Friday, December 31, 2010

Birthday !



Thanks to everyone for your kind comments yesterday. It does seem that I frequently have a day like that somewhere around my birthday. But today is a new day and a better one! Well, how can you not like a day that brings you dark chocolate with ancho chiles wrapped in a purple ribbon?

It's a bit strange to have a New Years Eve birthday and I always wonder if I would be a completely different person if born one day later. You know....
like, what if I were the baby instead of the old man?  Ah well....it's the old man that I am and always will be.

I do have the Navajo Churro fleece spun up and photo's of the process to post.  But the past two days have been way too dark to get a decent picture of the finished yarns which are a medium to dark brown.  So I'll get those up in a day or two.  I think the next breed after that will be Karakul.


There will be some changes in the coming year.  One having to do with the new loom that was ordered for me as a Christmas gift from dh (yep, the guy I maligned yesterday about the CO detector...we'll blame that on my inner old man.).  Am so excited to be getting a new 32" 12 shaft Macomber loom. with a double warp beam!  They are made to order, so mine won't be arriving until late January early February.  I'm sure the new loom will bring about changes in my weaving.

There's one more finished item to add to the 2010 list:

Socks from the stash.  The ball band from this yarn is long gone.  But the socks are very current and are on my (happy) feet right now.

Over the years I've known several people who choose a word to embody the coming year.  My friend, Judy, reported that a word would usually come to her sometime toward the end of December and she carried that word with her throughout the year.  Bonnie has chosen the word Simplicity for 2011.  She has a link to this site that helps you select a word.

Ever since Judy told us about her word thing, I always think about it, but nothing meaningful ever came to me.  This year, I've been thinking about how much fiber and fiber related stuff I have.  Much of it I've purchased.  But after awhile, fiber stuff starts finding you and the accumulation begins.  So I was thinking about making 2011 the year of the stash.  But I don't want to set hard and fast rules that will just tempt me to break them.  Instead I want to set goals.  I would like to spend this year using the limits of what I already own to inspire my creativity.  The socks above are the beginning of that.  There's also a new hat for ds on the needles.  He picked the yarn from my stash.....yarn that has been there for maybe 10-12 years.

So as I have started on this "work from the stash" adventure the word Sufficient comes to mind.  I know that the stuff I currently own (unspun fiber, knitting yarns, weaving yarns, and fiber books) is sufficient for me to create anything I care to design and make by spinning, weaving, and/or knitting in the coming year.  And it is often said that boundaries inspire creativity.  So wish me luck, join me if you like, and let's see what sort of fabric a life of sufficiency creates!

Well dear readers, wishing you all the best in the New Year.  Let's close out 2010 with a little bit of soul, thanks to  the late Sam Cooke.  I hope 2011 brings the changes of your hopes and dreams.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some Days Are Like That

At 5:30 AM today I was awakened by an electronic beeping sound.  I looked over, dh  was sound asleep, so I got up to investigate.  Stood at the top of the stairs and listened, it wasn't from ds's room, more like it was downstairs.    I trundled down to the first floor and cocked my ears.  Hmmm...not on this floor, sounds like maybe the basement? 

Yep, it was the carbon monoxide detector which is right above the boiler.  The cat usually sleeps on the boiler and was nowhere in sight.  I did a quick scan of the basement family room and found her cowering above the bar with her hackles up.  She hadn't been overcome by carbon monoxide, but she definitely interpreted the beeping as a predator.  After opening the patio door for ventilation, I scooped up the cat to take her to safety.  Half-way up the stairs the cat was spooked again and jumped out of my arms leaving claw marks on my chest and the base of my throat.

I proceeded to wake up dh since boilers and carbon monoxide monitors are his household areas of responsibility.  He went to the now ventilated basement with fresh batteries to determine if it was the monitor or the boiler.  Fresh batteries produced the same beeping sound.

While I was putting on a pot of coffee, dh stood behind me with the beeping monitor and asked me:  "What do you hear?"

Dirty look.

"No, how many beeps do you hear."

"Uhm....two."

"That's not one of the options."

"You didn't tell me this was a multiple choice test...what are the options?"

"One, three, or four."

I listened again, "Three."

"You're sure, three?  Is that the same as when you came downstairs?"

Mustering as much patience as my pre-caffeinated personality would allow.  "Well, I'm sure as can be without having my coffee.  Why, what do you hear?  And what does three mean?"

Without a word he puts the instructions in front of my face....Three means replace the carbon monoxide detector.  Something we really needed to know at 5:30 AM during a holiday week.

At this point I decided to just go to the gym and do some cardio.  Started to put on one of my usual lined yoga tops and noticed that the huge cat scratches were visible.  So just opted for a white crew neck T-shirt instead.

Once on the road I learned that while we were determining that a new carbon monoxide monitor needed to be added to the shopping list, there was freezing rain outside.  So I slip-slided my way to the gym in the dark on the ice.

Got to the gym, pulled out my mp3 player and selected my workout playlist.  First song on the list cues up but there's no sound.  Hit the various buttons, nothing...nada...just the song title on the screen. Even the "off" button produces no response.  Okay then...it's 5 years old, so I guess it's done and I will be working out music-less.

My favorite stationary bike was available so I wiped it down, adjusted the seat and selected my usual program.  Five minutes into the program I went to take a drink out my water bottle and the whole top of the bottle came off, dumping about a quart of cold water down my front.....you know:  the front....in the white T-shirt.  I looked like the loser in a wet T-shirt contest in a gym full of the holiday work out people.

At this point, I gave up and came home.  Dh had gone out to home despot (they open early, you know) and purchased a talking smoke detector and carbon monoxide monitor (guess he wanted someone else to talk to him after our earlier exchange.)

I'm going back to bed with a book.  I figure the worst that can happen there is a paper cut.

Hope your day is going better.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spinning the Breeds Part 1

Remember back in November I took that workshop with Deb Robson?  I promised some posts so here is a start.  Shetland was the first fiber we handled.  (as usual, click on the photos for big)

Primitive Breeds - Shetland
We started with a small bag full of locks.  This lock is representative of the lot.  Notice there are some really long fibers (I didn't stretch them out for the photo, but they measured about 7.5") and some shorter fibers.
These are the 4 distinct yarns created from that bag of locks.  The two mini-skeins on the left were spun in class.  The two on the right were spun at home.  All of the skeins in this photo have been plied and washed.


This is a close up of the yarn on the far left.  It is made from the longer fibers in the locks.  The longer fibers were separated by simply pulling them by the tips out of the lock.  Then they were combed on two pitch Louet mini-combs and spun worsted style before plying as a two ply from a center pull ball.   The yarn is very strong with very little elasticity.  It would make a good rug warp or a strong braid.

This is the second yarn from the left, spun in class.  It is made up of the shorter fibers left after the longest fibers were pulled out of the lock.  These shorter fibers were also processed on the Louet mini combs and the yarn was spun semi-worsted by allowing the twist to enter the drafting zone.  Again, this is a two ply yarn, spun from a center pull ball.  The yarn would be great for mittens, hat, or a cozy scarf, especially if I had made it a 3 ply.


Once I got home with the fiber, I decided to take a little more time in fiber prep.  I combed the locks with my Forsythe two pitch hand held combs to separate the longer fibers from the shorter ones.  Here are the little "nests" that I pulled off the combs, ready for spinning:

And here is the yarn made from them:

It's a two ply yarn, spun worsted from the combed "nests".  The plying was done from two separate bobbins.  There's a tad more spinning twist than plying twist in the yarn.  It's not as coarse as the first yarn because it has a greater mix of fibers than just the very long hairs.  The yarn has a lively hand and springs back to shape when crushed.  In this two ply it would be a great weaving yarn.  It would also knit up beautifully in lace patterns because it's springiness would hold open the lace eyelets and show off the patterning.

The combing waste was carded on hand carders and rolled into these rolags:

And below is the yarn spun from those rolags:


This yarn was spun with a supported long draw with just enough twist for the yarn to hold together, then plied with slightly more twist from two separate bobbins.  The yarn is loftier than the second yarn, which was spun semi-worsted.  It would make great mittens, which would probably full together to make a very dense fabric as the mittens are worn. 

So...four different yarns from one small batch of Shetland locks.  What fun!  Much thanks to Beth at The Spinning Loft for holding the workshop, washing all that wool, and putting together all the little packages of various breeds.

The next one of these posts  will be the Navajo Churro fleece.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...

And since I started with Charlie Brown:



Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Inspiration...or...The Detroit Stories That Don't Make the National News

This story about the local Annual Mitzvah Day is in today's paper.

IMO, this is what we should be hearing more about on the national news, and less about politicians behaving poorly.  So there....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Time is Here

 A few quiet moments to share with you some of my thoughts of the season.  I tend to share Charlie Brown's sentiments about the weeks leading up to Christmas:
 

I like for these weeks to be quiet, contemplative, and very deliberate.  Advent is, after all, a time of watching, waiting, and interpreting signs.  This advent there have been sympathy cards to send and condolence calls to make.  Not personal losses for our household, but very personal losses for people we care about.  For one friend it was the quick passing of a brother living far away.  Yesterday's condolence call was to an elderly gentleman dh and I have known since before we were married.  He is now legally blind due to macular degeneration.  His wife died suddenly this past week, though she has been carrying around an oxygen bottle for a number of years.  Together they were able to prop one another up and stay in their home and drive (!?!) to the doctor and for groceries.  It's not clear that B. will be able to do that by himself...especially not the driving.  Loss in many layers for him.


Yesterday after yoga, one of my classmates stopped me to ask how I had handled it when my son began to question the reality of Santa Claus.  Am not sure why she asked me (ds is soon to be 25!)...except that this gal is also the mother of on only son....and I'm the oldest person in the yoga class.  My response: "Gee...it wasn't only one conversation...I'm sure of that.  And the thing that I remember most clearly was that I never wanted ds to be able to say that we lied to him".

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you can guess that I took a pretty cerebral and calculated approach.  Here's some of what I told her:

First, our church observes the Feast of St. Nicholas and that was always an opportunity to talk about the beginning of Santa Claus.

Second ds's first grade teacher had them do a "book" about Christmas traditions around the world.  That was a big help because it gave us the opportunity to see that other cultures have traditions that vary from our commercial "Jolly Old Elf" who at that time drank Coca Cola (popular ad that ds picked up on). 

The other thing I remember is using Dr. Seuss' book How the Grinch Stole Christmas and my very favorite Christmas video The Muppet Christmas Carol to shift the thinking from the elf who brings gifts to the spirit of generosity.  And an assurance that  generosity of spirit is at the heart of Christmas giving.....and getting.

So for Jennifer and her son it is my hope that in losing something of that jolly old elf, they will gain something in exploring new possibilities for understanding this holiday.  Something like what Dr. Seuss had to say here (click on the link to read the story of this artwork and poem): 

From here on earth,
From my small place
I ask of You
Way out in space:
Please tell all men
In every land
What You and I
Both understand . . .
Please tell all men
That Peace is Good.
That’s all
That need be understood
In every world
In Your great sky.
(We understand.
Both You and I.)


My new understanding for this year has been the need for us to be less boisterous (ie.Snoopy in the above video) and more tender with one another in this time when the days are short, the nights are dark and cold, and hope may feel just beyond reach.   With thanks for some of  the people who brought this awareness to me these past few days:
  • The woman at the grocery store deli who told me that I had to order a cold cut tray 24 hours in advance.  When I said I needed it to take to a bereaved family, she quickly made up a huge tray of lavash sandwiches while I watched then handed me the sample end, because it was lunch time.  Thank you for reminding me of Grace.
  • For my knitting, spinning and weaving friends who take the time to knit for others.  And who gather together over a cup of coffee to do so.  Thank you for reminding me of the importance of community.
  • The woman who cut me off with her big SUV in an empty parking lot, shaking her fist at me because she wanted to get the spot closest to the door before Costco opening.  Thank you for reminding me that disapproval and disdain of others is very unbecoming.
  • For the folks who maintain the Passive Aggressive Notes site.  Thank you for making me chuckle everyday and for helping me to recognize that my last item was just a tad passive aggressive.
  • And for all of you readers who show up here despite my rather haphazard approach to blogging.  I always look forward to your comments, though I can't respond to the ones without emails.  Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my rambling thoughts.
Wishing you all the very best for what ever holiday you celebrate this time of year.  May warmth, light, and hope  prevail!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pepto bismol by any other name

is still Pepto Bismol pink.  The other name would be  Honeysuckle which has been named Pantone's color of the year.
You know, I've been thinking about this past decade and it really was a pretty grim decade.  Just as I was building hope for the decade to come, this slaps me right down.  There are shades of pink that I do like...just not this one.

Then again, I have been planning to make 2011 the year of  "shop from the stash" and "buy no clothing unless it is replacing an item."  This color trend may serve me well in pursuit of that goal.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Spinning wool breeds...

Cathy requested that I do a longer post about Deb Robson's workshop two weeks ago.  It is something that I want to do, but not likely to happen before the holidays. 
To sate your appetite for more information, Sasha has posted a podcast interview with Deb that I think you'll find very interesting.  Grab your knitting or your spinning and go listen here.
Enjoy...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Current events...

Just a quick update on what my hands have been doing.

The sister skein to the  blue/green alpaca has been spun and plied:

The white was spun using a supported long draw while the blue was spun with a worsted draw.  I used the same size whorl to spin both, though I went up a size to ply the blue and went down a whorl size to ply the white.  You have to look pretty closely to see any difference between the two skeins, but you can tell the difference immediately when handling the skeins.

Just in time for our first snow, I finished a new pair of gloves to go with my new winter coat:
 The yarn is some old two ply Harrisville from a cone in a color called cimmaron.  I don't think they make this yarn anymore.  The pattern is from the very first issue of Interweave Knits.  I love hand knit gloves, not least of all because they fit.....
....Uhm...like a glove. (Yeah, you saw that coming.)

And currently on the needles are a new pair of socks:

I'm doing the magic loop on a 42 inch needle.  The yarn is from the stash and the ball band is long gone.  So far I'm not loving the magic loop.  Double pointed needles are not a bother to me.  But I thought I'd give this a try since dh does not like me kntting as a passenger in the car with five size 1 double pointed knitting needles between me and the air bag.   Am not sure he'll be happier with just two points.....I'll learn that on the next car trip.

And there has been more spinning and plying:
I spent about 9 hours plying this over Thanksgiving weekend and still have at least an hour or so to complete it.  The fiber is Blue Faced Leicester (75%) and silk (25%) in the Frolic colorway by Black Bunny Fibers.  There's a total of 4 ounces and I plan to weave with it.  Will give you the specs. on the yarn once I get done plying and head to the loom with it.

And the looms....still no good pictures.  We've had a lot of gray days.....


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Surprise!!

I wanted to show you what arrived in the mail yesterday from Liz at Sundown Alpaca Ranch :
Well actually, it was two balls of alpaca roving but it was already pretty dark when the mail came yesterday and I couldn't get a good picture when the box was freshly opened.  Last night the blue green ball just hopped into my hands as I sat with the spinning wheel in front of the tv.  So, you'll have to use your imagination for that blue/green fluffy ball.

Liz had a lottery for new followers of her blog last month and I was one of the winners.  The fiber is just gorgeous and spins into beautiful yarn:
There's just a little bit of glitz in this yarn, I think it's firestar, but this photo doesn't pick that up.
Thanks so much, Liz!

Then today I had a less welcome surprise:
This warp has been a monumental PITA.  It's a double layer warp with different size threads in the two layers and there are stripes in both layers.  So it had to be warped front to back.  It seemed to take forever to sley the reed and thread the heddles, probably because I procrastinated more than I actually worked on it.  Then today I sat down to tie onto the back apron rod and smack in the middle of the warp there are 8 threads that were not threaded through heddles.   ARGH!  Fortunately the threading is a straight draw on 8 harnesses.  I thought about rethreading from that midpoint to the end again then decided to look in the weaving cupboard.
Ahem....clearly I have made this mistake before.  Perhaps not a whole 8 thread bundle worth, but enough to have cut into a few heddles to create repair heddles.  I just needed to cut two more and put them on the heddle bars to thread those loose ends and we're back in business. 

I finished tying on the back apron rod, crawled under the loom and tied up the treadles, then cut the ends in front of the reed.  By then it was time to make dinner and I didn't have the heart to tie onto the front apron rod and check to see if there are other threading errors.  Save that for tomorrow.

Right now I'm going to park my carcass with some yarn and knitting needles and work on a pair of gloves to go with my new winter coat.  They're forecasting temperatures in the 20's tonight and I need new gloves!

Can you relate?

This video sort of sums up what life feels like right now:



Yep, they did mix the fiber metaphors, but that's that next generation I was telling you about.

Thanks to Cady May for making me aware of the video.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Next Fiber Generation....

Over the past several years a topic that frequently surfaces when weavers, and almost any fiber-crafters other than knitters, assemble is "where will the next generation come from?"  We bemoan the lack of art and manual skills taught in the schools and we note that most of our guilds are populated by those who have left the mainstream working world and have entered retirement.  Guild participation and enrollment is waning.

Both  Sandra Rude and Laura Fry have recently written posts that express concern about how new weavers will find their way.  And in a recent conversation I had with a prominent weaving instructor, Syne Mitchell was pointed to as our best hope for bringing in the next generation.  I love the work that Syne has done.  She has demonstrated phenomenal energy and creativity in getting the word out about weaving through the electronic media.  But....(and I can say this because I am a lot older than Syne..almost old enough to be her mother) Syne recently celebrated her 40th birthday.  There are at least 2 generations of weavers coming up behind Syne.

Three years ago in a workshop with Randall Darwall at Penland we spent one of the discussion sessions talking about where the next generation will come from.  I opined then, and I maintain that opinion, that the next generation of weavers are already there, but they are very different from our generation.  They have to reinvent weaving to make it their own.  In the same way that many of today's mature weavers started out with hemp rope and macrame' frames, the next generation of weavers will discover the magic in the intersection fibers and they will create their own web.

These young people were raised on electronic media.  They have played video games all of their lives.  This is where they learned the tactics and strategies of problem solving.  They do not attack problem solving in the same linear fashion that was drummed into us.  Their approach is not likely to be exactly like our approach.  Yet we leave them a legacy that they will eventually discover.  They will find it in places like: Handweaving.net, with deepest gratitude to the work of Kris Bruland, in places like YouTube (look! no gray hair!), and in places like Syne's Archives.

I am confident that they are there because I am confident of the human need to create.  The need to make things is an essential part of being human.  Not every human has the need to make something out of fiber, or even necessarily something that can be held in the hands.  But I think we can trust that there will always be a segment of society that does need to create a tangible object and a portion of that segment will be inspired by fiber.  These relatively recent developments are what inspire my confidence:





And while you're there, subscribe to the RSS feed for Craft
See, they are there.  They are differently inspired and they organize themselves differently than our generation.  Why would they want to just clone our generation when we who lived through the 1960's didn't want to replicate the generation who went before us?
Especially when a part of the legacy left them has been this:


I think they are going to be just fine.  Let's get behind them, give them support, and encourage them to lead us in new directions.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things to do on a gray November day.....

November is definitely here.  The furnace is on, the days are overcast, and the nights are cold.  Hot cocoa tastes good, especially in the evening.  And handknit socks are a daily wardrobe item.

My spinning wheels are definitely affected by the change of seasons, so twice a year I find myself giving them an overhaul:

Today is the day to nourish the wood by rubbing it down with a beeswax/lemon oil product for wood. Then clean out the old oil and gunk from the all of the bearings, lubricate everything generously, and use leather restorer on the leather parts.  Also, replace the drive band, brake band, and brake band "spring" (I use covered pony tail elastics).

All of my wheels are wood and they change when the furnace comes on in the fall and when it goes off in the spring.  The change is so dramatic, that it's almost impossible to spin with them until they get their overhaul.  Such was the case last night, when I thought I'd spin a few more grams of a fiber that I've been working on.  So today is the day for wheel tune-up.

A gray November day is also a good time to thread the loom:

I don't usually warp front to back, but this is a double faced weave and there is a top and bottom warp, both with stripes.  So this one is front to back.  Must thread the heddles and tie-on to the back beam before I'll be able to throw the shuttle.

And when all this is done I will sit down to watch last night's episode of The Good Wife and knit on some socks in progress:

Yes, I still have more weaving to show you.  But I need a day with good lighting for photography as well as good motivation for writing the post.  Hopefully those particular stars will align soon.

Hope your day has as much pleasant fiber as mine does...even if it is gray outside.

Oh yeah....one more thing to do on a gray November day:  write a blog post!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

You must go look at this.

The physical therapist in me has sat and scrutinized the vertebrae to be sure that they are the right shape and orientation for each level of the spine.  The pelvis is in great alignment.

The yogi in me wants to tell the skeleton to draw the shoulder blades together toward the spine.

The knitter in me says, "It's a bit late for a sweater."

Regardless...Happy Halloween.  Today is dh's birthday....chocolate mousse cake for two with a bit of Cherry Garcia ice cream tonight.  Woo hoo!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Start on the Weaving Posts..

At first I thought I would do all of the weaving posts in one go.  But perhaps it would be better to take it "one bite at a time".

Fresh off the loom this week is my Baby Alpaca Scarf:

I made it to go with a pink down vest and a black suede jacket, both of which get a lot of wear this time of year.  Here are a couple other views:

The yarns are Plymouth Yarn's Bably Alpaca Lace Weight: a 2 ply yarn in 50 gr. skeins of 437 yds.  I used one skein of pink and one of black.  The black yarn was slightly more heavy than the pink with slightly less yardage.  I sett the yarn at 24 epi. and beat the plaid to square.

The weave structure is an 8 shaft  3/1:1/3 twill plaid.  The source for the draw down is pattern #235 from A Weavers Book of 8-shaft Patterns, edited by Carol Strickler.  The above photo's  give you the view that the plaid does not "read" the same on both sides.  In the photo immediately above the right hand side of the photo you see more of a squared, balanced plaid effect.  On the left hand side of the photo, the plaid is dominated by horizontal stripes.

The scarf was 7.33"  in the reed, the finished width is 6.75".  I was hoping to get a finished length of 70" plus fringe, but ran out black yarn.  So my finished length is 54" plus fringe.

The yarn was easier to work with than I anticipated.  It fuzzes, so I expected a sticky warp and perhaps some broken warps from the fuzzing weakening the yarn.  But none of that happened.

All in all, other than being a bit shorter, the hand of the scarf is just as I planned......Love that!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The spinners equivalent of hitting a tennis ball against the garage wall:

The reason for my title on this post is because the video reminds me of the Mitch Hedberg joke: "never play tennis with the wall, because the wall always wins."

 

To increase the challenge, add cats.

Colors of October - One Michigander's Perspective

I wasn't going to do Colors of October this month because it has been a very busy month with little time for leaf peeping.  But Sue tells us that this is the last Colors of the Month posting, and IMO this is really the prettiest time of the year in Michigan, so here's your colors:

Most Octobers we take a "leaf peeping" trip and get to see things like:

and:

and:
 (all of the above photo's are from October of 2008)

But this year, the month has been filled with working and waiting and getting things fixed:  a flat tire that took three trips to the tire store before it was repaired correctly; a tv that required a service call; a broken printer; a four hour power outage.  Before starting this post I just said goodbye to the cable guy who came in and replaced the cable box which got fried in the power outage.

However, this summer was exceptionally hot and wet in southeast Michigan, conditions that make for good compost.
So I spent time shoveling out this:

Wonderful, rich soil made from kitchen vegetable scraps and last year's garden clean out.
I worked in into the soil of the cleaned out flower beds.

If you notice in the photo below, the remains of many of my earlier "colors of the month" are in the compost bin, getting ready to be the compost for next autumn:

So I guess you could say my colors for this autumn are essentially brown: rich, dark, composted earth brown.
Now, go visit Life Looms Large and see the colors from other parts of the world, and perhaps add your own!



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Driveby...

I have weaving to show.  Actually, quite a lot of weaving.  But first I must get the lighting right to take some decent photo's.  Meanwhile we are under severe storm warnings, so good lighting may not be possible today.

So while you wait for that update, please go read this.  It's something I am passionate about.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

There's a story there somewhere....

On Monday I posted a rant about the political attack messages left in my voice mail.  On Friday night I was getting ready to settle in for the night and checked my cell phone.  There were two voice mails from an unknown number.  My first reaction was that those @#@$%!'s had gotten hold of my cell phone number!  ARGH!  Since dh was out of town I decided to listen to the messages anyway.

The first one said:  "This is Officer _____ calling from _______ County Animal Control in follow up to your report about a pig bite........"

Pig bite!?  Can't even tell you the last time anyone in this household was any where near a pig, let alone within biting distance.  Granted my experience with pigs is rather limited.  I do know that they are capable of biting a human, but the farm pigs I've been around wouldn't lead me to associate biting with their first response to a person.  Then again there have been reports about feral pigs in Michigan lately.  Whatever the scenario, you have to believe there's a story there somewhere.

The second message was from the same officer asking me to disregard the message, he had dialed the wrong number.  Wrong number or was someone in the office pulling a prank the night before the University of Michigan vs. Michigan State football game?  (A little "bite me" rivalry?)

Given the political attack messages in my previous post, I'm reminded:
"If you decide to wrestle with a pig keep in mind that you'll both end up rolling around in the muck.  But the pig likes it."

So in an effort to ignore the political pigs, I did a little retail therapy yesterday at The Spinning Loft.  It may not become a silk purse, but this is no sow's ear:

Lovely pygora top on a 14 gr. spindle.

Amazing how spindling that blue can chase away the pre-election blues!

Incidentally, Beth's shop is between the two rival universities and I was there during game time....poetic justice?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

More Help?! and a finished project

A new finished item:



Wrist warmers, glove covers, fingerless gloves...whatever you want to call them, they work well for this time of the year when early morning walks are a bit nippy on the hands.  The yarn is left over from Will's Gansey, so that yarn has been in the stash 5 years.  Ahem.  It's .not the oldest yarn in the stash, in fact it's a relative new comer.  Perhaps there needs to be a "shop from the stash" resolution in my near future.

The pattern was made up as I went along, using a stitch chart for the cable on the back.  If there's interest I'll write it up and put it on Ravelry as a free pattern.  But really, there are a ton of patterns for these things already up.  I just couldn't find one that looked like the one in my head.

The background for the glove covers is the prayer shawl from two posts ago.  I also posted a new picture of the shawl in that post.

Now comes decision time:
I have to wind a warp for the Jennifer Moore double weave workshop next Tuesday.  My warp calls for 4 light and 4 dark colors.  Since it's double weave there are effectively two layers each of which alternates light and dark, while the layers also alternate dark and light.  So here are my wraps:
So, what do you think?  Are there any colors that absolutely don't belong there?  Keep in mind that each of the colors will intersect the other colors at some point in the weaving.  That's why I tried my best to avoid complementary colors because they make drab colors where they intersect.  That's why the California Gold instead of an orange.  And that's why I decided to throw a clear brown in there as the dark for the gold.

Here are some other ways of arranging them:
I think this one just leaves the gold and brown out there by themselves.


While this one mixes things up a bit.  I think it's the most visually interesting, but it doesn't alternate lights and darks.

I'm not sure this one will make sense with the gold and brown in the same layer.

Meh.

While I look at these photo's, I think the very first wrapping will work, except to switch the gold and blue on the bottom row.

Tell me, what do you think?  Quickly please....I have to get this thing wound and on the loom on Saturday.

Thanks!!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Help!?

There are 3 registered voters in this household who actively vote every  chance they get.

This fall is a gubernatorial election as well as the sensationalized mid-term elections.

I happen to be home most of the day.  Currently we are getting around 12 to 15 pre-recorded political messages which happen to have an extremely conservative bias.  No let me reword that....these prerecorded messages are lies.  I know that because I use Fact Check and Politifact in addition to the fact that I follow the news and have at least a modicum of brain matter.

I use caller ID, but because these messages are pre-recorded, the just shout their crazy messages onto the answering machine. 

So we got the politicians to stop the telemarketers to stop harassing us, only to allow themselves to step in and fill the void.

I ask you dear readers....How do we get this to stop.  It seems like a horrible penance for having actively exercised my right to vote.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself

I have posted before about my problem with Monkey Mind and once again the monkey in my head is raising his ugly fist.  Rattling in my head are a million ideas of things I could create with yarns and fiber that I have on hand (mostly).  Meanwhile, rattling around my house are what feel like a million stalled projects:

Like this design as you go wrist warmer, I'm working on.

 Or this strip design vest which is about 2/3's done.

Or work on the fronts of this sweater from handspun, with the back already completed.

Or this scarf from Mini Mochi yarn and weave-it squares.  Three more big squares to to, then 12 little squares.

Or wind this warp which I have already completely worked out the design.

Or this doubleweave sampler warp.  (Whoa!  the colors are totally off.  They should be baby blue and chocolate brown.)

Or pick out yarns and wind the warp for this upcoming workshop.

Or ply these three completely different yarns that are waiting on storage bobbins.  (Or for that matter, finish spinning the rest of the fibers for these yarns.)

  Or perhaps ply this spindle spun cashmere.

Or begin the final tapestry assignment from the James Koehler Workshop

Or work out the studies that I want to do on these two other tapestry warps.

Or cast on and knit this baby sweater that I swatched a couple weeks ago.

Believe it or not, before starting this blog post I was going to photograph and catalog yarn on Ravelry.  After seeing how poorly the color comes out on this soggy rainy day, that plan has been eliminated.

Clearly I need some meditation time to get my scattered self focused.

Meanwhile, there is one finished object to report:


A prayer shawl from Joann's Sensations yarn.  The colors are mostly browns and golds with a tad of moss green thrown in.  The idea was to make one that would work for the masculine prayer shawl recipients.  It's okay....the way the ball of yarn was wound, I thought it would be mostly moss green with a bit of brown.

Oh well....from overwhelmed to underwhelmed all in one post.  Meditation cushion, here I come!!

PS: the McCafe coffee was decaf.