Updates from September, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • knitting1105 8:35 pm on September 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    SF here I am… 

    I am in San Francisco visiting my sister.   Another sister, a brother and my sister-in-law are arriving tonight.  We are all here to support Jill and help as she models in the breast cancer fashion show on Saturday.  Here she is cooking up a storm for us tonight.

    I have been working on my first real project using my handspun.  This is Peacock, a beautiful blue-purple “faux batik” on superwash Merino by Fiber Optic.  I chose to knit up the Spring Thaw shawl by Cheri McEwen.  While my spinning is not as fine as I would like in my perfectionist mode, I got 440 and 450 yards out of two 4oz braids.

    I finished plying the last of it just before I left for the airport:

    Over the last 2 days I have completed 1/2 of the shawl:

    We had to hand-wind the last skein that I bought.  I held Jill captive with her arms held out as I wound a ball.  The local store wanted to charge for winding the skein, and they used a battery operated winder which I didn’t trust with my precious handspun.  Loving the color changes in this yarn.

  • knitting1105 1:21 am on September 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    Spinning Addiction 

    I finished spinning the second 4 oz braid of Peacock Batik dyed Merino superwash from Fiber Optic.  I got it plyed up the night before I was to leave town.  And now, I have started knitting with it.  I love how the colors have evolved and blended together.  I still do not have an exact sense of what the final product will end up looking like.

    I love the colors, but am still not pleased with the thickness of my singles.  I thought I was doing really well until I plyed the singles together.   Still lots of thicker areas, but my overall consistency is getting better, and my yardage is improving.

    I got 440 yards on the first braid, and 450 yards on the second braid.

    Is a spinning addiction an affliction?  I find myself twitching and wanting to sit and spin when I am away from my wheel for more than a day.  It is so meditative for me.  I will just have to settle for knitting for a few days.  I am starting to understand the appeal of a drop spindle.

    • Mrs. Peterson 5:01 pm on September 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Anytime you want your drop spindle back, give me a holler. I have five now, plus a couple of tinker spindles Franklin made.


    • knitting1105 7:33 pm on September 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I said that I am understanding the appeal. I still remember the frustration of trying the spindle. Keep it. Maybe someday I will try it again.


  • knitting1105 7:36 pm on September 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s my Birthday! 

    I had a great day today.  First my sister posted this virtual cake on our family blog.  I LOVE it!

    Then, I got all of this wonderful stuff in a package from one of my Ravelry birthday Twins.  This is the second year that we have done an exchange, and it is a lot of fun to get a package from another knitter, especially who has the same birthday.   I was wondering how she knew that I loved all things Paris and Poodles, then looked at the info I wrote about myself…

    The yarn is a Canadian company, Tanis Arts Fiber, that I have never tried.  I will have to think of the perfect sock pattern for these.

    My next step was to put on my favorite shoes:

    My favorite Fall sweater:

    And my favorite purse:

    And head into the City to check out a couple of new yarn stores that opened in the past year.  While neither proved interesting to me, it was a great day to be out, and I found some fabulous lamps that I want to get whenever my basement gets in order.

    Next, a nap to continue to combat the head cold that I have had all week.

    Then, a visit from a good friend, calls from friends, lots of texts, Ravelry notes, Facebook wishes, and finally 3 good friends and a bottle of wine on my front porch.  My husband is out shopping for dinner fixings, a Nicoise salad, and more wine.

    This year perhaps more than ever I appreciate my health, family and the amazing friends that I have.  That is a good Birthday.

    • Alyssa 10:22 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Happy Birthday (slightly belated, sorry!) 🙂


    • Andrew 1:46 pm on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      It’s another Eiffel tower keychain! Fantastic. Speaking of which, I found yours and forgot to give it to you yesterday. Glad you had a nice day and was happy to be one of the three good friends on the porch.


    • Mimi 3:27 pm on September 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      D’oh! Way belated (but heartfelt nonetheless) happy birthday to you, Frances! Hope you’ve somehow managed to extend the good bday feelings 🙂


  • knitting1105 9:23 pm on September 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Team Judy 

    On Saturday I participated in the Michigan Chapter of the ALS fundraising walk (here is a video link).  This was in honor of my dear friend Judy.  We have been best friends for over 30 years.  We lived together in college, I was her Maid of Honor, she and her husband supported me in Chicago as I struggled to find my first job, we had Children at the same time, and have shared common experiences over most of our adult life. Last January, Judy got the positive diagnosis of ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  A devastating illness that slowly robs the body of muscle control, and has no cure.  Saturday was a day of celebration and hope.  Judy had over 100 people there walking for her team, she raised over $15,000 (I was second highest in pledges thanks to all my friends and family), and she was surrounded by love and support.

    My respect for Judy’s fight in this is huge.  I have been struggling with a head cold for 2 days, and find it hard to get things done.  Judy fights every morning to get out of bed, get dressed and eat.  It is so hard to watch one of the most vibrant, energetic people I have known succumb to this disease.  We still find ways to laugh every day and appreciate the good things in life—kittens, chocolate, wine (kind of in that order too).  The love and support of my friends and family has buoyed me as I try to provide Judy and Bob with as much support as I can muster.  We will all need your continued prayers and support as time goes on.  The disease is taking parts of her away quicker than anyone would have predicted, though thanks to technology and Apple, she has a voice activated software program that has enabled communication.

    Judy felt the love and support on Saturday as did I (Lloyd even walked!).  Many of the people on the walk were from Judy’s choir, the award-winning Detroit Concert Choir, and at the end of the walk they sang a beautiful rendition of the Irish Blessing song:

    May the road rise to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    The rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

    You can still donate if you wish.  The link to my page is here.

  • knitting1105 7:39 am on September 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone, Kathryn Stockett, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis   

    The Help 

    The book, the movie, and how I lost my Help.

    My book club had this as the selection for this month to coincide with the release of the movie.  I actually saw the movie about a month ago when I had friends in town and it had just been released.  Then, I finished the book this week, actually a few minutes before seeing the movie a second time.  Usually I like to read a book prior to seeing a movie, as the book is always so much better and detailed than a movie ever could be.  This was surprising, as I loved the movie and the book, and felt that each did some parts better.  The actresses in this movie, many relative unknown ones, were perfectly cast.  My only complaint would be that Skeeter should have been played by someone tall, as that seemed to be such a huge part of her personality in the book.   I actually liked how they portrayed the relationship between Skeeter and Stuart in the movie better.  And Hilly was such a great villainous character.  But, the most enduring character in my view was Celia, an uneducated white woman in the south who knew no racial boundaries.  If you can’t read the book, the movie is a must.   The male characters are really minor parts, but even a man would get a lot out of this movie.  It is not a chick flick, but a discussion on race relations, and what makes one person superior to another (usually justified in their own head only).

    It was ironic that on the day I finished the book and saw the movie for the second time, my cleaning lady of 1 year quit on me.  Apparently my insistence on natural cleaning supplies, recycling and no paper products was too much for her.  I had never had help cleaning the house before, while it was good I just might use this money to purchase that lovely Jensen wheel that I want.  A few months of cleaning by myself, and I could get that wheel.   Now to convince my husband of that logic.  I bet you were wondering how I was going to turn this review into knitting and spinning…

  • knitting1105 1:07 pm on September 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Wisconsin Part 2 

    More sheep to show…
    We also watched the Shetland Sheep judging again.  I just love those little guys, and all the natural variation.  Hard to beat centuries of breeding for endurance.  At one time they were almost extinct, as people wanted just the pure white sheep, and the longer, softer staple.  Nothing like a Shetland wool for Fair Isle knitting.
    The same talented Sheep Shearer from last year was there demonstrating his craft.  It is truly amazing how the sheep lay calmly when flopped on their backs.
    And of course, the sheep dog trials, which are fascinating to watch.  Apparently many of the best dogs were already on their way to Colorado for the national trials, but it was still fun to watch.  The really well-trained dogs respond with simple whistles to go right, left or down.
    I bought 2 books, one that I had been searching for all year, Janel Laidman’s first sock book.  It is out of print, and online they are jacking up the price.  Found it at a vendor at the fair.
    And I found this fascinating book on Estonian mittens.  This must be the year of Estonia, as it is my second beautiful book from that country in less than a month.
    I leave you with more sheep.
  • knitting1105 11:15 pm on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Wisconsin Sheep 

    My husband and I went to Wisconsin last weekend for the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival.  It did not disappoint at all.  I took 2 classes from Kate Larson, Woolen or worsted and Spinning 3 Leicesters.  I loved both classes, Kate is a fabulous teacher whom I would highly recommend to take classes from.  Not only did I finally learn how to really spin woolen vs worsted (twist in the draft zone or not), but I learned all about the Leicester sheep breed, and how to flick locks, and hand card.  I was so excited that I bought myself a pair of hand carders after the Friday class, and put them to work on Saturday.

    I was having so much fun in my classes that I forgot to take photos except for this one.  Even though I have only been spinning for a year, I was quite pleased with how my spinning held up next to others in the class.  Here are some of the market photos:

    I did a bit of shopping at the market, but this is what I am still drooling over.  Unfortunately, it had a SOLD sign on it when I walked by on Saturday.  There still is a cherry version, that would actually fit perfectly in my house.  I just need to convince my husband that I need to upgrade to this and trade in my Traditional.  My dream, a handmade Jensen wheel:

     It spun like a dream…

    I did pick up some fiber, and 2 books—one I had been on the lookout for, and one surprise.

    First, from Carol at Rivers Edge Fiber Arts Studio.  Now that I can spin, I am excited tp purchase her fiber.  She is the one who went to HS with my dear sister Marilyn, and remembered her.  Marilyn left too soon, and it is so special to find someone who knew her.  This is 60% superwash merino, 30% bamboo and 10% nylon.  Destined to become a pair of socks for myself.

    And some 1 oz balls of natural CVM (Califonia Variegated Mutant) roving.  One of the rarest of sheep in the United States, the California Variegated Mutant is the multi-colored derivative of the Romeldale Breed (Romeldales were first developed in California in the early 1900’s by crossing Rambouillet ewes with Romney rams; CVM development began in the 1960’s).

    Some muffins of mohair and silk from Circle Studio of Oregon, WI.  No website listed, but the back of the business card reads:  “To know a goat is to love a goat”.  I wish that I had purchased more of these when I saw them the first day, as they were all gone when I went back on Saturday:

    And these 2 balls of roving dyed with natural dyes from Handspun by Stefania.  Dan picked the green for a pair of mittens and a hat for himself.  The brighter colors are for me.   This is Coopworth dyed with Osage and Indigo

    And, Corriedale & Silk dyed with Madder and Weld (?)

    And sheep of course…


  • knitting1105 12:52 pm on September 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


  • knitting1105 9:41 am on September 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    Baby Booties & Spinning 

    I finished up these baby booties last Saturday while driving to and from the Milwaukee Art Museum.  We went for the day to see the China exhibit, which friends had raved about.  It was good, but I wish that I had not made a special trip – did not live up to the hype, and I thought that the curation could have used some help.  The informative placards were not well-lit, and often in hard to reach or obscure places.  The exhibit did not do a good job of explaining the entire history behind the gardens that were on display.  Perhaps we would have enjoyed it more if we had taken an audio tour.  Oh well, at least I finished these:

    Project Specs
    Pattern: Saartje’s Booties
    Pattern Source: free from Saartje Knits
    Yarn: Dale of Norway Baby Ul, dark pink and lt green
    Needles: US 1 DPN’s
    Date Started: 9/3/11
    Date Finished: 9/3/11
    Finished Dimensions: Size Newborn large

    I promised the parents a sweater also, but am waiting to see if the sex is correct.  They had an ultrasound, and think that it is a girl, but those are not known to be a perfect indicator.  So, when the baby is born, I will make an appropriate sweater, but felt I needed to gift something in the meantime.

    I also am in a desperate race to clear up some spinning bobbins to take with me to the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, which is this weekend.  This yarn was plyed together yesterday, Jade from Fiber Optic, 85% BFL and 15% silk.  475 yards of 2-ply.

    This was the braid, which I had shown previously:

    • Mrs. Peterson 11:43 am on September 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wow Frances. That is just gorgeous.


  • knitting1105 8:17 am on September 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Spinning Inspiration 

    I  finally finished plying my Merino spun roving from Expertly Dyed.  The color is Mediterranean, and I ended up with 620 yards of 2-ply from a 4 oz braid.  This is really pretty, and when I proudly showed it to a friend the other day, she commented that it looked like the colors of the Mediterranean.  I guess they dyer got it right.  I am thinking of ordering another braid so that I can have enough yardage to knit this up into a large shawl.

    A Ravelry group called Completely Twisted & Arbitrary Spin-Along features a different Indy dyer every month.  Photos are submitted under a chosen topic for inspiration, and then the dyer chooses the top one or two to make rovings from.  August was gardens, and a photo of a Peacock and a Coral Reef led to these 2 rovings from Fiber Optic.  Of course, hearing about this from one of my favorite dyers, I had to get a couple of each (and another reason why I did not purchase anything from her booth at Stitches).  The Coral Reef is really very bright, I will have to think about that one some more, and what I would like to use the finished yarn for.

    Peacock was a surprise to me, as it looked more uniform and purple in the photos, so I was surprised by the variations of blue/purple/white and the subtleties.  This one I am anxious to spin up.  None of the photos that I took of this really did it justice.

    Now that I seem to have some proficiency at spinning, I am going to try to plan what I want to knit with my hand spun before I start spinning, and even sometimes before I purchase it.  I have quite the large basket now of handspun that I need to knit up.  Many of the yarns are a bit bulkier, and the quantities are not as large.  I am thinking of starting on a marathon hat and mitten knitting fest to use those up.

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