Friday, April 25, 2008

Yuck and OOH!

You know those weird searches that people do in the search engines that lead to your site? Well, there's one that's kind of creeping me out.

One of my first posts was about a pair of socks that I made for the Eldest. In the post I mentioned that they were silly socks for silly boy feet. Did you know that there are people out there searching for boy feet? Are there really pedophile foot fetishists out there? That's just sick people. It kind of grosses me out to think that some strange dude is out there getting off to a photo of The Eldest's feet. Yuck. What is the world coming to?

Anyway, I have no new updates on the knitting. I did about 10 rows today and my wrists starting hurting. I need to inspect how I'm knitting. They shouldn't be hurting after only 10 rows even if the cables are slightly tight.

I do however, have a pic of the yarn that I've spun up.

Here is the roving that I started out with:

Here is how it spun up:
Click to see the pretty colors!

I still haven't made a decision on a name for the colorway yet, but I really appreciate the suggestions so far. I really didn't expect that the color in the plied yarn would look like this. It's absolutely amazing to me the difference of colors from roving to yarn. Magic!

In a few hours I'm off to the lake with the kiddos. Poor hubby has to stay home and be productive. Me, I'll be sharing 2 year old temper tantrums with the Grandparents. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

Just thought I'd Share - This video, An Engineer's Guide to cats completely cracks me up:


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Seeing Red!

Today's post is brought to you by the number 2 and the color red. Yep, there's two red objects for your viewing pleasure.

When I got home from child chauffering this afternoon, there was a package waiting for me. A few months ago I had entered a contest from the Meema blog. I was a runner up, but she said she'd send alpaca my way anyway. I had forgotten all about it until I saw the city where it came from - St. Paul, MN. Oh boy! Alpaca!

This is way cool! Look what she sent:

It's red alpaca!
How sweet this lady is! There is just the barest hint of yellow mixed in with the red. Gorgeous! It's incredibly soft too. The Youngest grabbed it out of my hands before I could do a thing and rubbed it all over his face. Luckily for me, he missed wiping the snotty nose with it.

Anyway, a big THANK YOU to MEEMA!

For our second red object, I lay before you a partial sleeve:

This sucker is taking a while. And it's not like I haven't been working on it either. This may be, next to Annie Modesitt's corset, the most complicated thing that I've knit. Some of my cables tend to get a little tight and after a while it makes my wrist hurt to knit on it. But it's turning out so great! (ahem, So far. I don't want to jinx myself.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mishap at Grandma's - Pic intensive

While I was at my spinning class on Saturday, there was a mishap at Grandma's house. Unbeknownst to me, the Youngest was hell-bent on tripping over his own feet and bashing his face on a bed rail, all while playing tag with his Grandmother. My hubby already told his Mom that if this sort of thing keeps up she just might lose babysitting privileges. He was kidding, of course. :) There's no way someone could have prevented something like this from happening. My kids always manage to hurt themselves when they're right next to a supervising adult. :sigh:

When I got to her house, there was a small quarter of an inch cut, or deep scratch across his nose almost between his eyes. Nobody thought much about it at the time. There were no bruises or swelling and he didn't even cry over it, not once. So, no big deal, right? The next day though....

Take a look at this. I've taken a picture each day so you can see the progress of bruising and swelling. I've been terrified of taking him out of the house for fear that someone would think I had abused him.

Sunday Morning - notice the swelling between the eyes.

Closeup of swelling - It actually got bigger than this.Monday afternoon
The swelling is gone now, but he's starting to resemble a racoon. How do you keep a rough and ready two year old from knocking himself silly?

Taking a pic of Mommy taking a pic of him:

Monday, April 21, 2008

A different fiber-y goodness

Late last year (Oct or Nov?) I ordered several pounds of roving from Sheep Shed Studio. They have some great stuff. Most of it is rescued Mill Ends that for whatever reason doesn't get spun, but it's all excellent for spinning. It was all natural colored and has been waiting patiently for a new look. Last night, it happened.

The Eldest and I had a craft project. He just loves those. We weighed out approx. 4 oz. of roving and soaked it in warm water and a generous dash of vinegar for 30 minutes, then let the water out and gently pressed down on the wool to get the excess water out.

Taking it's bath:

While it was soaking, the fun began. We got out a spare pack of Easter egg dyes and added 1 dye tablet, 3 tbsp of vinegar and 1/4 water to each cup.

We placed one layer of roving in the bottom of my crockpot (these are food safe dyes so it was okay to use my one and only crockpot. If you use acid dyes, please don't use the crockpot again for food, make it a dedicated crafting crockpot instead.) On the bottom layer we drizzled the purple dye and two blue dyes over the roving. We then added another layer of roving and drizzled the two greens and one yellow on it. Then the red, pink and orange was used for the top layer. I added a bit of water to the pot by pouring it onto the top rim and letting it drip down the sides making sure not to pour it directly on the roving itself.
Looks bright doesn't it?
I was very paranoid that I would felt my roving. I made sure not to stir or agitate the water in any way in order to avoid felting. The colors looked very intense in the pot didn't they? I was also worried that we would get "mud" colors since we used 9 different colors, but oh was it worth it!

The roving sat in my crockpot for 3 hours on low. Then I turned it off, poured out the water and let it all come to room temp before rinsing in lukewarm water. The roving then went into the washer for a few minutes of spin cycle and was hung to dry the rest of the way.

This is what came out of all that work:
Check out the colors! - click to enlarge for fine detail.

It's perfect and ready for spinning! What should I name this colorway?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It just gets better and better!

Oh the spinning is getting better!

It's amazing to me how much learning on a wheel has helped me with the drop spindle. I'm getting consistent, thin singles now. Which, on the whole, is a great thing since I don't have a wheel yet and have gotten no bites on the things I've put up on craigslist that would finance that wheel.

Has anyone heard of the "Miss America" ply? At least that was what one of my instructors this weekend called it. It's great for making sample size skeins, not so much for full size. It has worked great so far.

This ply begins with you wrapping one end of your singles around your middle finger a few times and then moving the wrap to around your hand and continuing to wrap until you get to the end of the single. You then unwrap the single from around your middle finger, then put both ends together and attach them to either the spindle or your wheel. As your wheel or spindle begins to be twisted to the left, you move your wrist so that the hand moves up and down slightly, thus allowing the yarn to move off of your hand from both top and bottom. It really is difficult to write this down. I'll definitely get this for you in a video sometime soon.

I have been scouring the web for videos on plying and there are very few for the drop spindle. I hate that. For those of us who don't have the money to go take a lot of classes or don't have access to someone who can mentor us, it's so frustrating. (Especially for those of us in warmer climates where there just aren't that many spinners let alone knitters.) I hadn't been able to really "get it" from reading about it. I needed to see it either in person or in a short video. Why aren't there more out there?

In the pic below is some examples of this weekend's spinning adventures. The skein on top was done on a wheel and plied with a wheel. The bottom one (which I'm quite proud of) was done on the drop spindle and plied with the spindle. Both were done with the "Miss America" ply.

Click to enlarge me!

And now that I've written up this post, I'm going to sit and watch my site statistics to see how many hits I get for "Miss America". It should be amusing to see how many people click on this post expecting to see long-legged voluptuous women instead of long-skeined voluptuous yarn. :)