Thursday, June 28, 2007

We have met the Enemy...

...And she is us.
I may need to seriously consider the possiblity that deep seated emotional problems are causing me to undertake projects with humongous scale. Sweaters and afghans are one thing, but a giant bedspread made out of tiny squares is a very special sort of grandiosity. I have been hauling ass on the mitered square bedspread, and is it looking any bigger?

It is not.
It's tempting to take back all the lovely sentiments expressed in the last post about the blanket--the value of persistence, a physical representation of the passage of time, etc. Instead I just want to say it is a very big blanket, it is very boring to work on, and by the time I cast off the last stitch they will probably just pull it right over me as my shroud.

Now I'm depressed. Let's look at pretty things together, ok?

My spinning pal sent me another package yesterday, and Gabby was not neglected. She's been squeaking her squeaky motorcycle enthusiastically for the past two days, and will run and find it if you ask, "Where's your Squeaky Cycle?"

Merino batts (carded by Ms. Pest herself I believe) and Bamboo for me. Is it wrong to put the bamboo fiber on the floor and roll around in it a little? Not that I did, just saying. Thank you, pest, it's all beautiful--although you're making it extremely difficult for me to decide what to spin next. Extremely.

Hey, some handspun that doesn't look like ass! The heathered gray is alpaca, also courtesy of my pest (she is turning me into such a fiber snob). The yarn below it is 50/50 camel-silk, and it's really a lovely pale honey color, not tan like it looks on my monitor. I haven't gotten around to measuring how much I've got of each, so for now I'm listing the yardage as A Decent Amount.

Last, this just came today: Two Chasing Rainbows silk hankies from Crown Mountain Farms. Go give them your money, they take really good care of you. The colors are Copper Slate (left) and Peacock Plume (right). You can tell I'm already diving into that one. Obviously, I have issues with restraint.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We Have a Weiner!

It's me!
Merideth held a really fun contest on her blog, inviting everyone to answer the age old question: If you were stranded on an island and could have only three kinds of yarn with you, which would you want and why?
I took that as a gilt-edged invitation to be silly and have some fun (like I need an invitation), so I wrote up my entry, Robinson Crusoe style, and sent it in. Her and her husband liked it so much they awarded me third place! And there's prizes involved! Feel free to pop over to Merideth's blog and read it here.

In knitting and spinning news..bah, I'm not doing anything you'd be remotely interested in. I'm on a mindless simplicity jag. A diagonal garter stitch scarf. A cabled headband for my mum's motorcycle trips. A wee cotton sweater for my sister's soon to arrive baby girl. I'll try to knit something blogworthy soon, I promise.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

And that's why the kitchen smells like vinegar

Never one to underdo things, I decided today would be a good day to dye up a big mess of yarn. I decided this at about four in the afternoon, when I impulsively bought a box of food coloring at the supermarket. What the hell, I thought. I'll just mix up a bit of dye, pour it on, pop it into the microwave and then take it easy for the rest of the day.
Instead, I embarked on a dyeing rampage, sacrificing at least a good pound of fiber to the gods of Saturday Afternoon Boredom. It was much better than getting the oil in the car changed.
My, er, victims-- the Spunky Eclectic roving that my spinning pal just sent me, a bit of handpun silk, and a skein each of handspun colonial superwash and Corriedale.
It's mad scientist time as I get ready to go to work on the roving...
... While the handspun simmers in a fragrant bath of water and vinegar. Good grief, what have I brought upon myself?
I hate wrapping it up in a Saran Wrap. There's just no tidy way to do it.

Several hours and a colossal mess later, I have:

Four ounces of wool roving. This turned out a lot paler than I had hoped--but awfully purty anyway.

Here's the superwash, possibly my favorite of the four. I kind of went crazy here, pouring colors on top of colors and letting everything run together, so I'm afraid this is a one-shot yarn. That's a bummer, because I want ten more exactly like it.
The Corriedale. The brown bits were olive green, until the dye ran on accident and I decided I liked brown better.
I'm glad I decided to dye the silk; it was hard for me to spin and I really didn't do a very good job of it. I'd cringe a little when I saw it peeping out of the bin, thinking that I'd made a terrible mess out of good fiber. Now that it's chartreuse and olive green, I feel much better about it. Sorry if the colors are a bit hard to make out, it's just really, really shiny.

Join me next Saturday, when maybe I will singlehandedly re-roof the house.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Holy Crap!

Look at the package my spinning pal sent me!

Yes, all that came out of the one box. I'm still pretty much agog. And this is the "little box"; my pal keeps alluding to a "big box" yet to come. I'm almost kind of scared. Look at all this fiber--what more could a girl possibly want? A goat? Pal, are you sending me a live goat?

Eventually I was able to stop petting everything long enough to take some pictures:

In the back: Moorit Roving and undyed roving from Spunky eclectic (yay, I love to dye!). In front: superwash merino in two very pretty shades of blue.

I can't lie, this next one's my favorite:

More superwash merino, this time in wine and a beautiful shade of steely blue gray. I love these colors together, and the roving positively glows.

Alpaca! Natural gray on the left, and two heathered shades of pale blue/amethyst alpaca-merino on the right.

Sorry, this picture just wouldn't turn out right. You're looking at a great boofy mass of combed mohair locks, plus two more little bags of mohair. I've never spun locks before, but I can't wait to try. There's a bag of sparkly firestar nylon that I'm going to try to ply with the mohair. Try being the operative word here, since I can't ply for beans, but I'm hoping to change that soon.

My pal also sent me a box of watercolor pencils, since she knows I like to doodle. My late uncle and grandmother got all the artistic talent in the family, nevertheless-

This really made my day, thank you for being so thoughful.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ahoy there!

The hat is finished.

I even managed to pick out that horrible black-on-black provisional cast on and knit an equally piratey lining. I used the leftover merino that I knit the mittens with, so my head is both non itchy and seriously warm.

Soon as I tack the lining down, I'll be ready to set sail.

Wait, that's right, I live in Illinois. Oh well, a girl can dream.

The other big happening around here is that I am participating in another Knitty swap. This one's just for spinning, and it's motivated me to spend a lot more quality time with my spindle. A lot of these folks are making some absolutely gorgeous yarn, so perfect I don't know whether to hug them or bop them on the head and lock them up in my basement. So yesterday I spun up a couple ounces of beautiful silvery-brown cashmere.

It looks pretty good wound up on the spindle. Maybe it's finally starting to click for me. Then I washed it:
Bugger, slubs galore. Happens every time. It still has its own charm, though, and for the first time ever I actually knit something out of my handspun that I'm actually pleased with. What would I possibly knit out of 50 yards of slubby cashmere? Well, I'll show you.