Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I Reallly Shouldn't Complain. . .

I have a cold. Just a regular old cold, with a bit of fever & cough that is hanging on. Really. How is it we can be so disabled by a simple virus? It's truly a minimal thing, especially when I read other bloggers who are dealing with cancer, brain tumors, or other extraordinary health issues. Pardon me while I go blow my nose. . .

I haven't had enough energy to clean house (big surprise) but yesterday, somehow managed to gather enough strength pull out a bit of fiber for a hat for a friend. Last summer, the Buzzards brought over fluff from their dog, Taz. I combined it with a bit of Border Leicester (locating any other fiber at this time would involve major excavation in the fiber stash, so BL it is), and I threw in a bit of purple/copper roving just for a hint of color, and carded it all together. You can see the product in the little balls of roving in the bottom center of the photo. I took them to the Ashford electronic spinner (truly, I was too feeble at this point to treadle - the drum carder took all my energy). I ended up with about 88 yards of three ply, which I hope will be enough for a hat for Little Buzzard.

I did manage, today, to do a bit of weaving with the assistance of Annabelle, my cat. I'm doing an M's and O's sample, trying out various colors of weft yarn. I discovered a few days ago that this particular weave structure would have a much more stable edge with the addition of a floating selvage (one that is not part of the design, but just floats along the edge to reinforce). So, on each side of the striped warp are two additional strands of yarn, which I've weighted to provide some tension, using shower curtain rings & nuts (as in nuts & bolt). So yes, the shower curtain rings & nuts are just dangling there. Who knew they were cat toys?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fibery Things

I finished knitting the Lotus Blossom shawl last night. This is my second shawl using this pattern. It won't be the last. :-) It is now blocking on my quilt. The thing I like about doing this is that the quilt serves as a grid so I can easily see that the midline is slightly off. . . better go adjust that. Plus, it looks pretty. (Yes, I made the quilt, a few years ago when colorwash became very popular.) Anyway, this process makes me acutely grateful that the kitties don't have opposable thumbs. If they did, there would be no stopping them from wreaking havoc with this (or any other) project. As it is, they hop up to make slight adjustments wherever they see fit.

On the weaving front, I am ready to move on to another project, an independent one this time. It'll be M's & O's this time, and I just wound warp for a narrow sample. Couldn't decide on color choices, so thought I'd do two pattern repeats using different colors next to each other & see which I like better. Or maybe both together. Can't tell yet. Anyway, here is the warp wound on the warping board. (This is just a sample & will be about 5" wide.)

The other weaving project which is in progress is a multi-yarn warp which I had hoped would be a ruana. I started this project on a rigid heddle loom. Big mistake. The various yarns I used (some commercial, some hand-dyed, some hand-spun with sheep wool, mohair, & dog) all had varying amounts of stretch in them. This made getting a clean shed (space between the alternating yarns, where the shuttle goes through with the weft) impossible. I decided the best option would be to put it on my Baby Wolf. The countermarche already had a project on it. The first time I wound the warp onto the Wolf, the kids helped. We didn't get an even tension & still had a mess. So a couple of nights ago, Doug & I sorted it out, ran the warp through a raddle & through lease sticks which we left in place, & wound on again. I don't know how much of the warp I lost along the way, but I'll see if there's still enough for the ruana I was hoping for. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Stephanie Rocks the House

The day we have been waiting for finally arrived. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot came to Seattle and made an appearance at Third Place Books, shared about an hour of side-splitting kntting humor and then signed autographs for another two+hours. Thank you so much, Stephanie, for coming all the way from Toronto. You really bring joy & laughter through your observations and experiences. (Some of the muggles along the sidelines in the bookstore thought she was a stand-up comedian.)

If any of you are wondering, she finished Icarus (the shawl) and it was lovely - next on my knitting project list after I complete the other 6, 7, 9, 14. . . projects that I have in the works right now. There were two car loads of (Belling)hamsters that came down from Northwest Handspun Yarns together. Party #1 (known as the Party Bus) left early enough to make a stop by the Pike Place Market where, I hear, there is an Irish Pub. Let's just say that the Party Bus people were pretty happy by the time they got to the bookstore. They also made a visit to Weaving Works in Seattle, an awesome place for people of all fiber persuasions, whether spinner, weaver, knitter, straight or circular (Stephanie's joke). I went with The Old Girls. We, of course, being much more *ahem* sedate, visited a yarn & tea shop, had lunch, sipped tea, ate cookies & knitted up a storm. Village Yarn & Tea was kind enough to have a sale on yesterday and there was a steady string of cars going into and out of the parking lot much of the afternoon.

I managed to make it to the last chart on the Lotus Blossom shawl. I do love this pattern. All of the Fiddlesticks patterns I've done so far (three of them) are well-written and accurate, with graphs that are *easy to read*. On top of that, the designs are beautiful. Lotus Blossom is the easiest, so far, but somehow I managed to mess up yesterday, with all the noise and enthusiasm, so tinked back 1/2 row & re-knitted. I'm back on track now. I'll post a photo later, hopefully of the completed shawl.