Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ply Away!

Today was session two of Caroline Learns to Spin, where I learned how to ply. Here is the evolution of my very first skein...
Singles (wrapped on tennis balls)

Plied on the spindle

Me holding the skein

and the wrapped skein...

It came out very even, and is 40 yards, 7 wpi. We plied it using a variation of a method my mom learned from Jenny Bakridges. Instead of placing the singles in flower pots and pulling them from there, we constructed a makeshift version with boxes weighted down with books (easier to do in a library than flowerpots!) and put the singles in there to pull from. Think I've got the hang of it now... Thanks Jenny for the method! And thanks to my mom for lesson #2!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Damn Cat update

Ok, so my husband found the other ball of my spinning under the bed. I knit up a little square of acrylic for Max to play with instead, but he is not interested. If he got into my stash, he would probably help himself the nice hand dyed yarns, or anything with silk or cashmere in it. At least he has good taste.
Speaking of taste, we are making Green Chili Stew for dinner. Every September, a friend of ours sends a box of hatch chilies fresh from New Mexico, and Scott roasts and freezes them for year long use. Doesn't this look yummy?

As a foodie who appreciates the best of both high and low brow, sometimes I get cravings for things like Velveeta & Rotel Queso dip. Velveeta is not part of my typical shopping list, so I asked a young lady at the store where I could find it. Her response was "Velveeta... Is that an imported cheese?" Oh boy...
Since socks are on my list for things to work on this year, I indulged in some stash enhancement at Pins and Needles today. I'm excited to start on my pink socks...

Damn Cat!

This is Max, one of our two cats

He looks like a sweet cat, but don't be fooled. He has a thing for fiber, and it is starting to cause some problems. Let's document the history...
Sometime around New Years, Max discovered two balls of Qiviut on the dining room table and carried them around the house while we were asleep. I found them (fortunately intact) in my husband's office and our bedroom. Just for the record, these two rooms are nowhere near the dining room. The Qiviut is now safely stored in my craft room.
Episode two occured about a week later when Max found some Frog Tree Alpaca and decided it would be good to wind it, spiderweb style, around the entire house. I'm sure it can still be used, but it could take hours to untangle it...
The latest episode was discovered today, while taking stock of my recent spinning and getting things together for my plying lesson with my mom tomorrow. I discovered that Max had now taken a ball of singles and adeptly hidden it somewhere. So instead of two of these, I have one...

If this cat had opposable thumbs, he'd be quite a fiber artist.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Crocheting is hard!

This weekend, i finished piecing together my silk sweater from Luxury Knitting.

I've been working on this since April, on and off, but the hardest part has been crocheting the trim around the edges. I'm still working on the fringe - crocheting is not a natural act for me, and takes so much concentration! I'll stick with knitting. The sweater is knit in Prism plied silk in Antique. The fringe is Prism Chenille Silk.

Another friend had a baby this weekend so the latest round of hat and booties is going out the door. These are the patterns from my LYS in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.

Now it's back to crocheting the fringe...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I seem to have caught a nasty bug. So has my husband. I have caught a stomach virus, and my husband has caught the syndrome of the need to watch sports on tv. Its unclear when exactly Scott's virus began (mine began on Sunday), but I've been noticing for the past few weeks, Sunday bring the drone of "i want to watch football". Interestingly enough, Scott demonstrated no interest in football when we were dating or engaged. Perhaps it is related to our ridiculously large television - it even makes me want to have a superbowl party (well, not enough to actually have one, but almost). I take no issue with watching college basketball, but this football thing has thrown me for a loop. What's next? Golf?
My days at home have given me some time to do some spinning. However, I've found that crafting while ill can lead to disappointing results, so no pictures today!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Slanket

A few months ago, I saw the Slanket on Daily Candy. It seemed so cool - a blanket with sleeves, so you can use your arms but still keep warm. Ideal for knitters, soduku players, etc. who are always cold (i.e. me). After my ongoing commentary about the coolness of the Slanket concept, my MIL sent me one for Hannukah and it arrived this week. It is just as fantastic as I imagined - perfect for sitting on the couch, staying toasty and knitting. I'm not sure it'll work with spinning, but my spinning is in such nascent stages, I could be totally wrong. So, for any fellow knitters who also get so cold that they need a sweater in the freezer section of the grocery store, consider this a slanket recommendation.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Caroline learns to Spin!

When my mom and I went to Rhinebeck in October, I acquired a lot of roving. A lot. Romney. Merino. Merino with stuff like Silk, Angora... (and accidently Merino with Acrylic). Undyed roving, dyed roving. You name it, I got it (or more accurately, my mother got it for me).
Now, this isn't unusual for many people who go to the Sheep and Wool Festival. However, for someone who had only recently expressed a mild interest in spinning, it was probably a bit much. For a few days, I experimented and ended up creating a minor disaster using my lovely top whorl spindle and some romney. Then I gave up, because clearly I had no idea what I was doing.
But on Sunday my mom and I had Spinning Lesson #1...
Here is mom teaching me how to attenuate the fleece

And here is some of my first spinning, when I let go of the roving at an inopportune moment and it all got stuck together...

My mom lent me another spindle, and I got started on something with some color. It's not even at all, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Big Loser

I'm not one for resolutions. If it's time for a change, it's time for a change - no need to wait until New Years. However, right now happens to be time for a change, and it coincides with the time of year when lots of people make changes. After a honeymoon during which I indulged in every kind of turkish delight possible, including the better part of an entire lamb (ok, well I'm not sure, but its probably a fair estimation) and another six months of enjoying all sorts of food made using all our registry loot and fairly inactive life, its about time to start eating with some discipline and getting my tush back to the gym. I've rejoined weight watchers online, and am participating in the biggest loser contest at my gym at work. With some work, hopefully I can get back to my pre-wedding buff shape...and fit back into some items of my wardrobe that are now just decorations for my closet since they are way too small! Too bad knitting doesn't count as exercise...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

For the past few years, we have been celebrating New Years with a fantastic dinner with a few friends. The annual indulgence is organized by my husband's best friend, and we enjoy amazing wines and food, and everyone gets to cook, bake, etc. This year's highlight was a bottle of 1985 Leoville Barton - yum. My contribution was an apricot souffle with a bittersweet chocolate sauce from last week's New York Times. I'm getting into souffles lately, having made a bittersweet chocolate souffle back in November. Next on the list is fig souffle, which is something I had a number of years ago and would love to recreate...
On Saturday, we stopped by my mom's house, and she lent me a few knitting books and three DVDs. Who knew there were knitting DVDs? The books are Simple Socks Plain and Fancy, Knitting Vintage Socks and Cool Socks, Warm Feet. The DVDs are from Lucy Neatby's Sock Techniques 1 & 2, and Knitting Essentials 2. I'll post some reviews in the next few weeks. Its great having a mom who is a librarian and a fiber person, because she has all sorts of references for knitting and spinning! Of course, if it takes a while to return them, I may have an overdue fine to pay!