Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bit of Spinning and Dyeing

Here are a couple of spinning/dyeing projects I've done. Love the dye thing a lot. Looks like I have a thing for purple. Not really, just photos of purple.

Will try and post on vacation, but since I'm new to this, don't know how it will work.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Did some spinning last night and this morning. It's the Cheviot that I got for free. Spins up nice. A bit hairy and scratchy, but will do nicely for a cardi or jumper. Learning to pull batts into roving, too. Makes the spinning go faster if it's thin. At least for me. Anyway, it's greener than it looks in the picture.

I've spun 2- 100grm balls so far. Still need to wash and set the twist today. The list is beginning to add up for the trip to Donegal on Monday. Need to find a good "Toe Up" sock pattern. Wind the self-striping yarn into a ball. Get together and copy patterns for the trip and make sure I have the right needles.
I'm doing a knitted Irish Landscape piece for the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Guild for an exhibition that will show at the Knitting and Stitching Show in November. Yarn is from a Dyeing Day that was held by the ladies and Peter in March or April. Can't remember, but it was COLD. Hale, rain, sun, wind... makes for a great day of cooking wool outside. Memorable none the less. I'll stick to Acid Dyes, thanks.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Self Striping Yarn

So I thought I'd give it a try. Got on web, read many directions on how to, found a warping board. Looked easy enough. DH set to work making me one. He's very willing and handy. By
yesterday morning, I had a lovely warping board that collapses down and comes apart when not in use. Great! Soaked the yarn for an hour or so with citric acid. Fine! Then wound it onto the pegs. Ooopps! Ever tried to wind or unwind wet yarn? Then figured out it is just to elongated the skein. What was I thinking? Trudge on. An hour or more later, since the yarn was hanging over the sink faucet and around a water bottle to unwind it, it was retied and ready for the dye. Chose to use the new Gaywool dye that I just got from Derryaun Crafts Olive, Iris and Wattle translated into Lt. Olive, Turquoise and Chartreuse. Cool. Mix up the dye , stretch out about 20 feet of cling film and apply colours. Roll up sausage, place in steamer and wait 30 minutes.

Let cool and dry, put back on the warping board (remember, 20+ feet of skein) and begin to wind onto the swift. Swift is a wooden umbrella-like thing that twirles around as the ball winder unwinds it into a ball. Anyway, at 5:45pm it was back into a normal size skein. No wonder people charge so much for self striping sock yarn. Maybe I missed a major short cut, but man is it time consuming!! I do like the look of it and will take it to Donegal on holiday next week. Here is the finished product. Need practice on making pretty skeins though.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Ger and Yuko
Happy 2nd Anniversary to Knitter's Night Out. Several years ago, after getting somewhat settled in Ireland, I began to look for something to do outside my house. I had become a self induced hermit. I was sure that knitting groups would be easy to find in a country steeped in wool and history of sweaters. WRONG!!! All the yarn shops were closing down and the knitting epidemic that I had left in the U.S. had not caught on. Great. What to do?? I'll start one. I need an outlet. So I came up with a name. Not my strong point. Found a venue and hung up flyers everywhere I could think of. It was a slow start, but we're still going and have 8-12 most nights. We all love the weekly meetups and love the girls involved. It's a little family of women with sharp pointed sticks. Beware!

Miriam and Lucy, up to no good!

As it happened, I was thanking Andy (lovely Coffee Shop manager) for being so accomidating and he said that he was giving a gift of the Strawberry Cheesecake to us. At 3.95 per slice that was quite a gift. I had talked with him the week before to arrange it. The cake, not the gift part. He is a delightful person. BIG THANKS to ANDY!!

Thanks to everyone who comes on Tuesday nights!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Busy, Busy, Busy

Well my new little Clemes&Clemes drum carder works like a dream. The fleece colour is a bit washed out from the original, but you get the idea. How much wool does it take to spin enough for a jumper (sweater)? Sounds like Algebra to me ,which I nearly failed, so I just spin it all. I still have some left in the bag, but I'm getting really bored with this faze of it.
The top portion was in a space bag so it's a little smashed, but it seems to fluff right up with a shake or two. May start on this tonight.
We're still without rain in Ireland and I have no wool to wash. It's a shame!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Knitting at the Circus

All this week has been Circus Week in Dublin. All the events were held in an area called Temple Bar. An area filled with Night life, Day life and any other life you could want. Lots of little squares tucked away that are not visible unless you're looking for them. Anyway, I thought we may have a bit of time to burn, so I started a new project. How many do I have on needles??? I will not answer that. I needed something small so I started the knitted Cupcake from the One Skein book. The 6 year old daughter thinks they are divine. Anything Pink, Fluffy, Sparkly or Cute are perfect qualities.

I'm using Garnet cotton chenille for the base and multi pink, fluff and sparkle for the top. She keeps checking on the progress. I have to say I hate small DP needles. They're not meant for speed and they make my hands hurt. OK, enough moaning. The cupcakes are really cute.

The performers were terrific and everyone was entertained and enthralled. The weather was great, so it was a good day out. Kids in bed and started watching Long Way Round again. Cracks me up!!

Friday, July 21, 2006

First Order

This isn't it, but the colours are close. I took this in Amsterdam in April. These are my favourite flowers. Anyway the yarn is off to knitting friend Sharon. We are having a fiber day tomorrow. Knitting, spinning, carding. All things wooly. She was interested in something orange with a bit of colour thrown in.

I dyed the fleece in three different colours and drafted them together as I went. I must say it took a lot longer than the normal rainbow dyed roving, but I really like the effect. I used Ashford Rainbow Dye pack plus a little Cushing in the orange for a brilliant colour. Worked out pretty well.

Monday, July 17, 2006


If my son were a stuffed animal, it would be Bongo. Relaxed, cheerful, full of energy. Today Bongo is fishing in the lilac tree. It's not a bush, but an out and out climbing tree, a swing from the branches kind of tree. The similarities are amazing. Hard to tell, but Bongo has a cheeky grin and espresso bean colored eyes. Koleman(son) is sure that Bongo is related some how. The monkey goes everywhere with him. Earlier today he was sliding down the aisle of the grocery store, like a giant bowling alley. I can only take so much, so into the purse the monkey went. It was a sad 10 minutes before we got back to the car. Life as a monkey at our house is good. So is life as the son.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Translated into Irish it means Wash and Dye Fleece While the Sun Shines. Lucky for me, we've had 4 days of sun and heat. Relatively speaking. I let the first 3 days go by doing other things. Can't remember what. I have 2 very stinky bags of fleece occupying the garage and every time the door is open, there is this whiff... You know the smell... drive by a farm on a hot humid day... You're getting the drift or whiff.
So today is the day for rest. So I started the rest with recovering DH feather pillow that exploded like an atomic bomb in the washer the last time through. Lucky for me, wet feathers stick together in clumps. Easier to clean than dry. Done. Next, attack the moss that is taking over the garden like the monster movie The BLOB... dig, dig, scrap, poison. Oh look, it's back. Watered the Sahara Dessert that faces West on our garden. It's been dry. Next, get out the hose and sprinkler for the kids. DH hooks up the new gadget that makes that work. Get out the fleece. YUMMY smell, that hot lanolin. Spread that out, sort, skirt (yes, sheep were clothes too) Took off the poop and bagged it up for the washing, soaking cycle X3. Next the drying, but it occurred to me that wool has to be wet to be dyed. So bag the spin cycle and line drying for the moment.

Skip that step and go straight for dye. It's my favorite part anyway. Drag out the stuff and mix up the potion. Aqua I think today. I got the fleece a few weeks ago at Marlay Park Rural Days. It was a mix of all things country including shearing exhibitions. "By the way" I say to your man, "What are you going to do with the fleeces?" "Could I have one?" "What are you going to do with it" he asked. "I'm going to spin it into yarn" I said. He looks surprised, but I was more suprised when he said yes! It never hurts to ask... So here it is. Already dyed and dried in an hour. Got to love a good hot day in Ireland.

Friday, July 14, 2006

They're Here, They're Here!!

When I was in the US in May, I had a fab time. I arrived with one suitcase and a duffel bag inside "Just in Case" I found anything that I may need. Well I left the bag with M&D, filled and brought back their biggest suitcase.... Plus, I shipped two boxes back to Ireland.

Avery (daughter) couldn't wait... not really for what was in the boxes, but the box. "Is it big? Can I fit inside? Can I make a castle? Can we buy a new refridge so we can get a big box???" Anyway, the boxes were emptied in no time flat and the children, son and daughter are inside the boxes. Cheap fun. Not really. It costs a lot to mail boxes from the US.

Inside the boxes were all sorts of things. Electronic dental flosser, yes, Spiderman, Scooby Doo, Hello Kitty and Dora the Explorer Band Aids (plasters) and tons of Birthday, Christmas and school kid gifts that are much cheaper for us to buy in the US than in Ireland.

My mom and dad are auction addicts and I come from that gene pool too. They always come up with the coolest stuff that comes in a box for $1.00. Also in the box was a knitting needle holder. Great black plaid with beautifully colored needles inside. Bright metals, lovely tortoise shell plastic ones and many great settle of DP needles in cases. I really loved them all, but only brought home part. The rest was given to a new knitting group that was started at the church my parents attend. They were thrilled, as I would have been too.

Probably the most important, exciting, thrilling, FREE thing was the Drum Carder. Yes, I said FREE!!! I was attending the church that my parents attend on a Sunday morning. Lots of very dear friends go to this church, so there was a lot of catching up to do. I was in the Bible study class that they attend and was talking to Shelly, a friend of M&D's. They have children my age. Chatting about what we each do. She's a knitter too. I was telling her about the Fibre Show that mom and I had been to the day before and she says. "I use to spin my own yarn, now I just knit. I have an Ashford wheel and a drum carder I'm thinking of selling." I told her about the new fibre arts guild that just started in a near by town. Maybe they could advertise it for you. She agreed. We talked about making cards, which I use to do and she recently has started to do. We said goodbye at the end of class and wished each other well.

The phone rang later that afternoon. It was Shelly. She said she had something for me. I really had no idea. She stopped by and had a beautiful card that she had made. That was so thoughtful. Then she turned around and brought the carder in from the front porch. I didn't know what to say.... She said that she thought I should have it. That was it. Just thought I should have it. "Thank you so much." I stammered. Wow what a gift. In the words of my mom.
"God works in mysterious ways" I would agree.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

First Lesson

It took me 4 months to get up the nerve to take spinning lessons. I was fearful of spoiling the ideas, conjured up in my mind about creating my own yarn, that I would spin, dye and finally knit into something beyond reality. I tend to do that. The idea is grander than my ability. I'm fairly hard on myself before I actually do the project. Most of the time it works out pretty well.
I went to my first Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Guild meeting in March. It was at the Earl of Meade's estate. Lovely place. I went wide eyed and anxios. Not knowing what I was in for. All gathered at the Middle Cottage. Enter... Juliet. Lovely lady who sat next to me. Little did I know that Juliet would become my spinning Guru. Chat, chat, chat... what do you do?? Oh, I teach spinning... Really??? I said. What do you charge?? Where do you live?? Can I get lessons?? It all spilled out so fast, it's a good thing I didn't have money or it would have been in her hand.
Happy Anniversary to me!! DH asked what I would like for my (our) special day. SPINNING LESSONS!! I said sheepishly. (no pun intended) So, late March, early April I went up to the Dublin mountains to a quaint hillside cottage to learn from Juliet as much as possible in 2-3 lessons. She's quite an interesting person. Really like her style.
I wasn't sure, walking out the door, if this was something I really, really like or if I was going to put my cute little wheel on Ebay the following week. It's tense learning to spin, but....

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


By the way, it's a Louet S40 Hatbox wheel and worth 4X what I paid for it!!! Really Cute and portable!!

I'm an amature spinner

November 2005. I was at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin, Ireland. Meandering through the booths, promising not to by any yarn, unless it was spectacular, in comparison to the haystack size stash at home. Ok, feeling good. Made it throught the main floor without so much as a 50gr ball of anything. OK!! I bought some stickers and coloured ribbon! Fine... Anyway, as I was saying, finished the main floor and went up to the second floor to check out the Feltmakers Ireland Guild booth (member of that one), said hello to the girls and moved on to the Weaver, Spinners and Dyers Guild booth. Don't remember much... but somehow I woke up laying on the floor clutching a new (used) spinning wheel! I'm sure it was shouting at me, "HEY, HEY, Yah you!! I know you want to take me home. YES, I know you don't know how to spin, but you will learn. I'm a GREAT, dare I say OBSENE price!" Fine, I called my DH and said I found him a perfect Christmas present that he could give me and that I'm sure I'll love! That's really how it went. See, Tell the lady you want it, Call DH and learn to spin later. After all, I know I want to. Oh yah, join that Guild too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Let's begin

Let's begin with the blog name. Does anyone remember getting the name they wanted the first try??? Second??? Third??? Well, I have a list of names on my desk that DH and I went through on two computers searching out if they exist. Nothing, used, to weird, NO WAY! What can I name the blog? Ok, 1977, we moved from lovely Los Angeles County to farm country, Indiana. Early teens at the time. What are we doing here, was the cry from three teenage girls??? Dad's job, now be quiet and enjoy the ride. Well, we didn't and hated it throughout the 70's and early 80's. Anyway, we were in lovely Winona Lake. Long, long ago there was the pontoon (boat with no sides) that moves very slowly across the water. The Winona Queen. In all her glory. So I really have no reason for the name except it was available. So that's that. They're either long or short, what can I say.

Well it's done...

Well it's done.... I've succumbed to pier pressure and started something I'm nowhere near qualified to do.... Blogging.