not a huge change... but nonetheless a change worth noting!

i am switching the 'patchworks-and-miscellany' address over to http://slow-cloth.blogspot.com/. honestly, i've struggled with naming this blog, and i was never entirely happy with what i had. i would have preferred just miscellany, but you know how that goes. anyway, what i'd like to do is keep blogspot for my longer, more detailed posts. the content will still be the same, the address is the only change.

i am doing this because i am now also on tumblr @ http://slowcloth.tumblr.com/.
the tumblr account will be the "digest" form of the blogspot site. this should appeal to those that prefer a quicker fix that contains an image or two with minimal text. i'm testing out tumblr to see if i like the format better. as of now, it is a lot more interactive (which i really love!), like a mix of facebook and blogspot where people can "like" or "comment" on your posts. it's really a great way to connect and share/receive information from other crafters. with tumblr i can at least get instant feedback in regards to if my work is being seen. on blogger... this has been a little harder...

anyway... as it goes...


end of summer

first week of september officially over.
fall is just around the corner...

weekly wrap-up/finished object(s) current projects
on the needles
making progress on "the age of brass and steam kerchief".

this kerchief was right on time. it's like a nice, deep brain massage. very soothing and relaxing. there is a nice balance between a little bit of interest/detail and simplicity in this pattern. it's also turning out to be a quick knit. quick is relative i know, but it's knitting up nicely, growing relatively quickly for a knitter with a short attention span. i also love that because the pattern is very clean and simple, this is a great way to use 1 skein of a showstopper semi-solid yarn. madelinetosh, anyone? or... fill in your favorite vendor :)

shawl knitting is a brand new experience to me (i may have said this 30x within the past 2 wks). having a patternmaking background, it's always interesting to see how knitwear is constructed. very different from woven, indeed. i never understood the allure to small shawl knitting (or shawl knitting for that matter, or lace! gah.) and now i know: generally pretty quick, portable, can be done on circs, usually a 1 skein project so these are great stashbusting projects, they are very wearable and a great way to spruce up a blah outfit with just a little splash of color. i won't say i'm hooked just yet... but i may be getting there.

the brass and steam kerchief is top down, i guess you would call it. you start at the center back, using a garter tab (youtube tutorial), and it grows outward from there. after fumbling with the provisional cast-on from my first shawl - which i ended up scrapping and just doing a long-tail c.o. w/ 2 "make 1" increases - the garter tab c.o. seemed a little more intuitive. and that folks, is called progress :)

because i've been on the massage table these past couple days...
my firstborn shawl is on a time out. i did knit on it a little bit at last weeks spinning guild meeting. and by knit a little bit, i mean 2 rows. done in public. while partially paying attention to what was going on around me. the fact that i could to that, is really progress.

it's a record-breaking short post today :)
i decided to give your eyes a break over this holiday weekend!

other projects are still being worked on, but the new kerchief was more post-worthy!
until next time!


love at first spin

last friday was my birthday, so i decided to take the day off from blogging. what was that you asked? what was my excuse all the other times? uh... er...

moving right along...

weekly wrap-up/finished object(s) current projects
on the needles
i'm still plugging away on my shawl :) and making lots of progress! yay!!! more exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!

no casualties to report. you don't understand how happy i am to say that. i'm on my 5th set of pattern repeats (repeating the pattern 5x now), and planning on working the repeats to 6 or 7 before i start the "edge" chart. let me tell you, the edge chart looks like i will need to take my eyeballs out and rinse them in a strong vodka tonic w/ an extra lime solution. anyway... i'm not even going to worry myself over that madness right now. just focusing on the task at hand!

i've also started another shawl. i know right, what the hell?! the pattern is called the age of brass and steam kerchief (free!). i went stash diving (seriously, i love that term. thanks stash and burn!) and i'm using madelinetosh (of course) merino dk (of course). the colorway is named "norway spruce"... so picture the needles of the deepest, darkest conifer tree you can imagine and you won't be far off on the color of this beautiful yarn.

let me digress really quick... still on topic though. ok. when i first started knitting, i could not wrap my head around the price tag on some of the yarns i was encountering. sometimes i still can't, but at least now i understand a little better. quality can be expensive.

when i visited yarn shops, my inner commentary would always scream, "$30 for an itty bitty skein of yarn?! like... for real, for real?!" eventually i broke down, because the colors i was coveting were coming from the more high end yarn companies. i started enhancing the stash slowly with malabrigo (which is quite the affordable luxury!) and then jumped right into madelinetosh. talk about 0 to 165 mph! i have nothing but wonderful words to share about madelinetosh yarns. even if my skein of yarn was filled with knots and joined in weird places, it would be worth it because after i untangled that mess, i'd still be 100% satisfied with the color of the yarn and whatever i knit it into! and i'd actually wear it! if you are like me and love deep, saturated jewel tones, you will absolutely love everything this company has to offer. the way i alleviate the sting of the price tag is by buying single skeins. simple, right? the yardage is pretty decent on a lot of the yarn - for about $20 i got 400 yds from the tosh merino light, and i'll eventually have a nice-sized shawl. single skeins are just fine for the types of projects i usually like to knit: instant gratification, hats, scarves, socks, and now shawls!

on the flipside... i am now understanding the importance of purchasing yarn that you love. no sense in skimping and being unhappy with the finished product. if the budget is not there, then wait until it is. the yarn is not going anywhere! and sometimes, you may luck out and find it on ravely on a destash page or "for sale/trade" for much cheaper than the retail price. although i may not be at the point of purchasing sweater quality of high end yarn (i can't swallow dropping $200 in one sitting for the same item!)... once i've proven to myself that i can finish a sweater, i will save up and splurge on something really lovely :)

speaking of finishing up sweaters... let me say, i did attempt this last week and failed miserably!

on the spinning wheel
working on bobbin 3 of my hubbies handspun socks! almost there!!!

with the way the panda blend is spinning... it's feeling like i'm probably going to have light fingering weight yarn when it's all said and done. my husbear better appreciate all this damn work or he will be spending the rest of the week laid up in a hospital bed! tour de fleece almost killed off my spinning mojo and spinning for someone else is really pushing me over the brink of insanity! i have all this gorgeous fiber waiting to be spun into something lovely, but noooooo i'm trying to be disciplined and take care of obligations. how virtuous. :P

so as i mentioned above... while this is what i was supposed to be working on on my birthday...

the idea was to wind my handspun up so i could get started on a new project (a very long cowl for the colder months ahead) and then to start finishing up my 2-yr sweater. instead, i got distracted by a new friend.

on the spindle(s)
say what?! you read that right, sucka! a new segment and yup... i've been bitten again.

probably in response to having the itch to purchase a new wheel. another spinning wheel is quite the investment - $$$$ - but while i'm saving up... i can totally swing a nice spindle. or two... you know, for my birthday and stuff ;)

and what better way to use up all these lovely fiber samples from corgi hill farm!

so here is spindle one. spinning a little bit of wensleydale here.

this is a bosworth mini spindle. if i can remember correctly, i think it is about 1.2 oz. the wood is bocote and the shaft is rosewood. the customer service was on point! quick and effortless. i received my spindle in no more than about 3 days from the time i ordered it, and i had it in my hands on my birthday! my first response when i opened my package was "dammit... should've ordered a darker shaft" hahahaaa. ehhhh. aesthetically the rosewood is "off" to me.  it doesn't effect how smooth and fast this spindle spins, so who cares. i'll pipe down about that one ;) i don't remember spindle spinning being this effortless. for some reason, it was like riding a bicycle. it is however, still slow as hell as i remember! ;) but now it is a lot more enjoyable and relaxing.

this is my first time spinning wensleydale, and i will say... i had many preconceived notions of how i thought it would be. it seriously reminds me of really overprocessed people hair on a baaaaadddd day. or like straw. eugh. maybe that is a bad description, but longwools always feel like they could use a good soak in some pantene pro-v. to my surprise, when i spun the wensleydale it was smooth, silky, easy to draft so long as i kept my hands about 5" apart and it had quite a lovely sheen. it really wanted to spin itself fine on the spindle, so i let it have its way. the moral of the story... never judge before sampling!

i'm glad that i had a small sample of wensleydale to test out, because i bought a 4 oz bag of some dyed wensleydale a couple months ago to play with. couldn't resist the combination of jewel tones and fall colors *sigh* it's good to know that it won't give me too much trouble. what i'm going to do is knit a swatch from a single and then knit a swatch from 2-ply to see what that looks and feels like. wait... hold up. am i actually contemplating doing something more "technical"??? taking my spinning to the next level? i seriously must have lost my mind. what the hell is in the milk over here?

anyway,  i wouldn't call wensleydale "next-to-skin" soft, as i'm sure you've heard ad naseum from others, but i know some people's threshold for scratchier yarns is pretty high. so i'll play it by swatch ;) i'm not sure what i'd like to knit my wensleydale into, so a few small swatches seem to be the way to go before i get too excited about knitting it into a bra and underwear set. maybe... socks?

ok. and now, spindle two! the real birthday spindle, with an unknown fiber (probably merino).

so this lovely, lovely, lovely piece of art is from the spanish peacock. it is a russian lace support spindle in macassar ebony. i'm a sucker for dark woods, what can i say? again, i must have lost my damn mind when i purchased this gorgeous spindle. i mean... what the hell am i gonna do with a spindle without a hook on it?! but i also happen to be a sucker for really well done woodworking.

mr. peacock is quite the artisan. his spindles are beautifully crafted, beautifully polished and i have heard nothing but rave reviews about the quality of his products. many satisfied customers! when i first saw some of his work on flickr, ravelry and then on his website it took me a few minutes to wrap my head around how the hell to use a spindle w/out a hook, let alone supported on a bowl. that opened up a can of worms, and now that i've been made aware... i won't be able to put those bad boys back in the can! *sigh* curiosity killed the cat, right? hahahahaaaa

so i picked up a couple of wooden kitchen prep bowls from cost plus (rather than shelling out additional money for a matching hand-turned bowl... i splurge, but not that much!). i will share photos of my first spin on the russian support spindle on the next post! but i already played around with it, and i can tell you it is fun!!!

helpful links
this post is getting a little long, so i'm going to cut it short. i'll have a dog piece for the next time :)

for additional support on spinning with supported spindles (be it russian or tibetan, there are a number of different types out there...) the "fleegle" youtube videos are pretty fantastic. i think they are what pushed me over the edge, because after seeing the videos... she had me believing i could spin this way!

russian lace support spindle video here!
tibetan supported spindle video here!

and a really quick review...

yup. i'm late to the party per usual. not too late as this book was released sometime in june.

i just got wind of the fleece & fiber sourcebook, and i've had the chance to play catch up and read through this book for the past couple of weeks and this book is extensive. and hardback. and heavy. read that as... not good for bedtime reading. i've mentioned this before, but this is not the way you want to count sheep (aka... dropping a heavy, hardback on your noggin).

in terms of the breakdown of the book, i'm sure many have already heard the glowing podcast reviews, so i won't bore you too much with every detail. i will say that the book is broken down into two chapters. the first is on sheep: blackfaced mountain family, cheviot family, dorset group, english longwool family (which has many familiar faces including bluefaced leicester and a new to me buddy wensleydale), the feral group and the very well-known and coveted merino family, to name a few of the sections. chapter two discusses the "other" species like goats, goat crosses (think cashgora, pygora), camelids, bison, yak, etc.

there are tons of beautiful photos of almost every fiber spoken about in the book - raw, cleaned, spun/plied, a knitted swatch and different colors of each fiber. i learned lots of new information as i jumped around in the book to read more info on some of my favorite breeds: who knew polwarth also came in brown and black! i sure didn't. thanks for the education. this is a great addition to any spinning library. such a wonderful reference book. i'll probably get back to pulling info from my books again, to add a little a bit of depth and a technical aspect into the mix when i am talking about spinning. i'm sure you'd like a little more than my "cool," "awesome," "easy breezy" and "spins like butter" descriptions of fibers ;)  although in my head, that is pretty technical.

so now a gripe. i was annoyed at the source section. you know... the section at the back of the book where you hope to find really great website links or phone numbers so you can contact vendors for stash enhancement? well, when i flipped to this section i was met by a "many have websites, and a Google search will take you to them." *side eye* what the hell is that? how about you give me the @#$%ing links! why the hell do you think i bought the book? to not do extra work! ugh. i can't stand that. you can tell lots of research and thoughtful work went into this book, so it's a little disappointing that the source section couldn't be just as well-prepared and thoughtful. the other irritating bit about the source section (and then i'll shut up) is that it is essentially just a list like "jamie from blah, blah, blah farms". my critique would be to actually tell the reader what the hell the farm is, as in polwarth from such and such farm, you feel me? this stuff isn't even mentioned on the actual breed page either from what i've seen, so basically, you would have to google every name listed to find what you want. and with my luck, after i google search all 100+ of these farms, the one i'm looking for is somewhere close to the damn end! pretty disappointing. again, why fall off on something so simple. honestly, the "do a google search" disclaimer is lazy. ugh!

there may be more of a review of this book once i've used it a few times, but for now, i think that is enough for your poor brains to process. all in all i think it's a great resource, and it's about $20 for a hardback, so you won't be in the hole too much if you decide to purchase this! i think it's totally worth it. so despite my b.s. rant about sources (kind of a pet peeve of mine, if you couldn't tell), this is a great buy!

until next time!
p.s. please excuse typos. you get what i'm trying to say! lol :D


Random thoughts...

color makes me happy.
this is one drawer from my 3 drawer plastic stash storage system (whoo, say that 3x fast). when i was purging last week, i realized i finally did exactly what i set out to do early into my knitting - only purchase yarn that makes me happy. that means, buy the colors i really love (and that doesn't include "safe" colors), even if i don't think i'll wear them, buy quality not quantity, buy luxury when i can because hey, we all need to treat ourselves every once in a while and last, but certainly not least, never apologize or feel guilty for having a passion and a wonderful stash.

the only thing missing from this group is my collection of chartreuse/golden rod yellows/golds. i do love me some jewel tones. and although i do wear quite the bit of black and charcoal gray (i am a "creative"... i'd rather put that energy into my work rather than figuring out what to wear! isn't that what folks say?) i don't want to be surrounded by drab colors. my craft bookshelf is painted a bright kelley green (you can see a bit of it in the background) and my fiber stash is equally as bright and happy. loves it!!!

weekly wrap-up/finished object(s) current projects
on the needles
still working on my shawl... unfortunately nothing to share yet :(

on the spinning wheel
still working on the singles for my husbands socks.
i have about .6 oz left from the 2nd bobbin, and one more ounce and some change to go, then ply time!

odds & ends
what i love this week
real simple magazine. actually, i love this magazine daily. it's my go to for quick and healthy 30-minute and less recipes, in addition to home decorating inspiration and home/life organization tips. it's a really great magazine and what i really enjoy is the breadth of topics covered. as i mentioned above there is the home stuff, but there is also women's empowerment articles, health/diet/exercise, beauty, finances, meditation, relationships, really a great magazine that you can sink your teeth into. i've subscribed to it since it's inception, and it's never gotten dull.

ok, so my point with bringing the magazine up... when it comes to eating, i try to steer clear of anything in packages (save for pasta noodles, bread, dairy... you get the point) for the most part. anything that i can make myself, i typically do. and yes it's commendable i guess, but it's also a lot of work and frankly, exhausting. so in comes real simple... i can flip the auto-pilot switch on and just follow very clean, simple and healthy recipes that are easy to add personalized touches to. one of the quick recipes i made this week was the chopped chicken salad:

the chopped chicken salad was "real simple" made with mayonnaise (or a substitute if you like), celery, scallions (i used shallots), lemon zest and lemon juice (i used 3x the amount, yum!), and seasoned to taste. seriously, real simple, but it would not have been on my radar at all. the recipe had the chicken salad served over watercress, but i served mine over spinach :D who the hell has watercress hanging around anyway?! i rounded my meal off with a little more protein (if not, i would be starving 20 minutes after eating!), warmed pita w/ a little butter (yum! i love bread), some grapes, a little knitting (back left), and some soda. damn... all that healthy ish really does make me crave a little naughty! and who can resist an ice cold squirt!?

anyway, so yeah... check out the magazine if you haven't already. you will thank me because it is wonderful and additionally, beautifully laid out. and don't let them have an article on paint.... lawd, have mercy! hahaaaa i find real simple to be a very positive, uplifting and inspirational magazine. just the kind of easy reading one should read, right? we are inundated with so much garbage on a daily basis... it's hard to filter it all out. and besides, who wants to read about heavy, depressing, energy-draining junk? we all have enough going on in our own personal lives! i always feel that what you put out into the world (or blogosphere) should be light, fun, informative if possible, and most of all positive and fun! a little bit of escapism. and like the old saying... if you don't have anything nice to say, then shut the front door!

i forgot to mention (as i digressed)... on the same page with the above recipe, there were actually 10 quick boneless chicken dishes. no thinking! there are also more elaborate recipes in the magazine (read that as usually more than 30 minutes), but there is already 1 martha stewart, and dammit, i'm just trying to eat!

another thing i am loving this week now that it's cooled off a little is the small bit of activity in the pseudo-garden. i know i fell off on this one, but i promise, things are still growing and doing their thing in the backyard. my yield so far has been 2 tomatoes (one of which was enjoyed by one of the local critters), 3 really nice-sized anaheim chilis and 6 lovely green bell peppers (one of which was enjoyed by a daring insect). the latter of the 2 were chopped up for a 4th of july barbeque and grilled with a little olive oil and lots of lemon, spices and shrimp. very delish.

 itty bitty chili! so cute :)

baby bells. there are a ton of these on my six plants, so here's to a nice-sized crop!

i'm having the most success with the bell peppers and the chilis, no surprise here. they are the kind of plants that as long as you put them in full sun for most of the day and give them a drink of water, they are usually alright. they love the heat. and california, heat we have! i love hearty, bullet-proof plants.

another tomato even managed to show up. yup, only one. i'm watching this one like a hawk because low and behold, just on the other side of the plant was this...

yeah, sure... some kind of fancy butterfly perhaps. yeah, not even. it's the infamous tomato hornworm. gnarly looking, right? and in typical caterpillar fashion, they wreak all kinds of havoc on plants, specifically tomatoes and peppers. notice how there are zero leaves where this little bugger is. remedy: the hubster snipped off this piece of the plant and moved the perp to a distant shrub. he more than likely got picked up by one of the resident birds. hope it enjoyed its time while it lasted. anyway... such is gardening.

and now onto a new segment i'd like to call: "dose of dog" (you already knew this was coming!).

so, this week, we had a sick pup in the house - mr. tinsley enjoyed a playing around with a plastic juice bottle a little too much, and more than likely ate a little bit of plastic while doing so. unlike riley, he doesn't seem to understand that the non-traditional toys aren't supposed to be eaten! they just get kicked around. so he spent the rest of the evening throwing up, and then continued throwing up throughout the wee hours of the morning and into the next day. he was not a happy camper.

first thing in the morning, i took him to the vet to make sure everything was ok with him. he really is a big ole sissy so he does have the tendency to overexaggerate and make things worse than they really are, but i still wanted to be doubly sure that he didn't consume something potentially damaging. and yes, i am a worry wort when it comes to the dogs. the dogs are both 4 and thankfully, i've gotten much better about this. can you imagine me 3 years ago when they were really getting into everything?! ugh. the vet at banfield (the vet office located in many petsmart facilities) proposed the most expensive thing possible of course, an x-ray, to the tune of $300. *sigh* damn.

i won't go off on a tirade here, although i really, really want to, but in so many words, i asked the assistant why they always propose the most expensive treatment first?! they don't really try to troubleshoot, but they jump straight into pathology mode. and that is expensive! tinsley is in perfect health (and the vet would've known this had he just pulled his past charts!), so i ended up just having him stay at the vets for observation (more than 6 hrs) for peace of mind... add $70 to the bill.

the vet called me later on in the afternoon to tell me tinsley was doing fine, resting comfortably and had no additional vomiting, but he still wanted to administer an anti-nausea injection. you already know my response... "um... if he's not throwing up anymore, why are you going to charge more money to inject him with something to prevent nausea/vomiting?" in my head, what i wanted to hear... the honest response should have been, "because it's another $30 that i can charge you!" but after a ridiculously long pause (guess i caught him off guard) he said, "preventative measure"... fair enough. ok, fine. add another $30 to the tab. the vet then tried to sell me on taking home a few cans of prescription food because with all the vomiting, tinsley's system needed something bland, gentle and easy to digest, to which i responded, yeah... i can make that at home. it's called white rice and boiled chicken. the vet really wanted me to choke him out, right? lol

in the meantime, riley and i hung out at home. we missed our mr. tinsley like crazy though. he really knows how to fill the empty spaces of the house with his silly grunts, warning growls to potential intruders and loud yawns. luckily, he came home around 6pm and got lots of love and rubs and hugs. he knew he was missed, and i could tell someone was loving up on him at the vets because he came back all smiley. the vet sent him home with medication, i guess it was some type of antibiotic... whatever it was, read that as another $15-20 added to the bill (bastards!), and my husband let the vet know we'd be making his food at home, so subtract $15. i guess when the d.h. asked the vet what ingredients were in the prescription food, the vet was completely stumped (again). when hubster looked at the ingredient list, it was totally indecipherable. so all in all we spent $100 for peace of mind, and saved $300. the things we do for our pets, right? mr. tinsley has been resting comfortably ever since and really enjoying eating rice and boiled chicken. they eat a really high quality diet anyway, but he loves himself some rice :D

but seriously... i don't have kids, my furries are my children, and i just can't resist these faces...

i just love them to bits-and-pieces and want them to be happy, loved more than they can handle and well taken care of because they bring me so much joy. and that has no price tag.

enjoy your weekend!
until next time...



weekly wrap-up/finished object(s) current projects
on/off the needles
believe it or not, there is one for each category!

off the needles is my "portland" hat. it's not blocked, but it's finished - ends weaved in and everything. i'm looking for a mannequin head to block this hat out properly; open up the lace pattern. until then, we wait.

and this is what it looks like on. the fit came out perfectly. just the perfect amount of tightness around the brim and again, once it's blocked and the lace pattern is opened up, i think the top will be a bit more slouchy like i like it :) i'm happy with the yarn - madelinetosh worsted in "sequoia" - and the easy, breezy pattern!

here is my new project: my first shawl!

i am using the free "springtime bandit" pattern by kate gagnon osborn. the skill level marked on the pattern is medium (2 out of 4 difficulty rating), and initially i wasn't sure i was ready for chart reading, but after hours of fumbling and false starts (talk about a learning curve!), i think i am well on my way to my first shawl.

the lovely yarn i am using is madelinetosh merino light in the colorway "candlewick." this yarn does happen to be singles which i typically avoid at all costs, but the color sucked me in and i am weak for saturated jewel tones. it's knitting up just fine, albeit, a little fuzzy as you would expect from a single ply yarn. i've managed to finally get through the first repeat of the "body chart"... *sigh*  and i should have about 5-6 more to go, based on the recommendation of other fellow ravelry knitters who have used this same yarn.

since i have declared myself a born again monogamous knitter, i should be able to make decent progress on this shawl, so i expect to have something lovely to share with you all next week! :)

odds & ends
in this edition of the schnauzer life, let me introduce these photos as "let sleeping dogs lie..."

little miss riley getting her snooze on

mr. tinsley, really showing us all the proper way to relax. with one ear up!

what i love this week
i'm a little late to the game, but i have fallen in love with this new to me podcast, the spindoctor podcast. this podcast is for handspinners, and it's filled with reviews on spinning tools, equipment, techniques, fiber, all the above. i'm finding it very interesting, informative, and all together really enjoyable to listen to. from my understanding the podcaster, thecraftyrabbit, started off as a new spinner.

what i really like is that she is not claiming to be an expert, but she is allowing her audience to follow her through her spinning journey, as well as taking the time to do her own personal research (reading, testing products, taking classes) to boost her knowledge and skill set, all the while freely sharing her impressions with her listeners. the podcast is really well done and it is right on time for me as i am at the point where i am ready to take my spinning to the next level.

anyway, it's a very easy, breezy podcast chock-full of great information for handspinners. so if this is your thing, go check it out and support it! oh, and be sure to check out all the lovely pictures on her blog!

until next time folks!
love and light :)


-- untitled (again) --

welcome back...
i've been expecting you ;) i've been on a much needed break since my last challenge. i have been keeping busy in hobby land but all that spinning had a sister wiped out.

[[weekly wrap-up/finished object(s) current projects]]
on the needles
now that tour de fleece is wrapped up, i am continuing to plug away, albeit slowly, on my portland hat. here is your refresher:

i have about... i'd say 2 or 3 repeats left on it, and then i can start decreasing. i've made a ton of mistakes - talking and/or listening to conversation while knitting is not my thing), but they are well-loved mistakes that i will leave alone, because they don't effect the overall look of the hat. and it is a hat after all ;)

i'm itching to get started on a new project, and here is the kicker - i'm looking at shawls. i mentioned this on the last blog, so ignore this part if you read it already, but shawls always looked and seemed so matronly to me. as of recent i've seen knitted shawls being worn in a different, more current, more "hip" way - as a kerchief. i already wear kerchiefs as accessories, so knitting one with lovely yarn is a natural progression. this i can swing. the hard part is stash diving and finding the "right" yarn, for the "right" shawl. right is in parenthesis because that is relative and really will depend on the mood i am in on the day i am picking yarn and patterns ;) i could always use handspun...

on/off the spinning wheel
today i finished plying my last tour de fleece yarn - 5.4 oz of polwarth. it's a 3-ply yarn of which i managed to spin a whopping 368 yds out of. my new yardage record! i haven't checked the wpi, but it feels like it's fingering to light fingering weight. this yarn is currently drying, but i took a few glamour shots of it before i gave it the spa treatment.

TdF: Finish Line

now that my wheel is currently unoccupied, i cleaned it up/dusted it off and now it's ready to finish spinning the other 2 plies for the husbears 3-ply socks. if you remember (you probably don't) i spun 1.3 or so ounces of "panda" blend (merino/bamboo/nylon) from fatcatknits at the end of tour de fleece to hit my goal of spinning 1 pound of fiber. well... i almost hit the goal. in fact i spun 15.7 ounces! :O say what?! i know... crazy. the even crazier thing is my total yardage in singles was a touch over 1 mile. that is re-damn-diculous! anywho... here is that bobbin i spun on the last day of the tour, and next to it is a before shot of the fiber.

Tdf: Day 23- final day!!!

this was my first time spinning panda blend, and i wasn't sure if it was going to do me wrong, and just leave me all kinds of frustrated. surprisingly it didn't. this blend is super soft and silky, practically drafted itself (come to think of it, i just had a bit of a deja vu moment... so maybe i wrote these exact phrases on my last post? oh well... i'm keeping it!), and all together this blend was really enjoyable to spin. it gave me no problems at all (it spun like other slick fibers i love to spin) other than it shedding all over the place. i had a pile of fluff left on my legs and shirt. this stuff shed like a mofo! and if you only knew how much i can't stand hair being all over the place... just take my word for it. the dogs are lucky they are cute and a non-shedding breed because they would've gotten the boot a long time ago if they weren't ;)

and last in the spinning section, here is my little collection of usable handspun. usable meaning decent yardage - over 150 yds - and not chunky, lumpy and funky. this is the only yarn i keep outside of a plastic bag or plastic storage bin, because it's lovely and i am very proud of it, so of course, i must keep it on display so i can look at it and appreciate the work it took me to get to the point of usable yarn, and also to possibly inspire me to knit with it :)

there are 5 nice skeins here. basket is overflowing, so it is time to knit!

[[odds & ends]]
what i love this week
a clean crafting room.
something about decluttering that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

so, i spent a few hours out of the weekend doing some much needed summer cleaning and organizing (i tend to do this each season) because my workspace gets cluttered fast. as i mentioned many months ago, i store most of my fiber stuff in see-through plastic storage bins and shelving systems. it's easy for me to keep things organized and tidy, but it still allows me to see my "stuff" rather than hide it. there is no shame in my game, so there is no need to hide a thing. i also like the see-through bins because i am able to add splashes of color to my craft room, without actually having to have the "stuff" sitting out on the table. anywho... so yeah, my table top gets cleaned regularly because as my husband likes to remind me, i am a stacker. if there is an empty, flat surface, i will stack my "stuff" right on top of it :D in organized piles of course, but nonetheless stacked.

to make this post longer than it really needs to be, through all the sorting, tossing things into the trash (i purge hard when i clean), stuffing donation boxes with items i no longer use, and removing visual clutter, i stumbled upon my first attempt at a sweater, carefully wrapped in its own box.

this sweater, even though you can't see the entire thing, was the makings of a seed stitch, v-neck, slouchy debbie bliss sweater with a chunky cable down the center front, in a very heavy, chunky weight yarn.

get a load of those lovely rosewood needles. probably size us 13. 

i haven't touched this sweater since the time i started knitting it - which i'm sure was fall 2008 - and the yarn is really quite lovely - a deep mossy green - and was pricey at the time for the amount of yardage/weight on the skein. so i am doing what any crafter who hates to waste the good stuff would do. i am frogging this bad boy! perfect knit night project.

i managed to keep my ufo/wip's (unfinished objects/works in progress, that is) consolidated to one single market basket as of my last hard purging session. it is still under control, as much as i've been having the urge to start new projects. i'm trying to discipline myself, and be a predominantly monogamous knitter. i work best like this anyway, as i really don't find multitasking with my hobbies efficient for me. the rule with the ufo/wip basket is, i can only work on what can fit in the basket. this usually ends up being about 5 projects. so far there is a hat for the husbear, a couple of swatches for a sweater, a half-started shawl for my mom which i more than likely won't even bother with right now and an almost finished cotton baby sweater. other items i am currently working on are in my knitting basket which i carry with me from room-to-room and outside for quick access. only 2 items and spinning fiber in there ;)

ufo/wip basket - this is one of the baskets from black sheep gathering. perfect use for this!

what other photos do i have to unload...
oh, here are some dog shots (you know you love them). a couple of weeks ago it was blazing in the house, so i cranked the fan up on high because i was trying to hold out on turning on the a/c... of course the dogs quickly got up from being puddles on the floor and allowed me to take photos of their silliness. enjoy!

july 2 - fun in front of the fan!

july 2 - fun in front of the fan!

july 2 - fun in front of the fan!

and my favorite from this batch:

july 2 - fun in front of the fan!
mr. tinsley is so silly :D


tour de fleece week 2 wrap up

short and sweet.
week 2 was technically on the 16th, but i didn't have anything cool ready to share!

so far i have 2 yarns completely finished (below). i am currently working on 5.4 oz of polwarth right now and i hope i can get to these 4 oz of panda blend (sw merino/bamboo/nylon) for some handspun socks for the d.h. the panda blend is also so i can reach my goal of spinning 1 pound of fiber from my stash. i have 6 days to complete this final 7-ish ounces of fiber (tour ends on the 24th, i think/hope), and i am running out of steam!

this is what i have so far (with before and afters):

5 oz of corgi hill farm merino/silk in "byzantine coin"

June 3 (31)


TdF: Day 3

navajo plied. 272 yds, fingering weight.
love the retro colors. this really needs to be a shawl. i think i'll be biting the bullet and making a shawl now!

TdF: Day 12, FO - N-Ply done!

4 oz of corgi hill farm bfl in "tide pool"

corgi hill farms

2 bobbins of singles (lovely!):

TdF: Day 13, 2nd bobbin done!

and plied. i don't know why all of a sudden i'm spinning fingering weight. not that there is anything wrong with that... but my default/preference is dk, as it is versatile, lightweight enough for the styles i like to wear, and i have a zillion patterns set aside for this weight of yarn. anyway... this needs to be a shawl as well ;) and when i say shawl, i'm not talking about a granny/matronly style of shawl. i'm talking about something that is hip, young and stylish which is worn more like a kerchief (a triangular piece of fabric that is tied at 2 of the tips and worn slouchy in the front of your neck) and used to add color to a mundane outfit or as an accessory. any of the styles here is exactly what i'm talking about in terms of how you'd style a kerchief (or scarf as u.o. is calling them) and wear stylishly.

TdF: Day 17

i managed to finish up a little knitting last week. a colleague of mine's daughter's, hrmm... how can i word that better because that really makes no sense... ok, the daughter of an old colleague of mine (redundant?) recently had a baby girl (this works for me, so keeping it!), so of course i had to make a small item for her! ok, that was better. here is her hat!

they loved it (they better have) and this was just the type of project i needed to work on. the nice thing about gifting knitted items to people that knit is because they genuinely appreciate it. they know and understand the time and effort it takes to put something as simple as a hat together. they understand this to be a labor of love.  i think this hat took me about 2 hrs total to complete. i didn't work on it monogamously, of course, but when i did i really blew threw it. love instant gratification projects! this is a free pattern and is appropriately named "jester hat." the link is here!

other than that... that is about it. i'm still working on my "portland" hat. i managed to get a few rows in on that yesterday as my husband drove us to a gm classic car show. i won't post photos of that, but trust me... the cars were amazing! my husband is convinced that in the near future we will be trading our "modern" cars in for classic cars. talk about crap gas mileage. ha! i'll never say never, so we'll see.

until next time...