Sunday, April 29, 2007

Frankie Foster

So, by now many of you have "met" Frankie. She is a GORGEOUS Australian Shepherd mix who arrived to us via PetMatchmaker pet rescue all the way from TN. We will be fostering her, loving her, and housetraining (ug) her until she finds a new family. She is definitely insecure right now, constantly dodging our feet wanting to be right in between them for protection and a bit afraid to let us out of her sight. I'm a bit afraid to let her out of mine as well, as I was just alerted to more POOP! Jacob came up with her name (she came to us w/ the name Quasar. QUASAR!?!?!?!) after the character Frankie on the show Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Since this is a show about finding new homes for children's now unwanted imaginary friends and the example we used to teach them about fostering, it seemed a fitting monicker.

Tashi isn't all that sure what she thinks of this fidgety little invader, but is OK as long as we keep petting her first and playing with her. Jim just took her for a ride -- a special treat. As for the cats. NOT. HAPPY.

Oh well, they'll get over it! hehehe And she has very little interest in them. After being in this house of cats, dogs, and kids, I figure she will make someone a wonderfully tolerant and well adjusted pet. Here's hoping!
Oh! I'd I've begun dyeing in earnest again, so be looking for web-site and etsy updates!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Our New Houseguest

Meet Frankie...

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Serious Stash Enhancement (aka -- SOMEBODY STOP ME!)

As pictures are worth 1000 words, I will say little...
"new" fiber stash basket (a picnic basket) purchased from the same antique shop I got Izzy, stuffed with goodies, including March and April Spunky Club Fiber and pink sparkly fiber from HollyEQQ...

new red knitting bag from Target and Sereknity sock bag (I am in a major pink and brown phase)...

gorgeous fiber from the Woolen Rabbit...

more Woolen Rabbit Fiber in another new stash basket, bought on clearance at W-mart...

my fab "I Love Knitting" hand-made, glass beaded stitch markers from my SP10 atop a pattern purchase of Glee (I also got Rusted Root!)...

a huge bag of Schachenmayr/Nomotta Blue Jeans, the darker will be Glee, and I have enough of the light for a long sleeve! Love this stuff -- I knit pants for Little Jackie in this and it was great (and only $1.00 a skein discontinued at Big Lots)...

OMGOMGOMG Fiber from Crosspatch Creations in the color Tammany's Prize, named after a race horse (love that)...

and look what is in it!!

This will be a Clapotis, I think. It is about time.
Oh, and there is this...

of which I am getting 2 more skeins for a sweater for Jacob. Good stuff! Good price. Very sproingy. Walpole wool, indie farm. Gotta love that. You may see this at Sereknity in the near future.
And there is a crap-load of this...

Lion Wool, on clearance. Nice Hand, 100% wool, in enough for sweaters for the kids.
(And since it isn't here yet, the books and yarn on their way from Knit Picks don't count, right? RIGHT???)
This is what happens when I can't work....AHHHHHH!!!!
I have been somewhat productive, tho. True to my obsessive nature, I just couldn't stop spinning on Izzy and finished my first skeins on her...

Do you see how THIN that is??? I am so happy! I'd say it is a fingering weight, tho I didn't calc the wraps per inch. I got 309 yards out of four ounces of alpaca in it's natural color. I'll be gifting this to someone I think will really appreciate the history behind it.
And the knitting...

in order from left to right, Poppy (silk Garden/Lamb's Pride), Lilac Socks (Sereknity Sock Options Merino/Tencel), Wicked (Knit Picks Shine Worsted). Loving the Shine. It is sooo soft. I am knitting at a guage a bit smaller than called for but thinking that will be a good thing since this is cotton, and Wicked was designed in wool.

Like the stitch marker? Told you I'm into brown and pink. ;)

Monday, April 23, 2007


Ok, first, let me THANK MY SP10 PAL -- she sent me a sweet little package with some goodies including lovely hand-made stitch markers, and with all the commotion I forgot to post about them. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Now, let me tell you about SUNDAY. What an awesome day! I went with my good friends Joanne and Martha to the Fiber Studio in Henniker, NH (after a driving detour to the Vermont border! ooops!) to see the wonderful Nancy Benda of the Spinning Bunny for a class on everything Angora. We learned about the care, feeding, breeding, ailments, grooming, fiber prep, blending, spinning -- you name it! I neglected to charge my camera batteries, so I unfortunately have no pictures of the day, but believe me when I tell you that Nancy brought one of the sweetest little buns ever, a black Tort German Cross named Baby Ruth. She was sweet, alert, calm when being clipped, even with 9 strange women peeking and poking at her. I can't wait to see Nancy again at NH Sheep and Wool (where she'll have some little buns for sale!) and to have a chance to plunder her finer booth. What glorious samples she brought -- so lovely to spin. Good company, good fiber; definitely a top notch day.
As if that wasn't good enough, the wonderful Doug of Sandhill Crafts (look for his booth at the NH S&W, too) met me at the Fiber Studio to bring me my IZZY! For those of you who haven't been reading all that long, Izzy is my 100+ year old antique wheel I purchased from a local antique shop with the hope of getting her to work again, but if not just with a willingness to preserve a bit of the past of this art I have grown to love so much. And boy have I grown! When I bought Izzy I had only been knitting a few short months, never spun, never dyed, NOTHIN'. Izzy had no footman or treadle at purchase, but look otherwise in good shape to my unknowing but lucky eyes, as Doug confirmed her worthiness. He tuned her up, crafted a footman and pedal from maple, and made a fair match with the stain. Upon closer inspection, he realized she is actually a Saxony Flax wheel, as the hooks on her hand carved flyer are on the opposite side from the typical wool wheel. Sadly, there is no maker mark to be found anywhere on her, so an actual date of origin is beyond us, but we can only guess that she was crafted possibly in the Pennsylvania area in the late 1800's/early 1900's. And now she is born again! SHE WORKS! What a joy she is to spin on! With a lovely whir and soft click clack, she effortlessly spun an even and fine alpaca single -- thinner and more even and more delightful than any single I ever spun on the Ashford Tradi. I am in heaven. I heart her so! Doug is a fiber god.
And serendipitously, I sauntered out to my mailbox this afternoon to find my monthly fiber club installment from Amy! I'll post pictures tomorrow so as not to spoil the surprise for other club members but Oh! What great colors!
Tomorrow, a knitting update (yeah, there's been a bit of that)but first, some pics of Izzy and the alpaca...

Friday, April 20, 2007


Mother Nature is kicking our collective asses here in my household. On Monday, we (NH and Norther Mass.) endured the brunt of a nasty, wet, Nor'easter during which we lost power for the better part of 2 days. EVERYTHING in my house relies on electricity -- the furnace, the water (we have a well), THE STOVE, etc., etc. So after having to drive all the way around the world to get back to my house from 3 streets away since all but one route to my house was blocked by downed power-lines and flooded or eroded roads, I took the kids and beat feet to my accomodating sister-in-law Sinead's house. (GOD BLESS HER.) And that is only the start. As it turns out, Verizon's central phone office in nearby Raymond NH was flooded and determined to be a total loss, as well, leaving the area with limited cell phone access and no land-line service. Yeah, and hubby works for Verizon wireless. The poor man has been working NON-STOP. Literally. Yeah, he's kinda tired. And, well, I've been busy. So...
No dyeing.
No spinning.
Limited knitting. (Although I have managed a few stash enhancements...)
VERY little blog watching, commenting, and writing. I hope I will be forgiven. ;)
just before the lights went out, I finally "opened"!!! I'd love some feedback, and there is also a new poll up on the site. Be sure to register before Mother's Day, and I will send you a Grand Opening coupon code! Now that the power is on, phones are being restored, and we are getting back to normal (well, as normal as we get, anyway) I'll be posting all that fiber I want to dye, and some more bags, markers, and even soem lovely jewelry.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A little bit of everything...

(That's my little guy, home sick w/ a fever and surrounded by his furry friends, who want to make him feel better. Too cute! And no, he isn't really going to be sick, just reacting to an episode of Popular Mechanics for Kids called "Gross Out!" lol)
This post will probably contain more information that you care to know -- not in the realm of TMI, mind you, but just LOTS -- so skim, if you please. No offense taken.
Let's see,first, the issue of puppy rescue. Yeah, not happening. Not this time, these dogs anyway. The good news is, that when my family said "yes" to fostering, the little guys were pulled from death row, most likely saving their lives, but before they could be transported to me, another rescue organization went in and retrieved them. So, they are saved, I'm not bonkers with 3 dogs, 4 cats, and a rabbit, and my kids are sad, but learned a lesson and are anxious to give it another go. In a few weeks, when my neck is better, I am going to take a look at what other dogs may need help.
As for the neck, PT is helping immensely, BUT each time I go, I am sore for the rest of the day, which cuts back on the work I can do -- ie, next to nothing. It really sucks -- EVERYTHING involves using the neck! Computer, dyeing, beading, knitting, sewing. You know, not much -- just what I do for a living! arg. I have a ton of orders piling up tho, so this coming week I have no choice.
Not that I want one now that my LOUET ORDER CAME IN! OMG the fiber!!! oooooo...falkland wool, superwash merino, merino/silk, silk, and , and, ....lamb/angora. 50/50! ooooooooo soooo soft. heaven! can't wait to fire up the dye pots. I just really wish I could get ahead of the game at this point so I could concentrate on the website. Anyone know where I can buy time?
With my Big Ball sweater and Tashi's sweater done, I have no real "have to" knitting to do -- nothing with a deadline anyway -- so I have been leisurely working on small projects. I am knitting a pair of socks as part of the Jeanne Townsend KAL groups Lilac Sock KAL. Jeannie is an awesome lady with amazing talent who has put SO MANY free patterns out on the net, and this one is JUST GORGEOUS. And as fate would have it, she posted this at about the same time I dyed my Lilacs In Bloom merino/tencel, so what else could I do but cast on?

I am loving everything about this -- great pattern to knit, looks great, and the yarn is better than I could have hoped. Be sure to check out Jeannie's blog, too, for another free pattern -- Gold Lace socks -- that she has for sale. This is the first pattern she has asked $$ for (she now has a son and grandson living w/ her during a divorce and custody battle) and after GIVING the Lilac sock pattern to over 1400 people, not to mention all the many other patterns she has given, I would love to see her get duly compensated for her amazing work. And the Gold Sock pattern is beautiful! Can't wait to cast on for that one, too. I also got started on Norberta -- or in this case, Norbert -- for my son. I have 4 of these to knit in various colors, so thank goodness they are quick! But, oh, the sewing! I have the rest of the spines, the limbs and wings to knit, and then I'll put it together. I even bought the requisite Knit Picks Crayon for these little guys.

Next up will be a private little Wicked KAL. My dear, wonderful, awesome, gorgeous friend Diane -- my bf from High School -- has been visiting regularly for knitting lessons. We've been doing hats -- 3 in fact! -- as she was anxious to learn circular knitting, both with DPNs and Circs. Here is a pic of D modeling her very first finished hat, knit in my hand-dyed yarn!

Isn't she lovely? Oh, and the hat was really good, too! So now that she has gotten casting on, joining, and decreasing, she of course got the itch to move from hats to something a bit more substantial so wicked it will be. Hers will be in Knit Picks Main Line in the Dusty Lavender, and mine will be in Shine Worsted in Blush. I think Gina and maybe Jackie are planning on getting in on this one, too. Who did I miss?
Oh! And the awesome Blogless Kendra sent me this pic of her fingerless mitts (knit for her daughter) in "Pretty in Punk". Aren't they awesome?

Also, I wanted to let you know about a new on-line shop that just opened and stocks a fair number of Sereknity yarns, and has put in an order for more bags and kits, too, plus a whole slew of indie sellers. Check out Wool Girl Jen, the "Girl" herself is pretty great and worth supporting. Be sure to let her know you stopped by and what you think of the shop!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I did it!!

I actually finished the two sweaters for Easter! I am shocked at myself. Seriously. Of course, I was still working on them both Easter morning, but who cares! They got done in time to debut at the in-laws!
So here it is, the "Big Ball" Chunky Everyday Cardigan by Amy King of Spunky Eclectic in her and-dyed Red Maple Colorway...

It is a bit snug around the chest when zipped. This is a relatively new thing for me. In a former life I was nominated President of the Itty Bitty *itty Commitee, so I think when I read a sweater measurement of over 40 inches, I think, no way -- not me! but I will apparently have to come to terms with this ummmm...development. I am still thrilled with it, tho, and I hardly ever wear a cardi zipped or bottoned anyway. It is soft and comfy and warm and I got lots of compliments on it today.
And FO number two is Tashi's Skull Sweater. As I said yesterday, my poor puppy's fur has gotten out of control and needed to be shorn. This is Tashi before...

And this is her in all her bad-ass glory.

Yeah, baby! I wanted to by her a spiked and studded collar, but, well, let's face it, she could never pull it off. The sweater is less than perfect -- my first foray into colorwork, and I seem to pull too tightly on my floats because the skull section was puckered, and I lost track of the chart a number of times and fudged it. For some reason, I am having great difficulty counting these past few days. (Seriously -- counted my damn stitches 5 times and kept coming out with 78 -- handed the needles to hubby and her counted 68. sigh.) I found the pattern a bit difficult to follow, as well, and fudged a lot of it. It calls for picking up stitches and knitting "sleeves" as well, but it doesn't seem necessary and I think I'm going to leave it be. I totally want Tashi to have one in every color. lol (For those curious, it was knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes from the stash.)
The next one is for Lilah. ;) Oh! and btw,For you spinners out there, the groomers saved Tashi's fur for me!

Friday, April 06, 2007

still plugging away...

Well, not a lot to report, even though there is a lot going on. Life keeps getting in the way of my finishing my dyeing and the website, but I HAVE GOT TO GET IT DONE SOON. ARG! No chances of that this weekend tho. Here is a rundown on what "needs" to be done first...
1) Finish the Big Ball Sweater -- I am sooooo close! I had to rip back the neck decreases, tho, as I mis-interpretted the directions and wasn't decreasing fast enough. It is coming out pretty snug, but i am hoping Blocking will remedy that. My intent is to finish knitting tonight, block and sew the zipper tomorrow, so I can debut it on Easter. CROSS YOU FINGERS!
2) a new project, out of necessity. Now I am not one for sweaters on dogs -- not into the fru-fru thing, BUT my poor muppet is getting matted and picking up burrs like crazy, so she is going to get shaved down on Sunday am, and since it is still pretty cold in these parts I am going to knit her this...

Is it not the coolest??? It is going to be black w/ a fushia skull. MUST. KNIT. FOR. SUNDAY. So the needles are flying for that.
3) We might be fostering one or two dogs (omg -- I am crazy, aren't I???) who were scheduled to be put down on Monday (Nichole, you suck...lmao), which means I Have to clean and organize this house!!!! AHHHHHH. This desperately needs to be done anyway, but with the possible addition of two more animals, well, omg...the mind boggles.
So that's all! A few more things on the needles, but no urgency, and I hope to be back to regularly scheduled work next week.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fun, fun, fun...and frogs

It was a crazy weekend around here, after a rather busy week. I finally felt well enough to do some dyeing on Friday, although I didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped. I did start physical therapy, tho, and while I am far from perfect, I can move and I'm not having headaches anymore. THANK YOU all so much who wished me well! I still have 5lbs. of Falkland Superwash to dye -- hoping for tomorrow. BUT I had some fun and got a few new colorways done. I present to you...
Seriously Citrus...

and my favorite...Tree Frog!

I love it, and just look at this little guy

-- wouldn't you be inspired? I am sorry to say tho that they all sold out on Etsy this weekend, but if you really MUST HAVE, send me an e-mail, and I can get some done up for you. My other experiment was the colorway in the foreground here (Pretty in Punk is in the back)...

This is "Motif #1" named after the famous landmark in Rockport, the neighboring town to my childhood home of Gloucester. You can read more about it here and here, but this is a pic.

I've always loved this little fishing shack, and have been feeling the need to honor my roots a bit. The yarn is a mix of red, charcoal, grey, tan and blue. I really like it! These three will be on Etsy shortly.
I also finished my booga bag, which is nice, but it didn't felt as stiff as I would like. I do really like the colors tho, and will be giving it a test drive tonight. (The girl and I are heading out for a little alone time, mallin' and stuff.)

As for the weekends craziness, I had a Girl Scout annual meeting to attend on Saturday (got suckered in to being a delegate) and then a baby shower for my cousin on Sunday. Would you believe it didn't occur to me that I should knit something until Friday night? I feel like a schmuck, but I'll get something cute done for the birth. I did, however, get to go to Yarn & Fiber in Windham on Sunday before the shower (Daddy took the monkees to a b-day party) for their April Fools sale where I ran into my peeps, Jackie, Lora, and Gina -- YAY! I spent way too much money, but got goodies for my Secret Pal and yarn for me to make Poppy by Shobhana Mason (in her book YArn PLay and also in the Brit publication, Knitting, March 2007). I didn't take a pic of the yarn -- 7 skeins of Silk GArden and 3 of LAmb's Pride -- yet but will show it off tomorrow. I pulled a 15% off ticket from the basket at the register, so that helped a bit! It paid for my pal's book, anyway, so I was happy.
It is all I can do NOT to cast on Poppy!! I have a ton of other things to finish up tho, including the Big Ball sweater which is heading down the home stretch.