Friday, April 30, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Happy Birthday Sasha!

I hear tell that the baby that this surprise is for has arrived! One of my knitting group members spend a good part of last year knitting Baby Surprise jackets for math colleagues of her husband. (Well, their babies, anyhow.) So when Jodie, April and I heard that she was expecting a wee one, we plotted and schemed.

April and I bicycled over to Jodie's house with a basket of merino top (washed, carded, and combed fiber) dripping vinegar. Jodie had some dyes mixed up already (Jaquard acid dyes), and we mixed a few more colors as well. We tested the colors out on a paper towel, and fiddled around until we got some good colors that we all agreed on. Then came my favorite part: squirting dye onto the roving with squeeze bottles, the kind that burger joints put ketchup and mustard in. Jodie then wrapped the dyed roving in plastic wrap and steamed it in one of her dye kettles.

We then spun a few reference samples, went our separate ways, and spun up the fiber at home. Jodie and I spun very close to the same weight, April had a bit thicker yarn. We used Jodie's and my yarn for the jacket, and April made a matching hat from her yarn.

Dyed, spun, what comes next? Knitting! Jodie cast on the sweater, April knitted next, and I finished it up. April had picked up these buttons years ago while living in London (or maybe Toronto, I forget) and didn't know that she'd been saving them all these years for this project. The grain lines on the wooden buttons echo the stripes on the sweater.

Back view:

Fantastic, no? We entered the jacket in the Black Sheep Gathering Fiber Arts show, in the group projects division, and garnered a blue ribbon. (So did the other project in the category, but this wasn't due to grade inflation, just appreciation for the group creative process.)

Photographed against a wool blanket that we bought last year at the BSG.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Turkish Spindle Reunion

Ever since I met the spinning wheel, me and the spindle have not gotten on so well. Spindle paled in comparison for speed and control. I also worked my self into a frustrated frenzy on multiple occasions trying to spindle a cashmere silk blend that was, um, challenging. Slippery as all get-out. With a relatively heavy spindle. No happy ending.

Last year (or the year before), I took a step back towards the spindle by buying a turkish spindle at the Black Sheep Gathering. It sat for a while. Then this LOVELY Bluefaced Leicester roving appeared in my hands courtesy of my sister-in-law, and the twain met.

I'm having fun with it! Finally! If I'm too antsy to sit down and spin at my wheeel, I can stand and pace with the spindle. I can bring it to work and spin on my break. I can bring it to knitting night!

It was rather key to match up a compatible fiber and spindle. Long staple and grippy wool is a good match for my kinda heavy spindle.

Does anyone else remember making grade-school craft of yarn wound around popsicle sticks? And weren't they called turkish something-or-others?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Creamsicle plying

I missed my knitting group this last week, and I think that has something to do with finally being motivated to post. Poodle had a toe amputated (he had a squamous cell carcinoma in his nail bed, = cancer), so I came home to coo at the drugged up dog instead.

The Black Sheep Gathering this year was fun, I watched hours of fiber arts judging. The skein of pygora blend that I entered garnered the comment of being underplied, so I have been working on overcompensation. To wit:

This is a silk/merino 50/50 blend, and I was so sure that it would end up fatter than this. I set out to spin this fiber quite consistently, and did a pretty good job. This is the first skein that I have plied of it, and it has a big section where I was overspinning one of the singles. And the plying is not very consistent. Next one will be better.

I was taught to ply by drawing out a long section, adding twist, then letting it all take up at once. Then I saw my friend April plying by letting the flyer pull the fiber on, slipping through her fingers, adding twist and feeding it simultaneously. I've been experimenting with that, and I do like it.

Unwashed skein, see all of that twist writhing around? I wonder how much this will bloom when I wash it.

I'm itching to do a thick/thin yarn now to balance all of the precisedness (one of my favorite words that is not a real word) of these singles. I should finish plying this stuff, but I've plied for like 3 or 4 hours today, and I'm going to scream if I ply any more.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Quilt (wild blue and green) DONE!

Finishing a project is so satisfying! My little quilt was made using a crazy made up technique of sewing blocks in at odd angles. The bestest part was that the pieces in the middle were from a scrap grab bag from the local quilt store. I love recycling! The backing and border are organic cotton, I seem to remember that it is naturally dyed. The embroidery thread that I tied it with was ridiculously cheap with my employee discount, so I went all out and used FOUR colors.

And here it is ! Hobbs Heirloom cotton batting. And it's in the mail to the lucky new owner right now.

I'm thinking of getting a laptop again, my blog posting was so much easier from the couch! It's always humbling to go read all of the blogs that I frequent and then come back here and see my terse and not so witty writing. I'm not trying for an "oh, poor me", just writing about writing. Which happens to be my least favorite thing to read about.

Summer is coming to a close, and has not been very exciting. That is totally my fault, as the past few summers had been so busy that I tried to not plan very much for this one. I succeeded! I am glad to be well rested and to have had a lot of hobby time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July already? Pic of skirt I sewed meself.

I've been back on a crafty streak, there was a bit of a lull there. I went on a fabulous vacation in late March, a road trip through eastern Oregon.

I'm wearing a skirt that I sewed a few years ago, and a t-shirt that my friend April silkscreened for me.

On the way back from this road trip, we stopped briefly in Sisters, OR, at The Stitchin' Post
; easily the most amazing quilt store I've ever been in. I only had a short amount of time there, so I didn't even look (except for once or twice) at the yarn goodness they displayed as well. I'm going back. (After I use up what I bought there, that should delay the trip for a few years!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cotton Bag, and another hat pic

This hat was in the hat lineup, but it deserves a close-up. Mountain Colors yarn, with a brim of Cash Iroha. The pooling of the colors made a good pattern.

I have had two skeins of Patagonia Cotton sitting around for a few years, I bought them at a yarn store in Medford. I now have a bag for walking to the corner store to get milk.

The two skeins were different colors. When I started knitting, I had hopes of making a one skein bag. Nope. So I switched skeins in the middle, so the sides are not the same. See photo below of the other side:

I crocheted the sides together and continued into a strap, worked with both colors. I had made eyelets (yo, k2tog) at the top, and knit an I-cord integrating elastic into the middle. I threaded the I-cord through every other eyelet.

I'm not too excited about it, but it's better having a bag than it was having 2 balls of yarn.

When bikes go to rehab: (Notice crochet Noro hat that I've had forever, and still like!)