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I wasn't born with wings, so I'm trying to make my own
Sunday, April 29, 2007  

Sunday night already? I guess time flies when you're having fun, and I did a lot of that this weekend. After complaining about not feeling very inspired and needing time to play, I found out that the Intergalactic (yes, really. I could not make this stuff up) Bead Show was going to be in town. I decided that I might just need a change of pace. Long ago and far away, I made lamp work beads and other jewelry, and it's something I like to revisit occasionally. So, on Saturday I headed over to the show for an afternoon of shopping and playing. I got some new tools (to replace my $3 tools from Michaels), some really gorgeous beads, and plenty of chain, wire, and findings to put it all together. I've only made one necklace so far, but I'm really thrilled with it, and I see plenty more jewelry making in my near future.

This little necklace is made up of tiny faceted sapphires in a rainbow of blues with sterling silver chain and findings. Right now I'm batting around design ideas for a pair of earrings to go with the necklace. I only used about a quarter of the strand of sapphires, so I still have plenty left for for another necklace, and I want to make earrings that will match both necklaces. I think the other necklace will be a double strand of silver chain broken up with clusters of wire wrapped sapphires, instead of a pendant style like this one. I'm thinking earrings with a short drop of chain with a cluster of wire wrapped sapphires toward the end ought to do it. We'll see. I think I'm going to switch from the sapphires for right now and make up a necklace with some 4mm labradorite rounds that I found in my (very small) bead stash. I also got some great potato pearls this weekend that are the lightest shade of minty green that I can't wait to play with. With my fiber projects, they are so time intensive, it's hard to play with them. There's 10% creativity followed by 90% execution. With jewelry, it's so much easier for me to play. And with just an hour or two invested, I have a finished project I can wear. It's a nice switch to break up my fiber-y blahs.

But amazingly, things weren't blah on the fiber front this weekend. I even managed to get some playtime in there, as well. Friday night I spun up a sample of the camel/silk blend I showed a couple of posts ago. I tried sampling it a week or so ago and I was having trouble managing the fiber. It seemed to want to slip and slide out of my fingers as I spun, but it was a different story on Friday. It was really a pleasure to spin and the colors look great. I plied the singles last night and I'll be knitting up the sample swatch this week, so hopefully I'll get to show it off in my next post. I also got a lot of work in on my scarf this weekend, too.

This is the scarf after I worked on it Friday night, but I've added a few repeats of the pattern to it since then. There's a seed stitch border around the fleurette lace, and I really like the way it looks, especially the way the color changes look in the border. I know that I'm one of the minority in liking color changes in lace, but I guess I'll just let my little freak flag fly because I"m really happy with this. And considering I'm the one who's gonna wear it, I guess that works out ok. The color changes are a little more subtle in person, but this is a fairly good representation on my monitor.

So, to sum up: I'm back in business, reinvigorated and reinspired. But just not quite ready for Monday. I guess you can't have it all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007  

So a man walks into a bar with a giraffe...

I never know how to start posts when I've been absent for awhile, so I thought I'd give that one a try. Due to general lack of blog fodder and some general life suckiness, I just didn't feel up to posting the last couple of weeks. I finished Mom's socks yesterday (a day late and a dollar short. Story of my knitting life!) and cast on for my Fleurette scarf today (pictures below), but other than that there has been no activity on the fiber front. I am lacking in the inspiration department, but not for lack of trying. I've been combing through my stash and daydreaming, but nothing has set me off and running yet. I think part of is that I feel ready for another "big" project and the knowledge that whatever I pick will probably be with me for the next year is a bit overwhelming. I also feel like I need to live up to the last shawl. And all of that is kind of silly. This is supposed to be my hobby and it's supposed to be fun and enjoyable and at this point I'm practically turning it into a job. I've somehow worked myself into a mental space where I haven't left myself any room for play. I think what I need is a day with my fiber friends to get together, talk, laugh, eat, ooh and ah over each others' projects, brainstorm, and play! I've been wandering the internets far and wide looking for inspiration, and as wonderful as virtual yarn and fiber pr0n it is, there's nothing like face-to-face, in-person fiber friends. Festival season is upon us, and I'm very sad that my house-buying budget doesn't allow for me to get out and mingle this year. Last year I was lucky enough to have the chance to go to Rhinebeck. I swear on all that is wooly that in the next few years I WILL get to go to Maryland. Just not this year *sniffle* If you're going, have enough fun for you AND for me, okay?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007  

I finally finished the first birthday sock for my mom! I'm fairly slow at both knitting and spinning, but especially at knitting socks. My mom likes very plain 2x2 ribbed leg socks in Cascade Fixation, which I'm more than happy to do for her, but don't find very entertaining, so my attention wanders from sock-making VERY easily. In order to avoid rushing the sock-making this year around gift-giving times, I decided to be proactive and cast on a sock in January for my carry-around knitting. I just finished it today. I guess I don't carry around my knitting very much! Now I've got to get cracking on the second sock. I'll probably end up cutting it close, despite my best intentions. If all else fails, this won't be the first time she's received one finished sock and one sock with needles in. I'm hoping it won't come to that, though. Here's numero uno:

And since looking at one finished 2x2 ribbed leg sock is probably even less entertaining than knitting one, here's some eye candy for your viewing pleasure:

This is a 50/50 tussah/baby camel blend in the colorway "Seafoam" from Shadeyside Farm that I got while I was in Rhinebeck. It has the most gorgeous, vibrant color variations, and it's dead soft. I stumbled across it while I was combing the stash for "what's next" and I left it out on my desk to admire. I don't know if it will be "what's next," but it is worth daydreaming about, at least. *sigh* Where's a winning lottery ticket when a girl needs one? Working is getting in the way of spinning!

Monday, April 09, 2007  

I forgot to mention any of my Easter goodies yesterday in my post. I was too excited about my finished yarn and too freaked out about my wrists! Besides oodles of sweets (including goodies from Vosges Haute Chocolate *shiver*) (I am SUCH a food addict) I also got a few fiber goodies. Most were natural colored fibers for dyeing and dye accoutrement (super-cool dye syringes), but I got a couple of pretty already-dyed fibers that I can't wait to spin:

And yum

At least these treats are non-fattening! If I had any less self-control, I would be rolling around in them like my cat would if she could get her paws on them! But so far I've resisted, contenting myself to pet (and occasionally sniff) them. I'm so lucky to have such good enablers :-)

Sunday, April 08, 2007  

My fleurette yarn is done!
I'm very happy with it, and I think it is gorgeous. I feel like I've opened a whole new world of possibilities by plying a solid single with a hand-painted one. I've never done it before because I was worried about barber-poling, but at the fine level I'm working at, I don't find it visually distracting in the knitted fabric (at least for this combination of singles. I'll continue sampling and swatching, of course). I'm looking at all of the hand paints in my stash with new eyes now. *Sigh* No matter how long I live, I'll never get to try all of the things I want to! I ended up with ~350 yards of yarn, more than enough for a light lace scarf. I'm very surprised with how much I got out of this. The hand-painted roving was a small sample I received along with an order. I can't believe I'm getting a project out of it! I'm itching to get started. I still have to wash the yarn, and I want to finish my mom's birthday socks before I dive into a new project, but I'm looking forward to knitting this up. I love the Fleurette pattern and it's an easy lace, so it will be a nice keep-around project to work on when I'm not spinning.
I probably won't be doing any spinning for the next few days, though. I did bits of plying here and there throughout the week, and then went balls-to-the-wall Friday night trying to finish, but didn't make it. I felt fine on Saturday and did about an hour's worth of plying to finish up the singles. When I woke up this morning, though, I had some light pain in my elbows and some fairly strong pain in my wrists. I am really freaked out about this. As a fiber artist, I'm always aware of the risks of repetitive motion injuries/strains/etc. and frankly, I'm terrified of them. My work is very important to me. To think that it could be taken away from me by pain scares me. I'm trying to convince myself that maybe I slept on my hands funny because I did the most intense spinning on Friday and felt fine on Saturday, but I really don't like this. I'm only 27, and I want a long life of playing with fiber ahead of me. I'm between projects anyway, so resting isn't a big deal, but I'm still freaked out. Wrists and elbows, I love you. Please don't fail me!

Thursday, April 05, 2007  

Being a responsible grown-up type person (or a reasonable facsimile of one) is just no fun sometimes! All I want to do is stay up plying, but instead I need to go to bed and sleep, or else I'll be no use tomorrow at work. My bosses and coworkers understand the importance of art/craft, but I don't think that would extend to me snoring away in my cube! But tomorrow night will be a no-holds barred ply-fest-orama!

The last few days have been a bit rough emotionally because I'm coming up on the anniversary of some sad stuff in my life. It gets a little easier every year, but I'm still struggling with some of it, so it's been throwing me off. But, I'm trying to keep on keepin' on and taking pleasure in little things (like plying). But I have two other silly, happy things that make me smile today:

1) The Office was new tonight. I have been freakin' dying to see what would happen between Jim and Roy. I'm not much of a teevee person, and I can't stand Steve Carrell, but I love this show whole-heartedly. It is so ridiculous, outlandish, and silly that it always makes me not only smile, but laught loud enough to scare my cat. And I love the story of Jim and Pam. That's what got me hooked in the first place, was the YouTube videos of the story of Jim and Pam. I love a good longing from afar romance :-) I DVR'd it, so DON'T tell me what happened! That's one of my Friday night treats, watching that silly show. It's my wind-down from the work week. I'm ridiculously excited over watching "my stories" tomorrow night :-)
2) My mom and I went out to dinner tonight and afterward went out for a bit of shopping. I bought a bottle of sparkling apple cider, but the cashier didn't look at it closely, assumed it was alcohol and CARDED ME. Love you, cashier! I know that I don't look 21 or under, but it still tickled me to death. I told her that she made my day. Mom was kind of offended that she didn't get carded too, but she only bought coffee filters, and last time I checked, you don't need ID to obtain those. But I repeat: love you, cashier!

Happy Friday Eve!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007  

Working for a publisher that produces craft books is really awesome. There are many, many things I love about it, and one of those things is that I can go into work, talk my crazy head off about whatever project I have going on, and very few people look at me as if they doubt my sanity (all of you who have tried to explain to someone that you spin your own yarn probably know EXACTLY what I mean). Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was talking my crazy head off about tatting, and some of my coworkers did not know what tatting is. So, last night when I was digging through the craft room I stumbled across my tatting stash and decided to bring some in for show and tell. For those of you who don't know what tatting is, it is one of the many ways you can go about making lace.

Anyway, this all prompted a (minor) change to the blog. Surprisingly, about a quarter of the traffic I get on this here blog is from people looking for tatting. I did one post about tatting three years ago and people still come here looking for it! This tells me there must be a serious dirth of tatting content on the internets. And the hits have been going up lately on people searching for tatting, but as far as I can tell, not many of them actually end up on the entry with the tatting. So, I've added a link in my sidebar to that post. If you came here for tatting, that's where you'll want to go. If you came here for "naked with socks on" you're out of luck, I don't know how that search got you here, and you're just plain incorrect. If you have socks on, you're not naked!

Since this post was basically a whole lotta nuthin' I'll end with the classic knit-blogger distraction technique. Cute kitty!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007  

Houston, we have yarn:

Not much of it, but it IS yarn. Plying commenced at 20:00 hours and is proceeding as planned. I didn't have much wheel-time tonight, but I used what I had to its fullest. Plying is my third favorite part of spinning. The first is planning - daydreaming, combing through the stash, spinning samples. My second favorite part is starting the actual project, those first few days of spinning. You know, the "honeymoon" stage. After that, I kind of go downhill. I'm much more of a planner, not so much of an executor. But then comes plying. Oh, I love plying. The end is in sight! That precious dream I started out with is about to be realized. All that slogging through the dog days of the spinning project are finally over! And soon I'll have YARN and the process will start all over with knitting. The planning, the plotting, the sampling (although in this case, that is already done. Poo) And of course, there's the satisfaction of getting to see and touch (and for some of us, the special few, smell) the yarn! Right there in my hands is evidence of my work. There aren't many experiences in this virtual world that give you something solid to hold in your hands and say "I did this. I was here. And I have the yarn to prove it!" I don't know why more people don't spin! This is good stuff.

Monday, April 02, 2007  

Since kimd said "pretty please" I figured I had better let her (and you) know that the Fleurette pattern I showed last time is from the first Barbara Walker treasury, page 221 in my copy.
And guess what! I finished the blue singles tonight, so tomorrow the plying starts! Yippee! Here's how I feel about this:

And once the plying is done, I'll be all ready to start my Fleurette scarf. Here's a better look at the singles, without my (red) face:

Also, a couple of people have asked after the good health of little Ms. Kittenface, destroyer of wooly batts. She's still alive, but I did cast a voodoo spell on her that made her face disappear:I think it will probably wear off in a couple more weeks :-) With that, I'll leave you with my favorite pic from the weekend. On Saturday, Mark took a day off to spend some time with me (yea!) and we went down to the farmer's market for some groceries. There was a woman there selling the most gorgeous array of flowers, including these anenomes. I got a little bouquet of these for my desk, but here's a pic of them out in the natural light. I feel a new colorway coming on!

Sunday, April 01, 2007  

The fact that it is April already feels like an April Fool's Day joke! I can't believe how fast this year is going. I haven't had much to say lately, and I still don't have much to say, really, but I figured I'd post at least a tidbit for the few hardy souls who actually stop by occasionally for updates. The only noteworthy thing I've done lately (at least fiber-wise) is this little knitted sample:

This is from the yarn sample I posted a couple of posts ago. I loved the yarn, but after knitting up the "Claudia" samples I remembered just how little I know about how fiber translates to yarn translates to fabric. I'm always surprised by what I end up with. So, I loved the yarn, but I wanted to make sure that I loved the fabric. I picked this pattern out of one of the Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries and I love it! It's called Fleurette, and I think it is the cutest little pattern. In fact, when this yarn is finally done and ready for knitting, I'm just going to make it into a scarf in this pattern with a garter stitch border. As far as loving the colors in the fabric, I don't love the fabric as much as I loved the yarn, but I still think it is quite nice. The yarn really glowed, but some of that is lost in the knitting. I'm very, very close to being done with spinning this yarn, and frankly, I can't wait for it to be done. This has been a "side" project forever and a day, and I'm ready to be done with it. Once I'm all done, all of my Woolee Winder bobbins will be empty. I'll give my wheel a very thorough cleaning and be ready to start fresh.

I've decided not to work on the "Claudia" colorway as my next big project. I never got around to making my third sample swatch to see what the middle ground would be between the two swatches I've already done, because I decided that it was just a darker colorway than I wanted to work with right now. I've been combing the stash to see what calls my name, but nothing has seemed "just right" so far. There are a few things that are maybes, but I don't feel like any of them are "the one." I think I have too much to choose from (rough problem to have, huh?). Add to that, I've always been one to "save the best for last," so I'm reluctant to use my favorites because once I use it, it's gone. I can't have my cake and eat it too. But I'm at SABLE status (stash acquired beyond life expectancy) so I really should start using the good stuff, or I'll never get around to it. I expect a lot more experimenting and swatching will go on around here before I finally settle on something.

Besides knitting swatches and finishing up the spinning on the blue/variegated yarn, I've been working on a pair of socks for my mom for her birthday. Not much exciting going on around here. Just enjoying the spring and hoping inspiration strikes (but not too hard, I'm smooshy). Happy April, all!

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