Saturday, June 28, 2008

There's nothing like frequent posting...

to bore your devoted readers, right? shouldn't post too often...right? Sounds good to me. Too bad that Deep Thought doesn't square terribly well with Reality, however, due to the fact that I would happily read the Yarn Harlot's blog daily, even if she posted every hour on the hour. :::sigh::: Well, maybe it's for the least I don't have thousands of readers depending on me for their daily dose of hilarity. I'd die under the pressure. Besides...that's her job - thank God! - not mine.

I can't believe how many days it's been since I've posted. I've had SO much fun with my new carder, but I've also been crazy-busy (but who isn't these days???) with this little thing called 'life'. Like, life with a hubby. And kids. And errands. And just stuff going on. I've hardly had time to spin, which really makes me Miss Grumpybutt. I'm embarrassed to admit that I can't survive without being self-indulgent. This also means that I'm STILL working on my Bumpy Stuff (alpaca/tussah/merino) and the contrasting superwash Merino lambswool - all from Leah at Yarn And A Tale. I had ordered 2 lbs. of both those fluffy concoctions, and they came in early this week - oh, joy! I now have a good start on the 2nd bobbin of the alpaca/silk, but haven't done any more of the merino superwash, yet.

Something NOT so joyful for me was yesterday's good-bye party at Twist for Angelique, a dear and darling little pixie of a lady. All who know her love her. Just being her friend is a gift. It is SO hard to say goodbye to such a dear person. Every time I think about it, I have to work at not crying. adult smileys However, she's going on to a more fulfilling life in New Mexico, working as a Dr. (Radiologist) on a Native American Reservation. adult smileys The climate should be more salubrious for her health, certainly, than here in the Land-of-Totally-Miserable-and-Wildly-Inappropriate-Weather (Kansas). Hm. Maybe I should go with her?? Just to make sure the place is safe for her, and all. Yes, that would be good.

The kindness and generosity of friends...

can never be quantified or replaced, can it? I guess that's a rhetorical question, because the answer is a great big "NO"!

The two lovely - and totally sweet, thoughtful, generous - girls who went to the Estes Park Wool Festival (remember Angelique and Shelly? I was almost sick with longing to go, of course.)...and look what they brought back for me! adult smileys
It never occurred to me that they would bring home something for me, so the surprise gift just blew me away! I have never received such a glorious, beautiful and thoughtful gift as this - simply never!

I feel sorry for those of you who can only drool over, but not pet, this heavenly fiber. Oh. My. Gosh! It is to-die-for soft; it makes angora feel scratchy! Okay, maybe bunny fur would never feel scratchy, but you get the idea.

Angelique, Shelly...dearest girls!...THANK YOU! adult smileys From the bottom of my heart, I thank you! I kiss your feet in gratitude, and I wish I knew what I did to deserve such a fabulous, unhoped-for gift! Because I'd do it again. Shamelessly. adult smileys

I think I'm going to verrrry carefully blend it with some beautiful alpaca that Angelique gave me a few months ago (it's just gorgeous!: a fawn-colored 'paca from Alpaca With A Twist - oh, yum!). I'm just hoping that the paco-vicuna fiber won't be so short that it 'floats' to the bottom of the longer-fibered alpaca. That's a worry, so I'm going to think - hard! - about this before wasting so much as a single fiber of my p-v! Stay tuned...but first I have to get more of my Bumpy Stuff finished!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's HERE!!! (another easy title)

Well, as you probably can figure out by just the title, my Howard Brush "David" model drumcarder is HERE! Wow - it's BIG! It's even nicer in 'person' than in the photo. I've been playing with it a bit, but Dave made me come eat dinner, darn it. Now I've got to let you all know about it before I can get back to working with it. I did some easy stuff just to 'break it in': some pre-dyed roving from the Yarn Barn that I really wanted to card up with some tussah and just a hint of sparkle. Trying to do it on hand cards not only gave me a major mess that was impossible to spin, it wasted some of my fiber! Good thing I wasn't using anything too precious, huh?

Monday, June 16, 2008


Ha! I didn't have a problem coming up with a title this time, did I? Jane, from Howard Brush, just called to let me know my carder is shipping today!!! Of course, I'd cherished secret hopes (many of 'em) that it would ship on Friday, but it turns out they don't have Friday shipping (I didn't ask why). Oh, well - it's on its way, and my heart is going pitter-patter. I am sooo excited!

I hate thinking of titles!

I mean, I'm just not that clever. I wish I were. I wish I were a word-smith, like the Harlot or my very dear friend Marianna. Now, they can write - really, really well. They have wildly-differing writing styles (not to mention wildly-differing subject matters), but both can 'grab' me with what they say by how they say it.

Well, that's all I've got to say about that.

All that angst was by way of trying to figure out a title for yet-another-fiber-spinning post. After all, how many times can one use "What I'm Working On Today" as a post title?

I'm working on two projects here (which is so not fun when one has only one wheel). Now there's a post title for you: "I Need Anudder Wheel!" ANYWAY, I've been trying to make a companion single for that single 2 posts down. You know, the alpaca/tussah silk noil-y/merino bumpy stuff. The same fiber-pusher, Leah, of Yarn Or A Tale, ALSO has these fab superwash Merino laps (did I tell you this already?). You can see them here; just scroll down to the bottom and look for the superwash merino lambswool laps. I'm going to see if she'll let me "borrow" her photos to put in here. Warning: I've got dibs on 2 pounds from her, so I hope there're some left for youse guys :-). Nota bene: She said "Yes"!

Now, as a spinner, I'm very prejudiced against superwash fibers. Yes, I know - ugly of me. In all fairness (to me) though, many superwash fibers are horrid-beyond-words to spin. They're plastic-y feeling. They...squeek (yuck)...when you handle them. There's almost nothing ickier to a spinner than trying to spin plastic. But this superwash is incredible! Not surprisingly - it being merino (lambswool!) - it's as soft as a cloud and amazingly easy to spin. It flies through the fingers effortlessly and is very controllable. Providing one uses the right-sized whorl, that is. Unfortunately, I spun nearly half of the sample she sent with my 'bumpy' alpaca order (that's how she 'hooks' new converts to her superwash laps, don't you know) on a too-large whorl. When I went to 'sample' it with The Bumpy Stuff , it literally fell apart every few inches. This is a lesson I thought I'd already learned: one must - simply must - spin short, fine fibers with appropriate twist! Yes, indeedy! For the third time, I've learned that lesson. ::sigh::

The color contrast it provides with the bumpy alpaca/silk/merino mix is really, really nice. It isn't so high a contrast that it's going to look terribly marled. I'm hoping the contrast will be fairly subtle. If it isn't, all is not lost. I'll just spin a very smooth single of more fawn alpaca/tussah (from my own stash, probably) to provide a textural contrast, rather than a color one. Then, I'll just spin up the superwash into some glorious sock yarn. I do wish the color variations would show up in a photo, because it is truly lovely. Unfortunately, my photo-taking abilities are laughable. I can hardly turn the stupid camera on, let alone figure out how to use it :-(

My second project is using more Cormo, but this time I want to try to make a 2-ply worsted weight. Wish me luck, won't you? I'm going to need it. Not that I deserve it. I concentrated so hard (when first learning to spin) on learning how to spin very thin singles, that I can now only spin that way. I am NOT HAPPY with myself. I was warned. I can't say I wasn't. Books warned me. People warned me. I told myself that it didn't matter because that's the only way I wanted to spin: thinly! (do we see the operation of the devil's 'virtue' called PRIDE, here?) :::sigh:::

Just call me short-sighted (if you wish to be kind). I'm just going to call me 'stupid' and be done with it. Now, I know perfectly well that some of you at this point are saying, "Yes, but...! You can make a worsted weight yarn out of thin singles. Just use 3 or 4 plies." Riiiiight. That means filling up the requisite number of bobbins, and 3 or 4 times the amount of work. That's discouraging, to say the least! This isn't a special project (though it certainly could be, I suppose). I just need to make more yarn to pay for my rather expensive passion of spinning!

Friday, June 13, 2008

There ain't no humility...

without humiliation! I feel so chagrined. Here I was burning with green-eyed envy because Leah got to knit socks while working at the fiber mill. Turns out, she has to run this big ol' commercial sock-knitting machine, which is giving her major fits, as it doesn't seem to want to knit socks! She's got a high level of frustration at work because of a stupid hunk of metal. However, when it's working right, she CAN actually knit socks (for real) or even bring her spinning wheel! Wow - imagine a job like that! I think that's only fair, though, since she has to put up with stupid machines, don't you? I still kinda wish I could get a job like that...

Sinking to new depths...

of jealousy. I have just learned - via email - that Leah, owner of Yarn Or A Tale, not only has a job at a famous fiber processing mill...

SHE GETS TO KNIT SOCKS for her job!!!

I am trying not to be overtaken by sick, insane jealousy. I think I need to go lay down.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jealousy is very childish...

this, I know. No one needs to tell me that. I hardly even remember the last time I felt jealous of anyone for any reason. Consequently, I am rather chagrined to admit to the jealousy I am feeling right now. Why? Because I cannot attend the ONE PLACE on Earth that I've been dying to go to ever since hearing about it. It's synonymous with Heaven on Earth for fiber-lovers everywhere: the Estes Park Wool Market.

They have People there, people. Important People! Galina herself will teach a class there, for Pete's sake! How the HECK did they get her??? They have Paula Vester! Donna Druchunas! Donna Brown! And I'M NOT THERE! This isn't even to mention the animals that will be there. There will be ... Paco-Vicunas, people. AUGH!! :::whimper:::

There are times when it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Bumpity-bump! or...What I'm Working On Now

Well, I wasn't sure how much I was going to like making 'bumpity' yarn (silk noil-style bumpy), but it turns out to be fun! I got this soft Fawn Alpaca/Merino/tussah silk (and noils) from Leah at Yarn Or A Tale. The stuff I'm using can be seen here on her Premium Fibers page. She has the ideal job in my opinion: she works for a well-known fiber processor! ARGH!

Anyway, I'm really getting into this bumpy stuff. I never know when to expect the next bumpy to come skipping through my fingers - it's totally unpredictable:
No, there isn't any more. I bought it all. So sorry. Not. I realize this might make me come across as a supremely selfish fiber hog, but I just don't care. I take my fiber acquisition duties very seriously, you know, and this was an urgent mission. Leah might have sold the rest of it without my knowing it. It doesn't matter that she has 50 tons more fiber in stock. I will attempt to acquire every bit of it. Eventually.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

::sigh:: As close to owning a woolie as I'll ever get

Thanks to Rhonda's blog, I now have my very own sheepie! (thanks, dear!) You can see my lovely pet, Fluffy Woolytush, over on the sidebar. You can even feed him! Unfortunately, this will probably be about as close to owning one as I ever get :-( I would almost kill to have a couple of sheep.

I keep telling Dave that he wouldn't have to mow the lawn anymore, but he isn't impressed. He says he wants to keep his flower and veggie gardens intact, thank-you-very-much. I think he's just being stubborn - he doesn't realize how much cheaper it would be to have some sheep and an alpaca. Or two. Just think of the savings! I wouldn't have to buy expensive roving! Well, I could cut down on the fiber expenditures, anyway. WHICH is why I got my carder, so that I wouldn't have to buy expensive top and roving all the time. Or so my theory goes. Wonder if he would buy that...?

Why Do I love the yarn harlot?

Been thinking about that lately. It comes down to one, simple reason: she's Every Woman, as far as I'm concerned. Her insane daily schedule - her utter hatred of all things involving housework - her seemingly total lack of organization in trying to get everything done that needs to be done right now - her passion for knitting and spinning - her wonky hair ... she could be me. Or I, her. She's so much like me (only way cuter and funnier, not to mention WAY younger!), that it's downright scary. But you know what? I have to bet that she really isn't "like me", so much as she is like...Every Woman.

There. That was my philosophizing for the day.

My sis is coming over soon; the poor girl has lost power in her neighborhood. And, OF COURSE, the electric company has NO IDEA when it will be up. Of course not.
I just hope the contents of her 'frig will be okay. I've lost whole refrigerators and freezers of food twice. Oh, my aching pocketbook!

Dancing for mad, mad joy!

YYYYYEEEESSSSS!!! I am having a hard time not whirling like a dervish, I'm so excited and happy! My poor stomach is doing flip-flops. I got to place my order for my very own, highly-coveted, long-dreamt-about Howard Brush drum carder!!! I am so excited, I can hardly stand it! It won't be shipped out 'til tomorrow, they say, because they are sooo busy. :::groan!::: I guess they can hardly keep their carders in stock; they're just flying off the shelves. The prices are incredibly reasonable (for carders), and the carders are very heavy-duty. They have two models; the Lindsey and the David. The David is a triple-drum carder, and I chose the fine cloth as that is about the only type of fiber I use: fine!

Hopefully, the cloth will even be fine enough for cotton, should I ever get a wild hair and decide I want to spin that, too. I really love the colors of the organic colored cottons that are now out. They're nearly irresistable! I could card that up with chopped tussah (very, very short strands) silk, or cashmere, or silk noils, or angora, or, or...anything! *sigh*

I hope I don't die of impatience before it gets here! I've got sooo many fibers that need to be worked into batts, it's not even funny. I'll bet I could spend the next full month carding and not be done!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NOW what do I do...?'m I supposed to keep up with spinning demands?? I now only have 2 offerings left - that's a really pathetic showing for an Etsy page! A very dear friend of mine bought the Apple Blossom, plus the 'natural' skein (not sure what else to call it!) that is on an earlier post. I hadn't even had a chance to get it up ON Etsy before it was gone! I'm really thrilled that somebody likes my yarn, but still...!

What the heck am I gonna do?? I would love to have Etsy pages full of stuff, not 2 stupid little skeins!


I can NOT believe what happened last night (my time), very, very late. I am still so excited, I can't sleep! I finally decided to open an Etsy shop. After all, one can't sell one's yarn by simply wishing on a star. Well, I can't anyway. Stars ignore me.

SO...there I was, having FINALLY finished listing my glorious Cormo (that I didn't really want to get rid of :sob!:). Took me forever as I kept updating the information as I would think of more stuff to say. Then, I more quickly uploaded the photos of that Spring Flowers Targhee yarn I'd spun up. Hit "FINISHED" on my Etsy page and... {{{gasp!}}}




My poor heart pounding like a trip-hammer, I hunted all over my pathetic one-page "store" with ONE ITEM on it. Nope. No Cormo picture. Still gone! I checked somewhere on my account to see what Etsy was charging me for a 'disappeared yarn', only to discover...

I SOLD THE STUFF! FOUR FREAKIN' MINUTES after it was listed!! Can you believe that?!? I about fell out of my chair! ROFL! I just can hardly believe this! Surely, I tell myself, I will wake up and all will have been a pleasant - but silly - dream.

I hope I don't wake up TOO soon...

Monday, June 9, 2008

World's Ugliest Yarn Contest!

Another weekend "find" that I wish had remained hidden. Forever.

I have quite possibly created the World's Ugliest Yarn. Yes, it is, don't argue with me (if you're actually trying to). No, no; don't try to make me feel better about it: I absolutely HATE this Yarn Barf. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought the roving - and I certainly won't say from whom I purchased it. It's not HER fault that I wasn't a good spinner (or planner) at the time. It wasn't her fault, either, that I was just sure that the 3 colors actually went together in anything that would resemble 'good taste'. Maybe she thought they did! Sadly, any of the 2 colors together might have turned out okay. Maybe. But the "Mardi Gras" (that was the colorway's name) colors are ALL wrong for Mardi Gras. The gold is actually baby-poop yellow (ask me how I know this). The purple, while rather pretty, is mostly too greyed out. Nothing "royal" about it. The teal green. At all. It is a vivid, intense TEAL that hurts the eyes to behold it. Teal is not, the last I checked, a Mardi Gras color.

A real kicker to all this is that it feels Heavenly and has a great drape to it (thanks to the overly-loose plying I decided on). *sigh* I was only wanting to get it over with.

Let me show you the hideous stuff in all its, er..."glory":

What a long weekend!

Well, I'm finally done plying the Apple Blossom and there are 422 yards - whoot! Plenty of yarn to knit up socks, and it looks like the yarn is a fairly consistent fingering weight. Wow. I have to say, it turned out better than I thought it would. It's almost as consistent as my 2-ply Cormo. I'm no big fan of Navajo-plying, even though it's great fun to do, but I really dislike the way a Navajo-plied yarn does not like to ply nicely right up against the next loop. It's gets loose and "ugly" (imo), even though it won't show up in the actual knitting. I added in quite a bit of extra twist just for that reason, hoping there wouldn't be too much. Will wonders never cease?...there isn't. Another reason to celebrate! Here's the finished product:

I also discovered a woolen-spun, 3-ply (not Navajo-ply, but the 'real McCoy') worsted weight skein I'd spun up early this year (January, I think), squirreled away in one of my fiber drawers. Good Heavens. I remember being so impressed with myself that I'd gotten a whole 425 yards (before fulling). I ended up with 397 yards after fulling. Not bad, but I'm going to quit fulling my yarn :-) Everything but the kitchen sink went into this one, but all the fibers were soft - even the Shetland.
I was going for a next-to-the-skin, if i could manage it. I stuck with all natural colors, using black Merino, brown/grey Shetland, cream and brown Finn-Lincoln (VERY soft and fluffy) fleeces, and (I think!) some of my oatmeal-creamy Bluefaced Leicester. Heaven only knows what else I found to throw in there!

It all turned out quite nicely, much to my amazement. At the time, I was a new spinner of only 2 months, and felt that everything I did looked crummy and had a 'why would anyone want to buy that junk'? mentality.

Friday, June 6, 2008

All hail the Blog Queen!

Just in case anyone else feels like banging their head on their computer desk, before you do, go here and learn how to do cool stuff with your blog! In desperation, I contacted Sherrykins (found her on a help search in Blogger). She answered right away and helped me to put some "buttons" in my sidebar. Simple for most people...maybe. But not for this dummy! Thank you, Sherry, a thousand 'thank yous' for all your help!


NEVER - but never! - Navajo-ply delicate Merino singles. harrumph.

I'm nearly done plying the Apple Blossom. I sure hope it fits on my one bobbin! I think I'm going to have to swear off using only Merino to spin with, as it just really wants to float apart during plying, even if I use a high twist to spin the singles. It's SO frustrating to have it break during plying, but it's ten times worse if you're Navajo plying - augh! One needs a minimum of 3 hands to fix it, and 4 would be better! When I'm doing this, I make SURE one of the kids is home to help provide the needed extra fingers.

Apologies for the blurry photo of the 2 bobbins. I DO wish I could figure out how to take good closeups!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Apple Blossom - a Reprise

Okkkaaaay ... remember those photos of my current work-in-progress (Apple Blossom merino roving) that just 'disappeared' into the aether the other day? Well...! There they were. Big as life. Right on my camera.

Even though we'd deleted them. Even though the camera swore up and down that its card was empty. Even though they were downloaded onto my computer, never to be seen again...

There they were! Sheesh. SO...for an update and a photo upload of what I had gotten done:

Yes, I know. They're blurry and the photo-coloring seems (to me) to be slightly on the 'yellowish' side. I don't know what's wrong with this Canon S5IS, but probably nothing; ten-to-one, it's operator error...or just bad lighting. The bobbin is now full to capacity as I've only 2 feet left of roving. I'll try to post a completed pic as soon as I can (after I've plied it).

My 'Baby' from Babe's Fiber Garden

Just thought I'd bring out my 'brag book' photos so you could all admire :-) Go here to see the tons of stuff Babe's Fiber Garden has.

I don't understand why more of my spinning buddies haven't gotten themselves one of these wheels. These 'Babes' are total work-horses! Nils Wiberg (the manufacturer) wasn't kidding when he called them 'Production Wheels'. They work extremely well, are VERY easy to use and maintain, and very affordable. For those on a tight budget, what a Godsend! I only paid $204 - including shipping - for this model. Granted, it isn't gorgeous, but that's fine by me. I'd rather pay 200 dollars for a good wheel, and use the rest of what I'd have spent on a wooden one, on a big pile of fiber! It's also highly portable, being light-weight. Yet the base is nice and wide, thus eliminating the 'walk' or 'creep' that so many other Castle-style wheels have. My Babe doesn't try to walk away from me as I'm treadling.

Me and my Babe have treadled thousands of miles since we first met last November - and we're both still going strong with nary a problem.

Did I mention how much I love my Babe...? NOT WORKING! HELP!

Arrrrgh! I'm pulling my hair out trying to figure out WHY the button graphics on my sidebar are not showing! I know I'm not the first person - nor the last - to have this problem, BUT...! I've been all over the web at many 'help' spots, looking at 'how to add buttons to your blog' sweat! I got the buttons themselves, but the graphics are just a box with a little red 'x' in the corner :-(.

Does ANYONE out there know what the heck I've done wrong???