Have Ewe Any Wool?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Luckiest and Most Spoiled Secret Pal EVER!!!!!

I'm speechles..... Oh, my. Where do I start. I have the absolute best Secret Pal - Mia from Maryland (Way Past My Bedtime). I just received yet another FABULOUS package from her. She's totally awesome and truly knows how to spoil someone. She really hones in on what you like (especially Purple, chocolate, and Betty Boop!!!!!). Check out the GORGEOUS Manos yarn in my favorite colors......mmmmm........I think I'll toddle on over to the couch in my fluffy purple flip-flops, plop down and snuggle the yarn, put on the Betty DVD and "taste test" some of the yummy chocolate. Yup....that sounds like a great way to spend the evening!

Mia is also incredibly caring....sending the special "pink" package last month when my mom was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. I believe every package also contained something she'd made or dyed herself....she's incredibly talented! Can you believe the incredible packages I've received???? THANK YOU!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! Even my husband was impressed - his comments when he saw the latest package was - "Wow! You got all that from your secret pal? You've got quite a haul....and it's all purple!" He was really amazed at how Mia had catered to all my likes. Mia....you're a fabulous Secret Pal....you've really made my day! Thanks!

Many thanks as well to our fabulous hostess for SP8, Nic (polliwannablog). Our hostess really made this special as well - she always read our blogs and commented frequently. Thanks again! I can't wait until SP9!

On a another note, here's the sock progress so far - finished one "Fearless Fiber" sock and am about to turn the heel of the second one. Tomorrow, I'll cast on for the second "Tess" sock.

And, the requisite spinning picture.....last week, I only logged 5 1/4 hrs.....this week will probably be about the 5 1/2 hrs........I'll know by the end of the night. I did manage to make 2 skeins - and I've filled another bobbin. Once I fill the second bobbin, I'll be able to ply another 2 skeins of Blue Faced Leicester. Wahoo!!!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Quick Spinning Update

This past week I spun a bit less than I have in the recent past. I managed to only get in 5 1/4 hrs. total. I logged two hours on the drop spindle (boy do my fingers get tired!!!!). I've decided that I'll continue occasionally on the hand spindle until I have "two spindles" full of yarn....and then I'm going to attempt to ply using the hand spindle as well. That should be quite an adventure!

I've got two full bobbins of the white BFL on Louie (my Louet wheel), so I'll be ready to ply a skein or two again.....whenever I finally find the time to sit down and spin again! Hopefully I'll do that tonight and can post some more pictures tomorrow!

Monday, August 21, 2006

More Socks!

Wahoo! I finished one of the "Pretty Petals" socks using the Tess yarn I got from my Secret Pal. It's gorgeous! I love it knitted up! The pattern says to do these on a size 1 needle, but since I knit so loosely, I decided to try it on 0's....and they fit perfectly! I can't wait to finish the other one now! I waited on the 2nd Maple Leaf sock because I desperately wanted to get started on this one so my Secret Pal from SP8 could see them!

The picture is rather dark, so you may not be able to see the detail. I tried to do a close up as well. Hopefully it's clear enough to see the detail. (Remember....you can click on the picture to get a "closer look"). Jeanie Townsend designed the pattern.....she's fabulous!

I also managed to start on the "Fearless Fibers" socks as well - I love how it's striping. I'm using the mock cable pattern from the Fiber Trends pattern, "Hellen's Favorite Socks".

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One Sock Done....Two NEW Sock Projects Ready to Go!!!

Well, I finally finished my FIRST Maple Leaf Sock (the "knit-along" started 7/1....so I'm a bit behind). I've made a command decision that I'm going to suffer "second sock syndrome" now....voluntarily. I'll get back to it eventually. I really like how the first one turned out. I did decide to change the toe decreases just a bit and used a 3 needle bind off instead of doing the Kitchener stitch as recommended in the pattern.

I am so anxious to start the Pretty Petals "knit along - it started on 8/1, so I'm a bit behind there too. I just LOVE the Tess yarn I got from my SP8 secret pal....and can't wait to start these socks. I think the yarn is perfect for the pattern. It's gorgeous tones of blue and purple in Super Socks & Baby - an 80/20 wool/nylon blend....and it feels DIVINE!!!! (And it's SUPERWASH!!!! Wahoo!!!!)

On the left are the two skeins of Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) that I've spun and plied in the last couple of weeks. It really spins up fast. I've made a 3 3/4 oz. skein and a 4 oz. skein. A friend of mine from work gave me the gorgeous Fearless Fiber sock yarn (pictured on the right). It's 100% Merino in the "Midnight Rendezvous" color way. In exchange, she'll be getting a 4 oz. skein of my hand-spun BFL. I just have to set the twist...and try to preserve the fabulous lanolin smell that she really likes! I plan to make some basic socks out of this yarn....a 3-1 rib or a mock cable rib ("Hellen's Favorite Socks" pattern by Fiber Trends). That way, I'll have a "quick" sock to make so I don't have to ALWAYS be working on the lace socks. (I know, I know....that will make 4 pairs of socks in various states of completion!)

This past week, I did manage to complete 5 3/4 hours of spinning (this includes the time to ply and skein the 3 3/4 oz. skein of BFL.) I'm really keeping up with the Summer Spinning Challenge, but I've noticed that it's started to cut into the knitting time (that's why I have so many WIPs!!!!!)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Happy International Left-Hander's Day!

Happy International Left-Hander's Day
to all my fellow left-handers! Wahoo! I look forward to my "special day" every year. I first discovered International Left-Hander's Day in 1980.....while I was reading the Chicago Sun Times and have celebrated yearly ever since. According to this morning's Washington Post, this special day started 30 years ago....in 1976.

Every year I celebrate by baking a lemon cake with lemon icing to share with all my friends and co-workers.
Everyone seems to enjoy it....left-handed and right handed alike. The only caveat is that I ask that the right handers eat the cake with their left hand.

A little factoid: Left-handers are a minority, making up 10-15% of the population. However, left-handers seem to excel is certain fields......the sciences, mathematics, engineering, sports, and acting (just to name a few). Lefties make up about 25% of the people in these fields in spite of the much smaller minority they represent in the general population.

Here's some cool links:

Famous Lefties

UK - Left handed products

US - Left handed products

There are many others as well......I just thought I'd provide a sampling!

Oh...how does this relate to knitting? Well, growing up, no one wanted to tackle the challenge of teaching a "leftie"....so, it took a few years of trial and error for me to finally teach myself - but I finally succeeded. Boy was I determined! I still have the 29 cent Coats and Clark (?) "How to" pamphlet I used as a reference. It was purchased at W.T. Grants, a dime store that no longer exists! (I believe the same pamphlet showed a number of needle arts, including tatting. )

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Quick Update

This past week has been busy. I've only managed to spin a total of 5 hrs.! I did manage to complete a 4 oz. skein of Blue Faced Leicester. It's certainly not as lofty as the Merino....I think it's because it doesn't have quite the crimp that the Merino does, so it makes a flatter yarn. So far, I have been successful at keeping up with my "Summer Spinning Challenge" commitment.

I've continued a bit more on my Maple Leaf sock (yes, I'm still on the first sock!). I finished the heel and about 2/3 of the foot....only a little more to go before I start the toe decrease.

I've WAY behind on the Pretty Petals socks....haven't even started them yet. And I still haven't decided which yarn to use....Tess's yarn that I got from my secret pal or Lorna's Laces! I'm thinking I'll try....Tess's. The colors will be just GORGEOUS !

Oh....as if I don't have enough "works in progress", I finally started a "mindless knitting" project - a small shawl in Onyx Boucle by Fiesta Yarns. It's black with just a hint of deep green and purple splashed through. (It's so hard to "chat" when we all get together to knit if I'm working on anything too complicated! It seems like I'm always starting a new project so I have something "easy" to knit!)

I'm still trying to identify the perfect project for the gorgeous lilac colored Blue Faced Leicester yarn my "Secret Summer Santa" sent me. I have six 50 g. skeins of DK weight yarn. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pretty In Pink

Wow! What a fabulous and thoughtful Secret Pal I have for Secret Pal 8! She sent me this fabulous package....full of pink things and complete down to the lapel pin ribbon attached to the card! By the way, my mom is doing GREAT! Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers!

The knitting needles are from Silver Goose and are just darling! There's a bobbin with a pink ribbon tied around it (Click on the picture to see a larger version....then you should be able to see the bobbin.). It's almost like she's got "ESP" - I collect the old fashioned bobbins.....and even have an hour-glass timer made out of them.

The hand-crafted items are definitely treasures! I've included some up-close photos of the hand crafted items...the big picture didn't quite show enough detail. The large skein of yarn was hand-dyed by my Secret Pal. Keeping with the "pink theme", she's hand crafted some fabulous stitch markers that even fit the size 13 needles! Finally, there's the hand embellished flip-flops (seen in the pictures above). Whew! Where does she find the time!!!!

I've completed my Bertie scarf (picture below) and am continuing to work on my Maple Leaf socks (Sorry....no picture). I finally turned the heel on the first one! I really need to finish them so I can start on my next sock project....the Pretty Petals socks. I haven't decided if I'm going to use the fabulous Tess Yarn that I got from my Secret Pal in May....or if I'll use the Lorna's laces shown below. What a dilemma!

I've managed to work in 8 1/2 hrs. of spinning this past week as well.....and I finished plying the second and final skein of the multi-colored blue Merino for my mom's scarf. (I definitely like the second skein - on the left - better than the first skein that I did.)

(I know, this warning is to late.....but since you mentioned the need for a warning, I thought I'd add this to my post.)