Archive for October, 2015

Reading list

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

I have had a few pre-order books come in over the past few weeks. Of course then, I was distracted by Spinzilla and the Hill Country Yarn Crawl, so the books have had to wait. Today, I get to start diving in. The following are in no particular order.

From the publisher: In the Footsteps of Sheep: Tales of a Journey Through Scotland, Walking, Spinning, and Knitting Socks details the completion of a mission the author, Debbie Zawinski, a Welsh-born Scot, set for herself: to travel and camp throughout Scotland, find cast off tufts of wool from 10 Scottish sheep breeds, then spin the wool on her spinning stick while walking (or waiting for ferries), and finally design and knit one pair of socks to represent each breed…all the while writing about her adventures and taking plenty of photographs.

I have glanced through this book and the photography is lovely. I think it will be a savor as long as possible sort of read and I hope to spin and knit at least some of the socks.

OF course, there is also a new cookbook in the mix.  The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes for Cooking with Pleasure by Alana Chernila. I read her blog and like her writing and this book also has some lovely photography going on. I have already cooked one of the recipes and am excited about trying many more.

Another cookbook recently acquired is My Pantry: Homemade Ingredients that Make Simple Meals Your Own by Alice Waters. Definitely enjoyable reading. I feel there is a little too much taken for granted about how the reader might already cook or have an established kitchen somehow, but the ideas still certainly come across.

Somewhere recently, I came across something written by Pico Iyer. The writing itself was so very well crafted and I was drawn in. It made me look him up and I discovered many titles. I ordered 2 right away, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere. From the publisher: Why might a lifelong traveler like Pico Iyer, who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, think that sitting quietly in a room might be the ultimate adventure? Because in our madly accelerating world, our lives are crowded, chaotic and noisy. There’s never been a greater need to slow down, tune out and give ourselves permission to be still.

I was immediately intrigued, and having read just the introduction I am captured. I want more from this writer.

As already established, I ordered 2 of his books. It was hard to pick because they all sounded intriguing in one way or another. Then I saw The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

This became a bit of a no-brainer because you simply can’t go wrong with the Dalai Lama. I am looking forward to this book greatly.

Last on my little list for now is The Grave Soul  by Ellen Hart. Definitely my favorite for lesbian fiction. I really love her Jane Lawless series and am always greedy for more. The characters are so very well developed. As soon as Ellen Hart announces her next book is available for pre-order, I sign up, and then happily await its arrival. I will reserve cracking this open until I have (or take) a long weekend because I already know I will not want to put it down.

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!!

Spinzilla 2015

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

This is my second year participating in Spinzilla, a global event to bring attention to handspinning.

Last year, I finished up with 5 skeins of 2 ply, or 1223.98 yards, plied yardage of 3671.94…and 194.66 yards of 3 ply, or 778.64 for a grand total of 4450.58 plyed yardage or 2.53 miles in 46.5 total hours! The only goal I had last year was to make enough to earn the Monster Mile rating, which I did (1760 yards).

This year, I have pulled 2 pounds, 14 ounces out of the stash, all stuff that is already prepped and that I don’t think I would further blend in other ways.

plan to spin I was going to be ambitious in a different direction and dye and prep fleece from my stash. When that didn’t happen, I decided to gather up fiber that I didn’t think I would use to blend with other stuff, fiber that was already otherwise prepped to my liking. I also took individual photos of each bump and am entering them as spinning projects on Ravelry today.

The 4 tall bumps are all about 8 ounces each and are from Taylored Fibers in Quilcene, Washington (Barry Taylor) that I bought on the Farm Tour in 2014 (where last year’s sweater spin fiber is from).

There is a large blue batt from Judith Mackenzie, as well as the pink bump which is one of her luxe blends, and the yellow green bump which is wool/silk 50/50.

And finally, some new one ounce bumps from mirlafiberarts, whose limited series of podcasts I have recently discovered (there are 8 episodes).


I have made it through half of the big batt, and most of the yellow/orange bump. I will get back at it after work today and hopefully, make more of a dent in this pile. More images to come as I progress.