A blog about my life, knitting, and other stuff.

June 30, 2006

Famous Moments in Mom History #2

Week Two of Summer Break

Younger Son: Moooooommm!
Older Son: Moooooommm!
Younger Son: He's copying me!
Older Son: He's copying me!
Mom: Sigh...

Kitschy Knit

I love this Mixed Grill Wrap. I know you're thinking it should be a What the Hell is This? feature but this artist knows she's making something insane and appalling and is embracing it. I love it. There's a crochet version too.

June 29, 2006

As June Comes to a Close...

I've signed up for the Le Tour de Fleece. I wrestled with picking a goal. Obviously my Olympic project was too challenging (and still not done). I didn't want to do that again. But I didn't want to wuss out and pick something really easy. I decided to complete 30 hours of spinning during the Tour. Then I can work on whatever projects I want whenever I want.

I didn't get much feedback on the audio post. There were a few comments by people who know me in real life about how calm I sounded or how slowly I spoke. I was trying very hard to slow down. I'm a bit of a fast talker. I was also trying not to curse, not to say, "uhhhhhh," and not to click my tongue. Thank goodness for editing. Honestly, I had to stop once in the middle to feed the cat (fat lot of good that did me), then one of the kids came down and I had to fix him a snack. Editing is frickin' magic!

I just finished a really cute baby kimono for the shop today. It's from Minnies and I made it with Silk Garden Lite. The yarn is very soft. Much softer than regular Silk Garden which I can only chalk up to the finer gauge. I'll try to grab a picture of it.

In my personal knitting I'm still plugging away on my Faroese shawl. The yarn got horribly jumbled last night so I wound it back into balls by hand while watching The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. At one point Gene Tierney picked up a skein of brown yarn and started winding it into a ball. Even Wes thought it was a little freaky. I meant to get a screen shot of it but reflexively stuffed it in its Netflix envelope and sent it back immediately.

I also just turned the heel on the last Dulaan sock. I should get it all packed up and shipped off this weekend.

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

As the Manolo would say, Ayyyyyy! The weed whacker, it returns!

June 28, 2006

My Savior

I neglected to include the contact information for the vendor who makes drive bands for Clemes & Clemes drum carders. In case you're looking for one give Duncan Fiber Enterprises a call at (503) 658-4066.

I've got my drive band on my carder and--hallelujah--it works! I'm a happy spinner.

June 27, 2006

Now in Stereo

I made an audio blog post (right click to save to your computer).

Don't worry. That's not a baby crying in the background. I fed Zasu, the cat, twice but she's yowling next to me during the whole thing. Let me know what you think.

Links for stuff I talk about:

Carol Duvall Show
"The Big Vogue Knitting Book"
Baby sweater that took five years to finish, actually from Baby Knits
Northwest Asian American Film Festival
Not Martha
Fraggle Rock Hat
Seattle Stitch 'n Bitch

Little Bits

I just realized that June is nearly over and all my Dulaan stuff needs to get in the mail ASAP. I spent the morning at the pediatrician's office weaving in the ends on all the Lamb's Pride Bulky hats I've knit. The boys then fought over the little yarn pieces and played with them by twisting them together. I got all excited and tried to show them that that's how yarn is made but they couldn't have cared less. I cast on for a second sock to go with one I knit last week. Hopefully I'll finish it in a day or two and get everything shipped off.

This afternoon I plied everything I spun at BSG that still needed plying. I made one more skein of the blue-green stuff. I was pretty proud of myself to end up with just this much left on my bobbin. I wound it on to one of my cute new tiny bobbins.

I finished my second skein of three ply merino sock yarn which turned out slightly thicker than the first. But look how much yarn I had left on my bobbins when I was done plying!

No waste. I love that.


Pure cuteness arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

June 26, 2006

Black Sheep Gathering 2006 Recap

Marti and I loaded up my car on Friday morning on headed off down I-5. We were stopped immediately by a huge and ugly traffic jam. We drove 8 miles in 45 minutes. Fortunately traffic cleared and we made our way down, down, down to Eugene. We had a bit of trouble finding the fairgrounds but made it there by late afternoon. We walked around and scoped out the vendors, ran into friends and explored. BSG closes every night at 6 so we checked into our hotel--Motel 6 in south Eugene, nothing fancy going there--and met up with two Seattle spinners Rebecca and Peggy who were also at our hotel. We got some take out and huddled in their room with our wheels and did some spinning. I collapsed into bed around 10, which is impossibly early for me, but all the driving really wore me out.

On Saturday morning we hitched a ride with Peggy and Rebecca back to the fairgrounds. I went over to the fleece judging hoping to learn a thing or two. Sadly the judge wasn't all that chatty. I also ran by the alpaca show that was going on next door. There was a large circle of chairs set up in one of the buildings and we all sat and did a lot of spinning. As someone pointed out in the photo in my last post, all the Lendrums did kind of stick together. On the other side of the circle were all the Little Gems. It was pretty funny and we all had noticed it. So we sat and spun and shopped until they kicked us out at 5! We were joined for dinner by Michelle and Carl of Toots Le Blanc for a very nice Italian dinner. Then back to the hotel for still more spinning.

On Sunday Marti and I made a very slow, careful crawl through all the booths one last time to make sure we hadn't missed anything. And sat and spun until it started to get really hot. When we got in the car to head home the temperature was 94°. It climbed as we drove to 102°! Fortunately as we approached Seattle (after a mere 5 hours and 10 minutes of driving) the temps had dropped back down into the 80s.

So I know you don't care about anything I just said and only want to see photos of what I bought. Here you go.

This is roving from Dawn's Custom Carding that I immediately spun. It's a wool/mohair blend, nothing fancy, and at a fantastic price. It comes in a thin roving so it sort of begged to be spun with a long draw. It was really fun and fast to spin but I had planned on using it for socks and ended up spinning it much thicker. I plied some of it when I got home and it puffed up even more. So I'm not sure what I'll make with it. It is also eerily similar to the roving I bought and spun at the NWRSA conference earlier this month. I enjoyed spinning this so much I ran back and got some more.

Wool/Mohair and Wool/Mohair/Silk

I also got some fluffy shetland from Sporfarm. I bought some beautiful yarn from them last fall at Oregon Flock and Fiber that I sent to Vicki for a Better Pal present.

I was intrigues by this dyed ramie top.

I have no idea how to spin it but I hope to learn how.

And I got a few gadgets. I saw someone with a Spinner's Control Card at NWRSA. It looks like a useful gadget.

Too bad I didn't use it while spinning the roving from Dawn's...

I love these little weaving bobbins. They were selling for 50 cents a piece and I thought they'd be useful for holding all the odds and ends that are left behind after plying. I hate to throw any of it away.

I also ordered a set of Handworks Northwest dressing wires. I wanted to get some at NWRSA but didn't (I don't know why). So I should receive a set in the mail soon.

And lastly, my most exciting purchase of the trip--a drive belt for my cursed drum carder. I found a gentleman who makes them. I brought it home. I put it on. It worked! It's a miracle. I can card! I can card!

June 25, 2006

Oh My Aching Ass

Eugene, Oregon is really far from Seattle! It was six hours to get there (there was a big traffic snarl leaving Seattle) and a little over five to get back. That's a lot of driving.

The Black Sheep Gathering was great. There were lots of sheep.

Sloppy eater

There was lots of wool.

Corriedale. Yum. Third place ribbon and it's mine! And Terri's. We decided to split the fleece. We handed it to Dawn of Dawn's Custom Carding and will get it back as lovely to spin roving.

Insanely nice Targhee. We didn't get it but we touched it a lot.

There were spinners.

And those are all the photos I took. Oops. There were many purchases too. I'll try to take photos of those as soon as I can.

June 22, 2006

Penultimate Photo Shoot

The beast

My favorite squares

I will take more photos when I finally get this thing blocked and backed. Elabeth asked why I bothered to weave in the ends when I was going to sew on a backing. I don't trust knots. They always seem to come undone or wriggle to the front of the work. I don't like them and was willing to spend several hours weaving in ends to avoid them. Your feelings about knots--or your knot-tying ability--may be different.

I'm leaving first thing tomorrow for Black Sheep Gathering. See you next week!

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Rowan has announced a return to the classics for fall. Thank God. It was getting pretty scary for a while there.

So I get that these are his and hers argyle suspenders with matching gauntlets.

Totally classic. If by "classic" you mean "80s."

And then what the hell is this?

And this?

The classics do endure.

June 21, 2006

Dolores is in the House!

Yeah, baby! My Dolores mug finally arrived.

Afghan Watch: I have two corners to stitch up and still about 100 ends to weave in. I will hopefully have a beauty shot of an unblocked but relatively complete afghan for you tomorrow. Today I bought some solid, thin polar fleece to make a backing for the blanket. Since that will involve sewing--and invariably cursing and weeping--it will be put off for as long as possible.

My Faroese shawl is also clicking along. It looks like a fuzzy brown wad right now so I'll spare you a photo.

June 20, 2006

Isn't This Cheating?

I hate writing thank yous as much as the next guy but somehow paying someone else $3 a card to write them for me just feels wrong. That's $3 for the service. The cards are extra.

via Daily Candy.

Sock Surgery

The little alpaca/wool socks I started last weekend for Dulaan got finished on Friday night. But something was not quite right.

I had knit one sock with k2, p2 ribbing and one with k1, p1 ribbing. I also knit one sock 5 rounds longer than the other. Oops.

I decided to perform a little sock surgery. I grabbed my 6 year old to snap a photo as I snipped a stitch just under the ribbing of the shorter sock.

I removed the ribbing and put the live stitches back on the needle.

I knit 5 more rounds and some k2, p2 ribbing then bound off using the sewn bind off.

Presto! Matching socks!

June 18, 2006

The Upside

My in-laws are in town. After canceling meal plans with us for dinner last night and brunch today we all went to the International District for dinner tonight. You know what that means? Kinokuniya, baby! I dumped the kids with Wes and his parents and flipped through all the mesmerizingly pretty Japanese crafting books.

This one hooked me with the embroidery on the cover. It reminds me of Josef Hoffmann designs.

This one has some of the nicest wet-felted designs I've seen. I was going to buy it but decided not to at the last minute (when I realized it was already far too late to be out with the kids).

This book didn't have that much stuff I liked but it had several patchwork pieces that incorporated knitting, which I have been thinking about lately.

And then I fell in love.

This book was filled with beautiful simple sewing projects using felt. I loved every page. I decided to buy it. Then I turned the page and saw a set of black caricature dolls. They were so offensive. I started making excuses in my head. "The other designs are so pretty." "It's a different culture." But no, I could not support it with my dollars or bring it into my home. What a shame.

So I left empty-handed. I need to go back by myself some time and really take all the time I want to peruse.


216 yards of alpaca

265 yards of merino/tencel

June 17, 2006

Seven Hours of Spinning

Alpaca on the bobbin, Chasing Rainbows Merino/Tencel sample skein

Last night was drop in spinning at Weaving Works. I thought I'd finish up the alpaca I've been playing with before I went. I had a little free time in the afternoon and got to spin for about an hour. Then my son had a friend over for a playdate--bonus! The kids were off playing and out of my hair. Ring up another two hours at the wheel. I was still nowhere near finished with the alpaca but left it at home. At WW I worked on the second half of the merino/tencel I started at the NWRSA conference. I just finished spinning it when it was time to pack up and go home (Total spinning time: 5.5 hours). I got home and left everything in a pile by my office door. I went upstairs and watched a little bit of Patsy Zawistoski's Spinning Cotton, Silk and Flax video (I was in the zone, baby). Suddenly I jumped up, ran downstairs and started plying the merino/tencel. After all the spinning I wanted to see the finished project. You can see a 50 yd sample skein in the photo.

At last fatigue set in and I went to bed. There's still a bit of plying to be done but I figured seven hours of spinning is a pretty good days work.

As I was writing this I noticed some unfamiliar knitting on top of a pile on the far side of the office. It was black and very lustrous.

Zasu, after I woke her up, in my Dulaan donation box

Hope those Mongolian orphans aren't allergic to cats!

Afghan Watch: For those keeping track at home, the afghan has one long side border done and 3/4 of the second long side done.

June 15, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I have to thank Jody again this week. She alerted me to the new Drops patterns. Is it just me or does Drops sound like a Victorian euphemism for some sort of ailment? (I've been watching too much Deadwood, haven't I?) I don't know what the ailment is but I think I've isolated some of the symptoms.

It begins with knitting large sheets of stockinette with absolutely no shaping that the patient just drapes over her body.

It may also be tied in place with rope if the patient is worsening.

The patient then breaks out into bobbles.

Which, if left untreated, can progress to pom poms.

And then the final stage, dementia.

June 14, 2006

Who Ya Gonna Call?

A while back I posted photos of how messy my office is. I was hailed by some a brave woman to show the world my disgrace. The office is nothing. You haven't seen my yard. I'm far too ashamed to show you any photos but lets just say it this way: 5 years of unchallenged blackberry growth. It's a nightmare back there people. The canes reach up maybe 15 feet and spread across the entire yard and side yard. It's scary. And painful. And we can't use our yard. Two years ago King County announced a pilot program to use goats in residential areas for weed management. I tried to sign up but the county never got back to me. I've also looked at some semi-local companies that rent out goats for vegetation management--Healing Hooves and Goat Busters--but they handle big areas like golf courses, city parks and ski slopes, not pathetic yards like mine.

So this all leads to my question: Do you, or someone you know, own goats near Seattle and can I borrow them for a while?

Alma and Me

I'm sitting here watching season two of Deadwood and the widow Garret is working on her knitting. She and I are both working in garter stitch. Mine is the mile-long first side border of my blanket. (I didn't show it to you on purpose, sillies. I've got to save something for the big "all finished" shot.) Alma is awkwardly knitting on a dull garter stitch scarf--like all tv characters--on huge honking needles which, I feel quite certain, did not exist in 1877.

June 13, 2006

All Seams Sewn


Excuse Me While I Freak Out

School ends next week! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

June 12, 2006

Sunday Evening News

I finished the sock last night. The proportions are funny. It's a bit too short to be so large around. That's what I get for knitting in the dark.

When I finished the sock I started working on the first long seam on my afghan. I sewed through Suspicion and still did not get the first seam entirely done. Two more long seams to go. I'm bringing it to Purlygirls with me tonight. It's pretty tedious so having some company will help.

Yesterday I spent a few minutes trying out a little experiment spinning alpaca. Purlygirl Trish lives near an alpaca farm. A long time ago she gave me a little bag of some cinnamon colored fleece she got when the farm did their first shearing. I decided to try a technique that Judith Mackenzie demonstrates in her Spinning Exotic Fibers video of spinning directly off your carder.

It minimizes preparation, keeps the fibers somewhat aligned and helps prevent holding your fiber in a death grip. I've conquered the death grip in my spinning and thought I might be coordinated enough to try this now. I only got to spin for a few minutes. It's a little awkward. It almost feels like spinning with one arm tied behind your back. The tiny bit of singles I produced feel very soft and look nice. I'll spin up the rest of this soon and see what I get.

June 11, 2006

My Big Date

I had a big date today. With my 8 year old. He's been lobbying for a while to be taken to a nice "grown up" restaurant. He's been working on his restaurant manners so I decided to take him out for a fancy(ish) brunch and to see Cars. We went to Cafe Campagne and had a really good brunch with good behavior all around. We strolled through Pike Place Market then walked up to the theater. My son loved the movie--laughed louder than anyone in the theater--and we had a really nice day together.

I thought the movie was pretty good but nothing great compared to the other Pixar films. And they must have had six trailers before the movie started, including one for a remake of My Friend Flicka starring 27 year old Alison Lohman as a high school student with 41 year old Maria Bello and Tim McGraw as her mom and dad. What's the deal with that? The trailer looked so cheesy it gave me the shivers. But if you see Cars, stay for the credits. Oh, and who the hell is "Larry the Cable Guy?"

While at the movies I started a new sock for Dulaan.

Not too bad for knitting in the dark. I accidentally split a stitch on the heel flap and ended up knitting each part as its own stitch. I didn't catch it until I was ready to turn the heel. I just decreased one stitch before turning. It looks fine. I was able to finish the heel turn but I couldn't pick up the gusset stitches in the dark so it went back in my bag.

The hat pile is still growing too.

And last night I worked more on my Faroese shawl.

It's about 11 inches long now if I stretch it a bit and it's on a 40" circular just to give you a better sense of the size. I did a lot of calculating last night to try to guesstimate how long the finished shawl will be. I only have 600 yards of yarn. But after a lot of calculating I think I might be able to get it to about 24 inches. It's a little short but the beauty of a Faroese-shaped shawl is that it will stay on your shoulders no matter how small it is due to the shaping. I may use another yarn for the edging. I'm really not sure yet.

June 9, 2006

In a House Filled With Love . . . There's Always Room For More

On Thursday, Carrie pointed out that this sweater looked like something Claire Huxtable would wear. Today Berocco also released one of Cliff Huxtable's sweaters.

The Fine Line

Is this the best idea ever or the worst? I do love the smell but would I gain 80 pounds the first week I used it?

That Figures

It has been sunny and beautiful here today. Not too warm, slight breeze. Just right. And now that I want to snap some photos and am getting ready to go to the year-end barbecue at my son's school the sky has turned dark and cloudy.

I wanted to take a photo because the fabulous Jeanne sent me my Dye-o-Rama yarn. She was a top-notch swap pal--great communication, beautiful colors and loads of little goodies. In addition to, not one, but two skeins of yarn, I got a kitty tape measure, Minnesota Moose Mints (for breath that will stop you in your tracks) and a cute notepad. Thank you so much, Jeanne.

I've finished two more Dulaan hats. The one I was knitting today seemed to cause quite a stir at the zoo*. People kept walking by me and saying, "Oh look at that. She's knitting!" Or, "Oh look at you. You're knitting." No shit.

Remember tomorrow is World Wide Knit in Public Day!

*I am so lucky to live so close to a great zoo. My kids think every child can go to the zoo in 5 minutes whenever the whim strikes. I also love that Seattle is so wired that the zoo website domain is www.zoo.org.

June 8, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Last week Jody pointed out a disturbing occurence on her blog--decent looking designs from Berocco! It's a little unsettling isn't it? But they do seem to be developing a bit of 80s-itis. I know, 80s are supposed to be in fashion again but my rule is if it sucked the first time around, it sucks harder the second time around.

I believe Oprah wore both of these during the first season of AM Chicago.

If you listen closely while looking at this photo you can hear "Tainted Love" playing.

Aside from the 80s-ness, there are a few "scroll down" problems, as the Go Fug Yourself girls would say, here too. Observe Magda.

Okay, cute wrap sweater, nothing too weird there. Then, holy crap!

Are those velour stretch pants? With red velvet boots? Hang on, I need a little lie down.

Whew. I think I'm a little better now. On to Madre.

Little bolero, not crazy about the dolman-like sleeves but not too bad and then, what the hell is she wearing?

Is that a garbage bag or did she just poop her pants? Where is my aspirin?