Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Here is a skein I just finished plying. Yup! I've got a long way to go and a lot to learn. But I am pretty excited that after I plied it, it did not have any twist to the skein when I hung it. It's about 400 yards of fingering/sport weight Romney. It has the usual beginners thick and thin places and is not plied evenly but I am encouraged that there is some softness in it and some stretches that actually look like real yarn. So, in summary...I've got a long ways to go, but I'm on the right road!
BTW, that's not a deformed poodle next to the skein...that is actually a sheep! :o) That is a bath towel which I put over my lap when spinning. Now the thing I can't figure out is when/why/where sheep were a hot item in swim fashion! LOL
I've been in the process of researching types of spinning wheels. I have an Ashford Traditional which I purchased in 1993. Starting in 1995, a serious health condition kept me from spinning and knitting and a lot of other things I enjoy. I was left with chronic headaches and then life took a lot of twists and turns and I am just now getting back to these things that bring me so much joy. I initially learned to spin on a rented Louet. It was very easy to use and I liked it. However, when I went to buy a spinning wheel I was swayed partially by the Louet being kind of ugly and partially by other spinners telling me I would not be able to produce much variety of yarn on a Louet and would out grow it. I was talked into the Traditional and my Aunt Grace gave me the money for it. Well, the Traditional and I have never really bonded. I do okay with it but it always seems to take so much more effort than it did with the Louet. I call it one of my "Holly's Follies"...my Grandma Holly used that term to describe things that she did on an impulse but didn't turn out to be quite what she was thinking! I am now wanting to try some different wheels and you would think that here in northern California I could find some to try, but everyone just seems to carry Ashfords! There is a place in San Francisco that I ahve been waiting for a response from and haven't heard anything yet. A friend on the Christian Artisans list has a Kromski Minstrel for sale and I may check that out this weekend. She lives two hours from me. It's a beautiful wheel but I am concerned because it is double treadle and I have thunder thighs! I don't know if my legs can comfortably use a double treadle machine. I would love to try out a Lendrum but they are nowhere to be found and there main site is pathetic...when you click on the link for dealers it says you are denied access. I can't find a Louet dealer either. I'm feeling pretty frustrated. When I lived in Washington there were several stores to try...but it's a little far to travel to try out a wheel! :o)
So any feedback is much appreciated. I joined the Spin List at yahoo and that has been interesting so far and the gals on the Christian Artisans list are quite knowledgeable and that is helpful too.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Saturday was an interesting day. I had written a woman via email from a contact I had found on the Ashford Spinning Wheel site. She lives up the hwy from me and I wrote to find out if she was a dealer or if she had classes or ? Her name is Jeanne Franklin of Spin Web Ranch in El Dorado Hills, California and she has Shetland sheep. She told me the Sacramento Weaver's And Spinner's Guild was having an open house that morning. Well, I was pretty sick, but I took some cough drops and a water bottle, along with my camera and went to check it out. There were many displays, mostly weaving but some spinners and several antique or unusual spinning wheels like this one. I talked with her a little bit but it was busy. She offers spinning lessons 6 for $75. I saw her spinning and it is beautiful, she seemed quite knowledgeable and has been in the business for more than 20 years, so I am going to talk it over with hubby and maybe this will be my present for Birthday #40 coming up in June! I hate to admit it but I was pretty impressed with the weaving there...even had me thinking it would be fun to do some day...but I need another hobby like I need another hole in my head! :o) I was able to pick up 6 back issues of Spin Off magazine for 50 cents each. And there was wool but after having some wools/fibers from some of my friends on the Christian Artisans list, a lot of this fiber seemed second rate! Well, I went to the yarn store after the open house and bought a maintenance kit for my spinning wheel...one more stop closer to spinning. I shouldn't have done it all yesterday becasue I ended up being really sick...but at least I was having fun!
On the top is youngest DD (by two minutes!) wearing the Creatures of the Reef shawl and on the bottom is oldest DD wearing my friend's eyelash scarf. She put it on and wore it all around the house as she played the whole time my friend was here visiting! I guess I'm going to have to make "furry" scarves and a dress up box! Not my favorite kind of knitting but how can you resist a cute face like that?!
Monday, February 06, 2006
Spring! It's coming! The tulips and daffodils are poking up shoots. Several posts ago I shared my white azalea and now the pink one is in full bloom. The pink ones always remind me of my Grandma Hopkins...she loved all things pink! As a mother of young children, I do look forward to spring because my children are getting cabin fever! They need to get outside and play and get some energy out. My children are sick, but they crank up the energy and get hyper when they are sick, how cruel is that to Moms and Dads? I have lots to share today. Keep reading...
It's always a good feeling when the mail man turns off the truck because I know he is coming up my steps to deliver goodies! :o) Today he brought my SP7 gift! Yeah! This was such a nice surprise. Again, I have difficulties with purples...both the yarn and the fabric are purple. The yarn is Cascade Quatro and a pattern was included for making "footies"! I love this. It's getting to the time of year when my Fiber Trends Felted Clogs are too hot, but my feet are cold without something. The yarn is four colors together (thus quatro), a lavender a blue violet, a plum and a red violet. Very nice! The purple fabric is batike and is for making a needle case. I just started making a needle case with some Asian prints from the quilt store with cranes on them. I didn't know this was coming in the mail, but it is not a loss because I just signed up for a six week quilting class and I have been wanting to do something with batiks! This may be the basis for something else creative! The little mouse in the hat and scarf is adorable...he came with a note that said he liked sitting on spinning wheels...at the moment he is sitting next to my monitor with my Beanie Baby Chinese Pug and Siberian Husky. :o) He's in good company. The bright colored mouse is filled with catnip for Abbie, my kitty...my secret pal forgot nothing! In fact she included some soft chocolate/caramel Cream Savers. I am being good with my sugar intake, so they are nice...when I want a little taste, I can have one or two. I was good and ate 3 when they came today. Boy, God must have told my Secret Pal that I needed something special today. I am just exhausted from migraines, asthma, sick kids, life! It was nice to have something special arrive just for me! :o) Thank you Slip, Slip, Knit...you are a special secret pal. I look forward to getting to know you better!
My Secret Pal, aka Slip Slip Knit :o) even remembered my Kitty, Abbie with a little catnip mouse...I must have the only cat in the world who doesn't even show faint interest in catnip. I know Downy, my folks' cat would get "stoned" on it and was hilarious to watch her, literally drooling all over herself, grinning happily! Well, thank you SP for the very thoughtful gift anyway!
This is the full shawl blocking last night. Blocking did help but it is still only 34 " in length (supposed to be 40") and 76" across (supposed to be 84"). I do not understand what went wrong because I looked at Zephyr today and it looks the same weight as the merino I used and I always knit loose, so if anything I would have thought it would be bigger...sigh...
Here is the finished Creatures of the Reef shawl hanging in our window. I made three mistakes, but overall, other than the size, I am happy with it. Now I will need to be praying for who the Lord would want me to give it to since it will not fit the original recipient. I did order some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Blue Jean to start a new one and hope that will help the sizing.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Well, I finished the Creatures of the Reef shawl last night. At first I was not even going to block it, but Deborah and Beth on the Christian Artisans list convinced me it is at least worth a try. I am very discouraged because it seems too small for the recipient. I will block it tonight and see. If it is too small, I am going to order some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Blue Jeans to start over.
In the meantime, I am going to start something for me! :o) This is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Tahoe colorway. I am going to make "The Skinny on Lace", a scarf for myself to wear to dress up some of my shirts for wearing to church and also for trips to San Francisco where it is colder and I notice scarf wearers everywhere. This is a Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer pattern. The flared lace smoke ring I made in the fall was one of her patterns. Her patterns can be found at http://www.heartstringsfiberarts.com . I purchased mine from Eve (see post earlier today regarding Wild Iris). I will cast on tonight while hubby and I are watching the end of our current DVD from the Ken Burns baseball documentary series. Speaking of TV, I just saw the last bit of the Four Continents Figure Skating Challenge (NO I didn't watch the Super Bowl!) and when they were scanning the crowds while Katie Taylor was in the Kiss and Cry, I saw a lady knitting! :o) Smart lady, there's lots of down time in between, lots of waiting!
Stephanie of Yarn Harlot fame is having her Knitting Olympics during the Olympic times...well, unless I have to reknit the COTR shawl, I will be doing my own UFO Olympics...and try to get a few of those things that were pushed aside finished and clear the slate...that would be a bigger victory for me personally!
Okay...enough for today...
Awhile back, bloggers were posting the spot where they knit. Well...that's just my living room chair and nothing exciting to report there...a broken down blue recliner that I purchased to nurse my babies and has received a lot of "loving" in the past 5 years. My girls even practiced their walking by holding on to the arm and spinning in circles. They had a blast! Not at all related to their Grandmother who will probably feel like throwing up just reading about it! LOL I cannot keep a basket or anything next to my chair because there would be no stitches left on the needles. So, I will show you my "home base" for being online! This is my hubby at the computer now. The photo is taken with me sitting at the head of our Queen sized bed if that gives you some perspective. This fall we made a desk from a hollow core door and underneath, holding it up are about 15 banker's boxes filled with books! A very practical storage unit! On each side I have 2 four drawer vertical file cabinets. To the right, you can just barely see. It supports my printer and holds all my genealogy files. The one on the left holds all the business and teaching files. I had a 3 shelf bookcase which I plased on top of the desk. It holds my monitor, photo boxes with banking, stationery and software/photo disks, books and CDs and nicknacks. We put a shelf going to the left to hold my in boxes, my favore scrapbook references, my scrapbooking papers and most frequently used scrapbooking tools. The painting is one I did in my Aunt Grace's class. To the left of the computer is the scanner and family photos. This area, when the photos are removed, serves as my scrapbooking table.
Well, blogger will not put the photos where I want them, so the photo with the close up shows the photos I keep on my desk..one of hubby and kids, pictures of our wedding to remind me of my love, my favorite photo of 'the man I fell in love with', taken the weekend we met, and a copy of my personal mission statement. This is where I sit when I write, look at everyone's blogs and communicate with all of you out in cyberspace!
Saturday, February 04, 2006
I hate watching football. I watched my high school team, the Mariner Marauders, play, but frankly it bores me. I know, I know, many of you think figure skating is boring and I love watching that. But, football has just never made a whole lot of sense to me. But, this year my home team, The Seattle Seahawks, is going to the Super Bowl, which of course is tomorrow. I have to say "Go Hawks!" This is the first time they have gone and I'm proud of them!
So who is the Seahawk in the photo?! This is Kala and she belongs to my best friend Shelley...Kala is Seattle's "12th Man"! Go Seahawks! Bark Bark! :o)