Sunday, January 28, 2007


In Baltimore sn*w is a dirty word. They panic here. Bread, milk and tp disappear from store shelves the instant the S word is mentioned in the weather forecast. Some brave souls, made of stronger stuff, will brave the elements in that all important trek to the 7-11 for cigarettes, sn*w be damned. Justin Berk will shovel a patch of sidewalk, just for show. Rob Roblin will interview folks in the local diner: "So it's sn*wing outside, how's that working for ya?" Or words to that effect. Traffic on the beltway will slow to a crawl at the first sign of a flake. Really.

Every year I joke with B about it, every year the same. Except this year. We haven't had much in the way of sn*w this year, less than an inch a week ago and that's about it. Today is the second sn*w of the season, at least here in Bel Air.

The storm:

You may have to squint to see it. The panic this will bring is almost incalculable.

Safe inside, I've been working on the purple sweater for Mom. It was supposed to be done for Christmas, but the first version was much too large (didn't have her measurements), and the second much too small (cast on with a smaller needle by mistake). After reskeining and washing the yarn to get the kinks out I started again.

Two sleeves to go, a mitered V neck ribbing and the sewing up. Hopefully this one will be just right and I can send it off. Because I'm really tired of purple Cotton Fleece. Really.

P.S. Go Kimmie!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Better Times Ahead

Well I didn't find the fiber I was looking for yet, but Rubbermaid container M yielded the most gorgeous roving, bought this summer at West Earl Woolen Mill:

I have about a pound and a half of the Loden and two pounds of the Sapphire to play with.

West Earl Woolen Mill doesn't have a web site, but here's their contact info:

West Earl Woolen Mill
130 Cocalico Creek Rd
Ephrata PA 17522
Phone: 717-859-2241

It is a little shop and fair warning, there's lots of acrylics stocked, but they did have some wool and cotton yarns in addition to several types of roving. Worth a stop if you're making a trip to yarn shops in the Lancaster PA area.


What do you get when you rip a thrift store sweater to recycle the yarn?

You get 8 ounces of fingering weight yarn:

You get an ounce or so of scraps:

And you get fluff. A lot of fluff. All over everything. 55% silk, 30% nylon and 15% angora, courtesy of American Knitworks.

Made in Korea, of course.

Not very fluffy but unlike the yarn above, all American:

Our (mostly) outdoor cat Bandit.

I've been busy spinning from the stash. After the Kool Aid yarn (which is soaking in the washer right now), I spun up a dark rainbow batt from Clear Water Dye Company, bought years ago at Maryland Sheep and Wool. It was full of VM and neps, as was another batt I finished this week that I bought last year. In purples/white/blues, very pretty but not much fun to spin.


I'm really going to have to LOOK more carefully at the fiber I buy and not just fall in love with the color or softness. Last week I threw out bagsful of batts from the same fleece that I'd used to make the yarn for B's sweater. I wish I hadn't because a day after I threw it out I thought of several ways to salvage it. C’est la vie I suppose. I'm going to dig out a bag of roving this afternoon (same source as the purples/white/blues batt) and have a go at it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I've come to the conclusion that I do in fact have enough fiber and yarn.

For now, anyway.

There's a lot of talk lately on the knitting blogs and email lists about New Year resolutions and for the most part they sound so restrictive. Especially the yarn diet.

Ok, not that kind of diet.

Making resolutions for the new year has never worked for me, mostly because as soon as I make them something in me wants to break them. But there's all that fiber...

I have 13 or so large Rubbermaid bins of yarn and fiber in various stages of prep. In the cedar chest. In an old picnic basket. In boxes and bags and my closet. Still, I can't help thinking that I'd rather not limit myself to what I have in the stash. Come spring there's the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival and perhaps another go at Stitches this year and I have to support the LYS, right? Who can tell what wonderful things the new year might bring? And also, I'm so not into the whole diet mentality. (Thank you, Weight Watchers.)

I think I'll start this year with one and only one resolution: to appreciate what I have.

Simple, right? Bringing a sense of thanksgiving to my daily life sounds like a good idea. Part of what, when I was sitting with the local Zendo, my Sensei would have said is the practice of joy.
The possibilities, it seems to me, are endless.

As it applies to all things fiber I like the spirit of Wendy and LBB's challenge:

Here's my take on the exceptions:

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.

No problem.

2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone?

I have enough sock yarn. Really.

2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.


2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project.

Doubt that it'll happen, but ok.

2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time.

My exception will be the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May (no yarn or fleece, just fiber and I'll go with x amount of cash and when it's gone that's it).

3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

Ok. And I can use the gift certificate to The Mannings Mom gave me for Christmas.

4. Trading stash is allowed.


5. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.

Nope, see 2.d above.

So, where to start?

  • Weave in the ends of the Clapotis and finish the Cotton Fleece sweater for Mom.
  • Block the Kiri shawl.
  • Wash the finished skeins of Kool Aid dyed yarn.
  • Finish up the purple/white/blue batt.
  • Spin up some black singles to ply with the singles from the dark rainbow batt from Clear Water Dye Company.
  • Rip out the misbegotten Lamb's Pride striped sweater and re-skein the yarn.
  • Do the button band and sew the buttons on the cardigan from In Sheeps Clothing (already tried it on and steam blocked it).
  • Try on the two cotton short-sleeved sweaters I started 15 years ago and rip 'em if they don't fit.
  • Finish the socks I'm working on.
  • Start my version of the FLAK aran with the Lllama Seta I got on sale at Woolstock.
  • Rip out the sweater for B and restart it with a new pattern that fits. He's actually said he'd like to wear it if I finish it. The wool: spent a long weekend at The River Farm in New Market, Virginia with other members of the local spinning guild over 15 years ago and learned how to spin several plain and fancy yarns. All, if I remember correctly, in the grease. Carded up part of the chocolate brown fleece I bought with a longer stapled white corriedale and spun the yarn for the sweater. Very soft and lofty and deserves to be finished.

So, appreciate what I have. Use it. Enjoy it. Give it away.


Thursday, January 11, 2007


Wow, haven't written much lately. I'll try to do better. No, really.

Going to Stitches back in October got me thinking: it really is nice to get together with other people who share a common interest. Like fiber stuff. I mean, how many times can I describe a gauge problem or complain about a neppy batt before the eyes of those near and dear to me start glazing over? Not long at all. But fellow knitters and spinners know - no matter what the problem they've probably been there too.

I used to belong to the Harford Knitting Guild years ago. Trying to find current information about it over the past several months brought nothing but dead ends. One contact had moved out of state, email to several other addresses bounced. It wasn't until going through an old notebook of patterns, design ideas and spinning samples that I found an old guild newsletter, from back in 1991 and read that the guild meets (or at least met) on the first Thursday of the month, 7:30 pm at the Harford Day School.

So last Thursday I plucked up the nerve (shyness be damned!) and pulled into the school's parking lot just before 7:30. Plenty of cars there, looked hopeful, maybe it was the right night. Went in to the first likely looking door, into what is the school's library and there they were! Several dozen gals, all ages, and two of the ladies even remembered me from years ago. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. How cool is that?

Since most of the meeting was spent reviewing and voting on the guild's new bylaws I sat and knit on a pair of socks,

half-listening, and looked over a copy of the membership roster. Only a few names were familiar, which is to be expected after 16 years, I guess. I knew that Beth Brown-Reinsel had moved away (although it was reported that she's giving an upcoming class at the local community college; neither the college's or Beth's web sites had any information so I'll probably give HCC a call).

The program for the evening was a pattern for some lacey dishcloths, rather lovely, followed by show and tell. A quite colorful shawl, several WIPs, some socks. One lady is knitting a shrug for her daughter. She hadn't liked the patterns she'd found as they were for heavier yarns and she wanted something dressier, so she's using the dimensions from one of the patterns and knitting it up in a finer yarn. One of the gals there for the first time, describing herself as a beginner knitter, showed us the afghan that she had knit for her son. Beginner nothing, this was a drop-dead gorgeous sampler afghan in a soft heathered brown yarn. Many oohs and aahs and assurances that she is no beginner knitter!

In all, I had quite a nice time and will definitely go back again.