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, 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.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm just about ready to send my Spinning Secret Pal's skein of yarn off in the mail today. It is a combination of different naturally colored merino wool, llama, and a little mohair. This was not a commercially bought roving although commercial rovings are much easier to spin than if you start with raw fleece like I did.

The first thing I did was start with the wool and llama colors I wanted to work with. I already had them washed and stored in my fiber stash except for new white merino fleece I bought. Merino is full of lanolin. Unlike commercial scouring, I can't strip all the lanolin out. Actually, I don't think I would even if I could, because first of all it makes the garment practically water proof and secondly it keeps the fibers from getting a dry and brittle feeling. The Merino takes three washes and a rinse. The washes are done in hot a water as hot as I can get (we keep our hot water temperature hot enough to scald if you accidentally get it wrong in the shower). The first two washes are done with 15 minutes to half hour of each other to melt and remove the lanolin. The last wash is a long soak followed by a vinegar rinse.

Here are the various natural colors that I used. This includes blue grey and chocolate brown llama wool which is really yummy.
I carded these into variegated rovings. Again a commercial carder removes more of the noils and oddities in the wool. My carding doesn't do that well, but it still makes a fun little roving.

When I started to spin, I included small pinches of dyed wool in various colors. The smaller the bit of color is the more tweed like the fabric will be. I choose to put spatches of color in so that it would be three or for stitches of the worsted weight yarn. The yarn is two ply worsted. Nothing special about it. I don't have a jumbo spindle. However, it made about 75 yards 2 ply. I don't ply with a lazy kate because I am too lazy. I take the single ply, wind it on my ball winder and ply it from the center of the ball and the outside at the same time. Something I learned at a fiber fest.

The skein was set in a final wash that sets the twist. I made a swatch from a similar skein from some of the left over wool so you can get some idea of what the fabric will look like. And that's it! My Spin to Knit skein.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I have the skein for Spin to Knit ready to send to my Secret Pal. I just have to get the 'how to' pictures out of my camera and posted.

The new snow and cold has taken all inspiration out of me. It takes my husband holding a cup a coffee under my nose and all four cats walking on my head in the mornings to get me up. If it wasn't for monetary desperation from my pathetic job, I'd chuck it in and be a happy 1950 haus frau.

Ah if only there were some way to take that nice warm fuzzy feeling of being tucked into nice warm bed and have it all day long. Ah!!!

I believe people get disenchanted with their jobs because what one does is so far from the basics of life. There is no direct contribution to shelter, food, and clothing in peoples lives. Not that I want to fix my own roof, raise chickens, and sew boxer shorts, but when I spin or knit or paint I feel so alive. I feel like I'm transforming some useless objects into something that has form, beauty and purpose. I certainly don't feel that from work. 35 years working in IT is quite enough. In that time I have done all aspects of IT and have seen over and over again how it re-invents itself every six months and usually not for the better. Even the things that have some direct impact on the business bottom line such as efficient processes, tangible procedures, standards, and controls are with great expense thrown into the dust bin and created from scratch. The baby and the bath down the drain. It's one of those days I wish I just stayed in bed.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Here's an interesting little test to take. It determines which House the Hogwart's Sorting Hat will place you. If you are a Harry Potter's fan, you will know what this is about. If your not a Harry Potter's fan, you must still know what this is about or you must be a hermit.

Yeah! my result was to be in Gryffindor. That puts me running around with Harry Potter and his little clique. Which might be way more wholesome than my current buddies:

Here is the link. Have fun.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Whoa, still haven't recovered from the holidays. When someone says that it usually means two things, it was so fantastic that they just can't get their feet back on earth again, or it was so incredibly bad that they are still crawling on all fours. I'm afraid my case it is the latter.

Because of a death in the family, I did not have the time I usually take between Christmas and New Year's to decompress. As a matter of fact, time has been a real enemy for me lately. We did not have what I would call our normal holiday feasts but, I have some pictures of what normally happens. That is you eat a lot then sleep in front of a movie on the DVD.

This is Bitsy. Whenever 'Bird' is on the menu she invites herself to din din. Especially if the first course is fish. Doesn't matter what 'Bird' chicken, turkey, or duck she 'knows' and will demand her share.

This is Wooster. Wooster also gets his share then picks the softest warmest spot and claims it as his. In this case someone just got up from this spot on the couch and suddenly he was there enjoying the warm spot like he had been there for days.

I've been re-miss in posting, but I have some finished knitting projects and some in progress knitting to show. I just have to fiddle with the camera. Later-