Thursday, December 27, 2007

I am rich (and an odd duck!)

Hi Alene, this is most of my stash. The non-wool portions aren't in the cedar chest (the chest was once my Grandma's). I feel warm and happy looking at it.

A few years ago, not long after I became an odd duck , I went on a stash diet. Just for fun, I took an inventory of my stash and kept the list. I worked from my stash for about the next 1 1/2 years, sticking mostly to my resolution. On the rare occasion something new came in, I gave away an equivalent amount. I also just plain gave some away, which is easier when you start to feel like you have enough. Then I checked how much I had left and extrapolated how long it would take me to use up the rest at the same rate of consumption (just to feel scientific). I was startled to learn that I still had enough for a few years despite starting with what seemed like a moderate amount and giving a bunch away. Well, that really changed my way of thinking.

It's true that it can be great to have enough to shop the stash, but for me, having that stuff there and knowing I'd be wanting to make something else by the time I got to it was oppressive. I gave some more of it away and continued the stash diet. It went well with my no-UFO strategy. I have officially become a low stasher.

In 2008, I resolve to spin what I have before buying more fiber (that didn't stop me from spending my gift cert. in 2007 on fiber;) AND to work from my yarn stash. When I need to buy, I will buy in an environmentally &/or socially responsibly way. I joined a Ravelry group, Greenies 2008, to support this. There are a number of options at my LYS so I don't expect to suffer too much! In the meantime, look at that lovely wool -- I feel so rich. Love, Cindy

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

Hi Cindy,

Hope your family had a fun and warm Christmas. We had a great hike with our friends and their dog. I did about 5 miles total, in and back out on the Lost Dutchman Trail. The others did the 9.1 mile loop over Black Mesa and through Garden Valley. It was really beautiful. There was even water running in most of the streams. I felt it quite a bit yesterday when we got back but I'm mostly over it today, just a little stiff. DH is feeling it more and has blisters from his ill-fitting boots. We're already talking about doing something on New Year's Day, either a short hike or a bike ride to a local coffee shop.

On Monday I plied the purple yarn I spun over the summer, mostly spun on the drop spindle you sent me. I think I have about 100 yards total. Unfortunatley I don't have a picture right now. I'll try to take one and post it later.

Take Care, A

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Hope all is well there. Without further ado, a FO! The modified Cactus Blossom as a cardigan made top down, by hand & machine, with 3/4 sleeves . . . er, make that 5/8 sleeves (they came out a bit shorter than planned but work well for at home as you can see). Photo by DS.

We went to my family's party yesterday at my younger sister's. Her baby is 10 mos. old now and adorable! We had a good time and came home in yet another storm , this time blowing snow being most of the difficulty. It's been quite a month for storms with more ice than we've had for a long time. While at the party I cut my finger slicing rolls; not serious but very annoying and will put me off spinning for a few days.

We finally got to see the HP OoTP movie! I really liked it although several sets were quite different than I imagined. I'm looking forward to seeing the special features on the DVD soon.

I had been trying to spin some Finnsheep wool but was having difficulty. I believe it was in excellent shape when I got it in 2002 (!) but seemed a bit dry or matted or something now. I wasn't sure. I decided to use it for a dyeing experiment and use up the last of my tie-dye stuff from this summer. I was careful not to let the dyepot boil (I've only tried dyeing roving once before and I felted part of it). I must have used too much dye because the pot never exhausted. Alll that leftover dye meant lots of rinsing and somewhere along the way the inevitable happened . . . I have a gorgeous blue-green soft thick rope of felt. Hmm. Methinks I'll leave the dyeing of roving to the professionals and stick to dyeing yarn (I've had good luck with that so far). I thought I had a picture of it but I can't find it.

More soon on my crafty plans for 2008 and on how I became a low stasher. Oh, and did I mention I'm on Ravelry now? Love, Cindy

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy 100th!

Hi Cindy!

According to the list on the sidebar this is post 100! Hard to believe that we've babbled on for 100 posts over the last 6+ months.

Our agency had a decorating contest between the different groups. It started off slow but as Judgement Day got closer the competition heated up. Here are a few pictures. The first is my window. I'm lucky enough to have a south-facing window right next to my cube. I covered most of it with transparent snowflake paper and a gel snowman with snow flakes.

Our portion (4th Floor-Water Resources Section) of Hydrology went crazy with decorating. Well actually it was Carrie, LuDean and I. In addition to covering all five drawers of 30 filing cabinets with wrapping paper we hung lighted garland and Carrie made stockings for everyone in our section with names and snowflakes melting into water drops. We won for Best Santa's Helpers.
Our biggest competition seemed to be the 2nd floor Technical Services portion of Hydrology. They have a fireplace (lighted) with stockings, a naughty-nice board and wish lists. They have
also all decorated their cubes with plenty of ornaments etc. hanging from the ceiling. They won Best Traditional Fireplace, Best Individual Cube Decoration and Best Holiday Screen Saver.

Grinchville won Best Overall Adherence to a Theme. They had Grinch playing on a projection on the wall and had a giant lump of coal too. They even went around and Grinched (stole) things from other displays.

They went on for about 15 minutes giving out all kinds of awards. I think everyone that did any kind of decoration won some type of award. It was a great team-building exercise and the competition was a lot of fun too. I've already heard rumblings about next year's decorations and the judging was at 9:30 this morning. Just 365 days (or less) to plan.

Happy Winter (tomorrow)! A

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like . . .

. . . the North Pole! More snow today, making 3 substantial snowfalls this month! Two had mixed precip so some difficulties with ice. That's DD near the garage.

During the 1st snow/ice storm, I made the Elf Cap from Handknit Holidays out of some of the experimental yarn I made earlier this year. It's kind of a riot of color and could be a teensy bit snugger (same old knitting hat story for me:) but I've been wearing and enjoying it regularly. It knit up really fast cuz it's on size 15 needles.

The last photo is of the lovely silk top you sent me. The small whitish ball is some of it, the threadlike parts, plied with undyed silk from silk hankies. The center pull ball is 2-ply yarn, not particularly even, spun worsted from the dyed top with lots of predrafting. I love silk even though it's not so easy. Thanks for choosing such a pretty color. As you can see I still have lots of undyed hankies to work with.

Are you loving your wheel? I love mine and my spindles too. I'm glad I didn't give them up when I got my wheel. Gotta go for now, C

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Birthday wrap-up

Hi Cindy!

I've survived the birthday and have a working wheel! We got it mostly put together on Monday night although I didn't take it for a test spin until Thursday. Margi was quite interested in the assembly process and had to take an up close and personal look at it.

Teddy wasn't so interested in what was going on but he had a great time attacking the papers all the parts and pieces were wrapped in. Abby just made herself scarce.

About three or four years ago I found a fairly nice wood chair dumped in our alley. It had one arm broken off but the rest of the chair was in good shape and it was really comfortable too. I painted it with a crackle finish and then polyurethaned it so that we could use it out side. It is actually the perfect height for a spinning chair and has a good cushion on it. The cotton that I covered the seat with had pretty much faded away in the brutal AZ sun so it was time for a fix up. Last weekend I brought it in the house and decided to use one of my scavenged felted sweaters to cover the seat. It was a big enough sweater that I used the back for the seat cover and then folded the front to use as a back cushion. Margi thinks the chair is the greatest, especially for checking out the leader and the string holding the hook. Other than that she hasn't gotten too close to the wheel yet. I think she's a little intimidated by it.

I took Friday off work so that I could enjoy my birthday. I ended up taking DH to work, we are having issues with the latch on the driver's seat of the truck so it's not going anywhere until we can get it repaired. I went over to Fiber Factory in the morning to treat myself. I've been lusting after the Ozark Handspun yarns for a few weeks. Normally they are $26 each. I was talking to one of the store owners at the checkout. They had gotten their selection at a show and paid quite a bit less for them. They were offering them for $20 each. They had about 8-10 skeins total. I chose one that is mostly natural browns, grays and tans but there are a few areas of pinks, purples, greens and blues. I knit it up yesterday into a scarf. I used size 17 needles and started off with 3 stitches. After about 6 inches I increased to 5 and knit until I got down to a few yards left then decreased back to 3 stitches. I used up all the yarn and wove the ends back in. It took only about an hour to knit and looks great. This morning I added a 1" button with a Celtic knot. Since the knit is so loose I can button it anywhere I choose. I don't know that the lampshade is the best model. Maybe I'll have to have DH take a picture of me modeling it.

Well, that about finishes up the birthday news. Thanks again for the 'zine from your friends. I'm thinking about making a few of the coffee cozies for a few people at work. I'll leave you with a picture of our Christmas tree. Take care and stay warm! Love, A

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Hope you are having fun with your wheel! Will you have a cake or special meal today? We've had more snow and xmas prep here . . . but fiber fun too (pics & details soon!). Have a great day, love, Cindy

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Doorstep Surprises

Hi Cindy!

Welcome to December! Got your Christmas knitting under control? The first year I knit I made things for a few people, my MIL, my friend, my mom (okay, maybe that was a birthday present since I didn't start it until Christmas day). Last year I decided that I wasn't knitting presents because I didn't want or need the extra stress. This year is the same although DH may now get his socks by Christmas (I'm about to start the heel turns so maybe I can finish them by then.)

But I'm not going to talk about Christmas or even gift knitting right now. I'm going to talk about our wonderful week of doorstep surprises. Most of it wasn't a surprise of what was coming, just when it showed up. The week started off on Monday with DH being disappointed that the box he was expecting hadn't arrived from Musician's Friend. Tuesday rolled around and found his box waiting under the door mat. He's had the big Vox amp for a couple of years after getting a screaming deal (half price or less) on it at Guitar Center. It was a birthday present to himself, probably for his 41st. It is big and does all he wants it to and then some. The little amp on top is the Christmas present he chose. It is actually battery powered and he can take it anywhere. It's got the traditional brown cloth like the ones the Beatles used to have. He's been playing on it all week around the house.

The second "doorstep" surprise was the charming knitting 'zine written by your friends that you sent. It arrived on Thursday. Thank you, it is really neat. I've skimmed through part of it. Pretty cool. I plan to head over to their site and leave a comment. Thanks for the birthday wishes too, a week early. Yesterday was my BIL's birthday as well as one of the admin assistants at work.

The weather forecasters were actually correct in their excited proclamations of the rain storm that we received although they were a little off on the timing (that can be forgiven). It was overcast at 3 am when I took DH to his retreat and still overcast at 9:30 when I got back up. I am so glad I took the day off yesterday. I couldn't have made it in to work until late and was still tired as it was. The rain started around 11:30. Shortly after the doorbell rang and I saw a brown truck in front of the house. I figured that it was the wool and maybe the niddy-noddy since DH had gotten an email on Tuesday night that a 1 pound package had shipped. I figured with the rain I'd better get it in right away.

The rain continued all day and well into the night. It poured at times and other times it sprinkled. I'd say we had at least a full 12 hours of rain. We've gotten at least 1.5 inches here so far and they're saying it could continue raining most of the day today. The rain made it pretty difficult for DH at his retreat. Most of the time they are in either the zendo or the house but the men's urinal is set up as a bucket out behind the zendo, in a muddy patch of ground. Not fun. DH did okay but says it is much harder than he expected.

Anyways, you're probably wondering what the wool looked like and if the niddy-noddy was with it. Imagine my surprise when this is the box I found on the door step, half buried under the door mat. I actually had to entice the cats with yarn to check it out for a good picture. I haven't opened it yet although I probably will today, just to look at the instruction book. I think we'll probably wait until Monday night to put it together unless DH feels up to it tomorrow night. I'll take pictures and write about it as we put it together. I also started that surprise Christmas project yesterday so I'll post about that hopefully tomorrow when it is done.

Stay warm and dry. Thanks again for the zine.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Hi Cindy!

The sweater looks great! I love the colors. I am still chicken where colorwork is involved. Stripes I can do but Fair Isle and Intarsia freak me out. And steeking on top of that? Yow! Of course you've been knitting 25 or more years longer than I have so I'm sure you are fearless with your knitting. I aspire to fearlessness but have come no where near it.

DH ordered my birthday present Monday night. He ended up ordering from the Woolery. The price is slightly higher than the local shop but it does come with extras and by the time you add on Mesa city tax it would come out more to buy it locally. I'm also getting the pound of wool and a niddy noddy with it. The wool shipped out yesterday but no word yet on the wheel. Hopefully it will get here before Christmas.

Last night was the last spinning class. I started working on the bombyx top like I sent you. My color is Primrose. It is coming out really nice. I'm still getting a little of the thick and thin but not like when I first started. I think I like it a little more than the hankies, although both are pretty nice.

The other woman in the class ordered a new Ashford Traveler from the store the other day. When she started the class she was convinced that she wanted the Majacraft Rose. Last week she tried the Ashford and really liked it. The Rose kept having troubles with the drive band slipping off. And it is a couple of hundred dollars more than the Traveler.

I'm a little envious of the snow you had last week. It looks like fun. We've been cooler the last couple of days and they are predicting rain for Friday and Saturday. It will be the first storm of the "winter" season if it actually delivers. Of course the way the weather forecasters have been talking it up means we'll probably be sunny all weekend.

DH has his big 3 day retreat this weekend with their Roshi this weekend. It runs from 3:30 am to 8:30 pm Friday and Saturday and then 3:30 am to 5:30 pm on Sunday. He wants me to drive him there and pick him up each day. I'm taking Friday off from work because I don't think I'd be able to get up before 3 to take him and then make it into work. I'm going to spend the 3 days on creative stuff and decorating the house and Christmas tree. I might try to do some touch-up paint on base boards at some poin. I'm going to make a push to finish DH's socks too. I'm almost done with the gusset increases so it is time to turn the heel and start up the leg. He wanted to wear them this weekend but I doubt that will happen unless he wants them as anklets on Sunday.

More soon, A

Knitting surgery

Hi Alene, here's an update on my Cactus Blossom sweater. The pattern is in the fall '07 knitscene magazine, but I made mine from the top down (an example of swatch avoidance). I used Cascade 220 Quatro for the main color and experimental variegated handspun (more green than my dig. camera is showing) for the contrast color. I did the yoke by hand and then made the plain stockinette parts at the some gauge on my Bond knitting machine. Then I grafted them onto the handknit parts with some knitting surgery I feel pretty smug about.

Knitting machines have a steep learning curve but once past it's easy to quickly turn out plain old st st. Other stitches, not so fast, and there's more finishing in most cases. When I first started machine knitting I wasn't sure how to answer people who asked "did you make that?" Of course I had but they assumed it was hand work. Sometimes I explained but that didn't feel right either. It still takes learning and thinking and creativity. It's not about speed for me: I enjoy machine knitting and like to give my body a change of activity. Now I only distinguish between machine and hand if it's a chance to show what knitting machines can do or to the genuinely curious. Should our little blog have readers who think it's cheating, I'll put on this surgery project and challenge them to a Chibi duel!

The next step for Cactus Blossom? graft on the sleeves (body in done) and then a bit more surgery because I've decided it needs to be a cardigan! Hope all is well in AZ. More soon, C

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Plans and daydreams

Good morning Alene! I'm off to give blood in about an hour. We are having a chilly but nice weekend. Progress report soon with pictures of Cactus Blossom. I'm going to make that cardigan one of these days but probably out of millspun yarn, maybe Peace Fleece.
I'm just to eager to try out some things with my spinning, especially stuff that I learned at WSWF and things I've been reading about, to try to make a large amount of yarn of one color right now. I think it would be fun to make a bunch of smaller projects out of the spinning experiments and maybe even get back to some rug hooking. I learned about "traditional" rug hooking with yarn (instead of fabric strips) from an article by Judy Taylor in Spin-Off a few years ago and have done some reading on it. There's a display of them now at my LYS so that's got me thinking about them. I've made 2 very small wall hangings, one to try it out and one as a gift for K. I could use another vest so that's an idea too. As you can see, I have lots of fun playing around with ideas before I ever start one (us odd ducks have lots of imaginary UFOs). Hope all is well. C

Friday, November 23, 2007


Hope you had a grand Thanksgiving Day, Alene!

Here's what it looked like here. A bit of snow that fell Wednesday evening and is still on the ground. Good enough for playing in despite its meager amount! We had friends over (K the woman of honor from our wedding and her DH) and had a nice time. Even though DD was still a bit under the weather and DS had a burr under his saddle for some reason, most of the day was very nice and got me reflecting on the many things I have to be grateful for.

More soon on the status of Cactus Flower and future crafty things I'm contemplating, Love, Cindy

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cat Sweaters Galore!

Hi Cindy,

Teddy is a little bummed. Crazy Aunt Purl announced the winners of the cat sweater contest today. Unfortunately we didn't win but if you take a look at all the sweaters submitted you'll get an idea of how much competition there was. Additionally she is having another contest, one of the prizes is a trip to California for two.

Thanksgiving preps are coming along well. We got a good bounty in the co-op basket this week. My turkey is already thawing. I work tomorrow and then have spinning class tomorrow night. I'm taking off the rest of the week. Wednesday will be for finishing off cleaning and starting cooking. Probably just pumpkin pie and some baked good for Friday morning breakfast. DH's parents are down Thursday morning and will stay at least over night.

We tied yet another record high temperature today, 88. It shouldn't be this warm this late in the year. But the record that today tied was just set last year so it isn't like this is something new. It was hot this week last year but cooled off right around Thanksgiving. We were doing field work in Wickenburg last year at the end of November and we had several days of freezing weather. One of the places we visited last year during field work had a fountain out front and it was still frozen over at 2 pm so you can imagine how cold it was. We are supposed to be cooling off toward the end of the week, just not that cold.

Peruse the sweaters and get a good laugh from them! Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Solar Dying Class

Hi Cindy,

The solar dying class went well last Saturday although the day dawned a little cloudy. Not to bad, just enough to be a slight concern. There ended up being just two of us in the class. A third woman had signed up but then had to cancel due to family obligations. The instructor was the same one that's been teaching my spinning classes too. She is from Montreal and has lived in the valley about 10 years. Most of the time you can't hear her accent but occasionally you'll hear oot instead of out.

We used Gaywool dyes for the class. She brought her personal colors and had another instructor's too. We each brought 4 oz. of fiber to dye and then we got an extra piece to try. For the merino mix that you sent me this summer I chose a color called Daisy. I went a little stronger on the dye and it turned out a lovely daffodil color. For the other piece of fiber (also a merino blend) we did two color painting. I chose two colors of hibiscus and mulberry. We used a turkey injector (without the needle portion) for the painting. It worked really well.

We were set up in the parking lot behind the store. We used big flat pans covered with plastic wrap for the single color and than the smaller pans with the plastic lids for the painted fiber. The instructor also used the large plastic bottle for a single color dye for one of the owners of the shop. In her flat pan she used a single color but then sprinkle some of the dye crystals on top to give it a splotchy effect.

Once the colors were placed and the pans covered we had about an hour and a half to kill while the dyes did their work. The pans took about half an hour to really get hot and then about another hour for the dye to really get taken up. If we had had longer the colors would have gotten deeper. (I forgot to take DH's socks along so I bought some yellow variegated cotton and started another MD bib.)

As you can see from the dried pictures the yellow took really well and is a vibrant color. The painted fiber is a bit more muted. I'm seeing more pink in the picture than I can really see when I look at the fiber itself. I am thinking about spinning these and then plying the two colors together. I'm thinking of either crocuses or pansies when I look at these colors together. I spun a tiny bit of the yellow at the end of class Tuesday night. It looked pretty nice.

Any plans for Thanksgiving? I'm taking both Wednesday and Friday off although DH is working those days. His parents are coming down Thursday morning to for dinner and then they'll stay the night. My BIL will probably stay too and we may do a little shopping the next morning. Ikea has free breakfast next Friday so we may try to do that.

More soon, Keep warm, A

Farewell, zippy car

Dear Alene, we are a one-car family now. DH's 1991 Mazda Protege is broken to the tune of $1500 or more; at its age, that's more than we are willing to put in it. Luckily DH's work is close to our home and we didn't need a 2nd car that often. I'm sure we'll miss the convenience. On the flip side, we'll be glad for the financial and environmental benefits of keeping only one car. The car is still in the driveway while we sort out where it goes next. For now, that's all from the land of flurries and stuffed noses, Cindy

P.S.. I loved your silk colors! And I don't know about MD2, soon I hope!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Books 'n all

Hi Alene, yes, we did have a few flurries on Nov. 5 (hmm, guess time is flying by again). As one of those odd people who love November, I was good with that despite us all getting colds here over the last few weeks and me having an achy forearm for a while.

That got me off the computer and needles for a few days, so back to reading! Thanks for sending Back To Blossom Street, which I really enjoyed. Except for Blossom Street and Elm Creek novels, both of which I really like, I don't read anything set in "real life" these days. I read a lot of non-fiction (there's where reality comes in, I guess) about a variety of things (esp. crafts :), the newspaper, various magazines that cross my path, and of course things like HP. Musically I'm still largely ignorant, able to listen to most things for while, but wandering if I have to chose on my own . . . classical, folk, rock, world music. We all love those TMBG kids CDs! I loved the sound of your Decemberists but found the lyrics too dark for me; I did make sure the CDs you sent me got an appreciative home with a co-worker cooler than me! Found and enjoyed an old REM cassette in DH's car a few weeks ago. I know a lot of people listen to music when they spin but I still crave silence then. In the mini-van? NPR usually!

I also did some spinning since I'm gentle to myself with that. I was getting thread instead of yarn when I tried the silk top spun from the fold (holding on too tight I guess) so I switched to my usual spindle spinning technique (worsted) and am now getting yarn! Arm good now! Out of time, gotta get the kids up, more soon. Cindy

P.S. Back from school. DH has asked for a vest from the Timber Frame pattern (Philosopher's Wool Co.). I'm getting yarn from Blackberry Ridge for it. Picture of the sweater version of the pattern above.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Spinning Class

Hi Cindy,

Great pictures, even the sideways one of our DS. He looks very chipper. I saw snow(?) in your forecast the other day and when I looked at the Milwaukee Journal online this morning it said 37 degrees. I wish we could get even a small taste of that weather. If you were here today you'd think it was July. We have been in the 90's (!) for the last week and have set a record almost every day. The average high temp right now is only 79 and we're 12-15 degrees above that. Blech!

My intermediate spinning class started last night. There was another person registered but she didn't show up. When the instructor called she got a room mate who said the woman was out looking at houses. Looking closer at the sign-up sheet she had never paid for the class. It looks like I'm going to have a private class unless they decided to cancel it after all.

The intermediate class is for experimenting a little more and trying new things. I decided last night to try the silk hankies. I picked out one in the Taos colorway. It is done by the same one that did the roving that I sent for your birthday. The picture doesn't really capture the full beauty of it. It has a lovely mix of pinks, purples and browns. Some of the sections actually had a gold hue as it spun out between my fingers. I ended up spinning 4 or 5 layers worth last night. This is the finest I've ever spun anything and it will definitely need plying before I can even consider using it.

I used the Ashford Traveller that I've pretty much decided is the one that I want. DH is talking that one will be residing in our house in the next few weeks, just in time for a birthday/Christmas present. He is debating ordering it online versus buying it at the store. The double-drive double treadle is $25 dollars more online but comes with a selection of extras. The one in the store doesn't come with anything extra but I feel like I should buy it there anyway and with tax it comes out to just over the amount online. I'll leave that up to DH.

In closing I thought I'd leave you with a little Kitty Pron. That is the holiday version of the Knit Picks catalog, just arrived today. As you can see Teddy and Margi are in love with it. Lots of tempting stuff! There is a stocking kit that makes 3 stockings that looks pretty nice. It comes with the pattern and yarn, just add dpn's. All their yarns are pretty reasonably priced and they have free patterns or cheap ones to down load.

Take care, A

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Picture catch-up

Another view of the cardigan, although I'm not sure it shows up any larger. Next: the treasures I found at Half-Price Books last week. Then, DS in the Rambling Rows sweater; not sure why he's sideways when he was upright before . . . And my spindle spinning. The natural color became a sample skein for my drop spindle class, and that's the silk you sent me on the other.

DH wants a vest so I may get to that before I forge ahead with the handspun sweater (whew!). We are having a mild but lovely fall.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hi Cindy,

The sweater looks like a nice challenge. Have you decided on a color or are you going to leave it the creamy color of the fiber? Since I've not even completed an adult sweater I can offer no advice on singles vs. plied. I started a sweater for DH last winter around his birthday but have not gotten beyond the yoke (it's top down from last winters IK). I did do the M-D baby kimonos for the twins last year but that's not a big reservoir of experience. In fact I think Margi's sweater is bigger than those were.

I start my intermediate spinning class a week from tomorrow. I think it will be pretty much like the second one I took over the summer, maybe just a little more structured. DH is planning on getting me a wheel soon, perhaps closer to my birthday. He's trying to get comfortable in the new job before making the $ commitment. On the 10th I am taking a solar dying class. It was originally going to be on the 17th but the instructor had another obligation come up. We need to take about 4 oz of fiber to dye for it. I am torn between the merino you sent me (just shy of the right amount) or the rollags I hand carded for the beginning spinning class. Or maybe I'll just buy some fiber when I go next week. I'll have a full report on the class afterwards (and hopefully pictures).

On Saturday I had lunch with Julie and Lytifa. L is almost 5 months pregnant and looking great. She was so sick the first trimester and ended up in the ER for dehydration. All she could eat the entire time was saltines. She is taking classes at the local community college and it was a real struggle with being sick. She has an English teacher that is really difficult. He dropped her from his class two years ago after she went back to Cincinnati for her grandmother's funeral. He didn't like her eating crackers in class but the alternative was for her to throw-up in class. I think she is taking 3 or 4 classes on top of working full-time. I don't know how she does it. I guess being 26 helps.

Afterwards I went to visit my friend Ash. Her family just moved to north Phoenix a few months ago. She is the one with the twin boys. They are really cute and sweet. We don't get to see them very often because it is quite a drive. I put on 80 miles on Saturday and didn't even get out of town.

This week I am at the International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge here in town. It is actually at the Pointe South Mountain which is less than two miles from my house. If it weren't hotter than the surface of the sun I could almost walk there and back. One of the presentations today was by an EPA guy out of Chicago. He talked about a couple of projects in Regions 5 & 7. The two in Region 5 were in Oak Creek and Green Bay. There were some researchers from WDNR listed on his paper. I wondered if it was anyone you had known. My boss is moderating the first session tomorrow afternoon and then giving a presentation in the later session. There is a field trip to a couple of sites around the valley on Wednesday but our agency was too cheap to pay for us to go to them. That's okay, I have a couple of things I need to do in the office that day before another day of sessions on Thursday.

I guess I'd better finish this off. I'm pretty tired after a day sitting in a darkened room straining to understand a wide variety of accents.

Take care, A

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Help wanted

No, I'm not hiring! I need advice. I'm contemplating spinning a sweater's worth of wool. I have enough creamy natural white (which I could use as is or dye with Kool-aid), I think, to be a sweater and about 3 oz. rainbow dyed Corriedale I could use for accent colors. I'm thinking about this cardigan.

I've never spun for a large project but think I can do it if I'm diligent in following this Knitty article. But plied or singles? I like the look of singles a lot . . . but am I consistent enough? Would it pill a lot? If I chose plied, should I do it woolen (I want to practice what I learned at WSWF, but that would mean handcarding most of it into rolags) or worsted (so I could use the wool without re-preparing it). Any suggestions??

In other fiber news, I stopped at Half-Price Books yesterday (a rare trip shopping alone) and scored big: Kaffe's new book and Knitting In the Old Way at great prices. I have the old Knitting in the Old Way and didn't plan to get the new one, but I'm glad I did now that I see the additional info in it. I tried to upload images of the book but no go; pics next time. Cindy

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Couple of FO's and Pink Knitting

Hi Cindy!

The weather that has brought all the fires to Southern CA has brought us some lovely weather. Yesterday reached a high of about 80, maybe even a degree or two lower, and lots of wind. And just in time I finished off a hat. Actually it was a really quick knit. I used about half of the one ball I bought while visiting you in April and knit it up on 15's. I don't have any dpn's that size but I do have 2 circs. I'm pretty happy with it. This is actually the first hat I've made for myself, all the others have been gifts.

The color for much of my upcoming knitting is Pink! My friend L found out last week that she's having a girl so I dug out my stash box of pink and red related yarns. I'm definitely thinking of a sweater made out of a mix of items from this box although I haven't hunted down a pattern yet. The cotton yarns have also come out and it is likely that a M-D kimono will come out of those. Or maybe a hooded bath towel. I have 5 balls of a white-yellow-blue mix that I'm thinking about over-dying with a pink to give a more girly color pattern to.

Last spring I bought a ball of cotton in this pretty pink variegated mix. I had intended to make a few dishcloths out of it for my friend J's birthday but got enough others done that I hadn't cracked this one open yet. It is brighter than your typical baby-pink but I think L will like it. Her favorite color is red and the dark parts of this head that way. As you can see I've finished the M-D bib and am working on a matching burp cloth. We're all having lunch this Saturday so I'd like to have it all done by then. I still need to get a cute button to finish off the bib. I'm debating a cute flower or a bit of bling with a giant rhinestone. Maybe I'll go by Joanne Fabrics tomorrow night to see what I can find.

Here are a few of my current reading items. I could no longer resist and had to buy Crazy Aunt Purl's book last week. The two books in the back I got on our last trip to Bookman's a couple of weeks ago. Occasionally I drop by Stitchy McYarnpants blog. It's always good for a chuckle and the book is no different. It's amazing what passed for knitting fashion. And what still does. I went through knitting magazines over the weekend and have picked out a whole pile to take to Bookman's next time we go. In that scrounging I also found the Knitting for Babies booklet that I bought when my other friends were expecting last year. I'm sure I'll pick something out of it.

Guess it's time to head off to bed. I stayed home sick to day so no telecommuting this week. More soon, maybe even a mandolin pattern!

Take Care, A

Friday, October 19, 2007

Today is...?

Hi Cindy!

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you're laying in bed half asleep from the alarm and thoughts of what your day is going to be like only to realize you have the wrong day of the week. That is what happened to me today.

I was drowsing in bed. I'd already hit the snooze once (I'm sure that's one thing you remember from those long 20 years ago, my addiction to the snooze button). I was thinking how since it was Co-op Saturday I needed to be there about 7:45 but it doesn't take too long to get there so I didn't have to leave till 7:30. And since I can get ready pretty quickly I didn't have to get out of bed until at least 7 and maybe even a little later. I knew DH's parents might stop by later. Tempe HS is celebrating their 100th Anniversary and DH's mom was salutatorian in 1956. She still likes to come down for class reunions. They're thinking about coming down for the picnic lunch so they could get here as early as 9 or as late as 2. Gotta make sure the house is picked up when they come.

Then DH comes in and asks me (while it's still dark in the room except for the closet light) if his cloths match. I peeled one eye open and solemnly ask if he's wearing shorts (since he's got clean-up morning at the new zen land in Mesa). No, he says, he can't wear shorts to work. Okay, maybe it's really brushy and he doesn't want to get scratched up . Or maybe it is pretty cool yet and he doesn't want to get cold (although 60 degrees has never stopped the shorts before). My alarm goes off again as I ponder his not wearing shorts to do yard work. Hmmm, maybe since it's after 6:30 and he's not going to let me sleep I should get up.

Especially since it's Friday. Wait, Friday? Not Saturday, Darn, I have to go to work another day. Ah well so much for that haze I was in about it being Saturday. Maybe I can do it again tomorrow (in about 6-7 hours since it is now almost midnight).

This is Margi making a bed on her favorite blanket. I think she loves it so much because it is basically just giant yarn sewn together. Mom sent it last year for my bday and Margi claimed it.

Okay, I'm off so I can do Saturday morning for real soon. Tomorrow (hopefully) I'll write about the finished strap and other stuff. Take Care, A

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What have I been up to . . . and FO

Hi Alene! Despite the back & forth weather, we are in the thick of fall activities. Work, teaching knitting, teaching relig. ed., and crafting are going along well for me. Work, school, and lots of playing are going fine for the rest of the family. Crunchy leaves, plans for Halloween, tucking in what's left of the garden, and the end of our CSA season next in line.

As I mentioned somewhere above, I tried to sew some mittens out of a recycled sweater. It came out like a recycled sweater oven mitt and even that was hard to sew, due to the thickness of the fabric layers and my inexperience with this sort of sewing. So I got out some natural-colored bulky wool and knit DD a pair of mittens. Happily it doesn't take much time to make bulky mittens for a 3 year old. I updated my projects on our blog sidebar and am looking forward to some spinning! Cindy

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mmmm, tastes like Mohair

Hi Cindy!

Hope you are starting to get some fall weather. We've dropped out of the 90's and are hoping to stay that way although they're predicting a few of those days yet this week. This week we've cleaned out closets and the attic. Tomorrow we're headed north to DH's parents with a load of stuff for garage sale. The bed of the truck is about full and we've got much more space than we had although there's tons more to clear out. I've been toying with culling the stash (cue imaginary soundtrack: Culling of the Fold by the Decemberists or actually just iTunes) of all the acrylic that I've been gifted. I know that it would make good charity knitting but I don't have time. I'm torn though because I'd like to make a Mother Bear or two. I guess I'll keep it for now until I really rearrange the stash.

I have a semi-FO to brag about. I finished the knitting portion of the mandolin strap finally tonight. But first the picture above is Margi "helping" me with it last weekend. And by helping, I meat attacking. She had to give it a taste test before I got too far. She also tried to bathe it to make sure it is clean before it hits the felting process. I did two I-cords at the end so that it can tie onto the mandolin where ever DH needs it. I will probably felt it on Tuesday while I'm home telecommuting.

Here is what a typical telecommute day looks like. Margi always insists on reading reports with me and giving them the sit test. If the report makes a good cushion she figures the well will produce just fine without impacting any of it's neighbors. Of course that's a little less scientific than the method I use and I don't think my boss would agree with her methodology. Of course for some of the data we receive, I think she's got the right idea ;)

I have to speed up my work on DH's socks. He is doing a 3 day retreat at the end of November/beginning of December and wants be able to wear the socks for it. Their 100 year old master will be in town for this one and it is the first time DH is meeting him. They will start at 3:30 am and go till ~9 pm on Friday and Saturday and till ~5 on Sunday. He wants me to take and drop him off for it since there won't be much parking room. I may have to take that Friday off of work just to get enough sleep. DH bought robes and they came about a week ago. He probably won't actually wear them until the retreat next month although he'll go to the single day one in two weeks. Here is a picture of him on the day the robes arrived on the doorstep. (I removed the picture at DH's request since he doesn't have the robes right. amm 10/25/2007)

I'm going to close this up and head to bed. I'm taking the camera along tomorrow so maybe I'll have a picture or two of some AZ fall color. I'm hoping we get up to Jerome tomorrow. There is a yarn store up there that I really like. The owner actually used to be DH's boss the summer he lived there and worked in the library. Of course she's never recognized him and he's not said hi. Still, it is a pretty nice shop and I haven't been there since last year. If you come out to visit I'll have to take you there.

Take care, more soon, A