Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Meanderings

Near Solstice Update: I'm at row 258/597, which means we're down to 343 stitches/row. I can now zip through the wrong side rows in about 8 minutes (42 stitches/minute!) and I'm so used to the different tracks now that the patterned sides don't take much longer. The cool thing is that when I hit row 299 I'll officially have knit 3/4 of the shawl due to the magic of the triangle. Don't you just love geometry!

  • I stayed up to watch the Emmys last night.
  • It was excruciating.
  • Not the Emmys...I actually enjoyed them this year - especially the taped questions with the writers/producers/directors, the Modern Family skit and the Glee opening.
  • No, what was excruciating was staying up until 10. Seems my body wants to go to bed at 9 - and that's apparently not negotiable.
  • One of the crazy things about me is that if I stay up too late than I get overly tired and can't sleep - sometimes even developing restless legs.
  • Like last night.
  • Sigh.
  • I've had three separate children throw temper tantrums about green beans today.
  • Fun.
  • In all seriousness, we've noticed that our kids - who we never used to worry about because they were very healthy eaters - have turned a weird corner this summer and now want junk all of the time. I can actually pinpoint when it happened....we ate a lot of 'fun' food while Dad was away on his vacation, and since then they have turned their noses up at healthier fair. In addition, they've become grazers, wanting to snack constantly....but not wanting to eat actual meals.
  • So here's the dilemma.
  • I want to raise girls with healthy body-images and positive relationships to food. I want them to enjoy food and to be able to listen to their bodies. Trouble is, I don't have a clue how to raise them that way - having had pretty bad - spectacularly bad, really - role models when I was young. (As is apparent by the fact that I've now spent approximately 24 of my 36 years worrying about my weight and dieting.)
  • Suggestions?
  • Which leads me to...
  • Last week I finished reading Molly Wizenberg's beautiful book, A Homemade Life.
  • I first heard about the book some time ago on my friend Lecia's blog. (Interestingly enough, Lecia's post today references the restaurant that Molly and her husband own!) The very next time I went to my favorite bookstore, I looked it up....and walked away uninterested. (We'll chalk this up to my well-known dislike of cooking.) Then it came out in paperback, and I looked again. For several weeks I tried really hard to ignore the book...but there was something about the way it patiently sat on the shelf, calling to me quietly with it's restful cover..... So about two weeks ago it finally came home with me. I was between books, and looking for something different, so it went right to the top of the pile.
  • And as soon as I started reading it I fell down into the proverbial rabbit hole. It was a profound reading experience - and one that took me very much by surprise. I had expected to enjoy it....I had not expected to be changed by it.
  • Two things.
  • First, Molly is exactly the type of essayist that I long to be...engaging, focused and always entertaining but at the same time intimate and quiet with a touch of the didactic.
  • Second, Molly made me hungry. Her stories made me hunger for food and for life in a way that I've never ever been hungry before....in a way that I've never known.
  • When I recognized that hunger budding within myself, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
  • I don't like food.
  • I don't like it one bit.
  • In fact, I don't put a darn thing into my mouth that doesn't come along with a whole host of negative thoughts and emotions. I've tried really hard in the last few years to improve my health, but I managed to completely miss the point.
  • I believe I've mentioned before that there are two main camps in the weight loss/healthy body debate. Side A believes that you should measure, count and track every single bite and activity. You might have to do this for the rest of your life, by the way, but it's the only way to make SURE you lose weight and get healthy. (I don't need to give you examples...they're everywhere.) Side B believes the opposite - that the only way to gain freedom from your weight issues is to give up dieting forever, heal you issues and embrace life. (Think Geneen Roth and Oh She Glows.) Obviously, my gym experiences have had me firmly in Camp A for the past year - even though I've longed for Camp B with an admitted wistful suspicion.
  • What I see now is that there's a third group - and I should have seen this all along as I actually know a few people in this blessed group. There is a group for whom food has never been an issue...and the one thing they seem to share is a passion for and an enjoyment of food and life. Food nourishes and sustains them in ways that go beyond mere biology. For them taste and texture is just part and parcel of the grand adventure that is life.
  • And it took a memoir for me to get it.
  • It took a memoir about food and family for me to truly see what I have been doing to myself all of these years and to gain a clear picture of what I want for myself - and for my girls.
  • I have a lot of thinking to do...and I need to make some changes.
  • We shall see.
  • My apologies for this being more serious than you had perhaps expected....it just is what it is today!

And now it's 9:23 and I must go to bed.

Have a great week everyone!

PS. You've already read of the ONLY knitting I did last week....and yesterday I posted about my spinning. Yep, crafting is rather dull around here at the moment!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Today I Gave To The Green Woman

And all she wanted to do today was to play with fiber...So I took out a beautiful 4 oz. braid of fiber - a merino/tencel blend from my new favorite fiber source, Greenwood Fiberworks - and then
I divided it into fingerling strips....
(Smart me, I actually bought 2 braids - and you see the second one here on the left.)
Which were so easy to spin that I had to do practically no work at all!
It was such a magical/fairy tale experience that before I knew it...
I had spun up the entire braid!
Trust me, it's perfect!
As I had spun up 3ish ozs of fiber earlier this week...
(That fiber was a gift from my friend Anne, and I'm sorry to say I can't immediately place my hands on the note that tells me of the fiber's origins.)
I now have a basket full of beautiful things!
And a very Happy Green Woman.
Thank You Anne! The fiber she gifted me with was from Funky Carolina...and I promise to talk more about it when I present the finished yarn because it was lovely to work with!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Gift From Me To You

Summer, 1990
Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site
Summer Kitchen
What can I say....the cook liked me!


I absolutely loved my job at Watkins Mill. I would be hard pressed to tell you exactly what I loved so much about it, though. Yes, I loved dressing up in period costume. (Probably a hold over from my childhood worship of Laura Ingells Wilder!) Yes, I loved the opportunity to learn new handwork - and share the knowledge and skills I already had. Yes, I even loved giving tours..having the opportunity to be the 'expert' on a subject I came to know and love deeply. And yes, I had a very active imagination, and that job freed my mind to go on happy tangents and to create new narratives for myself all of the time.

But if I had to pick the one thing which has stayed with me the most...it would probably be the brownie cake. It's a simple recipe, and one we made often so that the tourists could sample from our kitchen. It's easy, quick, and made with ingredients you almost always have on hand. Time and time again I've come back to this as my absolute favorite brownie/chocolate cake recipe...and it never disappoints.

And so...because good things should be shared...enjoy!

Brownie Cake, 1872
3/4 c butter
1 3/4 c sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c flour
3/4 c cocoa
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat about 1 minute. Combine flour, cocoa and salt. Add dry ingredients to mixture; if too thick add a little water. Pour into buttered (9x13) pan. Cook in moderate oven (360; 350 seems a little slow) about 30 minutes.

If you are feeling decadent...

Chocolate Icing, 1875
8 tbsp butter
2 c powdered sugar
1/3 c cocoa
2 tbsp vanilla

Cream butter and add powdered sugar, a little at a time, alternating with cocoa. You may wish to add more cocoa, depending on how dark you want the icing. Add cream if needed to keep it creamy. Add vanilla last, but be sure it does not make icing too wet. More cream may be added if it is too dry.

By the way, I almost never use the icing. It's a bit much for me - and I find the brownie cake is more than enough on it's own.

A few important notes about these recipes:
  • Cooking in an 1870's summer kitchen is not necessarily about precision. We used a tin cup with about a 1.5 cup capacity and a plain old table spoon to measure all dry goods. Often wet ingredients were eyeballed. SO, don't fuss too much over quantities! Go for it and have fun - and feel free to tweak a bit if necessary.
  • I now use whole wheat pastry flour and organic cane sugar - and notice no change whatsoever in taste or texture.
  • You don't want the cake to cook until completely set up. If you use a cake tester, don't cook until it comes out completely clean.
  • I've never followed the directions. I just dump the ingredients into a bowl and it always turns out just fine.
  • Once, our wood stove (you check the temp by putting your hand into the oven box. If you can hold it in there for a count of 10, it's about 350...cooler if you can keep your hand in there longer, and hotter if you can't make it to 10.) got way too hot and it boiled the batter, turning it into the best chocolate/carmel candy in the world. If you can figure out how to replicate that, let me know!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Meanderings

First, there was a request for a progress report on Near Solstice, so here it is: Love the bird tracks!
Here are some more!
I have completed 206/597 rows, and the stitch count is down to 395. (Started at 599.) Yesterday I started bird track #41/81 - which had been my goal for the weekend. This was the ONLY project I worked on last week, often putting in 8-12 rows/day....twice putting in about 20 rows for the day. In other words, it's time for a bit of a break so that I can work on other projects. I want this particular shawl to always be fun to work on - and in order to do that I need to stop when my mind and hands say stop.
And on to the weekly blatherings:
  • Today I start Boot Camp at the gym! Yay!
  • I signed up because my workouts have been rather hit or miss this summer, and I really wanted a good kick in the pants to get myself going again. This should do the trick nicely.
  • My trainer had recommended a specific teacher, and fortunately her class was the best fit with my schedule!
  • I also got new running shoes last week. Yay!
  • Funny, in the two to three weeks leading up to my new shoes I had started to really hurt during my runs. In fact, my knees were so bad the week before that I was getting worried.
  • One run in my new shoes and I know - it was not me, it was the old shoes.
  • Note to self, don't wait so long to order new running shoes. It's THAT important.
  • Sugar is evil.
  • I had ice cream on Saturday from the Dari B, THE ice cream stop back home.
  • Seriously - the Dari B has run every national chain that has tried to come to ES out of business.
  • Anyway...I hadn't had a Dari B hot fudge sundae in approximately 10 years, so I decided to splurge when we went.
  • I was so sick for the rest of the day that I could barely function.
  • Every since my yeast and sugar free experiment, that's my reaction to sugar - although this particular reaction was perhaps a bit extreme.
  • Sugar is evil.
  • I also can't sleep when I eat sugar.
  • So why I chose to fix a brownie cake last night and eat it is beyond me.
  • It was, perhaps, a last hurrah before Boot Camp.
  • I'm so silly sometimes!
  • I will say, though, if you know you're going to react poorly to something - you'd better make darn sure that it's worth it before you eat whatever that item is.
  • Brownie cake is definitely worth it.
  • Dari-B hot fudge sundae...not so much.
  • Let's see...what else to talk about.
  • Crafting has been rather limited as of late - see the progress report above.
  • Oh yes, I'm still in the process of moving my craft books to the basement. Now that I'm almost there, I'm tempted to move the barrister's bookcase down there too...although that would necessitate a serious look at the organization of the entire room.
  • We shall see.
  • I did go to The Wooden Spool with Mom on Saturday. It's her local quilt store, owned by one of my childhood friends from church. It's a lovely store, and makes me wish I actually sewed.
  • I managed to get out of there with only four fat quarters. That's a record low for me!
  • My purpose for going in was to get flannel to make the cupcake a receiving blanket like those my mom made for me. They were sooooo much better than the el-cheapos that were/are in the stores!
  • Why did cupcake need a blanket? I can't managed to swaddle her for her naps in the hospital blanket her mom sent to me. It's just too thin, and the swaddling falls apart with one wiggle.
  • How to make a blanket - wash fabric, cut square, put a rolled hem on the edge with a serger. Altogether it takes less than 10 minutes.
  • And makes me a much happier babysitter.
  • (A note - Mom's receiving blankets are becoming quite famous. They were by far my favorite gift when my kids were born, and I hear she now makes them for just about anyone.)
  • I also bought some white cotton for an embroidery project. No more excuses!
  • Speaking of kids (sort of), we did survive the first week of school relatively unscathed.
  • The Pixie is not so happy about school right now, and we're not so sure about her teacher.
  • Poor kid was heartbroken when she discovered her best friend wasn't in her class (They wouldn't have been anyway because her friend is young enough that she's not pre-K this year.)
  • We're not sure about the teacher because she seems a bit too soft and wishy-washy. I'm trying really hard to give her the benefit of the doubt....
  • I'm hoping a weekend with the grandparents chased away the Pixie's gloom.
  • Actually, the thing that really set her off was when her sister started school - leaving her for the entire day.
  • Have I mentioned the fact that my girls are close?
  • So far so good for the Princess. She had one tantrum leading up to school, but has been perfect since. It's a far cry from the stress of the start of both kindergarten and first grade.
  • She's growing up.
  • However, she did have a nasty headache her first day of school. She's been fighting these since kindergarten, and they are starting to really worry me.
  • Seven year old's should NOT have tension headaches! (That's a rant for another day.)
  • The Princess actually has two teachers this year who do team teaching. She's excited, and we really like both of them.
  • Cupcake and The Boy had settled in nicely by Friday. Actually, The Boy had settled in two minutes after he got here on Monday, and has proven to be an excellent little man. I've already got him into his routine, and that's great! Cupcake took a few days to adjust...but by Thurs. and Fri. was her happy/normal self.
  • The Princess has graciously decided to ride the bus home every day so that Mom doesn't have to load three children up in the van to come get here.
  • Helping greatly is the fact that the bus is actually getting here at a decent time every afternoon. Once the route gets ironed out, she should be here a mere 10-15 minutes after I could get her home if I picked her up - which is a very good thing.
  • The Pixie and The Boy have acted like siblings since day one - which is good for both.
  • All right, I want a few minutes at my wheel, so it's time to wrap up this party!
Have a great week everyone!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Because





"What do you mean, you MIGHT get it done by the end of the year?"

I looked up from my knitting last Sunday morning to see incredulity on my friend Duckie's face. We were in the hospitality room of our church, spending yet another pleasant Sunday morning visiting while our children were in their Sunday School classrooms. As is only good and natural, I had a knitting project spread out before me on the table. (Idle hands and all!)

The project in question was my Near Solstice shawl - one which tends to be an attention-grabber when it's out in public for a variety of reasons, including the numerous little tags which hang from the needles. Duckie had asked me about it, and I had explained a bit about the pattern and the design. Included in that explanation had also been my rough goals for how much I wanted to accomplish each day and when I expected to finish....the details which had prompted the above question.

"Well yeah, but it's very tiny needles and a lot of stitches...so it's pretty slow going. However, right now I'm managing 4-6 rows/day - about 1-2 hrs of work - and if I can keep that up I can finish it by the end of the year. Don't forget...it is getting smaller because you decrease every other row so the farther in I get the quicker...."

I then realized what I was saying, and had to laugh at myself.

I've never been one to do things the easy way, and I'm most definitely a process knitter. This thing which already has countless hours of work - will most likely end up in a drawer when I'm done. (Seriously, I'm only at row 173 of 597, and that is equivalent to about 60 hours of work!)

So why do I bother?

I bother

Because this particular piece is a work of art.

Because the Green Woman told me to.

Because working on it reminds of the snow and the quiet in the winter - the perfect foil to the awful heat and humidity we've had this summer.

Because I like a challenge.

Because it's fun!

Because the lace patterns are easy and the miles of garter stitch sooth the soul.

Because the difficulty level is just enough to keep my brain engaged.

Because the word 'easy' has never been in my vocabulary.

Because the little tags which mark each tiny bird track amuse me.

Because - truth be told - I get a kick out of being perceived as a bit nuts when it comes to my particular hobbies.

Because of the sense of accomplishment I will receive when it is over.

Because I am rather proud of my abilities - and of the drawer full of shawls.

Because I can.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Introducing....

Cupcake
And The Boy

We've had a very big week. Not only have the girls both started school, but we've also gained two extra children in the afternoon. I thought I would introduce them (with their mother's permission, of course) just in case they come up in my regular posts. Cupcake and The Boy have fit right in to our family, and we're happy they are here!

The Princess Starts Second Grade!











Monday, August 16, 2010

Desdemonda

Truth be told, I fell in love with this pattern because of the border.
Repurposing the yarn from its original shawl to this pattern was a stroke of genius.
It turned out to be the perfect marriage of materials and pattern....and as it worked up very quickly it was a perfect project all around!
Surprise, surprise - it's the first square shawl that I've ever done!
And I do love it.
Desdemonda by Miriam Felton
Knit Picks Shadow Tonal - Queen Anne, 2.5 skeins
Addi Turbo - US 4/3.5 mm, 24 inch
July 28 - August 14, 2010
A note about the color - pink/yellow combinations happen to be among my absolute favorites....but you have to be very, very careful when selecting them. I have one hank of laceweight, for example, that was beautiful in the skein but turned into a nasty, fleshy mess when knit up. This particular yarn was a delight....with the color ranging from a cheery gold to my favorite salmon to a lovely pink. Ordinarily, I would pass along my leftovers...but I actually have another 2 1/2 skeins, and I enjoyed the color so much that I just may have to use it all myself!

The Pixie Goes Back To School!




Friday, August 13, 2010

Ennui Has Struck

If only I had a fainting couch....and a satin and velvet peignoir...with a bowl of bonbons, a lavender scented pillow, buckets of fresh bouquets, a fresh supply of decaf. coffee (this is me we are talking about, after all) and perhaps a book or two....


Instead, I have my desk, a nice supply of podcasts, knitting which is interesting enough to keep me awake but not so taxing that my tired brain can't keep up and a big glass of water. I had some Patric chocolate - Rio Caribe Superior 70% - earlier, but it's long gone.


Yes folks, we have indeed come to the end of summer vacation.

And we are all ready for change!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Changes

As most of you know, I have come to absolutely LOVE my corner in the basement. (My husband would like you all to know that he was right.) However, after just a week or so I knew that I needed to make a few changes. We have now hit my limit of how much stuff I can put there before it becomes too crowded for me...but
All of my knitting WIP's and soon to be WIP's are now in the storage bins that we took out of my daughter's room. This type of storage - while popular - proved to be completely ineffectual for a child, but works quite well for my knitting.
Likewise, the old, cheap, rather tired dresser that was in the Princess's room at one time (and has been living in my closet for a while now) is now residing in my corner. Would you believe that I was able to get ALL of my yarn into it?! That's right...I no longer have yarn scattered about in whatever crazy organizational method has stuck for the moment. (Including two under-bed plastic bins, four large baskets and whatever else I could find.....) The basket on the top left holds my handspun yarns, and the basket on the top right holds miscellaneous knitting tools. The toy chest - now that it's turned perpendicular from the wall - holds double duty by storing all of my spinning fiber and helping to further define the space as separate from the rest of the basement. (The old wheel on the far left has been appropriated by the Princess, and the basket on top of the chest holds her fiber. That basket, by the way, is from my parents' Haitian mission.)
And by the time this post goes live, all of the children's books and fairy tale anthologies held on the bookcase will be packed away and/or moved to the girls' rooms so that my knitting, spinning and craft books/magazines can all come and live with me in my corner. (Leaving the question of what to do with the barrister's bookcase in my bedroom that used to hold them.) There should also be room on the bottom of the bookshelf to hold my beading and embroidery boxes, which are both small.
Then, it will be perfect...or as close to it as I can manage!
Remaining in my bedroom will be the sewing desk and all fabric. There's just no way to get that down in this corner...and quite frankly I need better lighting when I sew than what is available in my basement. Besides, that's the one craft that doesn't NEED to be in close proximity to the rest of my stuff!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Meanderings - One Last Week!

  • As you may have inferred from the title....I am ready for school to start.
  • The sooner, the better.
  • Before school starts, I have to buy fish for the girls.
  • Note to parents: Do NOT promise your children - say - fish for keeping their rooms clean all summer. Children are smarter than they may appear, and they do NOT forget.
  • I should have known this.
  • Mom and Gram say I deserve it.
  • We actually have big news! Starting next Monday, I will be babysitting a two year old little boy and his baby sister (just two months old!) for a friend of mine who is a super-fabulous music teacher at one of our elementary schools.
  • She is also my fellow 'Dancing Queen.'
  • I would not have considered this step if not for three crucial facts.
  • First, the Pixie is going to be in preschool three mornings/week - giving me some much needed time alone to get things done - and my friend only needs me in the afternoon.
  • Two, my friend - besides being one of those gems that you treasure - happens to be a very calm, laid back parent who is not at all going to be difficult to work for.
  • And three, she's ok with the fact that this will probably be the only year I can do this as I'm not sure yet what's going to happen when the Pixie goes to kindergarten next year.
  • It's going to take a bit more attention to organization and schedule than I normally tend to...but it should be exciting!
  • I've had a headache for the last two days....so if I sound a bit cranky, you'll know why.
  • We're all very happy my husband is home from his vacation.
  • I didn't sleep while he was away this time...which is probably part of why I've had a headache.
  • And a mean sugar craving.
  • Geneen Roth was on Oprah today....and I was highly annoyed with how little Oprah let her speak.
  • I mention Geneen because I do think she's brilliant, and I love her writings on food, emotions and body-image. I've been thinking about her a lot lately as I contemplate the next steps in my road to health.
  • My ultimate goal is not necessarily about a number on the scale. In fact, my goal is to live completely w/o scales at a 'happy weight' a la Geneen or Oh She Glows.
  • This is all leading to a discussion which may have to be a post of it's own. I've had a lot of time to think lately......
  • I've also had a lot of time to knit.
  • Knitting is good.
  • Spinning is good as well.
  • I have clever, clever fingers.
  • I also have a bunch of happy knitting projects right now, a pile of happy spinning fiber and a quiet space of my own in which to play with them all.
  • Life is good!
  • A few days ago I had a long email conversation with one of my oldest friends - someone who has been a big brother of sorts since I was 14 years all and who (like my husband) loves me warts and all. I started by asking him what he had always thought I would do 'when I grew up.' The resulting conversation was rather enlightening...and has given me even more to think about.
  • This is a completely random thought....I recently bought a new airplane/spider plant for my kitchen. It's huge and beautiful and has about a million babies shooting off of it. Would you believe it drinks an entire pitcher of water every week! That's a lot!
  • Another randomish - I'm going to sign up for Boot Camp at the gym. It sounds like a lot of fun...and will help give me the kick in the pants I need right now.
  • The headache is getting worse....so I think this will be all for today.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Knitting News

I officially cast on for Miriam Felton's Desdemonda shawl on July 28th, and last night I finished the center section. (Yipee!) It was a super-fast knit, with only 100 stitches and an easily-memorized six row repeat.

The yarn is Knit Picks Shadow Tonal in Queen Ann. Yep, it's the same yarn that I used for the now frogged Mandala. I really liked the way the color was spiraling in that shawl...but ultimately knew it just wasn't quite the right pattern match for this yarn. By working a square piece instead, the color is more broken up and shows as more of a textured solid. Just goes to show that you can use the right type of multi-hued laceweight if you find a pattern that doesn't fight the color.

Hopefully, by the time you read this I'll be well into the border, which is my favorite part of the shawl! (Given my Internet issues, I'm preparing posts for the rest of the week!)

Rather than spinning in the early mornings, I've woken for about the last two weeks to my Winter Solstice shawl. Truth be told, I can usually only manage 2-4 rows before the rest of the family is up. There are still over 500 stitches on the needles, and with such wee needles it is very slow going....even if it's mostly garter stitch. What you see here is a mere 81 rows of knitting (compare it to the 168 above!)...and there are 516 to go! Good thing that you decrease two stitches every other row......
The bird tracks are a lot of fun, though! The lace itself isn't difficult. Rather, it's just that careful consideration to placement and labeling is what is called for. My inexpensive office supply? These cute little labels, which I mark with the track's number and direction (The pattern has tracks going in all different directions! Each has it's own chart.) are attached to coiless brass pins which I use as a stitch marker until the track is done. I then pin the tag to the completed track so that I can help guide the placement. (The instructions are written out as to when to add which track....but there is also a hand-drawn diagram.)
I'm going to continue to put in at least 30 minutes/day for as long as I can so that hopefully I can finish it this year!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

For Love Of Etsy

I love Etsy.

It's a very, very good thing.

And, as the knit designer finally paid me via paypal, I decided to reward myself with a few new things! My new favorite Etsy store is Greenwood Fiber Works. I absolutely adore Caroline's colors! This is a 50/50 blend of merino and tencel (a favorite blend of mine to spin) in the color "Gentle Breeze." It's a very quiet colorway.....which is unusual for handpainted fiber.
What truly sold me, though, was that Caroline had two braids available - for a total of 8 oz. It seems as if it's difficult to get handpainted fiber in more than 4 oz. batches, so I snapped it up immediately.
I also bought 8 oz. of Rosewood. In person it's softer than it appears to be in the photos....another delicate, beautiful color. (I had actually gone to Etsy looking for pinks...and this was my favorite!)
And as I like to give credit where credit is due....I had email from Greenwood less than three hours after I finalized the purchase, letting me know that it was already in the mail. My fiber arrived two days later in absolutely perfect condition. I will definitely be shopping here again!
Disgusted by a lack of good laceweight here in town, I also went looking for silk laceweight on Etsy. To my surprise, I discovered that Jennie the Potter was producing handpainted yarn in exactly the tone on tone style I was looking for. (I've lusted after her pottery for ages...and didn't know she was doing yarn!)
This skein jumped right out at me - called "Lager" in her "Homebrew" colors, online it appeared to be a soft sage green with gold undertones instead of the usual silver.
In person it turned out to be a crazy gold with green and orange tinges - much more vibrant than I had expected. It's always a risk buying yarn and fiber online for that very reason, but this time the result was a million times better than I had expected...even if not at all meeting my expectations. (Odd...)
The yarn reminds me of old gold...and I have the perfect beads and pattern to match. Tune in next week to see what happens.....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Speaking of Spinning.....

I gave the Princess all of that nasty alpaca to spin. Turns out, she LOVES the alpaca...so much so that she promptly spun two bobbins worth and tossed all of her 'practice' spinning. I then had to teach her how to ply (she thinks it's more fun than singles) and help her start a scarf.

I'm one proud Mama!

And I'm keeping that scarf FOREVER.

Spinning

And just like that...our Internet connection came back. It's random, and who knows how long it'll stay up....so while it's here I'm going to take advantage of it! I'm not normally a purple person, but when I saw this fiber on Etsy, I fell head over heals in love! It's 4 oz. of 60% merino, 40% bamboo in the colorway "Wineberry" by Cloudlover.
A note about my spinning....when I was young, I just spun whatever came naturally. When I bought me new wheel a couple of years ago, I started doing a lot of reading....which lead me to question my methods. Should I just go with the flow, or should I be counting the number of treadles/inch, measuring the twist angle, calculating grist..... You get the picture.
I asked my guild friends what they thought, and the overwhelming answer was, "It's supposed to be fun." SO, I go with the flow...and it makes for one happy knitter.
All that to say that I don't have Spin Off worthy details to share with you about my new yarn. I'll figure out the wraps per inch and yardage when I decide to knit it up. Until then, it's just pretty!
Sometimes, though, I do set out to intentionally spin something. That was the case when I began working with my very first silk from Chasing Rainbows. I only had 2 oz., so it had to go far! Laceweight it is.
Ultimately, I wound up buying a second hank of the sliver because I knew I was going to want MORE of the finished yarn. When the second hank arrived, the color was very different. (If you go back and look at the bobbins, you can see that one batch is warmer and the second is both quieter and more brassy) That was enough to put the project on hold for almost a year.
But I'm sooo glad now that I finished it!
The color is called "Starbirth" and if you saw it in person, you would understand. Gold, silvery-blue, teal greens....it's just perfect. (And very difficult to photograph!) Winding it off of the bobbin and onto the niddy knoddy proved to be a fascinating experience. In one direction, the yarn shone gold...in another it was turquoise. I can't wait to see what it does when knit up!