Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mooching at The Knitting Nest

Best New Local Business

Last weekend when I went home to mooch off Mom and use her wheel, I also made a trip to The Knitting Nest to mooch off Stacy and use her yarn meter. As you can see, they're celebrating their victory.

Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky Paints at The Knitting Nest.

The shop had several new yarns, including Queensland Collection Tahiti, Elizabeth Austen Andes and Rozetti Baby Soft. However, the Baby Alpaca Chunky Paints was my favorite new yarn. It's soft, pretty and makes for a quick knit.

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Of course, I had plenty to do with my own yarn. Here's my Coopworth Single. I now know I have about 251.66 yards (or 755 feet.)

Two-ply Merino

Remember my two-ply merino? I have 202.33 yards of it (or 607 feet.)

Preparing to Wind and Measure the "Cookie Monster" Single

Then it was time to measure the Cookie Monster Single I had a lot of problems with it breaking. I may have spun it a little too fine.

Cookie Monster Single Wound

I had 208.66 yards (or 626 feet) total.

Cookie Monster Singles - Ready to Ply

The hardest part was spinning from the ball so I could have to singles to ply together. Each single is about 104.66 yards (or 314 feet.) Not bad for one ounce of fiber.

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Did I mention that I got to spin on Stacy's wheel? It's an Ashford. I'm not sure if it's a Traditional or an Elizabeth.

The Bobbin on Stacy's Wheel

Somehow, the wheel has both Scotch tension and a double drive band. I'm not sure exactly how that works. I think you can decide which one to use.

I'm starting to think I'm an Ashford person.

You can see all my pictures from my last trip to The Knitting Nest, including more spinning wheel photos, here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Spinning Alpaca

I wanted to post a lot more pictures tonight, but my camera cable is MIA. So you'll have to settle for a few photos from a week ago.

Alpaca Explosion!

Last Friday I spent the night at my parents so I could spin the Alpaca fiber I bought at Kid 'n Ewe. It sort of exploded when I opened the bag.

It took me a little bit of time to get my rhythm. The alpaca doesn't have much grip. I'm used to doing lots of pre-drafting. I hardly did any with this roving. In fact, I quit tearing it in half like I usually do.

Alpaca - part way through the bobbin

Here's the yarn part way through the bobbin. I'm spinning it pretty fine. It broke in a few places, but it's going pretty good.

Bobbin of Alpaca

And here's where I was by the time I left on Saturday. I made it about halfway through the fiber. (Mom and Dad have this little bitty postal scale keyring, so I can estimate the weight of what's left.) It's a good place to change bobbins, since I'm planning on plying it. (And then dying it with Kool Aid.) The problem right now is that Mom's other bobbins are full of her own spinning. We'll have to see who gets their single off the bobbin first.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

November and December Gift List: I'm not dead yet!

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

Ok. Ok, ok, ok. OK.

Christmas is coming, and the Year Long Gift-A-Long has helped a lot. But between Christmas gifts and the Fiber Festival, I'm completely overwhelmed. So I'm throwing out the mold, and starting a new list from now until Christmas.

Things to Finish

1. Chevron Scarf
2. Even More Boogie Time
3. I have a partially finished Reversible Cable Scarf.

Things to Make

Forgive the all the code names - the recipients read this blog.

1. Code Name: Turning Japanese
2. Code Name: I'm a Mac
3. Code Name: Pink
4. Code Name: Wally World
5. Code Name: Hollywood
6. Handwarmers 1
7. Handwarmers 2
8. Hat
9. Scarf
10. Calorimetry for Grandma. Kiri just ain't happening this year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Tens: Ten Geektastic Patterns

Princess Leia Costume

Leia Wig knit by Dyana in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice.

It started with an e-mail from one of my geeky friends with the pattern for the Leia Wig shown above. Then he sent another link to a pattern for Knitted Light Sabers. Geeks love knitting, and there's no shortage of patterns for just about any geekdom. I've featured ten here, and included the geekdom for those who don't speak geek.

1. Leia Wig by Ansley Bleu

Example knit by Ansley in Misti Alpaca Chunky.

Geekdom: Star Wars

2. Binary Scarf by Christine Dumoulin

Example knit by Shona in Caron Simply Soft.

Geekdom: Computers. (Read more about binary here.)

3. DNA Scarf by June Oshiro

Example knit by Sarah.

Geekdom: Biology, specifically genetics. (Not quite a geekdom, but close enough.)

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4. Nintendo Kleenex Box Holder (Ravelry link) by Carrie Ouradnik

Example knit by Janelle in Red Heart Super Saver.

Geekdom: Nintendo. Specifically, old-school Nintendo.

R2D2 hat

5. R2D2 Beanie by Carissa Browning

Example knit by Janelle in Caron Simply Soft and Red Heart Super Saver.

Geekdom: Star Wars (Specifically, R2-D2.)

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Example knit by Jo.

Geekdom: Doctor Who. This is a stuffed Dalek. (Linking to the iconic scarf seemed too easy.)

7. Cthulhu Dice Bag! by A. A. Leavitt-Reynolds

Example knit by Michelle in Cascade 220.

Geekdom: There's two here. Cthulhu is from the work of HP Lovecraft, and may be considered a geekdom all it's own. Also, a lot of dice are required for Role Playing Games, hence the dice bag.


Lord of the Rings Scarf (Ravelry link) by Tina Yeung.

Example knit by Tempe in Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport.

Geekdom: Lord of the Rings. This scarf features the text inscribed on the ring.

Jayne Hat

Jayne Cobb Hat by Dryope (She also has a crocheted version.)

Top example knit by Lisa in Caron Wintuk and TLC Essentials. Bottom example knit by Clare in Robin Double Knit and Sirdar Bonus DK.

Geekdom: Firefly

Geek Mitten 1

10. Geek Mittens by Gayla Oglesby.

Example knit by Gayla in Lion Brand Lion Wool.

Geekdom: Computers, specifically Linux. These mittens feature Tux, the Linux mascot.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Don't look at me. I'm a failure. All I can do is crochet."

Awesome crochet sighting near the end of the clip.

11/25/08 - Edited to add direct link, in case the player doesn't work.

Holiday Blog Fodder "contest"

Both Saturday and Sunday I came home and fell asleep before I could blog. I am woefully behind on my blogging already, and it's going to get worse as Christmas approaches.

I need your help. So, I'm holding a "contest." I use the word contest loosely because there aren't really any prizes, except for glory.

During the two and half weeks Jules is here, I'm not planning to blog. I may pop in with some uploaded pictures, but nothing serious. I would like to have some scheduled posts during that time, but it's hard enough to do my regular posts, much less work ahead.

So I'm asking my readers (both of you) to send me some "blog fodder." More than likely, there needs to be something I can link to, like another website, a YouTube clip or a photo on Flickr or a similar hosted site. (Although if you have something without a link, go ahead and send it in. You never know. The main thing is that I can't host other people's images on Flickr, but I do want pictures.) Include a little commentary about it, but you don't need to write a novel. Anything from 1-2 sentences to 1-2 paragraphs will probably work, depending on the content.

I'm looking mostly for content related to knitting, crocheting, spinning and related fiber arts. Some ideas include funny, interesting or helpful YouTube clips, telling us a little bit about your latest FO, reviewing a favorite yarn or book or sharing a yarny disaster. I may post non-fiber stuff if I think it's in "the spirit" of the blog. (Do you have an awesome piggy bank? Send a picture. Does your bunny have a poopy butt? Tell us about it, but maybe skip the butt shot, ok. I may accept some cool holiday stuff as well.)

Send me your content, and if I use it, I'll give you credit for the entry and link to your blog, your Etsy shop, your MySpace page or whatever. (Be sure to tell me exactly what you want me to link to.)

You can e-mail your stuff to sallyvillarreal AT gmail DOT com. I'll accept Blog Fodder until December 16. However, I have no idea how may people will respond, so I may run out of room before then.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Knitwear Overload

Knitwear Overload

Wendy Bernard says she doesn't like wearing more than one knit item at a time. She may be on to something.

Now that it's finally cold, I've pulled out the Broken Scarf (aka "Fred") and my Knucks. (In the morning, I need handwarmers more than anything, really.) Then I found Soy Wool Spiral after work, and I ended up with this ensemble.

Perhaps it's time to knit things that match.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some Bits and Pieces

First, I want to say that Tuesday Tens will probably be Wednesday or Thursday Tens this week. I have an awesome idea, but I don't think I can make it happen tonight.

Also, a couple of weeks I posted about Jules. I regret that I brought my blog into it at all, but I really thought it was over. It's not. We're working through it slowly.

Just like I felt like he couldn't just suddenly disappear with no explanation, I felt like he couldn't suddenly show up again without some sort of explanation.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cookie Monster Single and Fiber Storage

Cookie Monster Yarn

I just finished spinning the Cookie Monster batt into a single. I haven't decided if I'm going to ply it yet. I'm guessing I probably will, but I need to see the yardage first.

Fiber Haul from Kid 'n Ewe

When I took pictures of all my fiber for Friday's post I made sure everything was stored in it's own bag and labeled. I'm hoping the plastic bags are ok. It seems like the fiber might need to breathe.

Anyone have any advice on storing fiber long term?

Not-So-Reluctantly Helping My Friend Move

Yesterday I spent all day helping my friends move. I kept thinking of this song, although the experience wasn't such an awful death march. But this commercial makes me think about how much we complain about moving the big things, but it's the little things that make moving hard. It seems like getting every bit of stuff out of your apartment is really hard. My friends still had some packing left to do, so a large part of our day was spent packing. I understand the panic of last minute packing completely. I've moved at least every 1-2 years since I graduated from high school.

The main reason I'm mentioning this is because I haven't worked on my 101 Goals in a while. I think I can safely count this as a Random Act of Kindness for number 91 on the list. Yay!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kid 'n Ewe: The Fiber

I did the best I could to tell you about Kid 'n Ewe without pictures. Now it's time to share all my loot, starting with the fiber.

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I always make a full sweep of all the vendors before I purchase anything. When I finished my first round, I made a beeline back to Butterfly Girl Designs to get one of her sparkly novelty batts. I'm excited about novelty spinning after reading Intertwined.

The owner (and I don't remember her real name) said this particular batt almost didn't make it to the show. She almost kept it for herself, because it was so pretty. She had a lot of beautiful batts, and I wish I had been able to take pictures. It wasn't an easy choice.

Some had sequins and some didn't. She said we can always just not use the sequins if we want, but I intend to use them. She recommends taking a few sequins off the ends and just spinning them in.

The batt contains 3.5 ounces of Superwash Merino, Bamboo, Merino, Tencel and Angelica.

Llama  from BR Llama Ranch

I bought some good stuff from Rosewood Yarns. They had a booth at the show. This is 4 ounces of naturally colored llama from BR Llama Ranch. (I can't find the ranch online.) The Llama is named "Junior." I think I may spin this on Mom's wheel for more practice.

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I also got a couple of silk hankies from Rosewood Yarns. After getting one from Yarnorama, I decided to buy another. Actually, I got two and gave one to Mom as a gift. These were dyed by TexScape Fibers.

Progress on the "Cookie Monster" <span class=

Remember my Cookie Monster batt? I've made pretty good progress on it. The batt consisted one ounce of 70% Superwash Merino and 30% Tencel.

Well, I bought another batt from Spinning Straw Into Gold:

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This is another one ounce batt, but this one is 100% tussah silk. I decided this shade of mossy green would look good on me. They had stacks of batts in a rainbow of colors, some in the merino-tencel blend and some in tussah silk. I had to get one of each.

Merino/<span class=

It was one of the ladies at The Weavery at Indian Meridian that put it into my head that 4 ounces was enough for a worsted weight hat. (Well, 3-4 ounces.) I wanted a "hat" amount of this roving, enough for a decent size skein of worsted weight yarn, probably with two with plies.

This is four ounces of Merino/Tussah Silk roving from Ashland Bay in "Concord". They had so many pretty heathered colors, many in shades of purple, that I had a hard time deciding which one to get.

I'm not sure if I'll actually make a hat, but it's a good guess.

Bamboo Roving by <span class=

After I spun the bamboo sample I got last year, I knew I was ready for more bamboo. In fact, I'd like to make a lacy scarf like Strangling Vine.

I've noticed that I seem to have a fair amount of pink in my wardrobe, so I got four ounces of bamboo roving in "Raspberry" from Fiberlady. It should be plenty for a scarf or a small shawl or stole. I'm thinking about spinning fingering to lace weight yarn from this roving.

Flax and Hemp from <span class=

I also got some hand-dyed flax and hemp from Fiberlady. They had it in open boxes where you could pick as much or as little as you wanted in whatever color you wanted. The one on the left is flax, and the one one the right is hemp. I got just enough to try them out.

Nylon Top from <span class=

This was my last purchase of the day. I decided I needed a little more novelty, so I bought two ounces of sparkly nylon top from Kai Mohair. The label says green, but it looks like what the Ashland Bay website calls "tropic". It looks like a mix of green and red to me, something that would be great for sparkly Christmas yarn.

Alpaca Roving from <span class=

Like last year, there was an entire building dedicated to Alpacas. I couldn't leave without some Alpaca Roving, and I finally got four ounces from Cibolo Creek Alapcas. I got white, and I think I may try to dye it myself.

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Heritage Arts had a nice variety of fibers, and I couldn't leave without a couple of samples.

This is two ounces of bombyx silk. This is the only bombyx silk I bought. The rest of the silk I bought was tussah silk. Bombyx is smoother and more luxurious than tussah silk. (Although tussah silk is still very nice.) I learned all about the types of silk when I took a class with Amy Singer. There are some good explanations here and here if you want to learn more.

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I also got just one ounce of Ingeo from Heritage Arts, just enough to try it out. Ingeo is a corn-based fiber.

Wraps Per Inch Tool

This isn't fiber, but it belongs here. This is a little Wraps Per Inch tool from Hokett Would Work. This was the same person who made my drop spindle. They came in all sorts of wood, and I tried to pick one that matched my spindle.

Yarn Barf

Finally, for my parting shot, I have to share my "yarn barf." After the ladies at heritage arts let me use their wheels, one of them gave me the little piece of yarn I spun. I think I'll add it to my recycled yarn ball.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Emily's Birthday Paty

Emily's Birthday Party at Gauge

Sunday night, Emily celebrated her birthday in style, and I got to join her. Everyone met at Gauge for lots of good food, nice decor, yarn and Wallace and Gromit.

The yarn I gave Emily for her birthday

Here's the birthday girl, with the yarn I gave her. It's a skein of Wild Thang Triptek from Heritage Arts. The yarn is 63% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Nylon and 2% Silver. Yes, that's silver, as in the metal. I got it at Kid 'n Ewe. (I got a skein for me too. Mine is blue and purple.)

My party favors

Emily had the best party favor of all - yarn. She asked everyone to bring some to swap. I actually wrapped mine, but the swap turned out to be much less formal. Everyone added to the pile and took some away. I put in a skein from the never-ending recycled sari silk. (Emily chose that skein.) I got a partial skein of handspun yarn by Robincat (on the left) and a skein of Opal Sock Yarn (on the right.)

You can see some of the fancy food behind the yarn. There was lots of good food, like fancy meats and cheeses, fresh fruit, bread, dips, olives and Emily's handmade Gelato for dessert. (This time she had blood orange flavor. Yum.)

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Ceci came along with the new baby. She put pictures of the party on her blog as well. You can see a picture of me looking way too serious about my food over there.

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Of course, we can't have a party without Cheva.

Emily's Christmas Garland

While we were watching Wallace and Gromit, we each knit a ring for Emily's Christmas garland. Emily brought her sock yarn scraps and some size three needles. (Luckily, I had my Size 0s, because my gauge is loose.) It's a very simple pattern, and I think Emily plans post it online.

My finished ring

Here's my finished ring. I did mine in the round. They have enough rings knit on straights to connect them, and having a couple in the round will probably save them time.

You can see all the pictures I took at the party here.