Tuesday, July 26, 2005

one house for sale

First and foremost, check out all the work Paula has done at woolarina.com! The yarn pages are getting updated with all new pictures, and they're much easier to see now. The sock page, for instance. Mmm. We're doing some more dyeing this weekend, so if anyone has color requests, speak now!

In other news, our house is now officially on the market, and Tim will hopefully be signing a lease in the Boston area over the weekend. We still have no official move date, but I will be starting a new job on August 22, so it'll be before then. There will now be a Woolarina North post, and I hope to continue dyeing (and will definitely be spinning and knitting) up there :) I think the wheel will be the last thing that I pack up. The boy is a little concerned at potential buyers coming by during a dye day this weekend, but they will just have to deal. I think that the yarns hanging on the porch make the house look that much more festive.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

retreat into spinning

I can tell by my sidebar stats that, in this time of stress (both good and bad stress, but stress nonetheless), my spinning production goes up a bit. It also helps that it's way too hot to keep knitting on my lap for very long, and the wheel is set up in front of the air conditioning vent.

My favorite roving of late was the Cormo/Alpaca. It's hard to go wrong with Corriedale, Merino, and Alpaca, all in one. Plus, it was a natural roving, so no random felty bits from overly enthusiastic washing and rinsing. The roving is fabulously soft (I've heard the term "buttery soft" applied to yarn a lot -- why is that? Is butter that soft?) and easy to draft. One oddity, though -- there are quite a lot of little slubs in the roving, so my yarn isn't nearly as smooth as it is with a lot of other fibers. I don't think I was being lazy about my drafting -- I think it was just a quality of the roving. In any case, I will be dyeing the yarn and knitting it into gloves for myself, I think. My first pair of handknit gloves. I'm pretty sure it's a thin enough yarn to work on 3s or 5s, so that should make not-too-bulky gloves.

Plus, I will be moving in a month to the Boston area, so it's time to start thinking warmer garments and accessories! I am quite excited, and with the decision made, the stress is going down a little (although the spinning, I think, will continue).

I leave you with a couple of links to Knitted Superhero Costumes and the ElevenEleven gallery, the latter of which is in DC, and I really should get there some time soon...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

*thump thump*

When felting a Nalgene holder with a Nalgene bottle in it, the washing machine makes some funny thumpy sounds. I'm curious what it'll do during the spin cycle.

Felted Nalgene Bottle Cozy (which needs to be tweaked).

Great for keeping your Nalgene from "sweating" water all over your stuff when you shove it into your bag, fresh from the fridge, in the morning.

CO 40 sts worsted weight yarn on a size 11 circular. Join.
Knit around for 11" (but I think it should be closer to 10"- this guy seems a little long)
Decrease every other round, starting with K6 k2tog, until 20 sts remain, then decrease every round until 5 sts remain. Pull through and secure.
Pick up 6 sts at the top. St st for two rounds, then garter for 10.
Decrease to 5 sts and work strap: K3, yf, sl 2 pwise.
Continue in pattern til the strap is almost as long as you want it.
Go back to garter, increasing one stitch, garter 10 rounds, st st for two rounds (i.e., make a mirror image of what you did on the other side). BO. Sew to opposite side of holder.
Felt til it's done.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

facelift and new fluff

I gave up on trying to coerce this journal into being a three-column format, because I don't know enough about html and css to keep from breaking it on a regular basis. Someday, I will take a class. The problem with the classes I've tried to take is that I know about enough of the basics to get me through the first three or four lessons, and once I've made it through those, I'm bored because I haven't learned much new, and I've lost interest before getting to the useful stuff. I also hope to learn to use Microsoft Access at some point. Not at all intuitive to me, that program.

Anyway, aside from giving in to a new format on this journal, there has been much activity, although not as much fiber-related as I would like. I have managed to procure new balls of colorful and soft merino:

We've sold a few skeins, I've spun up a few more. We dyed lots of merino sock yarn for the store, including this guy:

We also dyed 6 or so skeins of worsted wool yarn for making felted totes. I bought a smallish (16 or so ounce) Nalgene, which I plan to knit a cozy for soon. I also knitted a larger Nalgene-sized cozy, and will felt it up this weekend as a prototype for some of the stock for Crafty Bastards.

So, I guess that's some progress. I'm also learning that there is a lot about knitting that I love, and a lot that I just plain don't like. I'll revisit that later, but for now, I know I don't like ribbing on double pointed needles. I like ribbing, I like dpns, but I just can't deal with both of them together -- too high maintenance, or something.

My favorite thing right now? Simple, memorizable patterns, with some variation in what you do with the rows, but also some plain knit and purl rows to take a break from the patterns. I'm working on a scarf for Tim right now in a woven sort of pattern that only has four different rows, one knit, one purl, and two 2x2 rib variations, and it's easy and it makes a pretty pattern. It's a dark yarn, but I'll try to get a picture up some time soon.

Friday, July 01, 2005

spinning stays constant

Things are very up in the air in my life right now, and I have very little control over which way they're going to go. I do, however, have control of the tension of my wheel, the weights of the yarns I'm going to spin, the rhythm of the treadle, and all of this has been very comforting over the past week or so.

Every day, coming home from work, I'm faced with many tasks around the house that I could, and perhaps should, be doing. I've been trying to get a load of dishes, dirty in the sink, to clean in the drying rack, or I don my workout clothes and brave the humidity that makes my lungs poke at me and ask me what I'm doing, biking in 87 degree weather. But mostly, I sit at my wheel, which has found a permanent place in my tv room, turn on a disc of West Wing, and spin from the beginning of a ball of roving to the end.

This week, I've made these:

They will make the fluffiest, softest hats, and they are what has kept me sane.

This weekend, Paula and I will dye some more merino, which is great, since I'm out at this point, and I will once again have pictures of big, bright balls of yarn potential. And maybe I'll be able to stop thinking about everything else, just for a few hours.