Sunday, November 30, 2008

A very busy November

This is what I've been up to this month.

November production

My felt scarves will soon be available at the A Verb for Keeping Warm workshop in Berkeley. The sock is being knit from handspun from a Pigeonroof Studios roving. The sweater is Fylingdales from A Fine Fleece by Lisa Lloyd. The beret is my first attempt at making a handmade felt hat from my own felt. It's not perfect but it worked and I will be making more.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I am so proud right now

I am so proud to see my country made a sane decision about our next president. I was watching MSNBC when they called Obama the winner. I didn't realize just how emotional I would be about this outcome. I'm still blinking back tears of joy and wonderment.

My daughter just told me that Prop. 8 has lost. I can't believe that we cannot support equal rights for all people in California. For this, I am shedding tears of sadness.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A great day

On Saturday, Kristine, Adrienne, Sara and Kathleen got together at my place for a "fiber prep" day. I had my combs set up, flicker and hand cards out. Kristine and Kathleen both brought drum carders. But before any fiber prep took place, we hopped into the car and drove over to San Francisco for the grand opening of Urban Fauna.

We arrived at Urban Fauna a few minutes before 10:00 a.m. The shop hadn't opened yet. There was a small line forming. Sara and Kathleen decided to stand in line. Kristine, Adrienne and I went to get coffee. We returned about 20 minutes later. The line to get in had transformed into the line to pay and it was long. Kristine and I squeezed our way into the shop for a look around. There is an impressive amount of stuff in that tiny space; and at the rate things were being snapped up, I wouldn't be surprised if they sold out of most things. In the meanwhile, Adrienne, Kathleen and Sara went to a Russian deli to pick up a few things for lunch.

Fiber Prep Day 8/30/08 This is part of the set up we returned to. Those are Wensleydale locks waiting to be hand combed. The fiber in the back of the drum carders is cormo I've been hand combing.

Kristine, Kathleen, Sara and I set to work. Kristine hand combing, Sara spinning and Kathleen and I knitting. Adrienne prepared lunch.

Fiber Prep Day 8/30/2008 Kristine working the hand combs.

Fiber Prep Day 8/30/08 Kathleen knitting.

Fiber Prep Day 8/30/08 Adrienne working her magic with a knife.

Fiber Prep Day 8/30/08 The remains of a very yummy lunch.

A few hours later we sat down to a Spanish influenced meal of shrimp and mushroom tapas, chicken and artichoke paella, sangria and this wonderful natilla made from goat's milk from Bodega Goat Cheese that Adrienne had picked the day before at the Slow Food Nation event in San Francisco's Civic Center. The natilla has a flavor similar to caramel so we ate it with apple slices. We had ice cream as a second dessert. By the time we called it a day, it was 11:00 p.m. I can't wait to do it again!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Yes, I've been knitting...

and felting. This just hasn't been exciting in the sense of drama. No horrible mistakes discovered deep into the project. No pending deadline of doom. No nothing.

First up, The Road Not Taken Scarf from A Fine Fleece knit from A Verb For Keeping Warm merino colorway cosmos, which I handspun.

Road Not Taken scarf Road Not Taken scarf

This is two ounces is about six feet long. It is currently on loan to Kristine as a sample for her shop.

I just finished the Lace Ribbon Scarf last night. It is currently soaking in preparation of blocking it. I knit this from some cormo/soy silk I spun up last summer. It's not as long as the pattern called for; I knit until I ran out of yarn.

Ribbon lace scarf detail

I've also been felting. I am exploring the idea of selling felted knitting needle cases, business card cases, etc. and these are prototypes for DPN cases. They were still wet when I took the pictures so are very unfinished at this stage.

DPN case Felted DPN case

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lambtown--a brief review

Early Saturday morning, Kathleen, Sara and I headed to Dixon for Lambtown. Fortunately, the weather was on our side this year in that it wasn't unbearably hot. Once there we headed straight for the fiber vendors hall. I promptly scurried over to Carolina Homespun's booth because Morgaine was holding these for me.

Wool combs of doom! A pair of wool combs! Not that I have ever used combs and will probably injure myself using them, I had to have them for my cormo fleece, which I'm almost finished washing.

Lambtown 2008 When I returned to A Verb for Keeping Warm and Tactile's spaces, Sara was busy cobbling together a fresh out of the box Louet Julia. We then visited most of the vendors before the need for coffee and food got the better of me. I staked out a place on the grass in the shade and soon a bunch of friends were sitting, eating, laughing, spinning and knitting. All in all, an excellent day.

Natural dyed sock yarn Natural dyed handspun BFL I also did a little dying and plying on Sunday. On the top is Henry's Attic Kona handpainted with cochineal and madder using what I learned from Scout. On the bottom is BFL that I dyed with black walnut and spin into a two ply fingering weight. I haven't decided what I want to knit with the Kona. I'm thinking of using the handspun for a pair of Breakfast at Cafe du Monde Gloves.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Of Hydrangeas and Cake

Handpainted sock yarn This was influenced by this.

My Neighborhood

I handpainted the yarn using one of the methods I learned from Scout's dyeing workshop last month. The hydrangea is in my neighbor's front yard and has flowers ranging from pale greenish white to deep periwinkle. The base yarn is 75% merino superwash 25% nylon and I bought it from Woodland Woolworks at Black Sheep Gathering.

Raspberrry Buttermilk Cake I got the baking bug this weekend. It was a good thing I was going to Kristine's studio and could share this with others. Otherwise, I might have eaten the whole thing myself. This is a raspberry buttermilk cake. I used this recipe from 101 Cookbooks, changing it to suit the ingredients I had on hand. I really like this recipe and will make it again--it's easy and transportable and can be altered to reflect what fruits are in season.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Dye workshop with Scout

This past weekend I attended a dye workshop with Scout at Knit One One. It was a lot of fun.

Studio at Knit One One The space at Knit One One is great. Light and airy; perfect for seeing what you are doing.

Tying off warped yarn Winding yarn onto a warping board to make self-striping yarn.

This will be self-stripping yarn This is what a skein off the warping board looks like when it is dyed.

Colorful skeins Dyed skeins hung out to dry.

Dye Workshop with Scout The skein I dyed after winding on the warping board.

Dye Workshop with Scout The blue face leceister roving I handpainted.

Scout is a wonderful teacher and freely shared her experiences so that we could learn from the mistakes she has made. The one thing that no teacher can teach is color sense and Scout has great color sense. It's just one of those things that you have. It really helps if you are willing to experiment with color and accept that there will be mistakes.

So thank you Scout for a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

BSG purchases

My creation
Black Sheep purchases top row left to right: a sampler of shetland roving from The Bellwether; a Redheart/Ebony spindle from Spindlewood Co.; BFL/pygora blend from Toots LeBlanc; roving in Eggplanted, Socks That Rock in Mochaberry (I just love that name) and Turquoise from Blue Moon Fiber Arts; bottom row left to right: 2nd place targhee fleece; close up of the targhee; a vintage pattern from Sirdar called "Teenage in Sirdar"; the silk bag, nettle yarn and Habu kit were purchased at Web-sters in Ashland.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Black Sheep Gathering 2008

Black Sheep Gathering 2008
What can I say except that I had a blast!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Alice, oh Alice

Cormo fleece

Close up of Alice's locks Meet Alice. Or, more accurately, Alice's fleece. Alice is a cormo and is soft and lovely and a little bit in need of a wash. So I designated Sunday the first of many wash Alice's fleece days. (Basically, I want to stay home and clean Alice but that would interfere with my day job, which I need so I can continue to buy more fleeces like Alice.) Alice's fleece isn't really all that dirty as Alice was covered.

Some locks ready to be cleaned Locks in a "delicates" washing bag just the way I was taught.

One bag of locks soaking Soaking in a scouring liquid of hot, hot tap water and Method dishwashing liquid. When I learned to scour fleece, we used Dawn. I had Method on hand so that's what I used.

Cleaned locks spread out to dry Washed locks spread out to dry.

All in all, a good day to wash Alice! (I purchased Alice's fleece from Sue at Cormo Sheep & Wool Farm.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Michelle. So here goes.

1. What was I doing ten years ago?

I was working at the same law firm I work at now. Parenting a five year old.

2. What are five things on my to do list for today?

Since I'm writing this at the end of the day, here are the five things I did today. Farmers' market, washed some cormo fleece, brushed my dog, roasted beets, and walked my dog.

3. Snacks I enjoy:

Chocolate, especially dark
Peanut butter M&Ms
Two pump vanilla latte from Peet's
Almonds

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Quit work; move to the country; have a spinner's flock; travel more; donate to cancer research.

5. Places I've lived:

Torrance, CA
Mojave, CA
Diamond Springs, CA
S. Lake Tahoe, CA
Riverside, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Oakland, CA

6. Jobs I've had

Busgirl
Pantry cook
Line cook
accountant
librarian

7. Bloggers I am tagging who I will enjoy getting to know better:

KatDee
Krista
Sara

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Verb for Keeping Warm Open Studio

A Verb for Keeping Warm open studio A Verb for Keeping Warm open studio This weekend was open studios in the East Bay. Kristine opened up the A Verb for Keeping Warm studio. It is a small piece of fiber heaven in a very cool artist space in Berkeley.

I brought these. Cupcakes detail Made from the Magnolia Bakery recipe. The frosting was a very delicate orange flavor.

Any how, I spent the day hanging out, chatting with lots of cool people, pretended to knit. Honestly, the one row I knit I managed to screw up and had to tink. And I bought fiber. A Verb for Keeping Warm fiber On the right is 2 oz. of shetland in "liberty"; on the left is 2 oz. of Blue Faced Leicester in "polished". I also got one of Kristine's cool spinning wheel t-shirts.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Fini

STR Clapotis The Socks That Rock clapotis is finished! I used most of 2 skeins of medium weight labeled as mill ends without an indication of what color they were intended to be. Now I must find a new carry around project. But tonight is going to devoted to spinning.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In which I handcard and acquire a new spindle

Handcarded rolags A basket of handcarded mixed wools. I was practicing handcarding and color mixing using odds and ends of leftover rovings.

Grafton Flagship spindle My new Grafton flagship spindle. I love it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

In which I am a bad, bad girl

Here it is Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend and I can think of nothing but wanting to knit. The problem is that I still have a few hours to go before I can leave my office and I really should be writing performance reviews. I, of course, have no desire to write performance reviews at the moment--or at any time, if truth be told. It's really quiet around the office and streets of the financial district are basically empty. Do you think I can get away with a row or three? (I've got a clapotis as my carry around knitting.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hey, I wanna do that!

I spent yesterday afternoon spinning on my Joy while keeping Kristine company at the Claremont Middle School Spring Fling. Claremont Middle School is in the Rockridge area of Oakland. They have an amazing school garden and music program. Kristine's booth was on the lawn near the garden and the petting zoo (which had the cutest little pig).

The beginning of the event was slow back where we were. By early afternoon, a number of kids had stopped by to see what Kristine was selling and what Adrienne, Sara and I were doing. Soon Adrienne and Sara were showing kids how to spin on a spindle. There was one boy that was closely watching me. I asked him if he wanted to learn how to spin. "Yeah." "On a spindle?" "No, on that" pointing to the spinning wheel. I slowed down to show him exactly what I was doing with my hands--a modified long draw. Then we switched places. At first, he wanted to treadle just as fast as he would if he were riding a bike and the wheel kept snatching the fiber from his hands. I stopped him and got him to treadle a bit slower. He started making bumpy, lumpy yarn like all beginners make. Then the urge to race the treadles bit him again. Snatch, stop, re-thread the orifice, start again.

After about 10 minutes, I noticed a little girl sitting on the chair next me. I asked her what she thought about spinning. Her answer: "Hey, I wanna do that!"

So I began the cycle of showing another child how to operate the spinning wheel. Man, was she determined. After awhile, she stopped and wanted to spin some different colored fiber. I asked her why. "Because this is ugly." (Mind you, this was some polwarth I bought at Deep Color Studio last summer in a colorway I love called "Black Magic".) "I wanna spin some of that" pointing at some of Kristine's indigo dyed fiber. I explained that we couldn't use that and that I didn't have any other fiber other than the "ugly" stuff with me.

"Well, I don't like it."
"Okay, what colors do you like?" I asked.
"White."
"Why do you like white?"
"Because it's pretty" all the while grinning at the sky.

Baby Surpise Jacket This Baby Surprise Jacket flew off of my needles last week. I made it for a co-worker's newly adopted newborn girl. The buttons are Peter Rabbit and are leftover from baby things I made for my daughter forever ago.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Handspun weekend

Baby Llama, merino, tencel handspun This is the yarn I made this weekend. It is a combination of this:

Baby Llama baby llama purchased from A Verb for Keeping Warm at Colors last weekend and

Spindle spun 80 merino 20 tencel 80% merino/20% tencel purchased from Deep Color Studio in December.

I hand spun the merino/tencel and spun the baby llama on my Schacht Matchless. The colors of the merino/tencel are bright and the gray of the llama tones them down so that they are much softer. The yarn is approximately 18 wpi and 262 yards. I'm thinking neckwarmer.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The most stylish woman on my street

Mannequin on Vernon This lovely lady lives in one of my neighbor's front yard. She is always there, regardless of the weather. She makes me smile every time I see her.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

RIP Ada

I hoped against hope that in the end Ada would turn out to be the perfect throw on sweater. Alas, I was mistaken. Last night, Ada and I bid farewell. And this morning, Ada went to the frog pond. Ada, it was fun while it lasted.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Colors--A Fiber Festival

Yesterday was Colors in Berkeley. This event was pulled together by Sara, Kristine of A Verb for Keeping Warm, and Brooke and Maia of Tactile Fiber Arts. In addition to fiber and yarn from A Verb for Keeping Warm and Tactile Fiber Arts, there was fiber and other goodies from Pigeonroof Studios and Girl on the Rocks. Plus, there were three sessions of beginning drop spindling and three different fiber tastings. It was great fun.

I took the Exotics fiber tasting with Kristine. We spun baby alpaca, alpaca with silk, baby llama, baby camel with silk and 100% cashmere. It was all yummy and gave me an idea of what to ply with this merino/tencel blend I'm spinning on my Bosworth midi spindle.


This is going to look gorgeous with the baby llama I bought from A Verb for Keeping Warm.
Verb for Keeping Warm Baby Llama

Kristine is a really good teacher. There was the right mix of general chatting, discussion of the fibers we were spinning, and spinners silently concentrating on their spinning. I would highly recommend if you are in the Bay Area and get a chance to take a spinning class from Kristine that you leap. I've not taken spinning classes from Maia or Brooke; the buzz was that they are great teachers as well. I occasionally spin with both of them and can speak to their understanding of spinning and fibers--deep, very deep.

For me, one of the best parts of the day was meeting old friends from Deep Color and new friends from Ravelry. I loved sitting and knitting and spinning with Kathleen, Sara, Adrienne, Krista, Wonder Mike and Hizknits from Yknit. (If you haven't listened to their latest episode which is an interview with Lucy Neatby, what are you waiting for?) I met a lot of people from Ravelry whom I can't mention by name because I'm absolutely terrible about remembering names.

Here is the rest of the stash acquisition from yesterday.
A Verb for Keeping Warm 100 % Finn 100% Finn in Indigo Dip from A Verb for Keeping Warm.
A Verb for Keeping Warm 80 merino 20 silk 80 merino 20 silk in Headlands from A Verb for Keeping Warm.
Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino Superwash merino in Pink Cady from Pigeonroof Studios.
Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino Superwash merino in Harlequin from Pigeonroof Studios.

I also bought the sweetest stitch markers from Girl on the Rocks and forgot to take a picture.

Just in case it looks as if I've done nothing but add to my stash, I present last week's spinning project: 268 yards of 80 merino 20 silk dyed with logwood grey from Tactile Fiber Arts.
Tactile Fiber Arts 80 merino 20 silk

Ada update: less than 20 rows to knit before I'm finished with both sleeves!