Saturday, June 28, 2008

perfect stash or almost perfect?

Secret Pal Question #3

What would you consider the perfect amount of stash?

I had to give credit where credit is due, Mary Lynn had a great answer to this question. When you can go to your stash and start a new project without having to go to the LYS for more yarn. Mrs Twisted added; when you can do the next 5 sweaters in your cue and enough sock yarn and lace weight for many years to come.

I see the stash almost as a living being. It changes as my or in this case OUR knitting wants or needs change. When you see new yarn in the magazines it inspires new projects or when you see someone knitting at your local S&B you may secretly covet that new fiber or at least project that yarn into a future pattern. The stash has now taken on more importance because the fiber that will become "future stash" in yarn terms. But it in itself is stash. Most of us grow in in our fiber knowledge and capabilities as we knit or spin. As we grow our needs change, when we knit new things, hopefully it inspires us continue this process. I digressed a bit... My perfect stash? When no matter what the situation, you have the right fiber in the right color that inspires you to knit any project that comes your way. The ability to spin and dye various fibers helps to supplement the stash and fill the voids when store bought yarns seem to fall short. The perfect stash is a moving target that's more of state of mind. Not having a finite quantity of yarn but knowing you can knit what you want with what you have.

The fiber dye fest was a little less than we had hoped for. Some of the people organizing had some family issues to deal with and I hope everyone is ok for all involved. We were looking forward to the workshops planned but it turned into free form dyeing free for all. Multiple people said "oh come on, just wing it." We have wung it or winged it on our own but I don't just do things willy nilly. I do like to experiment but I still want to document what we do so if it's good it can be replicated. If it doesn't meet our expectations the parameters can be altered with controls in place. The many guild members were very welcoming, the home where this occurred was just amazing. A few blocks from Hollywood and Vine, they had a large craftsman style home where they host this annual guild event.

A few pics of the guild members enjoying the day.

hand spun lace first

Just a little post to share some hand dyed, hand spun yarn in a little sample swatch.

This is a little less than half ounce from the first Cormo fleece. A little acid dye and the new steamer gave us results better than expected. You know we're a little snobby when it comes to yarn and we both love the results.

It went from this ....

to this......

and finally to this

It feels as soft as Malabrigo lace weight. Just a little taste of things to come and all we can say is oh my!! Great hand and dreamy softness. The Mrs is now asking for enough for a top. This was almost lace weight but I think doing a three ply will give it the right thickness.

Off to bed so we can get up early for the dye fest.....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hand spun purple yarn and summer child memories

Secret Pal Question #2

As a kid, what did you look forward to most about summer vacation/break/holiday?

Hmmmm I really didn't look forward to summer for the vacation as much as not having to get up early in the morning. My parents both worked from about age eight and as long as the TV was low they wouldn't know how late I stayed up. I had two older brothers but they both went to bed around the time my parents did. Back then I would stay up late and watch Johnny Carson then Tom Snyder and whatever else came on. Late night cereal with my favorite talk shows and late morning reruns of Father Knows Best, Ozzie & Harriet, Leave it to Beaver and the Donna Reed Show. Later in my youth it was daily surfing and working at the local gas station.

I finished some new yarn for Mrs. Twisted last night. Some roving we bought a couple months ago is now some pretty purple yarn.

All plied up and ready to take a bath

468 yards of long draw kitchen sink merino/silk/ and ???? mostly soft to the skin yarn.

The Mini groups were announced for the Ravelry fiber swap club
We share 4 ounces of fiber per month with the other three in the mini group. The first month I'm partnered with a lady who is serving in the Navy. It's an open swap so not completely secret. We discussed fiber but I'm going to dye it this weekend at my spinning guilds dye fest.

One last thing. I started plurking last week. Some of the bloggers and or Ravelers in the knit world are already there. Wendyknits is like a super plurker. What is Plurk you say? It's another way to chitty chat with your friends. Curious? click here and enjoy

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hush-Hush Handspun Hootenanny questionnaire

Hush-Hush Handspun Hootenanny questionnaire.

1. How long have you been spinning? What skill level do you consider yourself?

I started spinning the end of February this year. I’m still a beginner but I see a huge difference in the last two months. Most people can’t believe I’ve only been spinning a few months but I try to spin daily to gain more constancy. I’m spinning more “long draw” now and enjoying the fine fibers.

2. What kinds of yarn do you create (singles/2-ply/3-ply/art yarn)?

I’ve only spun 2 and 3 ply yarns so far. I really only spin what I want to knit so it’s mostly fingering to DK weight

3. What do you spin with (spindle/wheel/both)?

I have both but I spin mostly on the wheel. I’m taking a business trip soon and I’ll bring the drop spindle to spin with while I’m gone.

4. What are your favorite fibers to spin with? Anything you don't like?

My favorite is Optim and Cormo. The Optim is like silk and the Cormo is the softest wool in my stash.

I don’t like rough, itchy, scratchy fiber like Corriedale, Romney, Jacob, etc.

5. Who are your favorite crack dealers fiber sources (etsy or otherwise)?

I have three fleeces that I purchased from Rupperts Corriedales & Cormos and my favorite supplier of dyed roving is Lori Lawson. It’s hard to pick favorites because I have purchased from so many with good results from most of them.

6. What kind of fiber do you want to try?

Vicuna, Guanaco, Qiviut,Yak, Baby Camel/Silk

7. Is there any techniques you would like to learn?

I’m learning the Paula Simmons Spin for speed and softness method and I’m taking a speed spinning class this August. Spinning is very relaxing but I want to relax faster lol

8. Do you dye fiber? If not, would you like to learn?

We purchased a steamer and have had good success so far. This Sat. is my spinning guilds dye fest and I’m bringing so much to experiment between the three workshops planned.

9. Do you have fiber prep tools (and like to use them) or would you prefer ready to spin fiber?

I plan to purchase a Pat Green “Beverly” drum carder this week if everything works out. I don’t plan to process fleece because I live in a condo and I don’t want to worry about the VM and lanolin in the pipes. I figure a couple combs may be in the future too.

10. What do you do with your handspun? What projects have you completed?

I’ve gifted most of the handspun so far. Swap pals have received some and my wife is getting the latest singles after I ply them hopefully tonight.

11. Are you in need of any spinning gadgets (WPI Gauge, threading hook, etc)?

I’m a guy, I love the tools but I’m looking at a bobbin winder right now. Next is a squirrel cage and an electric skein winder. My wheel has a Delta orifice so it doesn’t require a threading hook. I have what I need and I buy what I want when the need arises.

12. What colors "fall into your shopping basket"? Any colors you just can't stand?

I’m always drawn to the monochromatic colors and deep purples are my favorites. I’ve been edging closer to the ruby red – pink – vermillion lately. Cobalt blues and sea foam greens look nice too. I dislike muddy browns, oranges and yellows. Pastels are low on the list with army greens or any faded tweedy colors.

13. What is on your wheel/spindle right now?

I spun a sample ½ ounce of my vermillion hand dyed Cormo and I love it.

14. What other crafts/hobbies do you have?

I see them as other obsessions….. Music, Guitars, We’re looking at learning archery.

15. Other than crafts, what are you passionate about?

I rarely do things half way. If you know me, you’ve seen the zero to a hundred miles an hour emersion curve.

16. Do you have an online wishlist?

I have an Amazon list on my blog.

17. Is there anything that you collect?

I don’t collect for the sake of collecting like coins or stamps. I enjoy rare music from selected bands & artist, autographed books and music when I get to meet the artist or author.

18. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What magazine subscriptions do you have?

If I want something I usually find it and buy it. I just subscribed to Spin off so I can read the adverts and such. Most of the magazines are geared toward styles that don’t fit my goals but I do enjoy leafing through the knit/spin/guitar magazines at Barnes & Noble

19. When is your birthday?

October 5th

20. What book or movie character do you most resemble in personality?

I don’t know any characters that weird.

21. What is the climate like where you live around this time (need to know for careful shipments of anything meltable)?

22. Tell us one weird fact about yourself!

I cook most of the meals and many dishes that I would ever eat or even taste. My wife she says it’s weird how I can make something taste so good without ever knowing what it’s supposed to taste like.

favorite painting/picture(link):I love sunsets at the beach. Different ones, each day is prettier than the last.

Candy: Reese’s sticks

Food: Mexican, or fresh seafood

Drink: Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke

Movie(s): That Thing You do, Shall We Dance

TV Show(s):Weeds, Dead Like Me, House

Book(s): Lee Child Novels

Guilty Pleasure(s): 50’s doo wop music, Window shopping or clothes shopping for my wife even if we are just looking. I love to see the glow when she tries on a new outfit and she likes how it looks.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dyefest preperation

Many things on the horizon. A week from Saturday is the dye fest held by our spinning guild. In preparation for the dye-fest I gathered some bare roving to play with and experiment under the tutelage of Janel Laidman, spinner, fiber artist, scientist and renowned author. What is all this? Well, I wanted to sort out some fiber to bring and the more I contemplated this the more involved it became. I pulled out all the undyed fiber and sorted through it. I measured five ounces of each and divided that into one ounce hanks ready for dying. Eight different fibers, BFL, Targhee, Rambouillet, Optim, Seacel, Cormo, Australian Merino, & Falkland.

Why five ounces? I was hoping to dye each package the same, and maybe if they turn out ok, I'll spin them into sock yarn. I'm being optimistic here so wish me luck. I'll post lots of pictures as I always do so all of you can come with us in spirit.

Wednesday I spoke to Paula Simmons on the phone ( it was really exciting to me) about the proper drum carder for the type of fiber I want to use. I learned that the problems that most people have with neps, is caused by the front drum ratio being too high. Fibers with lots of crimp and fine to extra fine need slow speed and a slower licker drum ratio. She said the Supercarder was the best choice because the licker drum is independent from the large drum besides I don't have $2,600 set aside for a drum carder. I've decided on the "Pat Green Beverly" at least for this week. :P I was all set to get something else but why buy a drum carder that I can't use on the fibers I want to spin or already have.

A little post script here... Ariadne or Stevie left me a comment about wanting to spin. We meet every Tuesday night from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Yarn Lady. Please e-mail me @ if you want to meet up for more spinning. There are multiple spin groups in the area if you like.

Favorite Summertime Drink......

I'm a little lax in the answer of this but after reading other participants, I'm not alone... :)

I'm playing in the Secret Pal 12 exchange and they are asking us to reply to questions each week. This was last week's question;

What is your favorite summertime drink??

Being Summer really doesn't mater to me. I drink soda most of the time. I have a few vices and soda is one of them. I drink coke with my breakfast. ( not with a bowl of cereal though) At work I drink hot tea just for the caffeine and to reduce the caloric intake. As far as summer or winter, we live in southern Ca and the weather is pretty close to 70-75 degrees 300 days a year. That being said, I have a few choices. Cherry Coke/Dr Pepper are my two favorites. Fountain drinks when I'm out? Coke over Pepsi every time. McDonald's Coke is the best because the mix is always correct at least around here. We only eat breakfast there but the coke is almost as good as in the glass bottle at our local McDonald's. Yes I like unsweetened sun brewed iced tea. Various fruit juices and ice cold milk depending on what I'm eating. Mr's Twisted even wonders if I can taste the drinks because I drink so much so fast. The 12 oz can is literally 2-3 sips. The 16.9 oz water is 1-2 sips. Bottom line is that Cherry Coke, Dr Pepper or Regular Coke works just fine for me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fashion trend setting

The last 4 days or night have been filled with spinning like never before. Saturday I spun for hours at the picnic for WWKIP day. Sunday at the Huntington, last night at Rumplestiltskein, one of the Monday spin groups, and tonight with the Yarn Lady Tuesday spinning group. This arrived last night and I wanted to share the newest trend.

Love to be a fashion trend setter LOL


I saw this on Mary Lynn's blog

If you read this,

if your eyes are passing over this right now,
even if we don't speak often,
please post a comment with a memory of you and me.
It can be anything you want -- good or bad.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people remember about you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spinning At the Huntington.

Today we went to the Huntington Library for a spinning demo that we found out about at our spinning guild. I feel almost embarrassed to admit that I grew up in Southern California and have never been until today. They are known for a few high profile antiquities and wonderful gardens;
Thomas Gainsborough's "The Blue Boy",
Thomas Lawrence's "Pinkie"

and the Gutenberg Bible.

I found that the grounds and gardens are just as amazing as the library, artwork and furnishings.

We were set up in the herb garden and had a chance to share our craft with the public as they strolled through the various gardens. Randall Hayden sat in our group and we had some nice long talks about obsessions and fiber. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday. Outside in a beautiful place spinning among wonderful people.

I have a flickr set if you want to see more pics.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Happy WWKIP day.

We had a huge gathering at a local regional park. Some of the ladies from All Things Strings organized this event instead of our normal beach bar-b-que. We had a great turn out of 5 or 6 local knitting groups being represented. This was organized on Ravelry and the various yahoo groups for the last month or so. We even had a few knitters who read the post and just showed up looking for a place to knit today.

I counted 6 spinners, at least 35 knitters, multiple dogs, various kids, a rodent of some sort, some spouses, two guitar players, one of whom was in a utilikilt, many jugglers, a few archers and we even had a baby alpaca show up. Can you say diverse?

Yesterday I bought a new EZ-Up to use for these open events and it was nice to have the shade.
We made a little sign to have some fun. Rancho De Twisted-Peeps to include both of our Ravelry names.

Left to right, Shanda, Denise, and Knitterotica

Kristie who spins with me in multiple spinning groups and the Spinning guild.

We parked close to the archery range because a few of the attendees were also archers. This is the learning range where they have free lessons including bows and arrows. Mrs Twisted and I will return next week for free lessons. Can you smell a new obsession? :)

They also have a full size range where Jen had brought some special long spears for some of us to try. I've never even heard of these before now. Atlatl Spears were the precurser to the bow and arrow. I wish Mrs. Twisted could have brought the camera over to the range while I attempted to throw these. The link shows the proper method, I was getting the idea but it was a humbling experience.

Karen, LoopyKD was there with her daughter. We spun together last month in Irvine park.

Someone had a map with all the groups in the area with a small synopses if you wanted to attend more knit nights in your spare time.

I love to watch the Jugglers. Very hypnotic to me.

The Jugglers play dominos when not juggling I guess. At least these seemed to enjoy it.

We had a few knit related games, one was like a sock wars type. It was a mystery pattern that someone test knit. It turned out to be a stuffed fish. When you finished you went to the person you were assigned to and they were out. You completed their fish and this continued until there was one everyone was eliminated.

Here is Robert who I think won. There were 12 playing this game, it looked like most had a good time. I didn't play.... Too busy talking and spinning

Shanda and Denise holding their fish after being killed.

There was also a "can you identify the fiber"contest.

The musicians enjoying the day.

I had to take this picture of Jeff. Playing the guitar strings in front of the All Things Strings banner.
Yes, he was the one in the Utili-kilt. Way to go Jeff!

This young girl learned to spin today on Anne's wheel. Passing on the craft....

Towards the end of the day someone showed up with a baby alpaca freshly sheared.
Zona's little girl wil be asking for one of these for Christmas this year. :) He loved her barrettes.

Two of the ladies, Zona and Rachel saw the Hula Hoops and thought "I wonder if we can knit while we Hula Hoop"

You have to see the video to believe it.

Thank you to all the ladies who put in so much effort to make this happen.

When I came home I found the latest shipment from the Woolgirl sock club on the doorstep.

Dashing Dachs sport weight superwash merino hand painted yarn and lots of goodies. Never seen this kind of stitch gage tool. It has a 1x1 square hole.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

another Meme

Janel tagged me with the meme that has been floating around.

  1. What was I doing 10 years ago...
    • I was working at an aircraft latching company as a programming supervisor.
    • Coaching my son's baseball games and watching my daughter's softball games.
    • Going to night school, I think I was enrolled in calculus 10 years ago.
    • Married to my now ex-wife
    • I wasn't spinning, knitting, or playing guitar.

  2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
    • Fill out my expense report for the week.
    • Have my time card and expense report signed before my supervisor leaves for the day.
    • Take care of some Fatherly duties
    • Empty some bobbins by plying up some singles. ( I now have 5 empty bobbins)
    • Respond to some overdue e-mails.

  3. Snacks I enjoy:
    • If you put this in the order of what I eat the most of it would be easier. Mission corn tortilla strips. The one pound bag.
    • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups And Reese's Stix
    • Dr. Pepper & Cherry Coke to drink
    • Red Licorice
    • Late night bowl of cereal
    • When I was young, I had a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese before dinner.

  4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire
    • Invest so I would never worry about money ever again.
    • Set aside college funds for my children so they can attend school and work towards a career to be self sufficient.
    • Pay off my family's mortgages. ( I have a small family)
    • Build a fairly large custom home on the beach in San Diego county so I could walk out each morning and surf. It would have a large upstairs deck so I could spin in the evenings or relax in the sun.
    • Open a shop that is all about our hobbies. Fiber arts, spinning, knitting etc. Cycling, guitars, jewelry. Offering free classes and instruction to those who want to learn. Hire a small but passionate staff who want to share their skills with others.
    • Spend a long vacation in Tahiti and Bora Bora Long enough where I would get home sick and want to go home.
    • Travel to 6 of the 7 continents. I don't like the cold so I would omit the Antarctic trip.
  5. Places I have lived
    • Buena Park until I was 6
    • West Garden Grove until I was 22
    • West Anaheim in my first apartment
    • Moved to my first home. We bought a new mobile home in Anaheim 9 months after we were married November "82"
    • Moved back to West Garden Grove and bought a regular tract home.
    • Moved back to Anaheim
    • Tustin where we live now

      Most of you have already done this so, no tagging from me.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Baseball, book signing, new music and spinning

Busy week so far.
Monday night we attended the 3rd Stitch & Pitch.
We arrived a the field in time to enjoy some batting practice and our Dodger dog before the game. We went with a large group from A Mano Yarn Center. The over all attendance of the knitters was far less than last year but the group from our shop was twice the size from last year.

We were sitting farther away than I have ever sat at any sporting event.

But there were a few seats worse than ours.
Here is Laura showing off her newly made socks. Giving new meaning to the 7th inning stretch.

We had a good time and the home team won. Nice to see so many friends and sit down for a little face to face chat instead of a brief blog comment or e-mail. . Hi Rainy! Would love to meet for a spin in sometime after your move. Not sure if there will be another Stitch & Pitch. This was a big reduction in participation from the past two years.

Who picked Tuesday for the book and music release day? This was supposed to be the 2nd night in the fiber study spin group but we had a chance to meet one of our favorite authors. We attended a book signing and lecture by Lee Child. If you are a reader of suspense books I can't recommend this author enough. The signing and lecture ended after 8:00 so I missed the spin group. The group meets every week but we chose the first of each month to spin a specific fiber together.

His latest book; Nothing to Lose looks good.

This is number 12 in the series. He said in his talks that he will continue the series until he hits book 21.

You know I love to get the cheesy picture with the authors.

The Mrs and I both love his books so far. I want to thank Michelle for recommending this writer when we were in the Secret Pal 9 together. Just another good thing that came from me learning to knit. It's always great to find an author you enjoy.

The new Weezer album was released on Tuesday. Yay! It was double good

For those of you who know me, know I love certain bands and I own all the music I can find. Singles, bootlegs, imports etc. I know I'm not the typical fan of this band, probably twice the age of the of target audience the record label hopes will buy it's merchandise but that never stops me from enjoying the music. Rivers Cuomo is stretching his wings again with this latest release. For the first time the other members of the band had writing credits and even sang the lead in a few of the songs. Five of the ten songs are longer than 4:00 minutes. The last song is almost 7 minutes, not exactly radio friendly but I don't think they really care. The group has always had a huge online and underground fan base that buys the music no mater what the critics say. They are not looking for radio play even though one or two songs from each album makes it's way to the commercial air waves. The style is different than most of the previous recordings. It sort of reminded me of the Beach Boy's Brian Wilson late 60's period where there are layers of sound and multiple tempo changes. Rivers was married since the last album and you can see the change in his music. Less depression and more reflection. Yes it's different but I prefer to see a group mature and grow instead of cranking out the cookie cutter copies of the previous albums.

Here is some roving in the last week or so.

Some BFL from Lori Lawson at Capistrano Fiber Arts. I had to have this after seeing it last week. If you're going to Black Sheep, stop by and see her. She is sharing a booth this year.

This is from Hullion Fiberworks. The first is Columbia Dorcett

I can't wait to spin this. It's South African Fine Merino.

I plied another hank of Optim so I can free up a bobbin. I want to spin the second half of the purple fiber from my last post but I didn't have an open bobbin to ply it if I didn't free up a bobbin first.
From right to left. 1/2 ounce ( my first mini hank) the moma hank in the middle was the 1 ounce and the left hank is almost 3 ounces of yummy softness. We are going to dye this pretty soon.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

What's on the bobbin right now.

Mrs. Twister has been asking me to spin her some yarn to knit with. A month or so ago I bought some Pagewood fiber at A Mano Yarn Center. 4 ounces of mixed silk/merino and ???

The next day I augmented it a little with some light and dark purple superwash merino then carded it in to three large batts totaling 6 3/4 ounces.
I split these into equal halves and finished spinning the first half tonight. The fiber is full of noils and nibs making it hard to spin thin and even. I tried worsted first but the bonus chunks in the fiber were hard to live with so I quickly switched to a semi-woolen long draw. Surprisingly the singles feel really nice and very soft.
I will finish the second bobbin this week so I can ply it up. What she plans to knit with this is still up in the air.

Tomorrow we are going to the Stitch & Pitch. The ladies at A Mano arrange the bus and going with the group of friendly knitters is great fun. This is our third year of Stitch and Pitch. The first year we met Renatta who introduced us to the All Things String knitting group. Last Year we met Crazy Aunt Purl. I love watching baseball and the knitting with all those people while having a Dodger Dog is a pretty darn good time. Looking forward to seeing Laura who moved to the Kansas City burbs last year. She is here to take care care of some wedding plans.