short hit Monday...

...because the strange just keeps on coming. I'm not going into any details because it's not something I want to share with the Internet. You'll have to take my word for it. 'K?

The weekend was too hot to really get crafty.
  • Finished spinning the Purr-ple singles, but had no energy to ply it.
  • I did some stash diving can found several bums of fiber to spin for Tour de Fleece. I found some Falkland, BFL, Merino-silk, and Merino-Bamboo tops with names like Tidal, Just Beachy, Tropical Fish, Sea Nymph, and Shipwreck (I sense a theme...)
  • Found a yarn to use as a warp for my Grape Jelly handspun. I
  • I knit a little on the Fraggled Socks and the Eleanor de Plume socks, but it was really too hot for knitting.
I read a lot and hung out with the cats on the tile floor. They sure had the right idea!

it's been a strange little week...

...getting sick didn't help. While my body recovered pretty quickly, my mind didn't. It wasn't until Thursday that I really felt that my brain was fully functional.

I have managed to get a little knitting done. But remind me never to have 4 pairs of socks on the needles again, will ya? Because I am so bored with heel flaps, heel turns, and gussets...and only two of the four pairs are that far along! Ugh!

It''s good that I have to gear up for Tour de Fleece 2009. I can put the knitting aside for a while and spin my heart out! I need to finish up a few yarns and try and make a dent in my stash. Here's one of the things I want to finish spinning: Apricot Cinder Merino-silk from Yarn Wench. I started this at the Spin-In last weekend.

Apricot Cinder Merino-Silk spinning

My Tour de Fleece goal is to spin weft yarns that I can use in my weaving. I want to try to spin some warp yarns as well, but I have very few bumps of fiber that are more than 4oz. The most I've ever spun from 4 oz. is 440 yards of a 2-ply Wensleydale. I generally do 3-ply yarns and get between 250 - 330 yards. While that might be enough to warp for a scarf, I don't need that many scarves! I need to stash-dive and see whether I have any bumps bigger than 4 oz.

Up this weekend: clean house a bit and run the errands I didn't get to last weekend. I want to go through the stash and figure out what I'm spinning for Tour de Fleece. And then concentrate on trying to finish at least one of my WIPs!

well, that wasn't fun...

...I picked up some flu bug and stayed home sick yesterday. The fever was the worst part...when you feel your pulse in your whole head...ugh! I was very happy when that finally subsided. fever on a hot day = miserable

No fever today, but the flu part has not completely worked its way out of my system yet. I'm taking it slow; I skipped going to the gym today. However much I wanted to stay home another day, I have a ton of work to do, so here I am.

Needless to say, no progress on any craft front.

That's all for now...

weaving R' us...

...finished another one! I'm really loving how fast these weaving projects are!

Presenting the completed Mas-Acero Shawl.

Mas-Acero Shawl, another view

This was gifted to my mother-in-law on Sunday. Here's a view of it hanging on the tree so you can get an idea of the drape (taken after washing and before a little steam).

Mas=Acero Shawl in the morning sun
Specs:
Finished 6/20/09
Finished size: 81"L x 18"w, including 6" fringe each end;
Warp & weft: Brooks Farm Mas-Acero yarn in Lakeside Shadows;
Warp: 10epi, 95"L x 19.25"W;
Weft: 8ppi;
Loom: Ashford 20" Knitters Loom

I had a great time at the Spin-in on Saturday...nothing like spending time with fellow spinners and knitters! The host and hostess were gracious, as always, and we enjoyed lots of yummy food! (mmmmm, pie...cheesecake...cupcakes...) I started spinning a Yarn Wench merino-silk top in Apricot-Cinder (I know, more apricots!) and finished about half a bobbin. No pictures yet, sorry!

While I decide what the next weaving project will be, I'm working on my socks.
  • Eleanor de Plume[Ravelry]: finished the heel flap, turned the heel, picked up the gusset stitches and am working on the instep decreases.

    Eleanor de Plume, heels turned

  • Fraggled Socks [Ravelry]: started the heel flap

    Fraggled Socks, starting heel

  • Under the Sea Socks [Ravelry]: Still trying to finish the foot! (no picture)

That's it for now...another busy week at work ahead!

Eye Candy Friday word of the day: serendipity

...AKA "It almost looks like I planned it that way."(Another quick blog entry because I have another work deliverable due today. ARG!)

I'm weaving this shawl for my mother-in-law using a sweater's worth of Brooks Farm Mas-Acero yarn (SW Wool-silk viscouse). The color is called Lakeside Shadows (blues and dark browns). It's very pretty and would have made a nice sweater, if I thought I'd enjoy knitting an adult-sized sweater (that's another topic that I don't have time to delve into now).

Anyway, I warped the loom and magically the yarn striped! Hmmm, didn't plan that, but cool!

Mas-Acero Shawl, in progress

Then I started weaving it. Hmm, it's striping in the other direction. Hey, it's kind of plaid-looking! Way Cool!

Mas-Acero Shawl, from the front

Totally not what I intended, but it's looking really good!

Mas-Acero Shawl, close up

Color me happy!

Up this weekend: spin-in on Saturday and Father's Day on Sunday. That's all I know right now...I'll just be happy the work week is over. It's been really rough...

blog and run...

...lots of work and very little spare cycles this week.

The quick WIP report:
  • Third weaving project is underway; have about 16 inches of 80 woven
  • Worked a little bit on the Eleanor de Plume socks [Ravelry]; finishing up the heel flap
  • Haven't touched the Fraggled socks [Ravelry] or Under the Sea socks [Ravelry] in several days
  • Still haven't finished spinning the Lisa Souza Purr-ple batts [Ravelry]
Back on Friday, I hope!

Falling under the spell called weaving...

...poor Sirena is still sitting under her cover...I did absolutely no spinning over the weekend!

I finished weaving the silk wrap Friday night. My intention was to fringe and wash it Saturday morning so I'd have the afternoon for spinning. Well, the fringing took forever! After working with the silk chenille yarn and looking at chenille throws that we have on the couch, I decided that regular straight fringe was not the way to go. Chenille fringe loves to tangle and twist itself up into a big glob. I did not want that to happen to this shawl!

I went with a knotted fringe that took about 3 times as long to tie. [sigh] But I'm glad I did, because after a gentle washing, the remaining ends had twisted together and needed de-tangling. Before I knew it, most of Saturday was gone. However, I think the shawl turned out great...the length is perfect and the width is just right.

Woven Silk Shawl

Specs:
Started: 6/7/09
Finished 6/13/09

Finished size: 82" L (including fringe) x 15.5" W
Hand-dyed Silk and Silk Chenille yarns from Sweaterkits
Loom: Ashford 20" KL
7.5epi; 8 ppi

Sunday was errand day. But the loom still called to me, so I warped it for another shawl, this time a merino-silk yarn from Brooks Farm. It will be for my mother-in-law...I'm feeling good enough about this process to make something for someone else!

As for Sirena, she will get out this coming Saturday when I take her to the spin-in...the loom cannot go. (LOL!)

Oh, and the apricots are a couple of days away from ready! (I've already tried a couple. HA!) Here's a picture of some with the shawl:

Woven Silk Shawl  with apricots

running-out-of-Eye-Candy Friday...

...either I've already taken lots of pictures of it (I know you all get tired of looking a apricot and sky pictures) or my projects aren't far enough along to look significantly different from the last pictures I showed you.

So today, you get the cats, because every one loves kitties, right?

Sombra, trying to avoid the camera:

Sombra...

She's be voted right off of America's Next Top Model because she only gives the camera one look: annoyed.

Tica managed to put herself in an athletic pose with interesting lighting:

Nap, interrupted

She needs to retract those claws, though...they ruin the mood of the picture!

Up this weekend: Finish weaving the second item on the loom. I'm almost there! I want to finish spinning the Lisa Sousa batts so I can get the wheel ready for a spin-in on the 20th. Throw some errands and knitting in there, and I have a pretty full weekend!

Today's WIP: weaver...

...yup. I'm my latest Work In Progress. Weaving is sucking me into its vortex. (No comments about me already being somewhat warped, because now I really am!)

Loom perspective

I have a lot of new terminology and techniques to learn before I can call myself a Weaver (with a capital W). It will take some practice to get into the rhythm of it, too. But I've already discovered a big plus with weaving. Read on...

I occasionally get migraines...not big, honking ones that take away your vision and require hours in the dark and away from noise. I get migraines that start with ocular distortions that progress into nausea, and then the huge TMJ/sinus/throbbing/almost fever headache hits. They usually last the day and I am more or less functional while they last. Sometimes they go on for a couple of days and no amount of Excedrin (Tylenol is totally useless), coffee, and compresses alleviate the throbbing. Concentration is pretty much nil, which means no knitting, computer, reading, etc.

Well, I had a two-day migraine that started Sunday morning when I woke up. While it was still in the beginning stages, I did my errands so I could stay put when the bad part hit. When I got home, I popped more Excedrin and watched a movie. But I was antsy...I needed to do something; I just can't sit with nothing for my hands to do. I knew there was no way I could knit any of the socks I have on the needles because they all have patterns that need concentration and half a brain.

Enter weaving. If I take my time, I can warp the loom for a simple woven project. And I can weave, because it's a very simple process for a basic weave. No complex pattern (at least not yet!) to worry about, just putting the shuttle through and a gentle beat with the reed. I can totally do this with a headache! Yay!

Anyway, I haven't made significant progress on the socks. I have two more rows on the Eleanor de Plume socks and then I can start the heel. I tried on the Under the Sea socks and I think I'm going to knit another half inch before I try the heel. Keep your fingers crossed—these are the toe-up socks and I'm trying hard not to fail this time!

Here's what's blooming now:

Squash (Gourd?) Blossom

The Husband thinks (hopes) this is a squash. If it's not a squash, it could be a gourd of some kind. We won't know until we see some actual fruit!

embarking on a new craft...

...I know, I know. Just what I need. But it's such fun!

I bought the 20" version of the Ashford Knitter's Loom from Paradise Fibers. (Can't say enough about the great service they provide!) I read all of the instructions, checked out a few online videos, and warped the loom by myself. IT was a bit time-consuming only because I was trying to be are careful as possible...I didn't want to mess it up! But I got it warped and started weaving.

My first project is a scarf that uses commercial yarn for the warp and my own handspun for the weft.
Here it is:

My first woven scarf!

I definitely need to work on my edges and I didn't learn about hemstitching until after I washed it. But it's not too bad for my first attempt!

Specs:
Plumcopper Merino-Silk Scarf
Started and Finished 6/6/09
Basic weave
Warp: Mission Falls, 136 Merino Superwash in Cream, 136 yds; Length 80 inches; 62 ends on 7.5 inch reed
Weft yarn: Handspun Plumcopper yarn (top from Yarn Wench) approximately 110 yd
Finished size: 6.5 x 58 inches (including fringe)

Of course, I immediately warped the loom again for the next project! I remembered to take a few pictures this time...here's mid-warping:

Ashford Knitter's Loom, second warping
...and weaving in process:

Silk weaving


This yarn is from a kit by Sweaterkits that I bought from Stitches West one year. Originally for a silk wrap, I think it's perfect for the loom...lots of yardage and two different textures. I put the smooth handpainted silk on the warp and I'm weaving with the bumpy silk chenille. Both are in a color called "Ocean." So far, so good!

This could get really addicting...

May 2009 Recap

...finally.

Finished:

  • 5/3 Watermelon Rind yarn; Falkland top from the Yarn Wench plus 3 ounces Corriedale cream single; 283.6 yards 3-ply; 2+ yards of 2-ply; 2+ yds Navajo-ply; 16WPI
  • 5/5 Argosy scarf [Ravelry]
  • 5/23 Blood Orange yarn; BFL top from Sakina Needles; 225+ two ply yarn; 12 WPI

Worked on:

  • Corrugator scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • February Lady Sweater (knitting) [Ravelry]
Started:
  • 5/2 Purr-ple Lisa Souza wool blend batts (spinnning)
  • 5/7 Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning)
  • 5/12 Under the Sea socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 5/16 Blood Orange yarn (spinning)
  • 5/24 Fraggled Socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 5/27 Eleanor de Plume socks (knitting) [Ravelry]

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting)
  2. Morning Surf Scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]

UFOs:
  1. Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk 4 oz.roving in purple [Ravelry]
  2. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  3. Central Air socks (knitting)
  4. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  5. Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting) [Ravelry}
  6. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  7. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  8. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  9. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  10. Paint it Black quilt
  11. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  12. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch)
  13. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  14. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
  15. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

just another Eye Candy Friday from the garden...

...because I haven't finished anything yet. I also know I'm remiss in posting my May recap. Gotta get to that soon!

We're about 2 weeks away from ripe apricots:

Ripening Blenheim apricots

The Santa Rosa plums are also ripening:

Santa Rosa Plum

The Husband is trying something new this year...tomatillos. So far, we only have flowers:

Tomatillo flower

He planted a bunch of cilantro, which we are obviously not using fast enough because most of the plants have these:

Cilantro, gone wild

Very pretty and the leaves are still good to use...there will just be a whole lot of seeds to deal with!

Up this weekend, the Husband is very kindly giving me a couple of days to myself. (Thank you, J!) I plan on knitting and spinning, when I'm not playing with my new toy that arrived today. I now have an Ashford Knitter's loom...no pictures yet as I have another deliverable today. Can't wait to open the box!!

Eleanor, gee, I think you're swell...

...And you really do me well
You're my pride and joy, et cetera.

Eleanor de Plume socks, cuffs

I love this pattern and I love the Pepe La Plume yarn in the pattern!

Also loving the Fraggle Squiggle pattern in the Turquoise Socks That Rock yarn:

Fraggled Socks, cuffs

I'm just about to the scary part of the toe-up Under the Sea socks.

Under the Sea sock toes

This is where I usually have a big amount of FAIL. Either I do the heel too early (foot = too short) or too late (foot = too long). The last time I tried this method, I frogged several times and them gave up in disgust. I'm hoping that it works this time.

That's all I've got...work has been really busy, so I haven't had many extra cycles to post, etc. By the end of the day, my brain is tired!

I leave you with a June sky picture...

June clouds
Love those clouds!

June berries...

...not quite sure if these are the boysenberries or blackberries.

Berries, in varying stages of ripeness

But they definitely are not the raspberries we thought they were going to be! We had planted a raspberry bush under the faucet in the front yard and that's where these berries are growing. We had planted boysenberries and blackberries along the same wall...obviously one of them has gone rogue!

Ripened berries

(We seem to have a lot of plant that go rogue in our garden...I wonder what that means!)

This weekend was mostly cleaning and knitting. My floors got mopped and some of the clutter was stored away. The Husband and I spent a few hours sorting through and logging in a huge donation to Goodwill. We haven't donated anything in a while and it was really piling up. (Let me just say that I love www.itsdeductible.com! Much easier than making my own spreadsheet to track charitable donations.)

As for knitting...I have 4 pairs of socks on the needles! ACK! They are all 25-30% done.
  • Under the Sea Socks [Ravelry] - Loopy Ewe club pattern in Ocean Current Casbah Sock yarn; toe-up
    I have another inch to go on the foot and then I can start the heel.
  • Fraggled Socks [Ravelry]- Fraggle-Squiggle Rockin' Sock club pattern in Turquoise Socks That Rock yarn
    I have another inch to go on the cuff.
  • Eleanor de Plume [Ravelry] - Eleanor pattern by Monkey Toes in Pepe La Plume Socks That Rock yarn (Rockin' Sock club yarn)
    I have one more pattern repeat (12 rows) to finish the cuff.
  • Stranded Hearts Socks [Ravelry] - Show-off Stranded Socks in Bleeding Hearts Socks That Rock yarn
    These are in time-out now. I have finished the cuffs and has started the gusset. I decided to use the stockinette gusset when I get these going again.
(Sorry, no updated pictures on these yet. I'll get them up for Wednesday's post.) OK, it's a lot of socks, but each one of these patterns is very enjoyable to knit. We'll see which one keeps my attention and gets finished first!

Eye Candy Friday...

...and a Tour de Fleece update. First, the eye candy. The sweet pea bush in our front yard is continuing to bloom: The tomatoes in th...