Finished Firsts

Finally, that finished report on the first yarn spun and plied on the new Aura.  It also happens to be my first beaded yarn.

Step 1:  I spun up some laceweight singles in a Corridale (wool).

That was the easy, breezy part, especially with the Aura, the wool-eater.

Step 2 is where it got dicey.  I bought some size 10 crochet cotton in a pale blue, and strung three small tubes of beads on it.  The stringing alone took almost an hour.

There were FOUR knots like that before I finished plying all 350 yards.  I actually had about 400 yards of the wool, but after going back for two more tubes of beads (still not quite enough) and cutting and RE-stringing those beads so many times, I wasn’t about to go buy more cotton.

The beads are actually blue lined with silver, and none of these photos  accurately reflect their stand-alone color.

As seen here with my yarn-guard in the background, I did quickly and sloppily navajo ply the remaining wool at the end too.  It’s hard to navjo ply laceweight!  I don’t think I’ll do that again.

Because my new bobbins don’t fit on my beautiful lazy kate, the Knight and I fashioned a very basic model.

One box, one long, thin needle, and voila!  I’ve already put in a request for a proper Majacraft Universal Lazy Kate AND ordered the Knight to create an “adapter” rod that will allow my lovely Yarndemon Kate to continue to serve me well, regardless of what wheel/bobbins I use.

This was my first beaded yarn, and it could be my last.  That’s why when Ann begged me to make some for her, I told her this is hers.  I honestly don’t know if I’ll go to this much trouble again.  Although, I’ve since learned there are little spinny bead bowl thingees that literally spin the beads onto  the needle, onto the yarn for you… 

I love to ply, generally, but the knots and running out of beads twice sucked the joy right out of this for me.  It isn’t perfect, but I know Ann will love it anyway, so the yarn is getting a better home than it would have with me, I think.

Oh – and I’ve called it light fingering, but it’s a REALLY light fingering at 15 wraps per inch. 

I do want to try plying with metallic thread, and I would love to hear other ideas you have for blending handspun with something else (to take full advantage of the yardage).  I’m spinning that blue Fairy batt now, and it will be laceweight when plied.  I am leaning towards plying it with a metallic thread to keep it a true laceweight.  It does  have some slubs (chunks of fiber that simply do not want to yield and be spun into something smooth), and for a change, I’m leaving those slubs in the yarn.

I’ll be spinning that batt this weekend.  I’m also on Sissy watch.  You can read her blog to find out why, but so far, she hasn’t been sick, thankfully.  Y’all were quiet too yesterday, so catching up on my blog reading is already crossed off the to-do list.  I also want to figure out how and where to store my fiber stash, not to be confused with the yarn library.  The other spinners out there… how do you store your fiber?  In plastic tubs like the yarn, or ??

Oh – I also want new running shoes, and if Sis continues to keep those pills down, I might scoot in to Ragged Mountain Running Shop for a personalized fit and shoe recommendation.  I do realize running is high impact and thus, not ideal for my back, but I can’t just walk – seriously.   My body just sneaks into a jog when I’m not looking.   I’ve even tried race walking, and while I have been known to complain that I hate running, I ran track AND cross country in high school, and then would go run the stairs in the hose tower at the firehouse when I was working and couldn’t get to the gym.   I think I’m a runner, so I may as well buy shoes that will help protect my back as much as possible.  There’s also nothing like running to burn those calories which I must incinerate to lose this weight, which isn’t good for my back either…

What’s up for your weekend?

Power & Illusion

I had a very relaxing weekend with almost nothing to show for it up until Sunday.  I did some things that needed to be done around the house, spent time chatting with friends, and amazed myself with how little I managed to accomplish.

Until yesterday afternoon.  The Junior League, or at least our local group, has a neat concept called “cottage meetings.”  Instead of having business meeting after business meeting, once or twice a year, we instead gather in very small groups for these little get-togethers.  The whole idea is to meet a different group of women than those you see regularly and perhaps pick up a new skill, hobby or interest.

I signed up for a jewelry making session.  Now, some of you know I tried to make stitch markers for a swap a few years ago and found the process frustrating and nothing close to fun.  I’m still not entirely sure why I signed up for this particular workshop, but I found myself looking forward to it.

Whitney, the East Coast sister of Whitley Designs, was our instructor.  I knew from speaking with friends who went to the same workshop last year that Whitney was patient and adept at sharing her talents.

Still, I was taken aback when she suggested that I make earrings AND a necklace.  I was supposed to bring a charm or little trinket to integrate into my jewelry, and I had somethings in mind, but being me, I went to look for them when I should have been walking out the door, and they weren’t in my jewelry spot.  Huh.  They weren’t the other place I thought they might be either, so I headed out empty-handed.

Whitney helped me select the earring shape first, and then, I setlled on the labradorite stone.  I must confess that I was in no small part inspired by Whitney’s delightful labs, the fact that the other woman in attendance also had a lab, and the memories of the labrador from my youth.  I took a moment to pat myself on the back this morning when I learned that 

…it is a power stone, allowing you to see through illusions and determine the actual form of your dreams and goals. It is excellent for strengthening intuitions.

Use labradorite to:

I love to read about the meanings of flowers, gemstones, etc., although I don’t actually use them in meditation or anything.

The girls thought they were kissing stones.   The center stone on the necklace is abalone, I think…  THIS site says abalone has some sort of helpful properties for spinal degenerative disease.  Nice thought!

How was your weekend?  No, I didn’t get to go see the wheel.  It seems they were shipped from the manufacturer last week, so there’s customs to deal with before it can start trying to find me.

Finally Friday

As a general rule, time flies.  However, this week has DRAGGED on, even with Amy‘s fun visit yesterday.  (Do see her post for cute sheep and more…)  Nevertheless, it IS Friday, and the weekend will not be a wash-out!

Some of you will be disappointed to learn that I don’t have any fibery goodness to share.  However, I do have a couple of little finds to mention.

I can’t tell you how much I love this design!   It’s a notecard by  Take It Personally.   Do poke around her site…  I see lots of other cards I’d love to have…

I also couldn’t resist these millefiore stitch markers.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, I am always drawn to millefiore glass.   I believe these were made by a Stony Mountain Fibers employee…   They’re definitely larger than life on my monitor, but I wanted you to be able to see the millefiore!

What do you have planned for your weekend?   We’re looking forward to time with the Knight’s brother and his family, and I plan to get some knitting done, and I think it’s about time to try again to bond with my spindle…

The Unexpected

(Note:  Knitting content below!)

Mrs. P. (the dear woman married to Pissy) called yesterday to mention that there was a car in at the dealership where they both work that I really should come test drive.  So, I did, but more just to rule it out than anything else.  You see, several people who know me well – including the Knight – think I need to at least consider sedans in my hunt for the next vehicle in my life.  I’m still not sure about that, but I can tell you I was unexpectedly pleased behind the wheel of the 2010 Ford Fusion.

Admittedly, the model I drove didn’t have some of my musts, but I still got a good feel for the vehicle, and liked it enough to ask the salesman to call me when they get an SLE in. 

What impressed me:

  • SYNC.  Without any instruction, two touches allowed me to find my beloved ’80s station on Sirius radio.  I know the Knight would love all the other things SYNC will do for us, including its E-911 feature, included in the SLE. 
  • The ride.  That means comfort, quiet, steering… the works. 
  • The view from the driver’s seat.  Previously, I’ve rolled my eyes when the Knight waxes poetic over a dashboard or a stereo system or whatever.  This car made me happy, just looking at the turquoise gauges, the easy steering wheel mounted controls, and the “stack.”


right side only

right side only








  • The sunroof.  (Moonroof?  I know there’s a difference, but I have to have the kind that is power, slides all the way open or tilts up just to vent that hot air this time of year.)   I’d forgotten what it was like to have a vehicle with a sunroof you can use at any speed without all sorts of weird pressure issues inside the cabin.
  • Fuel economy.  It’s conceivable that as much interstate driving as I do, I could get 31 mpg.  That’s roughly 30% more than my average now, and still 25% or so more than the best we’ve ever gotten with the Lexus.
  • The Ford dealership is literally “over the hill” from our shop.  Not that I plan to have to be there much, but it’s as convenient as it gets. 

What I’m not sure about:

  • It’s smaller than the Lexus in the passenger compartment.
  • It has a trunk, not a to-the-roof cargo area.
  • It has “command” seating, which gives me a better view than the average sedan, but not the one I like best, which is from a full-size truck.  (I know, compromise…)
  • It’s a sedan.  A pretty sedan, a pert sedan, but nevertheless…

If it came in a wagon, I think I’d have fewer reservations.  As it is, I’ll drag the Knight along when they get one in with all the features we want.

The summary:  The 2010 Fusion didn’t eliminate itself.  Instead, it leaves me confused, and wondering where the compromise between cargo and fuel economy will lead me.

So, for the knitting bit.  It’s a spoiler, so if you don’t want to see photos of the second Embrace the Lace kit, you’d better stop reading here.

embrace the lace 1

Okay, here come the spoilers!

Group shot...

Group shot...

The gorgeous yarn, by Mama Llama, in a cashmere lace.  I didn’t dare fondle it too much, because Gretchen and I are still all but joined at the shoulder when I’m home, and she did have QUITE the thing for cashmere when she was a wee pup…

The most beautiful project bag, in my (today anyway) favorite colors…  It’s a Julip bag, designed just for delicate lace projects!  I must confess that I didn’t know of such a thing, and I’m eager to try it out. 

The extras, part I

The extras, part I

MJ is crazy about the heart boxes that held beads for the project and a stitch marker.   She’s really impressed with Woolgirl’s extras too, at least with all the handmade papercrafts that are in each package.

Here’s the heart too, just for the other crafters out there.    There were also all kinds of heart confetti sprinkled within the package.  I’m pretty sure the fur-girls ate a piece or two each, but considering their adventures on Saturday, I’m sure a few sparklies won’t hurt ’em.

Photo courtesy of the designer

Photo courtesy of the designer

Well, this is long enough, so I’ll stop here.  How goes your Tuesday?

Sunday Morning Quickie

Actually, I whipped it out last night, but if I’d titled this Saturday Night Quickie, your minds DEFINITELY would be in the gutter.

Since I just did an FO report on this project yesterday, I’ll simply note that I used the “Viola” colorway and an unnamed, pretty green bead that really reflects what’s around it far better than the photo shows.  The other one had a recipient from pre-knitting, but this one sure does feel nice on my neck.  I might have to run into town and buy the colors of Grace and the beads I need to make one to go with each of the THREE dresses I’ll be wearing for the funeral stuff this week.

Oh – and these are roughly 16-17 inches long (inside diameter), with about 3 beads per inch on the narrow, single bead portion.  So, it would be easy enough to add length by just CO 2, B1 twenty times plus however many more you need on each side.  They also stretch a bit, but I don’t care for anything choking me, so I won’t suggest that anyone with a bigger neck would want to wear one as-is.  The yarn is soft on the skin, but there is some weight there from the beads.

Also, Grace the Queen of Shawls is having her second blogversary.  She’s giving away one of her beautiful shawls, so be sure to pop over and enter her contest.  You might want to grab a link to your favorite free shawl pattern before you go…

I finally have the shawl for my aunt in to soak.  The water turned red!!  Gah.  Tofutsies has never failed me before, so I’m hoping that in 10 minutes when I pull it out to dry/block, I won’t be disappointed.  The colors were spot-on for auntie, so I hope they don’t fade.

ETA: post-shawl bath

Sadly, at least on my monitor, this rather bright pink/pale red is very accurate.  The shawl looks fine, but I can’t help but wonder…  Tofutsies has never done this to me before.  I always launder my reds and purples separately, in their own load, so I guess I need to cut Tofutsies some slack and just sigh, knowing that all too often, reds bleed.