Monday, April 30, 2012

New Balance for yarn

I am spinning my first dyed roving. I am working impatiently to see how it will turn out. I took the green, yellow and rust roving and split it in half. I learned how much dyed and braided roving can compact. It was a bit of a fight at times to fluff this fiber.

Then I got to see how the color changes work. It was mesmerizing. At one point in time my spindle looked like a carrot the way the color was wrapped on it. I think I had as much fun pre-drafting the fiber as I did spinning it.

I spun the spindle full of half of the fiber and slid it off onto a knitting needle then I spun the second half of the fiber going the same way. I did try wrapping the cope differently. Both ways seem to work fine.

I slid this one off onto an old knitting needle too. I need the spindle to ply the yarn and I had to improvise a way to control the yarn as I was plying.

Enter my new lazy kate. Doesn't my yarn look pretty?

I picked my New Balance shoe box for my lazy kate in hopes that the name would inspire my yarn to behave and truly come into balance. And it makes a nice carrying case too. Very stylish right? Yeah I thought so too.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rambling on further

Now I will show you the socks I am working on for me, hee hee. Because you know I am sick if I don't have a couple of socks on the needles.

First up we have last year's Rhinebeck purchase from Fiber Optic. The yarn has a touch of cashmere in it that is totally awesome. This colorway is Blackbird and the sun is washing out the color a tad. It is more of a neon green only not in a bad way. I have sage green socks made from the same yarn base that I wear when I know it is going to be a difficult day (like flying), my feet are ever so happy when they get to feel cashmere.

I think this is one from one of my oldest skeins of yarn. It is Socks That Rock from either my first or second Rhinebeck trip. See how stash can bring back memories? I think part of the reason it has stayed in my stash for so long was it was a great bargain. I got a skein of lightweight for $14. The poor check out lady said it was mismarked but gave it to me for that price. And to think I have loved it as a bargain all this time. Now it is time to knit some socks that rock.

In other knitting news; we occasionally use a printer company at work and I received a little bonus for my knitting bag.

It is a post it note and business card case. Super handy if I need to take notes or mark something in a pattern. I resisted the urge to ask my non-knitting coworker if I could have hers. What do non-knitters need with my super cool tool? What do you mean non-knitters use post it notes too? Really?

I will leave you with my newest photo creation, Cat in the Wild. Well, indoor cat out in the yarn while Mom takes pictures of her knitting stuff, sums it up better.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Since I think I have figured out the formula for D's socks he is getting more pairs. Lately at least one of the socks on the needles are for him. I think we may need to assign him a new sock drawer.

So now I need a ruling, the sock above is not giving me the warm fuzzies. I think the yarn wants to be a scarf instead, or not. I am getting mixed signals. So what do you all think? My knitting group said it was fine but I'm still having doubts.

In other news we're getting pretty excited about camping season coming on. We've set up the tent and dining fly a few weeks back. They both look great even considering they've been stored for a couple of years now. The boy scout side of my husband loves putting up and taking down tents. The air mattress was tested too. Yes I know I am such a prima donna, I require an air mattress and flushing toilets. I am pretty sure I will want to shower too. Did anyone see my camping tiara? I'm sure it is around here somewhere.

We keep discussing food options and planning meals. I have checked out a couple of camping books from the library. (Have I told you recently that libraries are one of man's great inventions?) One of the books is written by a Canadian and talks about making love in a canoe. Yeah I skipped that chapter. (Yes, a whole chapter on it!?) We're going to the same campsite that I had my first and last canoe outing at (same trip). It has been a few years and the memories are starting to fade for me but D is still remembers the look of terror in my eyes from that outing. You've heard of cats in a canoe? That was me and my claws were definitely unsheathed.  I have never loved dry land quite as much as that day.

So don't forget to tell me what the yarn wants to be and I will remember to tell you any funny camping stories if they happen, all stories will need to be cleared by the Hubby though.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stocking struck

So the last Saturday that it was decent weather and I remembered to shave my legs, I decided to take some comparison shots of my German Stocking progression. 

To start this project I dutifully took measurements of my legs and used those measurements to figure what size to make. I made the size recommended for my leg measurement, completely ignoring the fact that the designer recommended using a size or two sizes smaller than the actual measurement. 

I did not make it too far into the project before I was aware it would not work. You may recall this post regarding the matter. I decided to rip back and start with one size smaller, feeling pretty proud that I did not take a trip down the river of denial. 

I knit on my smaller stocking to a bit further than the last time and thought to myself...Hmmm?

It still looked a tad large but why rip back again? I placed my work on scrap yarn, grabbed another ball of yarn and cast on another sock, two sizes smaller than my original. I figured to get it to the same place as the reworked first sock and have a fitting session.

So can you tell which is which? I could wearing them. I have made a decision one will stay and one will go.....

Is it just me or are knees a not terribly attractive part of the body? And taking pictures of your knees is not as easy as one would think.

The middle photo (left leg in first photo) is the one size down and has to go. The bottom photo (right leg) is the keeper sock two sizes smaller. Who knew? Right, Cookie A., the designer knew. Guess she really does have more experience and my leg is not that much more difficult to fit than anyone else's.

I will not be ripping back right away, I think I will finish one stocking before ripping back another. I could be wrong....but I don't think so.

Do you also see from these photos how my legs were referred to as neon white? I am not just pasty white, my paleness glows like an odd beacon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Speaking of Christmas gifts that I am finally making use of, fondue! My sister gave me this little chocolate fondue pot. I am somewhat ashamed to say this is my first fondue ever. 

The stars aligned finally so that we had all the elements we needed for a rainy afternoon. Previously I had bought the fruit and cake but we did not have the dash of cream or a tea light to keep it warm. So the plan was shelved and the fruit was eaten.

Many weeks later D found some tealights downstairs and I had remembered to buy cream. What is a house without cream I ask you.

I can now report that our first fondue was a huge success and we did not even burn the chocolate like I was worried we would. It was a nice mix to have the pound cake and strawberries but I foresee more fruit at our next one. Does anyone know if you can use regular chocolate like a Hershey bar or do I need to find some special fondue chocolate chips like we received with the pot?

Any suggestions as always are appreciated. Also as always, I reserve the right to not take good advice and forge ahead on my own to learn my lesson. What bad can come from experimenting with warm chocolate and anything that will stay on the ridiculously small fork, long enough to dip.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Picnic Time

A few years back I received a picnic basket for Christmas. I love picnic baskets and what they represent, a nice leisurely meal out in the fresh air.

The thing is we don't use our basket that much. It did serve as our tea basket last year when we drove down to North Carolina and decided to stay in a cabin at a campground instead of a hotel. But alas it has not picniced much. (Picniced is totally a word, least it is in my mind.)

I had some vacation time I needed to take so I had a mini staycation. What says I love you more than a picnic at work for the Hubby? (Especially when he is a man that likes his food?)

He did text me asking for a thermos of tea to be brought too. I was happy do oblige him since it was just a tad chilly out of the sun. So there he is digging in to find out what I had packed.

Here is the unpacked basket. Oh by the way, Fritos go with lunch...Don't you know?

And here is our glamor shot of lunch. So we have tea, Fritos, sandwiches, mangos, mixed fresh berries and no that is not sour cream, it's pickles in my ever so handy recycled pickle carrier.

It was indeed a nice relaxed lunch. He even shared some of the mangos with a coworker.

Me? I came home and cleaned the stash area. Well half of the stash area. I threw out old swatches from when I learned to knit and left over yarn I was not going to use no matter how much I told myself I would. I even managed to get rid of some old fiber festival programs. I tried to hold on to them but I was very firm with myself. I said would use the space for fiber I'd acquired. Wow I did not know programs took up that much space, hee hee.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Learning to spin

Well I am having a fine time here learning to spin. I am at the beginning point when I don't have enough knowledge to be dangerous yet so it is all fun. I am not trying to get anything specific. I just still amazed that I can make yarn. Hee hee yarn!

I went again to open spinning at my local yarn store. This time the circle kept growing and growing. We were closer to 20 than four like last time. The best thing was when the phone guy had to wind his way through all the wheels.

It was another mostly wheel meeting, but this time I was not the only spindler there. I was also the "expert" because I spun finer yarn than the others. While the fineness of the yarn does not show the skill in my mind yet. I think it is because I knit so many socks, I am just used to handling finer yarn, my fingers recognize the weight better. Then again with what little knowledge I have, I just don't know what should and should not be doing. I just know that I like doing it. I don't even mind it cutting into my knitting time, but then again we'll see how the sock drawer looks in a couple of months.

I ended up buying more fiber but the way I'm going I will need it. What it is the truth...well maybe need is the wrong word. I bought it because I wanted it. Yep that sounds right, now. Guess I better start saving now for the fall fiber festival season looks like I will need it then. I foresee another Golding spindle getting a new home. Maybe I should just jump on their website to refresh my memory as to what they have.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sock Saturday

I just love New Sock Saturday! You know why? Because it means I have new socks to show off! A little obvious I know but still...

These came from a new to me yarn company that I will be looking for come fall fiber festival season in upstate New York. Bittersweet Woolery named this colorway Terrible Lizard and I could not resist either the name or the color.

While I like to see how yarns pool, it is great to find one with such short repeats that I can not make it pool. I may be the only one in this house that thinks this is an interesting color combination but I am definitely the one that counts in that aspect.

I was so mesmerized by the quick color changes that I knit half of a sock in a day. I cast on, blinked, then turned a heel. The second sock took a bit longer it seemed, but not that much. I think these guys took me two weeks to finish, even being my purse project and getting side tracked be spinning yarn too. That is not the fastest I've knit a pair of socks but it is pretty quick for me.

Well I am off to sort through the stash to pick another victim yarn. I only have one sock on the needles and this situation simply will not do!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Keeping busy

Guess I have been keeping myself too busy to blog. Well that is not the total truth, guess I am just in a bit of a slump, writing wise and have been trying my hand at some other things.

We're planning some camping trips this summer so we pulled out the gear and made sure it was in proper working order after two years of storage. Everything is fine and Jack got to find out what being inside a dining fly feels like. Turns out it is fun yet scary. Tents move in the wind you know and make a whole set of different noises than a house does.

I finished listening to an audio book that my sister recommended, Hit Man by Lawrence Block. While it is a bit out of my normal range I was mesmerized. It is about this regular dude and his boring, regular life that includes occasionally killing people. Odd as it sounds it was quite entertaining. It touched a bit on the morality of killing strangers but Keller did not seem to dwell too much on the thought. Sometimes he is hired by someone that has a good reason like revenge and sometimes it was not a great reason.

I should have my sister write the book reviews. Mine usually start out with I liked it or I did not like it and never seem to get much farther than that. My sister however she describes a book and makes me want to read books that I would never think of picking up. And the dangest thing is that I usually end up loving them too. Now I wonder why we never got along as kids, oh right sharing a room, never an easy situation.

I look forward to reading the next book, but I have several other audio books waiting for me too. For a complete change of pace I started Silent in the Grave but Deanna Raybourn. I just love a story set in England, but ya'll knew that didn't you.

Jack caught another mouse last night. Good thing Daddy was alert because Mommy was zonked out and did not hear a thing till Daddy told her. Bad Mommy, Good Jack. It is really funny because the next day Jack is so full of himself. Not in an arrogant way just in a way that continually asks, I did good? He just can not get enough pets. Keep going my boy get them all!

My spindle and I have been busy making yarn. I have my first and second yarns plyed but unwashed. The cream colored yarn is skeined up and the brown is sitting around in cake form. Finally I could resist the multicolored braid no longer, even though I am still learning and should still be spinning natural fibers. I unbraided it which really just turned out to be a big crochet chain, I had no idea how they braided it. The things you learn when you become a spinner. Then I split the fiber vertically in half. I would like to spin it in two singles then try my hand a plying two singles together rather than the two tails of one single together.

I am digging this way more than I thought I would. I've come home two nights in a row and spun yarn instead of knitting. Which is the exact scenario I was afraid of, turns out it is not a bad way to spend an evening. (I always suspected it.) Good thing I knit so many socks to begin with guess I can let the new thing run its course and then combine the two yarny obsessions into even more things like socks.

Happy knitting!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Service

Last week I found and fixed two problems in my house. I can even brag about two different companies and their super satisfactory customer service. One was a tea problem and the other a knitting problem.

I had ordered tea from my only tea supplier, Harney and Sons. They are the people I have to thank for turning my husband into a tea drinker. I had talked him into a road trip to visit their store and tasting room. After tasting a couple of teas I was in the shop choosing and calculating what I could buy without irritating the husband too much. After careful consideration I went looking for him expecting him to be impatiently waiting for me. What I found instead was him waiting for a cup of tea to brew. What a pleasant shock. When he said how much he liked the tea (Lapsang Souchong) I made sure that I bought a tin. We have rarely been with out 'Lappy' since then.

Harney and Sons had a promotion around St Patrick's day and since our Lappy was running low I made sure to order. We had been finishing a tin when I discovered the wrong bag of tea was shipped. Now I am all for trying new tea but we can not deal with a house without Lappy. Since the mistake bag of tea was Malachi McCormick's Blend, I see how the tea would be stored alphabetically and the wrong bag was pulled.

I emailed the company and am happy to say that the problem was fixed. I now have a bag of Lappy. They also allowed me to keep the Malachi tea, I may report to you that it is indeed "a decent cup of tea." It is a nice no frills just good black tea. Thanks for letting me try it Harney and Sons.

My second crisis concerned my Knitpick's harmony needle tips in size US#5. I decided to knit another Baktus from my ample stash. Whoa, I meant adequate stash. I had been knitting for a bit and noticed that my yarn was snagging on one of the needles. It had a small crack, not enough to be a break but enough to get the yarn. I tried holding the needle so the snagging area and the yarn did not connect quite as much but you know that can only be a temporary fix, which is not really a fix at all. Next I pulled out my trusty nail file and used both grits on it. Now I have a extra pointy needle that still snags the yarn.

I had heard both good and bad things about Knitpicks service. I know from working the other side of the counter there is a right way and a wrong way to request help. The wrong way would be to demand, make threats or generally be a jerk. The right way is to be polite and tell them what is wrong and if you've tried to fix anything.

Since I've only used this size needle to knit my other Baktus I suspected the issue was a defect not normal wear and tear. I hate to say that a piece of wood was defective but that little crack/notch was driving me crazy.

After I emailed the company I received a same day response and now have a functional size 5 needle. I will be keeping the non-defective tip as a back up. I am still trying to figure out how I can make the other tip useful without yarn. I am mulling the idea of using it as a very pretty letter opener.

So I had two great customer service experiences this week. Two for two maybe I should go to bed while I am ahead of the game.