Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered—”Snow.”
~ Rachel Lyman Field

Something might have told the wild geese but they didn't tell me. I drove into town and was surprised by how busy the stores were. I asked a clerk what was going on and I was told it was going to snow.

I finished my errands and started home. The ice was forming on the river because it was so cold. It would be nice to have some snow to go along with that cold. And within 10 minutes of arriving home, it started to snow. By the time the kids got home from school the ground was covered. They had snowball fights on the walk home. Homework was put aside until later as this was the first "snow" we have had, every other time was just a dusting. Out came the snowboards and sleds and they were gone. The snow continued into the night. The kids went to bed with visions of no school the next day. Last week we had a dusting and they had a two hour delay so they just knew they would awaken to the TV saying school was closed. Little man thought it would be a wonderful birthday present. But alas, the morning arrived and the kids went off to school. Ever so slowly they drug their feet down to the main road to the school bus. Happy Birthday Little Man I wish there more snow so you didn't have to go.

Monday, January 29, 2007

To Err is human

The saying goes....To err is human, to repent divine; to persist devilish ~ Benjamin Franklin And how does that pertain to knitting you might ask? I will tell you how.

I taught myself to knit. The book I had showed the English, throwing method of knitting. I had to knit with the yarn held in my left hand (aka Continental knitting,German-Style Knitting, left-hand knitting or European knitting) I knit this way as it was easier for me because I was use to holding the yarn that way while crocheting.

Moving on…when I knit in stockinette stitch the fabric veers off to the right. I was at spinning group and asked about it and was told I was probably twisting stitches. I decided it didn’t matter because I could block it out. The infamous… "You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink" ~ Dorothy Parker

Today I was reading The Knitting Answer Book and got to the part about twisted stitches. It read “If you knit with the yarn in your left hand, you may be bringing the right needle up under the yarn (instead of over it) to form a knit stitch …”

So I went and got my knitting and knit a stitch. Yes I am that dense that I have to have it in front of me to know how I do it. Anyhow, I put my needle thru the stitch and went under the yarn, lifted the tip of the needle up and over and pulled it thru. I went on the internet and watched not one but two videos which confirmed I was doing it wrong. See how it slants to the right? I was going to dismiss this again because how much of a difference could it really make. But then I figured for shits and giggles I would give it a try and see. I sat back down and tried it the right way and it wasn’t that hard to get in the hang of doing it the right way so I kept on. Well what a HUGE difference it made. The man even noticed the difference and that in its self is HUGE! The bottom 1/2 I knit the old, wrong way and the top is done the right way. The stitches on top also lay flat while on the bottom the one side is higher than the other. I still have to work on the tension thing a little but it still looks better.
Excuse the yarn…I spin the same way I knit, slightly avant garde…I guess I have to work on that also.

"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing" ~ John Powell

I did learn that I should have tried doing it right when they told me a year ago what was wrong. I did learn how to do it the right way and will continue in this manner since it looks a thousand times better.

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing".~ George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, January 27, 2007

To Knit a stocking..

When I first started knitting socks, about two years ago, I found a poem on line for knitting Victorian stockings. I printed it out and put it away to do later. Fast forward to Wednesday, when a package arrived at my mothers from my sister. The package was full of books for my mother, stuff for my daughter to use in college and there was a SnB page-a-day calendar for me. Thursdays page read…”Victorian knitters were so into making stockings, they even wrote a cute rhyme about it: To knit a stocking, needles four, Cast on three needles, and no more, Each needle stitches eight and twenty, Then one for seam stitch will be plenty.”

Since I was almost done with a project and remembering that I wanted to do that stocking I went searching for the rest of the poem. The whole thing can be found here… When I started this I wasn’t home and only had #5 needles and some white with black Shetland yarn I had spun. It does not tell you what size needles or yarn but I am sure I am using the wrong ones! The Ladies Useful Stockings in Knitting Vintage Socks uses a #1 needle. So far I am at the first decrease. It is going to be big. I have thought of making the stocking shorter by decreasing more frequently but have decided to keep to the original pattern. I have tried finding where people have knit this to no avail. I will use it as a Christmas stocking if I can, which would make one thing done for the Holiday Headstart.

In other fiber news, I have finished the baby sweater, another stranded hat (The Fake Isle in which I added some stitches into chart 2)and the socks on two circs. I don’t like the sweater (my own put together pattern) and I think that knitting on two circs takes just as much maneuvering as dpn’s. The only plus side of knitting on the circs is that both socks get done at the same time but I could have knit two socks faster on dpn’s. With more practice I may get better but I think I am just going to stick to the dpn's. Why mess with perfection or at least something I am more comfortable with.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fiber Geek Questionnaire

The January/February issue of Fiber Femmes Magazine had a Fiber Geek Questionnaire to fill out and post. It has taken me a while but I finally got it done this AM...

1. Do you raise fiber, animals or plant, or are a fiber user only? I have animals
If you raise animals/plants...what do you raise? I have an angora goat, two Finn and one Romanov sheep. I would like to grow cotton this year if time/weather allows.

2. What's your favorite fiber & why? Don’t have a favorite but I have spun Cormo and Shetland the most.

Which fiber do you like the least & why? I haven’t met a fiber I didn’t like but I have only been spinning for 2 1/2 years and I haven’t tried them all yet!

3. What's your worst habit relating to your fiber? I rush things to much. I don’t learn how each fiber should be spun, I just start spinning therefore I don’t do the fiber justice. And even though I know this I have to feel it flow instead of researching it. I am bad.

4. In what ways does your fiber habit make you a better person? I am calmer but I also tend to zone out and not hear people, which irritates certain members of the family.

5. How would your life be different if you had to give up fiber? I would have more room and money for one. I think I would have gone back to smoking as fiber keeps my hands busy. I wouldn't have the animals and I wouldn't have met some of the people I have met both of which have enriched my life.

6. What tools, yarns, books or gadgets can't you live without? Oddly enough I would have to say the internet. I live in a fairly remote area. There is a world of information, patterns and fellow addicts out there no matter what time of the day or night. The access to different fibers not produced in your area, patterns and techniques for knitting that I have never seen or heard of, and the blogs/KAL's with photo's to egg you on to becoming better at what you do is astounding.

7. What was your first fiber project? When I was small I learned to crochet by making a doily. The first thing I made with my own homespun was a shawl on the triloom. The first knit project was a scarf.

8. Do you have any fiber mentors? Yes

Who are they and why? Cyndy from I have learned to not say “I would never do that” in front of her. She has answered all my questions~ so many that if she had caller id she pry wouldn’t answer her phone when I called! She got me weaving on the tri, watching the group spin made me want to spin and I loved a pair of mittens she made so had to learn to knit. From Grace I got two beautiful finn sheep along with advice on how to raise them and some gorgeous wood products her husband made. She fearlessly starts these projects and makes it sound so easy that you have to try them. This has expanded my knitting greatly.

9. Are you a member of any guilds? No guild but a group

If so, which one(s)? A couple of us get together at the local library once a week to spin and show and tell.

10. What's the most exciting fiber project you've undertaken? Spinning my own wool was pretty cool. I literally took it from start to finish there. In knitting I would have to say the Wee Aran Knit On most things I do, if someone says it is nice, I would just thank them. With this project it was “yeah it IS gorgeous isn’t it!” I love it and packed it away for future grandchildren. Hopefully moths won’t get to it before I get any.

11. How many people have you mentored? A couple

In which fiber arts? I am trying to teach my children how to spin. My son has better coordination but his sister wants to learn more than he does. I taught the local boy and girl scout troops how to weave on the triloom and last week I helped each girl scout learn to knit a square for Warm Up America.

12. Do you consider fiber crafts to be functional or artistic? Both A hat, mittens, sweater can be functional but artistic at the same time.

13. What, mainly, do you make? Shawls on the triloom, and I knit hats, mittens, socks and baby sweaters. I crochet afghans.

Do you keep, or give away, most of your projects? I give them away.

14. Are fiber crafts an avocation or vocation for you? It is an avocation now but I wouldn’t mind it turning into a vocation

15. How many people are you committed to being a mentor for in 2007? As many as will listen to me go on and on about the smell of fiber, the feel of fiber, the cute fiber animals, walking around in hand knit socks etc etc etc

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Cold of Winter

...Please, Late Winter,
Arrive, we're waiting,
So real Winter can begin,
At full speed, steaming ahead,
Faster than the world can take it,
Late Winter... arrive...
~Viraj Bhanshaly

The cold of winter seems to have come as it was only 9.5 degrees at 7 AM this morning. We have yet to see any snow accumulation and the kids want to go sleigh riding and have snowball fights…and a snowday! I am NOT complaining as I have rather enjoyed the warmer temps.

I plan to stay inside today and try to finish the baby sweater I am knitting. I have been spinning a lot lately. Last night I found the Woolee Winder fits better on the Traveler than on the Traditional. Because of the size of our living quarters while building the house, I kept the Traditional out thinking if it got bumped into it is the older of the two and I wouldn’t get as upset but now the Traditional will be going into storage so I can take full advantage of the Winder. I finished the Corriedale and got 234 yards. Then I started spinning up the rest of the Mohair/BL blend. I just plied that and got 433 yards. I have enough roving of that blend to make an additional 400 – 500 yards. I might try some dyeing today if time allows. I really want to do some more stranded knitting and I have been looking at patterns which will work with the Stranded KAL and the Holiday Headstart KAL. I am thinking stockings might fit that bill. I bought a flyer at a yard sale two years ago. It had knit stockings and I said I would make one for everyone but had to learn to knit socks first and do more than one color. Well the stockings are intarsia and I don’t like that so I am looking more toward the one that was in Spin Off or just winging it. I have a Christmas card hanging on my bulletin board as a reminder that these have to get done this year.

The man decided he would only shave when I have a FO and he is looking pretty scraggly and feeling more and more like a porcupine so I guess I better finish the baby sweater first.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Unbelievable Weather

These are not pictures from February 23rd, 2006... I took these this AM. We have had no snow other than two dustings that melted as soon as the sun came out and it was 5o's today. But the calender says it is January so I intend to stay in the house and fiber away.

The SnowDrops

The Bleeding Heart


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Starting out in the new year

Last night was the Full Wolf Moon and it is called this because the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Nothing was howling last night and I doubt the wolves are hungry this year because it has been so mild. I think I heard December was one of the 5th warmest in history.

I started out the new year with what I thought was a cold and now I think it is turning into a sinus infection and I will have to give in and go to the doctors. Not an auspicious beginning.

On the upside of being sick I have time to try new things. I started socks on two circs using the instructions here…
Sticking with the resolution, I have also started working on a rug using two strands of yarn, one the Lincoln I spun last year and the other the left over pieces of homespun. I am crocheting it in an oval shape. This will be an on going project when I have pieces left over. My daughter says it is ugly but I love it. She said to make sure to put it in front of the fireplace so a hot ash will get on it. She is so cruel.

And I tried to handpaint some yarn I had spun. It came out okay. I need to buy dyes and have a day of it. I have also been washing small batches of the fleeces I have. I know a guy who gives me all of his fleece for free. The bad part is that you don't know what kind of sheep they came from. He buys and sells sheep so his stock is always changing. I started working on the brown fleeces first. So far one is 4-5 inches long with no crimp and coarse while the other is only 1 1/2 inches soft with lots of crimp. I don't mind the washing or spinning but I don't like to card...we might have to send some out, after all that is not part of the resolution!

Since blogger is being so nice as to let me post a picture, this is a pic of what I finished from Christmas to New Year's Eve.