Friday, March 28, 2008

I have the plague.

Get thee away from here! Save thyself! You shouldn't even be reading this. Seriously, I feel like sh*t.
Run. Away.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Don't believe...

...everything you see on TV. Reality shows? Blech. Let's just say I know some things, and things have a way of getting misrepresented through creative editing. That's all I'm sayin'.
In other news, I heard from Eric, and he has told me to keep my eye out for big things in the future, and I'm looking forward to that. In his e-mail he said "I wanted to THANK YOU so much for your the yarn thingy...!!! very cool...! " Yarn thingy. Silly muggle. I've asked for permission to post the e-mail sent to subscribers here on the blog -- it has great info about upcoming projects -- so I hope to share that with you all soon.
I also want to spread the love to some other friends in our lovely little knitting world. Ericka will be participating in the MS walk (read her great story here) and I'd love for you to head to her blog and give her a shout out and any help you can. She will be offering some prizes for donations, including a couple of skeins of Can Do!, so we are getting love all around there.
Also, Holly EQQ of the amazing Oceans of Fiber has been going through some nasty health issues (and getting a very frustrating medical run-around. Ich.) and could use a boost. Head on over, read her story, and if you are in the mood for some GORGEOUS fiber -- esp. her locks, yum! -- Pop on into her store or check out the Circle the Wagons sale that was set up to help defray her medical and travel costs for her upcoming surgeries.
OK, enough ads -- now, the knitting!
I introduce, the big red blob...

I do actually love it, even though I have named it so. As with all lacy-type projects scrunched up on a circular needle, it doesn't look like much now, but I know it will. This pattern has been SO EASY! I have even been able to take it as my travel and chat knitting. I think I am going to do a few more repeats of the leaf lace pattern before moving on to the next lace section (which looks even easier) because I want this to be BIG and I have 11oz. of yarn. My only complaint is that I left some small un-dyed spots in the yarn, knowing it wouldn't be for sale and thinking I would like the variation. In other colors I do -- like Lilacs in Bloom -- but I don't like it as much in the red. I may end up going back with a q-tip and touching up the spots once it is knit. Am I crazy? We'll see how it looks all finished first.
Hip In Hemp? Well, this is all we've got.

I just can't get into this. The thought of all those ends to weave in at the end (Ericka, I seriously don't know HOW you did it...) and I am disliking the awkward maneuvering of the M1L and M1R stitches. I will say the switching from regular Addis to Lace Addis (thank you, Donna!) has made a huge difference in the knitting and forming of these stitches as the sharp points really help, and the yarn previously kept sliding off the needles at inopportune times with the original Addis, but not with the slightly grabby lace finish on the newer version. I think my biggest obstacle right now is that the blob is just so much more fun. I'll have to finish it and then leave the skirt as my only, so I have nothing to fall back on. The girl really should get her skirt. I mean, goodness, I never even put thumbs on her mittens. BAD mommy.
And, as promised, I have sock pics for you! They have already been through the was, because, well, who can resist wearing newly knit socks IMMEDIATELY? I am powerless.

Can Do! in Classica Merino/Nylon cranked on Kelly's CSM on 60 stitches. LOVE them.
In truth, I have knit very little over the past few days, and dyed not a thing. You know I'm sick when I don't want to knit. After sending the kids to school yesterday morning, I went straight back to bed and stayed there until noon. The symptoms of the head cold really aren't all that bad, considering, and the cough only bugs me when I, well, cough, but I just feel generally depleted. I am hoping to be back to myself by tomorrow night so I can make knitting at Y&F with my peeps. I miss my peeps. :(

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Today, I am sick. Last week, it was the girl. Such is life with school age children
I have been knitting -- a new shawl -- and loving it, and knitting another -- Hip in Hemp -- barely, and not really enjoying it, but more on that another time. I stopped in for a quick update and a thank you. So far, I have been able to send Can-Do $140 in donations (the first wave of yarn is on its way), with more yarn ordered and waiting to be dyed! Thank you! I am thrilled and so very grateful of the support. My yarny peeps rock! (As for reality TV, it sucks, but again more on that next post.)
Next post, pics of the big red blob, Can do! socks, courtesy of Kelly, and a few more pretties.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blown Away

*** First, let me thank you all for your kind comments -- I swear I wasn't fishing for compliments! I was in a bit of a funk and, well, I just thought i would share in the spirit of letting you know that I do care that much about "getting it right" and making beautiful things for you all. You all rock, you know.***
Ok, so why am I blown away? Well, I have to take you back to my hellish night last Sunday. Between the scary dog moment and the comforting little son time, I had an amazing and inspiring surprise. Hubby enjoys watching "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" and left the TV on that channel when the show was over and he left the room. Me, being too engrossed in the knitting of the blue shawl, didn't bother to hunt down the remote and search for a new show and ended up with Oprah's Big Give being the background to my knitting. I half watched as contestants were given $4800 and 8 hours to find SOMEONE of their choosing and make a difference in that person's life. Throughout, I was impressed by three men who, at the very start, decided to pool their resources and find an orphanage in Denver to help. The three men raised $260k in 48 hours for this organization. As I half-heartedly watch, I kept getting a niggling sense that one of these contestants looked familiar, but, no...couldn't be. Couldn't catch a name. Then, the end. The inevitable Survivor like who-will-be-sent-home moment. They called on the familiar face..."Eric?" OMFG. Eric Klein. It was him -- a guy I knew -- my crazy High School crush. Haven't seen the kid in 20 years and here he is. On Oprah. And this isn't even the amazing thing.
I, of course, had to grab my laptop and see what there was to see about this story. Turns out in 2004, Eric was awarded a financial compensation meant to repair his orbital eye socket after it was damaged in by a drunk driver in an accident. But he didn't fix his eye. He hopped a plane with hardly a plan and went to tsunami ravaged Sri Lanka and began to rehab a village. (You can see his video of this here.) His disgust at government inaction and political money=grabbing at our relief dollars prompted him to create Can-Do (Compassion in Action Network -- a Direct Outcome Organization). He is everywhere -- Rwanda, the Katrina Ravaged areas of the US, you name it, he is out there helping people and making a HUGE difference. The Big Give is just a way of getting awareness of his organization out there, and, hopefully, money for it.
I am, absolutely, blown away. It isn't so much that it is Eric, but rather someone -- anyone -- I knew that is doing such amazing selfless things. Someone who, really, was not particularly remarkable in that he'll-do-great-things-future-president kind of way who has had the courage to take a risk and hop on that plane. I mean, who does that?? he has made me believe I can do something. Can I hop a plane and build a school? No. But I can use my resources. What is it that I can do? I can dye yarn. I can sell it, and raise money. I can encourage you, if you don't like the yarn, to help fund the programs Can-do is working on. They'll let you know exactly where your money is going. Let's show the world what we knitters can do!
So, here it is, "Can do!" on new Classica 80% superwash Merino/20% Nylon...

I only have this one skein done right now, and Kelly is cranking out a pair of sample socks that I'll be able to show you soon. $10 from the sale of every skein will go immediately to Pre-order sales are being listed on Esty, or you can e-mail me directly at I will also get it listed soon on the website and will let you know when that is available. I'm thinking fiber, too.
Let's all do something great! (oh, and "Big Give" is on again tonight. I'll be watching!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oh, such random doings, with some pretty things at the end

(For now, a little tease...if all you want is the fiber and knitting, feel free to scroll ahead...)

I've been feeling very insecure yarn-wise lately. I keep wondering when everyone is going to discover I am a fraud. My colors really suck, resulting knits look like poop, and I should just get the hell out of this business before I bankrupt my family. Anyone else ever get to feeling this way? Perhaps not about yarn, but about whatever their chosen path may be? The wonderful blogless Kelly cranked out a few pair of socks for me on her CSM so I could experiment with painting various skein lengths. And I'm just. not. happy. I just can't seem to get the yarn to do what I want it to do. Now, I know stitch count and gauge have everything to do with a finished project, but I want to see more magic, dammnit! I am beginning to think I may just be overthinking things. Perhaps listening to the anti-pooling faction is getting to me. I am obsessing over this, even though I know there is nearly no way to avoid it (save for the kettle-dyes, which have a lesser chance of this). I haven't dyed to any significance in weeks. My perfectionist nature is taking over and paralyzing me. A friend, going through a rough time, recently got a tattoo on the inside of her wrist that says "Just breathe". I think I might need that. (edited to add -- I actually wrote this post a few days ago, and I think I am in a better place now...working on it!)
In other things, there has been knitting -- lovely knitting -- and I promise more of that later, and also horrors. Unable to bring the dogs with us to a family party on Sunday, I can home to discover that I had left a bottle of Children's Motrin on the coffee table, and Chewie-the-canine-garbage-masher ATE IT. Roughly 16 pills. 1600mg of ibuprofen. I immediately began to cry, killing myself for being careless, and certain that this was going to be IT. He happily jumped in the car for a trip to the Animal ER where they whisked us in to an exam room and after getting the details and doing the math they determined HE WOULD BE OK. Tears of relief -- omg I love this dog. They took him out, gave him charcoal to absorb anything left in his body and a shot of sub-q fluids to help flush his system, and $260 dollars later (that yarn order can wait) and a very drained but relieved mommy later, we left for home. and the store. To buy more Motrin. ug.
Get home; get settled; watch a bit of TV (stay tuned for THAT upcoming post); and hear the desperate cries of "Mommy, my throat hurts!" Remember the Motrin? Yeah, it was coming, but now even that isn't helping. A trip to the doc the next day confirmed my in-denial-worst-fears. Strep throat. He spent two days home with me, so of course, very little has been done around here. Thankfully, I haven't gotten it and at this point think I may be in the clear. I really want to be able to get back in the dye studio, or I'll never get my mojo back.
Now knitting, that is a whole other story. While I haven't been doing much dyeing, I have been knitting. I still have to get a pic of the finished Greenjeans, and I also pulled out the first sweater I had ever knit, but had never finished, as seaming scared the bejeezus out of me. This was from the free Lion Brand Pattern for a family of hoodies. I hated Homespun and so used Woolease Chunky instead (never checked for gauge, darn rookie) and knowing nothing about knitting and being self taught via the computer I began this sweater and my knitting career knitting every stitch through the back loop. A twisted stitch. It is no wonder I used to lament how long knitting took versus crochet. I learned the "proper" way to knit half way through the sweater and had to rip back almost an entire sleeve at one point when I realized I had been doing it "right", which, for the sake of consistency, was now wrong in this instance. 3 years this sweater has languished and been moved from hiding place to hiding place waiting to be completed, and now it is. But, I didn't get a pic, nor do I know yet if it fits the intended recipient. She has promised a picture when she gets a chance to try it on, and was thrilled with the gift, long time coming as it was. I am just glad it is off my back.
In celebration of all of my finishing, I could not resist the call of my most recent spinning project that wanted to be more that just yarn, it wanted to be more, of so much more. So I cast-on and I knit...

and knit...

and knit until it was done.

And blocking.

And finished!

The pattern is the Forest Canopy Shawl (I was inspired by this one of Jackie's) and was knit in my Blue Hawaii Falkland wool handspun, 4 oz., 2 ply, but don't ask me anymore details. I was too anxious to cast on to stop and check WPI or yardage (although I believe it to be a sport weight just under 300yrds.)I kept knitting initial lace pattern until I felt I had just enough for the border and lo-and-behold I was exactly at 195 stitches, right where the designer wanted you to be. So, no mods! Just a lovely little shawlette that I can't wait to wear.
(I'm back at the dye pots today -- if you have requested anything of me while we were at Spa or any other random group, and I may very well have forgotten or not known if you were serious, but you are, PLEASE e-mail me! A think a few people are wanting Blue Hawaii fiber such as I used for me shawl, but I'm not sure who and in what fiber. Gina, Kelly, I have your requests!)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Well, I guess it's about time...

...for the obligatory Spa post. For me, it was great. The drive up was hell, for certain -- 3 white knuckle hours in the snow. Once we arrived and joined our friends, I happily handed the keys of the people mover over to Chris so we could all head off to Pedro O'Hara's for dinner -- and DRINKS. Muchly needed. Back to the Hilton Bar for a few more, then off to bed. I was happy to turn in a little early as I wanted to make the most of the following day, but was sad to hear I missed a lot of spinning fun in the "Town Hall". Funny thing about me -- when I am at these sort of events, I get so restless, flitting around from place to place and group to group (yeah, wonder where my son gets it!) trying to see as many friends and sights as I can. We (Ericka, Chris and I) did explore the tastes of Freeport a bit taking in a breakfast at a local Stickybuns joint and later, sushi. Mostly, I was lazy, and I liked it. I got very little spinning done, but my one real coup for the weekend was the seaming of Poppy. YAY! I had never seamed a sleeve before and thought it best to wait for expert advice. Blogless Alpaca Kathy gave me a hand Sat. eve while we had huge amounts of fun in the hall with only a few stragglers -- most attendees were at the fashion show -- and later both Terry and Cheryl checked my work and gave it the OK. Terry also gave me some great tips for the future and I will never again avoid a pattern because of the need to seam (although I still love a top-down-in -the-round raglan most). And here she is, Poppy (head cropped to protect the hideous -- seriously, bad pic!)...

It is still in need of a crochet chain edging to combat the under-curl, but I've worn it three times already anyway. It is now drying along with the newly blocked Mr. Greenjeans. Yes, that's right -- sweater #2 is complete, but more on that later.
As for purchases, I was sickeningly good. Finances have been tight, and we certainly aren't out of the hole yet, so if I could make it myself, or wouldn't get to it for some time, it didn't come home. That said, I bought 4 skeins of yarn. 4. And one little jar of my favorite lavender-lemongrass-patchuli hand cream. All these came from Nancy Benda of the Spinning Bunny. The yarn was two lovely skeins each from her cormo and her cvm sheep, the cormo in a natural creamy white, and the cvm in a nice soft oatmeal, both woolen spun for a delighfully springy yarn. Kelly had a laugh at my need to knit with natural colors, after always playing with color. Seriously, I never once looked at this yarn as a canvas, as I do my own base yarns. Something about knowing that they came from her sheep makes the need to leave the yarn natural very strong. I plan to use the two colors to make some nice, subtle fair-isle mittens and maybe a matching hat. I am still in search of just the right pattern.
I did manage to finish a bit of spinning and start a new batch. I finished a skein of solid green plied with a variegated handpaint (my own)

in order to free the bobbins and then started a batch of Blue Hawaii Falkland that I had been saving for myself. I often have a tough time getting the Falkland to take the dye strongly but this batch was SATURATED and oh so bright.

The trade off was that it got a teeny tiny bit felty, so I didn't want to sell it. I got the first bobbin done, splitting the roving in half down the full length and then stripping this out into 6 different smaller strips. Once I got back home, I stripped the remaining portion into two relatively equal strips and spun from those. It seems to have created some rather intersting striping in the finished yarn, which still needs to be transferreed from the bobbin to niddy noddy and set. I'll get pics up soon, as I may need some help deciding just what it will grow up to be. My original plan -- as it always seems to be with 4oz. of fiber -- was for socks, and I do think the bright colors and stripes would be great or this, but depending on WPI, I may lean more toward a small shawl, wrap, or scarf. hmmmm
As for the Mr. Greejeans/Bluejeans/Jericho sweater, I finished this yesterday, a little sad I didn't make it under the wire for Feb., even with the leap day, but am thrilled to have it done none-the-less.

Pics are of the first blocking, which this morning's fitting proved to be too vigorous, once again, as it lost the waist shaping created by the cables, so it is laying out once again, sans blocking pins on the outer edges. I'll try for a modeled photo shoot as soon as it is dry. I am so glad I went for the smaller size, as this still has a fair amount of ease after blocking.