Tag Archives: gratuitous cats

A Finger in Every Fire, Irons in Every Pie

I have a confession.

I have Too Many Things in progress. Too many things a-spinning, too many things on the needles, and let’s not talk about the sewing projects that I’m trying to, not ignore, but…yeah, ignore, actually.

And lots of those Too Many Things in question? So close to being finished. Just shamefully close. A few fingers and a billion ends on a pair of mitts. Some simple garter stitch. A bit of ribbing. Beads and plying. A little hemming.

I like making things, I like the planning and the process. I like having the finished objects in hand. I just don’t like wrapping things up: the tedious jobs like rewinding washed skeins and taking an accurate count of wraps per inch, or sewing in ends, picking up stitches, finishing seams; the jobs that go against my nature a little bit like writing item descriptions and setting prices for the shop. (The casual self-promotion, too. I’m a very uncomfortable capitalist.)

But I’m working on it. I’ve even taken pictures of some things–I’m trying to get my fiber stash photographed before I spin any of it, but it’s slow going trying to catch enough light on my north-facing balcony with days getting shorter (and as it cools off, Trillflower like to be out there to watch and smell and lounge and otherwise get underfoot).




I’ve got three active knitting projects going right now. I won’t be able to photograph the Rock Island until I’m much farther along in the garter stitch body.

This sweater vest started out as a heavily-modified Hilja, but with all the modifications for gauge, I kind of stopped caring about pattern instructions around the neck shaping and made things up as I went. It needs ribbing at the arms and neck, and then it’ll be done. I’ve even seen to all of the ends so far. It fits well, with just enough ease to go nicely over a button-down shirt.

These are Little Cable Knee Highs, sort of, except I used my standard wedge toe and placed the gusset at the soles instead of the instep, and ignored the instructions for the heel turn because those yarn-overs really make no sense to me, and, you know what? It’s a pair of knee highs with little cables up the back and custom calf shaping. They’re a long-overdue gift for my mom (hi, mom!) in Knit Picks Capretta, which is lovely to work with and very reasonably priced.

I’ll have to untangle and wind the third ball soon, but I’m definitely going to have enough yarn. These are worked two at a time on one long circular needle, which is my current favorite method (although somewhat discouraging at times as it takes twice as long to see any decent progress). I like to wind two separate balls and then when the socks are big enough, I can tuck each ball into its sock and the whole thing is very portable.

In my last post, I mentioned a new fiber club and a new spindle coming into my possession. The August installment of the Enchanted Knoll Farm Happy Hooves Batt Club showed up at the beginning of August looking like this:

Now, in addition to the corespun also mentioned in my last post, it looks like this:

I wanted to make a fat singles art yarn with lots of cocoons, but after about 5 tries I changed my plans. Half of this will be strung with glass beads, then I’ll make a 2-ply gradient. It’s on hold for now though, because I finally started plying my “Tuscadero” spin.

I can’t believe how delicate and muted this is turning out. By the time I finished all the singles, I was sick of it, but I’m charmed again in the plying.

The spindle, a Jenkins Delight, is a wonderfully balanced, tiny, adorable Turkish number. It came with a sample of 50/50 merino/bamboo, which I started playing with immediately. In the car on the way to pick up vegetables.




That sample, about 7 grams or a quarter of an ounce, turned into about 49 yards of light fingering weight 2-ply.



Now it’s occupied with some cormo top I combed myself.

Big plans for this. Big secret plans.

Speaking of big plans, I also have big plans for the July 2013 Into the Whirled club fiber. It’s “Qarth” on Falkland.

I’m spinning it as a 2-ply laceweight gradient, to become a S[c]heherazade shawl. This colorway is magic. See those sort of dull tan-olive sections in the fiber? Well, that’s a deception. I started spinning, and it’s really strange.

It’s not dull or tan-olive at all. Here, a closer look:

I love it.

So I should have some finished things to show off soon.



Don’t Forget to Be Abnosome

This last week has been slow on spinning. Very slow, partially because of a couple of small hiccups in the art yarn department–specifically, that these hands have never made art yarn before and trying to jump into coils and beehives straight off is sort of insane. The hands are learning corespinning now. More on that when I run out of core. It’s going better than the other things, which I will photograph for full disclosure at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Of course, there is a larger reason. A very large reason, in fact. That is, the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. I signed up on Team Fishwhales, and when registration was through, we were combined with a team of strangers calling themselves 2Glam2GiveADamn to become 2Glam2GiveADamnLovesFishwhales. To their credit, they were indeed quite glam, far too glam to be embarrassed by the kind of spectacular silliness that ensued over the last week.

Last Sunday the item list appeared–over 150 items of varying impossibility. Most of the impossible items were a problem of geography (I’m most upset about the item in which three team members go to the Dalí Museum in Spain with absurd moustaches, come on Spain, whatcha doing all the way over there???), which, if it could be solved by creative thinking, I would already have done. So we signed up for some things, we got excited, and we made stuff. And here’s the stuff I made, both materially and in profound metaphysical strangeness.

I lost a game of Settlers of Catan to Matt and Mr. Squooshy Penguin, narrowly beating Hubert, during a bloodparty.
I experienced some difficulty getting dressed when a flock of helium balloons made off with my pants.
I got a celebrity endorsement by Jeph Jacques for the SOMETAL Ukulele from Fishwhale Glamours, and became convinced that I’d invented the word “blood.”
I had a churro dagger-fight with my best friend–fortunately churros are fairly harmless, but the whole thing got a little bit Julius Caesar for a few seconds there.
I became the proud papa to a litter of wee kittens…and then cooed over the rest of the teensy kittybabies and most of the pupples at the SPCA for at least half an hour.

And THIS, well…this speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

Here, have some outtakes too.

I became a kale dragon–you may call me Kale Drogo.


I did a hug with bonus Star Trek joke. Oh, and all that face paint? I’m totally allergic.
I made and wore a uniform…and got photobombed by the Queen.

These are just my own contributions; there’s much, much more–but I’ll let my teammates tell their own stories (links if and when I have any).

As the sole member of the California division of 2Glam2GiveADamnLovesFishwhales, I could have pulled off none of this without the help and support of my BesFren (official title) and roommate, Matt. Nothing I could say could adequately express how thankful I am for so willing a partner in crime terminal weirdness.

Tour de Fleece Days 3, 4, & 5

Whoops. Got a bit busy there.SONY DSC

Herself investigating the box that so vexed her earlier–I put her up on the perch and she couldn’t figure out how to get down. At the moment, she’s giving a twist tie to the Drowned God, which is much funnier, but I don’t have the light for a moving cat photo. And I don’t like to encourage her on the Drowned God front. Carpets end up soggy.

Twoflower is the Queen in this house, in case that wasn’t eminently clear. She still gets me to say the words.


Monday was a pretty poor spinning day because Monday was Bottling Day. More on that shortly.


Tuesday was a better spinning day, but I didn’t finish that bobbin until after midnight, hence the handful of fluff hanging off the flyer in the daily progress shot.


Immediately after I finished the second bobbin of stripy singles, I started the semisolid grey–but just a bit.


The bobbin in the foreground has much longer repeats of the grey and turquoise stripes–twice as long, in fact, because regular stripe patterns lend themselves handily to fractal spinning.


The semisolid ply is moving right along with around an ounce and a half on the bobbin and two and a quarter left to spin. It’ll be done by Friday, I think, then all the little Hitchhiker bobbins will be rewound onto Stella bobbins for plying. The built-in lazy kate on the Hitchhiker only has two shafts, which won’t do for a 3-ply, and anyway I like to rewind my bobbins before plying to help even out the twist distribution and head off any problem areas caused by messy bobbin winding while spinning.

You may have noticed the wheel has “DON’T PANIC” painted on it in large, friendly letters. It’s not done yet; I need to repaint the dot over the I in something lighter, then mask off the lettering and give it a dark background. Inky blue-black, I should think.


I’ve been working daily on the baby camel on the Russian supported spindle–often while reading–but for all the time I’ve given it, two or three hours, there’s only two grams on that little cop. I’m not happy with the singles diameter yet; I need it to come out to fingering weight, maybe light fingering at the finest, in a 3-ply with some merino/silk I’ve got lined up after the polwarth sweater spin. The easiest way to get thicker (…ish) singles seems to be a long draw–which is what something as short as camel down needs anyway–but I haven’t figured out how to draft while the spindle is spinning yet.

There’s got to be a better way to do it, but my hands haven’t sorted it out yet. And, bonus: if I’ve been spinning too fine for the last two grams, it’s only two grams of about 113. Plenty of fiber left to work on it.


And here we have some of the results of Bottling Day. Turns out being a one-woman bottling party for five gallons of beer cuts into the spinning time by a few hours. Designing the labels on Tuesday took considerably less time, though my printing assistant let the printer resize them.


I’m sure there’s a better way to affix labels than my rejected-printer-paper-and-magic-tape method but I don’t know what that is either. I want them to come off as easily as they go on so the bottles only need a quick wash before they’re ready to be sanitized and reused. I know Northern Brewery sells reusable labels but their usefulness appears to hinge on making the same beers a number of times greater than one.

Which is silly, why do that when you can do science?

Tomorrow we’re going to try our first all-grain brew instead of basking in the blinding light of our freedom (or, as a facet thereof).

More on that tomorrow if I can get the light. And more on the Navelgazer Wheat and Raspberry Wheat Ales in a couple weeks, after bottle-conditioning.

A shiny gold star for anyone who works out the jokes in the beer name without having been explained the thing.*

*the gold star is figurative

Tour de Fleece Day 2


Whew! A busy second day. Here’s what I reported just before midnight :SONY DSC The spindle holds about 20 minutes of spinning from day 1, and close to an hour for day 2. Baby camel is such a pleasure to spin–easier than I expected and so soft. I’m still new to this supported spinning lark though, so the singles diameter is inconsistent, and thinner than I’d like. The bobbin on my Hitchhiker here showing about 2/3 of the first ply of my first full-sized skein for this year’s Tour.

After the pre-midnight photos…


There was food. In case anyone was worried about my eating habits while I’m absorbed in spinning (hi mom!). Chesapeake tempeh cakes with fried red potatoes and lettuce from the last couple weeks of CSA boxes. Lately we’re getting more lettuce than I can reasonably eat, so I end up unceremoniously stuffing it into my face just before it goes off.


Trillian was cuddled up on the back of the couch when I returned from taking pictures of my dinner.


So, naturally, I snuggled the last pre-Tour skein up next to her.


And she sniffed and snuggled it.


And watched me watching her hold on to it.


But she was SO sleepy, and she can never manage to be as excited about yarn as Twoflower is. I stopped taking pictures and put the yarn away. (I replaced it with tummy rubs, she loves the tummy rubs.) More on that later, when it’s washed.


Then I finished up the bobbin. There it is with tomorrow’s work behind it. And Dog.


Rather pleased with these singl–

–oh, I’m sorry, were you alarmed by Dog’s face?


Yeah, well, me too. I’ll sew him up before I start spinning tomorrow.

SONY DSCMmmm look at that cloud of baby camel down. Try not to think about Dog.


Tour de Fleece Day 1


It’s Tour de Fleece! Tour de Fleece Tour de Fleece Tour de Fleece TOUR DE FLEECE!!!
Some people look forward to the winter holidays. Some love their birthdays.

And some are baby-eating heathen-type fiber people. And for us?


It’s Tour de Fleece!!!

So, Kitt, whatcha got on the first day of Le Tour?

Pictured above, a pair of mini-skeins (twisted together ’cause they were so lonely); those darling things are 33.5 and 39 yards of fractally-spun 3-ply, DK, Pamukkale and Twenty-Five Dot Nine (grey) coordinate on polwarth from the Into the Whirled August 2012 classic fiber club–my very first club shipment. A bit less than an ounce up there. Those wee things are destined for the front of a v-neck sweater. It’s possible there’s a slightly obsessive human directing these things.

The remaining eleven ounces are here, all split up and ready to spin:


I haven’t spun regular polwarth since last year’s Tour, and I’d nearly forgotten how astoundingly lovely it is to spin.

Perhaps it wasn’t quite so lovely previously; Cris’ fibers have spoiled me for everything in my local yarn shop and a good portion of internet things as well.

There’s another braid of the coordinate for sleeves (probably not full-length). It seemed more expedient than trying to split up the fractal for sleeve stripes to match both the body striping (in color and width) and each other. The obsessive human does have her limits.


Of course, I did have some jealous paws about. Twoflower decided–wisely–that she could be more helpful if she sat to the side and guarded the fluff than she would be in my lap.
Just don’t mention that she needs to guard that fiber from herself.


She’s very proud of her usefulness in this advisory capacity.
And there was an incident with some yarn a few days ago. It wasn’t pretty. Suffice it to say, it’s not a subject for polite blogging. Or casually vulgar blogging.


And, well, she might have learned a lesson. Not a big lesson, of course, not Twoflower, not my little wool fiend.

But maybe just enough of a lesson to be just a little bit helpful.

Now, I’ve got to see a spindle about some baby camel before I see some sheets about vivid hallucinations.

(Note to self: try blogging Day 2 before 4:30am on Day 3?)