Friday, August 31, 2007

Spinning Progress Report

Even though there have been plenty of moments where I felt like my learning curve was spinning in place (sorry, I couldn't help it!), I can finally see some progress.

Attempt 1

Attempt 2

Attempt 3

All together now!

I've been trying to spin for a couple of hours each day. The hardest part is getting the yarn thickness uniform, but it's sloooooowly becoming easier.

I have enough yarn now for another felted purse, so into the dye pot these go! My MIL painted this lovely picture of my favorite do-hogs, so I want to give this purse to her when I'm done.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Every gal needs a bag...

And Vespa is no exception! I finished many firsts with this project: first kitchener stitch, first icord (call me crazy, but I love knitting icord), first bag, and first felting project!

Here's my gal modeling the Sophie bag before felting.

A little agitation, soap, and hot water turned that bag into something different and exciting!

Since it is hard to see the details when Vespa is wearing the bag like a bib, here is another shot of said bag.

I love this bag so much that I think all the funky yarn I'm spinning right now is going to turn into yet another Sophie bag, maybe this time dyed with grape Kool-Aid. Or, maybe I should make a felted chalk bag that will make all the other sport climbers at my gym jealous.

Besides this bag, nuttin' else is moving on my needles. I've been too busy spinning! Today, I tackled some alpaca fiber that the boy had carded for me. It went so fast! The alpaca almost spins itself in comparison to the BFL wool I've been spinning - it's much easier to make even singles. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm getting better at this.

I'm running out of bobbins, though, so I need to ply something soon. Or buy new bobbins. Or buy a drum carder (whoa, where did that come from!!!).

Mingus didn't want to be left out of today's post, so he killed his favorite toy, then posed. What a weirdo.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I take an awful lot of pictures of my pets

A relative asked me and the boy for some recent pictures for a family tree. I had to search forever to find some decent pictures of us. However, I had plenty of dog and cat pictures. It's almost embarrassing how many animal pictures are on my camera right now.

Here are some oldies I dug up.

Little Red Mingus. I was tired of the wet dog smell that permeated the house whenever it rained. This jacket helped a little bit, but its main purpose was to humiliate Mingus.

Little Green Mingus. Vespa and Mingus literally brought down the curtains during one of their marathon wrestling matches. The rule here is: if you break it, you wear it. I have a whole series of pictures from this day.

Peace and quiet. A rare moment, indeed.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What's that smell?

No, it isn't Mingus, Vespa, Fifty-Fifty, or Greaseball. It's the smell of burning stash!

Although I can hardily call one sock a FO, this came off my needles. I failed miserably at the picot bind off, so I ended up doing a double crochet bind off instead. Much better. It's still a weird sock, though - I used the toe-up heel instructions from More Sensational Knitted Socks, and it puts the heel flap at the bottom of the sock instead of at, well, the heel! The next sock is going to be knit with the Widdershins heel so the flap is in the right place.

Since I sort of got one project complete, I decided to tackle some of my single balls of yarn, partially inspired by the last episode of Stash and Burn.

This scarf is going to be mailed off as soon as it is complete. It's Di.Ve yarn that I bought at Article Pract. This is my second time knitting with the stuff, so now I know to keep it in a container since this seems to be Mingus' all time favorite yarn to munch on. Getting the knots out of this yarn is about as fun as poking my eyes out with needles.

This is my favorite WIP right now. It is going to be Sophie, a felted bag. I am using wonderful, Kool-Aid dyed yarn that I traded with Kim-Chi for some of my roasted coffee. I just love the colors and I cannot wait until this is felted!

Now that I am back from vacation, I have my spinning wheel to play with once again, but I hope to finish these WIPs off soon. Although I know it is unrealistic to have no stash, at least for me, I told myself that all my extra yarn would fit into one container I bought just for that purpose. Let's just say that I am jamming yarn into that container...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More fibery goodness

I plied my first skein of yarn today and am getting ready to set the twist. Vespa, as always, was thrilled and honored to model the my first skein.

It still is really funky yarn, but I'll probably take Kathleen's advice and make something to felt so the yarn will not go to waste. Maybe a bag, a blanket, or something else where gauge won't matter. I bought a pound of BFL fiber to play with, so there be an abundance of crappy (but gradually getting better) yarn.

Here's a closer look at a good spot:

And, here's a look at the whole shebang. Funky, funky, funky.

Mingus wanted to give his opinion on the yarn, too.

Eh, my office is coming along. I'm being picky about how it is organized, so it is taking a lot longer than it normally would. My office became the room where we put all of our old moving boxes, so I've been sorting through things and putting a lot in the Goodwill bins. I also bought a ton of containers to organize the mess. People with hairy beasts can appreciate this bin:

Yes, my 4 animals have 6 brushes. Funny, but I don't even know if I own a hairbrush! My hair wants to be nothing but straight!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Little Guests and Spinning Maddness

I've decided that the size of the dog is inversely proportional to the amount of that dog's 'tude. Of course, I only have one data point, and I have met several well mannered littles that blows my hackney theory out of the water, but boy oh boy was yesterday rough.

Meet Precious.
Upon our first meeting, I could not help but think that her name was some huge joke, because her behavior wasn't, um, endearing. I have never had a dog lunge at me before and try to bite me. She was on a leash, thankfully, but she was trying to bite through my shoe at my toes. Oy, I think it was at about that moment that I realized I was in for a looooooong day. Since I couldn't handle her without getting beat up, the person who transported Precious to me had to put her in her crate and help me load her into my car. Upon which Precious started yeowling. Thankfully, my house was not far away from the pick up point.

I was keeping her at my place for a day until her foster mom could pick her up. This little girl came all the way from Reno, where she was formerly a princess living with an elderly couple. One of her persons died, and the other went to assisted living, leaving poor Precious in a lurch. A kind person with a much bigger heart than mine decided to take her on as a foster dog. Precious didn't do well in the shelter environment because she would pull that same stunt pulled on me (lunging, biting, screaming) to potential adopters. Not good. It's obvious that Precious was never socialized with people and other dogs.

While I was driving back to my house with a screaming doxiwawa (dachshund and chihuahua mix) in my backseat, I was wondering how the hell I was going to let her out of her crate for a potty break. I was fearful that she would try to bite me as soon as I let her out. But guess what? The little miss became all smiles and sunshine when I was carrying her crate into the backyard. She was wagging her tail and making little whiny let-me-out noises. Since her body language was friendly, I let her out and she bounded over to me for some pets. Huh. Maybe Precious is bipolar.

Vespa is great with the little dogs. She thinks they are all puppies since we occasional foster puppies from the shelter in need a crash course in doggy and human manners. So, I took Vespa into the backyard and let her meet Precious. Vespa gave me this horrified look, raised her hackles, and yelped as Precious charged at her and tried to bite her in the nose when Vespa was about to do the "nice to meet you" butt sniff. A little barking ensued, but the two of them worked it out and Vespa kept her snout away from the little bitey one. By the time Precious had to leave, she was following Vespa around the house. That's my girl!

Precious went off with her foster mom, and peace returned to the house. I was able to get more work done (hard to get work done when there is a super reactive dog screaming). I was also able to, you guessed it, spin!

Okay, so this yarn isn't going to win any beauty contests, and I probably won't even knit with it after I ply it, but it was good practice. It looks a lot better than my first attempt...

I'm used to a drop spindle, so all these things to adjust (tension knob, whorl, bobbin) takes a while to get used to. As embarassing as these first attempts are, I'm hoping to chronicle my improvement. Someday, I'll look back on this and laugh. Someday... Just not now.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yee haw!

Today, the stars aligned and I bought this gently used Schacht matchless single treadle spinning wheel. Deep Color Studios is selling the spinning wheels previously used for their spinning classes. I swooped in just as she put the wheels out (hooray!) and picked out the best one. I actually wanted a double treadle wheel, but this was such a good deal that I couldn't pass it up. Plus, I can always buy the double treadle at a later time.

Yee haw! I am so psyched! However, I told myself that I wouldn't start spinning until I finish my project from hell: cleaning my office... This could take awhile...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another yarn free, dog free interlude

The weather in the Bay Area has been blissful - not too hot (one could argue that it never gets hot where I live), not too cold, but just right. The sunsets have also been amazing.

On a clear day, I can see the Golden Gate Bridge from our house - it is just to the left in the first picture. Alas, its too dark in these pictures to see anything but the painted sky. I wish all these poles and wires would go away so I could see the bay unobstructed, but that's the price of modern living.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Misty Garden is off the needles!

What a difference blocking makes! I am constantly amazed at how a little blocking makes my items the perfect fit. In this case, I was able to add many inches to my scarf. I won't have to give it away after all!

Mingus, of course, likes it also. We all know that every malamute needs to wear a mohair scarf in the middle of summer.

I was stalled on this project for two reason: I was still burned from the last time I tried to turn this yarn into a scarf, and I had a hard time working the stitches. This last problem was solved by the purchase of some Addi Turbo lace needles (oh, how I love thee). Once I could face the yarn again without cringing and I switched needles, this project flew off the needles. Thank goodness. Now, I just need to finish my socks!

Whaa??? Is there somone else here?

V&G: Zzzzzzzzzz!
V: Whaa?? Is there someone else here? What's that cat doing in my bed?

G: Whaa? Is there someone else here? What's that dog doing in my bed?

Oh, yes, the bed wars have begun. This just shows how stubborn the two of them are about claiming the most comfortable spot in the house. Greaseball is allowed on the bed, which I would think is more comfortable, but he likes to take over the dogs' space. Here's evidence:

I have a crate trained cat!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Holy Hoya Carnosa!

Not everyone likes to stop to enjoy the flowers. Greaseball thinks they stink. However, since he also thinks many things I deem stinky smell great, I don't take to heart his opinion on this matter.

Mingus thinks that they smell just grand. Either that, or he is still on his scooter high. (He got to go urban mushing tonight with Vespa.)

Goofballs. Both of them.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Little brothers can be such a pain

M: Hey, Vespa! Your breath smells like poo!

V: You better take that back, Mingus!

M: Phew! It smells bad in here! That must be because Vespa burped! You can tell because her burps smell like -

V: I said, take it back! Stop saying that!

M: *cough, cough* I can hardily stand the stink. I think I'm going to die.

I hope you had a good first day at work, TofuNinja! This is dedicated to you! (And for the record, my breath smells like roses.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Summer stash burning

I'm almost done with my mohair fan and feather scarf. The problem is that I think it will be too short - I pulled the yarn from my stash, back from the days where I would just buy one skein of a pretty yarn just because it caught my eye with no particular project in mind. Those days are over, but I'm still living with the consequences - although, one can argue that pretty yarn is a happy consequence - of my naive knitter days. If, after I finish the skein, I think it is too short, I know some people shorter than me who can benefit from this scarf.

Yes, "some people shorter than me" are normally referred to as children.

Once this scarf is off the needles, I'll have only 2 WIPs left: my Tofutsie Jaywalker sock and the Mingus scarf. Technically, the Mingus fur scarf is a UFO, though, since I haven't had the time to spin more chiengora.

Ahhhh, summer

It's a rare sunny day, so we're all taking advantage of it. I walked to the farmers' market and picked up some peppers and tomatoes. I wish I was a better dyer - these colors would make awesome sock yarn!

The tomatoes are going to be sliced and enjoyed with some homemade aioli and the peppers will be blistered on the grill. I love the fruits of summer. I also scored some white nectarines, which will be divine when grilled with a dab of chevre, that is, if they last until tonight for dessert...

Inspector Mingus had to check out the fruits, too. He deemed them unworthy of even a lick.

Since there wasn't any food for him to chow down, he resumed his regularly scheduled nap.

He likes this spot because he is the benefactor of an occasional pet as we pass by. Always thinking, that dog.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Knitted Furmiliation is up and running!

For those of you in Ravelry (and those of you who will eventually be on Ravelry), I have started a new group called Knitted Furmilation. Yes, its focus is going to be posting humiliating pictures of our pets. In knitted goods, of course. I've also started a new website, but no content is on it just yet.

If you are on Ravelry or know of someone who is and who has a penchant for taking embarrassing pet photos, tell him or her to join!

Here's a sneak peak of the banner and the button:

The boy is too busy rolling his eyes to join in the fun. Oh well, his loss. He also knows that if he makes fun of me too much, I am not above posting pictures of him rocking the knitted items. Oh yes! She who stays up the latest gets the last laugh...


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