Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spinning dvds

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Mine was very nice. The weather cooperated so we were able to visit hubby's family Christmas Eve and my family did our annual Christmas thing on Christmas day. My boss was nice enough to give us off both Thursday and Friday for the holiday, so it's been a wonderful, relaxing long weekend.

I've been spending my weekend watching spinning videos. There is a service available called Smart Flix. It is similar to Netflix in that it rents dvds. However, Smart Flix rents educational dvds. Prices vary, but in general it's around $10 per video and you get them for one week. I've been dieing to get some spinning videos . Being entirely self taught by book and Internet, I knew there would be a lot to be learned by being able to watch someone else spinning. But the $70-$80 it would cost to buy the videos prevented me from doing it. Enter Smart Flix. You can rent the spinning basics and advanced dvd set for $17. So I signed up and ordered the set. It took longer than expected to ship, the site said they would ship within 24 hours, but didn't ship for 4 days. The videos arrived a few days after they were shipped, packaged in a nice little box that will also be used to return them in (postage is included both ways). The first dvd covers all the basics of spinning, different types of wheels, fiber prep, different drafting methods and how to finish your yarn. I'm not quite through it yet, but so far the second video goes into more detail about chosing fiber to fit the project, how to spin to get the yarn you want for a particular purpose. I'm learning so much. Today I hope to sit at my wheel with the videos and try some of the techniques shown. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to view these videos. I don't feel they would be worth the extreme price to purchase them, though. I think viewing them once or twice, for me at least, should be sufficent to imprint the concepts on my brain.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Beedle The Bard

Oh yes, my copy of JK Rowling's Beedle the Bard arrived today. I truly did intend to not open it until Christmas. But I just couldn't resist.

The box was much larger than I expected. Here's the first look.Inside the plain slip cover is the fake book.I'm not certain if it is leather or faux. It smells much like leather, but its hard to say and the Amazon description doesn't tell. It is sturdy and looks like an ancient book.
The inside is fabric lined with a pocket containing additional illustrations and a cavity for the book.
My illustration envelope was bent and so were the pictures inside when whoever packed the book forced them into the pocket. But the damage is barely noticeable and I can not bare to part with my treasure to send it back for replacement.
The book is phenomenal. I could not be happier.I could only get a picture of the outside. The binding is really tight and I'm not about to bust the spine just to get blog fodder. I'm thinking I may have to pick up the paperback book to actually read so I can keep this copy pristine! I was a wee bit disappointed that the pages were not deckle edged as the original, but in all other aspects, the book meets or exceeds my expectations. I'm sure it is leather bound. It is heavy and extremely well made (it should be at that price!). This is the single most expensive book I have ever bought. And so totally worth every penny.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My cat is trying to kill me!

So my sister turned me on to this site. After reading the information there, I suspected that perhaps Quinn might have it in for me. To be sure, I took the quiz. The results?

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Yikes!

Yet another catching up post

Hmm, my blogging seems to be getting worse. More than a month since my last post! Yikes! I blame Ravelry. Since this blog mostly consists of my knitting adventures and it's just so darn easy and fun to post over there, I find I have less to say here. But the blog does serve the purpose of tracking my general history as well so I do want to try to post at least occasionally for that reason. So here I am. What's happened since last I wrote....

I was working on Fylingdales. I've made next to no progress on it since then.I'm a few inches up the back. I had really hoped to have this finished for Christmas, but at this point it's on the back burner.
I finished knitting the Christmas gift socks.I absolutely love how they turned out. You may recall I dyed the yarn for these and inscribed the recipient's name on the skein. The brown dots are bits of where the name is written. I'm 99% sure the recipient doesn't read my blog, but I'll wait until after Christmas to reveal the name that was dyed into the skein. I love this concept and will do it again whenever I have the opportunity.

This is the February Lady Sweater. It's being knit in Elann Superwash Bamboo in Polar White. The yarn is dreamy to work with. So soft and light. I'm nearly to the point of dividing for the sleeves. As I said before, this is filler knitting so have only worked on it here and there.

The current socks are the Ragg Hiker socks from 2 at a Time Socks.These are being knit in Knit Picks Essential in Terrain Twist. The pattern is written for worsted weight yarn so I had to adjust the stitch count quite a bit, but essentially it's just a basic ribbed sock so it was an easy enough adjustment to make.
My foot is finally getting back to normal after fighting planter fasciitis since spring. I owe a lot of thanks to my chiropractor not just for the treatments, but for educating me on proper stretching and support for my feet. He got me wearing orthotics (these are my favorites, can't wait to try the new Platinum series) and my feet are feeling wonderful. I'm back to doing the Leslie Sansone walking videos and feeling great. I've lost 24 pounds this summer and hope to at the very least keep it off over the winter and if I'm really lucky even lose a few more pounds.

My car is back on the road. Thanks to the diligence of my hubby finding the parts and the excellent body work of our neighbor Dave. Not quite perfect (still trying to find an uncracked light), but it's roadworthy and will pass inspection and that's what matters most. I am thrilled to bits to have my old car back in working order.

I've started work on a set of knitted items for a friend for St Patrick's Day. She requested hats, mittens and shawls for her and her daughter in the colors of the Irish flag. The hats are finished and I'm 3/4 finished with the mittens. My goal is to have the hats and mittens finished and be well under way with the child's poncho by the end of this month. The shawl and poncho should be fairly quick knits as they will be at a bulky gauge.

Speaking of bulky, I'm working on yet another sweater...Skully from Stitch and Bitch.Not much to show so far, this is the back. I dyed the yarn myself. The yarn is Victor from Kraemer Yarns and it's dyed with Jacquard Gunmetal.
We had vacation a few weeks ago and spent the time sticking close to home and relaxing. Most of the knitting you see here was done that week! We did venture out a bit and I visited a lovely new to me yarn shop in Hummelstown called Yarn Love. The people were delightful and the selection of yarns was really good. A whole row of sock yarns and sweater quantities of most yarns. A terrific store. Check it out if you are in the area.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ok, I did not rip out Fylingdales. I did give it a soak and blocked it and it blocked out to 45". That should be good. I decided to make it just a bit shorter so it won't hit so low on my hips where the lack of width might be a problem. I have split for the armholes and am working on the back section now.

While I was waiting for Fylingdales to dry from it's blocking session, I ended up casting on the February Lady Sweater. I blame the power of suggestion for this one. It's been mentioned in numerous podcasts lately and there are over 2000(!) in the Ravelry Projects section!! The sweater is based on an Elizabeth Zimmermann baby sweater. It starts with a simple, top down garter stitch raglan and ends with a lace body. I'm not a lace fan. At all. But I'm hoping the fact that this is done in worsted weight will make the lace a bit more palatable than the lace weight lace I've tried in the past. This is strictly a filler project to work on when I need a break from my "serious" knitting. I must not get distracted from the projects with deadlines!

Have ya'll heard of Neil Gaiman? I discovered his work in the movie Stardust. I don't think the movie made much of a hit in the theaters, I caught it on DVD and was very pleasantly surprised. It was a delightful movie. I sought out the book. The book was even better. A most enjoyable read, I highly recommend it. Gaiman has a wonderful style of writing. I suppose I shouldn't speak so broadly. Stardust is the only of his books I've read so far. But it did make a huge impression on me. So a few days ago, my sister sent me this link. Gaiman has a new book that just came out, The Graveyard Book. And he did a series of live readings of the book which are being posted to the Mouse Circus site, one chapter each day, beginning October 1. It is such a delight to hear an author read their own work. You know that the inflection is exactly as they intended. And Gaiman has a fantastic reading voice. I'm nearly caught up with the available chapters and am excited to hear the end. The story, like Stardust, is fantastic. The tale of a little boy who is raised by the spirits of a graveyard. If you are a fan of fantasy, do go check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pending doom

Oh no. My suspicions were right about Fylingdales. I've been knitting along on a 32" circular needle and thinking it looked like it might not be as big as it should be. It's hard to measure on the 32" needle so I transferred it to a longer needle so I could do a good measurement. It's small. I'm knitting the 48" version. Unstretched, it's around 40". I can stretch it to about 45" which, with the button band, will be close to where it should be, but don't know if it will stay that stretched in blocking and wearing. I just checked my gauge and I'm getting 18 sts/inch rather than 16! I DID a gauge swatch!! How can this be?! I am so upset. IF the sweater stays to the blocked size, it will probably be ok. It's not going to be as comfy as I wanted, but it should be ok. But I don't think I'm willing to accept "ok". This is a beautiful sweater and tons of work. I don't want to settle for something less than perfect. I'm a month in. I'm nearly to the split for the armholes. I am sick to my stomach because I KNOW I need to rip this out and start over. Why didn't I measure this sooner? Why did I trust my gauge swatch so blindly?

I did wash and block my gauge swatch. So maybe it will make that much of a difference. I've got 2 choices. Rip it and start over, which means I more than likely won't have it for Christmas unless another pending project for someone else falls through. Or, keep going and hope for the best. My inner voice, the Process Knitter, says rip it and start over. My practical side wants to slit her wrists at the thought of ripping all that work.

I think I'm going to try a little experiment before I do anything drastic. I'm using Knit Picks Options needles. So I think I'll unscrew the tips and put the caps on the cable and give this puppy a bath. I want to see if it actually does grow as much as my gauge swatch seems to indicate. If it does, well then, I've only lost a day or two of knitting while it dries and I can keep going with a clear concious. If not, at least I'll have a few days to come to terms with ripping it out.

So what else have I been doing in the last month? Well, I finished the Sock Ease Toffee socks.I just knit the plain sock pattern on the label. I used a US 2.5 needle and the gauge is a bit loose for my taste. Next time I'll use a 1 or 1.5. This is a sturdy sock yarn, a little coarser than I'm used to, but I think they will hold up well. They softened up a bit when washed. The label says there's aloe in the yarn, but it isn't anything I can feel. We'll see if it does anything for my feet when I wear them.

I'm also knitting a pair of socks on request for a Christmas present for someone.I hand dyed the yarn and inscribed the recipient's name on the yarn during the dyeing process. The little blips of brown in the sock are pieces of her name. I find this concept fascinating and endearing. I do hope the recipient will be as thrilled as I am. This is the KP Bare yarn which I adore for socks. They are so soft and cozy.

Apart from knitting, all my remaining spare time has been consumed with reading the Twilight book series. One of my coworkers convinced me to read these books, a 4 book series about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire. The books are geared towards young adults, but I found them enjoyable nonetheless. Some folks equate the author, Stephenie Meyer, to JK Rowling. In my opinion, there is NO comparison. JKR blows this series away with her madeningly complex and intertwined story lines. Twilight is just a good, easy, albiet somewhat predictable, read. I'm better than halfway through the 3rd in the series, Eclipse and loving it. New Moon, the second book, was my least favorite so far. It added little to the plot and mostly consisted of Bella moping around and acting reckless. But Twilight and Eclipse have been great. I'd recommend them to someone looking for some light vampire reading.

Our weather has finally turned cool and I am psyched for fall. We decorated for Halloween yesterday. Hubby has started collecting old halloween blow molds and vintage die cuts. Here's some of the collection...There are way more blow molds scattered around and a few more die cuts here and there. He's on the prowl for more when we can find them. And check out this piece of goulish gorgeousness...Another of my sister's fine cross stitch pieces. This one even has glow in the dark threads in it! Totally awesome.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

When life kicks your butt

It's been a week of disappointment. Monday night on my way home from working late I was in a car accident. Someone turned right in front of me. There was no way for me to stop and I t-boned her. Thankfully no one was hurt, but my car sustained significant damage. Being an old car it's been difficult finding parts and someone to fix it. Not to mention fighting with the insurance company to keep them from totaling it. It may not be a looker, but it runs well and gets me back and forth to work, which is really all that maters to me. I'm not the type of person who needs to have the newest car. I just want reliable transportation. Anyway, in the end we do think we've found someone to fix it for the amount of money we got from the insurance so hopefully that will all work out.

I finished the Raven mittens. They are really quite horrible.
(Anyone looking at that picture would think I didn't know a thing about knitting.) I used the mitten pattern from the Fall 07 Knit Simple magazine. The pattern was hard to follow and produced a rather ugly mitten. The decreases all lean the wrong way, the shaping is weird at the thumb. I figured most of the problems out by the time I got to the 2nd mitten, but I won't be using this pattern again. The yarn, however, is fabulous. And I have a ton left over. So these will be snow shoveling mittens and I'll knit another pair with a better pattern for regular wear.

Milan is also finished. The collar did little to improve the final fit of the sweater though.
I love the sweater when it's layed out flat, but put it on and it's a rag. The collar will not lay right no matter how much pulling and fussing and steaming and blocking I do. The collar is knit straight out from the neckline. But I think it needs some increases in there to give it fullness over the shoulders. I've got plenty of yarn left and am thinking of ripping the whole collar and reknitting it with increases to see if that helps. I also don't like the offset front. I primped and adjusted to get that sweater to hang right for the photo. As soon as I move, it gaps open over my bust and looks horrible. I think I am also going to sew the right flap to the left front, essentially changing the cardigan to a pullover. Perhaps the structure of a seam will help to keep the front supported so the neckline doesn't pull out of shape. As frustrating as it is having spent months knitting the sweater only to have it not fit, it is still a great thing about knitting that I do have options, even now, to recover it and make it usable.

I've cast on two new projects this week. Last week I received these lovelies from my friend Jen. Two balls of Lion Brand Sock Ease and 3 skeins of her own hand dyed merino silk in a color called Vintage. The merino silk is for a baby surprise jacket, which I just didn't feel up to working on at the moment. Instead I cast on the brown Sock Ease to make plain vanilla socks. This is mostly so I have easy knitting for while I'm riding the exercise bike. So far I'm liking the yarn. I don't really notice any difference at all from the aloe that's in it. It feels and knits up like standard sock yarn. But I really like the way the colors are coming out. I like the way it's striping. The bits of color are nice and random, very similar to hand dyed.

I also started casting on last night for Fylingdales. Yes, notice the correct spelling. All this time I've been calling it Flyingdales. Ooops. As always when starting a new project, I'm super excited to see how it's going to knit up. Pictures when I get something to show for it.


In perfume news, The Midsummer Muse is closing down her Etsy shop this weekend and reopening the old Violette Market. I made sure I ordered a bottle of Guinevere before she shutdown, although I do believe she will have all her standard scents at the new site plus some of the scents from the old VM. VM was before I got into perfume so I am unfamiliar with their line. But if it's anywhere near as good as MM, it will be great. The site is supposed to go live today and I've been stalking it since this morning. There's been some changes, but still no ordering links yet. Be sure to go check it out.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Focused

When last we spoke of knitting, I said I was trying to finish up my existing WIPs before starting any more projects. And, for once, I've remained focused and have made some progress towards that goal.

Cotton Ankle socks...
DONE. Although, they don't fit me very well. Cotton remains the bane of my knitting existence. They weren't terrible to knit, but first they were way too big, so I ripped the first sock when it was 2/3 finished and started over. Then I ended up getting them a bit too short. They do, however, fit my mom so all is well.

Jack socks...DONE, finally. These originally started as Jaywalkers. I knit the first sock and hated the way it fit. So I started over with plain vanilla socks with an eye of partridge heel. These fit wonderfully. This is my own hand dyed yarn. I loves the way the colors turned out on it.

Milan...
Nearly done. The seaming on this was a piece of cake. The yarn (Caron Simply Soft) has been delightful to work with. I'm a bit disappointed with the fit so far. I've lost a bit of weight since I started and think I may have over estimate the amount of ease needed for this sweater because it seems awfully big around the neckline. I'm still working on the portrait collar, which will hopefully remedy the problem.

I haven't worked on the one row scarf at all, but I feel
pretty good about finishing 2 pair of socks and having the sweater in the home stretch.

I treated myself to casting on the Socks That Rock Raven mittens.
I'm following the mitten recipe in the Fall 2007 Knit Simple magazine. I had a little trouble deciphering the instructions, but one I got going, these are turning out to be a super easy super fast knit. I love the yarn (Korppi is the colorway). I saw an ad somewhere that there are going to be new Ravens this fall!!

Flyingdales is officially the next thing up in the queue. It was a hard decision between it and Savannah, so I made hubby decide for me. I was kind of cheating...I knew he'd pick the cabled one. But still, I'm super excited to get started. It's also knit in one piece so it will be a good project going into cooler weather.

In other crafty news, I managed to do some spinning these last few weekends. Not much since I'm still nursing my bum heel. But the foot is improving and I've gotten the hang of single treadle spinning so some progress was made. This was spun from a merino silk batt that Jen custom blended for me. I'm calling the color Enchanted sky because that is exactly what it reminds me of. Spinning the fiber is heavenly. It practically spins itself. The silk leaves tiny white slubs occassionally like little bits of cloud stuck in the sky. Fantastic. I've got a bunch more to spin and then it will be knit into something special.

I'm still jonesing on the perfume oils. Everyone is starting to come out with their fall scents. I picked up 4 from Pixie Potions (Witches Brew, Winter Solstice, Ultra Violet and Sleepy Hollow). The service was terrible (took forever to arrive), but the scents are fantastic. I got in on a decant circle for the Hal
loweenie scents from BPAL (Samhain and Fearful Pleasure). Most of the scents didn't sound all that appealing to me so I definitely didn't want bottles of any of them. Those will take a while to arrive, but at least I knew that up front. I also tried some sample sets from Velvet Moon Bathery (Evening Shadows and Momento Mori). She has a very gothic style. Everything labeled in black. The scents are all strong and rich. But none has grabbed me that I need a bottle. Midsummer Muse is hinting there's a big announcement on the horizon (I speculate she's moving from Etsy to her own webstore) and that her fall scents will be out next weekend. SQUEE!! I did snap up a bottle of Guinevere since she alluded to some scents disappearing and I would be crushed if I didn't have a bottle of that one. And I'm still anxiously awaiting the Possets fall scents. There's been a lot of chatter on the boards about what might be in store. Alas, she said they won't be out until mid-September. Ugh!! But that might give my wallet some time to prepare.

To house my ever growing and somewhat unmanageable collection of perfume oils, I made myself a perfume box.
Cigar box painted with acrylic paint.Lined with fabric and cardboard strips covered with fabric and glued in place for dividers. I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Hubby loves it, says it looks like a potions box. I tend to agree. And in a way, they are like little potion bottles.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Possets

As you all well know, I'm on an indie perfume kick. Bordering on obsession really. Perfume oils are so much more pleasant than traditional cologne or perfume. The scents are pure and delicate, never harsh or overwhelming. And what's more, they are quite affordable. I've discovered a few more fabulous perfumers these last few weeks and will post about them another day.

Today I want to talk about Possets.


Possets is run by Fabienne Christenson. Her fragrences tend to run towards the sweet and often "foody" end of the spectrum, although she does have more perfumey blends as well. She gives fabulous descriptions for all her scents and there is a lively forum where fans discuss all things Possets. Over there there are user reviews of just about every Possets scent so you can see what others are saying about how a scent smells on them. Fabienne offers the standard 5ml bottles and sample "Possettes" of most of her scents. Her prices are very affordable, service is second to none, and she always tucks a little gift in with every order.

So, this sounds an awful lot like a commercial, doesn't it? Well, it's Possets 2 year anniversary and to celebrate, she's giving away gift certificates for every new referal. If you mention I refered you in your checkout comments, I get a gift certificate. If you refer someone else new and they mention your name in the comments, you get a gift certificate. And on and on. You can refer as many people as you like, however a new customer can only list one name as their referer. You need to mention the referers real name (I'm not listing my full name here, if you need it, please email me at peacecat30 AT yahoo DOT com).
If you need help picking a scent, let me know and I'll be happy to help you decide (although you really can't go wrong with any of them). Much as I would love to earn some GCs, I would also love for people just to find out about Possets and share the sniffy goodness. But be warned, once you try perfume oils, you'll never want to go back to standard perfume again!!

This ends our commercial inturruption.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pile of Potential

Thanks to my new dedication to getting healthy, I've been spending an hour a day on the stationary bike. To get myself through this monotonous task, I knit. Mostly socks because they are small and don't get in the way. But, let me tell you, I'm getting seriously burned out on socks. This summer I made the Darvoset and Twilight socks and have 2 other pairs of socks 3/4 done. I think my problem was to get too many pairs of socks going at one time. I do like to always have a pair of socks going so I have easy knitting to pick up at any time, but I let it get a little out of hand. Now I'm burned out and am having trouble getting motivated to finish these up. So I decided to give myself some enticement...Here is my fall knitting queue. A pile of potential just itching to get on the needles. The white yarn is for Savannah, the purple Country yarn is for Flyingdales, the pastel yarn in the front is my own handspun for the Narragansett Bay Hat from A Fine Fleece and finally the STR Raven yarn from last fall for a pair of mittens. These are all projects I am dieing to get going, but am determined to finish up some of the current WIPs first. In addition to the socks, I've got mom's scarf (now in it's 4th incarnation, but this time it's working so there's a decent chance I'll finish it this time), Milan is still slogging away (I'm working the Spur stitch panel which requires a fair amount of attention on my part so it doesn't get picked up much.) I had stared a Baby Surprise Jacket, but it wasn't working at all so I wisely ripped it back and set the yarn aside to eventually knit into one of the sweater patterns that came with it. My goal is to finish up the socks by Labor day and switch to mittens for my mindless knitting for the fall. When Milan is finished I'll start one of the sweaters, I may have to flip a coin, I want them both very much. When I finish the scarf, the hat goes on. I'm hoping this plan will give me encouragement to finish all the projects. We'll see how well this plan works!

Monday, August 04, 2008

My new favorite website

If you think this is funny...

cat
more cat pictures

or this...

cat
more cat pictures

here's one for the knitters...

cat
more cat pictures

one for the dog lovers (and HP fans too)

dog
see more dog pictures

I could lose HOURS on this site. Click here now. Be entertained.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quilt Odyssey

It's that time of year again, time for the annual Quilt Odyssey quilt show at Hershey. I was afraid I might not be able to go this year since I'm still trying to resolve my foot pain issue. But the doctor seemed to think if I was sensible and took plenty of breaks and did my stretches I should be alright. So off we went. The show was great this year. A wonderful display of antique quilts. I snapped only a few pictures of my favorite quilts.I hadn't planned on buying much at the vendor mall since I'm not really sewing much as knitting and spinning seem to have taken over most of my free time. But I succumbed to two purchases. A Christmas panel of Santa and some animals and a quilt kit.The kit is 5 one yard cuts of coordinating fabric and 3 patterns with cutting instructions to get a twin size quilt from the kit. For only $30! It came from a shop called Bolines. They sell the kits on their website so be sure to go check it out. I think I'm going to make the Off Center Four Patch design, when I get around to sewing again (which might even be this weekend since I still can't spin).

Since I'm not spinning, I've had plenty of time to knit. I've finished Jen's Flat Feet socks.
The pattern is Twilight from 2 at a Time Socks. I wasn't too bad to work with, but I don't think I'll be rushing to knit more sock blank type socks anytime soon. It was worth a try, for sure. But I still prefer the smooth nature of regular yarn. Now I'm working to finish the 2 other pair of socks I have going.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sniffy goodness

As I mentioned last post, I have fallen under the spell of indie perfume oil. My collection of Possets and BPAL imps has grown just a little this week. I've sampled The Midsummer Muse more thoroughly and will definitely be getting a bottle of Guinevere. It is the perfect blend of flowers and sweetness. Her shop is worth a look just for the enchanting descriptions she provides for all her scents.

I also took the plunge and purchased a bunch of fragrance oils, base oil and bottles to
try my hand at blending. There is precious little information available on the subject and I've received no response to my inquiries on boards I thought might have folks willing to talk. It appears that people are afraid to give up any secret that might take away from their piece of the pie. Ok fine, how hard can it be? Apparently not very. My first creation is a blend of pumpkin, peach, and other sweet smelling goodies. I've dubbed it Fuzzy Pumpkin and it is, if I don't say so myself, really good! I'm wearing it now and can't stop sniffing my wrist. I've blended up a few others and can see now I should have ordered way more bottles. This is going to be fun!

Lest you think I've forgotten about knitting, here's my next big project...Savannah from Dolce Handknits and 17 balls of Elann Superwash Bamboo. The yarn feels wonderful, so soft and just a bit of shine. I think this sweater will be beautiful in this yarn. I am going to be stern with myself and finish at least one of the 3 pair of socks I've got going and finish Milan before starting this one.

And spinning, I know I haven't had any spinning news in ages. That's because the yarn I'm spinning now (from a Hanks in the Hood Cozy Stripes batt) is being spun really fine. I hope to end up with a 3 ply sock yarn so I'm trying to spin as fine as I can. I even moved up to an 8.5 to 1 ratio, which is about as fast as I can handle at my level of experience. Cozy is the bobbin on the left.
The other bobbin is a luscious merino/silk blend Jen did for me. It is a dream to spin. I told her I hope she kept the recipe because it's pretty much all I want to spin. Ever. Unfortunately I'm currently not allowed to spin do to problems with my right foot (tendonitis/plantar facsiitis). Doctor says no spinning till it's all cleared up. I have practiced spinning with just one foot from time to time in the past and might give it a try now that I HAVE to spin one footed. But the temps are in the 90s so spinning isn't really high on my list of things I want to do. And there is no way I can treadle fast enough to spin Cozy with just one foot. For now I'll concentrate on knitting. And perfuming!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lots of catching up to do!

Ok, so what have I been doing with myself this last month?

I finished the Darvoset socks.
Plain vanilla, toe up, short row heel. I think they have a bit of a animal print look to them.

I'm knitting a pair of socks with the Conjoined Creation's Flat Feet sock yarn.The yarn came from Jen, so I'm knitting the socks for her. I'm using the Twilight pattern from 2 at A Time Socks, although I'm knitting them one at a time. The yarn is different to work with. As you can see it comes knitted flat and you unravel it as you knit. The kinkiness of the yarn doesn't pose much of a problem. I had to learn to adjust my tension a bit and kitchenering the toe shut was very difficult, but otherwise it's pretty much like knitting with any other yarn.

Today we went to the yarn shop. Edna talked me into this kit.
Yes, it's a kit. Cotton Kisses from Plymouth. It looks like a ball of yarn, but it includes all the yarn, pattern and buttons needed to make a baby sweater. There's actually 2 different patterns included, a cardigan and a pullover. I may skip both, though and make a baby surprise jacket. Since I don't know anyone with babies, this will probably end up being for the library auction next spring.

I also snagged another skein of Araucania Ranco sock yarn.
When I went to put it away, I discovered it was deceptively close in color to the other skein of Ranco I have. This is color 301, the other was 306. Regardless, both beautiful.

I hennaed my hair again.Hopefully this picture isn't too horrific, but it shows the color fabulously. With henna, the color is so gorgeous. It's deep and multi-tonal and my hair is soft and shiny.

And I've discovered a new obsession. Perfume oil. My collection is still quite small compared to some (this picture still makes me drool, oh to hit the lottery!) I've got just 5 full size bottles so far and about 40 sample size. Perfume oils are much stronger smelling than spray perfumes. They seem to last longer (at least on me) and don't seem to annoy my husband (which is a pretty darn good thing!) The fragrance is much purer since it's not diluted down with alcohol. I've actually cleared all my spray perfume's out, I never want to go back! I've only come across 2 scents, so far, that I've absolutely hated. Most I like very well, some I just want to bathe in. High Tea from Possets is one. Tintagel from BPAL is another. Possets seems to be the best place to start if you want to get into this type of thing. Her site is easy to navigate, she has excellent descriptions of all of her fragrances, and she ships lightening fast. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is the ultimate source for scent. It doesn't say how many different scents they offer, but I'm guessing at least 100-200. Their offerings are much more diverse too. If you want to smell like a grave or a flower, they've got you covered. Their biggest drawback for me, other than trying to navigate the huge site, is that their wait time for orders is 2-3 weeks, yikes! All the BPAL I've got I got from individuals on their forum (another great way to get started). The last company I ordered from is Midsummer Muse. Again, I just got samples for now, but think I'll be getting a bottle of Guinevere for sure! I'm also considering getting some fragrance oils from my soap suppliers and trying to blend my own oils. It sounds pretty easy to do and then I could get exactly what I want for WAY cheaper. I'll keep you posted.