Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year

And by that, I mean back to school time. We got Anna (my younger daughter) back to school yesterday without incident. She's a junior at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA, a source of neverending amusement to me since my kids were mostly raised in a pagan household. She's a good kid, though, and it's nice to have someone on the "inside" who will tell people that pagans don't actually eat babies.

I did manage to work on the clapotis today for a while, in the period of time when I was waiting for the meclazine to kick in. I feel very good about the fact that I actually fended off an attack of vertigo. It was coming, I felt it coming, but I got it fast enough that the pill kept me from spinning. Also plied the singles I had done this week. It was a bleargh craft week because of the back-to-school madness, though.
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"Black Cherry", a merino/silk top from Copper Moose became singles...
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then a nice worsted weight yarn.
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This terrific green/multi 100% wool copper moose top
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became a nice sportweight.
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I think I've got the thin, I'm working on the consistent now. It's frustrating, but what I need most is to SLOW DOWN. There are those who seem to think spinning on a wheel equals automatic control, but it doesn't. Not at all. Not for me, anyway.

And about that... the roving I started off with months ago when I was spindling
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well, I think I know just what I want to make of it. The problem is, am I going to be able to spin it thick and uneven enough to match what I made of it early on? It's lovely yarn, really it is, almost iridescent and I think very good for a beginner's effort, but I'm not so much a beginner any more, and I need to match this.
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And I think I need to do it soon, before I am completely unable to spin that thick any more. Sigh.

RIP Mousie.
Last Saturday, we found Figment, Tuxedo Cat Extraordinaire, playing with a teeny mouse in the house. We saved the mouse from further torture, but unfortunately, it died on Monday night. At least the poor little thing didn't die in terror at the hands of a predator, he died in peace in a box of soft fiber and good food and good energy. He was adorable.
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The picture was taken while he was still alive. That'd be morbid if he was dead!

Figment is a very strange cat. He loves Bob's horse picture....
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and will watch it for a half hour at a time, sometimes.
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Sometimes I'd like to know what he's thinking.
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But usually not.

In other news
Lily is still cute.
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A picture-heavy and content-light post. So it is, at times.
Please visit this page and read this blog entry.
from one of my new favorite blogs.

don't read it if you're a mysoginistic apologist or a neo-pseudo feminist or someone who thinks we don't really need feminism any more.

do read it if you like good writing, damn good insight, and unabashed anger.

Until next time...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

An Anecdote

Been a while since an update.

So I have a story to tell.

A few months ago, I was at the Artists Market with my co-op, the Crafty Cats. I had just acquired my spinning wheel and was in the process of learning to use it. I knew I'd be sitting around all day doing not much of anything, and thought that maybe the wheel would get people to come over to our table and look at our stuff. It did.

I fielded a lot of questions that day. Most of them were of the "did you make that wheel" stamp. Babe's Fiber Garden got a lot of publicity that day! Mission accomplished as far as getting people to our table was concerned, at any rate.

I was working with some practice fiber, some brown wool that was pretty inexpensive, spinning a moderately worsted looking single, and a gentleman came over to watch. I said hello, he said hello. Then he asked...
"What are you making there?"
I answered "Yarn."
He said "No, really, what are you making?"
I said "Yarn, really".
"I don't understand. How are you making yarn?"
I grabbed a handful of wool. "With this. See, it's wool, fiber from a sheep."
He continued watching. I explained, a little, how feeding the fiber into the twist created a single ply of yarn which could then be either used by itself or combined with another ply. He was so mindblown at the very concept of making yarn that he couldn't take anything else in.

It was pretty funny. His worldview changed right then and there. Now he had to think about where things like yarn actually come from. Sheep? Who knew?

Better update tomorrow I hope. It's been a busy week at La Casa Di Fritz.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

sunday, hopefully pool day

I woke up this morning to find Quincy asleep in my fiber box. Again.

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He's so old that it doesn't annoy me, just makes me giggle. At his age, (18) he can sleep wherever he damn well pleases.

Oh my, did you notice the thinness of that single? My goodness me.
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I may, just may be on my way to my very first true laceweight. Another reason I love copper moose fiber, because it is such a delight to spin. My biggest issue with spinning has been patience, I want a skein, and I want it now! I'm working on that. I keep reminding myself that I've been spinning less than six months.

Finished the last of my Flynx last night, too. It's a beauty.
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Here's a detail.
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There's about six hundred yards of this altogether, and I'm thinking the hobo cardigan from vogue knitting's fall issue for my mother out of it. Or for #2 daughter, since I can't really picture my mother in pink.

A detail on #1 daughter's sweater in the very early making. You can't see the wonderful KnitPicks Options circular needles that it's on, because I don't want to make anyone jealous.
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That's about it for now. I must track down my bathing suit and spend a day in the company of my mother, watching her expose herself to UVB rays until her chance of dying from skin cancer is pretty much 90%.

Friday, August 18, 2006

...and because this is supposed to be fiber....

here's a damn pair of socks to look at.
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A Brief Treatise on a few things

before I go collapse.

my health has been so iffy lately that I have no energy for anything other than work, sleep, and what fiber fun I can get in the remaining hours-of-the-day. It's a bummer, all right.

I miss my friends. I miss the things I used to do.

I used to go camping. I was supposed to go camping this weekend, to Brushwood, but lack of money and my myriad health issues got in the way. We haven't been to Brushwood in, oh, four years? three years? It's been a long time. It's compounded by the fact that when we do go away, we usually go to a Mensa event instead of a pagan event. And I don't think Bob is too crazy about the whole "tent in the woods" thing. But I miss it, and my soul cries out for it. I suppose I could drive up for the day tomorrow, but again, it's a lot of money on gas just now, and we are really short of funds. But dammit, compared to a lot of the stuff we do, camping is really, really cheap. So it upsets me that we don't go.

Anyway, I miss my friends. I know, I do, that being a friend to someone involves a relationship, much like a romance, relating to them in real life and talking, visiting, laughing together. I don't have very much energy right now, and I am very afraid that the few friendships I do have left or what tatters remain of them will be gone soon due to neglect.

Almost everything I valued outside my home has drifted away from me. Including, but not limited to, my love for my job. It's been swallowed by pain, by fear, by insecurity, by busy-ness. This makes me very, very sad.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Adventures in Driving, Quizzing, and Frogging

Today, I took my daughter Anna out for her first driving lesson. She is 20 years old and about to be a junior in college. She got her permit on Tuesday.
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Anna's the one with the glasses. I still tend to see her as a little kid, even though she's not. It's tough being old and delusional.

Anyway, she did just fine. Only jerked me to hell and back a little, didn't burn up the clutch, didn't crash into anything, and thanked me profusely.

Bob, my adorable husband...
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...has an ambition to be on a quiz show someday. He's a trivia master. Seriously. The stuff he knows perplexes me. I have never met anyone with a stickier brain. Anyway, he tried out for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" today. He made the first cut. I keep telling him they only want stupid people for that show. Maybe we'll get lucky, who knows.

I'm making a sleeveless top for Lena, the "other" daughter in the above picture. I started it off on 9s just like the pattern said, but since I was using handspun instead of the called-for yarn, the gauge was horribly off, like by 25%. So I had to take it out and start over on smaller needles. The way it was looking, it was going to fit both girls at once. And while they're close, they're not that close.
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Boring content tonight. I am grateful for that, sometimes.

I have a very bad joke to share.

A couple went to see a touring company of japanese theatre. As they were leaving, the man shook his head and complained "I just don't GET it."
The woman looked at him and said "Just what part of Noh don't you understand?"

On that rather sour note, I am to bed. Here's a dog picture to make up for the joke.
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

project update

i've had a lot of time lately to sit around and knit, so the clapotis is coming along.
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The dropping is going better than I'd anticipated due to the threadiness of the yarn. I'm on the fifth iteration of the straight section. Considering the size so far, I'm thinking that nine repeats will be enough instead of the stated twelve, and since I accidentally eliminated one increase repeat, i'll on-purpose eliminate a decrease repeat.

I'd blather on and on, but my idyllic weekend of health worries, hospital visits, sunburn, and barbecue is at an end and I am off to work. After more coffee.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Recent Spinning AKA The All-Pink Post

I've been doing quite a bit of spinning lately. In addition to the previously posted experiment, i've finished the big ball of "leftovers" roving that I spun one skein from back for Mothers' Day. It yielded two more skeins, both in excess of 150 yards. Probably a bit more than fingering weight in two ply. I kool-aid dyed them with purples and reds because 1)that is what was left and 2) I wanted to see how the different types of fibers absorbed the color. I'm pretty happy with the results.
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My spinning is getting a lot more even, a lot thinner, and a lot more consistent. And faster. I'm actually considering a pair of socks out of this.

This is from fiber I got from Dawn at Flynx Fiber. It's got everything in it from bamboo to alpaca to merino to mohair to silk to cotton. It's a joy to spin. I already spun almost a pound of her fiber in a more straightforward pink/lilac and got about 1400 yards of a worsted. This is a heavy worsted with more variation in color. I think I'll get another skein or maybe even two out of the roving that's left. Should net a total of about 1200 yards, because I'm spinning this thicker to stay consistent with my earlier efforts. I love Flynx Fiber ( and hope she posts more fiber for sale soon.

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here's the yarn so far-you can kinda tell which were the earlier skeins but not too much.

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Here's the roving-gorgeous stuff.

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yarn close-up. you can see all the diff. colors.

Here's the original Flynx fiber I worked with.
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This yarn is already promised to make a shell for my older daughter. She's approved the pattern and I think it's within my limited knitting abilities.

You know what's really funny? I don't even like pink. My favorite colors are greens and blues. And sometimes, purple.

Fiber Experiment

I got some fiber the other day that was not roving, top, sliver, or any other kind of organized substance for spinning. I got it because it was inexpensive and I loved the color and texture combination.
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I posted to the spinning fiber community for advice. It amused me that it was recommended that I card the fiber. If I had carders I wouldn't be asking for advice! I didn't even have the proper sort of dog brushes to do for fake carders, but one of the comm members suggested just combing the fiber into a sort of organized bit to spin without overdoing it, and that sounded like a good idea.

I got the fiber, a bag to put processed stuff in, a couple of unused brushes, a dog brush, my MP3 player and speakers, and a comfy chair and sat out in the sunshine for day one of my primitive fiber processing experiment.
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Basically, I just loaded up a brush with fiber per the "joy of handspinning" handcarder instructions and used the other brush to blend and smooth it out.
Don King, is that you??
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The fiber grew an amazing amount as I was working with it.
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I think I got a bit over-enthusiastic as I was working with it, because when I went to spin it, there were a lot of little lumps in it that reminded me of when you have tangles in your hair. While those do give texture to the yarn, it's not the sort of texture I was after. So I will try to eliminate or at least reduce those bumps when I continue processing it.
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In this picture, you can just see one of the bumps coming into the first hook.
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Getting onto the bobbin-and I am not liking the way it looks. Not at all.

I went ahead and spun a small bobbin-full, using almost all of the ounce or so that I'd processed. I then plied it on itself from a center pull ball.

I am less than pleased with the results, but I don't hate it as much as I did when I saw it on the bobbin. I think with some patience and practice, it will be fine.

Or, I could just put it away until I get real handcarders, because that's something I DO want to get down the road.

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I will be continuing the experiment today, or maybe tomorrow. Or maybe both. Progress will be posted!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Let's try this again, shall we?

I tried, yesterday, to post about my health concerns. Somehow that did not happen. I think that because the doctor doesn't find it important enough to see me sooner than the 21st, that must mean it's not that important.

However, I have THEORIES. Of course.

Since everything I have wrong with me has to do with inflammation, it's obviously some sort of inflammatory disorder.

that'll fix everything.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

test post

To see if the feed works.

and to see if I can get these photos in.

A Brief Introduction

Welcome to my blog. This is unlike my livejournal blog, where I'm part of this large, rambling community of people who know each other online or off, and pretend to keep in touch that way. This space is all about me. And you don't have to like it. I'm the only one who has to like it.

Fiber-obsessed is one way of putting it. I first learned to crochet when I was very young, maybe six or seven. I put it aside for a long time. When I decided to stop smoking, I took up crocheting again. In typical newbie fiber arter fashion, I went to the local mega bigbox craft shop where I dove deep into a heap of lion brand and nearly drowned.

I got out before my psyche or the psyches of any of my children were too damaged. I did survive, and became a terrible yarn snob.

How terrible a yarn snob? So terrible that I actually started spinning. First on a spindle, then on this.

I am not going to post a gazillion pictures of my yarn or my early crocheting attempts. I've started knitting, and I have no idea why, but it's a lot more compelling than crochet. That's something I'd really like to investigate more because I don't understand the reason. Look for a post about it in the not-too-distant. Anyway, as a novice knitter, I'm working on a pair of socks and a clapotis. I've completed a scarf.

In my heart, I'm a spinner first. Spinning gives me joy. Seeing a handful of fluff turn into yarn does something amazing to me. Seeing that yarn that I made turn into a beautiful thing is exponential.

I don't know why blogger won't let me upload any more pictures into this post.

Perhaps I just need to figure it out better.

So anyway, in addition to the fiber stuff, I'm on a serious healthy eating lifestyle adaptation and I'm also a reformed smoker, seven going on eight months now, so I'm pretty insufferable about it. No excuses. I may post about any and all those topics.

wasted space

Well, almost two years went by since I posted a sketch of the mediocre american novel. did I ever do anything with the idea? what do you think?

Of course not.

I'm going to try to do something with this. Really. Everyone else has a knitting blog, why shouldn't I?

Mine will be knitting, crocheting, and spinning. I will post lots of pictures of my stuff and works in progress.

Ok then.