Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spinning FO

Today I was very productive, fiberwise. Since my birthday, last week, I have been working on spinning singles of the Louet wool top pencil roving in color "Thunderstorms". This yarn is to be entered into the Ravelry Spindlers Group in the August Challenge, whose theme is "rainforest." This is a reminder of what the fiber looks like:

It is my first spinning with multi-color roving and as such, I really didn't know what to expect.
The green seems to be predominant and the colors change at irregular intervals. The finished product will be more tweedy, than striped or pooled, I predicted to myself, and I was correct.

I knit three batches of singles, wound on 3 TP rolls and placed in my super-duper fancy Lazy Kate, made with a shoe box and straight knitting needles.
I used my ball winder to wind a 3 ply ball from the three singles. Then, using my Tracy Eichheim spindle, I plyed from the outside of the ball. I love this shot with the Golding and the Eichheim together.
I have made much progress getting my singles thinner and thinner compared to my beginning spinning and I probably could call the singles, or even a two ply laceweight. This is my early spinning on this fiber: This a shot from today, showing the more recent singles spinning and the plyed yarn still on the spindle.

I soaked the yarn, whacked it, and hung outside to dry quickly.

Here is the final result, 43 grams of sport to worsted, about 106 yards. Pretty, isn't she!
I still have more than 3/4 of the fiber left, so lots more spinning to do.

Then, I started plying on the last of the blue/green CVM fiber into a two ply.

Once I finish that yarn, it will be time to start knitting on it. I have enough to do several hats, mittens, or use it in combination in a felting project. I have seen on Ravelry the Fetching fingerless mitts, and there are hats to match. With gift giving season ahead, it is almost time to get started on that.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Working my way down from the top.

Here is my progress on my February Lady Sweater.
And this photo shows what is left of the first two balls of yarn. Since I am doubling the yarn, it is coming close to gauge and I still am wondering if I have enough. The lace shouldn't take up as much yarn as the garter stitch so I hope is goes farther.
I am thinking about knitting both sleeves somewhat together: maybe one inch at a time on each. This way, I should be able to get them as long as possible without too much frogging to make them even, when I get close to the end of the yarn. The second two skeins, which I wound into balls yesterday, differ in weight. One is 114 grams and the other is 103 grams. I should be able to even out the yardage slightly, since the first two balls are growing smaller at different rates.
I also noticed a whole lot more VM (vegetable matter, ie hay) in the last two balls. That serves to remind me that the yarn came from a real alpaca animal on a farm. A lot dropped out as I used my ball winder, but I think I will be picking out VM every few inches as I knit.. Fun......

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sunshine Week

We have had a very dry summer. A record dry and hot summer. Last weekend, however, we had torrential rains that nearly made up the deficit formed over several months. It rained so hard that it "washed" my car as well as the local coin place does!

The sun has returned and everything is a glorious green again. The skies are blue and grass is happy. My rose bush in the garden is going crazy with new growth and the first buds are about to pop. I have been clipping the 2nd and 3rd buds on each stem and I can hardly believe it but the roses will end up with stems about 12-15 inches. I hope they are strong enough to hold the heavy blooms as they open.

The first mums are blooming and I have conquered the slugs who were attacking my dahlias. The photo doesn't do the color justice. They are deep dark maroon, night like.

Amanda's friends Chun-soon and Kate stayed here Monday night before they head up to Casper WY and eventually Alaska for a month long trip. The are so lively and full of fun and energy that the house was enlivened as well. I promised them a shot in my blog before they head out to take on the bears when they camp.

I have some long time friends from Temple who have spent so many years sitting in the same row during services that we have been affectionately dubbed "the ladies of the 2nd row." We range in age from 57 to 93, but I won't tell you which is which. Ok, Trudy is 93, but more active than most 60 year olds. She teaches piano, creates beautiful pottery, hikes and swims regularly and is an incredibly charming lady. The other four of us have traveled to Israel together (three of us twice) and have sat in a Saturday morning Torah study class for over 20 years. Andrea, Ruth, and Rita round out the group and they are as special a group of friends as they come. Wednesday we met at Andrea's home and took a walk to Washington Park, around the lake and through the flowers. There were hints of Fall in the air and the sky was clear. All the rain of the last weekend left snow on the mountaintops in the distance. Ahhhhh. It was a terrific morning.
Walking back to Andrea's we stopped at a gazebo for one of the apartment complexes and took this group shot.

I seem to be on an "old friends" theme lately. Maybe it is my age, the recognition of mortality, all the nostalgia for 1968 with the DNC convention in town next week. Whatever it is, it is not ending soon. In October, I will be traveling to the east coast for my 40th High School Reunion. That's right, 1968. I have been in contact with some other "old friends" from that part of my life and it looks like it will be a fun event too.

If you thought there would be no fiber mention in this posting, here it is: The weekend of my Reunion is the same weekend as the NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY. If I play my cards right, I will be going up on the last day, Sunday. I was at Estes Park this June, and this festival is about 10 times as large, or so it seems from the map of the event. All the big players will be there and I will have to begin budgeting now.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Happy Birthday to Me,
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday, dear Me.
Happy Birthday to Me!!!
At this age, I am not supposed to like Birthdays. I use a magnifying mirror to put on makeup and see each line and wrinkle, but I don't care today. In the last month, I was shopped twice by Mystery Shoppers and in their descriptions, they each tagged me for in my 40's. Both my daughters phoned and wished me a good day and remembered me with special gifts.. I even got a card from the dog! I am enjoying my new Golding spindle from Gary, and have learned that by spinning much thinner, the spindle spins much longer. Last night I had a lovely birthday dinner at a new restaurant in the area. The sun came out today after 3 days of rain.
Life is good.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Starting over, again.

After knitting a couple of inches of my February Lady Sweater, using size 4 needles and singles, I realized that even making the xl size would result in a doll size sweater. I frogged it, doubled up the yarn, and started again, using size 8 needles. A much better weight and gauge, but now I am certain that I will run out of yarn. I do have about 1600 yards......... 400 grams but at this new rate of usage, I will certainly run out of yarn. Do I stop? Do I try to locate more yarn? Do I stick my head in the sand and continue on? Do I consider a second yarn (type or color?) to add in strategically? For the time being, I am continuing on as I consider my options. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Since this yarn was from a specific alpaca (Capella was her name!) from Stargazer Ranch Alpacas, I may have to wait till next year to get more of the same.....I may e-mail them to see if they have any just laying around.... fat chance.

Sunday is my Birthday, although at this age, I try not to make a big deal of it. I allowed Gary to buy me a new spindle which I picked out: a Golding Tsunami Purpleheart which is totally beautiful. The whorl is 2 inches and the weight is .8 oz. It arrived and I have been working on my August challenge with it. I don't know if it is just taking time to get used to it, or it is the roving I am using, or I am spinning too thick... but I cannot get it to spin very long, at least in comparison to my Tracy Eichheim. The Golding is .8 oz and the Eichheim is 1.5 oz, so it may be difference in weight and my inexperience, but I will keep working at it. The Golding spins quickly, but not for long, and then begins to unspin just as quickly. It is amazing how the different weights feel in my hands.

Last night I drove up to Broomfield to have dinner with my old college roommate, Candy. We are both old now. As a matter of fact it was 40 years ago this month that we met on our first day at U-CONN in the dorm. We were not assigned to be roommates, but we were next door to each other. We each had other roommates, who were, to be kind, a little more of a studious nature. After 4 days of freshman weekend, hanging around, having fun, and being a bit rowdy, the other roommates came to us on Sunday night and said we should just switch rooms. It was their idea, and we jumped at the chance. We then roomed together for two years and joined the same sorority. Here is a photo from spring of 1969 when Candy and I, as well as Donna and Cathy, who dubbed ourselves the 4 Musketeers, since we did everything together, watched intently the events of Greek Week. To see a more current photo of the four of us look in my archive! I am partially obsured in this photo, Candy is the one with the NATURAL blond streak, then Cathy and Donna.
Candy was in Nursing, so for Jr and Sr years, she was at the hospital and I stayed on campus. We both graduated at the same time, lived together for the summer after graduation, and traveled to Europe together. It was Candy who moved to Denver after this trip, but it took me a year to save up enough $$ to join her here. We lived together for about 6 months in Denver, then she traveled to Michigan with her future ex-husband while he was in his medical residency. We married in the same year, (1975), they moved back to Denver, and had our first daughters in the same year (1980). Raising kids on the opposite side of the metro area, we didn't stay in touch as much and now she has a son and I have another daughter and she divorced, remarried, got her masters and Doctorate in Nursing and runs the Nursing program at Regis U. We reconnected and have been getting together several times a year now.

Visiting with Candy and her folks, who were visiting because of her hand surgery, we shared a lot of the old stories, and laughs. Not to mention the great dinner Joe prepared for us all.

And here we are 40 years later, still friends.... How special is that!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Absent, but not forgetting to knit & spin

I just realized that it has been over a week since I last posted to this blog. Working, knitting, spinning, and socializing.....but that is no excuse. Yes, it is, really. In the last week, I attended two knitting generic and one at my local yarn store.

I sort of fell off the yarn diet wagon...but Stacy so kindly informed me that what I bought was roving and not yarn, so technically, I am still ok. What I bought was Louet pencil roving in the color Thunderstorm. It is Wool Top and very soft and hardly needs any drafting at all. I thought I would participate in the August Spinning Challenge on the Ravelry Spindlers Group where the theme is Rainforest. I definitely think these colors work in the theme.

I have also been plying my third skein from my CVM fiber purchased in Estes Park. It should closely match in weight my second skein posted earlier.

I finished Mom's socks, but since it has been 23 days with the temp over 90 degrees here, I will wait till I gift them to her. I love the way these feel. Should be nice and toasty, whenever the cooler weather hits.

Tonight, at my LYS, I knitted again on the World's Biggest Sock. I was mistaken in my earlier post...... there are 10 circular needles that knit the circumference. We all knitted at once for this photo. In actuality, it really is an ugly combination of colors and textures, but what would YOU do for a posting in the Guinness Book of World Records. If you are in the Denver Area, be sure to stop by A Knitted Peace for your chance to knit on it and get your name recorded as a participant.

After the beast of a sock was removed from the table, a congenial group of knitters pulled out their own projects and continued knitting for a few hours. I had my BSJ with me, but forgott to bring the pattern. I knit a few rows, and put it aside to begin another project which has been calling to me. The BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket) by Elizabeth Zimmerman, is starting to look pretty weird on the needles with the decreases and increases. I am still guessing where to put the stripes, but I think it is turning out well. I folded it up the way I think it is going, and I can see what the future holds. It will be pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

What I started was the February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne.
I decided to use my alpaca yarn purchased in Estes Park. It is thinner that I thought, once I started swatching, so instead of size 8 needles, I am using size 4, and will knit the extra large size, which should come out just about right for my size with the gauge of 22 stitches to 4 inches instead of the 18 which the pattern calls for. This pattern, like the BSJ, is adapted from an EZ baby sweater and is knit by rows, not inches. Since it is top down and raglan sleeve, I can try it on as I go to see if it is going to work out. I have 1600 yards of the alpaca, so it should be a lightweight lacy version of this sweater instead of the heavier weight of worsted... Glad I had Stacy there tonight to help me with the math!

So see, I haven't been a sloth this last week, but with the heat, there is a limited amount of time to relax at the computer when I have so much else going on. Oh, yeah, I did work a full week, went to Book Club (be sure to read The Double Bind by Chris Bojhalian) , visited Mom, and played in the garden too. No wonder I am tired. Off tomorrow and get to sleep in....zzzzzzzzz