Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back in town

I will be flying into Midway this afternoon and taking the El downtown where I'll hand out until my class at 6:30. After that, I have a 6:30 am flight tomorrow to come back.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sedalia Spring Fiber Festival

Amazing E and I took Rock Creek Yarn to our first fiber festival this weekend. It was a smallish affair in central Virginia. Most of the vendors were yarn shops or farms. We had a "booth" indoors in one of the buildings. I say that only because being as small and new as we are, we really had a table of yarn. E was the cashier, and I did sales.

It was great fun. I really enjoyed it. I got to meet so many nice, fiber obsessed people and talk to them about my own fiber obsession. The attendees were so nice. We sold about half the yarn we brought and got plenty of exposure. I'm already looking for my next one.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hand Dyed Sock Swap

GhostKnitter rocks.

Yesterday I received my package from the Hand Dyed Sock Swap on Ravelry from GhostKnitter. I've never done a swap before, and I'm tickled. The package is summer flower themed. This is what she sent me.

The green socks are made of a yarn she spun made of 100% South African Fine. It's a neat drop stitch pattern. Also in the package are dahlia seeds, scented soap, a flower candle, blueberry coffee, a skein of hand dyed yarn from Mary Jane's Attic, a big Cadbury's chocolate bar, and a pattern for Parallel Socks. I might add that to my SoS list.

The socks fit perfectly. GhostKnitter must be a very nice person. I mean, to send someone you don't know a pair of handknit socks made from your own handspun? Awesome. Now I'm looking forward even more to sending out my package to my Canadian buddy.

I can't believe that I haven't posted since Tuesday. Things have been so busy. Last week I was dyeing and dyeing yarn, then went to Chicago for a day, then came back and did a fiber show. I'll tell you about that later. It was great.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SoS! SoS!

Summer of Socks can't get here soon enough. I'm going to be bare footed in no time.

Today I put on my most comfy Koigu socks. You know, the ones made of The Precious that was purchased Maryland that weekend least summer when E was trying to show me that there are things I like here. Besides him. I put on those socks and took my laundry to the basement for washing when I noticed that the balls of my feet felt like they were sticking to the concrete floor.

Yup. When I got back upstairs I looked at the bottoms of my feet and discovered that they had both blown out very badly. There's no saving them. After a proper memorial, they'll be DARNED! into the garbage can. That's the second pair I've lost to the same ailment lately. I guess I need to get knitting on socks for myself.

Not that it's related at all to my sock woes, but I need to show something off.
It's my first good handspun. One ply is the silk hankies I got at Maryland Sheep and Wool. The other is the suri alpaca I got there. Thanks to a knitting friend, I was able to card it up. Yay. It's so fluffy and soft.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Knifty Red Got Me

I've been tagged by Knifty Red with some sort of meme. I'll go along this time, but she is certain to feel the icy hand of revenge later. I am tempted to send bad Juju to her yarn, but no innocent yarn deserves that.

The rules: Are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? In May, 1998 I was going to college in Israel and celebrating that nation's 50th anniversary.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today - not in any particular order? 1. Finish reskeining all zillion skeins of sock yarn I dyed this weekend. 2. Dye half a zillion skeins of yarn. 3. Watch at least one lecture for my class. 4. Mail away the nine skeins of yarn my wonderful customers ordered over the weekend. 5. Clean the living room before E gets home. There's yarn all over the place in there now.

3. Snacks I enjoy:Anything chocolate. Anything smoked fish related. Never both at the same time.

4. Places I've lived: This could be a very long list. Mokena, IL. Evergreen Park, IL. Hickory Hills, IL. Willow Springs, IL. Wheeling, IL. Be'er Sheva, Israel. Haifa, Israel. San Diego, CA. Ithaca, NY. Countryside, IL. Silver Spring, MD. Hmm. I'm probably missing one or two.

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:I'd start a huge charitable foundation and be the chairman.

I will make my own rules here and only tag one person. She deserves it for tagging me before.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Vampire coyotes

Last night at bedtime The Amazing E and I were discussing whether it is more healthy to sleep with the windows open or shut when the weather is nice. I believe it isn't good to have the bedroom air all stagnant and still. I like the fresh air and believe that indoor air is usually dirtier than outdoor air. E seemed to believe that sleeping with the outside air coming in causes allergies and therefore the windows should be shut. Now, this is not an argument that the air can have things in it that aggravate the allergies of people who are prone to them. He was telling me that it would cause people to develop allergies that they don't already have. Mind you, this issue is not resolved.

At some point I brought up that back in Illinois I slept with windows open at least part way almost every night of the year. To that he grumbled "I know." He told me that he hadn't liked sleeping at my condo with the windows open because he could hear all the outside noises. In particular, he didn't like the coyotes noises from the forest that surrounded the condos. My response was that the coyotes weren't dangerous to us because we were up four floors, and coyotes can't jump that high. So I wasn't afraid of the noises and got used to them.

Now, I thought at this point the conversation was lightening up. E asked what if there were vampire coyotes. Certainly they could fly. I said that we were safe on grounds that vampires need to be invited into a home and could not sneak in uninvited. And that my screens were immobile, preventing anyone from letting a vampire come in. E asked "really?" and I replied that the classical stories of vampires said so.

Then in a matter of fact voice he said that all that vampire needing to be invited in stuff was probably just folklore.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

One thing at a time

There's been a lot of exciting knitting and yarn business going on around here. So much that I've really got to exercise some discipline in posting here.

Today's exciting news is that the new silk yarn is available. At long last. The supplier is just a little small operation with a half dozen employees.

So far five colorways are dyed up in small batches with more on the way. Here are three of them. It's funny with this yarn. It soaks up certain colors really fast. Some colors have to be boiled and boiled, and yet others have to be boiled and then the color is absorbed while the solution is cooling.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I thought it was the end.

For four or five days until yesterday it rained cats and dogs here. We got something like six inches of rain. Schools closed, roads were impassible, and sink holes opened in the earth swallowing homes up. Quite the hellish picture. I was concerned about having to build a boat to save all the Cornish Rexes.

As I've heard in the media, Maryland was in a drought before this rain.

E and I were supposed to go camping this last weekend up in the Shenandoah National Park. We'd been looking forward to it for weeks. But all was not lost. You see, on Friday I got my big old shipment of silk yarn from the mill in India. I'd been waiting for it for weeks. And. Oh my.

I started dying it straight away. But it's still not dry, as it's been out on my porch. Today is sunny though. Perhaps we'll have something interesting tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A frightening lesson

I was just nuking a Hebrew National frank in the microwave, and within 30 seconds it melted through the plastic wrap I put around it.

Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Contempating summer knitting (heavy yarn porn content)

Today was for resting. E was goofy off all day with reading and other man laying about activities, so I relaxed by sorting through my yarn. After all, Summer of Socks is around the corner, and I want to be prepared. I mean it would be a shame to cast stuff on and then waste time because I didn't have every pair of socks well planned.

So this afternoon I pulled out my sock yarn collection. I'm sorry to say that it's pretty meager. Only enough for 13 pairs, including a skein of my Cherry Blossom yarn. Some of this yarn I don't even live very much, and it will be a cold low stash day when I knit it. Like that plain old gray stuff in the middle and the crazy blue sparkly stuff in the top center. (I got those free anyway.) What's here are four skeins of STR in various iterations, one skein of Froebe Fibers, the strange blue stuff, a skein of Jitterbug, four skeins of Panda Cotton, two skeins of Regia Bamboo, some orange Fixation, boring gray yarn, My Precious, and a skein of my stuff.

So I laid all this stuff out and thought. I even tried to get advice from Elijah about what to do.

Here's what's up.

The first pair I'll knit will be a plain stockinette pair out of this. I think I should have a display pair to show off the fine dye job.

Aw, isn't that cute. His and her Panda Cottons. I think this calls for plain stockinette socks. One pair for me and one for E. Quite disgusting and newlywed-ish, isn't it? The black is for him. He can wear plain black socks with his uniform.

I have to say that I love the Jitterbug yarn. It's beautifully dyed and very tightly spun. The only problem with it that I can see is that the skein are very short. So it's footies for this yarn.
And lastly for the yarns I have is the Regia Bamboo that I bought on one of SnB's trips to The Fold. This is a nice summer sock yarn. It's been marinating for about a year, so it's ready to meet its destiny as some semi-fancy sock.So, you may be asking, what up with this? No STR or Koigu is present in the line up. I know, I know. It's sad and inexplicable. Perhaps I'm saving them to savor when I'm not knitting like a maniac.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Summer of Socks 2008

I've signed up to take part in Summer of Socks, 2008. My goals are modest, I guess. I would like to do five pairs of socks. I doubt I'll get five done, but this is my goal. Right now I barely have a week's worth of comfy handmade socks to wear, so I'll be making four for myself and one for E. After he got is birthday present socks, he's decided the big deal I make about knitting my own is worth the energy. I guess now I have to decide on the yarn. One of my other goals is to knit all the socks only from my sock yarn collection.

You too can sign up if you like. Follow this link. Sign up ends, I think, on May 15h.

In related and very exciting news, Rock Creek Yarn is one of the sponsors of the contest. I'll be donating a skein of sock yarn in Cherry Blossom for a prize.

And now for the important part. From now until the end of Summer of Socks, you can get 15% off your sock yarn purchase on the website. Enter sos2008 at checkout.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My new hairdo

This is my first handspun. It's about 15 or 20 yards of 2-ply icelandic wool in a natural dark brown. I'm fairly proud of it. It's a bulky yarn. Not to much so, but it is larger than worsted. It's fairly even in size and twist. From a technical point of view, it's a good start in my humble opinion.

I don't think I'll ever knit with it. However, I do think I could do some more and make an awesome dreadlock wig out of it. I could have a Whoopi Goldberg hairdo. Guinan was always one of my favorite Next Gen characters.

Oh. I see Trek and yarn coming together.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A danger

I cannot go near my sofa the last two days. Not even to rescue my three active works in progress from one end of the couch. It's very sad. Just sitting over there are my Bayerische Socks which were recently rediscovered, my Cobweb shrug made of yummy yummy Malabrigo lace, and the sock for my buddy in the Hand Dyed Sock Swap. I miss these little guys, but I can't get near enough to them to pick them up and love them. I can't even get onto my couch. This is the culprit. It's a silk hankie I dyed in my Tyropoeon colorway. I started spinning it. Now every time I sit down to do anything, it leaps into my hands and steals my time. It is a monster.
I guess the good thing is that the spindle is about full. I just don't know how to get the yarn off and retain the twist.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I forgot to show you

Remember when E went away for those weeks last month? Well, he was in officer training for the PHS. I have pictures from his graduation.

This is my rather poor picture of E leading the honor guard for the start of the ceremony.
And getting his awards and certificates from the acting deputy surgeon general. (I think that's who he was. The title was confusing. At any rate, he's a high up admiral.)
And last, E coming off the stage.Now he's all ready to help set up hospitals after the next big hurricane or wildfire.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Maryland Sheep and Wool

The Amazing E and I went to the festival today, and I bought no yarn. Knitters, please don't faint. And significant others, don't point the finger of "See, someone has self control." It would all be premature. The fact is that I had a net expenditure of about $20, including food.

We spent about four hours roaming the stalls, tents, and barns touching all things fibery. I touched yak, and I touched silk. E touched all types of wool, and learned that there are big differences between types. And then I got fiber fever.

It was Toni from the Fold. She sold me an Avi Wasserman drop spindle. It's so pretty. The truth is that I've been coveting one of these since the infamous trip during which Knifty Red bought her wheel. This one is 1.25 ounces and made of maple, cherry, and ebony woods. I also got some Icelandic wool and some silk hankies with which I will make my very first yarn.
Lastly, I also got a bag of suri alpaca locks. It's just shorn alpaca, but I got about a pound for $5. I couldn't pass that up! So now I'm trying to figure out how to clean and comb it. Man, this stuff is kinda stinky and has sticks, burrs, and other things I dare not think about in it. So we really only spent about $20. Well, that's after selling three skeins are yarn to Ravelry knitters I met today.

Only $20.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Counting down

To the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. We live very close by, so I'm dragging the Amazing E there with me for sheepy fun or torment. I even have a budget. With Rock Creek Yarn's new ads on Ravelry, I've earned enough money to be able to pay myself a little bit. I have $80 to spend.

And what will I spend it on? Not sure yet. Hmm. Hmm. I've been thinking about a drop spindle and some fiber, If Toni from The Fold has brought hers. That's right. I'll add to the insanity that has taken up most of our second bedroom.

Not that the fiber obsession is a real drain. Rock Creek Yarn has been fairly successful. After all, we do have to pay the bills around here. Especially for the $100 per month heated cat bed from Comcast.
But seriously, I'll report back after my day of yarn sniffing.