Sunday, December 31, 2006

Real Success!!

I couldn't wait for both bobbins to be stuffed with singles before I plied. Instead I did about a half a bobbin each and then plied the two together. I LOVE IT!!!! The yarn is soft and fine. I don't have a wpi measurement yet but I will get it sometime tomorrow. Best of all there was absolutely no overtwist at all. Not a single spot. I can't believe how good this batch came out. Now I have to try and spin enough of it for a baby blanket. There were maybe 2 spots where the single was obviously thicker but that's fine. I can live with that. The fibre is a dream to spin. Sherri you were right to tell me to try the SAF. It's great to work with.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Say It With Pictures

Maggie, Kimberly and I went to Romni Wools. Here's what I got there and at Lettuce Knit.

Extra Northern Lights 100% wool in Autumn Twilight to wind because I don't like the way the second ball I did on the wheel came out.

I liked this colour - Pastels.

And this colour - Cotton Candy.

More Oriental Jade merino/silk blend so I am sure I will have enough for a shawl.

I'm not sure what this is. The guy at Romni said BAL but I don't know what that is. I thought it was Corriedale. Might be Blue Face Leicester.

The roving that came with the wheel.

The yarn is so soft. The wool is dyed Polworth from Joybilee Farms.

The completed Fisherman Christmas stocking. I didn't have a chance to post the picture earlier.

I just couldn't resist this watch. I saw it at Crafter's Choice. It's too cute.

They say the difference between the men and the boys are the price of their toys. Well I'm not a boy but I can't think of a rhyme for girls and toys. We weren't going to get this until my birthday because of the wheel. I went to Future Shop and it was on sale and I had tried to get it on line and the website was too overloaded. I couldn't believe when I decided to pop into the Markham Future Shop (because I was driving by, I didn't make a special trip because I was sure they would also be sold out) and they had it in stock. So I got it. Paul is a camera buff and he thinks I made a good choice. I love it.

Last but by no means least, a Sony mp3 Walkman. The sound is good and now that I am used to how it works, it's pretty cool.

Getting There Slowly But Surely

I think I'm slowly getting there. Here's what I managed to spin last night. I think it's the South African Fine but I'm not 100% sure because I put this in a ziplock bag before I started labeling them. The single ply is the finest I've been able to do so far. So the question remains will it stay as consistently fine as I can get it or will it become worsted weight again? I don't even mind too much if it ends up being DK weight but I am itching to get it to where I want it to be.

On a positive note, I don't think I am doing too badly because when I was at Romni and I took out the noddy that had fibre on it so I could put the purchases in my wheely bag. The guy behind the counter looked at it and said it was nice. I said not really because I want it more even and finer but I've only had the wheel a little over a week. The gentleman said, "now you're bragging." I was seriously considering giving the yarn to Joseph's school. He goes to gifted once a week and they always need things. I just washed the 2 skeins of yarn that I did from the roving that came with the wheel. I'll decide what I want to do with it after it's dry. I'll post more on the trip to Romni later.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

AWeekend of Spinning

I've been busy spinning. We went to my in-laws on Sunday and brought my wheel. Everyone loved watching me spin. It was a lot of fun. I got to be with family and spin and we all had a blast. I finished spinning the first ball of roving that came with the wheel. If you look closely it was overspun in spots. I've fixed that by changing the ratio. The lowest ratio wasn't working. Trying to spin fine singles, I had to constantly deal with breakage. When I changed it to the highest ratio I didn't have breakage but I did have overspin problems even when I tried to treadle as slowly as possible.

I decided I needed to try a different ratio so I changed it to 12:1 and I had a much easier time. I was able to still try and spin fine singles and I didn't have as much overspin. This is the Coopworth light dyed with Magic Colour Cherry KoolAid. The colour is ok. I'm not thrilled with it but it's better than the light undyed. I don't like this yarn at all. I didn't like the rovings and I don't like the feel of the Coopworth when it's spun. It is too harsh and not soft at all. It might be easy for a beginner to spin but I don't think I will get anymore of the stuff.

Now I'm working on the second ball of wool roving that came with the wheel. I've finished one bobbin and this is the second. I should be able to get it plyed today. Then it's back to work tomorrow so I won't have much spinning time before the weekend. Maggie, Kimberly and I are planning a trip to Romni later in the week so I should get more rovings then. I want to try and spin the alpaca I have and shee if I have any better success with the wheel. I didn't have much success with the spindle.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Round and Round She Goes.....

I decided it was time to try a different ratio so I brought Joy with me when we went to the in-laws yesterday. I decided to be daring and work with the highest ratio. The box says 15:1 and the assembly instructions page says 14:1. You can pick whichever one you like. It was interesting. I used the Coopworth cream rovings I have. The cream roving doesn't have the same feel as the light. I actually like the feeling of the cream better because it doesn't feel oily like the light. I found it had quite a bit of those little bits in the rovings. Are they called nibs or something? They are like little dots in the fleece but it's not dirt. Anyway, I found this roving had quite a bit of it. The final yarn is very uneven but parts of it are as fine as I want it to be. So I am definitely getting there. I just need more practice and I think maybe slow down more but right now I am too excited.

I dyed the yarn with Ice Blue Kool Aid and this is the result. I dyed it in the microwave with 1/2 cup of vinegar, 4 cups of water, and 4 packets of Kool Aid. It is a little heathery. I need to buy a deeper microwavable dish because I used the biggest one I have and the yarn wasn't 100% covered with the water. I had to give it the 2 minute hit 3 times before the water was basically clear. I love the colour. Now I have to figure out what I will make with it. I am thinking a scarf. I have more Coopworth, I think. I didn't label one ziplock bag and I am trying to decide if it is Coopworth or South African Fine. I have to take a closer look at it because once I pull the stuff apart I'll know right away.

We're heading back to the in-laws for Christmas dinner later today and I think I'll bring the wheel with me again. If I don't have time to spin at least it will be with me if I do get the opportunity to use it. I think I'm finally ready to try and use the rovings that came with the machine. I already pre-drafted one of the 100 gram balls of rovings so I'm set to go. I want to practice as much as I can before I have to go back to work on Wednesday.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Much Better

I managed to get the rest of the Northern Lights Autumn Twilight spun. I am having a much easier time now. The spinning is getting easier. I don't have as much breakage and I am treadling slowly but not as slowly as when I first started. Even with the slightly faster treadling I am still able to keep up with the drafting. The bobbin looks a lot better than it did the first time I tried spinning with the wheel.

After some final Christmas shopping early this morning, I came home and plied the 2 bobbins. No matter how hard I try, I can't get both bobbins to have the same amount of yarn. I Andean ply what is left on the bobbin that has more yarn. It's now resting on the niddy noddy. I am learning the best way to do things. The pying is way overspun at the beginning and I know what I did wrong. When I realized what I was doing things were much better and that yarn is balanced. I am going to let the yarn sit on the noddy for a while to help with the overtwist. I'll give the yarn a bath tomorrow and then wait at least 24 hours for it to dry. I think the skein weight is going to be about 120 grams. When I take it off the noddy I'll weigh it and figure out how much yardage I have so I can figure out what lace I am going to knit.

Friday, December 22, 2006

My Pride And Joy

Here he is. This is the reason Joseph wanted to go to Montana's for his birthday. We had a blast, especially Joseph. He wants me to go for my birthday in May but there is no way you are getting me into that hat with an entire restaurant staring at me and singing happy birthday. Oh to be a kid again. Sometimes I think I would love it and then I come back to my senses and remember what it was like.

On the spinning front. I just finished spinning the second Fleece Artist Merino Sliver. I have to admit, because of the parts that I believe felted in the dyeing, that it is a little easier to spin on the wheel then it was on the spindle. The plying is much faster as well and I haven't really had a problem with back twisting when I'm plying. I just have to treadle faster than I am used to. I have it soaking and after it's dry I'll take some pictures. Now I am going to spin the rest of the Northern Lights.

Happy Birthday Joseph

Today is Joseph's 12th birthday. It's hard to believe. It feels like he was just born yesterday. But then again I feel the same way about Henny, my oldest. He's decided he wants to go to Montana's for dinner so we have a reservation for today. Getting a reservation for 3 people at a restaurant just before Christmas isn't an easy thing. I called on Sunday and was told that they couldn't do it. It wasn't until I mentioned it was for Joseph's birthday that they said ok. If anyone has ever been to Montana's, they do this birthday thing with a hat with horns and the entire restuarant sings happy birthday. He wants that. I'll post pics after the event.

This is what I managed to spin on the Joy last night. There are even and uneven spots but on the whole it was a lot better than my first attempt on Wednesday. I'm getting better at treadling slowly. I had problems with the fibre breaking at one point. Everytime I rejoined it would break again but I finally managed to get it done. The plying is so much easier with the 2 bobbins but sometimes I felt I couldn't treadle fast enough or the yarn wasn't winding onto the bobbin fast enough. I'm not sure which one it was. I still might get a Precision Lazy Kate but I need more practice and time to debate if I really need it or not. I want to get a Katie-A-GoGo for my spindles so if I decide to get that I probably won't need the PLK. I have some pencil rovings I want to try next but with the dinner tonight it might have to wait until tomorrow. That's ok because I have a short day at work today and then it's not back at the office until Wednesday, HOORAY!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Second Try

First let me say I bought my wheel from Joybilee Farms. I was able to get an amazing buy on the Ashford Joy that I just couldn't pass up. Chris and Robin have been wonderful to deal with and I want to thank them for all their help. They had to deal with a newbie who was overly excited and that can be challenging at times. What you see on the left are the rovings that Chris sent with the Joy. I love the colourways. The small one is silk, can you believe it? Chris had mentioned she thought, because of my spindle spinning experience, it would take me about an hour to "get acquainted" with Joy and then I would be off to the races. I was a little upset with myself last night because I didn't "get" it. I was VERY tired and I think that must have been most of the problem.

This morning I was a little hesitant to take Joy out but I did anyway. I'm glad I did. This is what I managed to spin. I had a problem in the beginning. The yarn is WAY overspun. I think I was holding on to the fibre supply too tightly and that's what caused the overspin. You can see the spots on the bobbin where the yarn curled back on itself. The yarn wasn't getting sucked in as it twisted. I changed the ratio the belt drive was on and then I was fine. I know that I have a long way to go. Most of the time when I try to treadle it wants to go counter-clockwise and I have to start the wheel going clockwise so my feet get it right but it is a breeze to treadle. The wheel is virtually silent. You can spin and watch tv if you wanted. I just love this wheel and that's after just a short while using it. I imagine we are going to have tons of fun together.

I don't understand what the different ratios are. I know the higher the ratio the finer the yarn. What I don't understand is what happens with the wheel when you change ratios. Does it change how fast the fibre is fed onto the wheel? I also have to figure out where it's best to start the spinning. By that I mean which hook and how often do you move it to a different hook on the flywheel? That will all become irrelevant once I get my woolee winder but I don't have it yet and I haven't ordered it yet so it will be about a month before I have one. Now I just have to find out if there is a place in Canada I can get one.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Arrival

My Ashford Joy DT arrived today. When I got home from work I was afraid to even touch it. I was really anxious and it got the better of me. I couldn't wait for Paul to get home from work so I opened the box, took everything out and did a little reading. I did manage to get the wheel put together without any problems at all. If I can do it anyone can do it.

I have only played with it a little bit but I do have trouble breaking. I'm not so sure how to break and keep the wheel from going counter-clockwise. I am really exhausted so I am going to get some shut eye and see if things look brighter in the morning. I am sure I will get the hang of this the same way I got the hang of spinning. I just need lots more time to practice like I did with the spindle.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Bad News Is THe Wait Is Killing Me!!!

The good news is the wait is almost over!! As of 8:57 this morning the wheel arrived in Mississauga. I wish that meant the wheel would arrive in time for my SnB tonight but unfortunately it probably won't be delivered until tomorrow. A day late and a dollar short.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Promises Kept

I know I said I would post the pics of the Lyra last night but I didn't manage to get the pictures taken over the weekend. So I took the camera with me to work and took the pictures before 9 this morning. I'm a very lucky person. The chairs at work all have wheels. When I wanted to take the overhead shots I went to stand on the chair and I was silly enough not to make sure the back was against the wall. The chair went wheeling while I tried to stand. My ass hit the floor hard and my head hit the wall. No broken bones and no blood. I'm a little sore but not the worse for wear thank goodness. So here are the pictures. The colour didn't come out very well. It's a lovely minty green and it doesn't show up at all. I'm not getting back on chairs to retake them so this will have to do.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Back At It

I've been putting off spinning because I am expecting the wheel this week. I didn't want to go through the hell I went through to ply the last yarn I made. The problem is I can't stop. So I've decided to try and spin the rest of the pencil top roving I have from the yarn I just finished. It's Nothern Lights 100% wool top in Autumn Twilight colour. I tried knitting with the yarn I did and I've decided I am going to knit something lace with it. I started knitting socks but with st st the uneven yarn is much more evident. I am hoping if I knit lace it will hide the imperfections in the yarn. I've rewound the ball I did and cut out the 3 spots that had knots in one of the strands from where the curls wouldn't uncurl and just knotted itself. I also fixed the few areas where one of the strands broke and I had some problems getting the broken strand to spin enough to stay in place. The skein is now ready to knit. That's why I couldn't wait to spin more. I want to know how much yardage I will have so I can decide what pattern I want to use. I'm leaning towards something from the Victorian Lace Today book but the final decision will be based on how much yarn I end up with.

So here's the plan for the rest of this top. I've split the remaining top into two parts of about 64 grams each. I've started spinning the first 64 grams. I'm hoping it will all fit on this spindle. Once the first 64 grams is done I'm going to spin the second 64 grams on another spindle. Then I'll put them in shoe boxes and ply. I noticed when I rewound the yarn I did that the plying could have used more spinning in spots. I will have to watch that more when I do this ball. I'm having a much easier time now. The yarn only broke once and I think I'm getting more even all the time. My joins and beginnings are improving as well. If each yarn I make is better than the one before that's all I can ask for. I don't need perfection. I'm not a machine.

Well it's off to shopping and laundry. I need another bar stool to use over at my in-laws so I can spin and not be uncomfortable while I am at their place.

Pictures of Lyra coming later today.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I've Been Tagged!!!

Ok so I've been tagged. I get the game but I'm not quite sure what to write. I need to give this one some thought.

Here are the rules as stated on Sande's blog with a small change on what you can write about after I googled. "Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 interesting, weird, facts, things, habits you may not know about me.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

1: I think I'm obsessive compulsive. When I wanted to finish the Lacevember project I was waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning and knitting inorder to get it done.

2: This might not be weird but it's a fact. I've had 7 children. I had my first when I was 20 and by the time I was 28 I had 6. 10 years later I had number 7. I had 2 girls first and then 5 boys. My oldest, Henny, is 30 and my youngest, Joseph, will be 12 on Saturday.

3. I'm not very neat. I would rather knit or spin then do housework. I do the dishes etc. but I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment with my husband and son (my other children all live in the US) and it is cluttered. I know I need to get my act together but I haven't got a clue where to start.

4: I snore. I think the snoring has improved since I've lost some weight but I think I still snore.

5: I used to have horrible heartburn. I would have to take Pepcid AC all the time. If I ate pizza or anything with tomato sauce or paste I was a gonner. I haven't had any heartburn since I lost the weight. I'll post about that later this week when I reach my 8 month anniversary on the program.

6: I was born in Bronx, NY. When I was 6 years old my parents moved from the Bronx to Queens. I got married when I was 20 and moved to Brooklyn. I separated from my ex when I was 31 and I moved to Potsdam N.Y. A small way up in Northern NYS. At 36 I married my second husband and moved to Toronto where I have been ever since.

Ok. So now I guess I have to tag people. Here is the part I'm not sure of. Do they have to be knitters, or spinners, or just bloggers? I hope they don't hate me for this. Paul told me not to do this that it's like a chain letter and is frowned upon but I didn't want to be the person that wimps out so I am going to tag some members of my Snb and hope they'll talk to me on Tuesday night when we get together. Maggie, Chelle, and Kimberly you've been tagged. Hillary you've been tagged. Sherri you've been tagged. Sandi you've been tagged.

Wonder of Wonders Miracle of Miracles

Padon the unmade bed. I don't mind poking holes in the sheets but I don't want to poke holes in the blanket. I can't believe it is FINALLY blocking. What you see here is my Lyra. I don't know if there is still a website for the Lyra Learning Group but I am so proud of this accomplishment. The blocking was difficult because of my back. I wish I could figure out an easier way to do this. The floor is out because of my knees. I will post more pics once it's dry and all the pins have been removed. It's well worth all the effort and tinking back I had to do to get this finished. I did this as a square as opposed to a circle and I had a horrible time getting the corners right. It's because of Lyra that I learned to use lifelines. I tinked back 10 rows countless times and finally used a lifeline. She is gorgeous. Can't wait for it to dry and take more pictures.

Time For Reflections

I can't believe the year is almost over. The time just flies by so quickly it's scary. Wendy has started a "Knit From Your Stash 2007" The rules are simple and I really need to give this one a try. I'm starting to spin so I am glad that rovings isn't included in this because I'm just starting to collect a spinning stash. As I've said in my profile, I have more yarn than I will ever live to knit so I think it's time for me to start using some of what I have. I must confess that I did buy yarn yesterday. I went to Mary's Yarns and picked up the two hanks of Blue Face Leicester she was holding for me for the longest time. So what you see will hopefully be the last yarn purchase I make for the next 9 months. Mary also has some red Zara yarn that I had asked her to hold for me. I'm just not sure it will work with what I had in mind for it. I thought it was Wool Gatto to go along with the pine green Wool Gatto I bought. I'll have to decide what I am going to do. If I do buy more yarn that will be the only thing I bring into the house, I hope, other than perhaps sock yarn. Paul will be thrilled with this one, if I can hold out, because he is always telling me I have too much yarn and I should use some of what I have before I buy more.

I've also started a Yahoo Group KAL for my sock pattern. I was asked by some people and I thought if there was enough interest people would join and if there isn't I'll attempt to figure out how to cancel the group. I was looking around at that because I wanted to change the name to BrancedFernSockKAL with the first letter in each work capitalized but I can't figure how how to do it or delete the group and start another one. I'm new to all this so I'll see if I can eventually figure it out.

There has been suggestions of sending the socks to the SocksForSoldiers and I think that would be wonderful. I just don't want people to feel that they have to do that and that's why I started the group this way.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh Joy!!!!

How I will manage to contain the excitement for the next 5 to 7 days I'll never know, but, that's just what I'm going to have to do. My Ashford Joy wheel was shipped today. It should arrive in 5 to 7 days. I am so excited. I'm told that because I have the drafting pretty much down pat with spindle spinning I shouldn't have that much of a learning curve with wheel spinning. I'll find out soon enough.

The yarn I had such a horrible time plying is finished. It weighs 106 grams and has 330 yards. I suppose that makes it somewhere between fingering and sport weight. I was hoping for laceweight to fingering. I originally bought 225 grams of the pencil roving from Lettuce Knit so now I have to decide if I want to wait for my wheel to arrive before I spin more of it or do I just want to spindle spin. I have fibre on 4 different spindles so I might just work on the same pencil roving I have but in a different colourway. It's amazing how much different the yarn looks after it's spun in comparison to the roving. I want to get some more pencil roving. It's so easy to spin. I just love it. I also want to dye some of the SAF I have. Mixing different colours will be fun. I'm just not sure if I want to dye it before or after it's spun. I don't want to have to worry about the roving felting when it's dyed and then I'll have difficulty spinning it. The Fleece Artist Merino Sliver I'm spinning has that problem and it's extremely difficult to keep the spinning even.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sock Pattern Update

There is an updated version of my sock pattern. It has 2 pictures included in the pattern of the finished sock. Please click on the Branched Fern Toe Up Sock button on my sidebar to download the pattern.

The Nightmare Is Finished!!

There has to be an easier way to do this. Plying the yarn was a nightmare. This is the first time I have spun so much yarn at one time before plying. I had about 100 grams total and as I spun I wound them onto toilet paper rolls for about 50 grams on each roll. The curling back of the strands and tangling was horrible. Maggie came up with the wonderful idea of putting tissues into the tp rolls to try and make a tensioned lazy kate. That made things easier but it still was very difficult. I finally finsihed the plying this morning. I had about 80 grams plied when both strands broke. I used that as an excuse to take the yarn off the spindle and start fresh. The spindle was really too heavy the way it was. First I took the rest of the 2 rolls and wound them together into one. Both rolls didn't have the same yardage so I just cut the single ply I had left over and used the Handy Andy to Andean ply that. Doing the Handy Andy first saved my sanity. Then I plied the single roll with the 2 stands rolled together. That was MUCH easier to ply. I'll have to keep that in mind for next time. I did have to break the yarn a few times because some of the curling back singles got tangled but on the whole it still was a lot easier. When I plied the last bit I was ready to chuck what was left in the garbage when it got tangled but I couldn't do it. That's why I just ripped out the part that gave me trouble and continued. Everything is now on the Niddy Noddy. I just washed it. As you can see it's now hanging to dry. I'll check the yardage after it's dry. I tried to do that when I was winding it on the noddy but it just didn't work out. I was already frustrated enough by this point from the yarn breaking I gave up trying to run it through the yarn meter as I wound the noddy.

I love spindle spinning but plying is enough to make me not want to do it. I think next time I am going to try and spin as much as I can on one spindle and then leave it on the spindle. I'll rest the spindle in a shoe box and rest the second spindle in another shoe box and try plying it that way and see if it works. I should have my wheel in about 2 weeks and I imagine that plying will have to be easier from bobbins then it is with the spindle.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Branched Fern Socks Pics

I've had people ask me for pictures of the socks. These are the best I can do with the limitations of my digital camera. I was going to try and get a better one but I bought a spinning wheel instead so the dc has to wait.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Looking At The World Through Rose Coloured Glasses

The UPS man is on my good list today. He brought me my merino/silk blend that I ordered from I had originally ordered SAF from Nancy before I had ordered a kilo of the stuff from Knit-Knackers. It is soft to work with and inexpensive if I ruin it as I learn to spin on the wheel. Everything happens for a reason. Turns out the SAF was back ordered by Louet Sales so I changed the order to the merino/silk blend in soft rose. I really like the colour and this stuff is so nice to spin. I have the oriental jade colour and it spins like a dream. I hope it will be as easy to spin on the wheel when I get it at the end of the month.

Maggie is a GENIOUS!!!!! That girl ROCKS!!! She is just amazing. As noted in my post from this morning, I am trying to two ply the 100 grams of wool top I spun over the weekend. I've been having an awful time because it keeps curling back on itself. The makeshift lazy kate I did with the shoe box wasn't working because the yarn on one of the tp rolls kept wanting to wind itself around the needle. Maggie came up with the wonderful idea of stuffing the tp roll with tissues and then reinserting the needle into the rolls. This way the rolls would be tensioned and I'd have a tensioned lazy kate. I should mention that the needles I am using are the only pair of straights I have (I don't use straights anymore and I gave them all to my daughter). Said needles are 10mm bamboo needles and not very easy to push through a tissue filled (well paper towel to be exact) tp roll. I did finally manage it and it works!!! The rolls don't turn around easily anymore and with the shoe box directly below me, instead of at an angle, the yarn isn't wraping around the needles anymore. The plying is still going to be a LONG and SLOW process. There is a lot of yarn and if I am not mistaken I will have pretty good yardage out of it when I'm done.


My idea of the lazy kate didn't quite work the way I wanted it to. For some reason, on one of the rolls, the yarn just kept wanted to wind itself around the knitting needle. On the second roll it was fine. I was getting too frustrated and didn't want to end up breaking the yarn (which I did in the end anyway---more on that in a minute) so I scraped the idea. I have a cone holder that I got from Goddess Knits. I put one of the rolls on that and the other one I let flop around in the box. I've managed to ply about 20 grams (10 from each roll) so far but it hasn't been easy. The singles keep trying to curl back on themselves. I know that's the nature of the beast with singles but I had one point where I couldn't get it to uncurl. I decided to leave the little nub in there and I will deal with it when I get to it in the knitting. I also couldn't stop one of the singles breaking at a fine point in the yarn. I spit spliced it together and continued plying. I still have tons left to go, as you can see, and I am wondering how the heck I am going to get through it without tearing my hair out. I'm just going to have to take my time and hope I can manage to get this done.

On a positive note, when it is done it is going to be great!! I believe it is a lace/fingering weight yarn and it is the most beautiful yarn I have spun to date. I can't wait to get my Katie A Go Go from Gemini Fibres. Cheryl can't get that thing in fast enough for me. Anything has to be easier than what I am doing now.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


After an unsuccessful day yesterday trying to find a coat for Joseph we decided to give it another try today. This time we went to Scarborough Town Centre. We had the same results today as yesterday. I give up. The winter coat he has is going to have to be good enough. We'll just dress him in tons of layers to give him extra warmth.

Spindle spinning is a blast. I just have one problem. I have horrible back problems. If I stand for too long it just aggravates the back pain. I did so much spinning yesterday my back was just gone after the first hour. Sitting and spinning I have to wind on a lot more often and it slows me down and I had horrible shoulder pain this morning. I'm not sure if it is a chill or the result of my spinning. So, I decided I needed a higher chair. Sears didn't have anything so I went to Wal-Mart. This is the stool I ended up getting. The seat is nice and soft, it swivels and it has a higher back than most of the bar stools I've seen. I can spin for a lot longer too. It's great. I'm so happy I got it. It was a little more expensive than I wanted but I got this one because of the higher back and this one is sturdier than the other model they had. I'm a big girl and I didn't want it falling apart on me.

We had a semi birthday party for Joseph today by my MIL. Joseph's birthday is December 22nd and my in-laws great-granddaughter's birthday is December 6th. Every year we have a party for both of them before Christmas. I have to do something so I was spinning. I'm discovering that people don't get it. They can't figure out why I would even bother spinning my own yarn. I guess if you don't do it you just don't get it.

I'm 2/3 done with the second 50 gram skein. I'm still a little sore today so I don't think I will get the rest of it done tonight. I will get it done tomorrow and then I'll ply it with this makeshift lazy kate. I'm going to put each 50 grams that I wound onto the tp roll onto the needles and ply away. I am excited about this one. If it comes out as good as Maggie's did it will be fantastic.

My biggest problem with spinning now is the starting and the joining. I don't use a leader. Maybe I should. The beginning and the joins are always thicker than the rest of the skein. I suppose that will improve with time as well.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

One Down One To Go

I finished 50 grams worth of the wool top. The second 50 grams I am spinning on my 17 gram Forrester spindle. I have about 10 grams spun so far but I don't think I can do anymore tonight. My fingers have had about all they can take for one day. This is the first time I have spun so much in one day. I wound the 50 grams onto an empty tp roll and when the second 50 grams is done I'll do the same thing and then ply it.

What was I thinking???

Did I say that my Bossie doesn't spin like a top???? What on earth was I thinking????? Thanks to a tip from Sherri B. my Bossie now does spin like a top. What you see is the spinning from today!! No, I haven't been spinning non stop either. I put the stuff on straws when I felt the spindle was getting a little too weighted. I have about 30 grams there so far. I want to spin another 20 on the Bossie and then I am going to spin another 50 on the colourful Forrester. I think I'll name her Candy. Once I have each 50 grams spun I'm going to wind them into a centre pull ball on a toilet paper roll (got that idea from Maggie) and then I'll ply the two together. Anything that is left over I'll Andean ply and spit splice it to the rest of the skein. Then I'll hopefully have enough for a pair of socks. I believe the results should be even enough (not perfect) to knit socks with the yarn. I love the way the colours are coming out. The wool is 100% wool top in Northern Lights colourways that I bought at Lettuce Knit. Well it's back to spinning or I'll never get to my spinning goal for the weekend. As it is the Fisherman Stocking has been put on the side while I get the spinning done. I need more hands or more hours in the day so I have enough time to knit and spin!!!

I actually did some spinning in public today. Joseph needs a new winter coat so we went to Fairview Mall to look for one. My back has been bothering me all day so I went to sit on a bench while Paul and Joseph did the shopping. I had Bossie with me so I was spinning while they shopped. That was just as much fun as KIPing.

Friday, December 08, 2006


I'm overwhelmed by the positive response to my pattern. I am very thankful to everyone for the kind words. I am so glad you enjoyed it and I hope you have a fun time knitting the pattern. Someone suggested I start a KAL for the socks and I'm thinking about it. I'm just not sure how much work would be involved. If there is enough of a call for it I will probably do it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My Sock Pattern

Thanks to Maggie, I just posted a link to the sock pattern I designed for the Cherry Tree Hill sock design contest. The link is on my sidebar. Please download the pattern to your own computer and if you want a picture you can find it here. Please let me know what you think of the pattern.

On the knitting front, the Fisherman Stocking is coming along. I should have it finished by the end of the week. I have about 15 rows before I get to the heel shaping. Once that's done the rest will go quickly.

P.S. For those of you that are having trouble finding the pattern - look to this button on my sidebar and click on it. The pattern should come up in a new window.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Dyed Yarn!!

It just keeps getting better and better. This is the plied yarn that was on the Handy Andy this morning. I plied it when I got home from work and then wound it on the Niddy Noddy. I kept it on the noddy for about an hour and then gave the yarn a bath in soak. From the sites I saw on the internet it said to use 1 packet of KoolAid for each ounch of yarn. Since the skein weight was 27 grams I just used 1 packet of grape KoolAid, 2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. I put it in a pyrex bown and microwaved it. I nuked it for 2 minutes and then let it stand for 5 minutes. The water still had some colour so I zapped it for another 2 minutes. That was enough. I let it cool for about 20 minutes and then bathed it in soak again. I think when I do it again I will try 2 packets of the KoolAid. I would like a more intense purple. The colour is lighter than it appears in this picture. However, for a first shot I think it looks alright. It's funny how the water to becomes clear. I know other people have said it but it's a totally different thing when you see it with your own eyes. I have lots of rovings that I can dye once I spin it. I think for now I will dye after spinning because I don't want to felt the rovings.

P.S. Looking at the yarn after it has dried I really like it. I noticed that where the skein was tied by both ends of the yarn the colour is a little lighter under those ties. I also was very surprised to see that the crochet cotton ties I also used did not dye. I am going to finish knitting the rest of the single ply I have and then dye that as well. I have to buy more no sugar KoolAid

Handy Andy And Eye Candy

This really has the proper name "Handy Andy". I just got done winding yarn that I had put on an empty tp roll onto the Handy Andy. Not only is it great because I don't have a blue middle finger, it is also great because you can wind it onto the tool and if you don't have the time to ply it you can set it aside for another time. I imagine the same will hold true if you want to put it aside during plying.

I FINALLY received my Victorian Lace book yesterday. I had to be very careful not to drool all over the book. I have to agree with all the great things I have read about this book. The photography is stunning and the patterns are breath taking. I don't think there is a pattern in there I didn't like. Not to mention the fact that it has a lot of patterns. I know I wouldn't knit all of them but they are all nice. If there was anything I could change it would be to have the charts printed a little bit larger. These old eyes can't see them the way they are. I'll have to enlarge them when I copy them and I don't have a problem with that but bigger charts would be nice.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Am I Spindled Out Yet?

Maggie went to Gemini Fibres for me today and brought me lots of goodies. The spindle is another Forrester. I love the colours and the spin is amazing. I also got a Handy Andy, distaff, and a travel niddy noddy that I can carry along with me in my bag. The noddy looks like it was made to go along with the Orchard spindle I have so I just couldn't resist. I have to read the instructions that go along with the Handy Andy and give it a try. I know how to do the Andean plying with my hand so I am pretty sure this won't be difficult at all. I tried the distaff and I think I need to read Spinning In The Old Way to see what is the correct way of using it. I tried it at the SnB and I didn't quite get the hang of it. I know you're supposed to wind the fibre around the wooden staff but it swings and gets in the way. I think I am doing something wrong. As with everything else, I will figure it out one way or the other.

Insanity Reigns

I must be nuts. I joined another KAL. Like I really needed one. I've never knit a Christmas stocking and I figured the KAL would be a good excuse to give it a try. I have no idea what the yarn is. I bought it at Wal-Mart on the weekend. I liked the sparkley look and I liked the blue colour so I decided to give it a try. The yarn is soft. Acrylics have really come a long way from when I first started knitting. I'm halfway through the cuff, I believe. I need to do 2 more repeats of the Nosegay pattern before the heel is done. The pattern is the Fisherman Stocking.

On another note, Joseph tried spinning last night. He did it first with the yarn and couldn't wait to try spinning with fibre. I showed him the park and draft and he is having some challenges with it as we all do when we first start but when he decided to put it down he told me I had "infected" him. I told him that if he wanted I would let him take a workshop at Gemini Fibres the next time they have one. I think he is becoming interested. When he was younger he expressed an interest in knitting and it quickly passed. Maybe this will rekindle that interest. I showed him the You Tube segment on Real Men Knit that I saw on Haley's blog. If it will help I might just buy the dvd as well so he can see that real men really do knit and you're not weird if you do.