Apr 29, 2007

Weekend Field Trip

The deadline looms for the project for my office so I took home paperwork and my laptop and proceeded to find other things to do all weekend long. It was not so good for the work but really good for fiber play. Oh yeah!

IMG_0949I spun and knit all through the weekend but I did take time out on Sunday to accompany my favorite Drama Queen on a field trip with her religious school. They went to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and it was the first time that DQ had been there. She's been on a tear lately, reading all of the holocaust related books that she can find, so it was the perfect timing for her.

We didn't see it all. Some kids are more ready for it than others so the organizers planned cautiously and kept the kids away from the really rough stuff. We just took her class through a section called Daniel's Story which tells about the Holocaust through a fictional child's eyes. The exhibit consists of a series of rooms that are arranged to represent the progression from a happy home in Germany to a concentration camp. Along the way you can see how the rights and privileges were taken away even before moving to the ghetto and later to the concentration camp.

We also went to the Hall of Remembrance. All of the kids and adults lit candles to remember those who lost their lives. This is the ceiling of that room.


I'm sure that what they saw today will stay with DQ and her class for a long time.

On a totally unrelated note, this weekend was Round 5 of Sock Madness and we are now down to 4. It seems unbelievable that we've already arrived at this point.

Apr 26, 2007

ECF - Bloomin Feet Edition

I came home today to the very best surprise. My Bloomin Feet socks arrived... from Carole!

Bloomin Feet and Bloomin Iris'

Bloomin Feet treats for Me!Look at the awesome treats Carole sent me. There was candy for my sweet tooth. Umm... it's not fattening if it's a gift - right? The yarn is from A Piece of Vermont. I love it! The colors are so soft, like pebbles along a stream.

Oh yeah... there was something else hidden in that box too... Fiber!

Bag o' BunnyThe picture doesn't do it justice. It's a Bag O'Bunny from The Woolen Rabbit. Aside from being gorgeous, this stuff - Merino, Silk & Angora - is soooo soft. I cannot wait to see how it spins up.

Heels in ClarksI have to admit that I had an idea that these were coming my way. The other day Carole posted a picture of the finished socks and one of the pictures showed the heel. She said it was a hint. The socks were already speaking to me - the colors were very "me" and there was an iris on the label which is one of my favorite flowers but, until the "hint" I was just hoping they were mine. After the hint I remembered that I said on my questionnare that I love wearing my Clarks and that something with heel interest would be cool. Look how great these look with my Clarks! They're perfect!

Thank you to Carole for the fabulous treats and thanks to Amanda for a great swap! I have had the most fun!

Mixed Bag

Today I feel kind of random. Maybe I’m just burnt out.

Ready for some good news? I fixed the sock last night! I grafted on the missing repeat and you can’t even tell where the join is. Not really. I can kind of see it a little bit because I know where to look - but just barely. I gave it a bath last night and now it’s blocking – AGAIN! – at home. I think that after the bath and block it'll be even harder to see the graft line.

I think that maybe the lesson I’ll take away from this (other than learning how to graft) is that performing sock surgery is not a thing to do at 1AM. On Tuesday night I was super stressed about the situation and it was a mess. By the time I got to sit down with it again last night I was feeling less panic and I could think about things more rationally. Hooray!

As if my sock stress wasn’t enough, I got hit with a big project at work yesterday. Not just any big project – a big project with a short due date. Argh!

Hmmm…. Let’s think about that one a little.

Your Job Dissatisfaction Level is 73%

Your job is a total bummer, and probably the worst job you've ever had.
Your co-workers stink. Your boss is a jerk. And your company is probably in trouble.
Think about finding a new job quickly, even if it's just a not-so-great transition job.
You've got to get out of there as quickly as you can!

I’ve got to say that this is pretty accurate. How sad is that?

My daughters are at work with their dad today. It’s take your kids to work today and his office put together fun stuff for them to do. The VeryBig company I work for is not participating. Why am I not surprised?

Speaking of my girls, please send good weather vibes our way. Stinkerbelle has a field trip tomorrow and the National Weather Service says:


Ummm, that might throw a small damper on a field trip to the Zoo. Don’t ‘cha think so?

Apr 25, 2007


Preparing Bloomin Feet socks for mailing.
Notice error.
Missing repeat on one sock.
Seek surgical sock repair.
Must reknit.


Apr 23, 2007

Tink Happens

Frogged ToeOn Sunday night I finished the second Bloomin Feet sock. I was all done except for grafting the toe on one sock. I was so flipping close to finished but something was nagging at me. I couldn't let go of the idea that these would be too small for my pal. It's funny because most of the socks I've made for myself are just a little bit too big. They're wearable but I tend to err on the large side because socks that squeeze your toes are worse than socks that are a little too big. These socks were just a little roomy on me but my pal has bigger feet and I just wasn't sure that that little bit of extra room would translate to just right on her. Eventually, my cautious side won out and this is what happened during lunch on Yesterday. Tinking!

At least I was tinking in the sun. Or maybe not because my allergies returned with the warm weather and when I went to get a refill on my rx - I found that it was expired. The horror!

IMG_0916Anyway, I ripped out both toes and redid them after adding another half a pattern repeat. It's no fun to re-do things but I'll feel better sending them now with the extra room. Re-doing them also allowed me to take this neat comparison shot.

I'm not sure how well you can see it in the picture but the toes are different. The Here There Be Dragons pattern included charts and instructions for 2 different toes - depending on where you stop in the foot pattern. Isn't Theresa smart to include 2 toes? On the left is the original toe. You may notice that it has a ridge around the entire toe area and it has an extra scale right at the very end. On the right is the new toe. The decreasing is done differently so there is no ridge around the toe and just one very large toe scale.

I like the look of the sock on the right without the ridge and I like the extra small toe scale on the left sooooo I guess that, for me, both toes have positives. Do you have a preference? I think that when I knit a pair of these for me (and I will definitely do that) I'll probably go with the toe on the left - mostly because I only need 3 full repeats for my foot.

It is lousy to have lost a day because I really need to get these socks in the mail but they'll get sent out tomorrow. They're blocking at home right now to try and fix (or at least alleviate) the rolling at the top. Tonight I'll wrap them up with some treats and put them in the mail. Hooray!

Well Done Wool

This weekend the sun was shining and the weather warmed up into the 80s. What’s a girl to do in such conditions but fire up the dye pot? Right?

Burnt CoopworthThis was the result. It’s a basket full of Coopworth that I dyed in shades of yellow and blue which became green in spots. The results are kind of mixed. I love the deep blue and there is a really nice yellowish green that you can see at the bottom of the pile. There are unfortunately also a few unpleasant spots. I think that it may have been over-cooked on the stove. I had no idea that was even possible. At least it didn’t felt.

As you may have guessed, the Coopworth will be part of my little fiber exploration. There are 2 weeks until MDS&W and, if I have the time, I’d like to try this Coopworth and the Targhee in my collection. It’s possible that I could get it done now that the last of the Magic Carpet ride is off my bobbins.

Chained MCRI took my wheel outside on Saturday and spun in the fresh air. It felt really good to be outside and I loved the sounds of Spring. All around me there were people gardening, mowing lawns, taking walks and enjoying the day. Stinkerbelle and her friend were running around, doing their best to get in trouble. They did spin-art, played with water guns and who knows what else. Even Frankie, our turtle, got to spend some time outside swimming in her wading pool. The weather was great for most of these activities but it wasn’t great for my spinning.

I think that I may have gotten caught up in the day. The plan was to turn the remainder of the Magic Carpet Ride into chained singles. I stuck to the plan but the results of this second attempt at chained singles weren’t as nice as the first. This time I got knots and twisty bits and a mess. How bad was it? Well, when I took it out of the bath and went to hang it I had to take quite a while untwisting things and applied a bit of weight. It looks ok now but it’s still got a lot of ugly in it.

Magic Carpet - 2 RidesWhat do you think of this picture of the 2 skeins? On the left it’s just a simple 2 ply. On the right is the chained singles version. I don’t expect to have many occasions where I ply the same fiber in multiple ways so I took a picture to remember the difference. In all fairness, I should point out that the singles used to do the chained singles started out much more even.

I didn't think that I'd be a huge fan of the barber-poling because I like subtlety in my yarn. There is nothing subtle about the barber poles. Surprisingly, I think that I like both versions of this yarn equally. I can't wait to knit with it.

On another weekend note, the Drama Queen took part in Band Fest this weekend. This has been her first year playing the clarinet. Each student who chose to participate was assigned a piece of music which they prepared in advance. On Saturday, she played it for the judges and got graded on her efforts. On a scale of 1-5 (1 being the best) she got a 1. I'm so proud of her!

Apr 19, 2007

ECF - Iris Edition

Look at this! It's the first iris of the year to show up in my front yard.

First Iris

The best part is that soon the bed it sits in will be full of gorgeous blooms - a sea of gorgeous purple.

Have a great weekend! I hope you get a moment to stop to smell the flowers.

Apr 18, 2007

BFL - a Fiber to Love

Violet BFL - finishedI finished something last night - kind of. This is 2 full bobbins of Blue Faced Leicester that I dyed and spun. I love everything about it. I'm incredibly happy with the way the color turned out. What you see here is pretty true. There is a little bit of a light turquoise but mostly it's shades of violet leaning towards magenta. I tend to dye in a very loosey-goosey way. In this case, I put the water, fiber and vinegar in a pot on the stove and added a little violet Cushings dye powder. That was it! What happened is that the dye broke a bit but I love the effect. Sadly, this wacky method of dyeing means that the chances of replicating it are slim to nil.

Spinning this stuff was a pretty sweet experience too. How sweet? Well, usually I tell you that the even-ness seen on my bobbins hides a mess underneath. Not this time. It's not perfect but this is mostly evenly spun. There are a few thickers spots, which mostly occur where I move from one bunch of fiber to the next, and there are thinner spots which are best described as thread. Most of it is smooth and even.

I pondered what to do with it quite a lot and, at first, I thought that I'd knit it as is. It's pretty tightly spun and I think it would probably work well and since it's pretty thin, there's probably enough yardage to do something fun like a shawl. But then I remembered that I really don't care to knit with lace weight yarn and that's what this feels like.

I'm actually pretty sure that this is lace weight because, for the first time, I did a quick wrap round a ruler and I came up with about 28 wpi. Even if I'm off by a bit this is certainly in the lace relm and not going to work for me as is.

Thankfully, while taking a tour of some "new to me" blogs the other day, inspiration struck. I saw a post where someone had taken 2 different batches of the same fiber in different colors and described how they plied it - first with one color against itself, then combining the 2 colors, then plying the remainder of the second color against itself. The results were so beautiful. Sadly I have no idea where I saw the post but I'm sure it's not a unique idea.

I told hubbo about my plan the other night and he pointed out the obvious flaw - I don't have any more BFL to spin. Duh! Right now there are just 16 days till Maryland Sheep and Wool. I'll just add a little undyed BFL to my (long) shopping list.

Speaking of MDS&W - are you going? I haven't seen anything about a planned meet up yet. I'm sure someone must be putting something together.

Apr 17, 2007

Hope for Knitters

When I first started knitting I went to the bookstore all the time to check out the magazines. Often I'd choose a few to take home with me. After a while, I decided to suck it up and subscribe to one - Knitters. I have no idea why but, at the time, that was the one that appealed to me.
Eventually, beacause I am a sucker for magazines, I added subscriptions to IK and VK. These days I love IK and VK but Knitters, eh, I'm not so sure. Lately it's been really sad. In fact, the last few issues were pretty pathetic. I guess that's why I wasn't too excited when the Spring issue arrived in my mailbox this past weekend.

Surprise! There's actually something in there worth opening the cover. Take a look:

Spring K possibilities

I might actually be tempted to knit one of these. The most obvious choice is the blue sweater on the left. DQ says that, if I leave off the ties, she likes it very much. It's definitely a classic kind of a sweater - full of neat details. I'm pretty sure that I'll make the green sleeveless top too. I'm not sure that it shows up so well in this picture but, it has eyelets - randomly placed - all over the top. I'm a huge fan of things with a random appearance. The shawl is also cool. The pattern actually calls for beads around the edges. Sweet! The green cardi is simple but very nice. Simplicity with a few nifty features thrown in can be a very good thing.

These aren't the only patterns in this issue that made me happy. If you want to see more you can go here. Of course, if you click that link be prepared for fug. There are still a few items in there that make me want to scratch my head.

Speaking of DQ, we had a conversation the other night at dinner that made me laugh. I just love the nights that our family schedules allow us to enjoy dinner together. I ask them all about their days at school and I usually get all kinds of stories in response. I'm sure that, in time, this will pass and my girls will give me blank looks and tell me tha they did "nothing much" in school but, right now, my dinner table is graced with 2 of the most dramatic little girls in the world and they love nothing more than to share the school scandals.

The other night, DQ was going on and on about the substitute teacher she had that day at school. Subs are always the source of much discussion. This sub was visited by her son that afternoon. Apparently he goes to a different school and he came by to tell his mother that he skipped 7th period. My dear daughter was scandalized by the though of him skipping class. She was very concerned that he may have missed something important. The son also told his mother that he had taken his dad's car keys and this was also a concern for DQ. The "what if's" were to numerous to count.

As my daughter loves to tell me, the 5th grade at her school loves to gossip. I can only imagine that the rest of the class was deeply interested in the behavior of the sub's son. She seems to have been much less concerned and explained to the class that he had - as DQ breathlessly told us - a disease. DQ wasn't sure exactly what it was. Serioty? Something-itis? Sena-huh?

Suddenly the light when off in my head and it all made sense. The son has Senioritis! Hubbo and I laughed so hard. Then we explained it to our clueless daughter.

Hold Them Tight

Hokie Thoughts

Like many of you, I feel an overwhelming sadness today for what happened at Virginia Tech which is about 4 hours away from here. Last night, I held my daughters close and tried to shield them from the horror as best I could because nobody should be afraid to go to school. It's an impossible task because it seems like everyone around here has some connection to VT.

Stinkerbelle slept with us last night and the Drama Queen snuggled me before bed which is really unusual for her. I was happy to oblige them both.

* The yarn above was dyed for Sock Madness. In person it's much more burgundy (less puprley) and orange than it appears here. At the time, I just liked it, but someone later pointed out that it was Hokie colors. It seemed fitting today.

Apr 16, 2007

Monday Morning Again

Stalled SpininngGood Morning!

It was an incredibly stormy weekend here and I thought that would lead to lots of fibery productivity. I was wrong. I planned to finish up, or at least do a significant amount of work on, the 2 spinning projects I’m in the middle of but I barely even spun at all. In the basket on the floor you can just barely see the rest of the Violet BFL and the rest of the Magic Carpet Ride is under that. I’m sure I’ll get to it this week.

I really do want to knit with both of these when they’re finished. I definitely see the MCR as socks but I’m not sure exactly how that will work since it’s *ahem* a little less even than the usual sock yarn. The BFL is pretty even and would probably be a lace weight as it is. I’m thinking that it could be cool to leave it as is and make a shawl out of it but I’m not sure. How do you know what needs plying and what can stand alone as a single? I suppose that it’s all a matter of personal preference but I’d love a second opinion. I’m about the most indecisive person around.

Stalled Bloomin FeetI also thought that I’d make huge sock knitting progress but, again, not so much. I did manage to cast on for the second Bloomin’ Feet sock on Saturday during a much needed mani-pedi. (Koala Bear-y on the toes – who thinks of these names?) I can’t say that I’ve gotten very far though. I’m about 2 repeats down the leg. I’m sure that I’ll get it finished and in the mail on time but it’ll be a little closer than I’d like. I just wish that I felt more confident about how these will fit my pal. Oh, the stress!

The rest of the weekend was devoted to shopping with my favorite Drama Queen and watching old movies with the family. I love the old movies but the hubbo and the girls aren’t huge fans so when DQ asks to watch on with me I jump on it. This time we watched To Catch a Thief. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly were just wonderful. It may not be known as one of Hitchcock’s best but it entertained the whole family from Stinkerbelle to hubbo.

The shopping portion of the weekend was not as enjoyable as the movie watching part. I went to Am*rican E*gle for the first time. It was rough because DQ wants to wear what her friends are wearing but she’s taller and she’s got a rather adult build on top. The trendy clothes are designed for toothpicks. I cannot tell you how badly this sucks. It makes my daughter, who is not huge, feel like a giant. Oddly, we did way better at H&M. You wouldn’t think that their clothes, with their European sensibility, would work on a girl with broad shoulders and a chest but they totally do.

Apr 12, 2007

ECF - Blueberry Bud Edition

I'm pretty sure that I've posted similar shots before but I never get tired of these.

Blueberry Buds - 2007

I can't wait until these bushes to bear fruit. This year I'm planning to add strawberries to this bed just as soon as Spring finally arrives. Yum!

Thanks for all of the support regarding my work related angst. It's an ongoing situation that I try to keep off the blog but on occasion it unavoidably intrudes. I apologize. It's nice that you all find it normal to keep a skein of yarn on my desk (on very rare occasions) but I suspect that most people would find it quite odd. Clearly they don't understand the in's and outs of fiber addiction.

Have a great weekend!

Apr 11, 2007

Reading Relationships

This post ought to make my sister really happy because there’s very little knitting (or spinning) content in it. This one is all about the books – and the readers. It’s been a good time in my house for both.

I mentioned recently that DQ had become totally absorbed by the Harry Potter books. Well, she finished number 6 on Saturday night in the wee hours after everyone else had gone to sleep. She read all 6 in less than 3 weeks! Now she’s searching all 6 books for clues to how it all ends and lamenting the fact that number 7 will be released while she’s away at camp. She’s been begging us to promise to send it to her at camp. I am going to get such mileage out of this! I could probably extract all kinds of promises – a clean room, no fighting with her sister, straight A’s… the list is endless.

In the meanwhile, she’s already moved on to other books and finished a 200 page book and is looking for other meaty reads. She doesn’t want to read anything short – unless it’s one of the Fruits Basket graphic novels. I don’t get the attraction to these at all.

My TalismanOooops! A gratuitous display of yarn porn - egads! *

Anyway, the newest reader in our house has been busy too. I may have mentioned her learning disabilities on occasion. They deal mostly with reading and related issues so I was really afraid that she’d never be able to enjoy reading. I have no doubt that she'll be able to do it but I want her to love it. Over the holiday last week, something happened that still has me feeling happy.

At the Passover Seder, you are supposed to tell the story of how the Jews left Egypt. In most homes, this translates into reading around the table. Not everyone takes a turn but most do. Last week, Stink-o took a turn for the first time! Actually, she requested a turn and didn’t want to stop. She haltingly read 2 paragraphs aloud. She only stopped because we told her that it was someone else’s turn.

The part that makes it even more amazing is that, through it all, a friend of hers (same age and grade but a really good reader) kept prompting her with the words she had trouble with. I wanted to tell this friend to be quiet and let Stink read but Stink was calm and patient and just soldiered on. I was so proud I could burst.

Ok, enough mommy pride… I’ve been reading too. Last fall I saw Kathy Reichs speak at the National Book Festival. The show Bones is inspired by her books and, since we enjoy the show, we went to hear her speak. She was great, and listening to her inspired me to check out her books. I just finished reading her most recent one, Break No Bones, and I loved it. It’s a mystery set in Charleston, South Carolina that features forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. I was surprised because, aside from the name and occupation, the TV character and the one in the book have very little in common.

At the NBF, Ms. Reichs noted the difference between the 2 characters and explained it as a younger version on TV and an older, worldlier version, in the books. This is true but it’s more than that. They have different family histories and different relationships. On the show she's thirty something (I guess) and has no kids, never been married - in the book she's, um, older and has an estranged husband and a daughter in college. I'm not complaining though, because I really love both versions of the character. They both have their foibles and they are both interesting. I will definitely be returning to the library to find the earlier books in this series.

New Books Um, oh yeah, I've picked up a little knitty reading too. Fitted Knits has some cute stuff in it and all of the dyeing I've been doing lately inspired me to get a copy of The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook. I'll tell you how I like it after I have more time to really look at it and absorb it.

*Work has been getting me down lately so I brought this new skein as kind of a talisman to keep my spirits up. That's probably a little weird - isn't it?

Lost Posts and Silky Fiber

I wrote a post last night and had it all ready to go but, I seem to have forgotten to save it. Darn! I guess I was distracted by the season opener of The Sopranos which is what I was watching at the time. Hooray for TIVO! It was ok and I’m sure that I’ll watch the rest of the season. I just wasn’t as excited by it as I used to be. Perhaps this time, absence didn’t make the heart grow fonder. Is anyone else feeling less than excited by the return of this show?

This is not to say that I’ve become disenchanted with the offerings on TV lately. I have actually found a new show that I’m really enjoying – The Riches. Have you seen this? Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver play the parents in a family of Travellers. After a life spent as con artists, they have assumed the identity of a dead couple and they’re trying to go straight. I just love this show. It’s not the same recycled stuff that you usually see. It’s fresh. It’s also a little dark and twisted and I really like that in a show.

Back to the fiber…

Violet BFL

Last week I showed you this in it’s un-spun state just after I dyed it. If I was pleased with my results at that point, I’m thrilled with them now! This is Blue Faced Leicester which I dyed on my stove with Cushings Perfection dye. It’s soooooo soft and silky. Look at the sheen it has on the bobbin. I took this picture of it sitting in a cloud of the same fiber un-spun. I love how the colors get clearer once it’s spun.

My spinning is still nothing to shout about (believe me – there are serious icky parts hidden in this bobbin) but it’s definitely improving. I’m not as afraid to spin thin and, in many spots, this gets quite thin. I also don’t find myself over-spinning to quite the same degree as I once did. When I first started I just couldn’t seem to slow my feet down and the fiber would twist up, pretty regularly, into nasty little corkscrews. I’m dreadfully uncoordinated and I just couldn’t get my feet and hands to move in a well-coordinated fashion. With practice I think I’m getting it.
By the way, watch out. I've gotten spam lately that looks just like a notice from Amazon. It's very convincing and says that it needs verification of payment because your credit card didn't go thru. I was immediately suspicious because it was sent to an address that is not linked to my Amazon account but I took a good look at it anyway and it's very clever. I just thought that I'd let you all know - just in case. Consider it a gift from me to you.

Apr 9, 2007

Half Bloomed

I already showed you the heel - now how about the toe?


As you can see I finished one of my Bloomin' Feet socks last week. I think that, as a knitter, one of the challenged we face is matching the right yarn with the pattern we want to knit or vice versa. In my case I feel like I get it wrong as often as I get it right. This is probably one reason why I'm so in love with these socks. It all fits!

HTBD Toe 2The yarn (STR) has just the right degree of variegation to show off the pattern without obscuring it or distraction from it. It also seems to show the twists and turns off well.

My big worry is the size. This is my 4th swap - I did the Dye-o-rama, Funky Scarf Swap, and Yarn Aboard - but none of those presented size issues. My BF pal has feet that sound just a bit bigger than mine. I've tried these on and they fit well and seem to have enough give to accommodate a bigger foot but I just don't know. I suppose that there is no way to be certain other than finding a similar foot to try it on. I suppose I'll just have to have a little faith.

I finished another sock over the past weekend but it's a super-secret Sock Madness sock. I'm working on finishing another one right now. I never did any test knitting before SM and it's been interesting. I'm knitting with a whole different frame of mind. Instead of focusing on the sock - I'm focused on the instructions and their clarity. Normally, when I work a pattern and come to a wonky part, I adjust it for me (usually mentally) and go on. I rarely make notes that would make sense to anyone else. Usually its a stitch count that works out wrong or a knit that seems like it should be a purl. I think I tend to assume that it's knitters error.

Test knitting is different because I need to figure out if it's knitters error or a pattern error. One needs to think about the designers intent. If necessary, I need to figure out how to make it right and figure out the best wat to express the question to the designer. It's easy to lose meaning in an email.

I'm kind of behind on my test knitting but I think that I know why. Test knitting requires a different focus that I just didn't have until recently. I was a little overwhelmed with all of the other stuff necessary to make SM fly. Now that it's working well I can focus on other things.

Apr 8, 2007

Snow White... in April

Dogwood developsLast weekend I took this picture of a bud on the dogwood tree in my yard. I was so excited by the obvious sign of spring. At the time, it was about 80 degrees outside and I was walking around, surveying the work that the gardeners were doing with the spring clean up in shorts, a t-shirt and my bare feet. I was thinking about how beautiful the dogwood tree would look shortly - a vision in white.

Snowy DogwoodThis was not what I had in mind. These are the same dogwood tree buds covered with snow. On Saturday morning I awoke to find a dusting of snow covering our yard. I'm usually a fan of snow but not this time. It's not supposed to snow in April. Certainly not in Virginia.

Snowy flowersIt was all gone by mid-day but I suspect the damage was done. You may remember me mentioning a little planting I had done last weekend. I was waiting to share it - hoping that the plants would settle in and start to really look pretty before I took a picture for you. I suspect that the snow took the bloom off of my snapdragons and... I forget what the others were but they were pretty before the snow arrived.

I'm not a huge fan of the cold and there was nothing really major that had to get done this weekend so I stayed home. The girls came and went with their friends and hubbo went to a meeting on Saturday but I stayed home and caught up with laundry and played with fiber. I actually finished 2 socks, plied some of my Magic Carpet Ride and spun some Blue Faced Leicester that I call Violet.

Magic Carpet Ride on the carpetHere's the plied yarn still on the niddy noddy. The carpet in my living room seemed a great place to display my Magic Carpet Ride yarn. This skein is hanging to dry at home right now but I can't wait to start knitting with it. It's still not super even but it's much better than earlier spinning and I think that the plying has improved quite a lot. I could really feel the difference as I wound it off onto the niddy noddy. It feels substantial and yarn-like. I love the way the colors change and combine.

I had quite a bit left on one bobbin and it's very even and thin so the plan is to continue it with the rest of the unspun fiber and Navajo Ply that portion. I can't wait to compare the 2 versions of the same fiber. I still think that this will become socks - very cushy socks.

Apr 5, 2007

ECF - Cherry Blossom Edition 2007

I saw these cherry blossoms on the way home today.

Cherry Blossoms

Why don't I have any cherry blossoms in my front yard? I really do adore them. For the past few years we've managed to get down to the tidal basin to see the splendor in person but I'm not sure about this year. They're predicting snow flurries! Even if the cold wasn't enough to keep me inside (knitting and spinning of course) the high winds may hasten the end of the brief cherry blossom season by blowing away the blossoms. So sad!

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who's been stopping by and saying nice things lately. Blogger doesn't make it easy to reply and often I can't access the email addresses to respond. Just know that I really do appreciate you stopping by.

Happy Easter to those that will be celebrating it!

Apr 4, 2007

Spinning and Dyeing in the Sun

Ed and Full BobbinsThis weekend was great from a spinning perspective. I finished spinning most of the Magic Carpet Ride. I spun Friday night and finished it off on Saturday morning. I cannot wait to see how it looks after I ply it but I wanted to let it rest a little before that. Do you let the singles rest before plying? How long?
See the guy in the picture looking over the full bobbins? That's Edgardo the watch-turtle. Apparently we're developing a real turtle "thing" around the house. The girls and I saw him at the nursery during our recent plant aquisitions and had to bring him home. They were the ones to suggest the name. I like it, don't you?
The Rest of the RideAnyway, this isn't quite all the Magic Carpet Ride. I still have a little bit left to spin. I'll do it later this week. I'm thinking of doing it all on one bobbin and Navajo Plying it. Then I can use it as a neat accent on a pair of socks. Most of the socks will be barber poled and then there will be long runs of color to accent. It that gonna be hideous or cool? I suppose it could be either.
Anyway, I did a little dying this weekend too. I've really gotten into dyeing lately. Right now I'm just experimenting with techniques and colors but some of it is coming out pretty cool.
Violet BFLThis is Blue Faced Leicester that I bought at Hunt Country Yarns. I dyed it on my stove in a free-form kind of way. I just sprinkled the dye in the pot and let it do it's thing. Aside from being really pretty, it's also yet another new-to-me fiber so it will definitely be the next thing I play with. There are just 4 weeks till Maryland Sheep & Wool now so I need to be sure I'm prepared. There is so much research to do before we go.
Take Along BagI may even bring my wheel with me. Until last Monday I couldn't do it easily but then my Take Along bag arrived. It was a bonus for ordering my wheel and I've been watching the mail for it. I just love the color. Now I just need to free up a little time so I can go spin at Springwater on spinning group night. I missed last month because I was busy, this month fell on a holiday and next month falls on Stinkerbelle's birthday. I'll get there some day.
By the way, we released the 3rd Sock Madness pattern yesterday and it was really well-received. I continue to be amazed by the spirit of community in this little competition. I just checked the SM group this morning and there is already one finisher. That's super-quick.

Apr 3, 2007

Passover Chaos

I didn't plan on taking a blog holiday - it just sort of happened. As you may have guessed, I've been really busy with the Passover holiday for the past few days. Over the weekend we were preparing the house and Monday I was in a cooking frenzy. I totally intended to take a few pictures to share but I was lucky that it all made it to the table. Stopping to take pictures was just out of the question.

Passover ChaosFor those of you not familiar with Passover, here are the footnotes on why so many people dread it. This is my kitchen. It's not usually the most organized place but I don't generally live out of boxes. On Passover, those of us who are more observant (and nuts) change from our everyday dishes and kitchen utensils to a whole different set. Paper goods are a very good and sane option but, as I said, I'm certifiable so I go all out and haul my toaster oven, Kitchenaid stand mixer, Cuisenart etc to the the basement and replace it with stuff that I haven't used in a year. In most cases this is the stuff that I disliked to begin with so it was retired to Passover use.

Now, just imagine waking up on Thanksgiving morning to a kitchen full of poorly labeled boxes and having to fumble through those boxes to locate the stuff you need to set a festive table and cook a fabulous meal by sunset. Add in a few trips to the supermarket for stuff you forgot and you've got my Monday.

So, how'd it go? Well, I managed to get everything to the table although the veggies were a little late. We ate brisket, a turkey breast, stuffing, cranberries, farfel rolls (remember it's Passover), sweet & sour meatballs, sweet potatoes, salad with homemade dressing, matzoh ball soup and a few other thing I'm forgetting. I have enough leftovers to last through the week and , more importantly, everyone was so full that they didn't notice how lame the desserts were. Apparently I can make a fab Passover dinner or fab Passover desserts - not both.

Passover aftermathIn the morning I woke up to a dining room table that looked like this. Note the empty wine glasses. Note the empty wine bottle.

That table only held 8 people this year rather than the usual count of 20 plus. I think it's interesting to note that serving fewer people didn't mean less work. It was nice and intimate and perfect for me this year. Sometimes low-key is good. For the second night we were invited to a friends house. That was such a good thing.

I did play with fiber quite a bit - dyeing, spinning and knitting - last weekend. Yes, somehow, along with all of the holiday prep, I also found time to play with fiber and garden. I can't wait to show you what I did.