Dec 31, 2010

End of a decade, going out quietly

Happy New Year & decade! I'm thrilled to have gotten to this point!
Finishing the Juniper Harrisville Orchid sweater I started last April- maybe I canfinish this weekend. That would be a fitting thing to this year when I became a knitter and a spinner!

Dec 23, 2010

Yayyy! ITouch in Hand!

OK, now I have an Itouch. Sooo cute. It connects via WiFi at the library and I'm sure at other places as well. My quest to be more connected is becoming reality. Next I need a wireless router so I can connect anywhere in the house... and so I can move the computer from my bedroom to the fiber den. One step at a time.
Sooo, speaking of fiber... I want to put up pics but can't seem to get it to work...

Dec 21, 2010

ITouch lust

Ok, what I really want is an IPad... but aTouch will do, at 1/3rd of the price. I WISH the ITouch had 3G at 15 bucks a month but I'll take what I can get. Besides, the Ipad will still be around, even better, as time goes by.

I have app envy, esp the knitting podcast apps - and for a bunch of other reasons. And I want a WiFi connection. They'll give me 10% if I trade my IPod Mini, but I use that to listen to podcasts in the car and on my awesome little JBL dock in the living room.

I just bought 800 bucks worth of baseboard heating elements for the house... and have to save another 200 for the electrician installer, so I may have to wait, but every day I want to stop at the Apple store and get one.

I'm beavering away on the Guernsey Wrap (http://www.brooklyntweed.com/) - I just don't seem to have time for more than 10 or 20 rows each day. I've promised myself to finish it before starting to knit with the two awesome skeins of homespun I've made. I started another spinning fiber project, Ashland Bay Fibers Colonial Corrie in "green", which is blue, red, mustard, green, teal, turquoise and soun up it's - green, dark deep green. Trying for a light Sport Wt for boot socks. It's soft and such fun to spin.

Merry Christmas and Happy Solstice!!

Dec 7, 2010

Spinning fool

OK, the spinning thing has really gotten me- I just love it!
Here is some yarn I spun in the past week or so -

Nov 18, 2010

Spin spin spin - New Lendrum DT wheel bliss

Have new spinning wheel, there's a special nirvana to spinning unknown fiber as a new spinner. Love the adventure of it.
Whatever the source(s) of the fiber I'm spinning, it's a lovely combination of colors and textures. The darkest purple is tangly and the fibers are short  - the red is longish and crimpy, the pale blue is long and smooth, the cornflower colors is like the red, smooth with a definite crimp. The singles are thin, a bit wooly. I suppose I'm spinning semi worsted, drafting forward and back at once, controlling the twist before the drafting triangle, smoothing it into the yarn. But it's still wooly - I think because of the very wooly dark purple fibers that run through the whole.
Will ply tonight to see how it comes out. I'm hoping DK, not too much variation.
Once I figure out how to resize photos I'll be happier.

Nov 4, 2010

Staying Sane

OK, at least there's knitting and spinning to keep me sane through the madness of the Republican nonsense!! Gag me, LePage the governor-elect!! I don't say that lightly, it is what I'm depending on to get me through!

Have now had 3rd spinning class, awesome improvement, thin fairly unitform singles now filling my bobbin!! Melodi Hackett at the Fiber Studio (Portfiber on Etsy) is my awesome teacher!

 Picking up my new Complete Lendrum DT this weekend at NE FIBER Show in W Springfield, MA, CAN'T WAIT! The people from A Touch of Twist in NY State are bring one for me to the show - these wheels are hard to find!! I'm going to love it, and I'm getting it while I can!

On my needles, a Selbuvotter mitten (patterned Norwegian design) in Quince & Co. Lark, River and Egret colorway combo, a Lacy Baktus in a raw silk worsted similar to Royal Alpaca Silk (must find yarn band) in a pale, pale yellow from the Yarn Sellar in York, a top-down Raglan in Harrisville Orchid with the rib and cable pattern from the Mr Greenjeans sweater  added at the borders (bottom, neck and cuffs) 80% complete, another pr of Baby Fan Lace Mitts in Quince Chickadee in Honey for Paula... and probably a few other things - 2 prs of socks, 1 pr of Footies, etc. Must cast on my 1st homespun!! 1st skeins are pretty bulky and un

Podcasts: Sticks and Strings, The Knitmore Girls, Hoxton Handmade, Imake, The Knit Wits, Stash and Burn, Cloudy with a Chance of Fiber, YarnSpinner's Tales -

Purchases to keep my head firmly in the sand so the current political rhetoric sails past me: Harman Audio Ipod dock and speakers - NY Times D Pogue sold me on it. More portable than the Bose dock I was looking at (that costs the same [$99] and plays through the Bose radio), works on batteries so can be used elsewhere. May as well listen to  podcasts in places other than the car! Like in the living room? While Spinning? Yum!

Oct 26, 2010

Spinning NOOB

First spinning lesson last Tuesday night – The wheel is a double treadle bobbin-lead (Irish tension?) Louet, a model no longer made(D41?). I think the class went by in a blur, I was nervous and toward the end I felt like a little time window opened up where everything wasn’t frantic.



I noticed a lot of difference when I practiced spinning at home alone Wed. night and then several times over the weekend. Pre-drafting - I’m getting a much more confident “feel” for drafting fiber out. I expect that to improve the more I do it; it’s kinesthetic knowledge stored in the hands that grows with practice. And I got better at giving the yarn to the wheel.


Still, unless I pre-drafted the fiber I couldn’t keep up and would end with a thick snarl or worse, I’d let the twist get into the fiber supply and whole lengths would be twisted and undraftable... What I spun last night was fairly uniform in spots and over-spun in others – and the strand is still a lot thicker in places than it could be. That’s probably just fear of getting it too thin, and I’ll work on getting it a bit thinner tonight in my spinning session.


I just have to remember, “This is not perfection, it’s my first attempt. It’s practice yarn! It’s expected to come out a bit wonky and non-uniform, and it’ll be that way for awhile! Spinners are made, over time and practice.”


Treadling without shoes is far better, I’m not sure why I didn’t take my shoes off at the fiber workshop the first night. When I stop treadling, I used my hand to stop the bobbin from spinning backward or just hold the yarn end until it’s flush with the orifice – this is probably wrong but it stops the bobbing from wanting to go backward. I suspect it wants to do that because I’m not letting the yarn wind on the way it should and I’m over-twisting it, but I can see improvement. BTW Speaking to the wheel, telling it to stop, even in a very firm rational voice, did no good!


I have to laugh, getting the drop spindle to put enough twist in the fiber is such a struggle (for me) and having the wheel makes it way too easy to put too much in!


Did a little surfing to see if I could find a vendor who would be at Stitches East in Hartford or the NE Fiber show the following weekend, who could bring a Lendrum Original DT that I could buy – and wonders upon wonders, I found one, A Touch of Twist, in Pattersonville NJ –they will be at the NE Fiber show in W Springfield the weekend of November 6- 7. Good enough reason to go! They have 5 of them, and promised to bring me one on Saturday. Booth 308. Fingers crossed they’ll have it there for me. I want the standard setup plus the fast flyer and Jumbo plying head that come with the “complete” setup. May as well, I have the money now and likely won’t have more until next year.



Oct 21, 2010

Spinning

Attended my first of four spinning classes last Tuesday night. It includes rental of a wheel, so I have a spinning wheel at home now, and tonight I spun for about 40 minutes. I think I'm beginning to "get" it.
Have been researching wheels and decided the one I like the best is the Lendrum double treadle folding wheel, I think it's called Original Lendrum DT. I may have a lead on a new Jersey shop, A Touch of Twist, that has some in stock and will be at the New England Fiber show at the Big E in W Springfield the weekend of Nov 6-7th. Worth for me to go if I can get one of these wheels.
My new wooly life begins. Wooly Bully.

Oct 15, 2010

Sheepiness

I'm not very fast at much of anything, other than arguing and coming to the defense of Obama, but I'm loving the knitting community and wishing I had more time to participate, be funny, be sheepy, share my passion. Esp this blog. I keep thinking I'll take the time to get it together, design it a bit, link to other blogs I like, link in some pics... But at the moment, Ravelry is all I can manage.

Best news, refinanced my home, got a GREAT rate and a bit of cash back, which I'm using to take spinning lessons (YAY) and buy a spinning wheel. Now I can retire in a few years and still pay the mtge. Having a roof over one's head in Maine is such a good thing!

On the prudent side, I'm also planning to change out the heating elements downstairs in my house to stay warmer more cheaply during these Maine winters. While I'm spinning...

Haven't turned on the heat yet tho!! TG for knitted things!

I've noticed very little coordination of colors in the things I've been knitting for myself! Grey hat, green gloves, purple mittens... on the one hand I dislike matchy matchy but on the other I look a little strange. Morphing into the fuzzy creature I am.

It's raining like blazes, my new homespun hat got wet this AM and now I can pick it up and smell it once and while for the thrill of it all. Love that sheepy smell!!

Oh, and podcasts! I longed to be the master of my old IPod mini and I am, or at least I'm getting there. I've been listening to several and when I learn how to do it I'll give them a link in here.

Sep 3, 2010

Just another hook!

Once again something grabs my fancy! I tripped upon a gallery of entries for a KAL led by the Jane Thornley group on Ravelry. OMG!
Where a month ago I would have thought, pretty, but not my style, now I'm thinking, WOWEE! I read a little about the free range knitting concept Jane Thornley has developed, read some of the comments from her enormously talented followers, downloaded her free patterns and read the descriptions. Today I've been reading blogs and comments and looking at pictures. Thinking of trying the Mini Triangle KAL that started a few days ago.
Note to self: look again at that stash! Swatch a bit of fantasy! Look again at the ribbon yarns. Practice the drop stitch, see what happens.
I don't anticipate any problems letting go, since I'm not a pattern bound type of knitter. That's not to say it'll look fabulous, but it's the journey...

Sep 1, 2010

New Month, Podcasts, Mitts

Sometimes I wonder why I'm so deadly un-original in my blog titles... new month, well, duh! I wouldn't have noticed but for the FREE COFFEE sign the local convenience store puts up on the first of ea month.

Have been downloading and enjoying podcasts in the car...  knew that IPod would come in handy someday! I bought an IPod mini, years ago 2005 I think, so I could block out all and any distractions, mostly from a co-worker who irritated me. And so I could walk and bounce without skipping, if you know what I mean.

But it literally spent years in the kitchen drawer after the novelty wore off. This year, I dusted it off, re-read the instruction booklet (yes, I read and save those, I'm a Virgo!) and discovered tho it's not made anymore it is supported. Also my car has an Ipod jack and cable. So I removed the songs and downloaded some knitting podcasts, which are lovely to listen to on my commute. Yarns from the Plain, Sticks and String, Knit Science, BarknKnit. Maybe another I've left out. Quite quite amusing.

Been too hot to finish the Sweater, the big green sweater. Wool, hot hot hot. Did I mention we're having our annual heat wave in Maine? Three+ days of above 90 degree weather? I have finished fingerless gloves, Baby Fan Mitts, very pretty. Long and lovely lace for the hands, which I know once this heat has passed off, will be divine.

Aug 4, 2010

Knitting Fool

I'm so into this now... I'm never not knitting, except when working, sleeping and occasionally reading and walking the dog. OK, I do all of those things a lot but I knit a lot too.
I can even see I'm getting faster, which is awesome.
Have made progress on the sweater but the warm weather this summer makes it so hot to hold I've switched to other things. Cowls - I've made three, Abtract Leaves, Wavy Feathers Wimple (both free on http://www.ravelry.com/) and one of my own design.
Finshed my 2nd pair of socks, and 2 string bags.
Following Stephanie Pearl McPhee (http://www.yarnharlot.ca/) and Lucy Neatby on Twitter.
making friends, acquaintances. 
Just having fun!!

Apr 21, 2010

Going to Washington

Conference in Washington DC next week, going down a day early. In the old days, when budgets weren't so lean, I'd go down  Saturday AM and return Wed. AM and have some extra time in the district to explore and play. Now it's down on Sunday, back Tuesday night. At least I'm going early Sunday, so I'll have some time... not much, and it will be Sunday so a lot of places won't be open.
Thinking of going over to Alexandria to Fibre Space http://www.fibrespace.com/ and Knit Happens and  possibly to Bethesda, Knit&Stitch=Blisshttp://www.knitandstitch.com/

Apr 16, 2010

Goodbye Lee, I'll Miss You

I received the news today that a coworker, friend, good friend, died last night. He was someone whose voice I heard in almost any work-related situation. I relied on his judgement, committment, integrity. I know, until I retire in a few years, I'll be wondering, "What would Lee have thought?"
His death was unexpected, because we all thought he was getting better. Lee had cancer for some time, but not many people knew he'd been battling it for some time. I don't believe he suffered much physical pain in his illness, but leaving his wife and sons must have caused him excruciating mental pain. I wish I could think he'd died in peace but I know last night his body just gave in to the damage from the chemo and the infection.

So goodbye, Lee. I won't forget you.

Apr 14, 2010

ANOTHER KNITTING DAY

Another knitting day - or it would be, if I hadn't left my lunch and knitting projects on the kitchen counter. Still, I downloaded instructions for knitting socks with 2 circulars and some awesome tips from http://www.knitty.com/ . I'm no longer "afraid" of socks, having successfully (almost) finished my 1st pair.
Now I think I'll try the 2 circular method for some other things... or maybe the fuzzy feet felted slippers, also on knitty. Free.
I am going to be soooo warm this coming winter! Socks, mittens, sweaters. I'm making a little kimono for Ronne's baby shower, better get cracking on that if I want to finish! I just want to see if I can do it.

Apr 13, 2010

SocksSocks I can do it

Knitting socks is why I picked up needles again. I got out some yarn and one old pair of S Bates aluminum dpns I'd used for hats, got a sock pattern from a library book, and...failed, struggled, failed again.
Backed off. Knit inumerable swatches. Got a few more needles, more yarn. Remembered how contemplative and meditative knitting is. I got some confidence back. I remembered why knitting is fun. I dug out all my needles, yarn, old stitchmarkers, tapestry needles... Joined Ravelry. Started going to yarn shops.

Bought some wool, started a sweater. it's about 60% done, just the bottom of the body and then the sleeves. Made some mitts.

This weekend on Sat went to a new yarn shop, loved the vibe, bought some sport yarn which seems extremely thin to me! Bought a classic sock pattern. Got going the right way on the dpns and started the sock again. On Sunday I went to a class at a LYS, took my little scrap of sock cuff and half a heel flap along... and voila! I came away from the shop hours later with almost a half a sock! I'm thrilled, even more thrilled than I was when I got so far on my sweater. It opens up a new world of not knitting small things flat. How cool is that!

Mar 29, 2010

Fingerless Mitts

I found a pattern for fingerless (and thumbless) mitts in Weekend Knitting from the Library - finished one and 1/2 halfway thru the second. They're quick because they're garter stitch, one piece. Simple hole for thumb. Just about perfect for driving. walking the pup-pup.
Went to a terrific knitting shop Knit Pickings in Plaistow NH http://www.knitpickings.com/ - Very good selection and great Sale prices too. Got enough of a Berocco Peruvian wool in a gorgeous purple - blue single strand, 17st per 4 inches to make a sweater - I want to make one of the Ann Budd circular yoke sweaters next.
The green sweater out of Orchid yarn from Harrisville Designs http://www.harrisville.com/ is going really well, akmost half finished, I'm about an inch and a half down the body stitches, after that the arms and it'll be done.

Mar 26, 2010

Focus Shift - New Passion

I feel like one of those drivers who pulls the emergency brake, steps on the brake pedal and wrenches the wheel around all at the same time!! Why would I want a blog about what I do all day instead of what I like?
OK, so STOP. I don't want to talk about package labeling, labeling law, USDA labeling regulations, product nutrition, or anything related to these. Anyone who's interested go to the FSIS website, pull the Labeling Guide and read.
I want to talk about knitting. I've been bitten by the knitting bug. I've knitted before, but not with passion.
In my dotage, I'm finding that I grab onto new passions with much more - enthusiasm - than in my younger years. I learn more about the new topic, I immerse myself in it. It may be age or just something in the water... but that's how it is.
So now I want to knit, and learn about knitting. I want to make nice warm heavy knitted fabric in simple boxy styles that appeal to me. I'm making a sweater. I joined Ravelry and several other websites. I read knitting blogs. I really like this. It's calming and centering.

Mar 4, 2010

FDA goes to town, I get some Yarn

Yesterday FDA cited 17 companies for labeling errors, untruthful and / or misleading labeling information. In another life, I'm a foodlabel regulatory person.
Blogwise, I'm a new knitter. I'm shovelling in knitting, it's occupying my every waking moment.

Mar 3, 2010

NEW PASSION

I believe the intent is always evident in the results. Knitting is the newest passion, a recurring one. Perhaps I'll get it right this time.