Knitting, Spinning, Weaving and Life

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Paying it forward

Santa came early to my house, look what he brought! Well, actually I had to go out and get it, Santa didn't know how to get a loom down the chimney. It's a very old Macomber, the previous owner thinks 1940's. Everything is in pretty good shape, just in need of a little cleaning and love. Oh yes and tie ups for the treadles. I haven't figured out what the original system was or what I'm going to do. Research is ongoing. It's amazing (or not) how few people take photos of their treadles and tie-ups.

Any help out there would be appreciated.

Paying It Forward

I was lucky enough to be commentor one on Gurnseygal's blog. So here is my pledge:

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

So have at it folks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Much Thankfullness

Yes! The Mediterranean Lace Shawl is done. I started it at the end of May '06, but didn't touch it for about 6 months solid after Paul died. I picked it up again and it went like gangbusters for a month or two then I hit the border. When the number of stitches in a row numbers over 1,000, things just don't go fast. Add to that the ripping back of all those wrong leaning decreases, and I'm pretty amazed at my speed.

I blocked on Thanksgiving Day while watching my first Packer game this season. It's such a joy to see them playing this well! And Sophie picked up a new phrase. All Thursday night she kept yelling "go! go! go!" I tried to get it on tape, but as soon as I pull out the recorder, she shuts up.

My other FO is Peacock Plumes from I made this for my Singers of Summerville performances. It turned out very nice. I made both the body and sleeves a bit longer. I wanted more of a jacket length. I added one extra pattern repeat on the body and I can't remember how much on the sleeves. If there's one thing I dislike, it's too sleeves that are too short. The pattern says to just make the cuffs deeper to adjust sleeve length, but I was adding a couple inches so that would have looked a little ridiculous. I think I added two pattern repeats and the sleeves are just a tad long, but look great when I'm holding my music up. Definitely a success.

So after watching the game and blocking the shawl, it was time for Thanksgiving dinner. I didn't really want to go to friends and get into a big family type thing this year, I think it'll be a few years before I stop associating Thanksgiving with Paul's death, so I bought a nice roasting chicken and experimented with twice baked potatos. For me, this was a major cooking experience. It all came out very nice. I set the table with my nice blue dishes, lit a candle, put on some nice music and enjoyed my meal.
And Sophie got a plate too. I find it vaguely cannibalistic, but she loves chicken...and corn.
The girls got some chicken too. Hmm, considering I call them the Hairy Chickens, maybe that was cannibalistic too. Oh well, they gulped it down in a flash then ran back into their house. Lately they've been hiding in the house or under the swing a lot. They keep rushing over when I come out, looking for protection from the horror that has invaded the yard.

I believe they're called leaves.

Monday, November 12, 2007

In Honor of a Veteran

One thing that has always bothered me about patriotic holidays, we seem to forget that there are many who have served who did not see combat. They may not have died for their country, but they still dedicated their lives to it.

Paul served over 19 years in the Air Force. He would have done more, but his body gave up on him, at the age of 41 he had a disabling stroke. Over the next 10 years he worked with the local Disabled American Veterans chapter. He went to the Veterans hospital and gave out cookies and soda to the patients - and being Paul he also gave out a lot of bad jokes and smiles. For several years we went to a local cemetery with the Boy Scouts and helped decorate the graves on Memorial Day. And he always made a point of being present for any ceremonies for the fallen.

One of the last things he did was ride on his DAV chapter's float in the Veterans Day parade last year. When he got home he told me he felt he didn't have the right to be up there with men who had served in WWII, Korea, VietNam and the Gulf. It hurt me to hear him belittle his life so.

So on Veteran's Day and every day:
Not every Vet has served in combat,
but every one is a Hero.

In Honor of Paul G. Sholette 1955-2006

Thank You.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Progress - of a sort

Yes, I am still here. Why does it seem that as soon as I began this blog, my life suddenly became too busy to write about? Of course it doesn't help that most of what I'm doing is not overly exciting. Choir rehearsals, board meetings for choir and fiber guild, and trying to reorganize my house.

For the past 25 years, I've moved on an average of once every 2 years. I've been in my house 2.5 years. To satisfy my need for change, I'm rearranging pretty much all my furniture. The big move was getting the computer out of the loom room and into my very own home office/library.
Of course the title is bigger than the room. I have a very small bedroom (not even large enough to hold a double bed) that is now the office. I've "rescued" a nice desk and am putting up lots of shelves to hold my large paperback collection. I've also gotten my hands on some recycled bookcases (yes, I'm cheap, why do you ask?) that I'm going to use in the loom room to help get the stash under control. However, progress is slow. I have the office fairly well under control. One shelf up, new widescreen monitor, more shelves waiting the next trip to Lowe's for screws.

And here's the disaster. Any wonder I haven't accomplished much weaving lately?

Next week is Spinners and Weavers week. Go out and hug your favorite fiber person!!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays (off)

For some reason, in my mind, Labor Day weekend means bad weather. This year certainly fills the bill. It's pouring out there, with no sign of clearing up for the next few days. Granted, we can use the rain, but I was really wanting to get out there and mow the lawn this weekend. (And if you believe that, I have this bridge I'd like to sell you).

Meanwhile, I've finally finished fixing the border on the Mediterranean Shawl. I've even added a few rows. Now I'm worried that I won't have enough yarn. I tell you, it's always something.

I've also started something new. This is Bixby. Or at least his coat from last year. Bixby was a Christmas present from my parents this year. He came from Bramble Wool Farm in Luxemburg, Wisconsin. Near where I grew up and where my parents still live. His owner Julie Guilette has had her wool featured in Spin-Off magazine. Most notably those cute Estonian sheep puppets on the cover of the Summer 2006 issue.

Anyway, I have started playing with the fleece, trying to decide how I want to spin it. Since I don't seem to have very good fleece washing skills and this is a pretty clean fleece, I decided to spin it "in the grease". I've been taking a few locks, combing them into a rolag and spinning from there. At first I was getting way too many lumps and bumps but I've forced myself to treadle slower and the results have been pretty even.

It's not easy getting good photographs of dark brown yan. But here's my best shot.

I took a sample skein and washed it. Not too bad. It looks lumpier in the picture than it really is because there's still a lot of kink from the locks. I think I like it. Next I'll have to do a little plying and see how that comes out. I don't have any specific project in mind, I'm going to make the best yarn I can and let that drive the choice of project.

In the mean time, I've got a nice long weekend to play and I'm enjoying the process. This might be my best spinning yet. Which isn't saying much, but there has been progress!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Lost Week

Wow, it's amazing how time zips right past when you're incredibly busy. There just may be something to this "having a life" thing!

I spent last week zipping from work to dinner at a friends, to board meetings and finally to a night out. All very pleasant, especially the night out as there was music and beer involved, but also very tiring in the 100+ degree heat.

Anyway, when we last saw our intrepid blogger, she promised to tell of an exciting event. Well, I'm maybe it wasn't exactly exciting, but it sure was a heck of a lot of fun. I, and I believe 9 other like minded souls, spent the morning at the Charleston Museum. In conjunction with their exhibit
Clothes to Dye For, they held a natural dyeing workshop.

Suzanne Collins was our teacher. This woman has lots and lots to say about natural dyeing. Her enthusiasm is downright contagious.

After Suzanne spoke about some of the plants used, the colors they produce and how to prepare your yarn, we started the fun part. Lectures are nice and informative, I took lots of notes, but nothing beats getting to do it with your own hands. Here are the dyepots. We did cochenille (which I never knew are actually little bugs!) , onion skin, and the perennial favorite, indigo

Even though I've seen it before, I'm still amazed at the color changes of indigo. In the pot it's that horrible anti-freeze green, but let it hit the air and presto!
My yarn turned out nice, if a little streaky. I think we just had too much in the pots at once to get any precision colors. I tried to overdye my onion with the indigo for green. It came out quite Green Bay Packer colored. I think I like it though. Right now it's all aging in a nice handthrown pottery bowl I have. I may just keep it as decorative art.

While I was getting my photos, the girls decided to get into the act. What do you think, professional modeling careers in their future?

Come on baby, work it!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

All Work and No Play

Nothing to show for the last week and a halfs' work. I am making progress on both MS3 and Med Lace, but it's just more of the same, nothing dramatic.

Mostly what I've been doing this last week is working out in the heat. I work as a facility manager on the Naval Weapons Station. My job was supposed to be a nice sit at a desk and play on the computer kind of job, but last week it took a turn. We needed someone to go out into the warehouse and onto current job sites and help keep the workers organized. The fun part is I get to boss around a bunch of guys, the down side is the 95+ degree heat and being in a poorly ventilated warehouse for a good portion of the day. By the time I get home and out of the shower (What's the Guinness record for longest time in a shower?) I don't have the ambition to do much of anything accept stare a book.

The good news is that I have an outing planned for the weekend. Details then.

Meanwhile, just so this isn't a totally photoless post, here's one of my attempts to take a picture of myself. I'll keep the day job.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What a difference a day makes

AHH, relief! We had a big storm system go through Friday night and the weekend has been gorgeous. I even turned off the AC and opened the windows today. Glorious!

Also, as long as I was doing laundry, I felted the Piano Tote I knit last weekend. A nice quick project to lift morale. My only problem is that I'm really bad at tensioning stranded knitting. I thought I had done a fairly decent job, but when I felted, the keyboard area tightened up a little more than I would have liked. I stretched it back out while it was drying and it came out ok. I think I might try again and see if I can't get it a little more uniform. In the meantime this one will be great for keeping track of choir music.

I'm just finished with chart A of MS3. That only puts me 3 1/2 weeks behind. For me that's not bad!

I also finished another 2 motifs on Med Lace. Only 20 some
more to go. (plus another 20 rows of border, but we're not thinking of that!)

Now it's back to the great outdoors.

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's just too hot!

Not much happening in the way of knitting, or anything else that requires touching wool.


My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Countess-Palatine Wendelene the Disappointing of Melbury Bubblewick
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

doesn't that sound just like me?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Following the Leader

Along with what feels like most of the knitting world, I started Mystery Stole 3 . This is my first attempt at bead knitting and I'm enjoying it, although I think I should have gone for a little more contrast in bead color. I wanted to keep it subtle, but I think I may have gone a little too far. Opinions please.

Also, if you notice the subtitle of this blog, I claim that I knit, spin and weave! I figured it was time to show off a little weaving. I haven't actually been doing much weaving or spinning lately, I seem to go through stages on my hobbies. But I have been working on what I hope will be a nice roman shade for my bedroom. (my weaving so far only incorporates flat items) This is the first panel.
So far I'm liking it, panel 2 has been wound off and may possibly hit the loom this weekend.

And finally something strange is happening in my backyard. My Christmas poinsettias refuse to give up. Most of the red leaves are gone, but they are growing and evidently thriving. Any gardening type people out there know what to do to get them blooming again?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

No knitting today, just a quick shot of my two home protectors. From back to front, this is Dixie and Savannah. They are outside dogs. They do not like being indoors.
Unless it happens to be July 4th and the neighbors are shooting off fireworks.

They are also afraid of dogs - especially the Peke up the street, and CATS! One wandered into the back yard the other night and they went to hide in their doghouse. This is why I refer to them as the big hairy chickens.

Surprisingly enough, they don't seem to mind Sophie, but they also don't come when she calls them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dang, Drat and Shoot!

After I finished the last post, I took a nice admiring look at the shawl. And didn't like what I saw.

I think the pattern on this side of the lace panel should have been a k3 tog, rather than a sl-k2 tog-psso. Of course it took me several rows before I came to this conclusion.

After sitting and meditating my options of:
A) Continuing as written and saying "It's supposed to look like that!"
B) Tinking 8 rows of close to 2,000 stitches each
C) Tearing out the 8 rows in that area,
correcting the mistake and knitting the panels again.

I chose C. I think I've done about 10 of the 36 repeats. This may take a while.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Knitting With a Good Book

There's nothing I like better than having a good audio book to listen to while I knit. While I have perfected the art of knitting and reading together - as long as it's a fairly simple pattern- nothing makes lace grow like some nice person (preferably with a British accent) reading me a story.

Thursday I read that two of The Yarn Harlot's books were available at Audible. I rushed right over and decided to splurge and just buy them rather than wait for my monthly subscription credit. Definitely a good idea. Stephanie does the reading, and while she may think she sounds like a chipmunk, I beg to differ. I knit and laughed and every time she began the sentence "You know you knit too much when...." I had to brace myself because at least half the time I had to say "Been there!" Buy the time the first book was done, I had finished more than two rows of the never ending shawl border.

A border progress shot

and a better shot of the main body

Both the camera and photographing knitwork are new to me, so forgive the learning curve.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My first post

Well here I am. I decided to start my own blog as a New Years resolution. I opened the blogger account, found myself a name, and that was the end. So now that I've let it stew for half a year, it's time to try again.

Most of my life revolves around fiber. I knit, spin and weave. What I really do best is acquire. My house does not have a single room that does not contain something fibery.

In the spirit of honesty, although I have all this STUFF in my house, I actually finish very little. If you're looking for a long list of finishe
d projects and exciting progress shots, I'd have to say you need to keep looking. If you want to feel better about your UFO's, come on over. I have one in the stash that's been aging for over 15 years. To tell the truth, at the moment I can't even find the pattern. I'm pretty sure it's from Alice Starmores Celtic Collection, but at the moment, I can't even find the book.

One project I'm currently I'm working on is the Mediterranean Lace shawl from A Gathering of Lace.
It doesn't look like much on the needles right now, I'm doing the border. That's 1532 stitches per row. But it is beautiful (if I do say so myself). I've been working on it for just over a year, with a month or two off back in November while I went through a personal crisis and did no knitting at all.

I think that's about it for a first post, except that like all good bloggers, I must conclude with my pet photo. This is Sophie, she's a Quaker Parrot. One of her favorite things to do is to sing along to Saturday afternoon opera. Unfortunately the only tune she knows is Goodnight Ladies, which we've modified to Goodnight Sophie. But what she lacks in skill and linguistic talent, she more than makes up for in enthusiasm!