September 29, 2008


That's right, *that* Rhinebeck. As in, the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. I'm going!! A couple of friends and I are making a weekend getaway out of it. My husband is helping us drive up and taking care of various four-legged friends while the gals go fiber crazy. I can't wait!

This coming weekend is the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier, so I'm getting a kind of trial run for Rhinebeck. I can't wait! I have kind of a ridiculous shopping list, but these festivals really are a great opportunity to fondle a variety of fibers and make some good purchases.
The focus for me this fall is going to be on whole raw fleeces. FUN! I'm also looking for a few spinning and fiber prep tools, and am planning to buy small amounts of new-to-me fibers to try out.

This photo-free post is brought to you by my dyeing disaster yesterday. No pretties to share today! And nobody wants to see the uglies. Holymoly.

September 26, 2008

Inside the Glacier


I love that strange blue-green (shocking, I know) that seems to glow from inside glaciers.  I was trying for that in this colorway, and I think I got close!

Yesterday four pounds of fiber arrived from Hello Yarn. Wheeee! Two more pounds of merino, but I also ordered a pound each of falklands and romney, all combed tops.  The glacier colorway is on falklands, which so far I really like! It has a fairly soft hand, but also feels like a sturdy wool. I can't wait to give it a spin.

September 25, 2008

And now for something completely different...

autumn fire 019

Autumn Fire. South African fine combed top.

autumn fire 003
And BFL.

Hellooooooo, orange!
I also have a kettle-dyed version of this drying right now. 

September 24, 2008

Deep Fjord, spinning FO

deep fjord full

deep fjord close up

deep fjord

250 yards, 3.8 ounces, Sport weight. 
I felted the south african fine top a bit in the dyeing process so I wasn't sure how this yarn would turn out. What a relief that it actually became a decent yarn! I would have hated to waste all those saturated blues and greens. 

September 22, 2008

FO: Pomatomus

pomatomus blocking

Pattern: Pomatomus, by Cookie A.
Yarn: Enchanted Knoll Farm sock yarn, in Queen Mermaid
Needles: two Addi turbo circs in US1
Mods: none.

pomatomus 030

These socks took me forfreakingever.  The pattern was *just* too hard for zone-out knitting, and too straightforward to keep me entertained during concentrated knitting. So they languished. 
I bribed myself into finishing them so I could start another pair of socks, and now that they're done I'm loving them. They fit perfectly and holy cow I love the color. (greeny blue! Blueish green!!)

September 21, 2008


strawberry banana

202 yards, 4.1 oz., about 11 wpi (that worstedish) spun super extra loose for maximum floofitude!

This yarn comes from the roving that my dear Shana sent for my birthday (thanks again, hun!!) and the roving comes from Bee Mice Elf in her colorway "cinnamon toast." The yarn is destined to be mittens, so I wanted it to be high on the floof factor so I can knit it at a fairly tight gauge and still get a fluffy fabric. After spinning all that fine, controlled yarn it was fun to just let this merino pop out of my hands in thick, puffy bits. 

September 20, 2008

We don't need no stinking knitting

Well, okay, I actually do miss my knitting a little bit but I've been having such fun with the dyeing and spinning that it all works out. It's all in good wooly fun.

More dyeing! This time I was aiming for the colors of heather in bloom.  I love the deeply colored spots on each little blossom, and tried to imitate that a little bit on the fiber.

blooming heather 008
That's merino on the left and BFL on the right. 

I did a bit of spinning too. The last fiber I dyed turned pretty felted on the outside. Sigh. There was a little bit of a fiasco during the dyeing process - let's just say that I thought I was being clever and learned my lesson. But while the surface is pretty sticky, the inside of the roving is just fine. So! I stripped it into quarters and pre-drafted the heck out of it, and now it's spinning quite pleasantly.

deep fjord singles
Definitely the deepest colors I have ever dyed or spun, and I'm loving it.

September 18, 2008

Dyeing to capture the color

Tuesday afternoon turned into another dyeing adventure, which in my house looks like this:
mixing dye

That's me, mixing colors on the back deck. Lately I've been turning to Norway for my color inspiration. In this go-round I was thinking of the deeeeeeep blues and greens of the fjords. How when reflecting the sun the water can be a pure sapphire, but in the shadows you see the green of the glacial minerals. At its depth, the water goes all the way to black.

deep fjord

I'm happy with how the dyeing came out, but I'm having a heck of a time photographing it. I tried the white background for minimal distraction, but the whole thing looks a little strange and glowey. The colors are true for the roving, though, and captures the depth of the colors.

I also tried photographing in a more relaxed setting and I like the general feel of the photo but the colors aren't as true (lacking the depth) and the wood grain seems distracting.

deep fjord, wood

I'd love any comments or suggestions anyone has for improving photos for the roving, or even just a comment on which version you prefer.

After I steamed the plastic-wrapped hand-painted packets of these dyes, there was a ton of dye in the steaming water. D'oh! Guess I oversaturated the roving. So I tossed some BFL in there and ended up with this:

shadowed fjord
Neither the depth nor the variation of the painted versions, but I think it's nice enough to spin and will make a pretty yarn.

September 16, 2008

Now with Photos!

A temporary solution to the broken cardreader has been found, and along the way I learned a few new tricks. Hopefully photo management will get easier now!

The fab card and buttons from my Mitten Bud:
mitten buddy gift

The back of my Urban Aran:
urban aran back

And the current bobbin:
strawberry banana singles

Thanks, Mitten Pal!

My super sweet swap buddy for the mitten exchange sent me a beautiful card and some Ravelry buttons for my birthday. Yay! Now I can wear my "Hello, my name is..." button to the upcoming fiber festivals!

And wouldn't you know it? My camera cardreader is malfunctioning so I can't show you the beautiful card.

So this'll have to be one of those "use your imagination" posts.

I've been knitting a bit and made some progress on the Urban Aran sweater:


See? I've finished about half of the back, and since the side cables are finished now the rest of it should go quickly.

I've also been spinning:


The fiber Shana sent for my birthday is a delight to spin! I'm working on spinning a thicker, but relatively consistent yarn. I have an easier time with consistency on the thin yarns, which I think is pretty typical. I'm getting quite a bit of variation on this one, as you can('t) see, but hopefully by the end of the project I'll be better at it. And in any case, this yarn is probably destined for mittens where the thick and thin texture will knit up nicely, I think.


I'll get the photos working as soon as I can.

September 13, 2008

Wollmeise sock yarn has landed!

sock club spoiler
Consider yourselves warned. If you are waiting for your package and don't want to see the contents, don't scroll down! 

So! When the mail arrive today I tore eagerly into my very first sock club package, evah!!
The whole things was assembled with great care, but as a result of my eagerness I didn't get a good photo of the whole deal. Here's a bad photo:

sock club 1 001
The contents: two yarns (omg the yarn... more on that in a few sentences.), a beautiful pattern, gorgeous wooden DPNs, a ruler (to protect the dpns in shipment), a bite of delicious chocolate, and a great little letter from Claudia explaining the theme of the shipment.

The theme? Homeland. I love it. The yarns are named Hollerstaud'n and Buxkranzel - elderberry shrub and box wreath. 

Photos do not do this yarn justice. But here's the general idea:



Swoon! Wollmeise is obviously known for intensity of color, but I'm still stunned. They are beautiful and I am so, so, so glad that I joined this sock yarn club. And I want to cast on

September 12, 2008

Alpine Autumn, finished

alpine autumn plied 001
190 yards, 3 ply, DK to worsted weight, BFL top, dyed by me.

This was a real plying challenge for me. First, it was my first 3 ply. Second (and much more challenging) I really wanted to keep the colors of the singles basically together.  I wanted a yarn that had lengths of a single color, with transitions between them where one of the plies changed colors before the other two, blurring the color.

alpine autumn plied 015
I think I managed to do it! There are some messy points and some uneven spinning, but overall I'm happy with the yarn. I set out to try something new, and envisioned a yarn like this before I even started mixing the dyes. It's incredibly satisfying to see it work out!

alpine autumn plied 014

And I think this is a yarn that will show its best when it is knitted. The color lengths range from a yard to around eight yards, so I'm eager to see how it works up in a knit fabric. 

Man, this is fun stuff!!!

September 11, 2008

Tools tools tools

I have added a few new tools to get the fiber flowing around here.

First, and most awesomely...
A second bobbin for my wheel! The wonderful Barbara from Stony Mountain Fibers found an antique bobbin that works well on my wheel. Hurray! Now, I only need several more made so I can start plying from the bobbin instead of having to wind off every time.

wpi tool
I also got this lovely little walnut WPI measuring tool from The Spinner's Emporium.

For my birthday, my husband picked out a couple of knitting books for me:
birthday 060
I think they'll both be super useful and between the two of them I might start churning out socks from my own imagination soon!

On other news, I have been spinning. (shocking!)
The alpine autumn top made the most gorgeous pile of pre-drafted fiber.
alpine autumn predraft

And is spinning up quite nicely, too.
alpine autumn bobbin
My one regret is not being very careful when I split the top. One of my thirds ended up being significantly thicker than the other two, so my singles are uneven. This is going to make my plan of matching the colors somewhat trickier...

September 10, 2008

A happy day!

It's my 29th birthday today and I have to say I'm having one of the best, evah.

It started like this:
birthday breakfast

And continued like this:
birthday roving

The crepes were made for breakfast by my awesome husband, and the roving came in the mail from Shana, who I'm missing dearly! Thanks for the gorgeous roving, hun! I can't wait to spin it!!

(forest maiden and cinnamon toast from bee mice elf)

I had lunch with friends and am now back in my sweat pants, so I think it'll be a quiet couple of hours before dinner. Yay! 29!

September 9, 2008

Novice Cabler Asks for Your Help

First off, meet my newest project:
urban aran 002

That's the Urban Aran sweater, turned cardigan by Jared Flood. I'm using some but not all of his mods - mostly just the sweater-to-cardigan bits. Though I might use his collar mods, too.
The yarn is Cascade Ecological wool and I'm LOVING it. I'm discovering my love of loosely spun yarns.

I haven't done all that much cabling in my knitting life. A few Koolhaas hats, the start of some socks, and some swatches. I'm a real novice.

So I have a question for all you experienced cablers that may be reading this. My 2x2 swooping cables on the left and right side look noticably different. One is all held in front, the other all in back.

urban aran 004
This is the right side, where the cables are all from holding the stiches in the back. I like the look - tidy, diagnoal columns of stitches with clear definition between the cables.

urban aran 003
This (blush) is the left side, with the stitches held to the front. I do NOT like how these look. Sloppy, uneven stitches, with little definition between the columns of cables. Blech.

I assume that some of this will tidy up with blocking, and I don't think I care enough to rip back and start over were I to find a solution, but I'm just wondering for the future (i.e. the front) if there's something I can do to make this better.

Pooled Wisdom of Knitters, I need your help! (and I'm off to search for an answer...)

September 7, 2008


seafoam lace complete 017

820 yards, 6.9 ounces, light fingering weight. Merino.
This yarn makes me smile. It makes me grin. It makes me giddy. I am so proud of having made it.

seafoam lace complete 037
I wish I could pass the yarn through your screen, because the thing I am most proud of is the hand of the yarn. It is soft as soft can be. Squoosh. I am carrying it around with me everywhere and occasionally find myself burrowing into it involuntarily.
I want to cast on with it immediately.

If you remember, this yarn was spun from this merino top, which came from my happy dyeing accident:
blue roving
(I've re-altered this photo so the color matches real life better. It was too blue before, and might still be a smidge too blue.)

Let's have some more yarn photos, shall we?
seafoam lace complete 011

seafoam lace complete 025

Happy sigh.

Not to get all mushy, but spinning is one of the best things to happen to me in the recent past. I feel connected to this craft in a way I can't explain. Putting my foot into the groove on the treadle, formed by another spinner and deepened each time I sit at the wheel, I feel centered, calm, and incredibly fortunate.

September 4, 2008

Month long singles

But worth the wait, right?

seafoam singles 002

Yes, I spent over a month making these singles. In my defense I did travel a lot during that period, and knit a whole sweater, but still. That's a long freaking time to be working on a single spinning project.

Today, the plying begins. And maybe ends. Depending on how much I'm avoiding my actual work.

September 3, 2008

Alpine Autumn

At least, that's what I was going for.

alpine autumn 002

These colors were super hard to photograph, but this is more or less how my latest dyeing experiment worked out. Totally different from anythign I've done so far! I'm really happy with the colors, and can't wait to spin this up.

It's just about five ounces of BFL so it should be enough for something... a pair of socks? A cowl? something lace? Look at the sheen:

alpine autumn 014

I thinking of doing this three ply, but with a fairly controlled approach to the color changes, so it shifts with some overlap, but basically in the same range. Don't know if I'll be able to pull that off!

September 2, 2008

Just call me...

... slowpoke.

Go ahead, I can take it. Slowpoke.

septfirst 004

You may remember these socks from way back at the beginning of the Summer of Socks which actually turned out to be the Summer of Tangled Yoke and Shawl Collar Vest. Thank goodness this is sock number two.
I don't know what my deal is. I love the pattern, I love the yarn, I love the combination. I'm just not making any time for these socks in my knitting life.

I would blame the fact that I've been spinning up a storm this past week, but won't fly when I'm looking at this:

septfirst 010

Maybe I'm just in a big needle kind of mood?
Those? Are 9s. And pretty soon I switch to 10s. 10s!! More on this project soon - for now, just feast your eyes on the fluffitude that is Cascade Ecological wool. FLOOF!