Archive | February 2008

Wow!

Check it out!  My awesome husband gave me this excellent present for my birthday!

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It’s the Kromski Minstrel and I LOVE IT 🙂  Now to learn to use it, lol.  I’m all thumbs even though I’m ok with the drop spindle now.  Drafting is somehow opposite now, lol.  I’ll get it I’m sure!

Happy Birthday To Me :)

I’m surrounded by beautiful things this birthday 🙂  My birthday order came just in time!

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Beautiful blue faced leicester from Sakina Needles at www.theloopyewe.com

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Superwash merino, also from The Loopy Ewe/Sakina Needles.

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The very beautiful Araucania Ranco Multy.  So soft!  Really really nice wool.

I’m STILL waiting for my babies (the puppies).  Miss Daisy is nesting almost constantly now….

I’ll post pictures as soon as they are born!  I told her if she’s faking I’m trading her for a spinning wheel 😉

Improvement!

My spinning is getting better…I’ve finished my second try at wool and am pretty happy with the results 🙂  I have about 148 yards of ‘sockish’ weight wool.

As I plyed it…. 

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I don’t have a niddy noddy either, lol, so I skeined it around this bulletin board…exactly 50 inches (I counted the rounds before I washed it to determine length) and smooth framed so nothing caught on the yarn and I could pull the skein off without a problem 🙂

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Well, well, well…

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Um hmm…we’re still waiting!

She even seems tired of it…

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I spun last night and finished up the second single.  I started plying it and it’s a nice thin weight!  I may be able to use it in something 🙂  I’m thinking it would look awesome in the Selbuvotter stuff.

Here’s a picture (I promised) of my ‘homemade kate’.   I used a basket, some 5.5 mm knitting needles and two point protectors to keep the ‘bobbins’ (knitting needles) from slipping out.  I was able to slide the singles directly from the spindle onto the knitting needles.

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Works well and when I want a break I can just place the spindle inside and close it up and put it on a shelf.  I realize it’s probably not like a ‘real’ kate but I think it’s an awesome solution!  LOL, plus I had all this stuff on hand!

Have a great day 🙂

Beautiful!

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My amaryllis is in bloom!  It’s beautiful, the first one I’ve grown.  I bought the bulb before Christmas, at the old house.

It  makes me happy just to look at!

I found a cool thing at a local junk/antique/second hand store…

It was the first thing I noticed, lol.  It’s homemade and big, but I love it.  I’m easily impressed 🙂  It’s a wool winder and I’m using it to wind my roving around.  (Not entirely sure how I would use it or why I would use it as a wool winder, lol)

Here it is…

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I figure I’ll make it a little cover and then when I’m not using it I can keep the dust and pet hair off the roving.  I used to keep it in a pillowcase and I like this much better!

We’re STILL waiting for puppies. 

Finished ‘Think Spring’ Rug…

on time for my daughter’s birthday even!

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I gave it to her last night…she says it really brightens up her room and I agree! 

Pattern:  Flower Power rug by Bernat/Lily

Available:  Free on the www.bernat.com site with membership

Materials:  Odds and ends of handicrafter cotton gifted to me.  I didn’t worry about colour really, just wanted a mix of everything.  Brings me back to my years of quilting 🙂

Size:  The pattern calls for 12 blocks.  Mine is 72 blocks about 6.5 inches each.  About 52×60 (roughly)  A nice size for her room 🙂

Now to figure out what to do!  LOL.  I could finish the modern lace henley OR the frost flowers and leaves shawl OR the oak leaves pullover for my mom.  Oh yeah….OR I could return to my new love and spin!

I think I want a spinning wheel so I’m researching like crazy at the moment.  Learning the language, so to speak.  Ratios and flyers and bearings and whatnot…a lot of new things to understand before I feel I know what I’m buying.  My heart is so far set on the Kromski Mazurka…a BEAUTIFUL thing it is.  My dh has his eye on another of the Kromski’s for me (he likes to buy me nice toys…) but I really think the Mazurka does everything almost the same for like 200 dollars less. 

LOL…I wonder how much wool one must spin before one reclaims the cost of the tools!  Ok, lets not…this counts as entertainment right?!

Still Waiting…

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After a CAREFUL check of the dates, I’ve realized that the 69th day will be this friday the 22nd.  Sooo…she’s taking her time!

We told her family day was a perfect day to have basschunds but she didn’t agree 🙂

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We did a lot of relaxing yesterday.  A nice February holiday!

I spun some finer singles than I had the first time…hoping as a two ply it’s fingering/sport weight.  I’d like to try it for some of the ‘Selbuvotter’ gloves.

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I just slide the completed singles onto an extra larger knitting needle and cap off the end with a point protecter….voila!  A great homemade bobbin 🙂  LOL, when I’m done the second ply I’ll show you my nifty homemade lazy kate!  It involves a shoebox and some knitting needles 🙂

I hope I have at least 150 yards…we’ll see when it’s time to skein it 🙂

So Much To Learn!

I’m wondering if anyone who learns to spin ever has time to knit again? 

I feel like I’ve been sucked into the new-hobbie-hole where the wools will be beautiful but there will be no time to knit them…

LOL.  I get this way with new things, especially new hobbies and things like that that I want to learn.  I’ve been fascinated with spinning since I was a little girl and it’s just awesome knowing that I can DO that 🙂

In between crochet rounds (yes, I’m really still working just not really fast) I’ve done a little research and found out just how much I don’t know! 

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Firstly, I had no idea that different weight spindles are used for different weight yarns.  It turns out mine is about in the middle?  I’m guessing — 1.4 oz.

I didn’t know there were top and bottom whorl spindles.   Mine is a bottom whorl but I’m wondering why I couldn’t turn it (if I wanted to) and use it in the other direction?  It has a knob on the bottom (like a turning top) that has room to tie off in or use a half hitch to hold the yarn and the notch on the spindle part itself.  I will likely be trying this soon!  It seems awkward, so far I’m very happy with the bottom whorl but it would be nice to know if it COULD be done.

I didn’t see very many spindles like mine online…nothing exactly.  I had no idea it was so unique!  There is no metal hook on mine, just a notch in the wood.  The whorl isn’t round – it’s cut in a flower shape and the bottom has that knob rather than just a point or rounded tip.

Then there’s the spinning itself! 

I had no idea about worsted and woolen spun.  Now I understand worsted is when the fibres are kept straight against one another as they are spun, leaving less air between the fibres and making it less likely to felt or fuzz.  Also less warm though.  The woolen spun is when the fibres are fed in more randomly (? – probably not the proper term!) and so more air is trapped amongst them making for a more wooly and warm wool which tends to pill and felt.

The book I began learning from was supposed to be instructions on how to spin worsted wools but didn’t actually explain what that meant, lol.

I’ve also learned that I do want to overspin the singles a little because the plying will remove the extra spin.  Otherwise you end up with what I did in places…singles which are almost roving again once they were plyed.  Learning is a good thing!

I found myself unplying cotton scraps last night instead of throwing them out after sewing up some of the flower blocks. 

Clearly a side effect of spin-itis!  I just wonder if I could spin them into some kind of really interesting yarn?  I plan on trying it sometime!

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I Made Wool!

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Not perfectly, lol, or evenly…but it’s wool 🙂  I only ended up with about 30 yards…I cut the second ply when the first finally broke after 30 yards.  I will ply the rest of it yet and I should have another 15 yards there I think.

I like how the blues and greens have mixed…no planning involved – I’m not that organized so I just went one handfull of blue, one handfull of green as I spun it. 

I love spinning! 

I’m working to finish up the ‘Think Spring’ crocheted rug and waiting (impatiently) for these basschunds to arrive!

Miss Daisy is getting closer and closer to giving birth…my doubts are gone as now when she sits on me I can feel the babies moving around sometimes.  She’s just taking her time!  Since we don’t know exactly when she was bred we’re wondering if it was maybe in the week AFTER we arrived here.  I know that the basset hound was howling like a maniac that week so he was definitely still interested.  Here’s hoping it’s TODAY!

Flower Power

I’ve been crocheting like a madwoman, trying to get a bunch of blocks finished so my carpet is ready for my daughter’s birthday!

So far…

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That’s just a random placement to see how it looks so far 🙂 

At this point I have 43 blocks…I WANTED about 100…LOL…we’ll see how it goes.  I’m quite OK with settling for less depending on time and energy!

Spinning!

Good morning 🙂

I spent some time yesterday playing with the drop spindle I got a while back.  I have some ‘mystery’ roving that I got from the second hand store — great training roving because I have a LOT to learn! 

Here’s a look at my first attempt.  I plan to spin another length and ply the two…lol…sounds so easy when I type it.  I’m learning as I go!  It’s got some severe thick/thin going on but it’s a first try 🙂

Ta-da!

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Here’s a picture of the roving I’m using…

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Oh, and yes…I’m still working on the flower power rug for my daughter’s birthday…I’ve got almost 30 blocks made and hope to have near a hundred (yeah, crazy).  They are about 6.5 inches square…so 10×10 would be about 5.5 feet square.  I’ll see how far I get before her birthday 🙂  I figure I have 10 days…that’s only 7 a day…plus one all nighter sewing it, lol. 

The puppy thing is driving me nuts.  Her milk continues to come in…there is more swelling every day and yet…NOTHING happens.  If she continues and doesn’t have a puppy by next week we’ll take her to the vet.  I am SO confused by all of this!  The poor thing was whining steady yesterday and sick this morning so I wonder if something is starting to happen labour wise or if she may be having some problems?  It’s nerve wracking!

Shopping!

My birthday is coming up and it’s that time of year when I get to buy something extravagant wool wise. I make myself stop if I start getting too practical. Birthdays should be for something special!

My pattern is Jeanie from knitty. I’ve decided it has to be a bit smaller…perhaps shorter and maybe one repeat narrower? I have to take a good look at the pattern to see.  There must be a logical way to make it smaller 🙂  The reason being that I found a beautiful yarn which will leave me somewhat short….

It’s Araucania Ranco Multi ‘Peacock’ and I stopped the madness at 3 skeins.

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I bought from The Loopy Ewe – a new online shop for me! I’m always excited about ordering yarn 🙂 Love, love the selection at that shop too…and flat rate shipping is always a bonus!

In the spirit of crazy Birthday Spending and because I want to learn how to use my drop spindle and I have dreams of making beautiful wool….

I bought two kinds of roving!   One is bfl in ‘callow lily’ and one is superwash merino in ‘dusty cornflower’.  Both look beautiful on screen.  I can’t wait to see them in person!  Oooh and touch them too 🙂  May they spin for me!

Check it out…Not the colour I bought but SO pretty!

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Now the fun of waiting for my excellent package in the mail!

What’s Up…

Good morning 🙂

 Yeah, I’ve been post-slacking these last couple of days.  I was seduced by a crochet project, lol.

This….

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It’s the “Flower Power Rug” by Bernat using Handicrafter Cottons in various colours.  The pattern is available for free at www.bernat.com if you join!

I have no set amount of blocks in mind.  It’ll be a judgement call.  I do want it to be large enough to fill the centre of my daughter’s floor.  She is going to be 14 later this month and I think she’ll love it!

So — I’ll be the lady crocheting like mad between now and then!!

I love crochet but there are so few things I want to make using it, lol.  It also gets to my wrist after a while.  I crochet a while, sew the blocks a while…it helps me not hurt myself.

I am so getting ahead of myself — too many things on the go.   It’ll be a whole lot of finishing up after this, REALLY 😉

In Puppy News…No puppies yet. 

I think it will be any time within the next 7 days…think being the operative word.  Of course I could be wrong.  She’s still resting a lot and not showing any signs of labour yet.  Her milk is starting to come in but she’s not to the point of leaking or anything.  I’m watching her closely!

Unplanned Pregnancy

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We think Miss Daisy is pregnant! 

She was in heat when we were moving and must have bred with our basset hound.  I’m a little worried! 

 Having done a  little research, the cross breed is ‘so called’ recognized as basschund???  I’m almost certain that it should be the basset female, daschund male — not the way it is for ours.  Of course they don’t really say.  The babies tend to look like sturdy daschunds.

She has all the symptoms – according to the day I believe she may have become pregnant (moving day itself is the only day I think), she should be expecting in about two weeks.  I haven’t taken her to the vet yet, not sure if we will or wait to see if there are complications.  I know daschunds tend to have difficulty sometimes no matter what.  I’m so nervous for her. 

Thankfully I have done this before with a rottweiller we used to have and her litter.  I had to help her throughout the birth but ALL her babies lived and there were 9 — one was born on the lawn and not breathing and I roughed him up until he breathed and then made the mom take him.  It took a bit but that mom got the idea.  I hope Daisy does as well!

We’re setting her up a ‘cave’ soon…a large cave like dog crate we have that I think she will really like to keep her babies in.  The top comes off in case we need to look in. 

I wish wish wish that I could find more information on the net but I’ve spent days looking and there isn’t much specific.

I’m on pins and needles.  Wish us luck!

To Do

I had to make this little post to remind myself of a pattern I’d like to make.  LOL.  It’s like keeping a list that I won’t lose 🙂

There is a beautiful Flip Top Mitten that I’d like to make.  Designed by Kate (on the knittyboard), they are amazing!

I’m always impressed and satisfied to see what people design on their own…and these are an excellent example 🙂 

Take Two

It was really noticable that I made that mistake on the lace.  Much as I like to forgive myself, lace isn’t the time to do it LOL.

So, I ripped the whole thing out, well most of it — started again.  Even started with a new ball and I’ll rip out the rest of the disaster at the end when I need it. 

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That yarn needs a time out 🙂

While I’m talking about disaster…

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I accidentally washed and DRYED the cable and lace socks.  OK — DO NOT do this with gloss or you’ll be wanting to cry like I am.  They are ruined, to be blunt.  I’ve put them away to remember the first pair and I’ll be making them again.  I think next time I’ll do them as knee socks.