Yarn Swaps and Crazy Life

Again it’s been months since I’ve been able to post.  I’ve had computer problems – another new laptop after the old new one (strange words usage) died on me.

I’ve joined my first yarn swap and I can’t wait to get started on it.  So here’s my questionaire:

  1. Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been at your craft?    ***I both knit and crochet, but I tend to knit more often.  I’ve been crocheting for about 20 years and knitting for about 3.***
  2. Do you spin? What type of spinning do you do?  ***Spinning is my latest fiber related passion.  I got my first wheel for mother’s day and I spend as much time as I can playing with her.***
  3. Are there any other crafts that you participate in?  ***I also dye both yarn and fiber***
  4. What are your favorite yarns/fibers?  ***I’m a big fan of bamboo yarns and fine merinos.  For spinning I love baby camel as well as Merino/Tencel blends.  I’ll pretty much spin anything I can get…LOL***
  5. What are your LEAST favorite yarns/fibers?  ***Not a fan of novelty yarns, nor do I particularly care for corridale or columbia fibers***
  6. Are there any types/brands of yarn that you are dying to work with but haven’t gotten a chance?  ***I’ve always wanted to try Artyarns Regal silk and/or the beaded silk.  As for fibers, I’m always looking to try spinning fibers I haven’t tried yet.  Llama, cashmere, yak, suri alpaca are examples.  BFL is another fiber I’m anxious to try that I haven’t yet.***
  7. What are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet?  ***I’ve been knitting a lot of shawls and fingerless gloves as of late.  I’m anxious to try knitting my first garment at this point, a simple sweater or cardigan, perhaps.***
  8. What are you currently working on? Anything you plan to start this autumn?  ***Currently, I’m finishing up the Ravelympics:  The Storm Water Scarf in Sea Silk (what an amazing yarn, btw).  I also have the Tidal Wave Scarf on the needles in Silk Twist (another amazing yarn).  Both of these are Chrstimas gifts for family this year.  This fall I plan to try the Evangeline sweater from White Lie Designs – it’s the next thing on the my to buy pattern list.***
  9. What is your favorite FO? (Please, post a picture if you would like.) ***My favorite F.O. is the Zig Zag Moebius scarf that I made for my MIL last Christmas.  I don’t currently have a picture, but will try to get one of it to post.***
  10. What is your oldest UFO?  ***My oldest UFO would have to be the blue jean shawl that was supposed to be a Christmas gift last year but never got finished.  I’ve also got some fairly old scarf and hat patterns that I lost interest in.***
  11. Are their any knitting/crochet techniques that you would like to learn? ***I’m anxious to get better at sock knitting, have several book on the subject.  I’d also like to learn more sophisticated lace techniques in knitting***
  12. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?  ***I’m a very beginning sock knitter.  Foot measurments to follow as I’m not near the knitting bag at the moment, so no tape measure at the moment.  My shoe size is 8.5 – 9, though. ***
  13. Do you have a yarn winder and/or a swift?  ***I have neither.  I tend to wind hanks to skeins using my knees and a nostepine.***
  14. Where/how to you keep you needles/hooks?  ***I use the case that came with my Knit Picks Harmony Options needles.***
  15. Do you collect anything?  ***I collect native american pottery.  I got my first one from on a trip to Tucson, AZ a few years ago and have been obsessed with the bowls and their colors ever since.  I also collect Zuni fetishes, the bears are my favorites.***
  16. What is your favorite type of music? Are you MP3 ready?  ***I’m pretty musically diverse.  I guess if I had to pick one genre it would be country.  I’m also a rabid listener of 80’s music – I guess that probably rivals the country music love.  I am MP3 ready, sort of.  My Ipod was recently stolen from my car, but I have plans to replace it as soon as I can, though.***
  17. Do you like sweets? What are your favorites?  ***I’m not a huge fan of sweets, but I do allow myself to give in to the call of Godiva every once in awhile…:)***
  18. What is your living situation like? Any pets? Children?  ***We are in the process of moving to an apartment right now while we look for our “dream house”.  I have a four year old son, 3 cats and we are getting the little one a puppy for Christmas this year.***
  19. Are you allergic to anything?  ***No allergies other than some random hayfever.***
  20. Do you have an online wish list (Amazon, Etsy, Loopy Ewe, etc.)? Please include links for your swap pal.  ***I do not, but have been meaning to set up a Loopy Ewe list.  Will post the link when it’s done in a subsequent post.***
  21. Are you having a birthday during this swap?  ***No, my birthday just passed last week.***
  22. What is your Ravelry ID?  ***shannwa***

There we go.  All the information you could want about me.  I’m happy, though, to share anything else that a swap partner might be interested in knowing.  I’m really excited about this swap and can’t wait to spoil the heck out of someone.  Yay, an excuse to buy fibery goodness.  LOL

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Harmony and a Little Bit of Heaven

Quite a different tone to this post as from the post yesterday, huh? What a difference a day makes. I’m still not feeling 100%, but a good friend reaching out to me this morning and a GREAT mail day really helped to lift my spirits. I didn’t get much sleep last night. Around 4:30 this morning I made a proactive move and took the cable box back down to the living room, then I spent awhile reading The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook and getting my spinning urge back in gear. I stopped myself from getting up then and there to spin a bit (I would have been up all night if I had) and went to bed listening to a knitting podcast. I can’t remember the topic, but it was a KnitPicks cast. I fell asleep just a few minutes in, I think; I don’t remember anything from it. I always fall asleep a few minutes after starting, but I need the background noise to sleep and I don’t want to mess around with trying to find my place in an audio book over and over again.

Jake woke up later than usual, almost 10 am and though I only got 5 1/2 hours or so of sleep, I felt more rested than I had in awhile. Circumstances, meaning my cats and a large glass of water left on the end table next to the couch, forced me to bring the cable box back upstairs this morning. That’s teach me to be proactive…lol. Got everything moved back up and got food, drink, etc. for the little man and myself and it was time for his morning viewing of Monster House. That movie is going to drive me crazy at some point soon. While he was watching I got out the old “puger”, as he calls it, and read blogs, checked email etc. Found the email from Shannon and gave her a call. Talked for awhile, made plans for later this week and just generally made me feel like someone, other than TJ of course, cares. It’s amazing how little it takes to lift my spirits. Thanks Shannon. I can’t tell you how much that short phone call, and the laughter helped me. You rock!!

The rest of the day was pretty ordinary, which is a good thing when most of my days lately have seemed so dark and long. I got out the fiber I got from Greg and Amy’s farm and spun for a little while. After reading the Twisted Sisters book, I decided to give spinning from the fold another try. I had tried it briefly with the silk I spun (poorly) a while back, but it didn’t work so well. This time, though, it clicked and I found drafting to be a lot easier that way than the regular way of drafting. I’m still not clicking on the regular drafting without the massive pre-drafting, but I’ll get there. I’m NOT giving up. With lots of pre-drafting I can spin a fairly consistent single; they still tend to be way over-spun. I have much work to do on that. Any hints on how to not over spin so much would be much appreciated.

I realized, after TJ got home from work, that it had been a few days since anyone had gotten the mail. So I braved the icy porch and the driveway and when I got to the mailbox it was JAM PACKED full. There were packages galore. I got a skein of 100% cashmere

cahmere-yarn.jpg

Isn’t it pretty? It’s called “Oh Holy Night” and it’s a combination of burgundy and black; not sure if you can tell from the picture or not.

Next is the only fiber I bought. I had planned to stay away from fiber since I went on a binge not that long ago, but I really enjoy spinning the Kareoke (did I spell that wrong?) fiber and I couldn’t resist the colorway. It’s called Mermaid and it’s so shimmery and soft. YUMMY!

Mermaid Fiber

There was also some Cascade 220 in Cotton Candy Pink and in black, but they are pretty plain and don’t merit the time for uploading and then playing with size…lol.

The part where a little bit of heaven comes in is here:

A little bit of heaven

This is the first time I’ve seen Malabrigo in person, none-the-less touched it.  OMG.  This is the softest, most luscious wool I’ve ever felt.  The only thing that comes close is wool that I got from an Ebay store called South Wool.  I love their stuff, too.  So affordable.  The only problem with the Malabrigo is that I only have 3 skeins of it (625 yds) which doesn’t seem like enough to make any sort of top or sweater.  I don’t want to make a scarf or gloves or something like that.  I want a sweater.  I’m going to have to buy more.  Of course then the dye lot won’t match, so I’m going to have to buy a whole lot more of whatever I choose.  The horror…:)

Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any better.  There was a ring of the bell at 7 pm and it was a delivery from Knit Picks.  My Harmony needle set was sitting there waiting for me.  I’m so excited.  I’ve been wanting these forever and now I have them.  I want to start knitting with them immediately, but I have my last X-mas gift and my Circular Shrug on the needles already so I can’t start just yet.  Bummer.  All in all, though, a much better day than yesterday!!!

Spooky Little Pirates and First Yarns

Last night was so much fun!  I was worried that Jake wouldn’t get into the spirit of Halloween, but boy was I wrong.  We went costume shopping and he chose an adorable pirate costume.  We went out to lunch (which he ate all of, for a change) and came home and carved pumpkins.  That was an adventure, too.  Jake kept grabbing the carving tools and stabbing the back of the pumpkin with them.  LOL  After we finished carving, we got Jake into his costume and took off early to trick or treat.  It was supposed to rain later in the evening, but the sky was looking darker and darker, so we chose to take him early.  We left about 5 pm and it was still light out, but there were already a few of the littler kids out.  We didn’t go out for long, only about 45 minutes, but it was great fun.  Jake rang all the doorbells (that he could reach) by himself and he remembered to say Trick or Treat at almost every house.  He was also very polite, saying thank you and Happy Halloween to everyone.   After we came home was when the real fun started for him, though.  His favorite part of Halloween wasn’t the dressing up, or even the candy, it was helping answer the door and give out candy when other kids came.  He got such a big kick out of the costumes and seeing all the kids. Once he even tried to leave with a group of kids; it was adorable.  He was really upset when it was time to call it a night and go to bed. 🙂

After Jake went to bed I had my own little Halloween treat.  Not a candy treat, but a fibery one.  First I got three packages in the mail:  my hand dyed silk hankies (gorgeous), some Wesleyndale (I think I spelled that right) fiber that’s undyed for a fun Kool-aide project and a gorgeous package of merino top in shades of spring green.  YUMMY.  The best part was that the “aha” moment of spinning hit me.  I realized that my drafting had improved tremendously and that my singles were more consistent than they have ever been.  I took the singles I’d been spinning off my spindle and I grabbed some singles that I spun a few weeks ago.  It was time for a plying experiment.  I tried the “handy plying” method and it worked fairly well.  It’s not the prettiest yarn in the world, but the singles weren’t very pretty to begin with.  It’s still drying with weight on it as it’s a bit overspun even in its plied state, but I’m still proud of it.  Pictures to follow when we finally find the digital camera.  It can only get better from here. 🙂