My Fibery Blog
April 2, 2005
Sharron is out of the hospital. She came home Thursday night. She's not doing a whole lot better; she can keep food down about half the time. Right now she's resting and watching Inu Yasha on DVD.
March 30, 2005
A lot has gone on since my last blog entry. Let's see. First Candy started loosing weight. It turns out that's because she's a very healthy kitty cat and can't be on the food meant for older cats who have slower metabolisms. Poor dear is going to have to tollerate eating extra chicken and tuna and assorted treats so we can bring her weight back up. I hope she's willing to put up with it.
Sharron, my roommate, got sick with a stomach problem and she's in the hospital. I'm hoping to bring her home soon. She looked horrible on Sunday and not too much better on Monday, but yesterday she had some color back and she was eating a clear liquid diet. She looked a lot better.
On the weight loss front, I think I've dropped 10 pounds. I was 143 (down from 153) when I went on the scale this morning, but that was before breakfast. My Weight Watchers weigh-in is in about an hour and I'll know then. But, if not this week, then next for certain. I don't see a difference yet, but other people tell me they do.
I finally got my ears peirced again. I keep leaving the earrings out for too long and the holes close. I remember the old days when the only choices for starter earrings were the small gold ball, the medium gold ball, and the large gold ball. Now they have cute studs in a variety of colors. I chose red. Now it's the drill of turning them and putting bacitracin on them. I have to wear these for a month, so I can't wear the earrings I want to Joe's party in about three weeks, but that's okay. These are cute.
On the fiber front, I've been working on the lace shrug on and off (mostly off) for a while now. I need to put more serious effort behind that. I have a full spindle of bamboo that needs to be plied this weekend, and I think it's going to make a bookmark and amulet bag. Then I can free the spindle to start spinning some of that yummy lavendar ingeo. For some reason, I am having the worst problem spinning linen. When I see it commercially spun, the yarn is very smooth. When I spin it, it has a very distinct halo. I've heard this has something to do with water (I'm supposed to keep my hands wet while spinning or something) but that just sounds like it would make a mess. I'm not sure I totally dislike the halo. It's different. Most plant-based fibers don't do that. Linen is one of my favorite fibers, so I hope to get the handle on spinning it smooth or with a halo. Still no luck finding a pattern for a duster.
I have my own mini dv camcorder on order and when it comes, I'm going to make a learn to crochet video to go with the learn to knit video. The only problem is, I crochet "wrong". I hold the yarn in my left hand and the hook in my right. Most crochetters hold the yarn and the hook in the right hand (or left for left-handed crochetters). This comes from knitting, I think. It gives me a tighter gauge than most crochetters, but there's no way to tell the difference in the final product. I think I'll explain that warning and go with it anyway.
March 4, 2005
Well, so far I've lost 1.8 lbs. Not a lot, but hey, it's only one week. I'm definitely getting used to this healthier living. I wasn't sure I would.
I'm looking to see if I can find or write a nice pattern for a duster. I just bought a new one in white and I love it, but I'd really enjoy making my own.
February 28, 2005
Winter has returned to New York. We have a few inches of snow on the ground again and more is expected early next week. I miss that mini-spring we had a few weeks ago. That was nice.
I've started going to Weight Watchers. It's my second try with the program, but I think I'm more determined to take the weight off this time. I started on Wednesday, February 26. This is day 3. I stayed within my points on Wednesday and had one left over at the end of the day yesterday. Today, I feel like I've found my stride and have good hopes to take off some weight by my next weigh in on Wednesday. I've also started using an herbal cleanser and so far it seems to be working as advertised. The big thing for me to remember is tot keep the water intake up. I'm tempted to play a water version of one of those "Take a drink" games. You know, take a drink every time Kirk straightens his shirt, or for the video game we're playing now, Skies of Arcadia, take a drink every time Aika blows away all the enemy in the first round.
On the fiber front I just got the February sock of the month from the Knitter. It had arrived a while ago, and was stuck in a mailbox at work that I rarely check, which is why I have it so late. Anyway, it's a pattern and yarn for Valentine lace socks in hot pinks with lace hearts running down the leg and over the top of the foot. They really look cute. I can't wait to get started with them.
February 5, 2005
I totally changed the projects on top to reflect what I'm actually working on. The other two are at risk of entering UFOdom, but I'll post back if I start working on them.
Maybe I'm wrong, but last I checked spring in New York was not supposed to start in early February. It's so warm out that, when I went to bring the car home from getting it inspected, I couldn't bear to have my coat on. One fellow was running around in jeans and a T-shirt and I think he had the right idea. I hope the worst of this winter is behind us, and definitely no more snow. We've had enough of that.
January 28, 2005
I don't know if it's quite normal for a kitten to have his own blog, but Hikari does and here it is. Lots more photos of him there. I wanted to share this shot of three cats (Amanda was being a bit camera shy) all together in a circle. Dokuritsu is on top. Candy is to the right. Hikari is to the left.
January 26, 2004My gosh, it's been way too long since I've posted an update. Let's see. Dokuritsu's test came back, and it turns out it isn't as bad as the vet originally feared. She's getting milk thistle twice a day and I changed her diet. This should help. We're retesting her in April. Hikari has settled down, aside from teething on us and on the other cats, and he's totally into playing now. He has picked up his toy in his mouth and carried it to Sharron a few times, I think to get her to play with him, which she does. It's the cutest thing. He's lost the bruise on his nose and he's grown to twice the size he was when we first got him. I must post new photos to his web site soon.
Hikari went to the vet tonight, to get his second Feline Leukemia shot and also to find out about his loose stomach. The vet gave him medicine to take once a day for a week and also told me to change his diet. According to him, both Iams and Science Diet (we're currently using Science Diet) are garbage for the kitten. He told use to switch him to NutroMax, or better, to switch him to human food. He said table scraps are actually good for the cat, but the proportions must be right. The formula he gave me (I will post it as part of Hikari's site as well) is as follows:
We're transitioning him over to the new diet. It's good for the older cats as well, but for them it should be %50 chicken and %35 vegetables. So far, they seem to like the change.
With all the snow this winter is definitely shaping up to be the stay-at-home-and-knit kind, and that is what I intend to do. I finished a tote bag made with bulky cotton yarn this weekend. I'm probably going to make two more just like it for friends. It's not good for carrying small things, but for books and such it seems nice. I spun and KA dyed silk for and knit a purse, minus the tie. I never realized how horribly wet silk smells. Soy silk doesn't seem to have such a bad odor to it.
I'm almost done spinning an ounce of bamboo. I have soy silk going on one spindle, red linen going on another, and hemp going on yet another. Three out of the four supported spindles have some amount of cotton on them. There is only a small pull left of bamboo to spin and the Israeli cotton is ready to be plied. Maybe I'll finish both this weekend.
I haven't made any progress on the projects listed above, but with the yarn from the January sock of the month I'm almost finished with a pair of wrist warmers for myself that I intend to use as driving gloves and I think I'm going to use the other skein for an eyeglass case. Hmm, maybe with the February yarn I'll actually knit socks. Now there's an idea.
At work I finally got moved to that developer's position I've been coveting for so long. I just finished one assignment and I'm eager to start the next.
December 23, 2004
Tomorrow Dokuritsu goes to the vet to find out about her liver. Her blood test showed a problem and now we want to find out how bad it is and what we can do to help her. We're hoping that we can regulate this with diet and vitamin supplements. We didn't catch it early, I just hope we caught it early enough. The vet did say that he had good success in the past with the suppliments. I'll post more when I know more. Sharron got a picture of her licking her nose and it was so cute, I had to share it.
I got the December sock of the month kit from The Knitter and the yarn just cried out to be made into a pair of mittens. They took me just a few days and they weigh just a little over an ounce. As I have about 2 1/2 ounces remaining, I will use it to make a pair of wrist warmers for my roommate. The color is fabulous. The photo (below) doesn't do it justice.
December 20, 2004
Well, Hikari has a bit of a Yami in him, we think. He went from a cuddle bunny to a psycho cat in less than a second. He loves to play and I think he'll calm down some. His favorite thing to do now is to play with the step I use for step aerobics. He climbs under it, then crawls out the other side, turns around, jumps over it, and repeats the entire process. Much fun. Candy adores him, and wants to take him as her own, but he's not ready for that just yet. He's too scared of the other cats.
On the fiber front, I finally have that photo of a baby sweater to put up.
It's going in the mail today. Talk about taking it to the wire. This is the last shipping day for anything that has to be to an out-of-state destination by Christmas.
I have a hat photo to show off.
This will be a gift for my boyfriend's cousin's new girlfriend. I hope to meet her this Christmas. I didn't know what to do for her, so I thought a hat was safe.
December 19, 2004
It has been a very hard week. On Tuesday, December 14, Savil died on us rather suddenly. At 8 pm she was running around and seemed perfectly healthy and strong. By 10 she was completely gone. Please visit her Memorial Site to see what she was like and to see many pictures of this beautiful cat.
We took Dokuritsu and Amanda to the vet to be checked out (Candy had gone for an exam right after Taffy died). We got good reports on both cats, but we're waiting for the results of the blood test. Dokuritsu's weight is finally close to normal. She needs to lose another pound or two. While we were there we asked if he could suggest a reputable pound to adopt a kitten and he said he had some right there for adoption. He showed us one that just didn't do much for us, and then he brought out a little black and white fellow that melted our hearts. His name is Hikari and he will be coming home this afternoon. I put a web site up for him too (nice to put one up about happy news. I will put one up for each of our other cats, with updates on their silly antics and funny, delightful things they do.
I'll post knitting stuff later, I promise. I do have photos of a few finished projects. It's just been hard to think about that these last few days.
December 11, 2004
My shamash fainted yesterday. It was the strangest thing. The fourth day candle was too close and the shamash was too high, so it started to melt forward and to the side. By the time I blew it out and removed it, it resembled nothing so much as a candy cane.
I finished both sleeves of that baby sweater between yesterday and today and I hope to finish the sweater this weekend.
December 8, 2004
We got the phone call yesterday that we have to go pick up Taffy's ashes. It still doesn't feel totally real to me. Sharron wants to put a small tribute somewhere in the house to her. I'm not sure what to do.
Yesterday night, while watching Yu-Gi-Oh, I finished the front of that baby sweater and cast on the sleeve, but I was so distracted I had to frog the beginning of the sleeve twice. I think I may have messed up the front a little, making one side two rows shorter than the other, but that will straighten out in the finishing of the sweater. It looks even when I hold it up.
A friend, Miriam, gave me a huge bag of cotton. Some red, and some brown, and I'm eager to finish my holiday crafting so that the red can become a cover for my MP3 player. Interestingly, some green cotton that I spun up and boiled a few weeks ago is now brownish grey from sitting in a bookshelf, outside of direct sunlight. This fiber is strange. It's beige when it starts, turns olive green after boiling, then goes to brown/grey over time. No telling what color it will be next week.
December 4, 2004
I'm slowly bouncing back after loosing Taffy. I've taken to knitting again. Today I frogged the front of that baby sweater and started knitting it again. I also finished a bunch of those little purses and then spent the majority of the day wrapping presents and writing out holiday cards. I always think I am getting an early start and I still feel like I'm running around crazy.
I've given up on the destashing project. Fiber finds its way to me like metal filings find their way to a magnet. I'd rather not know how badly I'm losing ground, so I took that chart off the blog. Besides, if I don't post it, my roommate has no evidence (aside from the mounting pile of wool obscuring half of my bedroom).
November 23, 2004
I'm probably not going to finish up anything fiber related for a while. I'm in a totally numb state of shock. We had to put our cat, Taffy, to sleep today and everything happened just suddenly. It's like, she was playing and eating on Friday, and now Tuesday, she's gone. I just can't believe it.
I put up a memorial site to Taffy that I hope you go visit, to see what a special and wonderful cat she was.
November 9, 2004
The holiday surprize sock kit came as the November sock of the month from the knitter and I had to cast these lovely socks on the day the yarn came. Unfortunately I didn't get much further than that. I'm on round three, I think needle 1 or 2 (I'm working this on five dpns).
I have seen a few interesting things about the pattern so far. One, I didn't start on size 3 needles as suggested. That was only for the cast on row (although the pattern didn't specify the change to size 2 1/2 at the time, the leg is supposed to be in 2 1/2 and only the cast on in 3 so it's clearly a case of casting on to larger needles so to keep the stitches looser). I also didn't knit row 1 flat before making the join. For me, the twist is rarely a problem, and it was no problem in this case. In the interest of saving yarn, I am not splitting and joining the metalic for the cuff, I'm just carrying it down the back.
I would suggest against this pattern for a beginning sock knitter because some parts are very vague. For example, the directions for the heel flap call for a "normal slip stitch heel" but not much information is given on how to do that. For an experienced sock knitter (that is, anyone who knows what a normal slip stitch heel is) this sock pattern looks wonderful.
I did finish the braided cables socks first and I am wearing them today. When I first saw the yarn on the hank I thought I was going to hate these socks, but knit up, the yarn is lovely. I'd gladly use it again. I had wanted to put up a picture, but they are too dark to photograph well.
November 8, 2004
Wow, it's been a long time since I've added to this blog. I have finished the multi-color cotton skein and it had something of a southwestern look to it.
I had intended to add more colors but the spindle was too full, so the yarn kept breaking. It's probably going to become a coin purse. I still haven't finished the braided cable socks and today, the new sock of the month kit came. This one has metallic yarn in it, and I'm eager to get started. The picture is lovely. But I've made myself a no-UFO promise. I will finish one pair of socks before starting the next.
At some point I want to knit a little case for my new pocket PC. Many patterns use cotton for this kind of project, and I can't see the sense in that. I live in a walking city, and rain is something to be considered. I want a case that's going to protect my equiptment from moisture, so my case is going to be made of wool, or silk, if silk is water resistant.
I was interveiwed today for an article in Sheep magazine about Mountain Shadow Ranch's adopt a sheep program. The author, Tim King, wanted to talk to some of the sheep's adopted parents and Teresa picked me as one of the people to send him to. He was a pleasure to speak with. I think he was a little surprized that a New Yorker would be interested in sheep at all, but I find the truth to be a bit unusual (as we New Yorkers usually are). The New York Times ran an article recently that said that a big hobby with the upstate crowd is raising Merino, often for the fleece. My coworkers love petting the fleeces when they come in. I can't wait to read the final article. Teresa is a wonderful fiber artist and a terrific lady and it's good that she's getting some recognition for her hard work. My three darlings, by the way, are T'Pring, Akuta, and McCoy.
I've discovered a new (well, new to me anyway) series by Lauren Hanley. The Right Hand of Amon is the first book in the series. It's a bunch of murder mysteries set in the Eighteenth Dynasty under Pharoah Hatshepset. Lauren has an eye for fabrics, and even has her hero, Bak, save a litter of kittens by throwing a spindle at a Tom that wanted to eat one of the babies.
Hatshepset is one of my favorite Pharoahs (Akhenaten is the other). When told only a king could rule Egypt, she had herself crowned king. I hope she appears in one of the later books. It's funny, but every Pharoah I like, even if you count Atemu of Yu-Gi-Oh, had their names erased. Hatshepset and Akhenaten both had attempts made, after their deaths, to erase them from history.
As an aside, I reject the spelling Atem for Yami's Pharonic name because the little bird that makes the trailing "U" sound is present in the heiroglyphic spelling of his name. Heiroglyphs, unlike katakana, can distinguish "m" and "mu" and "mu" is clearly written.
As I am obsessed at the moment with Ancient Egypt, I mean to try my hand at a pyramid scarf. I have multi-color gold-tone yarn and I plan to use gold beads to make a pyramid on both ends. Especially if I can figure out how to get it to read as "pyramid" not "triangle". Perhaps I'll just bead an outline of a pyramid. That's still in the design phase though.
October 28, 2004
Yesterday I got to the end of that mixed cotton skein. I had intended to add some cottolin to the end, but the spindle is full. I still need to ply it, which is the state of a lot of my handspun. Right now I have three spindles full of yarn that need to be plied.
I now have both socks from the September sock of the month (the braided cables) to the point where I need to decrease the toes. Hopefully they'll be done this weekend. Today I get to start the October kit, and here it's nearly November. I had so intended not to fall behind too. Perhaps I should go bi-monthly with this. These socks look like a lot of fun too; they're done in orange with lace bats. I'll put up a picture when they're done.
October 27, 2004
Last night I finished adding the Camel cotton to the multi-color skein and made a decent dent in the cinnamon. After that, there are two colors left. Then I get to try to ply it.
I don't know how much fiber work I will get done in the next few weeks. After much fighting to get put back into a computer programming role at work, I was given a wonderful assignment doing ASP programming in Visual Basic. I'm excited, but that, plus Japanese class, is going to take up the bulk of my time and attention until Thanksgiving, which is the deadline for that project. I also have a fantasy short story that is nearly ready to go to market and I need to give that some serious attention.
I'm not going to put the roving and yarn away quite yet though. Fiber arts are very soothing, and I'm probably going to turn to them a lot at the end of the day to unwind. They're great for that. :)
October 26, 2004
I've decided to start spinning up those little samples of fiber that I have. The ones I got from vendors, from friends, from sampler kits. I seem to have a tiny army of them invading my bedroom. My criteria for the first pass is one ounce or less, though I will probably make the threshold much smaller for cotton.
This weekend I finished a few of the samples Doll, from Spindlers, sent me. I spun a cheingora skein for the first time. It came out thicker than her samples, and I think I was afraid if I drafted too thin, it would break. It still looks perfectly usable, and I am thinking of using it for a coin purse or bookmark for a dog lover friend.
Also from the fiber Doll sent, I spun a skein, about an ounce, of "mystery wool -- merino mixed lamb". The color kept reminding me of french vanilla ice-cream. It's a very rich and lusterous color. I still need to ply it and then decide what it will be used for. It's very pretty.
I finally spun a batt of Sugar (she's a cormo ewe) that Nanette sent me ages ago. That worked up very easily and looks like it was spun of cotton balls. I'm like the white too well to dye it.
Then I spun some extremely white wool from a kit I picked up from Walnut Ridge Farms. This was a very bright white, and it will make a nice contrast to a darker fiber. Maybe some black alpaca Doll sent me.
And finally I spun some purple merino (the colorways Grafton Fiber put on it was "garnet"). It's going to be one of the coin purses. It's the perfect amount for it. I don't think I'm going to use the bright white skein as a contrast to this one because the skein size is so perfect for this project.
Last night I was too tired to get too much done, so I spun a tiny bit of cotton. I have a skein going from small amounts of this color or that that I will navajo ply it to keep the colors seperate. I'm not good at that technique yet, so they will blend at the joins. Most of the fibers are shades of brown. I have some grey cottolin (cotton, flax blend) and some recycled blue jean cotton, in there for contrast. I finished the blue jean cotton last night, which I think was at the halfway point.
October 20, 2004
This is the first of the series of coin purses that I am crochetting for this year. This one is special to me because there are so many "firsts" associated with it. It is made of the first cotton skein I successfully spun. The bottom is white, because that is what I started with. The remainder, in the multicolored design, represents the first time I carded fiber sucessfully. It's the first skein I navaho plied. It's also the first time I tried using beads as buttons.
I had to restart one of the dice bag projects (lets just say linen doesn't hold a black dye well) so now it will be done in cotton. One color is recycled blue jeans blended with acala cotton, the other is straight pima cotton. I will have each post, for where the tie goes, hold a bead. So now I have to empty a spindle so I can start spinning the cotton.
October 19, 2004
Hello, and welcome to the launch of my little fiber blog. Here is where I intend to discuss my latest fiber projects -- spinning, knitting, crochet, weaving, and possibly beading. I will post photos of some of my work and talk about the challanges of certain projects, or of learning new techniques.
You'll notice I keep my project list pretty hectic. Right now I am spinning several skeins of yarns for friends on the AC4C mailing list. I am knitting a sock from the sock of the month club of The Knitter. And I am spinning to crochet a black merino shrug, but this has been an on-and-off project for going on four years now.
My current fiber obsession is spinning cotton on a little brass takli. I just love the easy, even flow of it. I am using it to crochet little coin purses for friends and relatives for the holidays.