Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spinning a Yarn

I've really been enjoying spinning lately.  Practice makes you a better spinner and being better at it makes me enjoy it more I guess.

I finished some Three Waters Farm Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) right before I went to Carolina Fiber Frolic, and I chain plied it while I was at the event.  I still put a little too much twist in the single and in the ply, but it's a usable yarn.  I washed it today finally and it helped relax the twist a bit.
Skeined up, but before washing

After washing
Friday night I finished spinning the second bobbin of a braid of Polwarth/Silk from Gale's Art  and didn't even think about the fact that I should have let that bobbin "rest" overnight before plying because I was too excited.  This is probably my best skein so far as far as twist goes.  The singles were probably a little over twisted, but it all seemed to even out in the plying because the yarn is very balanced.  I did this as a two ply fractal spin and I like the way it turned out.

Right after plying

After a bath
Last night I pulled out some more Three Waters Farm BFL that are dyed in special colorways for a Ravelry group I'm in. 
The multi-colored one is called Blue Sunset, and the other is just Burnt Orange.  My original plan was to spin each braid into a single and then ply them together in a two-ply.  I did a sample spin last night and I liked the resulting yarn. 
Bad picture, but you get the general idea
But I started spinning the Blue Sunset first, and the more I spin, the more I just can't see diluting these colors by plying with the orange all the way through.  So I think I've decided that I'm going to chain ply both braids and that way I'll have a multi-colored yarn and a coordinating orange yarn that I can use in a project together somehow.
You can't see the orange underneath, but this shows most of the rest of the colors.
I'm spinning this braid a lot slower this time and working on making my singles more consistent in thickness.  I still have so much to learn about spinning that sometimes I feel like I don't have a clue what I'm doing, but then I remember there was a time when I felt that way about knitting (not that I know everything there is to know about knitting).

Now I just need to figure out what to knit with the new yarn I'm making!

Do Chickens Dance?

My middle niece's first communion was EARLY this morning, so we drove up to Cary to spend the day with my family.  As I did for her older sister, I knit her veil.  She's 8 years old, so I'm not sure how impressed she was by it, but I think all the adults liked it at least.
She enjoyed being the center of attention for the first half of the day, but was glad when all the picture taking was over.
Can you see the "I'm so tired of smiling" smile?
With her father (my brother)
My sister & her husband came in from California for the weekend.  This was the first time I'd seen her since she got pregnant, so it was fun to "meet" my future nephew for the first time.

My sister in law's parents came up from Florida as well.

We went to lunch at Lucky 32 and it was a gorgeous day to sit outside and eat.  All three nieces were excited to see "Prince Phillip" so he kept them entertained.
Learning how to take a selfie
It's rare that my parents get to see all 3 of us at once, so before we took off the dress clothes we took a family pic.
After that we got comfortable...well, some of us.  My brother lost a bet on an NFL playoff game to my sister & her husband, so he had to wear something else for a while....
Dancing Chicken

We take our bet payoffs seriously
Just in case you're curious, if my brother had won the bet, then my brother in law would have been wearing a Duck Dynasty costume instead.

After hanging around for a couple of hours, the late afternoon was spent at the spring carnival held by my nieces' school, but I'd lost my picture taking mojo by that point.  They still have cake walks, and that made my day even though I didn't win.

All in all, a fun day with family.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Getting Stuff Done

Rob and I had a nice day Saturday just running around doing a few errands and having lunch.  I needed to go to a fabric store in Southern Pines to see if they had something appropriate to make a table runner for the baby shower my mother & I are throwing for my sister, and I wanted to go to WalMart to look for a couple of picture frames to put some stuff up in my craft room.  So Rob went with me and we had lunch at Mellow Mushroom and also stopped a couple of places he wanted to go.  He bought a new circular saw at Lowe's and I found the frames I wanted at Michael's finally.

I bought a print at Carolina Fiber Fest a couple of weekends ago of a painting by Ken McNeill.  He's a local artist, and his artwork was chosen to be the cover for this year's Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. He was extremely nice and was more than happy to take a picture with me and my two friends Michiele and Peggy, who also bought the same print (no wonder we get along so well).

One of the frames I bought Saturday was for that print, so it's finally up on the wall above my desk.

It's called "B-ewe-tiful Family".

Yeah, I know it's not perfectly centered, but I can live with it.
I love to do swaps on Ravelry, and one of my favorite every year is the birthday swap. One of the requirements of the swap is that you include something handmade in your partner's birthday package.  A couple of years ago my partner was from Estonia, which is well known for its knitted lace, so I asked her to knit me a small piece of traditional Estonian lace in the "traditional" yarn and she did.  I can knit Estonian lace, and I have, but it's just cool to me to have some knit by an actual Estonian.  I'm geeking that way.

Anyway, I had it stored away because I couldn't figure out how to actually display it, when it dawned on me I could just frame it.  So that's the second frame I bought Saturday, and I really like the result.  I also needed a place for Swatch, Rosie, and Bobbin to sit, so I put up a little shelf that had been just sitting in a corner of our bedroom and put the framed lace on that as well instead of actually hanging it.
I like it, although if I end up with more sock monkeys at some point, I will probably actually hang the lace piece a little higher so it can still be seen.

Sunday was a day of finishing.  I finished my niece's first communion veil late last week, so it needed to be blocked so I can drop it by their house this week because the first communion is this coming Saturday.  (No, I didn't cut it close, whatever do you mean?)  You'll have to wait until after the event for pictures though.

I sewed buttons on the little tunic/dress I just finished for my granddaughter.  It was supposed to for Easter, but I just got around to buying the buttons last week, so she'll be getting her Easter basket a little late.  Hopefully I'll get it and the other Easter items I have shipped to Texas sometime this week.
Cute little button
I killed a pair of socks today.  I'm wash my hand knit socks in the washing machine with other clothes and then hang them to dry.  That's the whole purpose of superwash in my mind, and I'm just lazy that way.  For some reason I decided today that if I washed my lovely stranded elephant socks inside out, then the outside part wouldn't get as fuzzy.
Aren't they lovely?  This is what they looked like going into the wash.
What I didn't think about was how turning them inside out would expose all those lovely yarn floats to snag onto anything and everything else in the wash with them.  I'm guessing that's what happened, as there were a couple of items with small zippers in the same load.  This was the result.....
Insert sobbing here
I am so sad.  It's all my fault, and I can't even face fixing them.  This is the worst part, but I found a similar smaller place on the other sock.  I'm thinking at this point that I'm not going to try to fix them, but just knit a new pair.  I actually have more of these exact yarns in enough yardage to make an identical pair, so that's what I'll do....when I can face it.  Looking on the good side, when I wore them the other day I was thinking that I'd made the cuff a little too lose, so now I can make it better right?

In an effort to end this post on a happy note...I finished the pair of socks I've been knitting recently tonight.  I made these a lot taller than I usually wear my socks because I wanted to get to all the colors on this yarn.  We'll see if they actually stay up when I wear them, but at least I have a new pair to add to the drawer.

Taming the Stash

Friday was a holiday for me, but Rob had to work, so I decided to tackle organizing and sorting my yarn and fiber closet.  The yarn stash has gotten rather large and was falling out of the bins & the addition of fiber for spinning wasn't helping, so it was time to add another set of cubes.

This was the closet shortly after I began.  I didn't think to take a pic until I had started taking a few things out, but you get the idea.
Yarn falling out of bins

Stuff all over the floor
I got it all out into my craft room, which was really a much bigger looking mess.

I've been trying to not buy a lot of yarn this year.  "Oh pretty" is often the reason I buy yarn, with only the vaguest idea of what I plan to do with it.  I've been pretty good so far, and have only bought yarn and fiber at a couple of planned events.  But if I needed any more proof that I really don't need to buy a lot of yarn, I got it Friday.
This is all my lace weight yarn
This is all of my fingering weight yarn
 Those are the two weights of yarn that I have the most of in my stash.  I didn't take a picture of the heavier yarn because I don't really have all that much of that.

The other good thing about pulling out all of the stash is it reminded me of some of the great yarn I do have, and I've already planned a couple of projects using yarn from my stash.  Plus....isn't it all so pretty?  It sort of makes me feel like Gollum and I just want to pet it and croon "my preeeciousssss".

So anyway, after 8 hours I finally had the new cube built and in the closet and all of the yarn and fiber stored nice and neatly.
This is all the lace weight, and the drawer tower has all my baby yarn and dishcloth cotton plus a few odds and ends

The two left bins are sweater quantities, the bottom right bin is the rest of my worsted/DK, and the top 3 bins are fingering weight.

This is the new 9 cube bin and it holds the rest of my fingering weight with my needle case sitting on top. That drawer tower on the right has some work horse worsted weight, my few skeins of handspun, and some odds and ends like buttons, beads, and dye.

The bottom left bin is some acrylic yarn and the other 3 bins are all my spinning fiber.

This is a shot from the door.  See...nothing on the floor!
Quite a productive day off, now if I can only keep it that way.  I've got more to ramble about regarding knitting and my craft room, but this post is probably long enough already, so I'll save that for tomorrow.