Saturday, September 29, 2007

Secret Stash Exchange -- Hey, pal!

Well, SOMEHOW I missed the e-mail from this swap detailing my match and that the game was on, but I have all the info now, so here goes! Pal, I am glad you posted and were persistent in communicating -- I would never have known.

My questionaire:

1) When is you birthday? Aug. 16
2) How long have you been spinning? Roughly one year.
3) How long have you been blending your fibers? Since NH Sheep and Wool this year, when I got my Schact Petite Drum Carder
4) What types of blends do you like to make and spin? ANYTHING, but esp. something textured with silk, that makes interesting singles
5) What types of fibers do you NOT like? Are you allergic to any kinds of fiber? I have yet to meet a fiber that I don't like - no allegies, thank goodness
6) What are your favorite colors? I'm pretty easy to please here -- I have a hefty love of reds and warm clors, but am equally drawn to cool blues and purples -- and natural colors straight from the animal? amazing. Pretty much, I love 'em all.
7) What are you least favorite colors? none -- but I can't wear yellows, even tho I love them for themselves
8) What type of yarns do you like to spin? (singles, plied, novelty, fingering, bulky, ect.) I mostly spin 2 ply and singles, but love to experiment hen I have time (hehehe -- can you box some of THAT up and send it??)
9) What type of blending equipment do you use? my itty-bitty drum carder
10) What type of wheel or spindle do you spin on? I have an antique flax wheel of unknown origin that spins a seriously fine yarn, and a workhorse Louet S17 that does it all and travels well. Most of my spinning is done on the Louie these days
11) What do you do with your handspun yarn? I actually knit with it!
12) What are your interests outside of spinning? I'm a dyer and knitter, I have 2 kiddos, 2 dogs, 4 cats and my beautiful little angora bunny -- who does sort of play into the spinning thing ;)
13) What types of music do you like? lots, mostly popular music, "mainstream" country, 60's, 70's 80's -- you know, a smattering -- I can appreciate artistry in all forms, really, but don't seek it out -- not an efficionado
14) What types of movies do you like? I love me a good drama
15) Do you collect anything? not avidly, but I do have a thing for sheep, llamas, hedgehogs, and frogs
16) What types of candy and snacks do you like and dislike? again -- easy to please. Chocolate ALWAYS works, but I like fruity and nutty things, too. Oh, and CHEESE. I mostly subsist on cheese and crackers.
17) Do you have any food allergies to common "goodies"? (ie: chocolate, nuts, etc.)NONE!

SO thank you, pal of mine. Hope to get to know you better soon!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Catchin' up

YIKES! I didn't realize it had been over a week since my last post. As always, busy, busy, busy here. Mostly the normal kid/school/family stuff and I am a bit frustrated on the business side as one supplier has really let me down and either BOed a lot of product, or sent me sub-standard yarn (so I'm not sure how much I do still want to work with them) and I am setting up a new contract with one of my existing suppliers, but that is taking some time, so the gist of it is, I HAVE NOTHING TO DYE!! I have a few random skeins that I got dyed last week that are being listed in the Etsy shop (see side bar) but that is about it for this week. I did manage to pick up some local fiber (story below) that I will be washing, dyeing, and carding this week for some amazingly glorious batts, but again, slow going.
Another item going up in the shop today (finally!) is the felted soap kits which are a combination of carded Sereknity fibers and Down to Hearth amazing homemade soaps and all the instructions needed to make this fun project.

They are great! I have been using some of these felted bars in the shower myself, and I just love them. They are so less messy than regular bar soaps, last longer than those darn body washes, are all nautral, fragrant, creamy (awesome for shaving!), and the felted wool casing is super exfolliating. FABULOUS. I figure these would be great gifts, whether you felt the soaps and tie them up with a nice ribbon for the gift, or give the kit itself to someone crafty. Ericka's soaps really are to die for, and they smell soooooo good.

I am happy to say that I took a trip to Knit Pickings in Plaistow, NH and met with Sue, the wonderful owner there, and she has decided to carry both Sereknity yarns and rovings -- oh! and sock bags and needle felting fibers as well. I'm very excited about this, and as soon as MY yarn and fiber order comes in (grrrr), I'll get some product out to her.
Also, on Saturday, I took a little trip out to Parker River Alpacas to meet with the Newburyport Spinners there for a Spin-in. It was sooo nice! I'm horrible about remembering to take pictures, although I did snap a few.

Cheryl and Chris were both there, and you can read a bit more and see some other pics there. "Alpaca Kathy" e-mailed me an invite, and suggested I bring some of my goodies in case anyone was in a shopping mood, so I packed up what meager stock I had from which Chris found herself a nice mound of Superwash merino to play with, and Cheryl and Kathy both picked out some fibers to have some fun with in the drum carder. Me? I got some 1.5 lbs of alpaca fleece to play with. YAY! Look at the wonderful variation in this...

This is from Saki, a grey alpaca with some wonderful black spots. Kathy informed me that alpaca are not truly grey, but rather more tweedy, like a roan horse, their coloring being made up of a mix of individually colored hairs. Should make for some very interesting dyeing. I also got some white fleece from a little girl named Sugar Baby. I'm going to use some of Lilah's fur in with this alpaca for batts, just trying to think of the colors I want to dye, but alpaca and angora? OH. MY.
Other than the human company, the most enchanting part of the day was sitting there in the yard, spinning, and having these lovely, gentle creatures just wander up to see what we were doing. They didn't necessarily want me to reach out and touch them, but some were curious and comfortable enough to come quite close. Love those little buggers! (Oh man do I want one! "One" meaning a herd, mind you.)
To finish off the weekend, I went into Boston to participate with the rest of the Spun and Run team in the Komen Walk for the Cure. As a team we raised $2500! I raised $300 in just the few weeks since joining and posting, SO THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH TO ALL WHO DONATED. My mom was thrilled. I didn't run, although Cheryl and Terry did, but I did get to walk with and meet Martha, Carole (and her hubby, Dale), Manise, Kathy (whom I had had the pleasure of meeting before).

Kathy, Carole, and Martha are pictured here. What a great group of folk, and the walk flew by. I especially had a great time talking Manise's ear off -- I bet she'll run screaming when she sees me in the future! ;) It was a gorgeous day full of super positive energy. And don't let Cheryl fool you -- she hit her desired time just fine, but the start out of the "gate" was so slow due to the volume of people that the official clock has her timed a bit incorrectly. She did great! Kudos to her, Terry, her daughter and her brother in law for NOT taking the easy way out!
And to end this so very long post, a few ubiquitous shots of me, in the mini cardi, in the bathroom mirror. I do love it. MUST work with this yarn again.

Monday, September 17, 2007


and ooo how I lurv it. I was struck with the desperate need (not obsession, dear hubby, but NEED -- knitters, you understand) to cast on the Anthropologie Inspired capelet in the simply fantastic Cascade Venezia (70% merino/ 30% silk) that had been drifting about the stash since Spa earlier this year. I had bought it from a clearance bin, figuring it would make a lovely gift, if nothing else, but NO! It is mine! I just loved working with it. The result?

I elongated the pattern a bit and added a few stitches to the cast on to be sure it would fit, and not be too tight at the neck. Once I had worked through my second ball, I finished the sleeves in the 3rd, and then knit the body until I was afraid I wouldn't have enough to finish the ribbing. I needn't have worried, as I was able to double the length of ribbing, which I am glad for -- it made the back a bit more attractive than the shorter length. I did not want this ending at the largest (read as WIDEST) part of my back, so this came out a bit better. I'll have modeled shots soon, once the ends are woven and it is blocked. It is amazingly cozy and warm, and I can see it getting plenty of wear this fall.
I also did a bit of reconstruction this morning on the Boy's Wallaby that I had finished last summer. Unfortunately, I hadn't decreased the shoulders enough, so he had a major flash-dance thing going on whenever he wore it, and thusly DID NOT wear it. I ripped it back to the neckline (due to a yarn shortage, I had omitted the hood and just did a nice ribbed collar), added about 5 or six more decrease rounds, and now it really looks like a neck. I think he will be happy.

The additional bonus to doing this it that the arms should have increased in length a bit, which will be helpful a full year after it was originally knit. Kids grow fast, you know?
Last week was spent very much on the road, and doing lots of worky-worky things. Chewie and I took a drive to Springfield to the location of the "Big E" to deliver some items to the NH general store. I didn't get nearly what I wanted done to bring (some of my yarn has been on backorder, and the supplier really let me down on delivery, but I guess that's just a-day-in-the-life of a small business) but I did manage to bring a few sock bags, kits, hat kits and my favorite, Felt-your-own-soap kits with carded fiber and Down to Hearth Soap. The girls at the store were very intrigued by these and set them up on the shelf right away (see them in the photo?), so here's hoping!

I reserved a few for the Etsy shop, but I have to get some photos done before I can post. I did a little Kinnearing of Mr. Chewie on the ride down -- he's just too cute!

He wasn't all that thrilled with spending his day in the car, but better there than at home where his puppiness would have been in full unchecked force. I for one was happy for the company.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A little story about my mom...

****Warning: Not a stitch of Knitting content. You know that personal stuff I don't normally get into? Well, today, I am, and for a very good cause.****

So let me tell you about my mom. Those who know me well still get confused when I say "my mom" as to who the hell I am talking about. You see, I am a very lucky girl. I have had two mothers in my life who have loved me. My "first" mother, my birth mother, Linda, died when I was only 22 months old, and I never got to know her (the one great hole in my life) but I have always know her love and her presence. My family has been very sure to keep her alive for me as best they could. My "other" mother is Deanna, the woman who met my father when I was 10, fell in love with my brother and I, and chose to be my mother. Not my step-mother (I have never heard her utter those words) but my "mom". My everything. And lest you think she tried to drown out the memory of my mother in some self-serving ploy for love -- NO WAY. From the day she married my father, she would tend my mother's grave out of respect for the woman who gave Scott and I to her. She cried on my wedding day because my other mother, Linda, deserved to be there and she felt that loss for her. (Oh yeah -- you know that wedding dress from a few entries back? She made that.) Yes, I am very much one of the lucky ones.
A few years ago, I got one of those "phone calls you never want to get". My mom had a lump in her breast. I can't even explain the fear I felt that day. The universe had already taken one mother from me, and I'd be damned if it took her! We went to the appointments, discussed the treatments, she had her surgery, stayed the course, and THEY GOT IT. She had found the offending mass early, it was attacked aggressively, and she made it through. And yes, she is still religious about her checks and appointments, her diet, everything. She is truly a survivor, and I admire her all the more today.
The reason I am telling you all this, is not to say that our story is extraordinary, but rather all too ordinary. So many families get that fateful call, and many are not nearly as fortunate as we were. In my mother's honor, I have joined the Spun and Run team (you can read more at Cheryl's blog) to raise money in the Race for the Cure. We will be walking (or running) on her birthday, Sept. 23rd. I know we will most likely never see the end of cancer in my lifetime, but if the fear and foreboding can be taken away from a few families by a couple hours spent with friends and a few dollars of pocket change, how can we say no? Won't you help me? Click this link to donate if you can, and if not, send some good vibes into the cosmos for my mom and all the others. Thanks you all so much.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Apparently, it's just me...

I was the only one unable to get on my site -- something with the IP address. Go figure!

So I tried my hand at needle felting. I have A TON of medium grade wool -- a Romney cross -- that isn't exactly you luxury type spinning wool, and Romney isn't the best for wet felting. It is OK for my general use, but I think when folks want to buy hand painted wool, they want the soft sumptuous stuff. I use this wool in some of my blends, but I don't like it to dominate, just add some texture. So what to do with the many many many pounds? Well, now I know I can dye it up and make some needle felting packs. It worked great! Here is my first critter...

Rachel has already confiscated the little bun bun. i had initially thought to try to needle felt some of Lilah's fur onto the surface, but opted against it -- I like how this looks.

I have officially put MS3 to bed -- not going to push myself on it. I just wasn't feeling it, as beautiful as the pattern may be. I did pic Poppy back up, tho, and am determined to finish a few more WIPS (at LEAST a sock and Rachel's mittens) b4 I cast on the Hemp skirt. It is tough tho! It is calling me!

Website issues

For some reason, has been off-line for a few days now. I have been trying to contact the host to figure out the issue, but in the meantime, please know that I haven't dismantled the site! We'll be back soon, and with a web-site up-date, too. If you placed an order, and didn't receive an e-mail, this is why -- I can't even get into the e-mail right now, but I will contact you as soon as all is right with the world again. Of course, you can always reach me on the blog, at, and in the etsy shop (see side bar). Thanks! Heather

While waiting for the site to return, have fun with this quiz (I got it at Kathy's blog)
From Blue Pyramid, the Book Quiz.

You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Rachel, a girl's lacy rib hat with a pretty picot edge

This pattern is worked from the bottom up, starting with the picot edge and was designed to fit a small child (3-5) or older child (6-10). Stitches from the cast-on edge will be worked into the picot edge leaving virtually no finishing to be done. This is a fairly quick and easy knit. Skills needed are familiarity with circular knitting, yarn-overs, and decreasing.

1 ball Sereknity Hand Painted Worsted Weight Superwash Merino, 200yds, 4oz
12” Addi Turbo circular needles, size 6US
One stitch marker

Gauge: 22 stitches and 34 rows over 4 inches in pattern stitch

Definitions: K2Tog = knit two stitches together
Skp=Slip the first stitch (knitwise) to the righthand needle, knit the next stitch, then slip the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch and off the needle. Decreases one stitch.

M1 = Lift bar from the previous row and knit into the back of the loop.
Loosely cast-on (80)90 stitches (use a larger size needle if necessary to keep your stitches loose. I used the long tail cast-on.) Place marker, and join in the round, being careful not to twist.

Rows 1-3: Knit.
Row 4: *K2tog, yo, repeat from * to the end.
Rows 5-7: Knit.
Row 8: Fold work under at YO row and begin knitting, knitting both the stitch on the left hand needle and the first stitch form the cast on edge together at the same time. Knit all stitches on the needle and cast-on edge together in this manner.

Row 9: Knit (If making the small size, M1 at the beginning of the row to increase the stitch count to 81.)

Begin Lacy Rib Pattern stitch as follows:
Row 1: *k2, p, k2, p, yo, skp, p, repeat from * to the end
Row 2: *K5, p, k2, p, repeat from * to the end
Row 3: *k2, p, k2, p, k2tog, yo, p, repeat from * to the end
Row 4: *k5, p, k2, p, repeat from * to the end.

Work these four rows for 4 ½” (5 ½”) ending with a row 4. ( If desired, add a few extra pattern repeats before decreasing to get an even larger size. The circumference is large enough to fit this adult’s head, so the only adjustment needed should be to the length.)

Begin crown decreasing:
Row 1: *skp, p, k2tog, p, yo, skp, p, repeat from * to end (70 stitches)
Row 2: *k3, p, k2, p, repeat from * to end
Row 3: *skp, k1,p, k2tog, yo, p, repeat from * to end (60 stitches)
Row 4: *k2,p, repeat from * to end
Row 5: *k2tog, p, skp, p, repeat from * to end (40 stitches)
Row 6: *k1,p,1 , repeat from * to end
Row 7: k2tog to end
Row 8: knit even all around to end
Row 9: knit2to to end
Row 10: knit even all around to end
Cut yarn leaving a long tail. Thread tapestry needle with the tail and thread yarn through all stitches. Pull opening tight to close, but not so tight as to cause the hat to buckle. Fasten and weave in ends. If it feels a bit snug, give it a light blocking. Voila!

Please contact me, with any questions or suspected errata. Thank you! I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I did.

Copyright October 27, 2006. Please note this pattern is the property of Sereknity and is copyrighted material and the entire contents of this pattern are copyrighted as a collective work under the copyright laws of the United States. You may print a copy of this pattern for your own personal use and enjoyment, but editing, publishing, transmitting, e-mailing, posting it to a list service or database, or otherwise commercially exploiting this pattern is strictly forbidden without the express permission of Sereknity and/or the author.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A bit too vigorous of a blocking...

...and Rachel's hat became a mommy hat! (a little self-Kinnearing...)

but at least it isn't too small! when it came off the needles I was afraid it might be a bit too snug, so I gave it a "little" blocking, using the only roundish and "appropriately sized" object I could find -- Rachel's My Little Pony Hot-air balloon. Now I know what to use for my adult hats, anyway. A quick dunking and the hat is back to size, so I will hopefully have new pattern pics today, when the little model herself returns from school. I'm going to put that balloon to work again, tho, on a hat I knit for Jim last year that came in just shy of his ears. I think it will work -- wish me luck!
For some fun and beautiful fiber pics, I did a little searching and found some absolutely gorgeous pics of Sereknity Roving spun up by some clearly talented spinners. Alyson of the YoYo knits at has done an amazing job on numerous amounts of my roving, and just bought 4 more! She sells her spun yarns at her etsy shop, so if you are coveting them, haunt her site! This is Rock Chick, spun from Pretty in Punk. And the banner of her Etsy Shop has a picture of Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Also, at Revival, the fabulous Kate Gilbert picked up a bit of Escape Falkland, and the spinning job she did with it is just phenomenal! (Like we ever doubted -- sheesh!)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Why, yes, Mother, may I?

They say Necessity is the Mother of all invention, and while I did not invent this skill, I was forced -- by Mother Necessity -- to un-vent it for myself. I present, circular knitting on two needles! YAY me!

I am re-working the Rachel Hat pattern but had no dpns of the correct size to use for the decreasing crown and had to use what I own. Thankfully, knowledge of the Magic Loop technique and the use of dpns easily merge in this tecnique, and it only took me a few moments to figure out exactly how you are supposed to manipulate the needles. Is it text book? I have no clue -- didn't even google it -- but it works for me (and frankly I can't see any other way) so off I go! The pattern revisions will be completed today.

Also, finished the boys hat, but as expected, I didn't have nearly enough yarn. Luckily, I found a ball of left over singles in my basket and plied those from both ends of the center pull ball and knit it right off the bobbin. See what's left? And guess what -- he says it is "too itchy". le sigh. He loves it tho, and wants to keep trying (the boy is so gratifying to knit for -- he loves things just because mommy made them for him. I heart that boy muchly). If he just can't handle it, it actually fits me, so I will wear it, and he'll get a nice superwash merino. And of course there is always R2D2.

Once the hat is done, I'll proceed with Mitten #2 for Rachel and give this one its thumb. A bit better than the last ones, eh? I have some lovely Spunky Club Stawberry fields roving that will be a warm hat for her -- eventually -- using the same recipe as Jacob's. I'll post it in a day or two -- super simple, but sometimes having the numbers can help.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ugly Mittens

As promised, here is a pic of the cute kid, with the ugly mittens. True, they don't look so bad on his hands, but off?

Not so good. See that odd little bumpy part on the mitten on the right? I don't like that. I tried following the pattern chart from the recent issue of Knit Simple, but I really didn't like the decreases they wrote in for the hand of the mitten. In the bulky yarn they are too prominent an stair-steppy, plus it made that odd little pouch. Now, as this was a mitten being knit for a little boy who will most likely loose them, I didn't really bother to rip and re-knit at that point. Moving on to the next mitten, I omitted the weird decreases in the hand, but apparently put one row too many in before grafting the top, leaving on odd little chimney cap sort of thing. A vigorous blocking would undoubtedly solve all of these issues, but seriously -- KIDS MITTENS. Need I say more. However, an FO! YAY!!!

I started a matching hat as well, but I'm not sure I'll have enough yarn to finish. Jacob is very anxious for me to make him the R2D2 hat, but the gray yarn I ordered from Knit Picks was waaayyy too dark for R2, so I am waiting for an order of white to dye. He'll prob. get that one for Christmas, or maybe his b-day (in Oct.) if I am really diligent. (Yeah, you're right, Christmas it is.) I am optimistic that with the kids now in school, and me having the freedom to work day hours like a normal human, that I will actually have time in the evenings for recreational knitting and spinning. Very optimistic. So much so that I bought yarn for another project. (I know! I'm a bad girl with a basket full of WIPs, but it's my knitting, darnit, and I'll knit what I want to!) Any way, I want to start this lovely skirt for Rachel, and I am actually using the recommended yarn, although I did change the colors. Deep purple, pink, minty green, and yellow. I'm shooting for Thanksgiving on this one. At least I'm being somewhat realistic.h

On a final note, the fabulous Melissa, who is being gracious enough to test knit a new pattern for me, stopped by yesterday and gave me these to photo...

They are River Rapids socks by Sock bug in the Sereknity Surf's Up colorway, which I only dyed once, but after seeing it knit, will definitely have to make again. These were done in sport weight and will be such a wonderful warm snuggly sock. Watch out, Melissa, the...ummm....puppy....ummm...just might eat them. Yeah! That's it!