RAK's

It's been a tough week and I found myself in a little bout of depression. I know it has to do with the anniversary of my Mom's death and while I try to prepare myself for the onslaught of emotions, invariably I spend a week in the doldrums.

This morning as I arrived at the drive-up window at Dunkin' Donuts for a much needed cup of coffee, the young lady handed me my coffee and then told me the car in front of me had paid for my coffee.  I didn't know the nice lady in the van but I received an RAK (random act of kindness) and it just made my day. So thank you. 

Today is Friday, weekend is almost here and yesterday I received some fiber samples to play with my blending board.  So, it's going to be a great weekend!

I started the Linen Stitch scarf this week. I think it's going to be cool looking, I'm picking the yarns randomly. It's a lot of yarn movement, back and forth, front to back with every stitch.  I cast on 460 stitches so it'll be interesting to see how long it will be.  I'm making good headway on the Claire stole so I don't want this Linen Stitch scarf to slow me down on the Claire, but I fear that it might. It can be addictive to see how the colors are mingling.

I did receive a picture yesterday of the gift I knit for a little one. He's so adorable and if you can get past how adorable he is, you can see the sweater. :-)
 





Have a great weekend ya'll.

Spinning the rolags

As I blogged about in the last post, I had made 3 different sets of rolags. One set of 5-6 just had gray and light green. Another set of 5-6 just had dark blue and light blue in a 3-stripe, then the third set had a mixture of colors in addition to some beautiful red.  I decided to mix and match as I spun them. So I alternated randomly which stack of the three I picked from.  So I spun one large Z single, then wound a center-pull ball, and spun a 2-ply S.  I love the way it turned out. You can see it's mainly blue/gray, but I love the pops of red.  I ended up with a little over 100 yards.

So....this batch of rolags...........
became.....this skein of yarn.


I'm going to be playing with some other bits of color in the weeks to come.  My last blog post indicated I was going to try something with the blending board, I didn't have time so I'll get to it soon.

Yesterday, I wove on my Zoom Loom. I'm working my way through the Yarn of the Month samples that I amassed over a period of maybe 5 years.  Each little baggie makes 2 squares.  I had other ideas for those samples but the time has some to just use them and be done.

As for knitting, the Claire stole is coming along nicely.

I'm off work today due to MLK holiday.  It's beautiful and sunny and in the 50's.  Tomorrow it's going to be a high of 28 deg F. and getting colder through the week.

Cookin up more rolags

How do you spell the word fun?  R.O.L.A.G.S and the corresponding blending board.

It's like painting except with fiber.

I was speaking to a very dear friend the other day on the phone and we were talking about my new board.  Now, a little history.....she owned her own sheep for years when she lived in middle TN and now she lives in Maine but she still spins and weaves and best of all, she has her own drum carder.  I mentioned to her that I had purchased a blending board and was making rolags to spin from and that I was out of my comfort zone since I am normally a worsted spinner.  She suggested I take the fiber off the blending board from the side rather than from the bottom and spin the rolag with the length of the fibers and that method is easier to spin worsted but you still get some air on the fiber.  I'm going to try that today.

Meanwhile, here are some rolags I made last weekend.
 



 


 



Knitting for babies

I love knitting baby stuff.  Why??  Because I can try out a new pattern, new knit stitches, a new process, etc without a huge time commitment. 

I have done this from time to time with no particular baby in mind. When I do these, I place them in my gift box for when I need a baby gift item.  However, there are times when I want to knit something special for a friend's new baby.  What has been happening to me lately (cause this blog is all about me), is that people aren't finding out in advance if they are having a boy or girl.  They are waiting.  That means I have to wait until the baby is born to knit that something special.  What's up with that?  I personally refuse to knit everything white, yellow or green just so it can be for either sex.  So I wait until the baby is born to knit something. And I'm okay with that, they just get something a little later. maybe two weeks after the baby is born.

The most recent is for a very nice co-worker, Brian.  He's a St. Louis Cardinal's fan, which makes him a baseball fan, more than football, so we have something to talk about.  No, I didn't make something in the Cardinals colors, but that would have been fun.  I opted for the pattern, Baby's First Sweater #106. I've made this pattern several times and I really like it.  I am making a note here to remember in the future.  On the front panels when it says to cast on 7, I would suggest adding at least 10 on each side.  The reason for this is 7 stitches on each side only allows the two front panels to meet rather than overlap to accommodate the buttons/buttonholes.  So the front tends to pull on the sides more and I don't like that.   I knit this with baby blue Queensland Bebe Cotsoy. It's 50/50 cotton/soy.  Very soft.

Cold, icy weather

While this blogpost is mainly to memorialize our current cold temperatures, I know the northeast US is getting hit with some major snow storms and I truly feel for them.  The south is getting hit with some cold, windy weather as well. I was just looking at the weather forecast and it's unbelievable. 

In the picture below, This Afternoon is today, Friday Jan 3rd, 2014.
You can see forward to the highlighted Sunday night, Monday and Monday night. WOW!  We just don't get that kind of cold weather in the south.  The good thing is that it should kill some bugs so maybe this summer will be nicer, but seriously....that's cold!!   SO, for those of you in the northern parts of this country, hunker down and stay warm! I mean it!

Fancy Kitty Blending Board

First let me say, beautiful craftsmanship.  Fast shipping on top of that. I ordered it last Sunday and received it yesterday with a holiday thrown in.  It's perfect!  Did I play yesterday? Of course! 
 
I just threw in some odds and ends of fiber I wasn't thrilled about. It was a mixture of some merino, suri alpaca, superwash merino, and bfl locks.  (sorry they are still in the bags)

 
The above mixture was haphazardly placed on the blending board.  There are several layers of fiber and each layer was burnished with the brush to pack it in.  At this point, I don't really know how much fiber I've used.  The comments on Ravelry indicate that the board will hold about an ounce.  I didn't want to overpack on the first try, so I stopped when  thought it had enough.
 
I was able to get 6 rolags on the first try.  They were all pretty even and not too tight.  I weighed the rolags at .6 ounce, so I could have placed some more fiber on the board.  Today I may weigh the fiber first but that may take the spontaneity out of it, so I probably won't.
 
I promptly went to the Hansen and started spinning. What a dream!!!  Much better than the rolags that I manually did on my thigh, so much smoother to spin. 
 
They definitely came out a lot fluffier than what I normally spin.  The board sure puts some air and loftiness in the fiber. I didn't do all worsted nor all woolen spinning. I did a little combination of short backward draw and longdraw.  I didn't want the yarn to be too thick like a worsted weight, so I tried to monitor it and adjusted my spinning.  It's a 2 ply at 55 yards.  Here is the end result and I'm pleased. :-)
 



What do you think???

Belated present to myself

I couldn't decide what I wanted to buy for Christmas this year, if I wanted anything at all.  True, I didn't spend much time looking for anything because I really didn't NEED anything. Do we truly ever need anything? Sure, we want things, but that's different from needing, right?  My overall present to myself in 2013 was the knee replacement event.  The knees are great and I'm pain free. It's a whole new way of looking at things to do. I don't dread grocery shopping anymore, which is really the only kind of shopping I still had to do. The mall? forget it.  Not that I really liked shopping anyway, but I really didn't like it with two painful knees.  Anyway, water under the bridge. 

Back to the story.  What did I want to buy, if anything, that I didn't really need.  Something knitting related? not really. I have yarn and needles and accessories.  Something spinning related? maybe.....not sure. I have the spinning wheel I love, I have batteries for it which make it even more portable, I have combs, a hackle, etc. Don't really need anything.
A new camera perhaps?  nah, don't need that.
A Kindle Fire so that I can watch Amazon Prime movies for free? nah, waiting a little longer for that.
The list can go on.........
However, let's get back to the spinning.  One of the things I love to do is make rolags.  At the moment I make small ones on my thigh as I'm spinning. So, I'll make a small one then spin it. Then make another and spin it. It's loads of fun and rarely are 2 alike. I have been wanting a drum carder. (wanting, not needing)  The problem with a drum carder is their size.  I have no place to store one nor really a good place to use one.  A good alternative for me is the Blending Board. There are several makers out there or if you are a good DIYer, you can make your own with carding cloth and a wood board.  SO, in my research, I looked at the Ashford, the Clemes and Clemes and the Fancy Kitty.  I opted for the Fancy Kitty because it's only 8" wide and 11.5" long.  Carding Cloth Type: 72.  I think an 8" rolag will be easier to handle while spinning.  Here's a video on how to use it, compliments of Ashford. If you want to look at some sample rolags, go to Etsy.  All kinds of eye candy.
Sample from Ravelry:
Well........it has arrived at the Post Office. So I'll be leaving shortly to go get it.  No, the PO doesn't deliver packages to my door. Why??  Because they have to cross an underwater bridge and they have to make 2 left hand turns.  Go figure.  But I've lived with that for 12 years now and know my parameters. So off to the PO I go, 10 miles away.  Plus it's been snowing this morning, so I can see some snow landscapes.

I will post some pictures of my first few rolags so we can see how rusty I am using a blending board.

Happy New Year 2014

 
Well, that says it all ......... right??  I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year's Eve!  I spent the evening knitting and watching a couple of movies.  Today, I cast-on a baby sweater in a light blue Bebe Cotsoy.  The pattern Baby's First Sweater.
 
I also took pictures of the finally blocked Trousseau shawl.


 In addition, I am blocking the Multnomah shawlette.  This is knit in Malabrigo sock. That is some nice yarn, I need to buy some more. I had forgotten how wonderful it was.