Sunday, December 22, 2013

And just what does 10 pounds of fiber look like?

Actually what you see here is only a mere 8 pounds of fiber.  The other 2 pounds are a natural cream and a variegated BFL mix that when spun will turn to a gorgeous soft grayish color.  These are all from Fat Cat Knits.  I just love Ginny's dyeing.  It has saturated, glorious and vibrant colors.  I have a small custom spin for a customer in Duluth, then I can't wait to see which of these I pick first.

I also realized I haven't had any finished pictures of my Color Affection.  So here it is, modeled by my newly 17 year old daughter.  Her birthday was yesterday. 

I used white, blue and brown.  All were merino with silk and they spun up super easy and so very pretty.  I was very happy with the result.  The Color Affection pattern is very easy and I enjoyed the calming repetitive nature of the knitting.  I'd do it again if I had more time!  Time, the bane of my existence at the moment.  Trying to spin yet knit samples, how I wish for another pair of hands!

And to end this post, here are some examples of skeins that while pictured in the snow, will be winging their way to Texas comes spring...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dyeing and drum carding

I spent the best time Saturday afternoon.  I did a custom spin for Angela of All For Love of Yarn, she brought me a bunch of her beautiful roving, in a multitude of colors.  I spun 11 skeins for her and Saturday I went to her place where she taught me how to dye roving and use a drum carder.  What fun!  My girls went along to watch and after a few hours of play um I mean WORK, I took home buckets of still wet roving.  Look at these beauties!  I have literally pounds of beautiful stuff to spin. 

My younger daughter picked the colors for this, lots of blues/purples/pinks.  Have I mentioned her bedroom is painted a deep purple on 2 walls and a strong turquoise on the other 2 walls?  This is Emily through and through.

This was a bit of blues, reds, a hint of pink and yellows.  This is more me.

And this one?  I think this is my favorite, it is just a hodgepodge of colors, all blending into just an amazing batch of roving that I'm itching to work on.  One of the things I'm still working on, is to know what the finished yarn will look like after spinning it.  This?  I'm clueless but CAN'T wait to see!
After the fun of dyeing, Angela next introduced me to the wonders of working on a drum carder.  I mainly spin combed top.  I've had a few batts in the past but I never really liked spinning from them.  I found them stiff and bit cumbersome so I just stuck with what I worked with the most, combed top.  Well after this?  I just may need to explore the world of drum carding.  Because the stuff Angela helped me make is as soft as butter and I can't wait to work on it.  I have several coils of this soft delicious stuff.  We combined blues and green tossed in some gorgeous buttery Carmel with just a hint of sparkle.  Have I mentioned I can't wait to spin this! 
And why pray tell am I waiting to spin ANY of this? Because I'm plowing through ......

And I just got an email from Ginny of Fat Cat Knits, my order of, oh um, 8 pounds of fiber is on its way!  Must keep spinning!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How is -2 a high?

I'm a native Minnesotan, now I lived in Texas for 13+ years and consider it home as well.  But no where in any sane person's logic would -2 be considered an appropriate temperature, much less the HIGH for the day?  Now that is sheer crazy talk people.  I look outside and it is a gorgeous winter day.  White snow, blue skies, beautifully sunny day, with nary a cloud above, but it is windy and it is cold.  And that leads to the notion the a number with a minus sign in front of it is a HIGH temp.  This is the sun that is a cruel, taunting sun.  It lulls you into thinking it will be just be brisk outside but when you step out and your breathe slams in your throat as the numbing wind sucks out any oxygen in your lungs, you know the sun is just giggling at you....sigh....and it is only early December.  Lord this may be one long hard winter.

On a much brighter (and dare I say warmer) note,
this is the roving for my younger daughter's China yarn.  This will be turned into yarn named for Emily, whose Chinese name is Hong Hong, which means red the color of fire.  I love the color range in this, it has sparks and strength much like my Emily.  I'm currently spinning some white Corriedale fiber, but once I'm finished with it, I'll be pulling this one out next.
One thing I'm trying to do this year, is spin more natural colored fibers, one reason is they play off so nicely with the hand dyed colors.  I like doing stranded work and having my own handspun in both colors and natural undyed fibers makes my heart happy.  So I'm planning to spin one batch of natural, then one batch of hand dyed, it will help me have a balanced selection at my fiber festivals.

And this is just a glamor shot of some beautiful roving from All for Love of Yarn, Angela is a local indie dyer and I use her fiber frequently.  I just finished a custom spin for her and can't wait to see the fiber I'm going to receive as form of payment!  Watch here...I'll post the new stuff as soon as I get it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Building my Stock

Well we survived the first snow storm of the season.  And while we didn't get the snow that the North shore got, the 6+ inches was enough for me.  If I didn't have to commute to work via car, it wouldn't be nearly the issue it is.  I just crept along with everyone else, inch worming my way safely home.  But it is beautiful looking and makes it look like Christmas!  Someday I will be able to stay home, snuggled up warm and cozy while the snow flies.  But now?  Ya, working five days a week can be a challenge at times like this.

I've finished my custom spins and I'm beginning to prepare for DFW Fiber Fest.  I'll be showing my skeins as I go along...hope you see something you like!

This is Hong Kong at Night, it has some lovely glitzy sparkle mixed in the reds and yellows.  It so reminds me of the sunset in Hong Kong.  I spent a couple nights there during the trip to China to get my younger daughter.  She picked out this roving.  Seemed fitting

This is a special colorway called Zhi Hua.  This is the name my older daughter came to me with.  It means Wise Flowering Blossom.  I worked with my indy dyer, Ginny of Fat Cat Knits to come up with special colorways for my girls.  This is Anna's.  It fits her perfectly.

And this one is called Pink Lady.  A soft, shiny yarn that I fell in love with and created a long cowl from it.  The cowl is called the Biscuit cowl.  I think it showed off the yarn nicely.  That cowl can be found on my Ravelry project page.  Look for China will find it there.
And that is what I have to show tonight.  Hoping it gets some people thinking about stopping at my booth either in Texas for the DFW Fiber Fest, or in MN at Yarnover in the spring.  Yup that is me, we get our first snow fall and I'm already thinking of spring!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Big Leap of Faith

I was notified late on Friday that I've been selected to be a vendor at the DFW Fiber Fest being held at the Irving Convention Center, March 28, 29, and 30, 2014.  Yup, that is right a three day show.  This is a huge step for me.  A somewhat scary step but a wonderful leap to my future.  And the added benefit?  WE ARE COMING BACK TO TEXAS!  smile...we haven't been "home" for two years so we are all overdue for our Texas fix.

I'm working out my spinning schedule in my head, I have seventeen weeks to spin.  When I'm not at work?  I'll be spinning.  When I'm not at one of the girls' events?  I'll be spinning.  When I'm not spinning?  I'll be knitting just a couple more samples.

I'm so happy to be given this opportunity.  I've worked really hard the last six months to build more time in my life for me.  This is me taking a leap into the unknown.  If anyone is near to Dallas/Fort Worth the end of March?  Come see me and help me celebrate!

I'm also going to commit to writing more, which frankly shouldn't be hard!  I'll try my best.  Stay tuned to pictures of the glorious yarns I'll be churning out to bring to Texas.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Being Nice

Of the many blogs I read, Mason Dixon Knitting is one of my consistent favorites.  And tonight I just read the latest installment.  About turning 50 and feeling liberated and becoming more frank.  And to stop trying to be liked all the time.  To stop being Nice.  Lord, that is me in a nut shell.  I've always tried to please, to be liked.  I've been in the middle of many a family dynamic, both growing up and now.  My 81 year old mom and I share a home with my two girls, 16 and 11.  Now isn't that an interesting dynamic right there!  Talk about being in the middle...between my girls and my mom I'm usually trying to negotiate family peace.  Sometimes with good success, other times, not so much.  And frankly it is exhausting.  At work I support a team of people so even there I'm helping other people. Which I'm usually good at.  But I'm to the point of wondering how much longer I can carry this load.  I love my girls.  I love my mom.  I won't go so far as to say I love my job, but it is a good job, I like it, I like the people I work with.  I'm just struggling with boundaries right now.  Trying to "make everyone happy."  While it may work for them?  This usually means I'm the one not so happy.  My mom is aging.  Brings more issues all the time.  My girls are growing and pushing their boundaries.  Nothing that isn't normal or common.  My girls are good and funny.  They are just teenagers (nothing you say will persuade me that my 11 year old is NOT a teenager yet, just ask her).  Just a tough combination at times.  I have been silent here more than not simply because I struggle to just keep up my happy face right now.  I'm a kind person and won't be cruel but man lately I've been short with people.  Some may call it being "frank"  I'm not sure what to call it.  But it isn't who I want to be.  Right now the only thing in my life that I feel any true sense of control is my spinning/knitting!  And even they try and push me around at times.  smile...I'm here.  Just trying to find a balance in my life right now that seems so out of reach.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fast Summer

I swear summer has just flown this year.  It may have something to do with our long winter, little to no spring and a delayed summer, but I was so surprised that tomorrow is the first day of school activities.  Anna will get her class schedule tomorrow.  And that will show how our year will unfold for her.  Emily goes for her new orientation in a couple weeks as she transitions to middle school.  So we are busy with school stuff already.

I've set up a few yarn events for me this fall.  I'll be at Needlework Unlimited on September 21 for a free spinning demos.  I'll have some free samples of my handspun.  I really enjoy these spinning demos, I remember when I was thinking about getting a wheel, I would have given a lot to simply talk to someone who knew about spinning and to get to watch someone and ask questions?  Heaven!

In October, I'm heading back to Yarn Harbor on October 19 for a spinning demo there.  Again it will be a great day, I've got a nice group of knitters who enjoy my yarn.  Heading to Duluth for a day of fiber goodness is all good in my book.

And finally, I'm going to be a vendor at the Upper Midwest Fall Fiber Festival.  This is being held in Hopkins, MN on November 2 from 9-4.  It will be my first time as a vendor at this event and I'm looking forward to it. 

I finished a new sample last month, I knit the Biscuit Cowl, it is currently at Yarn Harbor.  It is long enough to double up or leave in a long loop.  Nice options.  It is knit from my handspun, Pink Lady.  It turned out very soft and snugly.  Something that will come in handy come winter.

If you are afraid of knitting lace, this may be the item to dip your toes into the lace pool.  It is a simple lace pattern and after completing it, you get to knit some mindless stockinette and garter stitch.  Lately mindless knitting is a must for me.  This had just enough pattern to entertain me yet not tax the remaining brain cells I have at the moment.
The next thing I decided to tackle is the Color Affection Shawl.  I started with some beautiful brown merino silk yarn I already had spun up.  This soft yarn came from roving I bought at Shepherds Harvest.  It was amazingly easy to spin. But then I needed two more colors.  Dipping into my fiber stash, I came up with a semi solid blue from All For Love of Yarn.  It too has a blend of merino and silk.  Finally add some luscious white silk blend from Shepherds Harvest and I found my Color Affection.  But since I wanted the white at the top, I had to get busy and spin.
 One week later, I spun both the white and blue and started knitting.  I'd like to have it finished in time for all my fall events, so that is the next challenge.  Find enough time to knit without impacting the spinning schedule.  Lovely problem to have. 

Thanks for reading, I know some people are still hanging around. I'll be back!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spring? What Spring

OK, I'm a hardy midwestern woman.  I can shovel snow with the best of them.  I drive through sleet, rain, snow and ice (and I'm not affiliated with the post office in any way).  I even LIKE winter (most of the time).  I am a knitter after all and where better to knit than in a place where temps range from 100 in the summer (ok, not frequently, but still!) to a minus 40 in the winter.  I DO.  But this year?  Ya, winter lasted two months longer than last year (and I'm talking snow on the ground winter, not just a cold wet spring).  Spring?  well that has just decided to roll over and make way for summer.  But here we are, June 10 and we have had weeks of gray skies, fog, and rain.  Temps barely cracking the 50s.  ENOUGH I say.  sigh...they promised this week was going to be sunny and in the 80's, well I think they are lying!  Today was gray and gloomy yet again.  Finally at 5ish I saw the sun and the temps crawled into the 70's and I nearly wept for joy....maybe there is hope yet.

So enough of the weather report.  I brought a new sample to Lila and Claudine's this weekend, meet the Trellis Rose Shawlette. 

It is a beautiful shawlette with the best border on it.  I used my handspun, Giselle for the body of the shawl and a no name brownish gray for the glorious border.  I also recently received a new shawl pin.  It is carved from a sea shell and is so pretty.  I found them at WC Mercantile, I emailed them, ordered two and they were shipped out so quickly.  If you are looking for unique shawl pins, check them out!
One of best things about this shawl was the knitting fairies were looking down kindly at me.  I did not manipulate my yarn in the body of the shawl at all, I simply started knitting from my skein and the gray of the main part of the shawl flew off the needles, when I started to transition to the edges, the reds, pinks and hints of brown slide through my fingers.  Once again, my yarn makes me look like a much better knitter than I truly am.  I'll take the luck!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy birthday emily!

Today my daughter is 11.  Her morning started with a gift from Anna.  What could be better than makeup for a newly minted 11 year old.  The glitter eye liner was a big hit.  Smile.  Toss in the afternoon and evening event of a family wedding and it is a jam packed day.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Another wonderful day at yarn over.  An early start and both girls chose to come.  They tend to come every other year. I think they forget how bored they get after a year so this was the year.  The day was great.  My table was full of yarn and roving.  My samples were all displayed.  Turns out the biggest hit was the lefties scarf.  The morning was crazy busy.  Lots of Ginny's roving sold and plenty of my yarn.  I laughed and talked with others who love yarn like me.  Thanks to all who bought my yarn as well as those who brought back beautiful items made from my yarn they bought from me in previous years.  Hope to see you all again soon.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Colors to dream of

I got a new phone so am playing with the options.  Makes posting a bit easier!

Getting ready for yarnover

With less than two weeks to go to yarn over, most of my time is spent spinning.  Not a bad way to spend a snowy sleety spring mn  day.  Sad but true.  But at least I am spinning.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The joy of music

Music has long been a source of solace for me. Most people who know me now don’t realize how much music was my life in my teens and 20’s. I sang a lot. I sang at my grandparents funerals. I sang for my sister’s wedding. I was actually quite good, my senior year of high school I auditioned and was accepted into a national choir that performed Philadelphia,in New York’s Carnegie Hall (do you know how cool it is to realize I got to walk in the artists entrance?) before leaving and touring Europe where we performed in various cities and amazing locations including Notre Dame Cathedral. I was a 17 year old girl from a small farm town in Minnesota and I left the country for my first time and traveled to Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland and England before returning home. It opened up the world to me. I had never traveled alone before and Ilearned I could do a lot of things I wasn’t sure I could.
Singing and playing the piano was a place of refuge for me. I sang in college andlater joined church choirs. I’ve always listened to a wide range of music and still do. I can listen to classical, country, Christian, blues, jazz, Broadway, old and new, it didn’t matter to me, I loved music. I haven’t sung in public for probably 15+ years. It just fell away, I’m not sure why. Sometimes I felt people never knew who I was, only that I could sing and that got tiresome. Once I had the girls it was hard to find the time to join a church choir. I think I’d like to do it again, but it just doesn’t fit in my life at the moment. I don’t play piano anymore either. I have my piano and won’t let mom sell it, but I haven’t sat down to play in a very long time.
Listening to music is still part of my life and how I deal with stress I think. I use music as a way to talk to God. I use music to change my mood. While I have an ipod, I still mostly choose to listen via cds. My girls laugh at me, but it suites me. When I pull out old cds I remember where I was in life or something that happened when I listen to that cd. Today I pulled out my old Rich Mullins cds. Lord I had forgotten how I loved him. And it reminds me of living in Dallas. So today I sit wrapped in the musical cocoon of Rich Mullins filling my head with encouragement and faith. It is holding me together and soothing my jangled nerves.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Working my way back

I've been silent for a while, now I've been spinning and knitting nearly all the time, I just needed a bit of a break from writing.  But to tease you a bit, look what I recently got from Ginny at Fat Cat Knits
 Isn't this a wonderful box of fiber?  I get them delivered at work so I can enjoy them all day long.  I kept shifting fiber from the bottom of the box to the top as the day went so I could ogle every colorway in turn.  What you say?  There is more?  Why yes there is...this is the next layer in the box of fiber goodness.

See what I mean?  To have 7 pounds of fiber sitting in a paper filled cube all day literally had me smelling fiber fumes happily all day.  People on my floor now know to watch for these types of boxes and readily stop over to squeeze and relish in the joy of Ginny's amazing colorways.  Me?  I just dream of spinning all day.  Can't hurt that is for sure.

I'm heading back to Duluth to Yarn Harbor for another spinning demo day on March 23.  If you are in the area, stop by, I'll be spinning (see box of fiber) and laughing with all the wonderful people who come and go during the day.  And a month from then, on April 27th, I'll be at Yarnover, the annual knitting all day extravaganza held at the Hopkins High School.  They have an amazing line up of nationally known teachers, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, Stephen West, Annie Modesitt among a few.  They also have a market place all day filled to the rafters with amazing yarns and fibers and just all things related to fiber.  I'll be there and can't wait to see everyone. 

I finished a Leftie scarf recently.  See how pretty?  And one of the beauties of using my hand spun is that it does a lot of the work for you.  See the different colors of the leaves?  Well all I did was use a skein of my hand spun and knit and it created the most magical array of colors.  Makes it look like I really am much better than I am with color.  This is a super easy pattern to knit and one that with the variegated yarn really turns out well.  I'll have this scarf at Yarnover as a sample, but currently it can be found at Needlework Unlimited as they are the newest store that is stocking my hand spun yarn.  smile...I'm thrilled to add them to the other stores selling my yarn.  Stop in and say hi to Karen and the gang and tell them I sent you!

I took a much needed respite last month with a friend.  We drove up to Grand Marais and stayed in a beautiful hotel suite which was basically a mini apartment right on Lake Superior.  It is one of the first times I've been up there in the dead of winter and I loved it.  How could you not love views like this?
This was taken from our balcony.  Grand Marais is turning into my hiding place.  A wonderful soothing place when I can truly relax and let my spirit sing. 

I'll try and be back at a more normal pace, I thank those who may still be reading.  I appreciate it.