family, knitting, living

Archive for December, 2008

Picture of my first plied handspun

I have finally gotten around to taking decent pictures of my first plied hand-spun.  Here’s the scoop.  My first hand-spun was a little iffy…if you know what I mean.  I don’t remember if I even posted a picture or not.  It was a merino tencil blend (50/50) that I had fell in love with at the Fiber Festival in Murfreesboro a few months ago.  My friend, Jan of Daily Fibers, had dyed it and I had to have it.  She was a little hesitant when I told her that I was just starting to spindle spin yarn, but finally let me have it. I will say…this… it was not the right fiber for me to start spinning with.  I did not use my spindlelyn, but started on my wheel.  It was a little slicky and the fibers are pretty short, so it would get thin and I would compensate with too much fiber.  This went on back and forth until I took it off the bobbin and tried again. The second time was more successful, but still really not what I was hoping for.  I feel like I wasted some gorgeous fiber. 

Anyway, I backed up and spun some shetland.  This was some pretty rawish fiber I got at the festival also.  The farm is in White Plein, TN, I think.  Anyway, it was cleaned and combed but minimally processed.  It was a beautiful full, dark chocolate.  There was no dye, it was completely natural.  This was so easy to spin that I thought I was some sort of spinning savant.  I got a really nice fingering to light fingering weight yarn.  Here’s a picture of what is left after I used most of it to ply. 

Then I spun some Louet Blue Faced Leicester.  This was a little tougher and while I wound up with a respectable single, it was a little thicker than the Shetland.  I did not get a photo of that alone.  Anyway, I was itching to try my hand at plying.  I haven’t had a class and am relying on a couple of you-tube videos, so I hope I did it right.  I am actually pretty happy with it.  The nice thing is that I plied the dark brown Shetland with the ivory BFL so I could really see what was happening wile I plied.  The yarn is balanced and does not twist back on itself now that it is plied.  Here’s a shot of it after it was wound.  Wendy hand wound it for me because I made my PVC Niddy Noddy so big that the hank was too big for the swift. 

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This leads me to the PVC Niddy Noddy.  I found a diy on   http://www.doctordirt.com/blog/niddy.html  .  I used her directions to make myself and Wendy a NiddyNoddy.  The total cost of the two together was about 3-4 dollars.  I decided to make the PVC one rather than getting a wood niddy noddy because I wanted to wet set the twist in may yarn as I had been reading.  The PVC can get wet without it deflecting or eventually rotting.  The brown and ivory yarn above was wet set on the noddy and it worked like a charm.  The only problem as the above mentioned trouble with the size of the hank.  I originally made the main portion of the noddy 18 inches long as suggested, but that proved to be too big.  So, I went back down to the basement and used Henry’s chop saw to cut it down to 12 inches.  This makes one full wrap around the noddy equal to one yard, which is handy and makes the hank manageable for my swift. 

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The next set of photos is 4 ounces of BFL hand painted by Jan of Daily Fibers.  I plied it with itself and am not as happy with it as I would have like.  My singles were a it over-spun and then the plying is a bit under-spun.  I think it will be fine once the twist is set and I knit something with it.  It is just not as good as I thought it would be after I felt like a super genius on the first plying adventure!  I have wound it onto the niddy noddy for its bath.

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I sat this morning and pun 4 ounces of Daily Fiber’s Wensleydale top.  It was tougher to spin, but easier to spin than the BFL (I know I contradict myself).  What I mean is that the fibers truly want to be together, so they grab onto each other with ease.  The hard part is that they are so grabby that I have to be sure to do some heavy pre-drafting to make sure I get the weight of yarn I want.  It took more time, but I really like my single. I am thinking of plying it with a commercial yarn.  I have some black lace weight that might be nice.  I have seen people ply with thread, but I think yarn will be more my speed. 

Oh…here’s a photo of my little spinning space.  I spin in the living room in the front of the house.  It is usually pretty full of light and just cozy.  I love it. 

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One other thing….does anyone have any idea what these things are?  Henry claims his mother used them to wind yarn.  I’m not really sure about that. I would love an expert opinion….anyone…anyone?

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Goals

It’s the end of the year and a time where one evaluates the past year and looks forward o the next.  This past year has been one of momentous change.  We sold the farm, moved to Nashville, I quit working, Mycah is staying home with me, Grey is in a new school, Henry is in his last year of grad school and I had a sobering realization that my MS is not just a dim worry in the back of my mind, but a visitor who can definitely impact our lives. 

I’ve spent the year just trying to find my way through this mess.  I say mess…but most of it was good….just tempered.  Many of the good things that we now have in place were a direct result of the one big issue we have.  You all know what it is .  I will say that MS has made me start learning to say no and has helped me to quit accepting guilt and worry over things that I have no control over.  I am not to the place I would like to be yet, but I am getting there. 

I have to say I have very selfish goals for the next year.  I am not going to say that they are resolutions, because that is just setting myself up for failure.  These are goals on my way to a better life.  They are in no particular order.

1. Get to the gym three times per week. 

2. Do yoga at home.

3. Reduce my and my family’s intake of meat by one to two meals per week and improve our consumption of whole grains and vegetables.

4. Truly manage our household finances.

5. Learn to sew.

6.  Learn to spin…..well.

7. Get through the Knitters Almanac.

8. Work on Christmas presents through the year. (could include the use of some of goal number 7)

9. Work with Mycah in preparation for Kindergarten.  Continue working with Grey to get her to grade level in reading.  (We are close!)

10. Figure out what I am going to do with my life.

11. Enjoy my girls and my husband.

12. Find a church to call home.

13. Give a more holistic approach to managing my health a fair try.

14. Go to France to see my sis and her family.

I am going to print this out and put it on the fridge.  My intention is to break these big goals down into little steps that will help me actually achieve them. I think it is a pretty ambitious set of goals, but good one that will really make a difference in my life…..and in turn a difference in my family’s happiness.  Wish me luck and say a prayer for me.  My prayer for all of you is that you reach your goals this year and find peace and happiness.


New Hair, New Hats and Christmas Tree

I have lots of photos to share.  Hopefully they will come out in the gallery and not take too long to load.  The first ones are of our Christmas tree.  We put it up the day before Thanksgiving but did no decorate it until the weekafter.  This is our first Christmas in our new house.  We are pretty settled

and it is really beginning to feel like home.  There is nothing better than hanging out next to the Christmas tree in the morning, turning on the lights, everyone else asleep, hot coffee and knitting in the living room.  Amazing.

The photos also show both girls pre-haircut.  Grey has been begging to cut her hair for months.  Henry did not want her to cut her hair, but finally gave in after months of whining.  His only requirement was that she has to have enough to give to locks of love.  It finally measured 10.4 inches, so she got it cut.   The pictures show the actual snip.  Mycah wanted her hair cut just like Grey’s….so she did.  They are so cute!

The last set of photos show the hats I knit for Henry, Grey and Mycah.  Henry’s is made of Noro.  It has a double layer where the cabled band folds up over the main body of the hat.  This makes a very warm hat.  He really needs a warm one for Iowa.  Iowa is frickin cold!!  The colors are so Henry.  he loves i.  Grey’s hat is made Malabrigio worsted and in the Wooly Wormhead pattern, Meret.  It should be a little baggier, but I was afraid she would not wear it too slouchy.  Mycah’s is special.  She picked the yarn.  I hate the yarn.  The colors are every bit as hideous as they show up on the screen.  The yarn is about 90% artificial crap and shiny as all get out!   She wanted her hat to look like a flower….but wanted the teal color, not green for the leaf part.  I hate it and she absolutely loves it.  She is wearing it around the house.  Oh well….at least she likes it.


Haircut and prizes!

ma-prizeThis is the package I got from jmknitster on Ravelry.  That merino is so soft and the green is perfect.  I love green.  This is from the Monthly Adventures first anniversary celebration.  The group has been  a lot of fun this year even though I only participated in about half the swaps.  This year has been so crazy that I haven’t been able to do all of them.  Anyway, the moderators put a call out a month or so ago asking for prize donations.  Everyday they announce a new winner.  Believe it or not, I am also excited about sending my donation.  I know who she is now and I plan to look her up to see if I need to change her surprise. 

I received this two days ago.  Then, yesterday I got an email from none other than MasonDixon Knitting to inform me that I won enough yarn to make the Emma Peel dress out of their new book.  I am such a dork that I emailed her to thank her and give her my address and did not give her my last name!  I was a little excited….what can I say!

In other, non-prize related news… I had my hair cut today.  I have been letting it grow out a bit.  I am gong for one of those bobs that are angled…short in the back and long in the front.  Anyway, my hair guy decided to see what it would look like straight, so her flat ironed it.  I don’t even recognize myself.  I like it, but there is no way I am going to spend an hour on my hair in the mornings….no way.  Have a look…

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Sorry about the picture…I did the best I could for taking a phoo of myself with my crackberry.