Monday, March 30, 2009

Things that make you freak out...

So today, I was sick.

I am not sick very often. I mean, I get sinus infections on a regular basis, but I am not *sick*. *Sick* is when I actually take off from work. Well, today was one of those days when I was so miserably sick I couldn't sleep most of the night, finally wrote in to work to say I wasn't coming in some time around 5am (which since they all know I don't come in until 10, either means I was up all night or something severely disturbed me to get me up at that hour).

I was so sick I didn't even spin until some time around noon. I kept dozing in and out.

So I head to the doctor's office in the afternoon... And I am proud to say I am a good judge of character, 'cause I've liked this woman from day one. Well, she saw me spinning, told me how she knits (and is knitting a baby blanket for her niece right now), and she admired the spinning I was doing to the point where she wants me to bring back the finished socks and show her when they're done. :)

So from there I head to the pharmacy, as I appear to have a rather nasty sinus infection, and it requires medical intervention. I am at the pharmacy waiting on line, and one of the girls at the counter comments on how I'm spinning, and asks me if I've ever been to Capital Yarns (she likes it but thinks it's too expensive. I agree). I point her at three different places online to go to (etsy, ravelry, and I forget the third right now, I have no brain left), and I go to wait for my prescriptions, walking around the store while I do so. While I'm shopping, I'm not spinning, as I cannot push cart and spin at the same time, try though I might (I've tried before. Results in some very uneven spinning).

When I get back to the pharmacy counter, I go to pull out my credit card, and notice that while my wool is still in my purse, my spindle is no longer there. FREAK OUT!!!

I've actually had a child pull my spindle out of my purse before (autistic child, her mother stopped her before she could get it all the way out), so the first thing that went through my mind is that some child has it. I'm running around the three places I'd been in the store, plus going out to my car through one of the exits and checking there, still can't find it, the pharmacy girl hasn't seen it, the customer service counter hasn't seen it, and I at this point am *very* upset. $40 spindle plus four or five days worth of spinning on my spindle, so damned straight I'm upset!

Took me 20 minutes to find it, and I found it when I went out the *other* door to go back to my car. Took me giving up to find it, go fig.

To give you perspective how much I'd done, I'll show you a picture from last night:

I'd done almost double that waiting for the doctor. So yes, by now there was a very upset me, knowing I'd just lost about $50 worth of supplies plus days worth of work.

All of the stress does nothing for me, by the time I get home I'm exhausted again. Well, at least I got some Bahama Blues stretched up on the niddy noddy (I washed it all the other day and couldn't get it all stretched out up there, the niddy noddy kept falling apart. This is what I get when I use PVC. :)

So as of tomorrow, I will have 770 yards of skeined and dried Bahama Blues, and hopefully I'll be done with the Plume singles. I've got pix, but I am not in any shape to go upload them right now, so tomorrow will have to do.

At least I found my spindle, though. *whew*

Friday, March 27, 2009

And now for something completely different...

Superwash merino, colorway: Plume!

I've only been working on this since yesterday, but I've already gotten a goodly way through it... It doesn't hurt that today at work I was spinning while on a call. :)

So while this was only done last night, I've already got far more on the spindle, just that I haven't taken more pix yet:

There's at least two to three times that on the spindle already. ;)

What I'm planning on is making this a cabled 4-ply... So first I'm spinning singles in S, then plying the first in Z, then the second in S... I've done things similar to make bracelets in the past, so while it will be my first time doing this, it's not really the first time I've done it. It's just the first time I've done more than six inches or so at a time. :)

I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pics of the Bahama Blues - Unwashed

I still think that this is the coolest view ever:

I love that end view on the spindle, it's just awesome. :)

One pre-ply:

And post N-ply:

And then of course, there's the whole 770 yards, most of it washed and whacked, but the stuff on the ends still hasn't been washed. Because of the infamous cat-pee incident earlier this week, I want to re-wash it *all* at the same time. Then I need to find a good place for it to dry.

Wanna see a close up? :)

This is the first time I've done Navajo plying, and certainly the first time I've done more than a pound of yarn. While my silk did give me more yardage, that was frog-hair thin. :)

770 yards... You know, with most shawls needing 600, I could easily make a shawl and matching hat... :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The end of the Bahama Blues!!!

I finally reached the end of the Bahama Blues!

I don't have pix up yet, but I just finished wrapping the last of the Bahama Blues around my niddy noddy!

The grand total for my 1.58 pounds of wool is 770 yards!

I'm going to wash and whack all of it some time this week, and then I may actually start knitting again! ;)

I'm thinking that Sea Shawl may be a very good option for this yarn... Or possibly Garden of Alla. Both are Suzy Crancer designs, and both seem to be very appropriate for the colors. The sea shawl especially! 'course Luna Moth Shawl also looks very nice! Or Princess Lace Shawl...

Okay, I think I'm going to have to think about this. :)

Pix are forthcoming.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Okay, I'm feeling somewhat better than I was yesterday.

I ran around with a blacklight last night, and didn't see any fluorescent spots around the carpet, the purse, or the yarn (having soaked the carpet and purse with enzymatic cleaner and soaked the yarn in vinegar, not knowing what enzymatic cleaner would do to the colors).

I then took all of the yarn and soaked it in the bathtub with a lot of hair conditioner, to get the vinegar smell out.

So far, seems to be working. :)

The cat can live... for now. ;) She had the most contrite look on her face yesterday... She didn't look anyone in the eye and just kept looking at the floor, like she knew she'd done something bad... Whether or not she was sorry, I don't know. *smirk*

So the cat is alive, and I have several skeins hanging all over my shower...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I want to cry...

So Tidy Cats apparently changed their litterbox formula recently. Our cat has never used anything but Tidy Cats, she is very particular about things, so we've tried to keep her happy that way.

This morning, the husband changed the litterbox.

This afternoon, I found my purse (one of the only purses I have ever spent *real* money on, I usually only get the inexpensive $20 purses, this one cost me 10 times that), and even worse, my project bags, covered in cat pee. VERY fresh cat pee, too! I suppose I was lucky I found it so fast, so things didn't have *that* much time to set.

The purse is currently soaked in Nature's Miracle.

The four skeins of yarn she got (three Bahama Blues and this month's Romance skein) just got out of a bath of vinegar. They're currently hanging in the tub. Tomorrow I'll rinse them again and soak them in hair conditioner, maybe the odor will be completely gone. The Romance skein bled a bit, the Bahama Blues ones seem to be holding out with only a little bit of color bleed.

The project bags are fortunately machine washable, and went into the laundry with vinegar and detergent within minutes.

She nailed half the receipts from the stuff I picked up at Handspun Yarn Party this last weekend. Fortunately I'd already put the fiber away in plastic tubs.

I got lucky that she missed the box that had what's left of the Bahama Blues fiber (only an ounce or two left of a pound and a half bag). But why did she have to get that prize-winning skein, dangit?

I swear, I was ready to make new gut strings for my violin this afternoon... She's lucky my husband got to her first (and he threw her into a timeout in a crate with nothing but litter for an hour, then locked her in a room with her litterbox, food, and water, and nothing else. She's still there, and will remain there until tomorrow. She knew she'd done something wrong, she was hiding from me, and presumed that daddy was going to be nicer to her than I was. She's right, but I don't think she expected him to punish her!).

Why did she have to nail the bag with the Bahama Blues, dangit? Out of four skeins of the stuff I have, she nailed three of them. *sigh* Months worth of work. Plus she took out this month's spinning challenge, too.

Hopefully I can get both the cat pee and the vinegar smell out for the long run.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Purchases from the Homespun Yarn Party, and the home stretch for Bahama Blues is visible!

So I'll start out with the latest of the Bahama Blues... And what will be the *last* of the Bahama Blues! First, the latest singles, then the latest Navajo ply:

And the coolest shot of that:

And the Navajo ply version:

(yeah, I'm using Frankenspindle again. I can't find my normal plying spindle.)

But then, *this* is all I have left to finish spinning!!!

I think it's only 4 ounces or less, possibly even only 2 or 3, but since we can't find the scale, I'll have to estimate.

Now on to the shopping! First there's the ButterflyGirlDesigns spindle from before the Homespun Yarn Party:

It's Murano glass, and feels to weigh almost 2oz. Heavy for such a delicate looking spindle, but I'm trying to work in thicker yarns, so this could really do some good. :)

Then there's the Italian spindle from Serendipitous Ewe:

It's about an ounce, much lighter than the Murano glass one... Even though the glass one looks lighter:

However, I also purchased a little fluff explicitly for the purpose of the May spinning challenge, also known as Irony:

Okay, I went with irony colors. Maybe closer to coppery than irony, but you know what I mean. It's a random sort of fibers from Felt Forest & Gnomegarden. :)

Now the score of the day: Superwash merino so I can learn how to dye!

That's almost a whole pound! I think I'll be learning for quite some time to come... :) That pound was from the Sanguine Griffen.

Knitterly Things, on the other hand, had some beautiful pre-dyed superwash merino!

And of course, there were the Celtic Mystery superwash, angelina, and firestar batts from Wild Hare. I'm thinking a pair of socks is going to come out this set!

I am going to be busy for a while...

Monday, March 16, 2009

More Bahama Blues, but a hint of next month, plus a visit for fiber!

Oooh, so there's so much to tell!

First, we have a little more Bahama Blues...

But I also picked up something called "Cirque du Fiber!" from ButterflyGirlDesigns for next month's spinning challenge! The challenge is called "Celebrate!" and this batt is definitely in celebratory mode! It's a combination of black merino, sari silk fiber, and a little bit of firestar thrown in! It's beautiful!

Wow, that's going to be something! :)

As you can see here, I've also got a new ButterflyGirlDesigns spindle to add to the mix:


But the best part was this weekend... I went up to the Homespun Yarn Party at Savage Mill in Maryland, and Lori and Liz and I were enabling the crap out of each other! I don't have pix yet so please bear with me, I'll show them when I get them uploaded (although this means letting the husband know what fiber I bought, dammit)...

Among the stash:
An interesting batt for the May "Irony" spinning challenge that is made up of a multitude of fibers including some merino, angelina, and other bits.
15.8 ounces of superwash merino fiber in natural white, that I'm probably going to sink my first dyeing teeth into!
A rope of superwash merino fiber called "Plumey" that is purples with some chartreuse thrown in there for good measure.
Two small batts of "Celtic Mystery" superwash merino with glitz, specifically because I intend to finally spin for socks.
A cut resin spindle.
Some mini samples of carbonized bamboo, soysilk, and alpaca.
A sheepnose pin and project bag from the Homespun Yarn Party table.

I think I'm shopped out for quite some time to come... Especially with all of that superwash to dye! I have some jaquard dyes in my house already, although I think I'll try kool-aid (without the sugar) first...

Not all shopping was done by me though. I did at least help enable some more shopping for Liz and Lori. :)

Somewhere in here I have to get a baby blanket knitted before I start something else new, though. Someone's baby is almost here and I'm not done!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wash n Whack!

So the latest of the Bahama Blues is now dry and ready to go:

I've got more on the spindle, but haven't gotten the time to actually take pix. I should have one, maybe two more skeins left out of all of the fluff I had! I mean, this is what I started with:

That's a trash bag sized pile of dyed merino fluff, about a pound and a half!

So I'm definitely more than halfway through... Eventually I'll finish and figure out what the hell I'm going to make with it! I've been trying to figure out based on yardage... However, I've only got about 600 yards so far. I'm thinking that this is going to be a lot less yardage than I originally thought. If I make 1000 yards, then it'll definitely be good for something on the larger size, I'm just not quite sure what. I was going to do the peacock shawl, but that asks for 1260 yards of laceweight... What I'm probably going to wind up with is 1000 yards of worsted.

Time to go pattern searching. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bahama Blues returns!

So, after a week of Garnet, the Bahama Blues comes back with a vengance! :)

That's the finally washed and whacked version of the previous skein... And here's the latest on there:

I've decided I really do love working with a wrist distaff... Makes life somewhat easier. Mind you in this case, I'm stretching out batts in such a way that it winds up becoming roving... But having it wound around the wrist makes life a whole lot easier!

Also, am truly discovering that fiber and prepwork is everything. In the last few days I've also gone back to working on a very lightweight tussah silk (not shown), and it's a joy to work with in roving form... But I need to learn to keep it in one long roving, because the shorter lengths wind up getting flyaway frizzies and don't spin nearly as well.

Next month, the spinning challenge is "Celebrate!" I've already picked up a little bit of fluff from ButterflyGirlDesigns on etsy, plus a new spindle (shhhhh, I didn't say that).

But May is "Irony". It's somewhat ironic that I cannot figure out what would best be an ironic yarn... ;)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Romance is done, on with more Bahama Blues and silk!

"Romance" ("Garnet") is complete!

This is an incredibly soft and puffy yarn... Only 123 yards out of 4 ounces of merino. The last 4oz batch of yarn I did was over 400 yards, so you can see just how much puffier this is!

Ah, softness. ;)

Next month is Celebration! But for the rest of this month, I shall be finishing the Bahama Blues, and working on more of that tussah silk I bought last summer... The Tussah is easier to do at work, the spindle is so tiny! :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Things about the garnet yarn...

So, as I've been discovering, it is very possible to overenergize a single.

I'm also discovering that you can make up for some of that, but not all.

The yarn's a touch on the thicknthin side, but since it's supposed to be for "romance", I think that's fine, because when you're in a romantic relationship, you really should want to be there through thick and thin anyways. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

So the singles are done for "Garnet"!

This set of yarn is going to turn out so much puffier than most of the ones I work with! I changed a bit of how I was grasping the roving, I grabbed it up close to the "neck" rather than further down like I normally would, and got a much puffier single!

I'm definitely getting the hang of the puffy yarn thing... And learning that there *is* a such thing as an overspun single. Most of the stuff that I've worked with in the past has been so thin that the overspinning wasn't really noticeable, and this stuff is thick enough where I really do notice it... But the thicker it is, the more often I have to twirl it, because the spin builds up fast!

I was hoping it'd be a bit more reddish (it's a purple/red combo), but it's getting such a lovely dark amethyst, I think I'll keep it. ;)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

MS Walk: It's National Multiple Sclerosis Week!

... And as you are likely aware, I have MS.

Five years ago, I wrote a post that to me only seems to skim the surface of what this has meant to my life. It was most definitely the awakening of the knowledge that my life was never going to be the same as it was. While I'm usually somewhat vocal about having MS, I don't usually go into details of what that means. It can mean that one day I'll be full of energy, and the next day I'll be dragging on the floor. Today I can be walking perfectly fine, but tomorrow I'll be unable to go 500 feet without a break. It can mean that while I appear to be a perfectly healthy and independent thirtysomething, something lurks beneath that has the potential to incapacitate me, for either short periods or for a lifetime.

More than 15 years ago, I had no idea what MS even was. Most people get it confused with Jerry's Kids, or Lou Gherig's Disease, or any one of a number of other diseases... And while it is in most cases unlikely to end someone's life, it IS something that can have devestating effects on the person's life and independence.

I am one of the lucky ones. Yes, I know I have it, which many people are so misdiagnosed as other diseases that they get incorrect and improper treatment for years before it is finally diagnosed. And while yes, I have it, my symptoms have been few and far between since the life-changing semester of my diagnosis. While I am currently relatively symptom-free, this disease has the potential to turn my life upsidown yet again, as it did years ago, to the point where I lost my independence and could hardly even dress myself, let alone get on with the daily aspects of living. But I am one of the lucky ones. While people are slowly becoming aware of what MS is and does through characterizations such as President Bartlett on the West Wing, there are still so many out there who are unaware, and MS has a tendency to strike those in the prime of their lives... The National Multiple Sclerosis Society depends upon donations from people like you to be able to not only spread awareness of this disease, but to help us come closer to a cure! Thanks to donations in the past, there are not only new medications out that can help, but new upcoming treatments that may cure it, including the use of non-embryonic stem cells to try and reset the system!

As some of you may be aware of, Team Wench is going to be participating in the MS Walk on April 19, in Annapolis, Maryland! Team Wench is a group of strong-minded women (and some men!) who both work and play at renaissance festivals, and friends of those who do. Team Wench has been organizing and participating in charity fundraising events for years! This is actually our ninth year in participating in the MS Walk! As in past years, Team Wench also includes several men who know Wenches who are near and dear to their hearts. Several of our local wenches (including myself) have this potentially debilitating disease, and we're determined to stamp it out!

This year marks fifteen years since my diagnosis… And in commemoration of that date, I'd like to raise at least fifteen times what I raised in my first year of walking in the MS Walk! My first year, I rollerbladed the walk through Liberty State Park, and I raised just over $150. This year, fifteen years later, I'd like to raise more than $2250!

As stated in the MD Chapter webpage:
"Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the nervous system. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe paralysis or loss of vision. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, but the unpredictable physical and emotional effects can be lifelong. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are giving hope to those affected by the disease.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to ending the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis."

Every hour someone is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Please join me in supporting the National MS Society's mission to end the devastating effects of MS. You can support me by making a secure online epledge.

Thank you - together we can make a difference! I want to be able to look at people some day and say "I HAD MS, but not anymore!" I want to know that nobody else will have to go through what it has done to me and so many people I know, or that if it does it won't happen again!

You can donate by credit card on a secure server, directly online!

If you'd like to donate, or if you'd like to join our team, please click here to go to my donations page! Even if you don't live in the area, we have "phantom walkers" who can walk from anywhere in the world, and the fundraising goes directly to the NMSS! If you have any difficulties with the link, there should be one listed at the bottom of this letter.

For more information about this event, please visit the MS Walk in Maryland homepage.

For more information about the National MS Society, please visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society homepage.

If you would like to make a donation via check instead of online, please make the check out to "NMSS". If you need my address, email me!

My thanks to those of you who have already donated to the cause, and thanks in advance to those of you who want to help those who have MS, and help MDRF's Team Wench make this ninth annual event a good one!!!

Thanks for all your support!

Cyd (Top 50 fundraiser, Sole Supporter, Gold Soles walker, and Gold Glider rollerblader since 1994)

P.S. If you would like more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, how proceeds from the walk MS are used, or the other ways you can get involved in the fight against MS, please visit or call 443-641-1200.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And our intrepid spinner changes direction a bit...

Well, not really. I have gotten another large chunk of Bahama Blues done:

It's now waiting for me to do a good wash and whack to it. :)

However the Spanish Peacock recently said something about wrist distaffs for spinning. So, today, I decided to try it. However, I decided to try it with one of the first spinning efforts I ever made:

As you can see from the uneven textures in that second picture, it wasn't what I'd call one of my best efforts (I've gotten better). It was pretty damned good for a first effort, but it's not something I really wanted to knit with, and it really wasn't much. Maybe 70 yards. So, I decided to do something with it: Make a wrist distaff! :)

So the first thing I did was try to stretch out lengths of yarn, so I could twist them together. When I was a kid I used to make bracelets this way, only with shorter lengths of yarn. Best place I had to put this was the bedposts, so I used two knitting needles that I could withdraw easily, tied some string around them and onto the bedposts, and started to wind back and forth:

Then I withdrew the needle on one side of the bed, reinserted it into the loops created, and started to twist the yarn around in one direction over and over and over again until it was twisted so tight it couldn't go anymore, like one would do with a skein:

(pardon the stuff in the hallway, it's laundry day)

I then took the end in my hand, doubled it over to meet the one at the bedpost, and attached the loop in my hand to the bedpost while putting both bedpost loops on the same side:

From the middle, I started letting the end in my hand twist back together:

At this point, I had the equivalent of a skein, about 25 inches long:

I left the original ends of the skein dangling loose so I could tie the ends together later. I then found the center of the skein, and hung it from my wrist by that center. I took some embroidery floss and wound it around the skein at a point where the entire thing could dangle from my wrist, and tied it off:

Then I inserted a chopstick (a knitting needle will do) into the skein in such a way that the two ends of the skein were now dangling, and fastened it back to the bedpost like the original start of the skein had been:

I inserted the two knitting needles into each dangling end of the skein, and twisted it in the opposite direction of the knitting needle, like I was cable plying the yarn. I then allowed the two ends to twist back in the other direction to finish plying it, and tied the ends together:

Then I took more embroidery floss and tied the ends together again just to be sure:

And I am now wearing it with a nice handful of Garnet colored Merino on it for the March Spinning Challenge:

Yeah, every once in a while I need to do something like that. :)

Best part is, because of how I set it up, if I ever want to use the yarn, I just take it apart and use it! :)