Morning Hodgepodge

My Aunt emailed me last night, and asked when I go to work.  I assure you, I do (a girl has to have money to buy yarn and art bits), but sometimes it’s a struggle.  The weekends are never long enough to do everything I want to do.  Here’s a little wrap up of some of the creative mess that took place in my house this weekend.  Mom, if you’re reading, it also explains why the house is going to be a frigging disaster little bit unorganized when you get here on Friday.

First off, spinning.  It’s never far from my heart.



is now two ounces of this funky thick and thin.


This was also a big yarn dyeing weekend in my house, as we had fall sweaters to dye for and I’m in the middle of working on a new little venture (you can see a sneak peak here although it isn’t operational yet).  The pink/purple/green yarn towards the front is the new superwash merino I’m working with and I confess to being totally in love with the way it sucks up the color (and the idea that I won’t have to worry about the little kids’ sweaters felting this year).

I’m especially happy with this sock
yarn, called Fate


and with this as-yet-unnamed (Miss Ellie can only work just so hard in any one weekend) bulky merino


While all the yarn was batching, I spent some time looking at patterns online, and stumbled across this incredibly wonderful blog, Saartje Knits.  In addition to being one of those blogs you could get lost inside of reading everything, Saartje has some great free patterns, including her bootees and a cool Noro hat pattern, both of which I printed out and want to start in on soon.

The ten week plan is marching on.   For those of you who asked, it’s a sort of embarrassing diet, but if you must know, I do the Suzanne Somers low carb variant.  I’ve been told it’s close to South Beach.  I like it because I can eat all the fruit I feel like I need to eat, and whole grain pasta and breads in moderate amounts.  Essentially, it steers me towards the foods I’m inclined to like the most.  Since I’m not a white bread kind of person, a couple of fresh veggies, a good salad, and meat as sort of a side dish suits me just fine.  For instance, tonight’s dinner is braised lamb shanks, spinach & roasted garlic, and caprese salad.  I’ll add on couscous for the kids.  Bed time snack will be a big dish of blueberries, fresh from the farmer’s market.  After I had Miss Ellie, and was hunting around for a way to take off baby weight, a friend on my Parents Place Pregnancy board suggested this diet and a bunch of us went on it together.  It worked great that time, and again after my fourth baby was born.  I’m hoping it’s also the cure for the onslaught of middle-aged sluggishness and excess tummy that is afflicting me.  The key for me seems to be getting off of sugar.

The Giotto tank is happy to have progressed it’s necessary one inch for the week.  I knit it while reflecting on the importance of taking time for oneself.  No pictures, but I’m a little bit nervous that I am noticing a proficiency with the moss stitch/ribbon yarn issue on this front side that is not evident on the back.  At least this first little bit is compact and even in a way that the back of the tank isn’t.  I’m hoping I won’t feel compelled to rip out the back and reknit it after I finish the front, because I really am hoping to wear this tank when my ten week plan is up!



The Ten Week Plan

I have a ten week plan.  Really, I do.  I’m not much of a planner, but I have one.  But before I tell you about that, did you know that if you spin at a T-Ball game, it makes you a really strange mom?  Some people will look at you like you are very odd.  But some women, mostly the right kind, will be inexplicably attracted to the spindle and will come over and ask what you are doing and if you know where they can learn.  Nice women.  And you will have new friends.  Really. 

Bet you couldn’t guess, but this is what I did at T-Ball Thursday night.


It is the prettiest copper and tan Blue Faced Leicester and it is spinning up very nicely.  And I really do have some new friends.

As for the ten week plan part, well, it is sort of embarrassing, but is because I need a ten week plan.  I need to spend some time getting in shape and eating right and relaxing or else middle aged malaise is going to overtake me.

When I started the Giotto tank, I actually fit into the size 34 I was making.  But the tank has fallen by the wayside and become one of those "I’ll get to it later" projects.  And I’ve gotten busy and managed to get out of shape to the point where I don’t think it would fit.

But, the tank has good sense.  You see, it’s knit in Moss stitch.  Colinette’s Giotto, a ribbon yarn, in moss stitch. 


It’s pretty agonizing in some regards.  The needle wants to go through the cool fizzy edge of the ribbon and you have to be very careful.  Plus, did I mention that it is Moss stitch?

But all that time that it takes to knit in Moss is going to be my ally.  I finished the back tonight and casted on for the front.  If I knit just 1 1/2" a week, it will be done in about ten weeks.  So I’m going to knit my inch and a half, eat some healthy food, get a little exercise, and plan on fitting into the Giotto tank (and feeling much healthier, thank you very much) just about the time it’s done.  The tank is going to give me my ten weeks.  I’m not sure you could call it a knitting diet, it’s more of a "knitting inspired plan for lavishing more time and attention on myself."  I feel it working already.


Isn’t She Beautimous?

I came home last night to find that the husband has completely assembled my new spinning wheel.  It is actually my first ever spinning wheel, and I have to confess, I’m a little bit nervous about entering new territory.

Isn’t she pretty?


She is a Fricke S-160 double treadle.  And, I just happen to have this beautiful roving, it’s Blue Face Leicester and it’s very soft and creamy, on hand and waiting to be spun.


It’s going to be a fun weekend at my house!


Gardening Meets Knitting

We briefly distract you from your wool related activities to share a morning foray into the garden.  A mixture of my favorite herbs, (yes, that is a branch from my bay tree, grown from a 4" cutting, in the back of the basket.  I was told they would not grow in Alabama and have never seen another one here, but I was determined to have one), but what does this have to do with knitting you ask?

The herbs have been stripped from their slender branches and are carefully drying under tents.  Once they are fully dry, they will become drawer and basket liners to keep my precious wool safe from the noxious moths who are particularly drawn to the hot humid regions of our house known as closets at this time of year.


Back to more traditional pursuits:

I dyed some yarn in a copper patina colorway yesterday, to go with some of the handspun I shared with you last week (a picture of the first ball is down below).  The colorways are working out perfectly, so that the handspun, which is a thick and thin with an almost thrum effect in places, can be used as an accent with the newly dyed yarn.

Coptina Coptinahandspun


Wonderful Summer Days

It has been one of those perfectly lovely summer days here.  At lunch, I had time for a quick trip to eat lunch with my daughter at the museum (summer art camp) and got to take a look at one of my favorite pieces in their collection, an installation of enormous glass flowers by Chihuly, which never ceases to make me feel really, really happy.

Patina_2  Tonight, while my darling husband watched bad horror movies, I sat down to spin and immediately found myself in the company of my two youngest children.  They both spun with me for a while, before one dashed off to do pirouettes and the other stashed a spindle down the back of his shirt (are you sensing a theme here?  the spindle became his most recent effort to find a weapon to sheath down his back ala Lord of the Rings).  This roving is so gorgeous i have got to share it with you, even though this is a late night, bad lighting picture.  I love copper patina as a colorway, and this roving captures it pefectly.  The yarn is spinning up nicely and I’m excited about it.  All of the roving has been picked over and prepped for spining, so I’m hoping to make lots of progress with it this week.

Because all my art friends are wondering if I have forsaken them for the demon knitting gods, I’m going to do something I don’t usually do and share three collage works in progress.  I thought it might be fun to show them now — you can exhale a collective gasp at how awful they look in progress and it will be fun to see them when they are finished and no longer cause my  inner art critic to want to stab something.



Blue Faced Leicester

Those three little words make me so happy.  Blue … Faced … Leicester.  If fate was ever kind enough to stick me out in the country on a little farm, I believe I would have a small flock of these lovely sheep.

Until that time, I’m fortunate enough to have a very nice friend, Julie, whose lovely store has fabulous hand-dyed rovings and other cool things I covet.  Last week, as I was leaving town on business, a package arrived from Julie’s store.  I stuck it in the car and promptly forgot about it.  I discovered it again (while sitting in the parking lot at the Starbucks in Anniston, Alabama) and opened it to discover too huge bags of gorgeous starburst-y bright oranges and reds.  It was so wonderful that I had to call Julie on the spot and tell her how much I loved it and ask what else she had in stock.  So today, in the mail, I get a second package full of blues and greens, with a note that says, keep what you like and send the rest back (she’ll pay postage) and I’ll send you an invoice.  I’ve already pulled the blue/purple apart and started prepping it to spin.  Look at those colors!


I’m thinking about spinning this with the oranges and reds to make a wonderful thick and thin multicolor yarn.  I just love the colors and the incredible softness of the Blue Faced Leicester roving.