Saturday, May 31, 2008

Secret Pal 12 Questionnaire

Here is my secret Pal 12 questionnaire. I'm giving this another try.

  1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely not like?

    I prefer to knit with next to skin soft fiber. Merino/Silks etc. Go look on my flicker to see the yarns I already have. Please no acrylic.

  2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
    I have a Namaste tool bucket looking bag. it's on the blog if you search for Namaste.

  3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
    2 1/2 years. My wife taught me so I could make a hand made gift for my then 14 year old daughter. Intermediate

  4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
    Yes, look on the side bar for the link

  5. What’s your favorite scent?
    I prefer not to receive scented items since one of us is a little sensitive to a lot of fragrances.

  6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
    Yes, don't we all? Dark chocolate and dark chocolate and chocolate.

  7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
    Why yes I do spin. I dye and I have been known to sew when the need arises.

  8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
    I love most music, punk, blues,Rock, jazz. I have over 600 CDs at last count. No problem with music in most formats.

  9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?
    Purple, Deep Rich gem tones

  10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
    Married, Two kids living out of state. No pets

  11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
    It's So Ca here and we don't get many cold days here.

  12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
    I like to knit many things because I'm trying to learn new techniques.

  13. What are you knitting right now?
    I'm knitting a Malabrigo sweater.

  14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
    I haven't received one yet from a swap partner but yes.

  15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
    Rosewood and Ebony wooden needles please. I'm a guy and I love the tools.

  16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
    Yes, and Yes

  17. How old is your oldest UFO?
    I have a long term project, a mitered square rug made from Manos

  18. What is your favorite holiday?
    Anyone where I get to give gifts.

  19. Is there anything that you collect?
    Yarn, Fiber, knitting books, guitars, music.

  20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
    I tend to buy something if I really want it.

  21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?
    I want to re-apply myself to learn continental knitting.

  22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
    I've made two pairs of socks. One for me and one for my Daughter last Christmas. I have a very narrow foot in a size men's 15.

  23. When is your birthday?
    October 5th

  24. What’s your Ravelry ID?

Let the Games begin!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We have balanced yarn

The plying issues are under control. I received a little encouragement with a kick in the rump about technique and what a difference it made. The little 1/2 ounce hank was made under her tutelage and the larger, 1 ounce hank was made when I came home that night to reinforce what I learned. Thank you!!!!!

This was some of the Optim and I wish you could feel how soft it is. The pictures don't do this justice. I should have taken the pictures unskeined so you could see the drape and to my joy it was balanced like commercial yarn but so amazingly soft. When the little skein was wound up it made me want to dance. I'm pretty reserved but it was quite obvious I was happy. Tonight I plied up some over spun BFL and Falklands wool into some two ply soft sock yarn. It's soaking in the sink but it's going to pretty nice too.

Lots' more to talk about but it's late and I'm working long hours right now so I'm off to bed.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Color Theory and Tropical Deco

My last post I was a bit disenchanted but life doesn't keep me down long. My work lately has been a little stressful and the weekly trips to Mexico are not much fun so I was looking forward to the Spinning guild today.

I was able to replace the Midnight merino roving for Mrs. Twisted that I gifted to my swap Pal last month as sock yarn. I also picked up some cinnamon colored merino roving as well just because it was hard to resist.

The program for the guild meeting today was dye theory given by Janel Laidman. Janel is a member of the guild and quite an amazing lady. A little Google searching and you see papers by her as a member of the chemistry and biochemistry department at UCLA and numerous teaching engagements at S.O.A.R. and the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. She heads the programs chair for the guild and what a wealth of knowledge and experience she brings.

You can tell she loves what she does.

Not everyone could make a chemistry lesson and color theory lecture so exciting.

This wasn't the only thing she had to share today. Wednesday her book was released on Amazon, The Eclectic Sole Socks For Adventurous Knitters.

We had were able to purchase a copy and she gladly signed ours.

Thank you Janel. Hard to believe, just a few weeks ago she was in our home helping a group of new spinners.

Today I met a couple really nice ladies who drive down from Santa Barbara to attend the Guild meeting when they can. What caught my eye was one of the wheels. It was stamped on the bottom that it was designed and made in England by SH Williams but it had a familiar look to me. It very much reminded me of the Heywood Wakefield furniture of known as Tropical Deco. The wheels are no longer available :(

What a lot of fun to hear stories from these two ladies who have been spinning for some 30 plus years. Notice the twine on bottom of the near leg, she told me she has 14 wheels and she has to hang them up to keep the floor clear. It always makes me feel more normal when I'm around fellow "enthusiast."

Hope you all have a wonderful remainder of the weekend.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stubbing my toe and new socks

I'm having some issues with not living up to my own expectations. My sock fiber spinning was less than what I hoped for. Yes it was at 19 to 20 WPI but the plying was not very even or as even as I felt it should be. I don't really feel like showing pictures of my failures so you will have to wait for some better looking yarn. Some of you are thinking "Well, if you plied more you would improve" Accepting my short comings are like a double punch to the gut. First the fantasy in my head didn't live up to the outcome. It takes the drive out of wanting to spin more singles because of the fear of making less than perfect plied yarn. I know it's just a matter of slowing down and gaining the consistency I insist on for myself. I have a mountain of fiber to spin and all the projects in my head are on hold until I can resolve the inner demon. OK here is the plan, spin some Corriedale singles and ply ply ply. Two ply and three ply until it looks like it should. I'm hoping that the pound and a half of Corriedale will be enough to work out the kinks.

The red was gifted and the yellow is half spun, so bring on the pink and magenta.

The new project on the knitting front is a pair of socks. Simple socks but in a fun color yarn. Purchased last year at Stitches West.
Toasty Toes superwash merino soon to be some size 15 socks.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunday happinings

Today we became accurate in fiber weighing. I have been putting off buying a scale for so long due to the research-itis that strikes whenever I think about making a purchase.

Salter 3003 Aquatronic digital scale

Max capacity of 11 lbs. Accuracy up to 5 pounds is 1/8th ounce.

I love this.

I finished a full bobbin of Optim tonight. 7.4 oz of pure softness. I can either spin another matching bobbin or move 3.7 oz to another bobbin and ply. I may split in to three ply divisions and try to make DK weight.

Today Mrs. Twisted and I attended the South County Sunday knit group at Fashion Island. Nice to see so many old friends. Having to travel so much lately makes it hard to see them on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Special Thanks to Megann for your generous gift. You are such a warm giving person.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Punk, Park & Poof

Lot's to cover today.

I want to thank Dawn for the 2nd package in the PRGE.

Punk Rock Beach Towel, 2 balls of man shade sock yarn some cool coasters and hand made stitch markers. Swap Pals like Dawn make you want to join the next swap.

Tuesday I attended a spin-in during a lunch break. Loopykd posted a thread in the OC group on Ravelry about spinning in Irvine park and it's only a few minutes from my work..... We met at another KIP a few months ago but this was our first time to spin together.
Nice place to spend lunch.

I lifted this from Karen's blog. She has a nice camera.
Not many people there or I would have had someone take a pic of us both spinning.

Karen finishing her pretty batt of fiber.

Last but not least, the rest of the Cormo fleece arrived. After taking the 12 bags out of the box I realized I had to re-organize the stash to make it all fit.

Morro Fleece Works did a wonderful job of processing. I had 3 fleeces totaling 12 pounds that ended up at 9.4 pounds of pin drafted heaven. This may not be interesting to everyone but if you were thinking about the yield, Morro said it would be between 20% and 40% loss after processing with fine fiber like this. Mine was right at 20% :) Time to make some yarn now. Oh they measured out at 16.7 micron... Yes I have a lab to check this. :)

That's Cormo on the left 2nd shelf from the bottom and the 13 bags on the top.
The three bags to the right are the superwash merino and the merino seacell is next to that.

More to say but time for bed now.

Life is Good

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Belated b-day wish and the future of our country in formal attire.

As I mentioned in my last post, our friend Stacey had her ? th birthday. (I would never give her age) but she was born when I was a junior in HS. :) We all decided to meet for dinner in a neutral or central place to all of us attending. Nicole another friend (new knitter & blogless) met us there while we waited. Stacey already called us and said she was running late. We all know about "Stacey time", so I on the way we stopped for gas and the lotto ticket and we even made a wrong turn by the Queen Mary but made it in plenty of time to enjoy the show. What show? It was prom night for one of the local high schools in the area and you know how we love a fashion show. The following pictures are just a smidgen of what paraded by. I wish I had taken a picture of this one dress though. It was bright yellow. "Like a Wisconsin sunrise." I know he said Gold in the movie but I'm not Freddie Fredrickson. ( That Thing You do)

This guy had a white pin striped tux... No the Yankee's baseball team was not in town either. If you look dead center you will see the first glimpse of some pretty shoes. I'm not liking the dress though, it looked like an opaque shower curtain in person.

This unattached boy looked more like the valet who parks the car than someone looking like he was going to a formal event. The tuxedo shorts are one thing but he didn't even bother to wear appropriate shoes and would it hurt to wear some black ankle socks?

Same shoes from behind. The girl on the left with the floral dress looked like she was bucking the system a little but it didn't seem like a formal dress but neither did the shorts.

Here is a profile shot of the pretty blue shoes. Looks like something you would see in the window of a Betsy Johnson shop but I would think a dressy black pump would work better for formal wear but what do I know, I'm just a guy.

Lot's of metallic trimmed shoes in fashion right now. The pair on the left have a gold metallic heel and silver plate in the arch. The pair on the right were my favorite. Makes me glad I'm a guy and I don't have to endure the pain of wearing shoes like these.

This is a bad age for the boys. Girls at prom look like women while the boys look like they are 14, dorky, clueless and as out of place as they can be.

We met in Long Beach, at what is called shoreline village, across the harbor from the Queen Mary. The area is now turned into a restaurant row. This was our first time to PF Chang's China Bistro. A little over priced for Chinese food but the company made it worth the trip.

The birthday Girl as she was opening her gifts since we had to wait for the table.

We did enjoy the show. The hour wait for the table went by so quickly with the people walking by.

This is the happy couple. Randy and Stacey.

After dinner we had some mini-desserts because there is always room for a few spoon fulls of yummy goodness. I loved the square double shot glasses and mini spoons used to feed babies for the little desserts, Nobody really wants to spend another $8.95 or more for a slice of something they are too full to eat anyway. We may borrow the idea for our home entertaining or a potluck. Just use plastic mini spoons and have a place for people to return the shot glasses or even use plastic ones.

Stacey had the mini great wall of chocolate or what we called the speed bump of chocolate with the B-day candle.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Raw fiber to batts and more roving

Friday we drove up to A Mano to pay for our Stitch and Pitch tickets and do some "shopping." Yes, we could have called and paid over the phone but we love chatting with the ladies there at the shop. It's hard to resist when you are known in the shop because they lead you to the things they know you may have a hard time resisting.
Yes they know me because they asked if I saw the new Pagewood Farms roving in the almost black/purple ?

Friday night I attended the Friday night Men's knitting group where to my surprise we had two new members, one of which I knew from another group. Also I think my spinning had prompted another guy to buy a wheel. His spinning looks like he has been spinning for a long time not just a few days

Saturday I went to the RiverSpinners and had a wonderful time even though we had a smaller group. Cathy was very gracious once again.

Saturday night we had a birthday dinner with a friend but I'll blog about that tomorrow.

I had the chance to card the roving on a friends carder and it made 3 nice batts

Besides the roving I bought on Friday I also acquired some other fiber to spin. The past few weeks I wanted to design a sweater and spin the fiber to knit it. I hope some of this will work.

About 2 plus pounds of stearling grey superwash merino.

Two and a half pounds of midnight blue superwash merino.

Two pounds of dark chocolate superwash merino.

I don't have a scale yet but I will sometime this week. I estimate this at almost 5 pounds of merino seacell. We're running out of room to store all this besides I think I have enough roving to spin for some time.

I hope all the Mothers out there had a great Mother's day. The Mrs. & I went to the cemetery to visit my Mom and Grandmother. It always makes us both feel better because we talk about all the good times we shared with our Mom's. We even did some knitting while we sat in the warm sun.

Friday, May 09, 2008

one potato, two potato

I had to share something just because I thought it was really neat and it turned out better than I could have hoped for. We just finished the PRGE and with a source from Megann I thought of the a cool gift.

I commissioned Julian from Weeones to create these special stitch markers.
My swap partner collects Mr Potato head dolls. They turned out very well and my partner was so very happy by the e-mail she sent me today.

Tuesday night was the first night of the spin study group. We started with Optim. The group by and large was pretty successful after some much appreciated tips from Janel. Make thin strips and pre-draft like crazy.
The group attenuating the fiber.

I'll have to take a few pictures of the spun fiber and the finished skein this weekend.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Our first spin-in.

Saturday was our first get together of the beginning spinners from the Greater Los Angeles Spinning Guild. It's not a formal group with lots of structure but rather a reason for a group of newer spinners to meet in a social setting and learn new techniques from a few skilled mentors. Janel Laidman , the programs chairperson from the guild, expressed interest in launching this group to foster growth in new spinners who are steadily joining the guild.

We had 8 spinners in attendance this month and I can see the group growing quickly with the positive feedback so far. Many of the new spinners, along with myself, have expressed interest in learning the long draw. I sort of put a bug in Janel's ear at the last guild meeting where we learned carding, the preferred prep method of the long draw.

Our condo, chalk full of spinners. From 9:00 clockwise Heather, Janel, Zona and Anne from All things Strings, Kristie from the Yarn Lady spin Tuesdays and the Anaheim Hills knit group, Karen and Kelly from the Yarn Lady spin night and the guild, and myself. Big thanks to Janel for taking the time to share her skills with all of us.

Special thanks to Mrs Twisted for being the gracious hostess, helping me pull this off smoothly and for the great lunch.

What a great time...