Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A swap I think we all should join

I, as usual, have been browsing Swap-Bot which, while it does leave some things to be desired, has quite a few neat swaps. A lot of the swaps are Artist Trading Card (ATC) swaps, which I tried, and didn't really like, although I had fun making "stained glass" ATCs on cellophane.

I'd like to give a little shout-out to some recent upstream pals: Morgsarah, thankyouthankyouthankyou for all the fab spinning things, Ms. Pryor, I love those handwarmers (and your calligraphy) (and that stamp).

The swap I'm talking about now is a knitting kit swap. I really like the idea of this, because it's very personalized, and you could come up with pretty much anything (including using your own patterns or handspun yarn).

There's still a lot of time to sign up (hint hint), and the swaps are sent out in late November (just in time to maybe make a pair of socks or mittens.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

General Update (no pics today, sorry)

First, I'd like to thank my One Skein Angel for the great yarn she's sent me. It's a wool 2-ply (one white, one blue-purple-green), and there's a lot of it. I think it's destined to be some kind of babywear (man, someone I know has got to have a baby; I need to make things!). It's very plush and squishy. Before this yarn, I'd seen people describe yarn as "squishy," but I never knew what they meant. I do now.

Other than that, I've been working on some of my various WIPs. I finished a sock in Trekking XXL from my MellowSP2 pal (unfortunately, I think the sock may be too small for me- I'll have to try it on); one down, one to go. I've continued tackling Hedera. Which reminds me- the heel flap seems really long, even compared to the pictures, but I'm following the instructions word-for-word. Has anyone dealt with this issue? Small progress on Yorick, and my Funky Scarf Swap scarf. No progress lately on my bobbin-knit felted bowl.

I also need to make a pair of handwarmers for my Warm Hands, Warm Hearts swap. It'll probably be a pair of Fetching, because I really like the pattern. I think my partner is partial to blue- especially blue-grey. I wish Swap-Bot had a questionnaire ability, because wearables are so personal, especially color choice.

Speaking of Fetching, the daughter of a friend of mine asked me to teach her how to make them. She asked me in July, when I'd made a pair for her mom's birthday*. She reminded me recently, and I asked her a couple of questions about knitting, only to discover that while she knows how to cast on, knit and bind off, she doesn't know how to purl. I leant her my Stitch 'n' Bitch so she could read up. I called her mom today for a progress report, and we now have an arrangement: because her daughter was having a tough time deciphering the instructions**, we'll get together this Saturday, go on over to one of our LYSes, select yarn, needles, and practice yarn (probably from my mom's acrylic stash), have a nice sit-down with a step-by-step walkthrough of both Fetching and the purl stitch. I guess I'll find out if I'm any good at teaching knitting.

* You can't understand how cold your hands can get while selling Girl Scout cookies until you've stood outside for nine hours in March in San Francisco, possibly while it's raining, and definitely when it's windy. This experience explains a gift of handwarmers in July.
** I'd just like to say that her daughter is very bright, and I was surprised she didn't glean useful info from the book that taught me to knit. Then I remembered how I could never understand weaving directions until I finally took a class. Sometimes, you just need that hands-on, one-on-one learning.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Spinning SP haul

Ok, so when I signed up for the Spinning SP on knitty, I was quite eager, because I love spinning. I was not disappointed.

My SP (who has yet to be uncovered, because I'm supposed to figure out who she is), has been the best SP I've had to date.

Take a look:

In her first package, she sent a bunch of tastes of fiber (including superwash merino, kid mohair locks, corriedale) that I know will be fun to spin up.

Here you can see a sweet-smelling WPI guage (I've needed one!) and a sock pattern to be made from this...

Totally Tubular from Crosspatch Creations and Three Bags Full! The colors are reds and blacks. I've eyed these spinning kits at Carolina Homespun before, but never got one because I just could not justify it, because I didn't know what to make. These tubes are totally packed full- when I first opened it, the wool practically leapt at me. Also, it's pretty amazing to see how much fiber goes into yarn, and then a knitted project. I mean, this tube is 14" and I can make a pair of socks (which are going to be utterly delicious, by the way).

Then I got her second package, and opened it to find an adorable sheepie that is a tape measure in disguise (I've wanted one of these since I knew they existed). And in the best SP traditions, she wrapped the gifties in purple tissue paper.

And under the purple tissue paper was this: Berry-colored yak/microfiber roving. Amazingly soft, and just begging to be made into a baby sweater* (which I won't do, because I neither have or know any babies).

*I know, most people think babies should be dressed in pastels and fluffy cartoon animals, but I'm determined to dress my child in a) colors that look good on him/her and b) colors I don't find too repulsive. So, jewel tones it is! (I'm assuming my future child will look good in some richer colors, of course.)

And a gorgeous merino/viscose roving in Fireweed, which my computer refuses to upload. Seriously, fireweed is one of my favorite flowers, and it's abundant in Alaska especially, though it grows all over the northern hemisphere.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yarn Porn & status update

Ok, so while I haven't been posting, I have been knitting (I swear).

I'm almost done with knitting Yorick, and then I'll felt him.

No progress on my Trekking XXL socks, although I did start a pair of Hedera in Mountain Colors Bearfoot (squee!) in Wilderness that I got from my MellowSP2 upstream SP.

Also, I've been messing around with Fair Isle, and have knit two small childs' hats (not because I'm giving them to kids, it's because that's the size they turned out to be after the double thickness knit exerted itself), and am working on a third. The hats will have a post all to themselves at some point.

I recently bought one of those plastic mushroom things that everyone but me had in their childhood. You know what I'm talking about- what my mother fondly remembers as a wooden spool with four nails in the top- that's right, the thing that makes knit cord, and is a lot less tedious than I-cord, but does require another peice of (inexpensive) equipment. Anyway, I'm using some wool singles in autumn colors that I bought from eBay a year or so ago (thinking it would be soft, I bought lots of different colors of 3-ply. Oy.), and as I knit the cord, I sew the cord in a coil, because I'm making a felted bowl. Yeah, jumpin' on the felted bandwagon and all that. It's a lot of fun, though. And easy.

Here, because I have no pictures of WIPs, is some yarn porn. I recently bought some potluck Spunky Eclectic yarn, and the colors are delicious:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Handspun, and my first guild meeting

On Sunday, I attended a Spindles and Flyers guild meeting. The September meeting is the show and tell and sell stuff you no longer want meeting, because in July and August, they don't meet.

There were about thirty people there (3 guys, which I think is pretty impressive), and while it was neat to chat and see how/what others are spinning, the show and tell was a bit lengthy- not everyone is a concise speaker (I know I'm not, but I tend to be verbose instead of incoherent).

The meeting really made me think about how much I'm enjoying my weaving class (and how, if I ever want to own a loom, I'll have to get my own place).

I bought some stuff (of course), but it was all pretty cheap. I got two Leclerc boat shuttles, pretty much because Nancy Alegria (who is in my weaving class, and whose daughter Olivia goes to the Girl Scout camp I work at) told me to, because they were a good price ($10 each). I also bought a bit of hand-dyed wool, and quite a bit of silk, in caps and roving. Also, a baggie of roving that I thought was silk, because of the feel and luster, but when I compare it to some of the other stuff that definitely is silk, I'm not so sure.

Anyway, I'm happy to have picked up some super-cheap silk, and it's totally gotten me in the mood for spinning. (Oh, and I joined the guild. Hee.)

In honor of my first-ever guild meeting, I give you some handspun porn:

Silk and baby camel sample (1 oz.) spun 2-ply into something like fingering-sock weight. (Top: in one of my dad's silver Navy gravy boats. Bottom: detail)

Wensleydale from Winderwood farm, chain-plied, worsted weight, I think.. It's over spun, so I'm letting it rest before I decide what to make with it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Woot- Go me!

Pure Nerd
60 % Nerd, 47% Geek, 30% Dork
For The Record:
A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.
The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online dating
You scored higher than 56% on nerdiness
free online dating
You scored higher than 75% on geekosity
free online dating
You scored higher than 45% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Monday, August 14, 2006

Funky Scarf Swap Questionnaire

Yes, indeed, another swap. There's a link in my sidebar.

Here's to you, mystery scarf maker!

Are you allergic to any fibers? No.
Do you prefer any fibers over others? Not really. Go easy on the novelty yarns.
Thinking back to Scout’s post about what funky means to you, post an image of something that you think is funky! First thing that came to mind: a pimpmobile, an example of which you can see below. This yarn is also very funky, but in a totally different way. It's from Luxe, but I just picked it to give you an idea of funky.

Would you prefer funky yarn or a funky pattern? Funky pattern, unless it's made of a handspun yarn- that's my kind of funky!
What are your favorite colors? I guess I really like greens and reds (but not together)
What is your favorite piece of art? I don't have one in particular, but I'm a fan of everything Art Nouveau.
What colors would you never have up close to your pretty face? Orange, pastels, cool blues (teals are OK), bright pink.
Would you prefer an actual scarf or a cowl? I'm glad to get either.
When you wear a scarf do you prefer a wider/shorter scarf or a thin/long scarf? I tend to wear pasmina-type things, but I make long, skinny scarves.
What is the climate like where you live? It's temperate, but it can be foggy and windy.
Would you prefer a functional scarf (to keep you warm) or one just to funk-up your wardrobe? Whichever.
What else would you like your partner to know about you? I'm a spinner.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Goin' On Vacation!

As I sit here, considering my words carefully, I reflect back on the fact that I was so worried my upstream Mellow SP wouldn't know I'd gotten my package before I got back from vacation (next Monday) that I was- am- willing to put off much-needed sleep in favor of writing a blog post.

Yes, Jocele, I have gotten your July package. THANKS!! [For those of you who somehow manage to mail your gifties on time, I'll have you know that Jocele and my other SP and I all adhere to "fashionably late."] I have received the following (pictures coming soon- when I get back from vacation): an adorable puppy card, which I thought was nice, seeing as I don't have any dogs; a book (mmm... reading), called Knitting Yarns and Spinning Tales, an amalgam of vignettes and essays and short stories and anecdotes by various famous craft people; and three skeins of yarn- Fiesta Kokopelli in Choke Cherry (a very nice, deep red), two skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in what I'm guessing (the yarn is not right in front of me) is Oatmeal and Wild Oak, a couple of neutral, very complimentary colors. Thanks again, SP!

I'm going to mail my downstreams' August packages when I get back, for two reasons. One, my One Skein SP's knit gift was being worked on the other night, and was nearly completed, when I discovered that I'd added a stitch halfway down the piece, and couldn't manage to get the needle in right for a lifeline when ripping. I had to rip the whole thing and start over. Yeah. Two, USPS has an online address book feature, which is where I've stored my SP addys. The link to "Print a Shipping Label" was broken. Broken- you know, that 404 error page. I thought that was interesting, seeing as so many people use the tool on a regular basis (oh the Postal Service). I ever-so-calmly took this as a sign from the SP gods that I shouldn't mail my gifties until after I return from my trip.

Where am I going for vacation, you ask. Why, I am going to one of my favorite places- Ashland, Oregon, to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. My parents and I are driving up (an 8-hour drive), and we're going to see some plays on Wed-Thurs-Fri before moving on to Bremerton, Washington, where my dad is going to volunteer on a historical ship for the weekend. My mom and I will just schmooze around Bremerton/Tacoma during that period, maybe check out the glass museum, because our thing on this trip is Ashland. We're going to see A Winter's Tale, King John* and Cyrano de Bergerac (which is admittedly not Shakespeare, but the OSF is hardly limited to the Bard, and it's my mom's pick). I'm very excited to be going, not least because there's a great yarn store there. (I recommend Ashland to everyone. Seriously. If you're looking for a bohemian, intellectual, crafty place to go for vacation, consider Ashland. Half my best friend's family lives there. And the huge, fabulous park was designed by the same guy as designed Golden Gate Park.)

Next post will cover something along the lines of:
-new projects being started/WIP (colorwork- cascade 220; kureyon trinity pillow; persimmon lace; maybe a fab aran pattern; maybe entrlac w/sp gift)
-How fabulous Ashland was
-SP yarn porn.

*King John is one of the Histories, and it's not produced very often (think Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, or Antony and Cleopatra). This will be my second time seeing it. We saw it in Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace) when we went to England, which was weird enough. A year or so ago, we went to a performance of the Abridged Shakespeare Company, and the way they introduced the third actor (who was sitting in the audience) was by asking who had seen King John. Besides the player, we three were the only ones who'd seen it- in an audience of 100-200.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

And Another One

I have just joined the Spinning SP on the Knittyboards. I know, I know. I'm probably biting off more than I can chew, but it's only one month, and I love spinning soooo much!

Here's my questionnaire (it's similar to the Mellow SP I participated in):


1. How long have you been spinning? About 2 years

2. What types of fiber have you spun? What have you spun that *isn't* "fiber"? I've spun soy silk, alpaca, and wool. I have many other fibers (like yak, cotton, silk, cashmere, camel) that are waiting to be spun. I don't think I've spun anything that isn't a fiber, but I have plied with binding thread, and I have plans to incorporate sequin strands into my yarn.

3. What are your favorite colors? I'm a jewel-tone and brights sort of person, but I am most attracted to things that are variegated (subtly or wildly). I really like greens and reds, though.

4. Are there any colors you absolutely do NOT like? If so which? Neons, and generally I dislike pinks and blue, but I'm not that much against them if they're not alone.

5. What are your favorite fibers? Wool. Um... yeah. Wool.

6. Do you have any unwelcome fibers (stuff you just don't need more of or like?) I'm not really interested in plant fibers (even though the soy silk was cool).

7. What is your Dream Fiber? Some fabulously-colored roving or other that is soft, has sparkly things, and the colors won't look muddy after they're spun.

8. Have you ever started with raw wool - and gone from raw to spun? Would you want to? Hahahah! Oh yeah, I've started with raw wool- major mistake! I don't like washing and carding, I've learned.

9. Do you own a drop spindle(s)? Wheel? What type/how many? I own 3 top-whorl spindles (one's a Bosworth <3), one of which is supported, I have a tahkli (the dinky brass-whorl kind). I also have an Ashford Traveller that, despite what my LFS says, is a great wheel.

10. Have you ever painted roving? Yes, with KoolAid. I have the materials for more advanced dying, but I'm not "more advanced" yet. I like dying.

11.What is the next thing you want to learn (techniques etc)? Spinning cotton (got the fiber, just waiting for the inspiration), silk, and making ultra-funky yarns.

12. Do you card (or comb) your own or purchase rovings or top ready to spin? I mostly buy roving, but I do have some locks I hand-draft, and I also have a small amount of shearling cria (that I love) that I do hand card, because I'm crazy.

13. Do you own hand carders, a drum carder, combs, etc.? I have a pair of handcards, but that's it.

Wants and Nots:

19. Allergies:
a. Do you have any food, fiber, smoke, pet allergies your SP should be aware of? No.
b. Do you smoke, have pets, or process peanuts where you store your yarn? If so, please declare them here: We have cats, none of us smoke, and I have no idea about the peanuts (I sort of doubt it, because we rarely eat them, but we have peanut butter in the house).

20. Do you have an Amazon.com or knitpicks.com wishlist you'd like to share with your SP (please add URL if applicable)? My knitpicks.com wishlist refuses to show itself, and my amazon.com wishlist is here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2OM6BXYLY5VZV/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go/002-8208100-7895205?ie=UTF8

21. Anything you’ve been longing for or would really love to get (spinning related or not)?: Something handpainted. Like roving, or a drop sindle. Heh.

22. What about stuff you don't need at all? I don't think there's anything I'd say no to, except flax or hemp.

23. Do you have hobbies other than spinning (knitting, other crafts, tv, sports, collectibles, fave things)? knitting, crochet, general crafting, and I play on the computer a lot (heh).

24. Books you would like (spinning or not): I would really like "Spinning Revolution"

25. Magazines you would like (spinning or not): Old issues of Spin Off (like before 2002).

26. For those of you who live outside the US, is there anything you'd like that you can't get your hands on? n/a

27. In the event your SP lives outside the the US, is anything you'd like that you can't find in the US? nope.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things:

28. Who/What is your favorite...
a. Chocolate: Valrhona
b. Muppet: Beeker & Bunsen
c. Cartoon Character: Malificent from "Sleeping Beauty"
d. Flower: Little tiny ones that grow wild in damp, shady places
e. Ice Cream flavor: OMG... I like so many... but I think I'll choose Vermony Python (Ben & Jerry's).
f. Fragrance: Honey, or other food flavors. Tea.
g. Shoes to wear: Cute flats that make my feet look French.
h. Type of garden: The kind that is very carefully tended to look wild. (Like English or Japanese gardens.)
i. Animal: Horse, I guess. Cats.
j. Beverage: Cream Soda. There's a green tea drink from China I like, too.
k. Author: Terry Pratchett all the way!!
l. Musician: Um... I do like a lot. Tchaikovsky, Mediaeval Baebes, and many others.
m. Holiday: Haloween
n. Time of Day: Any time I don't have to do anything strenuous.
o. Bath or Shower: Shower.

I Want to Get To Know You Better:

29. How did you learn to spin? I took an hour-long class at a Girl Scout event. A few months later, I bought a wheel. So, I was tought the basics, but have learned most other things by myself.

30. What is the most exciting this that happened to you this month, year? Exciting? We're about to go on a trip to Ashland, Oregon (one of my favorite places, and home to the Ashland Shakespeare Fesitval!).

31. What is your favorite thing to do to waste time? Heh- spin. Or read. Or play on the computer.

32. The things that make me the happiest: This is a very open-ended question. I love finishing a skein and showing it off. I love when people talk to me when I'm KIP/SIP/CIP. I love getting stuff in the mail (seriously- it makes me happy). I love having big family dinners during the holidays.

33. If you were candy would you be sweet, sour, or cinnamon? I think I'd be like tablet (a Scottish confection) that's so sweet and rich you can barely stand it, but you want more. Also, it has few ingredients, which I think is cool.

34. If you were a fruit which would you be? A durian? Hah, no. An interesting variety of apple or maybe blackberries.

35. Are you a Java Junkie? Nope. I've pretty much turned myself into chai-only.

36. Your birthday, in case it falls during the swap and your SP wants to send you a card: It doesn't, but it's January 26, 1986.

37. Do you have a personal mantra? Credendo Vides. It means, "Believing is seeing."

38. How do you feel about holidays? I love them. Food holidays, and present holidays are especially good.

39. How do you really feel about socks? I love socks. I even like making them.

40. What is your shoe size? 9

41. How do you feel about ponchos? No way. Fat girls should not wear things that make them look like mountains.

42. What kind of music (and/or which artists) do you listen to when you are happy? I listen to rock, classical, and wierd (medieval, new age, celtic, goth).

43. Rate yourself on a girly/fruh fruh factor from 1 - 10: 6

44. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I live with my parents (man, that sounds dorkier than it is), and we have 2 cats.

45. What are a few of your life dreams? I want to have my own business, probably in the fiber arts.

46. What languages do you speak (besides English)? French, fluently. Chinese and Spanish, tourist-level.

47. If you could live anywhere, where would that be? In a defensible castle (cuz it's cool) with electricity and plumbing (because I'm not a masochist). I don't really care where that'd be.

48. If you could do anything for a living what would it be? See question 45.

49. If you could have any "super power" which would it be? The power to control the weather. Hey, no one said it had to be practical.

50. You're given $10,000 for traveling. Where do you go and why? Antarctica, I guess, because there'll be few enough opportunities to go, and I'll be able to say I've been. Or I'd go to India, because I've always wanted to.

Thursday, August 03, 2006



Version: 1.1

KER++ Exp+ SPM Bam++@ Nov(-) Wool++ Lux+ Cot- Stash++(+++) Scale+ Fin Ent? FI?>+ Tex+ Lace++ Felt Flat(+) Circ(+) DPN+ ML? Swatch- GaugeF@ KIP++ Blog+ SNB WIP+ FO+ ALTCr+Sp+++Wv>+


Thanks to The Purloined Letter, who brought it to my attention. Or rather, she posted about it in her blog.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


This is the first time I've been to Dixon (it's in the same general region as Esparto. Heh). I went with my parents, even though it was originally going to be a mom-daughter thing. We were going to take a class, but there was only one that interested me, and it was going to be 6 hours, which left no time to browse the vendors or enjoy the sheep-to-shawl.

We spent pretty much the entire time listening to the fleece judging. It was very educational, and the judge was concise and funny. We heard some nice anecdotes about Black Sheep Gathering, which sounds like it's ginormous.

I got some lincoln locks in blue-greens. I'm not a locks sort of person, but I've made a little skein on the Bosworth drop spindle* I got (mmm... Bosworth...) already, and it's very tweedy.

I also met the president of Spindles & Flyers who I've met before- her daughter goes to the Girl Scout camp I work at! I've only seen her twice, on the campfire night- the one night we all sleep at camp, where we cook dinner and have a compfire that the parents are invited to. In fact, last year, I selected her in the parent participation song ("An Austrian Went Yodeling")- she played the avalanche. This year I picked a mother from her same troop to play the cuckoo. Both years, she's worn this cute knit hat; I always assumed she'd bought it (cuz that's what sane people do), but when she saw me at Dixon, I realized she'd knit it herself.

She was one of several moms at Lambtown supporting the all-children sheep-to-shawl team. Like most things that are relaxed enough to allow children, their team won. That's not a bad thing, either. This will encourage the kids to continue spinning. In fact, there was a mom there who was joking that her son had a better wheel than she did (an Ashford Joy- better than my Ashford Traveller, certainly!).

Yes, it was fun, even with the various medical incidents (around lunch the women's bathroom of the fiber building was closed off because someone had collapsed or fallen or something- the cops were there. Later, as we were leaving- 4:30-ish- an ambulance had just arrived to take care of a little boy who had been hit by a falling branch. A branch. From a tree. How often does it happen that a branch falls off, and how often of those times does it hit someone? Wow).

*It's perfect for me. It's a fast and long spinner. 1.39 oz. It's made of bloodwood, which I've never heard of, but I think it's appropriate, considering my occasional morbidity. Heh.


I was just glancing over my previous posts and noticed that I enthused about WWKIP Day for months, and then never told you anything about it. (I am an idiot.)

It was great. My mother and I got there a bit early to stake out a spot, and started knitting immediately (in her case, crocheting). Kathy of Chicks with Sticks SF arrived not long after, and we accumulated some more people.

We also acquired a homeless guy who sort of mumbled to himself, fondled my knee (I am never wearing a skirt to WWKIP Day again), and smoked a joint. Kathy asked him to move off to smoke, because she's allergic (I don't know if that's true, but who cares?). After about a half-hour of him sitting with us, a security guard (Union Square has security guards, naturally, because all those fancy stores want tourists to be as comfortable as possible) asked him to go away. Kathy and I chuckled uncomfortably that we'd each been trying to think of a way to politely get him to leave.

Other than that, it was great! We knit for a couple of hours. I think the most people we had at once was about 17. Not as many as I'd have liked, but better than nothing. I know of at least two people who came in from the East Bay, which is funny because I'm sure those places were having get-togethers, too.

That reminds me: the day before, I checked on the website to see what other kind of places were participating. There were many countries represented, with the US being #1. I was looking over the state participation, and discovered that most states had one or two gatherings, and Florida had the second-highest amount with 8. Who's #1? You got it... California with 15, most of them in the Bay Area (I flatter myself I had something to do with that- I posted enthusiastically on Bay Area Knitters months in advance). Eee! Imagine the turnout for next year!

I think there were 3 guys actually knitting (that doesn't include the various SOs that stopped by). One of whom, when I was recounting my Spartacus story, knew of Esparto (first person ever!). He then realized that the reason he had heard of Esparto was because he'd read my blog. (Dude, if you're reading this, you know who you are!) He was knitting with a reclaimed cashmere yarn double-stranded and was using, oh, size 0. Gah! A bunch of people (including me) asked what he was making, but he was just swatching. But I foresee a baby jacket or a lacy wrap in his future.

Another guy was knitting a pouch. When I asked what kind of pouch out of Noro Kureyon, he thought I was making a double entendre, which I wasn't (for once). His project recalled to me my eternal search for a good one-skein Kureyon project (I started my search for a cute felted bag, but I'm now thinking maybe felted sachet pillows or something).

Since all the knitters were from SF, or at least knew of the stores in the city, my 100 copies of the local LYSes went utterly unused. Even during the event, I realized I should be handing the sheets out to tourists who were taking our pictures, but I know how much I dislike having handouts forced on me by strangers on the street (and knowing SF, it's probably illegal to do so in Union Square, anyway- those tourists should not be faced with any discomfort). Oh well. At least paper is recyclable.

A good time had by all, I think.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Name Meme

Ok, even though I'm still not sure what a meme is (...and here come the emails telling me...), I thought this was great:

Here's a meme I stole from Crash Test Dummies who got it from Suse who got it from Pavlov's Cat who got it from Quirkie.

YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME(grandfather/grandmother on your father's side, your favorite sweet/lolly):
Miriam Valrohna (whoa... it's like I'm a French Viking or something)

YOUR FLY GIRL/GUY NAME(first initial of first name followed by "izzle", first two or three letters of your last name followed by "dizzle"):
Kizzle Bedizzle

YOUR DETECTIVE NAME(favourite color, favourite animal):
Scarlet Percheron
Undercover name: Honey Alpaca (mmm... alpaca...)

YOUR STAR WARS NAME(first 3 letters of your name- last 3 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name repeated twice):
Katevy Rufruf (I must be a Wookie with a last name like that! I do like Katevy, though.)

YOUR SUPERHERO NAME("The", your favourite color, the automobile you drive):
The Scarlet Dodge (I don't have a car, so I'm using my parents'.)

If you read this consider yourself tagged.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Slap on the Wrist

It's been a long time, but I haven't forgotten you, my lovely blog. I've been so busy this July that I really haven't had the time.

Let me first explain what I've been doing with my life the past month. At the start of July, I prepared for a middle school reunion (we graduated 6 years ago) on the 4th; not including myself and Selma (we organized it), we had 5 guests. 10 people had said they were coming. This is why people under 25 aren't allowed to rent a car: we're incredibly irresponsible in the most careless way, because we just can't be bothered to keep our word. After that- and believe it or not, I really enjoyed it, despite my complaining- I've been taking Metal Arts and Russian, which has taken me from my 7am wakeup to 11pm, when I finally go to bed (that's only 2 days a week, but there's other stuff going on).

There's also some guilt involved in this post. I haven't written anything for a while, of course, but there's also the issue of my SPs. I didn't send off my gifts for June until the very start of July- the 3d, I think, when I got my gifts from my upstream pals (they both emailed my to apologize for being late, and I of course answered that it was no prob because I hadn't sent mine off, either). I didn't mail out the Fug until then either, even though I'd gotten it a month before, worked on it, and then kept it a little longer so I could "wear" it to WWKIP Day (June 10th), and then kept it longer, and longer.

The yarn I got from my SPs (which I feel major guilt about not posting- I know I was supposed to do so right when I got them) is really fabulous. From my OneSkein, I received a handspun kitchen-sink yarn, which will be used in my maniyarn scarves. It's mainly grey, but there are little bits and pieces of color or Angelina that make it very attractive. My Mellow SP sent me a bar of Raspberry Mint soap (which will be used to ward off my unfortunately present clothes moths), a skein of Trekking XXL (my first ever self-striping yarn- surprsingly un-annoying, as I thought self-stripers would be), and a skein of Mountain Colors sock yarn in this very dark, earthy colorway (I don't have the yarn on hand, so the name is unavailable at the moment, but it's dark blues-browns-greens), which is perfect for my dad, but I may have to keep it for myself because it's so luscious (and my dad, enabler though he is, is not a FiberphileTM).

And now for what I've completed, and what I'm working on: I recently finished the Royale Wrap, which is huge and fuzzy and rather orange (but I still love it), I've been working on a couple of pairs of socks, and Fetching, a pair of handwarmers that I am totally in love with. This curent pair is in lavender and is going to go to a friend whose birthday is today (it's going to be late, of course), and the next pair- in the same color- is going to my OneSkein SP. I'm going to make a pair for myself in dark red, and that means I've got an extra ball of dark red for another pair (because a ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran makes a pair). Something that I really like about this pattern (besides the great yarn, the awe I receive by using DPN when KIPing, the speed of the project, and the fact that it can fit into my smallest purses) is that it teaches you how to do cables. Cables are amazingly easy, and I'd never before realized it because I couldn't visualize how they worked. I'm working my way further into the knitting depths; next, colorwork!

Which reminds me: why do I have four superfluous balls of Cashmerino Aran (CA), when it isn't really the kind of yarn you buy one ball of because it's so neat? I have 2 balls of dk red, and 2 balls of lavender because I bought a Tubey-worth of CA, and mistakenly bought two reds that were way too similar, so I decided to get a purple, but lavender doesn't go with the sort of autumnal colors I already have. Fortunately, Fetching was invented, so now I am not only familiar with CA, but I love it.

I think that's really all.

No, no! I almost forgot spinning! I have continued to spin the grey alpaca-wool, which is really going to make a nice lacey project (I think it'll have moderate stitch definition, because it's not hairy, but of course it's hairier than cotton or silk). Last weekend, my mother and I sat in our driveway, under the plum, and hung out. I brought out my wheel (oh the joys of a portable Ashford Traveller), and Navajo-plied a muted-rainbow Wensleydale singles I had (I spun it months ago, and always had something else I was working on). I way overspun it, so I could get the dimensions I wanted, and I'm going to wet-set it in an attempt to balance the twist (ooh- jargon!). I've also been ever-so-slowly spinning the apple green merino I got from handpaintedyarns.com on my drop spindle (I've found merino difficult to spin on the wheel, because I let it get too thin and it breaks).

Also, my Metal Arts class has finished (I have a strange bronze logo, an ugly copper band ring, a fabulous silver and copper comet ring that doesn't fit, and an aromatic oil censer that I love, but will probably never use), and I am now helping out at the Girl Scout day camp (Camp Ida Smith in SF) that I have volunteered at for many years. I'm not a full-out Unit Leader because I haven't the time, but I am an "Adult Floater," which means I help where help is needed, and when help is not needed, I hang out in Houser House (the base of operations, and the only building besides the bathrooms) and knit.

Speaking of knitting (and I'll just mention this briefly), there is a show on PBS called Mystery! (I'm sure you've heard of it), and lately, the shows they've been presenting have been Miss Marples (stories by Agatha Christie, the Grande Dame of whodunnits). I've never noticed it in other iterations of Miss Marple (but then again, I haven't seen any since I was little), but the title character is almost always knitting. It's quite fabulous. You all ought to keep an eye open.

Oh, sorry for not having any pictures. I either haven't taken any of what I want to show, or they're on my digital camera, which I can't really find.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday Night

I went to Chicks with Sticks again this evening. I went with my best friend, Selma, who isn't really a knitter. She was working on a garter-stitch "scarf" using cheap acrylic; she gave me back my needles and yarn when she dropped me off at my house. Heheheh. Knitting just for looks.

CwS was super busy! People were sitting on the little-used stools, and it was quite noisy (Selma sat in the corner, and didn't say anything, but we had dinner in Bliss... mmm... deli food).

In other news, World Wide Knit in Public day (wwkipday.com) is this Saturday!! Man, I am so excited! I think there'll be a lot of CwS people there. I was recently looking at the wwkip day website, and discovered that most states are having 1-2 gatherings, and Florida is having 6, but California is having 15! And there's a whole bunch in the Bay Area (I think it's in part because I posted that I was doing it in so many places, but also because the Bay area is filled with so many cool people).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Chicks with Sticks

I've surprised myself (yet again) by not immediately writing about a new, um, thing (I think "love" may be too strong, and hanging out could hardly be called a "hobby"). I have been to two SF Chicks with Sticks meeting/get-togethers.

I actually have no idea what to call the CwS thing, I'm not just being cute, because it's not a guild, so it's not a meeting, but it's not really just hanging out either, plus, I know pretty much no one, but I'm good at making small talk (proven by the fact that I can be hit on by a drunk guy in the subway and convincingly pretend we're chatting like business acquaintances). So, yeah; I don't know what to call them. I'll use "meeting" for the sake of brevity.

CwS meets at Bliss Bar in Noe Valley (don't tell the bartender- I'm not 21 yet; I don't buy drinks, so I'm OK) every Monday night from 6:30 to 9:30; you don't have to go the whole time, but I like to, because I really need to get out of the house more often.

The people (there's one guy, so it's technically coed, but not really) are very nice, and laugh a lot. The co-founder, Kathy, who is helping me with WWKIP Day, is especially friendly (and is a great storyteller, by the way); she has a laugh that sounds a bit like a zebra's whinny* (click "listen" to get a vague idea of the sound)- in a good way. Kathy is working on a display of knitted silk wristlets for Noe Knits; they're going to go with a bridal theme (along with a knit cake!). She is, as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee said in her debut book, "a Knitter."

I think it's especially fun to see what other people are doing, and, of course, to see what yarns other people are using. Naturally, there's a lot of chatting going on, and I'm already starting to familiarize myself with the context of people's lives (in other words, I know who they're talking about when they tell a story). I don't really have much to say right now, because I'm not a very advanced or prolific knitter, and I don't have a significant other, or *cough* a job *coughcough*, and, well, I just don't have much to say. As usual it's, "my dad has had this experience..." or "when I was in kindergarten, I..." or whatever.

So, in conclusion: lots of fun (even the bus ride to-and-from), good conversation, great projects, and I can't wait to go tomorrow night.

*I really do mean it in a good way. It was the exact thought that struck me when I first heard her laugh. It's quite nice, and she looks happy when she laughs, unlike me... I look evil.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sheep & Wool Festivals

I've been reading a lot of blog posts about the two major S&W festivals on the East Coast. It seems that not only are they huge, but there's tons of great stuff to buy. Of course, the buying part is what I latch on to.

Frankly, I have Coast Envy. I'm jealous of the people on the East Coast who have an accessible and popular rural community. I know California has wool festivals, but at least half are in SoCal, and I'm looking for this kind of thing in NorCal.

An example of a successful discovery: West Valley Alpacas in Esparto (a town even my encyclopedic mother had never heard of), where I bought Spartacus (there's a whole post down there somewhere). I learned of another alpaca farm- can't recall the name- that's also in Esparto. After a good long internet search, I happen to happen upon TWO farms in that podunk little town. This farm was having its shearing during the Memorial Day weekend, so I couldn't go, but I really wanted to; I'll know for next year.

There's a thing in Sonoma County called Farm Trails*, which is a directory of farms/vinyards/ranches/whatever in the county. You can search depending on what products you're looking for, or what area you're in, or the features of the location (like sleepovers, petting zoo, or whatever). I'm not giving the website, because frankly, it's a terrible site. It's hard to navigate, and the info is not current. Most of the farms are orchards or vinyards, not really a lot of fiber farms, but there were some.

Sonoma goes through various iterations of horticulture; right now it's oeniculture, before that it was apples (but they were bought out by Washington apple companies to cut the competition), before that, it was peaches, but that was before my parents' time (so, more than sixty years ago). The area we have a cabin in- Western Sonoma, I believe- has an apple blossom festival in the spring, and the Gravenstein Apple Festival at the end of the summer. If you're in the area, I reccommend going, because there are some to-die-for apple fritters, not to mention the other delicious fair food, and all the local vendors.

But back to my topic; the vendors, even at the Gravenstein Fair, don't sell yarn or fiber or anything. Last year, there was a display/petting area that had llamas, rabbits, sheep, and angora goats. The woman who owned the goats was spinning their locks in the grease. That's the first example of fiber-love I've encountered there (not including the Royale Hare booth, where I ordered yarn for the first time- they were there one or two years, but haven't returned).

I want to find a fiber festival like the ones on the East Coast.

I'm going to SOAR this year, and there's going to be fiber galore, but probably no raw fleeces. (I don't know why that disappoints me; I don't even want to buy raw fiber!)

Maybe if I researched a little better, or- as I'm sure my mother will reccommend- I should go to a local guild and ask them. I may just ask Morgaine of Carolina Homespun, because she's really on top of this kind of thing.

*Lots of places have this kind of thing. There are wine-tasting trails (also in Sonoma, Napa, etc.), in England there's a tea trail, in Scotland there's a whiskey trail. There are probably wine trails in France. I know one can travel the silk road (but that's a little different). It's a highly marketable idea- it's a tour that you can tailor to your time, your area, your tastes, and all the local farms/vendors/shops have to do is put themselves on a list that probably doesn't cost very much money, and they get some great advertising.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I didn't realize how infrequently I update. I write a post, and then have something totally different but equally interesting to say, and I try to hold myself off, so I post more evenly. Seems more like I'm a slacker.

I just signed up for a couple of credited summer classes at ccsf (San Francisco City College): Elementary Russian and Beginning Metal Work.

The Russian I chose because I've always liked how it sounds when spoken by natives, and I'm good at picking up accents (but I'm not so good at remembering vocabulary!), and I have a book of Russian swear words (apparently they go for layered/manifold insults). I also like the idea of knowing a little of a whole bunch of languages. You know, like Tourist languages ("Where's the bathroom?", "How much is this?," "What meat is this?," "I'm sick." "That's too expensive." "Get away from me!"). I already know Tourist Mandarin, some Tourist Spanish, and I'm fluent in French, so I'm going to now learn Tourist Russian.

I'm taking the Metal Working class because I really wanted to take an art class, and they only offer weaving during the Fall & Spring semesters. The class is going to deal with soldering, annealing and the likes, and setting gemstones (ooh... handmade jewelry), and making sculpture. There's also going to be fieldtrips and we're going to learn about metallurgy through time. I hope I don't burn myself too badly; I already know how to solder- stained glass classes- but that's just lead, so the soldering irons are probably going to be hotter than what I have experience with.

In other news, I got my Mellow SP2 Downstream Pal, Becca from Conneticut. I know just what yarn I'm going to send her, so I just have to come up with the other goodies. Man, I really do love buying stuff for people (especially gift basket-type stuff). Course, I also got an eCard from my Upstream Pal (unnamed pal, I love you already!), and I totally love getting stuff.

That's the really great thing about SPs: not only are you getting presents in the mail (I love getting mail- it's almost a fetish), but you're also carefully selecting GiftiesTM for an almost-complete stranger.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Toe-Up Cast On

When I started my first pair of socks (a couple weeks ago), I followed the exact instructions in "The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook." The toe-up method involved a provisional cast-on.

When I started the second sock, I decided that there was no point in doing a provisional cast on when I'd figured out (in that blank mental state when knitting stockinette in the round) a way to cast on normally, and make a nice-looking start for the sock.

I know I'm not being very clear (pictures to come soon), but it goes like this: Using DPNs, CO 16 st (exactly what you'd do for provisional CO). Knit the first st. Take a third DPN and knit the second st, making sure to not wrap the yarn around needle #2. Alternate knitting a st on N2 and N3 until you've knit all the st (8 on each needle). Then K the st evenly onto the needles (4 st on each).

I occasionally think, "Why not just CO 16, and k 4 st onto each needle?" Then I remember that that would mean sewing the toe together at the end, and this cast-on is trying to avoid as much finishing as possible. It creates a fabric that is automatically upright; that's not a very good analogy, and I'm really not a good enough knitter to be able to come up with an explanation for the shape of the fabric, but it really does work.

And now, of course, I'm going to get a half-dozen emails telling me the name of this cast-on that some highly renowned knitter invented/discovered/laid claim to. (I immediately thought this when I "discovered" the technique- someone's probably come up with it already.) Anyway, I'm proud of myself, and I don't care if I've re-invented the Alternating Stitch Cast-On.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

LittleKnits Pr0n

Lorna's Laces DK Swirl in Vera

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Flames

Catania Color in sunny colors

Lorna's Laces DK Swirl in Camouflage

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Bittersweet

Arucania Atacama in shades of purple

Lorna's Laces Angel in a color I can't find the name of.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cheap-*ss KoolAid

Albertson's (you know- the huge grocery store chain that used to be Lucky's) has an ongoing sale of KoolAid. Their usual price is 3/$1. I was happily surprised to see a sale for 4/$1, so I snatched up twenty-odd packets to use as dye. As our groceries were being rung up, it turns out that if you buy 20, it's 20/$1. (A nickle per packet!)

I went back to Albertsons the other day with a friend, and spent the entire time she was shopping gathering 10 packets of each flavor they had. Now I have 10 samplers to sell on eBay, and they cost me $6.

I am so happy!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Little Knits Order Has Arrived!

A few weeks ago, I learned of a website that accepts PayPal (which is the only way I buy stuff online) called Little Knits.

I look on their website (all their yarns are listed in the left sidebar), and what do I find but pretty much everything discounted at least a little.

I couldn't help myself. I'd just gone though the Knitty archives to find projects I was interested in doing, so I had a list of yarns and needle sizes all ready.

Unlike my usual yarn purchases, I was going after multiple-balls because I had projects in mind (I don't think I've ever done that before!), so in the end there are only 2 yarns that are unique.

I bought yarn & needles to make Tubey (Cashmerino Aran, which is 55% Merino Wool, 33% Microfiber, 12% Cashmere). I went with black for the body (I've definitely never bought one of those 10-ball bags before), and got two reds that have turned out to be way too similar, and three complimentary colors (terra cotta, sage and coral). I'm usually reticent to buy a) this much yarn (I'm not made of money!), b) cashmere, because it seems overpriced, and it's one of those things that I may have liked before it became popular, but didn't buy, but now that it's the Thing to buy, I don't want to seem like I'm bowing to consumer fads. (Buying afterwards is just as bad- that'd look like I was far behind the curve, and even less cool than if I were buying with the curve.) I got this because it's what the pattern calls for, and I'm sure as hell not good enough at sweaters to replace yarn. In fact, this will be my First Sweater.

I got their last 2 skeins of Lush (1/2 angora, 1/2 wool; mmm...) in white, so I can make Yorick. I learned afterward that Lush takes a little extra effort to felt, but I think I'll be OK.

In with the mix is LL Angel in Iris Garden (70% angora, 30% wool). It's a tiny skein (especially for $9.95), but soooo soft and fabulous. I have no idea what I'll use it for- maybe it's my first skein of it's-way-too-fabulous-I-can't-use-it yarn, or maybe I'll use it in one of my maniyarn scarves. Above the Agel in the photo is a ball of Cascade Ice, which is less like ice, and more like a floral vine. That's definitely going to be used in a multiyarn scarf. The orange/yellow/red yarn is an 100% cotton sock yarn from Catania (a company I've never heard of, but the yarn was cheap, as sock yarn so usually isn't).

Also, I got a skein of Araucania's Atacama (100% alpaca) in shades of purple. I've used the yarn before, and it's great. The skeins aren't presented in the best way- which may be why they often go on sale (mmm... sale...). (All the way to the left in the photo- you can just see it.)

I also got 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces Swirl DK (Merino and Silk- seperate plies, so it looks pretty cool) in Vera and 2 in Camouflage. (Right in photo) The only thing I really object to with this yarn is that you need 2 skeins to make a pair of socks. Considering this was touted on the website as a sock yarn, I sort of resent having to buy two. Kudos to LittleKnits for telling the customers, though. And if I were really upset, I just wouldn't have bought the yarn.

I got 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Bittersweet, and 2 in Flames. God, I'm in love! I'm actually not sure what I'll make, but it'll probably be socks. Heh. It'll definitely be socks. I just want to get better at making them before I attempt it with yarn that costs this much, and maybe find a neat pattern to use. (Left in photo)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

OneSkein Secret Pal Questionnaire

1. Which yarn is most like your personality (you can be specific or general with your answer- brand, type, color, fiber, whatever)? I'm definitely a hand-spun, hand-dyed wool (possibly superwash). Corriedale, maybe? It's a pretty all-purpose wool. In jewel tones (with some light in there for contrast, of course).

2. What is your favorite color yarn to knit/crochet with? I love red, and also greens (but not together). I prefer variegated to solid, because I'm a color-y sort of person. I dislike pink and blue, but they're OK if they're just a part of a greater color scheme.

3. Have you ever used variegated, or magic, yarns? I love variegated. It's pretty much what I buy, and I know that means I'm not making plain sweaters or anything, but I've done a lot of mixed-yarn scarves, so variegated= interesting visuals.

4. Do you tend to favor certain fibers when choosing yarns? Protein fibers. Other than that, no. I may not be any good at spinning them, or rich enough to buy them, but it's animal excretions all the way.

5. Do you prefer to work with center-pull or traditionally wound balls of yarn? I really like getting yarn in skeins. It's not required- that would seem pretty fussy of me- but I really enjoy winding a skein into a ball- I get to run my hands over the yarn and see the colors, it's therapeutic.

6. Have you ever worked with organic yarns or are you interested in trying them? You'd think that I'd be all over organic, living in San Francisco, but I'm not. Why pay extra for a title that doesn't usually make any difference with the yarn. If you want really organic yarn? Buy a fleece, and make it up yourself (although I gotta say that I hate washing a fleece).

7. How many and what projects have you made in the last year? I have no idea. I've been working on a shawl for months, and I'm partway through another project, but other than that it's been hats and scarves.

8. Will you be knitting any gifts this year? Yep- got a pair of socks almost done for Mother's Day, and I think I'm totally going to knit/crochet stuff for Xmas this year.

9. What is your favorite one skein project? I make a lot of hats and scarves that probably only amount to one skein each, but I've now got some cone yarns, so I'm going to say big lace shawls (heheheh). If we're talking what I'd want, I think it'd be cool to have one of those shrugs that don't really keep you warm- they're just pretty.

10. How much yarn do you have in your stash and how do you store it? I have a big yellow cabinet that my dad made me, and that's where I store all my yarn. I have 2+ moving boxes-full of yarn. My roving would fill at least 3 moving boxes all by itself.

11. Do you have a yarn in your stash that you love so much you can never use it or part with it? No. I sometimes like the look of my finished maniyarn scarves that I don't want to sell them, but I know they'll find good homes. It's too much fun making something to begrudge any of my yarn an opportunity to become something.

12. Do you knit less or differently in the summer? No, I don't think so.

13. Do you belong to any knitting groups (online or offline)? I belong to a couple of mailing list, the Knitty coffeeshop, and I read a bunch of blogs, but I don't belong to any groups (I can't seem to find them in SF, except the one that meets at a bar- and I'm not 21 yet!).

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mellow Secret Pal 2 Questionnaire

(I took out the personal info, cuz having it in would be wrong- you know the drill, I imagine.)

I thought we were supposed to answer as briefly as possible (I find questionnaires are usually like that), so I tried to keep it brief- didn't always succeed, though.

All about you:

1. Do you have skillz? (beginner/adv. beginner/intermediate, etc): advanced beginner

2. How long have you been knitting? 4+ years

3. What are your favorite fiber colors? Warm colors; mostly green combos or red combos

4. Are there any fiber colors that make you want to hurl? If so which? Neon, pastels

5. Other than bran, what are your favorite fibers? Wool.

6. We all know you love your stash children equally but, what is your favorite yarn to knit with and why? Handspun, because it's nice to use something you've made yourself.

7. Do you prefer stripes, solids, heathered, or some other kind of color combo (or lack thereof) that I didn’t think of? Variegated, handpainted.

8. Other than fiber glass, do you have any unwelcome fibers (stuff you just don't need more of or like)? Does acrylic count?

9a. What is your Dream Yarn, the yarn you would marry if only the government would approve of your love? Those really funky hand-made skeins you find on kpixie; I don't even want to make anything, I just want to look.
9b. Is there a yarn that you loathe and despise so much that the very earth may open up and swallow the place where it’s produced? If so by all means, warn us! I really dislike thick-and-thin yarns- make up your mind!

10. Novelty yarns: super cool or blight on the earth? How about the stuff made with them? Novelty yarn is great when used sparingly.

Random Question 1. Other than this, what are you doing right now? Doing? It's 1 am.

11. Do you prefer straight or circular needles (are there any sizes you really need)? How about DPNs? I love them all, because they all have their uses (that's why they were invented).

12. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic, or birch? Have you perhaps found some new needle material to covet? Bamboo is good; it's grabby, and completely airplane-acceptable.

13a. Do you spin or crochet? YES!
13b. If you crochet, do actually enjoy it or is it a means to an end (like for finishing)? Oh no, I'm totally into it.
13c. If you spin do you use a wheel, spindle, or just run around in circles like Ali? Wheel and spindle.

14. What is the next thing you want to learn (techniques etc)? Entrelac. Pretty much because it's a cool word.

15a. What item(s) do you knit the most? Hats. Oh god, the hats!
15b. Anything you’ll never knit again? No, I'm pretty open-ended.

16. What are your favorite items to knit? Socks, though I have yet to complete my first pair.

17. What are you knitting right now? A wrap from Royale Hare.

18. Any projects you haven’t gotten to yet? Stop laughing, regain composure, we’ll wait. Okay seriously, what are you dying to knit that you haven’t gotten to yet? Uh... those socks I've been working on for a year?

Wants and Nots:

19a. Do you have any food, fiber, smoke, pet allergies your SP should be aware of? No.
19b. Do you smoke, have pets, or process peanuts where you store your yarn? If so, please declare them here: I have cats, and I can't guarantee the yarn won't ever be in the same room with nuts/shellfish/wheat/etc.

20. Do you have an Amazon.com or knitpicks.com wishlist you'd like to share with your SP (please add URL if applicable)? Two amazon wishlists: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2OM6BXYLY5VZV/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go/103-4682808-4859046?%5Fencoding=UTF8&layout=compact&items-per-page=25 and http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2X2TCNM63N1WC/103-4682808-4859046

21. Anything you’ve been longing for or would really love to get (knitting or not)? laceweight mohair, and lace books.

22. What about stuff you don't need at all? cotton.

23. What about knitting accessories? Cable needle, stitch markers.

24. Do you have hobbies other than knitting (tv, sports, collectibles, favorite things)? Girl Scouts, eBay.

RQ2. Did the last question make you start singing Favorite Things from the Sound of music? No; I dislike the "Sound of Music"

25. Carpe bibliotheca! Uh, any books you would like (knitting or not)? Lace books, fantasy (especially tongue-in-cheek stuff).

26. Any magazines you would like (knitting or not)? Wild Fibers, or Rowan.

27. For those of you who live outside the US, is there anything you'd like that you can't get your hands on? n/a

28. In the event your SP lives outside the US, is there a particular yarn ,etc. you can't find in the US? n/a

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (How about now? Are you singing it now?):

29. Who/What is your favorite...
a. Chocolate: See's.
b. Muppet: Swedish Chef or Beeker
c. Cartoon Character: Malificent from "Sleeping Beauty"
d. Flower: Tiny flowers that grow in rock crevasses.
e. Ice Cream flavor: Vermonty Python (it's new!), Cherry Garcia, coffee... actually, pretty much anything.
f. Fragrance: White Shoulders, or White Rabbit from Black Phoenix Alchemy
g. Shoes to wear: Flats that make my feet look Parisian. Or wedges.
h. Type of garden: One that is carefully manicured to look natural.
i. Animal: Horse, and cat.
j. Beverage: Cream soda.
k. Author: Terry Pratchett.
l. Musician: Too many!
m. Holiday: Food holidays (Passover, Christmas, Halloween, etc.)
n. Time of Day: Early evening in the summer, when there's still lots of light, but the ground is warm and the air cool.
o. Bath or Shower: Shower.
p. Country: France? China? Scotland.
q. Number: 19
r. Card game: Casino
s. Candy: My dad's peanut butter fudge.

RQ3. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Chuck as in throw? Well, then obviously until his back gave out.

Getting to know you, getting to know ALL about you:

30a. How did you learn to knit? After a failed attempt at copying the memory of the motions of little old ladies on TV, I learned from "Stitch 'n' Bitch."
30b. What made you into a Knitter? Being able to buy stuff, and having a portable craft.

31a. What is your oldest UFO and how old is it? A scarf or two that are a couple years old, each.
31b. Why haven’t you finished it? Didn't like the yarn, as it turned out.

32. What is the most exciting thing that happened to you this month, year? I withdrew early from my college.

33. What is your favorite thing to do to waste time? Mess about on the internet (browsing, eBay), read or sleep.

34. The things that make me the happiest are: Imagining owning a yarn/fiber/craft store, working on a story (though I doubt I'll ever finish), teaching camp songs.

35: If you were a Wild West outlaw what would you call yourself? The Duchess (cause that sounds so well-educated and classy- I'd probably be a madam- but an outlaw madam!)

36. If you were candy would you be sweet, sour, or cinnamon? Sweet, and probably one of those ones that are so rich that you can only eat a little at a time, or else you get sick (but you really want to keep eating), like tablet.

37. If you were a fruit which would you be? A kumquat (surprise: sweet on the OUTSIDE, sour on the INSIDE) or an artisan apple.

38. Are you a Java Junkie? How about a Tea-totaler? Yeah- chai all the way; spicy style, out of a box or Starbucks, I love chai

39. Your birthday, in case it falls during the swap and your SP wants to send you a card: January 26, 1986

RQ4. If you HAD to be a character from the Walt Disney universe, who would you be? Malificent; I was once watching Sleeping Beauty, and laughing at something, and she laughed- we have the same laugh.

40. Do you have a personal mantra? Sort of: Credendo Vides ("Believing is Seeing")

41. This space is for rent. Really? I hope it's got rent control, because I'm from San Francisco, where the renters are god.

42. How do you feel about holidays? Will you be celebrating any during the SP round? Fourth of July (another eating holiday for us) is during the round. And, yes, I celebrate holidays, mostly because they're a good excuse to have really big dinners with family and/or friends.

43. How do you really feel about socks? I own a lot, and want to make them, and especially like toe socks.

44. What is your shoe size? More specifically, if your SP were to make you some socks, what is your ankle circumference and foot length? My shoe size is 9; my approximate foot length is 9" and ankle circumference is 11".

45. How do you feel about ponchos? No. Ponchos do not look good on fat girls.

46. What kind of music (and/or which artists) do you listen to when you are happy? Dead Can Dance, Mediaeval Baebes, Loreena McKennitt, Lord of the Rings, Sarah MacLachlan

47. Rate yourself on a girly/fruh fruh factor from 1 - 10: 1 being masculine, 10 being an estrogen machine? 6; I'm not really all that girly, but I enjoy some girly stuff, like boned bodices, but I get along much better with guys than girls.

48. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? My family is: my parents, and I have 2 cats.

49. What are a few of your life dreams? Owning my own small business, having a public argument with someone and walking away the victor (that sounds bad, but it's true), having at least one child, travelling a lot.

RQ5. Aliens: Been and gone, coming someday, don’t exist, or living among us (please do not site Monkee as proof of your crackpot theories)? The universe- the galaxy- is expansive enough that there has got to be other intelligent life out there; maybe not like Star Trek or Star Wars (or maybe yes), but out there.

50. What languages do you speak (besides English, Pig Latin counts)? Ok, totally Pig Latin, French, some Mandarin, and an eensie bit of Spanish.

51. Hey baby, what’s your sign? How about the Chinese Zodiac? Do you read your horoscope or do you think it’s all bunk? Anybody think it’s bunk and read it anyway? How many questions was that? Aquarius, Ox, and it's total bunk (could we be more vague?); I'm more of a tarot-card person, although that's pushing it.

52. If you could live anywhere, where would that be? Bourgeoisie in the Renaissance, probably in England, but maybe France. If we're talking 21st century, then right here in San Francisco, but I'd also have to have a defensible castle somewhere.

53. If you could do anything for a living what would it be? Own a fiber store, and have miraculous good luck with it.

54. If you could have any "super power" which would it be? Power to control the weather; hey, I didn't say I wanted to have it be practical.

55. You're given $10,000 for traveling. Where do you go and why? Back to Beijing, India (oh my god the shopping!), New Zealand (Sheep, and Lord of the Rings), back to France (Caen), Antarctica (exept I'd have to go with my parents, and that costs more than 10k).

56. How frequently would you like to hear from your SP, and what kind of contact would you prefer? I'd prefer email for general contact, but I won't say no to some written notes back and forth (I'm such a mail junkie). And the frequency? Whatever- at least let me know you're there.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

West Valley Alpacas Open House Excursion

Today, my father and I went to West Valley Alpacas' open house. (In the pic: shorn baby in front, unshorn adults, and an unshorn yearling.)

The farm/ranch/whatever is in Esparto, which is North-West of Davis (which is South of Sacramento). It's about a 1.5 hour drive there from SF. YahooMaps had no idea where their farm was- didn't even have a record of the road (it's really middle-of-nowhere). Fortunately, they have driving instructions on their website from just about every direction you can come from, so that was helpful, and major points in their favor.

The open house was from 12-4, and we had a dinner to go to at 5, so we knew that if we wanted to go, we'd have to be there when it opened. We left the house at 10:30 (should have left at ten, because we forgot to account for the time we took eating lunch), and headed up there.

We got to the place at 12:15, I think, or not long after, and as we drove down their gravel/dirt driveway, what's the first thing we see? A tour bus. One of those big ones that you can charter- not the little modified-vans that are used as shuttles. And here I was thinking this was going to be some sort of hideaway, and that we'd be able to chat with the owners, and sort of peruse their wares, and hang out with their newly-shorn alpacas. No; it was crowded in the covered area of the pens.

People had brought their children (maybe they were on the bus, but I sort of doubt it), and there was a lot of them. The owners had set up a covered spot to try spinning on a wheel with alpaca, but I didn't try it out- it was all full of little girls! (Good for them, say I. Maybe they'll become obsessed and make their parents buy them wheels and fiber, and they'll become MiniSpinnersTM.)

So, after looking at the adorable, gangly, freshly-shorn babies (and the adults, but it's hard to not love the crias- they look so silly with their pencil-necks and tuft of head-hair), Dad and I went on over to the store.

Oh God, the store!!

First thing you notice: it's ceiling is low and sloped. (It's a fully-finished room on the side of the barn, and I gotta say- their windows were large, and let in a lot of light; it would've been the perfect place for a workroom.) Of course you notice the wall of alpaca yarn (I think they send it away to be processed, at least, but they may also just buy the yarn, and sell their fleeces separately), and if you could see through the crush of women (I said, "Oh. Here's where all the spinners are; I thought it was all kids!"), you'd see the looms in the back, and the other products (like alpaca-pelt alpaca dolls- cute if you've got a South America theme at your house). After a while (and a few more people in the store- the tour bus, presumably), you also notice the heat caused by: insulating fiber, warm day, spot lights for display purposes, a couple dozen people, and a low ceiling with only a wall-mounted air conditioner at one end to cool us off. But, next to the door, in full sunlight so you could appreciate the natural colors, were bags of raw alpaca fiber.

I looked at the price tag and gasped inwardly. Oy! $70-$90 for 1-2 lbs. of alpaca? Craziness!

A woman was dragging away three (three!) bags of this stuff. My dad said he heard her call it "gold." (Not the color- the value/quality.) Later, my dad saw her sampling some fiber from a basket (obviously meant for that purpose) using one of their 1 oz. top whorl drop spindles, and ended up talking to her pretty much the whole time I was browsing. We learned (during a moment when I was participating in the convo) that the reason the fiber by the door was so great is that it's the first shearing- ever- of a baby alpaca (they're called crias).

My dad is such an enabler- he gets into it, probably against his better judgement, and is interested in things that seem a good buy or of particularly good quality. I rushed off to see if there was any cria fiber left (my mom would have told me not to buy it- too expensive- I have too much fiber already- what would I use it for- is the quality really that important to me- etc. because she's a disabler- a new word!); my dad was just as eager as I was- he'd handled the fiber when he came in, and thought it much softer than the black adult roving they were selling.

I bought (as you can see in the sucky pic to the right): four skeins of Forest Green 2-ply baby alpaca lace-weight for Eunny Jang's Print o' the Wave Stole (a free pattern, I understand), a skein of the same in Baby Blue (for my best friend Selma) and one in Natural Dark Tan, each for Toni M. Maddox's Tiger Eye Scarf (another free pattern), two snack baggies (1oz each?) of sparkle (either Firestar or Angelina- I can never remember the difference)- one in irridescent and one in red, a 1oz. drop spindle, and- the tour de force- a 1lb. 10.7oz. bag of raw, black*, cria fiber from an alpaca named Spartacus (oh.my.god. I love him! It's probably him in the foreground of the first pic.) for $72.

Not bad. Not bad.

My dad (enabler that he is) suggested that I call right before their annual open house next year, and ask for them to reserve Spartacus' fiber for me. (My dad amended later, that I was to do this only if I liked the fiber.)

I'm so giddy! Nice trip, great shopping experience, beautiful day, my dad and I agreed on car music... wow.

*A black alpaca- much like my cat Star- isn't really black, just a really dark brown. And since yarn color is a little darker than roving, who's to say Spartacus isn't true black?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I have discovered the SP

Ok, I'll admit it: at first, I had no idea what the hell an SP was (that's the problem with abbreviating half the things you say- newbies are left in the dark). KALs were also a foreign abbreviation. I can understand DH, FIL, LOL, IMHO, PO, and many others- the list goes on. (I'll leave the why-don't-we-type-full-words-anymore rant to another post.)

Now, not to leave anyone out of the loop, SP stands for Secret Pal, and KAL for Knit Along.

So, back to what I was talking about: I have joined the One Skein SP Exchange, which, after further "research" into SPs, seems to be a bit more complicated and rigid than the usual kind. That's cool with me; I have no idea what's going on.

Secret Pals appeals to me for several reasons: I get to pick a few skeins from my stash (which is comprised mostly of single-skeins anyway) to send to someone who is happy to get them, I get gifties* from someone (the anonymity doesn't totally do it for me, but- who cares?- it's part of the fun), I get mail (I am a mail junkie, hence my compulsive eBay purchasing), I get to immerse myself in thinking about yarn/fiber/color, I get to fill out those questionnaires (sometimes they're annoying, sometimes they're fun), I am guaranteed to get a response (so much cannot be said of a lot of my friends).

One downside: if my parents knew about it, they'd be very condescending and they'd try to dissuade me from deepening my involvement with the world of craft. So I've got to be at least a little stealthy.

I have also signed up for the Mellow SP2 on the knittyboard. This exchange is a lot more open-ended in terms of gifties, which will be interesting (especially cuz I may get someone a bit more advanced than I am). There's a possibility of books, yarn, items, hardware, and other stuff. It'll be really neat to get stuff for someone else, but there's a limit of $40 in all; I think it's more of a guideline than an actual rule, but the mods (= moderators) were pretty adamant. Also, MSP2 and One Skein are both during the summer.

Man, I am so excited!

*Please to be imagining a greedy finger-twiddle with every iteration of "gifties."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Would an Evil Laugh be Appropriate?

This is amazingly like me. I wasn't sure what I'd come up with, but it's pretty spot on, although I like to think I'm a little more adventurous than this. (I know, I know- it's just a quiz!) I will admit, though, that I mainly used to knit scarves, and I've been working on my Royale Wrap for months, having bought the yarn several years ago.
What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Adventurer. You are through those knitting growing pains and feeling more adventurous. You can follow a standard pattern if it's not too complicated and know where to go to get help. Maybe you've started to experiment with different fibers and you might be eyeing a book with a cool technique you've never tried. Perhaps you prefer to stick to other people's patterns but you are trying to challenge yourself more. Regardless of your preference, you are continually trying to grow as a knitter, and as well you should since your non-knitting friends are probably dropping some serious hints, these days.http://marniemaclean.com
Take this http://www.quizilla.com/redirect.php?statsid=20&url=http://www.quizilla.com/makeaquiz.php"> Make A Quiz More Quizzes Grab Code

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mmm... Oakland

I went to the Knitting & Crochet Expo at the Oakland convention center, with my parents. We didn't get to stay for very long, as we got there maybe 12:30, and the market closed at 3. As we all know, 2 1/2 hours to see a couple dozen booths (some- like Carolina Homespun- very large) is not enough. Plus, all the cash I had was $11, because I forgot to go to the bank, and I don't have an ATM or credit card. (I did get 4 oz. of hand-dyed superwash and a mini baggie of silk noil from Royale Hare, who I first bought from at the Gravenstein Apple Festival in Sebastopol.) It was sort of depressing that I had no money, and my mom kept rubbing it in my face (she's really into reminding me that I need to remind myself of things), but I did see some things I liked, and made note.

Next year, I think I'll organize to take a class or two at the Expo, so I can spend more time getting to know people.

In the last half hour or so of the market, my parents and I chatted with the ladies of Royale Hare (not the owner, but the two women who helped her). They both go to Renaissance Faires (RF), and are RF guild people; one of them is the head of a guild that does women-stuff: spinning, knitting, singing (her words). So, of course now I'm excited to go back to the RF, and maybe I'll find motivation to join a guild.

Thinking of RF, I have a friend (Cynthia) who- last Christmas- started a little company that goes to the Dickens Fair in San Francisco, and she thinks maybe she'll do an RF if she can find one that's close enough and long enough running for her tastes and time. Oh!- almost forgot- she runs a booth that does crafts with kids: sachets, pomanders, roving angels (sacriledge- she cuts the roving so the angels will stand up!), painted lanterns/fans, and bath bombs. The nice thing about kids' crafts is that you don't have to be concerned with authenticity. I may work for her (the pay would be slim-to-nothing, 'course), because she's fun to work with, her daughters want nothing to do with it, and it'd give me an opportunity to a) do crafts and b) be at a Renn fest.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

In the Beginning...

I fully intend this to be a craft-only blog, not that it matters. (You can't tell me what to do... Bwahahahah!!)

I've been spinning about 1 1/4 years. I started two Januaries ago, at a local Girl Scout event called Discoveree. There was a spindling class, which I took (I was so excited, I bought Spin-Off just to get acquainted with the material). It was a great beginner's class- we handled several kinds of fiber, and tried to guess which was which, and then we made CD spindles, and spun up some admittedly yecchy yarn, which we Andean plied (I still use the technique when I have a small amount of singles that need plying) (Andean plying is a certain way of wrapping the singles around your hand so you can ply from both ends).

The next thing I spun was 2 oz. of soy silk that I got on eBay. Whoa. I can't remember what I thought of it at the time, but looking at the yarn now, I think I did pretty well (I'm a fast learner). I remember I stayed up all night plying the yarn. I also remember I wrapped the singles too tightly around my hand, and I could barely get the stuff over my middle finger to start plying; my finger was turning dark red, and was a little swollen- not happy, and I was freaking out (quietly) that I was going to have to CUT all that hard work off my hand, or lose a finger. Fortunately, I worked the stuff off, and proceeded to ply. I haven't used it for anything yet, as I intend to dye it some fabulous color.

Oh, I just wanted to say that I'm calling this a craft-blog because I don't just do one craft (most of us don't). I spin, knit, crochet, I'm a beginning weaver and I will dye at some point (I've certainly collected enough dye), and I may or may not learn to dry felt. I also do a bajillion other crafts (it comes with the territory when you work with Girl Scouts). Plus, I paint. So, any and all of aforementioned crafties will be featured herein.