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.

Friday, October 10, 2008

happy dyeing

Last night I dyed some Caribbean yarn (blues, greens, a little bit of purple), which is still warm--it needs to finish cooling before I can wash it and hang it up. I love dyeing!
Lately I've been really drawn to the warm colors, which kind of surprises me. For most of my life, I've been strictly a cool colors girl. Occasional ventures into magenta, that's about as warm as I got. But lately it's all fire and warm warm warm. I figured I'd better do a little cool something for the folks like the old me, thus the Caribbean.
Anyway, I'm getting the fire yarn ready for Etsy. Dude, does that not look like fire?

Total love. I was excited when it was wet, but it looks ten times better dry. Here's the roving.

These are going up on my Etsy shop today, so get 'em while they're hot!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

we are victorious

I washed the fire yarn. Here it is still wet.

Dudes. I am so psyched about this. Fire! Fire!
Seriously, I love it when something works. I would like a little more red (and a redder red) but that's a tweak. This yarn is clearly fire.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

trying to make fire

Last night I was all into the dyeing. I decided to make a bold move: trying a colorway that's still in the experimental stages on the BFL. Remember this crazy yarn that I dyed the other day?

Well, I almost liked it, and when I saw it hanging up to dry, it really looked like fire, except it was missing the orange. So last night I decided to wing it and add some orange. I have a pretty good handle on what to expect from the sock yarn, but the BFL is still a bit of an unknown.
Well? Well???
It's still too warm to rinse, so I still can't say 100% what the final result will look like when it's dry. Here it is through its steamy plastic bags, though. The yarn:

The spinning fiber:

I can't wait to wash it and see what it looks like dry, but I guess I'll have to. I can't believe it's still so warm! Last night must have been a later night than I realized. Anyway, it looks promising. I diluted the yellow, and it's still so bright. Which could be awesome if it really does look like fire. I want to know nooooooowwwwww!!!
I'm sure I'm not the only one with problems delaying gratification, so here's something that's finished.

This is a semi-solid yarn, which I don't usually do. It's part of my new Color Stew collection. What do you do when you have a whole lot of little bits of great stuff left over, and it's really not enough to make a whole thing of anything? You make stew. That's what I did with all the last little bits of dye left in the bottoms of jars before I mixed a whole raft more. These skeins are one-of-a-kind, didn't even try to pay attention to what I was doing. This one is a personal favorite; even though I usually don't like the whole light colors/pastel/lavender scene, this one calls to me because of the depth provided by the darker spots. That's why I'm glad I'm not in some boring business like radiators or something--if nobody wants to buy this one, it's mine!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I set up the spinning wheel right in the living room and spun again last night. Am I the only one who puts the things that give me the most joy at lowest priority? Why do I do this? It's crucial to make time for balancing the checkbook and filing your $0 sales tax return and holding an open house and taking the car to the shop, but somehow relaxing and meditating and restoring my soul never get done. As I took the wool in my hands, I could feel the tension flowing out of my body through my toes and disappearing. Well, better late than never.
I was spinning the rest of the BFL I dyed at the same time as the merino/tencel blend I posted about yesterday, mainly to get it off my bobbin. I have only one empty bobbin at this point, and you need someplace to put the plied yarn! Given a fresh start and an organized life, I would have been spinning something purple instead. But this is very soft, very nice fiber, and I'm pleased with how it's turning out.

Again, I'm Navajo plying. The yarn is very dark, but I can think of somebody for whom it would make a perfect hat. Unfortunately this person has a history of not appreciating things like this, so I'll refrain. Isn't it funny how there's this knitter's fantasy world where knitted things would be the perfect gift for somebody, but then there's the real world where the same perfect gift just isn't?
Anyway, I didn't exactly accomplish my goal of freeing up a bobbin. I got tired after about two minutes of plying, so I still have this left.

Yeah. It's a good thing I've abandoned the idea of being goal-oriented with spinning.

Monday, October 6, 2008

pure fun

I finally got to spin something! It seems like it's been forever since I've done that.
Remember this roving?

I dyed it about two weeks ago and was surprised at how dark it came out. Well, I had to see whether those tencel streaks would become more blended in the final yarn or what.

This is where my knowledge of exact terminology is lacking. Heathered? Marled? Whatever, I think it's a really cool effect. The fiber was super easy to spin, too. It's not as soft as the luscious BFL, but still very nice. I Navajo plied it to keep the colors lined up, and also because I have leftover ends of unfinished stuff on all my bobbins, so trying to spin two identical halves and then ply them together was even more unlikely than usual. This is representative of my life right now--kind of a perpetually behind disorganized mess. I can't decide if I should try to be zen about it and just chill, or go nuts and straighten everything out. In the end I think my level of tiredness will be the deciding factor, rather than any great wisdom or insight, unfortunately.
Part of the problem has been trying to keep the house pristine for showings. Notably, yesterday we had an open house, so I stashed a lot of stuff not where it belongs for dumb reasons like making closets look bigger. But you know what? Nobody showed up. Not a single soul. And all the people who have shown up on other occasions to see the house, whether it was pristine or not, they haven't wanted to buy the house. Why am I wasting all this energy? I'm not going to go around trashing the place, but I'm through worrying about keeping it exactly perfect any more. And despite the various physical spasms this would probably cause my realtor if she knew, I'm setting up my spinning wheel... in the living room. (That's the only room left with any chairs.) Do you bite your thumb at us, sir? No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir.

Friday, October 3, 2008

my new digs

Dudes, I finally got my new studio set up. Check it out.

For those following the saga, my house still hasn't sold. I was doing my dyeing in various kitchens, including the kitchen of a tiny apartment where I was staying. There was a little over two feet of counter space on one side of the sink (after I displaced the microwave), a little over two feet of counter space on the other side of the sink, and that's it. Other features included a very shallow sink, no washing machine, and a huge cloud of paranoia that I would accidentally turn something purple and lose my security deposit. But now I'm back at the house, and I've had this splendid laundry sink installed in the garage. It's wide and deep, and get this: the faucet pulls out and becomes a sprayer! So totally awesome!
It still needs a lot more light, and I want to get bed risers for under the table so I don't lean over so much and hurt my back. I also want to get some of those squishy floor tiles they have for gyms and kids. Concrete floors are not my friend. But even without all that, I dyed last night, and it rocked. All that space! That huge sink! No worries about staining something! I was in heaven.
I experimented with a new colorway. I'm not sure whether I exactly like it. Here it is still a little damp.

That yellow is so bright. The purple doesn't look quite as crazy dark in person, but almost. Hm. I'll keep working on it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

shameless self-promotion

I got some more pretties listed in my shop last night and this morning. I can't believe I got so far behind--there is still a ton of sock yarn to be listed.
Here's some BFL in my new colorway Roses. It actually came out exactly as I envisioned, which doesn't always happen with dyeing.

This one is Autumn Woods, also BFL.

And just so the sock yarn doesn't feel entirely left out, here it is in Jewel Tones.

Hopefully tonight I will do something with yarn besides take pictures of it for the internet!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

late, as usual

Well, the promised influx of items to my Etsy shop has been delayed by darn stupid life getting in the way again. Last night my car quit working right, and I'm hoping it's just bad gasoline, but after a nerve-racking adventure involving getting someone to the airport, paying the plumber back home, stalling at Wall-Triana and 72 (but luckily not in the intersection), death-defying thrills and chills, and a problem that suspended itself only for the ten minutes the car was near a mechanic... I took the rest of the night off. And this morning, apparently Etsy's servers aren't feeling any better than my car. I did get a few things posted, though. You saw the Beach Dreams fiber yesterday, but here's another roving (technically top) in Jewel Tones.

And here's some sock yarn in my brand new colorway: Roses.

I've got a lot of really great stuff dyed, and I'll continue adding it in the coming days. Meanwhile, if I don't hit the shower, I will be late for work on top of everything else.