One Crazy Fiber Lady

The ramblings of a fiber-affected single mother of twins who makes a living as a code monkey

One Crazy Fiber Lady

Entries from February 2012

Weekly Words

February 26th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Wow looks like I’m going to make two weeks in a row.  Wonder how many recurrences is necessary before it becomes habit.  Anyway, here’s this week’s update:

On the needles

1.  Stripe Study Shawl is moving along.  For the last week it has been my only knitting project.  I worked on it at SnB, train, work (while reading a tech book) and at home in front of the TV.  There wasn’t much TV knitting this week as the kids were home on vacation.  They wanted to spend time together after I got home from work.  I did get TV time last night while watching a couple of movies that I hadn’t seen yet (King’s Speech and Hotel Rwanda)  I’d wanted to watch both of them and happily knit a couple of stripes doing so.

I’m really enjoying this pattern.  Pretty nifty and I like how the Woolmisery is working up.  I might just have to add another skein of the stuff to stash.

2.  Socks – Since Stripe Study is getting a bit big to qualify as purse knitting, and this yarn is yelling at me to work with it, i’m going to cast on for sock.

The yarn is the most recent installment in the Into the Whirled sock yarn club.  it is 3 ply super wash merino in the February 2012 Club – Mercy Hartigan.  I’ve been staring at it all week, ready to pet it, hold it and name it George.  I can no longer resist and will break out the ball winder and sock needles post haste.

Spinning

I spent a bit more time with my new Bee and am really enjoying this wheel.

Look how solid the base of that flyer is, how many layers of lamination there are!  I also really like the open orifice, no hook necessary.  Get a load of the pegs on the arms of the flyer, no hooks, but what looks like screws covered in a very smooth plastic.  They are perfectly offset between the two arms and allow for a very nice wind on.

She’s a real smooth spinner.  I’ve been using the middle range and finished up my first yarn yesterday. I plied it, using the continuous plying method, on the Womack Butterfly.

Fiber:  Forbidden Woolery 100% Falkland – Chinese Fireball colorway.  I got an amazing 610 yards out of 3.95 grams in a smooth 2ply.  The yarn needs to marinate, much like the fiber did.  I’m pretty sure I purchased the fiber at WOOL in 2010 😉

While I haven’t been working on any more of my own projects, there’s been this:

Since I sent the Ashford Scholar off to other pasture, I bought Alex a new wheel:  Dorre’s Ladybug.  Kat has the used Traveller I got her a couple of years ago.  They’ve both decided that they’d really like to learn how to spin.  Here I had them practicing controlling their feet and hands at the same time by winding sock yarn onto the bobbins and trying to keep them from being royal messes.  Then I moved them to alternating between adding twist and then winding on.   Another practice drill had been trying to start from a dead stop and go in the correct direction.  They are both using a double treadle wheel, which makes this easier, but not necessarily a walk in the park.  Next step was to sit double with them, I treadled, held the wool and with them in my lap, demonstrated what it takes to actually spin.  I then guided their hands before letting them solo.

Kat is now soloing.  I still need to sit with Alex.  I’m so proud of her.

In other wheel news, a second wheel is now leaving:  the Sidekick.  With the addition of the Bee and the presence of two other Schachts in the house, not to mention that I don’t find the Sidekick to be the holy grail of portable wheels that I’d hoped, I responded to an ISO post looking for one on Ravelry.  She’s now boxed up and will be dropped at UPS tomorrow to go to her eager new owner.  So now that’s two wheels in, two out with a third due to go as well.  The CPW should be out on Friday.  Not to worry, the herd is still sizable 😉

Reading

I’ve been doing a little floundering in the reading department since I finished that book last week.  I find that when I finish a really good book, I do tend to struggle to find what to happily read next.  I’m taking advantage of working for a publisher and sifting through the digital library that I’m allowed to borrow from at work.  Another bonus is that I can get my hands on books that haven’t been released yet 🙂  I’m now reading Ashes to Dust and enjoying it so far.

Other Stuff

Not much else going on.  I’m still pondering modifications to the two counter apps.  For the android, I’ve had more than a few requests for a widget to do quick counts.  For both, I’d like to take advantage of the Ravelry API and tie in with a user’s projects there, either to quick create projects and to sync up notes.  I also got into a discussion with a group on Rav where they are looking for either a web based or desktop based counter program.  Oh and there’s also the iPad version that I’d really like to incorporate a PDF reader with highlighting capability into the landscape view.

Oh and then there are the looms that are all sitting idle!

And the kumihimo stand..

And the sewing machines, fabric and quilt projects..

I need more time.  I also need to sift through the stash monster and pick out the stuff that doesn’t stand a snowballs chance of ever growing up into something and move it along.  Well that and the unused electronics and Coach purses 😉

I’m tired now..

Craft on!

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Tags: Books · Family · Lace · Spinning

Weekly Words

February 19th, 2012 · 2 Comments

I’m going to try something new for a bit, a weekly update of what I’ve been up to (spinning, knitting, gadgets, reading, etc).  I’d like to try for a once of week sort of thing and see if I can maintain that at the very least.  I might be able to handle a routine better than the hit or miss approach I’ve used to this point.  Or not 😉

On the Needles:

I finished the socks that I started right before the cruise.  I dubbed them Explorer Sock as the bulk of the knitting was done on the Explorer of the Seas.  They are my basic sock pattern, this time using US1 over 52 stitches but cuff down for a refreshing change to the recent toe-upness.

The yarn is handspun from ITW fiber, May-June 2010 SAL Starcrossed – BFL that is a true 3 ply that I spun on the CPW seemingly forever 😉  Well maybe not forever as it did get finished and now continues life as a pair of socks.  Quite happy with the results.

Also on the needles is a new project I started, continuing the year of the sock, or at least another attempt at staying on top of the sock yarn monster that has formed here.  This one is actually utilizing two different skeins of sock yarn!

Stripe Study Shawl – the blue/black yarn is Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock while the red/orange/yellow is Wollemeise 100% in Campari Orange that I bought years ago before Wollemeise because the fad yarn du jour.  Its been marinating in stash, and I’m quite happy with how the two yarns are playing together.  I managed a couple more stripes on this last night, so this picture is outdated already.

Nothing else active on the needles, but there’s a possibility that a pair of socks will be started to keep as purse knitting for when I want to read as I can’t count to twenty AND read at the same time.  Not to mention, this GOREGOUS yarn just arrived as part of the ITW club and I.MUST.USE.IT (or hold it and pet it and name it George).

On the Spinning Front:

There’s nothing currently active on most of the wheels.  The Vermont Wheel has some yummy ITW fiber – 64’s Merino in Blackforest Cake colorway that has been marinating for a while.  I’m planning on n-plying it and have about a 1/3 of the fiber spun already.

The other spinning is this fiber:

It is Forbidden Woolery fiber – Falkland wool in Chinese Fireball colorway.  I’m spinning it on a new wheel that arrived on Thursday.

My new Spinolution Queen Bee!

I’d been intrigued by the SpinOlution wheels for a while but hadn’t tried one nor pulled the trigger when looking for a travel wheel.  I happened on a sale posting on Ravelry that I just couldn’t ignore.  It was for a gently used Bee with SEVEN bobbins and travel bag for an amount that I couldn’t help but pay.  Anyone reading here for a while knows that I’ve been on a grail quest for the perfect travel wheel.  While I’m not yet convinced that Bee might be what the others haven’t been, there are definitely some serious factors in her favor, including the widest range of ratios right out of the box, including the smooth treadling middle 18:1 that matches my Vermont Wheel.  Nice.  And I don’t have to pump like I’m trying to win the Tour de France to achieve that.  Set up is literally 2 minutes from bag to spinning, which blows my Sidekick and her suitecase right out of my trunk.  If only she were a tad lighter weight-wise, but that also makes for a solid spinner.  Might just have to go to the gym 😉  I spun up 2oz of the fiber on Friday night at my normal weight and am quite pleased with it so far.  I’ll probably be posting more as I work with the wheel more.

Other Stuff (gadgets / books / etc)

No other gadget acquisition, though I’ve been shuffling around the reading gadgets.  I admit it here and now, I have a bit of a gadget problem and eReaders in particular.  I’m coming to the conclusion that my favorite device to read on is my Kindle 3G.  I thought I’d like a touch screen, figuring that just tapping the screen while knitting would be easier and quicker, so I bought a Kindle Touch.

I like the thing, the problem is that not only the finger tap turned pages, but so did the sock I was knitting on, as did the yarn tail, or the floppy needle tip when knitting a sock on two circs.  The Kindle Touch 3G is not for me.  Any takers before it goes on Craigslist? (Edited to add:  Just returned from BestBuy where I returned it.  Turns out I was still within the return policy so back it went. Much easier that way.)

What have I been reading?  I just finished reading A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3).  OMG.  The first two books of the series were good, but this one?  Blew my socks off.  I’d highly recommend the series.  Now the big problem, do I move along to the next book or take a break, extend the life of the series and read something else or not.  I think I can wait a bit, process what happened and finish up one of the other books I’ve had going 🙂  Yup, multi books along with the multi projects.  What can I say, at least I’m consistent.

Watching Hoarders has led me to re-examine what I’ve been up to.  No, its nowhere near like one of those houses around here as things to leave, somewhat regularly but there is a bit of clutter in my life.   I’m cleaning up a bit of the clutter now.  To that end, the CPW will be moving to a new home (no offers please as I already have a pending sale for it), I’m selling on Rav a couple knitting bags that I don’t use, and somewhere I’ll be listing a couple of Coach bags that fall into that same category.  I might create a page around here to list stuff that needs to move along.

Craft on!

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Tags: Books · Socks · Spinning

I’m Back!

February 16th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Okay so it was a bit longer than the 10 days of the actual cruise.  I dealt with some very nasty withdrawal symptoms from the anti-motion sickness patch this year.  24 hours after removing the last patch I got very nauseated, dizzy, broke out in a cold sweat and an awful headache.  Only solution that I could find through copious googling was to take does of meclazine/meclizin (aka Dramamine).  So while I was no longer seasick, I was now stupid sleepy. 
Was an interesting week at work!  That was in addition to the blurred vision from the dilated pupils that I had from day 2 of wearing the patch on through day 5 post wearing the last one.  I’m going to skip the patch fun next year (yes we booked next year’s cruise already!) and wear motion bands or something.  It isn’t worth it.

Okay, the cruise itself was excellent even if we missed Labadee and one more night.  We were at sea for the first 2 full days, arriving at San Juan on Tuesday, getting the cruise back on schedule (Haiti was supposed to be Monday’s stop).  While in San Juan, we wandered around the old city, did a little souvenir shopping and returned to the ship in time for dinner. 

Wednesday brought us to a new island for us, St. Maarten.  Mom and I did a little shopping at her favorite jeweler on the island and I picked up a little something for myself.  We left them to do the resizing/modifications to our new pieces and took the kids to the beach for an afternoon of surf and sand.  It was pretty crowded as there were no less than SEVEN cruise ships in port that day, including our ship’s monster younger sister:  Oasis of the Seas.

That feller in the foreground is actually dad.  Not all seven ships are visible in this picture.  There was only dockage room for six of them, the poor 7th is anchored in the harbor.  It was a beautiful day, the water was warm and calm and I got nifty sparklies at the end of it Smile

Our stop on Thursday was an old friend, St. Thomas.  This year, instead of hiring a cab and heading to one of the beaches on the island like the past two trips (Magen’s Bay and Sapphire Beach), we took an excursion from the ship.  It was the St. John half day champagne cat sail.  We took this catamaran from St. Thomas over to St. John where the kids and I snorkeled from the boat to Honeymoon Beach looking at all the coral and fish.  It was awesome.

That was it for the islands.  Next stop was New Jersey after 3 full days at sea.  This voyage I had an outside cabin with a balcony, and oh boy did I make big time usage of that, especially on the first two days coming home.  There was one day where the kids were just pooped out, probably the first day at sea, that they just wanted to lay around and watch the limited tv options.  I let ‘em and spent my time sitting out on the balcony reading.  It was heaven!

Our dining room experience this year was wonderful!  When we got to the table the first night, there was another family of five, a married couple, the wife’s father, and two kids: 5 yo girl and 7 yo boy.  It was excellent.  The two families got along splendidly.  Since both families agree in child rearing, all 4 children were so well behaved that all the people at the tables around us approached one mom or another over the next couple of days praising how awesome the kids were.  A number of them had been concerned the first night when they saw us, but we were named the best family of the cruise.  Everyone thought we were just one big extended family.  Little did they know that we hadn’t known each other until we sat down the first night.  Can’t tell you how much it means to me to hear that!   Some of the other cruise lines have more informal dining where you don’t have a fixed table and set wait staff.  I can see the freedom in more of a restaurant approach, but honestly, I love the way they spoil you in the old school way of doing it.  I asked my assistant waiter for a splenda packet one night after we’d run out of them in the sweetener bowl.  He came back a few minutes later with a couple of them.  Every night thereafter when he placed my coffee cup on the table after dinner for me, he pulled packets of splenda out of his vest pocket and sat them on the saucer.  Now that’s service!  He also quickly learned my kids’ drinking preferences and had their beverages almost immediately after they’d sat down. 

That’s all for now, I have other posting in me on finished socks, new spindle, incoming and outgoing wheels, and new knitting project, but that will have to wait for another day.

Craft on!

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Tags: Family