August 31, 2010

A couple updates

Spinning silk with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin at the Knot Hysteria retreat. A most enjoyable class and unfortunately the only picture I have from the whole weekend. I was too busy doing to snap pictures! Stephanie posted some here and here. (I'm even in one of the pictures)

Superwash Blue-Faced Leicester (BFL) wool in "Ooh-La-La-Tropi-Cal" spun as singles. I've already used one skein in a pattern I designed. I need to get it written up and then I'll share it.

Norwegian wool "Kentucky Derby" spun up. I thought I had pictures of my other spinning triumphs as well, but I can't find them. I'd retake them quick but it's currently raining...

I finally finished the vest I was knitting for Michelle. It only needed buttons! It's off and gifted but I don't have any pictures of her wearing it yet.

I made up a little tag to go with it.

The colors aren't right in these pictures. This blue was incredibly hard to capture for some reason. I don't have the vest anymore or I might try to retake them. Or not. I've photographed it several times and not done any better.

July 6, 2010

Spinning Progress

This past weekend was a whirlwind of G&S rehearsals and family fun. Sunday afternoon and evening were spent at my parents' house. There was yummy barbecue, rock band and fireworks. A very enjoyable way to spend a holiday. Last night was our first dress rehearsal for the run. It was nice to be able to put scenes and costumes to the music. So fantastic!

I haven't spun as much as I would have like to, but I've made some decent progress. I finished singles of the 'Kentucky Derby' colorway. Definitely spun thicker than the first 4oz. (Two bobbins on the right, then on the left).

I've also gotten most of the way through the first 4oz of 'Rubber Grapes'. This is the softest, nicest fiber to spin! I really hope I'm not overspinning it because I'd love to keep that softness.

I'd better spend the rest of the week plying to free up some bobbins. I'm going to need them this weekend!

July 2, 2010

A Little Backstrap Weaving

I stumbled across an article about backstrap weaving in Weavezine on a slow day at work some months ago. I was fascinated from the very beginning. It's amazing what you can create with just some sticks and strings!

This is the article to start with: here.
This is the author's blog where she goes into more detail and talks about different techniques: here.

And this is my rough attempt to try out the technique. I definitely had problems with the edges early on, but I think I've finally straightened it out.

Here's the rather awkward tie-up I've got going. The house has only hardwood floors and I have trouble getting furniture to stay put anyway so I'm having a hard time finding somewhere to tie-up to that doesn't move. This is a support bar on my loom and I have to brace against it with my feet to keep it tensioned.

Here's the most recent, the heddles and the shed loop. Because I can.

I should finish this up so I can try some new designs. And I would love to find somewhere better to setup shop. Have a good weekend!

July 1, 2010

Yard work

I spent the morning doing errands today. I have to say, summer really makes it annoying to try and go anywhere. Way too many people out and about, getting in the way. Maybe it's just that this weekend is a holiday, but I've noticed it when there's nary a holiday in sight. *Sigh* Oh- and nothing better than a bunch of whiny kids after story time at the library to make you not want to reproduce!

Of course, it just might be the bit of a bad mood I've found myself in this week. I know why, but now I just need to get through it. Try and stay calm, that sort of thing. I'm actually surprised that I've been doing as well as I have getting things done and keeping up with blogging. It often goes in cycles, rather brilliantly illustrated here. Now I'll just wait for the crash...

I spent some time yesterday afternoon working in the yard. That doesn't sound so bad, but I seriously dislike weeding! I'm finally feeling like the front yard is mostly under control. Finally. Unfortunately a large chunk of the back is a jungle. With blackberries. Arg.

Here's what it looked like when I started yesterday:

And after I finished. Not perfect, but SO much better!

We really need to spread some new bark here soon too. I would hope that it would help with the weeds, but I'm not sure. It hasn't seemed to deter them in the past. I'll wait to show you the jungle that is the backyard until I've done some work and can prove I've made it better. Gotta be a little nice to the ego.

Now I'm going to go curl up with a book and try to avoid people for the rest of the day.

June 30, 2010

Socks and Singles

I've been delayed by a cursed internet outage, but I still have time to squeak in a post. I've finished some socks! Well, they still need washing, but I don't want to wait to show them off.

Pattern: Rosebud Socks from 'Toe-up Socks for Everybody' by Wendy Johnson.
Yarn: Pagewood Farm Yukon in Plum. Superwash Merino, Bamboo, Nylon (70,20,10)
For: Mom.

These were my in the pit knitting for The King and I. Only after getting invested in them did I realize that dark purple was not the easiest color to see in a dark pit. They were knit mostly before we started and at intermission, though I was able to sneak in two rounds during the death scene at the end. (All I can say is "Die already!").

I love how intricate they look! They really weren't hard, though, just some yarn overs, decreases and twisted stitches. But all together, the look is super sleek and fancy. Love love love!

Tiptoeing through the lavender:

Even though Mom loves purple, she's requested different colors for future socks. When quizzed, she wants "gray, navy blue and black. Oh and maybe some dark green." Bah Humbug! Those are about the only colors that James will wear! *Sigh* No bright cheerful socks for me for awhile.

I did manage to stick to my guns and spin yesterday. I started with the fiber least interesting to me. I also decided to speed it up by trying to spin thicker. I managed it, but it's not super even. Hopefully plying it will help smooth out the inconsistencies.

At the moment I'm trying to get in some much needed yard work. I need to get back to it quick or I might lose what little motivation I have. I'll tell you how I'm bribing myself some other time ;).

June 29, 2010

Lots of Fibery Goodness

It's all about the spinning today. I promise it won't always be that way, but there's a lot to catch up with on the fiber front. Besides, I'm hoping all the yummy fiber will perhaps entice Beth to try spinning... ;).

First, the finished fiber, now yarn. Here's a better picture of the BFL I washed up yesterday.

Next up is some yarn that's been spun for awhile, but I couldn't remember if I'd washed it or not. So, into the bath it went. It was merino wool in the "Under the Sea" colorway from FiberFancy on etsy. There was a lot of white and not a whole lot of color. To maximize the spread of color, I split it into lots of thin strips to try and keep the white sections as short as possible. Plying it really spread out the color, giving a nice overall pastel look rather than clumps of color between long stretches of white. I'm very happy my plan worked!

This is a tiny sample of wonderfully soft merino wool that I'm planning on spinning for my friend Ginger. She expressed interest in jewel tones, but browsing etsy they were few and far between. I stumbled upon this lovely batch of fibers and it had to come all the way from Australia. It goes into a gorgeous deep blue, emerald green and royal purple. I'll be chain plying it to keep the slow color transitions in the final yarn.

James signed me up for the lovely Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club as a xmas present. This is four ounces of Norwegian wool in "Kentucky Derby" from the March club shipment. I was skeptical when looking at the roving, but it spun up into some lovely colors.

Whew, that's a lot of yarn to take in all at once. Lunch Break!
Om nom! I must be feeling better if greasy pizza sounds good.

Last night was our last rehearsal before we head to the theater for the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society's summer shows. This year we're playing Cox and Box and HMS Pinafore. The show should be great and the sets are always marvelous! I'm kinda bummed that I have to miss the whole first weekend, but I'll be off having my own fibery fun.

Enough of a break, back to spinning! This time it's fiber as a blank canvas.

It's become a bit of a tradition for spinners to set themselves a challenge during the Tour de France cycling race. I'm of a mind to set myself a nice hefty one. See, I have all this lovely fiber coming in, but I've been a bit of a slacker when it comes to actually spinning it. I pet it and coo over it, but then it gets tucked away and forgotten until I feel a stab of guilt when the next shipment comes. Time to remedy this situation!

*Gulp* ... that's a lot of fiber. Almost 3.5 pounds in fact. (James signed me up for double portions-- each club shipment is 8 oz.). Perhaps I should work on spinning some bulky yarn so that it goes quicker.

Alright, let's break it down. Oldest first. This is from all the way back in *cringe* January. Shetland wool in the "Pomegranate" colorway. I've got roughly 2 oz. on a spindle somewhere that I'm not counting towards the challenge. Not sure exactly what I want to do with this.

February! Superwash Blue-Faced Leicester (BFL) wool in "Ooh-La-La-Tropi-Cal". I had figured I'd spin this as a single but I forgot that it was superwash. Now I'm not sure, though I'll probably stick to my original plan.

March: "Kentucky Derby" in Norwegian wool. I've already spun half of this (yarn is near the beginning of the post). I'll likely spin it into a similar two ply. I might experiment and try to make it a little thicker to try out a fun project using both.

April's "Storms of Jupiter" in organic merino combed top. I'm tempted to use this to work on my worsted spinning though that will likely slow me down.

May brought "Field of Screams" in Falkland wool. No ideas for this yet.

June's "Rubber Grapes" of a few days ago really pushed me to get working. It's 80% Corriedale wool and 20% Alpaca. So incredibly soft! I want to spin this backwards to all my other yarn (S-spin singles and ply Z-spin) so that I can try twined knitting with it. It should make great mittens or a hat.

Extra credit challenge: Successfully spin some more exotic fibers, specifically flax, alpaca and silk. With so much to do and plenty of things to get in my way (shows and a retreat), I'm going to fudge my start date a little and start today.

The house is presentable enough for quartet rehearsal tonight, so I'm going to pop in some Psych and get cranking!

June 28, 2010

Taking the Plunge

I've decided to dive back into blogging. We'll see how it goes. The idea started while spending time with my friend Beth (*wave*) this past weekend. She had mentioned that afternoons were long and dull at work and she struggled to find ways to keep herself occupied. Maybe a little blog reading will help? So, here's to you Beth!

Lunch of Champions (or at least lunch of this recovering sickie).

The muffins really hit the spot. It reminds me of making simple dinners for myself at my old apartment. Oh, and Ellensburg! I think that's the first time I realized the Jiffy doesn't just make cornbread mix but muffins too. I don't eat this much anymore because James doesn't eat scrambled eggs and especially not cheese.

Kitchen Horrors!

It isn't nearly as bad as it looks. You have to really worry about dishes stacked neatly taking up this amount of room! I have to say, though, that admitting to such a messy kitchen helped provide motivation to finally deal with it.

VoilĂ !

And since no one wants to only read about dirty dishes, here's some yummy handspun. (BFL I think from Enchanted Knoll Farm for the interested).

I spun up the singles for this yarn ages ago, back when I had just learned to spin. I knew I wanted to chain-ply it to preserve the long color changes. Then, after spinning some Grape Ape yarn for my mom as singles, I wondered if I should just use it as-is (mostly likely to weave with). I really think this was just a delaying tactic-- I didn't want to ruin the yarn! All's well that ends well. I managed plying with no incidents and now I have a lovely yarn to show for it. I think I'll weave it into a nice color gradating scarf. Just need to finish Mom's shawl first...