Friday, November 30, 2007


I remember, when I was in college, getting a paper back from a professor. "This is a very good paper," he wrote. "It would be an A paper if you had used more than the minimum number of words." He gave me a C.

So, it seems fitting in a way, that here I am, severely short on stitches. I will complete my project, the Lord willing. (I never turned in a paper late.) But I ran short on fiber, so there will be no sleeves; my novel has turned into a short story, my sweater into a vest. And I have learned. I have learned that a pound of wool does not a sweater make. I am reminded of what a novice I am at this craft of spinning, where there is so much to learn.

Yes, November, I dub thee "NaSpiKniVeMo" and go to fix a pot of tea. I will need the caffeine, because turning in a project late simply will not do. And perhaps, tomorrow, when you see my finished object, you will say to yourself, "That would be such a nice sweater, if only it were not a vest." If you say that, I will have done well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dye Day

This Spunky Eclectic fiber is called Harvest Haze. I am spinning it up for rug yarn, and needed more to make a rug of any useful size, so I pulled out my dye pot, and had a dyeing session. I had a wonderful time, and the results were is dyed Lincoln.... looking out the window.....

Autumn Rain

Harvest Sunshine

Autumn Deepens

Lichen Log

Lichen Log Wensleydale

the Wensleydale took to the dye like a duck to water...I am starting to understand why Wensleydale seems to have such a loyal following. I do not know what I will make with this....yet. Some lovely, drapey scarf or shawl, most likely.

And Kid Mohair. That's what fairytales are made of.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Colorway Inspiration for the Weekend

According to Deb Menz in her wonderfully understandable book on color theory, Colorworks,

"A white background tends to make all colors a little darker, duller, and cooler."

Interesting, since I think our instinct tells us that high contrast automatically intensifies color. But instinct can be wrong.

Perhaps, in the case of snow, the contrast simply makes us notice what we normally do not see at all. I never saw these fruits before on my daily walk. They are exactly the sort of rich color I love, a deep purple red that is almost black....the stems are a brighter version of the same color. Go on the picture for a closer look.

Firewood.....or ice?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NaKniSweMo: Plowing On

A freshly plowed field, ready for planting..... the sweater tricks me, brings back memories of cool May mornings on the mountain top, working next to grandmother and grandfather, planting strawberries on the tops of the ridges, century old stone wall holding back trees and horses on one side, glorious morning sky on the other....
The time has come for the parting of the stitches.

The back stitches will take one road;

On the fronts, the neckline will begin to take shape.

One of my fingerless mitts, almost complete.

Thanksgiving day will be with friends this year.....a salad and dessert are what I am to bring. And so I will still have time for a little fiber in these next days, I hope.

To you I wish a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Colorway Inspiration for the Weekend

Everywhere I go. I see colorways. How can I imitate my Father? How can I copy what He does?
Fiber and yarn are my crayons for drawing. Crude as my copies are, they bring a certain joy.

Not just color, but texture. What fiber can echo in its texture

the fuzziness of November snow....

the glitter of water,

the shine of ice,

the blurriness of mist?


The new issue of Spindle and Wheel is up. Full of simple, quick projects for the holidays. And in it is my first pattern! There you will find my little Crochet Baby Cap. I am both excited to have a pattern published, and a little apprehensive. Suddenly designing and pattern writing seem fraught with responsibility: the potential to bring satisfaction vs. frustration to fellow crafters. If you find any bug in the pattern, let me know, and I'll be happy to fix it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Plugging Away

Here's a picture of my yarn for the sweater (with our first snowflakes of the year), flattering enough that maybe someone else other than a mother would love it! The focus is a little fuzzy, but the yarn is a bit fuzzy too, so it suits.
This, by the way, is my first skein. I don't know why it has taken me so long to buckle down and learn how to make a skein. But I am glad that I did. What a nifty trick!

There is not much to show on the sweater. Inches upon inches of 1x2 twisted rib is not so exciting for a blog, however enchanting velvety chocolate coffee corrugations may seem in person. But the work on the sweater continues. Doggedly I keep at it. I promise to show you when it gets interesting.

Spunky Eclectic October fiber. Love the subtleties in this colorway.

I am doing some Christmas spinning. I have two sisters who knit, and what better present could there be than yarn? (Shh, don't tell. Oh, right, I already did. "You are getting handspun for presents for the rest of your life." I was always rotten at surprises.) Right now I am spinning singles when I need a break from sweater spinning.

Here's your daily dose of colorway inspiration. I love the gold, the green, and the cinnamon brown together. But you might choose the grey and gold, or something else. Colors everywhere.
My dyepot hasn't seen use yet in the new house, but it will soon. Very soon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Crochet Baby Cap

(this pattern is now available at Spindle and Wheel.)

I needed a change of pace, so I picked up my crochet hook. Ever since I crocheted my wedding dress almost a decade ago, I have been kind of burned out on crochet. But it was nice, for a change. I started out with a pattern, but the hook and yarn took off to places of their own, and I went along. Crochet is like knitting untethered. Not as comforting (for me), but more unpredictable, and therefore, adventurous.

In my handspun koolaid dyed BFL and natural colored camel-silk.

This concludes my Hat Series. Next up is the Mitten Series, again for the family. Then I want to do a Lacy Scarf series, for dear friends. Am I alone in this? Or do you tend to craft in series, too?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

NaKniSweMo----Days 3, 4, 5 : A Spinnin' and A Swatchin'

Day 3. I spin up a sample of yarn, watch it bloom as I plunge it into hot water. And spin singles.

Day 4. A day of Rest, in honor of the Lord's Day.

Day 5. I swatch the yarn, and spin singles. As fast as I can.

Today I will ply. Tomorrow, if all goes well, I will ball up the skeins and cast on. There will not be enough yarn for the entire sweater, but there should be enough to prevent stalls in my knitting progress. For a while, it will mean daily spinning and daily knitting.

The yarn is the closest I have come to a true woolen. It also is terribly unskilled. I am a novice at carding, and a novice at spinning hand-carded preps, and it shows. In spite of the fact that it is a yarn that only a mother could love, I love it. It feels like I am knitting with cords of velvet.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

NaKniSweMO Day Two----Fiberscape

In which the gallant handcards assist our heroine in her Task of tranforming the Lofty Heap into a Rolag Mountain of beauty. Our heroine pauses here at the foot of the mountain to admire the fiberscape before eagerly proceeding to her next Task.

Friday, November 2, 2007

NaKniSweMO Day One----The Big Tease




In which our lovely heroine takes locks from a pile of washed wool, teases the said locks with her bare hands, and sets them in a new and loftier pile. With great diligence she works, noticing that the original pile never seems to diminish in size no matter how the lofty pile increases.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NaKniSweMo----Decision and Indecision

Over on Ravelry, I noticed a group. NaKniSweMo, knit a sweater of 50,000 stitches in the month of November. What a lovely idea, I thought. And clicked the button, Join this Group. And it was done.

All but the decisions. At first I thought it would be nice to knit myself a sweater from the Natural Reds Series wool. I spun a yarn sample that I loved. I started a swatch that I loved. But it was soon apparent that these colors would do nothing but wash me out, in a big way.
So, no Natural Red sweater for me. The herringbone linen is a keeper, though. I am tucking that stitch a way in the "to use" part of my brain.

So should I use yarn I already have? Nope, same problem. Wash me out. Overdye it? No, the yarn is too nice, I might ruin it.

Well, use my dark lambswool then, and spin it. What pattern, what pattern?

Should I even try this crazy thing? Should I just click the "Leave this group" button?

Decisions, decisions. Wavering, straightening. Growing a backbone.

So here I am, on November 1st. I have reached a decision. I have an almost pattern and an almost yarn, and I belong to a group of people who are knitting a sweater in a month. I am just crazy enough to try this thing. Gentle reader, do you have a word of cheer for me?

My Gift List

This picture is from A Source of Joy website.

The holiday season is upon us, and I am starting all sorts of holiday projects, including my gift list. The perfect gift list. The list of things that have already been given to me. I will not list them in their barest forms, all stripped of their wrappings. For this Giver takes care to wrap beautifully, and I will take care in describing so as to reflect this. So I will not be able to write as fast as the gifts come. If I take notice with all of my might, I still cannot notice them all. There are thousands every day, large and small. And sometimes the smallest are the dearest.
1. Little girls with birthdays, little girls who can smile like this.

2. Leaves, flying, drying, crackling, crumbling beneath my foot.

3. The lake on a misty morning. See the water, see the mist, cannot see where they meet. A swan's ripples make a temporary horizon of sorts, there and then gone.

4. Apples from an abandoned orchard, grown old and strong with the years.

5. Friends named Mandy who cut hair. Now I have two of these!

6. The fronts of leaves, the backs of leaves. Leaves with light shining on them, leaves with light shining through them.

7. Constant unlimited access to the Throne Room.

8. Flossy baby curls.