Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Since I decided to spin a little every day, I've been poking about in the clutter to see exactly what I have to spin. I have a lot of clutter. I'm not exactly a hoarder - I've seen pictures & I'm not that hardcore - yet. But I have a lot of 'stuff'. It has been collected so I can use it "someday". We all have this stuff - someday I'll make a
sweater out of that, someday I'll bake that, I can make that waaaaay cheaper, someday. Okay, I admit it - I'm a someday collector.

I have a lot of really crappy someday stuff in with the really nice stuff. Today, being garbage day, I tossed a whole crappy fleece. A whole Fleece! Years ago, when I didn't know any better, I took in homeless fleeces rather than see them burned or composted or sent to the dump. Someone actually left 11 green garbage bags of fleece on my patio one day. All crap. I've learned that a lot of fleece should be composted, burned or turned into garage insulation. And I found one yesterday in my office closet. Digging deeper while in there, I found a 3 pound bag of beautiful grey Romney roving too. I'd forgotten about the Romney - you could tell by the amount of dust on the bag. I bought it from someone, sight unseen, many years ago on Canspin. It's so dry that it's like pill bottle cotton. Lucky for me, I still have a bottle of spinning oil from the 70s - I thought I'd use it - someday. I sprayed the roving down & put it into a bin. I should be able to spin it in a few days . . . If I remember correctly, this Romney spins into a beautiful, soft, bluey-grey yarn that you just want to fondle. I remember knitting kid's hats out of it about 10 years ago.

I continued, last evening, to spin my Brown Sheep mill ends. It was so pleasant, I took my old wheel outside & spent an hour or so listening to the tail end of Total Recal
l, a V I Warshawski mystery by Sara Paretski while I spun. I enjoyed it so much, I brought it inside & carried on while I watched the Antiques Roadshow too. My mill ends were bought from the Sheep Shed Studios in a 15lb Grab Bag - gee, must be 2 or 3 years ago now!! I split it with my pal Gail & we've spread a little here & there since. It spins up beautifully. I tend to prefer the slightly spongey egg shaped lumps to the lovely mohair/wool roving. Dunno why, maybe it's just the feel of the wool but I can spin it up into singles yarn with so little twist that it never biases when I knit. This is two evenings spinning on my Indian Spinner. I figure between the mill ends & the Romney, I have enough wool to keep me spinning till Christmas.

Monday, April 26, 2010

There's just not enough hours in a Day

And what have I been doing since the big spinning weekend??? Why, making up for lost time!!

But I took the time to sit outside a for a couple of evenings & just relax with the old Indian spinner even though I should've been working on tax stuff.

I still have a big basket of egg shaped, Brown Sheep mill ends that produce this wonderful, elastic, slightly spongy yarn. I want to spin it all up & then dye it in one batch. If I don't spend a half hour every day spinning, it will never get done. So I've pledged to spend at least a half hour every evening except for Wednesdays - Knit Night - spinning! I have Mother McKenzie's dye kit still in the original wrapper just waiting to be used. And I'm bouncing between the red kimono on the cover of the Knitted Kimono book & a neat graphic shrug in one of the Knitter's magazines. The Shrug is fairly long with three- quarter sleeves which would make a terrific work sweater - I want the warmth without the fronts getting in the way!! But that red kimono draws me . . . .

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What a Weekend

It was my birthday last Friday & I stopped in the middle of tax season to go to the Desert Mesa Spring Retreat with my buddy Karen & our spinning wheels. My Ex paid for the Retreat for my birthday & I decided I would drive since my van is bigger than Karen's car. I should've known something was up this year when we found gas, just up the road from Karen's place, almost 15 cents a litre cheaper than at my place! I missed the turn-off for the Fraser Canyon going North & ended up on the Coquahala freeway heading East. We decided we were in no hurry so we just kept on going - we could go North at the next town & then turn left. We're just on the other side of the triangle, that's all!!! And I discovered my van really likes going 115 km per hour. We had a lovely lunch sitting on the curb at the old Toll Booth. There was snow on the left, trees on the right & birds singing their little hearts out as we snarfed salmon sandwiches & drank tea in the sunshine. It was a glorious day!

We got back in the van & he
aded out to Kamloops. Along the way, we saw the Logan Lake turnoff - now, since Logan Lake is at the top of the mountain between where we were & where we wanted to go, we thought, WHY NOT?? Neither of us had BEEN to Logan Lake - a lake with fish & a golf course supposedly in the middle of town, now a retirement village. The road was good, we weren't doing 115kms but 90 kms is still respectable - right??? So we headed West. Across the top of the mountain. And found a huge open pit copper mine. With terraced mountains - a definite Egyptian influence there. The Tailings pond horrified me but, they ARE reclaiming the area as they go & how else can we get the copper we need?? I suspect mining is always horrifying in some aspects . . . The road down the mountain was a little terrifying in one or two spots but we made it. And only a half hour later than expected - whew!

I arrived t
o find I had a private room! It was wonderful. The bed killed my back as usual but I had no one to disturb when I got up all night & the rest of the weekend was fabulous. Instead of door prizes, the organizers decided to raffle off one huge basket of goodies! It had everything from soup to nuts, including TWO gift certificates, for the spinner. And guess who won the big Kahuna prize?? Me.

Just some of the goodies in the basket.

Monday, April 12, 2010

You CAN Take it With You

I know it's tax season but I've been knitting between jobs! I really like the look of the latest project - my knitted shopping bag. It's basically done except for the top edging & the handles. I figure it's about a three or four evening knit if there's good stuff on the tube. If not, plug in a good 15 hour audio book, sit in the sunshine & knit this one up in a couple of sunny days. I used a needle the size of my ring finger to knit the YO, K2tog part of the body so it has a lot of stretch sideways. This one will expand to hold a lot of apples, oranges, bulky veggies etc but won't drop around your knees when it gets full. I'll bet it can also hold a ton of spinning fibre too . . . .

Friday, April 09, 2010

Something Practical

So I decided to knit my own shopping bags.
But first, I had to find a good source o
f Crafter's Cotton. Not easy. After many disappointments, I bit the bullet & went to Walmart. For a change, there was a good selection of great colors in the Really Big Balls! I managed to score three good colors & then had to choose a good pattern. I found patterns everywhere but not necessarily what I wanted for a simple Shopping Bag. Knitty offers a couple of nice ones but they come with the long shoulder strap or a lace pattern. I found other nice ones in just about every knitting or crochet magazine. Even Lion Brand offers 'green' bags. But, I don't want to spend days & days knitting a lace patterned bag that will get sticky, dirty & even bloody carrying this & that home from Safeway. I wanted something simple, stretchy & useful. I downloaded several patterns before deciding on "Lets Go Shopping" by Linda Skinlo which I found on Ravelry for FREE!! I like the short handles - although she includes instructions for a shoulder strap - which should make it easier to handle with a load in it. I hate a bag that ends up hanging around your knees when you try to fill it up! It's a fast & easy knit in a simple yo, k2together on one row & knit on alternate rows. The solid bottom is started with 6 st on three needles with increases on every second row. In a couple of evenings, I've knit almost 18 inches up from the bottom!!

The Ex got his socks the other morning & I remembered to take their photo before he got them. The size & color made them a slow knit - oh how I hate dull yarn!!- especially when I have to knit it into size 13 socks . . . but he loved them & I could've got an order for more from two other men in the cafe!!

And speaking of socks - Kare
n gave me hell for giving away my 'Smoldering Hearts' socks last month. I said my sock basket was overflowing with socks. Here's the socks I just washed on Tuesday. This doesn't include all the short 'summer' socks that're still in the basket . . . .

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I hate plastic grocery bags! I liked them when they were made of sterner stuff with solid bottoms & good handles, at least you could use them for garbage or weekly lunches or something. Now they're so thin the cans fall thru the bottom before you get them into the car, never mind the house! I've recycled. I've returned those bags & bought the new, improved, re-usable bags. They also fall apart and the seams split after a few uses - especially when washed. You can't bleach them when meat juices contaminate them & you never have enough of them when you need them. Some stores have banned plastic & gone back to paper. Didn't we go to plastic to save trees????

I bit the bullet & decided to make my own. I could sew them out of rip-stop nylon but I've collected several patterns for knitted cotton market bags. KNITTY has published several patterns, Lion Brand has the Green Tote & I've seen one or two in KNITTERS & INKnitting as well.
I'd like to knit them out of hemp - I hear it lasts forever but with MY budget in mind, cheap Crafter's Cotton, is more likely. And I need another project like a hole in the head!!

The Ex's socks are done! Finished sewing the last toe last nite. I'll meet him for breakfast on Tuesday & give them to him. He's really been feeling this damp cold lately so the new socks are an experiment to see if warmer feet will help. If he's happy, I guess I'll be knitting socks for him for a change.