around n round she goes

A blog for my knitting, spinning, quilting, violin-playing, or whatever else floats my boat

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Location: Texas

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

an old love

I used to dance. Middle eastern ethnic dancing more specifically (don't call it belly dance around my old teacher). Most people, looking at me, wouldn't immediately jump to the conclusion that I'd go for that at all. (I'm an accountant, for goodness sake. Me, running around in costume, dancing, yelling, playing a drum?)

I stopped for a couple of reasons. Work got too hectic (they let my boss go) and I would be working a lot of overtime for awhile. Main reason - after 11 years, the passion just wasn't there. If it becomes a chore to perform, rather than a joy, it's time to stop. I haven't danced for about a year and half. I don't miss the work - just the people. Our troupe was a group of wonderful and diverse women.

The phone rang last night rather late - it was my old dance instructor and leader of the troupe. When caller ID came up with her name I got this panic-y feeling - was she going to ask me to come back? What would I say? What would I do? Did I want to dance again?

Turns out she wanted to know if I'd be interested in parting with some of my troupe costumes. A couple of new troupe members needed some things and it would be easier (and probably much less expensive) if they bought them from me. Being in a performing troupe like this can become extremely expensive, especially at first.

I'm happy to part with some of my costumes (what am I saving them for - Halloween?). But there was that instant of disappointment - I halfway wanted her to ask me back. I'd've said no, but it would have been nice to be asked.

Life goes on, doesn't it? I'm happy the troupe is doing well and I'm thinking about going to her next seminar, just for fun. But I've moved on and I'm happy doing the things I'm doing now.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A good weekend

Spindles in the photo from left to right:
Ceramic acorn support spindle by Anne Grout
Top whorl maple/walnut by Viking_Santa
Top whorl maple/walnut/cherry by Kundert Wheels

I just got the Viking_Santa spindle yesterday (it's an eBay win). Smooth and balanced with a neat barley twist just under the whorl to make it easier to wrap - 1.3 ounces is just right for most of my spinning (a little light for what I'm working on now, though).

Weekend Update!

Plans for the long Memorial day weekend -
Finishing the ShineWorsted sweater front (well - not quite, but I'm getting close)
Spinning 100 yards of Nefertiti's wool (101 yards done) (then 13 yards done on Monday to test the new spindle)
Knitting said wool into the installment sweater-jacket. (101 yards knitted - It's now 9 inches long)

Oh ... and spending time with my husband, playing with the kitty, and doing the usual chores. (yes, I did manage this)

And going over to Mom and Dad's (yep, did that, too)

Mom didn't have a dropped stitch on her poncho, it just didn't look quite right at the time. She's made a lot of progress on it - I'll have to take some pictures and post them here when she's a little further along.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I haven't given up

I'm almost to the armhole shaping on the front. I'm still hopeful that this one will be finished soon enough to actually be a summer sweater (which was the idea in the first place).

The installment sweater-jacket had more singles spun up for it last night. There's about 2/3rds of a spindle-full done. For those dying to know (there are so many, I'm sure), I'm using my ball-winder to remove the singles from the support spindle, then plying from both ends of the center-pull ball using my Kundert drop spindle. After skeining it onto my mini niddy noddy (say that three times fast), the yarn gets a bath in warm water with a little Dawn dishliquid, then a rinse in warm clean water. If it's nice out (which it has been), it gets to hang from a tree limb in the back yard to dry. I'm getting a balanced yarn out of all of this - it hangs nice and straight and doesn't show any signs of bias when I knit.

I was having problems getting a good gauge swatch - the yarn is so dark it's hard to see individual stitches and it tends to go thicker and thinner. I went ahead and starting knitting and then took it off the needles after about four inches (aka when I ran out of yarn). I was afraid it would be waaay too big, since the gauge swatch kept counting up as a significant one stitch off (3 per inch rather than 4 per inch is pretty drastic). In the (semi) finished product now I'm getting 4 - 4.5 per inch (go figure). I finally just wrapped the whole thing around me and decided its going to work. The jacket's worked in one piece until the armholes.

Yes, I could probably get this done a lot quicker by spinning the yarn with my wheel - but I'm enjoying the slower process and most likely getting a more consistent product because of it.

Plans for the long Memorial day weekend -
Finishing the ShineWorsted sweater front
Spinning 100 yards of Nefertiti's wool
Knitting said wool into the installment sweater-jacket.

Oh ... and spending time with my husband, playing with the kitty, and doing the usual chores.

And going over to Mom and Dad's - Mom just called. She's dropped a stitch and can't find it (neither can Dad). I'll go over and have a stitch hunt 'til I find it and pick it back up for her. Mom is legally blind, so knitting is a real challenge. She's making the Yarn Harlot's Poncho in a pretty spring green yarn.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

First installment

As you can see, I've started my sweater jacket. That's the bottom fisherman's rib and about two inches of stockinette (after I finished off the skein at lunch). Of course, now I'm out of yarn.
That's the beauty of this plan ... since I'll be knitting on this forever at least I get to alternate between knitting and spinning.
On the KnitPicks ShineWorsted sweater front, the five extra skeins arrived last night. They're even the right dye lot! What service!
What's that you said? Where's the progress photo of the ShineWorsted sweater or the Fearless Fair Isle? (mumble ... mumble .... been working on other things ... mumble ... mumble)
Here's a picture of Emy to distract everyone from that. She's not showing off her lovely white chin and toes here but is showing off her knitting specialty - chewing on knitting needles and yarn.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The gauntlet has been thrown down

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

One for the master,
One for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

Nefertiti's hoggett fleece produced a large box of natural black roving. I've no idea what breed of sheep she is, but her fleece is fairly short staple, with a slightly coarse texture. The roving is easy to spin, as it 'grabs' easily but it's not near as soft as the lilac shetland. Since this is for a jacket, rather than a 'next-to-skin' sweater, that should be ok (and may even wear a little better). In the sunlight, the black translates into a very dark brown with grayish highlights.

Marina says she's been waiting for a long time to see someone spin enough for a sweater. That sounds like a challenge to me! Time to get off my rear end and get spinning.

Ok - using my new Ann Grout acorn support spindle I made 80 yards of 2-ply heavy worsted weight this weekend (that's using my Kundert as a plying spindle). If I average 50 yards a week (because, after all, I would like to also be able to knit, do housework, eat, and go to work) I will have enough yarn to make my sweatshirt jacket in about ....oh.... half a year. Of course, I've already got 125 yards of the lilac Shetland so that shaves off ..... about 2 weeks.

My DH suggested that I start knitting the jacket bit by bit, as I've got yarn ready, rather than waiting 'til the whole thing is spun. That should add to the fun.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

look familiar?

Not much progress, is there? Good news, though....I've got 5 more skeins of ShineWorsted coming. No idea if they had the same dye lot but I'll deal with that when the stuff gets here (I did ask for that dye lot, if available).

I went to my first Night Knitters meeting of the DHKG (Dallas Hand Knitters Guild) last night. Just what I was looking for --- people who actually 'get' the whole fiber addiction thing! I had seen most of them at the two Guild meetings I've attended (as a guest), but this gave me an opportunity to actually chat with them...and knit, of course. It's not a large group, there were six knitters there last night. One of the ladies said that it's usually between four and ten.

It's funny, they recognized me by the Fair Isle knitting. I had shown it off at the last guild meeting - apparently, there aren't a whole lot of Fair Isle knitters in the group (OK, I admit I was trying to impress by showing off the most complicated thing I've got on the needles right now - sad, isn't it) . I did manage to get a few rounds done, the first I've managed in a while. It's not a UFO, it's just a very slooow WIP.

Managed to finish spinning up the lilac Shetland batt this week - pictures to come! Looks like about 125 yds of heavy worsted weight 2-ply (just what I wanted and not bad for spindle spinning). I have a tendency to make lace or sport weight usually - a conscious effort went into making it heavier for the future sweatshirt jacket . Of course, I've got that very large box of gray roving to start on now.

I really need to get the spinning wheel out for that if I'm planning on knitting the jacket in this decade.

Friday, May 12, 2006

a math problem

Do you remember those word problems you had to do in math class? Well then, let's do this one.

Cynthia buys 18 skeins of yarn from her online yarn store. She uses 6 skeins to knit the back of her sweater. She'll need 6 skeins for the front of the sweater. How much yarn does this leave for the sweater's 3/4 length sleeves, the front placket and the collar? (keeping in mind that a good part of one skein went into swatching)

Hmmm......we may be looking at short sleeves here.

Looks like I may have underestimated how much additional yarn I would need to account for shrinkage. When I did my original estimate I used the stated gauge on the ball band in my Sweater Wizard software (and bought more than the software estimated). While I get that stated gauge in a pre-washed swatch, it changes pretty drastically in the machine-washed & -dried swatch.

Oh well, I may be worrying about nothing and it will be fine (she says with confidence) .

......i wonder if they have more of this in my dye lot, just in case.....maybe i can recycle those swatches and use them for the sewing up at least, or maybe the collar......i can...i can....hmmmm

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

why, yes...I spin, too.

I've been sick for a whole, miserable week. (see me feeling sorry for myself?) It started as a sore throat/cold type of thing and then progressed to asthma and bronchitis. I didn't even feel like knitting!

But I did feel up to spinning.....
I got my new eBay win - a ceramic acorn-shaped support spindle with a cute little ceramic bowl - and got my new lilac Shetland bat from FireAnt Ranch and started spinning. I've got four ounces of fiber, which translated into a surprisingly huge pile of roving.

The little spindle is's well balanced and spins forever. I've got about 46 yards of 2-ply worsted weight skeined up so far. I'm thinking I'll get about 100 - 150 yds out of this. I'm not a particularly fast spinner but I find it very soothing and I'm very pleased with the results.

I don't have a particular project lined up for this yet, although vague notions of using this as trim for the gray roving I've got stashed for this are dancing around in my head. The weight is about right and it'll brighten up the gray a bit.

Who knows, maybe I'll actually start knitting again tonight...if I can keep the coughing down.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

An end and a beginning

A project finished!

Young Lady's evening stockings from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.
Yarn: Regia 75%wool, 25% nylon
Needles: Brittany Birch dpn's Size 1.5

It's a knee-high sock with a lacy openwork pattern. We'll see how well they stay up. They seem to fit well enough. I love the extra deep heel - I may use that in future. I usually make my heels a little deeper than usual but this is a lot deeper.
A project started!

It's my Knitpicks ShineWorsted (60% cotton, 40% Modal) in color Wave. The pattern is my own - using the Sweater Wizard software as a jumping off place.

I'm keeping this simple, 'cause I'm in a hurry. I'm usually all about the process - in this case, I want the product! This is yummy yarn - very soft, slightly shiny and a nice drape.

It's funny - I adore working with wool but hardly ever wear it (I'm in Texas, after all). I dread working with cotton but that's what I wear.

Monday, May 01, 2006

a busy weekend

My husband and I took off Friday and had a whole three day weekend to ourselves! It was heaven. Even though we didn't stick with our original plan (which involved a two hour road trip to a lake we hadn't been to before - the weather Friday was a little to threatening for that), we did manage to fit quite a bit into the weekend. The local library was having their semi-annual book sale. I was hoping for knitting books (of course) but this one was fiction only. We still managed to bring home three or four books apiece.

Then I went to the DFW Fiber Festival! Since we had planned on being out of town, I hadn't signed up for any classes - but that didn't prevent me from buying stuff! I managed to buy something from every vendor (except one person that was teaching a class).

That's lavender Shetland bat for spinning (the color didn't photograph very well) from Fire Ant Ranch. Guess I need to get out the Hitchhiker wheel and start spinning again.

Two skeins of Jacob's sheep yarn from a local ranch (I think it's called St Lukes Ranch? I'll have to look at the skeins again) and a wooden crochet hook with a nice chunky handle flung themselves into my bag. The yarn cries out to be a nice warm scarf or pair of mittens.

A skein of 100% cashmere from Jojoland International in a soft blue insisted on coming home with me. Hmmm....what can I do with 200 yds of sport weight cashmere? I think I need a smoke ring or a lacy little scarf.

Then I decided that I needed a shawl pin....not just any shawl pin but an art glass shawl pin from Stitch Elegance. I also picked up a set of size 0000 knitting needles from them (not sure what I'll be using them for, but couldn't resist.)

Of course, I needed something to hold all this swag in - so I bought a bag from Pearl's Knitwits.
Since I went during the afternoon on Friday, everyone was in class and I practically had the vendors to myself. And I managed to buy things that aren't readily available at my local yarn shop, with some of them being locally grown or made. It doesn't look like that much when I look at the photo but, boy, did I spend money...

Knitting happened this weekend but that's blog-fodder for another day. It took all day to upload one teeny picture today.