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January 2007
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March 2007

Time for Change

Blackcloudscrossthevalleyquickly Snowdrapedlandscapeoutmyfrontdoor Monday night we were told by the weather 'guy' that a big ass storm was coming just in time for the morning commute.  I wasn't too surprised to open the curtain at 5:30am to a dry landscape, wind gusts blowing through the tree branches, and spots of blue sky (early dawn sky).  The wind was the give away....the storm was coming, it was just a bit late.  It's the time of year when gusting warm winds are the precursors to big ass storms.  It was 40 degrees at 6:00, but by 8:00 it was down to 33 and snowing to beat the band.  I watched intently as the dark clouds built up and tumbled across the valley during that two hour period. By the time I reached the office the snow was swirling around my head and blowing down my neck.  How could I have forgotten to wear my scarf!?  Within 30 minutes the ground was covered with white fluff.  Yes, I’m a bit of a weather geek.  It’s fascinates and interests me because it is ever changing, especially this time of year.

Spinningforestonian Lastskeinofyarnforestonianscarf Are you tired of seeing spinning progress and no knitting progress?  This year I have been much less productive than years past because of this current obsession with Emmylou.  But, like Cara, I am so ready to start a sweater and sink my needles into some REAL knitting. It is difficult to create, to stay focused on the now, when my world is cluttered with too many things on the needles. My mind feels scattered and pulled in too many directions.  Change needs to come, needles need to be emptied and I am working on the resolution. In the world of fiber, however, progress is slow and that's fine, as long as there IS progress.  I've made a list of what's happening and not happening on my needles.

  1. Estonian (ALL the spinning is completed, time to focus on knitting)
  2. Hidcote  (half way through chart #7-still love it)
  3. Scarf with French Trellis Border in VKT (what, who...sigh.)
  4. Jóhö (are you sick of her inability to grow?)
  5. Anne’s Shingle Creek (one sock just past the heel)
  6. Bloomin’ Feet (1" knit and frogged; wrong needle size)
  7. Moonlight from Rowan 34 (hmmmmm, may wait until next winter)

Ribbypulliyarnwaitingtogo A long list, too long and yet all I want to do is have some fun start Ribby Pulli!  And I will...tomorrow, March 1st.  March is good, March is fun, March is a great time for change and a great time for you, too.  Stay tuned.


Never Ending Yarn

Pileofhandspunyarnwaitingforitsday I've realized that's what I'll end up with if I continue to spin and not knit any of it. There is a large pile of handspun yarn in my fiber room and, while most of it has been spun as practice, it's easy to see there will be a large stash of handspun yarn in my future...at least at the pace I'm spinning now.  It's hard to stop, I'm enchanted with the fiber and the process. 

AmysbubblegumonbobbinLook how bright and pretty yarn will be from this 'Bubblegum' superwash roving that I purchased from Amy’s Shop some time ago.  After finishing up the Margene superwash from Mama E I picked this up immediately and started to spin. The colors are fab to watch as they spin round the bobbin but, my fingers were craving something different, something 'woolly', and with a quick dive into the fiber bins, my craving was sated.  Now don't worry...I'll get back to this as it's going to be a prize (for one of you!) in an upcoming contest, but for now, I must tell you about my new love.

BeautifulcorridaleinbrickonbobbinI'm crazy, crazy in love  with this...a lovely Corriedale roving I fell for at the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair last September. 8 oz. of this came home with me sans worry about what, or when, or if, I could spin it.  I'm so glad it was waiting for the perfect moment...the time when I had to have a wool to spin.  The colors of pale gray, charcoal gray, brick red, soft brown, and orange blend so perfectly and create a rich tweed as they're spun.  I can hardly walk away to do anything else. I love watching the color change, revolve around the bobbin, and also, the feel of the wool in my fingers.

Beautifulcorriedaleonbobbinssaturdayenha_1

Smith also went a little crazy when he saw the color and I do think it will become a pair of socks for him. As soon as this is plied I'll start knitting...it's just too, too wonderful to sit in the pile.

Elizabeth, Marcia and Sylvia shared their thoughts on plying and gave me much to ponder and think on.  Thank you all!


Brought to You by the Letter "S"

Specifically, Saturday, Sunday, snow, spinning, socks and sun...not necessarily in that order.

Saturday was spectacularly lovely and filled with loads of sun. 

Saturdaywasfullofsunsunsun_1

Funnyshapeoftreeandsnownearshop The snow from the day before covered the trees with a heavy coating of powdered sugar frosting. The winter wonderland of snow covered landscape made the sky all the bluer.

Saturday was also a day to finished up some left over spinning.  Three bobbins of Mama E’s  Margene colorway were ready for plying and that's just what I did.  It wasn't as much fun to spin three separate plies as it had been to ply chained singles.  The results of plying three singles together made the yarn quite tweedy and the colors muddied a bit.  I much prefer the look, feel (it's softer) and execution of plied chained singles.  What do you think?

Pliedmargeneinthreeplyandpliedchainedsin click to enlarge

The three-ply skein is shown on top and the chained single on the bottom in this photo. I only ended up with about 200 yds. of a near sport weight yarn, so more ounces will be needed to spin enough for socks, at least until I'm better at 'frog hair' (as Laurie calls spinning for fingering yarn).  I'll remember that next time I spin a three ply. I'd like to hear what you other spinners think of knitting with plied singles (aka Navajo plying) versus three ply yarns.

Estonianscarfandspindlesreadyforplying Marcia was 'all a twitter' when she saw my comment on Kim's blog about my dream of owning two more wheels. (It's a dream, only a dream.) She rightfully took credit for my current addiction to Emmylou.  Just to show Marcia that I sill do love my spindles, after I finished plying Margene, I returned to the spindle and worked on the last of the Ashland Bay merino top for the long suffering Estonian Scarf.  I should be able to ply the two singles together on my Lizzy Kate this week.  I'm doing my best to finish up a few projects that have become a bit more like albatrosses than the process...not that I love them any less.

Last, but certainly not least, I give you the mystery socks, designed by Susan (and she has revealed their name).  Ta Dah!!

Horcruxsocksinjessieyarnonhpbook

Horcrux Socks!

Perfectknitchenertoesonsocks JessiesbeautifulworstedwoolcolorwayThese simply wonderful socks are so comfortable and enjoyable to wear. Jessie's yarn is so soft, so wearable and the colors are so rich and warm.  I'm a big fan of this worsted yarn, Jess and can't wait to try some Real Vermonter sock yarn. The color shows up nicely in the photo on the left and, on the right, you can see my nicely done, without any swear words, Kitchenered toes.

Horcrux Socks
Designed by Susan
Yarn: Jessie’s Super wash Worsted from A Piece of Vermont
Needles: Size 3 bamboo DPNs
Time to Knit: February 10, 2007 - February 24, 2007
Modifications: 45 stitch instead of 40, more repeats of lace motif to add length.

More spinning and knitting were accomplished on Sunday and we had a bit more snow, too.  You'll have to stay tuned to hear more.
The letter "S" says thanks for reading!


Delights and Warnings

Red sky at night; shepherds delight.

Redskyatnightontuesdaybeforesnb

Picture taken Tuesday evening on my way to SnB.

Red sky in the morning; shepherds warning.

Redskyinmornwednesdaybeforedawn

Picture taken Wednesday morning after Smith called from the road to say I had to get the camera and take a photo of the sunrise....quick!

Allpeakshaveblowingsnow Snowblowingoffmountainpeaksinfeb This may seem like a contradiction, but we expected Wednesday to be beautiful and warm (and it was) and Thursday to be the precursor of a coming storm (and it was).  The southern wind warm the days before a storm, but also produces wind gusts that blow the powdery snow off the peaks.  Thursday the gusts were 50-80 miles per hour!  It's easy to see just how dangerous conditions were for rescue workers who were looking for the fourth avalanche victim of the week.  Shortly after the pictures were taken high clouds moved in and the skies darkened as the storm approached.

Today there should be several inches of snow in the valley. We need the snow and as last Monday's storm proved, the white stuff doesn't stay around for very long this time of year.

BeautifulalpacafromwoolpackmeetingBeautifulamythistrovingonspindle Wednesday evening, while listening to Laritza's presentation on spinning for lace, I made some progress on the Estonian Shawl.   The meeting was enjoyable and it was fun to be with so many other spinners (and knitters).  Lucky me, I won the door prize! It's a rather fun exchange called the Tiara Box (said box was absent, but the prize is the important part, right?).  My prize was this fabulous "Poppy" alpaca from Alta Mist Alpacas and I also bought another beautiful colorway, Mescalero, which should make a very nice scarf for Smith...some...day.  Next month it will be my turn to fill the box with a nice fibery prize for someone else. 

Today is Teyani’s, Lucia’s and Cassie’s birthdays!  May they and all the rest of you have a delightful weekend.

Typepad is having issues with too much volume and commenting may be difficult.  Hopefully they'll work on it this weekend during 'scheduled maintenance'.


Lace-uary News

Here it is, nearing the end of my self-proclaimed Lace-uary, and my intentions have not been met.  You'd think at least one lace project would have been finished in the last two months, but alas and alack, it hasn't happened.  Too much lace, too many fine projects on the needles, too much of a good thing paves the proverbial road. 

No spinning has happened for, and no knitting has happened on, the Estonian Scarf for several weeks. It's very sad. However, the Seasilk scarf from VKT was started with great joy, but sadly again, it has been a struggle.  This yarn is easier to knit than the pure silk I tried (and failed at) last year, and the color and drape will be beautiful.  However the lace pattern is difficult to follow and the lace hard to read and I do read my lace while knitting.

Prettycolorofseasilkforscarfwithfrenchtr_1 Stitch markers obscure the pattern and make it difficult to see the way a the decreases line up, the places where the YOs fit. Reading lace keeps me from making (many) mistakes and the flow of knitting isn’t broken by constantly checking the chart.  I'm a big fan of learning to knit lace by reading it and not by counting stitches between the markers. Anyway, back to the VK scarf…it’s going very slowly, as the pattern changes completely about midway on the same row.  I’m persevering...it should get easier in the next section.

Fullhidcoteatendofchartsix The main project of my Lace-uary knitting has been Hidcote.  This is a project that I would like to knit constantly.  Of course that isn't practical as it isn't very portable, isn't good for crowd knitting, and it takes a certain state of mind (i.e. no martinis or tiredness allowed).

Hidcotemainbodyleafmotif_1 Hidcote is very rewarding knitting and the yarn (Zephyr silk/wool) makes it more so. Mim's pattern is interesting, delightful and truly awe-inspiring. As the pattern forms with each degrease and YO, I wonder how Miriam knew what to do, how she could get the patterns to flow so effortlessly from one  to the other, what her muse might have been.  It's very exciting to see one section end as the next begins and watch the growth of this garden. I'll be finishing up chart #7 tonight and can't wait to get into the 'lavender fields' of chart #8. I hope to do more gardening this weekend, too.

Hidcoteatchangingofpatterntotrellis

Oh, you want to know about Jóhö?  Now, don't get cheeky.

A couple of you have asked what my149 meant (in Tuesday's post). If you add the numbers together they total 5...1+4+9 = 14, 1+4 = 5   A number 5, as JWE told us, is in the middle and can see both sides.  I'd like to hope, anyway. He also said I was a double, double...Leo, Leo and Taurus, Taurus.  Since my sun sign is a Pisces I'm very unsure what means.


Variety is the Spice of Life

Smallskeinofprettybunnyfluff_1 Friday night I did spin with the Friday Night Spinners and right away it was easy to see that the bunny fluff was going to be a beautiful yarn. Emmylou and I had created a perfect melody with our duet of 'We're in the bunny now". This blue yarn shall  from now on be called ‘February Sky’ and it will be knit into a big scarf or shawl to keep the winter chill away and create happy thoughts of blue skies.  I made a small skein before plying so I could see just how much twist the yarn should have and it really did help my decision about how best to ply.

Spoolsinbasketusedaslazykate Marcia had sent me pictures of how to use a small basket and metal knitting needles as a lazy kate and the technique worked out perfectly!  The spools turned slowly as the singles traveled up into my hand, through my fingers, plied together around the 'invisible core', and then, slipped through the orifice and onto the bobbin.  It was a mesmerizing and meditative process and I was also amazed to end up with over 600 yards of soft, elegant two ply yarn.  It was very rewarding at end of many hours of spinning and plying to end up with something so luscious and heavenly.

Alpacaangorasilksixhundredplusyardsforaf
Color is fairly true in this photo.

Bunnyfluffupclosesoftandwarm
Click to enlarge.

6 oz- 60% gray alpaca
20% gray angora,
18% purple/blue dyed silk
2% Angelina
Dyed by Anne
Processed by Spinderella
Spun and plied (2 ply) on Lendrum DT
WPI 17
600+ yards

I just can’t say enough how much I enjoyed spinning this yarn and how much I enjoy spinning in general. The wealth of information from other spinners in Blogland has been enormously helpful in my understanding and education of fibery techniques. 

Last week I read Jenny’s post about spinning for lace.  It was informative in so many ways and included links to two other posts on drafting.  Jenny's blog is full of great spinning tips, so don’t miss out on her posts and archives if you are a spinner.  This process of learning to spin is so enjoyable, so freeing (as in do what works!). It’s right up my alley!

Tonight I'll attend my first spinners guild meeting and the subject is spinning for lace!  Laritza will be the speaker (she just posted her tips on how to spin for lace, too) and I can’t wait to learn from her and the other Wasatch Woolpack spinners.

Skeinofmargeneyarnisplyinchainedsingles This weekend Emmylou and I also plied up the Margene roving by doing chained singles (aka Navajo plying).  After I pulled it off the niddy noddy it appeared to be overspun, but as I have been told many times, I did not judge the skein until it had been washed.  It turned out to be well balanced and I'm very pleased with my progress in this technique of plying. The other half of the roving is being spun now and I plan to make it into a three ply.

Margeneyarnupcloseandpersonalnicespunifi

Susanssockwithsecretname Giftclothesfornewbaby When I wasn’t involved with Emmylou I did knit and finished 3 gift MD round washcloths, finished the first of Susan’s yet to be named socks (and perfectly Kitchenered the toe- naa-naa). I did modify the sock by making the leg longer and casting on 45 instead of 40 stitches.  The sock fits perfectly and is very warm in Jessie’s worsted wool sock yarn.  Now onto the second sock.

Perfectlykitcheneredtoe

Annesockisgrowing I also made good progress on a test knit sock for Anne and worked on some lace. Watch Anne's blog as she soon plans to open a store and will be selling exotic bunny mixes for spinning, patterns and other lovely goodies for knitters and spinners. Next up will be socks for my Bloomin’ Feet pal in this CTH Special. So, many socks...so little time.

Kristi spun, designed and knit a pair of very cool fingerless mitts for her Twisted Knitter project.  She will also have an article in the next issue of Spin Off about a pair of socks she hand dyed, spun and knit (oh, AND designed).  Nice work Kristi!!


Strange Brew

Today's blog post is brought to you by Blogless Val.  Our Sunday Stitch 'n Bitch was so strange that only she could do the story justice.  Read, believe and enjoy.

~~~~~~

Grrlsifthestitchnbitchathighlandperk So there we are, sitting and knitting, minding our own business on a calm quiet spring-like Sunday afternoon. Well, minding our business as well as can be for a group of ten knitters who had taken over half of the coffee shop.  The group was larger than usual, in part due to Monday being a holiday, in part due to the balmy gottogetoutside weather.  Or maybe it was because Katherine had a gorgeous burgandy cardigan (her first sweater, ever) to show off. 

Angoraalpacabunnyfluff We were eating calzones, decadent donuts, sipping coffees of all sorts and clucking over Margene's 600 yards of lavender, grey, periwinkle, your guess is as good as mine handspun angora bunny yarn, when, and I'm totally serious about this, the universe folded in on itself. It was suddenly 1967. 

Jweinamomentofcalmthinking Isthisreallymeorisitafigment In walks this bearded, tie-died, headband wearing, authentic hippie.  And he's not quiet.  First he announces that there was an energy surge in the room.  Then he guesses that it was from Margene.  He begins to do a number (oops, numerology) on her.  He had believed her to be an 8, but after calculating her birthdate and name, startled us all by discovering she is  really a 149.  I can't recall if the numbers were influenced by her name (Mars Genie), or vice versa.  But her name definitely made an impression.  She has the card to prove it. 

Jewandmongooseinconversation I can't be sure, but I think we were all invited to come knit on open mic night at another coffeeshop, so impressed was he with the creative energy surging through the Perk what with all the socks, pullovers, cardigans, Arans, Fair Isles and warshrags being lovingly stitched together before his (and his side kick Mongoose) eyes.  Yes, there was a side kick. 

The only connection to 2007 was that he took a call (not quietly) on his mobile phone.  Then he told the barista to give his name to the jeweler whose work was on display, because he sells stones and crystals on the side.  (I don't want to know what his day job is.) Before he left, riding away on a southerly wind (no, actually in a Honda Civic), he posed for his picture (without, as I had half expected, protesting about losing his soul to the camera) and told us his name: JWE (pronounced juh-wee).  If it weren't for the photo and the nine other witnesses, I wouldn't have believed it either.

5inchesofsnowonpresidentsday07_1
As I'm looking out the window this morning at five inches of snow, I know the universe has straightened itself out.  It's not April 1967 anymore, it is definitely February 2007.  Thank goodness.


February - Two of a Dozen

The days of February grow noticeably longer and the unsettled weather is, at the very least, more interesting than January’s usual inversion. I may not be quite an 'avenger', but February is my favorite of all winter months, due in large part to its status as the last winter month.  March, and the first days of spring, follow this, the shortest of months.

The main reason I like, and enjoy, February is that Smith's birthday is right in the middle (tomorrow) and usual comes on the long Presidents Day weekend.

If I'm having a bad day, the one thing that helps more than any other, is to take a walk, usually with Moxie, and to feel the air on my face.  The cold or heat makes me feel alive, conscious of the moment, conscious of being.  The blue sky and landscape infuse my spirit with faith, fill my heart with awe. Reality isn't as frightening once you face it head on, it is the fear you harbor inside that causes anxiety.  I come home feeling refreshed, comforted, real.

Mountainsandmysmithy007february

Smith is my rock, we get through the ups and downs of life together and so, here is my 007 snap shot for a Dozen Days. Smith and the mountains, two things I love most about life in general, two things I love about life in Utah, two things that fill my soul and lift my heart...my most important person and the landscape that brings me joy.

May you find joy and peace this weekend.