Archive for the ‘SPINNING’ Category

Spinzilla 2015 final yardage

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Final yardage 2015

​The blue: 353 yards 2 ply = 1059

The green: 233 yards 2 ply = 699

The oaty: 60 yards 2 ply = 180

The red mix: 200 yards 2 ply = 600

The pink: 227 yards 2 ply = 681
The yellow/orange: 213, 100, 57 yards 2 ply = 1110
The dark mix: 53 yards 2 ply = 159
The mini 4hens: 35 yards 2 ply = 105
4593 total plied yards
2.6 miles
(Last year was 4450.58 plyed yardage or 2.53 miles)

Spinzilla update

Friday, October 9th, 2015

spinzilla work batts002lores To the left is a scan of 2 batts I made with all my recent fiber waste. I brought them in to work this week to spin up on my Kundert drop spindle. It has 3 shafts, so I could spin and go, and hopefully figure out how to best ply the singles together. I have finished the darker batt and am about half way through the lighter batt. Since it is all waste, I really don’t have to pay much attention to how it is spinning up. I will knit it up into a hat or mitts for a charity project.

This is the darker batt when it was about half done. I had a bit of an allergic reaction this afternoon, so I am guessing something in the mix of these batts might be the cause.

But it is also just as possible that it is stress related. I am majorly stressed (for me) at the moment about work. There isn’t really anything I can identify as being the culprit as everything is pretty much the same as it has always been. If I could have a tantrum and get my own office, I feel like I might find an even keel once again, but the bspinzilla work batts003loresoss does not respond well to tantrums (and really, I don’t enjoy having them) so I feel like waiting it out is the only solution. We are almost done adding some office space and I am trying to remain expectation free about the outcome of whether or not I will get one of the new offices. I feel a little Gollum about it…my precious…

This is the big batt all finishedI like the occasional pops of neon green and wish there was a little more of that. I will measure the yardage and hopefully find I have enough for a shawl.

barry 1 2plyIn the finished yellow/orange, there is definitely enough yardage for something substantial, though I am not sure how much it will puff up when I wash it to set the twist. spinzilla plying 1So many variables yet to fall into place.

Judith woolsilk singlesThe final image is half of a wool, silk, 50/50 mix dyed by Judith MacKenzie. I am spinning the second half of it when I get home in an effort to slough off the sludge of office stress from the week. Hopefully it will do the trick. I am not sure what sort of yardage I will get from it as it is only 2 ounces, but I am sure I can find or spin something to combine it with for some dreamy knitting once I am done with the dreamy spinning. Soft and luscious all around with 50% silk!!

fleece washing wednesday

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

I have been intending to enact fleece washing Wednesdays for quite a while now and today seems just the right Wednesday to begin. My intent is to wash all the fleece I have before acquiring more. In the grand scheme of stashers, I really don’t have very much. I think there are 6 different fleeces, all 4 pounds or less.

I will wash on Wednesdays, be it one batch or many, until it has all been scoured properly. Properly to me means free of lanolin. That can be a tricky judgement. An early fleece I washed was some Gulf Cost Native which was given to me. The shepherd told me it had basically been raised in a dust bowl and truly, it was dusty-dirty filthy and full of vm (vegetable matter from being free in the pasture, or dust bowl in this case, bits of hay, grass, burrs…general debris you don’t want in your spinning). Some sheep are raised for their fleece for handspinners and coated…very little vm…not so in this case. Anyway, I found this breed to be lower in lanolin than some I had felt, and one scour felt very clean to me. When I went to use a batt that I had carded from this fleece just a few weeks later, it had an odd though slight stiffness to it. I learned this was some remaining lanolin and went back to the drawing board.

Today I am scouring some Shetland. Really, it is more likely a Shetland cross, but I have no idea with what. I got it from a new shepherd and the sheep had been given to her as Shetland. I have already scoured half of this fleece and spun up a nice fingering weight two ply. A few weeks ago I was at a spinning retreat with Judith MacKenzie, and the skein went into the dyepot. Judith told me the spinning was lovely, and asked what it was and I told her Shetland. “No…it can’t be…” There wasn’t a reason given, exactly, just disbelief. I told Judith I would send her a few locks, both raw and scoured, for her to inspect further. Hopefully she will have some ideas about it after seeing it raw and unspun.

It’s equally likely that my prep method is at fault in Judith’s disbelief. I didn’t do anything special, but I am on a learning curve and might have been something less than proper about it from the scouring, to the combing, to the spinning. I don’t feel it is a one way sort of effort, though, an I am quite pleased with the resulting fiber and yarn, which is entirely the point.

I know, pictures would help…to come…

Thoughts from some meditative knitting…

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

In between the work I have to do today, I have been knitting a few stitches here and there on a scarf that I have knit a time or eight before, the Traveling Woman, by Liz Abinante. I don’t know what it is about this pattern, but there is something very soothing about knitting it that turns me toward total relaxation. My brain engages, but it isn’t terribly complex. There is a palpable rhythm to it that is pleasing and brings calm. As I said, I have knit it eight times before.

The one I am currently knitting is from some of my early handspun. I had been spinning a few months when I went to  a week-long retreat with Judith MacKenzie (Judith’s bio from one of her teaching gigs). It was at this retreat that I was first exposed to drum carding as a means of blending fibers to spin more unique yarns. I carded up several small batches from the fibers available to us, and got to spinning. I was pleased to be learning new things and delighted with the yarn I had made.

now that I am knitting with it, more than a year later, let me say, this particular yarn is crap. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine blend of lovely merino and mohair and some silk and who knows what other luxurious fibers. but my spinning is total crap. It could be equally true that my first attempts at carding were crap. Yet I continue to knit with it because I can feel myself learning something. Whether I am learning about the feel of fiber too tightly spun or plied, or the optical blending of color and how that is successful or not for various reasons, or that it is sometimes not possible to count past five, I can’t say. but I am learning something, that much is clear.

Whether I am learning something about my spinning or my knitting, I can’t quite grasp. But it is very likely something about both of these, and how they can and do work together. As I knit, the pattern is totally familiar in a muscle memory sort of fashion. just another layer of soothing going on during the process. The thought that continually comes to the forefront of my brain is that it is time to again read The Knitting Sutra: Craft as a Spiritual Practice, by Susan Gordon Lydon. It’s a book that will have something new to tell me each time I read it.

SS week 2001 loresAlso going on around these parts, is some sketching. I am taking an online class called Sketchbook Skool. Totally worth the time and dollars. I can’t speak highly enough about it and I feel that there is something there for everyone.  I learned about it because I follow Danny Gregory’s blog  (linked right) and decided to jump in. the next semester begins in July and there is room enough for everyone, so c’mon…let’s do this! This spread was done a few weeks ago at Barnaby’s. The first semester group has well over 1000 people enrolled and there is a range of abilities from beginner to expert. There is a classroom and fb group to post work in and discuss (or not, no pressure), and plenty of people beyond the instructors to learn from. The art that is being made in sketchbooks globally is something pretty amazing to be a part of via this class.

Okay, enough jabbering on. I feel like there is more to say, but I also feel the grasp I have on exactly what is slipping away. More soon…



Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Here’s a profile Of Susan and John, by favorite enablers! 4 Apr 2013 TCP-30


Thursday, March 28th, 2013

We lead a pretty quiet life to most people’s standards, sometimes bordering on hermit status. However, lately, I have felt a bit caught up in the whirlwind effect. My mind seems to be flying from one thing to the next in rapid succession. It isn’t overwhelming, but it seriously needs to slow down a bit.

Two weeks ago we had company which was a treat. Then last week I was away in the Hill Country for a spinning retreat with Judith MacKenzie. Now that woman really is a whirlwind. She is up pretty early in the morning and goes mostly noon-stop until midnight. And she is 70. Or in her 70s. Simply amazing and so very generous with her time, knowledge and talent.

Of course before leaving for the retreat, and while there was company, work was chaos getting ready to be gone for a week. Then upon my return on Monday work was again chaos trying to get caught up. Which I pretty much just did. And tomorrow we are off for the holiday Yeehaw!

I fear it might be a while before my brain assimilates the massive amount of information I took in last week, and of course, there are a few new tools I would like to acquire. If you have a drum carder, hackle/combs set, flip loom, or Scandinavian bobbin winder you’d care to part with, please keep me in mind.

My most recent spinning project from the CTA group on Ravelry was a Polworth/Cashmere/Silk blend in a color called Storm’s Edge.

CTA_SAL_SouthernCrossFinished3I was able to spin consistently and ended up with 900 yards of light fingering weight (chain-ply). I am really pleased with the results. I took it with me as my car knitting on the way to the retreat and knit a bit on it each morning.

The only modification to the pattern (Lady Eleanor) was to add one additional base triangle.

CTA_SAL_StormsEdgePCS_WIP002So far, it’s looking pretty good and has me totally enamored. I love it when the yarn does most of the work to make a truly one of a kind garment. And I double love this because I spun it myself!

All spinning all the time…

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Not really, but it sure seems like it. I have been working on my Color Affection and will evaluate it tonight. It might be nearly done. From reading the pattern, I thought that the short row section went all the way to the second side, but having seen a few finished (and correctly) versions in person, I now know it doesn’t. I need to check and see if mine looks like I have gone far enough with the short rows. My problem came from using the lesser number of rows in the first section and then again in the second section, knowing this didn’t correspond to the same version which would result in my stitch count being off. I didn’t think it would matter because the pattern seemed to indicate that the short rows go all the way across the third section. They don’t.

This is a shot of the shawl in progress from the point I was when we left for Rhinebeck. It was the only road trip knitting I took, and I really thought I would finish it along the way. Didn’t happen. I made good progress, though, and I am going to be on a push now to get it finished, perhaps making it my constant companion.

I recently tossed my stash and found about 8 WIPs that need finishing so once Color Affection is done, I am going to try to plow right through the rest of them.

On another note, Clare was none too happy about modeling my first spin to knit finished object. The pattern is the Very Braidy Cowl. the fiber is from Three Waters Farm and I got it in a Ravelry destash. I spun it on a spindle and then chain plied it on my wheel. The entire time I worked with this fiber, I was thinking of my friend Lisa, so off in the mail it went to her and she likes it. Very squooshy and soft and definitely good colors for her.

there is plenty of other spinning going on, have no fear…

Houston has recently gotten its first Trader Joe’s store and frankly, I was unimpressed. I can’t really say what my expectations were, but I was somewhat disappointed. that said, we will in all likelihood be going back on a regular basis. First off, it was love at first bite of Mango Mochi. There are other flavors of Mochi, but I might be hopelessly devoted to mango. Then there are the little mini cracker things of both the plain and soy/multigrain varieties. Love them. The cranberry orange scones were also a delight. And finally (this go round), their mild Italian sausage is pretty near perfect.

Last night I made the sausage with some onions, and escarole and peppers from our farm box. I have never cooked escarole before but at least now I know what to do with it. I have been using my enameled cast iron dutch oven a lot lately and it has become my favorite one pot pan. I sauteed the onions and peppers with some garlic in a little olive oil for about 5 mins until soft and then I added the sausage links and browned on two sides. I added a can of peeled and diced tomatoes with all there juices and a can full of water. Once that came up to a boil, I reduced the heat to a simmer and then added the escarole without stirring it in and covered the pot for about thirty minutes. Then of course, I went to spin and forget about it. After 30 mins or so, I gave it a stir and proclaimed it done. The sausage was very tender and the greens and other veg all nicely combined. Leftovers for lunch will be awesome.

Color Affection Shawl

Friday, September 21st, 2012

In my last post, there are links to images that were the inspiration for the yarn I just finished spinning. On my new spinning wheel (more on that in a future post). Here is the finished yarn all spun up. Crappy images as I forgot the camera and have just scanned them in an effort to get a post up.

This is my before and after compilation. The multi color is Figs, and then the coordinates are Coral and Plum. This is my second wheel spun yarn and I am pleased with my efforts. The pattern I am going to knit calls for more yardage, but I think I can make it work if I fudge it a little if necessary. I got 277 yards of figs, 306 yards of Plum, and 312 yards of Coral. The Color Affection Shawl is slated to be my road trip knitting on the way to Rhinebeck in October, but it might get knit sooner because knitting with my handspun yarn will translate to modifications I need to make to my spinning. The learning curve is pretty steep at this point.

inspriation images for August/September CTA-SAL

Friday, July 27th, 2012



YOu should be able to just click on the link and then print the image.

No, I haven’t taken a knitting hiatus…

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

I can’t believe I haven’t posted here since January. That’s pretty pathetic. Many projects have come and gone and are now forever in the ether. At least in my ether though they happily reside in someone’s reality somewhere, but there is no way I am even going to try to cover lost ground. It’s just lost. About an hour ago, I got my juice that I made this morning out of the fridge. It’s a yummy ginger, pineapple, watermelon. Then I got distracted with a little work (imagine that) and poof, the notion of the juice was gone just like that. But I just looked over and there it was on my desk, still happily in my reality. Therein lies the difference…

I have certainly been knitting away over the past several months, and currently on the needles is a throw, possible a gift, possibly for us as I remain undecided. The yarn is super bulky and squooshy soft, and if the image actually posts, you’ll see, a lovely progression of color. I just had to have it and it’s a souvenir from our most recent road trip. I bought it at a shop on Long Island after having taken the ferry from CT while visiting friends. It was a lovely sunny day and perfect for an unplanned side trip. And not to disappoint, the unplanned side trip resulted in finding a lovely yarn store.

Awaiting the needles is some more luscious yarn from the same company, I don’t know how soon I will start this kit. It knits up as a striped bias shawl with gradual color changes.

There are a few other knitting projects going, but in other fibery news, earlier this month I went on a fiber retreat with 17 wonderful women from Yarnorama. the retreat was held in LAGrange , TX, about an hour and a half away. While there, I learned to spin on a drop spindle and have so far spun my way through 3/4 of lovely fibery goodness I purchased on the Marfa road trip back in February.

What started out as this lovely bakll of fluff, now is starting to resemble yarn…like this…



The Dark Side welcomes you…