Goodness part 2

I don’t even know where to start, so fasten your seatbelt and hang on.

Firstly, I’ve given another update on the fur-girls’ blog.  The short version is Gg is doing well, had her drain removed and the new vet is awesome.  Stitches come out soon, and we MIGHT be able to ditch the cone of shame then, which would make my little “I’m healed already!” girl very happy.

Then, my personal trainer – Sissy – demanded a run yesterday.  I was trying out my other new shoes – the New Balances – and I can say that while the sole is a little firm for my tastes, it performed admirably on wet pavement, over a mucky gravel road and in a brief pounding on the concrete section of the road.  No blisters, and I do have to say I think the NB lacing system suits me best of all the brands I’ve worn.   Maybe in time, the sole will feel more flexible.

Courtesy of Amy's blog

Courtesy of Amy’s blog

While that’s all good, I do have two more pieces of goodness to share.  First, the always thinking of others Amy sent my Christmas present, since we can’t seem to get together.  Why yes, I do feel quite guilty that I can’t get her baby’s present mailed, much less Christmas goodies a month later.  Gah!  

Isn’t it lovely?  I’d love suggestions.  It’s just shy of 400 yds., and if you’re curious about the details, follow the link above to Amy’s post about the handspun.  Thanks so very much Amy, for the beautiful handspun and for your friendship.

photo.JPGLast but hardly least is my tee from Pack Mom.   I entered a contest last month, and I was one of the lucky winners!  It’s a really pretty, dark red tee.  Why yes, a certain DIVA dog has been feeling left out over the past week and does keep inserting herself into things.  I figured it was somehow fitting here…  You know it says “…Pack…” even if her head does cover the P and the A, right?

The well-timed package arrived on Friday, while I was still reeling from a very late night with Gg and the emergency surgery.  It was wrapped in a similar red, tied with a turquoise ribbon.  I just love that color combination, don’t you?

photo.JPGAnd here’s the back of the tee, without any canine models.  Thanks Pack Mom!  Jenn was even very helpful as I tried to figure out what size I wanted.  Those ladies fitted tees are tricky, aren’t they?

Thanks ladies, and thanks to all of you who have checked in on the wee one, offered advice, etc.  It’s all meant so very much, and I hope that we’ve turned the corner and Gg is on the mend.

Have you gotten any goodies in the mail lately?

Finally a Handspun FO

DSC01391Oh, I have knitted with my own handspun, but it’s been a while, and it’s been ridiculously infrequent.   While I don’t have a photo of the fiber or the yarn in a hank, it appears I spun it in the fall of 2009 on my first wheel, the Heavenly Handspinning Bellus

It seems I never reported on the fiber to yarn process, so let me capture some of that now too.

Fiber:  Gypsyknits BFL, c/o Gypsyknits  Pure heaven.  If you haven’t spun with BFL, do.  It is a GREAT novice spinner fiber.  Its staple length (the length of each single hair from the sheepy-sheep) is long enough to not be too hard to spin, soft enough to be worn next to the face or neck, and even in a novice’s hands, it has sproing and a touch of loft.

Yarn:  Over-spun, under-spun, but roughly DK at 15 wraps per inch.    In reality, it ranges from laceweight to worsted.

Plying:  Navajo plied… the only way I ply unless I’m using an accent thread or something.   In plainer language, it is a 3-ply yarn.

Verdict:  For my first “real” effort with “good” fiber, it’s pretty impressive.  I’ve come a long way as a spinner, but this is nothing to be ashamed of.

Now, for the finished object report.


Paws to observe…

Project:  Handspun Tea Cozy Hat

Pattern:  Wooly Wormhead’s Tea Cozy Hat.   A great, simple pattern, designed to “vent” a high ponytail out of the top of the hat.

Yarn:  See above, but note that this photo is the most accurate on my monitor for the hues…

Needles:  Body of hat, US #8 16″ bamboo circular.  At least a size too large for most of the yarn, but I like a hat that breathes, so it suits me just fine.  #6 metal dpns used for crown decreases and i-cord. 

photo.JPGVerdict:  This hat will work for the ponytail-less too, but unless you have a long enough mane for a HIGH ponytail, this probably isn’t the design for you.  I’ll get plenty of use though because when my hair isn’t a in ponytail (generally a lower one) for dog walks, it’s in a clip of some sort, and those  don’t sit well under most hats either.

Yarn verdict?  I’ve dragged out more of my handspun still in my stash and I’m going to knit with it more often!  I do regret that I didn’t use but about half of the ball for this project, but luckily, I have a friend with two little boys who is willing to care for an extra-finicky handspun handknit hat.  If I knit it this year for the eldest boy, the two of them should get lots of wear out of it, right?

Now, to find the right projects for more of my handspun…

Winner, spinner, dinner

Congrats to Katie!  She won the Shutterfly prize.  Katie, I’ll email you with the code and such soon.  Is it tacky to say I hope this means I get to see whatever she creates?  She’s a talented crafter and mom to two adorable boys…


My favorite handspun to date

Tomorrow is the Dog House Yarns & More spinning retreat at Graves Mountain Lodge.  Are you going to be there?  

There’s also another birthday dinner this weekend, and of course dog walks will be worked in early and often – and far.   What’s on your weekend agenda?

Cake, snake and …

August 2011 018

Gg, playing with Sissy's toy from gMarie

Welcome to Thorsday 1.1.   Gretchen has fired off quite a post, so click on over there first.  In the meantime, I’ll address the snake part here too.  I have decided that while Gg and the Knight are quite pleased with themselves for tag-teaming the big ol’ copperhead, I’m not posting photos, because a few of you (Aunt Sus?!) don’t need your hearts in your throats.

No, Gg doesn’t seem to understand why her humans are STILL bent out of shape.  You have to understand that the Knight HATES snakes, and yet he still hunted the runaway scoundrel into the night and made it a non-issue.  And no, I’m not exaggerating; our little 11 lb. priss-pot had a good-sized, adult, fat copperhead backed into a corner in her pen, with Sissy, just like Fred before her, standing behind the JRT barking her support or whatever is going through those hound minds…

Anyhoo, happy first Thorsday here in the Woods.  Even though Gg explained, I have to thank Marjie again for my Sissy-friendly birthday cake, shipped from her northern compound to the woods.  It’s fitting that we celebrate the first Thorsday with photos from the Thorscake shared last night…  but alas, I cannot seem to get the photos to upload from my phone.  Grrr!

Instead, let me distract you with the goodness that came from gMarie instead.

August 2011 005

How’s that for a custom, reversible crate pad?!   Machine wash and dry too.  So cute…

August 2011 008And I promised G I’d show her the photo evidence that Sissy claimed the whole box as her own.  Hem.  Yes, that’s good ol’ basset drool, from one side of the box to the other.  Ugh.  I should have known it was coming…  the girls LOVE boxes from other dog households, and for some reason, G’s hounds always pack a special invitation to slime the contents, or so it seems…

August 2011 010I can’t share everything – I am at work you know – but you have to see this special project bag G made with some handspun I’d given her.  Isn’t it pretty?!  Even if I could sew, I’m sure I wouldn’t have though to make such a happy project bag from the bit of handspun.  And I have to confess that I’m so proud of how fine and soft the yarn is, all knitted up!

DSC01356That’s the before… the bit ‘o handspun I gave G.   I love that she pulled the soft lilac color for the fabric.  It really makes the whole toxic mess – which she called George – quite lovely, doesn’t it?

It’s still Thankful Thursday too, and I’m so thankful for my dear friends – especially Marjie and gMarie – but I also can’t get over how blessed we are that the mean ol’ copperhead didn’t “bite” Gretchen.  Seriously… he was large enough to swallow one of her thin little legs with ease.

… or Sissy.  That poor girl has more than enough problems without adding the neurological damage from a copperhead bite.   Honestly, I’m glad she lived up to her name and just stood behind Gretchen and yelled.

Of course, the Knight gets a shout-out too.  I’ve been called to kill snakes before, but I’m glad he decided this was personal and stomped through the pen, then the yard, with his flashlight and the shovel.   All’s well that ends well, right?

What are you thankful for today?

Floatin’ Along

Welcome to my entry in the Bark ‘n Knit WIP Parade.

A group shot was out of the question, so grab a cuppa’, a snack, and settle into a VERY comfortable chair…

But wait!  Every parade needs some pagent queens, right?


Haddon Wood’s Princess of Joy, more commonly known as Sissy, is riding on the well-used chair of the late Pop.  She is wearing a glow in the dark ruff, accented with orange bells.  She is sponsored by the Woodridge Hound Club.


Next up is the Haddon Wood’s Junior Miss Princess Gretchen Greer.   L’il Miss GG is a foot entry (and thus, she sulks).  She sports a very seasonal gown with a glitzy jack o’ lantern.  She is sponsored by the Hogwarts Crup Alumni Society.

Both princesses’s attire was donated by their doting Gramma MJ.  (And yes, the girls are at work today, and they’d like you to read their very important post today too.)

We now return you to the parade in progress.

First up are my spinning works in progress, just because there are fewer of them and they are easier to cover.


April 2008

This definitely holds the title of oldest WIP.  It’s an unknown fiber that came free with the first spindle I purchased.   There’s a tiny bit on that spindle, and even more on my Kundert.  I’ll be practicing with this until I feel like a slightly competent spindler.  (Is that a word?  It should be.  Spinners who can master wheel and spindle are special.)

DSC01804Next up is the first pound of wool I bought.  It’s of an unknown, coarse, krinkled crimp stuff that LOVES to be a tightly twisted laceweight single.  I spun about a 1/3 of it on my Bellus and another 1/3 or so on my Aura, and it is what I’m spinning on now.  I want to finish it this month, as I started it immediately after a friend lost her battle with breast cancer.  I think I’m going to navajo ply it and then it’s definitely going to be Grace’s Comforting Embrace, the shawl she had just finished designing when my friend died.  Grace kindly donated the proceeds from the sale of this pattern for a time to cancer research. 

October 2010 003

Last in the spinning WIP division is the silk merino the Knight gave me for my birthday.  It’s all spun up, waiting for me to find the right commercial yarn to ply it with.  It’s roughly a fingering weight single, and I have visions of it being knitted into a lovely stole or cresent for dressier wear.  Any and all suggestions would be appreciated, both in terms of a plying yarn and a pattern.   I think I want either black or pewter…

Now, to the knitting projects on the needles.  I am happy to say there are no crochet WIPs.  For whatever reason – maybe because crochet is sooo quick? – I tend to finish what I start in crochet in a short order.

October 2010 005First up is the Tea Party Cardi, which I hope to finish this month too, but I need to get knitting.  I have the back done, but only a couple of inches of one front panel.  That’s a close-up of the broken rib pattern that dominates the sweater.  It’s a very fast knit, but I haven’t had much time to knit at home, and it’s a bit too bulky to take it with me as a travel knit.   I’ve had it on the needles 2.5 weeks, so a more realistic completion date might be mid-November.  I’ll need three buttons for the front.  Any suggestions?

DSC01318My most recent cast-on is a mystery sock a bunch of us are doing together in the Stash Sock group on Ravelry.   Since it is a mystery knit along, I’m not sharing photos, but that’s the yarn.  The goal is to finish by year’s end.  I’m really enjoying knitting with the Shi Bui yarn, even if the color is “peony”.  I’m pretending the color is merlot or some other lush, red wine that makes me think of fall.  I’m doing these socks magic loop, one per circular needle, but I’m knitting each clue on each sock before I move on.  I’ve finished clue #1 on one sock, but not the second.  And I believe clue #3 is being released today, so I’m falling behind, right on schedule.

October 2010 004I have another sock on the needles, the awesome Cotty pattern in a custom hand-dyed colorway by Ann.  This is my easy, breezy travel knit, and there’s no deadline, although the colorway says muted Christmas to me, and Ann did give me the yarn for Christmas 2008.  She calls the colorway Spring Ahead/Fall Back, and I can see that too…

As an aside, because this post won’t be too long already, I do need to tell you how much I love the ChiaoGoo Stainless circ.   I wasn’t at all sure about that bend in the metal tip near the cable join, but it makes the join a non-issue.  And the stainless wrapped in rugged plastic is a GREAT cable too.  I need more circular needles like I need another hole in my head, but…  Of course, you might guess that they’re available at Dog House Yarns & More.


Those are the three projects I’m actively working on.  Next up is the shop sample scarf for Dog House in a laceweight cashmere.  The pattern is one Plymouth released for their Eco Cashmere, and it’s a nice pattern, but I cast on for this in April, right before my knitting mojo went on a summer sabbatical.  I haven’t been able to get back into it, but I need to, because it’s a heavenly little cashmere… just ask Gretchen.  I’d like to finish this before I go up on Halloween to teach a magic loop class at the shop, but something has to give…  I can’t finish everything NOW!

DSC00804The other lingering WIP I worked on over the summer was MooSon.  I’m ashamed to admit I cast on in April, 2009.  It’s a great pattern and an even better Gypsy Knits custom-dyed yarn.   It was supposed to be a birthday gift that year, so I’m still hoping it’ll be a Christmas gift this year.  If not… well, there’s always said birthday 2011…  Christmas 2011…  You get the point.  Can the intended recipient guess this is for her?

DSC00375Even older is the gift made from another Gypsy Knits custom dye job.   Ravelry says I cast on in February, 2009.  Anita found it and figured out it was for her when she was doing some graphics work for me.  The mystery is though… neither of us have a clue when she’ll get it!  Sadly, despite this photo, it is almost done.  I think I have a bit of one sleeve to finish and then all of the second sleeve and the trim.  You’ll understand if I don’t remind her of the pattern or tell her when I hope to have it finished, right?!  😉

Do parades have an intermission?  Maybe this one should.  Get up, stretch, head to the bar for a latte or something else to wet your whistle…

DSC01415Actually, we just have one more hibernating project.  Sadly, I’m going to have to frog it and start over (it’s a good thing – I need a smaller size!), but I think it’s next up on the sweater agenda.   I cast on for Whisper in December 2009 (look!  less than a year ago!) almost immediately after Jessi sent me some of her laceweight to try.  I haven’t broken it to GG – Gretchen Greer – that her second favorite yarn is no more, but I’m not beyond a shameless plea for any remaining laceweight in her former shop inventory to head my way!  For Gretchen’s sake, right?!  It is a FINE merino, in every sense of the word.  And if ever you need help deciding how soft and premium your yarn might be, Gretchen works for cashmere, new frocks, carrots and bananas.

My float would be bigger/longer, but I did frog two projects two weekends ago.  Just don’t go look at my queue, okay?

Carder to Cloth

The concept of sheep to shawl is part of what drew me to spinning.  Today’s “finished object” is exciting for me because while I don’t think you have to worry about me starting AT the sheep with an unprocessed fleece, I did enjoy creating a batt far more than I should admit.
June 2010 020Back at our spin-in, I had my first drum carder experience.   I made a purdy mostly mohair batt, and knew it was small and precious and would just have to sit and wait for the right little project.

Sorry I don’t have a photo of the yarn itself.  It was roughly sport weight once it fluffed up.  It was navajo plied, which for the non-spinners means it was three strands thick, with about 80 yards.

I don’t want to say too much about the project because it’s supposed to be a bit of a surprise for a Ravelry friend who needs some friendly gestures, but teal is one of her favorite colors, so as soon as I remembered this batt was sitting on a bobbin waiting to be wound into a skein…
August 2010 001

Project:  Special square

Pattern:  Citizen Kane by our own Grace!  She designed it as a cloth pattern, but while my photo above isn’t strongly blocked, it does make a pretty pattern that is easy to block to 8 x8 or whatever dimensions your group is using.  Good thing it’s an easy pattern, because we lost internet and I’d never bothered to print the PDF file… 

Yarn:  See above.

Needles:  I did use US #5 straights to get the lightly blocked 8 inch x 8 inch square I needed.  You could use #9s and get a very lacy 10-inch square… and no, you don’t need to ask how I know.

Verdict:  I’ll be doing this project again very soon, in cotton.  I like a dishcloth with some texture.

So!  What’s up for your weekend?  I don’t know what we’ll end up doing, but Dog House Yarns & More is  having its first sale…

Faerie-ly Late

Well, I missed the contest deadline for our Blue Mountain Handcrafts group on Ravelry, but I finally finished my blue batt.    The Knight and I were working on wrapping the yarn on the niddy noddy during the crazy storm that rocked the city, and then, I gave it a nice bath.

It dried overnight, so I snapped photos while the girls had their first trip outside of the morning.

Blue Mountain Scyllia Batt

 This was my first true laceweight yarn.  I spun extremely fine singles and then plied 750 yards or so of them with a blue metallic thread.   THIS  is one yarn I’m keeping for me.  While there’s plenty of room for improvement, I think it’s going to make a lovely shawl of one sort or another.

Not all of the yarn got plied with the metallic thread.  When I ran out of thread, I just navajo plied the remainder. 


It turned into a nice, fingering weight yarn.  Pity I only have about 135 yards.  

That’s a close-up of the laceweight.  You can really see all the extra bling from the metallic thread!

So, what are your plans for the weekend for the last weekend in June?

Vacant AND Pensive

(With my apologies to Mr. Wordsworth, althought I’m sure he’d be honored to know that a poem I had to memorize more than 30 years ago still flows from mind to lips with ease…)

My poor head is flipflopping from vacant to overly pensive these days.  I over-think most things, most days, but it’s been brought to such a fevered pitch that you have to suffer with me now.

I spun – plied, to be exact – for SIX hours last night, while the Knight fixed dinner, and I still didn’t finish my blue batt for the contest.  Still, if you’re on Ravelry and so inclined, pop over and view the other handspun beauties and vote, vote, vote.    You’ll get photos when I do finish plying, skeining and such, but I don’t think it will be this week. 

I did stop to Wii…  There has to be a better way say that I worked out with the Wii, without all those words, without sounding as though I’m telling you about a potty break.  Oh well.    I’m really into the skateboarding “game” on Wii Fit Plus at the moment.  It’s totally out of my element, and it makes my thighs burn, so it’s all good.

Since it’s little Thankful Thursday here in my crazy blog world…

I’m thankful that my body and I are making friends again.  You see, I’m afraid I don’t like her much when we can’t be active together.  As cerebral as I am, I also have high physical needs, as though my body really does want to be balanced with my mind. 

I’m hard-pressed to identify a favorite body part.  I will say that this hourglass figure serves me well, thick or thin, hiding a multitude of sins.

My strengths and weaknesses are different sides of the same coin.  I have a take-charge personality, and I like to think I’ve finally gotten a grip on my temper.

Hard at work, fall 2008

Really though, I’m blessed to have the time to sit and ponder these things that make me who I am.  Some people actually have to work at work!

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?

little monday

I don’t care what the calendar says; the first day of the work week is a Monday.  The only good news is that once I get through today, tomorrow is the middle of the week already and then little friday…

So, I spent my weekend letting the fur-girls in and out.  Sissy, like Fred before her, is VERY sensitive to the heat.  Once we break the 80 degree mark, she wilts and won’t go out, even if Gretchen begs.  Gretchen, like Mugsy before her, has never been too warm, and constantly wants out to chase the newts/lizards on the deck. 

When I wasn’t sliding the door open and closed, I was spinning.  Or driving to Michael’s for more beads.  I have $15 worth of beads on the 350 yards seen here, and I still ran out.  I got ticked and plied the last 30 yards or so without beads.

I’ll blog more about that when I get it off the bobbin, in a bath and dried and skeined.  Maybe tonight, but realistically, Friday.  (Because we all know that Thursday is Thankful and Dog day…)

The few waking moments I had left were spent in retail therapy.  I HAD to park in front of The Loft yesterday, and they were having a sale…  I only snagged a couple of tops, but Friday, I had a little episode with Coldwater Creek, (50% off and NOW, free shipping) and we just won’t talk about that.  Then, there were the Etsy purchases, which I’ll share as they arrive…

What’s funny is I really don’t like to shop.   I don’t know what’s come over me.

How goes your little monday?