The last day of January

And I finish my first Christmas ball right on time.

Maybe I should explain that better. Mid January I noticed that one of the blogs I follow, KnittingSarah, had a year long knit along going on that really tripped my trigger. One Christmas ornament a month, knit, from 55 Christmas Balls book. Now, I stumbled across this late, my book came in last weekend, but my yarn did not arrive until yesterday. Thank goodness it was a snow day, since I was able to rattle off my January Christmas ball in just one day. There were two first associated with this knit. The first being the use of a stranded colorwork thimble. I’ve always done stranded colorwork with two hands, one hand working english and the other continental. But, I figured I’d give this a try and it did work beautifully. The second new thing was steam blocking. You see, stranded colorwork really needs to be blocked to look its best. I didn’t want to immerse the unstuffed ball and then block it, and the book doesn’t even suggest that. It suggests steam blocking. So, I fired up my iron and gave it a try, with the ornament still on the needles actually. That worked great too! It quickly loosened up the fibers and evened everything out, so that when I stuffed it I ended up with a beautiful end product. And thus, my snow crystal ball is complete!




Snow Day!

I didn’t think I was going to get a blog post up today. Yesterday I got distracted by grocery shopping and company and failed to take a picture in the light of day. You see, on Monday evening I worked very hard to finish my loop bump. I mean, I stayed up quite late to do it, and even later to wash and thwack it. I had expected the plying to take me 3 days, but when I talked to Sarah, who is actually the one who will knit the yarn, she said fingering weight single was her preference. So, I left it that way, shocked it a bit, thwacked it really hard for stability, and hung it to dry. That took two days. But, in the end I have 723 yards of this gorgeousness!



And because of a snow day, you get to see it a day early.

The other thing that the snow day offered me? The opportunity to do some blocking.



Those 3 goals I had for this week? They should be complete today. But, no more goofing off until the shoveling is done!

Color Progression

Yeah, still not done with Color Affection shawl, don’t get your hopes up! May I just add that while I am technically on the last row, I just looked at my yarn and said “Surely I can do another repeat!” I truly must be a sucker for punishment.

No, the color progression I want to talk about has more to do with lovely little batts from a jacob fleece that are coming off my drum carder. Now that the drum carder is running very nicely, and because I made myself a lovely little work space for it, I sure have a hard time walking away from the thing. I started with the darkest of the jacob fleece and worked my way to the lightest sections. I am now on the all white sections and I’ve got about a grocery bag left of wool left to card. It always amazes me that wool that looks rather less than desirable in washed lock formation can produce such a beautiful batt. The whole realization that I don’t really need to flick card the lock before sending it through the drum carder has really cut down on the amount of time spent processing the wool too. Yeah, the resulting yarn will be less smooth. Yes, there is still a bit of dust and VM left in the batt, but I know from experience that yarn smooths out with finishing and VM falls out of a batt during spinning. As long as the wool is free of lanolin, it will be fine.


I showed all my batt progress to my knitting friends yesterday, and I immediately heard “Oh, colorwork!” However, what I have in mind is a bit different. I’d like to make a color progression. Probably a 3 ply yarn once spun. Of course, there’s little need to do all the fleece in a color progression, but I’d like to have enough for some sort of a shawl perhaps. I suppose I’d technically have enough for an entire sweater if I wanted to do that.

Point being I suppose…that seeing all these different colored batts from one fleece all lined up and tidy just looks like possibility to me and then my mind won’t rest!

I guess I do have a bit of a finished object though, I did finish Bug’s cardigan. I reknit the sleeves and finished over the weekend. She was THRILLED when she saw it and couldn’t wait to wear it this morning. I didn’t even get to block the sleeves. So they’ll just have to do. (Please excuse the lopsided look of the sweater, I tried to capture it as soon as she got out of school, that may have been ill advised. )

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I’ve got a few goals this week. My goals are to finish the loop batt I am currently spinning, finish carding the jacob fleece, and finish the color affection shawl. So this week is to be a week of finishing in various ways. Hopefully that also means it is to be a decent blogging week too!

Like new but better

So, I bought that drum carder a couple years ago. And I used it to process my first fleece. It was effective. But, after a number of issues with the carder, I stopped using it. I just didn’t bother to pull it out at all, which felt like a bit waste. I had renewed hope in it when I learned that I could process my Jacob fleece without flick carding first, but because I was still having issues with the drum carder, I ended up ignoring that project too. And I got in the habit of deciding that hand carding was just as fast as drum carding, failing to pull out the drum carder at all.

Then I decided to ask Jeremy to look at it. You see, I hadn’t done enough research (Oh I cannot stress enough the need for massive amounts of research when taking on any new element of fiber processing!) and didn’t realize the proper amount of space between the drums. That was totally my bad, and for someone such a proponent of the proper research, I felt really stupid, realizing that I should be able to fit a credit card between the two drums. So, Jeremy looked at the carder, made a few adjustments, and we tried it out with my jacob fleece. Lo and behold, it worked like a charm. Rather than fighting the carding cloth, it rolled right along beautifully and I got results I wanted. So, on Saturday I sat down with it and started processing the jacob fleece in ernest. I have worked my way entirely through the darkest of the fleece, processed all that was slightly lighter than dark, and have managed one bat of lighter yet still grey fleece all from the jacob. It would be SUCH a load off my mind to have that fleece done! And I am excited that it has been started and is moving along so fast. I am also quite impressed with how fast and fluffy and beautiful the batts are!


Thank you Jeremy for all that you do to cut down on my frustration level when it comes to my fiber processing tools!

And now we are back

To our regularly scheduled programming. Spinning. Of course.

I’ve been working on this BFL called lavender fields for months. I decided to spin a very fine thread but it is going so slow I thought perhaps a little plying might help kick my butt in gear and get it finished. I decided on a 3 ply and it is still very much a laceweight. 133 yards so far. I think in the end it will be a very nice serviceable laceweight but right now I am so not interested in finishing it!




WIP attack!

I know I’ve not shown much in my knitting world at all lately. The problem is, I haven’t been very inspired to knit. With all my fleece and fiber experimentation, finding time to knit has been tough. Additionally, I am slogging through the last of my color affection shawl, and for me it truly is a slog. So it rather feels like I don’t have much to talk about in the knitting world. However, I have actually been knitting and I realized recently that there are projects which I hadn’t photographed at all going on.

The big one being my January sweater. Since it is the year of knitting with bulky yarn, I started the Kathy sweater out of lambs pride bulky. I had been putting off photographing this until I got the the armhole decreases, but I am still about 5 inches away from that and it hasn’t seen any action in weeks. So, I am photographing it now and hoping I will pick it up again soonish.



Then there is this:



You may think you’ve seen it before, and you have! It was a finished object for December last year. However, despite knitting the 10 yr old size, my 8 yr old child must have exceedingly long arms because it was about 3 inches short in arm length. And of course with a 3 inch difference, the decreases aren’t right either, so I had to rip about half the sleeve out and revamp the entire thing to get it looking good and to Bug’s very particular specifications. One side is done, and the other is getting there.

On that note, I did have some inspiration recently and I began a new two color shawl. The pink is hand dyed yarn which my friend Sandy destashed to me awhile back. This is her hand dye. And the brown is a 2 ply bfl I spun years ago. Probably early 2008 and probably on the kiwi. I never thought I’d use it but it is a surprisingly pleasant yarn to knit with. I did ply much tighter back then than I do now, and that actually is a good thing. I need to figure out how to get back to that.



And that’s about it in my knitting world. Besides the color affection which doesn’t deserve a picture when it is this close to being done and I am so full of animosity toward it.

What might be next? Well, I’ve vowed to pull out my old Lizard Ridge blanket and work on that actually. Since the yarn is pretty bulky, I actually think it wouldn’t take all that much time to complete it. And I do love the colors so much. I really need to give that a try. I think the panels will head in to work with me and I’ll take it from there.

Color Affection

Oh, did you think I was done with a shawl? Gotcha! No, no I am not.

I believe that one of the reasons I love fiber arts is that I love color. Bright colors, muted colors, natural colors, colors which blend well together, jewel tones, colors that don’t work together…I just love color. I think it is so interesting, the combining of colors, and the way spinning often looks so different from the way the wool looks before it is spun. To say I am a bit obsessed with color would be an understatement. It is one of the reasons I started dyeing some of my own wool, it is what draws me the most to different yarns and finished objects, and it is one of the reasons I want to weave. The way colors play in weaving is so different than how they do so in knitting.

I came across a really good deal on some border leicester lambs wool. I knew going into this project that it would be quite dirty, quite full of VM, and there might be bits I didn’t want to save at all, and that has been the case. But, the cheapness of it gave me courage to start playing with colors. Because, in my mind, I can’t wreck cheap wool. So, after a 2 day soak and then a good hot water wash, I had a bunch of white border leicester to dye. Rather than experimenting with cram pot dyeing, I decided to dye handfulls of fiber in different solid colors to use with blending on my drum carder. At the moment I technically have 10 different colors to play with and more wool to dye. The richness of the colors just makes me so very happy, and I am enjoying this experiment immensely.







Did you know?

That fresh Ivory soap looks like this when you microwave it?


I didn’t either!

There’s actually a point to all this. For years now I’ve wanted to make my own laundry detergent. About a year ago I bought a very large container of laundry detergent from costco, mostly for the bucket it came in. Now that I have used almost all of it, I decided it is time to make my own. I used this recipe. But, when I went to purchase all my ingredients, I only picked up one bar of fels naptha. I didn’t have the link with me and I was just guessing. However, I’d been reading that I could use ivory soap in place of the fels naptha. THEN I came across an instructional video on putting fresh ivory soap in the microwave. Once it is done puffing up, it cools and crumbles into powder. Well, that is a ton easier than shredding the fels naptha soap even if I am using my food processor. The bonus? Bug could do that part and enjoyed it immensely. So, we enjoyed our time making our detergent quite a bit. The only other change in the recipe I made was that I only used 1 container of the fabric softener crystals. I don’t love the scent of the fabric softener, nor do I love the feel of clothes with fabric softener, so I figured one container would be more than enough. We have yet to try this to see how it works.




(My very large container of homemade laundry soap)

I then moved on to making our own dishwasher detergent. That was super easy. 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup citric acid. I put it in a glass canning jar and mixed it all up. It worked a dream actually. The recipe I saw said to add essential oils, but I didn’t figure it needed to smell to work, and my basic recipe worked great in my machine.

Both of these items were super easy to make, it really took no time at all. If they work, the process is here to stay.






Grey CVM Romeldale Experiments

So, this past fall I purchased a grey CVM Romeldale fleece. Coated and beautiful, it really is one of those fleeces that makes you love the fleece washing process. This fleece was the first one I washed in my basket to keep the integrity of the locks, and it is such a smashing success, I am sold completely on the basket for finer fleece. It takes a bit more time on the outset, sorting all the fleece and pulling it apart into separate locks, then setting it up in the basket and making sure it stays that way. On the other hand, it saves so much time and energy on the flip side!

When I first washed this fleece, I was slightly concerned about the yellowed tips. I stressed over them a bit, but then decided I’d be blending the fiber anyhow, and how much could it really show? Once I flick carded the locks, it seemed even more apparent that the yellowed tips weren’t a big deal.


(Washed locks shown with flick carded locks)

I then decided to see what this fleece and a set of hand cards would produce. And it produced some lovely rolags of fluffy beautiful grey wool. No yellowing apparent at all. So much for worrying over the yellowed tips! As an aside, I used to think owning a drum carder would make my life so much easier and make processing fleece so much faster. I can tell you now that it doesn’t. It is a useful fiber tool, especially for blending and so on, but a pair of hand cards are just as effective and quick, or more so.


Then I decided it would be fun (and wise) to sample some of the grey CVM, so I set about to make a cabled yarn sample. I’d like to make this into a cabled yarn, but I’ve never created a cabled yarn before and didn’t want to mess it all up. I used this knitty article as well as instructions from a good friend of mine to wrap my head around it all. I concentrated hard on getting a ton of twist in the 2 ply sections. And then I did send it back through for extra twist just to be sure. Upon finishing the yarn I realized I probably didn’t need to send it back through a second time in the 2 ply stage. Though it would be a very effective tool if I hadn’t concentrated so very hard on making the 2 ply overplied. Despite all this, I LOVE the look of the cabled yarn. And I think it will be very effective for this fleece, as it is somewhat variegated in color. I did spin the singles on my spindle, but did all the plying work on my wheel.


Now, I’ve heard a lot lately about spinning the waste fiber from the flick carding process. It used to be that I’d just throw all that outside for the birds to enjoy in their nests, or add it to my soil for compost. However, lately I’ve been saving it for things like stuffing. You know, stuffing for owls I hate knitting. I’d basically been told that I could spin the waste fiber, but to expect my resulting yarn to be a different quality than what I’d have when I spun the best parts of the fleece. I decided to see just how bad a quality I’d get! I spun a sample of waste yarn on my spindle. It is interesting because it seems that the lightest and darkest parts of the fleece are what comes out of the locks when I flick card. This sample is not plied very well at all. I think it was getting late and I’d done a ton of work in the evening and I did it as a plying bracelet which seems to make my plying a bit off in the first place. However, I think I can get an idea of what the yarn would look like if I spun up all my waste. That being said, I don’t think it is all that wonderful and feel pretty certain it is ok to leave the waste for stuffing.


And now for variation on the theme. I’ve got this small, unscheduled fiber club going on right now. I mean, my fleece obsessions won’t be ending any time soon, and the only way I can deal with the amount of fiber in my house is for some of it to flow back out. I have found that there are plenty of spinners who want to experiment with natural fibers but don’t particularly care to purchase an entire fleece, nor do they care to do the washing of it. So, Shells Fiber Club (Which is not much of a fiber club at all) sells 4 oz. samples of quite a few of the fleece you see regularly on this blog. (Do feel free to contact me if you see something you want to get your hands on, as while I am not interested in offering such fiber in an official way, I am fairly open to making a deal.) 4 oz. of this grey CVM Romeldale went to my friend Corrie last month. She, too, worried a bit about the yellow tips, and this is what she (and her little one) came up with. Locks drizzled with dye and then flick carded. Looks like a fun spin to me!

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Border Leicester

I spun and spun on my border leicester singles last week, enjoying them immensely. They were such a departure from the norm for me that every moment of spinning them was pretty exciting. By Sunday morning I had all the singles done and I was ready to ply. Now, I’d also purchased some extremely cheap border leicester raw wool so I decided to start washing that up, and then ply my singles while waiting for the raw wool to soak. I made a bobbin very very full of fuzz.



And then I washed the entire thing and hung it to dry. I ended up with 175 yards of 2 ply yarn. It is so fuzzy that I can’t really tell just how thick it would knit up as, so I won’t even try. But I really enjoy the look of it!


Cram Pot Unicorn Barf

Well, after cram pot dyeing, flicking, and spinning the rambo yarn from my fleece club, I have finally finished knitting it into a cowl. The Unicorn Barf cowl. I think it is a very good pattern for the crazy crazy yarn. I love how all the neon green got toned down so well once it was combined with the other colors, and I really love how despite throwing so many colors in the pot, they all ended up coordinating very well once the yarn was plied.





The Kiwi Came Home

On November 25, 2007 I purchased a second hand wheel. It was an Ashford Kiwi and this was the wheel I learned to spin on. I’d been drooling over a wheel and wanting to spin for so long that once I got it, it was a game changer for me. I didn’t actually spin on it for very long. I sold it a few months later to a friend of mine and then put that money and money I had saved toward a Majacraft Rose. At the time money was extremely tight so the saving was very difficult and I had to make big sacrifices. That being said, in the next few years wheel prices went up so significantly that I am glad I bought it when I did. I don’t think I’d be able to afford the same wheel now.

Because I sold the Kiwi to a friend, I’ve been able to keep track of it. She learned on it and then sold it to another mutual friend, and the Kiwi has been in the family so to speak since I purchased it in 2007. But, I found out that the Kiwi was close to leaving the family and I just didn’t want that to happen. It is a good solid little wheel. Perfect for learning on. I’ve got a kid who speaks expertly about fiber and spindle spinning, she might like to learn on a wheel. I also have friends who might like to learn eventually and it is difficult to find a good wheel for a cheap price these days. Furthermore, I rather thought I could perhaps rent it out to local gals who are interested in learning. So, I decided the Kiwi needed to come live with me.


Here she is, sitting next to my Rose! I think I am going to need to produce a little felted bag for her too. But, the more immediate plan for her is to take her apart, finish and paint her properly, and put her back together. Then hopefully Jeremy will look her over very carefully, make sure she is in good working order and get her oiled well, and only then will she really be ready to spin on. Despite the fact that I have an overwhelming desire to ply on her immediately. Silly really, when my perfectly serviceable and wonderful Rose is right here!

Fuzzy fuzzy!

While I’ve been doing a ton of flick carding, since I find flick carding highly irresistible, I also found the border leicester locks irresistible and had to start spinning them. I decided to use my TJ tibetan, as this was the one I found empty and the one which would spin slow and long, leaving me a thicker single. Now, this is the first time I’ve ever spun longwool, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I did know that it is not particularly soft, but did not know how fuzzy it would be. It is also a bit wiry, I wonder if washing and finishing the yarn will change that at all. Since I am spinning from the lock, I had to play with the locks a bit to figure out what the best way to spin them would be. With my merino breeds, the best way has been from the butt of the lock. I tried from the butt and from the tip, and neither was particularly effective, and left me with thick and thin yarn. So, I tried from the side of the lock and that went beautifully. It also leaves a lot of the curly nature of the wool in the single, so I think this is partly where the fuzz is coming from.

These locks have been so interesting. I flicked them and then let them sit for a few days. I am surprised at how many of them pulled back in on themselves. Despite this, at least I know I’ve removed any second cuts and leftover VM. Spinning these is such a huge departure from what I am used to that I am enjoying them immensely!


One Happy Bug

“Mom! Owls have 3 to 11 babies. So, can I get 3 to 11 baby owls?

“Can I get an egg?”

I posted this conversation on facebook, and one of my friends who still hadn’t done a pay it forward for 2012 asked if I’d like a couple baby owls. That seemed entirely wonderful. Got me out of knitting more owl babies and yet would probably make Bug ridiculously happy. I asked my friend to address the package to Bug so that she would be the one opening it. Great pictures and fun ensued.

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I love the look of surprise and amazement on her face when she figures out what they are.  Now she stands with her arms outstretched and the nest of owls resting at her neck, pretending to be a tree. Hours of fun with such simple items.

Month O’Socks 2013

Since 2009, in late winter, I’ve been running Month O’Socks. This is one month of sock knitting. Or, knitting with sock yarn. Since most of us have rather large sock yarn stashes, this is an effective way to work through it. It has been a lot of fun for me each year, something I really look forward to.

This year I am going to change things up a bit, and do the vintage sock kit. I feel reasonably sure I could complete it in a month, and have completely committed to it. So it will be happening. If I have time for some other socks, I’ll do some for mom too. But, the vintage kit is MINE ALL MINE!

We are running this from February 15-March 14 this year. And though I’ve never done it before, I’d love to feature other knitter blogs. So, I am inviting you to participate, and asking you to send me links to your posts if you are interested in doing so.

OK, now that the business part of this post has been taken care of, on to the fun crafty stuff. I finished my scream batt cowl, and I absolutely love it. I love it so much that I want to go right out and purchase more amazing crazy art batts and make another. It is long, and looks great just hung around my neck. Doubled over it makes for a fantastic scarf. It is super soft, and I am pretty sure it is my favorite knitted piece in a very long time. I know it is super crazy compared to what I’d normally choose, but I am completely overlooking that right now.



I tried to spin on Sunday. I had plied some yarn earlier in the day, but spinning itself went poorly for me. I found myself uninspired by it. So, since I’d finished the cram pot rambo locks, I decided to pull out the border leicester locks I’d cram pot dyed in muted pastels and flick card them. That went far better than my spinning. In fact, despite making a lovely dinner, I finished flicking the border leicester quite early in the evening. While I should have just gone to bed, I did not.


I pulled out the romney locks which had been calling my name. Now, in the washed locks, the tips were a bit matted (as washed locks are, not by some problem) and so it was hard to tell just how that lock was going to open up. When I flicked the lock, the weakest of the tips came off, making a very large mess and leaving a gloriously long, soft, silky locks perfectly combed. I could not believe how much length was hiding in those locks. 6-7 inch locks once flicked. I was blown away! I lined them up nicely so that they all lay in the same direction and contemplated what to do with them.


I still don’t know. Since the grey is very different shades, I suspect I may blend by carding. But, I could very easily spin from the lock right now.

The shipments for the next three months are northern european short tail breeds. These are dual coated fleeces and I am quite excited to give that a try as well.

Latest Fleece Club Shipment

So, the last shipment of merino breeds and the last shipment of English Longwools have arrived. They arrived at the very beginning of the month actually, but I hadn’t had time to investigate them further than “Ooooh! Soft, shiny!”  And indeed, they are soft and shiny. The white is the merino breed. Delaine. As soft as the caramel colored Saxon was, the delaine is equally soft and somehow silky as well. The grey is romney.  It may be a longwool, but it almost seems that it doesn’t quite act like it. This one surprised me too, the color is stunning and the feel of it was much softer than I anticipated. But, I suppose surprise is the entire point of the club!


The last of the rambo locks

So, my initial cram pot dye experiment has come to a conclusion. I finished spinning these locks on my support spindles at about 1 am Sunday morning. I would not allow myself to go to bed until the small pile of wool was gone. That small pile pretty much stole my thunder quite a long time Saturday night, but I completed it nonetheless. So, Sunday I took out my wheel and got the plying done. Now I can complete the associated Unicorn Barf cowl.


A Fine Weekend

That’s exactly what I’ve had. A very fine weekend. The type that actually feels like a weekend, like I’ve had a bit of a break. Things at home have been seriously busy lately, and due to a sick kiddo, even post holiday they didn’t slow down much. So a quiet weekend was much needed.

I’ve realized that on quiet weekends I rather enjoy trying new recipes. New to me, that is. Old favorites that I am confident about are perfect for weekdays, but I save the new stuff for the weekend. For about a month, I’ve had Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese on my radar. Here’s the deal. I am not a huge fan of chicken. I don’t like the flavor. Chicken in various sauces is acceptable, but leftover chicken tastes “too chickeny” for me and often turns my stomach. Now, I don’t think anyone can fault me for this, as I regularly try new chicken dishes, and often “suffer” through leftover chicken anyhow, just because I can’t stand waste. But I digress. The buffalo chicken mac & cheese required a rotisserie chicken. This really should have been a clue for me, but I ignored it. Jeremy and I made the parts of the dish, deemed the mac & cheese sauce completely amazing, assembled it, and put it in the oven. It was amazing, the entire dish. Except, it was rather chickeny. I’d read a lot of the comments on the recipe and so many people thought it was too spicy hot, so I avoided my instinct to add cayenne peppers from the freezer. If I have a do over, I’ll add the peppers. I need to come to terms with the fact that Jeremy and I like our dishes spicier than the average person and it is completely OK to add those peppers, pretty much every time. (except maybe the hot link split pea soup, but that’s a story for another day, and an unusual case.)

That being said, what I’d really like is to try this dish with the veggies, cayennes, and the mac & cheese sauce. I’d love to leave out the chicken completely. Forget the chicken, give me the pasta! Jeremy thinks we can shred chicken breasts and get a result that I’d like. And while I think he is right, it may be awhile before I try it again. One more note about this one, you could TOTALLY make this lower fat (Won’t ever be low fat) without giving up any flavor. Skim milk, low fat sour cream, cook veggies in olive oil, all of these subs would still make a perfectly respectable dish.

But really, all that talk there above? It was just so I can talk about the next meal. The above dish did not use all the chicken, and it is pretty rare that we have a chicken carcass around the house. I got to thinking what I really should do with the rest of the chicken was make it into chicken pot pie. Not….the stuff with crust but our traditional family recipe involving homemade noodles. I’ve never created that before, but it is true comfort food for me. So I called mom to make sure I got the idea of making the soup portion correctly, and then we set out to make a soup yesterday morning. I started with my veggies, added some leftover chicken broth, the chicken, and added water. I eventually added cayenne peppers, two of them, and we added some bacon sausage grease after breakfast. We basically left that simmering all day.

Then I made the noodles. That went better than expected. I used the dough blade on my food processor. I don’t know if that was the correct thing to do, but it worked and made the process easier. I rolled them out on the counter to rest for the day.


When it was time for dinner, we checked on the soup. Quite frankly, the chicken did not give it enough flavor. We ended up having to add about 4 bullion cubes. That combined with some salt and pepper and fresh parsley brought it up to snuff. Then we added cubed potatoes and the noodles. Oh my gosh, what we ended up with? Beautiful delicious comfort food, and not too chickeny for me. (At least not the day we made it, I don’t yet know about leftovers.)

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In all honesty? This felt like such a triumph meal for me. There was a little dancing and squealing over how well it turned out. JUST like I grew up with (except spicier, of course.) But the point being that sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit in the cooking department. I often need a lot of encouragement to try cooking various dishes, and remain surprised when they turn out well.

While food was part of the awesome relaxing weekend, it wasn’t the only thing that made it so fantastic. There was a lot of great crafting going on, so I will actually have a decent number of pictures and updates this week. And of course, spending the majority of the weekend with my favorite person, that certainly made the weekend special.

A Year of Bulky Knitting

It is time to move the bulky yarns out of my stash. Knitting with bulky yarns tends to make my hands ache. So while I’ve had some bulkier yarns sitting in my stash, I shy away from them when looking for my next project. I currently have two large lots of bulky yarn. One is Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky, which will be knit into a sweater, the other is some scottish wool my aunt gave me that doesn’t ever knit true to any gauge I try it with. That I have intentions to knit into a blanket, bypassing the need for a certain gauge. I also have a couple of one off skeins that can be knit up into smaller projects.

The added benefit to using up the bulky yarns this year is that it will make room in my stash for all the lovely spinning I have been creating.

I’ve started on the Kathy sweater, and I am sure I will get photographs of that soon, but I found it irresistible to cast on something out of my corespun “scream” yarn. I chose a very simple cowl, just stockinette stitch in the round, in order that I could showcase the crazy colors and textures of the yarn. What I am most surprised about is that it is just super soft! There really isn’t a fiber in the batt that was at all scratchy, and with it lightly wound around the core, it is surprisingly light, lofty, and scrumptious. This may be one of the wildest things I’ve ever created, but I think I like it.

The question is, do I like it enough to do it again? She does have some other lovely crazy batts in her store….



I’ve avoided doing this for ages. For one, I couldn’t imagine what I’d knit a corespun yarn into. Also, I couldn’t imagine wanting to spin something so thick. “What a waste of wool!” I’d lament. But, I am spinning thick this year, and I’ve seen some lovely scarves and cowls done with thicker and corespun yarn. It is time to think out of the box.

I picked up a “Scream” batt from SpinCulture on Etsy. When it showed up, I had already pulled out leftover sticky yarns to use as my core. Bug and I sat on the couch watching episodes of Doctor Who, she pulled pieces off the batt, which was large enough to serve as a blanket, while I spun them onto my core. When I sent her to bed, I’d already filled two bobbins, and she asked if I could please not keep spinning on it, so that she could help again next time. That was perfectly fine with me, since I’d spun all day long, and I set aside my wheel for the night.

It went ok. Took a bit of getting used to. I’d JUST get my hands all set up to make a yarn I loved the look of, when suddenly I’d have to let go and then I couldn’t figure out how it was I’d just had my hands. But, eventually I got a bit of a rhythm going, and I must admit I really do like the results!

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How did that happen?

I started spinning in 2007. Not one to do anything in a small way, I immediately got a wheel and learned on that. I never bothered with a spindle. Since then, I’ve considered myself an adequate spinner. Knowledgable, but in a rut. Able to make a decent knittable yarn, but not by any means a spectacular spinner. I didn’t feel I learned new techniques, and I always spun about the same thickness, 3 ply light fingering weight yarn.

And then something changed. Over the summer I became interested in spindles. Drop spindles and support spindles. Along with wanting to master spindles, came a desire to master new spinning techniques. Suddenly I am no longer in a rut. And on top of that, I’ve slowed down taken more care, and am now producing better yarn than I ever have before. I am also enjoying spinning in a way I never have before. Spinning for me has always been an end product venture. Knitting was about the process, spinning was about the product. Except, not anymore.

I just spent the last 4 days spinning up this loop bullseye bump, and I want to show you all the pictures. I switched to my larger whorl so I could make a slightly thicker than usual yarn. I then snapped photos of the process.

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There were about 2 more colors of grey in there I never got a chance to photograph due to darkness and bad lighting.

I then navajo plyed the entire thing, leaving me with 460 yards of Dk to worsted weight yarn. And it is well done yarn, if I do say so myself. It is even, consistent, and beautiful. I am extremely proud of it.


I intend for this to be my year of spinning dangerously. I had a year or two of knitting dangerously and it expanded my knitting knowledge and ability beyond what I would have hoped. So, this year in spinning, my goals are as follows:

-To regularly spin thicker yarns, and manage to do it with intention. If the idea is to have a consistent yarn, I should have that. If I want something thick and thin, then I should be able to master that as well.

-To try corespinning. And coreless corespinning

-To create a true cabled yarn

-To alternate spinning older stash, newer stash, and fleece/locks/less processed wools

-To create a beaded handspun

Hopefully this will keep me right out of a rut, and have me spinning in ways I never imagined. I think that is a fantastic goal for this year!


I knit an owl. I really don’t have much to say about this. I am not particularly impressed with my owl, and I didn’t particularly like knitting my owl. But there it is.


When I was done knitting the owl, Bug decided she needed an owl. A striped owl, so I knit another owl. I did things a bit differently, but I still don’t love knitting owls.


Then, Bug decided I should knit a smaller owl. Because she is thinking of making a nest, but needs a baby owl. It looks like more owls are in my future despite the fact I don’t care for the knitting of them.

Introducting psychedelic googlie eyed baby owl:



Loop! Sample #4

I am loving these little samples. I find them terribly addictive. They are small enough to complete in a short time and the colors are scrumptious. I love that they give me additional practice on my spindles. Whichever spindle I am most interested in mastering, I just throw a loop sample on there and have at it. That being said, I’ve come to the end of my samples with this 177 yard skein of spontaneous spinning cloud in very sky/cloud like colors. I spun this on the russian (that I sold soon after) and on my Neal Brand tibetan. 2 ply, plied on my wheel.



I know I’ve shown off the BFL from chameleon colorworks before. I’ve been spinning it on my lightweight trindle for awhile, mostly when walking Bug to and from school. However, spinning while walking in the winter, or basically any time the weather is below freezing, just isn’t happening. Trouble is, I am getting a bit annoyed at having the project laying around with little to no progress. So, I took a bit and sampled spinning it on my Neal Brand Tibetan. That seems to be going just fine, so I think I’ll finish this up before starting another new project.


Out of the question



Did we really think for a moment that I wouldn’t cast on something just as soon as I had the first skein of this cram pot dyed stuff? Not casting on was out of the question. I estimated how much yardage I’d have overall, looked for a pattern that would work for the yarn AND make it so that I could use my new cubics needles, and got to work. And quite frankly, I didn’t stop until I was out of yarn. The pattern is called Unicorn Barf, it is a simple seed stitch cowl with what I want to call spines in it. I think the yarn and pattern combo is going quite well, and the end product will probably be rather warm and squishy. I already love it.


Socks for Mom

Rather than sending socks for Christmas, this year mom got felted slippers. I feel certain they were appreciated, but I have also set aside two yarns for socks for mom. Now, I’ve been on a half a year sock knitting hiatus, but yesterday I cast on a new one. I’d been carrying around the yarn and needles for awhile in my purse, but hadn’t had a chance to cast on. I had been hoping for a much redder color from this yarn, but it seems to be quite….pink. Sorry Mom! Once again, mom gets some crazy colored socks. The pattern is the typical one that seems to fit mom’s feet well, Gentleman’s Plain Winter Socks from Vintage Socks. The next pair I am determined to make an actual pattern in.


Color Affection

So, I’ve been working on my color affection slowly, but steadily. I have finally gotten to the point where I add the third color. I assumed that when I did so, I’d have a renewed interest in the pattern, but not so much. The short rows should be thrilling me, but unfortunately untangling the yarn is uninspiring, and the knitting is still mega boring. I know I am going to absolutely love the finished object, it is the getting there that is driving me crazy!