Wednesday, October 31, 2007


At the beginning of this month, I took a dyeing class at a fiber retreat that my LYS hosted--Didn't I mention that in the last post? I tink so. I also took an entrelac class. Did I mention that part before? Did I yak about the fact that I now know how to knit backwards? Yeah. It's fun. I made a hat, see?

I'm kind of empty of words tonight. I've got a stoopid pinchy nerve in my hip and I'm currently dizzy/pukey from the stoopid pain medication that I tried out today. I'm squeezing in one last post for the month because if I don't I'll be in trouble with the Secret Pal peoples (4 posts per month, it's not too much to ask!). I don't think I'll do the next round of SP, but I don't want to be blacklisted, ya know? I feel myself pulling back from the blogging stuff, and I think it's mostly because of the aforementioned stoopid pinchy nerve. I'm not functioning terribly well in real life, let alone as a knitblogger. No worries, though. The pinchy nerve will not be around forever. But right now I just feel Stoopid. I like spelling it that way. We must find pleasure in the little things...

Saturday, October 13, 2007


My amazing secret pal has TOTALLY spoiled me. Look. Just look at this. LANTERN MOON!!!!

This is a beautiful needle organizer, a lovely needle sleeve (perfect for the pair of ebony Lantern Moon needles I got in the Jimmy Beans prize pack), a darling soap, adorable stitch markers, and a pretty note pad. Thank you Pal! After opening your package and recovering from the wonderful surprise, I upended my ratty needle tote bag and put all my needles in the roll. I love it--Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Indians and Red Sox have just gone into extra innings. What a game. I love baseball. It's the perfect complement for knitting. I thought of calling this hat the Swirly Hat (yes, I'm not terribly imaginative--it's the same swirly pattern as PeeWee's Swirly pullover), but I think it might get called the ALCS hat. Cleveland and Boston have the same colors, have you noticed? And they both match the hat. It's knit from my handspun, a bulky 2-ply spun from 4 ounces of Hello Yarn handpainted merino top called "Darling".

PeeWee is wearing panties now. She does really well with tinkling, but we've been having problems with the solid matter. She likes to go hide in a sheltered location and work her magic, emerging with a surprise in her pants. Sigh. I can't be too upset. There was a time that we thought the nerves controlling bladder and bowel function had been messed up by the neuroblastoma tumor. I'm just so glad that she can poop when she wants to--it doesn't seem to matter very much whether it's in my closet or the toilet. She's cuddling and watching baseball with Eric right now, poking her fingers in his ears and up his nose.

Monday, October 08, 2007

lost (top) and found (skillz)

I can't find my superwash merino top. (Sisties, top is fiber that has been combed to prepare it for spinning.) It was my favorite of all the hunks o' fiber that we dyed at Yarn School. I'm almost certain that I remember squeezing it into my suitcase. What if it popped out and fell on the floor at the Howard Johnson's in Kansas City when I had to stay over Sunday night? I'm desolate. Wellllll, not really. Disappointed, though.

I'm consoled by this yarn. I dyed it this weekend under the direction of two Mad Dye Scientists and who happen to be the owners of Mountain Colors Yarns, Diana McKay and Leslie Taylor. !!! This is half of the 1 pound of Mountain Colors 4/8's wool that I dyed in these colors--around 1000 wonderful yards. You know, it kind of reminds me of another yarn I adore... (If you follow that yarn link, scroll down to the bottom. I'm talking about the STR, not the Anabel Fox, because though my feelings for the Anabel Fox Donegal are deep, they are of a different, tweedy variety of yarn-love. End of aside.) Maybe I should call this yarn Chicken Hawk instead of Rough-Legged Hawk.

Yarn Today, a yarn shop here in my little valley, hosted a fiber retreat on Friday and Saturday. I was able to take the Mountain Colors dye workshop on Friday and a class on Saturday on entrelac knitting. Two of my fondest knitting desires have been realized: 1) I've learned how to knit backwards, and 2)I had the creators of the most beautiful hand-painted yarn of all time (Mountain Colors Red-Tail Hawk--What can I say, I like the hawks...) coach me on how to find color palettes I love and then replicate them in fiber. I'm feeling completely spoiled--first Yarn School and now this!

Leslie and Diana had a quick and brilliant way to get us to dive right in with the colors: They handed out magazines and asked us to pick out a picture that spoke to us and use it as our inspiration for dying. First we did a test skein of their Weaver's Wool, decided what worked and what did not, then dyed the two giant skeins of 4/8's. I don't really like my test skein. It reminds me a little too much of some variegated Red Heart yarn that I crocheted with when I was about 11. Maybe I'd like it better knit up, maybe not. I'm very glad that Diana and Leslie had us do the practice run, because I would have been peeved to end up with 1000 yards of early-80's Red Heart look-alike yarn. Anyway, I decided that I needed to concentrate on the reds and golds and leave all blue out of the equation. I also lightened concentration of the the darker dyes (the browns and purples) and used more of the gold.

What shall I do with it? Clapotis, perhaps?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

yarn school aftermath

My living room looks like a sheep exploded (well, just the fleece). I got back from Yarn School Monday night. Today is Wednesday and I still haven't managed to put much away. Yes, I said Monday night. I was supposed to get home Sunday night but I got stuck in Kansas City. Until United Airlines does a serious overhaul of their customer service policies, I would advise anyone reading this to avoid United whenever possible. I understand that delays and breakdowns happen, but there's no excuse for the rudeness with which I and the passengers around me were treated. Harrumph. Now, back to something more pleasant...

What happened there in beautiful downtown Harveyville, Kansas, you ask? We dyed, we spun, we knit, and we talked--a lot. It was wonderful. I was able to obsessively pursue whatever wooly endeavor my little heart pleased. The only down side was that I missed my chicklets so much my heart ached. I missed Eric, too--but I wasn't worried about him developing any abandonment issues. I know, 4 days isn't going to scar my kids for life, but still. When I told Eric how badly I missed the kids, he said that I just need to go places by myself more often. The idea is starting to grow on me. :)

I was trying to organize things for the family so they wouldn't suffer too greatly in my absence [said with a completly straight face] right up until the moment I ran out the door Thursday morning. Consequently, I forgot a few items--like my yarn and fiber for the swap, an extra bag for the fiber I would get at Yarn School, and MY CAMERA! We shall just have to be content with a few after-the-fact pictures, and here they are:

I dyed...

I spun...

Okay, there's only one picture here, but I really did spend a lot of time spinning. I had this Spunky Club fiber started on my wheel and I was determined to finish it off rather than flit around doing 10 yards here and there of other stuff. One of the reasons I really wanted to go to Yarn School was the chance to devote myself to a singular goal with out distraction. After I finished this 4 ounces of Shetland wool, I did mess around with some Navajo plying and making novelty yarn, but I didn't produce much of anything. It was fun, though. :D

And I knit...

I met some marvelous people. I learned some very interesting things. And that fiber up there isn't even the half of what I came home with. I had to mail the rest home to myself because I didn't have room in my bags. Ah, PeeWee awakens from her nap. Good timing. I was about to start blathering on about United Airlines again.

It's good to be home.