Sunday, April 29, 2007

No place like home!!!!!

David and I returned from our weekend in Pigeon Forge, TN. It was an awesome time. He and I spoke at three different sessions to about 9 couples regarding developing and maintaining a happy, healthy marriage. It was a great time of fellowshipping (goofing off, talking), eating and sleeping. It is so grand when you don't really have a schedule. Anyways, we had a great time but we are soooooooooo happy to be home. My own bed, my own house, some privacy and most important of all my own coffee. Really, what some people call coffee!!!! It is more like brown water. It is good to be home.

I took several of my knitting projects and all were amazed and had plenty of questions but we really didn't have a whole lot of just sitting around time so I didn't get any converts. I know, I gotta do better. I even took several skeins of yarn and several pairs of needles. Another time I suppose. At least I introduced them to modern day knitting.

Saturday morning and early afternoon was free time, most everyone was going into Gatlinburg to do some sight seeing and shopping. We have been several times and to tell you the truth I'm not much of a shopper. Well, not for that kind of stuff. I called the Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce and they said if there was a spinning/yarn shop in Pigeon Forge it would be at The Old Mill. If there was one there I couldn't find it. However, I knew for a fact there was a spinning/yarn shop in Gatlinburg because when we were down a couple of years ago I stumbled upon it. That was the first time I actually got to see a modern spinning wheel and the owner, Nancy, gave me a demonstration of a wheel and a spindle. Anyways, off to Gatlinburg we went. The shop, Smoky Mountain Spinnery, is really quaint. She carries a couple different wheels, Ashford and Majacratt, and some beautiful wool, silk, cotton, etc.. She even carries vicuna. I had never seen it in person or felt it before. People it is like touching soft air. The softest air you can imagine. So very yummy. And it is $300 an oz!!!!! Needless to say, this girl ain't going to be spinning any of that unless something major happens in the Sturgeon household. I mean really, I could just about buy another wheel for that and think how much other fiber that would purchase. It was really nice though. But since Silas Marner aka David was with me I walked out with N O T H I N G. Oh well, another time, another place.

My new socks are coming along pretty good. I'm not real sure about 'em. I am knitting these toe up and I followed the chart for foot diameter and shoe size and all that, but I'm afraid they are going to be just a little wide. We shall see, if so they will end up ripped up or being a gift to someone just like the last ones I knitted, those went to Aaron because they were way too big for me.

I have a couple of pictures to show you.
This first was taken before we left this morning. Hey, if the Harlot can do it, I can too. And here is one showing a little more detail. This is knitted with the Tofutsie yarn from the previous post. I like it okay, but I have been having a little trouble with it splitting. However, that could be due to the fact that I screw up somewhere and have to rip out a row and re-knit.

Holly commented that maybe if I was too embarrassed to show all the sock yarn I purchased last week, maybe I could just show a little at a time. With her encouragement I've decided to do just that.

One of these is another Tofutsie. The others are Wildfoote by Brown Sheep Company in Mums (75% washable wool/25% nylon) and Sock Superwash by Handpainted Knitting Yarns in Madama Butterfly (65% superwash wool/25% nylon/10% donegal).

Tootlelou, I'm off to some spinning.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

She had a great fall!!!!

We all knew it was going to happen eventually. Heck, I even saw it coming. Didn't you? And what a great fall it was. However, the question is.....who is at fault? Taking a quote from Wicked, well kinda the same quote only with a small little change...."Are people born yarn addicts? Or do they have yarn addiction thrust upon them?" Yep, I fell off the wagon of not buying anymore yarn before I worked through my stash. But is isn't my fault!!!! No really, it isn't!!!!

Thinking back, how did it happen......? It was June's fault!!!! She went to a couple yarn stores in Nashville and bought some new sock yarn that looks so scrumptious. And she has started a new pair of socks using the toe up method and she isn't even using the yarn she just got. She's using some other yarn she purchased not too long ago!!!! Then, let's see, who else can I blame, I mean who else did this to me? It was Grumprina. Upon visiting her blog site I saw some awesome men's socks she has knitted. And then the whole thing about the Yarn Harlot coming to Lexington, I didn't get to go, but all the same, knowing she was here in the Bluegrass State and seeing her stupid green sock she is presently knitting and all those who attended the Lexington shindig showing off their socks. It just makes me sick!!! And no, I DO NOT have an envious bone in my body. Really!!!!

And you know I was sick practically all last week and didn't feel like doing anything hardly at all. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I did get some spinning and knitting done. Whatever. That's beside the point. Anyways, in my weakened state, on Tuesday I thought I'd just get out for a little while. Have lunch with a good friend, do some grocery shopping and just stop by Crafty Hands for a look around. No harm it looking!!!!

As soon as I walked in the door the store owner, Starla, yells from the back of the store, "Peggy!!!!! How are ya, this is our 10 year anniversary, be sure and register for our give away, today is Berocco day. Looking for anything in particular?" I filled out the give away thingy and dropped it in the box and informed her I was looking for sock yarn. "Oh, well, Thursday is sock day, have you seen this? However, Lang is a brand of sock yarn made by Berocco, so it is on sale as well" Off I went picking this up, touching that, squeezing this, looking at a couple sock books, blah, blah, blah. Decided, I don't need to get anything I gotta meet Nancy for lunch here in a few. Here is where it all started. Well no, this isn't were it started. It started with June!!!

I said to myself, "Well, I could go ahead a get some more dpns I don't own size 0's and I only have one set of size 1's and well I don't know, do I have two or three, I can't remember, sets of size 2's but I know for sure two sets are already in use with those stupid plain rib self-striping socks. I'm really tired of that self-striping stuff. I really am not found of the Lang yarn even though its on sale, but wow, look at that. Oh my gosh!!! Look at that!!!! Hmmmm, okay, this is stupid, I'm not going to wait, I'm going to just go ahead and get the sock yarn today. After all IF I did come back Thursday I'd be wasting gas since I'm already here today. And I'm going to buy it eventually anyways."

So here I was walking around the store with two books, three sets of dpns and at least 3 skeins of sock yarn, googling at more. Then reason got the best of me. "If I'm going to do this it would be better to just wait until Thursday to take advantage of the 10% discount." So I put everything away except the needles. I was doing pretty good. Realizing that once I left, then and only then I would possibly come to my senses. All the while Starla was helping other patron's and saying "Peggy, did you see this? Isn't it wonderful? Feel it, don't you just love the drape? It's Berocco, it's on sale as well." "Alright, already, I give. The other day Jordan did ask if I'd make him a sweater. And yeah, I'm not planning on starting any time soon. But, hey, it's on sale!!!! What a waste of money if I don't get it on sale. What a bad steward of my money would I be?" So here I go, do you have 10 hanks of this color? No? Hmmmmm." Enters Starla again "How about this one, I just love it, see how perfect it goes with jeans?" Yeah, yeah I'll take it, got 10? Of course she did.

It really is beautiful stuff. It is call Ultra Alpaca and is 50% Alpaca and 50% Wool. The color is a lovely blue jean blue with a tad teal.

So I'm paying for my stuff and the devil herself, I mean Starla asked if I wanted the hanks wound into balls. Winding 10 hanks of yarn by hand would be a lot of work. "Yeah, that would be great! I'm not going to be starting on it any time soon so I can just come back" Then she said this, "Well since your coming back Thursday, SOCK DAY, you can just pick it up then. (wicked, evil smile)"

Thursday comes and off I went. First stop Barnes and Noble. Being a member of their club thingy I get some percentage off every purchase and then via email I received a coupon for yet another 15% off. I figured I could find one of the sock books I want there and save some. I purchased a wonderful book, "Sensational Knitted Socks" by Charlene Schurch. It is awesome. It doesn't just give you sock patterns, it teaches you the mechanics of developing a sock pattern enabling you to make the socks in virtually any size and any weight. I can't wait to dive in.

When I arrived at Crafty Hands the place was swarming with sock freaks!!!! I mean they were everywhere. Off I go to the sock yarn department. Starla and her many cohorts in crime accosted me!!!! "Did you see this? Did you see that? The socks I have on are out of this. Oooooooooooo isn't this heavenly, what about those colors?."

At this point I'm still rationalizing. "You know this weekend you and David are going off to Pigeon Forge to speak at that marriage retreat, 4.5 hours there and back...that's a lot of knitting time. And you know how portable and convenient socks are and you are sooooooooo sick of those stupid rib self-striping socks. Remember that lovely screened porch overlooking the woods, what a serene place to be knitting. Plus, all those other women are going to be so impressed and amazed at your choice of yarn and your magnificent knitting they will want to learn to knit as well. You can even take extra needles and yarn just in case. You will not only be changing marriages, you will be changing generations to come!!!!!"

Here is one sample of sock yarn I ended up coming home with. It is made by the South West Trading Company and is called Tofutsies. Get this it is naturally antibacterial because it has chitin in it. Which is fiber from shrimp and crab shells. 50% Superwash Wool, 25% Soysilk, 22.5% Cotton and 2.5% Chitin. Really lovely stuff. Even though it is 50% wool, with so much soysilk and cotton it will still make a lovely summer sock. I'll have pictures at a later date.

What? What else did I get? Whatever are you talking about? You really didn't think I was going to show you do you? I mean it is really bad. I'm actually too embarrassed to show anyone. It required a large bag. Suffice it to say I have enough yarn to knit oh I don't know maybe 16 pairs of sock, depending on the style. Alright already here is a peek.

And do you know what else the Starla aka the devil did? She gave me two coupons worth $10 off the purchase of 10 skeins of yarn or more!!!! Two of them AND I gotta use 'em before May 30, 2007. Get ye behind me Satan!!!!

Just remember, "He who thinketh he stand, take heed lest he fall." And, "Judge not lest you be judged."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spinning, Flicking and What Am I Going To Do With This????

Last night I finished with the spinning of some Icelandic batts. I'm not sure I really like Icelandic although I do like the way it plied up with the leftover Romney Cross.

Still not sure what I'm going to do with any of my homespun. I've thought about possibly making a bag.

For now it just got added to "the door."

I've begun processing some of the wool I recently dyed. I think I made a mess of things. Not sure. The wool isn't felted, I do know that but I think in its present state the only thing I can do is either hand card or drum card it. Since at present time I do not own a drum carder either I'll have to hand card or put it away until I get a drum carder.

I was able to gather a few locks out of this mess.

I combed a few of locks and ran it through a diz. Diz is for the birds!!!! I also flicked some of the locks. Ready for spinning.

I've been sick all week and still not feeling all that great. Some kind of head, chest junk. I attempted to go to church this morning. I did stay for Sunday School and long enough to see some friends from our former church. Typically my husband and I lead worship twice a month and this was our week. I was there for practice but didn't do any singing. One of our background singers, Amy, said when she felt bad she went and bought a new pair of shoes and that always made her feel better. I don't necessarily want a new pair of shoes, but how about a portable spinning wheel, a loom, a drum carder, or lots more fiber. That might do the trick.!!!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shame or Dare?

I finished spinning up the conglomerate ball of luxury fiber from my previous post. Actually it went pretty well. I had to change the whorl to a slightly smaller one to get the twist I needed, or at least what I thought I needed. It has some thin spots and some slubs (my doings). The bad thing is I spun it on one bobbin and you can't see all the beautiful colors and the sparklelies.

Not sure what I am or can do with it seeing as it is just one bobbin. Any ideas? Also not sure what I'm going to start up next. I have plenty of safe Romney and some Jacob and some other not so safe stuff. Just have to wait and see I suppose. I still haven't decided if my spinning the conglomerate was in response to a shame or a dare. Knowing me it was more of a dare response. I don't shame easily. :)

Here is an early morning picture of my Emma Belle and Katie Scarlet. Mommy, Tabitha, please excuse the uncombed hair, we hadn't been up long. :) Who couldn't love that sideways grin?

Now, you wanna see something freakie? Below is a picture of part of a Romney fleece I bought a while ago. The picture on the left is the original color of the fleece and the picture on the right is the fleece after I dyed it using Wilton's Icing Food Color. The Wilton's color is BLACK!!!! Freakie!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yesterday's Labor

The fruit of yesterday's labor. I am fairly happy with it, particularly since it is only my second skeins of Romney spun up and my first time dyeing. The picture doesn't show the true color. It is actually what I would call a burnt orange.

Now I have to figure out what I'm going to do it besides hang it on the door with the other skeins. :)

I have begun spinning the conglomerate ball of fiber. I'm about half through. I will have pictures here shortly. It is going fairly well. If you've read my posts from on back I talked about "friendly fibers." These fibers aren't quite as friendly as the Romney fellers. They require a lot more twist and from my experience with 'em they either don't like to hold hands with the fibers around them or they want to hold on for dear life!!!! You have to kinda trick 'em. As you are drafting you have to let them think you are just letting them slide by and then you get 'em with THE TWIST!!!! You'll see!!!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's A Lovely Day In The Neighborhood

Won't YOU be my neighbor? Today the high is supposed to be around 71 and mainly sunny!!!!! Emma Belle and I are hoping to get outside today for some fun in the sun. She and her daddy will probably be the ones going out for a walk and some swinging. Or maybe a ride.

I received my package from Abby today. The photos from the last post do not do these products justice. I told Abby I was thinking about framing them in an open shadowbox so I could just admire them. And it would have to be an open shadowbox so I could fondle them ever so often. I received a couple of surprises as well. Some beautiful multi-green merino and a ball of a conglom-eration of blends I was told would make some great self-striping yarn. What to do, what to do????? I am still such a new spinner I'm afraid of messing the really beautiful stuff up. But how else is one supposed to learn? Doesn't make me feel any better to think that way. That is one of those things you tell others to help them along but you don't listen to your own advice.

I finished spinning and plying the white Romney/Cross that Joanne had given me. And decided to try my hand at dyeing. I followed the directions I found at The Yarnpath. I probably went a little crazy on the amount of color I put it. I wanted a rust or burnt orange. This is what I used:
1 pkg Orange Kool Aid, 1 pkg Tropical Punch Kool Aid, 4 knife dips of Wilton's Kelly Green Food Coloring Paste, 1 yellow tablet of Paas Egg Dyes and 1 orange tablet of Paas Egg Dyes

It was a fun process and since I used the crock pot it is extremely easy other than the fact my left hand is kinda rusty looking. Here's a look at the various stages.
Just soaking up the water getting ready for the dye bath. And, the dye all mixed up

Soaking up that color. And all the dye soaked up, water almost clear. Now for the cool down.
And finally -- hung out to dry. I should have 'em dry and ready to show tomorrow.
I have begun spinning the conglomerate fiber that Abby sent. She shamed me into it - - "At least spin the silly little leftover ball, if you can't work up the nerve for the other stuff." Do you consider that a shaming or a dare?

Friday, April 13, 2007

What a week, what a week!!!!

What a week I have had. Many of you don't know, I do not work outside the home. There are questions as to whether I actually work at home as well. Well, I keep things up, somewhat, cook at least 3 times a week, do some laundry (when the bin is over following), and work diligently on my knitting and spinning. I think that can be classified as working, don't you? This week nothing has gotten done, N-O-T-H-I-N-G!!!! No picking up, no cooking, no laundry. A friend of ours is a Criminal Defense Attorney, hopefully you will never need one but should you find yourself in a pickle his firm is Dennie Hardin and Associates. His office manager was out on vacation this week so I went in to help with the phones and such. I have worked 8:00-5:00 Monday through Friday. And I am totally beat. I cannot wait to get home and stay in my jammies if I want, knit, watch FOX News, spin, and surf the net. I used to work full-time until just a couple of years ago. I have been very spoiled.

To be quite honest, I don't know if what I did this week could actually be classified as working. I did answer the phones, somewhat kept calendars and left messages. It was a slow court week so what I primarily did was knit, read and surf the net.

A lot of good things have been going on this week. I have made major progress on a wrap I am knitting. It is going to be quite beautiful I think. I am knitting it out of "Cherry Hill's Alpine Lace "Fall Foliage" , 54% Mohair, 23% Silk, 18% wool and 5% nylon. I'm knitting it on US size 11 circular needles. Brainless work, knit every row. A good project for knitting at work, TV watching and my knitting groups since we all talk so much. I haven't gotten much done on my sweater, but there has been some progress. Too much concentration for work and by the time I got home I didn't want to do anything.

I received about 1 lb of raw (I mean raw, like just came off the sheep) Border Leicester this week. It was sooooooooooo dirty. It took probably 4 washings and a couple rinsings. But it is beautiful. So different from the Romney/Corriedale fleece I split with June. The lock on top is the Romney/Corriedale and the one on the bottom is the Border Leicester.

I almost forgot, I also received some Gotland roving I ordered. It is so pretty and lustrous. This is the type wool used in making the elves's cloaks for Lord of the Rings.

I ordered some unbelievable sock batts from Abby's Store - Franquemont Fibers. This one is made of 40% superwash wool, 30% assorted hand-dyed silks, 28% Blue Faced Leicester wool and 2% firestar nylon is called Berry Patch.

And some hand-dyed Tussah Silk. The one on the left is called Poison Ivy and the one on the right is called Creme de Menthe.
Aren't they just gorgeous! I can't wait to receive them. !!!!! It will probably be a while before I spin it since I do not want to waste it and want it to be special. We shall see.
Abby blends and dyes all the fibers she sells. She also has some WOW yarns she dyes and spins. You gotta check her stuff out!!!! And she is just so dang nice!!!!

Another extremely exciting thing is I purchased the tickets for myself, my granddaughter, Emma Belle, my daughter, Sara and my sister, Lisa to attend a musical that is playing in Chicago. The original musical opened on Broadway in either 2002 or 2003 and is still playing there. It has broken all records, won several Tony's and a Grammy. They now have a standing production in Chicago and a group that tours the major cities here in the US. It debuted in London November and December 2006. It is sooooooo awesome!!!! Emma Belle absolutely loves it. We have the soundtrack and watch various videos on-line either at the official site or on YouTube. The name of it is Wicked. And it is unbelievable!!! It is the story of the witches of OZ (Glenda the Good Witch, The Wicked Witch of The West and The Wicked Witch of the East), before Dorothy came on the scene. When they were all just girls attending college. The story is awesome and very tragic. You don't want to get me started!!!!! It is so intriguing and I am totally into it. Our tickets are for May 8th. You will be hearing and seeing more, Oh yes you will!!!!! OH, YES YOU WILL!!!!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Turning THE BIG 5-0, It Ain't All That Bad!!!!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, April 3rd I turned the big 5-0. Yeah, 50!!!! You know the number itself isn't a big deal, I certainly don't feel like I thought one would feel when they turned 50. Granted, all things don't look the same as they once did. But I feel no different than when I was in my 20's. I think the scariest thing about aging is the speed at which it flies. I can remember as a child when from one Christmas to the next seemed like forever. Now I feel I turn around and it is July and another turn and it is Christmas all over again. Of course, if I would plan during the year instead of waiting until October to begin my Christmas knitting I may feel different. But that is another story all to itself. Back to the age thing. The thing isn't turning 50. The thing is how quickly that 50 has gone by and how much quicker are the next 30, 40, 50 going to go.

Alright already!!!!!! Enough!!! My Wednesday night knitting class gave me a wonderful birthday present. They gave me a gift card to my LYS, Crafty Hands. It couldn't have been a better gift. I couldn't come up with any excuse, I HAD to go spend the money buying yarn, needles and pattern books. I know it was very difficult but I forced myself to do it. :)

I asked Jordan to go with me. Well actually, I bribed him. Before he agreed to go he said, "I mean, you aren't going to be in there for 2 hours are you? It isn't that big a store!" I told him he had no idea what all could be stuffed into a store that size and there are just so many things to touch and feel. Actually he was a help in determining my final choices. What do you bribe a 22 year old with? Food, what else!!!!! And I have to say we were only in there for about 30 minutes. I was on a mission and they were getting ready to close. I decided I was going to make myself something, since it is MY birthday. I chose a sweater out of "Knitting the New Classics" by Kristin Nicholas. This book has some really beautiful sweater patterns in it. I will be making several I am sure. We (Jordan and I) chose a wonderful yarn by Elsebeth Lavold, Silky Wool made in Italy. It is 65% wool and 35% silk. It is a good weight for a Spring, Fall & Winter sweater. And since all my other size 5 circular needles have something already on them I bought a new wonderful bamboo set by Crystal Palace. I love bamboo, I love wood, I love wool, I love.......................fiber, I just love!!!!

I've started the sweater and all is going well so far. I had a little of a fit of fret last night while working on the stupid swatch (I really hate swatches). As I was knitting along I began looking at all the skeins it is going to take to make this beauty, 11 in all or 2,080 yards of yarn. Hey, I didn't make that number up, it is in the pattern. My gaze then fell upon the picture and I began thinking about how many stitches that will end up being, something like 400 k-zillion at last count. And then I started fretting over whether I really wanted to look at that color through 11 skeins, 2,080 yards, and 400 k-zillion stitches. So, I went to bed.
When I awoke this morning, after my third pot of coffee, I realized that yes, my knitting world is upright tilting on its axis once again. Plus, I put the skeins away and only pay attention to the particular row I am on at the moment. Good plan Peg!!!!! I'll keep you posted as to the progress. Chow baby!!!!