Archive for August, 2008

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

How much summer can I squish into the last few days of it?

Yesterday, we took the kids to the Evergreen State Fair. I don’t think I’ve ever been. I didn’t get to walk through the exhibit bldgs, which I really wanted to, or ride the ferris wheel… but I saw sheep, and the kids had a really good time. We went with one of Nate’s brothers and his family, kind of last minute.

Veronica loved the Wacky Worm. She went three times.

Abby and Nate went on some hideous thing that spins you every-which-way you could imagine. I have no idea why she did it, but I’m proud of her.

Speaking of last minute, I suddenly decided this morning to whisk the kids off to my in-laws cabin for a quick and easy overnighter. The catalyst to this decision was discovering a really cheap Ashford Traditional on Craigslist this morning that is half way between our house and the cabin. So it seemed like a great opportunity. We haven't been to the cabin since February, and the kids LOVE it. Plus, I'd been hoping to find some inexpensive wheels for my girls to spin on. It'd be so fun (eventually, when they can do it well enough that I don't have to hover over them and fix things) to spin together. We're leaving after lunch.

After these plans were made, Clark seems to have come up sick.

We’re going anyway. It’ll be a low key trip.

I don’t understand what the problem is. He’s having digestive distress, again, and is very lethargic. The digestive distress pops up every couple of months for a day or so, but he doesn’t usually get sick with it. I’m assuming it’s a coincidence and hoping it doesn’t have to do with the fair.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008


Last night, while sitting in my favorite chair, I asked Nate to toss me my camel swatch that I noticed was on the floor. He did. I gasped.

Clark looked up, saw what had made me react, and then started bringing swatches to me.

When I looked at him with a sad face and said, “oh no, Clark!” he said, “Sorry mama. Sorry mama. I sorry mama.” He is the sweetest boy.

I had caught him earlier in the day with super sharp scissors that had been left on the floor, but didn’t think much of it. He was just holding them, and handed them over quite willingly. Fortunately, they’re only swatches. If any FO’s had been in the vicinity… I shudder to think. And his precious little fingers… And then I think that I’ve made it through four toddlers as a knitter without this happening ’til now. That’s pretty good.

My poor little camel swatch.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

This is ridiculous

So, I have a mountain of bits of dyed wool samples that haven’t turned out.

This morning, I thought of dividing them into a couple of “colorways”, carding them to see what general color they’ll be, and dyeing some alpaca and silk to compliment it and turn it into something. Maybe sweaters for Liv and V, since they didn’t get theirs last year and it’d be neat to have a sample knit of this tweed I’m trying to come up with. A finished project to see it in the big picture.

It’s a thought.

I’ve picked a number of colors to order of the new dye I’m going to try. 11 or 12 of them, I think. I’m working my way through the washing of the first of my 5 new fleece, and I think I’m about half done. I also think I’m going to start stuffing my netting bags a little less carefully to speed up the process some. But I’m not sure if I’ll actually be able to do that.

Still working on things…

Anyway, with this dye I’m going to order, I think I’ve come up with some nice colorways, one of which is a masculine or gender neutral tan/brown color for Nate. When I said that I thought it would be romantic to make a sweater for both Nate and myself out of the same fleece, my kids looked at me like I was crazy.

I feel a little crazy.

Who cares? There are worse things. Crazy is fun.

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Oh. My. Word.

First of all, the Wild Flyer is completely and totally, amazingly cool. It is going to take significantly less time to spin this wolf yarn now, and I will have hands free to work on placing the mohair better, instead of freeing it from the hooks all the time.

Here’s the latest skein.

Second, I love the new wool. Nate wanted me to card up some white wool, white alpaca and that gawsh-awful-ugly silk noil that didn’t dye well. So I did, and while I think the batt looked pretty bad

I’m spinning it up to see what the finished yarn will be like and really, I was just extremely anxious to spin this wool.

It spins like a dream. It’s the softest, silkiest, most delightfully easy-to-spin stuff ever. I’m so excited to make a batt with those fibers when they’re actually dyed pretty! And I think the wool is so silky, I can reduce the alpaca a little bit.

It cracks me up that women are primarily the spinners, while it’s ALWAYS the men that come up and ask questions when I’m spinning in public. They’re fascinated by the “machine”. I’ve had them lay on the floor and watch the treadles, then slowly get up as they scrutinized how the treadles connect to the wheel, connects to the pulley, connects to the flyer, etc. Last night was no exception. We had one man come and ask about how it works, and two men come up and ask what kind of fibers we were spinning. Then they went on and on about how nice alpaca is, talking more to each other than to me and my friend. Then they asked to touch it.

Makes me laugh. Why don’t more men spin, I wonder? There are two men in our spinning group and they’re great.

So a friend of mine took the Weaving Works spinning class last week, and is in need of a wheel. We met up last night and I lent her my Clemes. She loved it. They’re such nice little wheels.

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Expecting a shipment

I am SO excited! UPS is scheduled to deliver my Woolery order today, and I’m antsy. I ordered the wild flyer so I could spin my wolf yarn without having to clear the hooks every other draft. And I ordered one jumbo bobbin to ply on (however I’m curious, what good is a fatty skein when the standard ball winder won’t hold a ball that big? I’m going to find out I guess), plus two more regular bobbins (cheaper than, yet just as effective as a new wheel), and the Strauch fiber teaser. (I bought a dog flicker brush as I’d heard they’re just as good and way cheaper. They’re neither. The teasing tool is amazing, I’ve used one, and it’s only about twice as much as a flicker brush, which I didn’t find helpful at all).

So, lots of spinning goodies are coming my way and I can’t wait!

I’ve washed a couple pounds of the new wool.

Aside from an odd yellow stain on some of it, part way up the locks,

it’s fantastic. So much silkier than the white lamb I’ve been working with. I’m dying to dye some and make a batt from it, to see how it differs from the wool I already had.

And finally, I don’t know what’s going on with me. I’ve suddenly, over the last 2 1/2 weeks, ballooned out. My face is puffy, I don’t feel that great, my low back has gone into an absolute tissy, and most noticeably, my upper arms have grown. A lot. I don’t get it. I’ve been exercising. I haven’t eaten bad. This really sucks, I’m in a rotten mood over it, and I’m really glad I have something to look forward to today.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

What do you think?

I finished the swatch, and seem incapable of getting a photo with accurate color. So, imagining that it isn’t quite as bright as the picture… do you like it?

My main question, more than color, is do you like the amount of tweed (the light green noil)? Is it too much? It’s really nice and drapey for a heavy-worsted 3 ply.

As I mentioned yesterday, I went down south to buy more fleece.

I came back with 37 pounds over 5.

Lin asked me to bring some of the fleece I was having trouble dyeing, and she dyed a little bit right there, without soaking it first, using her magenta and yellow. It dyed much more evenly. So, I brought 2 gallons of her water home with me, and I ordered color cards of her dye. She uses Washfast mainly, with a few select colors of Sabraset. I’d already ordered small jars of Jacquard primaries (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) and I’ll see how they work out. I WILL figure this out. I swear I will. She also said that ewe fleece dye more evenly than lamb does, and my fleece was a lamb. Yesterday I bought ewe, with one lamb, the amazingly gorgeous, dark gray.

While we were skirting the fleece, we looked out the window and saw this.

It was incredibly cute and we both laughed and then she said, “Great. Chicken poop in my fleece. That’s just what I need.” Ha.

That’s what I’ve got. Tons of fleece to wash. Dye stuff coming. Hopefully, I can dye something soon.

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Still can’t dye

So, on Saturday, I soaked some wool, alpaca top, bombyx top, tussah and bombyx noil.

I picked a general color scheme, and, of course, none of it turned out the way it was supposed to. However my locks dyed really well, and the alpaca is gorgeous.

They just aren’t quite the color I was going for. Too dark, and not as much yellow as I’d wanted.

The silk…. you know, I’ve heard that silk takes dye really well. I haven’t had that experience. And of the dye that does take, much of it washes out when I’m rinsing out the dyebath.

This is what I got. The silk on the far left is hideous. Strangely, it’s the exact same color as the silk I tried to dye red awhile ago.

But I learned some things when I spun the batt and swatched it. The color of the swatch was stunning last night (tho’ it needs more rust), but this morning in natural light, it’s a bit brighter than I’d like. It looks like a mess in the photo, but in person, it’s nicer.

While I was dyeing, it felt like I was cooking. The dye would start to soak in and I’d see I needed to add a little of this, a little of that. A little more black, some complimentary color to dull it, more red to add color, etc. It was very fun.

I’m running horribly late. I need to take a quick shower and head south to buy more fleece. I’m looking forward to washing locks again. I always enjoy that.

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Health Group- Year 5, week 10

Well, I exercised hard this week. Not every day, but I feel good about it. I haven’t eaten too much, I don’t think, just not very healthy. So it was a mediocre week. I’ve gained weight, and inches. I don’t understand that. I’m guessing it has something to do with the heat and humidity. I feel gross. But aside from the fact that I’m sweating every waking second of the day, Nate’s worked 80+ hours this week, and he’ll just be adding to that today. So it’s been a difficult week all around.

How was yours?

Thursday, August 14th, 2008


So, I dyed my little mini alpaca batt yesterday. It’s brighter than I expected. I thought the brown of the fiber would tone it down more than it did. Good to know. It’s a very earthy, brightish sort of moss green. Extremely earthy. It’s interesting. I tried lighter and darker shades of a similar green, and there is some variation to the color. I think it would have been more distinct if I had more fiber in there. A thicker roving or top would have held the dye in place better. But with this green and brown, the lighter spots look a little sickly. Once it’s spun, it’ll be fine. During the dyeing, I thought for sure I was getting a repeat of my silk experience (a big mess with distinct stripes where I poured the dye), but as I watched, it diffused and spread.

Neither of the two pictures I took are color accurate, but I’ll show them both and if you imagine something in between, you’ll probably be close. The darker one is closer.

So, I have some tan alpaca top I could try. I’m not sure if I should add a little black to the dye, or a little red to tone it down. Or if I’ll just go for purples, because that is of interest, too. Maybe I’ll do both. What I want to dye is my camel, mainly because I’m so anxious to spin it, but I don’t want impatience to ruin it, either. It’s such beautiful stuff.

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

I really, really love camel down

My day got away from me. I had every intention of dyeing some of the amazing baby camel down top that I have, but right now, I’m soaking part of a tan alpaca batt to test hot pour dyeing and my colors on.

I’ve spun a little of the camel. Just a tiny bit to see what it was like. I didn’t put enough twist in it and it’s a miracle I was able to ply it. But I did, and knit a tiny, incredibly soft little swatch which I’ve been rubbing between my fingers for a couple of days.

It hasn’t felted or balled at all. A good sign.

If I am able to dye it well, I think it’d be fun to add dyed camel top and handspun to my Tweedy Batts offerings. It’s such nice fiber. I think it’d make a delightful little neck scarf. A small one to tuck into a sweater or coat to keep the chill off. But, this is all assuming that I will EVER figure out how to dye properly. My confidence is nil. Hope remains high, however.

So, I’m going for greens. We’ll see how it works out.