Thursday, August 14, 2008

Work progresses!

The Wedding Shawl is still growing. I know it's hard to tell from the pictures though. I'm averaging about half of one repeat in an evening. I probably won't make it to the 13th repeat, but I'm going to go as far as I can in the little time I have left.

Baltic Sea Stole
Here's a closeup of the lace pattern and beading:

Also, check out this little guy:

I found him at JoAnn Fabrics for just 89 cents. I thought he was too cute to pass up. They're running a huge sale getting rid of their summer stuff right now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Olympic Influence

The Youngest is an extremely willful, stubborn, over-active, independent child. I'm constantly mortified at his behavior. I've said many times that if I had had him first, I would never have had a second. I can definitively say that the Eldest is far easier to control and influence. A compliant child, if you will. The Youngest? Not ever.

However, there are the rare days in which the Youngest does something that I think is kinda cute.

This week, he's decided that he's the world's greatest gymnast. Not because he takes gym class, but because of the influence of Olympic television on young imaginative minds.

He saw a clip of some gymnasts on the parallel bars. He immediately raced over to the couch and coffee table, put one hand on each and swung his little legs out in front of him. Of course he then lost control, fell, and hit his head on the coffee table. He picked himself up and proceeded to try again. Nobody was going to tell him he couldn't do it.

Next he saw some men doing high diving. Seeing as how we have neither a pool in our living room nor a diving board, he made his own. A child's step stool and a big beanbag did the job. He even put his hands over his head, just like the diver's did before they (he) jumped.

I'm delighted at the creativity and imagination this child is showing lately. The eldest has always been a more logical and literal thinker. Nothing wrong with that, but I love to watch a child's imagination at work.

BTW, he has also decided that the molding in the doorways of our house are really big trees that he wants to climb. He's thrown major tantrums because he can't manage to make it up to the ceiling, much less an inch off the ground. How do you explain why that one won't happen to a 2 year old?


I also had a dream last night. I dreamed that I bought some mascara and had to justify that purchase to my mother. I'm 38 years old, about to be 39. Why in the world would I feel like I have to justify the mascara that I bought to my Mom, who could care less anyway? Is my subconscious feeling guilty? Is my shawl not coming along fast enough?

I'll have a Wedding Shawl update for you tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Great Videos on Carding and Spinning

Well, the Olympics might be great for the Wedding Shawl, but it's not so great for my wrists and forearms. I had to stop early last night to rest them. I was starting to get shooting pains in both which is not a good sign for my health and well-being. I did get in 11 rows though. Not bad even though it was frustrating knowing that I had 2 more hours of tv watching to do and couldn't knit through it. It's gotten so that I can't sit down to watch tv without my fingers getting twitchy from not having anything to do. Spinning was out of the question as well since it leads to the same problems. Oh well.

I've gotten to the point where I can card the Shetland Fleece. I don't use proper hand cards for two reasons: 1. I don't have any and 2. They're expensive. I do however, use these. They are the Extra Large size dog combs from Petsmart. They are curved and come with a nifty little come for cleaning them. They are smaller than most cards, but work just fine for making small rolags for spinning. They are also great for flicking your wool as well.

I wanted more detail about hand carding. I've taken a spinning class where I was taught how to do this, but it was a while ago and I've gotten to where I can't remember everything the lady taught me (old age you know.)

While I was hunting for info, I found some great Youtube videos on Handcarding wool and Spinning on a Wheel. They're done by an English lady named Sue Macniven and they pay great attention to detail. She's a great teacher. I wish I had seen some of these when I first got my wheel. I'll list them for you:

Wool Carding with Sue Mcniven
Wool Carding Part Two
Beginning Spinning Part One
Beginning Spinning Part Two

I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wedding Shawl progress and more Fleece Study

The Olympics have been good for the Wedding Shawl. It's forcing me to sit for 3.5 hours every night and work on this thing. When I stopped last night, my right hand felt like jelly. I could barely hold onto the needle. Ibuprofen is my new best friend.

I've put the knitting into overdrive. I've only got about two weeks left to work on it. I really wish I could work on this while the Youngest was awake and about.

Meanwhile, something that I can work on during the day is another fleece sample. This one is Shetland fleece. This time, I put it into a lingerie bag and immersed it (with absolutely no agitation or swirling) into really hot water with some Dawn dishwashing detergent to get the grease out. I left it for 15 minutes then put it into the sink next to it to rinse in hot water for a few minutes.

I then set it out onto a towel and rolled it up and smooshed it (gently) to get the water out. It's now hanging around on the back porch while it dries.

I think this time that I was successful. The last fleece I did had a bunch of felting through it and was a royal pain to card and spin.

Of course, this fleece sample was also much cleaner than the last one.