Tuesday, May 29, 2007

From somber to absolute joy...

Yup, grab your tissues again folks and check out my cousins blog for her account of meeting her new little girl in China. O.M.G. This is so beautiful and special. Here is the blog link -- China Days . (Thanks, Noolie, for alerting me to my error!)
The proud new parents...

And yes, I am well aware this is a knitting and fiber blog, and I assure you, my hands have been deep in yarn -- 16 lbs. dyed this weekend, in fact (yes, my Manchvegas-ites, I recalced! whoa). Pictures and stories tomorrow.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Lucky Ones

Today, in the US, it is Memorial Day. A day for remembering those who have fallen before us in battle. Growing up, my image of a "veteran" was that of an old man, proud and valued, but old, just the same. Someone from "the old days". I never even thought of them as the young men they were (and yes, young women, too) when they answered their countries call. I was so blissfully ignorant. Not so anymore. As many of you lovely readers know, my own lovely boy -- my baby brother -- answered that call and has been serving in Iraq since last July 4th. He -- this 21 year old at the beginning of his life -- is a veteran. A veteran! The depth and magnitude of this title overwhelm me now. And we -- my family and I, and my dear Jason -- are luckier than so many. I have no grave that needs visiting this day. No wreath to place. He is, at this time, and despite seeing heavy action rather continuously, unharmed. I am so thankful for luck. Thankful for Jason's wary good sense. Thankful for the angels watching over him. Thankful to the universe an all in it, and I am equally thankful to those who were not so lucky, for giving all of themselves, and to their families, as well, for the great sacrifice. I never knew.
And while I sit here, tears in my eyes at their sorrow, they are also tears of fearful joy. we received the best news -- Jason's tour will not be extended until August as previously determined, but he will rather leave Iraqi soil on June 22nd, bound first for Texas and then for home. My baby's coming home.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Had to share...

Been busy, busy (oh the shock and disbelief...) but these pictures I took a week or so ago of the trees in my front yard are just too pretty not to share, and since I haven't been getting much knitting or anything else done, a little eye candy is all I can offer.

And for those who may be checking the blog for puppy pictures, little Luke will be going to his new home with Joanne of A Knitter's Garden soon, and his sweet gorgeous, fun, adorable brother is still looking for his forever home...

...how can you resist????

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wonderfully Wooly Weekend

Yup, that's my van. Yup, it's full of wool. 13 bags of unknown poundage, but I am going to attempt to get a reasonable weight on it today. Lots of Romney cross goodness. My good friend Ellen and I took a ride to Hartfield Farm in Newport, NH for a quick visit and to buy them out of last years wool crop. I also walked away with some wonderful roving -- 6lbs of natural white, and 3lbs of deep dark brown -- and fresh farm meat and eggs! As Jessie has mentioned, I want to start taking some personal responsibility (as the budget allows) for where me food comes from, and I would much rather support a small farmer whose pigs live free and happy to wallow in the sun and mud until that fateful day, than some conglomerate whose pigs are stacked three high in cages and force fed crap and horomones until they weigh enough for slaughter. ICK. I can't raise them myself, but I can sure buy from farms.
Back to the wool -- I now need to find a mill. I really, really, really want to use someone local, and very definitely in New England. I'm not entirely sure which direction to go with the processing, either. I'm leaning toward sport weight yarn and some roving. I have silver fleece, white, and brown. Spinners -- do you like to spin the dark brown roving? Am I better off having that processed all into yarn? I love natural colored yarn. The 3lbs of brown roving I purchased is already being spun on the bobbin and I can see a fabulous Aran knit out of this. It isn't the softest fleece, but certainly not the roughest, and i am quite pleased with it. I think it will make a wonderful sturdy yarn. I'll certainly give socks a go from it as well. And this is part of my quandry -- I don't mind hand-wash socks for myself. I take them in the shower with me to wash (I use shampoo), and hang them to dry. Are there those of you out there who will knit nice sturdy boot socks with a non-superwash yarn? In the event that not too many will, I thought a sport weight would still be good for sweaters. HELP! This is a new venture for me, but one I really hope to be successful and to do again and again, so any input is truly welcome.
Ellen and I had great fun exploring the farm, which abounded with free range chickens (7 roosters and their harems!), some expecting pygmy goats, and the wonderful sheep. Here is a pensively curious ewe...

and a sweet little ram named Cocoa (in the middle) that the farmer would love to keep, but she needs a non related ram for new lambs. Ellen commented that he would fit quite nicely in the van.
In knitting new, I did start the Sunflower dress for Grace, and I LOVE the look of this yarn, but I only have about 1 1/2 inches so far, so pictures can wait. Also, I have discovered that I am FAR behind in my Wicked knit-a-long with Diane; she has begun the body decreases and I am still at the armpits. who knows if I'll catch up -- I feel icky-nasty-sniffly sick today and was laid up all day yesterday. Didn't even have the energy to lift the needles. Sad.
Oh well, off to the PO and to research more and more mills. Have a great day!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

So Much to Say; So Much to DO.. and NH S&W

***To all my friends -- I'll add hyper-links later, but for now, I have taken enough time to write this dissertation and must MOVE ALONG!!***
Ok, you may want to go get some coffee, and nice snack, make sure the kids are well situated, b/c this is gonna be a Looong one.
Firstly, Saturday was the best possible day I could have imagined at NH Sheep and Wool. What a beautiful day! Sunny, warm but not hot, with just enough of a breeze to keep pesky bugs away. This was not at all a crowded event and the atmosphere was just fantastic -- friendly, peaceful, enthusiastic. I never cease to be amazed at the sharing nature of the fiber community, more interested in imparting knowledge, sharing creativity, and appreciating the talents of others than the members are of their own personal gain. I have never been involved in any organization or activity in which peope are so ego-free. (Of course, there may be the rare exception, but to my notice, they are not well tolerated, and often don't stick around long.) I was thrilled to see and visit with so many blogger and fiber friends...Julia, Cheryl, Theresa, a slew of Island Pond Spinners, the most awesome Amy and her family (could her daughters BE any more gorgeous??), my Manchvegas Peeps -- Ericka and Chris, Gina, Jackie, Lauren, Melissa (with friend and daughter), Amanda, Gigi, and, and, omg, I'm sure I am forgetting someone! Of course there was also Joanne and Marlena, who I drove to the fair and my own lovely oh-so-well-behaved children. I hadn't anticipted bringing them, but hubby got called out to work, and I am so glad they came. They really enjoyed the sights, esp. the sheep dog trials and watching Jeff Jordan shear a sheep. And we got to cover the whole festival, take in the sights, and then when daddy came to pick them up I was able to do some serious shopping without boring the heck out of the poor things.
Now, about that shopping. oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I was a bad girl. Not quite as bad a girl as I wanted to be as hubby nixed the idea of bringing home a sweet little black german hybrid angora boy for Lilah. For some reason he feels we have enough animals in the house to deal with (see the past month of posts) -- silly man. So, I had to relegate myself to items inanimate. NO YARN. Shock, I know. And I only purchased 2 varieties of fiber! I got two more batts of Crosspatch Creations in the Tammany's Prize colorway to give me a full pound for Clapotis, and some fabulous black alpaca from Sallie Fenn Alpaca's (yarn and fiber can be found locally at A Knitter's Garden, as well -- I never knew!). This is the same small farm fiber producer from which the natural cinnamon brown fiber I used first on Izzy came. I am not sure if this will be spun as a uber thin two-ply or a lace weight single, but I think it will be destined for some sort of lacy stole. I'm not a triangular shawl kinda gal -- too short and stumpy -- but I definitely can see myself in a nice black lace wrap (and who knows -- maybe hubby will get to see me in just that! oops...is this still a family show??)
I had been determined to come home with a fleece, but at each lovely I saw, I reminded myself of the 4lbs of lambswool I still have yet to wash and process, and the farm to which I will be going this following weekend to buy it out of Romney fleece. Kinda didn't need any! But what I DID need was a drum carder. Meet my new friend...

...a Strauch Petite Drum Carder. I so heart this little guy. I heart it muchly. It is dangerously addicting, and I have done some serious stash diving for all fiber unwanted, unappreciated, maybe-this-was-a-tad-bit-too-felted-after-dyeing (although in reality, probably not), found some angelina Gina had gifted me, and of course, left over BUNNY fiber and went a-crankin'. O. M. G. I love fiber batts! And these are all sooo girly. Glitzy, glittery sparkle in fabulous puffy clouds of color. Oh yeah, there will be so much more of this. The damage thus far?

From there, I have been working steadily on getting orders dye and compiled. I am thrilled to announce that my yarn will soon be offered in The Yarn Sellar in York, ME and that I am also shipping an order of kits and bags out to Woolgirl.com. I'm putting a few together for Sereknity as well, and hope to have those up soon along with a number of other bags. My amazing seamstress Kendra has come through once again with bag assembly and I am entirely indebted to her FOR LIFE. Free yarn FOREVER for her! I'll also be shipping yarn, bags, markers and fiber to One Planet and The Urban Knit, so keep checking their sites for updates. (But the batts stay with me!! hehehe)
I also dyed up a new colorway (in Falkland superwash) that I just adore. I am calling it Mystic Mountain, and have already reserved a skein for myself...

I was going to knit RibZagger socks in this skein, but I don't think I want anything quite so textured as I want them to show off the color and knit quickly. Maybe just stockinette with a simple cable? Any suggestions would be welcome.
Knitting? Ummmm, not so much. Been way to busy and crazy distracted. It is probably a very good thing that I haven't had time for this tho as when I am this crazy, I get nasty startitis. It makes no sense, I know, to start NEW things when I have so my unfinished projects, but I think when I look at a sweater or a lace sock (that still needs a match cast-on AFTER the first is finished) the unfinished is too overwhelming and the greener-yarn-on-the-other-side-of-the-stash looks so much more appealing. I do have some knitting related (a stretch, to be sure, but I can make the connection) BIG FAMILY NEWS. My cousin will soon be cuddling her new adopted daughter!! Meet Grace Marie Tierney...

And the knitting? I have selected this pattern and the lovely deep aqua GGH Goby yarn to knit as a welcome home for my new little "niece"/cousin. (The white is some Rowan Calmer I scored on a clearance table that will prob be a sweet little top from the new Interweave.)

I did do a bit of spinning over the past few weeks. I started the Tammany's Prize fiber and I am spinning this as a dk-ish single. I really like how it is coming out, although it is a bit overtwisted. I think Clapotis can handle some bias, tho, so I'm not too worried. I also on a whim spun up the lovely pick sparkle fiber I got from HollyEQQ. This is soo soft, and will probably become another Lacy Rib Hat for Rachel.

I also made a feeble attempt at a beaded yarn. Didn't like it -- it came out like crap and was a pain in the butt to do. Maybe another day, when I have more time and experience, but for now, I'm done.

Lastly, as a teaser, I just ordered up some laceweight cashmere and Zephyr wool silk for dyeing. Such lusciousness. Oh, the possibilities!
OK -- I release you now -- back to work for me. Wonder if I will actually get to shower today?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Just a quickie (down boy! not THAT kind...)

ok -- still workin' and dyeing today for orders, but to answer a few questions, no, those little bundles of adorableness will NOT be living with me forever (sadly) but are my new foster puppies, and are up for adoption. They are mutts of the most wonderful variety -- some sort of lab mix, sweet, playful, smart, and snuggly. We have no true idea of their parentage as they were dumped w/o mommy not even weaned, but they are doing great!
As for this past weekend, I went to the NH Sheep and Wool an had the most wonderful time and spent FAR too much money, and saw many, many, wonderful friends. I'll give a full report tomorrow. I did get a few yarns up on etsy and fibers in the Sereknity.com shop, but they are actually selling out fast, so be sure to take a peek!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Do you ever...

...fail to realize that time is a finite being and that there is a sad reality in it's definitiveness? I tend to view my days in terms of a Hefty garbage bag into which I can stuff and Stuff and STUFF work and puppies and kids and activities and it will stretch to accomodate my copious needs. Sadly, it is more of a steel vault that soundly slams and locks its door when it is quite done with me. And my brain is aware of this, somewhere in it's deepest darkest recesses. It merely has not yet accepted this.
And thus, I apologize for the lack of shop updates. So shoot me. They are coming. Eventually. Today, I hope.
Since time is ticking, I will only leave you with picks of cuteness so searing you may have to visit the eye doctor.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Meet Coco

Isn't this supposed to be a knitting blog?!?!?!?
Yes, it is, and I'll get to that -- I promise! But first a puppy update.
Yes, same dog, new name. She already has a home! She is being adopted by my ever so wonderful and loving and dog yearning brother-in-law who took one look and fell IN LOVE. And who couldn't, seriously? And I'll still get to see her! YAY! Unfortunately, since Massachusetts is the land of red-tape and regulations, before she can go live with them she has to spend 48 hours in a quarantine facility. I really hope it doesn't set her back in either house-training or abandonment issues -- she has settled in and down so well -- but I know her new family will be so wonderful she will bounce back quickly. I do wonder if she and Tashi will miss each other, but thankfully there will be playdates.

As for life with puppy? Well, she likes fiber. And yarn. And knitted things. She likes them this much.

The casualties have been few, however. A few tufts of fiber from my living room stash, a grab or two at knitted objects as they emerge from the knitting bag, but no harm, and a skein of yarn my daughter saved in the knick of time. Not bad. And she is going to a non-fiber-loving home, so as long as the dolls and stuffies and bunnies stay safely out of reach, well...hey, that's their problem, right?? ;) (Just kidding, Sinead! lol)
So, been dyeing like a fiend, and will be taking lots of pics today for an etsy and Sereknity update. The yarn will def. be at etsy, but I'm going to update the web-site with the fiber, or most of it. As the yarn on the web-site is dye-to-order, I'll probably continue to list the one-of's at etsy for immediate purchase, at least 'til people find the web-site. I do have to reserve some for a wholesale order or 3, but I have lots more to dye over the next week or two so fear not! A few pics to pique your interest...

Also, a little give away. As you might imagine, My patience is being spread to a fair number areas in my life, thus, fighting with and unruly skein of yarn is NOT something I wish to squander my time and patience on. If, however, you were graced with an unending supply of that particular virtue, and you are the first to e-mail me at hjspellman@hotmail.com I will send you -- free of charge -- this lovely colored newly dyed EIGHT OUNCE skein of superwash merino sport in Belladonna...

As you can see. I didn't get too far before patience ran out. Have at it!
(**** Lora was quick to e-mail for this, so she is the lucky winner. Have fun, kiddo!***)
Knitting has been uneventful -- I am about done with the Lilac sock heel flap , Poppy is crawling along in stockinette (not exactly exciting picture fodder), and I have halted Wicked until Diane reaches the same point -- where we need to start the sleeves. Spinning, however, is where the excitement is at! Not only have I had fun playing on my wonderful Izzy, but I have a new addition!

This is my new Louet S17, In pieces, being stained and poly-ed on my front porch (the wind was attrocious today, and I almost gave up as the darn drop cloth kept ballooning up and waving around, and one support was even blown off the porch, onto the ground, receiving a tiny chip. I was detemined to have it spin-ready tho, so here she is in all her bargain-purhase glory...

Loving it! Spins great, and I am so glad I decided to finish the wood prior to assembly. As anxious as I was to get started, I knew I would regret not taking the time later, and to look at her now, she certainly doesn't represent as the $295 bargain wheel she is. And now I have a great wheel for all sorts of yarns, travel, and PLYING ON NICE BIG BOBBINS. sigh All is good. In fact, I'm going to go spin now. ciao!