Tuesday, December 23, 2008

one last announcement

Free shipping while I'm gone, on the Fire Lizard Studios main page and the Etsy shop. I'll ship everything on Jan. 2 when I return: Priority within the US, First Class outside. We all deserve a treat after the holiday madness; this is the perfect chance to get yours and save a little money!
Safe travels and best wishes to everyone! See you in 2009!

Monday, December 22, 2008


First I wore myself out with a manic dyeing marathon. Then I hurt my shoulder and spent most of the past week hopped up on drugs. Now I'm getting ready to make the trip to my parents' house for the holidays. Last year, it took much longer to fly than it would have to drive, and I'm tired of being treated like baggage, so this year I'm driving. I've still got some business stuff to take care of before I go, though, and packing everything (including the kitty cat and all her luggage).

I hope you all get time to relax, good cheer, and lots of love this holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Good Kwanzaa, Cheery Solstice, whatever you like--let's hear it for days off, family and friends, blessings, and more sunshine on its way.

Friday, December 12, 2008

what a week!

I still don't have pictures of the scarf, but I did get the ends woven in on Tuesday. Very psyched.
For my next project, I think I'm going to preempt the scarf and do the cowl next instead. My office is unbearable, and I think some wool and cashmere around my head and neck would be just the thing.
Meanwhile, it's not that I've been slacking: I've been in the dye studio every night. Here are some of the latest. These are on my new base, which I'm calling Joy. It's 80% merino/20% nylon, and I love how soft it is. It's also much fluffier than my regular base.

These are all available on the Fire Lizard Studios website if you like them. I also have a couple in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

victory is mine!

Dudes, I finally finished the scarf! I finished it!!!
Well, ok, I still have to weave in the ends. But I'm done knitting it! I thought it would never end. I'm determined to weave in the ends tonight so it will really really really be done. Pictures tomorrow!
And then, I'm ready for this.

(It's the Plymouth Boku from Little Barn.) I can't wait!
Can anyone suggest a stitch pattern that doesn't curl but doesn't require switching between knit and purl every other stitch? Otherwise, I'm breaking out the crochet hooks.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

will I never learn?

I was trying out the three-skein feature on my new electric skein winder, but the yarn escaped the guides and crossed between two skeins. I'm pretty sure most of it belongs to the back skein, but I can't seem to find the point at which things went wrong. Of course I couldn't leave it alone and think about what to do, I had to keep messing with it.

Ugh. Note to self: if it's later than 10:00 and something goes wrong, step away from the yarn!
I do have a plan: I'm going to move both skeins to my old vertical skein winder in the same configuration they're in now and wind off of that and back onto the new one... very slowly. I don't think I've managed to make them hopelessly tangled yet, so they should wind off no problem. This sure didn't save me any time, though!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

my vicarious obsession returns

When I first started my current day job, it was after teaching and then taking the summer off to move and get my new house set up, so I suddenly found myself with way more money and way, way less time when I started work again. During that last summer off, I spent a lot of time crocheting and designing with yarn--it wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration to say that yarn was all that kept me sane that summer, or preserved what little sanity got preserved, or ... whatever. You get the picture. Anyway, when I started work after that, I found myself buying tons of yarn, and after a month or two, I realized why: it felt like I was still getting some time with the yarn, even though basically all I did was fawn over it on the Internet, buy it, and then hang it on the guest room wall. Well, despite the fact that I spend practically every waking hour that I'm not at work dyeing yarn, I think I'm starting to do that again.
Remember the yarn I bought for the Noro scarf? I haven't touched that. It's sitting in my kitchen. But that hasn't stopped me from buying this

for another Noro scarf, and this

for a cowl of some sort. It's Cash Island, from the mega sale at Webs. At 60% wool, 30% cashmere, and 10% nylon, it is soft and luscious and totally a steal at $6.49 a hank. I had four different colorways in mind for two striped scarves, but they sold out of the one I liked best before I could get any, thus the cowl in the second picture. (They substituted two more skeins of colorway 17 for me, so I should have enough. Uh oh, did I just jinx myself?)
I'm still totally into bright, saturated colors, but after seeing some people's gorgeous Noro scarves in subtle colors, I'm totally psyched for the pairing in the top picture. Now I just need to find time to actually make it!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

light at the end of the tunnel

I went to knitting night last night, and it was a fun time full of laughter. What great people--I'm so glad I met them!
And, with my stunning powers of concentration, I managed to finish a scarf part that required a lot of counting to five without messing it up at all, despite all the amusing and interesting conversations.

Voila! I actually accomplished something at knitting night! And this brings the end of the scarf in sight.

I had begun to despair that I'd ever finish it, but now that all that's left is a little garter and stockinette, I'm all psyched. I'll bet I can finish it next knitting night, even if I don't work on it before then. Yay! Which of course leaves visions of Noro scarf dancing in my head. I would like to knit it, but 1x1 rib sounds like some kind of punishment out of Greek mythology, the way I knit. (I knit purely English style, but when I purl, I put the yarn in my left hand and do sort of an almost-Continental hybrid. Switching between those every single stitch? Um, no.) I'm trying to think whether there's any smooth pattern that will look nice and not distract from the changing colors but also not require switching between knit and purl any more often than every four or five stitches but also not curl like stockinette. Otherwise, it's going to be crochet.

Monday, December 1, 2008

totally new website

Well, I didn't go anywhere over the holiday, didn't even pig out on turkey. Instead I spent a lot of time redoing the website for the business. I used to do web stuff for a living, but finding a host with the stuff I need in my price range and then setting everything up?

It's about enough to make you go toes-up under the table.

It was worth it, though. Check it out: Fire Lizard's new home. I still have more spinning fiber to post--hopefully I'll get that knocked out over the next few days. All the hand-dyes are up, though, and that's the best stuff. I'm still doing the Etsy site too, but the new website will be the main place to go for all things Fire Lizard.

Monday, November 24, 2008

the weekend in pictures

First of all, here's the yarn that was such an utter misery to dye last week, that I said it better come out pretty or it was in trouble.

In case you were worried, it's not in trouble. :)

I had a bit of a crazy weekend--after a month and a half of dead silence, suddenly realtors were crawling out of the woodwork wanting to show my house this weekend. So weird, but I'll take it. The phone rang off the hook, people made appointments, cancelled them, made new ones, and it was all general madness. As a result, I found myself fleeing the house quite a lot (so that buyers would feel comfortable to open closet doors and hopefully start feeling like the house was their own). I've been really tired, and on Saturday, I just wanted someplace to go and sit down, so I decided to go to Little Barn. Honestly, I usually don't like going there because I'm on a mission to accomplish everything on a mile-long to-do list, and I always feel anti-social for not joining the group hanging out there. So this week, I thought "This will be perfect--I'll actually sit down and knit with those folks!" Well, it turned out nobody was there, and I felt really foolish just plopping myself down and knitting by myself in a store, so I looked at the merchandise instead. Duh, I haven't spun anything in weeks, not even my own fabulous roving, which is still sitting around half-spun and waiting to be plied, but I thought I was safe to look at stuff because I had just been there the week before and not seen anything that interested me except the Plymouth Boku that I went there intending to get. But I guess every day we're slightly different people than the day before, and it gives us slightly different tastes.

This is a Bombyx silk cap. I fell in love with the colors but had no earthly idea what to do with a silk cap. But the label said "instructions included"--sold!

This is my first ever batt. The colors are very subtle and may just make a pale muddy brown, but with that purple, I couldn't resist finding out.

Otherwise, it was dye dye dye.

I'm skipping knitting night tonight to keep at it so I can get this order finished and shipped. I'm tired, but I persevere.

Friday, November 21, 2008

more dyeing

I was a bit bummed when I started dyeing this yarn, but it cheered me right up. Just look at it.

Last night's yarn (which I haven't rinsed yet), on the other hand...the dye didn't want to flow right, I had a cold, my back hurt, and I just wanted to blow the place up. That stuff better come out pretty or it's in trouble.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

good dyeing

Dark, rich colors, enough light to really see what I'm doing, and this luscious soft yarn... oh, yeah, things are good.

This is my "Love" colorway, which is one of the first few that I thought up but which required persistent efforts to get the purple to come out right. I'm so happy that I've got that figured out.
I'm dying on a pretty ambitious schedule to get my next order ready in time--the best kind of busy! Also, I'm working on some process improvements--it is taking me way too long to dye this yarn, so I'm working on some ideas to get more efficient. It's all very exhilarating. Sometimes it's frustrating not to be able to put in as much time as I'd like--I see a lot of areas where the business would grow immediately if I could just tend it more--but today I just feel great.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

disappointing dyeing

I dyed some more of the new yarn base. I totally adore how soft this yarn is, and I've just about got a good balance between acid and salt in the soaking stage so that the dye flows and sets like I want it to.

Unfortunately, I guess I wasn't thinking when I dyed this yarn--it's supposed to be my Fire colorway, but I usually do that so that all the yellow is next to orange, which goes to red, then purple, not in a yellow-orange-red-purple circle like this where the purple is next to the yellow. Also, there are a lot of white spots on almost every skein. This really bums me out--all that time and yarn, and the best I can do with it as is, is put it in an "oops" basket and sell it at a major discount. Feh.
I think the problem is that it was just too darn dark in my studio--I messed up one skein with dark colors, but only one, whereas almost every skein with yellow (way less contrast to the natural color of the yarn) had a lot of flaws. So I bought two shop lights and put 100-watt-equivalent compact fluorescent bulbs in them. What a difference! I hope that will take care of the problem. I'm way behind my production goals as it is--I can't afford to blow a whole night making defective yarn.
Anybody want a bunch of very soft not-quite-right yarn? I can give you a real good deal. :P

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm in

I went to Little Barn over the weekend. I thought I remembered them having something Noro-like, and sure enough, they did.

It's Plymouth Boku. I know many of the people who make the Noro scarf seek something toward the tame end of their colors, but not me. I'm in the mood for bright, intense color. My only concern with this pairing is that they're too similar and won't be contrasty enough. Oh well, if that happens, I'll just have to pick two different ones and try again. :) Actually, I'm also a bit concerned that the yarn will be too scratchy for a scarf. I plan to wash it in vinegar or hair conditioner (or one after the other); hopefully that will take care of it.
This yarn is hanging out in my kitchen, enticing me. I won't let myself do more than pet it until I finish the darn scarf, but I have had two dreams about it. You can't beat that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

just a little dyeing

No time to write, but here's what I've been working on. That's my new base yarn. It rocks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


A much-anticipated box of yarn samples came in the mail today.

Glorious goodies, and a full skein of each yarn! Now that's what I call a sample! I feel like a kid: goody goody goody goody gumdrops!
In other news, yesterday's Yarn Harlot post about Noro scarves has me off on a new tangent. "But wait," I know you're saying, "aren't you currently working on a scarf that you're sick to death of?" Yes, you're right. And when the Yarn Harlot talks about how sad it is to follow knitting fads or refuse to knit something because it's a fad, I think it's an order of magnitude sadder to knit the thing because the Yarn Harlot is. Maybe two orders of magnitude. Not that I have anything against the Yarn Harlot, it's just that she's such a phenomenon, anything she does becomes an insta-frenzy faddier-than-fad fad. Those colors sure make me drool, though. Well, no problem: by the time I finish the current scarf, the Harlot and the entire rest of the world will have knit their Noro scarf and left the idea behind long since. When I do my Noro scarf, it will be retro, so I'll be cool after all. Ha ha! Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

time for a new obsession

So I've been thinking about a cowl. As it's rapidly gotten colder and more wretched in my office, the idea of a cowl has begun taking over more and more territory in my brain. Well, that's what Ravelry is for, right? So I started snooping around. Well, first I found the gorgeous Ice Queen. If I wasn't fully aware that it would be stealing, I'd copy one of their images here, because you've got to see this thing. It is gorgeous and made of Kidsilk Haze, a yarn that still has me deeply enthralled. But, oh wait, I was just complaining that my darn scarf was too complicated, and this thing has lace and beads and charts and oookay, moving on. Then I found the Aspen Neck Cowl, which doesn't look like anything super special on its main page, but check out how awesome this girl's looks. Suddenly I'm eyeing my Royal Llama Silk (from Yarn Expressions on Franklin day) and wondering if it's enough.

It's a very simple pattern, and the Royal Llama Silk is worsted/Aran weight, so maybe it wouldn't take too long. Some people have made this pattern in two days or less. Of course, those people probably knit a lot faster and a lot more often than I do.

In fact, hey, didn't I just say yesterday that I don't want to do any more monochrome projects and maybe not even a knitting project at all for a while? Has anyone out there met both of my personalities? If so, will you please introduce us? I think we have some things to discuss.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

this is the scarf that never ends...

...it just goes on and on and on, my friends.
But I'm sure you're getting about as tired of it as I am, and it still looks exactly the same, so why bother posting another picture of it? I worked on it again last night at knitting night, and I swear I mixed up the pattern and was doing "knit one, frog two" instead. Feh. But I finally finished the second patch of lace, so the rest should go pretty fast. I'm just going to duplicate what I did at the beginning so that it's symmetrical, and that stuff is all pretty simple. I don't know if I ever want to do the Feathery Lace Stole, though. This project was supposed to be kind of a warmup for that, and they share two qualities: single-color yarn, and a pattern requiring a minimum level of concentration and short-term memory. Neither of these qualities is working for me right now. I'm sure I will attempt that project some day, but not right after this scarf, that's for sure! Also if I wasn't trying to finish in any particular time frame, I could switch to other projects, so maybe I wouldn't get so sick of it. Right now, though, if I ever finish this scarf, it will be a long time before I consider any more monochrome or thinking projects.
While I was waiting for knitting night to start, I browsed around the book store and discovered Happy for No Reason. One of the tips in there was to note which areas of your life you're not satisfied with and think of what you can do to make even tiny improvements. Well, one area of my life that I'm not satisfied with is recreation. I don't feel like I have enough time to do fun things like knitting and spinning, and when I do knit, it's this boring scarf. Well, one thing I could do to improve that is do a couple of rows on this scarf every night like I did when I first started knitting. Then I would make more progress and eventually finish the darn thing and be free to start something more interesting. That is my new plan. Also, now that all that's left is easy stuff, maybe I won't feel like picking it up is such a commitment. During the lace part I was afraid to start a row for fear of getting interrupted--I made enough mistakes even when I wasn't being interrupted!
Anyway, I have done something I'm pleased with: I dyed a lot of really nice yarn over the weekend. In my mad dash freakout to get it shipped, I forgot to take pictures, though! So mad! But here's the one skein I still have.

It's my colorway Relax, which it totally my favorite of the moment. This is my new base, and I absolutely love how it takes the navy dye (the others too, but the navy is the one that makes me want to yodel or something).
So why do I still have this one?

Yep, defective. I'm going to touch it up, maybe with a fabric marker or maybe by overdyeing that spot, and then I'm going to make something awesome. I want a cowl, maybe a mobius, but I have no idea if this is enough yarn. Time for some research.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I love this job

My new, gorgeous spinning fiber is dry.

It is exceptionally soft, shiny, and luscious. I believe it would be irresponsible of me to sell any without spinning some myself first though, just to make sure it's good. Oh, twist my arm, ouch. I know what I'm doing this weekend! (Of course, two of my three bobbins are still full of Stargazing--I'll have to finish at least one of those first. Again, woe is me.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

new stuff to dye

I finally dyed some of the new merino/tencel fiber I got. It is everything I dreamed of. It's not quite dry yet, but here's a preview:

Soft, luminous, and utterly gorgeous. It's actually darker than this in real life, but the shine makes it appear lighter in the picture. The contrast gives it the illusion of depth or extra three-dimensionality or something. It's really compelling. I think I will have to test-spin one of these as soon as possible.
I also had a new base yarn to try--I got a good deal on a small amount of this yarn, but if I like it, it will be the next addition to my line of yarns.

It's supposedly within 5% of the same content as my regular sock yarn--same fibers, just a slightly different balance between them. But it's spun a lot looser, which may account for why it soaked up tons more dye and why it feels about five times softer. Here's the same colorway dyed the same night with the same water and the same dye stock on my regular sock yarn base.

You wouldn't guess, would you? Obviously if I start using this new base, it's going to require a lot of experimenting to get the right concentrations with the dye stock and everything. Also, it bloomed like mad when I dyed it--I need to find out what the post-dye yardage is. I bet we lost a lot. It sure is soft, though.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

scarfity scarf

Given an hour of uninterrupted knitting time and nobody even telling any funny or interesting stories, I really had no reason not to fix the mistake in my scarf.

Ok, so it doesn't look all that different from last time I showed it to you. I never realized what a slow knitter I am until this project--I worked for an hour on this thing, and even I can't tell any difference. If I ever attempted one of those lace shawls, it would end up being like something out of Greek mythology. But whatever, I was happy standing in the sun knitting instead of sitting at my desk at work. I immediately started trying to plot a way to arrange such a situation more often, but the only real possibility I came up with involved getting fired, so I don't think I really want to go there.
Anyway, I never did figure out what was up with the missing stitch, but I successfully tinked back both of the last two rows. It turned out that in the middle of the next-to-last row I had forgotten which of the two-row repeat I was working on and cheerfully purled right across where I was supposed to do yarnovers and stuff to make the pretty row of holes that goes up this scarf. Yeah. It was a pretty glaring mistake. I sure do fall apart when I get tired. Just imagine what a knitting disaster I'd make if we held knitting night at a bar instead of a bookstore! It would probably reach the level of abstract art or something.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

rockin' the vote

Everyone, I just found out that if you vote, you can get a free scoop of Ben & Jerry's ice cream! Dude, what's better than that? Also, Krispy Kreme will give you a free donut (not their regular glazed kind, though, a star-shaped frosted sprinkle-covered one), and I've seen rumors of free coffee at Starbucks. And let's not forget 10% off at Yarn Expressions! Not that you needed any more incentives to vote, but what awesome bonuses!

Personally, I think it's extremely refreshing to see such a resurgence of interest in this country. Suddenly everybody cares! I think that's great--a much-needed change from the apathy and despair of recent times. For myself, I had a little over an hour wait at my polling place this morning, so I got to stand in the nice warm sun and knit while waiting to exercise my rights and stand up for my country and all that good stuff. Life is good.

finally, something to do with yarn!

I went to knitting night last night, and lots of my favorite people were there--it was great.
I continued to labor on the scarf, which is getting longer and thus will probably end some day.

Unfortunately, the time change was not my friend last night. I'm loving it in the morning, but in the evening, not so much. I hit a wall around 9:00 and completely lost my short-term memory, as in "wait a minute, what stitch did I just do?" A smart person would pack it up and go home, and I did stop knitting for a little while, but then I got bored and picked it up again.

Um, yeah. Somewhere in that top right corner, a stitch went missing. I don't seem to have dropped it, so things could be worse, but??? My theory is that I forgot a yarnover in the second-to-last row. Sigh. Every time I try to tink this pattern, I get all messed up and create some worse problem. I know this is knitting heresy, but I'm considering just adding a stitch in the last row and continuing merrily on my way.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Missing: one weekend. Please return if found. Reward.
Actually, I know where the weekend went, and although it doesn't make for good yarn pr0n, it was stuff that had to be done. Bookkeeping, laundry, etc.--the kind of stuff that as a kid I imagined my twin would take care of if I had one, not realizing that twins are people too and don't want to do any of that yucky stuff any more than you do.
But tonight is knitting night, and I will go and play with gorgeous soft alpaca/merino yarn and everything will be good. I'm still bored with the scarf project, but since I knit so rarely, I'm afraid if I start something else, I'll never finish the scarf. Plus all the really wild yarn that's calling to me is in the office, but my ball winder is at home--not conducive to starting a new crazy crochet project on a huge hook, which is what I really feel like right now. Maybe next week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Something I've been waiting a long time for has finally arrived.

It's the 70/30 merino/tencel spinning fiber that's been on back order for a month or two. I did manage to procure some 50/50 merino/tencel from Little Barn in the mean time, but it's not as soft as I would have expected, and the tencel is in streaks rather than all blended in.
The new stuff, on the other hand, is the fiber of my dreams. I bought some that somebody else dyed at a festival, and it's been my quest ever since to get some to dye myself. Here it is! It was delivered to my office, which was nice since that's where I usually am. When the secretary called down to tell me it had arrived, I said "SWEET!" She said, "What?" She also thinks it's really funny when I say "dude."
Anyway, here's a closer view.

It's not that yellow in person, but it is very luminous and exceptionally soft. The only thing I've spun that's softer is alpaca, and even that is not much softer. (I haven't done any silk, though, so I can't speak to that.) I can't wait to dye this!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

look who's famous

Ok, not really, but something I wrote is in Amazon! Check it out: Exploring the relationship between cohesion and complexity.: An article from: Journal of Computer Science

This is an article from my dissertation, which was published in a real paper journal several years ago, but somehow it's still really exciting to see something of mine on Amazon.

(No yarn today. Sorry.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

kitting night!

I went to knitting night last night! It's the first time I've been in weeks, and it was really great to be back. It was a small crowd, but no less fun. I was really happy to see everybody again.
Unfortunately, the yarn doctor was not in, and the end of my blue singles did not get found. I guess I'm just going to have to make one and wrestle it out--everything I grab seems to immediately go under something else, a sure sign that it can't be the one with the end and a harbinger of much frustration in trying to unwind this darn thing. Definitely not happy about that.
But whatever, knitting night is a night to forget all your cares and just knit. I'm still working on the alpaca/merino scarf.

This yarn is still an absolute dream, but I must confess I'm getting a little bored with this project. I guess it worked--its purpose was to get me feeling comfortable/practiced with knitting again. I even incorporated some of the pattern from the Feathery Lace Stole, the project I'm in training for, into the scarf. It was shy, but trust me, it's there. I was having a ton of trouble with it before, but it seems pretty easy now. I think it's partly that I was knitting a lot tighter, but as I've gotten back into practice, I've loosened up. I'm surprised the scarf isn't a funny shape as a result, but it isn't so far. Also, this yarn is just really easy to work with. It's Plymouth Yarn Suri Merino, and it is incredibly soft and luscious in addition to being a dream to knit. Also, it has alpaca hairs that stick out and act as the perfect disguise for any cat hair that may get incorporated into the scarf. What more could a knitter ask?

Monday, October 27, 2008

the ongoing saga of the unfindable end

Well, I tried the scotch tape. I tried the old toothbrush. I called in all the king's horses and all the king's men, I jumped up and down and did a find-the-end dance, and I still can't find the darn end of that blue yarn! I don't even know how it happened--normally when I break my single, it's on my side of the orifice, and the end is just hanging there, easy to find. And this wasn't in the midst of making a bunch of tiny skinny air yarn--all the yarn I can see on the bobbin is good, solid yarn. It must have gotten snagged on something, but still, you'd think the end would be pretty easy to find, or at least possible to find! Anyone out there know, if I arbitrarily make an end, will that make this significantly worse?
I finally gave up and started spinning the purple part of the Stargazing roving on another bobbin. I'm going to take the problem child to knitting night tonight and see of one of the talented folks there can help me.
Meanwhile, even the frustrating blue part is very pretty and soft, and this purple part is so luscious I want to eat it. (I must be part cat.)

I had semi-resolved to ply everything immediately upon spinning it so I don't end up with all my bobbins full again, but I just expired in the middle of spinning this last night, so there it is, still on the bobbin. Maybe I should just buy another set of bobbins? Oh wait, that would probably make this worse, not better.

Friday, October 24, 2008

workin' for the weekend

Anybody else really glad it's Friday? On top of the accumulated tiredness from the rest of the week, it's dark, raining, and chilly here. This is a day made for staying home with some cocoa, a kitty cat, and a good book (or some knitting!). Too bad I have to go to work.
I did get a little spinning in last night--I just couldn't resist the Stargazing fiber.

I wanted to ply whatever I did, but it was getting late, I was getting tired, and then the yarn broke and I can't find the end. It will just have to wait.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Every time I go to a festival, I always buy something for myself. This time I was pretty much stuck at my booth the whole day, and (not that I'm ten kinds of stuck on myself or anything) I didn't see anything in the neighboring booths that I wanted more than my own dyed stuff. So for my treat this festival, I bought one of my own rovings.

It's called Stargazing because it reminds me of some fabulous old memories. My undergrad school is way out in the country, and if you climbed the hill behind the college, there was an open space where you could see everything crystal clear: the constellations, the Milky Way, and at least one shooting star per night. Looking at the stars there with a certain someone--some of the best times in my life.
So I picked out a Stargazing roving (there are two more, which will be appearing on Etsy soon) and started spinning. I usually dye spinning fiber in one long progression instead of smaller patches of color to give the spinner ultimate flexibility: spin it as is and get one long progression of color in your yarn, or tear off smaller chunks and alternate among the colors as you spin. I decided to go with one long progression, and I started at the caramel end.

The rest of the deep dark sky colors remain to be spun, and if I wasn't already late for work, I'd do it right now. This fiber is super easy to spin, which I was very pleased to verify, it's fabulously soft, and I just love the colors. I'm doing Navajo ply again so that the colors line up without any effort on my part (and I don't need three free bobbins). Bliss.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

still recovering

Phew! I finally got everything inventoried and put away from the festival. The trip wore me out more than I realized--I didn't even go to knitting night, just went home and sat on the couch with my kitty cat, then went to bed early. So tired.
I did get some nice spinning in when I was at the festival, and it's got me re-hooked. Also I have two empty bobbins now, and just a tiny bit of leftover alpaca on the other one. Yay!
First I finished the BFL from the roving I dyed a month or so ago. It has been sitting around on the bobbin as singles for weeks, and then I plied about five feet and got tired, so it was sitting there in progress for another week at least.

This turned out not to be very good yarn. It will be better after a bath, but that doesn't solve everything. The singles broke about eleventy-billion times when I was trying to ply them. Not that much fun. Also, when I got to the purple singles that were on the bobbin before this stuff, I just went ahead and plied them too, so this dark moody yarn suddenly turns purple at the end. Whatever. At least whenever people were in the booth watching, it mostly behaved--it saved its serial breakage for when I was alone. Very polite.
After that, I wanted something really cheery and easy to spin, so I got out some carded roving from Little Barn.

I totally love this stuff. It's easier to see in person, but this yarn varies from green to teal to purple, and it's all subtle and random changes. It will make a fabulous something. I still have more of this fiber, too. It is awesome.
While I was spinning this, a lot of families came by with small children and asked me to explain what I was doing and how it worked, which I really enjoyed. The best part was when one lady was talking to her kids, and she told them about yarn, and making yarn, and all that, and then she said, "See? That lady just sits there all day and spins yarn!" I couldn't resist responding with "It's a good life." I just thought that was hilarious. I wish I just sat around all day and spun yarn! But actually, I discovered at the festival that even spinning is not fun for eight hours straight. I'd be willing to bet it still beats computer science, though.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Festival

I went, I sold, I conquered.

Actually, that's overstating things quite a bit. I was really psyched to have my very own booth and set it up with all my stuff, and I met some really great people. The other vendors were very friendly and supportive, and the customers were awesome too. It was a fun day. I took my spinning wheel with me and spun most of the day, which was totally awesome for me, and a lot of people came over and asked questions. I explained how spinning works to a bunch of families with small children, which may have been the best part of the whole day.
I didn't sell as much as I hoped, but I made a good showing, and lots of people came over and said they loved my colors. A lot of people commented on the name "Fire Lizard Studios," too. That was cool--I can never get enough praise. And I booked an extra night in the motel so I wouldn't have to drive home right after the festival (definitely a smart decision), so I had a little free time Sunday morning before I drove home. Free time, what's that?!?! And what did I do with it? I bought shoes! Happy happy! Furthermore, tonight I'm going to knitting night. I haven't been in weeks because I was too busy moving, dyeing, freaking out, etc., but now I'm taking some time for me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Total madness, not ready for the trip, going to be late for work. But look at this!

It's brushed mohair yarn that I dyed about a month ago and am in the process of reskeining for the show. Love.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

dye dye dye

No time to write much, but I have some pictures of the spinning fiber I dyed the other day. I'm on such a warm colors kick. Every time I walk by this fiber, it makes me drool.

Love love love. Otherwise, I'm running around like a madman trying to get ready for the Southern Indiana Fiberarts Festival Saturday. Very psyched. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fire Lizard goes global

This week, there's a huge yarn show going on in London. It's called the Knitting and Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace, otherwise known as Ally Pally. This sounds like something I would make up, but it's real, and guess whose yarn is there? Very psyched. Here's what Yarn Market News had to say about the show in 2006: "Why do they hold it in a palace? It's the only place big enough to hold all the exhibitors--let's just say Rhinebeck was a walk in the woods after this show!" For once I envy my yarn--I wish I was there! We can all live vicariously through this lady's post about it, which features lots of excellent yarn pr0n, including some Fire Lizard Studios sock yarn! Yay!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Red-letter weekend

This weekend was yarny heaven. It was a Scrooge McDuck-worthy wallow in yarn. It was bliss.
Of course, I dyed. Picture of that maybe tomorrow or something. Maybe you guys are getting sick of seeing dyeing day after day anyway. But let me tell you, this yarn (and especially the spinning fiber) makes me drool whenever I walk past it. Not that I'm impressed with myself or anything.
I also went to Little Barn for a whole lot of spinning fiber, bought pseudo-wholesale to repackage for the Southern Indiana Fiberarts Festival, which will be my first show as a vendor, and which is this coming weekend.

Although this is not for me, there is still something so satisfying about going out and buying a big pile of spinning fiber and bringing it home! Also I only picked things I liked, so if something doesn't sell, worst case would be spinning it myself, woe is me.
Then, on the very same day, Franklin Habit of Panopticon fame was at Yarn Expressions! It was the last stop on his 1000 Knitters tour and the first on his book tour. I still can't believe we got so lucky!
I was giddy about this until I was getting ready to head over there, when I realized that if I was having my picture taken for this project, it suddenly mattered what I looked like. Crap! I did a low-grade freak-out right up until my turn, when he introduced himself, joked about school picture time, and instantly put me at ease. So much so that I forgot to take the big fat bandaid off my hand, in fact--I guess it will be immortalized too. Feh. But who cares? I had a blast. He is so gracious and charming and all-around awesome, he just about turned me into a fan girl. It never occurred to me that you need to be charming to be a good photographer, and I guess if you're doing grand sweeping vistas it really isn't necessary to put the mountains at ease so they don't look self-conscious in the picture, but for people, it's really important! All those people he's taken pictures of, all looking calm and none looking dorky? That's not just being good with a camera, and it's a really impressive accomplishment if you think about it.
So I bought his book: It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons It is even funnier than I expected. It is truly a delightful little book. And he signed it.

Yep, I'm a total fan girl. Squee!!
After the festivities wound down, we all sat around and knit. So cool. And the hat Helen made went over bigtime. Here he is admiring it and commenting on how well she made it.

And here he is twirling his braids! What a hoot!

As if all that wasn't enough, I bought myself another treat. We're really gilding the lily at this point.

Everybody: ooh, aah. This may be the softest yarn in the history of the world. It's going to be a scarf for my freezing cold office this winter. I'm a wanna-be French girl: instead of wearing ten sweaters and a hat, I just chic it up with a scarf. I have been wearing one that I made on the Knifty Knitter before I learned to crochet or knit. It's a very nice scarf with a lot going for it, but I love the idea of an actual knitted scarf made by me out of this gorgeous luxury fiber. I have to finish Mom's first, though--she actually lives somewhere cold.