Last Friday of the month...

...can you believe that tomorrow is August! This year is flying! And since tomorrow is August, that means I need to pull a recap together. I'll post one over the weekend sometime.

I've been posting Eye Candy Friday pictures for a couple of years now. It's getting harder and harder to find new and interesting things to photograph in my little world. I mean, I've taken pictures of every flower, vegetable, and fruit in our garden at every stage of growth; pictures of stuff in the neighborhood; pictures of the cats; pictures of my stash and projects; and 50,000 pictures of sky. I've run out of ideas. Got any suggestions?


So today you get a picture of the Loopy Ewe Anniversary kit that I received yesterday:

Loopy Ewe Anniversary Kit

I love the shape and color of the cup; the yarn color is eerily similar to the Rockin' Sock Club installment for July.

Shepherd Sock in Loopy's Knitting Nook

I'm not sure what I'll do with the yarn...it could make an interesting woven scarf for someone who loves these colors. Hmmmm...

Up this weekend: other than the standard errands and some house cleaning, nothing really planned at this point. I still haven't found my knitting mojo, so maybe some spinning, or maybe not. I'm really suffering from craft ennui right now. Maybe I'll just read. I have 5 Laurell K Hamilton books in the queue. I wonder how many I can get through this weekend...

anybody seen my knitting mojo?

...cuz it's no where around here! I keep trying to finish any of my knitting WIPs—two rows in and I'm bored. Needless to say, there are no updated photos of these projects.

Maybe it's time to start quilting again.

As promised, here are pictures of the finished Deep Blue Sea shawl, cleverly positioned so you don't see the places that really irk me:

Deep Blue Sea Shawl

and here's a close-up:

Deep Blue Sea Shawl, close up

Specs:
Started 7/16/09
Finished 7/25/09
Warp: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks That Rock Lightweight in Narikama; 10 epi
Weft: Handspun Seawool yarn (top from Creatively Dyed); 7-8 ppi
95"L x 18"W;
Loom: Ashford 20" Knitters Loom

I really want to love this shawl, but the best I can manage is "like." The colors are nice and I really enjoyed spinning the seawool, but the misbehaving warp really irritates me. The next weaving project should be better!

Tour de Fleece 2009, c'est fini...

...and I spun more than I thought I would. Still not as much as I could have if I didn't have vacation and illness thrown into the mix.

Here is my final finished yarn (I made the collage for the Ravelry Tour de Fleece group):

Sea Nymph collage

Some of the specs are in the collage, but are all of them:
Started 7/21/09
Finished 7/26/09
Merino top from Yarn Wench in Sea Nymph 2
Spun and plied on Lendrum DT folding wheel
2 singles plied with Sulky Rayon thread
Yield: 229.5 yards; 14 WPI

Maybe next year I'll get to spin more for the Tour...

I also finished weaving the Deep Blue Sea shawl. I haven't taken any pictures of it yet, so you'll have to wait until Wednesday. I have to say that I was not as thrilled with this shawl as I wanted to be. While I normally love Socks That Rock Lightweight yarn, I was not in love with the skeins I used for the warp. There were knots in both skeins, lots off unattractive over-spun sections, and one weak area that resulted in a frayed and split warp thread that I had to repair. The over-spun areas are not evident in the main weaving area, but were quite visible in the fringe even after I washed the shawl. I ended up using a twisted fringe technique to hide the over-spun strands.

Using a superwash yarn for the warp was a gamble and if I had used the weft yarn (100% Corriedale, not superwash) I originally planned to use, it would not have been an issue. However, I used a Seawool yarn that did not "full" very much after washing (not surprising given that I had washed the yarn after spinning, so it had probably fulled as much as it was going to already). The combination of these two yarns means that you can clearly see where I had to add new yarn. It's a good thing I made this for me...I could never give this to someone as a gift!

For the next woven item, I think I'm going to try cotton placemats or a cotton table runner. Or anything that's not superwash!

it's Eye Candy Friday...

...and I have a couple of pictures, and they are not sky pictures! (Don't go into shock now...)

First, is the Sea Nymph yarn (Merino top from Yarn Wench) that I am spinning:

Sea Nymph yarn, bobbin 1+

I love the colors, but I really don't like spinning Merino. For me, it's never as smooth a process as spinning other fibers. I much prefer Falkland or Merino blended with something.

Also, as promised, a picture of the July installment of the Rockin' Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Click the spoiler picture to see it:



This picture shows the contents of the package except for the sticker, which went up on my wall at work. It says "No Coffee, No Workee"...yup, they somehow knew that it's all about the coffee for me! LOL!

Up this weekend: Finish spinning Sea Nymph. Since Tour de Fleece ends Sunday, I don't know whether I'll be able to crank out another yarn after that, but we'll see. I also want to finish weaving the shawl on the loom, and do what whatever else I can cram into the weekend!

Have a good one!

not-quite-WIP-it Wednesday...

...I had to be in the office earlier than normal, so I didn't get to take any pictures before I left.

I am continuing to work on my new shawl. I've woven another 10 inches and it's looking pretty good.

Last night I started spinning another yarn for Tour de Fleece. I want to finish at least one more yarn before Tour de France is over. (One of these years, I'll actually spin every day of the Tour!) I started spinning Sea Nymph, a merino top by the Yarn Wench (who else?! LOL!). I'm trying an experiment with this one in that I am not pre-drafting. I've split the top length-wise into 8 pieces and will spin them onto two bobbins. I haven't quite decided whether it will be a two-ply or 3-ply yarn. (Or maybe I'll spin it with some ray0n thread. Hmmm...)

I still haven't had a chance to upload the reunion pictures yet. But I did get these two pictures up there. The reunion was held at the Fiscalini Ranch, the lovely home of a classmate and her husband. The sky and rolling hills are gorgeous so you know that I couldn't resist sky pictures! This was was taken around 6:30pm:

Late afternoon sky at the Fiscalini Ranch

...about two hours later:

Almost sunset at the Fiscalini Ranch

I do miss the open skies of the country...[sigh]

Back on Friday with some Blue Moon Fiber Arts eye candy and a WIP picture or two!

Oh, yeah, it's Monday...

...and the last day of my vacation. Boo! Tomorrow it's back to work.

This morning I was in Morro Bay, all fogged in. I drove home to sunshine and warm temperatures. The cats really missed us and they've been whining all about how alone they were. LOL!


We had fun at the class reunion...it was great seeing classmates and reconnecting. I have several pictures to upload to Flickr over the next few days. We took a little side trip to my high school just to see how much it had changed. I realized how much I loved the area and being in a small town--the rolling hills, the ocean, and the fog were all things I missed. However, I wasn't very happy about having no cell reception and limited wireless connection. Yes, I am spoiled by living in Silicon Valley! HA!

I didn't do much craft-wise. However, when I got home, I started some laundry and picked up the loom to do a little weaving on the new shawl:

Deep Blue Sea shawl

The warp is Socks That Rock Lightweight from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in "Narikama." The weft is one of my handspun--spun from Seawool top in Deep Blue Sea from Creatively Dyed. This is the third color I've tried with this warp and I think this one looks the best.

I want to get a little spinning in tonight so I can get back into the
Tour de Fleece groove, but the weaving is calling me right now. Back on Wednesday!

On the road...

...I'm on the way to my hotel after a nice visit with Mom.

No eye candy today because there wasn't a whole lot of interesting on Hiway 101...sorry! I'll try to make it up to you!

sprinting for Tour de Fleece...

...I'm getting some quality time at the wheel while I'm on vacation. My goal was to finish at least two yarns for Tour de Fleece and I have met that goal. I won't have any time to spin after Thursday (unless I can sneak some spindling in), so I'm enjoying it while I can!

I finished the Seafoam yarn:

Seafoam yarn

...and the close up:

Seafoam yarn, close up

Specs:
Started 7/5
Finished 7/14
BFL top from Yarn Wench
Yield: 322 yds, Navajo-ply
WPI: 15

I started and finished Shipwreck:

Shipwreck Yarn

I spun this one a bit thicker and then did a two-ply. Here's the close-up:

Shipwreck yarn, close up

Specs:
Started 7/13
Finished 7/14
Scarlet O'Hara Roving by Yarn Love (bought at Loopy Ewe
Yield: 300 yds 2-ply
WPI: 13

Sorry the pictures are a bit off. I took them at night because I wanted to submit them to the daily prize drawing in the Tour de Fleece [Ravelry] group...the pictures must be posted by midnight and I didn't want to wait until today's drawing (I'm impatient that way! HA!).

Sirena has been quite happy spinning and plying for the last few days. I had neglected her badly when the loom (Circe) arrived. However, now the loom is calling, so I may warp her today.

As you can tell, I have quite a bit of my normal energy back. I went to the gym this morning and that felt great...I'd really missed it!

Now I'm off to do my errands and shopping before it gets too hot!

first day of vacation...

...and I'm enjoying it.

We had a BBQ yesterday and as usual we had more food than people. Some how I've never learned to cook for less than an army! At least the leftovers are good...London Broil, grill chicken, and corn on the cob.

I've been feeling a lot better the last couple of days. I think part of it is that I know I don't have any pressing deadlines to meet; the other is that I am now in week 3 of this thing and the healing is well underway.

I've been able to do a bit of spinning for Tour de Fleece and that makes me happy. Tomorrow, I'm going to warp my loom and that will also make me feel great.

The Husband survived the Seattle-to-Portland ride quite well. Now he's off for a little R&R. We'll meet up at the end of the week for my class reunion.

Since I have no WIP pictures yet, here are some garden pictures. First up, an eggplant blossom:

Eggplant blossom

...and baby eggplants

Baby eggplants

...and a green tomato.

Green tomato

There are a lot of green tomatoes in the yard, but nothing is ready to eat yet. The yard is looking very lush right now and it's nice just to sit back there and enjoy the plants. Although, I have to say, the Husband did go a bit overboard with the tomato plants!


Eye Candy Friday, before vacation...

...and you get a sky picture.

July morning sky


...because my crafting right now is hit-and-miss. Since I'm spending most of my vacation at home, I hope to catch up on my sleep and fit in as much crafting as I can handle. The Husband is off on his annual Seattle-to-Portland bike ride trip, so I'll have some "me" time after the Daughter's visit.

In addition to the socks I'm knitting, I'm working on a little spinning for Tour de Fleece..this in particular:

Seafoam BFL, bobbin #1

This is Seafoam (BFL) from The Yarn Wench (of course!). I'm normally not much of a "green" person, but I love this combination of colors.

Up this weekend: A visit from the Daughter and a BBQ for some of her friends, a few errands, and some spinning thrown in there for good measure.

still working on the same WIPs...

...and they look pretty much the same as last time, so no new pictures. The 3 pairs of socks are coming along— they all are past the heel turns and I'm knitting the last 35% or so of each pair.

And just because I needed to be tempted by another pair of socks, look what arrived on Monday (behind the spoiler picture):

Spoiler--Loopy Ewe Sock Club

I love the color of this yarn and the extras are to die for! I'm so glad I was able to get into this sock club!

I have been spinning a little every day in honor of Tour de Fleece, but not on the wheel. I resurrected the angora-merino top that I started on the spindle several weeks ago and am filling the spindle for a second time. It's slow going because the angora is so soft and separates easily, and I'm still pretty wiped out at the end of the day. However, I am improving and that's a good thing!

another random Monday...

...it was a quiet weekend for me. I managed to get a few chores done around the house and few crafty things. I pretty much did what I could and rested when I needed to.

The Husband was busy in the garden trying to get the drip irrigation set up so I don't have to do any watering while he's on his trip. He's trying to get other things ready, too.

The Daughter will be home for a visit this weekend, so it's time to unearth her room again. The spinning fiber has started migrating to her dresser, so I need to herd it back into my craft room!(HA!)

It took me a while, but I plied the Purr-ple yarn that I had ready to go:

Purr-ple yarn, finished

Started 5/2/09
Finished 7/5/09
Purr-ple batts from Lisa Souza, Superfine Merino and Border Leicester lamb
Spun and Plied on Lendrum DT wheel
Yards: 300 Navajo-ply
WPI: 15

I worked on the Under the Sea socks when I felt like it. I finally got to the heel and turned it...after a few false starts, that is (so not in love with wrap-and-turn). I'm not completely happy with the heels, but they fit and I'm not frogging them again!

Oh, and I did make an Apricot Crisp with the last of the Blenheims...it was a nice after-dinner treat! I added a little extra ginger to the topping, which gave it a nice zing.

Eye Candy Friday from the garden...

...because I couldn't pass up another apricot picture.

Last of the Blenheim apricots

We're picking the last apricots this weekend. Between the heat and the squirrels, we've lost a lot apricots this year. This morning I watched a squirrel run over to the tree, pick a ripe apricot, and then climb to the top of the wall to enjoy it. At least he ate it all this time! We've been finding lots of half eaten apricots on the lawn.

The yellow snapdragons that were in the front planters have finally given up the ghost. I asked the Husband to plant new flowers with different colors...anything but yellow! He picked some very interesting flowers in pinks and purples:

New flowers in our front planters

Here are some individual pictures. An unknown purple-spired flower (he didn't leave a tag on it so I have no idea what it is):

Purple Spires

...another salvia, this one is Marble Arch Mix:

Salvia, Marble Arch Mix

...Dark Rose AngelMist (Angelonia):

Dark Rose AngelMist

...another penstemon, this time purple:

Purple Penstemon


I'm thankful that we have a holiday from work today. The week was stressful in many dimensions and I need the extra time to recover. Mostly, I need to catch up on my sleep...just not sleeping well at all.

Craft-wise, I've managed a few rows of knitting, but nothing else. However, I have spent some quality time with the cats...they've been comforting little souls and there's nothing like having a purring kitty next to you when you're feeling low.

Up this weekend: pick the apricots and make an apricot crisp. Try to spin a few minutes a day for Tour de Fleece, which starts tomorrow when the Tour de France starts. Do some knitting. Mostly just rest and store up some energy for next week.

Happy 4th to all who celebrate it!

June 2009 Recap

Finished:

Worked on:

  • Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Fraggled Socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Eleanor de Plume socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Under the Sea socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Purr-ple Lisa Souza wool blend batts (spinnning)
  • Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning)
Started:
  • 6/6 Plumcopper scarf (weaving)
  • 6/7 Purple Silk Wrap (weaving)
  • 6/14 Mas-Acero Shawl (weaving)

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. February Lady Sweater (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Corrugator scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Morning Surf Scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]

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

WIP = me

...I realized that Monday's comment about the "strange" was somewhat cryptic. So a little more explanation is in order (emphasis on "little").

Remember that I had the flu last Tuesday? Well, it was apparently the precursor to a small health problem I've developed...nothing earth-shattering or life-threatening, just something I need to deal with. It's small enough that I can still work full-time (maybe not as efficiently), but by the end of the work day, I'm pretty wiped out. The normal course for this thing is 3 to 5 weeks...

What this means to my crafts (and the gym, Pilates, and yoga classes) is that they are taking a back seat for the moment. Sadly, this means my goal to really make a dent in my spinning stash for Tour de Fleece will have to be revamped. Weaving and knitting will be when I feel like it. Mostly I'll be concentrating on getting me back to normal.

I'm going to try to keep posting on a regular basis. You just may get more garden and sky pictures than craft pictures!

WIP-it Wednesday...

...and a photo of my new toy. A year or so ago, my Mom mentioned that she had an old Singer sewing machine. She said it wasn't very bi...