Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The wonderful world of silk

Last year at Shepherd's Harvest, I bought one entire pound of pure white silk roving.  It was the softest most glorious thing I'd ever seen or felt.  Emily was with me and her eyes shone when we pulled it off the hook and handed it over to the vendor.  I've only spun silk once before and I really didn't know what I was doing.  It turned out fine, but not what I wanted this silk to be.  It has been nearly 7 months since I bought that roving.  It sat on the top of my roving stash, just waiting for me to decide to take the plunge.  Well last week I did.  The silk is amazing.  I swear I've never felt anything like this slip through my fingers.  After spinning for a week, this is what I have. 
I just love it.  It is heavy, strong, soft, and I can't imagine what it can become.  I got two beautiful skeins, not sure of the yardage yet, but it is just stunning.  I immediately started spinning the next 8 ounces, this time the single is even thinner. 

The only problem is, silk is floating through the air in my bedroom.  It is everywhere, I roller my clothes and still end up at work with bits of a silk film on my legs, top.  smile...and I don't mind a bit.

I also finished spinning some lovely fiber from Fat Cat Knits.  It is called Autumn Hills

It also hasn't been soaked or finished yet, but I think it is so nice.

It is late, I'm tired, but I'm so happy with how my spinning is going.  I wonder where I'd be without my spinning.  I don't think I'd like to know. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ninja wars part duex?

Well I didn't intend to fall silent.  But life happens.  Work has been a bubbling cauldron of turmoil, but I'm hopeful it has gone down to a simmer at least.  I've been spinning and spinning and spinning.  I'm slowly rebuilding my stock.  I applied to be a vendor at the DFW Fiber Festival but sadly did not get a spot for 2013.  You know I'm an adopted Texan.  I lived there for many years, Anna was brought home to Dallas from China.  I've always called her my Chinese Swedish Texan baby.  I was sad that we could not come to Dallas in April as a vendor for the festival, I was encouraged to resubmit my application for the 2014 event as they are moving to a larger venue and they will have more spots for vendors.  So I'll see what happens next year.  This means however, that I'm probably taking the plunge this year and applying for a vendor spot at Shepherd's Harvest.  I'll do Yarnover again as well.  So that makes a busy spring schedule for me.  So I need to keep spinning as much as I can to ensure I have a good supply of skeins for both events.  Stay tuned.

One of the issues I've had with blogging is I used to do my updates at work on my lunch or breaks.  They've since blocked all access to so many web sites to rein in the data usage.  I get it, but it really has been a challenge for me to change my routine to include finding time to blog and upload pictures etc from my home computer.  While it is fine, it isn't nearly as nice as my work computer so I'm working through the picture issues. 

In an effort to continue using my handspun when I do knit, I needed new mittens.  I wore my last pair literally out.  My mittens I've worn for the last 3 years were the first stranded things I ever made.  I loved them and last year as spring finally crept into Minnesota I realized the thumbs had completely worn out and had holes.  So I grudgingly threw them away.  Thinking, I have MONTHS to knit a new pair before it gets cold.  ya well, guess what.  It is COLD (finally) here.  In fact, it snowed.  Yes there is snow on the ground.  Which means my hands are COLD.  So a couple weeks ago I started knitting.  I pulled a pretty 3 ply, goldish but with flecks of reds/browns in it.  I found a fun pattern that was simple and would show off my handspun (I'm going to try and insert the links but probably not right now, stay tuned) so I started knitting.  After a few inches I realized it was geared for Sasquatch, so I ripped it out, went down a size (I have large hands, really I've never had to downsize ANYTHING for my hands) and started knitting again, got past the last spot, felt it was better, kept knitting. Until I forced myself to admit that yes, they were still too big, this time merely grizzly bear big.  RIPPPPPPP again.  sigh.  Now I was knitting using the smallest size. SMALL?  for my hands?  really?  But that seemed to be just right.  So knit, knit, knit.  The third time is the charm.  I gloated as I happily knit away, now I'm past both spots I ripped back and am merely working on the thumb gusset.  Yes it fits just fine I say, knit, knit, knit.  I happen to look in my knitting bag, oh no.  Turn away, keep knitting, knit, knit, knit.  peek back into the bag.  sigh.  Slowly take out my yarn cake.  My full big yarn cake that now that my mitten is 3/4 done, is not so full or big.  It is not so cake like, rather more CUPcake like.  I slowly take out my scale, weigh my cupcake of yarn, weigh my perfectly fitting 3/4 mitten.  And sit down hard.  I do not have enough yarn to make TWO mittens.  sigh.  Two mittens for two hands is pretty much a requirement here in MN in January.  Or you will find yourself with only one hand, which while would solve the mitten dilemma would create all sorts of new issues in trying to knit or spin with only one hand.  So yes, you guessed it.  I ripped it out yet again.  I swear I haven't had this much trouble knitting something that will fit since the Ninja socks.  See the saga here  Ninja wins .  And we all know how that turned out!  But I carefully RIPPPPPPEEEEEDDDD it out yet again.  And went back to the basket of completed handspun.  Rethought where all my issues had been and reselected a yarn, this is still golden, a BFL and silk blend so it will be plenty warm and in an effort to be sure I have enough yarn, I'm adding a commercial yarn for part of the cuff section.  And restarted it for a FOURTH time.  After knitting a lot in the last 2 weeks I've finished the cuff section and am starting on the hand.  Only time will tell if these mittens will follow the Ninja socks or whether I will finally triumph.  Frankly? I'm betting on me. 

p.s. - if you are still reading, thank you.  You are more than kind.  I'll work out the picture kinks soon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Amazing!  I just found out that the spinning class is filled at Lila and Claudine's!  Now I'm a bit scared!  But it will be a fun time.  See you there!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Upcoming Spinning Class

 I've been given an opportunity to teach a spinning class!  Kirstin and Polly at Lila and Claudine's invited me to teach a spinning class.  I'm working out the details but watch here or at Lila and Claudine's and I'll have the dates and times.  Right now I believe it will start mid-October and run every two weeks for 4 classes.  It is a bit scary to think about teaching a spinning class.  I'm virtually self taught.  There is so MUCH I don't know.  But what I can do, is teach what I do know.  And I'm excited.  There is nothing better than being surrounded by people who get excited about the same things I do, fiber and yarn.  smile...

And to my two girls, tomorrow is the start of a new school year, Emily's a bus patrol and so very excited...Anna is settled into high school.  Have a GREAT year!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A happy moment

For the first time ever, I entered something into the MN State Fair.  I entered the baby blanket I made for my nephew and his wife's first baby.  Their baby will be born in November and hopefully they will wrap him or her up in this blanket.  And guess what, the fair opened today and I couldn't wait.  I went on line and looked up the results and found out the blanket came in second in its category!  GRIN....I'm so happy.  I spun the yarn myself and knit it up.  And it WON something. 

Hopefully I'll get to the fair and get a picture of it in the case...and will replace this picture, but until then?  I'm THRILLED!

And I've been to the fair and added the ribbon picture.   Still thrilled!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thank you Yarn Harbor

I spent the best day Saturday at Yarn Harbor in Duluth.  I set up my wheel and spun, laughed, and talked to so many people.  Kathy is a wonderful hostess and I had a great time.  I forget sometimes, so much of my time is spent doing my day job or taking care of my girls or my mom.  The time I spend spinning is mostly spent alone in my room, surrounded by my yarn and my fiber.  But Saturday I remember what it is like to be surrounded by people who love the same thing that I do.  And I had fun.  Lots of my yarn is now at Yarn Harbor, I can't wait until I can go again.  But before I do, I need to spin like a wild woman to rebuild my stock.  So tonight I started this...
It is from Aloha Blue, and it is spinning up beautifully.  Stay tuned...I'm going to need to spin fast, so I'll have some new pictures up soon.  I already have a couple skeins soaking and two bobbins full ready for plying tomorrow night.
I know I'm not posting as often, I'm sorry, but lately life is just a bit much to handle.  Work is trying, family life is interesting, but the fiber is soothing.  It will work for now.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The circle of life

In the last ten days, we've had a funeral, a birth, and a wedding in my family.  Sadness but oh so much joy.  All in all, we are blessed.  Although I will admit, tired!  The sadness of losing my great uncle is blunted knowing he is once again together with his beloved wife.  The joy that stretches so high and wide is my favorite niece had her first baby last week, welcome to the family Adelynne!  And finally two days ago, my cousin's daughter married in a beautiful park.  All in all, lots of family time, lots of laughter mixed with tears. 

In the mix I received a new package of roving.  I found a new dyer, Aloha Blue, her colors are heavily influenced by Hawaii and oh it shows. This is Tropical Sorbet. 

Then there is Lanikai Hike.  I'm a sucker for blues and browns
I also picked out South Seas - this is a Superwash blue Face Leicester roving.

And finally Blood Oranges.  This is what is currently on my wheel.  It is a wool silk blend that is heavenly to spin.  Just slips through my fingers. 

But the truly best thing I'm working on?  This is Baby Girasole, for another new baby on the way to our family.  This baby will be born in November.  When Kyle and his Anna were married three years ago, I knit them a Girasole blanket.  So when they announced they were expecting, I quickly ordered up some roving from Ginny at Fat Cat Knits, I spun her Millifiori into a fingering weight yarn and am powering through a baby sized Girasole.  I love the symmetry of the same pattern.  I'm nearly done and I'm so happy with how it is turning out.  So a couple pictures, does need some blocking eventually, but I think it is gorgeous.  smile....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I hate math

I was an English/Elementary Ed major in college.  Taught school for several years.  Most of those years I was a Reading/English teacher for middle school kids.  Note, READING....not math....ENGLISH....again not math. Later, I transition into the legal field, working as a paralegal and legal secretary. math.  Well I'd have to number exhibits for trial but that was the extent of my math requirements.  So here I am, knitting.  A lot.  And what is part of knitting?  Math.  Sigh, sometimes a lot of math.  Did I mention I hate math?  That my sister is an accountant and can do math easily and in her sleep.  Me?  Not so much.  I can do it.  But it is a chore.  The Girasole is a well planned out and beautiful pattern.  I've even done it before.  Most of the math is limited to simple counting.  Apparently this weekend, that was more than I could handle.  But I'm back on track and should finish Chart F by midweek if not sooner.  But I did use my math skills to figure out that to finish this baby blanket, I have approximately 26,000 stitches left.  26 THOUSAND stitches.  This is why I hate math.  It is black and white and just lays it out there.  I need to run, must keep knitting.  I'm talking THOUSANDS of stitches needed to complete the blankie by August 4.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Finally Pictures!

This is my latest spin, Lichen, it is fresh off the niddy noddy so hasn't been soaked or set yet, hence the curly cues.  But the colors are soft and lovely.

I've also been churning along with the baby blanket for Kyle and his Anna's baby.  I'm using the Jared Flood pattern, Girasole.  When Kyle married Anna 2 years ago, I made this for their wedding gift in a gray wool, not exactly chunky, but it worked into a HUGE blanket.  So now I spun this yarn, Millifiori from Ginny of Fat Cat Knits.  I used a SuperWash Merino and spun it to a fingering weight yarn.  It will now work into a baby blanket.  I like the tie in from their wedding to their first baby.  I hope they do.  smile...I did run into a bit of a dilemma...I was knitting at a parade yesterday (love the looks I get when doing knitting in public) and I realized to my horror that in my happiness to have finished Chart E I churned through the first 2 rows of Chart F.  And realized those little sharp jabs in my brain had meaning.  I slowly looked at the directions and realized that Chart E was to be knit THREE times.  sigh...Not once.  THREE times.  Did I mention each row is now 640 stitches around?  sigh...that meant I had to tink back 1280 stitches.  That took a L    O    N    G time....but I'm now on track again, I've reknit the two rows I had to take out, using Chart E this time.  Onwards.  The goal is to have this done by August 4.  I'm giving a spinning demonstration at Yarn Harbor in Duluth and would love to have this to add to my show and tell section.  The other thing I'm bringing?  The blue baby blanket...

Again I haven't soaked this and blocked it.  When I do, that should open up the lace pattern nicely.  but the part I wanted to show was the second picture.  I spun this yarn too, I had a pound of roving and spun up 8 ounces, got a nice thick cushy yarn.  Started knitting.  Got to the final 9 rows when I ran out of yarn, see the first two ends?  That is where I ran out.  Now I knew I had plenty of roving to spin and be able to finish the blanket.  However, I was spinning other things and didn't want to start, just for 9 rows.  So I had one bobbin that I still had some of the original singles on, I didn't spin each bobbin quite consistently so ran out of one bobbin before I finished the other.  I took that small amount of singles, hand wound half of it off on to a second bobbin and then plyed that together, hoping I'd end up with enough 2 ply yarn to finish off 9 rows.  I wound up with 10 yards.  Now 10 yards for 9 rows sounds pretty good, until you realize I was knitting in garter stitch, which is a yarn hog.  But I started knitting, and knew when I got done with row 7 of 9 that I wouldn't get another 2 rows, so I went ahead and started binding off.  As I got half way I started to panic and followed the Yarn Harlot's method when she fears she is running out of yarn, I knit as fast as I could hoping I'd outrace the yarn!  Well see that tiny 1 inch blue bit of yarn in the corner?  Yup, that is all I had left.  The knitting fairy was very kind to me.  And the best part?  I now have 8 ounces of the same roving I can still spin for something else. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back on line

Boy did that last month go by fast.  The girls and I went to Texas for our vacation.  If you've read my past posts, you know I lived in Texas for a long time.  I've been back home in MN for a long time, but there will always be a piece of me that longs to live in Texas.  When I drop over the Oklahoma hills down across the Red River, I just grin.  And when Anna runs to the door of my friends house to be enveloped in hugs I know I've done something right to instill my love of Texas in my girls.

I have been busy on the spinning/knitting front.  My nephew is having a baby in the fall so I spun some beautiful fiber and have been busy knitting it up into a baby blanket.  I made Kyle and his Anna an afghan for their wedding present.  This time, I spun the yarn myself into a fingering weight and using the same pattern, I'm creating a baby blanket.  Pictures to follow.  I also knit another baby blanket since I wanted a more utilitarian gift for them to use.  And just to top it off, my niece is also pregnant and due in a few weeks.  I'm working on a little sweater for her little girl.  This is a Florida baby, so a lightweight sweater seemed the way to go.

Hopefully, I've still got readers.  I'll do better, lots of pictures coming up.  Baby blankets to show off.  Soon babies too!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy Birthday

Tomorrow is my youngest daughter's birthday, she will be 10.  Ten!  I have no more children in the single digits.  Another rite of passage.  Time is moving faster and faster.  Anna's first year of high school is coming to an end, Emily is turning 10.  When I think back to the years I longed for a family, for children.  Thinking it would never happen to me.  And then I was not only blessed with Anna, after years of struggle and soul searching, I found our way to Emily.  And my family became complete.  At an age I never expected to be a mom.  But how blessed I am.  Who knew my two girls would be found thousands and thousands of miles away from me.  In another country!  And somehow I followed the tangled red thread to find my two best blessings in life.  At the perfect time. 

Emily is determined to wake up at midnight and open a package.  I told her that all the years I was in Dallas, when it was just me, I would wait until midnight and open my birthday presents.  Who am I to deny her that joy.  After all, like mother, like daughter.

To my youngest daughter.  I love you.  You brought spice and laughter and feistiness to my life.  And I thank you.  Jump into your double digits!  Can't wait to see what happens next.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fun at Shepherd's Harvest

This was the best weather I've ever experienced at Shepherd's Harvest.  It was sunny and warm and amazing.  Emily and I went and worked our way through all the vendor barns.  Had a picnic lunch sitting next to the Yurt.  And when I returned home?  ummm I just may have walked away with over 5 pounds of fiber.  But oh man, what BEAUTIFUL fiber.  So let the fiber pictures begin....

I found this...amazing white, silk.  It looks like Rapunzel's braid....and my hair may be that color before I ever finish spinning this 16 ounce silk braid.  I so want to do it justice.  I want to spin it fine fine fine.  Which means time time time.  But can you imagine the yarn if I can get it the way my mind sees it?  Now just to translate what is in my mind through my finger tips and feet.

Then I stopped at Angela's booth, All for Love of Yarn.  I met Angela at Yarnover a few weeks ago, I have not spun any of her fiber and wanted to try, so I bought three braids, I've already got one predrafted in my spinning basket, but here are the other two I picked out. I picked out a variety of fiber bases, polwarth, merino, although they all had silk in them.  Hmmmm is there a trend I see?  Apparently I need more silk in my life....

Before I came to Shepherd's Harvest, I thought I was going to buy some raw fleeces and then get them processed.  Well that was before I actually saw some of the finished roving already in bags.  And all of the raw fleece thoughts flew out of my brain....resistance was futile!

I found this 2+ pound bag of a lamb named Stella.  A lovely soft gray.  I'm such a sucker for gray yarn...I think this will turn out so beautiful.  I like using the gray as a base for stranded knitting and so much of my wonderful yarn from Ginny's fibers are bright and lovely, they will shine with this gray as the contrast (at least I hope).

And finally I bought this ginormous bag of fiber from Marie, she is from the Dakotas, I sat next to her at Yarnover and we had such fun chatting that day, so I was happy to find her again and this time I had time to really look over her stuff.  And although I tried to walk away from this bag, actually got halfway down the side of the barn from her, I had to turn back and get it.  This is another 2+ pound bag.  It even has some sparkly stuff just barely there mixed in with deep greens and purples and reds.  I can't wait to see how this turns out.  So um, just how long do you think this will take me to spin up? 

Oh and just to make it interesting, I have another order from Ginny that should be shipping in the next few days.  Like 6 pounds of it.  So that makes a total of 11+ pounds of fiber in a month.  Isn't it grand? many little time.  Really my day job is just so cramping my spinning life!  I do have some finished yarn as well, watch for those pictures in the next day or so.  They are currently drying on the rack.  And more on the niddy noddy waiting for a bath.  And did I mention I'm knitting too?  The baby blanket is moving along.  The pattern calls for 9 repeats of the main lace pattern.  I'm on number 5.  Life is good. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Knitting again

For so long, I've been spinning constantly.  Happily, but I missed knitting.  With the news that there will be another baby joining our family in the next few months, I realized I needed to get with the program or there will be wee babes with nary a woolie item to be snuggled in.  So I took the beautiful Azurite roving, spun it into some equally lovely yarn.

I thought the white would come through more, but the blue really dominates the final yarn.  It is very pretty, but once again, what I think in my head will be the finished yarn is so far from the end result. 
Since this is SuperWash Merino.  I found the Baby Chalice blanket, a free pattern on Ravelry.  So far this is what it looks like.  I'm happy with it.  The yarn is soft and squishy.  It looks like it will be a small blankie.  One that can be easily used in a car seat or stroller.  One that can be easily dragged by a little one.  I hope it will be loved to pieces.  smile... 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thoughts from Yarnover

At Yarnover, I had some samples knit from my handspun, the Floppy FairIsle hat showing how the variegated yarns look when knit up so it appears you used a lot more colors than you really did.  I also knit a simple baby hat to show what can be knit with under 100 yards.  My friend Ellen brought the beret and fingerless mitts I made for her.

Now I never got a picture of the beret after it was finished, but it is Jared Floods Beaumont Tam.  And I got such a big response at Yarnover over that set.  And I didn't have any more of the Tamerisk yarn used in both the hat and mitts.  Good lesson, if you have a sample, have the yarn available!  So today I placed an order with Ginny from Fat Cat Knits and Tamerisk was included again.  So the next time, I will be better prepared. 

Our summer is also shaping up rather quickly, our vacation is planned for Texas in June.  I can't WAIT.  I need some Tex Mex.  I need laughter with my friends.  I need Texas.  Anna will be going on a church trip in July.  Right after she gets back we are going to head up for a long weekend to Grand Marais and attend the Dragon Boat Festival.  I have a demonstration of spinning in Duluth in August.  Good Grief!  We are getting all booked up and it is only the beginning of MAY!  Time is going to fly.  But first?  Texas....I'm already dreaming.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Yarnover 2012 is done.  And what a wonderful day it was.  The past 5 weeks have been a frantic race with the clock to ensure I had plenty of beautiful yarn to offer for sale.  I got up way early for a Saturday, was on site at Hopkins High School at 6:15 am.  Got everything unloaded and started setting up my table.  The people at the Minnesota Knitters Guild do such a great job organizing this event.  I had my table set up in short order and was ready to go by 7:30.

I then sat down and started to spin as I waited for the first attendees to arrive.  And by 7:45 the market place was buzzing with knitters ready for a day of fun and classes.  I had a blast.  Several people SEARCHED for me.  Actually took the time to find me.  sigh.  Can't ask for more than that.  My yarn sold.  The fiber sold.  The Hodgepodge babies sold.  (Hodgepodge yarn is what I make from left overs at the end of some bobbins.  I simply ply two odd duck singles together.  Interesting color combos are created.)  It was an invigorating day.  It is such fun to watch people stroke and feel the different skeins of yarn.  I had braids of roving to demonstrate what I started with and how the yarn turned out.  That is something that has been the most fun for me, when I look at the roving, I'm never exactly sure how it will turn out in the end, so sharing that with others was fun.  Several people just wanted to watch me spin.  Even people who have knit for years, may not have ever seen roving or how it is used to create the final product we all use for knitting. 

Several people from the Duluth area stopped by, they first saw my yarn at their LYS, Yarn Harbor, and knew I was going to be at Yarnover.  I was sure to tell them that I'd be in Yarn Harbor for a demo day on August 4.  That should be another fun day with the air filled with plenty of fiber fumes and yarn.

I also want to say hi to two big cheerleaders for my yarn.  Hi Jess!  Hi Chris!  Both of these ladies have been so kind and generous too me over the last year.  Thanks for all your encouragement...I so appreciate it.

And to all the other people who chose my yarn, it means more to me than you can know, to hear that you like my yarn and value it. 

Now that I have some breathing space, I can keep spinning, but also toss in some knitting.  After all, I heard some wonderful news on Sunday.  My favorite nephew and his wife are pregnant!  My favorite niece and her husband are also pregnant.  So I see some baby things creeping into my knitting time.  Also more superwash roving will be selected for spinning.  So many things to knit for stay tuned!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Still here

Tomorrow is Yarnover.  In the last 5 weeks, I spun 22 skeins.  TWENTY TWO.  They are beautiful.  They are pinks and greens and blues and lavenders.  They are variegated, they are solids, they are wool, they are silk.  They are chunky, they are fine.  And I'm tired!  But come tomorrow, my table will be overflowing with beautiful, handspun yarn.  I have 76 skeins of yarn.  28 braids of Fat Cat Knits fiber.  And a sale basket filled with more handspun.  There is something for everyone.  I can't wait.  Please let me know if you stop at my table that you read my blog...there may be a wee giftie involved for readers.

Tonight I will load up the van with yarn and fiber, baskets and boxes, and last but not least, my Julia up?  I'm spinning some superwash yarn to knit a baby blanket for my niece who will be having her first baby this summer.  Even a Florida baby needs a small blanket?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Finished Skeins

For the last 3 weeks, it feels like every waking moment that is not spent at work or with my girls has been at my wheel.  Now normally I wouldn't complain, but even I have my tipping point.  But it is hard to not enjoy spinning Hemlock.. a surprising mix of oranges, browns, and spruce greens. 

To change it up, I picked DragonFly Wings...  These are really "my" colors.  Greens and purples.  Love this one so much.

And another favorite color range is my golden yellows and browns...this just warms me up from the inside.

Yarnover is a week from Saturday.  I was terrified I wouldn't have a good selection but now I'm really happy with where I'll be.  I'll get another 5-6 skeins done, add the 25+ braids of Fat Cat Knits roving I'll be selling and my table will be overflowing with fiber goodness.  Hope to see you there!  Hopkins High school, April 28, market place open from 8-5, no charge to get into the market place.  So if you need a yarn fix, this is the place to be.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I got a new box of roving from Ginny at Fat Cat Knits.  It is torture.  I'm at work.  I should be indexing and archiving (such fun) but all I want to do is spin.  I'm sitting with four pounds of fiber in my cube.  And I can't spin.  sigh...torture I tell you.  Torture. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

so not fair

I'm in a time crunch.  Spinning is taking over my life.  So explain how the spinning fairy is doing anything other than howling in laughter at my efforts.  Last night, midnight, Emily is hollering because there is a spider on her wall.  How she could see the spider if her eyes were closed as they should have been at midnight, I don't know.  But I must slay said spider.  I bravely stalk it and with one massive swing, crush it onto the rolled up folder.  As I triumphantly head out the door, I reach out with my right had to flip off her light.  In my exuberance of slaying the dangerous spider, my right hand, instead of sliding down the light switch on the side of the wall, instead crashes straight into it.  HARD.  There was a loud snap.  I'm leaning against the wall, cradling my right hand, left hand still holding the rolled up folder with squished spider on it.  Emily leaped out of bed hearing the snap.  Momma, momma!  are you OK?  Not really I answered.  I tried to not cry.  I tried to move my fingers.  Slowly and carefully they all moved.  Albeit, with pain, but I could move all my fingers.  The most pain filled finger is my pinkie on my right hand.  But I figured as long as I could move it and bend it, it wasn't broken.  I got Emily back into bed, flushed the crushed spider down the drain.  And I realize in horror, this may impact my spinning.  Now I sit at a computer all day long at work.  I need to type a great deal of my day.  But what is the first thing that crosses my mind?  Can I still spin!  I went to bed trying to be careful of my achy finger.  And this morning I sat down at my wheel and tentatively started spinning.  While I need to be a bit careful, I'm thrilled to say, I can spin.  Thank heavens!  And as you can see, I can type.  My pinkie has a weird bruise encircling the first knuckle and the tip is swollen.  But I can spin.  Let the countdown continue.

ps - I finished four skeins last week.  I have two already done this week.  I'm approaching 65 completed skeins, with probably another 15+ sale yarns.  Add to that my mini skeins and I'm feeling better about my Yarnover booth.  Plus I should have about 25 braids of Fat Cat Knits roving for sale.  All is well.  But the spinning will continue for the next two weeks.  I'm hoping to have over 70 skeins at least.  May the spinning fairy's continue their very benevolent guidance in my life.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

6 skeins down, how many to go?

I have 24 days to go until Yarnover.  I finished 6 skeins last week.  Just look at these....

This is Cool Madras...a soft plushy Merino yarn.  Blues and greens mixed with grays and creams.  Very Pretty...

Then there is this, meet Daisy Cakes.  This is Merino and Bamboo.  The shine is from the bamboo...I think this would be so pretty as a baby sweater. 

Finally there is Pomegranate   This is a very me color, I love the darker colors.  It is red with purples.  Can't beat that.

And finally I'm spinning some pink that is called Carnations, which fits but I also keep coming back to Cotton Candy...this is also merino and bamboo, so matching it up with DaisyCakes would be perfect.  Hopefully someone else will agree with that too.

So while the time is going to fly before Yarnover, I'm doing my level best to have a good selection for people.  If you are in the area and have the opportunity, don't let Yarnover slip thorugh your fingers.  It is a great event and fun to wander through the market place.  If for no other reason than you are surrounded not only by yarn but are around people who love the same things you do!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Check out Yarnology

I'm so happy to let you know that my handspun is now in another shop, Yarnology!  Gaby has a wonderful shop in Winona, it has such a nice homey atmosphere and now they also sell my yarn there!  Winona is about 2 1/2 hours south of Minneapolis, the drive down along the river is so pretty.  I forgot how big Lake Pepin is.  I taught school in Winona my first year out of college.  My cousin lives there so after meeting with Gaby and leaving her with a bunch of my yarn, my mom and the girls and I headed to my cousin's house.  Grilled brats, salads, laughter and shared memories capped a perfect Saturday.

Anna had her cheerleading banquet last night.  My girl is beautiful and it was a nice evening, watching her receive her letter as well as a certificate due to her scholastic achievement as well had this momma's heart near to bursting with pride.  She was so happy and it was just a nice evening.

I am in a frantic race with the clock, can you hear it tick tick tick...never stopping or slowing...there are 30 days until Yarnover.  I have a table there to sell my handspun.  Normally I'd have tons of yarn to load up my space, hoping to entice knitters to stop and decide they can't possibly leave the area without that one (or two or three) certain skein in their bag.  Well I had such a wonderful experience at both Yarn Harbor in Duluth and now Yarnology in Winona, that my stock is a wee bit low.  Now if you remember, you know I have nine POUNDS of fiber singing its siren song to me, just waiting for me to spin it up.  And in a moment of desperation, I may have ordered another four pounds of fiber, which should arrive in the next week or so.  So that should translate into no worries for Yarnover right?  Ummm, did I mention I have 30 days until Yarnover?  Ya, 30.  Oh and there is the pesky problem of working 8 hours per day at a company that does not think spinning in my cube is a very productive use of my time.  (I know!  Really?)  So that leaves me about 3-4 hours per week day to spin.  Possibly 8 or so on Sat. or Sunday.  But even so, that is not much time to transform 13 pounds of stunning fiber into 50 skeins of finished yarn!  So what is a spinner to do?  Well, I should be able to finish 20+ skeins in time for Yarnover.  And the rest of the fiber?  I'm bringing that along, I will sell the fiber to spinners and also offer it for sale with the additional cost of spinning if someone falls in love with the fiber but doesn't spin.  So please stop at my booth at Yarnover, I'm sure I will have something that you will love...something maybe like this?
Meet DaisyCakes...a merino/bamboo blend that is so very soft and squishy...I think it is screaming to be made into a baby sweater/hat...what do you think?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Isn't that just the best way to start a new post?  I got my order from Ginny at Fat Cat Knits and it took my breathe away.  I had it delivered to me at work and I literally clapped my hands in glee when the mail room folks brought it up to me.  I left the box open all day so I could look over at all the wonderful fluff all day long.  So many people stopped and asked questions.  My co-workers have little to no knowledge of spinning or knitting and to see this amount of roving just really puzzled them.  But all of them had to touch and were so suprised at how soft it all was.

I can't wait to start spinning it.  I believe I'm going to start with these two.

They are Carnation and Daisy Cakes.  Both are Merino Bamboo mix.  I plan on spinning each color separately and then I'm going to ply a single of each together.  Should give a nice complimentary set of yarn. 

I also have plans for this is DragonFly, it is a Polwarth base. 
I think I'll start by pulling the colored bits apart and then spinning from purple to blue to green.  Won't that be pretty?

I think these would work together as well.   They are called Curry and Tangerine - both in BFL.  Add to the mix this one called Chestnut and the combinations seem endless. 
I'm frantically trying to spin as much as this as possible for the upcoming fiber festival, Yarnover.  It is on April 28 at the Hopkins Highschool in Minneapolis.  I've been selling quite a bit of my handspun in the last month, so I'm really trying to work at building my stock back up.  I'm also going to bring along any of the above fiber I haven't spun up and have that for sale as well, so if you are a spinner and want to try some fabulous fibers, look me up.  If you want your yarn ready to go, check out my spot.  I can't wait!  I haven't even covered all the fiber I have in the main post, so stay tuned.  I'll follow up and when it is spun I'll add more pictures.

Monday, March 19, 2012

No more boring lunches

My youngest daughter has a new job.  She is packing my lunch 2-3 times a week.  This will add some money to her monthly allowance.  It also helps me to not spend as much money at work in the cafeteria.  But I didn't bank on the food that she would pack.  I buy certain things to make it easy for her (and also so I'm sure at least I will LIKE my lunches).  But I've been happily surprised by her inventiveness.  She packs both breakfast and lunch.  It is enough to laugh out loud sometimes.  Yogurt, breakfast bars, steam-able lunches, cookies, fruit, and sometimes the best thing?  A note.  Much like the notes I used to tuck into her school lunches.  Short little declarations of love and happiness.   The combinations are not always what I would have selected, but the notes?  Best part of all. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Well that took a while

Sorry about being off the grid for a MONTH?  sigh...sometimes life just kinda smacks you around a bit and all you can do is hang on tight!  Last time we talked I said I would show you pictures of the other roving I got from Detta' as promised here we go...

This beauty is called Jamaica.  And it is the softest most shimmery fiber I've played with in a is Merino and Tussah silk.  I've already spun up half of it, and it turned out to a heavy lace weight.  I think it almost looks like dragonfly wings...not sure if I will keep it's name as Jamaica or change it. 

This one is called Snapdragon and that is exactly how it turned out.  I finished this as well.  It is a soft pastel with hints of greens, pinks and blues.  I think it would look so nice in a baby blanket or sweater...hmmm my niece is pregnant with a little girl...just might have to think about it.  smile..

While the last month has been a bit trying there have been some moments to treasure too, one is Emily's eighth gotcha day.  It is so amazing to me that I've had Emily home for eight years now.  We've come a long way in that time.  She has had 5 surgeries and come through beautifully.  She has blossomed so much in the last year, at school and at church.  Hearing her and Anna laugh each night is the best music I could hope for.  I've said it before, I just wish I could let both her foster family and birth family know how well she is doing and how grateful I am they helped keep her safe and loved until I could come for her. 

Another really exciting thing for me is my handspun is now in TWO shops in Minnesota.  Yesterday the shop Yarn Harbor bought my yarn to sell in their shop.  Kathy bought a LOT of my yarn!  So if you are in the area please stop in at Yarn Harbor and ask for my yarn.  Her shop is warm and inviting and chock full of a wide variety of yarns, now including MINE!  It was a good weekend in my household.  We got to drive up to the glorious area of Lake Superior and I got to sell yarn!

And for those people in the Twin Cities, I'll be vending again this year at Yarn Over.  This is the year knitting event put on by the Minnesota Knitter's Guild.  It will be on April 28 at the Hopkins High school.  The classes are amazing with nationally known instructors including Nancy Bush, Anne Hanson, Romi Hill, Amy Singer and Annie Modesitt to name a few.  Even if you can't take classes, there will be a smashing marketplace for anyone to attend.  Please stop over at my table and introduce yourself, I'd love to meet people who read the blog.  It would be fun!

Here is hoping it won't be another month before I'm back!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Who needs Disneyland!

Instead of Disneyland, this weekend, I went to Detta's land!  Detta's is a treasure trove of spinning supplies, from wheels (new and antique), roving (plain and dyed), and miscellaneous supplies.  It is like my version of a theme park.  There really should be some type of fiber theme park.  Instead of a corn field maze, there could be a spinning wheel maze, weaving in and out of hundreds of wheels, stopping to try this one before jumping over to that one.  Instead of winning stuffed animals at the carnival rides, you would win roving!  Boy oh boy, now that would be a fun time!

I happily started digging through the overflowing boxes at Detta's, I was looking for mostly solid colors in light colors.  I have plenty of mixed yarns in dark reds, browns, grays.  It was time for something bright and light.  So check these out!  First is a teal blue/green...

 Next is a soft violet

now a spring green, like baby lettuce before it matures...

Then a robins egg blue...

These solids are a beautiful merino.  Soft and lovely...I've already filled two bobbins of lemon drop yellow and this is how it looks on the wheel as I'm plying...

Tomorrow I'll post the pictures of the mixed color rovings I picked out as well.  If you are interested, check out Detta's, I love the on site experience of picking through her over flowing boxes and shelves of roving, but you can also shop online.  Either way, if you are craving a fiber fix, this is one way to ease that itch!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

half done spinning

Once again, I have a pile of unwashed and not yet set yarn in my basket.  But I still took pictures of my latest spins.  This is one strand of Ginny's Harlequin and one strand of natural BFL.  The BFL softened the reds and creams.  I think it will knit up soft and marled.  Some striping, but probably subtle.

Harlequin on its own turned out like this as a two ply.   See how the colors are deeper and more saturated, the sliver grey of the natural BLF really muted and softened the colors.  I wonder how these two would work together. 

I loved spinning up the Farmer Phil singles I did last month as a custom spin. So this time, I did a two ply. I just love how it turned out. This is also fiber from Ginny.

For the upcoming Yarnover event in April, I'm thinking of doing some sale yarns.  I need to move out some of my older yarns, so there just may be a big basket of discounted yarns.  Might be fun to do that.  All of it is so pretty, I think people who haven't knit with handspun are really missing out on something special.  Not just my yarn, although I'm are pretty proud of it.  Even though I love to spin, I'm really surprised to find myself turning more and more to my own  yarn.  And buying less and less commercial yarn.  I just may have to do a big ol' destash of my commercial yarns in the future.  I have some really nice stuff too.  But the limited knitting time I actually have is making it easier for me to use just my own yarn. Sounds like I'm making a big sacrifice doesn't it.  Not really.  But if you haven't tried handpun yet, seek it out.  You may be really surprised in the difference you feel.