Yesterday Was a Bust

It all started with my work pants splitting when I put them on in the morning. Not a small split, but one which went down the back of my bum down my leg. I blame the corduroy, but I was rather upset about it. Had it happened at work, it would have been a major issue. Though this incident did lead to an amazing amount of wonderfully bad puns between Jeremy and I once I sent him the picture, so I can look on the bright side.


Then, despite me telling Bug over and over that she must not ever use a round brush on her hair, despite telling her the story of the time my grandmother used a round brush curling iron on my hair and got it stuck in my hair, she chose yesterday morning to not listen. She came to me with one complete side of her hair all rolled up into a round brush. She’d clearly rolled some in, then rolled a little more in, and so on until it was well and truly stuck. I sighed and explained that this very well could mean she’d need a hair cut. But, with a little patience and no small amount of pain on Bug’s part, we did manage to get the hair out of the brush, leaving her with a rather amazing bouffant on one side of her head. We managed to make it to school and work on time.

Last evening Bug came home from school smelling like she was wearing perfume. I asked her what it was, and she told me it was a Mary Kay sample she’d received as a thank you for helping a Mary Kay lady while at her dads. Ok fine, but it was pretty strong, and I immediately noticed it made my throat scratchy. I put up with it for a bit, but then had to tell her to please get rid of the clothes she was wearing and take a shower. About the time I started her shower, I noticed something odd at the corner of my right eye. Yep, ocular migraine in progress. Most of the evening was completely shot, since I do get a headache with them, and just generally feel off. I am totally and completely blaming the Mary Kay perfume she was wearing.

I had hoped to get the leaves of the vintage sock attached and tacked down. It didn’t happen. I had hoped to get my loom set up for another go around. That also didn’t happen. I did manage to get a warp onto the warping board though, with Louet Euroflax originals. Yes, in stash. In fact, assume anything I weave is pulled out of my stash unless I tell you otherwise, since that is THE ENTIRE point to my weaving. It has actually been really good fun to pair yarns in my brain, calculate if I have enough for a warp and a weft, etc. I’d say that has been half the fun of weaving for me so far. I plan to pair this warp with handspun again. I spun this yarn in early 2009. Dyed locks, spun in the grease. They were a pretty interesting experience, I loved the fuzzy yarn, but I couldn’t ever figure out what to do with it. I think the colors involved will compliment nicely with the warp and I am hoping it will leave me with an odd, gently fuzzy scarf. Since I am certainly still in the experimentation stage of weaving, it can’t hurt to try it and see what happens!


Yesterday sparkeespud talked about spinning batts, which gave me a hankering to pull out some batts too. I decided that since I have one free spindle hanging around I could start on a batt. I pulled out some dyeabolical batts I had laying around and I started on one while I was waiting for the migraine to take over my eye. I figured I could spin until I really started to feel miserable. I did get a tiny bit done, and it reminds me of how much I adore batt spinning. The thing is, I find it easier to spin fluffier with batts, and I like the squishy result. I also like the fact that I cannot force a batt to become something I want, but rather it is easier to spin if I allow the batt to do what it likes. The color on this is just a lovely olive shade. I only have one batt of each color so I am thinking two ply and then I’ll decide what needs to be done with them later. Maybe for weaving! 🙂


So here is one more day where I don’t talk about MOS. Much. But, Ummeyusuf has begun a second pair. Apparently short rows is a theme for MOS this year.


First Weaving Attempt

You know what? I decided years ago I wanted to weave specifically because of handspun yarn. I just really thought that the look of handspun on a woven piece would be amazing. It may have taken a few years and the cowl is anything but perfect, but I managed to achieve in my first project the look I was dreaming of all those years. The warp and weft pairing are perfect to show off the color changes in handspun and an alpaca fiber labeled “september twilight” becomes just that. A play on the color tones of a september evening sky. And I love it. Absolutely love it. I cannot stop looking at it.

Now, how did this scarf become a cowl? Well, let me run you through my thought processes. First, I wanted a scarf. And I love really long scarves, so I decided to plan my warp for a long scarf. But then I got started, and there was a good 6 inches of weaving that was awful. I tore the weft back out and started again. Second try was a bit better, but then all of a sudden something clicked and my edges started looking significantly nicer. It was at that point too late to go back and tear out all that weft, so I kept going. Thank goodness for that extra long scarf. As I worked my way through the project, I got to thinking how much I hated the very beginning and how I would find it not at all acceptable for a scarf and whatever was I to do because the project is just too beautiful to give up on and throw out! I threw out my first handspun way back when, not because it was crazily spun yarn, but because the color of the fiber was hideous and I hated that yarn. I couldn’t do that with this project.  But then I remembered that you can sew woven fabric, and why couldn’t I just cut out the section of really bad scarf, then make a french seam at the two ends, making a cowl? That really did satisfy me, knowing that I could probably create something I’d actually wear, and I wove on. In the end, I only had a partial bobbin left of the weft, so I planned fairly well all things considered. The cowl is long and scarf like when doubled over, and the edges aren’t so awful to be totally noticeable.

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I am still utterly amazed that I made this. I don’t know what my next project will be, but I know now that there will be a next project.

And just for fun, I’ll even show you the section I cut out of my cowl.


I ask you this, how long will it be before I quit saving waste from the loom? I am having trouble throwing out that yarn, imagining that it would be great stuff to tie skeins of handspun with. But really, that is just crazy talk isn’t it?




MOS Updates

I am currently 10 ribbing rows away from adding all the crazy leaves to my Vintage Socks. I feel very accomplished to be this far. However, I am learning the real reason to my sock knitting aversion lately. My hands ache and I have a nasty case of tennis elbow from sock  knitting. These are things which have gotten worse in the last year or so, but taking time off from socks, and knitting in general, has really helped. Now that I am trying socks again, I am remembering the associated pain and realizing that it just isn’t worth it to me. I’ve knit a total of 81 pairs of socks in my knitting career and I do not think it overly important to continue unless I am doing so very slowly and in a pain free way. I may no longer be a “sock knitter.” Which feels like a very strange declarative statement as I’ve been a confirmed sock knitter since 2008. So, with great sadness, I am going to have to let the sock knitting go.  I will, of course, finish up these Vintage socks, and maybe have socks on the needles for my mom, knitting them in such a slow manner as to not hurt myself. The rest of my extensive sock stash will have to go toward shawls, scarves, weaving, and other wonderful things. And I may have to destash a few things.


I do, however, have the opportunity to show off a few socks from local gals that do not blog.

Sarah, who has already completed a pair of socks and a hitchhiker scarf completed her second pair of socks. These are the Wedge socks done in BMFA. Then she immediately cast on another sock and has already turned the heel.  I suspect that her MOS output this year will far exceed any other year she’s participated.

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Kathy, after a moment of clarity in her sock knitting and then a massive frogging due to it, has now finished her first sock. Also BMFA, so it is not surprising she was blessed with all the flashing of colors on the leg. She’s still not sure how she feels about the fit on these, so she may end up adding to the toe. My experience is that socks stretch considerably, and I always regret not making mine slightly tight.


And now we get to see Mary’s sock toe. It is in her absolute favorite yarn, Noro Kureyon Sock. Since it is a discontinued yarn, just about the only place to find it is in Mary’s stash. Because she has purchased all of it. 🙂 She knit this sock toe in Las Vegas, so she totally gets the “Most well traveled sock” award for this MOS.


That’s it for MOS at the moment. Tomorrow? I get to show you my woven cowl. First ever weaving project that I am ridiculously proud of even though it isn’t particularly well done.

Vintage Grapes

Well, after a few days hiatus, last night I picked up my vintage sock and worked on it until my hand and elbow ached. I am completely done with the embossed grape section on the front, and am now working the beginning of the embossed grapes on the back. I must say, so far these are some of the best fitting socks I’ve ever made. Which is sad, since I am guessing wearing them won’t be a huge priority. As ever, the pattern goes by so amazingly quickly it is difficult to comprehend. While I will probably attempt to finish up my weaving today and do a bit of wheel spinning, I do hope to have the knitting of this sock done this week.



I think one of the huge draws of weaving at the moment is where I have it set up. If I sit there during the day and the day is sunny, the sun streams into that window and it makes me warm and happy. Since we are in the middle of winter, this is quite a balm for my soul.

This morning I got up, made a cup of coffee, and sat down at the loom again. Bug decided she wanted to listen to Anne of Avonlea, so this made for a morning of relative quiet, which was soothing.

I talked yesterday about my edges. I didn’t like them and was constantly trying to fix them. I think I have, at least as well as can be expected in this project. I also think I’ve learned enough to make significant changes in the next project. I am glad that I made this scarf rather long. While I tried to just use stash stuff that I had no major attachment to, the resulting color combination is so beautiful that I can’t stand not having this scarf work out. So, I do believe once it is done, I’ll end up sewing it into a cowl, just removing the end where the edges are truly awful. I am going to assume it will be long enough for that.

All I have for you today is a few edge pictures. This may not be overly interesting to anyone else, but I feel the need to document it.

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As for  Month O’Socks, I’ve not been doing much sock knitting. I did get a few rounds done yesterday on the Vintage socks, and a few rows done on the socks for my mom, but there really isn’t enough of interest to post about. That being said, Ummeyusuf finished her first pair and they are awesome! I love the combination of colorwork with strips.

Learning new skills

As I mentioned in the previous post, yesterday was a snow day. And as I mentioned, half the fun of a snow day for me is thinking of all the things I could choose to do with an extra day off. While my thoughts did head in the direction of clean out the freezer, do laundry, deep clean the kitchen, etc, they also headed in the direction of crafting. I knew I didn’t feel like knitting a sock all day and my hands were sore and cramping. I am no longer willing to put up with “the claw” that Month O’Socks has given me in the past. I considered working on a few outstanding projects on the knitting machine, seriously considered doing some color blending on the drum carder, but in the end decided what I’d really like to do is try  my hand at weaving.

A couple years back my aunt gave me a 4 harness table loom. My parents found a way to bring it to me out here on the plane and it has, since then, sat underneath my bed because I just didn’t make purchasing the associated equipment a priority. However, this past Christmas, I asked for those things then proceeded to purchase anything else I had yet to pick up. All I had been waiting for was a good block of time. Time is sometimes very hard to come by. Knowing that the warp would be a learning curve, and knowing that I wanted to finish it in one day, I was waiting for inspiration as well as a day off. And yesterday I had both.

When I finally had decided to learn to use my loom, I found on youtube a serious of videos by an Elizabeth Wagner. They are clear, concise, and broken into small enough pieces that they are easy for me to understand. She even spells out the math involved in a way that doesn’t make my brain hurt. I am sure at some point all of these things will become second nature, but for now I decided to just move through the series of videos with her, watching as I performed each task.

I started with my warping board, adding a cotton/tencel blend I had in my stash. I purchased this from Dyeabolical awhile back but never actually used it. It is a lovely shade of pink, a rich pastel, which is really how I prefer a pastel.



My warping board can take 4 yards but I only needed a bit more than 3 so I planned accordingly.

At this point I got out my loom, dusted it off, and realized it was a little worse for wear after a plane ride and then being stuck under my bed for a couple years. This was actually a good thing. Why? Because I was forced to figure out why it wasn’t working properly, which helped me investigate the mechanics of it, which ultimately is very valuable for me. I tend to be a person who expects things to just work. And when they don’t, I give up and get frustrated, even though just a bit of time spent investigating the problem would make it so I could figure out the fix. I also have a tendency to assume I am not mechanically minded enough to figure out the problem in the first place. This is really not true, it just takes a little bit of patience on my part. Patience I often don’t think I have.

Once I’d got the loom in working order again, I worked through the video on sleying the reed. Which actually went well despite the fact that with my left hand full of the warp and trying to keep it in order, I got a call about potential fraudulent charges on my card and had to work all that out while never putting down the warp. (Thanks again Knitpicks, that’s card #2 you managed to have compromised!)

As an aside, if you have not been made aware yet, knitpicks, and crafts americana group had a huge security breech and if you’ve purchased from them your card could be compromised. Do keep an eye out or get a new card just to be safe. I won’t get into my anger and annoyance with a company who has been anything but forthcoming with their information, but suffice it to say I am very sad that I can no longer give my business to a company that I absolutely loved in the past.

Ok, back to it, sleying the reed. I did it.



The series of videos that I worked with has you work front to back with the warp, so that is how I’ve learned.

She then goes on to explain that since I am working from the back of the loom I needed to thread my heddles backward. Since I didn’t want to bother with anything but a plain weave, I just worked 4-3-2-1 and was done.




For my weft I chose an alpaca handspun single that has been in my stash since the very beginning of my spinning career. I always loved the colors but it didn’t knit into anything particularly wonderful so I just kept frogging it. It does, however, match the pink of the warp perfectly. When I decided I wanted to learn to weave, it was in part because of the desire to know what handspun looked like in a woven item. And while I don’t trust myself to use handspun for a warp yet, I couldn’t see any reason not to use it as the weft.

However, I used some scrap bulkier handspun samples at the very beginning as waste, and I must say, those looked gorgeous too! I am already eager to figure out all the wonderful combinations I could try.

I had a few false starts. I accidentally cut a warp on the end while trying to cut out some weft I wasn’t happy with. I then had to cut another one to make up for the one on the end I cut. I hated my edges at first, and I think it has something to do with not having the tension on the ends as good as tight as they should be. I will work on that for my next project. However, I do think I am starting to get the hang of it now. I’ve got one side where I like the edges and another side where I don’t. But, I am going to continue and chalk it all up to a learning experience. I can’t expect perfection my first go around. (OK, I do expect perfection, but I have to remind myself I am being unreasonable.)



It’s pretty, and I am going to be proud of it no matter how much I hate the right edge.

Snow Day!

You know, I had no idea that I’d be just as excited about snow days as an adult as I was when I was a child. Now, I remember a time in 2009 when I was just over it, another snow day meant another day of back breaking shoveling onto piles of snow that were well over my head at that point. However, that has not been the experience since.

Today is a snow day. And it hasn’t even started snowing yet. Part of me wonders if the storm will be a bust and they were overly cautious, but I suppose since it is supposed to start at noon and make the drive home really ugly, perhaps they were wise. That being said, with 2 more storms right after this predicted, I would probably have preferred to get a day of work in.

That being said, I am not one to sleep in, but half the fun of this morning was lounging around in bed thinking of all the things I could get done today. The one thing I probably will not get done is knitting. I need a day off, my hands are sore. While in the past I may have pushed through that soreness, I have too many other little hobbies I could be messing with to do so. And really, I have so little to show you of the Vintage sock since yesterday. I did knit on it, but it felt like I had very little knitting time and I took some time out to do some reading, and consequently there just isn’t much to show for knitting wise.

However, I did snap a photo yesterday of a different sock. You see, with the upcoming snow storm I decided I would not be caught without my studded snow tires on my bike again. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to use them, but I at least want to be prepared to do so. So Bug and I headed over to our favorite bike shop and had them put on. (And no, I can’t do it myself, studded tires are the one tire change I can’t do as the rims are far too stiff and I don’t have the strength for it.) While we were waiting, Bug worked on her homework, studied her math, and drank hot chocolate. I knit on the sock I have on the needles for mom and had a pellegrino. It was actually quite an enjoyable time.




Forgetfulness. If I don’t do something regularly, I forget how long it takes, and I even miss steps in the process.

I’ve not knit a pair of socks in close to a year. I completely forgot just how fast I can knock out a pair of socks given the opportunity to work on them exclusively. Even ones that are more brain intensive than most. I also forgot how to make a short row heel, which is downright depressing, I’ve always been good at them!

I just finished the heel actually. So, I’ve got part of the embossed grape pattern done as well as the short row heel done. The heel has “wine glass” shaping, so I’ve begun that, and now need to continue that and the grapes up the leg. Once again, I am just amazed at how very wonderfully Tsock Tsarina’s patterns are written. She takes an intensely complicated pattern and lays it out in ways it is easy to understand. So, as long as I take this sock step by step, it just knits along so quickly! I had the same experience with the fronkenschteek sock. It was an amazing knit because I totally understood it each step.

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As far as leaves are concerned? I have 22 of them now.





So yesterday I deliberately knit a hole in the toe of my Vintage sock. Once I was reading the directions properly it was uncomplicated for the most part. Once I got home in the evening, I decided before I got much further on the foot of the sock I would inlay the leaf. This was also uncomplicated, even though I expected it to be very complicated. I expected that trying to get the leaf to lay flat and fit the associated toe hole was going to drive me nuts. It did not. The ease at which it all went together was quite anticlimactic, as I’d been stressing over this part of the sock more than anything else. Knit 34 little leaves? No problem. Knit a hole in the toe for one leaf? Complicated to my brain. I then knit and attached the stem of the leaf, and all that is missing now is the embroidery. Which I don’t think I will bother with until I am done with the socks.

This means that I now actually get to knit a sock. Month O’Socks started last week but I don’t feel like I’ve been sock knitting, just leaf knitting. Now I get to sock knit and I am quite excited about that. In fact, I’ve just started the embossed grape pattern that goes over the top of the foot.


Also, as of right now, 18 out of 34 leaves have been knit and blocked. Which means that I am now more than halfway done with them. I’d show you, but they are all sitting on the blocking board and don’t look much different than last time I showed them off.

The leaf knitting will now mainly take place at work. This means that I’ll be cranking out more like 2 leaves per work day. The next 4 leaves I make will be the final color, so that when I finish the first sock I’ll be ready to add the leaves and then start the second sock. I can make up the rest of the leaves while knitting the second sock. I have to admit, I wasn’t actually eager to start this project, nor was I eager to do Month O’Socks this year. But, it is this kind of crazy project that I needed, as now that I am doing it, I am just loving the process. What I really needed was something to get excited about.



Well, in true Shells fashion, I managed to mess up the toe of my vintage sock pretty badly my first time around. This was entirely my fault as I failed to pay attention to the directions. However, this morning I’ve had a little bit of quiet time where I can concentrate properly and my second toe has gone much better than my initial attempt.

What you are seeing here is the toe with the hole where I will place the leaf inlay. We are hanging out at a rec center today, me and Bug and a good friend of ours, and I didn’t bring the inlay so that will have to wait until tonight. But I think the toe is probably the most complicated part of these socks and I am happy to have one in good shape.

I am still at 13 out of 34 leaves, no progress at all on those since my last post.

MOS Day #3

So, it now being the 3rd day of MOS, I am very pleased to report that I now have 13 out of 34 leaves knit. I even got to change colors!



We have had a lovely day here, gorgeous sunny weather, and I decided to spend some time with friends and do some spinning rather than continuing my leaf knitting. I am hoping to finish one more leaf tonight and perhaps begin the sock portion of the project.

And since I spent the day with friends, I got to snap a whole bunch of photos of MOS projects. Yesterday we saw Kathy cast on for her socks during swimming lessons, today we get to see how far she’s made it down the leg of the first sock .



I love how those colors look together.

Then Sarah, our dear friend Sarah, who told us very early on that she intended to cheat during MOS, has 2 completed projects already. You see, she decided she would save the kitchener stitches of a pair of socks until MOS started. And, she was just a few rows from done on a hitchhiker out of koigu. Now that both of those projects are complete, she’s begun a pair of Wedge socks (one of my all time favorite sock patterns.)

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Our friend Celeste, who is a newer knitter, decided that MOS would be the perfect time to learn sock knitting, so she’s decided on a pair of toe up socks, and has now knit her very first toe.




I have loved seeing all the projects in person.

And there’s one other sock to feature, but sadly she’s too far away for me to snap an in person photo so you’ll just have to go to her blog to see her sock. A red and black bit of striped and colorwork business from Ummeyusuf!

Since I have tomorrow off to look after 2 wonderful kids who should entertain each other all day, I am hoping to have more knitting to show off tomorrow. The leaves are addictive and I am not tired of them yet!

Month O’Socks Day #1

I must say, I’ve not been knitting much in the past day or so. However, I did manage to get started on my Vintage Sock kit. The first leaf I made didn’t go so well, I always have trouble reading the directions. I had to rip it out and start over. The second leaf, the first one to be completed, took me about an hour.

I then proceeded to knit the two small leaves for the toe of the socks, and then continue with the large leaves. I need a total of 34 leaves, I currently have 6. I’ve been blocking them as I go. Finish a leaf, put it in to soak, knit another leaf. Put that one in to soak, pull the first one out, block it. It has been working pretty well.



And, as I mentioned, I intend to take pictures of socks I see in progress knit by friends. Today, while our kids were swimming, I got to see my dear friend Kathy’s sock beginning. Yarn is BMFA and I love the color! (And her knit bag for that matter.)


And So It Begins

Time for the big yearly holiday around here, it is officially Month O’Socks. Where until March 14 those of us who participate knit with nothing but sock weight yarn in attempt to get a handle on our sock yarn stash since sock yarn “doesn’t count as stash.” A theory I’ve never quite believed but used regularly in the past in order to enjoy adding to my stash guilt free.

As an aside, it is a theory that holds no water in my life anymore since I rarely knit. I have no use for yarn that doesn’t have a specific purpose anymore.

That being said, I still have a very large sock yarn stash, so Month O’Socks exists for that, and for the general fun a group of friends has just doing this silly thing once a year.

This year I intend to do things a bit different. If you are participating and want a blog post linked, please let me know. When it comes to my local friends, if I see them with MOS projects, I am taking pictures and posting them. (They probably don’t know this yet.) To be honest, this has something to do with the fact that I am rather uninspired about MOS this year. I am going to need to do those extra things to make it fun. And as I’ve mentioned before, my other “fun” project (and the quotes really are necessary!) is the Tsock Tsarina Vintage Sock kit project. Actually, after my fronkenschteek socks last year, I am looking forward to working one of her patterns. However, it is the knitting in general that I am avoiding a bit.


That being said, I think with this kit and a weekend, it will be interesting to see just how far I can get on these…..

I do have a plain pair of socks for my mom on the needles. I may put some work on them in. Since she will be visiting at the end of March, it would be nice to have them complete for her. I also have 2 pairs of socks that need repairs, and that I will attempt to do when I lose steam on the Vintage Sock kit.

And just for the record…I have decided that this year spinning doesn’t have to conform to anything at all or be included in MOS. So, I can still spin what I want to spin, when I want to spin it without guilt. That being said, my two major projects, Vintage Vespa and my green and lavender BFL both technically conform to sock yarn standards once they are finished yarns.



This isn’t something that I got from fleece of the month club, but it is something entirely new to me. Black Wensleydale wool. I’ve got a pound of it and it is not washed. It is, however, gorgeous. And again with the absolute lack of any VM whatsoever. I don’t mind dirty fleece, I don’t mind fleece that takes a bit of time to wash and figure out. However, I love love love fleece that is so beautiful that the entire process is ridiculously easy.


Despite the fact that Friday is day #1 of Month O’Socks, I do believe I may do some fleece washing this weekend. Some of the fleece I have in my house is too lovely to ignore, and some of it I just want to use for drum carding and blending and making fun colors.


More Corespinning

Awhile back I picked up a few more batts from Spin Culture after my Scream batt success. I also picked up a bit more core yarn, as I’d enjoyed the process so much. Monday evening I had done a ton of different work around the house, after I’d worked and gone to the store. I’d prepared dinner, and dyed yarn, and cleaned up, and made pie crust, and I was just exhausted. I wanted something easy and satisfying to work on, so I pulled out one of the batts. This one is completely different than the scream batt. It has lovely crimpy locks all in with the rest of the fiber and it makes for a much curlier end product over all. I am not yet done with the batt and I have no idea how much yarn I have at this point, but I did fill my first bobbin.  There are parts of this I don’t like, such as the fact that I can see some of the core yarn through the fiber from the batt. However, I do think it is gorgeous and I love the white and green tones.



I hope to have the rest of it spun up soon.


I hated, just hated, the color of the leicester longwool yarn. They weren’t even nice pastel colors, they were just failure. Lack of color, caused by my impatience and inability to let the dye pot heat up enough to get the dyes set. So yeah, any color it did have was just a fluke. Locks around the edge of the dye pot. While I could look at the yarn objectively and see that someone might like the color, the color just screamed failure at me. I am not someone who takes the decision to overdye lightly! Anyhow, my goal was to go light in the saturation department. I decided on blue because it would be the most likely to give me the colors I appreciated considering the color of the locks that did take. But I didn’t necessarily want it to be a solid. And I don’t think it is. It is saturated enough to be blue, but light enough to see the variations in color from the more colored locks. All in all, I think it is much better now than it was as lack of color pastels.


Talking about the pastels in this skein of yarn made me remember just how much I hated pastel colors in my youth. I remember my friends just loving them, the soft colors for all their clothing while I was drawn to deep, rich, saturated jewel tones. I liked color in a big way, but it was never the pastels that thrilled me to pieces. While I like them more now than I did, pastel tones are the color tones I am still least likely to be drawn to.

Leicester Longwool Locks

I spent my spare time this weekend on my leicester longwool locks, so by Sunday night I had them plied and hung to dry. These are a 2 ply, but I haven’t yet bothered to count yardage, as I didn’t love the color and decided to overdye it in blue. I’ll have to count yardage tomorrow. These are far less fuzzy than the border leicester, and slightly softer even though they are still wiry. The locks were long, I’d say 6-7 inches so this yarn should also be quite strong as a 2 ply. I am hoping to use it for weaving once I finally figure all that out. And by figure it out, I mean put away my drum carder, finish a few obligations, and then pull out the loom.


A Dreary Day

As sunny and beautiful as yesterday was, today is dreary and windy. In fact, the pictures that I took for today were hard to get simply because it was so windy (gusts up to 40 mph) that putting fiber down for a picture proved disastrous.

First up, my leicester longwool locks. I’ve finished spinning the singles, so I intend to pull out my wheel tonight and get these plied. I might hate the color, but I am not yet sure. My thought is that if I do hate the color, I will overdye in blue for a tonal blue yarn. But, I will evaluate that after completing the yarn.



The other thing I worked on a bit was my delaine from my fleece of the month club. I tried to put it through my drum carder, going very slow. Unfortunately, it seems quite clear now that my drum carder does not like bouncy super fine wools. So, I ended up pulling out my hand cards and using them instead. I’ve got a few rolags done, and a bunch more wool to finish. I am actually considering purchasing some fine hand cards at this point, as even these aren’t doing that great of a job with the delaine. Considerably better than my drum carder, but not really my best work overall I don’t think.



I did try to sample spin a bit of this on my spindle, but that didn’t go well either. I think these would be better for the wheel, or perhaps a drop spindle. They are lofty and squishy though, and I anticipate a lofty, squishy, lovely yarn from them.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit sunnier and brighter, and hopefully I’ll have a finished yarn to show off.

This Saturday in Spinning

Once I remembered I had those leicester longwool locks to spin, I decided that would be my next project. I’ve been spinning on them exclusively the past few days. To be honest, I haven’t had a ton of crafting time, so even working on them exclusively means I haven’t gotten that far. But, I have managed to get the spindle pretty close to full at this point. I am guessing it has something to do with being a more experienced support spindle spinner, but I find it far easier to pack my spindles full now than I did when I first started. Initially, there was a point where I couldn’t get them to spin that well anymore. Now they continue to spin the way I like them to until the spindle is so packed full I am having trouble finding places to flick it.



My latest fleece club shipment came in last evening. These upcoming months are northern european shorttail breeds. Again, this will be 3 breeds I’ve never really come in contact with, let alone spun, so I looked forward to my club shipment. And it did not disappoint. The breed for this month is Gotland, and what I got is 4 oz of almost black wool. Just gorgeous with this incredible shine and silkiness to it. There is absolutely no VM in this. There’s no clumpy tips. There’s really nothing at all to complain about, just wool that shines. Amazing.


Lizard Ridge

I tried to get fancy for this one. Part of the fancy is working, and the other part did not. But, the did not part was because I wasn’t paying attention. I started this years ago, and immediately decided to cast off each block, and then pick up stitches for the next block rather than sewing the blocks together. Now, that seems to be working. I get the stability of a completed block, but they are all nicely connected and then all I need to do is the long seams. Then I thought, why not just add the next strip of blocks, picking up stitches on the original strip of blocks and knit it on like the edging of a shawl? However, when I tried to do that, I started connection my blocks from the wrong end, they were upside down. So, I dumped that idea and just decided to suck it up and sew the long seams. That being said, does anyone know of any reason you could not do such a thing? Is there a structural issue that I am not taking into account? I hate the idea of seaming a blanket enough to do it that way providing I did it the right way to start with.

In any case, this is my second strip of blocks, and I am enjoying having this project at work. It is memorized at this point, so it goes quickly all things considered. This morning I checked the stash of yarn allotted for this project and realized that I am going to have to get more pretty soon.



Christmas Ball #2

Even though the knit along has different patterns picked for the month of February, I felt that it seemed natural (or cliche) to do one of the heart patterns. I chose the hospitality heart pattern for this month. It is completed fairly early on since I have Month O’Socks coming up. It would qualify for MOS, but the project I have picked for MOS is so large that I don’t care to have anything outstanding at all for February during MOS.

I actually ripped this out and started over. You see, I’d decided that I should try it without the knitting thimble, but quickly realized that the knitting thimble actually does make my colorwork stitches much nicer. So, I frogged and then started again with the thimble. I am quite surprised at how well steaming the fabric with an iron works, it is a great way to loosed up the wool and even out the stitches. However, I think my stuffing leaves a lot to be desired this time, it looks a little lumpy and I may have to work with it a bit to get it to look neat and tidy.



Yesterday I suddenly decided it was imperative that I “make some decisions” about my spinning. This is odd really, since I am under no obligation whatsoever to complete any particular project, and if I wanted to, I could totally take out all of my fiber and spin up a little of it just to see what it looked like. Not that I am going to. Though it is tempting. It always is. Anyhow, being that I have a limited number of spindles and a fairly large number of ongoing projects right now, I hoped that focusing on a project would help me decide what to complete first.

Now, when I reorganized my dining room to give myself a proper work space, I set up all my fiber there, in little baskets. So, I wandered over there, picked up the first basket I saw, and got to work. What I had was the basket of flick carded CVM Romeldale, some of it was already in rolag form, some of it was already spun. I decided my mission for my evening was to fill the two spindles that I had already started, ideally finishing up what I had in the basket. So, the evening was spent spinning, and also making additional rolags with the flick carded locks I had in the basket. I have a few rolags left, s0 I have a bit more to do here before I wind off these two spindles and put the project aside for a bit. I may, ultimately, end up wheel spinning the CVM, so for now I think it is better to set aside in order to work on my other ongoing spindle projects.


When I picked up that basket, I still didn’t have any real direction to my spinning. I couldn’t figure out what project I was to work on. But, under that basket was the basket of leicester longwool locks, and as soon as I saw them I realized that was what I’d work on next. I had completely forgotten about them until that moment!

Time Out

Yesterday could be called my time out. And I needed it. While I did feel obligated to get on with some of the samples I had been spinning, once those were done and the blog post up, it was time for a rest. I needed the soothing comfort of the creative process. This is what I find restful and invigorating. Since I’d just finished a few laceweight 2 ply samples, and had gotten out all my loop samples to photograph, I decided it was time to attempt to find something I could use them with. I decided on a scarf .The trouble was, I needed a pattern that would allow for different colored yarns. I’d originally considered blending the yarn colors, one into the next. I used Ravelry’s pattern database, configured to just find laceweight patterns that I already owned in my library. I came up with two. One was in a 2011 copy of Interweave Knits, the other in my book “A Fine Fleece.” Now, I really love the book and I haven’t knit much out of it, so I decided I would look up that pattern first. And you know what? It was not only pretty, but one of the examples used two different yarns. Well, this triggered the idea of using one main color and tying in the different sample colors that way. It seemed the perfect idea. So I gave it a shot. I had the most of the light blue sample, so I used that as my accent color. No chance of running out. Then I used one each of the loop samples I have laying around so far. It may be a little unconventional, but I like it! I’ve even been so good as to weave in my ends as I go, as this one really would be a pain to finish and then weave in. Now that I’ve tried each of the loop samples, I am seriously considering adding other laceweight samples I’ve got hanging around. It couldn’t hurt right?


More Sampling

Today is a slow day. A very slow day. I managed to pop something in my hip last evening. Thankfully today it is no longer a sharp pain with a dull ache surrounding it, I am left with just the dull ache. So, today we are taking it easy. My desire to spent the rest of the weekend on Vintage Vespa Loop Bump has been totally sidelined, and I’ve done some more sample spinning instead.

I finished the plying of the Spin Culture sample. There were two small strips of this, both with dark olive green, brown, and a wine color. Rather than spinning and failing to pay attention to color, I actually planned this one out. I decided that a plying bracelet would be the way I plied, and I split out the colors so that the wine would be in the middle, with the green/brown on the outsides. Once the plying bracelet was created, I’d then have a yarn that transitioned from green/brown, to a combo of green/brown with wine, and ending in just the wine color. It worked great actually, I ended up with just what I wanted. 70 yards 2 ply.


Then I picked up a loop cloud sample and spun that on my trindle SST. I also used a plying bracelet for this one, and I am loving the dark wine colors on this was well. This gives me another color to add to all my lovely little loop cloud samples. 25 yards 2 ply.

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And actually, prior to popping my hip, I did manage to get some spinning on the vintage vespa bump done. I forget how much I adore spinning super thin on my wheel, so it was a treat just to spend some time doing that. I am well into the slightly red toned white now, and am eager to get moving on it again as soon as possible.


What else did this weekend bring? It brought me the opportunity to teach someone spindle spinning. Or start anyhow. My friend Marja bought some Kauni unspun, and I lent her my disco trindle, and she got started. I like starting someone with the unspun, as they can get an idea for how the spindle feels, how it spins, and what it feels like to have twist entering fiber. It is a great practice routine, and it allows the drafting complications to come later, after getting the feel of the thing. I think it is good to master different parts of the routine, I think it makes putting them all together a little bit easier. The best part? After only a few hours of work, she had a pretty full cop, and the confidence to take the entire thing home to keep working on.







I used to hate samples! I think it had to do with wheel spinning. By the time I got out my wheel, changed bobbins, and started spinning, it felt worthless to do the sample it got finished so fast. Now with the spindles, I love little samples of yarn. Pieces of fiber I can pick up in one evening, experiment with, and then end up with a tiny finished skein of yarn shortly thereafter.

Well, I cannot tell a lie, I bought more batts from Spin Culture. Spin culture of the most awesome scream batt. I just loved how they turned into corespun yarn and I loved how the cowl looked once I was done, so I just couldn’t resist. With that shipment came some wool top samples, so I began spinning them last evening. I didn’t finish actually, due to also wanting to devote some time to my lizard ridge blanket, but I got a pretty solid amount on my spindle through the evening. I do believe I’ll be plying this on a spindle as well because…well…as I said, seems pointless to pull out my wheel for such a thing!


Now that I’ve managed to complete a bunch of projects last week, it is time to set a few goals for this week. I plan to work on my vintage vespa loop bump. It is back on my wheel, and my high speed whorl is back too. I’d love to get this one done so I can start messing around with my jacob fleece batts. I should also add, my jacob fleece batts are done. Since they don’t look much different than last time, I am not taking another photograph. But, from 2.5 pounds of unwashed fleece, I got a pound and 9 oz of batts total. My lizard ridge blanket from forever ago is actually seeing some action now. I cast it on in 2011 so it is high time I worked on it enough to complete the thing. I also plan to do another christmas ornament, and then there’s Month O’Socks starting on February 15. Time to get a few things done before I start that!


Color Affection

Yep, finally. You finally get to see what turned into a very epic project for me. Not that the knitting of it was epic, it was the muddling through that was epic. The yarn is madeline tosh merino light. I bought it on vacation at a little shop called Yarnings in Skippack PA this summer. I started it on the plane ride home, and then became terribly bored with it, and have been struggling for the inspiration to work on it ever since. It was a slog. I’ve had to force myself through the knitting of this at every moment. I don’t think I have enjoyed it since the second stripe, and that was ever so long ago. However, I can tell you that the shawl itself is well worth it. (Not that I’ll knit it again…)  The shawl is long and scarf like. Worn like a scarf it will never fall off. I love all the extra fabric it has and I love wearing it. It may have been a very long project, but it is one with a payoff, and that I am very grateful for!

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