Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The sound of crickets chirping

It's been a long time since I've posted here. Nothing bad has happened to me, I just don't seem to have much to say about yarn these days. If anyone misses my writing, I've started a new blog about the pursuit of happiness here: 17000 Days. I still expect to post here occasionally when the yarn urge strikes me, but that's a lot less often than it used to be.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Evidence of yarn crazies

So the Lion Brand and WEBS catalogs both came on the same day a few days ago. I've been trying to get myself re-motivated to do yarn stuff, but so far it really hasn't worked. The WEBS catalog is the closest I've come, though. Dudes, that cover sweater?

I adore that sweater. If I wasn't fully aware that it would take the entire rest of my life to make at my knitting speed, and if I had that kind of money to spend on a sweater I'd never finish, I would be all over that. Love it! Go WEBS! Now I'm starting to feel the beginnings of the fall yarniness stirring. The more I look at it, the more I think maybe I'd finish it and I'll never know unless I try... It has been a long time since I've bought any yarn. Really, you could say I've been saving up all summer for this sweater, ha ha.

After I finished the WEBS catalog, I started looking through Lion Brand. Now, a lot of people scorn Lion Brand, and their catalog is mostly the same stuff every time (or so it seems to me), but this time they had a new section about crafts you can do with yarn even if you can't knit or crochet. They had a few cheesy projects, including clothes hanger cozies and a vase made by gluing yarn to an empty milk carton, but then, alone on its own page with no explanation or other information, was this.

I stared at it for about five seconds, then burst out laughing. Ok, folks, if something like this starts sprouting in my house, please stage an intervention and hire a cleaning crew! I guess what makes it so funny to me is that I really like it. It has the cottage garden charm. And I can totally imagine how it came about. Woman knitting in corner, glances over and notices moss starting to grow on the other chair. Hm, she thinks. I better take care of that... after I finish this row. Well, maybe just two more rows. In the next scene, the afghan she's working on is longer, and so is her hair. Grass and dandelions have started sprouting from the chair. Next scene, her hair is almost to the floor and some little weeds are growing around the chair legs. Next scene her hair hangs past the floor and has turned gray, she's telling herself she'll clean after she finishes the edging on this thing, and the climbing roses are blooming on the chair. This crazy yarn sprout garden chair is a cautionary tale for us all. But then, who needs to go outside when apparently the outdoors will come to us if we just knit long enough?

Monday, August 10, 2009

travellin' yarn

I do complain, but life is actually very good. For example, I went to Pennsylvania to visit my family, and came back with this:

Oh yeah, and let's not forget this:

(It's not as dangerous as it looks--that's merino and tencel, not mohair, so it's very soft. If I ever took pictures in the daylight, you'd see.)

It ended up being a pretty hardcore trip. I was driving my Miata (mountain roads!! It would have been a crime to leave it home!), and that's not a car with a lot of cargo room. My spinning wheel barely fit in the trunk, with my teeny laptop crammed in the teeny remaining space, clothes in a backpack on the passenger's floor, and snacks in easy reach on the passenger's seat. Luckily I don't have a passenger.

Dudes, let me tell you, that trip was made for the Miata. When I did it last winter in a rented Kia, it did nothing for me. But this time, I had a blast. Even though it took 12 hours and I arrived in the middle of the night and I accidentally bought myself 24 extra miles by getting back on the highway in the wrong direction after a gas stop (duh! south is not how to get to Pennsylvania from Alabama!), when I arrived, I basically bounced out of the car and, with a rebel yell, cried "more more more!"

It really was a great trip. I got to see lots of people I hadn't seen in forever, and I got a lot of spinning time. In the first picture above, the blue yarn is from a Little Barn dyed then combed blend. Love it! The other is from something I bought from Yarn Expressions, but unfortunately exactly what is lost in the sands of time. It's color combination I never would have done myself, which was exactly what I was looking for when I bought it. It's fuchsia, olive, and tan. It's really cool, but it is surprisingly felted. Not impossible to work with, but not easy, either, especially in all that PA humidity. (It rained almost the whole week I was there.) Also, when I started spinning it, I decided to split it lengthwise and try to do a two-ply where the colors match up, at least mostly. Well, a lot's happened since then, and I really don't remember what I could have been smoking when I divided it, because the first "half" was about 2/3 of a bobbin, and the second "half" was a full bobbin plus a pile of wool still unspun. I ended up with a whole bunch of barber pole, which is pretty but the opposite of what I was going for. I haven't decided yet whether to attempt to make at least some of it match up. (Heroic Andean plying to get the current remaining singles into a two-ply, and then re-attempt the split trick on the rest? Navajo the singles and split/two-ply the rest? Give up and let the yarny chips fall where they may?)

The crazy merino/tencel in the second picture is a Fire Lizard reject--I dyed a pair of the same thing in my Love colorway, and this one ended up getting overprocessed. It appeared to be quite felted, so I declared it defective and claimed it for my own. To my surprise, though, it's been spinning like a dream. Not sure what's up with that, but I'll take it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

they say it makes you stronger


I apologize for the blog silence all this time, especially right after declaring a contest/giveaway! What timing. I've been having some rough times, which I'm not going to talk about because this blog is about adventures with yarn, not woe is me. But everything has basically been a seemingly impossible mess, only obviously it is possible because here I am.

So, without further ado, the winner of the green Phat Fiber mix yarn is l33t_dreams. Congratulations, l33t!

I'm also happy to announce that I have my new studio set up, or at least semi set up. Well, ok, it's a disaster. But I managed to dye some yarn, and that is anything but a disaster.

It started out as autumn woods, but due to some unusual circumstances, it came out much more purpley and sun-dappled than any other autumn woods I've ever dyed. Rest assured, it's still fully set, colorfast, and light fast as always, but this batch is so much more beautiful than usual and probably impossible to duplicate. What a comeback! Every time I walk past it, I just have to stare at it and take in all the nuances. Well, and then I fondle it. I am a yarn maniac, after all. If you want some, you'll find it on Fire Lizard Studios as Autumn Woods 2009 Special Edition.

Also, I just found out Phat Fiber was giving away a skein of my yarn. We're too late to win it (drat! look how great it looks! Even I want to win it!), but I wanted to give a shoutout to them anyway. The Phat Fiber Sampler is a super cool thing run by really nice people. Look for Fire Lizard Studios yarn, or maybe even spinning fiber, in September's box.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

spinnin' some phat green yarn--want some?

I took all of the fiber samples from the March Phat Fiber Sampler box and spun up some mixed yarn.

It contains:
  • Suffolk/Hampshire cross wool, organic and gently treated, from Extreme Spinning. This is the downy breed wool that can be washed without superwash treatment. It was a different spinning experience--the fibers are interconnected and pretty grippy, as I expected. The closest thing in my experience is shetland, but it really wasn't like that either. Not like spinning the carded fiber I've gotten, not like spinning the combed fiber I've gotten, really not like anything else. It was pleasant to spin. I'm a person who likes things to behave as I expect; I imagine the more I worked with this wool and got used to it, the more I'd like it. Even for a first try, it was an enjoyable spin.

  • South African Fine Wool from Vines. This is the one that came in a braid of various shades of green. The preparation is a combed top, which is very much what I'm used to working with. This wool was very soft and easy to spin. I clicked with it immediately.

  • Unspecified wool from a small batt from Tracy Rios. This was also very nice wool to work with. It had a bonus hidden inside: although all you could see from the outside is an olive green, inside there were some streaks of maroon, which really provide an intoxicating blast of contrast. What a great surprise!

  • A blend of BFL, mohair, and silk from Liberty Fibers. This one did not make it into my Phat Fiber Sample box posts (here and here if you somehow missed them) because I could not get it to photograph for anything. But it was a tempting little batt in their Tartan colorway: mostly blue, with some green, and little neps of chartreuse silk. This was very fun to spin--I was utterly fixated on the neps. It would be fun to spin a whole yarn of this.

    (The nickel is there for scale.)

    It came to roughly 104 yards--not bad!

    All right, I'm pretty newly back into spinning, so this yarn is decent beginner handspun, but not super consistent. I would use it, but somehow these greens are just not speaking to me, so I have a better idea. In celebration of this being my 199th blog post, if anyone would like it, leave a comment with a happy thought and a way to contact you (ex. email address, ravelry ID) and I will send it to you. If more than one person comments by Saturday (3/28) at 9 am, I'll choose a winner by random number selection.
  • Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    a little detour

    Spring is really taking hold around here--some of the trees have switched over from flowers to leaves, and others are all a-bloom. I decided to go for a walk on Rainbow Mountain.

    I like going there for its magical quality. It's a pretty short trail, but it's steep enough to provide a challenge if that's what you're looking for. (If not, just mess around a lot and take pictures, like I did.)

    What gets me about this place is all the rocks and how varied they are in one small area.

    Wile E. Coyote, don't play near that rock!

    What the...? How many times do I have to tell you?! Now look what you've done!

    There were a lot of flowers out--lots of little violets along the side of the trail, and some really nice pink tree flowers. I attempted lots of arty shots--even a spider web!--but alas, none of them came out usable. That's when I miss my real camera.

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    more Phat treats

    Oh, I'm Phat all right. Here are more highlights of this month's Phat Fiber Sampler box.

    Here is a very elegant little Celtic stitch marker from Black Tie Fiber Arts.

    Isn't it pretty?

    Next up, we have some intriguing wool from eXtreme Spinning.

    (That's a puff almost the size of my fist on a very large card, not a teeny tiny puff on a business card, like it looks like in the picture!) This wool is special in that it is machine washable, despite not having gone through the chemical superwash process, which strips the scales off the wool to keep it from felting. Instead, this wool is naturally washable due to the breed of sheep, apparently. The explanation card doesn't make it 100% clear, but this wool is organic and untouched by nasty chemicals (dyed with Greener Shades dyes). The fiber feels spongy, not super soft like BFL but not as scratchy as shetland. It feels like it will be grippy like shetland--fun for spinning.

    Now, here is the treat that really knocked my socks off.

    It's a shawl pin from Dawning Dreams. I've been wanting a shawl pin for a long time but never saw one that quite struck my fancy, except this gorgeous one that was encrusted with polished stones and way too heavy for the sort of open work shawls I tend to make. But this will be perfect! It's light weight, simple, elegant.

    Here's another fave:

    It's Curvy from Knit it up! in colorway Cordelia {jewel of the sea}. It's a very lofty thick and thin yarn. I recognize this base; I love it.

    I was also lucky enough to score more Wooly Hands handspun!

    I just love her yarn. It's very soft, textural, and lofty. I'm trying to quit petting it so I don't felt it before I have a chance to make anything out of it!

    Another very practical treat from Ruddawg:

    A Knitting in Progress bag. I usually use plastic gallon baggies for this purpose--this very nice, lined draw-string bag puts them to a hundred kinds of shame. The only question is, which project gets first dibs? The boring scarf? The bamboo top that was hoping to be finished in time to wear last summer? The Mrs. Dalloway cuffs that are waiting to be started?

    And last but not least, from Jags:

    This yarn positively glows amidst all the green!

    Oh, there is one more that would not photograph for anything but was one of my favorites. It's super luminous green bamboo yarn from Oriri Draco Design. It's this one on her site, but it's more electric lime in person. It is gorgeous and sure to have incredible drape.

    That's all the phat treats for now; can't wait for next month! Oh, next month--that reminds me, it's time to get my samples ready! Doesn't it seem like it was last month about two minutes ago?