Thursday, December 4, 2008

OK. I admit, I suck at keeping up the blog. I blame it on too many wool fumes and wedding plans. First, there was this little beauty:


I designed this Rock 'n' Roll All Nite Sock for the lovely Sharon of Stitchjones.
Other than playing too much with wool, I've been busy planning our May wedding. We'll be going back to my hometown in Spearfish for it, and afterward we leave for our 15 day European cruise honeymoon! (We got a $4,000 discount on it since I've traveled on the cruiseline before. What a deal!)
Mom came a few months ago to go dress shopping, and we found this gorgeous gown in a store here in MN. It was the only one we had found and liked, but it was $800!


Mom checked some boutiques in SD, and she found the exact same dress in a store there for $300! It should be arriving at my house any day now, and I'll obviously have to get it altered a bit, since the halter was a bit too big for the chesticles.

As for now, I'm dyeing a lot more yarn and fiber for the shop, since last week my hours at my part time job got cut nearly in half. This weekend, though, I'll be busy with these two cuties
No, not my girls. They're my nieces, Katelin and Samantha, respectively. Mom and Dad are going out of town so they're going to spend an awesome weekend at Chez Auntie and Uncle.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full!

<---------- Look what I got!!

Our friend Erica's parents had kept 2 sheep and a llama as pets until recently, when they had to sell them. They gave me the fleece for free, considering I would knit them scarves from it. No sweat there, I would kill for this llama fleece in any other situation! It's so soft and clean that I don't think I'm even going to wash it before spinning.

















This is the Cheviot fleece, which is a breed I'm not very familiar with, but it seems pretty solid with a good staple length and a mild crimp. It'll probably be blended with another fiber to spice it up a bit.









And, the Shetland. I'm not sure if this is the norm, but this particular fleece seems as if it doesn't really have much of a lock formation. It's just kind of a big blob. That may also be attributed to the fact that they probably did not have a spinner in mind while shearing, but I've been able to work around it, and have already gotten some really good, clean, soft wool from this one.




The best part of these is that I got them right when we moved into our new place, where we have a TOP LOADING WASHER! I finished my last fleece washing in it, and it worked like a dream. So much less work than doing it in the sink or the bathtub.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Weird day...

I've had an..odd day.

It started off with me calling in sick to work, because I re-developed an old painful infection sometime during the night. I went in to the hospital for a lab test, because even though I have had this same thing a bazillion times, this new doctor still won't just call a refill of the prescription into my pharmacy. Whatever.
So I go and pee in the little cup for them, and like I ALWAYS DO after having my lab test, I sit down and wait for the results, and my prescription.
After 45 minutes of waiting, a lab nurse came over, commented on my knitting, and said, "You don't have to stay you know. We'll call you with the results and have your prescription called into your pharmacy"
It would have been nice if you would have said that before I SAT HERE for FOURTY-FIVE MINUTES!!

ugh.

It got better after that, with an interesting trip to my local craft store. I'm out of dye, and I've been putting off ordering more online until we get more settled into our new home. So I decided that a couple jars of Procion MX dye they carry (the ONLY dye they carry that I can use for wool) would hold me for a bit. I ran in, and to the exact spot where I knew the dye was. But, it WASN'T.
After a mini panic attack, I ran to an employee.
"Oh, uhm.............I think we moved it to our closeout store" (Crafts Direct closeout store; crap they got to get rid of for CHEAP)
So I run across the street, hoping, praying that they still have some.
After running around this little shop for awhile too, I have another mini panic attack. I can't find it anywhere.
Turns out, I'm just blind. It was in some far back corner, sitting on the floor. I made out like a bandit; 8 jars for $12; thats half price!

So tonight will be busy dying, and teaching hubby how to help! He's been doing little things to help me like reskeining and picking vm out of fleeces while he watches tv. It's so awesome to have someone who not only respects and admires my little fiber world, but wants to be involved with it as well.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Moved!

I think I've been going crazy! First we went to South Dakota in June, and now we've been moving for what seems like a month, and I finally have my studio with my computer back up and running!
June 20th was my birthday, and hubs got me the best present ever! I had been obsessing to him about starting a big project of a technique I haven't done much before...either something lace or fair isle. The sucker got me three BEAUTIFUL skeins of Malabrigo Lace! I knew what to make with it the second I touched it, and here she is:




















I had my wheel once we got into the new apartment, but I didn't have anything to spin, since I've been waiting to order supplies until we got settled. So I pulled the peacock batt from my store to spin. It's turning out a gorgeous teal, and the gray/silver alpaca is making it beautifully shiny.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Go on with your knittin'

I love this irish knitting poem; it reminds me of the Beatles. Hubs is obsessed with music, and a million times I've heard the story about Yoko Ono sitting in a corner during a recording session and being told by John to 'tend to your knitting, bitch'. It's a good suggestion!

IRISH KNITTING POEM
When the folks next to you act like those in the zoo
Grumblin', growlin' and spittin'
It's a pretty good plan
To be as calm as you can
And do something useful like knittin'.

When a gossipin' Susan with poison barbed tongue
Comes into the room where you're sittin'
And starts to defame
Some neighbor's good name
Count your stitches out loud and keep knittin'.

When there's been a slight misunderstandin' at the church
And others hint broadly of quittin
Why the very best thing
You can do is to sing
And stay at your post and keep knittin

When Satan moves in with his cohorts of sin
Say, "You'll never find me submittin'"
You irk me I find, so get thee behind
And please don't disturb me, I'm knittin'!

I'm also very excited because I've been asked to have my yarn sold in a new online yarn store being opened by a couple of lovely Portuguese ladies. The store isn't quite open yet, but theres a preview of it at:
www.knit.com.pt
My two latest skeins of handspun will be going up there.

I know I'm a little lackin in the picture department today, but it's for good reason. The knitting project I've been most involved in lately is a sock of my own design.
I'm also working on something that will be a personal project. Hubs and I are huge M*A*S*H fans, and he has always wanted a University of Illinois letter sweater just like the one that Col Henry Blake wears. Well, he's getting one. I stopped at the lys for yarn and some new addis last night, and I've nearly finished the bottom ribbing section. Pictures to come when the progress is a bit more...interesting. I'm using armhole and neckhole steeks for the sweater, perhaps I'll post a tutorial when I get to them.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Knitting Craze

The tides have turned, and after a month or so of obsessing over fiber and spinning, while almost completely abandoning my knitting, I have flip-flopped.
I find my needles and yarn calling me the instant they come into my sight, and my wheel and pile of fiber to be spun sitting jealously in the corner. I still visit the fiber every once and a while, but right now I am in the midst of a renewal with my knitting mind.
By the advice of Kelley Petkun's KnitPicks podcast, I went and got myself a subscription to audible.com. For $22/month, you get to download ANY two audiobooks, regardless of the retail price. I've always adored reading, but abandoned my books when I discovered the world of knitting. Having a wonderful book on my ipod to listen to makes me want to do nothing but sit on my overstuffed couch, with my ipod and knitting all around me. Also per Kelley's advice, I started with a series of books by Diana Gabaldon. I just finished the first book this morning, Outlander, and I'm obsessed. I can only describe it as a mix of non-stop action, romance, and the rich culture and history of 18th century Scotland.


Anyway. Turning back towards knitting, I found myself noticing that I have very *little* yarn in my stash, especially nothing that would be enough for a larger project.
A few weeks ago, I went to my local craft store, where I found a huge yarn sale. Most of the yarns were fugly novelty, eyelash yarns, but there were a few colors of this silk/acrylic blend. I got 12 skeins of this brown, and 12 skeins of a light tan. These were $1/skein!
Because of the silk content, I wanted a possibly summer/spring garment that wasn't quite a sweater. I've been interested in the construction of the knitting pattern, Ester, ever since I first saw it. So, here it is. I've knit through the whole back section, and am now continuing it with the addition of the "sleeve" sections. This pattern is perfect for tv/movie knitting. Interesting enough to keep me entertained, but easy and repetitive enough that I could easily remember the pattern, and do not often have to refer to a chart.



I had a few blue, yellow, and green scraps of rather scratchy wool leftover from the pound of fiber that came with my carder. I carded these with some super soft white merino and some shiny blue/green firestar. It's being spun up on my joy, I'm thinking that it will remain sock weight singles, or be 2 plyed. I'm not sure yet, I'll see what mood hits me when I'm further along with the spinning.





I received this nice big box stuffed with 2 lbs of border leicester wool. It is well skirted, but still full of small debris and tons of natural oils. I've been slowly plucking the locks apart from each other in those small moments I find myself not wanting to knit or spin.
I had never washed raw fiber before this, and I found that its not nearly as tedious as it seemed from the sets of instructions I had read. After finding myself a small plastic shower basket at target with slots in the side, it was really easy. I stack some locks in the basket with the tips all facing the same way. I brew some hot water in my coffee pot, and fill a white tub with dishsoap and the hot water. Since the basket the fiber is in has slots, it can just be lowered into the hot water without agitation, avoiding frustrating felting. After the locks are washed, I press the water out of them with old towels, and set them aside to dry. I then card the dried, clean locks, and pull the batt gently into little nests of roving.

The clean wool is beautifully white in contrast to the dirty locks.
I'm still not sure what to do with all this fiber! It may ALL be prepared and dyed into tons of small amounts of different colors as filler wool in batts, or perhaps I will spin it undyed first, and hand paint the yarn.
I haven't decided. In either case, I'm sure I'll be working on this 2 lbs for a while.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It's been a while...

It's been forever since I've done anything etsy related, besides making items. Last week I got a brand new toy! A strautch petite drum carder. Here she is with my first test batch.



















I've been carding up a storm since I got it, and have some very pretty fiber to add to the store that will hopefully start going up in the next few days.

Last weekend we had our nieces (Samantha, 6 months, and Katelin, 3 years) while sister and brother in law were at a dart tournament. The kids were perfect little angels like they usually are for uncle and auntie, but unfortunately Michele had gotten sick the last night of their trip, and proceeded to give it to Rick, Katelin, and I. So for the last 3 days I've been at home throwing up again. I'm so sick of the stupid flu, and the fact that every time we have a nice springy day, it SNOWS again! Its April. Quit it. I really need to take a bucket of disinfectant to the entire apartment and let it air out, but I'm sure as hell not going to do it when its cold and snowy yet.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Its a nice, lazy sunday. I have too many things I want to do today, though!

Like work on this yarn for the store. I dyed white wool in pink and purple, then hand carded it with some white wool. It turned into a pretty skein; I think I'll leave it as singles, because its about a sock weight right now, and it will have enough yards to MAKE a pair of socks! (I think I still have almost an ounce of this fiber left before the spinning is done!)








You may have seen this before! It was posted in my store as roving, but it sat for a few weeks without any buyers, and I started getting antsy because I've wanted to spin it for myself since I dyed it!
Last night I finally took it off the store, and started predrafting.

I'm kind of glad I did; it got a little felty during the dying process, which is weird because I always take extra measure to make sure I let the fiber cool in the dye bath to avoid felting while trying to cool it down with water.


It's making a wonderfully squishy yarn though, and I still love the colors.

It should be reappearing in my store in the form of a skein this time.

(Photo note: Hubby in the background playing Madden '08 on our Wii)






In knitting news, I started this pair of socks last week.
Hubs and I work in the same place. He has to start work at 7; I don't start until 8. Normally my department offers overtime and I just start an hour early. Last week, the corporate office put the kabosh on that, so I get an hour of knitting time every morning. Its pretty nice, even if I do have to do it in the break room.





It's a blurry picture, but a totally cute one of hubs playing football =)











I'm also working on some handmade knitting needles. I love working with polymer clay, and I have tons of it from making beads for hemp necklaces we make that my dad sells to his crazy hippie friends in South Dakota, so I figured I might as well take some lessons from my carpenter father in law and start whittling my own knitting needles, using clay for cute toppers. Today I'll be getting my first couple pairs of needles baked and varnished, and they should be making their appearance on etsy very soon as well!

We just got a 37" TV in near perfect condition from a friend for only $200. I think hubs and I will have fun putting together the new entertainment center for it today, not to mention lifting the huge sucker up onto that thing. Guys, this tv is MASSIVE. Its sitting on the floor in our living room right now taking up about the entire walkway into the kitchen. I'm excited to get it set up; that means we FINALLY get to have a tv in our room again. Yay!

Happy St Pats tomorrow, all! Don't forget to wear green and drink lots of guinness. I know we will.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Just what I needed..

After spending a week stuck in our apartment, alone with the flu, I was looking forward to spending time with Rick (hubby!) this weekend. He ended up having to help sister in law with an easter photo shoot she was doing on Saturday and Sunday, and it ended up being HOURS and HOURS longer than either of us expected. I got the worst headache ever and couldn't help but just sit here and cry because I have such bad cabin fever. Dare I say, it will even be nice to go to WORK tomorrow, just to get out of this box we call our apartment.

My entire day was saved by a lovely etsian who bought two items from me this evening, which was my first sale of March. It is amazing how much joy you get from knowing that something you put a lot of effort, time, love, and soul into making can find a good home with someone. It made me feel mountains better.

I also finally figured out today how to use my hand card to produce roving that is nice enough to sell, instead of having to just sell it in the form of rolags. I know, rolags are nice to spin from, but I don't know if I would buy fiber in that form if I had a choice between that and roving. Call me obsessive, but I did figure it out.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Flu Day

Today is the 4th day in a row I've had the flu. Both hubs and I are home right now, sick. At least I'm not so bent over the toilet that I can do some things. Yesterday I threw some fiber in the crockpot and rainbow dyed it. After some drafting, I have a big pile to spin


It's a little over 4 oz of fiber, but I'm kind of sick of spinning really thin sock yarn, so I think this is going to stay as a chunkier single. I love it so far.

I'm off for some sprite. ugh.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Colonel Mustard

Well, today started off not so good. I had to run to the bathroom as soon as I got to work; the flu is going around. So now I'm just going to sit on the couch with my 7up and work on a fiber project; this mustard colored roving. It started as about 2 oz of bare fiber. I separated it into 4 little chunks and dyed each a different color. Yellow, dark moss green, a salmon/tan color, and left one white. I carded it all together once, yielding this big mustard colored batt.


It's still needs some processing and more color blending, so it's getting one more carding before I pull it into roving, like I have with these:
They'll eventually be a skein of yarn for the shop.
I'm hoping I keep feeling *ok* enough that I can have some studio time today!

Also check out the new skein that will be posted today to my etsy store!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Melonade

Man. It's seems like it's been forever since I posted anything to my store. I'm just finishing this skein of merino, and it will be up in my store tomorrow.


I'm trying to use and/or sell most of my stash yarn, so I'm using some to make this Trellis sweater from Knitty for my niece Samantha.

I dyed this roving up last in an impromptu dye session while watching transformers. I just posted it to the store!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Open Shop!

It's a good day! I got off work early, we have some friends we rarely see over to visit, and I opened my etsy shop again, at http://kashasknits.etsy.com

My latest project on my bobbins:
100% Merino

I just finished a couple of bobbins of these singles and I'm working on plying them. I also am working on some hand carded roving with my hand carders.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Long day

Nothing much new to report on the fiber front. My 9 hours at work were rough, so I've just been curled up with my knitting. Tomorrow night is my big homework night for the week, but I'm planning on a big dye session Friday night.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fiber Overload!

OK. So yesterday I got a HUGE order from paradisefibers.com. Without further ado, I give you..


A ball winder!


One POUND of bare Blue Faced Leicester, soon to be dyed and turned into yarn or fiber batts.


One POUND of 16 ct Merino. This stuff is heavenly soft. Ditto with the yarn and batts.

And...the worlds most gargantuan 'hank' of merino yarn!

And finally, 4 oz of very soft 'happy hippie' fiber


My first set of hand cards, and a small pile of batts that proves I'm getting the hang of it. I've already got some calluses on my palms.

So my next task is onto dying the 3 pounds of bare fiber I have now! I spent a few hours the other day with my 5 color dye set and some microwave safe cups, and experimented with a few new colors. These are what I came up with so far.

This set was dyed with differing ratios of blue and orange dye

This set was made with different ratios of violet and yellow in a mix.


I'm hoping that I can get a good start on dying this weekend since I don't have to work. (Though my fiance Rick and I are going to drive to Apple Valley to see U2 3d in the IMAX there.) Then I should be able to start the process of opening my store again on my Wednesday off next week. Considering my professors don't decide that I need to do some huge legal research project.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

A sneak preview of my new store!

I'm taking advantage of my time before the big game to build up inventory for the reopening of my etsy store. I'm opening under a new user name since it doesn't match my business name. Oh well. (*Note: I SHOULD be using this time to do homework, but...I'm not...)

Right now I have two skeins of handspun hanging to dry in the kitchen...

This one is a merino/tencel blend, handpainted by fatcatknits.etsy.com, I handspun it into a 2 ply sock weight.

This is a superwash wool/nylon blend, spun into sock weight yarn.

I also have a few skeins of bare Lion Brand wool I picked up. I handpainted this skein with orange and pink. It turned out very nicely variegated, and I just know its going to be fun trying to get accurate color pics.
Then theres my personal knitting. I fell in love with the Bubble Cable Dolman in the Winter 07 Issue of IK. I attempted it a few times, but got completely stuck with trying to maintain the cable pattern while increasing so often. I didn't really like the initial yarn anyway, so it was a good practice run. But I finally found some yarn (recycled from a thrift store sweater) that was perfect for it. So I'm off and running again, and I'm doing a little better this time. Yay!

Well, off to some homework, then nachos and a football game!