Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cold Turkey

Not a whole lot going on here. Yesterda I met up with my friend Veronika, over at River City Yarns. As I was browsing, I came upon some rovings. There was ingeo, soy silk, and bamboo. The bamboo was twice as expensive as the others, so I picked up a bag of soy silk. I also picked up the pattern to Fiddlestick's Lotus Blossum shawl. You can see Stephanie's, and Juno's. I wanted to blend the soy silk with some alpaca, but alas, the soy is too short, and won't blend. I decided to spin a single of alpaca, and one of soy, ply them, and see if I like it. Here's the tofu yarn :

Lately I've been on a real sushi craze. Now, I'm a vegetarian. When I say 'Vegetarian' I mean, no animals. No fish, no chicken, since last time I checked...those were animals too. Also, I have kept fish as pets, and am very fond of chickens, alive. Something that really bothers is me, is people going "Oh, you're a vegetarian, so you eat fish right?". No, kind un-wordly wise person. This New Year's, I was at my Grandmother's, and I told her that since I was a vegetarian, I did not, in fact, eat turkey. She kept saying "mais, c'est une Dinde!" (but, it's a Turkey!). She got herself all worked up over it, but alas, even a hysterical-over-turkey grandmother will not drive me to eat turkey. Anyway, my sushi is vegetarian, is the point of this long rant.

I sent a package off to my secret pal, and I hope she gets it soon. I wonder, if I'm the only one who gets anxious that their pal won't like what is sent, while the package is in transit? I've had many many dealings with the post office lately, and I should have already received 2 packages and as many letters...but alas, Marlaine The Mail Lady is only bringing bills. I give you your gratuitous Tarantula shot :

No, there isn't two tarantulas, that's just Ruby with his shed skin. look close, you can see the fangs. More word on the tofu/alpaca yarn as it progresses, and I'm check my mailbox until 4pm, even though I know that I don't receive mail any time after 12.
Because, you know, if I keep looking, something will appear.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Creepy Crawlies

So, I have come to the conclusion that when people who do Drive-By readings, only ever stop if there's some interesting pictures to be seen. Without further ado, I give you, Still life with tarantula :

And of course, my new English comb, and some alpaca top. And yes, that is a little toy llama, and behind it Is a tarantula butt. Some more tarantula goodness over here:

This little girl is Charlotte, the Brachypelma Albopilosum a.k.a Curlyhair Tarantula.
Up next we have Ruby, or more acurately referred to as Rubius Holyshitthatissbrightus.

He just molted, and indeed, lives up to his name. species is Chromatopelma Cyaneopubescens, a.k.a Greenbottle Blue tarantula.

Ruby is really a skittish little attack machine, and I do not attempt to handle him. Charlotte and Rosa are sweet, and don't mind a little attention though. While I was taking pictures of the furry eight-legged ones, the no-legged one got jealous. Jack Sparrow (who is a female Boa constrictor imperator), and Coda.

The yarn dog was asleep, mumbling something about how he won the tour de france 4 times in a row. I didn't wake him up, as everyone knows you should let sleeping dogs Lie. besides, a little interspecies cooperation never hurt anyone. As I was putting the camera away, I happened to glance over to the other side of the room, and this is what I saw :

Why Melanie, is that your spinning wheel, completely engulfed in alpaca fleece? I think last night, in a fibre-enduced stupor, I took all the alpaca ROUS (rodents of unusual size) of their respective heating vents, and piled them on my wheel. And no, I do not believe it is safe to spin like this, but to tell the truth, I haven't tried. Lady Margret didn't seem to upset about it though. Thinking I was at the end of my photoshoot, I started to put the camera away. Thankfully I pulled it back out to shoot a picture of the rare and reclusive yarn snake, out for a bask in it's natural habitat:

Crikey, but E's a big one ain't he?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blah Blah Blah

I'm not quite sure what to write about today. I barely made sign ups for Sockapaloooza. Yesterday was exceedingly frustrated, and I'm glad I remembered, or there might be broken objects around the house today. Judy from The Knitter has developed tendonitis in her arm, and as such is incapacitated in knitting and ball winding. If any of you have things ordered from Judy (and I know some of you secret pals will be taking advantage of that nice discount) go and wish her well.

She's also behind on several patterns and Zephyr colours, so I will not be knitting the peacock shawl for the olympics. I'll get the Sheep Shawl pattern, and the Pacific Northwest Shawl pattern. Two colours, white and ruby, who knows what will happen? My Indigo Hound Combs from Halcyon Yarn. I'm not too pleased with Halcyon. We requested they ship by UPS, and they did no such thing. When I received my package, it was addressed to "Edmunton" Alberta. They also sent me a Broken comb cover. No, not impressed. I'm about to order a good lot of spinning stuffz, and still don't know where to order from. But it won't be from Halcyon, that's for sure.

anyway, I washed the fleece from a cria named Storm. Every shade of grey imaginable in this little guy. I combed that. And combed it some more. I feel like I've been combing grey alpaca for a year. So, Heartily tired of grey, I switched to some of Fernando's fleece. It makes me weep. Fernando is an amazing boy, bred by TLC alpaca's, he now lives at The Farm At Rainbow's End. And I have his cria fleece. *laughs maniacally*. Long long staple, amazing crimp and luster, and best of all, very soft and gurad-hairless he's part Pure white, and part light brown. Unfortunately, while the base of the white sections are indeed, very white, the middle and tips are....grey. Evil, thy name is Dust! Actually, dust is only a minor annoyance compared to his truly horrible counterpart, Static. I can't do anything, it makes combing, separating fleece, and spinning Impossible. I hate static, aaaargh. As a sidenote, I have the fleeces of both Fernando's parents, Sadie and Checkmate. All lovely.

Here's some more alpaca, but this is from YKnot fibres, down in Fort Mcleod. Dave and Connie Carlson are the people who taught me to spin, back at South Country Fair '04. Seems like forever don't it?

As I'm sure you can all tell by now, I'm quite obsessed with Alpaca. I also have a real soft spot for darker browns, and I'll show you the consequences of that when they arrive.

I've been talking to Jackie over at Wind Dance Alpacas, and wouldn't you know that she has some darker brown male alpacas, not reg'd, but registerable, for sale at 250$? she also has eight cria's on the way, which will be ready to go in eight months-ish. Let's see how fast Melanie can move back to the Kootenays and get a farm?
More to come...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Team Player

I have officially signed up for the Knitting Olympics. I went ahead and put in a big order at The Knitter for 4 shawl patterns, and enough zephyr for all of them. The olympic shawl will be the Peacock Feathers Shawl in Emerald. I also ordered the Sheep Shawl, the Pacific Northwest Shawl, and the Creatures of The Reef shawl. Crossing my fingers, and praying to the knitting goddess that they get here before February 10th.

In other shawl news...Flirty Ruffles has been getting lots of attention, and chart #3 has been completed. Slowly growing. The purl back rows are starting to be very long, and knowing by the end of the shawl they will be more than twice this length frightens me. I also dearly wish the Addi Turbo needles were a bit pointier, it would make everything go so much faster.

I decided to jump on the bandwagon, and cast on for a pair of Jaywalkers. Well...I'm a bit late for the bandwagon, the KAL is almost over...so I suppose I'm walking behind the wagon. The pattern is very simple, very easily memorized, and very addictive. I'm using a Regia yarn that has tried to be two pairs of socks before this, and didn't succeed. It will stay as jaywalkers this time! Pictures of everything to come...when I figure out why iPhoto and Entourage are not cooperating.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

1 Year.

Today marks The 1 year Anniversary for myself and the Boyfriend of Doom. It's amazing how fast 1 year flies by. Sure, the long distance can be tricky at times, especially when you haven't seen your Significant Other for over 4 months, but at least in this relationship, it is entirely worth it. There were minor disagreements. There were major fights. And there were times when he cheered me up as no one else can. Thankyou for a wonderful year Guillaume, and I hope there will be many, many more to come.

Onto some knitting stuff. The Flirty Ruffles Shawl has been tragically ignored. I tried to work a chart section, but only managed 4 rows. I'm now on row 93, 2/3 of the way through chart #3. Yesterday, I also had the chance to go through all my bags of alpaca fibre. I am dearly hoping my Indigo Hound combs get here tomorrow I have A LOT of fibre in the storage space, and there's a move coming up very soon. I'm hoping to get most of it combed and packaged before then.... As you can see, there needs to be some serious action, and soon.

No more progress on the two colour mittens. I'm thinking of ripping them back, spinning some plain white wool, and making three colour socks. We shall see. I joined up for Secret Pal 7 and received my pal. Though I still haven't heard anything from the person who's supposed to be spoiling me. If you're out there mysterious pal, drop a line!

That's about all for now, I have been preparing and spinning some golden coloured alpaca from a cria named Seven (formerly of TLC alpacas) into a laceweight. Debating wether or not to make this into a scarf as a birthday present for an upcoming birthday. I do not like knitting scarves, they are usually long, repetitive and boring...I am adamant about this fact. And yet, I seem to be knitting more scarves than anything else. Sigh.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

This was going to be a good post...

So, while it's been more than a month since I spun the chiengora yarn, I figured I should maybe blog about it one of these days. Coda, The Yarn Dog, is a border collie/ australian shepherd/ afghan hound mix. I've measured some of his hairs to be 11 inches long! He has classic blue merle colouring (when not dyed the colours of the rainbow) and the yarn I spin from his fur is lovely variegated grey.

I didn't have enough of his hair to make 100% dog hair yarn, and still have enough for a hat and mittens. so i spun one fine single of dog hair, and one thicker single of fine white merino. I wasn't sure, at the time, about the Ragg colouring of the yarn, but when knitted up, it's very pretty. The white merino turned out to be the perfect background colour for the ever changing shades of grey.

Of course, as mentioned before, the first mitten had to be completely ripped back because of sizing troubles. So I reknitted it, larger this time, and it worked! Here's what they look like now, after about a month of wear. Well, actually, I was about to show you what they would look like, I went and took pictures of the mittens, and all my spoils from my trip to Quebec. But aparently iPhoto says half the pictures can't be imported because they aren't actually pictures. On top of that, every time I open entourage to configure the pictures, it freezes and quits. I always hated entourage.

So until the computer stops being stupid, you'll have to do with older pictures. Take for example, the story of the horribly inexplicable yarn. I had bought a batt of brownish merino back in august at Birkeland Bros. Wool co. So I decided to spin some up, and see what came of it. Lady Margret, my heretofore trusty Ashford Traveller, hated it. She wouldn't spin the singles evenly, and when I started plying... Well, it seemed she hated it so much, she wouldn't fill the bobbin, So somehow, even though I can usually get about 75 yards of worsted weight on one bobbin....I got 45.

I really can't blame her for it though, as everything about the yarn was weird. The colour is an inexplicable matt brown/grey. I can't decide if it feels soft, or oily, or both. It's utterly indescribeable. So given this, what would anyone do...except go to the corner store, and buy koolaid! I came home, soaked the yarn, and proceeded to dye it with three packets of Cherry. This would have been what I got, but unfortunately, the picture fails to describe exactly how even more inexplicable the yarn was after I dyed it.

The yarn, frankly, frightened me. The colour, and texture, that could never be explained, haunted me at night. It had to leave. But where does one send handspun merino that would be red if it was describeable? There's only one place that would be fitting. Kansas. After all, everyone knows...there's no place like home. Aparently Alyson (the recipient) loves the yarn, and is knitting a scarf out of it. All for the good, I say. She likes it, and it's stopped haunting my dreams. Everyone wins when you send away yarn that scares you. Does anyone know if this would work with children, haircuts, or piles of laundry/dishes?

So in conclusion, this was going to be a great post, with tons of pictures of new yarn...but it isn't. Maybe next time.

Monday, January 09, 2006

SP7 Questionnaire

Here It is, for anyone who needs to know ;)

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? :
An especially snobby yarn snob =P

2. Do you spin? Crochet? :
both, I weave too, and would love to get into dyeing.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? :
So far, a plastic bag...not the best solution, I know.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? :
I learned to knit when I was 4, the again when I was 9, but didn't get into it seriously till about 2 years ago. I would consider myself Advanced Intermediate.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? :
Amazon and Knitpicks

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) :
I'm allergic to artificial scents. I absolutely love Rosemary though.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? :
I pretty much eat only dark organic chocolate, as i'm not much of a candy person. I also dislike any combination of mint and chocolate, or milk chocolate.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? :
Let's see...Cooking (vegetarian), Cleaning, Gardening. Of course spinning, Knitting, Crochet, and Weaving.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) :
I usually like folk music, and some alternative bands like They Might Be Giants, Moxie Fruvous, or Cowboys Fringants. Not at all a fan of popular music though.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? :
I love green. When it comes to natural fibre animal colours...The really dark reddish browns are by far my favorite. I generally like blue, and autumn colours. I don't wear either purple or pink.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? :
I have a Horse, a Yarn Dog, 3 Tarantulas, A bearded Dragon, and a Columbian Red Tail Boa. No children, Long term boyfriend.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? :
Yup, mostly the first three though, Love shawls.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? :
I love knitting with my own handspun. Jaeggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk is pretty nice too.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? :
All things Fake, and coarse mohair, not too fond of coarse superwash merino either.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?:
Shawls, and more shawls. Had a bit of a sock and mitten faze, and I suspect they'll come back. I seem to be knitting many scarves lately, but I find them long and boring.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?:
I like mittens, they take little yarn, and go quickly. I find lace shawls to be a lot of fun.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Alpaca Scarf, Flirty Ruffles Shawl, With plans for the Garden Shawl (fiddlesticks knitting) In the Ocean colourway...if I ever manage to buy any of the yarn...

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? :
Yup, if they're well made.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?:
I love knitting in the round, because there are no purl back rows, and you can just go round and round and round, but I usually use dpn's for that. Straight or circ...depends on what's right for the project.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?:
usually use aluminum, some plastic ones are okay I suppose, never had the chance to try bamboo.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?:
I wish I did, and I desperately need a swift, a ball winder, and a niddy noddy.

22. How did you learn to knit?:
first one grandmother, then the other.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?:
About 3 years, it's an acrylic sunflower granny square afghan....from earlier times...

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?:
I always liked Quetzel Birds, and I love Horses.

25. What is your favorite holiday?:
Good Old Canadian Thanksgiving. No present pressure, which can lead to severe PHKS (Post Holiday Knitting Syndrome) And lots of good food and company.

26. Is there anything that you collect?:
heh...animal hair, and fibre books seem to be fairly common around here.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?:
so far none, I buy IK, Spin Off, and VK if i like the issue.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?:
The Flower Basket Shawl!!!! and the pattern for Birch! I can't pick them up anywhere, they're Always out. I Covet Lorna's Laces in the Daffodil colourway. Also some of that newly notorious Socks That Rock stuff. For Spinning...some Suri Alpaca, Qiviut, Icelandic sheep's fleece.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?:
Hmm, I should learn entrelac, and I'd love to get into Fair isle and Intarsia knitting.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? :
I am a sock knitter, but can't recall my foot measurements at the moment.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
April 7th