Unsolicited Emails from Me

Something has hacked into my Gmail account and has sent unsolicited emails about Viagara and Cialis to my contacts. I truly apologize for this. I have since deleted all my contacts. McAfee on my computer says I'm clean so I think whatever did this just hacked into my Gmail account. Please accept my apologies.

Stormy, Tornadic Weather

Middle Tennessee had some tornadic weather last night. Although I did have the comforter and the flashlight ready for the small windowless bathroom, we didn't have to go in there. We fared just fine, no trees down either.
In all the weather turmoil, I did a little knitting and also a little spinning. I finished the first cop on the Stained Glass fiber. It's really pretty and spinning beautifully. Don't you agree?I also had a chance to work on my afterthought heel this week. If you've never done an afterthought heel, they are super easy. The trick is knowing where to start the heel. As you can see from the pics below, I put a piece of waste yarn in the row where the heel should go. Following the pics from left to right and top to bottom, I'll go through the steps:

1. Pick up the stitches in the row above the waste yarn and the row below the waste yarn. I start out with a snaller size dpn and then transfer the stitches to my knitting needle. I use 2 circulars but you can do this with dpn's as well and just put the stitches on the needles as you would for any other heel.

2. All stitches are now on the needles.

3. Get your scissors out and snip in the middle of the row where the waste yarn is, between the 2 rows of needles.

4. Start undoing that row. To the left and to the right. This gives you a little bit of yarn on each end to weave in.

5. All finished undoing the row and the live stitches are still nicely secured to the needles.

6. Knit the first round even and pick up an extra stitch or two on the sides to prevent a gap. Start decreasing as for a toe.

7. Kitchener stitch completed.

8. Close up of completed heel.

9. Sock is almost done, just have to finish the cuff.

Some people knit a row of waste yarn as they are knitting the tube, I just find it easier to knit the tube without stopping and then go back and decide where the heel goes. Even easier is to knit the heel and toe with a different color and then you wouldn't have to stop to make sure you had enough yarn as I had to do on this sock. I also knit the heel and toe with a strand of mohair to add strength, since mohair is nature's nylon. Hope this will help you brave an afterthought heel sometime.

Eerie Howling

No, I am not talking about my howling (that is for another post) :-)

I'm speaking of coyotes. I was sitting in my home office one night about midnight, curtains were open (mainly because I have no curtains) so all I could see outside was.......nothing. It was pitch black. I live in the country so when it's dark outside, it's really dark. No city lights in the distance to give a glow, nor any security lights around, thank God. When I go out on the deck to see the stars, I really see the stars and they are absolutely beautiful. Some nights I will just sit real low in my chair outside (good for my back of course) and just star gaze, it's fabulous. Anyway, back to the coyotes. As I was sitting at my desk, all of a sudden the coyotes started howling. OMG!!! They sounded so close it was like they were right outside the window. Of course, my lights are blazing in the room and I was wondering if they were gazing inside licking their chops thinking I looked like a tasty dinner. I finished up what I was working on, turned off the lights and went to bed. It was just eeeeeeerrrieeeee.

On the spinning front, I have acquired some new fiber. I have some new merino/tussah silk blends which I'll post later, but this post is just about the Hand-Dyed Blue Faced Leicester top. The turquoise/black is from Daily Fibers, a local fiber artist and fabulous dyer. She will be opening an Etsy shop soon and I would definitely recommend her dyed goodies. She has a great eye for color.
This second one is Frabjous Fibers and it's dyed in Vermont. The colorway is called Stained Glass. Isn't it gorgeous?
As for knitting, it's no surprise that I'm working on several projects. Below is the sock project where I'll be using the Afterthought Heel. I've got it far enough along now where I will go ahead and do my heel. The main reason I will go ahead and do it now is that I'm using the same yarn and I want to make sure that I have enough yarn left to do the heel. Had I been smart, I would have done the heel and the toe in a separate colorway and that way I could just finish knitting all the way to the cuff without having to worry about it. I will knit the afterthought heel with the unused end of the skein and that way I don't have to break the yarn from the live stitches. I already have the spot placed where I'm going to cut the stitches for the heel. I'll post an updated picture as I get further along in this process.

I have some early birthday presents. I was out most of the day yesterday and when I got home there was a new book waiting for me.....Respect the Spindle. The Amy Butler bag I purchased Friday at the LYS in Russellville. Love it!

Spun Fiber and 2 finished projects

Amongst the spindling I have been doing, I do have some finished knitting projects. Both of them are of the pattern, Storm Cloud Shawlette. One is done in fingering weight and the other in a worsted weight.

Fingering Weight - Jawoll Sock Yarn Worsted Weight - Mission Falls 1824 Wool

As for the spinning, I have finished spinning the blue merino/tussah silk blend fiber. I ended up with a little over 300 yards. I was winding on my arm which is 1 yard but my arm was getting a little tired (I need to buy a Niddy Noddy) and it may not have kept its original position. Anyway, it's right around 300 yards. It's had a bath and was hung to dry for several days. I'm very pleased. This mosaic shows the process from roving to spinning the single to a full plied cop and then the dried and bundled skein. I think I see a cowl and FG mitts in its future. :-)

A plethora of things to discuss

I'm not going to make this another post about snow. However, I took the picture below on Monday only 2 hours after it had started snowing and we already had 3 inches. We ended up with about 5.5 inches. It was too cold to melt away yesterday and I still have a bunch out there and they are predicting about 2 more inches today. Is Al Gore smoking crack? What does he mean when he says we have a global warming problem? This has been the snowiest season that I can remember to date.
I have been playing with drop spindling for what.......2 years now? maybe longer? The interest didn't really take hold and it never seemed very relaxing until something clicked just recently. Now maybe it's because I'm not working, I'm less stressed and maybe that has contributed to my not holding the roving with a death grip. not sure.

I've also found out that I naturally like to spin lace weight and I was trying to do that on a heavy spindle. No wonder the spindle kept dropping, I mean literally dropping. I know it's called a drop spindle, but seriously folks. OK, so I went to a lighter weight spindle, the trindle (16 grams), which I purchased at Stitches South in 2009. I love that spindle. I've now got 2 singles of a merino/tussah silk blend ready to ply, as seen here.

However, since I had never plied before, I didn't want to take a chance on ruining 2 singles that I was really proud of. I wanted to practice plying on some singles that I hadn't liked as well. The singles of this peruvian wool were spun on a spindle weighing 41 grams, a picture can be seen here. Now, what I jokingly have to remember is that while spinning these singles, I couldn't remember from one time to another whether I was spinning clockwise or counter clockwise and I think that is reflected in the plied yarn because I believe some of the twists got cancelled out. Too funny and I can't believe I'm the only new spinner that has done that. Own up to it you spinners!! I have since learned the importance of maintaining one method and am now sticking to spinning clockwise and plying counter-clockwise, at least until Alzheimers kicks in. So, per the recommendation of Abby Franquemont of Respect the Spindle fame, I wound the 2 singles together around a ball and then I plied from that ball, which worked beautifully, thanks Abby!!! I then washed the skein and waited 3-4 days for it to dry and hence the result. I grin every time I look at it. I'm thrilled. It's only 68 yards but it's amazing what a little bath will do for it.
To further enhance my laceweight spinning, I've acquired another spindle. This wee baby only weighs in at 10 grams and spins like a top. It's a mini-Turkish called a Kuchulu handmade by Ed Jenkins of Jenkins Woodworking. Let me tell you, it is FUN to spin with this baby.
Are you asking if I've done any knitting???? Yes, I have, although not as much lately because I've been sick. But I did finish that Storm Cloud Shawlette that I blogged about here. It drapes beautifully around the front and gives great coverage on the back.
I purchased the skein of Helen's Lace by Lorna's Laces to make the Pie-Wedge Shawl which is a free pattern on the label. The shop model at Haus of Yarn was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn't resist. I have too many projects on the needles right now to start this, but updates will be forthcoming.