Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sizzlin' summertime

I am not going to complain about the heat because I do have central AC. Thank goodness.

I've been busy at work, putting in a few more, irregular hours than usual. That has impacted things on the home front, also. Some days I get home after 8 PM and just don't have the energy to accomplish anything else, even spinning and/or knitting. Work is good, it's more interesting being busy, but does get in the way of other things. ; )

I didn't get to finish spinning my Romney fiber, but I have another 3 spindles full to ply when I can sit in front of the wheel. I can't wait to see what the total yardage is so I can plan a fall project.

I chose to spin on my new akha spindle with cotton for my TdF challenge. I watched a couple of videos on spinning cotton, and a few on using an akha, then got to work. I need practise. Really. However, I did produce a cotton singles and am working on more, to try to ply. There really isn't a lot of info available on spinning using that type of spindle, but I think I did OK for a beginner. I found it to be an enjoyable way to spin.

I finished two knitting projects in the last couple of days - Pogona was bound off last night and Cladonia was bound off the day before! Neither one has been blocked yet, but the knitting is done!

No completed and blocked pictures yet, but at least you can see the colors and a good part of the lace edging of Cladonia.

I still have half of the fronts of my sweater to knit, and that is now highest on my priority list. However, (you knew there would be a however, didn't you?) I need a small, portable project for walking, so I started a sock. Eldest son loves music, and had a pattern called Riff that I thought would be just right for him. I have less than an inch of toe knitted but am not in a rush. This is truly a travel project for me.

Once I finish the sweater I plan to go back to the Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging from Victorian Lace Today and work on it until it is complete. I will get that shawl off the needles and onto my shoulders this summer. When I need simpler knitting (and sometimes I do have that need) I will work on Rob's afghan and try to get that done this summer also.

I signed up for the Seasons of Lace KAL this summer. The shawl that was voted on is Jared Flood's Rock Island. I was not being very realistic about my available knitting time at that time. I like it, but am hesitant to start another shawl until the current one is complete. OTOH, this one should be faster and provide a nice break from the other, due to the garter section. Hmmm .... what to do ......

We went to Bass Pro Shops last night so that DH could choose his new fishing rod and reel that he wanted for his birthday gift from my mother, me and eldest son. He took several hours - this from a man who (usually) has a list, finds what he needs and is out of the store in a flash. I asked him if it was sorta like MDSW for me and he laughed and agreed. He made his choices and I think he's very happy. Tonight we find eye glass frames for him and then I get to spend some time knitting.

Weekend on the boat

We made it! We got things done, got packed, fit the necessities in the boat and spent Saturday and Sunday on the boat. While it was more windy than predicted (and than we had hoped for) we decided to stay out and  were glad we did. We did some fishing and some sightseeing.

I did lots of knitting, a little spinning and we just chatted and relaxed. Due to the wind and therefore rough water, the project I worked on most was Rob's afghan. The other projects I brought required more looking down to see my work than I was comfortable doing with all the rocking the boat was doing. Seasickness is not fun at all.

I hope to repeat this activity once more this year, but we'll see how the weather behaves. I am not interested in roasting myself day and night.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yarn and Fiber Dyeing Day Photos

I hosted a dyeing day at my house over the weekend. It was much hotter than I would have liked, but we had some artistic people creating beautiful yarn and fiber. Here are some photos. I am sorry about the sideways photos. There was a problem somewhere.

Dip dyed fiber

Hand painted yarn
Yarn in a crock pot, dye powder sprinkled over it to over dye the pink I didn't like.
Falkland fiber painted with Easter egg dye. Not a success. It's too pastel.
Hand painted fiber

This is a twist yarn with one ply that takes the dye differently than the rest. it will be a sweater for me at some point, but I have to over dye it - the 4 skeins are not close to the same color.

Cladonia progress - I finished the body of the shawl, so it's time to start the lace edging. I will use the main color for the edging, then may do the picot bind off in that or the contrasting color. I haven't decided yet. I am excited to have reached this point, though.

I bound off the sock!!!! FO alert!!! yippee! I finished the Calendula socks, including weaving in ends. They need a good soak and then will get packed up and sent off. Now I have to concentrate on the fronts of my sweater. I really want to finish it by the end of the month.


I am so ready for Friday this week. I'm always ready for Friday but this week the feeling is much stronger. I haven't had a bad week, just a busy, stressful one. I think I've dealt with things well enough, but I was at work until late (7 PM one night and 9 PM another) twice and dealt with some unusual tasks. I can't wait to relax, knit and spin and spend time with DH.

Tonight we will try to accomplish necessary chores. Tomorrow we plan to go boating and, if the weather holds, to spend the night on the boat. We haven't done that for 2 years and I'm really looking forward to it. It's so peaceful out on the water at night. I love to look up at the stars (which are easier to see on the Bay, away from city and town lights), listen to the waves lap against the hull, talk, spin and knit (me), read (him) and relax. We'll anchor in an out of the way place and settle in for the night. In the morning DH will likely get up before me - he wants to try some early morning fishing. That's OK. I can take my time waking up while he does his thing. We'll stay out until we get too hot or too hungry and then come back to the marina whenever we're ready.

I'll knit on eldest son's afghan and the lace edging on the Cladonia Shawl, maybe the cardigan, too. I'll bring my drop spindles and work on spinning Romney and silk (separately, not on the same spindle). My Pagona shawl is at the point (by the measurements) for the edge and bind off but I still have yarn and so I'll make it bigger. Once I tire of knitting on it, I'll bind off. ; ) I'll also work on swatching with my newly purchased linen yarn. I am considering designing a lace tunic top, so I'm playing with needle sizes and lace patterns.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Here's proof that I am dedicated to my TdF efforts. Spindling on a boat can be challenging. The waves and wakes that day were not as bad as they are other days, so I was able to stand and use my drop spindle. That is my silk that I am spinning, bought for me as a birthday gift last year.  I love spinning it, but I am working hard to keep it an even (as even as I can spin) lace weight, plus I have other projects, so it's taking a while.

That's the Chesapeake Bay and the starboard aft section of the boat in the picture.

This is the fiber and the spindle I am using for the silk. Pretty, isn't it?
This is the first skein of spun silk yarn. it's funny how it looks green sometimes and blue other times, but I really like it.

This is Romney fiber, obtained raw and scoured by me. This is my first 3 ply worsted weight skein, spindle spun and plied on my wheel.

Romney fiber on the spindle - today's spinning.

This is a photo of some of the scoured locks, which I flicked open and I am spinning directly from those locks. I am not separating the colors but spinning them all together for a wonderful heathered yarn.

A close up of the finished skein.

This is some of the dark grey, almost black Icelandic fiber that I am spinning. I hope that this will be a contrasting edging to a shawl that I will knit with the lighter grey yarn I am spinning.

Lighter color Icelandic laceweight yarn.  It's probably closer to fingering, and I think it will bloom, but I am happy with it.
Knitting projects - I am knitting in addition to spinning. This is a terrible picture of my Cladonia Shawl. The colors just wouldn't work. I'll try again on a sunny day, earlier in the day. The main color is a deep tonal blue and the contrasting color stripes have that same blue plus grey, black and almost a little purple. Most of the shawl is stockinette, with a nice lace edging to be knitted at the end. I like this pattern and it's well written. I am doing it as a part of a KAL on Ravelry for Through the Loops patterns.
This is my lace shawl from Victorian Lace Today. It doesn't look different, but it's bigger. Take my word for it.
This is the yarn I am using - Cinnamon's Dyepot. It's beautiful, isn't it?

One more picture of my spindle spun 3 ply worsted weight Romney skein. It's only about 45 yards, but it takes a lot of fiber to make a 3 ply, and I spun it on the drop spindle, so i am actually pleased with the yardage. It's soaking right now after it's bath.

Some time later this week I'll share pictures from the dyeing day at my house on Sunday. Lots of fun, very hot and lots of creativity here.

Friday, July 08, 2011

No Touring Yesterday

Somehow, between working, eating, going to knit nite at the LYS, trying to get my apps (and the contents thereof) back on the I Pad (lost after a restore)(not successful and I'm aggravated. There were lots of knitting patterns on there in addition to the books we've bought) and sleep I did not manage to spin at all yesterday. I'll have to spin on one of the other rest days to "atone". ; )

I knit some on Cladonia and 2 rows on the cardigan during the time at the LYS but that's it as far as my fiber efforts yesterday. I did manage to get my pictures off the camera and onto the computer, so now I have to work at getting them on the blog and taking daily pictures of my spinning.

TGIF. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Tour de Fleece and recovery

I am not 100% yet but I am much improved. I no longer feel like I have to sit and rest after everything I do. ; )

The TdF has started and I am doing well with my spindle spinning. Having the first few days fall on a holiday weekend helped. I have 2 plus spindles full of Romney singles and hope to be plying soon.I don't know what kind of yardage I'll get but I think I'll like the yarn. I am shooting for a 3 ply worsted weight. When the Romney is spun, since I didn't really set specific fiber goals, I'll most likely pick up the Icelandic again. I plied my singles on the first day of the TdF and I really like the yarn. I am anxious to make more. The darker color Icelandic is more felted and less airy but I've worked out a way to work with it and I believe I'll be happy with the contrasting colors for the shawl.

I will be getting my wheel back on Sunday so I have given thought to what to wheel spin for the TdF despite not setting any official goals. I would like to finish up some projects, so I'll go back to the pencil roving I was working on when the wheel left for it's visit. If I manage to finish that spinning and ply it before the end of the tour, I have some new Falkland fiber in pretty sea colors that I'd like to spin .....

I started knitting Cladonia over the weekend. There is a Ravelry group KAL for any Through the Loops shawl and I like a lot of her patterns. We will ignore, for the time being, that I have "a few" other shawls, big and small, on the needles. This is it - when I finish Cladonia I am going back to my WIPs. I am very ready for some FOs to talk about.

Speaking of FOs, my cardigan is nearing that stage. Both fronts have been started and I have about 5-6 inches knit. Soon I will start shaping. Hopefully I won't have too many frogging sessions due to not getting the shaping in pattern correct. Once the fronts are complete, it's time to assemble the sweater!

We ate a home grown strawberry the other day and I had a bowl full of blueberries from my garden for the first time!!!
The veggies are not as lush as I would like but I have seen some green tomatoes and I will be able to pick cucumbers in the next couple of days.

ETA I thought I would have photos to post but didn't have time to find the camera, upload the photos and upload them to the blog. Sorry. I really am working on fibery things.