Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There's more

Same ol' warp . . . this time I'm using sock yarn in the weft. I tried to make socks of this, my first attempt, actually, but there are very dark patches in the yarn and I just could not see to knit it. One strand is too fine for the thick warp, so I plied two balls together with the spinning wheel and it is just right.

I now see light at the end of the warp tunnel for this batch of blue and purple, so I'm off to scheme about what's next.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weave Worthy??

In no time at all, I completed the scarf shown in my last post. I can't show a photo of it because it is hidden on the front beam (weaving lingo, don't 'cha know) beneath my newest production.
The star of the show is some of my hand-dyed handspun yarn.

The supporting cast is found resting on the bench, namely the same blue and purple wool warp as in my last post along with a tiny bit of left-over ribbon yarn of uncertain parentage, some rayon fancy stuff, and a soy-wool blend that is really chunky and really soft but impossible to knit with.

I am finding it nearly impossible to get anything else done, ie. prairie dresses for my nieces that still need to even be cut out, and niece Emily's jacket I promised TWO birthdays ago. (have I already blogged about this? I do feel guilty, which could be assuaged by actually DOING the sewing)

Anyway, I'm mighty proud of the result:

I told Kelly he could have this scarf for a gift exchange at work, but am seriously reconsidering that offer. I foresee having trouble letting someone else who might not REALLY, really, really appreciate handwoven have it. Actually, I think weaving will foment in me a judgmental tendency which may (ok, will) cause me to categorize people by whether they are weave-worthy, or not. I kind of (kind of????) already do that with knitting. I haven't worked out the exact calculus between knitting and weaving. It is possible one could be weave-worthy but not knit-worthy or vice versa, it takes a lot of work to be judgmental so I've got some details yet to work out. I have tentatively named this latest character flaw the craft caste.

I have not neglected knitting in favor of weaving. I've completed my bono kimono sweater (Loops Pattern) knit of stash yarn. It is washed, blocked and ready to be seamed up.

I participated in a pincushion swap on Ravelry and made these two to send to a gal in England. The dress-form one was a lot of fun, but the felted teacup was a pain in the rear to make and I slopped glue all over so it was a better idea than result. I haven't heard from the recipient, so maybe the glue was still wet--oops!

Monday, November 3, 2008

So long -- UGLY

As previously reported, I wound some wildly bright red and yellow yarn (called warp) on my loom and began to weave. I flipped through a book and followed different weaving patterns pretty much wily-nily, just to see what would happen. This did.

After about 5 feet of this experiment, I realized that I had wound on waaaaaay more warp than was prudent and, even worse, I had exhausted my ability to tolerate the colors.
Since I had seen a thread on Ravelry about weaving with chenille, I thought I might try that. I used up the left over bit from my mother’s birthday gift and got really jazzed about how the bright blue muted the warp colors and how luscious (yes-luscious) the fabric felt.
Then, I started picking around the stash looking for something else to use. I spied my very first lumpy-bumpy over twisted handspun. I was going to save it for posterity but it also happened to be my very first dye experiment (spelled m-i-s-t-a-k-e). Criminally ugly, it was never going to be used for anything because it looked like clown barf.
Something amazing happened when the Ronald McDonald colored warp met clown barf yarn. The ugly completely disappeared.

Watching that happen was exciting. Kind of like watching your kid win a race, score (or prevent) a goal, OR watch a photo develop in the darkroom, but not as stinky (that goes for all 3 examples–kid athletes smell bad).

The possibilities!!!!! Ugly can be obliterated through weaving!?! Who knew?
We gotta get the word out.

Uh-Oh . . . I feel an(other) obsession coming on.

So, of course (of course!) I stayed up half the night warping the loom again with the idea of using more of my hand-dyed handspun. And here I go again . . .
To confess: I may have screwed up a bit on my calculation of the warp measurement. I thought I’d warp enough for two scarves and figured a little more than 7 feet each would be generous, considering waste. In the light of day, I realize that in my enthusiasm I probably warped on too much. It was late and I can’t quite remember what I did but I HOPE I didn’t measure 7 yards for each of the two scarves. Surely NOT--That would be 42 feet. It’s entirely possible –it was a whole LOT of yarn.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Just ask my kids, I am not one to make a BIG DEAL out of birthdays, much less my own, BUT I'm making an exception for myself this year because I'm 50 and I got such an interesting array of gifts.

There is, of course, the loom--Kelly said I could get it so he wouldn't have to shop--that worked out well for both of us. Since I've been weaving, or trying anyway, Kelly has gotten full control of the remote.

Then, there was THE card from gal-pal, Beth (sorry about the photo fuzziness):

Followed by THE plaque, also from Beth:
Honestly, they are funny but I just can't figure out why she gave them to me. HA!

There was THIS t-shirt from daugther Meredith:

Son Alex came to visit--No Photo
This pitcher and honey dispense is from my parents:

The Sock Monkey from my brother --as the label says: For ALL Ages.

The last photo is the stuff I got from my swap buddy in the Ravelry "Sew Obsessed" group pincushion swap. My buddy is from New Zealand and in addition to two beautiful pin cushions, she sent a bunch of cool stuff representative of New Zealand, including the most tasty strange confections called Pineapple Lumps.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

for loom the bell tolls

{{Insert groan here}}}
That really IS the best title I could come up with for this post. My extraordinary lack of linguistic creativity is a direct result of having acquired the loom of my life last Wednesday. So, of course I’ve been up late and up early to get acquainted and spend some quality time with her, which has left me a little dull witted.
Here she is

Isn’t she a beaut??? Here are her specs. She is an elegant older gal, a LeClerc NilArt loom with a 60 inch weaving width and 8 harnesses. All that means she can do a whole lot of weaving, but I gotta figure out how to make her do it. I bought her from from Sue of knit night. Fortunately, through the efforts of Sue, her hub--Victor, and my brother Matt (who, by the grace of high school marching band, even happened to know Victor) she made the trip to her new home safely and was correctly assembled here in an orderly fashion.

Sue gave me this bunch of yarn for practice.

Since these shades do not appear elsewhere in my stash (or perhaps in nature), I am suffering no anxiety about wasting the yarn on the mess I’m making trying to learn to weave. Actually, in the photograph the colors aren't really so bad--it usually works the other way for me.
AND, in other news:

I attended the K.N.I.T. (Knitting Needles In Tulsa) Guild workshop on Saturday which was taught by Sally Melville. Although I’ve attended a number of knitting programs, I had not taken a workshop. I’ll definitely take more. I’m told that others don’t quite compare to Sally’s. I don’t know if that is so, but I do know that the entire day passed quickly. I was entertained and inspired.

The workshop subject was creative use of your yarn collection or some such title. So far the creative use of the two lovely stash yarns I chose to begin this journey required the expenditure of over $75 at Loops for . . . more yarn. It's all good though because after I knit this project my stash will be down a net 3 1/2 balls. Lets see, I had to buy 7 balls of yarn to reduce the stash by nearly 4 balls of yarn. Now THAT'S stash busting. I bet, given enough yarn, I could get the country out of the financial mess it's in . . . Tell Obama I should be appointed Secretary of Treasury.

And, that brings us to my favorite part of the program . . . the "what now" story . . .
I was to bring a dish to a luncheon at work. I made a BIG deal of the fact that since I am now (since Sunday, at least) 50 years old, I can, entirely without embarrassment or apology, bring a jello dish to share. So, I mixed up a BIG bunch o'jello and stuff . . . AND, you guessed it--
LEFT IT IN THE FRIDGE. So not only was I completely empty-handed at the luncheon, but I now have a fridge full of fairly useless jello.

AND the winner is . . .

The news is finally out. The photo chosen for the Knitty.com calendar is this one:

This was selection “c” in my blog contest.

Between the blog comments and the ones posted on Ravelry, there were 13 votes. The overwhelming majority (10 ) correctly picked “c” as the calendar photo. 3 people picked “a” – no one picked “b” – and 3 said they liked “d” the best. (The numbers don’t quite add up because although some said they liked “d” best, they cleverly figured out that it was not actually a contest submission).

AND so, the names of the “c” pickers were placed into a hat (a knitted hat at that)

AND the winning name was very ceremoniously plucked from the hat after MUCH ado and other stuff

(Isn't Kelly cute? The scarf, which is NOT handknitted, was his own touch)




Congratulations ! Please either send me a private message on Ravelry (I’m anniam there too) or email me (schmom8889@gmail.com) with your address and this lovely yarn will be mailed to you----post haste.

Thanks to all who played.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A thought or two–maybe three

First, rocks do NOT belong in yarn. There I said it, and I mean it.

Ya see, I’m involved in this knitting thing called Hat-Attack which is is a friendly kill or be killed competition where each contestant is assigned a target to assassinate by means of knitting and mailing a hat knitted of a particular pattern before receiving one. If you are killed before your hat is completed you mail your incomplete hat to your assassin who completes the hat and mails it to the intended target.

So?? What about the rocks??

Well, the suggested yarn for the hat pattern is called Therapi, which is said to contain jade–the rocks jade, not the color jade. The colors of this yarn are really pretty and it seems all soft and lovely . . . UNTIL YOU TRY TO KNIT THE DAMNED STUFF. I guess the way they get the jade in the yarn is to somehow spin it into fiberglassy strands. They combine the jade-fiberglassy strands with wool and silk. But, the normal yummy soft properties of wool and silk are completely destroyed by the rocks which cause itching and burning of the hands. To make matters worse, the yarn is expensive–$10 for a 50gr/110 yd ball. To make matters even worse-er . . . My target didn’t complete her hat so I’m knitting that one and the next target has contacted me begging for the hat so she doesn’t have to finish hers. So, unless I get a hat in the mail soon, I will have knit at least three hats with the wretched Therapi yarn. I’m knitting especially slowly with the idea that I’ll get my death hat soon, but that strategy isn’t working very well as the game is almost a month old and I haven't received a hat.
Anyway, current politics and economic meltdowns aside, this just goes to show that every notion that comes into your head is NOT necessarily a good idea, and you do NOT need to run with every fool idea that pops into your head . . . rocks in yarn???? What is the world coming to?

Second thought, Addi Turbo Needles ROCK.

So, while I’m knitting the second death hat of a pattern I like but out of yarn I despise, the cable on my knitpiks circular needles comes un-cabled. The cable didn’t come unscrewed, but unplugged itself from the fitting. Owing to the lateness of the hour and perhaps a little to the weekly episode of beer-knitting, I did not notice until the mess was beyond repair. ARGHHHHHHH.
Addi Turbo needles do not unplug themselves, and therefore are deserving of high praise and a more prominent place on the scale of necessities.

AND, the third thought, Beer Knitting is a hoot.
The reasons for that thought are probably obvious, but there is this too. So, I show up to beer-knitting a little early and get my beer and choose a table and commence to knit. The sideways glances from the other patrons are comical. A nearby male patron emitted an expletive and turned to say "sorry maam." Now that’s funny!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Can you say CALENDAR?

I can--I can !!!!

Although it will not be on the cover of the Knitty.com calendar, one of the three photos I submitted to the calendar photo contest did get selected to be on a calendar page. I'm sworn to secrecy about which photo for another week or so until the 2009 calendar shows up in the knitty store. I'm just guessing, but I think that will also be the same time the Fall Knitty Surprise is posted.

You could try to guess. And, Ms. Commentous Anonymous--no fair telling, or giving hints. I have a lovely skein of 480 yards of yarnpirate hand dyed (I think it's hand dyed) fingering weight I'll give to the best guesser, winning name to be drawn out of a knitted hat in case of a tie. Guessing will officially end when knitty.com says the calendar is in its store.





AND, no post is complete without a "what now?" story.
So, Saturday morning Mr anniam (oh, you KNOW his name is Kelly) is running a bath for himself and comes literally streaking out yelling about a spider and directing me to get a broom. There was a smallish tarantula in the bathroom, which I'm sorry to say did not survive that dangerous triumvirate of Kelly, a broom, and the toilet. For the record, Kelly does feel bad about not being a more gracious host, but I'm giving him a pass on his behavior because after all he was naked. As for me, I'm giving myself props for not insisting on photographs, owing also to the nakedness.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Confessions of a . . . .

As previously reported, I completed a scarf-width Sunday Market Shawl only to louse up the dropping of stitches and have to unravel the whole damned thing to start over. Begin again I did on Friday and by Sunday night I was once again ready to drop stitches and bind off.

Not wanting to repeat the previous disaster, I reigned in my usual bull-in-a-china-closet approach to inspect the first row of knitting to be sure to drop the right stitches. And, I’ll be all-go-to-hell if I didn’t f*up the VERY FIRST ROW. I missed a yarn-over so at one point I have a clump of 4 rows together without a dropped stitch.

Oh hahahahahaha–the joke’s on me

Following the pattern would have yielded EXACTLY the same mess I had before. What to do?? NO, I did NOT unravel and knit the scarf for the 3rd time. I completed the dumb scarf, dropping the stitches in the pattern established on the first row. I washed and blocked it.
It’s fine–I’m fine. Thanks for asking.

AND, so as not to appear uni-dimensionally low tech in my screw-up-ed-ness, I’ll share this too.

As previously reported, I had a fab photographic extravaganza at the fair. I took hundreds of night shots of the midway. I thought some of the photos were pretty amazing in a colorful abstract-y way. I was feeling pretty darned good about my photographic prowess right up to the point where talent intersected with the cyber fates.

The computer said it copied ALL the photos before it sought permission to delete the files on the memory card. It wasn’t until after permission to delete was irretrievably granted that I discovered, for some reason known only to that freak Bill Gates and the army of hacks he employs, that the only photos that were actually deleted from my memory card were the same ones NOT copied to the computer. Naturally, that particular subset contained the photos I liked, including the ones in my previous post.

SHEESH!!! Can I catch a break?
Apparently not!

SO, again I’ll fill my pockets with cash, don comfy shoes, load up the camera and return to the fair. I’ll get more shots. This time I’ll take my monopod to steady the camera and my technique will be better because I learned some stuff last time . . . but it won’t be nearly as much fun, unless I decide to drink beer.

Stay tuned as Ann’s disaster-Fest returns later this week
with more harrowing tales of low and high tech system failures.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I had a fairly good time

I'm pretty sure if ribbons were awarded for dorky titles, I'd get "best of show" for that one.

BUT, I had probably the BEST time I've had at the fair since the kids were really little. Kelly had to work in the KOTV booth on Friday from 7-11 pm. So, armed with a film camera loaded with B&W and my digital with a fresh battery and a 2 gig memory card and NO ADGENDA, I wandered and watched the night away.
CONGRATS to Emma who got a second place ribbon for her gorgeous socks and to Kat who got a baZillion ribbons, including best of show for a beautiful knitted shawl.
Anyway, on Friday night the people watching was supreme. The midway was a kind of city of lights

full of bad-ass characters

And pretty girls all trying look the same

AND, here's my entry for the state fair category of photography for next year.

I spent most of my time in the cattle barn literally shooting the bulls, but I don't have any of those photos to share because I shot film there and need to buy new chemicals before I can develop any.

Saturday we went to OU to have breakfast with Alex and his roommates. We hadn't seen his room in the frat house, so we got the tour. Wow, it sure beats where Kel-dog lived in his college days.

I was pleased to see that the sleeping loft (sleeping loft???????) had all the important elements of life and good decorating. Ya got your prayer flags, bike race numbers, backpacking backpacks, and the obligatory bike product banner.

Moving to the wall opposite the loft, you see two of the four bikes hanging in the room.
And here's Alex on the sofa where a bottle cage has been thoughtfully hung from the wall, just in case someone gets thirsty. And finally, I must say this next item makes me extremely proud. Here we have the white plastic trash can that was spray painted a metalic silver, demonstrating that the guys appreciate both the need to have a trash can and the desire to be crafty.

Friday, September 26, 2008

You'd think I could count to TWO

So, I was really inspired by the Sunday Market Shawl knitted by Sue of Brookside Library Knit Night . . . so, despite the unfinished-ness of several projects, including (sewing) a jacket I promised to a niece almost two years ago and a birthday present due last July, I bought some lovely plum colored merino wool berroco yarn to (selfishly) make one for myself.

EXHIBIT A--the yarn.

The yarn gradually changes from the deep plum to a dusky lighter color -- I figured if I knit from the dark end of the ball for the first ball and then from the light end of the ball on the second ball, the color would gradually fade from dark to light and then back to dark at both ends. And, I cast on fewer stitches so as to have a scarf width rather than a shawl.
The yarn is perfect, the colors are perfect, my plan is working out just . . . (ohhhh what word?) . . . perfectly. (I do know my adverbs). The knitting went really fast, I was soooooo excited that I got out of bed at 5am this morning to knit the last few rows and bind off and then --


-- have the fun of dropping stitches to make this simple pattern work. The pattern requires that on the last row you knit two stitches, drop one stitch and knit two, and so on. I didn't even make coffee before I completed the scarf.

So, here's where I am now.
EXHIBIT B--the scarf

Well SHIT! If you (and by you, I refer only to my own stupid self) don't count the damned stitches right, and consequently drop the wrong stitches, the whole stinking thang comes apart at the bottom and makes a wonky mess. It's really difficult to count "1 - 2, drop" ummmmm a whole total of NINE freakin' times. I can't tell you how humbling it is to know that particular sequence is too complicated for me.

Well, the good news is that it was really entertaining to re-wind the balls of yarn with the ball winder directly from the scarf -- Maybe THAT's my WHEEEEEEEE for the day. And more good news, I probably won't pull a whole box of tampons out of my purse and lay it on the counter at the coffee shop while looking for my wallet because I did THAT yesterday. "Hey you guys, get back in there where you belong!" On the other hand, I'm going to the fair and I'll probably take my camera(s) so there is still plenty of opportunity for disaster for me today . . . I'd better go get started!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh what a CLEVER girl!

HA! I'll bet you thought I was talking about myself again. Nope, not this time.

Here is the gal
She is a master spinner and weaver, and an amazon of a gal who built an ENORMOUS web between two of my bushes. Here is what I found out about her:
This is a brightly colored and conspicuous species frequently observed in open, sunny areas, especially in late summer and early fall. Female yellow garden spiders can reach a length of one inch or more. The carapace is silvery-white, and the oval, yellow and black abdomen bears of pair of humps near the base. Males are much smaller, rarely reaching much over a quarter of an inch long. http://entomology.uark.edu/museum/argiope.html

I know I have a girl here because she is WAY over an inch long. I can't put any type of measure near and hold the camera too without ruining the web. Using the tripod is out because the ground is really wet and I don't want to clean up a mess, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, I think she should be called a piggy-frog spider because, according to the above-cited web site, she "usually eats her web each day and constructs a new one, often in the same place." Can you relate?
I'm going to call her "Tink-erbell."
(ps. I think all the readers here are knitters, but in case you are not, to frog knitting is to rip knitting out, ya know "rip it-rip it," and to tink is to take stitches out one at a time, ie. knit backwards).

AND, in other news:
The IndiaFest was held today at the fairgrounds. While I did NOT enjoy the stinky incense burning, the food was delicious, and the dancing was fascinating. The women wearing saris were spectacularly beautiful. If I didn't have pasty white skin, green eyes, and those extra pounds of flesh, I'd wear one too.

And knitting-wise, I am making the Loops Pattern, Bono Kimono, out of some stash yarn. I frogged a sweater to obtain what I hope will be enough. AND, I'm so sure I'm going to love this sweater, I ordered a bag o' yarn from LittleKnits to make another. The yarn is 10 skeins of a knitting worsted wool: Ella Rae Classic - Smokey Blue Gray (Color #104). There are 219 yards per skein, so I know I'll have enough to make some kind o' somethin'.

It is time to start the Christmas thinking, which is the necessary prelude to the Christmas procrastination, which ends with the Christmas panic, all of which makes me hungry for cookies.

Monday, July 28, 2008

FIBER FIBER everywhere

The Fiber Christmas in July Festival was held at the Creek County Fairgrounds in Kelleyville, Oklahoma this weekend. I sure hope it was a success for the vendors because it sure was for me.
I arranged to leave work early on Friday so I could go scout out the offerings before committing my $$ to something I might not need. That turned out to be a really good plan.
I arrived with this ball:
which I had dyed and spun and was looking for something suitable to ply with it since I am certain I couldn't get even close to the color I need again. Luckily I found a lovely batt dyed by the also lovely Gwen, who just happened to have taught a dying workshop to the Tulsa Handspinners just last Saturday, where I dyed this:

Anyway, the new and old married well and created this

I spent a embarrassingly long (and probably creepy) amount of time patting the fiber displayed by Ozark Carding Mill, especially the gorgeous suri alpaca. I didn't get any of that, however, opting instead for a big bunch o' "little bits," which are left over bits that come off of the machine, are re-washed and run through again. (I don't know what kind of machine I'm talking about here--just parroting what I was told). Anyway it has a bunch of different fibers and quite a bit of alpaca too--55 oz of it is mine. The grayish stuff below is an alpaca silk blend from Ozark too.

But wait . . . that's not all--
I found a pound of colonial top which is EXACTLY the same color as a pound I have spun up at home. So now this little fiber family is living all together
Then, these little 4 oz Easter Egg bags were $3 each, how could I leave them behind, even if I do slightly hate the colors?

I got to visit for a long while with Donna who owns the Weavery at Indian Meridian in Guthrie. I spend some time watching regular cotton thread become amazing fabric at the hands of a practiced weaver. AND, I picked up a flier for the weavers guild which just happens to meet this Saturday at the library which is just over a block (ETA mile, just over a MILE--sheesh) from my house--I could walk, even.

Do you feel that? You know, the planets seem to be aligning for some yet-to-be-disclosed purpose which I'm just guessing could possibly maybe might have a little something to do with a loom?
Could a loom be looming in my future??

My Tattoo

My Tattoo
A bike chain tattoo, that is It's chain lube ya know