Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You know it's love when...

...your man butchers his electric car buffer thingy to steal it's motor to make you a skein winder. le sigh He's still on the quest. Last night the added power of the stronger motor burned out the ancient sewing machine foot pedal, and the manner in which the motor was clamped to the frame caused it to spark -- a lot. Let me tell you, the fumes were..umm...intoxicating. Getting closer, tho!
The little man is home sick again. Feeling much better, for certain, but not 100%. So, he'll be hanging and hopefully will let me get some dyeing done. Since he got up at 5am, he has promised to take a nap today. We'll see.
And now for the cutest picture EVER. The love affair continues... (sorry for the yellowy cast to the pic, but the flash makes them look like demons)...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mr. Sereknity has been working HARD this weekend

In light of the many orders that I have to fill in the coming week, hubby decided to try to make my job of skeining and reskeining 100 hanks of yarn a bit easier by building me an electric skein winder. Retail, these things go for about $300 and the company just can't pay for that yet, so my very sophisticated method thus far has been to tie an end of yarn from the cone, after running it through my yardage counter, to my umbrella swift and reaching over into the middle and spinning the swift while attempting to keep an eye on the counter. A very awkward PIA, not to mention a very slow process.(Here is Rachel -- in pj's -- demonstrating the re-skeining from ball to swift. Ug.)

So, armed with various widths of lumber and a $20 ancient sewing machine from the Goodwill store, he began his mission.
This was the fun part -- pulling the sewing machine apart (yes, I plugged it in to be sure it worked b4 I bought it).

The biggest problem has been finding/creating pulleys that will fit on the motor, and devising a workable drive band. He finally arrived at this...

a design that works great! One problem, tho -- the old motor just can't handle the job. Can you say "smoke"? Even so, this set-up has allowed me to wind skeins of yarn off the cones manually MUCH faster that the old method with my swift, so I am a happy girl! Jim is still going to try to hunt down a workable motor (any suggestions will be gladly received) but until then, I'm rockin'.
Unfortunately, no actual dyeing got done today -- my little guy is home sick, possibly with strep, as that is running rampantly through his school. I sooo hope not. But, he kinda needed me near him today, so I only broke away at times to wind off yarn, and otherwise sat with him and knit. Rachel's last butterfly sock is almost done (pics tomorrow). I also managed to package up about 15 ebay sales packages, and FINALLY put a box together for One Planet Yarn and Fiber. If you were a fan of the Macintosh or Grand Canyon yarn, be looking for it there soon!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Yes, Noolie, I have trouble with titles, too!

****FYI -- This formerly literate English teacher has been frustrated by her laptop which for some strange reason will not let her use apostrophes. I do know how to use them. I swear. I mean, seriously, WTF??****

Has it really been nearly a week since my last post? sheesh. This life thing keeps getting in the way! I do believe I have lots of bloggy goodness for you today though, so I do hope you will forgive me.
Firstly, let me give kudos to my wonderful Spin to Knit secret pal. She chose a lovely hand-dyed roving made by the incredibly talented Amy King of Spunky Eclectic (I am a big fan) to spin for me. The colorway is Robin Red Breast, and I just LOVE it. I have some very strong connections to robins from my childhood, believe it or not, so the colorway, apart from being beautiful in color alone, brings back very sweet and fond memories.

It was spun into a very fun thick and thin skein of approx. 80 yards. Perfect for a hat I think, esp. since I gave the little girl the only one I have knit for myself. It was packed with a small assortment of lovely teas that I am sure to enjoy while knitting my hat. As for Amy King, I hope to get to meet her at SPA in February. I have to bring my Brain Freeze that I spun (pictured below) both to show her and hopefully to start my socks.

Oh, didnt I mention I was going to SPA? Well, I am!! The lovely, fun, and wonderful Gina happened to have unexpected need of a roommate, and now she is stuck with me! Yay me! I cant wait!
In more happy news, I walked into knitting last night and was handed 5 more helmet liners, and there were at least three more in process on the needles there! And Kendra delivered one to the house earlier in the day, making the count in hand wonderful warm and cozy 8.
I also walked away from group with a huge, fragrant and yummy box of handmade Down to Hearth soaps from Erica to be listed on Sereknity in the coming weeks. She even gave me a few special bars of Jacobs Soap for my little guy. He was sooo happy when I showed it to him. Made me promise to tell Erica thank you and that he loves it! (Isnt he a cutie?)
I am probably going to be a bit slow with blogging again for a few days -- I have some wholesale orders to fill and FINALLY got my yarn for dyeing. 25lbs of yarn, and 6 or 7 of fiber. Not to mention all the bags I need to sew and markers to make. I am so thrilled, tho. Finally making some headway!
I do have a few pics of some new colorways, still in their big hanks, waiting to be reskeined. What do you think?


Grand Canyon...

inspired by this...

Grand, indeed.

Friday, January 19, 2007

My First FO of 2007 and a new blogdesign

YAY! I didn't get everything done that I had hoped while homebound due to ice, but I did get Jason's helmet liner done! It is pictured above with Gigi's crocheted version, the first I have received form my fellow yarn-workers. Rachel is modeling it below.
This was a very easy and quick knit, and took just over one ball of Moda Dea Washable Wool (which I will later dye to a more appropriate color). I bought three balls and will definately knit another before time is up. I have only great things to say about this yarn, too. It has a really interesting cabled construction, good twist, and is very soft. Definately a win, and I got it on sale.

You may have noticed the new blog design. Yeah, about that. I was attempting to put a list of th Helmet Liner folks on my old blog template, clicked something wrong, didn't know it, saved it, and VOOM. Template gone! So, I got y first lesson in the new blogger design and yes, it is much easier (I just hadn't PLANNED on doing this yet.) I like the new look, tho, and would love to know what you think.
The sample sock is about 1/2 an inch from the toe decrease, and then I'll go back to Rachel's socks before I finish the pair. Single socks don't count as FO's, do they? May seem weird, but switching from pair to pair keeps me from getting bored with my socks, esp. these very basic types. At least there is variety in color.
I also did get my fabric cut for sock bags, and hope to carve out some sewing time this weekend, Monday for certain if nothing else, and did a bit of fiber dyeing for the shop. I also recieved my order from Diva Knitting yesterday, and I have to tell you, Cheryl ROCKS. She had a noticed posted on the site that she was on vacation and orders wouldn't be mailed until Jan. 16th -- but I got notice that it was being mailed on the 15th! And it got here Wednesday, with extra goodies! Really, she has the best customer service and is a great friendly lady, too. AND her prices rock. Give her a look-see, will ya?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Roundup (looong post)

Well, it's kinda cold out there! The kids have been home from school for the past two days (after having Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr. day) due to ICE. Yup, ice. Everything is covered with natures sparkly bling-bling, which, although lovely, can be just a bit problematic. We are one of the lucky houses on the region that has not lost power, but a tree went down in my neighbors yard taking out some wires, so the road is closed IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE. ONLY IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE -- which means no sanding IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE. So, we haven't budged. I awoke Monday to the sounds of crashing branches, but thankfully it was deep in the woods. Last night, however, I heard a nice big BANG that freaked me out. I search with a flashlight for any damage, and found none, but couldn't get the image of these trees...

...crashing down on my roof, right above the Boy in his TOP bunk, so I took him out of his bed and had him sleep in mine. (I later ended up on the couch. Even with the king bed, I felt like a mommy sandwich.) So here we stay, cozy and warm, surrounded by yarn and fiber...yarn and fiber, you say?? Do tell. Ok, I will!
I've been spending my free time, when not doing laundry (mountains) and playing board games, spinning this fantastic roving from Spunky Eclectic called Brain Freeze (all the more appropriate for the times). This yarn was gifted to me by the fabulous Gina of SleepyEyesKnits podcast fame, and I think I have finally succeded in spinning singles fine enough to ply into sock yarn. I can't wait to see how the colors look when plied! I have 2 4oz batts that I am spinning into singles and will then ply together. Oh, yeah, that's a heck of a lot of sock yarn. Yippee! Maybe socks and mitts???

As for knitting, I have MANY WIPS, and , well, no FO's since I last posted. Ug. Stil no further progress on the sister scarf (bad sister, I am!), or the grandmother gauntlets, my multidirectional scarf may have gained a triangle or two, still have to cast on sock #2 on both Rachel's watermelon pair and my Cervina Naples pair (basic stockinette on both), and I have about 1/2 the foot left on Rachel's Butterfly Bows sock, and don't even mention her Debbie Bliss sweater. Of course none of that stopped me from casting on two new items -- the much needed and excused casting on of Jason's helmet liner, ribbing done; and a sample sock in Berry Blast Sock Options Sport for Sereknity.

Today's plan is to dye some corriedale roving, finish the helmet liner and sock, and finish spinning and plying the Spunky Eclectic. Oh, and cut fabric for sock bags.
Kendra and I had grand plans of setting up dueling sewing machines on my dinning room table and cranking out bags on Monday, but the ice has set us back considerably. I do have to get on it tho, as some of my current wholesale accounts are clamoring for kits and I HAVE A NEW ACCOUNT! A new Windham, NH store, The Yarn and Fiber Company (www.yarnandfiber.com) has decided to carry Sereknity products -- all of them! I have a huge order to fill for them, and Am also way behind in sending products out to One Planet. I'm hoping the kids will cooperate and let me get something done today, and with a little luck they'll be back to school tomorrow so I can really get cranking.
In other news, I got this wonderful note from my Spin to Knit Secret Pal...

"Dear Heather

Just thought I'd let you know that the magic 8 ball says you just might be receiving a surprise sometime soon :) I'll be at the post office by Friday with a little treat for you!

your knit to spin secret pal"
Yay! I can't wait -- she seems like a real doll, too, and I am anxious for the secret part to be over so I can REALLY get to know her. I am hard at work on my pals goodies, too, but wasn't all that thrilled with how the pygora came out. I mentioned the dye didn't take well in a previous post, and I am now certain that it was dyer error, but I decided to spin it anyway, rather than re-dye. I like it. It is a honeydew melon color I am going to call Midori Melon, but as hubby says, it is much more tame than I normally do. A nice color, but hard to know if it will be her taste. I am going to throw some more goodies in her box, tho, including some of that buttery corriedale for her to spin, so I do hope she will be happy.

to this...

to this.

oh! And I almost forgot! I am thrilled to announce that I will be offering Erica and Chris' Down to Hearth handmade soaps on Sereknity.com! I have been using their Lavender Eucalyptus daily and it is scrumptious. She is even making a special non-scented oatmeal soap for my exema prone baby boy. He is so excited. Make sure to head to the site and register to get e-mails. Once my yarn comes in and is dyed, I hope to get it up and listed for a "grand-opening" and will send out a coupon to everyone who has registered. I'll also try to get a helmet liner project update up tomorrow -- we are well on our way! I even have the first one in hand from Gigi!
Until next time, a few more weather pics...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Lacy Rib Scarf Pattern

Hi! Just a really quick post for now. A fellow Etsian knit Rachel's Lacy Rib hat and requested some help in creating a scarf pattern to match, so here it is:

Lacy Rib Scarf


Rachel lacy rib scarf

Cast on 29

Picot edge...
1,3 – knit
2,4 purl
5 k2tog, yo to end – knit last stitch
6,8 purl
7 knit
9 knit, picking up and knitting a stith from cast-on with each knit stitch
10 purl

pattern stitch

1 p1, k2, (p1, skpo, yo, p, k2, p, k2) 2 times, p, skpo, yo, p, k2, p
2 p3, (k1, p2, k1, p5)2 times, k1, p2, k1, p3
3 p1, k2, (p,yo,k2tog,p,k2,p,k2) 2 times, p, yo, k2tog,p,k2,p
4 repeat 2

Repeat pattern stitch until scarf is as long as desired.
Repeat Picot edge pattern, rows 1-8. Bind off and leave a long enough tail to fold edging over and sew. Weave in ends.

I'll get a picture up whenever mine is finished!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ever determine the quality of your days in terms of...

..."I haven't knit a stitch??" Well, that's kinda been the measure of my time lately, and let's just say the projects aren't really growing. Except in number, that is. I did sit and knit on my multi-directional scarf I am knitting in Universal's new Poems yarn (no pic today) while at the Girl Scout leader meeting last night, and I didn't really care WHO didn't like it. I always feel as tho my mind is spinning a my world it swirling in the opposite direction and I just can't seem to get my footing. Ah, well, that's life I guess. Skipped karate class, today, tho -- sometimes, ya just gotta say no. With the Brownie meeting tonight I knew I just wouldn't have the energy. And besides! I needed to update Etsy! So yes, take a click on over and see some of the new stuff -- including the two skeins of cashmere....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I did head off with Joanne (of a Knitter's Garden) to Ingrid Byrd's Ward Brook farm today to pick up some native NE Corriedlae that is OMG like buttah! I'll be dyeing that up over the next week or so -- and grabbed a couple balls Ingrid had dyed to spin up for myself. I just love this stuff! I spun a batch from her b4 that was unlabled and I could have sworn I was spinning merino from the soft suishiness, but i found it easier to spin than merino b/c of the longer staple. It is awesome.
I also reieved a package of some special roving from Oregon I purchased to spin for my Spin to Knit pal. This is from Rainbow Yarns Northwest and it is PYGORA and award winning Targee wool. SOOOO soft and luscious and processed so beautifully -- it think it will be awesome to spin. I of course, got a ew extra ounces for myself, too. Terry, who was super friendly and helpful, also included a sample of RED 50/50 pygora silk blended fiber that, when I reach my hand in the bag, made me think I had touched a bit of heaven.

I dyed up two ounces of the Py/Targee blend in a soft green, but I'm not thrilled w/ the color -- I was looking for something with a bit more depth, and this came out very monotone and pale. I am going to try again and add some deeper green to it and see what happens. Not sure if I just had too little dye in the pots or if the fiber doesn't take the dye as strongly. We'll see!

In other news, I got the most amazing phone call last night -- JASON CALLED FROM IRAQ! I was right in the middle of the leader meeting, stepped out to answer my cell phone and could not believe what I was hearing. We chatted for a bit, and then he got off the phone to call the kids at the house. I was so overwhelmed (and thrilled, but emotionally overcome) that I actually gave myself a stress-type headache. I can't wait for him to be home FOR GOOD. He confirmed that he is due to head for home on leave on February 2nd, and I can't wait to show him what all you wonderful folk are doing for him and his fellows. He'll be staying with us for a few days, too (he loves coming here -- he feels such a sense of peace at my house, and it really does my heart good knowing that, let me tell you!) so I hope to get some pics of him in some of the liners and see if I can drag him off to meet the girls and guys at "knitting practice."
That's it for now -- knitting pics soon!

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Call to Arms

So here's the deal. You all know my boy, Jason, is stuck in that horrible hell-hole called Iraq. He and many, many, many other men and women. Hell-hole. Not here. There. HATE IT. SO, I have resolved to send helmet liners to Jay and his team of 30 soldiers. Presently, they are stationed in Mosul, but talk keeps swirling about that they will be moved even closer to the most intense action -- Bagdhad, and these folks need to know we give a crap, and want them healthy and safe. Now, I can't walk in front of them (ie, Jason) and shield him from every bullet and IED (although I honestly want to -- if I were single, no kids, I swear to you I would. I would! Not b/c I have any affection for this damned war, but b/c I'm his big sis and that is what I am supposed to do dammnit! Yeah, I'm emotional -- tearing up right now. But I won't curse any worse, I promise. Thank goodness for the backspace button.) Anyway, it is cold in Iraq now, especially at night when they are sent on most of their missions, and at the onset of winter, the whole platoon, Jay included, got horribly sick. They need warm stuff, and love, and they need it now. My goal is to collect 30 helmet liners by mid-February to give Jay when he comes home for leave to bring back w/ him to hand out to his "team". (Not sure what their "official" title is, but Jay calls them his "team" w/ me, possibly b/c I am ignorant to the military ways, and also b/c that is what they are -- a team.)
So who is with me? Will you pick up your pointy sticks for this cause?
I am looking for these liners to be knit in superwash wool, so the soldiers have little wash and wear issues (community laundry, remember) and definately wool for the warmth and the fact that it is non-flammable and self extinguishing. Remember -- war zone. Bombs. Bad stuff. Since they are in a desert area w/ desert camo, browns, dusky olive drab, and khaki colored wools are our best bet. I am knitting my first liner in Moda Dea Washable Wool in Ivory and will dye it after knitting. If anyone has a natural worsted superwash they want to use, that is fine -- I'll dye it with mine. The pattern can be found here http://www.geocities.com/helmetliner/.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I am still doing #@$%#@%$ Xmas Knitting!!!

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Will I ever be done?? And I don't even feel as tho I accomplished anything. The bus drivers fingerless mitts, s-i-l's mitts (for her b-day), ONE mitt for Hubby's gran, 0 for his mom, 5 washcloths for my wool-allergic father, and a started, now 1/3 done, lacy scarf for my sis(Stacy). SOB. Nothing for my bf-s-i-l, out of the 3 things I wan't to give her, and her b-day was yesterday. Basically, I suck. Me and deadines just don't mix.
Stacy's scarf is coming out awesome, tho, and I can't wait to block it. I am knitting the scarf from the December Magknits with the swarovski crystals knit into the edges, and I am knitting it in a gorgeous laceweight silk/cashmere blend from YarnBotanika. LOVE IT! I feel like I am knitting with air. It is very fragile, tho, so I have to tread lightly.

Christmas was fab -- the kids had a great time, and were spoiled rotten, of course. As wonderful as it was to have them home, I was going nuts not being able to get anywork done and really missed my quiet time. It was IMPOSSIBLE to listen to a podcast w/o having to shut it off ever 2 minutes to address some question or issue. So, back to normal now. I am now accutely aware of the need for a PLAN for this summer tho. Here are a few pics from the Christmas Carnage...

and a very cute puppy picture...

My dog is weird. She puts this sheep in her mouth and kneads the couch with her front paws much like a cat. Bizarre little creature. But hey, it makes her happy.

I spent the day dyeing on Monday, but there was a yarn-frenzy at knitting practice last night, so some of the fiber dyed went unphotoed. I do have more of the yarns to list, however, so those should be up in Etsy over the next few days. One really fun colorway I did was a custom order for Gina of SleepyEyes. She loved it! I'm hopping she will post a pic soon. I also have done a One Planet colorway for One Planet Yarn and Fiber, which I will be mailing to her soon. Be sure to cruise on over to that shop this week. They are having a customer appreciation sale on many of their items and yarns, including Indie Vendors such as myself, which doesn't happen often at all.

One last thing -- I have another convert! Kendra (blogless -- for now!) borrowed some sticks, a book, and some Debbie Bliss Merino Aran and produced this lovely swatch...

Don't her stitches look gorgeous?? YAY! Congrats babe, and welcome to the club!!