enthusiasm for a drum carder.

After the batt, I sampled some rambouillet (at top):

sampling silk, cormo, rambouillet
from top to bottom: fiery rambouillet from Touch of Twist; dyed cormo from Winterhaven Fiber Farm, and Interlacements dyed silk

The rambouillet was soft as a 2 ply laceweight, but felt rougher as the weight increased. Surprised me.

The cormo has nice bounce and because of the neppiness is uneven. I still need to experiment to find the right grist.

The silk was spindle spun while at MDS&W. I think I want to spin up some fingering weight for a lace shawl. I'd also like to try some silk singles.

Post fiery rambouillet, I jumped on the rambouillet/silk, which was so much softer:

Rambouillet/silk

It's a joy to spin.

Life is a bit hectic and probably won't go back to normal for a little while.

In good news, Gram is doing better. She fell several weeks ago, went into the hospital and then a nursing home where we thought she'd stay. But between a reduction in some medication and recovery from an infection, she's bounced back to better than she has been in months. She's moving around, she's not falling asleep, she's making conversation and jokes, she's a whole new woman. For now she's back at her apartment. It's good to see her doing better. She had a very sudden downturn for a while and now this sudden upturn. I haven't caught up yet! Thanks so much to everyone who sent well wishes and warm words, they were very much appreciated.

Here's the promised photo of the cormo fleece from MDS&W. Well, a lock. It's not the best pic; I'm still waiting for the sun to come out so I can take some more photos. Enough with the rain!

Cormo fleece

Have a great day!

It's late so I'm going to try to keep this brief.

The Haul

I warned you earlier in the week that I spent an obscene amount of money at MDS&W. If you're uncomfortable with that sort of thing, read no further. If, however, you lust after lovely handdyed and luxury fibers, and are happy to drool on your keyboard, read on.

Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks, purchased from Carolina Homespun:

Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks

I've been lusting after CRD's stuff for a little while now. Once I realized Carolina Homespun carried it, I made a beeline. It was tough to pick colors and to limit my purchase. Stuff adds up fast.

merino/silk in Lagoon:

Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks, silk/merino in Lagoon

cashmere/silk in Mendocino Hedges:

Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks, cashmere/silk in Mendocino Hedges

Blue Moon Fiber Arts, merino/tencel in Purple Rain, puchased from The Fold:

Blue Moon Fiber Arts, merino/tencel in Purple Rain

I saw the piles of STR but I have 2 skeins that have yet to become socks, so I chose to try out their dyed fiber instead. Call me crazy.

Happy Hippie, optim in Free Love, purchased from Coughlin's Homespun Yarns:

Happy Hippie, optim in Free Love

Optim is stretched merino and is said to be as soft (or almost as soft?) as cashmere. Nice stuff.

Cloverleaf Farms, merino/silk in 2 colorways:

Cloverleaf Farms, merino/silk

The plan is to ply one strand of each and make something like a shawl. The colors are really gorgeous and I think they'll blend nicely together.

Foxhill Farm, cormo/alpaca:

Foxhill Farm, cormo/alpaca

Very nice, soft. Same vendor as my cormo fleece (yep, I still owe you a picture).

Winterhaven Fiber Farm, cormo in Autumn:

Winterhaven Fiber Farm, cormo in

Not as soft as the Foxhill Farm stuff, but the colors are beautiful, richer than in the photo. Preparation is a little neppy, but it's also soft and springy.

Morehouse Farm Merino, lace merino:

Morehouse Farm Merino, lace merino

I had no idea the stuff was so soft, I couldn't resist. It's the only skein I brought back.

A Touch of Twist, rambouillet/silk:

A Touch of Twist, rambouillet/silk

purty, ain't it?

and rambouillet:

A Touch of Twist, rambouillet

It's on fire! I haven't spun with rambouillet yet, looking forward to seeing how these spin up.

Liberton Corriedales, corriedale fleece:

Liberton Corriedales, corriedale fleece

At $5 per pound, I couldn't resist. Good practice for the cormo fleece. They had some yarns processed from their corriedale from 2 different processors, and one of them was so soft, I really wanted to bring some home. Really wanted. Gotta limit the yarn intake. Sigh.

Besides the above, also picked up a mess of stuff at Little Barn. Their luxury stuff was discounted about 25%, so I got some cashmere, yak, merino 125's...

Okay, some observations:

  • hmm, you think I like red?
  • hmm, you think I like silk?
  • hmm, you think I lost my mind?

Thanks so much for your comments! It was especially wonderful to hear from folks that have been there all along but couldn't post. I was at work getting emails (I get emails from comments now!) and had a moment, I was, what do they say, verklempt? It was a wonderful feeling. I tell ya, you were there in my head, but it's so much nicer to hear it outside my head. I feel less crazy. ;)

So let's see, there's been a lot of stuff going on. Where to start?

I'm going to see the Harlot speak at Classic Yarns of Grafton tomorrow! I'm hoping I won't say something really stupid or embarassing. Or gush too much. Or smile too widely and not say anything. I'll be meeting up with my buddy Maria and she'll stop by the house afterwards to gawk at the stash. Go on, admit it, you're jealous. You want to see the stash!

Speaking of the stash... it has groooown. I spent the last of the stash sale monies on some Addis from Jeff Wonderland (so I can finish those danged Jaywalkers) and yarn at The Fabric Place. Look what a judiciously spent $22 will get you:

new to the stash

Superwash baby yarn and non-wool for Scott in Scott-safe colors!

I also ordered a few books from Amazon.com using reward certificates (read: free!), the Harlot's Knitting Rules, and Deb Menz's Color Works and Color in Spinning:

               

and they arrived within days! Oh boy oh boy, already started reading the Harlot's book and Color Works and am very pleased. (Are those Amazon things too obnoxious looking? I thought having the pictures would be nice.)

Taxes were a very pleasant surprise this year. I was hoping we'd break even or not have to pay too much. Instead, we're getting money back! Woohoo! I promptly ordered Woolcombsmini wool combs from The Artful Ewe so I can process some of that lovely alpaca and llama that shipped with my wheel. June had recommended them and I'm excited to try them out!

As if that weren't enough... today I stopped by Woolcott in Harvard Square and bought Heirloom Knitting, mostly subsidized with a gift certificate. Couldn't put it down.

Can you stand it?? Can I???

And last, but not least, there's some handdyed silk roving wending its way to me. No more on that 'til it arrives. Hoooo boy.

I hate to leave without some pics cuz I have a few stockpiled from the week, so here's progress on the Honeymoon Cami:

Honeymoon Cami - in progress

Honeymoon Cami - in progress

Honeymoon Cami - in progress

I debated flashing my stash. There's a lot. I mean, a lot. And while much of it is beautiful, interesting and worthy of admiring gazes, well, it's a lot. So instead of showing you all of it skein by skein, I'll show you most of it from 20,000 feet. And you'll get an idea of where the yarn room organization is (mostly done but still in progress). And you'll just have to imagine the rest.

(Most of the fiber and dyes and stuff is in the metal rack to the right.)

Yarn Room

Tonight: fiber dyeing. And maybe a finished Picovoli!

Thanks for the compliments on the new do and the red knitted stuff!

Just a quick post today to show you what I picked up from the post office this morning:

The Box

A big box, with an equally big box shimmied over it containing:

My New Wheel!

The wheel! Schacht Matchless Double Treadle. I took it out at work and just about everyone stopped by to check it out. I had fun explaining the mechanics to the mechanically inclined, but wished I had some fiber on hand to actually demonstrate. Okay, and to give her a spin.

She came padded with raw fiber:

Packing fibers

of the alpaca and llama variety. Nice padding, eh?

Packing fibers up close

The fawny fiber top left is high in VM, the others are dusty but otherwise look good. I foresee much fiber processing in my future.

I got terribly frustrated trying to get the wheel set up. There was bumping of parts that oughtn't bump and general lack of knowledge of parts and purpose. I was ready to holler and have a fit before I left for the BASD spinning guild meeting. Part of me wanted to just stay home and stew and figure it out. But most of me really wanted to go for the carding lesson and the chance for experienced hands and eyes to help me with the wheel. Good thing I went, I got what I wanted! I'll need to make some minor adjustments and give it a good cleaning, and then just get to know her.

If I weren't so darned tired I'd be doing a happy dance about now.

Speaking of which, I got very excited at work today when something I've been working on for the last week and a half finally worked! Really, I was hopping around excited and doing the Saturday Night Live "number oooonnneee" dive and that arm pumping thing that hockey players do when they score a goal. Yeaaahhhhhh! Considering I had picked up the wheel earlier that morning, I was surprised that I seemed more excited about web development stuff than getting a kick-ass wheel. I mean, the thing I was working on was way cool, but still, it's a web page, ya know? A web page that does a really cool thing!!! Anyhoo, I think, since I haven't spun on the Schacht before, I don't know what I have. I don't know how to react, except to be relieved that it arrived seemingly unscathed, in the number of pieces it's supposed to be in. I guess I'll have to spin on it a while for the excitement to register.

Look what came in the mail today:

pH paper

pH papers! Now I can pHind out if I'm over vinegaring my dyepot. Thanks, Mini!

Here's plied up Autumn Leaves, soaking up the last bits of apHternoon sunlight:

Autumn leaves

(Hmm, kinda dark. I miss the morning sunlight!)

It's very sopHt and sproingy in a nice cushy way. That pHart, er, part, worked out! On the other hand, the looser plying shows my uneven spinning. I pHind I can get an even thickness, but I need to work on even twist. I hear some people count treadles and drapHt regular amounts. Any other tricks out there?

The mini skein shows I don't know how to pack a bobbin tight enoupH. ;) 20/20 hindsight: I so could have squeezed those pHew extra yards in! I hate cutting. But man, there was no take up, the bobbin was too pHull.

The second mini skein was plied with itself. A little overage on one bobbin. Not bad.

I'm ending up with a bunch of spun up yarn. I'm waiting for PumpkinMama to show pHotos (hehe) of her handspuns shawl so I can borrow, er, steal her idea.

Thanks for the suggestions on the bonnet cables, all good ideas. I shall mull it over and distract myself with...

Look, a finished object!

Curlycue scarf

It's the Curlycue scarf I've been working on for-e-vah and a day. It came out really cute! So glad it's done. Just need to steam to set the curlies and it's off to my niece.

I finished it at the Fabric Place Knitters Club on Friday and got up and did a weird victory/celebratory dance. I couldn't help myself, and I couldn't figure out what kind of dance I was doing; it reminded me of a Native American dance that you see in documentaries. Very strange.

When I got home I was surfing and came across someone selling their Anny Blatt angora/ribbon scarf kit, and it reminded me that I wanted to try out mohair and ribbon for a scarf. The only thing holding me back before was not knowing if I'd have enough for a scarf. Well, that and not wanting to knit with mohair because of Scott's allergies. I did some searching, found out the Anny Blatt angora and ribbon were lower in yardage than what I had, so with much mohair caution, I started:

Glitterati

I love how the ribbon picks up the light. It's a simple seed stitch; I tried fancier stuff but it wasn't as effective. The mohair is Birds of Paradise by Danette Taylor, the ribbon is Erdal yarns Harlequin bought on eBay. They happen to match perfectly, as if made for each other.

Stashorama

Last some stash pics. The yarn arrived during the Knitting Olympics and there was just too much going on so I put off posting. And again. And again. Well, I'm tired of them sitting around in flickr!

These are from handpainted wool on eBay, purchased through the Yarn Coop. Like Malabrigo, they are soft, kettle-dyed singles. Like Malabrigo used to be, they were quite affordable. This one was a well run coop, it took about 6 weeks from payment to receipt.

100purewool

Mmm. Soooft. Purrty.

100purewool

After much searching online, I bought some syringes from KV Vet (an online pet supplier) in 4 sizes:

Syringes for dyeing

Prices were really good, shipping was fast. These syringes are great for measuring and for placing dye. Skooshing. Yeah.

I also bought some Henry's Attic undyed Kona superwash, Monty and Andromeda (silk-merino) last month. No need for photos, it's natural colored, on cones. No need to discuss quantities, let's not go there. It was a liquidation sale from someone who used to handdye yarn. She also sold me a bunch of Jacquard dyes for a good price, too. I'm not to buy any more yarn until my birthday. June. Unless I sell some...

I sold some yarn! Well, I was trying to raise funds to buy some fiber for dyeing. But promptly spent it at the Knitters Breakfast last week. But I also swung some trades:

My first Lorna's Laces (mmm, soft):

LL Shepherd Sock

and 2 oz each of cashmere batt, silk caps and mohair:

fiber from trade

Phew. I'm pooped, are you?