Friday, September 29, 2006

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of...twins

You Are Both 28% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in both of your hearts, but you each hide it as well as the other.

In some ways,
twins are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Thanks to Bethe for the link!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Proof of Knitting

Update on Braids:

I'm at 8" in the armholes, ready to do a little neck shaping and then another 3" to the top of the shoulders. Once the shoulders are knit together I can start the sleeves, which are knit down, or do the button/collar band, which is all one piece and mitered at the corners. Love that design element. (For details on yarn, see the Braids KAL link, just over there to the right...)

I'm in a hurry. I have 5 weeks to finish up with this project because, on November 1st (or maybe the 2nd or 3rd) I'm handing it over to Peggy F. (sometimes refered to as "The Other Peggy") in exchange for this:

My quilt, in sunshine.

This is a queen-size quilt which Peggy made to go with my concept of the perfect colors.
She took me fiber shopping and I picked out some fabrics, which she built upon, and she chose the pattern. It took her a great deal of time in 2005 to make this for me. I'm making her two sweaters in return: Fern, an Alice Starmore pattern which is done and delivered, and Braids, soon to be finished. Want to see more of the quilt? I thought so:

The border/drop

I love this quilt.

You're probably wondering about those pillow cases, aren't you? Peggy taught us (Peggy and me) to make these fabulous pillow cases and we went quite crazy at local fabric stores and even spent several days of our vacation making several (ok, 10) sets. Here are two made to match/blend with my beautiful quilt. At least one of the pillow case fabrics is in the quilt.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


We did, and boy did we have fun! Peggy, Ellen and I did a day trip to Canby, Oregon for the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. We left right on schedule: 6:00 a.m. on Saturday the 23rd. First stop was about 5 minutes Southwest of my house at Starbucks on 35th N.E. in the neighborhood of Wedgwood. I love Seattle. There's a coffee shop handy to anywhere, open at 5 in the morning and smelling like 'awake'. Love it.

It was Ellen's first time at a fiber festival but not her last. She was asking about when the next one is on the way home and making mental plans for going to Black Sheep Gathering next June.

I was expecting to purchase a Van Eaton spinning wheel from a friend, after test driving it. What could go wrong, after all? It's a spinning wheel, I am a spinner so it must be good! Not. It and I did not mesh. We don't actually live on the same planet. I live on earth, it lives elsewhere. We didn't get along. At all. Happily, there were several spinners crowded around my friend asking about the wheel when we paused to say "good buy." My friend had purchased a ginormous wheel from Carolina Homespun and was happily, even joyously, spinning away on the lawn and answering questions about her new wheel and her Van Eaton for sale.

The lawn was where the spin-in was happening. Here's a bunch of Seattle Spinners:
I had planned on purchasing the wheel, so when that fell through I was forced to reconsider my vow to not buy any more fiber this year. I had, after all, gone haywire at Black Sheep Gathering in June and have an abundance of fiber at home. Ellen and Peggy were gently vocal about how much money I had saved, not buying the wheel, and it would be like...FREE FIBER, almost... They were very persuasive or I was very weak, one. I bought two colorways of Merino/Kid Mohair from Lisa at Dicentra Designs because I can't resist her gorgeous fiber. I thought I could, but then I touched it and realized I could either buy it or weep later that I hadn't.

Here's Eomund Z on the left and Gulf on the right. Just enough of each for a pair of socks!

Moving on. My other enabler, Jessica, rushed to show me her purchase of Romney/Coopworth/Angora. Yum-eeee. OMG. I had to have it. It's from a wool ranch named 'What A Zoo' in Priest River, Idaho and is run by Chip & Cindy Starritt (no website).

It's a lovely creamy gray. I purchased 17.43 oz for only $28.00. In Oregon, that's $28.00. No tax. I love Oregon.

I have one more photo. Peggy bought a basket:

If I had to make a suggestion to OFFF for next year: have more food vendors. There were three of them and at 12:30 the line for each was 50 people long. That's too long for comfort in the hot Oregon sun. What could we do but pass on food and go back to shopping? Good thing we traveled with grapes, carrots and fig newtons.

We arrived back at my house at 6:30 p.m., a mere 1/2 hour later than we expected because of a traffic jam in Tacoma and stopping for a snack at a fast-food joint. This is day-tripping at it's best!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Have socks. Will travel.

Socks don't count as a 'real' project, we all know that. I use sock projects the usual way: as my travel/emergency knitting. I never leave home without them. I don't get to knit on them every time I take them out for a spin (snark snark) but they're with me just in case I get stuck in Seattle Traffic (hey hey hey! It could happen!) or have to wait for longer than 5 minutes for 'what-ever' reason. The last reason was at the road-side fruit stand while my husband yakked (and yakked) with the talkative fruit-stand guy. He walked away with $20. worth of aging fruit and I knit 1" on my socks. It was a good deal for me. For him, not so much. He threw out half the fruit the next day but I still had another inch on my socks.

These socks.
Yarn: Socks That Rock, color Falcon's Eye.
Cute little picot cuff
and a purl every 6th stitch for about 1-1 1/2".

I've been intrigued with the idea of knitting socks without a heel flap or gusset and found the pattern in the Fall 2000 issue of Interweave Knits. The pattern is called "Priscilla's Dream Socks" and it was interesting. It's certainly faster than building a heel flap, picking up stitches on both sides of it and decreasing for what seems like forEVER at the gusset.

I will probably make them again, with modifications other than the ones I've already made (like the picot.) I need my back-of-heel and my under-the-heel reinforced, so doing sl1/k1 on the right side and purling back on the wrong side will have to be worked in on the next pair. I could not make the toe shaping work as written, which is the same as the heel shaping and it should have been fine but no. It just didn't work.
I did not like the loosey-goosey-hole-y-ness of the heel shaping and just couldn't do it again at the toes, so I fell back on my usual technique and also did left/right toe shaping.
I loved the color wave on the leg but lost it when I decreased 4 stitches for the foot, also not in the pattern but I was running seriously low on yarn and needed to conserve. After blocking they fit fine, except that I still don't like the heel shaping ~ too gappy. There must be a way to snug up the k3tog/sssp's. I just haven't got it yet, which annoys me because I've been knitting far too long to be stumped by shaping. I'm digging out all my knitting manuals for this one and I will beat it, oh yes I will.
I love knitting socks.
They're so cute!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Really. Get going. Shower, comb your hair, get in the car and VOTE.

If you've already voted, THANKS!

If you vote by mail and have, THANKS!

I noticed that there are more nods to Pirates today than to voters so, to all you fabulous voters:


You are patriotic and sexy and we admire and esteem you.

Ay ay, matey!


Monday, September 18, 2006

Here There Be Pirates


It's tomorrow,
and in honor of
we give you

THE 5 A's".

Ay ay!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Tea me

Melinda showed us her tea stash and while I don't have such a big one I do have some longtime favorite shops where I find my tea:

The Teacup, up on Queen Anne, Village Yarn & Tea Shop, where I buy Deb's Green with Pear tea and Tea Time Garden, a Bonnie Rose production. Bonnie brings her tea stand to spin-in's around the area. She will be at St. Distaff Day on January 6th, 2007, and her tea is available by on-line shopping. My favorites from Tea Time Garden: Rooibus Provence, Chai and Tabby Cat.

The 'Reader of Manuals' favorite:
As long as he loves this tea I will have plenty of cans to re-use for my tea, which comes in bags from the various tea shops. I simply strip off the label and do a little clip-art and waa-laa, I have a matched set of loose tea containers. Granted, the big ones don't match, but I buy so much of those teas that I have to have bigger bins.

Tea just seems to go with knitting and spinning, as does a good cup of coffee or some lovely wine. Does it really matter what you drink, as long as you're knitting or spinning along? I think not.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


It's Wednesday, it's RAINING (EL! How much better does it get than THAT?) and I've got nothing, so, for you non-lovers of rain, I offer a bit of cheer:

a Basket-full of Margaritaville!

This yummy stuff is from Dicentra Designs and is 80% Merino and 20% Tussah Silk, color: Margaritaville. Purchased at Black Sheep Gathering at the end of June, it was perhaps one of my favorites (if that's possible) from among ALL the fibers that found their way into my life, and will be featured in a future blog entry called:

"Never end your vacation with a fiber buying spree..."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remember all of it

I was going to write a little bit about what I was doing on September 11, 2001, but I found my heart still too broken to enable me to put my feelings into words.

So instead, on this, the fifth anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history, lest we forget the sort of man we have serving as President, I give you
George W. Bush.

We can't just remember what happened on September 11th. We have to remember why. We have to remember all of it, and that it started long before the 11th of September, 2001.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy ending

Peggy and I have been spinning and knitting a lot in the last few weeks. We have a deadline for finishing our Braids sweaters (early November). Here they are as of last Saturday. I've knit about another inch since this photo was taken.

Peggy's :


Only an inch, because I've been distracted by shiney things, AGAIN. You remember the merino we Kool-Aid dyed and then Judith MacKenzie over-dyed for me?

~Here's a brief history~

February, 2006, Kool-Aid Dye Day at Peggy's house with the Wednesday Knitters ~ Peggy, The Other Peggy, MaryEllin and Me.

We were ready with the dye:
Because we started early, by lunch-time we were really hungry and totally prepared. We served ourselves a feast:

Matzo Ball Soup
Caesar Salad
Grilled Salmon with Lemon

My part of the dyeing project didn't turn out as expected although before I spun it up I liked it. Once spun and plied, it was pastel and not very attractive to me. It was not what I planned, which was bright red and pink, forest green and off-white.
turned into this:
At the July seminar with Judith MacKenzie, I had a chance to over-dye the merino, and the two batches turned out like this:

I loved it! I couldn't stop myself from spinning it up, in spite of really needing to crank on the Braids Sweater. It's for The Other Peggy, who made me a quilt, and I'm honor-bound to finish it before we all go away for a long knitting weekend in November. I have 7.5 weeks. This is do-able. But I digress; back to spinning.
Here's the project spun up, each color separately:
On the spool:
On the skeiner:
(see the 'Skeiners' photo album on our Betty Roberts Yahoo Group)

Lump of pre-soaked two-ply:
Hot soak with a little Wool-Mix:
2 hanks in their natural habitat:
Close-up of a yarn I definately have affection for:

I'll let it settle for awhile, let it decide what it wants to be. I have about 950 yards at 17 wpi. It's soft, soft, soft and I can't wait to show it to the Wednesday Knitters.

I do not believe it started out like this:

"Easily distracted by shiney things." That's me.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Burnt Sienna and Van Dyke Brown

Ever troll through the channels and stop on Bob Ross? Loved his voice, so soothing. "Yesss, just a little Van Dyke Brownnnnnnnn." he'd sigh, "Just a touch of Burnt Sienna, here in the treeeessssss." What the heck does Bob Ross have to do with a trip to White Rock, B.C.?

Last June we went to visit the only fiber shop in town, KNITOPIA WOOLS CO. Katie set up a mission for a certain type of fiber, so five of us (Katie, Peggy, MaryEllin, Kate and Me) planned and plotted and in the end only four of us managed to go because the fifth (Katie) was, oh, moving, or something, and had other things to do. It was a sunny Spring day and a pleasant drive, as White Rock is just across the border from Washington and Seattle is about 2.5 hours from the border crossing at Blaine.

Love the Peace Arch.
We arrived at Knitopia.
We shopped, we bought fiber ~ a wool/buffalo blend, a shetland, some Trekking XXL, needles and other sock yarn. It was a pleasant hour, and then we had lunch across the street.

On the way home, just at the Border, we saw a car with a HEAD on the dash. I thought it was Jimi Hendrix, but he looked so....pale. We were crawling along in Border Traffic so we had a chance to roll down the window and ask:

"Who Is That Head?"

"Bob Ross."

We laughed all the way to Bellingham and wished we had had a chance
to get the back story and some better photos.

Friday, September 01, 2006

As long as we're on the subject...

First it was Jessica, showing us how truly odd some fashion statements can be and then came Ryan, confessing certain 'queasiness' around all things Sock Monkey. While I'm reserving judgment on the gowns (no, I'm not! They're grotesque but good for a laugh, as was THIS...uh...gown, and perhaps Bjork can be persuaded by her 'dresser' to take another chance on animal themes, who knows?) I will confide that I bought yarn specifically for a Sock Monkey sweater.

I think it turned out rather well. I used Unpatterns #6 Top-Down Sweater. I took a class on this pattern from Karen Alfke, the designer, at Madrona Fiber Arts in Gig Harbor about 2 years ago. It's a truly inspired pattern that I highly recommend. I made the little monkey suit with the same pattern (changing the numbers of course.)

I've made a half-dozen sweaters from this pattern, love them all and teach a class on it occasionally myself. Unpatterns are available at several LYS's and if you can't find them, ask the owner to order this one for you.

P.S. Ryan, Mary B. wanted you to know she's a Sock Monkey fan as well. This is hers: