29 March 2006

I actually have two knitting projects on the needles right now.. small ones, but still. I mentioned that I started Branching Out in my terracotta yarn, and that's going well. I also cast on for a baby bib in Bernat Cottontots. Why? Not sure, really. No kids are coming.. no friends have young babies.

It's this damn book I bought: Mason -Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures. Wow, that's a mouthful. This book is.. different from my normal knitting books, to say the least. It's like having two grandmas talk to me about knitting, which I never had. The patterns aren't that awesome.. they really like garter stitch.. but it's somewhat inspiring. They give you a basic idea, and then give you free reign to do whatever you want with it. They concentrate on the fun aspects of knitting.. the adventure of knitting even.. rather than the technical aspects. And it seems to be contagious.. because know I really, really want to knit.. even if it is just a garter stitch baby bib.

Beverly asked:
"Lovely yarn, what is this one going to be or are you going to sell it?"

I've actually already traded it off on etsy for this. Hey, I got wet when I do the dishes. This'll help.

Ragnar said:
"So what is the secret to spinning bulky slubby yarn. I know it's the typical spinner thing to say buy I can't do it anymore! Sometimes I want to spin something that isn't approximately the same gauge as sewing thread."

I feel rather presumptious trying to tell "the secret" to spinning bulky slubby yarn, especially since I'd love nothing more than to be spinning sock-weight, and I can't seem to get down past light worsted or DK weight. But, I use larger strips of roving.. I slow down and force myself to draft more, and as for the slubs.. I draft a long piece, put some twist in it so it doesn't pull apart later, and then make the yarn pretty thin just after that, so most (but not all!) the twist goes to that part.

26 March 2006

So what have I done this weekend?

I played a little World of Warcraft, but I don't think that interests anyone here but me, so I won't expand on that.

I didn't spin much, about half a bobbin last night. I did sell some yarn over on etsy... the thinmints yarn. Hooray! The last stuff I've spun was bright yellow. I had realized that after making Terracotta, the worsted weight one, I was having trouble making a bulky yarn, so I decided to make a bulky, slubby, thick & thin yarn just for the hell of it, so I did.

Ragnar mentioned possibly doing her first lace. Well, I've been doing just that.. sort of. Once, a few months ago, I made a lace panel bag with bulky Manos del Uruguay, but it never got finished because the strap was a pain in my arse, and I don't like sewing linings into bags. A couple of days ago, I cast on for Branching Out using my Terracotta yarn. I've gotten four repeats so far, with no problems. *knocks on wood* Yarn Pirate, if she's reading this, may remember months ago when I attempted this scarf and had even purchased a pattern for a much more complicated lace scarf. I couldn't get one friggin' repeat, and I threw in the towel, and sent her my copy of that purchased pattern. Luckily, it seems to be going much better this time. We'll see.

21 March 2006


Originally uploaded by atla.

So I know this hasn't really been a knitting blog lately, but more of an "adventures in spinning" blog. That's okay, right? :P I'm getting the knitting itch, though, so soon you'll hear something about it. It doesn't help that I don't have a printer, so all the online patterns I want to knit, I either have to do it in front of the pc, or go to the local college or my mum's house & print. I've got hubby printing off 3 patterns for me at the college right now, though, and I'll get a printer soon. I guess I could just be like dear ol' Ragnar and not use patterns. I'll just be happy that I can make a hat without a pattern, and leave the rest to the talented designers.

Anyhow, without further ado, I present Seaspray. 111 yards of worsted weight BFL. Mostly a solid viridian greeen color, but with gradual variations of shade. Dyed with Wilton's um.. what color was that.. *thinks* Willow Green! I dyed lots of new roving yesterday, 2 nearly solids, one.. interesting, and one rustic. You'll see them spun up soon, I imagine. Also, I'm using flickr now, and I posted this entry via "Blog this!" after I uploaded the photo. Is this okay, or should I log into blogger and manually insert the photos and whatnot?

17 March 2006

The best yarn I have spun thus far:

189 yards of worsted weight.. that's right, kids, worsted weight. Not bulky. Not superbulky. Worsted. A gorgeous natural color that I'm in love with. I went into the yarn with 3 things in mind: 1) thinner; 2) no slubs; 3) smooth fiber joins.

I achieved all 3. It's delightful. I want to make out with this yarn.

Oh, and there was a new knitcast recently for anyone who cares. I was starting to get worried she'd quit making them.

I got my soaps in the mail from this nice lady who lives in Tennessee as well. The package smelled good before I even opened it. It's incredible.. the scents are so clear and unquestionable. I presented hubby with the spearmint scented loofah soap, and asked him what it smelled like. "Gum!" he answered happily. And the loofah soap is friggin' huge. I don't know if I want to try every soapmaker on etsy now or just stick with her. This seller, who I've traded with, has great Honey Oatmeal soap. And this chick has some stuff that really looks fabulous. And there's one more seller that I can't think of right now that I've been drooling over forever. Bring on the soap!

15 March 2006

I tried Navajo plying for the first time last night. Well, for the first time with -real- yarn. There was an episode where I practiced with Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool. I plyed a just finished single of pinks and plums. It was already a pretty thick single, so this stuff is crazy bulky. 11 stitches over 4 inches on US size 11 needles, to be exact. I fell in love with the yarn immediately after plying it. Yarn that I wasn't too crazy about before. It was bouncy, and full of life. So I said "screw setting the twist" and made a gauge swatch that I ripped out before casting on for a hat. I knew fully well that I would never wear a bright pink hat. I thought I could give it to my cousin. Or just.. sit it around and admire it. No such luck. I thought 45 yards would be enough with it being this thick. No. I ran out of yarn right when it was time to start the decreases. I frowned at it a while, hoping it would grow, then sighed, frogged it, and reskeined it. And now that it's reskeined I can stop loving it long enough to take a photo of it.

It's really very pink, hmm? But it's plyed and bouncy and beautiful. It's the cheerleader of handspun. Okay, now I'm starting to hate it. I better stop with the cheerleader nonsense.

Anyway, I suppose I shall have to find a young girl who has a smaller head than mine and needs a hat. Or just leave it sitting around in the skein and love it. Or find something else to do with 45 yards of super-bulky yarn? Anyone?

14 March 2006

Okay, to answer your questions:

Yes, Wilton's Cake Dye is essentially food coloring.. except gels instead of thin liquids so it doesn't take a lot of dye. I wash my wools once and rinse them twice after dyeing, then wash once and rinse twice after spinning. No fading or bleeding. The idea was recommended to me by a spinner on etsy, and I found a little more information before I bought them. Specifically this blog. Even more specifically, her January 1006 archives. She's moved on to acid dyes now, but her January archives are filled with posts about dyeing with Wilton's. Even more specifically, here is the tutorial she wrote. I like using the dyes, because like I said, it's very easy and it's full of surprises. It usually makes a nice handpainted look without the hassle of handpainting. Unfortunately, there are times when I want more specific colors, so I will be buying more "professional" dyes in the future.

13 March 2006

So I've been playing with my Wilton's Cake Dyes over the weekend. It's a lot less of a "pull my hair out" / "dye the kitchen" situation than with Kool-Aid. Basically, I throw some water, vinegar, and dye into a pot then lower the temperature and stick some wool in there when it hits boiling, wash, rinse, and see what color came out. It's crazy that one color of dye produces multicolor wool.

This is Juniper green.. a heaping 1/8th of a teaspoon of dye. I call it Thinmints. I'm trying to get over the fact that I wanted a foresty, natural green and I ended up with girlscout cookies.

This is Creamy Peach.. a heaping 1/8th of a teaspoon. Hubby and friend says it looks peach. I think it's orange. Whatever.

This is Cornflower Blue.. about 1/16th of a teaspoon. Just in time for spring.

I've got 3 more lengths of wool that have been dyed, and more left to dye.. so lots of spinning ahead.

And, Ragnar, since you mentioned it, I'll unveil it. My etsy shop. I've sold a couple of yarns, and traded some for soap. Huzzah! It's mostly a way to let myself experiment with colors and not getting stuck with yarn I don't like. I've got 22 colors of the Wilton's, and I know I won't like all of it. Somehow I ended up with 3 friggin' shades of yellow. And I'm looking for the perfect color for Clapotis.

10 March 2006

I'm lost.

All my bookmarks have been erased.

My knitting patterns.. my blogs.. my yarn/fiber suppliers.. once arranged into neat little folders.. now gone.


This was going to be a longer post, but blogger was stupid when I first tried to log in, and I have to go to work soon. I've been bad.. more online shopping. But little things this time.

One bar of this "Indonesian Dark Patchouli Shea Butter and Silk Soap" from MoonGardenCreations at etsy for a friend who is a patchouli fanatic.

One bar of this "Spearmint Loofah Scrub Soap" from the same seller.. for myself.

And two sheets of this paper from Niko, the youngest etsy craftsperson (age 6).. for inspiration. His enthusiasm in contagious. He's sold nearly everything he's listed.

How I justify shopping online so much:

The closest spinning supply store is 6 hours away. 'Nuff said. The closest yarn store is 45 minutes away, and the closest one that I actually want to shop at is 1.5 hours away.. and when I go there I spend 6 hours there.. literally. The closest craft store (for dye or whatnot) is 45 minutes away. My computer eats up less gas money, and lots less time. I don't buy anything in town other than food and toiletries (and not even soap now.) So the money I spend online is all the "leisure" money I spend. Not that I have to justify myself.. just my mom was griping at me about this yesterday. Bleh.

We know about Ragnar's antisocial tendencies. Wanna hear mine? I hide from people. People I like, people I don't like, people I know, strangers. If I think I might have to talk to them (unless it's a customer at work.. grumble), I hide from them. Today, I knew the Terminex man was coming for his monthly spraying. I saw his truck. I started to get up to go lock myself in the bedroom and pretend I wasn't home when he knocked on the door. Realizing that he could probably see in the window, I opened it. It wasn't that bad.. stupid small talk. He asked about my spinning wheel. He was here a grand total of 30 seconds. Okay, he's gone. I'm okay. 30 minutes later. There's a knock on the door. My first instinct is to go lock myself in my bedroom and pretend I'm not home. But they're at the door. I'm not crazy. I can handle people. I'll answer it. Open the door. YIPPEE!!! It's the mailman! I like him! He has my 2 lbs of BFL, and a package with my Vonage hook-up stuff. He leaves. That was okay. Sometimes, when I hear someone coming up the steps (I live in an apartment building, this happens a lot..) I go to the other side of the room so they can't see me through the window just in case they are going to knock on my door. If I see someone I know in Wal-Mart, and they haven't seen me, I bolt the other way. Am I crazy? I don't think so. I just don't like direct interaction with people. I can fake it pretty well. I work retail. It grinds on my nerves every second. Yet, I can generally pull off a smile and pretend that I am enjoying my nerve-wracking time with each and every customer. Recently though, my boss has made hints that I'm "often in a bad mood." This guy has worked there for 2 weeks. I thought he was confusing having the flu with being in a bad mood. But, thinking about it, I hate my job. I hate selling useless crap to (mostly) stupid, rude people day after day. I hate the products for the most part. I don't like the company. I don't like the customers. I like some of the coworkers. I don't get to work with them that often. Plus, I'm bitter because I'm usually in the middle of something really exciting when I have to leave for work. Like today, my dye is here.. my fiber is here.. my swift is here. My wheel is calling my name. And I have to go to work. My home life is great. Knitting, spinning, world of warcrafting, being with my great husband, my 3.5 bookcases, my apartment that is small enough to be cleaned in 10 minutes, but large enough that it isn't cramped. And then I have to.. leave my apartment. And it sucks.

Bleh, gotta go to work now.

09 March 2006

Look at my new baby!

She is posing with some of my first handspun BFL. Hooray! I no longer need hubby to wind the ball winder slowwwly while I hold the skeins and try to get them untangled. I no longer need to hang the skeins from my neck, unwinding them slowly and carefully, and turning the handle on the ballwinder slowly and carefully when hubby isn't home and I'm too impatient to wait. Hooray!

08 March 2006

Thanks for your motivational comments, Ragnar. I knew I could count on you ;)

So I feel better, for the most part. The only problem I have left is these stupid persistent coughing fits which occasionally lead to vomiting. No big deal, right? I had a nice steak dinner last night to celebrate being able to taste again. It came back up. Yeah, fun stuff.

So, I've not gotten any spinning done, and the only knitting I've gotten done is a swatch from yarn that I spun from that colorful roving that I posted a photo of a few entries ago. Now, replace the word 'colorful' with the word 'hideous.' I'm sure all of you know that merino is harder to spin than Blue Face Leicester, and you were wondering when I'd figure that out. Well, I figured it out. Short staple length and all that. Yeah, so I've got this uneven, slubby, overtwisty yarn.. in absolutely horrid colors. Makes for a pretty ugly swatch.

So this:

Image hosting by Photobucket

is now this:

Image hosting by Photobucket

Yeah. I'm waiting patiently for my BFL to arrive.

06 March 2006

This is for you, Ragnar. I figure since I've been off work the past.. 2.. no.. 3 days, I have no excuse.. other than the flu of course, but I can't just lay on the couch all day, can I?

See? Too loose. The neckline went stupid. And it's fuzzy.. and itchy. It makes me look larger than I am, and makes my chest look funny. Or it could be that I'm in denial. I don't know. Either way, I should have made a medium. Damnit.

Now, show me your skull shrug.

I ordered things. 2 lbs of white-ish Blue Face Leicester roving from Copper Moose, $30 worth of Wilton's Cake Dye from here for dyeing that roving, and a yarn swift from Yarn-Store.com. I'm bad, and yet it feels so good.

05 March 2006

Sorry that I'm quiet. I'm deathly ill. I have the flu. I'm convinced Ragnar gave it to me.. through blogger. Yeah.

01 March 2006

Bleh.. I'm in a kind of knitting slump. There are so many things I want to knit, but nothing I want to seam. Perhaps Tubey was a bad idea for a first sweater. No seaming. None. Nada. I'm spoiled. I don't want to seam. I don't want to sew sleaves on. I want to knit and knit and knit forever and come out with a lovely garment.. preferably one that isn't friggin' itchy this time. I want to knit something large. Not a scarf or a hat or socks. A sweater or a vest or something. Yeah. But without seaming. And yet not as mindless as tubey. In the round. With pretty yarn.

I've been giving myself a headache day after day searching for the perfect pattern. It doesn't exist. Blech.