Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Doctor Worm, and some pigtails.

I couldn't even get a picture of Maggie's cake before she and her BFF had a piece. Hannah Montana of course. It was a snowy day and we were afraid that nobody would come but there were so many people and Maggie was quite wound up. There were gifts galore and she's still on cloud nine about them all. But there's a sleepover on Saturday night with her BFF after we go to - now don't be jealous - High School Musical ON ICE! No I couldn't afford tickets for all of you. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures. Anyhoo, she got some Hannah Montana pajamas from Michelle Who Spins and she's saving them for the sleepover. There were also lots of balls of wool from Michelle With the Rabbits and 7 chocolate bars from Chelsea's BFF Katy.
This is the beautiful Chelsea. And you can see in this picture how wound up Maggie was all night. She's trying on her new jammies.
Well, I was doing a bit of spinning. This is a medium wool dyed by Michelle and called "Beth's Aura". It's a little chunky at 7WPI and Navajo plyed. Please ignore the pigtails on the bobbin. I'm working on that. I love this yarn but don't usually knit with something this thick so I'm in the process of looking for a project. I'm not sure a fluffy girl like me should be completely encased in this fluffy yarn. Maybe a vest?
Today I set Maggie loose with the Ashford carder and here is her art work. She was using the floor sweepings from classes and spinning get togethers. She already sold 2 of them today.
Here's the happy carding girl at work being 7 years and one day old!

Alright I have to go choose my chocolate and knit a couple of rows on the sock!
In the meantime here's a happy song.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


So there was no chocolate yesterday. I was exhausted after the shop and not feeling well and running to my local favorite sheep guy's farm. Before I get into that I'll tell you about today's chocolate of choice.
Almond Praline Raindrop. Yummy.
Even pretty inside. Seriously it takes me like 15 minutes to choose which chocolate to have and there's a whole process of elimination. I generally eat the milk chocolates first and there are still plenty of those to go.
Remember this beautiful guy from Rhinebeck? Well, he was a champion and I had reserved his fleece and we were finally able to get together so I could pick it up. Also, I am a sucker for the Wensleydale so I not only bought this beauty I also got two whites. One was a yearling and one is a first clip. While I was there I also may have gotten a jacob with the most beautiful Jacob crimp i've ever seen as well as the BFL that....well, let's just say it will be hard not to hide it in the closet for my own use. (Don;t ask when that will be:-)

Anyway, none of these fleeces will be on display immediately because there will be a last year's fleeces sale in March so there can be room for the new clips this spring. Details on the sale will be coming this week.
O.K. here's the sock progress. Two socks on one circular. Not going to happen. Too tangly and too much scooting things out of the way. Big thumbs down for me.
I had cast on two socks on two circulars but I was doing it from both ends of this ball and that was not going to be pretty so I'm down to one sock on 2 circulars and you kow, I may like this. As youc an see I'm using one Holz and Stein and one Addi Turbo so I could tell the needles apart until I get used to this but it ain't bad. So I will continue and this may be the secret for me. yay!!!!

K. Lou's home. Gotta go.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lovely Gifts

So this is the chocolate for today. it was just a plain milk chocolate wrapped in gold foil. Course it's not very plain if it's Godiva, right? I know that my pictures have been a little yellow looking lately but I feel crappy and I'm in bed and it's dark outside soooo....yellow lamp light.
Here's a really bad picture of my really lovely birthday presents. I felt very special on Tuesday night. I was beginning to feel sick and Lou had gone to Delaware and then come these darling girls with presents for me. I don;t know why they think of me but I feel so lucky and special that they do. There are earrings and handmade soaps and soft yarn and lotions and love - and a red velvet cake that is all gone.
Even a lovely plant that I plan on trying to keep alive for as long as possible. It's not my specialty but I plan to try.

Thank you so much Michelle and Rita and Mary and Michelle and Tricia and Michelle and Sarah and Spence and Cindy and Chelsea and Abby and Abby's sister-who-I-can't-remember-her-name-right-now. You all made my 30-13th birthday feel very special.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brain Cramps

Today I've got nothing but chocolate. Whole Almond Praline covered in milk chocolate. Pretty good.
I usually eat all of the milk chocolate and white chocolate ones first and leave the darks for last - they're the favorites.

Well, I do have one thing. I've been sitting in my bed most of the day. I feel like crap. Sore throat. Stuffy nose. So I was thinking to myself the other day - and also out loud to others - why is it that other people can whip out the socks and it takes me MONTHS to knit one sock for crying out loud. I like socks. I wear socks. Socks are good and warm and especially the hand knit ones. I think it comes down to one thing. Needles. I've tried dozens of needles. All kinds of wood. I've bought the fabulous rosewood double points from Lantern Moon that I paid a ton of money for - in comparison to other DP needles. They broke in my bag after t days. So I went to the ebony's. They broke in my hands. Several brands of Bamboo which I used until they were bent into a boomerang shape. And birch...fagetaboutit. Currently I've got nickel plated addis. I kind of like them but they are heavy and too long.

In addition to all of this there's the second sock syndrome. After 3 or more months of working on one sock I am loath to start the next one.

So I think my solution is 2 socks on 2 circulars (cause I've tried the Magic loop and it made me crazy). I went to knitty for help and found these Straight Laced Socks by Jannane Hassler. I like the design of the socks and the techniques is described from casting on all the way through but....I am sick and can't concentrate on a new thing so I have them cast on and one row on one needle done and I can't seem to make myself understand the next step. I might be better off trying to figure out the mobius cast on by myself.

Ha! Maybe tomorrow. Where's my spindle?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The chocolate of the day is Cinnamon Blush. Milk Chocolate Ganache infused with cinnamon.
Covered in Milk Chocolate. MMMMMMMMM........
So you're upset I'm not sharing? Well, I don't even share with Lou and he's the one who buys these for me. But here's some yarn to take your mind off of it. Four ounces of 2 ply Louet Northern Lights. Spun by Maggie. Did I mention she'll be 7 next week? She'll be bypassing me any day now in her spinning skill.
Here's an up close. This is probably a very fine sock weight to a nice laceweight. In this 4 ounces there are approximately 300 yards. Very nice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chocolate of the Day

Smooth Coconut Truffle in a milk chocolate shell.
I have a way of going through my Godiva box every year. I start with the ones I think I will like least. Coconut has never been my favorite and I enjoy dark chocolate most so first go the fillings I like least and then I choose by dark or light. This will explain my choice for tonight.

It was still very yummy.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I have a huge amount to talk about. Days go by and I keep collecting things to write and then days go by....
So here's Ryan riding the zamboni at the Michigan game on Saturday night. I wasn't there cause I was having a fantastic time with the spinninguru instead.
He wasn't even afraid! So cute.
But here's what I did on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. That's PatsyZ with Cindy. I forget what they're talking about but I'm sure it was highly informative and spinning life changing because that's what the weekend was for me.
Here's a really dark picture of some enthralled students. (Michelle, Tanya, and Amanda). I think we all looked like that a lot of the time. Isn't Amanda's wheel cute in green?
We did all sorts of yarns and talked and talked about sampling and the importance of it to the outcome of a project.
This is Patsy modeling her beautiful crocheted jacket/shawl/poncho/veil. It's handspun from pygora.
Here we are hard at work.... Look at that wall of beautiful color!
A little Camel beard anyone?
And here they are on Sunday morning before the ride to the airport. Fun with blocks.
My best Navajo Plying EVER!!!!!!!!
These are Maggie's samples from the second half of Saturday's class. It still had a couple of spots left and I told Maggie she could come and Patsy was kind enough to allow it. From left to right she's got yak, cashmere, buffalo, camel blended with pink wool, and two colors of angora that she carded herself. I am so proud of her.

Overall it was fantastic and tiring and gave me lots and lots of new stuff to mull and think and study about. I don't have a photo of my samples other than the Navajo one but if you're interested I'll post them in the next couple of days.
In other news...the Tabachek spindles and tools are in. They are fab and I want them all for myself. In the above picture the spindles in the back are Tibetan style and spin forever. They are beautiful and I want that purpleheart one.
The ones in the front are the Russian ones. So well balanced and lovely. Not at all polished so you can get a hold of it and give it a good flick. They also spin fast and long. I'm working on getting everything to work together. At the moment I have the steps broken down and I draft and spin separately.
Just two of the high whorl spindles. Again, all are well balanced and the wood is beautiful. I didn't keep one because my favorite went out the door the first day:-( Better for the shop budget though.)
Orifice hooks and WPI gauges.
Sample Niddies. I also got some of the 5 foot niddies in the bags. I may have to have one of those, too:-)
Ann Grout support spindles also showed up last week. Six turnips and six acorns. I own an acorn and love the thing. It's very light and can spin the finest of froghairs. The Turnips are still witing for me to choose one. I don't know. The red one is beautiful but there were a couple I liked better for the spin but the color wasn't my favorite and now I'm down by two of them anyway. I'd better place another order immediately.
Beauty shot of the turnips.
And the acorns.
And Valentine's day came and I got the traditional large Godiva heart. This ear it is made of suede and silk ribon and satin. Beautiful. I get this every year for the last 5 or 6 years. I keep the hearts and get them all out a t Valentine's day to put stuff in.
I can make one of these babies last for up to 6 weeks and I think for the next little while we will have a picture of the chocolate of the day.

I didn't eat one today and yesterday was the first one I had so there is only one missing - white chocolate ganache. I won't have one today because tomorrow is my birthday and tonight we went to Gauchos to celebrate and I ate way too much plus had the chocolate lava cake. mmmm

So tomorrow night is my birthday party at the shop so if you are nearby please stop in and have some cake and tea and chocolate.
See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wool Huffing

I’ve been feeling a little urgency to talk about a terrible disease that is sweeping the nation. Maybe it’s more than a disease. An epidemic. It happens in secret silence. It’s wreaking havoc throughout the fiber land. This emergency is Wool Huffing.

It starts out innocently enough. You’re a new spinner thinking about possibly working with your first raw fleece. Your pusher – who you consider a friend – places the beautiful locks under your nose and asks you to breath in. A beautiful scent reaches out to you. Wool is lovely. Wool is your friend. Soon your are placing your entire face into the locks of joy…but only in private moments. You can’t seem to get close enough. That beautiful sheepy smell. The feel of the lanolin filled locks on your cheeks.

All would be o.k. if you could just keep it to yourself you think. But no. Within weeks you are drawing others in. You become the pusher.

I know all of these things from my own personal experience. I have become a pusher. Things got so far advanced that I began playing games with myself. I would try to identify the breeds of sheep by their smell alone while I was blindfolded. If there were cameras in the shop they would have exposed me, nervously turning my head toward the shop door, worried that someone would catch me with my blindfold on with shaking hands and bated breath.

It got to the point where I was dreaming of the sheep’s wool. It even got so bad that I dreamed about … o.k. nobody faint…spinning in the grease. That’s when I knew I had to come out into the open and share my problem with the world.

I often host sleepovers in my shop. These sleepovers can be quite raucous and that’s where I first began sharing my addiction with the public – even those who do not spin. I have been known to stand directly over a person who is fast asleep in front of the Wall O’Fleece to get a sniff for myself and share that pleasure with anyone within arms length.

So, that is why I’m writing today. My goal in sharing this is not to scare those of you who have not been affected but to give hope to those who are in the same situation as I was. This is not an epidemic of dire proportions. It can be turned into a sunny part of your life. Sniff the wool, breath in deep. Change the secret guiltiness into something of a remedy for your tired, yearning spirit.

I am no longer ashamed. I sniff in public. I recently asked a Michigan State Representative to take part in the huffing. He was first taken aback but then that was changed when I showed him how and he saw the intense pleasure of the activity fill my eyes and therefore my soul. I can now say with pride that I am a wool huffer and also a wool pusher. Say it loud!

Wool Huffers of the world UNITE!

Friday, February 08, 2008


So Tuesday was our first birthday party of the month - meaning me and Maggie. We're having birthday parties every Tuesday night. So there will be cake and other snacks every Tuesday as well as hourly drawings.
We had pizza on tuesday and also cupcakes because they go with cake - right? There's also a contest this month. I give the contestants 1 ounce of wool and they try to spin it into the longest single thread that they can. So I handed out some wool on Tuesday and will hand out more this week if more people want to play. The prize is a spinning loft bag stuffed with more wool:-) Cause I have some wool at the shop. I guess I can't play, but I want to.
The swatching for the Faina design exersize has commenced. The above sample is Karabella Breeze swatched on size 4 and 5 needles. You can tell by the purl bumps.
This is Louet Gems Opal swatched on size 4,3,2,1,and 0 needles.
This is the Breeze after washing and blocking. It stretched wider and not longer. I think this yarn might be good for that free one Berroco has right now - Montparnasse - I don't know. But I do know it won't work for a sweater where I want the lace patterns to stay open. I also want this to be a sweater with some lovely waist shaping so as to draw attention away from my very wide buttocks. Again, this is probably not that yarn as the stretching happened side to side. Hmmmm.
This is the Louet Gems. I like the fabric best on the size 0 and 1 needles. After washing and light blocking it shrunk a little width wise but the row counts all stayed the same. I think the fabric on the size 1 needles would be great for a sweater and the size 0 fabric would be fantastic for socks.
This is a closeup of the fabric knitted on size 0 needles after washing. Pretty.
Now I need a swatch with a couple of lace patterns cause I know that will be the next question.


So Abby mentioned a Zombie Apocalypse. I had no idea what she meant so I went looking. Looks like I will likely die during ot so if you need any food come to my house.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My Day Was Made

So, the Okemos Lace Knitting group met again last night. I couldn't make the January meeting because - well, you know - I was at DISNEY WORLD! Now I'm back and so the Laceknitting group is the next best thing to Mickey Mouse:-)

This shawl is another Sharon Winsauer creation knit from Alpaca With A Twist Fino. I think it's the snowflake shawl but I didn't write the name down. That's Sharon behind the shawl. I love the shape of it and I love the lack of the toilet water skimming point. Not that I don't like the pointy shawls but this shape is so practical for every day, including the bathroom when you forget to remove your shawl.
Here's a close up of the center of the shawl. There was some talk last night about angles and stuff but I was too busy wiping drool to listen to Sharon's AHA moment with the angles. Email her. I'm sure she'll be happy to fill you in on her moment.
This is a shawl in progress by Faina Letouchia. She's dedicating it to a mutual friend of ours. It's knit from handspun alpaca and is just beautiful. What doesn't show up are all of the beautiful nupps. The shaping is going to be very nice and it should be a comfortable shawl to wear.
Here's the border. I think all Faina decided last night was that it needed to be blocked a little harder to open it up more. It is so soft and lovely.
Then we talked about a design project. Faina has designed 3 sweaters. Last night she had the swatches and the drawings. Now as a group we will come up with yarn and we will knit these sweaters from her drawings. I am so excited about this opportunity because, as I was telling the girls last night, I have a couple of sweater ideas swimming around but I'm not sure where to begin. So with this excersize I will be able to work with two of the best designers I know - Faina and Sharon - to end up with a sweater. I will see what the whole design process is like and then maybe will have the courage to move forward with my own ideas.
The above swatch is for a man's gansy with a worsted weight yarn. The sweater I'm interested in pursuing is a matching woman's sweater with a finer yarn using the same lace stitches but with a more open look.
And, I got anew shawl last night. handspun and knit by Faina. It is a lovely everyday shawl. It is spun from kid mohair and plied with silk.
Here's a blurry closeup shot. I will be wearing this everyday at the shop - o.k. not in the summer.
The next thing has to do with Ryan. Check out his arm.
Closeup of the arm. See that? It's a list from the babysitter. Things that Ryan asks for every day. 1. Chocolate Milk 2. Gum with a little smiley face. I think I highly recommend this method of list making. I think I may adopt it for all of my list making needs. Could get cold for Ryan in the frozen section of the grocery store but, you know, I think it's really better for the environment in the long run. Trees will be saved!!!!

And now for the Make My Day. Ellen from the world famous Sheepwreck blog pointed to me as one blogger who makes her day. I have been reading her blog somewhat regularly for a while but I'm not a huge blog commenter because I don't often feel like I have a huge amount to add to the conversation. "hey, that looks great" gets a little old. So when she found me through Abby i was quite a little giggly. I often feel like I am just this round red haired girl having a shop and writing a blog and kind of anonymous. Then people, who I admire, find me and it makes me...giggly. So now I have to name 10 bloggers who make my day - out of the way too many that I read. It's kind of hard to narrow it down. So here's my try:

Erika She gives me a little guilt about my non cleaning but also some great history and food for thought.
Shannah Well, what can I say about the Okitten. She's darling and even in her down times I feel good around her.

Kate Has the degree I wish I would have been smart enough to pursue and again lots of stuff to look at and think about in her blog.

Abby O.K. lots of people are choosing Abby but I can't help it. She makes me feel like I can actually do this and be successful. Always encouraging and though she is so talented she's one of the most regular girls I've ever met.

Jenny Plenty to practice and think about and again always encouraging when you have questions.

Tammy My sister. Crazy and funny and quite outspoken.

Donna - Spinning Day Dreams - She's always got something inspiring on the wheel.

Michelle - Maddiwood Farms - She doesn't update her blog nearly enough but she does come to the shop a lot. Always quick to be helpful and she does make my day happier when she's around.

Lee - Baabins - She is a beautiful writer, spinner and photographer as well as a lovely person.

Carla - Siege - Holy crap. I loved Carla from the day we met and I'm not sure if it's mutual but she has the most lovely smile.

Jillian - KnittingFrau - all I can say is moist - and you know what I mean Jillian. She can make me spit stuff out my nose.

Brittney The oldest daughter. Away to London for a semester. I worry and then wait for blog updates.

Michelle - Again needs to update more often but she's quite lovely and calming and makes me feel like a success

I have to stop because I'm already way past 10. So there you are with those off the top of my head but there are many more - oh yeah, Ask The Bellwether, Farm Witch, .....