January the Second- Here are the Goals


“I do think New Year’s resolutions can’t technically be expected to begin on New Year’s Day, don’t you? Since, because it’s an extension of New Year’s Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year’s Day isn’t a good idea as you can’t eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the Second.” —Helen FieldingBridget Jones’s Diary

Welcome to January the second! Tedious, time consuming, boring, etc words used to describe the act of adding my stash to Ravelry. Super yawn. I’ve worked for over 12 hours and I’m about halfway done. So far I’ve catalogued about 20,000 yards, but haven’t entered all into the database. And then there are the pictures…… It will be done! I did not keep a list of all of the knitting and sewing projects finished in 2012. While reading other blogs, I can feel each person’s sense of pride in completion while perusing the list of accomplishments. My Hubs gave an attractive journal to me as a Christmas gift, it will record finished objects this year and any comments on my de-stash journey. Here are the goals:


Fiber Crush posted one of the best acronyms for this project: S.A.B.L.E. (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy). Uh, sorry I have so totally passed that point. 2013 De-stash Year goals:


1. Finish WIP, they will count as using up stash. I’ve been taking pictures to put on Ravelry. You can follow me at slgennut (name because Curls and I are Genealogy nuts, her son Russ invented the tag).  Remember, I have confessed to Knitter’s Attention Deficit Disorder (KADD) there is always a new pattern, technique, or yarn that keeps haunting my thoughts, “Try me, try me, cast aside what you’re doing and try me.” I have to focus and quit listening the the voice whispering in my ear which is leading me into bad habits! I have a few others, but somehow the pattern has become separated from the project so I’ll have to do some research.

  • Tidal Wave Socks – by Deby Lake
  • Litla Dimun Shawl – in Folk Shawls
  • 2012 Mystery Shawl KAL
  • Mystery Shawl
  • Brioche Scarf – in Knitting Brioche
  • Lavender Linen Lace Shawl
  • Self-fringing Shawl
  • Directional Scarf
  • Volna Scarf – by Grumperina
  • Victorian Shawlette
  • Kimono by Plymouth Yarns
  • Concerto – triangular ruffle shawl by Sheera
  • Heart to Heart Beaded Scarf – by Sivia Harding
  • Amanda’s Vest for Scarf Knitters – by Amanda’s Art-Yarn
  • Flower Blanket – black and white handout, no author listed
  • Knotty Scarflet – Sivia Harding
  • Lazy Girl Shawl – Melissa Mitchel
  • Kaellingesjal 1897 – Hap shawl by Mette Roerbec
  • Norwegian Star – finish second sock
  • Winona – shrug by Berroco

2. Sock It To Me 2013 – a sock a month. Join it on Ravelry. The pattern is “Beginners Socks” by Heather Storta, a free pattern on Ravelry. I really need some nice warm socks. I spin bare footed, but it’s too cold during the winter, I need some nice, pretty, socks. 😎

3. I will not purchase any more knitting patterns or books. I have so many books and patterns that I cannot begin to make everything I’d like. Yes, Woolly Wormhead, I know you are having a wonderful 33% discount on all pdfs and ebooks, but I’m not giving in to your siren call! Be strong! I will probably purchase some spinning books which have knitting patterns in them, but that doesn’t count! Since I use Swagbucks as a search engine, I do accumulate enough points to earn free books on Amazon. Since they are totally free, I can get new knitting books. Ah, loving the loop holes.


Luckily for me, I sew a heck of a lot faster than I knit as seen by my December 27 post. I made all of those items in the month before Christmas, using up over 20 yards of fabric stash. Once started, I turn into a sewing demon! I only have a few of sewing WIP, among which are two quilt tops which are finished and need to be sent off to a quilter to finish. I do not like quilting, I only like piecing the top. These are my fabric stash goals:

1. Make more pajamas as requested by various family members.

2. Make all quilts in More Quilts for Baby. There is a huge amount of children’t fabric in my stash, time to use it up.  That’s a total of 21 quilts. The first one is Lunchtime which features frogs and bugs, super yuck! I won’t be using the same theme as the names. I haven’t figured out which fabrics to use, but I’ll head up to the studio today and have some fabric fun. These will also make nice lap quilts when using “adult” fabrics, a few might be sewn as such. These are quick quilts which should only take one to two days to finish. My old Rowenta died during the Christmas sewing frenzy, so I’ve “had” to order a new one which should arrive this week then let the sewing begin! Family members, you’d better put your orders in now.

more_baby_quilts3. Aprons, aprons, who has the apron? There are fabrics purchased purposely for aprons, now’s the time! The first apron will be a pioneer, country-style apron which I need to wear when spinning. There is a fiber haze twirling around me as I spin, I even end up with it on my back! Curls and I have collected a large amount of apron patterns, time to use some.

4. Bucket Bags – free instructions on Craftsy.com. Did have to purchase Fusible Fleece for the project, doesn’t count as fabric.

Done! All of my warts out in the open. Nothing held back (well almost nothing). I wish there was a Ravelry-type site online for sewing! I’ll be slowly entering all of my knitting WIP and stash so keep checking. 2013 will be the stash-busting year! This time next year I’m hoping to write: “Goals met!” So happy knitting and sewing to all!

Pop Quiz This Morning

q~Put your books away and take out a piece of paper and a pencil, we have a pop quiz this morning. What do Lincoln wool and Gotland wool have in common? (I can hear my kids from here, “Mom you’re such a Nerd!” I wear the title proudly as the Nerd Test blog of August 26 can attest to, I’m a Nerd Queen.) Here are the two fibers: Left – Gotland top, Right – Lincoln locks.


For all of you Tolkienites or Fiber Factoidites, if you guessed that they were both used in costumes created for use in Peter Jackson movies based on novels by J. R. R. Tolkien you’d be correct.

The fleece from New Zealand’s Stansborough Gotland sheep were spun into yarn and then woven into the Magic Elven cloaks. The Lord of the Rings costume designers ordered 1000 m (1093 yards) of this fiber when they saw it on display in New York. Odd twist of fate is that it is produced in New Zealand where the trilogy was shot. The yarn was produced by Stansborough Fibres a family-owned business in New Zealand.

In the latest issue of Spin-off (remember it’s “talking” to me) there’s a blurb about “Yarn Fit For A Hobbit”. Over 200 pounds ( about 90 kg) Lincoln fiber was “wildspun” to use in costumes. 9 pounds (about 4 kg) of “wildspun” yarn was used per costume, this made each sleeve weigh 3 pounds (about 1 kg). Hallblacks Natural Wool Products produced the wool used in The Hobbit.

Just so happens that we had plans to see The Hobbit yesterday, so the blurb was giving me the heads up to look closely at the costumes. The Hubs, the son and I sat glued to our seats, 3-D glasses on, ducking as object flew straight at us, as we were totally entranced by the movie. Honest confession, after the movie Hubs asked me if I’d even seen 1/2 of the movie. LOL! I can’t watch all the fighting in movies, so I close me eyes. Yep, I’m sure I saw at least 1/2 of the movie and it was good. I was exhausted though watching the arms lifting the three pound sleeves, I totally got a work out.

Another confession is that I never saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so we watched part one, The Fellowship of the Ring, last night and made the day a total J. R. R. Tolkien day. Over the next two evenings, we’ll watch the other two parts. Good thing I have a spinning wheel, I spun while there was fighting on-screen. Since I have both Lincoln locks and Gotland top I should be spinning Tolkien, but I’m not. I don’t have any empty bobbins, however I will when my new ones arrive next week. Girl can’t have too many bobbins.

So hands up, how many of you are planning on seeing The Hobbit? That is it you haven’t already seen it.

Spin-Off Speaks To Me

q~The new Spin-off magazine arrived in the mail yesterday. It wasn’t until page 26 that I realized the magazine was “talking” to me. Knitting Traditions had an article that spoke to me a few months ago, but with Spin-off it’s consistently on almost every page.

It starts with the cover “Paint with Fiber on a Blending Board”.  My spinning teacher purchased one for the class, which I shared on the Nov 15 blog: Batting 1000 which featured a video on using the blending board. I was unhappy with the rolags I made since they really weren’t “blended”, they were just big blobs of color, so I hand carded them and spun onto my “samples” bobbin. The article in Spin-off, “Carding on a Blending Board”, by Gwen Powell is excellent with photographs accompanying the text. As mentioned in my previous blog, you really can’t use a blending board properly without a brush. In the article is a warning, “…make sure there is no gap between the stripes because if you leave gaps, there will be thin spots in the rolag, which could make spinning a consistent yarn more challenging.” And that’s the truth, as you can see below.



Looking at the picture of the bobbin, the spun, re-blended rolags are spun on either end of the bobbin. The color in the middle of the bobbin is from a different sample. I use the sample bobbin to spin all of the different color samples we’ve been given in class, or that I get as free sample when ordering yarn. When it’s full, I plan on Navajo plying to keep the colors and samples true and then making a sampler scarf.

Wool Candy Rolags

q~The last time I was at my favorite Japanese market, they had these intriguing Wool Candy packets.  The ad said they were for needle felting, but the image my brain created for the Wool Candy was carded and spun. Super yum!

Here’s the pack:


Look at the luscious colors, most of the yarns have different textures from each other and there is a sparkle roll. Out of curiosity, I grabbed the Color Grid and compared the colors. It was fun to see the the colors all lined up in the same relative column, with the rust color as the contrast. Too cool!


Ah, the tendonitis in my right thumb can tell you how long it took to card these 24 rolags! They’re now all ready to spin. Question is I’d like to spin short, forward draw to get lofty, soft yarn, but that kills the thumb, so do I settle for the long draw which is a ton faster, doesn’t hurt the thumb, but gives “tougher and sleeker” yarn? Hum…  If you look closely at the pic, you can see the spinning towel I put over my lap when working with fibers. See how nicely the rolags are place on it? That means my lap is LOADED with fiber. Forgot to put it over my lap. And, why am I doing this when the Christmas gifts are not finished? Sigh….


Ms. Spins-A-Lot

q~I’m sure it’s not apparent, but I have so totally been on a spinning kick. It’s recommended that a spinner spins at least 10 minutes every day. I’m trying my best to meet that goal. Yesterday Sweaty Knitter blogged about Niddy Noddys showing her beauties. Mine is the ugly duckling which I made, but works well. It’s a good thing because I’m using it so much lately it’s going to have wear grooves in it. This is what I have with my noddy; the crazy, dye-by-me purple fiber carded with halloween fire sparkle and spun is on the noddy waiting for its turn to soak and hang. The finished pink batt after being spun, wound, wetted, and hung. I shared the batt with you on the November 11 post: Batting 1000. On the bobbin, waiting it’s turn for the noddy is a black fiber carded with halloween fire sparkle before spinning.


The spun hand-dyed orange – halloween fire yarn hanging to dry on the “prepare me for knitting” set-up. I always soak my finished skeins in hot water with Soak for at least 20 minutes and then hang using different sized cans as weights. Horrid picture, but I can’t fit into that tight space to take a proper pic.


Hurray for me! I got hand-carders for my birthday. They arrived and the Hubs put them together for me. A big thank you! I’ve been hyperventilating waiting to try hand carding the Halloweenish fibers I’ve dyed with the Halloween colored Fire. This is the orange, the same one that’s hanging above:

orange2Orange rolag, Hand-dyed orange fiber, Halloween Fire, Fiber on carded

The Halloween fiber is destined to become a Jester Hat for the grandkids.

Delightful Handpainted Fiber Surprise

q~Hello My Pretty! I fell in love with this roving the minute I laid eyes on it at Happy Ewe! It is so not colors I wear. What was there about the braid of  85% Polworth Wool/15% Tussah Silk Fiber, color way: Rainbow Bright by Western Sky Knits (WSL) that called my name?

my pretty

As I was undoing the braid, I was overtaken with total amazement. I was expecting the colors of the rainbow because of the Rainbow Bright name: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Keep in mind, I’ve looked at My Pretty every day since purchase AND shared it with the spinning class but never noticed that I’m looking at a color way in the print color wheel!

Watch out, my science brain is taking over! There are 3 main types of color models/wheels which have different primary colors; dye, print and light. I taught this for 23 years but never had it “hit-me-in-the-face” before.

brief description of each without all of the vocabulary and science which usually accompanies a lesson.

1. Most of use are familiar with the dye color model/wheel we learned about in elementary school which has the primary colors of  red, blue, and yellow. Combining the primary colors give us the secondary colors of red + yellow = orange; yellow + blue = green; blue + red = purple.

2. On the printed page the colors we see are based on tiny little dots so close together that our eyes blend them together into colors. This is based on the CMYK color model: cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K). Get a magnifying glass and look at the Sunday comics, easy to see the dots. The primary colors of print are: cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y).  The secondary colors obtained by mixing the primary colors are not exactly the same as the secondary colors of dye, but create values of the colors: Magenta + yellow = orange; yellow + blue = yellow green; blue + magenta = purple. Combine all colors to get black, the black isn’t a true black that’s why real black is added. Think of the color cartridges you purchase for your color printer.

3. The colors emitted by a light source which go straight into our eyes; for example TVs, computer screens, stage lights are based on adding light together. The primary colors of light are red, blue and green. The secondary colors are red + blue = cyan; blue + green = yellow (yes, yellow); green + red = magenta. If all three primary colors are projected at a single spot, white light results. Next time you’re at a play, notice that all of the footlights are either red, blue, or green. The lights are combined to make different colored spotlights; including white.

So, when I unbraided My Pretty, much to my delight I noticed that the CMYK color model was used to produce the color way: magenta, orange, yellow, yellow-green, aqua, purple and black. And, as expected the black is not a true black it’s more of a very, very, dark, midnight blue. Here is My Pretty folded into a CMYK color model: Magenta, orange, yellow, yellow-green, aqua, purple, and black. Very clever dyer! Now it’s time to get to the wheel and have some fun!


Got A Handle On Fleeces And Fiber

q~Hurray for me! Daughter Darcey gave me The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius for my birthday. I spent quite a few hours on the trip home reading the book both silently and outloud to the Hubs. This is a facinating book packed full of wonderful information. The frontispiece for both front and back of the book are maps of locations where the various breed originate. I totally LOVE maps so this is an added bonus.

fleeceandfiberI’ve already placed a marker on the pages for “A Starter Guide to Breed-Specific Wools”. The section headings are: Soft, Reliably Versatile, Sturdy and To Spur Your Creativity. I’ve already used this quick go-to-guide for information about Perendale, Romney, Teeswater, and Debouillet.

Of course, every single type of sheep breed is not mentioned since that can run into the thousands. Other types of fiber are included such as goats, alpacas, etc.

What they authors did was to actually purchase the wool fibers they write about.

For each breed there is a written history, a description of the fiber with facts and uses.  There are visual aides showing pictures of the breed, the raw staple, a cleaned and carded staple, spun 2-ply, and small knitted and sometimes woven swatches. These pictures are an important part of the sourcebook.

The fiber facts list:

  • Fleece Weight
  • Staple Length
  • Fiber Diameters
  • Lock characteristics
  • Natural Colors

The fiber uses lists:

  • Dyeing – how the fiber takes to dyeing
  • Fiber preparation and spinning tips
  • Knitting, crocheting, and weaving
  • Best know for:

On the trip, I purchased a small amount of Debouillet. Grabbing the sourcebook I looked for the breed on the map of France, I mean what a totally French name! Imagine my surprise when I didn’t find it in France, instead I saw a dot for it in  southwestern USA. What? Turning to page 142 I learned that the breed was developed in the 1920’s by rancher Amos Dee Jones in New Mexico. The breed is a cross between Delaine Morenos and Rambouillets. Ah ha, name is explained! This book is so grand! For any of you spinners it really needs to be in your fiber library. Add it to your holiday list.

Alas, today was the last spinning class until Jan. 9, 2013. How weird is that to type? If any of you live in San Diego County, this really is a wonderful class with the most supportive women. Run now to Grossmont Adult School and sign up!

Don’t Judge A Store By It’s Cover

q~Do not be fooled by the unassuming outside view of this store, the inside is a cornucopia of yarn and fiber delights. If you are in Hill Country, Happy Ewe in Jonestown, Texas is not to be missed!

happy ewe

One side of the store is filled with oodles of yarn just waiting to be fondled and knitting/crocheting supplies and patterns. The other half of the store is devoted to spinning and weaving and has fabulous fibers to longingly finger.  I could have remained in the store for the entire day, unfortunately Hubs was in the car patiently waiting.


The owner, Misty, is delightful, friendly, and super helpful. Ok, I’ll admit that she’s ringing up my purchases.

Two of the fibers I purchased were dyed by Heather Cabanas of Western Sky Knits (WSK) located in Woodlands, Texas. I wanted to purchase fiber from a Texas artisan. There was also an Ashford fire in colors of purple, orange, and black which I could not pass up. I cannot wait to card it in with some hand dyed purple, orange and black fiber. Super yum for Halloween.


A few of the knitted items on display that I was quite taken with:

Half Moon Shawl knit in Alp Oriental – free pattern
Austermann #30 shawl knit in Egytptian Mercerized Cotton – pattern free at Austermann’s website
Milanese Wrap knit in Jojoland Rhythm – pattern for purchase
Striped Shrug knit in Taiyo by Noro – pattern in Noro Magazine Premiere Issue

Oh great! Now there are even more things for me to do. 😎 If you’re ever headed through Hill Country, this is a great store in a tiny town.

Warts, Slubs, and All

~Here it is in all it’s glory, Adirondack has been spun and plied! I hadn’t spun in 3 months so I probably should have warmed up on something else first. Oh well…. I use American Long Draw to spin and then double plied. There were 4 ounces and I never realized how tiring plying is. Yikes!

I’ve ended up with about 90 yards of two-ply woolen yarn so the question becomes, what shall I knit? Curls recommended a keyhole type scarf. I’ve looked at some of the patterns and wonder if I have enough yarn. Some of you knitters out there, what charming items have you knitted with about 90 yards of woolen yarn?


Off to spinning class today. There is so much to blog about this week! Enjoy your day and make sure to share your wonderful crafty ideas with us!

Worsted vs. Woolen- What a Difference a Name Makes

For ever I have seen the term “worsted wool”. Never bothering to look up the term, I thought it just referred to that yarn with a “heavier feel” used to make sweaters and jackets. Taking the spinning seminar from Cecilia Quinn I learned the difference between worsted and woolen is in the way the fibers were treated and spun. Taking out my notes this is what I have. Please know that this is short and simple, I’m not undertaking a book with all of the varieties. 😎 I’m just going to write about the two I learned about. I know, I know, this is quick and dirty, and there are all sorts of exceptions.

First, a staple is an individual lock of wool length.  The length determines the type of spinning it is suited for: worsted or woolen, or in-between. For various reasons, wool can have both long and short fibers.

Worsted yarn has a long-staple and has been finished by combing the fibers so that they are parallel and all of the short fibers have been removed.   During the spinning process these fibers are kept parallel. This wool should be spun using the short forward draft, without the twist entering the drafting zone.  This method removes the air from the fiber, making it dense. Worsted yarn is best used in outerwear, hats and mittens. Since it doesn’t have air, it does not tend to be “fuzzy”.

Woolen yarn consists of fibers of varying length that are carded so the fibers are not parallel.  This leaves both short and long fibers which are at different angles. This wool should be spun using the long draft. This leaves air in the fibers making a fluffy, softer yarn that can be used for objects such as shawls, baby clothes, etc. The yarn can look “fuzzy”.

Before spinning, hold up a staple sample to the light, are the fibers of equal length and parallel? Spin worsted.  Are the fibers “helter skelter”? Spin woolen. (Why do my fingers keep typing wollen?)

My point in going back through my notes is the spinning instructions that came with Crabby McCrabby Pants: “You need a fine single and we are spinning for worsted, not woolen.” So, it looks as if this will be a short forward draft spinning project! Good thing I had the class so this was familiar to me! 😎 Of course, I’ve been practicing long draw because that’s what we focused on in the class. 😎

Something mentioned in the instructions that I had not run across before is “To set the twist” before knitting.  I haven’t done that before. Have any of you?  Did I miss something in Spinning 101? I mean, something else? 😎 So after I soak the spun yarn, I hang it up and hang a weight from it.

Crabby McCrabby Pants.  I just LOVE that name!