Saturday, June 21, 2008

Measure twice, knit once

As I sit here re-knitting the yoke of my Cobblestone sweater, it finally dawned on me what I did wrong. In the pattern, the sleeve measurement didn't seem long enough. This is usually a common thing for me because I have long arms, and when buying long sleeved shirts or sweaters, I usually have to go to a big & tall men's store. After measuring 3 long sleeved shirts, I came to the conclusion that the sleeves needed to be 3 inches longer. I know! That's quite a bit, but hey, I measured! So of course I knitted the extra long sleeves, attached them to the body, and started knitting the yoke. I was a little more than 3/4 of the way finished with the yoke when I decided to try it on. The sleeves are way too long! How can this be?! Rip, rip, rip the yoke, rip the sleeves back 2 1/2 inches, reattach to body, begin knitting yoke again. Which brings me to today.

And then it dawns on me......

When I measured my pre existing sweaters, I laid them out flat and measured them from the underarm to the cuff. As I was knitting my sleeves, I measured across the top of the sleeve for length. Now anyone who's ever knit a sleeve knows that you decrease along the underarm toward the cuff, or increase if you're knitting from the cuff up. When you lay the finished sleeve out flat you've created somewhat of a triangle. (it would be a triangle if you continued decreasing the cuff til you had only one stitch, but it would be kind of hard to get your hand through...... anyway, you know what I mean)

Now my mind wanders back to my 10th grade geometry class when I say "Why do I have to learn this crap?! I'm never going to use it again!"


The underarm side of the sleeve would be the hypotenuse side of the triangle, and we all know that side is longer. I think there was some sort of formula to figure it out, but I'm sure I'll never have to use that again. (hey, that's what the internet is for, right?)

So I'm sitting here re-knitting the yoke of Cobblestone, and the only thing I can think about is the fact that It probably won't even fit me come winter, because I'm losing so much weight with Weight Watcher's . (16.2 lbs. in 5 weeks) I'm going to have to start something new and thinner, or I'll have nothing to wear to SAFF! (maybe it won't take me as long, since it will be a few sizes smaller)

Mach 1 update
According to UPS tracking numbers, the wheels will arrive next Tuesday. Can I tell you how excited I am? I will have my wheel for spinning guild next Saturday! Hey, do you spinners name your wheels? I was sure I heard some of you calling them by name. I have a couple picked out.

How about Ernst?

You know! After Ernst Mach, Austrian philosopher and physicist who came up with the concept of faster than sound travel.
I don't know. Even though he looks like there might have been a spinning wheel in the house, not such a pleasant or easy name to pronounce.
(Ernst, Ernst, Ernst.......)

My other choice, and so far my favorite is Chuck.

After Chuck Yeager, the first man to travel at Mach 1, and a fellow West Virginian, I might add. Of course I could also go with Glamorous Glennis, the name of the Bell X-1 plane that actually broke Mach 1. Chuck named the plane after his wife. Maybe I'll just go with Chuck. I kind of like it.

Before I forget. I was gifted by my wonderful friend Shirley Robb with a HUGE bag of the most beautiful dark chocolate brown ALPACA fleece I have ever seen! This stuff is right of the animal, so I'm going to have to figure out how to process it, and comb or card it, but I am up for the task. (I've actually been looking at drum carders too!) Thank you SO much Shirley!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I've been tagged for a meme

I always thought it was pronounced ME ME, (you know, like Mimi Rogers), because hey, it's all about ME! Found out today it actually rhymes with seam. Anyway, I thought this would be a fun diversion while patiently waiting for my new spinning wheel to arrive. The Great and Powerful Chickengoddess has tagged me, (thanks Alma) so here goes!

The Rules: Rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their names. Then the player goes to each of the “named” people’s blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. If you’ve been tagged, you do the same, letting the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. Your answer, of course, is the answer to the following questions. Here we go!

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
1998? Working at the same place I am working now. I had not discovered knitting yet, so I guess I wasn't doing anything important.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today?
1. Find that ball of Kauni yarn I couldn't find last night and stayed up 'til 11:00 looking for.
2. Order orchid plants for work next week.
3. Post this meme on my blog.
4. Fertilize my Plumerias.
5. Fix my breakfast and lunch for tomorrow.

3. Snacks I enjoy: Anything with chocolate. Anything with caramel. Anything with nuts, especially pecans
. (why do I find I am now craving turtle brownies? Thanks Alma!)

4. Places I’ve lived: Parkersburg, WV (born and raised), Morgantown, WV (college), then, the Washington, DC metropolitan area including, but not limited to; Springfield, Annandale, Fairfax, Burke, and Falls Church, VA also College Park, MD. Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, CA, Chattanooga, TN, and now Atlanta for the last 14 years, (actually Lawrenceville, but I usually just say Atlanta), pretty much in that order.

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Quit my job. Buy a Tesla. Build a beautiful, stone, earth-friendly, solar powered, wind powered, home in the mountains of North Carolina with lots of cabins around for all my friends to come and stay as long as they like for free. Build another one in Dingle, Ireland just because I like to say "Dingle" and I love Ireland, and raise Shetland sheep and dingleberries there, (hire a shepherd), donate to The John C. Campbell Folk School, build a fiber arts center in Atlanta so the weaving guild, spinning guild, and knitting guild would all have a permanent home under one roof, hire a personal trainer, eat macadamia nuts whenever I feel like it, (don't tell my personal trainer) Take care of my parents, immediate family, and close friends.

The rules say I have to tag 5 people now. How about Doug, Brett, Stuart, Claudia, and Jane? And if you're feeling left out because I didn't tag you, feel free to swipe the meme and post answers on your blog, then let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Got fiber?

I received a nice big box today from our UPS man. NO, it was NOT my wheel! (I can not wait for it to get here!) I received my first shipment of fiber! I got three nice big one pound bags of Bluefaced Leicester, (I think most spinners just call it BFL). One is a creamy white color, one is sort of an oatmeal color, and one is a nice medium brown. I also got a one pound bag of brown Shetland roving, just for a comparison. They're all undyed, natural colors, and SO soft! Look how pretty!

I can't wait to spin some of this, but alas, no wheel yet. I guess that is the downside of buying a wheel from someone who assembles each one by hand, and does not have a whole warehouse of them sitting around just waiting to be shipped. I spoke with a spinner from Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday, and she has actually spun on a Mach 1. She went to Yarn School in Harveyville, Kansas, and got to try one out. LOVED IT! Also, doesn't that yarn school sound like a
fun time? I might have to check it out next spring. I also think I may be going to John C. Campbell this fall for a spinning class. (anyone want to come with me?) I've heard that Martha Owen is a great teacher. I am dying to spin! I'm also dying to dye, and she teaches that in this class too. I've ordered some custom dyed BFL roving from a hand dyer on Etsy. I'm hoping it's going to look something like this;

Or this;

I'm basically ready to go, just need my wheel. I think I may give the folks at SpinOlution a call and see what the ETA is.
(UPDATE, Wednesday, June 18th..... the wheels have been shipped!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My new wheel, and MORE!

Well, I've just sent off for my very first spinning wheel. For those of you who haven't seen this, check it out. It's a SpinOlution Mach 1! (looks like a real guy's wheel, doesn't it?) I am so impressed by this wheel, and I haven't even sat down behind one yet. SO impressed that I have signed on to be their sales rep for the state of Georgia! Yep, that's right. I now have my own little, home-based business. I'm going to open an Etsy shop when my first wheels arrive, and sell them through there too. I'm very excited about this, and have already sold 3 wheels, not counting my own! I do, however, have very realistic expectations, and do not plan on quitting my day job anytime soon, (DAMN!) I'm just hoping it will give me a little extra spending money to support my new addiction habit hobby. I have already purchased some very inexpensive natural colored Blue Faced Leicester and Shetland roving from a great place called Paradise Fibers, and ordered this book from Amazon. Even though I know I will learn much more by spinning instead of reading, I'm sure this book will be full of great helpful hints. Oh yeah, check out Ravelry, they already have a SpinOlution group, with some nice photos, and some great things to say about this wheel.

I'll let you know when it gets here, and you can come over and take it for a spin!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Stash reduction SALE!

OK, here we go. It's time for the big stash reduction/wheel acquisition sale! I spent a long tearful evening with my stash last night. I told them that some of them just had to go. They took it better than I thought they would. They were like, "Dude, we're yarn. Our only purpose in life is to be knitted, and you're using us as closet insulation. Frankly, we're getting a little tired of waiting! We're outta here!" Like I said, they took it better than I thought they would.

OK, here's the deal.

All prices include shipping to anywhere in the continental USA. (basically, I'm just too lazy to figure them out, so I'm including it in.) If you're local, and I know you, I can deliver it myself. If you live in, let's say, Canada, or perhaps
Patagonia, and you just have to have something in this sale, email me, and we'll talk about shipping charges, but I would prefer to ship within the continental USA only. Yarn will be shipped immediately after payment is received.

I prefer Paypal. That's how I plan on paying for my wheel, so if the money is
already in my Paypal account, all the better. Once again, if you're local, and I know you, I will accept cash, or possibly a check, but I REALLY prefer Paypal. If you see something you want to purchase, let me know in the comments section at the end of this blog post. I will strike it out, put your name there, and then you can Paypal me. In the comment section of Paypal, maybe put what the yarn is, and your blog name, whatever. I just want to make sure the right yarn goes to the right person.

My Paypal account is
It's a long story. I'll tell you about it someday.

The yarn has been stored in a smoke-free home. We do have two cats, but they are never allowed in the guest room, let alone the walk in closet in the guest room where my yarn is stashed. Most of the yarns are still in the sealed plastic bags I received them in. If you're freaky about a possible stray cat hair, I'd say don't buy this yarn, but the chances of finding one are zero to none.

and now......

Rowan Polar: This yarn has been discontinued, so this may be your last chance to get some of this soft beautiful stuff. Here's what they had to say about it on Knitter's Review. It is 60% wool, 30% alpaca, and 10% acrylic. It knits up at 3 stitches per inch on US 11 needles. It has 109 yards in each 100g ball, and retailed for $11.95 per ball, or $119.50 per bag of 10. I'm selling it for $60 per bag. (full bags only, unless otherwise noted) All colors are the same dyelot. Here are the colors and quantities I have;

Color #645, Winter White (the name says it all)
One partial bag (8 balls) $50

Color #649 Jaffa (a spicy reddish orange)
One full bag $60
Two full bags $110

#653 Dark Truffle (a yummy dark chocolate brown)
One full bag $60
Two full bags $110

Color # 654 Blast (a dark flame red)
One full bag $60
Two full bags $110

Color # 655 Combat (a military greenish gray)
One full bag $60
One partial bag (9 balls) $55
Both bags $105

Color #647 Stormy (a beautiful charcoal gray)
One full bag $60

OK That's about all I can handle tonight. If I don't make enough for my wheel, there may be another sale, so get it while you can. I have also listed all of the above yarns for sale on Ravely, and at these prices, I don't expect it to last long!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Adventures in handspinning, Part 2

So I went to my first handspinners guild meeting yesterday. What a wonderful group of folks. It was a very large and informal meeting. Everyone was sitting around in this great big circle with their wheels. There were a few announcements, and a raffle, but other than that, it was just sit and spin and mingle. There was also beautiful hand dyed roving, and natural colored alpaca to purchase. (I did resist. You would have been proud.)

I did get to try a few wheels. First I tried Katey's new Schacht Ladybug. If you can get past the cutesy name, it's a really nice wheel. It doesn't fold, but it has three handles, located at different points, to pick it up. It was very lightweight, and the treadling was SO smooth. The treadles were well spaced, so it was fairly comfortable to use. The wheel is actually a child's bicycle wheel. (really, it even has the hole where the air valve would come through!) I liked all the extra added attachments you can buy for it too.

Then I tried Jane's Ashford Joy. I found it not as easy to treadle, but I'm thinking it may have been the fact that it was a single treadle, and I had just been spinning on a double. I clumped up a couple of yards of beautiful pencil roving that she had been spinning beautifully, and passed the wheel back.

There was a single treadle Lendrum that a couple of the first time spinners were using, but I did not get a chance to try it. I noticed a double treadle Lendrum across the room, and Katey "suggested" I go over and ask the owner if I could try it. She was very nice, and let me sit and treadle it for a few minutes. What a great wheel! I was very impressed. I did not think I would like the way it was angled, but I think it's tall enough that it shouldn't matter.

All in all, it was a great time, and I will be joining next month. I left the meeting thinking LENDRUM. It's a really nice wheel. It folds. It's solid MAPLE for cryin' out loud. It has some weight to it, which is a plus in my book. It has lots of accessories INCLUDED. I think the price is VERY reasonable for what you get.
So I'm thinking, "Lendrum, yes, Lendrum, that's it."

But THIS keeps popping into my head.

It won't leave me alone.

Call me crazy, but I really want this wheel, and I haven't even seen one in person yet. I haven't touched it, treadled it, or SPUN on it, and yet I must have it! To me it looks like a real "guy's wheel". Nothing ornate or frilly here, just 22 lbs of solid, spinnin', madness!

And the name?
Is it a Ladybug?
A Babe?
A Little Gem?
A Julia, Victoria, Millie, Suzie, or Rose?
It's a freakin' MACH 1 !
I mean hell, it may as well be a car, or a jet! It costs a little more than the Lendrum, but not much. It doesn't have a WooLee Winder that fits it. (yet) It's 22 lbs, but I'm a big guy. I can lift 22 lbs. The Dyson vacuum cleaner at Knitch weighs 18! (yes, I weighed it today)
I'm not ordering it tonight, and probably not tomorrow. I'm still doing my homework, and I'd like to talk to a few folks that actually have one, and see what they think. I'd also like to come up with the bucks before I buy it, rather than tacking it onto my already overused credit card. Keep an eye on my blog. In the next few days I'm planning a stash reduction/wheel acquisition sale. I promise there's going to be some really good deals.

It's gonna be hard to let some of it go, but I'm gonna need lots of room for all that roving I'll have to buy.