Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms!!

I always feel like I don't have much to blog about, but when I sit down and start to make a post I realize that I've done about a zillion things, but only partially. No wonder I feel like I never finish anything.

I've been working on my blanket in bits and pieces. I've almost got 6 rows on, and am running out of yarn. Perusing the destash forum on Ravelry, I found a girl who lives maybe an hour away who had lots of left over balls of yarn, all in colors that go well in my blanket. And she mailed them to me for the cost of postage!If I can't finish my blanket with these, I will have come damn close. lol I got some berroco touche from her as well, so I can make a tank top :)

future blanket

I won a Flip camcorder from the Spin or Dye Swapping group on Rav. It was a random drawing and I'm so psyced that I won. I never win anything. Videos to follow. ;)


Yesterday I went on an Open Studio tour. It's hosted by the Arts Council in my county every year, for the last few years. A few awesome things happened. First, I got a necklace from a blacksmith who collaborates with his daughter. He's from Sweeden or somesuch, and It's so much fun to hear him talk.

leaf necklace

Plese excuse my obscene paleness. I don't tan. I don't mean that I don't go to a tanning bed (well I don't actually, it's bad for you) I just don't tan well, period. A week at the beach gets me sun burn and maybe a shade or two darker.

I also met a wood turner, who doesn't make things for handspinners. At least not intentionally. I got two spindle bowls, I don't know what he intended them for, but I think they're perfect.
spindle bowls

I think for just one bowl like this I would have paid 40$. Instead I got both of them for the same price. Good deal right?

I also met a woman whom I think is on the arts council. I was telling her about my spinning and knitting and she was very interested in having me do a demonstration. I thought that would be fun. Then she asked me how much I would charge for it. My immediate thought was "Whoa, wait, you're going to pay me?" lol. I have no idea what to charge for something like that. I gave her my phone number and e-mail address. Any suggestions? I'm clueless.

I washed some of my Navajo churro too. I hate how clumpy wool looks when it's still wet. I know it will be so much more beatutiful when dry.


I call this "Cats Like Squares" or alternately "Fatty loves Wool"
cats like squares


Navajo Churro

MOV04600, originally uploaded by sleepsmistyshade.

In support of endangered fleece breeds I bought a navajo churro fleece, well half of one, (am I convincing?) and once again I have to fight the cat for it. It's pretty dirty, and smells nice and sheepy. And she loves it. Sorry the video is so dark. lol


I actually picked up half the fleece and put it on top of her, making a cat/fleece sandwich. And all she did was go back to sleep. She's still sitting inside the fleece, an hour later. lol


Also, I've made an owl hat out of my wheel spun. It was so perfect and green and heathery that I had to knit it right away. Spunky Eclectic dark bfl, 3 different 1 oz bumps of the galaxy series plied together. I love it. The pattern is Who? a free rav download. I need little beads for the owl eyes.

hand spun owl hat!


One more thing

For anyone who's interested, I just joined a 12 month fiber club by Natchwoolie on Etsy. Each month you get a different raw fiber to play with. I signed up for the 4 oz one, but there is a 2 oz version as well, for anyone else who wants to play with samples. :) She has alpaca and bunnies and stuff too, so it will be more than different sheep breeds.

Come play with me!

I can has sheep!

Or at least it's fleece :)

My California Red fleece arrived Saturday. It was a lot of fun to roll it out and see that it was sheep shaped!
california red fleece

The cat may be in love. We're going to have a throwdown soon. Only one of us may own the sheep.


I'm washing up a bit right now, we'll see how it turns out, but overall, I'm very pleased with the fleece thus far. No VM at all, Clifford (the ram from whence my fleece came) was coated year round. So even though it looks a little matted, the sections pull apart easily. There's a nice sweater in there somewhere, if I can get the cat off first.

Oh yeah, and my rommedale. Remember I said it was nubby?
Yeah. Will not be carding that again. Strictly combs for that one. Though I will almost swear that the fiber I was given was full of seconds cuts. I've finished it up, and will ply it soon. It's gonna have loads of texture.



louet s10

And as soon as I got it, I made these!

first wheel spun

The first two are Spunky Eclectic, Perfect Storm, and Thunderstorm respectively. I love them. The third is an unknown wool/alpaca blend I got from a swap partner. It's soft, and has a lot of yardage.

One thing I've noticed since spinning on my wheel is that my yarn tends to be less dense, and more airy, resulting in more yarn. It's easier to spin skinny skinny yarn too.

I dyed some natural WotA bulky from Knitpicks with the leftover Easter egg dye, with very different results than usually seen online. It looked like yarn barf before, but now that I've taken it out into daylight, I like it a lot. It's all fuchsia and olive and purply. I might make a scarf or something.
hand dyed

Oh! Angie suckered me into making one of those mitered square blankets. But instead of torturing myself with sock yarns, I'm using up all my sport and worsted weight yarns. It's cheerful, and I've already caught myself calling it "blankie". I'm starting to run low on colors, so I've started a pillow cover from knit picks. I like it. It matches nothing I own. lol
patchwork blanket

pillow case

No new news on the fiber sampling front. I'm almost spinning the rommedale, but I don't know if it's the way I carded it, or the way the fiber was sheared, but I've got mega nepps on this on. It makes me crazy. I've got the arrangements all made for my California red, I've got an eBay bid placed on a Clun Forrest fleece and a pound of targhee. This is going to be really bad. A large portion of this is my crazy craving for the scent of lanolin. I should probably just buy a sheep. That would really drive the German Shepherd next door super crazy.

I leave you with these lovely photos. Feel free to gank them.
stockinette field



Holy Polypay!

Wow. It's soft, it's fine, it has a matte lustre and spins like a dream. I love it! And here I was researching California red breeders. lol. Once again though, small vm is harshing my mellow. :I

polypay singles

Here's my California Red, plied. I haven't washed it yet though. I really do love this.

plied california red

I may take down my green tree python wallpaper and put this up instead.

This fleece sampler is creating a monster. Not only am I now addicted to the smell of lanolin, I want to try much larger samples. I've already been tricked into buying more Romney, and I've gotten a pair of second hand carders and a set of very affordable handmade wool combs are on their way, along with a diz.

I have a severe case of spinner's ADD too. I want to work on the fleece kit. and the Coastal collection from beemiceelf on etsy, I'm half done that, the soy latte fiber made from milk protein, the April challenge for Spindlers, the Shetland for the singles shawl along in spunky club on Rav., and of course the Romney, but I'm saving that for when I get the combs. I also have a specific roving in mind for a pair of socks as well. :( I've been behaving but it's hard. I've got 2 pr of socks on the needles too. There's too much I want to do and not enough arms or hours in the day. Maybe I'll start using all that time in which I try to sleep and fail miserably.

And help me out here. This is the start of my second sock from the LotS club. The leaves are totally addictive. What else can I put leaves on?

prince of the wood elves


California Red and Ghost Hunting


I've started spinning up my California red fleece sample. before I carded it it just looked dirty. Really it is kind of dirty- there's all kinds of really fine vm that I can't get out. Some of it pops out when I spin it, but about an equal amount I think just gets spun in. :( I'm glad this isn't for a garment.

Here's the lock:
california red lock

And the singles I've spun up so far still on my spindle:
california red singles

It looks a lot less crappy once it's been spun. I love how it looks like wheat flour or oatmeal. If I did spin this for a garment I would totally leave it natural, it looks so good. However, if someone did decide to dye it, it would make a fantastic natural heathered yarn.

I tried to sleep in this morning but I woke up at 5:30 am and couldn't get back to sleep. I tossed and turned and finally rolled out of bed at 9 and made some chai tea and breakfast. All we had was high fiber or weight loss oatmeal :( Blech.

Tonight I'm going Ghost Hunting! For real. I'll be up super late, so hopefully my early wake up won't affect my ablity to stay up late tonight. The house belongs to someone who works in my building, and the investigators are people who came out to investigate the Auburn House, which is owned by the university and is used by the athletics admin. Supposedly it's haunted by Martha, the wife of one of the owners of the house, long before the university bought it. I don't know what the situation is at the individual's house I'm going to tonight. Hopefully we'll find some good evidence. :)



Did I mention yet that I bought a wheel? I think I forgot that. I've had an antique Norwegian wheel for about a year now, and have never managed to make usable yarn from it until now. Some sort of magic happened and Yarn was produced; bulky, over twisted singles yarn, but usable yarn nonetheless.

my antique wheelwheel spun washed

I have large quantities of alpaca and various other wools that I will never ever spin all of in a million years on a spindle, and thought that a wheel would be the perfect thing for getting the bags of fiber out of my way so I can buy more wool. (Do we see the irony of the statement here?)
At any rate, I got some nice cormo-X out that has been waiting patiently to be spun for about as long as I've had that wheel, and Nothing. The magic mojo is lost, the wheel is completely uncooperative. Nothing spins. Not even well-prepped and evenly drafted top. It's enough to make a girl throw things at the wall and use unbecoming words. So I searched eBay and bought a used Louet S10 with skein winder and bobbins for just over $300 including shipping. It's coming from Norway. I must be destined to spin with Norwegian tools. I haven't heard anything from the seller, so we'll see when it gets here. If it gets here.

Let there be yarn!


What's New?

I feel like I haven't really done much of anything lately, spinning or knitting wise. I got all the fiber washed from my fleece sample kit, plus 8 oz of romney wool that I ordered from eBay. That one's taking forever to dry. I realized that I'm supposed to save some fleece for the sample card. Having never really done this before I feel like I keep missing important steps. There should be what? fleece sample, singles sample, plied sample, and knitted sample right? And as much as I feel like I suck at washing fleece (getting the tips clean still eludes me) I find myself combing eBay and other fiber sites for new sheep breeds I can try. I guess that's a good thing. I can start forming opinions about what fleeces I like or not, and what I think they might be used for. Not well informed opinions, but at least it's something to start working from.

Here's my plied romney, look how shiny it is!

romney 2 ply

Oh god the cat has decided to share my lap space with my laptop. :I

In other news, I finished my Bella mittens and worked on the hat. I had enough to finish, but it was way too short for my head. So I ripped it out, added a repeat, and then came up short 12 rows from the finish line. I was working from stash, and I don't have any more of that yarn. I don' t want to buy a whole skein for several yards worth of knitting. I seem to be at an impasse. No one in the de-stashing forums seems to have any to spare. :(
bella's hatbella's mittens

I suppose I should have knit the hat first, then omitted a repeat on each mitten, but that would have made too much sense. The mittens are top down, and I'm not cannibalizing them then re-knitting both of them. Grrrrr.........

Also I made a neck cozy (no photo yet). I don't like things around my neck, so this is sort of a trial thing. I was going to use the Morningside neckwarmer pattern, but It looked really messy in my handspun I was using, so I opted for a corrugated rib pattern from the Vogue Stitchionary and it worked out nicely (once I figured out how to translate flat knitting to in the round knitting). It feels OK, I might be able to live with it. And if I can wear this one, then I can definitely handle a smoke ring (which will also be from stash I'm trying to use up).


Earth Hour

I found out belatedly that Earth Hour is today :) All my lights are off. There are lots of photos of people burning candles for light, but I think that just adds some carbon footprints to the air. So I'm going candle-less as well.

Here's my house in the dark.

earth hour

I'll do a blog post tomorrow about my fibery goings-ons. :)


The Goods

Here's my haul from my shopping binge this week. I don't think I need to go shopping for a good long time now, I've got more than enough to work with. lol.


These are my new toys. It took a good 2 weeks for my hand carders to get here from CA, and I think in part that was due to the metal tines. The box was probably irradiated by every major postoffice from west coast to the east. They may be radioactive by now.

The supported spindle is a Tabachek tibetan spindle in canarywood, the bowl also by Tabachek in cherry. They're wonderful, though I still can't draft while spinning it, like this woman. And the little bitty spindle is a Bosworth mini in maple. Hopefully I will now be able to spin a 3-ply sock yarn with decent yardage. :) Am I the only one who has a hard time distinguishing woods with out a notecard or something? The differences are subtle.


bfl galaxy sampler

That's my ginourmous haul from Spunky Eclectic. The second one is much darker irl, it's the galaxy sampler, in bfl, not shetland.
The top is left to right, gin and tonic, thunderstorm, blush, sangria and route 66. That should keep me busy for a while right?

The new carders have got me started on spinning up the romney but I'll save that up for the next post with all the details. I'm not sure I'm carding right though. I get fluffy clouds, instead of punis. The yarn's got a super huge halo and I'm not sure I want that. I wish I could get just one ounce more and try again with my combs. Maybe it's time to peruse ebay. :)


The dangers of stash diving

You know you have way too much yarn when you look at your stash and don't even remember what's in there. I couldn't even reach the baskets, through all the other baskets containing handspun, and fleece, and ufos. After a little rearranging, I was able to dig through my yarn, and realized that I had no idea how much yarn I actually owned until now.

A large portion are leftovers from other projects. Somehow I'm able to use less yarn for the same ammount of knitting. Like the blue sky alpaca armwarmers I knit. They were supposed to take 3 skeins to complete, I only used two, and made the armwarmers a full inch longer to accomodate my long limbs. I have a neat little ball of leftovers in my tiny bits basket, and a whole untouched skein in my stash. How is that possible? I wish someone would tell me.

The remainder is stuff that I bought on sale at Michales or JoAnnes, impulse buy sock skeins, the accumulation of which I do not mourn, because everyone needs more sock yarn, and I have a lot of stuff in my queue that takes fingering weight, and is not socks. And I have a whole army sack of yarn under my bed that I haven't even touched yet that I procured for all of $8 at the salvation army. There's some good stuff in there like cascade 220 and Lamb's Pride worsted and bulky. A lot of these are not my colors, but I can over dye them.

I really need to start knitting more. Or buy less. I'm getting swamped over here. I have a tiny room and my stash is verging on eating me, and leaving no evidence of my passing. lol. (Actually that's not funny).


Help! I ordered way too much!

Help! I ordered way too much! Spunky Eclectic recently had a huge update, with a sale on her galaxy and astrology colorways. I bought way more fiber than I should have, and then went so far as to consider buying more so that I could have some of this organic merino and panda that everyone was talking about. I exercized some restraint and refrained. I can get some in the next update.

That's about all the restraint I had though. My order from the bellwether has just arrived at the post office, though I won't be able to pick it up until saturday. i got a tabecheck tibetan spindle (thanks Angie, you big enabler. Fair turnaround I guess?) With a lap bowl, and since I've been drooling over bossies but was too embarrased to purchase a third one directly from the manufacturer (in my defense the second one was for a swap parter, not me) I got the last mini that the bellwether had. And a wood tabecheck spindle to go with the tibetan. My hand carders are finally at the post office today too, though why it took 3 days to travel across MD I don't know. They've been in the mail forever, from a woman who was destashing all the way on the other side of the US. I can't wait to use them on my fleece study :)

As far as the fleece study, I've washed half of it, with mixed success. One I haven't checked yet, and there is still a bit of yellow in the middle of my lincoln X, but it’s not sticky, so I don’t know if I’ve got all the lanolin out. My tunis is now lanolin free after 3 washes, but there is still a lot of dirt. The corridale, romney and suffolk all came clean quickly, though the suffolk has some vm I’ll need to pick out as I’m carding it. I'm really not sure that it will card out, so much as in though. Maybe I'll go at it with the dog combs.

I'm having a lot of trouble with my cropped cardi, that I've been working on off and on again since December. I should have had it done a long time ago. I decided to knit the sleeves in the round, instead of flat, which took surprisingly little finegaling. The problem lies in the "twists". They're fiddly as hell, and driving me crazy. Honestly, is there any reason not to just do a 2 stitch cable? It would be soo much easier. I haven't even gotten one repeat done, cause I don't want to work on it at all. :(