Archive for January, 2007

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I know, I know

I’ve been playing with fiber instead of posting.

Let’s see, Thursday was a class on Spinning Novelty Yarns. It was neat to spin so much with mohair. After class, Colleen taught me how to spin “tailspin mohair”, which is holding a handful of teased mohair locks and turning it into yarn. It’s beautiful.

What I really want to do is figure out what to do with this novelty yarn that I like, so I can justify and focus spinning it. I don’t knit with novelty yarn. I don’t “trim things out” with it, I certainly don’t knit entire projects with it… But I’m trying to come up with something that I’d like to make with it. Right now, I’m thinking about decorative pillows and hats. Possibly a scarf, if the stitch pattern were right. It needs to be knit in a way that preserves the beauty of the yarn, instead of hiding it in the stitches.

I’m already forgetting a lot about Madrona.

Friday was a half day for me. I took Fiona Ellis’s hand embellishments class. It wasn’t very structured, and although it was fun to chit chat with her, I think I could have learned a lot more if the class were taught differently. However, what I learned is going to be very helpful. Basically, the whipped chain stitch.

Fiona said it is very helpful for outlining curvy designs in knitting to soften the edges so you don’t get the jagged, stair-step effect.

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This is my practice swatch from class where I worked on curvy lines. I have designed a lot of curvy colorwork for my knits that didn’t end up in a final project because they looked bad on the curves. I’m excited about this one. Plus, she showed us a ton of swatches she had knit for inspiration, and I took pictures of most of them.

Saturday was my silk spinning class which gave me the confidence to try what I’m doing now.

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which is blending together some silk and wool, spinning it, and swatching for a scarf.

That’s all I can post right now. Veronica is throwing up today, can’t even keep a sip of water down, and I have a brief amount of time before the girls get home to get a handle on things.

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Where to begin…

There is so much to talk about from Madrona, the thought of organizing it all into coherency is daunting. Thus, today is not that day.

The house is trashed. And it isn’t just the result of Nate and the kids being motherless for three days, it’s also my stuff spread out everywhere. I’d get home late at night, dump everything, go to bed, wake up, dig through it all to get what I need for that day, and leave.

Repeat.

Twice.

Plus, Nate and the kids were motherless for three days, so you can imagine. The shenanigans they pulled while I was gone are worthy of a post, with pictures, all on their own. Today is not that day, either.

No, today I am cleaning things. But I can leave you with a picture of something beautiful.

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The braid in the back is dyed corriedale and the ball in front is tussuh silk top that was dyed at the same time, so it matches. Pretty isn’t it? It wasn’t until an hour or so after I bought it that I realized what I’d done. Can you see it?

Teal.

What the heck is my deal with buying teal fiber? I don’t buy anything else teal. Just fiber. Lots of it. I have pounds of teal merino top in 3 shades from a few years ago that I have become very tired of. I bought those teal Romney locks in November, and here I am, home from Madrona with freaking teal Corriedale. Unbelievable. However, I do love it combined with the red and lime green.

I’ve made a few sample skeins of yarns already, trying to figure out what I’m going to do with it.

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The skein on the left is a “cloud” yarn, which has little slubbies plied into it. The middle skein is just varying thicknesses of singles plied together, and the one on the right is a crepe or cabled yarn, which is two 2-plies plied together. I really like the slubbies.

Finally, this is what I took to Madrona to work on during the down times.

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I finished the toe, wove in oodles of ends, and started the duplicate stitch over the course of it all. I’m quite proud of myself.

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Health Group- Year 3, week 32

Good morning. At least it would be if I’d had any sleep to speak of last night. I fell unconscious around midnight, and Clark woke up at 4:37 this morning. He’s back asleep for the time being, but I’m not, about an hour and a half earlier than I intended. That’s ok, so long as I make it through the day without falling asleep. Today is my silk spinning class with Paula Shull, who I’ve already met and spoken to a few times casually.

Health Group- I weighed in at 229.4, or .2 this morning. I don’t remember. I’m sure it would have been less, but I was still dressed in my PJ’s. It’s cold in my house, and I didn’t want to get colder. Plus, I had a pizza gorge fest last night at 10:30 pm or so when I got home. I wasn’t hungry at dinner time at Madrona, so I didn’t eat anything. By the time I got home and started nibbling on a piece, I turned into a ravenous beast and ate 2 pieces of pepperoni, 2 pieces of rosemary chicken, and had a caffeine free Coke. So that was on the scale with me this morning as well as the clothing.

Earlier in the week, I was hovering in the low 227′s which is good, because I haven’t been exercising AT ALL. Not a bit. This week has been off, schedule-wise, so while I’ve been eating decent for the most part, I’m not considering it a “diet week”. I’ll start up Monday again without contempt.

How was your week?

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Oh, my, gosh

I don’t even have words, although, knowing me, I’ll come up with some eventually.

Madrona is awesome. It is incredible. My class was brilliant. Carol Rhoades is brilliant. I learned many wonderful, amazing things to do with mohair, which at this point is even more my favorite fiber than it was before. Don’t get me wrong. I love wool. I love to wear it, I love to knit with it, but something about handling mohair locks…. their silkiness, the curls! I just love it.

So, the class was fantastic, and I made a friend :-) . A beautiful woman named Colleen that has covetable hair.

And this is also something exciting for me. I used to be so horribly shy, I’d die before even going to an event like this, quite frankly. But if I happened to be there anyway, I’d be the one sitting off in a corner, by myself, not talking to anybody, wishing like mad that I could come up with something interesting enough to say to justify talking to someone. Wishing like mad that someone would come over and talk to me.

The fact that I can now speak up in class, approach people, converse, and basically ask if I can tag along with them and/or join their group is manifestation of some significant personal growth that thrills me.

It’s no fun being painfully shy. And people that know me now really don’t believe me when I tell them I was.

The little niddy noddy came in very handy. Here’s some of the samples I made yesterday

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I want to talk about them, but my computer was being naughty, rainbow swirlies and super slow and everything, so I managed to save the post and restart the computer, but now I HAVE to finish my preparations for my afternoon class with Fiona Ellis (you’re jealous, I know) and get my gregarious butt out of here.

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to play I go!

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I’m just about off to Madrona. I’d link it, but I’ve been talking about it for weeks, so it seems redundant at this point.

I’m a total nerd and labeled everything with my name and phone number. Like, everything. Every bobbin, my camera, every bag… The parts to my wheel aren’t replaceable, and there’s going to be a lot of people there, lots of bags, lots of wheels, lots of activity… I’m assuming something will be lost before it will be stolen. Let’s hope neither occurs.

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

What’s your opinion?

One of the classes I’m taking at Madrona is a Hand Embellishments class by Fiona Ellis. We’re supposed to bring with us a 6×6 swatch of stockinette, several lengths of smooth, medium weight yarn, a blunt ended sewing needle, and fancy beads and buttons. So, although it doesn’t say as much, it seems to me that the beads and buttons should be big enough to string onto the worsted weight yarn, don’t you think? I don’t have any of those. When I think of “fancy beads”, I don’t think of the big honkers that you could pass an embroidery/end weaving needle through. I guess I need to get out there and look. I hope the class goes beyond sewing on buttons, that’s for sure.

Yesterday was interesting. I managed to do almost all of the laundry. Wanna see what 9 days of laundry for 6 people looks like? Hold on to something.

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That picture doesn’t accurately communicate the magnitude of those piles, which are almost as tall as my dresser.

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That’s 3 loads of darks/blues, 2 loads of reds, a stuffed load of whites, another of lights, a load of cold/delicates, a load of Clark’s clothes, and half a load of towels.

Whew!

So I did that yesterday, and then decided to get out the jumbo head for my spinning wheel.

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I’d never used it, and I thought it might come in handy in the Spinning Novelty Yarns class so I wanted to put it all together and see how it worked. I’m glad I did. It took most of the afternoon and evening to figure out and get adjusted.

As it turns out, I’m missing the little peg that holds the scotch tension brake across the flyer.

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(When the regular flyer is on, it’s a double drive wheel). So I hunted all over the house, looking for things that might fit in the hole, and I found one.

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Know what that is? It’s an eraser that you stick on the end of a pencil. As it turns out, it works very nicely.

It took me awhile to adjust the length of the driveband and the tension to get things “just so”, and to get everything sufficiently oiled and smooth, but I think I’ve got it. I had to wrap one end of the flyer shaft with masking tape because the bobbin was very loose and knocking around quite a bit. It’s all quiet and smooth now. This thing is huge!

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HUGE!!!

I spun a bunch of teal merino top on it to get the feel and make the adjustments, then pulled it all off and threw it away. It was pretty bad.

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Itty bitty niddy noddy

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It’s very cute.

I didn’t buy any dyes at Weaving Works on Friday because their dyeing expert is out of the country this month, and I wanted to talk to her before committing to colors. I got a printed sheet of the Jacquard Acid Dye colors, and it looks like there were several colors used in the bag of mohair I’m wanting to recreate.

I have so much to do before Madrona. Laundry, gathering supplies, cleaning my house… Today is the only full day I have to myself before Thursday. Tomorrow and Wednesday I have half days to get things done, which is making things very difficult.

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Health Group- Year 3, week 31

I had another good week, although I wasn’t as strict as I could have been with food. I’m still very happy with how I did, and I exercised everyday except yesterday.

My weight has been fluctuating like crazy. Today, I’m back up at 229.4. Yesterday I was 227.something. I keep adding and dropping about 2 pounds. It’s ok. My friend Ros came over on Thursday to talk and ra-ra about health, and she said that when the body first starts to break down and lose fat, it replaces it with water initially while things start changing, then finally lets it go. She said you should only weigh yourself at the beginning of the first month, and not again until the end of it.

Interesting.

I’m weighing myself anyway, because I’m so wildly curious every morning, but I’m not going to get upset for another couple of weeks if things continue to hover. This was week three for me.

Next week will be interesting. I don’t know how I’m going to exercise on Thursday, Friday and Saturday since I’ll be spending the entire day and evening at the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat (so excited, so excited), where I won’t be able to make my shakes for lunch, either. So I’ll be amazed if I’m not even heavier next week. I’m here for the long haul, though, so one mis-spent half-week isn’t going to kill me.

How are you doing?

Friday, January 19th, 2007

Things are good

And I ramble.

I’ve been able to sneak in a little bit of knitting time. I’ve been able to keep the house moderately tidy. I’ve been eating well and exercising daily, and I feel great. Abby’s doing her homework without throwing tantrums. I’ve made dinner every night. Why can’t all weeks be like this? Seriously, I want to know how to make this a normal part of life. Because it’s always my goal, and is rarely obtained.

Today, I am going to Weaving Works to get a mini niddy noddy and to have a look at fiber dyes after I drop Veronica off at school. It’s been on my list of things to do all week, and it has been repeatedly bumped a day later, and later, and later, and now it’s Friday. Next week is the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, which is where I will be Thursday through Saturday. I’m running out of time to get these things done.

As it turns out, I’m not the kind of spinner that jumps in with both feet without a care where I’ll land, or how the yarn will end up. This shouldn’t be surprising, since I’m also not the kind of knitter that can buy yarn without knowing what it will be knit into at the time of purchase.

Let’s explore that a little bit. For those of you who do, how do you know how much to buy? Do you not shudder at the thought of continually going to the stash only to find you don’t have enough of something that you are now unable to buy more of? It seems inefficient to me.

Additionally, I also shudder at the thought of using up good fiber only to find that the end result isn’t going to be good for what I wanted it for, so I’ve been doing little samples, plying them together, and setting the twist on little skeins I intend to swatch. (Yes, I have control issues. Fiber hobbies seem to be as healthy an outlet as any to focus them on). A mini niddy noddy will be very helpful for these sample skeins, and I’m guessing will also be helpful in the spinning classes I’m registered for next week.

So that’s where I’m going. And to follow up on Tuesday’s post, the ice is gone and I have trash bags again. And that’s a relief.

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Two of the girls are in school

Kindergarten was cancelled, the rest of the school was 1 1/2 hours late and by the time I got to the school to drop them off, it was clear that school should have been cancelled entirely. I contemplated taking them back home with me, but didn’t. The buses have chains. It took me 45 minutes round trip to take them, however. Under normal conditions, it’s under 10.

I only have one trash bag left.

That’s my big drama. I tried to buy a box of them the last time I was at Costco, but they were out. Now I’m homebound with one trash bag. That sucks. (Not really, I’ll live).

Cold weather and icy roads make opportunity for a lovely crockpot dinner, and I happen to have one

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Dinner is made, the kitchen is clean, and it isn’t even 2:00.

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The only thing better than that is to have a cook. Which I don’t. So I’m very, very happy. Dinner done and kitchen clean also translates to some excellent, guilt free knitting time don’t you think?

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(Hopefully, the flash picture will help you to see the pattern better, and for reference, it’s about 18 inches wide, unblocked).

That’s where I’m headed, after playing a few games of UNO with my very bored couldn’t-go-to-kindergartener.