Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wicked Awesome Vacation

Yup, been away in Maine, and yup, I FINISHED THE WICKED SWEATER!

I am mostly pleased with the sweater. I knit it at a slightly smaller gauge since I was knitting with a cotton blend rather than the wool recommended and I was hoping to avoid sag, and this worked out well. I used Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Blush, and I can't for the life of me remember how many balls I used. I knit this based on the directions for the 40-43 inch bust, adding in the waist decreases and increases, but I did not take into account the notion of negative ease. I never truly understood this, but I recently started receiving e-mails from Knitting Daily, an Interweave publication, and the author, Sandi Wiseheart, described her own battle with negative ease, and the tendency for many of us to think of ourselves as larger than we are. I definitely did in this case. I am finding that even when I buy tops in the store, I tend to get a large 12/14 size, and they hang on me and make me look worse than my slightly overweight frame truly is. Just 'cause my behind is big doesn't mean the rest of me is! So, the next time I knit this -- and I will knit it again, in navy wool as a long sleeve -- I will definitely go down a size. As it stands, it is wearable, and will work nicely with a top underneath for fall as well.
I brought a few other projects with me, including the spinning wheel, and worked on them sporadically, but got no other FO's. My Nightshade/Romney yarn is nearly done and I hope to blog that tomorrow, as is the Sunflower dress for Gracie. I didn't even touch the design sock, sighting lack of concentration, but I did at least turn the heel on a basic handspun sock for Rachel. It is a little tough to design, do math, take notes, and work a patterned stitch when watching at times 5 children swim in a lake, ya know?
FIVE kids you ask? Well, yes. We go camping often with my good friend Amy and her 3 children ("cousin" to my kids) and we all look forward to these trips all year long. The kids have such a wonderful time together, I get to be with one of my dearest friends, and the memories we are all building just makes this mommy's heart swell. I wouldn't give it up for ANYTHING.

I'm hoping to come up with a few new colorways representative of the area, too. I discovered that the mom/daughter team of owners are knitters and Beth, the daughter, even wants to learn to spin when we head back in August! I'll have to bring them some nice fibery treats.

We (Amy, her mom and hubby, and I) were also honored by a mother duck who seemingly entrusted her brood to our care while she took off for about 1/2 an hour. The little buggers wandered up the beach and settled in near our chairs (and feet!) and had a lovely nap. Guess mommy knew suckers when she saw them, huh? Glad we could give the poor girl a break.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I won?!?!

What a great surprise I got today! I didn't even remember purchasing raffle tickets from Homestead Wool and the Ryan Family Sheep as a breast cancer fund-raiser. In fact, I never even thought about winning, I just wanted to help, and then BAM! my door is this wonderful prize! Two handmade drop spindles, one top whorl and one bottom whorl, made byMa and Pa's Spindles, a lovely bit of Rambouillet (Curly's Sue's, don't you know), and a Crazy Quilt Batt of Cheviot, Shetland and more.

Lucky me, huh? I have even been having the yearnings for a new spindle, even tho I am a confirmed wheel spinner, so I had to try the bottom whorl out right away. I'm a bit out of practice, but inspired by the lovely finish, I do this I'll keep at it.
I've been feverishly plugging away at orders as next week will be a vacation week for the fam, and am just about done dyeing. I think I'll hold off on most of my updates until we get back, to avoid any misunderstanding inregards to shipping. I plan to bring the Louet wheel with me, tho, and hope to get some serious knitting done.
Wicked is a must finish for this trip, as is Grace's Sunflower dress (she arrives in the states on the 27th! squee!) I finally divided for the body last night, so the picture is now worth looking at...

A note on this yarn (On-line Goby)-- while lovely and shiny, and a GORGEOUS deep color that i just can't capture here, this yarn is attrocious! I have never knit with a yarn with so many knots. I could deal with the slightly splitty nature of the rayon plied with the cotton, but every so many yards, there is a knot tying broken plies together. WHAT A PIA. I got so sick of having to start new ends, and knit back to where the join would be least likely to show, that I began knitting the darn knots in, and I'll go back and pull them through and tack them down w/ a bit of sewing thread if I have to. Seriously, EVERY ball had this problem, and the last on had -- no lie -- FIVE.
Also on the docket are a few socks -- always have a few socks. I would bring the Clapotis yarn, but I may get too distracted by it and neglect the socks, so home it stays.
A few must have patterns for y'all...
I recently purchased two varieties of critter patterns from this etsy seller, Crafty Alien. I got the SWAT Team Kitties and the Backyard Critters. MUST. KNIT. HEDGEHOG. Are they not the cutest things ever??

I also could not resist this AMAZING bag...

O. M. G. To die for. Can I really knit something that beautiful?? We shall see.
Buy the pattern here. Seriously, all I can say is WOW.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Neglected

So much has been going on, and I seem to find so little time to blog. The bummer is, a lot of the items I have missed really deserve their own entries, but some pics and blurbs will have to suffice. In no particular order...
The little boy graduated Kindergarten (minus two front teeth)...

The yarn for Clapotis was spun -- 1lb of Crosspatch Creations Tammany's Prize Batts -- and I can't wait to cast on, but I have 3 important WIPs to finish first -- Wicked, Minnowknits Sunflower Sundress for Gracie (who will be arriving in the States on June 27th! squeee!), and the Sereknity design sock. I do love how this yarn came out.

It is single spun with a bit of a rustic texture, but such a wonderful array of colors and some great shine. I think I will love this wrap.
Rachel's Spicebush butterfly finally emerged from its chrysalis.

There was some tears and some joy at its release, but what a beautiful creature. It was so happy to be free it took off right to the top of our huge backyard maple too soon for a picture, but here is an internet image of what she looked like. Rachel named her Swallow.

We also have a family living in our front farmers porch. Sadly, I am a bit too short to get a pic inside the nest, but I'll get hubby to help us out there soon. I believe we now have chicks. From what I could gleam from the good old intarweb, they are Eastern Phoebe's. It always feels like such a compliment to me when an animal deems my home a safe and peaceful place to dwell.
On that note, I have become rather fond of my front porch myself. This has become my favorite spinning spot.

My view...

On the wheel is Spunky Amy's Nightshade from the Spunky Club. I plan to ply it will the natural chocolate brown romney cross I got from the farm last month and make some nice big boot socks. I love how this yarn knits up, and I think I'll get a similar effect.
I also treated myself to a little bling. I found this wonderful seller on etsy, Ling Glass, and her pieces are amazing! This one was called Serenity, so of course it was a must have!

I also could not resist this lovely little blue number...

The workmanship is amazing, and the seller a doll and great with communication, a very important point, as the items are coming from Singapore. That said, they shipped rather quickly considering.
And of course, the blog would not be complete without a few random shots of my kids...

(Hey! What's he doing there! )

(and her, too!)
And the promised pic of Rachel's garden, still in progress...

ALSO, there have been some updates to the etsy shop, but I still need to do so many more. They have been having some major issues over there this past weekend, so a lot of items are not showing up in the search for DAYS. As such, I am waiting to list a whole slew of batts, rovings, and bags until the issues are settled. I will be putting items -- including kits -- over at however, and you can always go to,, and to see what they have in stock.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


When we last saw our heroine, she was surrounded by 17 bags of stinky sheeps wool, desperate to decipher the code behind the evil Vegetations riddle of "too much veggie matter"...what does this mean? Who can save her? Will the wool survive???

Not so much.
I filled two 30 gallon trash barrels full to overflowing with nasty wool, and kept looking from the fleeces on the ground to that in the buckets and thinking, "is there really that much difference?" Sadly, there wasn't. Of the 17 fleeces, only 4 were usable upon inspection of a knowledgeable eye, that of Diane at Oasis Farm, where the fiber will be processed into roving. Good Karma was still obtained by all, however, as the wonderful owner of Good Karma Farm, who saw me struggling to carry NINE bags of fleece across the fair grounds by my little self (now THAT was a site to see! But as I mentioned to a passerby crossing the street w/ me, if I had been struck by a car I would have been well protected!!)came to my rescue and, as I mentioned the wool would not be suitable for my uses, he declared it could be put to great use as a learning tool in his new mill! Fabu! I didn't have to drive the rest of the stinky lot home and bring it to the dump.
So what else did I do with my wonderful day? SHOP. I had the delightful company of Joanne, and we cruised every building and booth about 3 times, spent copious amounts of money, visited with the animals, were later joined by Ericka and Chris, popped in on the fabulous Amy of Spunky Eclectic and saw her new wheel (seriously, this thing is too beautiful for words -- and that lazy kate! omg), and later ran into some fellow blogger friends, Cheryl and Teresa, while stopping for a gnosh from a wonderful Fallafel cart. (I got an amazing chicken/cucumber wrap. YUM.)
A few lunch buddies...

a few animals...

my haul (columbia/finn, camel -- I've already dyed some, llama, alpaca, some super cool buttons and beads not in pic)...

and from Spunky...

From there we went to Indigo Moon Farm and saw MaryLynn who is sadly (for us!) closing down her business to pursue a medical career. I managed some small restraint and didn't buy EVERYTHING but did come away with a ton of fiber for making batts, a fantastic 3lb cone of a very interesting rustic wool silk for dyeing, and for me, 2 ounces of caaaasssssshhhhmeeeerreee. mmmmm.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Gotta Love this...

Got this over at Lora's blog. Too cool.

My pirate name is:

Red Ethel Rackham

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A foray to Maine, and love to my baby girl .. and , significant knitting

But I have yarn! Yarn counts for something doesn't it???? I am only just now able to uncover my poor little laptop from the mounds of yarn it has been under for the past week; THAT is how much yarn I have! With some luck, I'll get to kickboxing tomorrow and then spend the rest of the day taking photos for etsy and -- if we have ANY sun -- skirting a few fleeces.
So what HAVE I been doing? Well, aside from replacing BOTH of our vehicles (oh yeah, good times) wrangling puppies and yarn dyeing, I got to take a trip out to see Julie Noolie at her local yarn shop The Yarn Sellar on Chicks with Sticks night. The occasion? I was delivering my first order of yarn to the wonderful Patti and Roger, the proprietors of that wonderful store! my dear friend Lora came along for the drive and to see our dear new friends-in-knitting. We had a great time and I am so jealous that Lora got to hang with them all again and one of my other most favorite people and a great inspiration, the amazing Amy Boogie of Spunky Eclectic, this past weekend. More on why I couldn't do THAT later.
Some pics from our night...

Patti, Julie, holding Splinter, knit by Lora inspired by our first Yarn Sellar trip, and Lora, the knittah herself, and

My yarn, already on display in a basket by the register! YAY!
I also just shipped out a ton of bags and kits to Woolgirl and bags and yarn to One Planet Yarn and Fiber. The kits hat went to Woolgirl in particular are AWESOME. OMG, I wanted to keep them all for myself! I should have a couple to post in the Sereknity shop as well -- I have a Seriously Citrus kit done and a Watermelon. Soon. Very soon. But check Woolgirl -- she'll have them sooner, and One Planet got 6 bags, 2 spindle bags, and 8 colorways, if your lookin'.
The knitting? Pluggin' away still on all of my WIPs -- Wicked it at a crawl, but still in the active pile. Almost at the body decreases. I know, pathetic -- I've only done a few rows since the last report. But I have my reasons! When I have had time to knit I have been obsessed with knitting Grace's sundress. The color is just so amazing, and the sheen on the Goby is fabulous. I stop every few rows to flatten out the fabric and just LOOK at it. I tried to get a good pic, but they just don't do the yarn and color ANY justice. So purty. Also active is the sock pattern I am working on that I mentioned ages ago. I stalled as I had simply reworked the stitch pattern as I went along, instead of ripping back, so I could see what I liked best, so the original, well, looked like ass. AND the yarn pooled in ways tht I just couldn't deal with thanks to the ever changing pattern issue, which altered gauge and just mae everything ALL wonky. SO, I started sock #2 in the "real" pattern and I am very happy with it! Also a new thing for me, I'll be writing this one with an afterthought heel since I wear through mine so quickly. I have a few minor math issues to work out on the heel and toe decreases (does it matter if you have an odd numbered stitch count? seriously? will this mess people up?) but then it will be ready. I haven't figured out where I want it either -- free on Sereknity w/purchase, simple free on the blog...dunno. UG. I hate decisions. It has taken me a while, tho, for this one, so I'm kinda thinking I want it in the store. Here is a glimpse...

And life? Well, my reason for NOT going to see the wonderful Amy with all my friends, is my #1 reason for everything -- my baby girl, who turned 8 on the 3rd. EIGHT!!!! What IS that?!?!?! I'd be freaking out if she wasn't growing up so beautifully. (and yes, the little boy is tied for #1, as well.) We had a great family party with the in-laws on Saturday, and then my mom and Amber (the bro's GF and future auntie) came for a visit Sunday and my mom gave Rachel the best gift of all -- the gift of time. She helped us start a rock garden (I'm all black thumbs), gave Rachel her own gardening tools, and some flowers. Talk about a lasting gift. I'll try to get some pics of Rachel in her garden tomorrow -- I was too busy digging and the hands were too dirty to take pics on Sunday! (Yeah, you caught me, I just forgot.)