Wednesday, November 30, 2011

goodbye Movember!

If you have somehow never heard of Movember (and if not, where have you been?  Seriously.) you can find out more here.

I'm proud of my husband Dan for participating in this very worthy cause but I'm really, really glad that Movember is sighing its last gasps.  Why, you ask?

Is that not the sorriest, most pitiful excuse for facial hair that you've ever seen?

One thing that you could never accuse Dan of doing is growing excess hair.  Now if someone dreams up a fundraiser that involves women growing leg hair, sign me up.  I can grow leg hair so lush that I could braid it.  Okay, not quite but it's not that far out of the realm of possibility.  In fact, I wish that someone would make that sort of fundraiser in one of the summer months so we could show off our lush legs by wearing shorts.  Just think of the time-saving benefits to be able to wear shorts or skirts without having to de-forest our legs first.

Tomorrow is December and the so-called moustache will finally be just a memory.  Bring it on!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I've been taking an art yarn spinning class at my wonderful LYS Golden Willow.  The very talented Deb, aka dragondancer, is teaching it.  She knows a lot about yarn and spinning.  Check out her blog.

I spun a few art yarns in the past, mostly just to prove that I could, but didn't see much practical use in them as knitting yarns.  I now have more interest in using them since I started weaving with texture.   I've always figured that learning new techniques makes me a better spinner so I probably would have taken the class even if I wasn't a weaver.  The possibility of actually using the yarn is a bonus.

In my mind I've categorized these yarns as art yarns and textured yarns.  Some yarns are spun just to make something pretty/different/wild to view as decoration.  These include but aren't limited to large or unexpected yarns with add-ins (such as eye balls, Barbie heads, toy soldiers, etc.).  I call those art yarns.  Textured yarns, to me, are those that are more traditional and less out-there and that's where my yarns fall.  I have nothing against the wild art yarns and give my blessing to those that spin them but I like my yarns to be more user-friendly, to be used in projects not the end result in and of themselves.

I believe that textured yarns require a lot of spinning skill to make.  I know that the first yarns produced by new spinners are frequently referred to as art yarn but I don't buy it.  Spinning mistakes may resemble art yarns but they are generally not stable yarns.  I think that textured yarns should be stable and (mostly) balanced.  That takes time and practice.  They generally are slow to produce, often needing considerable amounts of fiber, and involve plying and/or anchoring the elements in place and then finishing techniques to make them stable and usable.  That said, they're fun to make.  They make me think outside the box which is good for me.  My default spinning is control-freak, fine, worsted yarn so textured yarns force me to let that tendency go, experiment, and get creative.

So here are my latest spinning endeavors.
corespun mixed batts plied with 60/2 silk

merino thick and thin spun with 60/2 silk, the thick spots pushed up to form coiled cocoons, then plied with silk again to balance the twist
the same thick and thin merino and silk as above with the silk used to ply and then autowrap

If you would like a good reference for spinning art/textured yarns, my favorite is Jacey Boggs' DVD Sit and Spin!  Jacey also has a soon-to-be-released book titled Spin Art.

Monday, November 07, 2011

and BAM, it's winter!

It's a good thing that we prairie folk are hearty because Mother Nature didn't even give us a skiff of snow in October to prepare us for winter.  She deluded us into thinking that our lovely autumn weather would last forever.

Case in point:
this picture was taken Thursday just before sunset.

Here is a similar view taken from my kitchen window yesterday.
No more autumn for us.  Uh, uh.  Nosiree Bob.

As usual, the shelties are thrilled with the snow.
Robbie knows that he looks gorgeous against the snow.

Austin was so excited he couldn't wait to tell me about it.

Cooper got the zoomies.

Then he posed nicely while he caught his breath.

And where was Bentley?
Ready to go back into the house.  He doesn't have nearly as much fur as the shelties.

I will leave you with some stunning sunset skies from Thursday, before the snow.

Interesting that the sky was purple.  A year ago the sky turned purple before snow.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

definitely treats

No tricks here - treats for sure!

One fiber that I had never had the chance to spin was qiviut.  That changed when I bought a destash spindle from Peacecat on Ravelry.  She lives in Alaska and told me that she sells qiviut (free shipping to boot!) so of course it was the perfect opportunity for me to get some.

This arrived in the mail.
It's a qiviut/silk blend and I can't imagine a softer, more luxurious fiber than this!
I will be spinning it with a Tabachek spindle so that the experience is exquisitely savored.

Also a treat.....
meet Twitter's fleece.  Twitter is a CVM/Romeldale who lives in Washington State and her shepherd is Joy (sheepgirl on Rav).  This is a gorgeous fleece - soft with lovely long locks!

One more treat was a visit to Celtic Cast On's blog today to see pics of the cutest Little Red Riding Hood and her big but not-so-bad wolf.  They win my award for best Hallowe'en costume this year for sure!

On a sadder note, my sunroom now looks like this.
Although we don't have snow yet (knock on wood), it's too cold to work there comfortably any more so all the fiber equipment has been moved indoors.