Thursday, August 24, 2006

When I got home, my roving of the month club selection was sitting in the mailbox. I gotta say, for $15 a month, this is a GREAT deal. For fifteen bucks, I got 4 oz. of THIS:

spunky cool rain on spindle

It's South African Fine, which is supposedly similar to merino. I like it, I think. I am finding it interesting to spin and a little more finicky than merino or BFL. I've got about half a pound of Corriedale in the stash that wants for spinning but I haven't gotten to it yet so not sure how it compares. The roving was a teeny bit felted during the dye process, so I am predrafting a lot. It's... "stickier" than the merino and BFL that I've spun before, in that the fibers are really wanting to stick together instead of draft smoothly. It seems to want to be a heavier yarn. Fortunately, I emptied the Bosworth midi a few days ago! The colorway is called "cool rain" and when spun up has this wonderful pastel cotton candy quality.

Worked a bit on the laceweight merino and had a nice full copp. Things were getting wobbly so I wound it off.

merino thistle lace
My hope is that this will eventually be laceweight 2 ply. It may end up being more like fingering weight once I ply it out. We'll have to see.

I feel like I'm so close to hacking another level of spinning. There're so many things I'd like to improve like not overspinning the hell out of things and being perfectly even. It's a process, I know. I'm trying to spin a little every day. Maybe I'll figure it out. I should probably take a few classes. :-P

My So Called Scarf from Sheep In The City:

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I think I'm gonna not participate in Secret Pal 9. A break will be good. This round was more difficult than I expected it to be - I was spoiling my SP8 and also I was an angel for someone from SP7 so doing both simultaneously and trying really hard to do nice things for both of them. I wanted to do so much more and a really good job. I just worry that I didn't. I also feel kinda bad because I don't think I was the best spoilee this round, either - I feel like I could have been way more chatty and visibly thankful and excited. I just, dropped the ball. There was so much going on. All the travel, the family drama, but that's really no excuse to be rude, you know?

For the record? I LOVED my Secret Pal, she had great taste and spoiled me and it was wonderful and I'm so thankful. Thank you SP8. You were awesome. I'm sorry I was a big flaky thing.

I'll join back up for 10, hopefully and will be back to normal. When something you normally really enjoy becomes stressful because of life circumstances, it's really a wise idea to step back and take a break from it until it's no longer stressful and can be a joy again. And I do think that giving or receiving, people deserve my best.

I started turning the heel of the #2 mom sock today. I think I'll have another FO by the end of the week. Yay!

Oh, and, another little thing. I am now back in the ranks of the gainfully employed. I've been keeping it under my hat for the most part, not wanting to jinx things, but I have been looking for work for a while now. I got offered a job yesterday and I start next week. High end food porn retail, a good re-entry into the working world after so many years of being a stay home mom, and I like the shop and the people I will be working with. The pay is great and I'll be right next to the Farmer's Market, working in the Grove. Which mean, I can eat puerco pibil at Loteria! every day if I want it.

We're going on a cruise to Mexico with my inlaws for their 50th wedding anniversary next weekend. They are taking the whole family. Because of some legal issues with my youngest's custody arrangement, she can't go and we're just heartbroken. She'll be staying behind while we go on the cruise. We arranged for her to join some friends on a trip to the Grand Canyon and she's quite excited, but it's been a real issue as far as the rest of the family is concerned. That's part of what was taking my attention away from the rest of my life for so long in addition to all the family draaaama and health stuff. I've been trying to track down someone who doesn't really want to be found, work around the state dept's requirements for passports for a minor and failing miserably at both. Anyone know a crackerjack private investigator who will work for knitted things?

Truly, it is up and it is down and then it is up and then back down. One must simply try to balance.
It's Knitimation.

The Knitties (actually its' the Stabilisers) in Do The Brane

Yarn stop action animation. Shiny.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hubris is.... thinking that one can learn to spin singles suitable for 2 ply laceweight using a brand new spindle and silk/cashmere roving. AHAHAHAHAHAHA. What one ends up with is flyaway bits of fluff sticking everywhere, a dent in the rug where the spindle keeps falling, very uneven singles, laughing children, scandalized cats and a husband who silently but obviously puts out the bad word jar where you can see it as if to say, "Those words you keep saying. They are naughty. You owe the jar a lot of money."

How do you know it's hubris? When you wind it off and put the fancy roving away, then try the merino that was previously putting the "drop" back in drop spindle and giving you fits. And find it to be easy by comparison.

We'll try the fancy stuff another time.
I'm thinking that I might re-think the "thistle" merino roving I've got. I had spun up a 3 ply DK weight which I haven't been too happy with. It wasn't the right yarn for the roving. I'd initially thought I'd make a little cardi with it, but as I've been spinning, I've been thinking "No." and so the roving got set aside until I figured out what I wanted to do. But now... after my chat with Morgaine yesterday at the show... and looking at my new Bossie... my brain is going "Hmmmmmmm". There were some handspun/handknit shawls on display yesterday which were positively inspiring. I got home and the new IK was in the mail box and lo and behold, the Swallowtail Shawl is only about 475 yards of laceweight.... I could manage that much on a spindle, given enough time.

Yep. I think it's official. The thistle is being repurposed. It wants to be a shawl. It wants to be laceweight. It will be so much happier that way. Doesn't this look like it wants to be a delicate swallowtail shawl knit out of laceweight 2 ply?
thistle roving

There's something really exciting about contemplating a big pile of roving and seeing not only the yarn but having a clear vision of what you are going to turn that yarn into. Knowing it's not going to be a pile of miniskeins that you never knit up. Also? I have 2 pounds of the thistle which means I can work at laceweight, singles and 2 plying, I can mess some up and have it turn out like crap until I get the hang of it, and still have enough for a shawl. So it's really a fortuitous thing.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Santa Monica Fabulous Fiber Fest was FAAAABULOUS. I was good. I got exactly what I went in to get. One Bosworth featherweight spindle in purpleheart and a small sample of luxury fiber (cashmere/tussah silk) to spin with it. I was very good and did not give in to any other temptation and believe me, I'd like a medal. I walked past tencel, bamboo, soy silk, bombyx and suri alpaca. All manner of shiny. Damn skippy. Go me.

The new spindle, and roving. It has the most amazing sheen, from the silk, and is SO soft.

cashere singles
I'm getting a very fine single, though (here against the quarter for size comparison) so I'm thinking I can still get something approximating lace weight 2 ply. We'll see how the yardage comes out once it's all done and then I'll know what I can make.

Morgaine at Carolina Homespun showed me how to make an improvised lazy kate with two knitting needles, toilet roll tubes and a cardboard box. So two plying should be a little less fraught. Between that and my pvc niddy noddy from Moze, I feel very DIY. It just struck me today as I was showing J my spun miniskeins today - HOLY COW, I am making YARN. Real yarn. Some of it may be imperfectly plied or spun, I do get the occasional slub or slight variation in thickness, but... YARN. You can knit with it! I cannot, btw, speak highly enough of Morgaine and the folks over at Carolina Homespun. Not only do they have a fabulous selection of *everything*, but they're really accessible and happy to show you anything you want to know, answer questions, etc. They have my very loyal business every year and when I go to buy a wheel, I know who I am getting it from.

I met Marnie MacLean at the show. She is tiny and looks like a Victorian fairy. I don't know why I was expecting her to be eight feet tall and wrapped in spangles that screamed "FABULOUS KNITWEAR DESIGNER HERE" but maybe that's what happens when you really like someone's work. They get to be larger than life in your brain. I imagine the Yarn Harlot is just a regular sized knitter too. I guess I'll find out when she does her next signing in LA, right?

IF you're not to busy tonight, get on over to Synergy Cafe in Culver City. Bellydancers will be there. So will I.
4455 Overland Ave., Culver City CA lots of parking on Farragut Ave and behind the cafe.

Also, The Strand is playing at Bar Sinister up in Hollywood later on tonight. I might show up there too. If I'm not too wrung out from bellydancer wrangling (akin to cat herding, but jinglier.)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Azalia's Yarn Store in Culver City on Washington is having a 50% off all yarn in the store sale. Which, as I was out running errands, caused me to nearly wreck the Toyota. I saw the big 50% OFF ALL YARN IN THE STORE sign and careened to a screeching halt and thank goodness I had the presence of mind to pull over as I did so. Sadly, they were all sold out of Rio De La Plata which was what I'd hoped to find (half off is significant and I've been wanting to buy some) and they have no sock yarn at all. Don't carry it. Thank the freakin gods. So I did not have a yarn frenzy at all. Not even a tiny one. The store carries a lot of those 'designer' Italian yarns as well as a lot of stuff from Bernat and Berocco. It's an interesting mix of stock. A lot of blends, heavy on the synthetic fibers and novelty yarns with sparklies and bins of eyelash stuff. It isn't really a shop for the fiber snob or a more traditional knitter who likes basic yarns in natural fibers. Which would be me. The store closes August 26th and is moving to a new location up on Palms Blvd. I will probably continue to do the bulk of my yarn whoring a la A Mano Yarn Center, but Azalias is always worth checking out just in case and in this case, 50% off, kids.

Speaking of A Mano Yarn Center? I was just in there today. They have in a whole new fabulous shipment of Socks That Rock. Danger, Will Robinson. Danger. It looks like Shannita and crew are going gangbusters with the business and I'm so happy to see it. It's a really comfortable place and everyone is so friendly and helpful, just awesome about helping you if you have questions. They've got an amazing collection of yarns for sale, rovings, spindles, novelties.... And did I mention, STR? Yeah. You know you want some. Go get some. Just not all of it please, I want some too.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I haven't just been too busy to knit, I've also completely neglected my budding re-entry into the pottery biz. But that changed this week and I'm leaping back into it. These are another test, prefire, slightly more textured underglaze and going for a redder "henna" tint. We'll see how it fires up - glaze colors can be tricky, though the products I'm using are pretty damn predictable. Based on an indian bridal henna.

indian lid

indian teapot 1

As is always the case when there is a huge period of time when I don't pick up a jac bottle, I'm not 100% thrilled but know that I will be happier with subsequent designs. The teapots, being 3 dimensional, lend themselves well to the application of this type of embellishment. Kiln today and I think I'm picking up a bunch of tiles for trivets. I have pre-orders, which makes me happy. Etsy soon!

I also seem to be over my finishing slump as far as knitting, and finished up the first Embossed Leaves sock from the pair I am making for my mother's birthday. Now I just have to get the other one done by Sept. 27th. I really love how the Bearfoot knit up, can't wait to make myself a pair with that skein in "lupine" that I've got in stash!

Monday, August 14, 2006


and now:
melon smile

Today is Em's 12th birthday! There is much celebration, Chez Pirate.

Sunday, August 13, 2006



Dear sweet creeping zombie jeezus, I thought I'd never finish them.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Okay, here it is. My favorite picture of my grandmother:

It was taken some time in 1913 or 1914. Not exactly sure. The little coat and bonnet were from Paris, Grandma's Aunt Mae had gone there on a trip with Uncle Bert and they brought back the outfit with them. I'm told it was silk and fabulous and trimmed with handmade lace and all hand sewn. I've suddenly got all inspired to scan in all my old family pics and stick them onto a CD for family.

And this:
Rain and granparents

This is really my mental image of Gran. SHe usually had on a 1950's style housedress like that, with pearls, and her hair was always done up and she never came down without her face creamed and made up. Sometimes she'd let me sit at her little vanity and play with her cosmetics. She had blue eyeshadow and a million pairs of shoes - one for each outfit. And a matching handbag. My Gran was a real lady. I also like this picture because it shows my Grandpa Bill, who had a kind face and who I loved deeply. I'm a little younger and thinner here, and So-chan is LOTS younger here, but the hair is the same.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fish With Sticks asked for a pic of my favorite grandparent. Or actually, for my favorite picture of my favorite grandparent. I'll have to scan in my *favorite* picture of her sometime, but here's one that I love because it is recent and multigenerational.

grandma and pirate

That's my Gran, Clara Aubrey, also known as the Tea Pourer Emeritus, also just known as Grandma. She used to play a mean game of Parcheesi, was a needleworker without compare, and brewed a nice pot of tea. She is the most unconditional love I have ever known in my life. She doesn't remember me when I go to see her now, age and time do mean things like that, but she's still gracious and wonderful and her essence hasn't changed very much.

She's had gorgeous, thick, wavy silver hair for as long as I've known her, which she used to wear up in an elegant upsweep. I secretly cherish the hope that as I age, I'll have hair just like hers.

I should knit her something.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I declare I'm gonna get kicked out of every knitters webring I belong to if I don't start posting in this thing more often. Things have been *busy*, kids. Crazy busy. Traveling to the putrid arse end of nowhereModesto, busy. Visiting family, busy. Grandpa having a heart attack, busy. Also, I am broke and unable to buy yarn, because of all the gas I had to buy going to Modesto twice and Tulare once. Fun! I am really, really sure that I loathe Modesto. Not that it was in doubt? But now I'm really sure. It is a frightening place.

I'm stalled on every knitting project I have going except that black purl sock - I finally turned the heel and got into the leg and hope to be done with it before the holidays. I am wondering if my stressiness of late has anything to do with my lack of knitting time? It is good therapy.

We've been running around a little bit nuts trying to sort out some visa and passport issues for the youngest member of the pirate crew, because we are supposed to be joining the inlaws on a cruise to Mexico for Labor Day. Well today the bottom line was handed down from on high, she can't go. I am caught in this horrible state department catch 22 because of some legal issues with custody and so the youngest member of the pirate crew is off to the Grand Canyon with My Handsome Cabin Boy and our extended chosen family for 5 days while we are on board a boat to Mexico with the inlaws. It is for the inlaws big stellar anniversary and they are very kindly taking all of us and so I really *am* sorry that the youngest is going to miss the family fun and her grandparents are so disappointed that she's not coming. But there isn't a thing I can do about it. Rules is rules. She will have a grand time at the Canyon with everyone and if it weren't for such an important family occasion, I'd be jealous.

On the Middle East, the war, Israel, Lebanon and people trying to blow up airplanes in the UK. Stoppit. Okay? Everyone. I don't care who, why, for what reason, just STOP KILLING EACH OTHER and that goes for the US too. Human beings are killing other human beings and that is wrong. I don't care who started it. I. Don't. Care. Nobody deserves to be bombed, murdered, killed, tortured, everyone deserves to live in peace, there is no such thing as an eye for an eye because then we're all just blind and STOP IT. Okay? Knock it the hell off. We all bleed. We all die. Why do we persist in killing each other? That is my opinion.

Mr. Yarnpirate and Machina Candeo will be performing at the LA County Fair on Sept 23/24 (which is also our 10th anniversary weekend, so I guess we're celebrating later on in October) so if you're going to the fair, go then and see some pretty fire spinners.

I will be at the Fall Ojai Pirate Faire that same Saturday the 23rd, so if you're going to see pirates in Ojai, stop by and see me. I'll be with the Port Royal Privateers. Auditioning to see if they'll let me join the clubhouse and get a seekrut pyerat decoder ring. YARRRR.

If you haven't yet? You need to check out Deadwood on HBO. I cannot tell you how much my vocabulary has increased since I began watching that show. I will never again lack for something charming to say during rush hour on the 405.

OH. I know. Picture meme. THIS IS FUN. Leave me a comment and tell me something about my life you want to see a picture of. I'll post it in my blog. You do the same on yours. Can be fiber, anything, whatever you want to see. Have at, kids.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I am thrilled because Mr. Putter and Tabby finally have a knitting adventure.

I am a big Mr. Putter and Tabby fan. It's about darn time they worked knitting into the series!

In other news, I have accomplished exactly f*ck all with yarn this week.