28 February 2006

Hey look! I reproduced it! I once dyed a yarn that perfectly matched the color of blood.. it looked like someone had bled on the yarn. Unfortunately, it smelled bad due to the um.. Victoria's Secret conditioner I had used on it, and it got tangled, and it was bad scratchy wool anyhow, so I tossed it. But I loved the color, so I reproduced it with 115 yds handspun merino. Look :)

One would think that if, on a normal day, you use 1/3 cup of ground coffee and fill the pot up to the line that says 5 for a perfect cup of coffee, you could theoretically double that on a shitty day and use 2/3 cup of ground coffee and fill the pot up to the line that says 10 to come away with perfect coffee in a larger quantity. Right? Not so much.

Anyhoo, have you guys seen this. It's really pretty. Someone else make it so I can see how it fits and decide if I want to make it, k? :D

I play World of Warcraft. Have I mentioned that? I play on a lovely roleplaying server on which no one roleplays. I have a level 42 gnomish mage and a level 29 dwarven hunter, and these characters are co-guildmaster of a guild that I created, named Paradigm of Virtue, which now has about 70 members. I haven't really played in a long time. Since before I started Tubey, I suppose. I have at least logged on every few days to make sure everything in the guild was okay. So a couple of days ago when I logged on, the officers that I've appointed pretty much asked me to step down as guildmaster since I never play. I suppose that's a perfectly reasonable request, since well, I don't play. But I love the game, I love the guild, and I love my characters. They just can't seem to understand that I love yarn more. Yarn is my first love.. my true love.. right alongside my husband and step-son.

If you're curious as to what happened, I blew up at one officer.. he blew up at me. He left the guild. I promoted two others to officer. We made up. Officer who left re-joined the guild. I promoted him. We now have 5 officers, so I appointed one of them second in command, and one of them treasurer, which pretty much covers all of my duties. Told them if they need me to ask my hubby to find the girl on the couch under all the yarn, and I would be there after just one more row.

25 February 2006

I got 4 ounces of this great roving in the mail today:

Image hosting by Photobucket

I'm just debating on how exactly I want to spin it. I've played with it a bit, and seem to have two options that I like.. make a tweedy, plied looking yarn.. or make a yarn with big blocks of color, instead of rapid color changes like I did with the pinkish roving I dyed.

Annnnd I got a lb of white merino in as well, so fun dyeing times are ahead! I think I like Blue Face Leicester wool better, though.

Ohoh! And I downloaded The Oregon Trail game.. yeah, and I beat it. So booyah. mwuahaha.

22 February 2006

Arg, I hope I get wool in tomorrow. *dies a little inside* On the bright side, I just traded some 150 yards of handspun for some handmade soap over at Etsy.

Hey Ragnar.. look at this. I think of you every time I see it. I thought about buying it for ya, but I worried that if I did and I sent you an e-mail asking for your address, you'd get all loco on me and think I'm a psycho-stalker crazy lady with pointy sticks.

21 February 2006

Ha! I had enough yarn for the hat that reminds me of a sno-cone. I had a whole yard left over.

As modeled by my ball-winder:

Blurrier, but shows true colors:

Someone tell me that I am not allowed to cast on another pair of socks until I finish the tweed ones. Not even in the pretty Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Hawaii, or the pretty knitpicks sock yarn.

Arg, I'm out of fiber again. The fiber I showed a photo of was spun up just a couple of hours after that post. It's currently being knit into a hat that may or may be finished, depending on whether I run out of yarn. Grr.

Fluff of the day:

pink aluminum
You are pink aluminum.
Retro, straightforward and fun, you love classic

things. If they're 99 cents at Goodwill all

the better! You are moved by striking colors

and tasty morsels, and you like a

stitch-n-bitch session in the sun. Just

remember, while you're being kitschy cool,

don't get too cold. Ice cubes are best kept

in your cocktails, baby!

What kind of knitting needles are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

19 February 2006

Just when I was starting to panic because I ran out of roving, I got my Pay It Forward roving from Etsy. Look! It's pretty! This was hand-dyed by Tala.

And now that it's arrived, I can say: Look what I've won!

A nice blogger, Laura at Affiknitty, was holding a contest to get folks to delurk. To enter to win fabulous yarn, you just had to leave a comment on that entry. She had quite a few prizes, and I won the best.. this beautiful Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in colorway Hawaii. Thanks so much, Laura!

Updates on Tubey: It's finished and dry, and I have very mixed feelings towards it. On one hand, It looks gorgeous laying flat. It actually fits better than I thought, but I still wish I had gone with the medium and just knit the length of the back for the large. But had I just gone with the medium, I wouldn't have known to do that and so it still wouldn't fit perfectly. And better a tad too large than too tight in the shoulders, eh? However, the main problem with it is the Andean Silk that I used. This stuff feels wonderful in the ball, each individual strand feels luscious running through my fingers, but it is very itchy when actually wearing it in a full garment, and I'm not usually that sensitive to wool. And it's very fuzzy. My swatch wasn't fuzzy :( It isn't fuzzy as in.. pilling. It just has a lot of individual fibers that stick out and make you look like a sheep. Baa. But I will try to get a photo of it soon. I'm actually contemplating making another in a different yarn, perhaps that Wool of the Andes that I got in, but I'm all Tubeyed out right now. And I think I might want to make this first. Or this. Or this. And eventually I want to make this (PDF!). And Rogue. Yeah, I've got a full line up. Not to mention a lot of socks (jaywalkers!) and hats. Yeah.

And hey, I've got a really stupid question. I've been trying to avoid asking it, figuring I would figure it out on my own. Um. *blush* So.. how do you.. er.. adjust the ratio on a Babe wheel? Anyone? *runs away*

16 February 2006

Here it is! Sugar Plum Fairy! (Go on.. laugh.. I don't mind :D )

15 February 2006

Okay, two bits of interesting news.

First, I was spinning tonight.. actually, it was when I got done, I was winding the yarn from my bobbin and it was so even it scared me. Did I mention I really like manos? Oh yeah, and I'm not having my overtwisting problems anymore. Cheers!

Secondly, I hand dyed my first roving today. I thought I had totally screwed it up, but it may have been a happy accident cause it's pretty-full, and the small bit that I've spun looks excellent on my bobbin. Hooray! (Although I also hand-dyed my kitchen floor, table, and my hands! Woot!) Expect photos of finished yarn by the end of the weekend.

So when I'm not knitting, spinning, reading blogs watching Sex & the City, drinking coffee, or being with my hubby, I browse etsy. There's really some amazing stuff there. So, in homage to all the talented crafters, here are my favorite etsyians:

This candlemaker is absolutely amazing. She makes fake food candles and tarts, and this stuff looks friggin' delicious.

I fell in love with kateblack for one reason. This pendant. Spike is beautiful. And if you snatch it up I will eat your brains.

This lady (?) has made the most amazing "piggy bank" I've ever seen. Behold.

And then there's chetanddot who've made the cutest little pink teddy ever.

And even though I'm not usually into these things, I fell in love with this pop-art inspired pug magnet from tvtrayart.

MoonGardenCreations has the most soothing-looking soap ever. Like this Oat & Honey Scrub Bar:

Photoglassworks is a popular seller. She has some of the most beautiful pendants, and I'm not usually a jewelry person.

Natty has the cutest dolls ever. Look! A zombie girl!

14 February 2006

Oh holy wow, I found it. No, you don't understand. I found it.

You remember my post about finding the perfect roving? And I posted a link to this yarn..

Yeah, well, apparently when she says hand-dyed, she doesn't mean hand-dyed by herself. .. unless she took heavy inspiration from this:

..and even used the same kind of fiber. Either way, this is the perfect roving. Okay, so it exceeds my price expectations, being $34/lb. But I'll have to make do. Can't wait till I get paid. *drool*

Ohoh! That last post made me realize something. One reason I've been hesitant to order from Blue Goose is that their photos are really small so I can't see the colors very well. They're thumbnails. You can't enlarge them on their site, but if you save them to your PC, they're huge! So the sage doesn't look all that bad from them.

Is it just me, or are all the big fiber suppliers getting their roving from the same place? And if this is so, how can it look so beautiful in one photo, and yet so icky in the next. Example. Dyed merino top photos from 3 sources.

Sage, from Copper Moose. It looks pretty bleh. Middle price.

Sage, from Blue Goose Glen Fibers. Lowest price. Again, doesn't look too great.

Sage, from Pacific Wool & Fiber. Highest price, but this looks absolutely gorgeous.

So, do photography and price go hand in hand?

It's somewhat quiet in Blogland. I wonder if it's the Knitting Olympics. Yeah, I haven't cast on. No, I probably won't. How can I commit yourself to that much knitting after just getting a spinning wheel? I'm sorry, but I'm not craft-monogamous. That's just the way it's got to be. It's not you, knitting, it's me. Don't look at me like that. I'm sorry, but I can't be tied down right now. I've got a whole world to experience. I don't want to feel guilty about that.

Okay, way too much Sex & the City. Seriously, though, I've been spinning like a madwoman. It's still thick & thin, but that's okay, because I got interested in spinning because I can't afford as much Manos as I would like. But I've gotten it thinner in general. I fit 84 yds on my last bobbin instead of 53. Woot.

12 February 2006

Is it normal that my bobbin only holds about 52 yds of thick/thin yarn?

Plus, how do you make your ends stay twisty?

I have lots of stash yarn up for trade here. Lots of sock yarn and others!

I don't think Tubey will ever finish drying. On the upside, I now have pics of my first mini-skeins of yarn. They're a little bland, because they're undyed, but oh well.

On my spindle:

And on my Babe:

I've woven in the ends on Tubey, and it is drying as I type. Expect a photo soon!

11 February 2006

I am on the hunt for the perfect roving. The qualifications it must meet:

-Under $30/lb. (Okay, I might stretch it to $32 if it's absolutely perfect.)
-Soft wool

Not that hard. Lots of roving fits that description. However it must be dyed satisfactorily. Dyeing isn't my strong point, and I'm not in the mood to mess up fiber. I like rich colors, whether earth tones or otherwise. Too much pastel makes me feel ill. I want a multicolor roving, 3+ colors, or 2 if the colors have a lot of different shades. As an example, here is the perfect wool, presumable made from the perfect roving, even though I think she dyed it herself. That's the catch, I want pretty colors without DIYing it.

Experts, help me.

10 February 2006

Holy wowzers. I just spun some yarn on my spindle that wasn't too terribly overspun, and I didn't have to manually spin the spindle every time.. like, my spindle spun.. on its own.. and it was okay.


Kris asked: "How do you like the Babe? The price is right, but I would be worried that it would be as solid as a traditional wooden wheel?"

Well, I don't really feel that I'm qualified to say. I, unfortunately, haven't been able to work with a traditional wooden wheel. At this point, however, I haven't found anything about the Babe that I specifically dislike. It holds up better than I thought it might, so I'm pleased.

Beverly said: "Now in a few months you will be trying to reproduce the "novelty" yarn you first spun and you won't be able to!!"

Lol. One can only dream.

Well, it's getting better all the time. I did a little "spinning" (not sure if you can quite call it that yet) between coffee and work this morning, and everything went much smoother. My problem with overtwisting is decreasing, though I still have some bad spots. But I'm having fun :)

In other news, Tubey is done except for weaving in the gazillion ends and blocking. I've started on weaving in the ends. I hope it fits a bit better after blocking. It's kind of.. strange.

09 February 2006

I think I get this drafting thing now. I reread the Babe's "how to spin" manual, and one sentence struck a chord, and after that it's been much better. It said: "Note: if you allow the twist past your pinch into the draft zone, it will bind the fiber and make it impossible to draft out and continue."

So, yes, my problem was what the nice commenter Bev said.

Plus I've started loosening up on the fiber a bit, so my hand isn't hurting so badly. So yay, my second pile of cruddy yarn looks better than my first pile of cruddy yarn. I will now proceed to try and drop the ratio.

Thanks, Bev!

Well, it's here. The thing I've been alluding to and haven't mentioned. My Babe Production Double Treadle wheel.

And I'm frustrated. I've been attempting to use it, but failing miserably. I still can't draft.. I don't understand why. The best thing I've discovered I can do is pull the roving into the size strips I think I'll need to twist together to make the size yarn I want, and then just let it twist. I don't want to have to do that, however.

Secondly, I'm getting waaaaaay too much twist. I guess it's because my hands are going so slow because I'm pathetically trying to draft. Photo evidence:

So, I live about two hours south of Nashville, Tennessee. Who wants to come over and give me spinning lessons? :P

Lesson of the day: No matter how good Victoria's Secret Love Spell scented condition smells on your hair, do not condition wool with it. The lovely scent transforms into something horrid and no matter how much you wash the wool, no matter how much kool-aid you dye it with, it will not go away. It follows you around and haunts you, and you know that you can never knit with it. That is the Victoria's secret. She is human friendly only.

The mailman was nice today. He brought my ball-winder, which I didn't bother to photo, but it did help me wind this pretty Knitpicks Wool of the Andes that I also got today.

And he brought this amazing book.

And he finally brought my spindle, which is really small, and weighs just under one ounce. It's mad at me for making it pose upside down.

And in one really looong everlasting hour, I get to go pick up the bestest thing ever from UPS, which I'll show you later.

This is me being jealous. Yarn Harlot is packing for the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. I glanced at the classes offered briefly, and the first thing that caught my eye was the spinning classes. But those were to be expected, so I wasn't writhing with jealousy at this point. Then I saw it. It. A class called Knitting Vintage Socks. Taught by none other than the oh-so-delightfully-wonderful-and-talented Nancy Bush. She is teaching two other classes as well. If Stephanie had any room left in her suitcase after packing all that yarn, I think I'd try and hide in her luggage.

P.S. Ragnar, I love you. Your "lecture" made things make a lot of sense. That extra twist in the leader was killing me, but letting the twist go into my roving makes it sound so much easier to work with. Thanks so much for typing that out.

08 February 2006

Okay, now that I'm past my initial cursing, lets discuss the problem.

I think, perhaps, that I've possibly figured out drafting. After that edit of the last post (the last line was the edit), everything went much smoother. However I can only spin by drafting/pinching with one hand and manually spinning the spindle with the other. I cannot for the life of me get the spindle to spin the correct way by itself.

Soon, there will be an obligatory first horrible couple of yards. Woohoo.

Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. The cd spindle thing didn't work out cause our Radioshack is goin' out of business and didn't have the rubber thingies I need. So I used the "make your own spindle" directions from joyofhandspinning.com which worked much better. See:

Consider this the cursing that I promised.. because I can't friggin' draft. I can't draft. wtf. Grr.

Oh, and then blogger mocks me because when I go to hit "publish post" I notice the button that says "save as draft." haha. funny blogger. ha.

Edit: Wait a sec.. hey, those strips of roving that I got in? Am I supposed to pull smaller strips off of them or just um, do that as I draft? *confused*

Stupid mailman brought me a pound of roving. Beautiful, soft, prettiful roving. He brought me some lamb's pride worsted from a swap, and a book: Simple Socks: Plain and Fancy. He did not bring me a spindle. Grr. So I have resorted to making a cd spindle. I have the dowel, the cup hook, the poly tubing, the cds, and hubby is currently on his way to radioshack to locate a rubber gasket. If he does not find one, or if for some reason it doesn't make everything fit properly, cursing will ensue. If he finds one, and everything fits properly, I will be trying to spin.. and sucking I'm sure. Cursing will ensue.

07 February 2006

So. The postman was not nice today. He brought me absolutely nothing. On top of that, on the way to check my mail (I get packages sent to my mum's since my apartment mailbox is too small and my neighbors might like yarn stuffs too..).. anyhow, on the way to check the mail, I saw frozen goldfish. My mum's goldfish pond is frozen, complete with goldfish. I was disturbed, but she laughed at me and told me they would.. thaw. Hoping for an early spring!

So. If the postman is not nice tomorrow, he's had it. I know his cell phone number; I will track him down and demand that he hand over the packages that I'm sure are in town.. I bet he's playing with my spindle as I type! Tomorrow might be a crazy day for packages, depending on who shipped what when.. spindle should be coming in tomorrow at the latest, my pound of wool roving from Copper Moose should be in tomorrow as well, yarn and a book from a swap (knitswap lj community) should be tomorrow, and my knitpicks order (ball winder!) has a pretty good chance of arriving tomorrow. There are two other packages, but I belive they'll be in around the end of this week or the beginning of next. So I will be awaiting the postman at noon, complete with a beatstick.

I demand yarn!

So what is on the menu today? Well, first coffee. Then work. But if the postman is feeling nice today, he will perhaps bring my spindle while I am at work, and so I imagine you will hear me cursing because I have no idea how to use the stinkin' thing. But I am very excited, nonetheless. He might also bring my ball-winder from knitpicks, which I will use to *gasp* wind my yarn into balls.. particularly some that I dyed with kool-aid recently, so I will then get to show it off. I hope I can get the color right in the photo.

Yesterday was.. an adventure of a sorts, and I will tell you about it sometime next week when it is more relevant.

Saturday night and Sunday was supposed to be a movie/tubey marathon. Unfortunately for tubey, I picked that time to get absolute obsessed with spinning. I joined in a new ball of yarn about an inch ago, and by my calculations Tubey will be done when this 96 yd ball of yarn is gone. Not that it's my last yarn.. I have 4 more, but I shortened the sleeves. I think it's going to be too big. I think I should have made a size medium. Bleh.

05 February 2006

I want a spinning wheel. I want one, I want one, I want one.

I got the Cascade 220 in for hubby's ravenclaw scarf. I think I've mentioned before that I'm completely insane, and that I should do something else. Something more challenging. Sure, knitting an 8 foot stockinette scarf in the round in 16 days might be a challenge, speed wise. But it's also the same darn thing I've been doing for the past couple of weeks with Tubey, except without the added interest of a purl every 4 stitchs. I'm going to lose my mind. I already feel the pressure, as I have to get Tubey done in time. I really should just find a nice pattern for some lace socks and do that instead.

Did I mention I ordered a spindle? So, not only am I going to be doing endless stockinette February 10th-26th, I'm also going to have to resist playing with pretty fiber.

I'm really thinking about throwing in the proverbial towel, and joining Enjoy the Process instead. Knitting is supposed to be fun, not filled with pressure. So, suck it up, do lace socks, or enjoy the process? I have no friggin' idea.

03 February 2006

Hey look. It's the preview for the Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Knits.

This prairie tunic is gorgeous.

This looks nice as well.

And this seems really simple, but it looks like it might be worth glancing at.

I'm about 7 inches of the body away from finishing Tubey. I've tried it on a couple of times, and I'm nervous that the back is going to hang too low once I get the front the right length, but I guess we'll see. If it turns out too long in the back, I think I'll be devastated. Hours and hours have gone into Tubey, and I'm not one to hesitate when it comes to frogging usually, but this is also the first I've given so much time to a project. What will I do if I have to frog it? Will I try, try again? I think I'll be slightly bitter towards it then. Use the yarn for something else? I don't know. Let's just hope it's a decision I'm not faced with.

I've been wanting to try out Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, so I ordered enough to make Magknits Nothin' but a Tee. It was only around $12 USD, and that's with an extra ball just in case. So if it works up nicely and isn't too scratchy, maybe I'll have a cheap alternative.

02 February 2006

In case I didn't properly scare anyone off with the last photo of hubby, I present this.


Fine. A serious photo. You want a serious photo? Can you handle a serious photo?


I finished the first tweed sock today. My first sock.. ever. Granted, it is DK weight yarn, but I didn't follow a pattern. I just used techniques learned from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. So, one down, one to go.

And, online yarn shop reviews, Part 1.

I'm picky about online yarn stores. Really picky. It has to have a decent layout, non-cruddy colors, a good search or browse feature, and most importantly of course, decent yarn. So today, while I should have been working, I instead got out my latest issue of Interweave Knits, and made a long list of online yarn shops to check out. Now that I've gone to all of them, here's the scoop.

http://www.lambspun.com - Not really an online yarn store. Just tells about their physical shop. Nothing of interest, unless you happen to live in Colorado. I don't.

http://www.mountaincolors.com - Nooo!! The colors!! Bad layout, hurts my eyes, and I didn't even see a place to order the yarn. Preserve your eyesight and don't visit this one.

http://www.colorful-stitches.com - The ad was the first thing that caught my eye.. the first ad that wasn't hideous, actually. The website colors are tasteful. After you find the yarn, there isn't really a way to browse specific categories other than weight (and for some reason they don't have worsted), but the search feature works fine, and the yarn is.. cheaper. Seriously. All of it. Manos del Uruguay is $9.34 USD instead of the usual $13.25. Painter's Palette Premium Merino.. $8.66 USD instead of $11.55. They don't have a huge selection. No Lorna's Laces. They carry most Debbie Bliss & Rowan, though. When buying yarn online, it's definitely worth checking here first to see if they have it.. because it'll be cheaper. They got da hook up.

Image hosting by Photobuckethttp://www.loopyarn.com/ - Wow. Beautiful website, beautiful yarns. They specialize in carrying hand-painted yarns.. Lorna's Laces, Artyarns, Mal Abrigo, and more. Anyone who has fallen in love with these, will immediately love this shop. Browse by manufacturer, a simple yet effective search feature, and absolutely friggin' gorgeous yarn. Bookmark this one now.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the reviews.

01 February 2006

So I mentioned that I'll be doing hubby's Harry Potter scarf for the Olympics.. right after I finish Tubey. I'm starting to question my sanity. Hours spent in front of the tv with 3x1 rib. Then, upon finishing, I pick up hours in front of the tv of stockinette in the round. On the upside, I've watched some really great movies recently. Super Troopers and The 40 Year Old Virgin were both hilarious. Half Light made me cry in the first 10 minutes, and yet scared me later. In Her Shoes was much better than I thought, also succeeding in making me cry twice. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a pleasant surprise. Benny & Joon, an older movie that I've finally gotten around to watching, has become an all-time favorite. Seeing Other People, on the other hand, was bleh to me and infuriating to my hubby. I won't quote him here. Today will be Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, then whatever catches my eye when I go to return the two I have out. Thank corporate America for my Blockbuster movie pass.

That said, I've actually really enjoyed working on Tubey. If I do another one, I think I'll change the neckline up a bit (even though I do love the square neckline), and do something to make the sleeves smaller. Most likely just cast-on less stitches, but make it just as long across the back, then make the body longer to make up for the smaller width of the back. It depends on how this one fits when it's all done.

I really am loving my Denise Interchangeables, by the way. The tips are so smooth and light, plus I only had one circular needle before I bought them. Definitely a good investment. The ball winder that hubby will be buying me for Valentine's Day (I hope) will be most welcome as well.

You know, when I first started knitting, stockinette stitch was absolutely out of the question for long periods of time. Garter stitch even moreso. I wanted to do cables, and a lace-paneled purse, and short rows. I'm thankful for that, because I didn't get stuck in the garter-stitch scarf phase. So I can do all that.. somewhat. Lace still makes me nervous if it's actually laceweight yarn instead of the bulky manos the purse was made from, but I appreciate the simple patterns that are innovative because of the way these basic stitches are put together. Also, when I first started, I smirked at shrugs.. now I find myself itching to make one in an older issue of IK. Things like Clapotis were laughable.. and now I spend five hours straight looking for the perfect yarn for Clapotis (which I've found but is completely unavailable right now.) Tweed was for old men, but now my tweed socks are coming along beautifully. I couldn't for the life of me find a knit sweater that I would wear.. now I've got so many I want to knit that I don't know which to do first. Basically, I look at this stuff differently now. But that's extending into the rest of my life, because I look at something initially in disdain, and then think about how different it looks when you're actually doing it.. how beautiful it can be. And I've mellowed out.. become tolerant. I'm a happier person, and easier to get along with.. as long as you don't disturb me while I'm watching Johnny Depp and doing 3x1 rib.