Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Doomed To Never Finish Anything

I think I've fallen into a knitting/spinning/weaving/dyeing black hole.
I'm just not finishing ANYTHING lately. I started a dishcloth because I thought I could at least finish that, but it turns out that no. No, I can't. I'm about half done and it refused to grow another inch so I threw it in the closet.
I started spinning the second bobbin of singles for a two-ply yarn that I dyed the wool for over a year ago thinking I could finish that, but the wool (dyed combed top) is lifeless and sort of a pain in the butt to work with so that is no fun. It actually SQUEAKS as it drafts and it has no sproing left in it anywhere. I don't know what is up with that, but it makes for some crappy singles and I'm thinking I
might need to ditch the whole 8oz. and start over with something nicer.
The Summer In Kansas Shawl has gotten to the point where I can knit for a couple of hours on it like I did last night and only be three rows ahead of where I was when I started. I'm still on the first skien of yarn and it is supposed to take 3 so this isn't looking good for me being able to finish any time soon.
I have plans to weave a triloom shawl out of the sparkley yarn I made a while back, but I need to spin some more of that and I'm afraid that whatever I start right now will never be finished. I can't even finish a dishcloth! Nevermind the giant box of UFO's lurking in the yarn room.
Maybe I'm the victim of a voodoo curse? The Curse Of Unfinished Fiber Projects. How does one break that? Maybe if I wait for the full moon then pile everything up in the yard and circle it three times while hopping on one leg (to get the attention of the gods) then I make an offering of eucalan and vinegar in the "pouring some for my dead homies" style while I read selections from the latest issue of Spin Off or Interweave Knits? It might work.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dye Solution Math

OK, the jar of dye says 1/2oz will do about 2 pounds of wool to a medium shade.
That would be about (I did some rounding off all through these
calculations) 14 grams of dye doing 907 grams of fiber, so that is
(14/907 * 100) 1.54% the weight of the fiber in dye powder. I'm
rounding that to 1.5 and making a 1.5% stock solution with 3.75 grams
of dye powder per 250mL (about 1 cup) of water. Then I'll use 100ml of
the dye solution for every 100 grams of fiber.
Does that make sense? Math people? I'm not known for my math skills.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dye Experiment Results

This is 12oz of merino dyed with the new Jacquard Dyes of Death (haha) in two separate crockpots. I like the randomness this technique gives you. I used red, black/gray, and a weakly mixed blue. The pinks are a little more vibrant in person, but these colors in the first picture are otherwise pretty true.
Dyed Roving 1Dyed Roving 2

Friday, August 18, 2006

I'm So Gonna Die

So, exactly how bad for me is it if I get a lungfull of powdered Jacquard dye? Cause I kinda did yesterday. There was a leak in the seal of one of the jars, and when I opened the package the powder floofed out at me and I dropped it, which made it floof out some more and I did one of those shocked gasp things so I inhaled what felt like enough to probably give me ten kinds of cancer or mutant genes or whatever it is one gets from inhaling dye powder.
I managed to clean everything up and scoop up the loose powder in the bag with a spoon so I didn't lose much. So far all I have is a scratchy back of the throat area. No exoticly colored mucus or anything, so I figure I'm probably not much worse off than when I worked in the plastic factory where I was forced to breathe in PVC and Polystyrene fumes all day long, right?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Showing Off New Junk

It's the new wheel! Here it is parked in my usual spinning spot - in front of the computer. I'm a multitasker.
New Wheel

This is the first skien of yarn made with the new wheel. See how pretty and shiney and smooshy it is? I love it muchly. The dime is in there for scale.
New Yarn

Finally, here is the new Squirrel Cage Swift I got from Kirtland's Yarn Barn. Look under accessories. Ball winder thingie not included. I love this thing. I've almost run out of skiens to crank into center pull balls.
Squirrel Cage Swift

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Spinning Stuff

The new spinning wheel is working out soooo nicely! I love the crap
out of that thing so far. I made my smallest, most consistant yarn
ever. It only has a few weird poofy places in the whole 220 yard
skein. I can't remeber if I already told you guys what happened with
the stain/tung oil finish. It stunk. It literally smelled bad even
after a week on the niddy noddy. I didn't want to have to wait another
week for the smell to go away. I'm totally impatient, so on Saturday I
just sanded the wheel and put on a couple of coats of low-stink clear
polyeurethane. It turned out really pretty, and I was able to use it
on Sunday. All future wheels will be purchased completely finished. I
am soooo not much of a woodworker.
I also recently purchased 15 pounds of white roving and a bunch of
Jacquard Dyes.
I'm sure you'll get to see the results of that later this month.
Oh, have you guys seen this thing?
It's a "squirrel cage swift". You put the skien on there, clamp your
ball winder to the top rail, and crank away. It takes up much less
room while in use than a regular swift, and it's just totally spiffy
looking. I think I need to get one since my current vintage crazy
metal swift seems to be pooping out. (I think I stripped the screw
thingie the wingnut tightens down on...oops.) I'll totally haul it
down to Sweet Bay on Thursdays for knitting too. The people there
already think we're nuts with the spinning wheels. What's one more
weird contraption?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I'm Back!

Actually, I've been back from vacation since Friday. Things have been a little hectic since then. but Vacation was awesome.

The only bad part was a slight freak-out that I had at the Big Texan in Amarillo, TX the first night when I realized the knitting bag DID NOT make it into the truck. I'm sure you guys appreciate the terror. I couldn't remember the last time I had it as I was packing and dragging stuff outside. Did I leave it in the driveway? Was it still in the yarn room? Or did I leave it in the living room totally unprotected from bored cats? Oh please, don't let it be the bored cats! Even though so far they have been unable to break into it while I am away for a few minutes and leave it unattended on the couch, if they had a whole week I'm sure they'd band together and figure out a way to open the thing. There is half a laceweight shawl in there that I've been working on for a month! If they ate the socks that would still be bad, but not as bad as if they chewed up the shawl. holy crap...breathe...eeeeeek!!
I went to bed uncertain as I'd only been able to leave a few frantic text messages on Julia's cell. (She was out of range at the drive-in movies.) I actually WOKE UP in the middle of the night worried about this. Steve totally laughed at me too. Julia called me in the morning to make sure she knew what to look for, then called me back as we were on the road to Alamosa to let me know she'd found the bag in the yarn room and all was safe. whew!

We visited Great Sand Dunes National Park, but didn't get to go out on the dunes because there was a ton of killer lightening going on. (The killer lightening followed us to every mountain we tried to walk around on too, so no hiking was accomplished.)After a visit to the local Wal-Mart so I could get something cheap to wear swimming, we checked into this cute little motel in Alamosa and had some really awesome food at a local Mexican place.

That town is so cute and had so many funny attractions (like the Aligator Farm thing which offered Gator Wrasslin' Lessons for a mere $50 and the UFO Observatory) that I could have probably stayed there another day or two easy. haha
In the morning I must have been subconsciously not wanting to go because I totally locked the keys in the truck while Steve was pumping gas. I swear I didn't lock it, but when I came back from inside the store it was locked up tight. Thank goodness for Chevy roadside assistance. They sent a cute guy with some rubber wedge things and a long long hook with a magnet to open the door. It is surprisingly easy to force open a car door without damaging the door or anything. CRAZY. We were back on the road in ten minutes from the time I placed the call. No shit. I was amazed.

FINALLY we got into the serious mountains. Before now it was mostly flatness all through Texas, New Mexico, and Southern Colorado. This pic was taken on the road to Breckenridge. We got stuck in a big traffic jam due to some road work being done there. I can't say that I minded much since the weather and the view were both awesome. Breckenridge was pretty OK. We spent some time walking around the downtown main street shopping area, had lunch there, had some ice cream, and got caught in the afternoon rain. Surprisingly, while standing around under a random awning waiting for the rain to stop, I found a yarn store. Haha...actually it was mostly a quilt store, but there in tiny letters on the sign it said they also had knitting yarn. whoo! I had to climb a million stairs to get to it, and once I got there they had a pretty bleak selection with no shorter sock needles so I ended up not buying anything. Still it was kind of neat how we just happened upon the place. I would never have found it if I'd been looking for it.
Later that day we made it to Rocky Mountain National Park. We came in the back way and took Trail Ridge Road into Estes Park.

It was pretty cloudy/rainy and the lightening was back. We did get out at one pull-out place to take some more pictures, and we stopped at the Alpine Visitors Center, but it was already closed for the day and we never made it back up there the rest of the week. Here I am at the closed Visitors Center.

That snow back there has some pink streaks in it that you can't really see so well in the pic. It's totally full of gross worms. Seriously. That lumpy windbreaker thing was not doing a very good job of keeping me warm, so it was back to the car in a hurry after this pic was taken.
I didn't take many more Vacation pictures after that. I kept forgetting the camera in the room etc. I suck at documenting trips, so this number of photos is actually pretty good for me. I had planned to take pictures at the Stanley Hotel, but the guard at the gate told us unless we were guests we couldn't come in. We couldn't even drive into the parking lot. That is just fucked up. geez. I was too bitter to even bother taking a pic of the building or to go to the museum.
We spent our three days there walking around downtown Estes park, where I stumbled upon another yarn store next to a coffee place. I got some awesome bulky alpaca/wool and some circular needles so I could make a hat. It turned out kind of big, but cute.
One day we drove from Estes to Ft. Collins, had lunch at Lambspun where I also bought a really spiffy batt of blue/green/sparkley stuff to spin, and then headed to Boulder where Steve got to do some shopping at outdoorsey stores and I got to poke through the stock at Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins. I didn't buy anything there, but we did pet the coolest giant fuzzy dog in the world and were followed by a super cute laughing baby. :)
When we left, we decided to just drive back as fast as possible in one big swoop. Steve said he could drive part of the way if I got tired, but I wanted to try to do the whole 13 hours myself. I'm weird like that. We went across the most boring, flat, nothingness filled area of Kansas then down into Oklahoma where we were hit by a huge thunderstorm complete with 60mph winds and no visibility. I had to pull over to the side of the highway and inch my way down to an offramp. Luckily there was a truckstop restaurant there so we had burgers and onion rings and coffee for a couple hours while listening to the weather radio to make sure there wasn't a tornado about to carry us off. Once the rain let up it was on to Tulsa, then two more hours to home.
The first thing I saw when we opened the garage door was the box with my new spinning wheel in it. YAY! too tired to haul it into the house...straight to bed. Steve stayed up and went through the mail and petted kitties etc. He's nutso.
Friday we found out that a friend of Steve's family that he used to stay with when he was in college had died. Saturday I had to drive to Dallas to pick Ian up by myself because Steve was totally sick on the couch with sinus crud and had to do laundry/pack to drive to Kilgore, TX for the funeral on Sunday. Sunday I opened the wheel box, took out the niddy noddy, and tested a stain out on it. I'll probably unpack the rest of the wheel and stain it/put it together this weekend.
It's over 100 degrees here every day this week. I had a migraine today that I'm sure was brought on from getting overheated Monday and Tuesday, and I have to go back to (unairconditioned) work tomorrow. I need more vacation.