Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Long Awaited Pictures:

These are the Trekking ProNatura socks (wool and bamboo) in the "Browns" colorway. I am particularly pleased with the modified basketweave pattern and gave out the instructions to 5 or 6 people up in Visalia. I wish I could take credit for the design, but I got it from Linda at Knit N Stitch. They are nearly done and I am eager to wear them.

This is 2 skeins of Ingeo fiber in the "Sea Oyster" colorway from Barbara Greenstein at Furryarns. I bought it about 4 years ago. The two skeins (spun from 4 batches of top) came out very different shades, so I think I will have to knit alternately from 2 balls of yarn when the time comes.

This is one of four skeins of sock yarn I dyed, spun, and plied from center pull balls (I have a few new gray hairs in honor of that little exercise). I l-o-v-e the way it came out. I could never have planned it, and am surprised I like it so much. I remember what I did to get it, so I hope to have more in my future. Ruthie Pie said I should name it "Tidepool". I don't know a tidepool from a hole in the ground (ha ha), so it sounds good to me.

This weekend my planned spinning is to finish the McKenzie roving (spin and ply) and set it aside until good hat patterns come along, and to spin a truckload of white roving into white yarn so I will have something for the next dyeing session. The next "personal project" spinning after that will be some chocolate baby alpaca for a lace shawl (which pattern, I have not decided). I may ply it up with some Nancy Finn silk dyed in the Moonstone colorway. I am completely in love with spinning this week - and wish my wheel could come with me to math class. That might be pushing my luck, though :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Straight to Hell. I am going straight to Hell. I totally spaced on pictures of yarn for y'all. Sorry. Tomorrow for sure.

Last night I did get some McKenzie spun up and it is really much prettier than I anticipated. Very sparkly. In math class I managed to knit up the 2nd Browns sock all the way up to the same height as the first one (about 4" in basket weave pattern) before he let us loose. More reviewing - this week is all factoring all the time. Bor-ing. I came home, let the dogs in, fed the guinea pigs, and cracked open a beer - Black Hart brand. I have been looking forward to this beer - the name is nice and the label handsome. However, it was far too bitter for me. Drat. Back to Guinness.

I see on yahoo! that Johnathan Rhys-Davies (pant pant) is going to be in a Showtime production of The Tudors. It makes me want to buy cable service. But instead I went to Netflix and moved all his movies up to the top of my queue. There is even one where he plays opposite Clive Owen. I will not be available by phone or anything else on the day that one comes in - I'm just telling you now.

The Loopy Ewe (see link on sidebar) is updating her stock tonight. Did I mention that my birthday is coming up?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Happy Tuesday! Last night was quite nice. A quiet dinner at Best Thai (ginger delight with chicken and jasmine tea), a few more pages of "Beethoven's Hair" (I am nearing the end), then back home for spinning and tv. Watched a Netflix ("Heat of the Sun" with Trevor Eve *va-va-va-voom*), a Nature special on snow leopards, and then one on regular leopards in southeast asia. Reruns but always nice to look at.

I finished spinning the "Oyster" ingeo and then plied it all. I really like plying the ingeo - no matter how much twist is in it, or how much it kinks up, there is little memory to the fiber and it doesn't ever really tangle like fresh wool singles do. Pictures tomorrow. I will have to make up a gauge swatch and then start looking for tank top patterns to match my gauge.

While I was doing those things, I was also rinsing all the "Tidepool" sock yarn (that I finished plying in Visalia) and hung it up to dry overnight. So cute! Pictures tomorrow.

Tonight is a school night, but before then I am going to go home and start spinning some "McKenzie" from Ashland Bay (which I got from Ruth at the Dizzy Ewe - Ruth, send me your website address and I will put in a link). It is a grayish-bluish merino / silk blend, and is destined to be complementary hats for Pat and myself to wear in Scotland when we go.

I am still amazingly behind in my homework (due solely to laziness on my part), so may head over to the coffee shop after school and get a latte and some work done. We have a test coming up, and then all the assignments will be due. I got a 96 on our last (also the first) test, and tried to argue the 4 points last week. When I checked my work, I got $29.40 instead of $30 (it was a word problem) and I offered to just pay him the 60 cents. That did not work. Dang.

We (The Soap Plantation) have a big exciting announcement to make, but I suppose I should find out if I can spill the beans yet. Stay tuned!! In the meantime, our medium sized exciting announcement is that the shopping cart is up and running, so your 3am soap cravings can finally be satisfied. Woo. We will also be at the West Covina Egg-celebration on Saturday.

Well, it is time to hit the bricks, I think. We had a nice rainstorm for about 20 minutes this afternoon (2:00 to 2:20), and then it was bright and sunny - and windy - again. Hopefully the dogs will be dry.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Who Woulda Thunk?

I have returned from the ASCH conference in Visalia, and a good time was had. I drove thru the desert there and back, and got to see the sun rise on Saturday and set on Sunday. The joshua trees were blooming (joshua trees bloom?) and the swallows were nesting in overpasses (not just in San Juan Capistrano anymore, I guess). I saw 3 golden eagles (one nesting) and a red tailed hawk, redwinged blackbirds and something I think was a grackle. Woo!

I borrowed the audio book "Carry on Jeeves" for the journey and it was a laugh-riot. Just the thing I needed after another rough day at work (Friday). Armed with coffee, banana, and chili cheese Fritos, I had a pleasant drive up to Visalia and arrived about 10 am. I plopped myself down at the Dizzy Ewe booth with my spinning wheel and generally made myself at home.

I chatted up fiber folks, I sold fiber, I chatted up the Spindlicity Cruise, and I tried very hard to resist buying fiber. I am on restriction, you know. I saw lots of people I know and adore, and was generally at my ease for two whole days. I spun 2oz of ingeo on Saturday - it is the 2nd half of the batch I was working on back in December. I have another oz on the bobbin and one left to spin and then that 8oz will be DONE. I also finished plying the "Tide Pool" sock yarn and need to get pictures. I remember the days when I could not spin 2oz in a week, much less in 5 hours.

I did cave and buy some weaving equipment from the nice folks who built my loom (northwest looms) some warping pegs and a stick shuttle. It will be easier to weave thru my stash if I have the proper tools. The next project is a blanket / rug and my boat shuttle is just not up to the task. I managed to resist their gorgeous niddy noddies (I have a small already, but he had large there this time).

The drive home Sunday was just as fine - although I was tired and it got dark around Mojave. No traffic, no idiots, just me and a very large cup of iced tea.

Tonight is dedicated to going to dinner and then directly to bed.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What I Did Over My Summer Break. Well, last night instead of assorted chores. It's a squashed swatch:
Spindled from "Blaze" roving (a merino sheep) on my Bosworth moosie spindle. Navajo plied, knit up on size 6 needles, and bang on gauge.

Someday, it will be this, the Jasmine Sweater from Elsebeth Lavold:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Now that I am going to ASCH, I am bouncing around with excitement. I have my book on tape ("Carry on, Jeeves") ready, the wheel is in the car, I am going to pick up roving tonight, I washed my sheep sweater, my yoga mat and new Spin Off are in the car, and I have been doing laundry all week.

I need to get a camera (disposable I suppose), put gas in the car, empty the car of crap (those who know me understand), and turn in my debit card to Mandy for safekeeping. I am, afterall, still on fiber restriction and the Compact.

I finished the Delft socks in math on Tuesday and worked in the ends at Knit N Stitch last night, just in time to wear them to yoga. I really like the crazy ways the yarn pooled and I am generally quite pleased. I started sock #2 of the Trekking ProNatura "Browns", and will probably finish the foot tonight in math. Maybe I will even start the the heel. I have sock #1 on hold until I get to the same place in the leg, as I want to use up every inch of the yarn (by working from both ends to the middle). I am feeling the urge to block the Adamas shawl tonight to wear this weekend (NOT over the sheepy sweater), and to get the rest of the yarn spun up to finsish the grey sweater. The sleeves have been crying out piteously from their shelf.

... is going well. I have started helping a little behind the desk and that makes me feel good. Also, I get to know more people that way! I plan on doing at least a short form of Ashtanga at 9am on Sunday so I will still be practicing with the group - just from far away. Last night Lama Tsony gave a talk and we had a short meditation and chanting, and it was amazing. So much more fun than I imagined. It gave me a LOT to think about, and now I am really eager to go to a meditation retreat, where before I thought it was a little wierd.

I went home at lunch and folded laundry. 'Nuff said.

Trying to finish "Beethoven's Hair". It is a bit boring. And yes, it IS about Beethoven's hair. Go figure.

That's about all for now!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hate. My. Job. I hope everyone buys lots of fiber so I can quit.

Other than that, things are going well. Tearing thru library books (almost done with "The Boy with Two Heads"), the car is running again thanks to a sparkly new alternator, yoga is relaxing and rewarding even when sweat is running down me, knitting on socks like gangbusters, and did a little laundry this week.

Tonight is an Open Spinning night at the studio (come join us) and I am really looking forward to it. I love chatting and relaxing with everyone. I intend to finish plying the sock yarn tonight - it has been waiting a long time.

After Open Spinning I am trucking down to San Diego to visit Pat and have some (far too much) whiskey and beer. mmmmm. It has been that sort of week. I think a little time in the aviary with the birds will do me good too. Or a nice sit down outside wildcat canyon. I will keep my eyes peeled for new fiber colorways (hmmmm.... i think snow leopard or cape wild dog will be nice).

Then I come home Sunday in time for Ashtanga yoga. I am really ready. I am taking my book down to SD with me so I can do a short form on Saturday morning. And my wheel. Perhpas I can swatch for the next sweater (shhh... don't tell the one that isn't done yet).

Happier already, just thinking about the weekend!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Finally my knitting is near my scanner at work and it is all flat. Here for your viewing pleasure are...

The "Prairie Iris" and baby alpaca fingerless mitts. Someday I may even work in the ends and get to wear them! They are both done, and look pretty much the same. Handspun and navajo plied by yours truly. "Prairie Iris" roving (merino and silk blend) dyed by Capistrano Fiber Arts. This is the same roving I made my Grandma's christmas fingerless mitts out of, so we match!

The Delft Sock (#1) . This is my math class knitting. I finally tried it on today and it is a perfect fit *whew*. The yarn is Opal.

The brown sock (#1). This is Trekking ProNatura yarn. It is a wool and bamboo blend and heaven to work with. Just as nice as wool-tencel. You can't really see it yet, but the leg will be a basketweave pattern. I got this yarn over at Knit N Stitch and I saw that they had some left yesterday. I highly recommend it. They had a grey, a lighter brown-green-yellow, another brown, and a blue.


Friday, March 09, 2007

The Agony and the Exercise

The car - my beloved Batmoblie - died on the way home from RCC last night. Never mind that it had spent the whole day in the shop and received and oil change and new air filter, and I had agreed to $900 in repairs to get the smog system up to snuff.

Turns out the alternator is dead and took the battery with it. $500 just to get it running again, and then they can hook it up to the computer and see what else is going on. It might be fixed today, it might be in hospital until Monday. Or later. I had to leave my spinning wheel behind, but did grab my knitting (Peppermint socks), algebra book, and yoga mat. That should entertain me all weekend. I can walk to yoga, walk to my doctor appt, and take the bus to work (and home tonight).

I had the excitement of being stranded (only 2 blocks from home, blessedly), of needing to push the tank to the curb (and later around the corner), of waiting for the tow truck guy to come rescue me this morning, of arguing with the people who had it yesterday, and of meeting the new people who are going to fix it for me. And on top of it all, wondering where the money will appear from and cancelling my big plans to go to Brawley and the Imperial County Fair with Pat and Naomi.

I am not thrilled, but it could have been worse.

I finished "The Worst Hard Time" last night - it rained. I am excited to Netflix "The Plow that Broke the Plains" as soon as it is available. My reading this morning was "Beethoven's Hair" but it was hard to concentrate while arguing with the repair shop (the bad one) and waiting for the tow truck. I did manage to finish the toe of the 2nd Delft sock and start the foot. We were practicing Determinates and learning Cramer's Rule. Then we left early.

There will be much comfort knitting this weekend, I suspect. And maybe some dish-washing!

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I broke both my Compact and my Fiber Restriction yesterday when I bought sock yarn. I did buy it from Linda at Knit N Stitch, where I can display the finished socks to help them sell the remainder, so I was able to sleep last night.

I have done no knitting aside from the Delft socks (no picutres again - the socks are in the car which is in the shop) this week. I did finish spinning the last of the sock yarn last night and will ply it up tonight. I still haven't settled on a good big project. I have been using every free minute to read "The Worst Hard Time". It is 1936 and things are still bleak.

Fiber-free news
The car is in the shop today, getting an oil change and being evaluated for a smog check. $1200 to get it to pass. My gods. That is a lot of roving to dye and sell. I have recovered from the shock and am confident I can pay it... eventually.

This weekend I am going to the Imperial County fair with Pat and Naomi. It should be a good time. Pictures if I remember.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fiber = Freedom.

It sounds so much better than (and carries none of the bad bad bad connotations of) Arbeit Macht Frei, but it is the same principal: if I work hard at my fiber and soap tasks, get the word out, have product avaliable, and spin spin spin, I can quit this lousy job and maybe be happy in the World of Woolcraft.

Boy I hope I don't get sued for that.

Anyway, with a little planning and a lot of work, I really think I can make this happen. I may have to quit school for a while - or go down to one day a week - in order to have the time. There are many ideas churning in my little brain.

Fibery updates:
Sorry there are no pictures - although I have located more batteries for the camera. They are nowhere near the camera, but it is still progress.

The first Delft sock is done - finished in math class last night. I began its mate and am halfway done with the toe. There was a minor incident where I knitted one of the wraps at the wrong time.

The sock yarn (Tide Pool) is nearly done. Unfortunately, it is the same amount of nearly done as it was last week.

The Peppermint socks are still coming along - I have almost finished the first row of rectangles. It is very fiddly knitting. I think they will be cute when they are done. And if they are not, I will wear them anyway after all this work! Or maybe frame them. Or submit them to the Smithsonian.

The Riverspinners schedule is filling out nicely: March at Denise's farm, April at the Huntington Museum and Gardens, and May in Riverside, learning Tunisian Crochet. June is open, and then July is the pool party and flax spinning. Come learn more and /or join our Yahoo group at "Riverspinners", or email me for an invitation. Website soon to be at

Non Fibery Updates:
I am reading "The Worst Hard Time" right now. It is about the people who (made and) lived in the Dust Bowl of the '30's. Fascinating and sad, extremely well written and engaging.

Yoga is coming along well (except for the 6:30 am sessions - I just can't manage it). I even practiced Ashtanga yesterday morning with the birds (literally - Kiwi was so funny when she hung on upside down during forward bends). I also had a Thai massage this week. It was wierd at first but I really liked it. Email me (if you are local) and I will refer you to Julie.

I went to Trader Joe's Sunday and bought a half dozen different beers (one each) for some sampling. Last night was Oranjeboom night (from Holland). A little too hoppy for my taste, with and unusual bite. Tonight will be Black Toad if I get home early enough. I have 2 new Netflix to watch so it may be a late evening. My crush on Stephen Fry continues with "Cold Comfort Farm" and I also have "Tidelands" directed by Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame), which is supposed to be very wierd and disturbing. Might save that for the weekend.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Another week behind me. I managed to make it to class both days, to knitting one day, to yoga 3 times, and weaselled out of the company staff meeting. As long as I can get the rent paid, I am golden. Got a little cleaning done last night, did a little laundry (not enough, as I had a lack-of-pants-emergency this morning), and watched "Kingdom of Heaven" with Orlando Bloom.

I really need to get out of my day job. It's me and Fishy IV against the world.

Made only a small amount of progress on the first Delft sock last night - got thru the last inch of leg and into the ribbing. Then I had to pay attention to the lesson. It did not make me happy.

Tonight is open spinning and I will work on (finish????) the sock yarn. Then yoga in the morning, soap in the afternoon, and the Oxnard Festival of the Whales all day on Sunday.