Spin a cockeyed Web

A woman of a certain age, who would have lived and died without a whisper and barely a footprint on life, can now pontificate with 'the big guys'.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Just a quick note for those of us who spin, like yarn, or have any interest in fiber arts, I have posted a link to on online magazine called Spindle and Wheel. It is full of tutorials for spinning, dying, carding, and other cool related stuff. It's fun so I wanted to pass it on.

The one thing that is a problem is they gave a secret away I hoped no one would know about. The Brown Sheep Wool Company. I know, I know everyone who goes into a good yarn shop knows about Brown Sheep yarn. It was the beautiful rustic look of the Brown Sheep yarn that got me into spinning. You know the syndrome- Hey, I can do that!. I did that with Art Fairs seeing rather peculiar paintings -Well I can do That! and- I have. Then I saw beautiful yarn, but enought for a sweater starts getting to be -well- a very proud sweater indeed. So I said, I can do That! and- I have. This same yearn 'to do' luckily has not included things like - plumbing, landscaping, -auto mechanics, but hey, pick your poisons. Anyway, back to Brown Sheep Wool, -the secret. You can get inexpensive roving and/or yarn from the factory Mill Ends. You have to go there. I know I tried calling direct - got nowhere except a reference to someone who buys their leaving's in bulk then resells them. I knew about that because I bought 20lbs of fiber from them already. You saw correctly 20 lbs, 10 of white, 10 of brown. You guys know nothing about 'stash'.

OK, secrets out. Right now Western Nebraska has about 1.3 people per 100 Sq miles. Now there will be 10 per sq. yard. All standing in front of Brown Sheep Company. Oh Well.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Show and Tell Time

I had some questions about our pet French Angora rabbit. So I thought I'd show some pictures.

This is Fluff Bag. Affectionately known as Fluff Bucket, Fluffer Doodle, Fluffer Duff, Dum Dum or the name my husband uses- TLC (no.... that's Tastes Like Chicken) and Rabbit. 'Fluff' doesn't trip out of my husband's mouth very easily. Believe it though, Fluff comes to everyone of his names or ...... absolutely none of them including the unprintable ones. It kind of depends upon what he feels like doing. Most of the time the Fluffer feels like the most independent and perverse creature I have had the dubious privilege of knowing. I think he is 'Killer Rabbit' from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Meek does not describe this little white rabbit. At any rate, considering that rabbits and mice are the 'food' at the bottom of the food chain I have gained a whole new respect for the poor maligned predators that must take on these beasts to feed their young and stay alive. If predators could choose to farm, I'm sure they would.

If you think in terms of wild cotton tail rabbits, then Fluff is big. He is between 8 to 10 pounds - with maybe a pound of it being angora wool. Lots of hair. Just his fluffy puffy look scares the cats.

He is definitely the pictured perfect Easter Bunny.

Eostre (Anglo-Saxon) or Ostara (Old High German) is the goddess after whom the springtime festival of Easter is named. The month of April was also named in her honour AS Eosturmonað, OHG Ostarmanoth.

In Teutonic Mythology, Grimm tells us that the Anglo-Saxon name Eostre is related to Old High German adverb ostar expressing movement toward the rising sun. "Ostara, Eostre seems therefore to have been a divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted to the resurrection-day of the Christian's God."

Other than a Fluff update, I have to apologize for lax blogging. I have only been doing small knitting projects, using up stash. My main activity has been spinning yarn form my winter knitting projects. So far, I've spun about 3000 yards of various yarns. I have spun most of the commercial colored roving I had stashed. Now I have started to process some of the white roving I have for dying. Some of the roving I'll dye as is and some I'll spin into yarn and dye the yarn itself. I will have pictures.

I was not going to start any serious knit projects until the end of the summer, however the 100% mohair I spun was so beautiful I couldn't resist to start knitting with it just to see how it would look as fabric. Fantastic!

Promise-- pictures coming.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thought for the Day

When designing your own sweater pattern, know when to stop.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Time to play catch up- In the way of project status I'll start with the Iris sweater. I added the collar and am working on the sleeves. The sleeves I work from the armholes down. I create the sleeve caps by working 2/3 of the stitches picked up around the armhole minus the underarm stitches. Then I work short rows back and forth over the shoulder seam picking up one stitch from the 1/3 that is divided on each side of the underarm stitches. Once all the stitches have been picked up and I have reached the underarm stitches, then I can knit around the whole sleeve for the rest of the way down to the cuff. I set the sleeve and cap for each sleeve and when I get to the point of just blind knitting down the sleeve, I put both sleeves on circs and do them together. That way any shaping is done on both sleeves at the same time in the place. It's the only sure way I can get matching sleeves.

I'm at the point of joining both sleeves and since it is a total bore at that point, I have taken a little break and made some gloves and started a pair of socks. This is just to give me a little high that comes from immediate gratification.

The glove on the left is the back of the left glove and the right hand glove on the right is palm up. I did these gloves with sock yarn from my stash. I made them to be practical first and looks came second although the colors did match for each glove including the fingers. The back of the gloves were done in basket weave stitch which is not the best stitch for patterned yarn, but the basket weave creates little air pockets that make the gloves very warm for their weight. The palm also is customized in that I use a slip stitch pattern that used mainly for sock heels. It makes a strong yet padded palm. Also since I would knit then try them on, then knit and try them on, they fit like -well- a glove.

I am also trying to do a repair to my husbands socks I made for him. Knowing how hard he is on socks I tried to make these like steel. I put reinforcing thread in the heals and toes, but to no avail. The toes are fine -so far, but the heels are totally gone. Not the backs, but the bottoms have totally disappeared.

The top of the sock is in the left corner, the ragged bit is what is left of the bottom of the heal. I did do an Aladdin heal so that it is isolated from the rest of the sock. Notice that the heel is outlined in green. I should be able to cut out the heal, pick up the stitches from the green boarder and re-knit the heal. That's the theory. I've never done that before so it should be interesting. I've been searching for new re-enforcing thread. Something in titanium or Teflon as second choice.

Well, here's the heal cut out. The instep, sole, and gusset stitches all picked up. Now what I wonder? Stay tuned.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Projects!!! As promised.

I have just finished the front and back of a sweater I call Iris Fields. I bought dyed roving through ebay from Jehovah Jireh Farm call Iris. I didn't get enough for a full sweater, but I had some nice green in my stash that worked well with it. I need to finish the collar and sleeves. It will have lapels with the collar. Here's a shot of the front and back. The stitching is different on each.

It will look better when the sleeves are attached.

Some small projects I finished as I was working on the sweater are the miser purse and street mittens. Both are made of yarn I spun. The blue purse was spun from multiple samples of blue wool that I combined. The mittens was fiber I dyed while we attended the Harveyvill Project, Yarn School. They were going to be fingerless gloves, then I found I had enough for the mitten caps. I mitten shows the cap in the mitten position and the other buttoned back for fingerless. I've used both the purse and the mittens everyday for a month or so and they are great fun and practical.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Oh boy, half the week done, complete, finis. I've been trying to get some yarn together for our knitting groups clog-along. I have taken the pledge to not buy new yarn and knit out of stash. According to the blogs there are many knitters doing the same thing. I wonder if this is going to impact yarn stores? At any rate, I rummaged through my stash and decided that what I had was either to good for clogs or I didn't have enough of it. Sooooo, I've been spinning some yarn from my fiber stash. I'm having some problems with keeping it thick enough. The pattern calls for two worsted weight strands. I'm going for one strand that is the equivalent to two strands worsted -more or less. I don't know the consequence this will have working my pattern (Fiber Trends), but I'll handle that when I get to it. The yarn is made of natural grey-brown wool that I blended some black mohair for strength. For the top of the clog I over-dyed the wool with garnet dye. I came out a nice reddish brown, almost maroon color. The soles I will keep the natural grey-brown. I hope it will turn out OK.

I promised pictures of my sweater in progress and other little goodies. The good news I have taken the pictures with my digital camera. The bad news is the camera batteries have gone too weak to download to my computer. I have to get more batteries at the store. This camera has eaten batteries like I can eat Krispy Cream doughnuts.

Now for something completely different, I found this site on knitting for WWI soldiers. Within the article was the lyrics for a song that children sang while they knitted in school.

In May 1918 the Seattle School Bulletin printed this patriotic knitting song:

Johnnie, get your yarn, get your yarn, get your yarn;
Knitting has a charm, has a charm, has a charm,
See us knitting two by two,
Boys in Seattle like it too.
Hurry every day, don’t delay, make it pay.

Our laddies must be warm, not forlorn mid the storm.
Hear them call from o’re the sea,

‘Make a sweater, please for me.’
Over here everywhere,
We are knitting for the boys over there,
It’s a sock or a sweater, or even better
To do your bit and knit a square.

Reading this article, I found it both funny and poignant. During WWI far more people were against entering the 'European War' than what people feel about Iraq today. The ideas of Socialism and labor movements imported from immigrants, caused huge, violent riots. There were bombings and there was death. J.Edgar Hoover got his paranoid start by imprisoning and deporting hundreds of people during that time. And yet, when we did enter the war there was such a strong community feeling of support and sacrifice. As the article said,

Personal knitting was highly frowned-upon: “When news comes that American soldiers have died merely from exposure in walking the icy decks on their watches, every stitch on a pink sweater will seem selfish. Besides this, University men in Montana have asked to have sixty sweaters sent to them before Christmas” (“Women Frown Upon Pink Knitted Wear”). University women doing war work (“the women behind the men behind the guns”) were known as Sammie’s Sisters (“University Women Join the Sister Army”).

This was also the attitude in WWII. The same elements or groups of people that are against the war today, were anti-war then as well. But still there was widespread patriotism and sacrifice. Now, mind you a lot of the sacrifice was artificially created to make a united stand. Collecting aluminum pots and pans, tires, and other metals were not done because America had shortages. It was done for community, for mutual sacrifice for something beyond ourselves.

We have lost this community feeling totally. We have been diversified to death. We have split and fragmented to the point we can't create any unified face of what it is to be an American. I think the country is on the brink of greatness or disaster. Certainly, the most important events in my lifetime are occurring and I see very few, who have the foresight, accountability, and responsibility to act for the long term welfare of anybody but themselves. That includes me as well.

I do have some interesting sites however. At least in the knitting world there are some efforts although not like days gone by. There's Operation Home Front , the Ships Project, Toasty Toes, and Afghans for Afghans.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

It's cold, it's cold, it's cold. Even though we have had an extraordinarily short winter, the last few weeks of January have been bitter. However, I still stand by my convictions that you can dress for Winter whereas, Summer is dead hopeless. You can stand in a pool of water, or just stay in air conditioning, but standing outside in mid-day will kill you on the spot.

So I put on my warm clothes from head to foot and am thankful that July is six months away
I'm going to get my knitting in progress and projects just finished pictures posted this week. Not tonight however. I've got an important date I can't postpone any longer, unless my husband and I abandon the house (if I only could - just keep running and running). No - back to reality, tonight I clean out the rabbit's cage and change the cat litter. "Multiple cat's litter." A whole evening of shovelling shit. I do it figuratively all day and literally all night. Oh well, keep on plugging.