Monday, April 21, 2008

Denial Project #1

In the spirit of true confessions and facing reality, I am revealing the first of several projects I've been hiding from the blogging world.

This is a cropped wrap-around shrug for Dancing Diva. She asked for one last fall but with Christmas gift knitting, I didn't get around to starting it until January.

It has been languishing a bit in the UFO pile but I managed to pull it out and get the main parts completed, washed and blocked on Saturday. It will require assembly and some additional work before it's finished but this is UFO #1 to be finished on the list.

Ironic that I should be finishing it when the weather has taken a turn for the warmer and it is currently 73 degrees farenheit out. Oh, well, it will be ready for next fall.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fiber Temptations

It must be spring since I am battling a major case of startitis. I don't know why I get into these moods but I am starting to truly worry about my UFO/WIP status. The number of new projects started in the past month is staggering. And the total lack of FO's is humiliating.

Don't try looking at the sidebar to judge how bad it is. You see, I've been in denial and haven't been keeping up on the sidebar or posting about all the new projects sneaking into my TO DO pile. I guess if I didn't see the projects down in black and white on the blog, or see photographic evidence of my lack of stick-to-it-iveness, that maybe these UFO's would somehow evaporate.

However, today, after some deep soul searching, I faced up to the fact that I have a problem . I made the decision that I must finish at least 3 UFO's before starting anything new. I did a mental inventory of some of the items that are closest to being finished, made a note of anything that has a deadline attached and set a few goals for the rest of the month.

I steeled myself to resist rummaging through my stash, to avoid browsing for patterns on Ravelry, to set aside new (and old) knitting magazines and books for later and to completely ignore enabling posts by blogging friends (you know who you are). I was a rock, I was invincible, I was ready to vanquish the mountain of UFO's in my life.

Then this arrives . . .Would you say the universe is mocking me?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spinning Nirvana

I've now had the Lendrum wheel for a few weeks and without a doubt, I am going to own this wheel or one like it in the near future.

I have to admit that I've taken to spinning like a duck to water. Other than a few initial problems with adjusting the brake tension and keeping the twist out of the drafting zone, learning to spin has been a piece of cake.

While I know there is a plethora of information I need to learn and many techniques and tricks yet to be discovered, I am so pleased that this has been a very relaxing and pleasant learning experience.

I'm in the middle of spinning up some Coopworth Wool Sliver I bought when I learned to spin with a spindle (the balls shown are from spindle spinning). I've already plied two full bobbins of singles into 422 yards of 2-ply yarn, with plenty of fiber left to spin. I really want to spin it all up and see how much yardage I get out of a pound or so of sliver. I even practiced Andean plying with this batch of yarn.

As per my standard operating procedure, I'm busy lining up even more projects.

Ergo, after an evening of spinning with Bonny this week, I picked out some dyed locks she had in her stash. She's carding them for me now and when finished & weighed, I'll be purchasing them from her.

In the meantime, when the Coopworth is done, I want to play with chain or Navajo plying. I have some over-spun weaving yarn I bought on a cone a while back. Because of it's tendency to bias, it's not a great yarn for knitting but I'm hoping that by chain plying it, I'll get something balanced and more knit-able out of it. If not, at least I have learned something new and will be gaining more plying experience.

Since yesterday was a busy day, with Dancing Diva performing at the Mall of America with her dance studio for the Fraser Roll 'n Stroll and a dance competition at Bloomington Jefferson immediately afterward, I didn't have much free time. However, I did manage to stop by the MKG Yarnover for a few minutes to lay in a supply of even more spinning fiber. I wish I would have had time to browse a bit more but I had a couple very tired little girls with me. I made a quick circuit and found some Louet Northern Lights 100% wool top at the Yarn Garage booth. I'm anxious to dive into spinning it but plan to wait until I've learned a few more spinning tricks. I've been reading Spinning Designer Yarns and am anxious to play with mixing the plys to get different effects.

I also have a number of smaller quantities of colored wool hanging around here that are just waiting for the acquisition of some hand carders to be mixed and blended in more spinning experiments.

So, as you can see, I'm off and running with this spinning thing. I'd give a hoot and a holler but spinning is far too relaxing and meditative to warrant that reaction. So, how about a blissful sigh instead.

Ahhhhhhhh . . .

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Signs of spring?

There are faint signs of life stirring in my garden. A single snow drop has bloomed and the Dragonsblood Sedum has poked their magenta buds through the mulch.

Obviously, I need to get out and do some cleaning of the garden beds. However, it will have to wait until after the latest batch of snow moves through and melts.

Yup, we're under another winter storm warning.

Guess I'll need to keep spinning, sewing and knitting for another week.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Mother of Invention

Well, it's been a productive morning for me. Being the impatient, OC crafter that I am, I woke up this morning with the urge to figure out how to ply the two full bobbins of singles without owning a lazy Kate.

Answer: Google it! A quick search brought up this ingenious invention. A quick trip to the studio rapidly provided all the parts necessary to fashion my own home-made, tensioned Lazy Kate.

As a result, I was able to start plying at 6:30 a.m. and by 9:30 I had plied both bobbins.

Of course, it was not without a few snafus and kerfaffles. I did manage to reverse the wheel at one point, and by the time I noticed, I had a snarled tangle of singles, doubling back on themselves in a Gordion knot of epic proportions. Not being willing to sacrifice all the work I'd put in by just cutting the knot out in Alexandrian fashion, I spent a good hour just restoring order to the recalcitrant mess. I also managed to break one of the singles at least 2 times, requiring a some splicing. It's not pretty but I'm satisfied with my first hank of yarn. Experience has taught me that time and practice always improves quality and that I need only to remain patient and seek a little expert training and I'll be spinning like a pro in no time.

Here is my morning's work wound on another home-made device of mine. A simple niddy noddy made of pvc and 2 T fittings. I ended up with about 225 yards of beginner 2 ply.

I think this yarn should work very well in some fulled mittens or slippers, don't you?

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Good Day




Thursday, April 03, 2008


Hubby just called and the spinning wheel I'm test driving (and if all goes well, buying) is in his car and on the way home to me.

Alas, I have tons of things going on at the moment and won't get a chance to do more than pet and gaze adoringly at it until Saturday afternoon. But then . . .


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Shhhh, I'm busy

I've been sadly silent of late. Although I spend a lot of time lurking at friends' blogs, I've been distracted and somewhat at a loss for words. Which means my commenting and chatting with friends has suffered.

But where there is obsession, there is progress. My latest fiber frenzy is in the sewing room. Although you wouldn't know it by looking out the window of late (another 8 inches of snow yesterday - ugggh), spring is on it's way and I've got spring fever - bad. So far, I've finished two skirts and three tops, as well as doing the anchor quilting around the borders of the master bedroom quilt and starting some new window toppers for our 4-season porch.

After all, with the spinning wheel due to be delivered tomorrow or Thursday (squeeee), I'm sure that my sewing machine will once again start gathering dust, while I embark on yet another form of obsessive/compulsive crafting.

Until then, I'll be racing to finish my sewing projects before spinning completely takes over my life. In the meantime, I'll still be lurking around the blogsphere. I haven't abandoned ya'll. I'm just sewing.