Monday, July 30, 2007

my Tour de Fleece report...

...goals achieved! If I wore yellow, I'd be wearing my yellow jersey! (LOL!)

My main goal was to spin every day except for the designated rest days. I managed to to that, although a couple of days it was really tough. Thank goodness for the spindle! I finished 2 yarns that I had started before Tour de Fleece, started and finished another 2 yarns, and started 3 more (1 on the spindle and 2 on the wheel).

My second goal was to try a new technique. I did that with the Mermaid yarn (see below) by plying with Rayon thread.

Mermaid yarn
My third goal was to challenge myself by spinning something I hadn't spun before: the merino-silk roving I've had in my stash for two years. It was scary at first, because I didn't want to ruin it, but I've gotten into a rhythm now. Here's a "dime" picture:

Merino-silk close-up
This yarn is taking a while to spin because I'm doing it thin and I'm taking my time with it. I love the colors...I just wish I could get a picture with the true colors. It's a lot more purple than this.

With the tour completed, I'm going to get back to a balance of spinning and knitting. I didn't really do a lot of knitting during the tour because I just didn't have enough time in the day.

Last night, I cast on for the Fawkes socks using the Firebird yarn from the last Rockin' Sock Club installment. I liked the Solstice Slip pattern that came with the club yarn, but I like the way that Fawkes looks in the yarn. Plus, it kind of commemorates the last Harry Potter. I'm also still knitting
the Montego Bay wrap (scarf) in the Walking on the Wild Tide yarn.

That should keep me out of trouble!

Friday, July 27, 2007

kind of an Eye Candy Friday...

...the pictures didn't turn out the way I'd hoped. Here's the only halfway decent one:

Merino-silk single, first bobbin
This is the first bobbin of the purple merino-silk. (It's a lot more purple than this picture shows.) This was definitely challenging as it took me a while to adjust the wheel so I could get a strong single. The first attempts weren't twisted enough and kept breaking. There are a few white silky slubs that are a pain to deal with, but they give the single some character.

I'm trying to spin it into a fine single, so I'm going slowly with it. Unfortunately, the "dime" shot did not turn out, so I can't show you just how thin it is.

Up this weekend: I want to make more progress on the merino-silk before switching back to the Cali roving. I don't know how much time I'll be able to spend, though, as my mother will be in the area for the Gilroy Garlic Festival. I may be getting in more knitting than spinning if we go with her!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tour de Fleece, challenge day...

Today is a Tour de Fleece challenge day, which corresponds to the last hard climbing mountain stage for Tour de France. We're supposed to pick something personally challenging to spin today. I've been thinking about it and have decided to spin this:

Purple Merino Silk roving
This is one of the first two rovings I ever bought. I didn't spin at the time, but the vendor pointed out that I could split the roving into lengthwise strips and knit a hat with it if I didn't want to spin it.

This roving is incredibly soft and is wonderfully purple! It is by Angora Cottage and is
70% Merino and 30% Silk (4oz). It's a challenge for me because, other than a small sample piece, I haven't spun silk. I've been afraid to spin it because I didn't want to wreck it, but I think it's time!

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 23, 2007

mischief managed... (no spoilers here) Harry Potter book arrived Saturday at 2pm. I finished reading it at 3pm Sunday. The spoiler-free review:

It was an excellent ending to the series and a very satisfying read!

That's all I'm saying...

The rest of the weekend was good, too. On Friday night the Daughter and I went to the movies to see Hairspray. OMG, it was so good! John Travolta was amazing! Being a fan of the original John Waters movie, I wasn't sure how I'd like the adjusted story line and the musical numbers, but it all worked very well.

On Saturday while I waited for the HP book to arrive, I did some chores around the house and started spinning a new roving on the wheel. Whenever I took a break from reading, I'd spin a little. As a result by Sunday night, I'd finished a bobbin of the Cali Falkland roving that I bought from
Yarn Wench.

Bibbin of Cali roving
(This doesn't show all of the colors in this roving; there is a lot more blue in it.)

I also started a new roving on the spindle. This is Josie, also from Yarn Wench:

Josie roving and spindle
The Husband arrived home safely late Saturday night, so all is right with my world now!

Friday, July 20, 2007

ply me to the Moon[stone]...

...otherwise known as Ply Candy Friday. (LOL!)

Here is the completed Moonstone yarn that I finished plying last night. It hasn't had a bath yet, so I expect it will loosen up a bit and get even softer after that.

Moonstone yarn
...and the close-up:

Moonstone yarn, close-up
Chasing Rainbows 100% Merino top (2 oz)
Color: Moonstone
1/3 spun on Cascade Little Si spindle; 2/3 spun on Spindlewood square whorl mini
Plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
Yield: 211 yards, Navajo plied
Weight: 16wpi (average), Fingering

One thing I noticed when plying this yarn was that I had absolutely no breakage. I still have a few "soft" places in my wheel-spun singles that break during the plying process (fewer and fewer, though, as I get more consistent in my spinning). Having no breakage meant that the plying process went more smoothly. Now if I can just improve the consistency of my Navajo-plying, I'll be really pleased!

To date, that makes 4 yarns that I have completed during Tour de Fleece. Tonight, I will pick a Merino roving from the stash for the next spindle project and choose one of my Falkland tops for the wheel.

There is more spinning on tap this weekend, when I'm not reading the new Harry Potter book. The book arrives tomorrow from Amazon and I can't wait to read it! Also, the Husband gets home this weekend! Yay! I'm sure he has loads of pictures and stories from his vacation that he will share.

So, busy weekend for me...hope yours is good, too!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

mid-week report...

...such as it is. No pictures in this post, because I haven't really started anything new.

I did finish spindle-spinning the Moonstone roving (finally!). I need to wind it all into one ball and then ply it. I'll use the Navajo-plying method because it will come out even that way—much easier for spindle-spun singles than trying to divide it two or three balls of roughly the same length. (If you want a reminder of what Moonstone looks like, go to this post.)

I've managed to spin every day of Tour de Fleece except for our designated day of rest on Monday. I thought it would be easy to spin some every day, but it's not. Thank goodness I had something on the spindle, because that's the only way I could squeeze in the spinning. There's just not enough time during the week to spin with Sirena!

I still haven't decided what I'll spin next. I do know it won't be in the same color range as Apricot Cinder or Mermaid. Maybe something blue or purple...

Monday, July 16, 2007

spinning me a yarn...or two...

I had a great weekend all the way around.

I picked the Daughter up at SFO. She caught an earlier flight, which worked out great for both of us. She got home 3 hours earlier and I didn;'t have to drive to the airport late at night.

The Husband called and said he survived another Seattle-to-Portland bike ride. (LOL!) He's taking a short vacation with my brother and sister-in-law before coming home.

Me, I ran a couple of errands and mostly spun the entire weekend! First off, I finished the Apricot Cinder yarn.

Apricot Cinder Yarn
Here's a close-up:

Close up of Apricot Cinder yarn

Yarn Wench 100% Falkland top (3.7oz)
Color: Apricot Cinder
Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
Yield: 272 yards Navajo plied
Weight: TBD, but I'm guessing between Sport (2) and DK (3)

Next, I tried an experiment with the Mermaid Roving I bought from Spunky Eclectic. I wanted to see how plying with thread would affect the look of this roving. I spun the roving as a thick-thin single, basically just letting it do its thing. Then I plied it with one strand of Teal rayon thread and one strand of gold rayon thread, letting the threads act as one ply. Here's the result:

Mermaid yarn
...and the close-up:

Close up of Mermaid yarn
Spunky Eclectic South African Fine Wool roving (4oz)
Color: Mermaid
Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
Plied with teal and gold rayon threads
Yield: 167 yards, essentially a two-ply
Weight: Bulky; WPI TBD

This method of plying worked pretty well, after I got the hang of it. I think this yarn will make an interesting scarf. However, next time I'll try one ply of a thick-thin single, a thin single, and 1 strand of thread.

Next up: This is a rest day for Tour de Fleece, so I think I'll break out some knitting while I decide what to spin next!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sky Candy Friday, again...

...cuz I've got nothing new to show on the spinning front.

July Sky, with bird
That black dot on the left? Click to enlarge the picture and you'll see that it's a bird. It just flew into the frame as I took the picture. (BTW, this was taken Wednesday morning. This morning we have blue skies.)

On to Tour de Fleece. I managed to squeeze in some time with Sirena last night and spun more of the Apricot Cinder roving. I'll be able to finish this up tomorrow when I have more time. Then I can start something new on the wheel.

This weekend is the Hallmark ornament preview, and I'll be there on Saturday. As any of my friends and family can tell you, I seriously love Christmas. I look forward to the ornament preview every year and buy several for us and for gifts.

I also get to trek to the San Francisco airport Saturday night to pick up the Daughter. She's been on a university-arranged trip for two weeks and gets back then.

Sunday is for spinning...I don't plan on doing anything else!

I hope every one has a great weekend planned, too!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lupines and Poppies yarn again..

...because you don't want to see another picture of the spindle full of Moonstone roving. That's all I've had time to spin the last couple of days!

Here is the finished Lupines and Poppies yarn:

Lupines and Poppies yarn
It is dry and ready to be knit into something—just what, I have no idea!

The yarn is 12 to 14 WPI, probably Light weight (sport) on the average. I did a better job with the Navajo-plying this time, so it mostly looks like "real" yarn. LOL!

Here's a closeup:

Close-up of Lupines and Poppies yarn
OK, that's it. That's all I got!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tour de Fleece, stage 2

I spent about 20 minutes spindle spinning the Moonstone roving. This is the 6th time I'm filling the spindle. Of course, it doesn't look much different than the first 5 spindle-fulls...oh, well!

More Moonstone spinningOne thing about trying to spin every day is that during the work week, I don't have a lot of extra time for it. Monday and Tuesday evenings are pretty full and usually my Thursday evening is full, too. That leaves lunch-time and Wednesday evening. I guess as long as I spin a little it meets the criteria of Tour de Fleece!

On the knitting front, I tried the
Nereides pattern in Magknits in the Walk on the Wild Tide (WOTWT) yarn. Loved the pattern; didn't like it with this yarn. So, now I'm trying the Montego Bay Scarf from the Summer issue of Interweave Knits. Since I really wanted a wrap out of this yarn, I doubled the number of cast-on stitches and increased the needle size to 10 (6.0mm). I'm about 6 rows in and it looks good. There's not enough of it to photograph yet, you'll just have to wait!

Now, to go order another skein of the WOTWT yarn...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's 77th birthday. (I know she'll hate that I put that out there!)

Hope you have a great day! We love you!

my stage 1 yarn

I did manage to Navajo ply the Lupines and Poppies single yesterday. I have about 4 places that were too loosely spun, but I managed to ply through them to get a fairly decent join.

Here's the yarn before it's bath:

Lupines and Poppies yarn
Yarn Wench 100% Merino top (approx 2oz spun; 2.2oz not yet spun)
Color: Lupines and Poppies
Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
Yield: 184 yards Navajo plied
Weight: TBD (I'll do this after it dries)

While I was taking its picture, I had some help from Tica. (Sombra was hanging around, too, but she has an annoying habit of sticking her nose in the camera lens whenever I try to take her picture!)

Nosy Tica
"What's this stuff? It doesn't smell like catnip..."

When I finished the Lupines and Poppies plying, I immediately started on the second half of the Apricot Cinder wool. I made good progress on it, but my shoulders were starting to get tired and I stopped.

For Stage 2, I will work on the Moonstone roving that I have on the spindle. There's still quite a bit to do on this one, so we'll see how far I get!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

preserving insanity...

...that sums up yesterday pretty well! Here's how I spent the day:

Apricot Preserves
Project Specs:
14 pounds pitted Blenheim Apricots
1 low sugar apricot preserve recipe (sugar, water, lemon juice, and pectin)
Yield: 12 12-oz jars; 10 1-pint jars

Also in the picture is my Prolog activity for Tour de Fleece. I finished up the first half of Apricot Cinder Roving. Here's a close-up from earlier in the day:

Apricot Cinder, bobbin 1
Today for Stage 1 of Tour de Fleece, I will attempt to Navajo ply the Lupines and Poppies single (I say attempt because I'm not sure I got enough twist on the single to do this) and then get back to the Apricot Cinder roving.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sigh Candy Friday

The tide has gone out...

Tide Walker spaghetti
The Walking on the Wild Tide yarn did not want to be toe-up socks for me. I gave it several tries, but there is only so much frogging that I can take. So, the first sock has been unraveled and will be followed soon by the second sock. This poor yarn deserves so much better!

I'm leaning towards making this a wrap. In keeping with the tide theme, I'm thinking of doing Nereides from the new Magknits. I love the seafoam lace pattern and it looks pretty straight-forward (I could use that about now!). I probably won't use the beads in the body of the wrap just because the color variations and the silk in this yarn are enough to keep it interesting.
If I decide to make this wrap, I'll have to order at least one more skein of yarn.

This weekend, I need to make a ton of apricot preserves. The freezer won't hold any more frozen apricots and I don't want this bounty to go to waste!

Also, Tour de Fleece starts tomorrow. I think I have enough roving to keep me going the whole time!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

spinning wheel got to go round...

...Sirena and I spent the 4th of July spinning Yarn Wench wool top (well, not the whole day, but most of the afternoon and evening).

I finished up the first bobbin of Lupines and Poppies. This bobbin holds approximately half of the roving.

Lupines and Poppies on bobbin
I haven't quite decided whether I am going to do a two-ply yarn or a three-ply with this yarn. I considered Navajo plying this bobbin before spinning the rest of it. However, I was getting a little tired of the Merino—I find that it is slow to spin because I have to be very careful to keep enough twist in the single. I've adjusted things several times to improve the spin and have (I think) the best settings for this, but it's still slow going.

I decided to give myself a break and try a different type of wool. Apricot Cinder was calling me, so I started a bobbin of that. Whoa! That spins fast! Here's what I did yesterday evening (sorry for the fuzzy picture. I need to find a better place to take pictures of stuff on the wheel):

Apricot Cinder
The Falkland so much different than the Merino! I prepped them both the same way by pre-dafting a lengthwise strip, but the Falkland spins a lot smoother. I'm not having any problems getting a thin single, although it is a tiny bit thicker than the Merino. I love the way the colors are coming out. It's too bad there was only one of these, because I'd really like to make something other than socks out of this.

I am mostly ignoring my Tide Walker socks. However, I have been researching shawls and scarves on the Internet. Maybe the Walking on the Wild Tide yarn wants to be a shawl...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

4th of July fireworks, spinning style...

Big rosettes of color!

Yarn Wench roving
I ordered more wool top from Yarn Wench. Someone (you know who you are!) pointed me to the Apricot Cinder Falkland wool that the Wench had added to her site. Given my current apricot obsession, I had to buy it. (really!) While I was there, I ordered a couple of others, too. (LOL!)

The picture shows all of the wool that I bought from
Yarn Wench. Clockwise, from the top left: Earthday, Cali, Apricot Cinder, and Josie. In the center is the unspun portion of Lupines and Poppies; the rest is on the bobbin. At the bottom of the picture, is Mermaid from Spunky Eclectic.

Happy 4th of July for those who celebrate it! I'm off to spin some of this roving!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

frustration, thy name is...

...Tide Walker!

Remember that I frogged these socks back to before the increases and then frogged back another inch because they were an inch too long? Well, last night I finally got to the point where I could do the heel on the first sock. D@mn if they weren't still too long!

ARG! I am so not feeling the love for toe-up socks right now! It took all my will power not to fling them across the room!

I need to regroup and figure out what to do. I have two choices:
  1. Try again, this time with a different kind of heel—the Jaywalker one is just not working.
  2. Forget the toe-up thing, frog them completely, and knit them cuff-down.
I really love the way the Walking on the Wild Tide yarn looks in this pattern. It's just the toe-up thing that's kicking my @$$. This is one of those things where I can't seem to grasp going in "reverse." (I have this problem with other things, too. For example, I can't skate backwards to save my life; forward is fine.)

[Sigh!] Maybe I should stick to spinning for now. Sirena doesn't make me knit heels...

Or maybe I should pick up one of my cross stitch UFOs. They don't have heels either...

Monday, July 02, 2007

apricot harvest...

OK, so maybe the final post on the apricots this year .

Here is the harvest...

Apricot harvest 2007
...and the requisite close-up:

Harvest close-up
There are still apricots on the tree that were too green to pick, so this isn't everything. But believe, me it's more than enough for the two of us! We've already frozen a bunch of them and need to do more before they get overripe. I've also made a wonderful apricot sorbet (Yum!) from the ones that were too soft to freeze.

I think we'll be eating apricots for a while!

June 2007 Recap

I finished very little this month, but that's the way it goes sometimes! Here's the recap:


  • Burning Bush yarn from Northern Lights 100% wool top in Burning Bush color #34
    Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
    Yield: 390+ yards traditional 3-ply; approx. 50 yards Navajo plied
    Weight: average 15 wpi; somewhere between CYC weight 2 (fine) and 3 (light)

In progress:
  • Spinning 2 ounces Chasing Rainbows Merino top in Moonstone; 4+ spindle-fulls so far
  • Toe-up Jaywalker socks in Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock Club yarn in Walking on the Wild Tide (AKA Tide Walkers)
    (They were an inch too long in the foot; frogged back, reduced length bu an inch and started increases again.)
  • Spinning 4.2 oz of Yarn Wench 100% wool top in Lupines and Poppies; 1 bobbin so far
On Hiatus until I can face them again:In progress, but didn't work on:
  • Flip-top mittens (knitting)
  • Just Nan 2002 Christmas ornament (cross stitch)
  • Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  • Peekaboo mittens (knitting)
  • Queen Mermaid (cross stitch)
  • Sangria shawl (knitting)
  • Seahorses pillow (needlepoint)
  • Twinkletoes slippers (knitting)
  • Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

This month, I want to finish spinning the Moonstone and Yarn Wench rovings, plus finish the Tide Walker socks. I joined the Tour de Fleece spin-along, so that will help me get the spinning done! As for my next knitting project, I'll have to decide what to tackle next once I get those Tide Walkers done!

Not-quite Eye Candy Friday...

...we've experienced a week of poor air quality due to the fires north of us. So many people (and animals) have lost their homes, some...