Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dunn Family Reunion '08 Kids' Socks Project complete!

I finished Jack's second sock, and his pair was the last of the bunch to be done. After finishing the duplicate-stitch fire motif on both sides of both socks, I did all the finishing on Jack's, Amanda's, and Johnny's socks, as all of them were done being knit but had yarn ends hanging off them all over. Finishing is a pain in the ass, but once I get started I can usually crank through it in a sitting. Anyway, I'm very pleased with all four of them. Here are the three pairs after a quick rinse (Julianne's were already washed and blocked earlier):

Here's a closeup of the fire motif:

I made a gif of the stitch pattern (there's a left and a right so the fire sort of flows backward on each side). Please feel free to download and use this pattern if you like.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yay for the first week at the new job

I like my job! Hooray!

Without getting into any details, because we don't blog about work, I'll just say that in contrast to my last job, where I hated it from day one, I like this job a lot. I've only been there one week, but so far I like it plenty. I like the office where I work, the people I work with, and the stuff I am doing.

I haven't done a lot of fiber stuff this week because I was kind of wiped out at the end of each day. And this pace will probably keep up for a couple of months before it lightens up a little. But that's okay, and I'm trying to put myself in the right frame of mind for that. I get to be a worker among workers. That's what it's like in the world of the start-up, which is where I'm working now. That's the trade-off for the lightness of spirit, the relaxed work environment, and the exciting development opps, and I'm fine with it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I finished Johnny's socks:

This morning we got our new sofa finally:

It's from Crate & Barrel and it's the exact same model as the sofa it replaces. The old one was stained and lumpy and the cats had used it as a scratching post, so its useful life was coming to an end. I am, however, going to give it away on Craig's List.

We did work on the back yard (see Adam's Armageddon Garden Club post).

I spun 2 kinds of yarn from this roving (100% Merino combed top from Yesterday I split it lengthwise into two halves and split one of those in half again and spun those and plied them together. I was aiming to match the variations in the color when I plied them together, to end up with yarn with the plies that varied at the same rate. Here is the unspun half of the roving with the two-ply.

Today I split the second half lengthwise, then split those lengthwise again (so I had four 1/8-width lengths of roving). I spun and plied two together, and then repeated the process, and then plied two 2-ply lengths together to make what is called a cable-plied yarn.

You can see how different the cable-plied came out (highly overspun, on the left) vs the 2-ply:

Here they are drying after a dip in the water (with a weight on the cable-plied to straighten out the twist):

I also got this roving - 1/3 merino, 2/3 colonial roving from

and this one - australian merino top roving from Flawful Fibers, one of my favorite fiber sources:

Dusty slept

and Lily hid.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I got a job!!

Much as I've been enjoying the break, I am glad to say I'll be going back to work on Monday as a software developer. This was not exactly what my career counselor and I determined to be the most creative next step for me, but Adam likes that there will be another paycheck coming in and I think it will be an enjoyable job. The people there all seem pretty smart and interesting and funny and I have a friend there from a previous job who I'll be glad to work with again.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Roving to sock yarn

Here is roving I bought in early March from Flawful Fibers. It's 100% fine shetland wool top, hand-dyed in "Strawberry Field" colorway. I think some of their colorways are so beautiful, including this one. I was saving it for a rainy day.

When I was looking at it before spinning I thought it would make some great sock yarn, even though it's not superwash treated and the socks will have to be hand washed, so I split the roving lengthwise and spun it all as consistently as possible so the halves would match. I like it so much that I'm going to keep it for myself.

It's actually still a little damp and over twisted, so I'm drying it with a weight on it to stretch out the twist:

I took a picture of it in curled up skeins even though it's still damp (and then returned it to its drying state, see above).


Monday, April 7, 2008

Fun with Spinning!

I had a good time with the spinning guild yesterday. I was nervous but it was very mellow. There were six of us there including me, and we sat around and spun and talked for 3 hours. My hands were tired but I enjoyed myself. I learned how to Navajo ply, though I'll need to practice a lot before I like how mine looks, of course. Some people were spinning on spindles, and otherwise on wheels. My wheel is light enough to carry, and fits easily in my little car. It felt a little weird walking up to a stranger's house carrying my spinning wheel, but I got over it. :)

I haven't checked these out yet, but one of the guild members (the host for the day) recommended and as great fiber sources. She brought out her (considerable) stash and showed us several rovings from each vendor, and they were very pretty colorways. I'm going now to look at what they have for sale. ... (An hour of web surfing goes by) ... Okay, I didn't see anything I had to have yet, but I have high hopes based on what our hostess showed me at the spin-in.

One tip I did receive yesterday was about dyeing rather than about spinning - up to now I've been mixing dyes on a per-batch basis from powder form, but it was suggested to me that I mix up a large quantity of powder into liquid for each basic color (red, blue, yellow, brown, black) and then use small amounts of the liquid to dye each time I want to do handpainting. This makes sense, as it's only when the dye is powdered that it's gnarly and scary and toxic (i.e., if you breathe it in), requiring a mask and other protective gear. So I'm going to try that this afternoon.

Update: Here are the liquid dyes I made up. You can see how the yellow separates out pretty easily.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sock and spin

Here's one of Johnny's socks in progress:

I'm going today to my first meeting of the Essex Spinning Guild, which should be scary and also informative. At my expression of trepidation about meeting a bunch of new people Adam said "You all have spinning in common, what else do you need?" To which I reply, once you are sitting around spinning you begin to chat about other things and then you determine what if anything you have in common with these people (besides spinning). I'm sure they are all friendly and nice and other than that I have no idea what to expect. So I'm just going to "suit up and show up" and see what the afternoon brings.

Somebody's going to do a demo of Navajo plying, which I've wanted to learn how to do. I'm sure to learn a lot, that's for sure!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Apple Rose Farm

I went to Apple Rose Farm, the farm where (online) I bought some California Red sheep roving earlier this year, to see the lambs that were just recently born and meet the owner and get some more roving. It was kind of an "artist's date" (a la The Artist's Way) and an exercise in pushing my own boundaries a little. I was a little scared to venture outside my safety zone and meet somebody new, and check out something I didn't know anything about, plus I went by myself after my career counseling session on Wednesday. Like a mook I forgot to take pictures! That's the only thing I feel stupid about. But I had a good time.

Elizabeth Ferraro, the owner, is a retired school administrator (like my mom). She and her husband have had the farm for the past 8 years. They own and raise both Calif. Red and Cormo sheep. They had five lambs - a set of twins and a set of triplets - that I got to meet and pet and let suck my fingers. They are very cute! of course. Adam warned me ahead of time that I wasn't allowed to bring one home as a pet, so even if they hadn't all already been sold to other farms I couldn't get one. But truthfully, I'm perfectly happy to let them be in the hands of people who work hard to take care of them - feed them and make sure they stay healthy and shear them. I'll buy the wool. Some day I could see owning some sheep, but not any time soon. I like living this far away from the city and no farther, not yet anyway. And I don't like bugs. (But I digress.)

I bought roving - Cormo this time, rather than Calif. Red, because it's so much softer. Elizabeth had some wacky dyed roving that had been supposed to be black but came out all wrong, but I liked it a great deal, so I got about 9 oz of that, and I got a big bag (about 3.5 lbs) of undyed that I'll dye myself.

This Sunday there is a meeting or gathering or something of the Essex County Spinners Guild, which I joined over a month ago because I needed advice about the problems I was having with my thumb. This is the first "f2f" meeting they will have had since I joined and I am looking forward to it, though again with trepidation because it's a whole bunch of people I don't know and I'm nervous about that. But I will bring my wheel and some fiber and hope for the best. I am sure to learn a lot, and I'm sure it will be a very good experience. Probably more so because it's so daunting!

I have three new handspun yarns to list on my shop tomorrow or the day after; two of them are currently drying in the bathroom. I made some sales over the weekend, which I was very excited about and encouraged by.

The back yard is done!!!

It's been a long time coming - but it didn't take them long to do the work once we finally hired a contractor. Here's the final result:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool's!

I don't have any jokes to play on you. The headline here's just a nod to the day. I feel boring and straight at the moment.

For April: My favorite flower is the Ranunculus. I bought some a few days ago and took a bunch of photos of them. This is my favorite.

For silliness I give you this pair of socks that I made for my niece Amanda as part of the Dunn Family Reunion Kids Sock Project:

The pair I made for my niece Julianne - not especially silly:

Next up is Johnny, who asked for yellow and purple striped:

I've been making stitch markers. I don't know why, I just got the urge. I can't decide whether to sell them on Etsy or not. What do you think?

Antique German glass in a tulip shape with glass beads

Glass cubes with glass beads

Swarovski crystals with glass beads

Swarovski crystals with glass beads