Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Watch the Birdie!

DH and I got back from vacation on Mackinac Island today. We brought back a DVD of wild birds (natural sound and music, too). Oliver and Garbo are positively enthralled. When a bird flies off the screen, they look in the back of the set to see if it went behind there. When the video ran out this afternoon, Oliver cried until DH started it again.

More on Michigan yarn shops later....
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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Two more hands, please!

I just landed a new job helping a wonderful friend of mine run for Governor for the state of Indiana. I've been busy getting her office set up and attending meetings. With her background and experince, she will be perfect for the job. The work is exciting and fun - but it hasn't left me much time for knitting!

I'm still plugging along with my MS3 stoles. The white one is ready for Friday's clue, but I'm behind on the gray one and probably won't catch up before the next clue is out. Knitting the ground of flowers has been fun, hasn't it? I'm really curious why we'll need the lifeline.

I'm also excited to see what the theme will be. My back-up guess is that the theme has to do with the plight of the honey bee. Honey, I'm stuck on that bee thing! Bees have been in the news lately (read it in black and white) because of the mysterious epidemic killing so many.

With so much traveling, I needed a really, truly mindless project to knit in places where knitting lace can be dangerous (like conversing with your boss in a moving car, for instance). Using this bundle of yarn from the Fleece Artist, I'm working on the "Lady of the Lake" sweater. I got the yarn and pattern from an eBay store called Tidal Brook Yarns. Kathleen is an excellent merchant, with prompt shipping and helpful service. I recommend her highly to my knitting friends.
Yep, I should be knitting the Koigu sweater sleeves, but I'm still figuring and planning as I go (not mindless enough). Even though Koigu can be frogged a lot without visible damage, I want thesleeves perfect this time so Jazz will have to wait until I get an MS3 finished.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

In Sheep's Clothing

I just went for a second cup of coffee!
(Garbo, asleep in the alpaca fleece I was spinning.)
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

The buzz

MS3 is buzzing around my brain. I now think the motif in the point is a likely a bee. It fits even better with my original guess of the Goddess Neith, the weaver, the wearer of the veil, deity of the sky (light and dark). The Temple of Neith in Sau (Sais), Egypt, is known as the House of the Bee.

"The Veil of Neith" sounds like a good shawl name, too.

Or a thousand other guesses.
It probably really is a NASCAR checkered-flag theme. Ha!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sheep shot

My wonderful nephews are in town, which means little knitting or spinning. More like NO knitting or spinning. But fiber? Can't keep me away from fiber! We went to a petting zoo yesterday, and I got to at least feed a coupla sheep and a llama or two.

I love my nephews. (But I'm missing MS3)!
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My, aren't we lazy!

No stretching, no blocking, no nothing.... My 7-1/2 year old twin nephews are here to visit for a week, so there's little time to knit. I banged out the last six rows of Clue 2 on the white version of MS3 this morning while they slept. I hear them stirring now, so a quick shot before I start a very, very, VERY fun-filled day...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Nothin' but knit

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Yaaaaaay! DH is out of the hospital again, and my beads *finally* arrived on July 5. Had to jump right in on the MS3 of course, so here's the dark Zephyr through Clue 2. Can't see the beads, but I assure you, they're there, and IMO, it was worth the wait.
My current official guess (subject to change, of course) for the theme of Mystery Stole 3 is the legend of the Egyptian goddess Neith. I swear that the motif within the "pyramid" end of the stole is a scarab, and the edging represents the Nile. (That is, until my next guess!)
Neith is a goddess of the sky, mother of night and day, and the goddess of weaving and arts domestic (did they call it knitting then?). She is also associated with war. MS3 designer Melanie hinted that this would not be a good theme for a wedding. Althogh a wedding is never associated with war (or dung beetles), it is sometimes associated with marriage...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In the meantime...

MS3 has begun, but my beads for the gray Zephyr yarn have not yet arrived in the mail. When none arrived yesterday and today is a no-mail holiday, there was only one thing to do: start something else!

But MS3 has my full knitting attention right now. Looking at the stash, I spied a couple of skeins of soft white Misti Alpaca. DD donated some silver-lined transparent beads from her jewelry-making stash, and I was on my way. No swatching this time - full speed ahead! Some folks are making two shawls, since the theme colors are black or white. I uess I am, too.

After a long, sleepless night - DH is back in the hospital - Clue 1 is finished. (There are beads, but this quick and dirty pin-and-point shot doesn't show 'em.)

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Okay, okay. I have a gazillion projects lined up, and one languishing on the needles (Jazz). What cut the queue this time?

Mystery Stole 3, that's what!

At least I haven't bought new yarn. I got mine from the basement stash, some lovely Zephyr wool/silk in "Steel". Now I did have to buy a smaller crochet hook (size 12), and a bunch of beads, which haven't arrived yet. But meanwhile, I printed out all the info and dutifully swatched:

Well, to be truthful, it wasn't exactly dutiful - I just wanted to knit. The top piece is on size 3 needles, and the bottom one (the one of choice) is on size 4's. Amazing what a quarter of a millimeter makes, isn't it?

No fewer than seven members of my local group, Frog Pond Fiber Arts, have joined so far. It's positively contageous. If you have the bug to sign up, you'll have to do it post-haste: MS3 closes to new members on July 6.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Diamond Mesh

Finally! Knitter's Magazine hasn't exactly been batting a thousand for me lately, but there's a project in the current issue that looks good to me.

What yarn? What yarn?

I decided to go stash shopping in the basement. This requires mustering both bravery and imagination on my part, because the choice seems so... final. I'm not such a good knitter that the result is generally better than the possibilities. I'm a brave person, but I'm not very imaginative. I want to have the final project come out perfectly, and I fret that my choice of yarn - especially when the fiber and gauge are way different than the designer's choice -will not come out well. Still, I know I must have stuff that would work.

Well, several years ago, my friend Vicki and I went in together on a yarn deal. We got a large number of cones of yarn for just the cost of shipping. I selected two cones from our lot One was a charcoal boucle, and the other was a pink silk/cotton (whatever did Vicki do with the rest of those cones? :-) ).

After combing through my stash, the cone of pink silk/cotton called to me. Other yarn would have been suitable and would have given me gauge without messing around. But I kept going back to the pink cone. The yarn was too thin, so I loosely plied it together with my spinning wheel. The result was still a bit skinny, so after a gauge swatch, I re-gauged the pattern. It knit up fairly quickly. I finished the seams last night.

I feel especially good because it cost me about fifty cents (broken down from the shipping cost of all the cones - yarn was free)!

Frog Pond

What a great time we had at the Frog Pond Fiber Frolic! We spent a lazy afternoon experimenting with Easter Egg dye on wool and silk. First we soaked our plain vanilla yarn and fiber in a vinegar and water solution.

Then we created colors! We swished, we dunked, we squirted. We put our creations in ziplock bags to cook in the sun while we had refreshments. Gorgeous!

The Frog Pond is lucky to have Janet, who found a great quantity of Easter Egg dye on clearance after Easter, and had the presence of mind to buy it for the group. We are also lucky to have Vicki, who gathered the supplies and directions for us. And we are lucky to have each other, because we are a mighty creative group together.
I decided to dye sock yarn - could have knit boot socks if it turned out ugly, but I rather like my result.

My result on the silk was ermmmm, okay. The teal I started with was looking too even. However, I had mixed together all the leftover dye from the Frolic, which turned out a kind of pea green. Squirted in splotches over the teal and left to cook a second day, the teal silk now has a little depth. We'll see how it looks when I've spun it into some lace weight yarn. I bet it will look pretty good, in a monochromatic way.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Talk to the hand

I found this funny quiz on Bonne Marie's blog. Here's my result for "What Finger are You?" (find your finger through the link below).

You Are the Thumb

You're unique and flexible. And you defy any category.
Mentally strong and agile, you do things your own way. And you do them well.
You are a natural leader... but also truly a loner. You inspire many but connect with few.

You get along well with: The Middle Finger

Stay away from: The Pinky

Pretty funny that it says I should stay away from the pinky! I'm not getting along with mine too well. (Or maybe I chould say that I'm not getting along without it too well.)

I know hearing about my bum hand is boring and repetitive and old. Without full use of it, though, there isn't a lot of progress to post. But there's news! They finally resorted to putting a plaster cast on the pinkie to force it into being more straight. The cast will be changed twice a week, stretching the finger back more each time (A digital rack!)

Even better news?
The cast keeps my finger immobile enough that I can just about knit to my heart's content. Won't be able to make up for three months worth of major knitlessness, but I might put a dent in my long project list before they remove the cast for good. (Then there will be a re-evaluation of what I can do.)

(Thanks, Bonne Marie, for the hand site!)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bare Naked

Score!!! My fiber came in on Friday! As IF I needed more. This is special though (isn't it all?) - a bunch of bare-naked, no color fingerling-weight yarn from KnitPicks and some silk from Pacific Wool and Fiber. Our local Frog Pond Fiber Arts group is having a dye workshop at E's house in a couple of weeks. I haven't done any dyeing yet, so I'm really jazzed about it. I figure fingerling weight is good - I can knit socks. If the colors turn out icky, I'll just wear long pants. Hope to get lucky on the silk, though.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This is what kind of day it was around here today.
Garbo, fast asleep, never heard me sneak up with the camera. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 21, 2007

On the other hand...

I'm out of the habit of posting, and there's not too much to write about. But okay, okay, it's been over a month.

I started knitting a little. I began a cardi from Maie Landra's new book, Knits from a Painter's Palette. I've been collecting Koigu skeins for a while, and finally broke down and bought the last two. I must be out of my mind - knitting this on size twos when my knitting time is so limited right now. A nice super-bulky sweater or a quick hat would have been more instantly satisfying, but, well, I'm in it now - literally up to the armpits.

I'm still waiting for my hand to heal. It has been eleven weeks since the surgery. I am still struggling with physical therapy, splints, braces, exercises, massage, and heat packs. Knitting has been an adventure. I've had to learn a new way to tension my yarn because some of the digits engaged doing it my usual way are out of commission. If I get enthusiastic and knit more than a few rows at a time, my little finger contracts into my palm, the middle joint freezes at about 45 degrees, and there is some pain. It can take days clamped back in the splint to get the finger to extend again. The Medical Professionals can't or won't say how long therapy will continue, if my vigilance is going to ultimately pay off - or like Sisyphus and the rock, I am doomed to this cycle of flexion and forced extension over and over again forever. But knit I will.

Okay. I'm finished whining (for now).

I'm spinning on my beautiful new wheel a lot - howzat for optimism? If I do eventually knit without restriction, I'll have lots to knit with! And I'm spinning better, too, though I'm still exploring what Hazel can do. I finished 22 ounces of charcoal alpaca, DK weight, for a sweater (pictures when it's all skeined and washed). And look at this lovely pink silk from and blue merino from Elizabeth M! I'm working on some turquoise silk now, too.
More pictures later. I promise!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Greencastle was, of course, wonderful. Hazel is the BIG news (see post below), and there was much, much more. Robins, Cherry blossoms, Red-winged blackbirds, Prom dresses, Kildeer, Tulips, Greencastle.... Spring is sprung! (Well, sort of. The sleet amd high winds didn't help.) Despite the nasty weather, it was exhilarating to finally see the first show of the season in our area.

I spent like a drunken sailor. I only go to two shows all year, this Fiber Event at Greencastle, and the Michigan Fiber Festival in August. I need to get all the fiber I'll spin in a year, pretty much, and besides, I hear it's healthy to be on a high fiber diet!

First of all, I was enabled by two good friends, Vicki and Michelle. I was lucky enough to get a ride down with Vicki and her DH Phil on Friday, and then ride back with Michelle on Saturday. Since Greencastle is perhaps 3-1/2 hours from my house, I was happy indeed for the rides and for the company.
I did mention Hazel, didn't I? Here's a pic of Michelle and the Jaegers at the Jensen booth.

And here's what other wonderful stuff I found: A kilo of painted "Pansies" Polworth from Susan Markle's Trading Post Fibers booth;

Also from Susan, two painted skeins of Targhee (top two balls), some Fleece Artist BFL roving, and a lovely painted Merino from a lovely person whose booth I've forgotten. (Hmmmm. detect a color rut here? )

An entire Corriedale-Romney cross fleece (6.9 pounds - now there's some spinning!) which I've split with Michelle - this is from the lovely Lola at our friend Charlotte's Prairie Winds Farm near home;

And these two balls of lovely baby alpaca. I bought one ball last year, (spun, foreground), and wanted 16 more ounces for a sweater. Well, I stopped by Nancy Haas's booth - and she had exactly that amount left. SCORE!

There were other buys, too, with more photos for another day: a luscious small white alpaca fleece ("Apollo") from my Union sister Julie Stephens at Thunder Bolt Farm; a baby Shetland fleece I'm splitting with Vicki, some baby Shetland, a hank of Border Leicester roving, and a buttery Corriedale-silk blend that Vicki and I each bought (she has the whole batch at the moment)... all to share later.

Oh - and did I happen to mention Hazel? She is all settled in with her sisters, Inez (my trusty Lendrum in the middle), and little Amelie in the back, the tiny Cabriolet.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Meet Hazel.

Please allow me to introduce you to Hazel. She is posing here with my friend Michelle (middle) and Mr. and Mrs. Jaeger, the Jensen dealers. Hazel is my gorgeous new Jensen D-30 production wheel. She us the big sister to Inez, my Lendrum (who is feeling a tad jealous right now).

I fell in love with Hazel on Friday at the
Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana. She is all elegant cherry wood, and she spins with an effortless grace heretofore unknown to me. Hazel is a "mirror image" wheel (right flyer for us Southpaws). Her distaff is charming (and keeps roving out of the inquisitive paws of Oliver).
I had been longing for a production wheel for some time, and after I spun on this wheel, I couldn't get her out of my mind. When I talked it over with my DH on Friday night, and he told me, "go for it!" I weakly suggested to Michelle that she should talk me out of it. Instead, Michelle informed me that Hazel would certainly fit in the back seat of her car - and backed it up by rising at the crack of dawn to drive me back to Greencastle to buy her.
Though the weather was brutal - snow, sleet and wind - we had fun shopping for another three hours, then, loading Hazel into the back seat of Michelle's auto (where she fit nicely), we headed for home.
Tomorrow: all the other wonderful things from the Fiber Event.

Friday, April 13, 2007

New Baby

Happy Friday 13!

Here's the news: I am the proud keeper of this marvelous wee wheel. My friend Janet King, who took this picture, put it up for sale at our local group's web site (the Frog Pond) a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was a wonderful buy, but there are several new spinners in our lovely group who don't have wheels. I wanted to make sure they got first dibs before I glommed on to this beauty.

Aubrey had her eye on it, but in the end she chose a beautiful hand-painted Ashford wheel. You should have seen Aubrey spinning on the wheel she wound up buying. It looked as if she had been spinning on it all her life.

This little baby is tiny, and more portable even than my folding Lendrum (certainly a lot lighter!). The wheel is a mere 15 inches in diameter, and it only measures 28 inches to the top of the flyer. Janet thinks it might have been made for a child. Though petite, I don't think this is a beginner wheel, mainly because the treadle is steep. I seem to have taken to it well though, even with my tall frame (child at heart?!).

Now off to play and to name the little tyke....

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In like a lion...

I know, I know, it's March that is supposed to come in like like a lion, and here it is April! This is what it looked like outside my door this morning. Perhaps we should revise those old weather axioms...
I spent the morning at Kiva. If you haven't heard of it yet, Kiva is a non-profit organization which lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. It has been featured on PBS and in the New York Times, along with other media coverage. For as little as 25 bucks, you too can become a "world bank" for those in need. The loan rate of return of your money is very high - pretty much 100% - though I would consider that if my investment wound up being a donation, it would still be a good deed indeed. Can't you just imagine what the result would be if every person who was able to loan a few bucks - did?
On the hand front,
Still unable to knit, and typing is slow. I have some spinning news to share tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Spin Cycle

Well, the Medical Folks won't tell me how long I must wear the sado-splint, but my hand is doing better each day. Typing is hard still - all with my left hand - and I am unable to knit at all.

But I can spin! I'm limited to a half hour at a time and it has to be easy stuff with light tension. I make it a reward for doing the difficult physical therapy every few hours.

Here's some sumptuous alpaca I've been working on the past few days, which I bought at Greencastle last year. I wish I had a lot more of it.

And remember this? (Of course not! It's been a while!) I bought it last August at Michigan Fiber Festival. I spun most of it at the Lindenwood Spinning Retreat (see the post on the retreat below). The finished yarn is pretty darn rustic. Frankly, I think it looked nicer in it's raw potential than my clumsy finished product, but I'm happy enough with it to be designing a jacket for it (sideways, shawl collar). I'm grateful to my very DH, who set the twist for me and learned how to twist skeins today.

Just hope I can knit it sometime soon!

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Knitters aren't the only group making stitches. So is my hand surgeon! Here's why posting is going to be a little slow around here.
Typing is awkward, like trying to learn how to knit backwards. Can't knit at all (aaarrrggghhhh!), but maybe I'll be able to spin in a few days.
More when I'm able.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Spinning Retreat

A whole week has gone by, and I still haven't raved about the spinning retreat.

Clickety-Clack Ewe joined some old friends and a lot of new ones at Lindenwood for a gloriuos weekend of just spinning. This was spinning with no chores. There was no housework to do, no teenage children to fret over or ferry around, and no meal preparation. DH took care of all of that, bless his generous heart!

There were about thirty wonderful women there. We ate all our meals together in the convent's lower level , but otherwise all our waking hours were spent spinning and talking together. Bed was when we felt like it - for some, that was close to midnight.

Many brought food to share, so there was some serious diet-busting snacking going on. (Leave it to me to take a picture of the food!)
Naturally there was fiber to buy, too. See that bag front and center of the picture marked "Desert Sundown?" It's mine!
I had waaaaay more pictures, but I didn't bring fresh batteries, so they aren't useable. Otherwise, you could see that I got to sit next to my friend Elizabeth M the entire weekend, and was happy to see my friends Charlotte, Peggy and Susan. I really wish all my other Frog Pond Fiber Arts spinning friends could have been there, too.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Remember this?

It's my handspun from my friend Elizabeth M's beautiful merino. On the way back from Nova Scotia, it became this:
The Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark.

I blocked it after we had the first Frog Pond Fiber Frolic, but didn't get around to taking pictures until today.