Friday, June 30, 2006

My Dreamy Sleepover

Last night I had a sleepover with my mom. My sister was in California and my dad was in Seattle, so Mom was by herself (with the two crazy cats and Owain the corgi). So I stayed over to keep her company.

My sentimental and loving husband and son practically pushed me out the door and started the car for me, so they could get down to their pizza and "Simpsons" and the Red Sox game. But that was okay - this is what Mom and I had for dinner:

straight out of the container!

We watched a girly movie:

I started a new project!

which is this

I left my Lincoln biography at home and read, yes, "Us" magazine...

(Can I just tell you that "Us" magazine makes "People" seem like "The New Yorker" in comparison? It was like a giant Milky Way bar - insanely delicious and not a nutritional calorie in sight - I learned about the three guys that are driving Lindsay Lohan to throw fits; how to pose most effectively in a bikini; all about Britney's troubled marriage and Keith and Nic and TomKat and Suri and Angelina and Brad and Shiloh - I'm all up to date on my Hollywood gossip - go ahead, ask me anything!)

I have another sleepover tonight, but I think we're having steaks, we're watching "A Room With A View" and I'll be reading that weighty tome, "People" magazine, for my evening reading. Sleepovers rule!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pioneer Woman? Ha!

So, flushed with my newfound spinning "expertise", I ordered some fiber from Wild and Wooly Fibers. I wish that I could have taken a picture of how it came packaged, but I was ripping through the beautiful wrapping job like a 6-yr-old on Christmas morning before I thought to take a picture. Anyway, I ordered some punkin-y orange and some brick-y red roving, which I spun thusly:

Then I plied them together, thusly:

And then, wound the yarn, thusly:

And so it turned out all good and yarn-y and stuff, but it's only 55 yards, and I'm beginning to wonder about my pioneer woman skills, namely my tolerance for spending 30 hours of labor to produce 55 yards of yarn.

So I turned my attention back to my Smart Summer Knitting Project, the wool and mohair bag. I started with two full skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted (from my stash, nonetheless!!), but as I headed down the homestretch toward the handles, I noticed that there seems to be quite a bit more blue than gray left.

What's up with that?? I refuse to buy another skein, which defeats the purpose of stash-busting, but I am in a little bit of a quandary as to how to finish this. Perhaps I should just start something else, eh?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Perfect Summer Knitting (for crazy people)

Like many knitters, I am always on the lookout for the perfect knitting project. It has to be suitable to the season, interesting enough to be challenging, perhaps a new yummy yarn. Anyway, here in suburban Philadelphia, it has been raining for the past few days and the forecast is for rain for the foreseeable future. The temperature is not too bad, but the humidity - you don't even wanna know about! Typical summer weather for these here parts.

So when I cast about for what to knit next after finishing the boy's blue-and-white sweater, I looked high and low in my stash and in my patterns and hit upon the perfect summer project! A little lace scarf, you ask? A breezy cotton tank top, perhaps? Something out of cool linen yarn?? No, this is what I chose:

Yes, this is the Body-Hugging Flat Purse from Two Old Bags, worked in Lamb's Pride Worsted (a heavy worsted wool and mohair blend). I always say when the humidity hovers around 95%, you really want to be knitting with mohair. Okay, it's a little sticky and uncomfortable to work with and makes your hands really sweaty, but the plus side is you get a head start on the felting!!! And when it's finished in, say, early July, boy, I'll sure want a purse made out of mohair hugging MY BODY! Right!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More Spinning Stuff

Okay, where were we? Oh yes, I was busy spinning lumpy yarn as thick as my arm! Just like my idol, the cooler-than-cool saleslady at Adams Farm.....not! Well, the one thing that stuck with me from the workshop was the instructor saying that everyone's yarn started out lumpy, and the more you practiced, the better you would get. Self-evident, I guess, but it gave me hope. But I needed fiber to practice on and lots of it, and I had to have it NOW! But where could I find a huge amount of roving to practice on???

Then... [cue heavenly choir of angels] who should appear at the shop one day but my dear friend Martha. She listened patiently as I blathered on and on about my lumpy yarn and spinning and the Adams Farm Lady etc etc etc ad nauseum. And then she said, "I have some fiber to give you, Diana. I'll bring it in on Wednesday." [What!!?] And sure enough, she appeared on Wednesday with a huge bag of roving that she and wonderful Anj had prepared from a sheep from the Philadelphia Zoo. How awesome is that??

So I took it home and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and sure enough I got better at it. The Zoo Fleece had a nice long staple (the length of the sheep's actual hair after processing) (I think), which made it easy to spin. And practice, while it makes far from perfect, made better. Here's yarn spun, dyed (with icing color - couldn't find my stash of Kool-Aid), and plied. I should have included something other than the edge of the pitchback for scale, but it is two strands of laceweight plied at about fingering weight.

The most exhausting 100 yards of yarn ever made. I had a (very brief) thought of selling the yarn I spun on ebay or something, but I then realized that I would have to charge something like $850 a skein to make it worth my while.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Let There Be Yarn.....(of sorts.....)

I have been fascinated with drop spindle spinning since we visited Adams Farm in Vermont a few years ago. We were poking around the gift shop (of course), and there was a saleswoman who was spinning yarn on a drop spindle as she chatted with customers and rang up sales. I was completely and totally mesmerized!

I ordered a spindle and roving and some books from The Mannings last year and tried to teach myself. This is my preferred (but not often effective) way of learning. I kind of sort of got it, but wasn't quite sure what I was doing. So when I saw an ad for a drop spindle workshop at a LYS (not TW) recently I jumped at it. The workshop was okay (too many people, not enough space, no handouts or anything), but I got enough confidence to see that I was on the right track. Here is my splendidly lumpsome first effort.
The navy strand is what I spun in class; the purple is some roving I had lying around the house (yes, I have roving lying around my house, don't you?) So that would be great if I were into knitting everything at 1 stitch to the inch, but I kind of like yarn to be less thick than my arm. So I kept trying..... Tomorrow, the spinning continues.....

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Relaxing Day at the Tangled Web

Oooh, today was Spa Day at the Tangled Web. There was wine, aromatherapy candles, massages. Aaaaahhhh - I was so relaxed I could barely speak coherently! I also finished this sweater for the boy.

Perhaps I need to work on my documentation skills...apparently some of the details of this lovely garment have been obscured, but it is a pretty fine shot of my feet and also of Silly. It's a nice sweater - take my word for it.