Friday, October 30, 2009

Curious Competition

Darn FaceBook had an ad for Celtic Thunder and I clicked on it and have lost some time listening/watching songs. I stumbled across someone who was doing a comparison of one song Caledonia between Celtic Women and Celtic Thunder. A lot of people thought that Lisa Kelly's version better, but personally I found Celtic Thunder's more stirring.  What's your vote?

Celtic Women:

Celtic Thunder:

Then I love Enya's Orinoco Flow and so listened to Celtic Women's verision:

Enya's version with the original video:

Which do you think is the better version? I'm still leaning towards Enya's but then that might be because I've heard it more often.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

William's Jayne

I figured with the weather and his newer confidence in himself William would totally be willing to wear the Jayne Hat that he thought of as 'cool'. Ravelry has many in the database, but I went with the pattern directions from someone who is just a little OCD in her details. Renee's Cunning Jayne Hat design.

I had to learn something new for me the German Twist Cast On. I found this video helpful and it also popped up as a nice elastic cast on for socks and some people were planning on using it on the Yarn Harlot's Pretty Thing Cowl.

I went with Knit Picks for the yarn since they had great prices on small skeins.  I used up almost all of the yellow but still have the red and orange with a little more than half skeins. Just have to come up with a use for them. Cool names - Gold, Saffron and Serrano.

The hat:

William wearing the hat:

It's his 20th birthday today. So a little something to keep him warm and a little gift of handmade love from him mom.

Odds and ends

Norbert is depressed with his cone of doom. He's become even more of a little couch potato. This morning he didn't come out of the bedroom for a couple hours after I got up, usually both dogs get up with me and go outside and then move to the couch. Well Norbert to the couch and Nessa to the floor at my feet at the desk.
Norbert and his Cone of Doom:

He's like a cat and walks along the back of the couch and then settles on a cushion, or two. We try not to laugh too much when he sinks into the cushion and has a hard time getting out. The cone also causes turning problems on one side where there's a wall or the lamp.

I made three mini loaves of some beer bread last week to go with the homemade soups. Mini loaves because my silicone loaf pan appears to have suffered a knife accident and had a two inch slit in its side. Brandon didn't take the opportunity to eat any and since there's one bottle left, I'm going to have to do another batch:

While I was outside photographing the cormo/silk a flash of pink out of the corner of my caught my attention. I went to investigate and found that one of the summer plants were going through a second late bloom. I played with the camera and taking pictures of the blooms. I don't know the name of the plant, it came from Brandon's grandmother's house and she always called them fuschia's - they aren't. The base reminds me of lamb's ears.

I'm enjoying them on my desk next to Blue Boy (the betta fish). Recognize the flower?

Spinning goodness

The cormo/silk is done! It took a couple of days of plying to get it all done, but done it is. Then winding it onto the niddy-noddy was a work out. The bulky bobbin almost full was a good indication that I had some yardage, but it wasn't until I counted it out that I found out I had spun up 1353 yards of lace weight. Wow! I haven't done the wpi on it, but I'm sure its respectable. ;-) The only sad part was that I had grabbed some scrap sock yarn to tie the wraps and forgot that this particular yarn bleeds. So I found grey around my ties after taking it out of the soak. Lavender oil was added to the soak water so that it would help get rid of the 'old lady's musty old beach house' smell that the fiber had. The finished stuff:

After taking so long to slog through the seven ounces of cormo/silk I needed some quick satisfaction. So I pulled out all the little samples that I had acquired in the knit and spin in public events and spun those up as singles:

Two different ones from Knitted Wit a BFL in the blues and corriedale in the reds.

Another BFL from Dicentra (love the reds and blues!)

Cupcake Factory (purple) and merino from Abstract Fiber.
Then what to do with these little bits of pretty colors? So I opted to chain ply them so that I could keep their colors pretty bright and true. Instead of breaking them at the point of the joins I just kept them altogether:

Still have no idea what to do with them all but they were fun to spin up. I have one last sample, a one ounce roll of color from Abstract Fiber that I received as part of the Summer of Spinning fun. Then I think I'll jump into the pound of purple Jacob. It's going to be a challenge because I'm going to try for a larger yarn than normal a more worsted than lace or fingering weight. Why? Because its one of the older fibers in the stash and while I'm not looking forward to working with it, it needs to be done.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

I contemplated giving Mike a call and saying I wasn't going to make it to the Grange Initiation this afternoon so I could spend a quiet lazy Sunday afternoon plying the cormo/silk. The boys were going to be gone so it would just be me and the dogs. Instead, I was a good girl. ;-) I got dressed and ventured forth to find the Forest Grove Grange - the hosting grange.

Upon arrival I learned that I was the *only* initiate to show up. All these people that had spent time setting things up and decorating and also taking time out of their Sunday afternoon and I was the only person to show up. Very humbling. So because I was there, things went on. There were four levels that we progressed through marching counter-clockwise round the Grange and then a special fifth. We started around 1:30 and wrapped up just before 5pm. My left knee wasn't too happy by the middle and by the end of the afternoon my left hip was sharing its displeasure.

Sorry, I was sworn to secrecy about the actual proceedings and I'm honoring that. It was very interesting and fits in well with spinning and all the animals involved with acquiring the source for spinning. ;-)

Afterward we adjourned downstairs to their basement for a potluck provided by everyone, but me. As an initiate I wasn't obligated to bring anything. Deviled eggs and sandwiches, sub sandwich, an apple-raisin salad, tomatoes and freshly made hot or cold apple cider. By that time all that marching around had worked up a pretty good appetite. ;-)

So this wouldn't be a picture free post, I took photos of some of the trees in the backyard and their progress in showing fall colors:

Maple tree & Hazelnut orchard over fence; mini-chyrsanthemum (snowball); Grape arbor with blueberries and honeberries
Japanese Maple; Dragon bush and Ginko tree; Maple trees

Last fall about this time I made a couple of felted pumpkins. One went to Tiggywinkleknits and one I kept for myself. The one I kept is being shown off by the designer as a remembrance of  the pattern creation.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scarf and Soups

I completed the Flaxen Kernel Scarf and blocked it out Friday night with the new to me set of blocking wires that I bought from Maxfun. They were great to work with! I dropped it off this afternoon at Knit-Purl and promptly used some of my store credit to buy 'yarn' for Christmas projects for my mom and mother-in-law, Judy.

It was cool to find out that because of the Habu Silk Transverse Scarf sample that I had knitted for the store that it had been doing its job and inspiring people to buy the silk to make their own projects. Satisfaction!

Yarn, Habu Textiles A-60 Shosenshi Paper - 100% linen, colors, Eggplant & Apple Green:

Intended pattern is from AlterKnits and are paper shades for lights. You'll have to wait to see them if you haven't seen the pattern in the book. ;-)

I've spent the last couple of days making soups from these:

I have two different squash soups that are in the freezer and just waiting to be pulled out for lunch/dinner. I've also made a couple of 'beer' soups - cheese & potato and cheese & cauliflower.  The first one for Brandon to have to alternate his normal lunches he makes and the cauliflower for me. I'm the only one in the house that likes cauliflower. They seemed like nice fall soups to make and have around. Luckily I have an upright freezer in the garage to help store them until needed.

Norbert had his ear surgery on Thursday and currently wearing the 'cone of doom'. Turns out he also had two broken upper molar type teeth that might have been playing a part in his finickiness in eating. It was suggested that they be removed, one had pulp showing. The teeth of course were difficult to remove - breaking in bits when attempted, so took longer to get out and of course made for a more expensive process. Sigh. I thought he was a 'gold' dog before but he's definitely moved into the 'platinum' range with this last visit.

Finally have the cormo/silk blend that I've been spinning up as singles. I have the bulky head on the wheel and have started plying it. It's going to be a bit of time at the wheel before its done. I've started work again on Kaisha's Fairy Wings - yes, I do realize they are really late now, thank you. I also have a spider, spider geisha fingerless mittens and a Jayne hat to make all before the end of the month. Burning the needles on these! So you dear reader will have some more pictures of finished projects in the near future.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, Monday

This morning Rachel and Hazel picked me up and we headed for Carlton, home of Woodland Woolworks. Originally we were going to tempt Rachel with one of the used Lendrum's there, but I was given orders that she couldn't come home with one. So ultimately the trip was for me and she was driving! How nice was that?

We arrived at Woodland Woolworks and then got a little concerned because the sign on the door still said closed. Turns out they were having a rough Monday - broken window, computer sparking and dying, that this was minor but a concern that customers may not have come inside because of the sign. Hazel got her first mini-tour of the place - sale room and the yarn/fiber room. No wheel room visit. There's a pretty Ashford Charka available if anyone has $200. I purchased my bulky/plying head and Rachel got some very soft Targhee to spin with.

We then headed for McMinnville and their nicely restored historic downtown area for lunch at a place Rachel had been to before - Sage. Nice restaurant above a store with soups, sandwiches and homemade bread. From there we walked a few blocks to the knitting store I've heard great things about - Boersma's. All the great things are richly deserved! Nice selections of yarn in easy to see displays and a wide variety too. We were amazed in some of the sizes of yarns too:

On our way back to the car, we took turns having our picture taken with Ben Franklin on the bench. I played with the setting and decided that sepia worked since Ben was bronze:

I wasn't as friendly with him as Rachel, but we'll wait to see if she posts those. ;-) She did so borrowed her pic cause its so cute. I'll have to remember to pose like that in the future.

After Ben we headed to the Walmart (we don't have one close to us) so we could pick up a KISS cd for friend Sharon. Apparently it was only being sold through them and their latest one out. Then it was a nice fall drive home.

Making good progress on projects. Still spinning on the cormo/silk. It just does not want to finish up! I even spun it this last Saturday at Spinnerati. Rachel was like, why don't you spin something else? My reply, because then it will never get done. ;-) Hopefully a happy dance later this week for the spinning and other projects being completed!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I've gone 'batt'y

I've spent time in the last couple of weeks washing alpaca fleeces. It's been a learning experience. ;-) I figured out why the Gypsy Rose fleece a lovely rose-grey color (meaning its mainly grey but has some reddish brown tips or reddish brown patches) was so freaking dirty. I mean a half inch mark of dirt that looks like it showed up after last year's shearing. What I originally was passing off as a black seed or grass seed were in actual fact upon closer inspection fleas. Poor girl was flea ridden. Luckily by the time I was dealing with the fleece they were all well and truly dead. There was a lot of time spent picking their bodies as well as real black seeds, pine needles, grass seeds and hay out of the fleece. Then trying to get it cleaned. For some reason I thought my SOAK would get it clean along with the hot water. It did after about four or five wash cycles through my kitchen sink. Then I figured out that I could add Borax - the 20 Mule version, not harsh to the wash water and things cleaned up much faster! I still ended up with some that could have used a good wash cycle more, but I'll have to deal with it in the finished yarn.

So I had the Magnolia fleece (coal black - huacayas ) from World Wide Spin in Public day purchase, Gypsy Rose (rose-grey - huacayas) and Quiet Legend (red-brown - suri) from working the Parking Lot Sale at OFFF. All had to be washed, dried, fluffed, picked. All in preparation for the electric drum carder that a group of us rented for a week.

I'm still new to the whole drum carder concept and got a late start on it Thursday. Plan was to hand it off to the next person on Friday. In hindsight I may have wanted to pass it along to her on Saturday. No big deal though. I ended up with eleven batts of Gypsy Rose's fleece -  started out with two pounds and ended up with 20.25 ounces cleaned and batted. There are eight batts of Quiet Legend fleece. It was like drum carding my own hair.
Gypsy Rose batts

Quiet Legend batt (others in bag below it)

I have twelve batts of a combined Magnolia fleece, four ounces of silk and eight ounces of merino. This is where I could have used more time with the drum carder. I only did one pass of the blending and I think if I had run the batts through a couple more times they could have become more blended. I'm sure it shouldn't effect the end product too much.

Black is so difficult to photograph and show just how saturated the color.

I'm still in the process of spinning of some cormo/silk that I bought at last year's OFFF. I really truly hope to finish up the roving tomorrow at the next Portland Spinnerati meeting. Then it will get a rest and I'll ply it to the other single. This really has very little silk content, its been hard to pick it out of the roving and is a bit of a disappointment. I think though that this will end up being dyed, what color I'm not sure right now.

Lots of knitting that needs to happen. I had hoped to have Flaxen Kernel all ready to be delivered to Knit-Purl, but due to a death in the family and all of the above work. I'm 75% done but won't be able to finish it today and drop off tomorrow. Need to wrap up Kaisha's gift, get one done for Corbin and also another for Bailey. The last two are both spider related. One will be a knitted toy spider and the other will have spiders on fingerless gloves. Then its on to some serious holiday knitting. Still a number of projects that I'd like to get done and some that are changing from knit items to sewn or handmade things.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Interesting Evening!

I've been washing the alpaca fleece and rewashing some of it. I have now figured out the key steps to successful washing without a lot of steps. Yea! Ask if you want them. ;-)

I loaded up my seven copies of the Outlander series and had hoped to arrive by 6pm at the Cedar Hills Powell's. Brandon and I arrived at 6:15pm and found the parking lot full. That was a pretty good indicator that there were a lot of people there. Sure enough the seats in the main area were full and the ones out into the mall were also full. After snagging a couple of tickets for the book signing, this left standing along the sides.  We started at one point and I moved forward. Brandon was off to check out the Sci-Fi area and got to chat with Peter the Awesome.

After Brandon was safely ensconced in the Sci-Fi area he texted me to let me know his ex-wife was in the audience. This after I moved up a couple of aisles and ended up right across from her. ;-)  So there was much texting about the experience. I'm not really sure if she saw us together because as far as I knew she had never seen me before. She saw me there and I was looking in her general direction many times, but I couldn't tell if I was being sent evil glares or not. I just wish her a happy life. We're happy, so hopefully she is also.

I think that there might have been about 300 people for the book signing. One of the ladies that was standing near me was doing the math with the rows of chairs and chairs per row and its about right. After the actual book signing portion started and I was knitting on the Kernel scarf, a lady in the row ahead of me gave me her ticket and her friend also game me hers. One was a significant bump in the number line and the other was just a few numbers before the ones I had picked up. I passed one of mine off to a lady that had been standing behind me during the talk which was a huge bump up from her number. Then during my second time through the line I passed on the other ticket and really made a lady happy. We all won. ;-)

So I was able to get four books signed the first time and it took another forty-five minutes to get the last three signed. Brandon joined me shortly after the first series, since the ex had her books signed and had left the building with her girlfriend.

Still more fleece washing to be done. I pick up the drum carder Wednesday night. I would also like to be able to drop off the Kernel Scarf Saturday afternoon after the Portland Spinnerati meeting. Wish me luck in getting it done!

Before leaving for the signing had to do another phone call to Knit Picks. I'd been too quick to try to cancel a duplicate order but apparently their system deletes a second order if the dollar amounts are the same. So when I told the lady to delete the one, it deleted both orders, so no shipment. Sigh. Read the order that I wanted and it will be shipped. Should be in time to still be able to get the hat done, but glad I thought to check or it might have been a challenge to get it done.