Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I've started to post a number of times over the past couple weeks but haven't managed to get a full entry ready. Have been fairly busy with this 'n that. The time has flown.

WWKIP Day was great. I got some nifty pictures of the local 19th century fiber work items from the museum. Met some lovely people. Got a good long walk in, did some window shopping, and had some tasty food. Then went for a swim. It was a good day.
I will try to get those pics up soon. Didn't get as many as I would have liked because my camera battery mysteriously went dead although I thought I had charged it. :-P

My efforts to get out and meet more crafters is off to a good start. Sunday I went to my first TKGA meeting for the new chapter in Savannah. I am excited to help that get off the ground in the coming months. Then this afternoon I finally made it to my first spin-in at Unwind in Savannah. I really enjoyed it. One of the gals from the knitters guild meeting came along as well and was even kind enough to let me borrow her hand carders! Can't wait to experiment with those soon.
In addition to finally putting me in touch with a lovely group of spinners (Fiber Guild of the Savannahs), the spin-in was also super productive! I took my top whorl spindle and finished up the rest of the Maine Woods wool. Now it just needs plying. Haven't decided if I want to do that on the wheel or my other drop spindle. We shall see. Then when I got home I spun up the last 22g of the Cotton Candy fiber and plied it! It's drying now. I will try to get some good pictures of that tomorrow and post specs. I'm proud to say I actually got over 80yrds in this skein!

This weekend starts the Tour de Fleece! I am spinning with Team Rookies, Team Ashford, Team Suck Less, Team Wonder, and Team Spindlers. Sounds like I should also be on Team Hopelessly Overcommitted! Lol.
My goals are not terribly specific though so it's not that crazy.

Rookies: Spin daily, try new things, and document my progress
Ashford: Get to know my Traddy better
Suck Less: Work on consistency and plying
Wonder: Spin alpaca. Start learning to process raw alpaca fleece.
Spindlers: Spin as fine as possible on a laceweight spindle

Overall, I want to ply the Maine Woods singles (2-ply) and the mystery wool singles (3-ply), dye some more roving, and spin as much fiber as possible. I think a couple pounds is doable. At least a pound total, for sure, but I'm fairly confident that it'll be around 2lbs.

I can't wait to get started! I'm ready and rarin' to go now that I have my bobbins and spindle freed up. I also couldn't resist taking advantage of the TDF discounts at a few Etsy shops. More on that as the goodies arrive (which should start tomorrow).

I have been knitting as well and have a few hats to show off soon too. Of course, my knitting will likely take a back seat for most of July but then I should have a bunch of nifty handspun to start experimenting with!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy KIPing!

Happy Knit in Public Day!
I'll be here, how 'bout you?

I woke up way too early from a really whacked out dream and have opted to get a jump on getting ready for the day since I have a pretty decent trip ahead of me and have to leave fairly early if I am to make it to the above linked curator-led tour of the knit & crochet exhibit at the Charleston Museum.

I will be working on the matches to these socks:

And just for good measure since I've been too busy to do a proper update on the cotton candy roving from the other day, it has gone from this:

To this:

To this, so far:

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Well, Summer semester is underway and has been keeping me rather busy for the past few days. Taking a break from some work right now.

I have been able to get some spinning and dying done (and a little knitting) but I was not able to attend the spinning group at Wild Fibre in Savannah yesterday. :( I'm going to try to find out when the other group is meeting later this month and hopefully go to that one. Then I hope to be able to attend the Wild Fibre group next month. Maybe I'll be able to transport my wheel by then. It's definitely not going to fit in my Miata! Lol.

Is it bad that I already have my eyes on my next wheel? I'm really enjoying spinning and I love my new wheel a lot. I'm not looking to replace that at all. But I'm already in love with the idea of the new Schacht Sidekick that was just released. I know I want to be able to do some spinning on the go and without borrowing another vehicle, I am limited by the space in the aforementioned Miata. The Sidekick would be perfect! Way out of my price range though. But I'm hoping that the financial area will pick up a bit and maybe I can put enough aside to afford one some time next year (maybe with some assistance around my birthday).
Obviously the spinning bug has hit. Lol.

Basically the whole thing started to 'click' Thursday night and I started producing something I was actually please with and enjoying it rather than enjoying it, then getting frustrated, then getting it again, then getting frustrated again. I finally started to get the Scotch Tension worked out and that is going much better. Also, I was able to slow down my treadling and get a little more control over my drafting so things don't just go to shit all of a sudden and throw me into a panic as often.

I now have three relatively consistent singles spun from the brown practice wool, which I plan to make into a 3-ply. I only done some spindle 2-ply thus far but I really think this yarn will behave better as a 3-ply so I'm going to have to give that a shot. Nervous though.

Since I couldn't make it to the spinning group yesterday, I decided to try my hand at dying some of the new Knit Picks roving. It turned out pretty well, I think.
The pictures are less than ideal because the lighting in my kitchen didn't seem to agree with the camera and I don't have time to tweak them or anything but here goes anyway:

I used food coloring this time. BiLo store brand (Southern Home, I believe) yellow, red, and blue. Figured it would be best to do a test run with the primaries and go from there.

Went with the basic blue -> yellow -> red.

For the sake of time and ease, rolled it up in a pyrex dish and popped it in the microwave for a bit.

Here it is cooling. You can see how the colors did spread out a but more but there wasn't a lot of blending (which was kinda my goal because I didn't want a muddy mess).

And the finished product drying.

I think it turned out well. It has fluffed back up a bit since drying but I think I did poke it a bit too much and cause some felting. I think it'll still be usable though. Lesson learned. I wasn't working with heat until I put it in the microwave but I guess I still moved it a bit too much and may have squeezed too much when getting the water out. Boo. :( I'll just have to work a bit more with the predrafting.
At least it's pretty! (Prettier than the pictures, I swear.)

If it spins up ok, I think I'll dye another 100g in a solid color (same as one of the colors in this one) and ply them together. Or maybe just ply with a white single. I haven't decided yet. For now I'll just admire it while I work on freeing up some bobbins!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The crafty goodness continues. And I'm feeling so much better today! :-) Tummy seems to be returning to "normal" (for me anyway) and I have a good bit more energy.

Yesterday Momma and I made a trip down to Savannah for a little fiber research and shopping. Located two nifty LYSs and found out about a spinning group! And lucky me, they're meeting next Monday! Very excited about that. I may have to just take my drop spindles this first time because I'm not sure how to lug my wheel down there (will have to borrow Momma's car at least) but I'll definitely check it out and then try to bring my wheel next time.

I was just going to the yarn stores "to look" and for spinning tool/info research purposes and I held strong despite the very lovely fibers and yarns at Wild Fibre, but I will be exposed to that temptation again on Monday. My wallet didn't fare as well at Unwind though. I have three words to support my moment of weakness: sale, alpaca, bamboo. I think that is justification enough.
It's safe to say I'm fairly obsessed with alpaca, both the fiber and the animal. Just the thought of alpacas is enough to make make me go *squeeee*. I am also currently in love with bamboo. I love the drape and the sheen and I really love the way it feels cool and light, something that is veeeery good around here. So when I cam across this for 30% off, I was a goner:

My downfall started early on when I spotted some black and white Berroco Seduce, which normally would not be "my thing" but it was speaking to me. I could see small, simple, light openwork scarf that would be a little snazzy, but casual enough to be wearable and light enough that it could just be an accent piece rather than only being able to wear it when actual warmth is warranted (which for me is very rarely). Of course I could not see that piece making it past my mother but that's not the point. Anyway, I picked up a couple of those and carried them around with me. Not too much, just a little something to take home without blowing the bank. Then I spotted a few more things that just had to be picked up as well. The next was very out of character for me. It was a bamboo blend but very bright colors (hot pink and bright blue) with some shiny bits. The bright colors is not all that out of the ordinary for me to be drawn to but I usually don't go down the shiny or 'novelty' road. It was quite lovely though. Then I found some awesome feeling yarn that was 100% sugar cane. How cool is that? Then another bamboo blend that was dark brown with a little black and strikingly similar to my hair (which was actually down for the first time in weeks). At this point it became apparent that some choices would have to be made. Lol. Worked my way around.. my typical yarn store method is start at one spot, systematically work around the room/shop touching almost everything at least once and try to resist the urge to smell most of it (because I think that makes appear even weirder than usual)... until lo and behold I came upon the sale yarn. Sometimes I'm relatively safe in the sale area since often it is a lot of novelty stuff or things I'm not crazy about (although my taste was a bit off center yesterday so who could say at that point), and sometimes you hit the jackpot. This was a case of the latter. I found some lovely kettle dyed 100% bamboo, then some bamboo/nylon sock yarn which I really really wanted. I didn't even realize they were on sale at first. Then I found the Mirasol Qina alpaca/bamboo heavenliness and it was all over. Once I realized I was indeed int he sale section (?*!*?*!) I first grabbed a couple skeins of a lovely green... then a couple more... and finally I did a little math, ditched the Berroco and sugar cane and bright colors and hair matching yarn (after making a list of them all for later, of course) and snatched up every last skein in that colorway. All in all I think I ended up with enough for a light cardigan-y creation for myself, which is no small feat for that price range. I mean, I'm not huge but there's enough boobage real estate to consider that a proper sweater that fits me comfortably is rarely in the budget, especially considering my alpaca fetish. I still don't have enough for a full on high neck, long sleeved, cabled masterpiece but there's plenty for something like a February Lady Sweater with a little left over for something else small and fun. Maybe not that exact patter but who knows. I did enjoy making Momma's and have been on the lookout for some of that super fabulous Sundara yarn to make one for myself but it has been out of stock or out of price range (Momma's was super expensive but totally worth it).

Anyway... I made out with the Qina, the On Your Toes Bamboo, and one skein of Bonnie's Bamboo.

Then we had to pop into Michaels for a minute to see if they had one of those yarn guides you put on your finger for colorwork and a crochet hook and buttons for Momma. There would be no yarn happening there for sure. Almost made it out alive until this nearly jumped off the shelf at me. How did I not know about this sooner? Being a stretchy cotton blend, there is hope for this turning into socks FOR ME and my hot sweaty little feet!

Usually I knit for my mom or for someone else or for no one in particular because it helps me justify the yarn expense (but it's a present for _____!) and because I am so warm bodied and live in such a sweltering climate that I rarely get a chance to use my own stuff. Only every now and then and usually just a practical shawl or something. Out of my 5 1/2 years of knitting, I think I myself have actually acquired one hat (which is not in my possession currently but I keep telling my mom is not hers), one pair of fingerless gloves (which are in need of repair because some sort of beastly critter dared to gnaw a hole in one *dies*), two shawls (an acrylic Clapotis and my beloved SWTC Karaoke Lady Elanor), and to pairs of socks. And I didn't even make the socks myself (Sock Wars)! It should be noted that only the Clapotis, one pair of the socks (which need darning... thanks for nothing Debbie Bliss :-P), and the gloves (which also need darning) are actually in my possession. I had a Malabrigo Clapotis as well but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to get that back from my mom.

So a day filled with yarn for *ME* is unusual. I just hope I can make those projects come to fruition! Most of my personal stuff never gets finishes (*ahem* Gamecocks Sweater *ahem*) if it even gets started (Ultra Alpaca sweater, Lotus Blossom Tank, etc).

Ok, now I must go do some boring things like grocery shopping and dishes and other undesirable activities. Later I must post the results of my dying experiment and updates on the colorwork swatch and such to verify that I do actually *do* things other than stash acquisition. Lol.