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

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fluff and nonsense

We've had an eventful weekend already and it's not even gametime!

Yesterday, we took a trip to Bloomfield, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh known as Pittsburgh's Little Italy. I took some half decent pictures that I put into a set on Flickr.

We watched men play Bocce,
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ate some good food,
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checked out the local nightlife,
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and shopped until we dropped.
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Bloomfield is one of the few city neighborhoods I'd consider living in. It's very cool, lots of young people but also lots of people who have lived there for generations.

Last week I got some raw alpaca. It spun up decently right out of the bag but was far too dirty.
llama right off the beast

So I washed it. And washed it. And washed it. It's outside drying right now, hopefully it'll be all dry before dark.


It has a spider running around in it now. Hopefully, she'll leave.
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It ought to be some nice fiber once it's all done. I'm glad I tried it, but I think from now on, I'll leave fiber processing to the pros.
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Lots of knitting going on. I did up a baby sweater for a co-worker who is expecting any day.
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Finished the quill lace socks...

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...and started a pair of chunky jaywalkers.
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Also started on a pair of Kaibashira socks for one of the girls, not sure which. Depends on how big they are. I'm thinking Lena.

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They don't look like much yet, but that is one clever and decorative cuff.

Not much else. My eyes are super itchy and swollen, I'm not sure if I'm allergic to the alpaca or if it's just hay fever. This too shall pass.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dim lights, not-so-big city

My husband's niece was in town yesterday for business. We had a chance to visit with her in the evening. We decided to take her to Phipps Conservatory to see the Chihuly exhibit. We were there earlier but in the daytime. It looks completely different at night.

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I took a LOT of photos. Many of them are on my flickr page, linked in the sidebar over there. Feel free to peruse, choose the "Chihuly at Night" set.

This one I wanted to feature though, because it demonstrates my camera's interesting features pretty well.

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This is using the "Landscape" setting. Regular flash, lights up everything.

This one used the "Night shot" setting, using all available light. VERY hard to hold the camera still but I'm getting used to it again.
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It's essentially the same shot, but different camera settings.

I need to read the manual more, because I had a seriously hard time getting the camera to do what I really wanted it to do.

It did have its moments, though.

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After that, we went to Station square for dinner (we went to Houlihan's) and then we rode the incline up to Mt. Washington where I completely failed to take any photos that turned out.

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It was nice to see Bob's niece, poor guy never gets to see his family. We had a good time, I only wish it could have lasted longer, I'd have liked to show her the zoo and the aviary and some of the surrounding countryside. She's from Nashville, so it's a little different here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm much to fast to take that test...

No emotional braindump yet. No, it needs to wait. My best friend is in a hospice. She has brain cancer. There's nothing that can be done for her, and each time I see her, she's a little less there, a little less herself. But more on that another time.

I have knitting pictures.

Socks. I'm making myself another pair of quill lace socks because the other ones that I made did not come out a way that I liked. They had too many errors. This yarn (that I spun) is 100% merino from fiber from Sakina Needles, a very nice fiber vendor. Her prices are reasonable and she has great color sense. These are just variegated green.

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My spinning is getting better.

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Finally picked up the pinwheel sweater again. Now I'm past the halfway point on one sleeve. I'm going to do a crocheted edging, but am going to finish the sleeves first to determine if I need to spin more for it or not.

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I hope I don't have to spin any more for it, because frankly I don't know if I can spin that big or lumpy any more. It'll take a lot of effort to match the grist of the existing yarn. Of course, nobody but me would likely notice the difference, but still...

I did a mitered square washcloth to see if I liked the way it looked. I like it.

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Here's the back of it
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Pretty neat, I think. May be this year's all purpose holiday gift. We'll see. I think most of our gifts this year will be photos, photo art, or knits.

Started trying some Domino Knitting, from a book of the same name by Vivian Hoxbro.
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I think that looks extremely cool, but I like modular things.

Random yard pictures.
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More soon. Be of good cheer.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yes, there are things going on

I'm still learning to use the camera. But getting better.




I did a whole series of "Yearbook Candid Photos" at the Western PA Mensa regional gathering last weekend and they came out pretty good. They can be found on my flickr page over there on the sidebar.

Figment, of course, is still amazingly wonderful.




Look at that head tilt. He's a complete camera whore.

In things fibrous, much spinning and much knitting has happened. I finished Bob's plain grey tweed socks. He likes them. I started another pair for myself out of handspun merino in a lovely slightly variegated green. I knitted a bag out of sari silk. I still need to line it, but I think it looks pretty good.




Getting much better at navajo plying. I got this amazing pin-drafted roving


and am spinning it into a fine single..


Which i then navajo-ply


The first skein is a little thick for sock, but the two after that were pretty much sport weight which is perfectly fine for socks.

I made four skeins of this...


Then turned it into this.

That's the "Brioche bodice" from the Summer 2006 Interweave Knits. It's a little wonky here and there but I'm happy with it anyway. So there.


I got the pinwheel sweater off the needles finally and am working on the sleeves. I opted to go with a crocheted edging instead of the i-cord. I didn't work on it all summer because it was too hot to have that much wool on my lap. It still IS too hot but I want to get it done in time to wear it for fall.

I also donated many skeins of handspun yarn and some framed photo art to the auction at the regional gathering. They all went for good prices, which pleased me greatly. I think I got at least $20 per skein for the handspun, slightly less for the reclaimed mohair I donated.

Ok, time for football. I'll do the heavy emotional post next time.