Thursday, 28 June 2007

Raspberry Twist

Here it is! The much talked about first skein of Sharon's
homespun/ spindlespun yarn. The first/top picture is one side ( A) and then the next pic is the other side (B)- so you can see both sides of the twisted skein.

Side "B"

Here is a close up of the twisted skein-

and will add one of the skein all undone so you can see how uneven ( thick and thin) the yarn is- but remember - this is my first one! ;)

Decided to add two. :)

I'm now carding that fawn alpaca I spoke of- will spin it next- will be awhile 'til there will be photos of that.
Spinning is an amazing thing- to take 'fluff' from a sheep ( or some other animal- and there are lots - with the appropriate kind of fur/fleece) and end up with this! I am so thankful to Yarn Magazine
for having it in issue#6 and inspiring me to try the drop spindle. BTW- the new issue #7 is out- if you are in Australia and reading this- go buy it! Support our locals! ( Yarn is based out of Adelaide/ near Adelaide- cool huh!?!) If you are not in Australia- see if you can get it imported to your local bookstore or something! We want it to be around a LONG time! :) This is not just another knitting magazine- this magazine has personality!
Thanks for looking and reading.

Hope you are well.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Promised Pics

Good Morning! As promised here are more pics...

Above is the poncho, need to wash and block it still- and the other is a close up of the fabric.

Was going to add on a few more pics of the raspberry merino singles- but didn't like how they looked on here and I reckon you are sick of looking at them anyway. One of those deals where it looks better 'in person'. I *will* post a picture of the finished skein though.

Thanks for looking.

Hope all is well.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Bit the Bullet

Well- i did it... I bit the proverbial bullet and did it- I plied my singles together. OM! It took much longer than I thought it would.....first time I have done the singles together...... and I had more meters/yards on there than I thought! It worked out in the end that I had spun only about 20 m more on one ball than the other- and that was all done by guesstimation- no pre-weighing (which I WILL do in the future ). But I just took that extra and plied it upon itself (with help from DH). Note to self: in future be sure to wind off the spindle into rounder balls. Either I wasn't winding them right onto the spindle or I am just still too inept- but the last 20m or so of plying was a nightmare!!!!!!! It was coming unspun (z-twist) before I could (s-twist) ply the blobs that were remaining. There has to be a better way........ I will figure it out or else learn to ply on the spinning wheel- as that was very time consuming. I didnt' measure it yet- but have wound it on/off the niddynoddy and have it neatly tied and ready to 'wash' and set the twist on it. I am almost as nervous about that as the plying. I have taken much better photos today of both the singles and my poncho so will post those tomorrow. It's after 11 pm- watched (an Australian tv Drama about Drs/hospital) "All Saints" tonight. Don't watch much tv- but this one we both enjoy- except i am mad at them for killing off the ONE person on the show with the most lovely accent ( English/UK)- Sean Everliegh- can't think of his real name right now- but will look it up and add it in later(added later: Chris Vance).... handsome and everything he was! Got hit by a car! Man! These things are not supposed to happen! OK ok- off my tv soapbox now! lol
Here is a pic of Chris from the "All Saints" cast page. By the way- he is quite a good actor too! :)

I recvd. some LOVELY med. fawn alpaca fleece from Tasmania today- all I opened and felt was the neck fleece and oooooohhhhhh - i just loooooooove alpaca. I even sat and carded some- it is quite short-most of it.... so it might be a challenge to spin but I am going to anyway. I love it. ( Have I maybe mentioned it before- how much I love Alpaca fleece?? ;) )
That will be my next thing to try now- spinning some more alpaca. I did do some black awhile ago and even plied it with thread ( thanks again for the encouragement Mandie) - but haven't washed it or even really looked hard at it to see if i think it is a sound yarn. (Mental games we play with ourselves.........very sad! lol) It doesn't look too bad from what I have seen from others with plied w/thread yarns. But am unsure I spun tightly enough to begin with........ so once it is washed and dried I will give it a good tugging so make sure it is sound. I can see a future in this making yarn thing......... I really *do* like it.
I am (terrible to admit) proud of myself with this raspberry merino and how well it turned out for me. We'll see once it's all ready to work with how proud i really am though- as it is a chunky yarn and I know there are places it is too loosely spun....but for a first- it was really neat to sit on the couch tonight and look at it and know I MADE THIS. Well- me and the sheep and whomever dyed the wool....and made the spindle......and......and....... LOL! You knew what I meant- didn't you?? :)

Hope all is well.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Berry Blurry

I am not happy with my pictures that I took this evening. This camera has really started behaving badly. It focuses on the wrong stuff ( like the background! ) and the pics I take all end up blurry. And to take them inside at night- well- forget it! I might be able to salvage one or two and post here- but know that I am not happy with them. This is just of the raspberry merino top I spun, no poncho or anything else. Will have to wait for a nicer day to maybe try to get the poncho photographed. To be honest- I am not even sure how to hang it or drape it to take a good photo of it.

Above right- the large picture- is the raspberry roving I am using in it's original form all soft and fluffy. Then up there on the left is a close-up of the spun "singles" as it is called. (Not sure why it is always a plural word but seems to be used that way for 1 or more unplied strands.) And closest above this text is the actual Turkish spindle with my second singles of raspberry merino roving on it. I refuse to remove it until I have a clearer picture. But this gives you an idea of the spindle if you are not familiar with any of this. :)

Nothing special today happened- was a nice day- but not overly interesting. Poor RJB- he doesn't have the most exciting life in the world. He did help me spin though! He liked catching the spindle to stop it from turning once I had spun enough that it needed wound on. That was fun to be able to share it with him. Am thinking of showing him how to spin on the first spindle I got- that I am not real keen on - and if he 'hurts" it- oh well....... not a huge loss. I don't want him to get frustrated either- but if I just maybe hook on some regular yarn and just let him spin that around-it might be enough fun for him. :) He loves the spinning wheel.....loves to treadle, & he is a good treadler!
Getting late-
Hope you are well.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Sunday June 24 2007

What can I say? Not a very exciting day over all-we got out and did some geocaching - both of which were killers and I did not attempt to do what a majorly overweight middle aged sedentary woman should not do- which was do a level 2 difficulty terrain rating which should have been a 3.5- 4 *'s out of 5 ! RPB (Hubby) and RJB went on without me- I meditated in the sun awhile (after searching for 5 mins or more for a spot that didn't have Roo Doo that I would either sit on or put my hand into when attempting to stand up again!) which was really REALLY nice- I needed that. With RJB not taking naps like he 'should' and me not getting enough sleep during the week and even less on the weekends- I was very tired of being around someone virtually 24/7 and was glad to have that time to just listen to the leaves in the wind, a stray Baaa and mooo from the distance, and a few galahs,lorikeets, and kookaburra adding in occasionally as well. It was a very chilly windy day- I was even in my winter coat with my hood up over a crocheted cap/hat and was wishing when the sun went under the clouds that I had my mittens on too! But since everything was either up or down hill to walk very far- I just got up and walked around while waiting for my men to return from their expedition.
Eventually they did- I only did about 10-15 mins of worrying - wondering how I would know they were stuck in a ravine after slipping on the trail................- and then after a few good "Koo-ee"s and trying to hear over the wind - which happened to be blowing my voice the exact opposite direction than it should've been going- I finally thought I heard a little voice..."My son!" my mind cried out...... or was it? Wait? Maybe that was just a bird........darn! I am not an Australian bird expert - having only been here for 5 years and most of those years I didn't see more than some pigeons, sparrows, magpies, spotted doves, and New Holland Honeyeaters. None of which I could think would sound like my 3 YO yelling for help!.........oh DRAT! I remember all those countless times out searching in the woods in PA for my missing cat- in the snow-thinking I could hear a pitiful meow in the sound deadening white insulation Mother Nature had heaped upon us. I was sure I heard it wasn't. Maybe....... FINALLY as i was walking toward where we had parked the car ( no- I didn't have the car keys either! DUH!) - one last koo-ee and I was sure I heard it- this time a lower pitched man's voice- coming from the opposite direction than where I thought I should be hearing it.....sure enough- 5 mins. or so later- they emerged from the bush- happy and unhurt and glad to be back to where they knew for sure! GPS is really great for bush walking- *IF* you remember to plug in your car coordinates before you leave the area! It was constant up and down I was told. Ended up that it took about 1.5 hours to walk 500 meters! Another note to GPS users- the distance given is "AS THE CROW FLIES". We have done this enough- we knew that it would mean more than 500 m- but yeesh! This was a bit much. They make those trails and bush walks on snake trails for sure! Even the kangaroos hop in straighter paths than what they have marked out as walking trails for people in these parts! :)
What matters most is that RJB had a good time and he did - but his legs were tired and before we got back to the car he was cold too- ( it was an easier walk than what he walked in the bush!)
We drove to another cache that was less than 5 k away- but RJB was asleep for that one- so I stayed in the car while RPB retrieved that one. We got some neat glow in the dark goopy stuff in a pen shaped tube as a swap from the cache... will make more stars & stuff on RJB's walls. He already has lots of paper ones- but this way we can do something original. :)
I got a little bit of spinning done tonight- quite alot done last night. Now I will have to pull the ball off my spindle and do some more and try my hand at plying the singles. Yikes! (wish me luck! )
Must go- DH wants to log the find for the up and down the Heysen Trail geocache- I can't cos i was SMART and stayed where sane people would walk! lol
Will post some pics soon- poncho- singles ball of yarn- and maybe even one or two of the walk I just spoke about- DH took some photos. :)

Hope you are well.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

It's Done!

I am happy to announce that the poncho is done! No photo(s) yet- but hope to publish one tomorrow. I am immmensely proud of it! Of course I still have mistakes in it that I am aware of - but nothing anyone else would notice unless they were standing *way* too close! LOL
I wore it to the beach today- it was breezy but not that cold- so we made our way to Maslin's beach ( lower end ) and each flew a kite. I let Jade, our dog, fly mine awhile, which amused the onlookers. If it had been any windier I would not have done it- but it was quite nice- if there'd been less breeze then it wouldn't have been enough to fly the kites - more and it would've been too strong for RJB and/or Jade. It was a nice way to spend a coupla hours. We didn't remember to take the camera (again)- but RJB announced he wants to go back tomorrow! Not bad from a toddler who is not fond of the beach. Well- he likes the beach- but not the water if it gets too close to him. :) This is the best he has ever done with the kite too- he walked all over the beach, up and down - all backwards, mind you! lol Not sure why he thought he should go backwards, but it worked for him and the kite!
I am going to get back to my spinning- am doing some Raspberry coloured Merino from Ewe Give Me The Knits is so soft-I can hardly believe it is wool! Between the roving and the Turkish drop spindle, it is so easy - I keep thinking I *must* be doing something wrong! I really love that spindle..... I really do recommend you try one, if you have ever thought of trying your hand at spinning- start out with one of these and have a blast. I am sorry it was so long until I discovered them. Have always thought spinning wheels were amazing- but find drop spindles are my kinda craft. :) Right there with crocheting.

One thing I have to mention- we stopped by the grocery store and got some much needed bread and cat food, amongst some other things- one of them being dark chocolate covered strawberry licorice! OMG! it is SO yummy! Was skeptical but bought it anyway- yummo! For those of you in Oz- if it sounds nice to you & would like to try it- we got it at Woolworth's. Ricci is the brand name. Nice!

Getting late-

Hope you are well.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Any one seen Farmer Brown?

Squeaking this in with less than an hour to go in the day- woo!
I am asking anyone who would care to help us out- could you please keep an eye out for a inexpensive copy of "Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep; A Yarn About Wool", By Teri Sloat ?
I checked and they want nearly US$40 for it.....and one place wanted over - hold onto your hats!- US$155.00! We borrowed it from the library - it is such a neat cute book- we would really like to own it - but whew! If someone happens upon a copy at a more decent price- less than $20 .... let us know please? We are fine with used or new- as long as it is in decent condition. It was published in 2000- so it isn't all *that* old for a book-but must be scarce.
I also saw one called " Red Berry Wool" by Robyn Eversole, I believe was the author. Have not seen that one in person- just read about it. It sounds really good too.
It's late and I am heading for bed- TGIF tomorrow! It's been a long week somehow.

Hope you are well.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Frog Ball

I have just this morning caught up all that I had to frog on my poncho.

So thought I would post a picture (hoping it is visible to someone! lol ) of the amount of yarn I had to pull out from my poncho to correct my mistakes. I estimate I ripped out over 1,400 double crochet stitches. More or less.... it was a frog load anyway. The ball in the center holding my crochet hook is the one I pulled out and rewrapped as I yanked it out. The ironic part is that while redoing all the stitches- I managed to ply my 2 waiting yarn ball strings together - which is ironice because in my spinning endeavours I feel confident to spin but not to ply! lol If this is any indication - I 'should' be good at it- and I have seen for myself that it is a pretty sight to ply multi colour singles- so I *will* be doing that in my future. Awesome.

The weather is all over the place here in SA- chilly/cold and sunny- wait........ no, cloudy with rains... no wait!- there's the sun.....and brr- winds...
AH WINTER in SA! :) I will take it over the summer heat we had and the summer heat PA is experiencing now according to Crystal in Williamport, PA. Bleh. Now- if it would just SNOW here in Seaford- I'd be happy! Woo hoo!!!! As RJB and I like to shout on occasion ( like Uncle Randy used to shout- I tell him) "C'mon SNOW!!" **** We love snow! RJB has no idea how COLD it will be once he gets to actually be in snow- but I think he will adjust quickly. The Blue Mountains got more snow overnight as NSW is having some rough weather again ( they had severe flooding about 2 weeks ago). I sure miss snow.
Back to the housework.
Hope you are well.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Oh Say- Can You See?

OK folks- I *think* I might be having problems with the blog- can you help me out?
If you can't see the pictures I am balogging on about- would you please email me or leave a comment so I know? So far it is one for one- USA (Crystal) can't see -AU (Mandie) can see.
So- oh please say you can see? Yes? No? Please?
Thanks very much!

Hope you are well.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Fiber Fotos

As promised I am showing you my recent purchases of fiber to spin- these all are prepared fiber of (mostly) merino wool.

This first showing is called "Settler's Rest" and once I had it into my possession I knew I had made the right choice to add this in to my order at the last minute. It was one of those that is an OOAK and knew if someone else got it- I would be unhappy. OMG! These colours are so neat and when I asked about the name I was given a description that fit nearly perfectly with what I had envisioned when I looked at it. Except, with me being American, my settlers were in a different area than the ones that inspired this colourway. But really- can't you just picture the pioneers settling into their homestead - the sky is blue to the East as the sun sets in the Western sky with all the pinks and oranges in the clouds... with the fresh green grass and flowers growing all around, and of course- for me- there is that touch of purple in there representing the blooming flowers? :) I really am pleased to be able to say I own this work of art. :)

This is the first roving I got from Mandie's online store here in Australia. Who could not love the rainbow colours?! Mind you I still don't know how I am going to spin it and keep the intergrity of all that colour- but I just might not spin 50g or so of it and just keep it that way. :)

Next up- "Drought Busta"- it was such a long, DRY, hot summer- when I saw this I could envision and almost feel what she was representing with this roving colourway. One of our favourite things to do once winter-ish weather is here is to drive down south of us to see how the hills have come alive with green colours and when the fields are purple with the Salvation Jane ( a noxious weed apparently- but boy a purty one when the fields are full and the hillsides are painted the most wonderful shade purple.). The exact apple of roving I got is the one on the left.
This roving named "Red Earth" reminds me of the rocks and cliffs around here and also reminds me of the photos I have seen of Uluru ( Ayer's Rock) up in the Northern Territory. The picture is a bit dark- but better than one I could take! lol
This one is called "Moroccan Nights". Again this one is prettier in person- but this one is close to the real colours. and OH SO SOFT.
And lastly, the colourway you see here is called "Orchard Overload"- I got two of these because I could see this being a wearable somethingorother, and there were 2 left available! I received the two on the right of the picture. And what fun when you open one of the apples of fibre- it sprung out all over like one of those can of snakes you used to see! It made me jump a little and laugh! Great colours in these. : D

I also got some white Angora Bunny Fluff. It is so so so so SO soft! It will be with me awhile until I am good enough to spin it. Special stuff that is.

My biggest passion is for Alpaca fleece- although you'd not know it from what I have written here- it's just that I think it is probably not all that exciting see bags of fur - you gotta touch it to love it I think. And love it I do. AND! (blowing my own horn here) I can spin even the shorter leg fleece on my drop spindle- my Turkish one is the best one I have for that. :) I HIGHLY recommend a turkish spindle. Mine is by the Ashford company (based in New Zealand)- although I did end up getting it via the USA. Funny how things work.

I will post pics once I have actually spun so you can see the finished yarn. Must get going for now.

Hope you are well.

Cra**y Corner!

I will let you fill in the stars- but let me tell you this before you do- I am having to FROG 4 ROWS of my poncho because I didn't notice that I was missing an increase cluster on the one 'shoulder' seam for the poncho! >:(
I am so mad at myself- How did I not notice it sooner!?? 4 rows of work gone- that is the whole weekend's work plus!- GONE! >:(
I simply refuse to fudge this- this poncho is to be lasting me a long time and I do NOT want to be unhappy with it every time I wear it. SO!

You know where I will be - rip-it, rip-it!

I want to post photos of my fibre purchase(s) from EGMTK!
Mandie was a sweetheart and wrote to me before dashing off for the day to give me permission to use her photos so now I can share. I am going to show you the first one I got from her that is now SOLD OUT available again as of June 22/ 07 called "Clown Face". : D It makes me veeeeerrrry happy to look at it!
OK- will write more later.

Hope you are well.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Before the Blog

A little about life before I started the blog that I thought you might like to know-

Last Sunday we went on a train ride in the Adelaide Hills- it's a small diesel train called "The Junction Jogger" that runs a short track in Mount Barker, SA. It only cost $7 for each adult and Riley rode free. It normally goes to a junction of some sort- hence the name Junction Jogger- but for some reason that day we, for an extra $2 each ticket, got to go to Platform 1- a train 'museum' of sorts- that has alot of old train stuff for children to see and play on ( alot of old train lights/lanterns were on display- reminded me of Dad's that he had saved) and some farm animals to pet and feed.

Here is one of the inmates- er, I mean, animals- what a sheepy grin, eh?

This calf was friendly and enjoyed her head being scratched.

There was a miniature pig there too - that forgot to be miniature, (read: FULL sized piggy -woohoo! ) but s/he looked so unhappy to be there, so no pictures please.

There were rabbits, a chicken, a few other sheep with lambs. We normally would not patronise a place like this- but RJB didn't care about seeing them anyway- he was all about the train stuff.

Here's our little Junction Jogger- he was insistent
that he sit on the seat by himself, nevermind that he couldn't see alot of what was outside. It was just having the experience, I guess. :)

( He is not keen on having his picture taken- but was ok with this one...)

OK- well- we need to go get some groceries and get moving on this chilly Sunday morning.

Hope you are well.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Poncho Progress

A midday update- thought I would add a photo ( albeit not a good one- that camera was being unfriendly today!) of my poncho I am making. For 4 years I have wanted to make myself a poncho and last weekend I decided I would. I have to sneak in a few stitches here and there- and some at night after RJB has gone to bed, so it is slow going- but I am determined to finish this and wear it on the not so cold days this winter.
(I made mittens of the yarn for RJB, single strand, the poncho is 2 strands held together).
It is made of a 'cheap' acrylic ( sorry to all the fibre fiends out there- it is just plain old boring acrylic- but it *should* wash and wear easily-which is what I need with a 3 y.o.! :) ) put out by the Sean Sheep company under the name of "Have U Any Wool?"- but I love the colours. They aren't spot on in the photo- but close enough. I still want to do about 8 more rows around- then add fringe- because I LOVE FRINGE!!!!!!!!!!!!! "It's not a poncho if it ain't got fringe!" is what I always say. Always. Whenever I am looking at a poncho I mean.... I don't just say it out of the blue or anything. ;)

I also got a big old gorgeous ( pardon my drool) package from NSW today- from Mandie- of rovings I ordered from her! I took photos - but the colours are so off I couldn't justify putting the pics here. I will try again on a sunny day or ask her to let me somehow use her photos for you to see what I got. 2 machine dyed rovings in Red Earth, and Moroccan Nights- and then 4 rovings (2 of Orchard Overload, 1 Settler's Rest, and 1 Drought Busta) of her 'specially hand-dyed by her for her webstore Ewe Give Me The Knits! . : D I thought that was a clever name indeed when I first saw it on How lucky I am to be able to call her a friend now! There was some white Suri alpaca fleece in there too- ( Thank You again!)- it is def. different than the Huacaya I am used to handling. Did I mention that I am determined to finish the poncho before I allow myself to do any more spinning? Wish me luck- as I am just so ready to get my drop spindle out and try my hand at these amazing rovings! ( toes wiggling! ) . ok- I am off to figure out the more technical bits to this here bloggy thingy- will write more soon.

Hope you are well.

7 am already?

Seems I just got to bed and it is time to get up already! Besides one awakening by RJB because it was too warm in his room ( not sure what happened there, but the little heater must've been turned up too high) and being so excited about this blog adventure and life in general spinning around in my head, I couldn't get to sleep ( happens alot lately- going to have to start taking some White Chestnut Bach Flower Remedy to stop those thoughts from circling around and around-it really works! More on BFR in the future) . Of course there is the constant night time ritual of fighting with the dog to get/ keep covers. She must've been very chilly this morning as she wasn't about to give up any blanket space and she was trying to get to my foot space ( lower corner of the bed)! Cheeky thing! That is the one place I refuse to let her sleep! I need my feet to be able to mooooove! So, here I am enjoying the silence (but for the clacking of keys) of my morning time. I remember many mornings waking up and going to the kitchen to find mom already up and having her coffee and wondering why on Earth was she up every morning so darn early! There are alot of things I understand *now* that I sure didn't then. I wish I had her here to thank in person, but do know she isn't far away. I talk to her often- Dad too. Sometimes RJB is ALOT like Dad. I just smile. Unless he mumbles. Then I grumble. Man- that is so annoying to have happen- "grumble mumble", "I'm sorry- what did you say?" "Nuffin' " says he- waving me away with his hand ! At 3 years of age!?! OY! :)

Off to the library today to return the many spinning (fiber/fibre, not strange bike thingies), crochet, and recipe books I borrowed a month ago. Did I have time to read them all? No-o-o. Would I like to own copies of about eleventy-seven of them? Ye-e-e-s! These were books we got from the library at Noarlunga Centre-which is about a 20 min. drive away and we get there - well- once every 4 years! lol I have started using the reserve feature now and ask for books to be transferred to our local library for pick up- that is within walking distance. Still don't get there as often as I'd like- but well- life happens.
Better publish this and get some other things done before my 'me time' is over for the day.
Hope you are well.


Friday, 15 June 2007

First posting

Well- I am going to keep this short and sweet until I know what the heck I am doing here!
(What the heck am I doing here!? LOL )

My new fibre friend to whom I am lately transferring all my money, Mandie, suggested I blog. Been thinking about it alot lately anyway with the current trend of an unstable server problem at any given moment ( Do NOT- I beg you - get as your ISP if you are in Oz and reading this) , my lack of ability to keep up with writing to all the folks to whom I would like to write yet keep my house intact and semi ant-free (read: RJB- age 3- who tends to love letting anything he happens to consume fall happily to the waiting "search ant" who rushes to tell his comrades the jackpot was hit and then I spend 5 mins. being hysterical over 100's of ants showing up out of nowhere and then 5 more cleaning them up- following that conga line to the source and wiping out tiny little lives in order to more comfortably live ours........) - I have decided that if I can't do justice to regular emails- then by Humphrey I am going to try this here blogger thingy!
No promises.
I might even get to share photos with everyone thisaway too!

So - welcome to my blog and Thank You Mandie- for the push and a brilliant inspiring blog of your own. ( To whose I will link to from mine just as soon as I figure things like that out....)