Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I promised pictures for you from a Wool Gathering and here they be! (I have no idea. I blame it on a caffeine rush.)

Look at these needle felted paintings. That's really the best word for them. The gentleman to the left of the circular one creates these for fun. He doesn't sell them but displays them in order to inspire others. He said that he loves to come to fiber festivals to pick up more wool for his projects. You should click on this picture so you can see a larger image. I love that one of the mare and her foal. Astounding.

These are those different fiber braids that I was talking about last time. If it hadn't been so warm, I probably would have wandered around with one of them around my neck as a scarf.

I'm playing with Picasa and thought I would throw the pictures together in a collage. The two pictures in the upper right corner are the llama and alpaca rovings which bear a striking resemblance to each other.

I realized I forgot to mention the sock yarn, Berroco Sox Yarn. It wasn't included in the run-down mainly because I didn't buy it myself. My friend doesn't knit or spin but her mother does (she was the one who gave me the lovely, lovely llama). We met up because she was visiting her mother (and the ice cream at Young's). I volunteered to knit her some socks if she would buy the yarn. Ironically, this yarn is a part of a series named after English towns and this color is Lancaster, the town in which I studied for a semester in 2003. After I finish the OSUstrich Plume Shawl, I should cast on for these and I will be almost finished with my Christmas gifts. (Though saying so will probably jinx me. Darn it.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

stupid USB cable

I was going to load pictures of my purchases from A Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, OH but apparently my USB cable is no longer working. :( I'm definitely going to have to fix this situation!

Over the weekend I went to the fiber fest in Yellow Springs and had a great time meeting up with friends. I went with the intent to buy wool combs but didn't see any at all. So I used the money I was going to spend buying combs and bought lots and lots of fiber from Creatively Dyed Yarn instead (she doesn't have a lot in the site right now because it is all on the road with her right now). It's my goal to buy different kinds of fibers at festivals (the whopping two I've gone to(wait! I just realized I've been to a third fiber festival but I didn't spin then)) and, let me tell you, she had the most interesting combinations. And her presentation and color sense was wonderful! My favorite braid of roving is what I'm calling silk milk. It's a combination of wool, milk protein, and silk. It feels glorious. Another combination is bamboo and wool. The third blend is wool and seacell which, simply put, is another name for seaweed. The color combinations are a lot of fun.

I also bought some llama and alpaca roving. By random chance, both of these purchases ended up being almost the exact same color. They both are a red-brown color almost the same color as my hair. That could be why both of them appealed to me. :)

Another purchase was soap, lotion and solid purfume from a seller I bought lotions from last year at a new fiber festival south of me. Come to think of it, I don't know if that festival is happening this year. I should find that out. Anyway, I bought an aloe/olive oil soap and an apple crisp (best smell EVER) soap both in the shape of a sheep. She had solid purfumes this year and I fell in love with one called Butterfly Kisses. I don't know how to explain the scent but it just smells fresh to me. It reminds me of summer but not in a floral sort of way. She threw in another purfume as a bonus so I chose Honey Almond. Have I mentioned my slight obsession with shampoo bars here before? They are great for traveling especially when you are limited by ounces and they pack easily in soap containers. What does this have to do with anything? Well, this vendor is going to be carrying them! I like all of her scents so I'm definitely going to have to keep my eye out. Yummm, Peach Sorbet.

Oh, I fell down the rabbit hole and bought a small wooden hand loom. It made the cutest little rug from some self-striping sock yarn. Great another hobby! That was another one of the pictures I was going to load. Oh, well.

Finally, on the way home, I drove through Columbus and thought, "Hey, I'm passing right by why don't I stop by Byzantium?" Sooner or later I was going to have to go there to get beads for the Mystery Stole 4 because I didn't have enough. This was one way of killing two birds with one stone. That place is definitely interesting. I'm glad it was still open when I drove by.

I'll try to post pictures of everything once I get a new cable!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Knitting up a storm (get it?)

I had work today because the power came back on at the library last night. Home, however, is a different matter. As of noon, we didn't have any power so I'm staying a little late at work to use their electricity and running water. I think I should flip the light switches a couple of times just for the fun of it.

I'll first talk about my recent knitting and then show you a few storm-aftermath pictures (not many because I mostly forgot to take my camera with me when I was out and about). I can't remember if I talked about this project last time (probably not because I am lazy!). The new knitty came out last week and it was full of really nice patterns. Two of those really grabbed me and, even though I have a ton of stuff already going, I had to start them immediately. Waves of Grain was the perfect pattern for the merino/tencel lace I had just spun up and my yardage was close. The pattern has been a lot of fun and it has become my travelling project.

I've gotten through the part with the beads at the end (you can't see them in the picture) and into the 75 repeats of 2 rows. Once I'm finished with those repeats, I'll break the yarn and start it over again.

The other pattern that really grabbed me was Maple.

I LOVED making this bag. It was a really interesting construction. You knit the brown handle/bottom/side part first in a giant loop and then you pick up the stitches for the light brown section. I also really liked the small intarsia of the leaf though wasn't thrilled about the number of ends to weave in. The veins of the leaf were needle felted in rather than embroidering them on afterwards. This is off to be a Christmas present for my cousin. I wasn't planning on this bag (obviously because the pattern wasn't out there) but I think it will be perfect. The leaf color looks a lot like the mittens I made for her present last year (which *cough* aren't finished yet *cough* but will be after tomorrow!)

I've also been making hats because you can make them in the dark or by candlelight. I could work on socks but don't feel like working with fingering weight yarn by candlelight. This is one hat that I'm going to keep for myself. The rest are going to be Christmas presents.

Next up, tree pictures. This first one is a picture of the backyard. As you can see, we hardly had any damage which is really surprising for living in the middle(ish) of woods.

This is the tree which is going to have to come down. The inside is all rotted out so it is just a matter of time before it falls down. You can't really see the branch which is poised to fall in this picture. It is on the left of the tree on the other side.

These next two pictures are from my aborted trip to work yesterday. The first picture is taken out of my righthand window and the second is out of the lefthand one. Me thinks it will take a bit of time to remove them.

This last picture is our backyard after everything was picked up. Isn't it nice and pretty?

Well, back to the power-less house!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quick update

I only have a short while because I'm borrowing power, internet and computer. On Sunday, we got hit by Ike's winds and had a 4 hour wind storm which knocked out the power in most of my county (as well as IN and the rest of the state). Lots of trees and branches came down (along with electric, phone and cable lines) but, from what I've seen around, not too much damage to cars and houses. One tree was ripped out of the ground after being twisted around 360 degrees. We only had a couple of large branches come down, none of which hit the house. One tree in the front yard is going to have to be torn down because most of its limbs fell off including one which might block the road if it falls. At least it won't hit the house. Dad told me to pull out of the driveway really, really fast. Hmmm. . . .

We haven't had power since Sunday and probably won't have it for another couple of days. My house it at the end of a power line and, because most of the houses on the line have gotten electric back, we will probably be put far down on the priority list. At least our power company didn't send most of their people down to TX to work on hurricane damage like AEP did.

The library has been closed 3 days so far. I didn't hear that the library was closed on the radio this morning so I went into work. (It was closed.) The normal way I go in had 2 huge trees blocking the road. My little town is doing much better on the clean-up than the town where I work. I was hoping the library would be open today so I could charge my phone and iPod but that was not to be. We'll have to see about tomorrow.

I've been knitting a little (once the sun goes down I go to bed and it gets hard to see to knit) and will have to tell you about it later!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sock Meme

Hello All! I've been so lazy recently that I haven't really looked for my camera to take pictures of anything on which I've been working. I haven't processed any more sheep fuzz recently because I've been working on some gifts.

One of my coworkers is a little depressed right now so I wanted to do something to help her. When in doubt, I say, knit. I was trying to look through my stash and see what yarn I had on hand and what could be made. I settled on using some Buckeye Blast sock yarn I bought a while back and a shawl pattern called the Ostrich Plume Shawl (Rav link). Hopefully Sue is a fan of the Buckeyes! It is pooling a bit around the shoulders but I think there will be a nice chevron pattern further down the triangle. The pattern is SUPER easy and can be made with any weight yarn.

The only problem with the project is that I usually work on the project when I'm at lunch and Sue is usually there, too. I want to surprise her completely so I had to find a different project for lunchtime. This means I've cast on for another project because I'm nothing if not fickle. This one is a Chickadee Cowl with some of my own handspun. The linen stitch of the cowl makes it absolutely fly. I've already got a couple of inches in and will probably be finished next week (saying so will jinx the project though). I started using the handspun (100% merino in an aran weight in the Broken Hearts colorway) for a 1 row scarf but didn't have enough yardage for a good scarf. This cowl is a perfect solution and I really like the way the stitch highlights the handspun.

And now, for some more fun, a meme for you. I've seen this one making the rounds and thought it would be fun to do.

Sock Meme

When did you first learn to knit socks? Probably 2005 (all of the years run together)

What's the first sock you ever knit? A bed sock top-down pattern from one of those weekend knitting sort of books. All I remember about the pattern was that the designer had you do 3 rows (not all together) of purling at the top of the ribbing on the outside of the sock. It was very strange. I think the purling was to "help keep the sock up." That was definitely not something I continued doing after that first sock.

Favorite Sock Pattern? My plain vanilla toe-up stockinette socks though I've really fallen in love with Cat Bordhi's sockitectures especially the Riverbed one.

Favorite needle method? 2 circs

Favorite sock needles? Anything with sharp tips

Who do you knit socks for? Mostly me.

How many pairs have you knitted to date? No idea because I usually forget to count the ones I've given away.

What is on your sock knitting to-do list? Play with the Flat Feet I just bought at the yarn shop.

What kind of socks to you like to knit-
Striped? only if is self-striping
Colorwork? not as enthused but willing to try at least once
Plain Stockinette? definitely
Cabled? cables = addictive substance
Lace? lace = more addictive that cables
Anklets? not a first choice
Knee Socks? I've made one pair and keep dreaming of all the others I'm going to make but never seem to get around to it.
Solid colors? only if I use an interesting pattern
Bright and crazy? of course! In fact I'm wearing a pair right now that is bright orange, red, pink and yellow.
Faux Fair Isle (the yarn doing all of the work)? yup though I don't really have any in my stash anymore

I'm not going to tag anyone but, if you are interested, let me know if you fill this one out!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


A couple of weekends ago one of my relatives gave me one of his sheep fleeces. I knew that he had sheep but I didn't know he had sheep, you know? Right now, Patrick has 2 Jacob sheep both of whom have been dehorned. That is a real shame because Jacob sheep are known for their crazy horns (some of them can have 6 horns!). One of the ladies was a petting zoo inmate and is not a fan of people at all. The breed is standoffish but I think being in a petting zoo could make anyone bitter. They had to be dehorned just in case so kids wouldn't be hurt by the horns.

Anyway, back to the fleece. I'm amazed that Patrick was able to pack all of this into a relatively small box. He checked the fleece as his checked baggage. I think it would have been hysterical if the airport officials had gone through this box. Talk about the smell of a farmyard! Here the fleece is in its raw form spread out in the middle of the back yard.

I didn't have any equipment for washing a fleece so I quickly ran out and bought some rubbermaid containers, additional dishwashing liquid (mom wouldn't appreciate me using all of her's!), some light brown cheap towels (I think light brown was very important color for this process) and a laundry bag because this one is NOT going to be used for clothes. Then I heated up some water and split the fleece into three different parts. (No reason for this other than the containers wouldn't hold much.) The dishwashing liquid has a strong scent of eucalpytus which makes me very excited. I figure bugs probably don't care but it makes me feel like there is an additional chance of making them leave my sheep fur alone!

The first bath was very . . . um . . . brown.

The next wash, not as much.

The third bath was much clearer so I didn't take pictures of it. I followed the recommendations found here of how to wash a fleece. Prepping two batches of hot water at the same time was a little crazy (lots of carrying big pots of water = tired arm muscles) but was very nice to have it all done at once.

After pulling the wool out of the third bath, I dumped it on a towel and took a picture before rolling out the excess water. Doesn't it kind of look like a brain?!

Then I hang it out to try on our drying rack in the back yard. It seriously looked like I had slaughtered something in the back yard and had skinned it. I bet, if we had close neighbors, they would think I am completely nuts by this point.

I had enough time before going to work to start the whole process over again once more. Even after messing around with this much water, thanks to all of the lanolin, my hands weren't dried out at all! Unfortunately, I didn't have quite enough time to finish the whole fleece because I definitely wanted to take a shower before going to work. That evening, I had to bring everything in even though it wasn't dry because we were supposed to get rain. I think I found a new way of drying out a fleece. Put it in your basement where there are 3 dehumidifers running and that sucker will be dry in no time at all! I wasn't able to wash the final third of the fleece until a couple of days later. Now, everything is washed and I've started flick carding it (pdf link). I'll edit this post later to add some pictures of that.