Thursday, November 13, 2008

Artsy-Fartsy Day!

Raise your hand if you live in Canada, China or in Antarctica and you heard me scream this afternoon. Go ahead, I'll wait. Yep, thought so.


It all started innocently enough with this:

A pale pink scarf, some foam, a pile of Cotswold Curls and a nasty piece of mischief called a felting needle.

You see, today was officially Artsy-Fartsy day at the House 'O Shea and I wanted to play around with the above tools. I had seen some of this done at SAFF and thought it would be fun to give it a try. Try to make an odd felted scarf that is.

One of the first things I managed to do was to stick one of those barbed needles almost all the way through my finger. I now have a great respect for the felting needle, let me tell you.

When you heard me scream, did you also hear me censoring myself? I had an almost three year old at my side at the time and this is the one that thinks he's part parrot. You cannot under any circumstance cuss like a sailor in front of him and expect him to go back to church on Sunday with a clean mouth. Not going to happen.

So there was lots of motherf***&^*&%&$^$^%!!! and SH*^*^T! and D^#^-IT! and so forth and so on.

Anyway, the weird scarf thing now looks like this:

Very artsy-fartsy indeed. And it looks better if you click on the pic. It's not finished. I'll add another layer and then probably wet felt it just for fun.

I have no purpose for this thing. Don't really want it. But I have to say that except for stabbing my middle finger to death and covering it up with a Sesame Street Band-aid, it was lots of fun to do.

Think maybe someone will buy the d*mned thing?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Knitting pics and a recipe!

Here's the progress on the first sleeve so far. It's moving slowly as usual. I'm afraid that I won't get more added on tonight since I've got choir practice though. Oh well.

And check out this beautiful loaf of Beer Bread:

This tastes so yummy and is very easy to make. It's a quick bread, but because of the beer still tastes yummy. Here's the recipe for you:

3 cups self rising flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 12oz. bottle or can of beer

Mix first two ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the beer and continue to mix. The dough will be very sticky.

Pour into lightly greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes.

Before baking I sprinkled a little oat bran on the top just for appearances sake. You could also do this with oatmeal as well.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Walk In The Fall

I know I promised knitting pics today, but I'm about to leave to go to a cub scouts meeting with the Eldest and don't have time to take them.

What I do have is some pics from a walk at Kennesaw Mountain that the Youngest and I took today. It was absolutely beautiful there. It was about 55 degrees and sunny and perfect for a long walk.

I discovered that this is the perfect way to get a child and dog ready for naptime. Both were exhausted when we got back. The kid went down for a nap and the dog curled up and didn't move an inch for two whole hours. Wonderful!

Forgive the over pixelated pics. Camera phones are not the best. I do like the look though, makes it kinda artsy, don't ya think?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spinning Question and Knitting Start Overs

Remember when I built my DIY Hackle? Well, I got a great question about the differences between Hackles/Combs and Hand Cards and wanted to share the question/answer.

The question was:
I found a link to your site from yarnzombie's blog--I just wanted to say thanks for posting such great pictures and infomation. I am a way new spinner and have been looking for a way to build wool combs with hair picks. I just have one question and it sounds kinda dumb-- what's the difference between wool combs and a hackle? Actually I guess I have two questions....does this process replace hand carding? I have mohari from my own angora goats and I think that the combing/hackle processw would work better as it is a longer staple. I will have to look up your page on ravelry. Thanks again and have a great weekend!

First, let me say Thank You for the great comment on my blog. You made my day yesterday when I read that!

Now, on to my answer:
Combs and Hackles are essentially the same thing in my opinion. They are both for dealing with long staple fibers, so it should be perfect for your angoras.

I would not say that they replace hand cards though.

Both hand cards (or extra large dog slicker brushes like I use) and hackles/combs are great for blending fibers. But here's the differences:

1. Hand cards would be better for shorter staples, hackles/combs for longer ones.

2. Depending on how you want to spin, the method that you use to straighten out and separate the fibers makes a big difference. Hand carding makes the "mini batts" or rolags that are great for woolen yarns and hackles/combs are great for the worsted yarns.

Of course, there's absolutely nothing stopping you from ignoring any of the above and doing things your own way. There are so many ways to spin yarn. *You* are the master of your spinning and if another method works better for you, go for it.

Please remember that I'm not a spinning expert by any means. I'm still new to the hobby myself! I feel I've learned so much already, but I'm years away from being proficient at producing by own yarn. While I am not an expert, I could absolutely be considered an addict. :)

I re-picked up a knitting project that I started back in April before I got de-railed by all my Summer knitting deadlines. Remember this?

Well, I picked it back up and spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out where I had left off in the pattern. Then I remembered that there had been a problem with gauge. So I got out the measuring tape and the completed sleeve and went to town measuring. Turns out the sleeve was way too long and I decided that it would really bother me if I didn't re-do everything.

My reasoning for ripping out everything that I had previously done was this:
1. It was going to bug me forever if I didn't.
2. Row gauge in this pattern is going to be critical!
  • I really don't want sleeves that long and stopping early in the pattern wouldn't look right.
  • Also, when I get to the yoke part, the way I was going was going to add a good two inches around my shoulders making it not fit right up there at all.
So. The hours and hours of knitting disappeared in about 15 minutes flat. Oy vey or whatever the saying is.

I am now 3 inches into the first sleeve, again, but this time I'm using a size 6 needle instead of a 7 and my row gauge seems to be spot on. My stitch gauge doesn't seem to have been affected at all.

If you tackle this sweater, I wouldn't suggest doing a swatch in stockinette as the pattern suggests. You're not going to get the same gauge as what you would get when you do the cables, it's just not. going. to. happen. But that's just my 2 cents for ya.

I'll have another update with pics for you tomorrow!