Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I've been working on something - a new home for the blog. Granted, it has taken me eons to do it and I've not yet gotten all the previous posts transferred, etc., etc., it is up! I'm excited about the new blog because it feels a little more 'homey'. Come over and tell me what you think:)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Since I've been 'missing' from the blog for sooo long (sorry about that - shows coming up, kids with the flu, and lambing season seem to have swallowed ALL of my time) I thought I would keep the blather short and sweet - because I can try something new LOL - and just DELIVER the goods on what I've been doing for the last few weeks.

Well, there's been a good amount of dyeing for SPA next weekend but I can't show you that because I'm neurotic and have already packed most of it away and double bagged the totes because it might be rainy when unloading the truck (I told you, neurotic!). But I can show you the fuzzy noses I've been petting - and somewhat portray for you the politics of being a lamb:)

babes First, there were the Valentine's Day babies. Aren't they sweet? One ewe, one ram - born literally hours apart so they are having some difficulty establishing the pecking order that is being the first lamb. First lamb gets to pick the games they play, gets to run ahead of all the other lambs, and gets to be generally doted on. But, ya'll, I don't know how to say this nicely - it is a known fact that ram lambs tend to come into their 'brains' a little slower than the ewes. I look at it as they are taking just a wee bit longer to wake from the long sleep in the womb. Still, 2nd lamb - a precocious and 'you're not going to tell me what to do, buster' ewe is outsmarting, out running, and out maneuvering first lamb every day and he's more than a little frustrated with that. Here, they are discussing why it should be he that gets to run the full length of the barn and back to the waiting place first and she, well, she's just not listening to him AT ALL.

babes Older sister (a ewe yearling born last spring) steps in to negotiate. Naturally, she sides with the gwirls and the little ram is left standing their stomping up and down while our ewe runs the full length of the barn - complete with skidding to stop and slamming into walls - TWICE. Oh, he is so irked!

babes To distract them from this 'issue', in walks a farmer's boot.
her: oh, he has a boot - mmm, that smells nice, I think I'll lick it
him: whuh? He has a boot, hmmm, what's a boot?

babes When you're the 3rd lamb, you just don't get alot of respect OR ever get to be first running the barn - UNLESS you are wicked fast and afraid of nothing. This little ram is an experiment - he will become a whether like his uncle, whom I adore. He's born of a Cotswold mother and his father is Merino/Corrie cross in that gorgeous dark chocolate natural color. Not only is his fleece to dye for (silly pun, I know) but he is just about the spritiest (word?) little lamb I've ever seen - healthy- born running, and just doesn't manage to get too worked up when bossy lambs 1 and 2 try to push him around. We have to be careful, though, when opening the barn door as he tends to like to run for the door when he hears us coming and will, on occasion, jump right out the door!

babes You can see, here, he's getting a good tongue lashing from lamb 2 (who doesn't seem to like a dose of her own medicine and is irked that this 'younger' ram has the audacity to disrespect her order) because he gets so excited about running that he'll take off an the slightest encouragement and is wayyyyy faster than the other two lambs so, you know, he always wins the race to skid to a stop slamming into the wall. They still skid and slam, too, but they like to be first at it from time to time. I don't pretend to understand how that ranks one superior over the others but it is their system so I try to respect it - LOL.

evenstar shawl spinning Aside from that, there's been an insane amount of spinning going on. Some silly fool decided to spin a 1700 yd lace shawl's worth of yarn for the Knitting Olympics. I mean, really, who would do something so foolish? Uhmmm, me. I'm 700 yards into it and it's not looking like I'll finish - what with vending at a show this weekend and all. I hang my head in shame and step aside to let the other olympians shake their needles and spindles at me and curse me for not finishing. Or, I just have a little chocolate in my coffee and keep on keeping on - LOL. I'm fickle like that, I guess.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lying to myself.

'Vila' Heh! Who was I kidding with that whole 'not casting on new projects like a madwoman' rule that I gave myself in the last post? I mean, of course I was already casting on the 'Calloway' socks. This pattern is totally awesome - that's my defense for lying to even myself about said 'rules'. When will I learn? The rules are: there are no rules. There. Done. Now we can knit happily - which I did. This pattern is just the right balance of complex, but very simple and easy to follow along. I mean, it's not like you can toss the chart out your car window and just run free through each row or anything but, you know, you can sort of go with its 'flow' and consult the chart when you need to. For me, that's just the right balance of interesting stitch patterning but still enjoyable knitting. Excuse #2 for ignoring my obviously flippant vow to be faithful to my WIPs - it was oh so blue and I needed some deep blue in my days - here's a closeup to show just how dark the blues are without the flash mucking them up and making them look more splotchy than they really are.

'Vila' happy hooves sock yarn club I practically had to drop those sad and forlorn WIPs and plow right through this one - I'm on sock two but nearing the finishing point for her as well and soon, oh so very soon, these babies will be on my toes and bouncing happily through the day - must.knit.faster. Who am I kidding? I'm wearing the single right now - LOL.

But (crosses her fingers behind her back just in case she caves and casts on Anne's new sweater pattern that somehow managed to purchase itself, download, and print to land right square in her knitting basket) promise - I'm back on the WIPs next. Really, I am...why are you looking at me like that?

Calloway Did you want to see the whole sock? Here she is:

Calloway by Cookie A.
in my 'Vila' colorway

= true love that cannot be stopped by fidelity vows to WIPs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My alter spinning ego

Okay, I think I've taught a handful of spinning classes. And I'm pretty sure that I've said, at each of them, that the hands never lie. I've joked and casually mentioned that 'stressed out crazy woman spinning' is really best left to bulky wgt yarns because the hands are a sort portal for such tension and it WILL show up in your yarn. Still, I have not listened to me! LOL.

spice tradeSo in a place of totally neurotic stress after a completely long and trying day and in front of a not so relaxing movie with the the kids, I, naturally, jumped into my 'spice trade' batts in the hopes of making a gleaming Navajo Plied sock wgt. yarn. I was actually very excited about it and the idea of getting to spin these batts was sort of my personal reward to myself for making it through said day of trial and testing without succumbing to my deep desire to take the apples and oranges out of the fruit drawer and hide in a corner of the room that would give me greatest advantage and start lobbing them at people randomly and whilst wildly cackling. I'm trying this whole 'growing up' concept out, though, so such outbreaks of looniness are kind of not part of that life plan. I mean, there's a good deal of silk in there so, you know, it has an almost immediately soothing aspect to it. Then, there's like maybe 6 or 7 shades of greens with all manner of spicy sari silk additions and some peaks of other colors to make it, well, spicey. There was serious spillage of sparkle as well and I can only say - ya'll - sparkles do alot for a person who is grinding their teeth and unable to focus and see without growling like a rabid cat. It was a good plan, non?

I'm not really this neurotic:)Apparently, I freaking seriously slightly overlooked how much time I'd need to feel the effects of the batty yumminess and started spinning like a madwoman. Oh, was I making haste in getting through those batts! Ah, yes.....(she says as she twitches and spasms and spins like a crazed lunatic) it was over before I knew it. So, I did what any deranged slightly excited person would do and set right to plying them as well. Now, I will admit that whilst n-plying them, I did realize I was a little to fast and twisty and, well, deranged. But, I was on this lovely trip down the denial river (the scenery is awesome there - just sayin') so I just kept right on going - sure that the kinky string part was just my imagination. Okay, they were plied in a snap - I went to bed and woke excited to skein them up right away. And.....brt brt brrrrrr! I took them off the skeinwinder and....uh.....cried very loudly! Woe! Woe! I think I messed it up.

spice tradeSo, after crying for a while, I decided to try to fix it. I ran it back through the wheel 'unplying' it. Only, so deeply in regret for mucking it up in the first place, I, of course, overdid the whole 'fix it' thing and, essentially, un-plied it. Urgh. Woe! Woe! So, I ran it through again (hmmmmm...this is really saving lots of time, isn't it?) and finally got it to something that resembles yarn. I love it. I love the colors, love the spices, and love the feel of it. I'm willing to love even it's small flaws of looser parts here and there, of skinny pieces where I really mucked up the 'fixing' it job, and I've really only learned one thing I didn't know before - liars shouldn't n-ply. LOL. If you're used to being able to spin any yarn you want even on the ugliest of days, and you overlook the semi-finality of Navajo Plying - you could end up like me - a total neurotic sobbing mess. Consider yourself warned:)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Back to the socks, please.....

The more I roll into this year - the more I'm liking it already. I've been missing sock knitting quite a bit this last half of 2009 - too busy and frantic to stay faithful to one project - I've been bouncing all over the place casting on with wild abandon here - wishing for more hours in the day to work on 'insert name of project there' etc. etc. and never really getting to the 'ah, a finished piece' satisfaction. So, combining these two issues - I've worked out a deal with myself. I'm allowing myself to only be actively working on three projects at a time. No, that doesn't mean I'll be frogging all the other WIPs or anything - I just won't pretend to be working on them like I am now, follow me? LOL, me neither! The three projects I will pretend to be working on should go something like this:
1. Something I'm really jazzed about and can't/won't put down without pouting. This is the candy part - the bone that keeps the dog's tail wagging - or knitting - you get my point.
2. A WIP that I'm pulling off the dusty shelves and finishing so it can haunt me no more. You know, we've all got em - I'm just looking to have less of them come summer:)
3. Just socks. I just need sock knitting in some part of my day. Really, I do. It makes me feel comforted, safe, like I could roll up into a little ball and still be able to take that project with me. It's a cup of coffee and a comfy chair in a obscure corner of the bookstore on a Saturday afternoon whilst the kids are on their many important teen life errands for me. I just have to have it.

club 006So, finally, after so many people have asked me to - I've started a sock yarn club to be a yarn lover's companion to my Happy Hooves Batt Club for spinner love. January was our first month and as I packaged up all the babies to ship them out this week - I was tickled to giggling like a silly girl that I'd been smart enough to factor myself into the tally and give myself a club shipment. Wanna see them? Well, they start with yarn but that's on the inside and we'll get there in a minute. I wanted this club to be a little different - a love and spoiling club for sock knitters. So, in addition to the skein of yarn - each month has some sort of 'treat' that I make up - the treat varying depending on the type of sock yarn used, etc. This month, I made these velvet embroidered wrist sock bags to go with the yarn. Oh, yeah, the yarn....

club 003The hooves batt colorway this month was 'Vila' (spelled Veela in the Harry Potter series) and so is the yarn. All blue, all kinds of blue is sort of the theme here though I did sprinkle some accent colors in there which you can see if you look close enough or, in my case, wrap in around your head and yell happy songs because you love blue. I'm playing around with lots of techniques of dyeing with this club and trying to change and mix them for my own dyeing pleasure. I may have gotten a wee bit neurotic with this one (me, noooooo!LOL) because even though it was a kettle dye - which should mean it is very simple and basic - I managed to make it hard, time intensive, and put it into four different kettles to achieve an absolutely vivid palette of blue...with spices.

I'm thinking of making Cookie A's 'Calloway' pattern with these - the side-winding slant of the openwork in the pattern just sort of beg to be done in a water themed yarn...will there be beads? Oh no - I just thought of this problem (glances at the 'rules' at the top of the page). Okay, rules are made to be broken and I'm so obviously casting on this yarn as we speak very soon so a new WIP is born. Ooops. Now, which of the great 3 will it be? I mean, #2 is right out but which is it - 1 or 3? Urgh....this is why I don't make rules for or against myself....I'm too good at figuring out ways to get around them - or just perfectly okay with just abandoning them at the first chance of fun.