Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Back to normal, sorta

Think back with me to the days before answering machines, before pagers, before cell phones, before the internet. We were fine; if someone phoned and we were not there, they tried again later. We sent letters or post cards. Why is it, then, that when we forget our cell phone at home we either turn right around to retrieve it or feel panic and dread until we are again "reachable?" Before DSL I checked email a couple times a day---at most---and lived a perfectly happy life. When I'm on vacation, I don't get the shakes if I am out of touch for a while. But yesterday, about mid-morning, my internet service went kaput. I restarted my pc, restarted the desktop downstairs, re-set the DSL modem.....and then called the provider. Yes, there was an outage, yes, they were working on it, no, they didn't know when it would be back to normal. I am ashamed to say, it drove me bananas. I couldn't check email---what if it's important??? Couldn't read the blogs, let alone post to my own. Couldn't download postage or labels, couldn't Google. It really bugged me, and the fact that it bugged me, bugged me more! I was ever so relieved to be back to normal this morning, but I'm thinking I should impose some sort of voluntary web fast every so often, just to get used to the idea of "doing without." Geesh. Monday was a complete success---got shoes, got the gift, and even checked out a new car. Knitting and spinning have occurred off and on over the last several days, but nothing worth a photographic record. And now on to New Word Wednesday. Anachronism may not be a new word to you, but it is interesting, none the less. It is a noun, which means 1: an error in chronology; a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects or customs in regard to each other 2: a person or thing that is chronologically out of place; one from a former age that is incongruous in the present 3: the state or condition of being chronologically out of place. Anachronism stems from the Greek ana (late) and chronos (time). Those of us who knit, and especially those of us who spin, can sometimes be seen as an anachronism. Doesn't bother me in the least. As interest in these crafts increases, those of us that "got in" in the beginning become less of an oddity, and perhaps sometime soon we won't have to explain that spinning doesn't always happen in a gym. I still get a variety of responses when I say that I spin, everything to "cool," to "why?" Those not familiar with the craft wonder aloud where one would even find a spinning wheel---an honest question. As one who enjoys all the perks of living in this time, I am ever so glad that I don't have to spin and knit or weave to clothe myself and my family, but I am equally glad that I am able to participate in these handcrafts to the extent that I do. And if that makes me an anachronism, well, so be it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

not takin' the bait

Thanks to those of you who jumped in to help Brett raise money for MS. He and Cora had a terrific ride, raised a tidy sum of money and are looking forward to next years ride. As promised, I have drawn a name from those who donated AND left comments, and Carole will now get to choose her prize. Here are your choices, girlfriend:

Both are superwash, sock to DK weight wool, both hand dyed (painted?) by yours truly. Each is at least 5 ounces, with yardage over 380. Let me know which you would like and it will be on the way in two shakes of a lambs tail (give or take). The week ahead is packed full of activity, and I really must get going. Hopefully, I'll make it up to Denver today to do a little shopping, but there's stuff to be done here, before I go. As far as the blog goes, it may be hit and miss this week, as I get ready for the shindig on Friday night (must find shoes, buy a gift and pick up and deliver the table decor), a birthday party for our favorite little dude, the arrival of my in-laws on Saturday and Brad's promotion complete with catered lunch on Monday (must. call. caterer.). Add to the mix a trip to the dentist, the chiropractor and a haircut, Alex starting a new job and everything that normally happens in the course of the week and I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Better make coffee, and get started, huh?

Friday, September 22, 2006


I'm sorry, really I am. Since I've been reading blogs and leaving comments, I've never quite understood the word verification thing. In fact, it annoys me; not to the point that I refuse to leave a comment, but enough that I decided not to use that feature on my blog. I've changed my mind. Every once in a while I've gotten unwanted comments, and for the most part, it's been no big deal to delete them----things like links to sites about hypnosis and such. But this morning, in my in-box were comments directing me (and you, gentle readers) to sites dealing in black pornography. What on earth did I say to attract this sort of comment??? No clue. So, beginning today, you will see the word verification jimmerjammer on the comments page. Please, don't let it stop you from leaving comments, I love to hear what you're thinking! Alex is settling in; within the first 48 hours he'd landed a job (1 application, 1 interview) and will begin training next week. Yesterday he got a manicure (while I got my massage), and made a trip to the dentist (ugh). He's been hanging out with his old friends from school (he and Matt have been friends since 3rd grade), and life is returning to some sort of normal. I seem to be in the mind-set that he is here "on vacation" so I've been spending a lot of time with him--not a bad thing, but there are things that are not getting done, like grocery shopping. That is on today's list. In case you've been wondering, here are the results of the koolaid dyeing from a couple days ago. From left to right we have black cherry, black cherry/grape and grape. Now, I just need to come up with a plan to use the stuff.
And now, Favorite Foto Friday

It's that time again....the leaves are changing colors, there is snow on the peaks and the elk are filling the meadows in Rocky Mountain National Park (and other locations, no doubt). Every year, I look forward to fall camping trip in the park, and this year is no exception. Unfortunately, the days are zooming by, and the schedule is filling up, and the weather, at least yesterday and today, has not been conducive to camping. In fact, Estes Park is under a winter storm warning and may get as much as 18 inches of snow tonight, and although I love to camp, I'm still a bit of a wimp, and snow is more than I want to deal with. The lovely thing about Colorado though, is that everything can change in a moment, and next week may be beautiful, sunny and in the 70's. I'm fighting to find a few days to run away to the mountains and enjoy the season.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


This morning has been one of real randomness---with only a little bit being accomplished. It's been quiet, so I finally got through the new issues of Spin-Off and Creative Knitting (the latter reinforcing the decision to cancel my subscription---what's up with all the patterns for bulky yarns and huge needles???) While lounging on the sofa with my coffee and magazine, I realized that the weather was going to be perfect for a little KoolAid solar dyeing, so I dug up some of the "roving which shall not be named" and set to it. This go 'round, I did three batches, one with Black Cherry, one with Grape and one with a combo of the two---dying my right hand a lovely shade of eggplant in the process. When I went to look for my black trash bag though, it appeared to have been reassigned and I feared it was now holding grass clippings. I just found it in the canner, in the freezer, in the basement (can't imagine why I didn't check there first---geesh). With the roving cooking away in the Colorado sunshine, I got down to what really should be done........paying bills. I entered the receipts into one of the checkbooks, then got sidetracked with the blogs on my daily read list. Then I remembered that I hadn't posted today, and, well, now I'm stalling. Paying bills, for me anyway, is about as pleasant as being glued to a tree. But, it is New Word Wednesday, after all, and we wouldn't want to miss that, would we?? Retrodict is a verb which means to utilize present information or ideas to infer or explain (a past event or state of affairs). It is, in actuality, the opposite of predict, which is made up of the roots prae-, meaning "before" and dicere, meaning to say (to say before). In the 1950's when people wanted a word for predicting the past, this word was created by combining the word for backward (retro) with the "-dict" from "predict". Reminds me a bit of Back to the Future. Now I have to get back to what I should be doing. Have a great afternoon :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Welcome Home

This, is son number two, Alex. Several months ago he said he was ready to move back to Colorado, and began to make plans. Last night, after leaving Seattle around 3 on Sunday, Alex walked through the front door, and this morning he's snoozing away, catching up, no doubt. Why he chose to sleep on the top of the bed is anyone's guess. Okay, now for a little weekend rehash. As you know, Saturday is the day I get together with the gals for knitting. Last Saturday, Christy invited us all over to her place, in honor of her birthday, for a dye day, with knitting, spinning and food, of course. I took my wheel, but got precious little spinning done with all the other activity swirling 'round. Brie, Leisel and I made a run to the Llama Store for some dye-able sock yarn, and each of us got to dye 2 bundles, around 5 oz each.

Blogger is giving me heartburn today, so rather than load lots of photo's here's a peek at what went on....

The tangled mess from yesterday's post is mostly sorted out, just a little more to go. The good news is that one of you will get to choose one of my hand dyed skeins as a prize...if you donated to Brett's fundraising bike ride for MS, and if you left me a comment saying that you did. What???? You forgot??? You want another chance? Okay, you have until I get the tangled mess re-skeined to make your donation to either Brett (handsome guy in the sidebar) or Cora, and leave a comment to let me know you donated (I don't want to know how much, that's not the point---just leave me a comment so I can contact you should you win). Last I heard, Brett had raised $500 and Cora $350, and I'm told they can keep raising funds until October. Thanks so much to all of you who have donated so far---you're the best!

Now, I'm off to wake the slumbering man-child upstairs. Better take Coffee :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

All Tangled Up

I'm having a wee bit of trouble getting to the blog today----do tune in later, I have news :)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Wish I was There

It's Favorite Foto Friday!

May 2005......want to go back.....'nuff said.

I've been thinking a lot in recent days about my life, partly due to watching The Mermaid Chair the other day. When I "read" the book ( it really struck a chord with me, not that I am anxious to run off and have an affair with a monk, but the place in which Jessie (the main character) found herself. In her early 40's, her daughter off to college she finds herself reflecting on her place in the world, longing in some ways for independence, for value and significance separate and apart from her roll as daughter, wife and mother. I think it's a common feeling among those of us of a certain age; that we turn inward and try to figure out what's next. For me, it seems like my life has been one of waiting. Waiting for birthdays and Christmas's, waiting for school to start, to let out for the summer and then waiting to be done. Waiting for love, waiting to get married, waiting to have children. Waiting for my husband to get home, waiting for the kids to come home from school, waiting to find out where we would move next. I've waited 3 times now for Brad to finish his degree's; now I'm waiting for him to finish the his PhD dissertation---waiting to have our lives back. I wait for my adult children to phone, to return phone calls or messages, wait for them to think beyond themselves. I'm waiting to see the harvest of what was planted. I'm waiting for the perfect job to come along, waiting for the cooler days of fall, waiting for my next opportunity to run away with the camper. Waiting for the feelings of being lost and adrift to pass.

I don't think any of this is abnormal. I think, like I said, that all of us become reflective from time to time. I think it's an important part of growth, that to keep on keepin' on without introspection leads to stagnation and boredom. To examine oneself is a necessary part of becoming what you are meant to be in this world. To shut the door on reflection is to become an automaton, something less than vital. I know there are people who don't want to be challenged to think outside the box, that it's a threat to their well thought out lives. Anything that upsets or challenges the status quo is bad, sinful. I've chosen to expose myself to a broad range of experiences with the belief that one cannot truly believe anything until they can believe it when challenged.

To borrow a oft heard phrase.......Can I get a witness??

Have a fabulous weekend, full of fibery adventures and family fun :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wheels a spinnin'

I just added a wee post to the Summer Spinning Blog (link in sidebar). Last night I couldn't sleep---don't know if it's the upcoming flurry of activity around here, residual from a couple movies I've watched in the last few days, or hormones, but rather than lying in bed full of frustration, I got up and did some spinning. Something about the rhythm of the wheel soothes the mind, allows it to process whatever needs sorting out and after about 90 minutes I was ready to go back to bed. This is what I was working on......

While at the Wool Market in Estes, I picked up this 2 pound bag 'o roving from Brown Sheep. While it's not yummy and soft like the alpaca, it is spinning up really nicely.....

....the variations in color flowing together beautifully----don't you think? With 2 pounds of the stuff, there should be enough for a decent size project; a vest or sweater even.

I'm going to keep this short, I've just been invited to lunch and must make myself presentable.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ignorant no longer....

Just a quick note. I wanted to let you all know that Brett and Cora completed the 150 mile Bike Tour (for MS) in fine form. Brett said it was a beautiful ride, harder the first day than the second and up to this point they have earned $500 and $350, respectively. Brett also said that they can continue to accept donations until October, so if you want to get your name in the drawing you still have a bit of time. I think I'll draw sometime next week. Now, on the subject of prize drawing; I noticed that there are a couple of you who donated and did not leave a comment. I applaud your altruistic motives, but if I have no way to contact you, I can't send you a prize! If you'd like to be included, let me know----you can email me if you'd rather, there's a link in the sidebar. There has been precious little knitting going on here, and the spinning wheels have been calling my name for several days. Seems like feast or famine; either there's stuff flying off my needles, or my knitting/spinning time is taken up by other activities. Tonight, though, Brad will be at school late----I'm thinking a movie and some knitting are in order. Now, for a show of ignorance. If you have been tuning in for a while, you'll know that this day of the week is reserved for intellectual enlightenment, in the form of New Word Wednesday. Sometimes I choose a word I've run across while reading, more often I choose a word from my calendar. Today, I chose a word that I've heard often, and really had no clear idea of what it meant. I will tell you straight off, it's a good thing I looked it up before using it in conversation, because I would have sounded like a complete idiot. Laugh if you like---but don't tell me okay?? Today's word is misogynist or misogyny, which to my surprise means a hater of women (hatred of women). Not a word I'm likely to use to describe any feelings I have, but I have to say, I'm glad to know what it means and to save myself from embarrassment in the future. Have any of you ever misused a word and humiliated yourself in conversation? I'd love to hear about it. And finally, it's my buddy Christy's birthday today----go by her blog and flood her with good wishes, will ya??

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Melancholy Monday

I took the day off yesterday not because I didn’t have anything to say---there was plenty to report after a fun knit meet on Saturday with the gals. Linda’s further adventures with the dragonfly socks had us all in hysterics for a good while.

I'll leave the play by play commentary to Linda---stop by and wish her (9/11) happy birthday, huh?

I even have 2 finished objects to show off, the baby kimono…..

….yes I know it needs sewing up. I’m actually contemplating substituting the ribbon closure it calls for with a smallish flat button. The jury’s still out on that. Details: Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono, Mason Dixon Knitting Yarn: 2nd Time Cotton, color Nantucket---a bit more than 1 skein (of 187 yards) Needles: bamboo size 7 circulars This is an easy knit, and a fun pattern. I was endlessly amused to see it come together---just as advertised. I was really hoping it could be made with 1 skein of the cotton, but it takes so little of the 2nd skein, there is plenty for a cap or little socks to match. This particular yarn knits up really soft, it can be machine washed but needs to dry flat---not too hard for a new mom, right? Started on Sunday night (football) and finished/felted Monday afternoon is this.....

.......(Ignore the goofy woman in the photo---it’s bloody hard to take a picture of oneself) Details: Home Team Felted Baseball Hat (Decidedly Hilltop, HilltopYarn, Seattle) Yarn: Something I bought YEARS ago, I think it’s from New Zealand (sorry). The pattern calls for Cascade 220---what I used is similar. Needles: bamboo 16 inch size 10 circular and size 10 dpn’s I have been wanting a felt ballcap for quite a while, but every pattern I came across just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t need a hole for a ponytail, I wanted a decent brim (and didn’t want to have to fiddle with the pattern). While I was back in Seattle in late July, I visited Hilltop and saw this cap knit up. It’s an easy pattern, quick to knit and has lot’s of choices for size. It took 2 turns in my frontloader to felt to the right size for my little head (I made the extra small, for a finished size of 21 inches). I want to knit another one. It might be just the thing for some handspun (at some point). No, the reason I wasn’t here yesterday is simply because I wasn’t up to it. I turned on the news in the morning (as I often do) and revisited that very sad day 5 years ago when so many lost their lives to the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. I spent the morning watching the news and knitting, then knitting while I diverted my attention with a movie, then eavesdropping on talk radio. It was a reflective sort of day, rather melancholy. The upside is that I spent the lion’s share of the day with needles in hand, and I have a cute ballcap to show for it. Today there is household stuff that needs doing, and I really need to get the rest of that Romney spun up and off the wheel......and there should be time for knitting.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The time has come, and other phraseology

If yesterday's phrase was " a Chinese Laundry," then today's phrase must be "a horse of a different color." Instead of sitting, partially reclined with my knitting or a good book, rather than positioned in front of one spinning wheel or the other, today, I shall be crawling around on hands and knees painting the trim that has needed attention since we laid the hardwood floors in January. Yep, I can hardly wait. I've run out of excuses. First, I was just too tired from the floor project. My brother in law, BT, and I did the job, mostly while Brad was at work, who of course helped when he got home. I learned to run the fancy schmancy chop saw, became adept at using the nailer and was the final authority on which piece went where. After everything was nailed down and my work crew left town, I spent an entire day on the sofa. Then came a long weekend, full of sanding and vacuuming where I developed a hate/hate relationship with the shop vac. On Tuesday, when Brad went back to work, it was my job to do the finishing. 4 coats of finish went on, with me on my hands and knees sanding the entire floor between the 3rd and 4th coat. It's lovely, but I wasn't at all eager to be on my knees again any time soon. About the time Brad got all the trim put back on, I was in that nasty, no good fender-bender, so I thought crawling around on the floor may not be prudent. Then it was summer and way to hot to do that sort of thing. But today, there is a nip of autumn in the air, I've got houseguests coming in a couple weeks, and, well, it's time. Before I go off to my painting, here's a Favorite Foto for this Friday.

Brad and I were on our way home from camping on the Olympic Peninsula and stopped at a wildlife preserve near Sequim, WA for a walk on the beach. Here is a shot back toward the Olympic Mountains, just before the sun started to go down.

Wish I was there................have a great weekend

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Like a Chinese laundry

Ever wonder where phrases come from? Like "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," "look before you leap," and so on. Some we know, and others, perhaps those passed down by parents are just a mystery. Some of my mother's favorites were "I'm going to slap you up to a peak and knock the peak off" (sounds awful doesn't it?) or "this room is a piggy-assed mess." For today's discussion however I am going to focus on this one; ".......looks like a Chinese laundry." Where my Mom came up with that, I have no idea, but as I was ducking under the drying alpaca hanging in the hallway yesterday, and then rounding the corner into the kitchen, that is the precise phrase that came to mind. This is the alpaca batt I have been spinning up. I've temporarily looped it over my cupboard doors until I have it all spun up and ready to wash, something that should be accomplished this morning. I wish I would have remembered to take a picture of the silver gray alpaca in the hallway---I actually startled myself the other morning, rounding the corner too quickly and forgetting it was there. I took it down last night, it's still gorgeous and I'm still impressed with myself :) Ellen asked what I was going to knit with it, and here's what I'm thinking; This is the Spartan Pullover from the fall 2006 issue of Interweave Knits, and up to now the ONLY sweater Brad has expressed interest in---which is reason enough to knit it, I think. The yarn I've spun is about sport weight (so says the band of merry spinners/knitters) and I'm hoping that I can order some sport weight alpaca from KnitPicks (black or charcoal) and use my handspun as the contrasting color for this sweater. Of course the yarns will be a bit different, but the fact that I'm actually using yarn I made should negate any downside, don't you think? Spinning enough for a whole sweater seems a bit beyond my reach, but it seems utterly stupid to spin yarn only to let it languish in the stash because there is only 400 yards. I think this sweater might be just the thing to showcase it. Any opinions??? I did a little knitting yesterday, the baby kimono is coming along (in fits and starts), and I got another couple pattern repeats done on the sock while out for coffee with Eva. I'm thinking of actually taking my mental list of what I want to knit, and getting it on paper (in in the computer) so as to keep myself somewhat on task. During the last contest, someone said the way they keep track of "want to knits" is to put the pattern with it's chosen yarn into big ziplock bags, and then into pretty baskets on a shelf. I think that's a marvelous idea, but I have neither the baskets nor the shelf space, unless I put them away in a closet, and that would defeat the purpose; out of sight, out of mind, don't you know. I think it is true of every knitter (quilter, crocheter, spinner, beader???) that it doesn't take much to lure us away from our goals. The pattern we love today, the one that we just must knit, can be easily pushed to the background with a simple trip to the yarn store, by what someone else is working on, or with the next magazine that comes in the post. My friend Anne, faced with a fast approaching spinning/knitting deadline (8 more days Anne dear), started 5 new projects in the last 10 days. Must be a new record. (ya'll should drop by her blog and give her some encouragement). With that thought, I'd better get the rest of this alpaca spun up----and order some more yarn :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I'm happy to report this morning that in the last 24 hours, Brett has exceeded his fundraising goal by $125. Ya'll are awesome. We still have a few days to donate to this terrific cause, so if you haven't pledged and were planning to, I have another option for you to consider.

This gorgeous blond, seen here between Brett and team mate Blair after the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, is Brett's girlfriend, Cora. With precious little training, Cora hopped on her bike and peddled her way to Portland, (well over 200 miles), and she's about to get back on the bike and do the MS ride as well. What a gal. Anyway, Cora is still WAY short of her fundraising goal, so if you want to throw some help her way, that would be awesome, (click here). Please don't feel like you need to support both Brett and Cora, or feel pressured to donate if you just plain can't, but if you want to give, your gifts are very much appreciated. I talked to Brett on the phone a little bit ago, and he is absolutely stunned by your generosity, and---I might add---just a little surprised that his mother has had a bit of impact. I have to tell you that most of his supporters have come from the blogging (or knitting) community. Not only have you all made MY life richer with you friendship, you extend that friendship to my family, and for that I am truly grateful. I'm am amazed, on a daily basis, that you pay attention to this little blog and that you give of yourselves to make my world, and the world at large a better place. Thank you. So, let's talk about the fibery things going on at Black Sheep Central. Yesterday afternoon I set out to spin more of the alpaca batt, and have another 50 yards or so of 2 ply. The stuff practically spins itself. I think I have about another hanks worth to spin up, and then I'll toss it in the bath and hang it up to dry, under a little tension. On the knitting front, I made some serious progress on the sock, whilst waiting to have the oil changed in the car. The shop was really pokey, I was there and hour and 15 minutes; it was 45 minutes before they pulled the car into the garage. I would have gone completely mad if I hadn't had my sock in progress----I completed 3 pattern repeats. I worked a bit on the Cambridge while watching the news, then after dinner and a walk with Brad, I picked up this book and decided I needed to cast on something else. What am I thinking??? The C word is coming up, I've got a ton of things on my want to knit list and I decide I need WHAT?? A baby kimono, of course. A couple years ago I picked up this wonderful recycled cotton yarn at one of my favorite shops in Seattle. While I was up there in July, I picked up a couple more skeins, in pink, and I got to thinking it would be a great substitute for the kitchen cotton called for in MDK. It is working up very nicely I must say, soft and pretty. Truthfully, I'm doing it mainly to see how the pattern works, and if the yarn is suitable. The other contributing factor was the upcoming arrival of 2 babes, both in October and one of each flavor. I'm thinking a kimono and little sockies to match (if I have enough cotton). Plus, I needed a break from the miles of gray stockinette I'm slogging through for Alex's Cambridge. And now.....New Word Wednesday. Corrigendum (soft "g") is a noun which means an error in a printed work discovered after printing and shown with its correction on a separate sheet. It is from the Latin verb corrigere, which means "to correct" and is related to the words "incorrigible" and "escort," though I'm having a hard time seeing a relationship between correct and escort. (any ideas??) When I discovered this word, I immediately thought of the corrections that often follow the publication of knitting patterns. I have to admit, I'm not one to check before I begin to knit, but mistakes are fairly common, apparently. While casting on the left front of the Cambridge the other day, I discovered a pretty simple math error, which I dealt with fairly easily, but I know that others have about gone mad trying to figure out what they did wrong, only to find out that it wasn't their fault. My friend Kirsten was talking the other day about a crochet pattern she had worked up in which every row of the pattern was incorrect---good thing she a a master of her craft.

Stay tuned for updates (and don't forget to leave me a comment if you donate to either Brett or Cora!)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I don't know where to start today----so much has happened since Friday. Hang on, here we go! Friday: Phoebe, Darcie, Christy, Maus, Sabine and I headed up to Ellen's fabulous ranch for lunch and some fiber fun. For a complete accounting of the days adventures...check out Ellen's new blog. Friday night, I finished sock number one (on trekking pair three) while watching re-runs in bed. Saturday: More knitting fun with the gang at a local coffee spot. It was definitely knit sock day, both on and off the needles. Linda is still slogging through her dragonfly sock, and I got sock two started. Saturday evening, I moved the spinning wheel in front of the fire and worked on the baby alpaca. Sunday: More spinning, and then plying, and now we have about 400 yards of beautiful 3 ply yarn. I am so pleased with this batch I can hardly stand it!

Monday: Around 11:00 I met up with the girls for a bonus knit meet at another cute little coffee shop in Black Forest.....I left at 5. I'm reminded of an old Chicago song ".......time passes much too quickly, when we're together laughing......." The highlight of the day, for me anyhow, was all the positive comments I got on the new alpaca handspun. The lowlight, at least for Linda, was another setback on the dragonfly socks. She will either LOVE these socks when they are finally finished or not be able to look at them for a good long while. So last night, after the dinner dishes were cleaned up, I got out the alpaca batt that Christy brought me from Pagosa Springs a few months ago. She had started spinning her half on Friday up at Ellen's, had done a little more Saturday at the coffee shop (on her Ashford Joy) and I was amazed at how fast it was spinning up. I was anxious to try it myself. Two words: Instant Gratification. No kidding, the stuff practically spins itself. Now, this is a different style of spinning than the meticulous, short draw, worsted spinning I've been doing. This fiber begs to be spun into a thicker, loftier woolen style single, and after not quite 90 minutes, I had about 50 yards of 2 ply light bulky goodness, with probably 3/4's of the batt left. The bobbins fill SO FAST! I'm playing with the idea of finding more alpaca batt and spinning up enough for a vest or jacket. It's not the kind of yarn I'm used to spinning, but it is dang fun to get results so fast----nice for a bit of a change.

Just to remind you, Brett's ride is coming up this Saturday, and as of last night he still had lots of money to raise in order to participate (I think I said before that the entrance fee was $150---it's actually $250, and he's still pretty short of that goal). No pressure here, but if you'd like to donate, you can find a link to his pledge page in the sidebar---just look for the picture of the handsome guy. If you donate, leave a comment and I'll enter your name for a prize. Thanks in advance for any help you can throw his way.

Now I really must run----have a great day!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Not too bad

Today, several of us Spinners with Altitude are heading up to Ellen's gorgeous ranch for a potluck lunch and some fiber fun, but before I go, I know you are just dying to see how yesterday's experiment turned out (if not, just pretend, okay?) By late afternoon, all the dye had been taken up and I was left with clear water. Now, I know that was what was suppose to happen, but it was so cool to actually see it. I brought up a window screen from the basement and rigged it up between the kitchen window and the table and laid out the roving to dry. Here are the results:

The bit at the bottom is what I dumped wine on, with the two others having been steeped in food coloring.

Here again is the wine dyed, along with food coloring (orange) and my favorite, the Black Cherry koolade. I am really loving the way the koolade works---I bought a bunch more last night to play with. The koolade roving felted a little more that the others, and I'm not quite sure if it was due to more agitation, the fact that it sat in the bag until this morning (I had run out of room to dry it), or the temperature there between the garbage bag. All in all, I'm really pleased with this little experiment.

For today's Favorite Foto, I've chosen this picture----another one of those shots that just makes me smile. A couple years ago while Brett and I were camping on the Olympic Peninsula, we went to one of those "drive through" wildlife parks. At the gate, you have the option of buying treats for the bears. Now I must pause here and say, these are Hollywood bears, many have starred in television and films and so forth. They are not wild bears, or zoo bears, but retired movie bears, and are somewhat used to people......and treats. As we drove by their enclosure, they literally sat up like this, opening their mouths and waving, nearly pointing at their wide open mouths...."throw it right here, here, here, okay?" I have never in my life seen bears do this, and they were quite accomplished at snatching hostess leftovers right out of the air. We had such a good time, we drove through 2 or 3 times.

Have a great holiday weekend!!