Friday, August 31, 2007

It is going to be another searing day in Southern California. The weather is insane and it makes the spinning and the knitting of woolly things a mite uncomfortable. I stayed up late last night and spun up 2 oz of Spunky roving in "Walkabout". I hope to get the other 2 oz spun up tonight. Maybe even plied.

I can't find my camera cord, woe, but I have pictures of the absolutely gorgeous rose colored rovings I spun up from Funky Carolina to post eventually. I've renamed the yarn "Rose Congou" because it reminds me of tea. I think it shall become something for a tea friend.

I also finished sock #1 of the Charade pair and cast on for #2. Yay!

I had an endometrial biopsy a few weeks ago, part of my ever fun struggle with the girl bits (uterine cancer runs on my mom's side of the family - both mom and maternal grandma had it) and the biopsy came back negative, so now I know that it is just the usual garden variety crap that I've always had, causing me no end of misery. I am so relieved. I do this every couple of years just to keep an eye on things. The condition I do have a firm DX on can sometimes mimic uterine cancer symptoms, so we're pro-active about making sure that we're not missing anything. It stinks and I hate it when I'm on that table, but wow am I grateful to have such great care and a doctor committed to early detection. Every time I get the phone call saying the biopsy is negative, I feel as if I got my life back. I am now older than both my grandmother and my mother were when they developed symptoms and had hysterectomies. Because of good treatment and catching it early, they both survived and there was no recurrence of cancer at all for either of them. I still have my mom and I'm so grateful for her. Have I dodged that bullet? I'm not taking it for granted. I won't let my daughters take it for granted either.

If you haven't already, you really should find out your family history about breast, uterine and ovarian cancers. It is so important. Early detection is key. I didn't find out about my mother or grandmother until I was in the throes of my own gyn misery. My mom never told me and I was very small when she had her surgery and treatment, so I didn't remember it at all.

Ask. It may save your life.

Pictures and Etsy goodness later, I'm off to celebrate.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Well yesterday's spin in went swimmingly! We had a total of 7 people show up, four with wheels, one spindler, another gal who got to learn on a lender spindle, and one knitter, who by the end of the afternoon was making noises about wanting to learn to spin and get a wheel for herself. *grin* It was fabulous.

group shot

We met at the cafe that I work at, and the fiber began flying. I haven't had such a relaxing, fun afternoon in a long, long time.

Some of the gals asked me to make a resource post - and give URLs for my favorite fiber pushers, so I'm going to do that here.

Spunky Eclectic I belong to the roving of the month club and really like it. She has great colorways (even when I don't like them, they're interesting and give me a spinning/learning challenge) and varies the fibers a lot so you get a chance to work with many different things. For $15 a month, I consider it a great deal.

Funky Carolina On Etsy. I've only spun up one of her rovings and am in LOVE. The colors are so beautiful and saturated. I've got one more in stash and will definitely be buying more from her as soon as I can. A joy to spin and a nice selection of fibers on her site.

Dragonfibers On Etsy. Gorgeous colorways.

Zero Markers On Etsy. Beautifully prepared rovings and top. Also pearl stitch markers.

String Theory Fiber Arts My friend Reesa's shop on Etsy. She does insanely beautiful colorways. "Rainwood" is actually named after me so I'm kind of squeeful about that. She's a really gifted fiber artist and her stuff is great. She sells yarn, too.

Carolina Homespun I bought both my Bosworth spindles and my Schacht here. Morgaine taught me to spin on a spindle at the Fabulous Fiber Fest. She's got a very extensive selection of spinning Stuff and they're good people.

Stick and Stone I got my Kromski here. Nice selection of basic (and not so basic!) fibers, plus an assortment of wheels, spindles, cards, tools, whotsits, whoosits, and bits and odds and ends of anything a handspinner might want. Plus? They're local to LA and woman owned! Support brick and mortar local business!

Copper Moose I get a lot of my basic fiber from these folks. If you want a pound of Corriedale or three pounds of BFL to play with or try dying, this is the place to go. Quality fiber at great prices.

A Mano Yarn Center I've gotten some nice spinning fiber from the gals at A Mano. They sell Chasing Rainbows, Chameleon Colorworks and some other fiber artists, as well as spindles, the occasional spinning wheel and one of the best selections of yarn I've ever seen. Another LA brick and mortar woman owned business that should be ardently supported.

Sachi's Purls she has great colorways and her fiber is really nicely prepared. I'll be buying from her again. I haven't spun up what I got from her but I can't wait!

These fiber artists are next on my list to try:

Griffin Dye Works
DharmaFey's Etsy store
Terra Bella Spun Etsy store
Actual Size Creations Etsy store

Hope this helps with your buying frenzy!

The next Sit And Spin At Synergy is going to be on Saturday, September 29th from 12-4. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

SQUEEEEE!!

MINE.

Mine.

Yesterday I went and picked up my Kromski Sonata at Stick and Stone in Van Nuys! I am SO happy. There is just a redonkulous amount of squee going on here Chez YP. Mom ordered me the jumbo flyer and my case is also en route. I'll be able to pick them up next week. *poings*

Today, don't forget, Spin In at Synergy Cafe and Lounge in Culver City - the Sepulveda location NOT the Overland location.

4437 Sepulveda Blvd at Braddock
Culver City
12-4pm

Great coffee, tasty sandwiches and salads, delectable pastries... it's a nifty place to hang out and spin. Come join us! There will be door prizes....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Hate Project.

Because a picture is worth more than a thousand words.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bat's Day In The Fun Park

group shot

It was time again for our annual trek to Disneyland, for Bat's Day In The Fun Park. There in the pic you have Miss E, the ex Mr. YP, The Handsome Cabin Boy, then there's me, Miss S, our friend the nanosquid and miss L. We were a jolly crew!

I came equipped for long lines and time spent waiting for other people to come off crazy rides. This was just before lunch and I think Miss E was a little hungry. Miss S, being a vegetarian, wasn't trying to gnaw off my other arm, thank goodness.

disney knitter

I actually got quite a bit done on the Charade sock. Well, a bit for me anyway. I am a slow knitter to be sure. I officially *love* the short row sock heel technique that I tried here. No holes. Nice and tight. Tutorial, here. It's nice to refine one's technique a little.

ears

We are doing a bit of a Ravelry/SnB/random fiber nuts meet up and spin in in Culver City, this Saturday the 25th.

Synergy Cafe
4437 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City CA
12-4pm

If you're local, come join us!

Other than that, I'm feeling a bit like I'm being nibbled to death by ducks these days, but that's all minor. Everything important is really binjali so I shan't complain.

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's been kind of an intensely busy week. Wow. Has it ever.

We had an auspicious natal celebration, wherein Ms. E the younger celebrated that I haven't sold her to gypsies her 13th birthday in grand style.

Em at Pride "the big bag"

Not exactly grand style. Alas. Her friends flaked on our day out, the car broke down (twice), we all got sick from sushi, our movie tickets were wrong and we didn't get cake until nearly midnight when the birthday was over, but, we did our best and she's another year older. It is hard to believe that my baby is 13. I've enjoyed every step of the journey, and a friend dug up an old picture of Em at about 3, on her way to Pride in SF. I hadn't seen it before. Her smile hasn't changed a bit.

Yesterday involved medical procedures which are distinctly unfun and which I will not go into here. Suffice it to say, one would think the doctor would be obliged to buy me dinner first. Now I adore my doctor and trust her implicitly, but if I'd known what was coming I'd have ordered the lobster. Just sayin. I was traumatized. My driver and I decided that rather than go home and cry, some therapy was in order.

outsideoutside 2Combo #1

There was Jamaican food therapy at this little place we found around the corner from Wildfiber in Santa Monica. Because obviously what a girl needs to do after medical trauma is to go fondle cashmere and then eat spicy jerk chicken and fried plantains until she feels completely better. So that is exactly what we did.

Just desserts

Yes, that is two ply Mongolian cashmere laceweight, thank you. 400 yards. I am making myself something delicious in a scarf. Wildfiber has an entire section of Mongolian cashmere, in addition to the infamous Wall O Koigu, and now they are carrying handspun from people like Twisted Sisters, Tanglewood, Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks... it's EVIL, I tell you. That store is fibery evil in the very best way.

We also ran over to Stick and Stone in Van Nuys, where I found my spinning wheel!! I have settled on a Kromski Sonata and arranged to make a downpayment on it today. My mom is going to be here on Friday, next, and will pay for it then. I am SO full of the squee but will not properly express this until it is home in my living room. Also a Kromski mini niddy-noddy and this Spindlewood spindle leaped into my hands and demanded to come home. Because I needed the retail therapy. Which is what I said about the cashmere, and really, that excuse was getting thin, but I bought them anyway. I will not be going to Fiber Fest as a result. Self control. Heh. Right.

Then we came home and discovered the kittens in the midst of certain activities were Very Naughty and involved some singles and a roll of paper towels, and also found this therapeutic in the extreme.



There is knitting going on. Charade is coming along nicely, though it has become the "Waiting Room sock" because I seem to knit on it a lot in waiting rooms or on exam tables waiting for doctors to come in lately. It is calming, and I love it, even if I am not loving the flashing spiraling stripe that wants to plague me.

charade pre-heel

I think we'll have a heel today. Test results from yesterday's happy fun torture in 3 weeks. Hopefully I'll have the pair finished by then and will not need a waiting room sock anymore.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Love it, Like it, Absolutely NO WAY.

From Bella Knitting, via Grumperina, a most interesting meme!

What are your limits when it comes to creative pursuits? Mine, in alphabetical order:

Love it! This is my thing.
cardmaking, ceramics, collage, cooking, embroidery, henna art, knitting (lace and socks), mixed media, paper art, pottery, spinning

I do or have dabbled in it.
baking, beading, calligraphy, celtic knotwork, crazy quilting, crochet, cross stitch, dread falls, felting, fimo, gardening, mosaic, ren garb, stamping, wire, writing, painting in watercolor and acrylic

I'll give it a try.
book binding, calligraphy, card making, dyeing, glass bead making, graphic design, lampwork, printing, shibori, woodcuts, weaving

I've got absolutely no interest.
applique, balloon animals, basket weaving, candle making, casting, corsetry, crewel, doll houses, glass blowing, lace making other than knitted lace, macrame, marquetry, millinery, miniatures, needlepoint, pattern creating, pattern drafting, photography, rug hooking, rug knotting, string art, stuffed toy making, soap making, tatting, wood carving, woodworking

How about you? Where do you draw the line?

This month's spunky club offering in "celebration" has taught me that I will benefit greatly from acquiring a copy of Deb Menz's book about spinning with color. There is so much I don't know!

spunky celebration bundle

I am interested in seeing what other folks come up with this month. I spun it on the wheel and then plied it navajo style off the bobbin with the Schacht Hi Lo. This let me preserve the colors a little bit, and it has been claimed by my oldest who wants me to make her an earflap hat out of it. Ok. One earflap hat coming up. With pom poms.

As ever, beautifully prepared fiber which is a joy to spin.

Friday, August 10, 2007

roving buns

Etsy Friday! Funky Carolina rovings in Can't Elope and Rosie Rock. Also a little twist of something extra and unknown. Gorgeous. Can't wait to spin them up.

Today's visit to Little India was very exciting. I was minding my own business in a sari shop, knitting away and waiting for a friend to get fitted, when a little old Indian lady snatched Charade out of my hands. She began squealing, "Oh! Knitting! I know what to do!" and proceeded to start knitting merrily away. Except she's never actually used dpns before, whipped a needle out and dropped a bunch of stitches. Fortunately it was on the st st bottom of the foot side. I politely took the sock away and fixed it. She looked like she really wanted another go at it, once I was done with the repairs. We compromised, I showed her how to use the dpns and kept my hands on the sock, she watched and didn't get the sock back. I don't know if everyone was happy, but my sock didn't lose any more stitches, so that's ok. Everyone in Little India was very interested in the sock and wanted to know if I was having a baby. For the record? No. Absolutely not. I was having samosas, masala dosas, vegetarian curries and chapati, but I am NOT having any baby.

Best Samosa Ever Masala Dosa Avial
I've been having a lot of trouble with the kittens "helping" me while I spin. They particularly like to jump onto the soft bags of rovings and make biscuits and roll around and play. I was beginning to despair - there isn't a lot of space in my house where kittens can't go, but I have discovered the perfect place to store roving while I am spinning it. I can simply reach over, take a length of fiber and keep spinning. It is right next to the wheel and "spinning corner", I can watch TV and it is really perfect.

Bike is useful.

I am so glad that in addition to saving gas and money, my bicycle also allows me to save fiber. That is what I call multi tasking.

I am about halfway through August's Spunky Eclectic roving of the month offering. I decided to use this batch as "practice" roving on the wheel, since I am not too nuts about the colorway. It's Shetland and spins up easily - I'm still having trouble drafting evenly with the wheel and this is not a fussy, complex fiber so makes it easier.

spunky august singles

The color has softened a lot as I've spun it up, but I still don't know what I'm going to do with it. I am thinking perhaps a felted bowl or a bag. There's a LOT of color going on there in 4 little ounces of fiber!

I'm off to Little India today! Curry for lunch, helping a friend pick out her Inara togs for DragonCon, perhaps picking up a floaty blouse or three for myself. A little nervous about driving all the way down to Long Beach (this is way out of my comfort zone) but I think it will be fun once I get there.

I was going to do an Etsy Friday post, but find myself short on time. Maybe tomorrow will be Etsy Saturday instead!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I really, really, really seem to gravitate towards blues and purples when I buy fiber for spinning. For anything, really. Something in me definitely craves those colors.

This roving from Dragonfibers is amazing.

dragonfibers

She's taking the proceeds from her Etsy store and using them to pay for some vet surgery for her cat. This fiber is amazing, it's a merino/silk blend and it's really gorgeous. If all her stuff is this nice, I'll definitely be going back to her store. I really think it's cool when crafters do something like this, have a sale or make something to raise money for an animal or child's care. I've had to raise money for vet bills before. I sold felted purses. A lot of folks bought them and it really helped. So you know, if you have a few extra bucks and you feel like doing something nice for a knitter and her cat, check out her Etsy shop and see if any of the offerings appeal.

Charade is coming along nicely:
charade

This is a fantastic sock pattern. I have adapted it to toe up and had to add some stitches because I have big ole feet and prefer a more loosely fitting sock anyway. It's a great stitch pattern, I like it a lot in the yarn, though I am not crazy about the spiral pooling I'm getting - I'd have preferred something a little more evenly variegated. I can't decide if I want to rip back and start over with a different needle size or stitch count. I think probably I will just deal with the spiral and keep knitting. I am in love with the TOFUtsies yarn. Serious crack, y'all.

Speaking of crack, have you seen the Lime and Violet Daily Chum? That is some crack right there. You should definitely check it out.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Secret Pal 11 Questionaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? - My favorite yarns to knit with are Socks that Rock, Tofutsies, Koigu, merino, bamboo and other regrettably luxe fibers. I hate acrylics.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? - I have a fab needle case that a friend of mine made, it's fantastic. I have a pitcher for my long straights, so it is sort of storage decor.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? - I have been knitting since sometime between 2003/2004. I started my knit blog in late 2004, but I think I was knitting for a while before that. I taught myself using tutorials on the internet and books. I would consider myself to be an intermediate knitter overall, with some skillsets that are advanced and other areas that I am still a rank beginner. I have a lot left to learn about this craft! That's one of the things I love about it.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? - I do! You can look it up using my email address or my name. :-D

5. What's your favorite scent? - It really depends on the context. I love warm vanilla sugar body lotion. I like food scents for lotions and soaps. I'm not overly fond of floral sweet scents, though I like lavender a lot. For the most part, as far as perfumes go, "subtle" is my thing. I like a few BPAL scents, Tamora is the one I wear on special occasions, and I *love* Demeter's Sugar Cookie spritz layered over warm vanilla sugar on a daily basis.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? - I have a terrible sweet tooth. I love chocolate. I'm allergic to nuts so mostly I just like plain old chocolate, though I am rather fond of Dagoba Roseberry or Lavender bars.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? - I spin, I like papercrafts like origami and collage, I embroider and I do henna art. I'm also a ceramics artist when I can find the time.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) - Goth, industrial, middle eastern, Indian, modern, I have very eclectic musical tastes. I love this Pandora station created by a DJ friend of mine.

http://pandora.com/stations/f74b9b6db01d6d29d6b1f28d1711b14568f6545495cedc47

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? - I am all over the map as far as color goes. I seem to gravitate toward deep rich jewel tones in hues of lapis, tanzanite and emerald/malachite or rose colorways when it comes to sock yarns. I wear a lot of black, except when I'm not wearing black, and then it goes towards greens and some pink or purple. My Goth sensibilities have definitely influenced my wardrobe, though I do not particularly try to dress "goth" at all these days, it's just whatever I feel like wearing. Age and motherhood have slammed the lid on the coffin of fabulous lacy or leather outfits.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? - Two cats, two kittens, one dog and two teenage daughters who I am single parenting.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? -- Scarves, yes. Hats, no. Mitts/fingerless gloves, yes, mittens no. Ponchos, no.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? -- Socks. Absolutely hands down, I love to knit socks more than anything. Lace is a close second.

13. What are you knitting right now? -- I've got Pomotamus and Charade on the needles right now, as well as Brooke's Column of Leaves and Clapotis.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes, I love to!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I really prefer bamboo needles, or birch. I am not a fan of the uber expensive rosewood dpns that are available, I snap them too easily in the smaller sizes.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? No, but I found a DIY build your own swift online and am working on that.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? Um... a year and a half?

18. What is your favorite holiday? I adore Dia De Los Muertos and I love Thanksgiving because of good family memories

19. Is there anything that you collect? Dia De Los Muertos skullies. Otherwise I've kidn of stopped collecting, since I am going for a more minimalist approach to "stuff" in general.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Books and mags: I subscribe to IK, I'd like to get my hands on the Deb Menz Color In SPinning book and No Sheep For You by Amy Singer, but otherwise I'm pretty good with my book collection.

Yarn: I'm dying to try some Yarntini. I really like her Appletini colorway. I'm also really wanting to try Fleece Artist sock yarn or the sea silk. But these are very expensive and I am eventually going to find them, I am sure.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I'm interested in tackling Fair Isle. I'm still also thinking I'd like to knit a sweater, but waffling about it.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? - I wear a size 9.

23. When is your birthday? Dec. 30

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? Yes! I'm rainwood on Ravelry.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ravelry: The SO Not Helping

Why did no one tell me about The Loopy Ewe? Cider Moon? Yarntini? Sweet Georgia Yarn? Fearless Fibers? Tofutsies?? I mean, I know, I know, I've heard all about them on Lime and Violet, but why did no one TELL ME?

Probably because I would get all rabid with the rent money and yarn, probably, I am thinking, is why nobody told me.

Have learned that me going in to a yarn store to buy a gift for "someone else" is kind of like walking up to a crack dealer and buying crack for "someone else" when you're a crack addict. Which, I am not a crack addict, but I think there has to be a parallelism of structure going on here or else how do I explain the Tofutsies and the Malabrigo?

I have come to admit that I am powerless over sock yarn. I am thinking that I might need to work some steps of recovery around sock yarn, except not so much with that, thank you, because I think I can quit any time and honestly, I don't really have a problem. At all.

Lime And Violet: The So REALLY Not Helping Yeah. Thanks, guys.

Also, spinning. I am actually producing something resembling yarn on the loaner wheel now that I've talked the kittens out of stealing my roving every five seconds:

beaverslide

It isn't the *best* yarn, it's thick and thin and not on purpose yarn. It's overspun and a mess yarn. But it's yarn and I made it!

And to sum up... kitten.

relaxed

Friday, August 03, 2007

I borrowed a spinning wheel last night from one of my new Ravelry friends (who coincidentally knows other people I know, making it a small world kind of thing) and am finding the whole process very frustrating. It's single treadle, somehow I keep reversing the wheel and unspinning what I've just spun and it goes SO fast so I can't draft as I go. And then if I try to slow it down, we're back to reversing the wheel by mistake. Frustrating as hell. I am very sure that when I buy a wheel it will be a double treadle wheel. I tried one last night at SnB and liked it much better. Till then, I can fight with the loaner wheel and get a sense of how to do it.

I keep looking at my spindled yarns and reassuring myself that I'm actually a decent spinner. It's the only way I can keep from shrieking and crying in frustration and ripping all my hair out.

I was on the brink of that last night when I noticed that one of the carefully pre-drafted lengths of fiber I'd laid out on the back of my chair had gone missing. I looked around for a second and then I noticed the following. It cheered me up immediately.

kittens corriedale iv

many more pictures of what two kittens can do with a length of corriedale, on my flickr.

Little. Sneak. Thieves.

Fortunately, I've got several pounds of corriedale, BFL and BFL extra fine from Copper Moose in my fiber stash, as well as two pounds of roving from Beaverslide. I have NO problem using all of it up on the learning process. That's what it is for and I can always buy more, right? My dreams of spinning enough yarn for a sweater or a shawl can still be realized and it doesn't have to be *that* particular batch of fiber.

It's so frustrating to go from having a sense of mastery over spinning with the spindle, to feeling like a rank beginner again (and a bad one!) with the wheel. I suck at being new and not good at things. The good part about this is that it tends to piss me off and I obsess persevere until I get a sense of mastery over whatever it is, so that bodes well for the learning process I guess.

Back to the wheel.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

strawberry fields

I suppose I could go get some books on spinning. In fact, I probably ought to do that. But honestly, I've always been more of a "do it and figure it out as you go" kind of girl. Self taught is how I learn everything.

My intent with this fiber was to get something resembling wool sock yarn. I probably won't make socks, it's not superwash, but maybe mittens or arm warmers or mitts. So my first batch (Strawberry Fields, corriedale, from Spunky Eclectic) is exactly the weight I wanted, and the ply is nice and tight like I wanted - but it's so not balanced. It definitely required way more twist to ply tightly than I had put into the singles. So the next spindleful, which I am spinning up today, will have more twist to the singles and we'll see if I get a tight ply with a balanced result. I'm sure I could read about it and I probably will eventually, but it's also fun to just TRY things and try to hack it using my brain. So that's what I'm doing with all the 4oz bags of fiber from Spunky and the random purchases from Etsy. Doing. Learning. Hacking.

strawberry fields macro

I'm getting a loaner spinning wheel tonight after SnB and I am SO damn excited. OMG. There will be Spinning Wheel in my living room. How cool is that??

We are not discussing Pomotamus, which I had to rip back all the way to the ribbing, rather than just half a repeat. I weep, I cry, I start over. I love knitting, I love knitting, I am a process knitter, that's what I keep telling myself.

Also, it is sweet enough to make your teeth hurt around here.

bathtime iv

Also, have y'all seen this? Can opener kidnapping. You should totally get in on it. Big heap fun with kitchen utensils!