Saturday, April 23, 2011

This and photos

So, I've been meaning to blog, but can't seem to settle enough to actually write something.  Same with knitting, weaving,  and spinning.  I have a several projects on the needles that I want to finish, a blanket for a stuffed animal  on the loom,  and a couple bobbins of singles spun up, waiting to be plied, but can't seem to settle down long enough to actually do anything.  I just flit around from one thing to another, never actually stopping long enough to do much of anything.  I have lost my mojo and need to find it again. 

My local Borders is closing.  Believe it or not, I feel like I am losing a friend.  Shopping at Borders was my reward.  If I was having a bad week, I would leave work a bit early on Friday and go wander around Borders for a while.  It was my reward for going to my doctor's appointments and for surviving my treatments.  The staff at the store is awesome.  They would recomment other books that I might enjoy based on what I was purchasing.  If I was obviously having trouble finding something, they would offer to help.  I have lots of stories of how wonderful the staff was.  I will miss Borders and the awesome people who worked there.  I have been a couple of times since they announced the closing.  I get angry at the people who are shopping the closeout sale.  The vultures that never stepped foot in the store until it announced it was closing.   I swore I wasn't going to go back, but I found myself making the familiar drive to the store after work on Friday.  It was so depressing to see the once full shelves, depleted.  The happy, helpful staff are still very helpful, but there is sadness there now.  I really don't think I will go back again.  It is too painful to see the store waste away.  I don't know what I'll do now for my book fix.  I HATE Barnes & Noble.  I used to be a loyal B&N customer, but I had to deal with one too many rude employees that I don't want to ever give them my money.  I know I can still shop from Borders on-line, but buying on-line isn't the same experience.  I like to feel the book in my hands, and smell the ink on the pages.  Oh well.  Maybe I will have to get over my book germ phobia and start going to the library or Half Price books.  On the bright side, since I won't be spending as much money on books, I should have more money for fiber and yarn and more time to craft since I won't have unread books to distract me. 

I have been thinking about getting a Ukelele.  I know, total change of subject.  Ukeleles are so cute,  and seem to be happy little  instruments.  I played the guitar a bit when I was a kid so I'm hoping that I will be able to pick up the Ukelele pretty quickly.   I was checking on-line and you can get a starter Uke for under $50, so if it doesn't work out I didn't waste a lot of money and I'm sure one of my nephews or my neice will play it if I don't.   Haven't quite decided.

I just want to go on record as stating that Kathy is a total enabler.  At knitting group the other night she was talking about how trindleman was having a sale through the end of the month.  If you ordered one of his spindles, you would get a free set of extra arms.  I have been looking at them for a long time, but never took the plunge.  The spindles are pretty cool.  You order the shaft and then you order a set of arms.  You can get the arms in different weights, so you can  change the weight of your spindle by switching out the arms..  He is a physics teacher and came up with the idea after watching his wife spin.  It looks like he just updated his shop because there is a lot more out there now than when I placed my order.  The justification for the purchase...they were on sale and I can remove the arms so they should be more travel friendly.  I won't have to worry so much about the spindle breaking while in my checked bags.  I haven't tried carrying a spindle in my carry on.  I'm afraid that the TSA wouldn't know what it was and would confiscate it.  I am pretty attached to my growing collection of spindles and it wouldn't be pretty if they tried to take them from me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Multi-craftual Sunday

I know, It's been a while, but it has been pretty crazy around here.  Lots of stuff has been happening, so lets jump in, shall we?

 I have a new nephew.  He was born on February 6, 9 hours and 25 minutes before the start of The Great Packer Super Bowl Win of 2011.  L had a bit of a rough start, but he is doing well and hopefully all his troubles are behind him now.
 Per tradition, I have made all of my nephews and my niece a teddy bear when they were born.  L is no exception.  This little bear was started on the day L was born and was completed shortly after he left the hospital.  Don't be too impressed, L spent a week in the hospital and the bear is smaller than it appears in the photo.  :-)

So that is all the news I have to catch up on...Here is the new stuff.  We were supposed to have a family get together today, but it got canceled, that left today completely free!!

 I baked.  I made scones for breakfast.  I made cookies for snacks.  Don't get too excited.  The scones were from a mix and the cookies were baked from frozen cookie dough.  Sometimes, its the thought that counts.

I wove.  I got a rigid heddle loom for my Birthday last year.  I have been fighting it ever since.  The ratchet system that holds the warp and cloth beams in place kept slipping and annoying me.  I finally found some rubber bands to wrap around the gears and it works perfectly now.  Look at how straight those edges are!!  It's amazing what you can do once you can keep your yarn tension even. 
 I knit.  This scarf was supposed to be my Mom's Christmas present, but I bit off a bit more than I could chew.  Luckily, she is a Knitter and understands.
I blogged.  I know that this was kind of a short post.  Hopefully, the pictures disguised that. 

I spun, or I will as soon as I finish up this post. .  I am going to ply these two bobbins up.  I still haven't decided it I'm going to Navajo ply them to barber pole them....

So, if you've been keeping count that's 5 crafts today...6 if you count dying my hair!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Houston, I think we have a problem

If you were worried about blog fade, I don't blame you.  Maybe I am destined to become a weekend blogger...:-)

I have been knitting on these fingerless gloves.  I love them!!  They yarn is gorgeous. It is Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in the Great Purple Hairstreak color way.  It is a blend of 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, and 10% nylon.  It is super soft and the colors look much better in person that in my horrible photos.  The pattern is Ariel by Monica Jines.  The pattern is beautifully written.  They are a bit time consuming because there isn't a rest row in the pattern, but I love them...

What's the problem,  you ask?  Well, you can tell exactly how I tension my yarn after just a couple of rows of knitting.  At my knitting group on Thursday night, Melissa joked that I can still wear my fingerless mitts even after I take them off.  While I really love the yarn color, I don't necessarily want to be forever blue.
Guess I will be getting out my books on hand dying yarn and consulting the notes from my dying class and try to figure out a way to fix this. 

Wish me luck for tomorrow... We are supposed to have our first real snow storm of the year.  Yay!   I was really hoping we would skip the whole snow thing this year since we had so much of it last year....

Monday, January 3, 2011

Do you know what this is?

Do you know that this is? Any guesses??  Yep.  It is the stand to my Christmas tree.  Do you know where the rest of the Christmas tree is?  Yep.  It is all boxed up and shoved up on the top shelf in the deepest recesses of the storage area.  After using an entire roll of packing tape to reinforce the box and then tape it up so that it wouldn't pop open again, I was not about to open the box up and shove this in.  Instead, I put it on top of the Christmas tree decoration boxes.   (hopefully, I will remember that when it comes time to put the tree up next year)  (if not, maybe I will look back at this year's blogposts and be reminded)  I will count myself lucky if this is the only thing that got missed when I packed everything away.

Well, I survived another holiday season.  Overall, I think it went really well.  All of my family members are still living and I am not in the looney bin!!  Nothing got broken and all of the out of town relatives made it home safely. 

I didn't get all of my knitted gifts completed.  (Sorry, Mom.  I will get your scarf finished.  I promise!)  I thought I did pretty well, all things considered..  I wasn't planning on knitting hats and gloves for two of my nephews, (but I did and they loved them!).  I also wasn't planning on getting sick with bronchitis again or having to postpone one of my treatments so that it fell during Christmas knitting season.  At least Z is now old enough that  wearing something that I knit is not cool, so that saved me from knitting a third hat and mitten set.  It was kind of funny, though.  I was with my sister when she bought him a beanie from Aeropostle.  She apologized to me when she bought it.  :-)

Even though I wanted to spend my day knitting on my New Year project, I was good.  As you can tell from above, I spent the day putting up the Christmas decorations.  It seems that no matter how hard I try,  I always miss something.  Oh well, if I missed anything else, I will just tell myself that it is a reminder that I need to start my Christmas knitting now.  I remember that when I was a kid, my Mom used to get all depressed when the Christmas decorations were put away, but I find it a bit of relief.  The holidays are fun, but I am ready for things to get back to normal. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Blogpost, Old batteries

Ok. I think I qualify for the world's worst blogger. My last post was in 2008 and it is now 2011. Nearly 3 years. Wow!! I will try to do better. ;-) I normally don't make New Year's resolutions, but for some odd reason, I feel the need to make some this year. Starting up my blog again is one. They say that the third time is the charm and since this is the third time I have started up my blog, hopefully it will stick this time. I don't have much of a track record though, the last time I started it up again, I only had one post...

I know that blogs without photos are boring. I'm sorry. I have photos to share, but when I plugged the camera into my computer to download the photos, the batteries were dead. I have batteries. I know I do because I stocked up while I was Christmas shopping. I also know that they are somewhere in the house because after everyone went home after we exchanged gifts, I was kicking myself because I forgot to send the batteries home with them. Of course, now that I need them, I can't find the stupid things. Which leads to another New Years get organized. I promise to add photos to my next post.

I have a ton of things on the needles right now. I have actually set a new personal best for the number of projects on the needles... I am not even counting the projects that are still on the needles, but shoved so far back in my closet that they will NEVER see the light of day again. I know I should pull them out and frog them, but they have been around so long I am sure that they have probably evolved into a new life form by now. (hmmm, I wonder if they were the scarry monster K heard the last time she spent the night.) I currently have one pair of socks, two pairs of fingerless mittens, one stuffed animal, two purses, two lace shawls, one scarf, one hat, a Nook cozy, and a sock blanket. I think there is something else on the needles, but I can't find it right now...back to the whole organization thing. I have spinning projects going on 4 different spindles, plus a bump of superwash merino that I dyed myself on my Sonata. I also have a practice warp on my rigid heddle loom that I want to finish up so I can weave up some small blankets for my nephews stuffed animals. If you guessed that finishing up UFOs was one of my New Year's Resolutions, then you win the prize, if there were one..

I wouldn't want to bore you or myself, so I think I will stop here. Short, sweet, and on a fairly regular basis is going to my goal for my blog...and photos...

On a side note... the rest of my resolutions are:
Update my Ravelry page and then keep it current
Finish up Christmas knitting for Christmas 2010 and start working on 2011 Christmas knitting as soon as I finish 2010.
Go on a diet..both food and yarn...I wonder which will be more successful?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My first wheel!!

Hello and welcome to my blog!! I must confess this isn't my first blog. I have abandoned the first one I had.. It had been months since I posted to it and it had gone in a different direction than I wanted it to. It just didn't seem to fit any longer, so I frogged it and have started over again!!

I want to start out by showing off the newest arrival to my fiber arsenal!! I finally purchased my first spinning wheel. I went back and forth for a long time because buying a wheel is a huge investment. I choose the Fricke S-160 folding wheel. It is beautiful!!! I ordered it from Spunky Eclectic and got really fast service. I ordered it on a Friday and it arrived the following Thursday, which I think is reasonable considering that it shipped from Maine to Iowa. They even included some BFL roving to get me started!!

I did everything wrong when choosing this wheel. I did a bunch of research on-line and everyone said the same thing. They all recommended that you take classes and try out several different wheels before buying one. The only problem is that even though I live in the Midwest where sheep and alpacas are plentiful, there aren't any local shops that sell spinning wheels. I haven't even seen roving in any of the local yarn shops. A road trip to a store that sells wheels is out of the question because it would eat up all of my wheel budget!!

I looked at several different models of spinning wheels on-line. The ones that I looked the hardest at were the Fricke, The Ashford Kiwi, the Schacht Ladybug, the Louet S15 and a Lendrum. In the end it came down to price. I didn't want to spend a whole lot because I wasn't sure if I would be able to spin, so I ruled out the Ladybug, and the Lendrum. The Fricke, the Kiwi, and the Louet S15 were all priced about the same. I ended up going with the Fricke because it offered 5 different speeds without having to buy any additional flyers and it came with a lazy kate. I liked the looks of it better than the Louet S15. I know that the Kiwi is recommended for beginning spinners, but if I remember correctly, even with buying additional flyers, it still didn't have as many speeds as the Fricke. It looked to me like the Fricke is a wheel that I can grow into. I also looked at the Hitchhiker, which appealed to my sense of humor, but it couldn't spin at a fast enough ratio to spin the type of yarns I wanted.

I am glad I took the plunge!! While my first few attempts at spinning yarn on the wheel haven't been very successful, I am getting a little better each time. It is kind of frustrating because I was spinning better yarn on a spindle, but I am sure that once I get used to the wheel it will improve. I have sent in my registration for a beginning spinning class being held during the Iowa Sheep & Wool Festival and I am also going to sign up for a spinning class being offered by adult ed classes.