Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What Rhymes with "Sick as a Dog"?

...Too sick to blog. That was me for the last week and then some, and I'm sorry Dorothy!

Dorothy is my newly-revealed secret pal, and she sent me this fabulous package of goodies. There were lots of tasty treats in there (yum!) as well as some beautiful and very welcome Cascade 220 (felted mittens, perhaps?), a little bottle of Eucalon (been meaning to try that!) and a refrigerator memo pad which immediately became grocery lists.

And best of all, the Twisted Sisters Sweater Book! I've been wanting to get my hands on that since I first heard it was in the works. A sweater book especially for handspun yarn! What could be better? Thank you so much, Dorothy!

And in other delayed-by-illness news, here is The
Little Red Haired Girl who knit her little brother this scarf for Christmas! I'm way beyond happy about this; our little 8 year old god-daughter has totally learned to knit! From me! Its very satisfying.

And another picture for you, our other red-head, Ben, the cat, posing under our Not-a-Tree, a large wreath with lights and ornaments which was our solution to limited time and energy but a longing for holiday decor.

What a handsome devil.

Well, I know from reading blogs that I'm not the only one with a horrible cold out there, but I hope you all had happy holidays anyway, and are recovering in good time!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hey, Gabrielle, I'm coming down the home stretch on the mittens!

And for all of you who don't know; Gabrielle sent me this pretty rainbow-dyed alpaca singles yarn and I spun and dyed the blue/purple background color, and now, a long time later, I'm actually thinking I might finish this little (not so little!) project. That's my home-grown chart in the background; why oh why couldn't I have just knit some Norwegian mitten pattern that someone else had already worked out?? I think it was something to do with row gauge....whatever. Its nearly in my past now!

And the next project won't be so tiny and fiddly, either! I've been surveying my stash for bulky weight yarn...and I found this grey three ply I spun many moons ago, from a friend's pet sheep's fleece.

In preparation for making the grey into something very warm, I have dyed again today.

I'm not yet quite sure where I'm going with this, but I like the colors, so I'm on my way.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dyeing Again

Yesterday I carved some time out of my day to dye a few skeins of yarn. The ones on the left and right are to be made into the Look Ma No Purl scarf I posted an example of a little while ago. I just love that pattern, and the scarf I posted before, which of course is right here in my house, is never available because J just loves it. So...I need more! The purple/plum will be for my mother in law, and the blue/green/teal will be for me. I'm thinking of using a brownish plum as the solid color for the plum one, and maybe charcoal grey for mine.

The skein you see in the middle is an over-dye job, which I have posted here to inspire you to do the same if you have a skein-of-iffy-color lying around your stash. Just take a look at its colors and see what color you could add to shift all the existing colors to something that isn't objectionable, and also isn't mud. My only advice is to dye with the brightest or nearly brightest shade that will do the job (again, trying to avoid mud...). For instance, if as in this case it needs blue, try turquoise to keep all the colors defined. If I had used dark blue, it would have turned out much more monochromatic, and also more muddy.

My other advice is to use a pretty high concentration of dye because those original colors, especially if they're strong colors, can be a little hard to shift. Of course, if you're overdying a pastel skein this is not a big deal. But if it was strongly colored to begin with, you'll need something strong to shift it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanks, Secret Pal!!

Wow, look what came in yesterday's mail! A package from my Secret Pal!

Along with all these goodies came a very sweet card, full of apologies for tardiness, but Secret Pal, don't worry. This package comes at an excellent time for me, what with stress and unprecedented busy-ness, and I don't think you should add to your own stress by worrying about me!!

Also, in the card, my pal mentioned that there will be another package coming soon too, so even while I'm enjoying this package I get to anticipate another one!

Look at all this great stuff; now in my free time I can read Yarn Harlot's new book, rub yummy smelling Cucumber Melon body butter on myself, bathe in matching scent shower gel, and a handmade bar of Lavendar Rosemary scented soap.

And look at this lovely sock yarn! One ball of Phildar Hobby wool in a faux fair isle pattern (which is something I've really wanted to try out) and another ball of gorgeous blue Multiringel Cotton from Lana Grossa. Both of these are very very tempting, and I'm looking forward to casting on socks some day very very soon. Its been way too long.

So thanks very much, Secret Pal! I love everything, and you're the best!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oh, the Horror of It

You might remember this horrible, nightmarish image from a few week ago; the handiwork of a bored kitten while we were away on a trip. Well, what with blowing ornaments and paperweights and whatnot for the holiday season in the evenings and starting a new part time job during some of the days, I've been so busy it was a simple matter to exercise my right to denial, and just pretend this never happened.

That was an excellent plan, as far as it went. But suddenly I came down with a little cold, and found myself needing a fiber project. I turned to my beautiful and trusty spinning wheel, and....found this. It looked exactly the same as it had looked when I discovered this mess! How dare it!!??

If anything, it looked even more kittened!

It was time to take back control of my spinning wheel! It was time to face the music. (the faint of heart should probably turn away for the next part)

I attempted to unwind the snarl. No go. I attempted to follow an end, re-arranging the kittened singles all snarled out of order on the bobbin. Nope.

I got out my scissors, and did some surgery. And this the kicker; still no go!! I did my best, unwinding lots of tiny little singles, until I knew for sure I was about to unwind the whole bobbin before getting to the other two cut ends! A nightmare! This was the best I could do. Yes, three ends. On one bobbin. Three.

Did I mention that I haven't particularly been enjoying this tiny-merino-singles spinning project? Sigh.

Then I turned to my left, pointed my camera at the floor, and tried not to faint as I took this picture:

That's a heaping two cups or so of pathetic, sad, nicely spun, excellent quality merino.


Then I turned the other way and took a picture of our little culprit.

She looks so innocent, doesn't she?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

If you remember, we went on a little trip. Away for over a week, first at a fabulous wedding of close friends, and then on to Central Pennsylvania to visit my partner's elderly parents.

Long hours on the road. Lots of couch-sitting once there. Long slow days. Lots of knitting!! This is The Braids cardigan from Cabin Fever; nearly done! (well, more nearly done than before, anyway)

The color in the picture is just no good and I didn't have time to do better due to the craziness of seeking, finding, and starting a brand new part time job that I suddenly decided I wanted to have. So if I've been a little quiet lately, its because I'm totally in shock.

And...was it a good idea to leave this demented little darling home for over a week with very little human supervision and only another cat to look after her?

The discerning among you will notice that she's not playing with the blue ball in this picture. No. She's playing with a tampon, stolen from a basket in the bathroom. The sly little thing.

And here's something else she found to play with while we were away. (Primal Scream!!!) This is my tiny not-Koigu singles for that dratted shawl which I love but for which the spinning never ends! And now...well. Enough said.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

True Confessions

Uh-oh a pictureless blog entry! We're having some technical difficulty here at Whorlygig; I have finally gotten an excellent camera, but my primary computer is too antiquated to use the card reader. This leads to a weird situation where I take the pictures, download them to the laptop (which is not always here, or available, and actually belongs to my partner's work) and then use either a CD or a flash drive (also not mine) to move the images to the primary computer from which I can upload them to Photobucket. Don't ask me why I can't upload directly from the laptop; it must have something to do with the network or limitations on the office machines.

Anyway, the laptop isn't available to me today, and we're leaving town tomorrow. So...a pictureless blog entry from me. I think this is the first.

And it saves me from the embarrassing situation of having to explain why the projects I'm taking on my trip are being knit entirely of (gasp!) commercially spun yarn. Since you can't see the yarn, you don't know its commercially spun! Lets just say its handspun, shall we? It is! Honest. Very, very evenly handspun.

The really unusual thing is that I'm going on a week long trip with only two projects! And I really expect to mostly only work on one of them. The other is just in case of terminal boredom. The Project is the Braids Cardigan, a lovely pattern from Cabin Fever. I just need to get it done, and if I spend a week with it, with long stretches of sitting in the passenger seat of the car, I'm sure I'll make what would otherwise be months of progress. And I'm already up to the armholes, so what I'm hoping for is to be well on my way towards finishing it by the time I get home. The backup project is the teal lace wimple I posted a swatch of some months back. I'm still at a point of long-stretch-of-stockinette and it will be good for relief from ribs and cables.

Note that both these projects are seasonally appropriate. The tank top has been officially set aside until Spring is a little closer.