Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Pardon my dust... I will reconstruct the blogroll and soap tour dates shortly.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Itteh Bitteh Kitteh Committeh

The babies are growing and *surprise* still need homes. First, a family shot...

The kittehs! The top center kitty and the one to the right are red tabby & white (both male). The calico & white just below that and the calico & white dead center are both female. The all red tabby is a male and the dark tabby is a female. Did I mention that they are a-dor-able?And really, who could resist this face?

In other news, I have been playing with the collection of spinning wheels this week. Here is some merino that I dyed many moons ago and am spinning quite fine on my Ashford Traditional. I had forgotten what a lovely wheel this is. I think I am keeping it for a student wheel. I tried spinning this fiber thick and fluffy but I think it is better suited to laceweight.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up

It is another beautiful day in the neighborhood. Set up the soap booth at the local farmers' market today and was astounded by the wind. It was really quite impressive. Picked up a little swiss chard for dinner tonight... the ones in my garden are really not growing fast enough.

Knitting progress is still slim. Washcloths are due soon and I had fewer than I thought, so there has been a lot of work on those. The lace stole is still in limbo and there is no lace mojo on the horizon. Even my socks have been stalled since I switched knitting bags. Fortunately it is too warm now for socks and I have plenty in the sock drawer already in case we have an early spring blizzard. I did stop by Knit N Stitch for an quick visit this afternoon and was reminded how much I love yarn and the people who work with it. We even got to burn someone’s yarn! The burn test is one way to determine the fiber of a yarn – wool turns to ash, acrylic melts, et cetera.

Saturday is the GLASG meeting so I will be there with fiber, a smile and some soap. It is always nice to visit with spinners, and I anticipate I can get a lot of progress made on the box of brown Romney roving. It seems that the more I spin, the less the level of wool in the box goes down! The black Romney fleece is nearly all scoured and dried now, so I can work on that soon. It will be fun to break out the drum carder! I think after that I will be ready for some white or anything with color. The theme of the meeting is trying out different kinds of wheels and spindles, so I will pack a couple interesting ones and maybe one will find a new home.

Denise and I started the weaving class in Covina this week. The facility is amazing – they have been in that room since the ‘70s and that class has been running since ’37. They must have 50 floor looms and a couple dozen table looms, plus a dyeing room, a small spinning area, a triangle loom and bunches and bunches of free / donation yarn for projects. I don't know what I was expecting, but that was not it. The folks are all very nice and it turns out most of us recognize each other from various fiber events - sometimes it is good to be known as "the soap lady"!

I am planning on learning the doublewide – doubleweave technique, where one weaves a cloth that you can unfold it when it comes off the loom and is twice as wide as it seemed. Double weave can also be used to make cloth that is a tube, has pockets, has a front and a back that are entirely different or to make two pieces of cloth at the same time (one sits above the other). It is all very clever.

I am also fascinated by the idea of woven lace (huck, atwater-bronson, etc) and might make some curtains later in the semester. I have to get Martha’s blanket done at some point in my life. She would prefer if it were soon! I am still such a new weaver that I am not sure what all the weaving ‘options’ are. So many things in our environment are made from woven fabric but how often do we stop and evaluate them? Do I want to make curtains? Rugs? Upholstery fabric? Towels? Yardage for clothing? That is why I want to be in a class – not just for instruction and guidance but also for inspiration and variation.

I brought the guinea pig to gardening day at Martha's this week and he was well admired. They commented how well the red pig looked in the green grass against the purple flowers; maybe we should make a calendar!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


The stray (pictured in previous post) popped out 6 little kittens yesterday. They are living in the neighbor's garage in relative splendor. We are soft hearted. There are 6 - 2 orange & white tabby, one regular tabby, and some tortie and white. I have never seen kitties that small before. They are really cute. Momma will need a home too, if anyone has room at the inn!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random Tuesday (is it Tuesday?)

First, a pic for the fine folks visiting from "Desked"... a niddy noddy in action:When the yarn comes off it is in a circle and then I twist it into a skein (seen in the desk picture). You can just see the spinning wheel base and the ball winder at the top there. Yarn requires many a gadget.

Next, a pic of the stray cat that needs a home. Here she is reclining on the neighbor's a/c unit. Anybody need a cat? The inn is full at my house.

For Melissa: it is not sunny here all the time. We had fog this weekend! And I thought I was just bleary eyed. The next day we even had rain squalls in the morning. You can see my 7 lane street there... I have a persistent mild fear of someone crashing their car through the kitchen wall.
Another rose has made an appearance in the garden. I actually have quite a few now and am on the lookout for ladybugs to eat the aphids. The lettuces and spinaches are ready for harvesting, the carrots, corn, watermelons, cantalopes and swiss chard are taking their sweet time.
And a scary sight - Devil Kitties. I wonder if I should submit this pic to LOLcats?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What Ho!

A quiet day at home today; cooking, chores, "Jeeves & Wooster", tea with a friend and now a little knitting before bed. It is good to feel happy again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rising Signs

I think I am at about the zenith of my energy, judged by what I managed to pack into this week (and by what missed the cut). There was work (!), gardening, wool washing, spinning, visiting and dogwalking... sometimes all at the same time. I want to overload my schedule something fierce, but am trying the best I can to only make committments that I can actually keep.Today Fran and I carpooled to the Freeway Lace Guild lace meeting. We stayed for a little bit and then hit the road, stopping by Garden Gate in Covina, Needles and Niceties in Upland and then Michael's to top it all off. Temptation was great (really great) but somehow I managed to resist and came home with nothing but some free cross stitch magazines from the lace meeting trade table and some kumquats. mmmm kumquats. GG is mostly a needlepoint / tapestry store and is just adorable. Fran found her fabric straight away and I admired all the beautiful work. NN is mostly a cross stitch store with a decent yarn selection and getting me out of there was not an easy task. Cross stitch has come a long way and I was dizzy with all the beautiful things there were to see and to create. All in all it was a good day with a good friend. "Detour Days" can go either way, but this was a pleasant one. It sure beat going from car parts store to car parts store. YMMV.Knitting progress is being made on the "Uncloudy Day" socks. #2 is about 3/4 done and I am getting antsy to wear them before it gets any warmer! Great progress was made in the car on our way to the lace guild meeting today. I thought I had a picture of them but it must be on another disk. Cross stitch, quilting, reading and WOW-playing have been sidetracked by production spinning (I dream in brown romney), but I know they will be there when the energy shifts again.I have been washing wool like a madwoman in order to get it shipped to the processor and out of storage. It is slow going but I am trying to keep the quality high as they have a new "WYSIWYG" policy. I figure the fiber is not making me any money (or sweaters) by hiding in the garage. I also like to entertain the neighbors by sorting and picking fleece in the front yard. No way am I bringing that mohair fleece inside. You can smell it from 20 paces (I counted).On Friday I joined Denise at her booth at the Farmers' Market in Riverside (8-12 in the Sears parking lot on Arlington) and helped her demo spinning and fiber arts. There is still time to submit handspun / knitted / lace items to the upcoming fair, so I will get on that in the next month or so. I carved out a little time between *cough cough* midnight and 2am this week to watch "Ring of Bright Water". It is a movie about a man and his otter that I saw once when I was small. Only bits remained in memory, but the story was the same and it was still a pleasure. Except for one part. But we won't talk about that. DestashingThe Flickr folder has been updated. Thank you for your interest! I will add fiber and fleece as I unearth and evaluate it.Time to wrap it up for the day. I highly recommend the link to Desked over in the sidebar. If I started a "link of the week" feature, that would be the current one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fleecy Dreams and Stranger Things

For your spinning pleasure, I present the current fiber selections from The Pick of the Knitter. They are soft and fluffy and ready to be made into something warm and beautiful.
Blue Faced Leiscester "Citrus Splash"
Merino/Tencel " Cherry Cordial"Blue Faced Leiscester "Skye"Merino/ Tencel "Skye"BFL "Aster"Merino/Tencel "Aster"Finn Sheep "Jester"

Merino/ Tencel "Twisted Spinster"BFL "Twisted Spinster"Merino/Tencel "Rainbow Trout"
BFL "Rainbow Trout" (not pictured)
Merino / Silk "Blueberry Squishy"

Merino/Tencel "Primrose"Merino/Tencel "Autumn"
BFL "Autumn" (not pictured)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Idles of March

Not bloody likely! I finished a custom spinning order this week and thought to take pictures of the process.
First the wool (superfine merino) was soaked to remove the suint, then washed in hot water with detergent to remove the lanolin and filth, then rinsed. After two days of soaking, there were still dry areas of the fleece, which shows how well the suint and lanolin protect the wool from damage and weather. A pain to scour, though.
Next it went out to dry and was also picked over to remove the worst of the dirt and bits of twigs. I combed this fiber to make a worsted yarn, to get out the rest of the bits of dirt, and to use the best parts of the fiber for the finished yarn. Here you can see the way the fiber is loaded on the stationary comb and the sweeping motion the moving comb makes to transfer the fibers from one to the other. This is what opens up and aligns the fibers. I use Valkyrie two pitch combs purchased from Carolina Homespun. When the fiber is all soft and fluffy, it is drawn through a diz to make a sliver. This makes the fiber into one piece of top of a manageable size. This diz was made by my spinning teacher's spinning teacher, Lila Sturges in Vista, CA.The sliver, ready to spin. It is mostly air at this point - soft, fluffy and squooshy.Using a hand spindle to spin the fibers into a singles. You can see how airy the sliver is. Later I took 2 singles and plied them together. This spindle is a Bosworth featherweight in Tulipwood from Journey Wheel. This spindle is available as part of the destashing project. More info below.The finished cop of singles on the spindle. I forgot to take plying pictures as it required two hands, my lap and the ball winder to manage it.

The finished 2 ply yarn! From about 25 gr of raw fiber I was able to make a 17 gr skein of about 48 yards. It is amazingly soft and fluffy, and bright white. I hope the client is as pleased as I am.


The destashing project is still on. I have made a flickr folder of the available items. Please email me at sleepingfox16 at yahoo dot com for more information on individual items. The featherweight spindle above is $35.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Fiber, Fiber Everywhere

... and a wheel to spin it! I am happily vendor-ing here at the Association of Southern CA Handweavers convention (link on sidebar). There are lovely things to buy, beautiful clothing items from the fashion show, a gallery full of inspiring art items, and classes, classes, classes.
I have soap for smelling

And fiber for fondling
I will work on getting pictures of the new colorways up here on the blog today. Just drop me a comment if there is anythting that tickles your fancy!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Wolf? What Wolf? Door? What Door?

Howdy all! It has been another fine day in paradise. More or less. I had some good news (check came in!) some bad news (it's the last one!) some good news (there is money in savings to live on!) some bad news (my COBRA is going up!) some good news (I have an interview tomorrow!) and some mediocre news (it is in commission based sales!). I plan on spending the rest of my life on hold with the EDD to find out why my claim is suddenly toast. At the end of the day, disaster has been averted but I will be hustling my buns a little more. On Oreo! On Olive!

Come Smell Soap!
For your soap perusing pleasure, I keep a list of our upcoming events / shows / craft fairs running in the sidebar under "Come Smell Soap!" and I certainly invite one and all to come by and sniff around. The soap. Of course. I will do a little twiddling this evening to make sure everything is up to date. As we add them, I will also start listing our soap and fiber "outlets" in case you can't see us in person. The more, the merrier! Coming up in the near future are: the Riverside Arts Walk this Thursday, the ASCH conference this weekend (although exact details of my participation are still under construction), and KnitNight at Knit N Stitch on Friday. Need a special delivery? Send me an email or a comment and we can chat.

Honest to goodness knitting progress was made on an actual sock last night. I really needed some plain ol' stockinette in-the-round knitting last night, and this particular pair of socks has been on the needles (OTN) for .... a while now. I would like to have them done in time for A/C season here in the southland. However, I had to do some stash tossing in order to find said socks, and was impressed by the amount of yarn that I forgot I had. And knitting needles. And fiber. And a cross stitch pattern, just to mix it up. Which is a segue to.....

Destashing Alert!
I will be having a "stash liquidation" sale in the coming days. I expect there will be books, yarn, patterns, cross stitch kits, drop spindles, fleece, prepared wool and the odd spinning wheel in the offerings. All items will be in new (yarn, fiber) or gently used (spindles, tools) condition.

Well, duckies, I think that is all the knews that is fit to knit. Toodles!