Saturday, April 17, 2010

Japanese Knitting

Japanese Knitting Magazines have great charts to follow and no need to read Japanese. I have quite a few and came across this website recently. In my spare time......LOL

PS Title is hyper-linked to the website.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nuno Felting -> Ruched Scarf

Felting is soooo much fun, and lots of work too.

Layout is the key to having a piece turn out well. Here there is a background grid of almost same color wool as the silk. The silk is an iridescent lime green.

When fulled, the grid helps stabilize and balance the piece. I call this one hummingbirds on the vine, the grid looks like a very faint trellis in the now dry scarf.

This is a sampler piece for experimenting with various techniques. The silk fibers on top of wool worked out well. This piece was 5 feet by 18 inches to start with. Ended up being barely able to cover my chest when hanging around my neck. LOL. Good thing short scarves/cowls are very stylish!

I have posted visuals of the process, click the title (Nuno felting) above to go to the album.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympic knitting

I'm not really keeping up with my projects around here but wanted to keep track of good tips for future reference here. I'm doing a reverse engineered hat- the Olympics Team USA 2010 with caribou on it. Later I’d do the Oly ring hat too, blue pom-pom and all.

Towards the end is a good tip on dealing with long floats.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WoW At a job site where I have a lunchbreak a few times per week they just adopted 9, yes 9! Alpacas. Both kinds- Suri and Huayaca. They are all males and are just too cute, very friendly and will be well tended. They also have sheep. I am the only person around the sheep purchasing fiber........hmmmmmm.....

Chemo Hat

Hand Dyed in Bands, knitted Merino Intarsia Blocking on a hoop

Friday, February 05, 2010

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spider Silk Creation

Click title to See the Museum Video about the making of this spider silk tapestry with traditional motifs! Half a million dollars were spent tho- how crazy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Extreme Knitting

OMG this is too much! I would love to do this. Made a nice mattress didn’t it?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Knitting a dog collar

Above are the before pictures; pre hand felting the balls and then putting the whole knitted item into a nylon stocking, and into the washing machine for a few cycles. This was handspun 2 ply, doubled up while knitting. Wool is a combo of a Lincoln/ Corrie cross blended with some nice yearling mohair.

Nice to combine a few of your favorite things; in this case my adoraBULL canine companion and knitting, fulling and felting. Too bad I lost this lei ( and his CGC medallion) at a rest stop in Oregon on our way back a few days ago- oh well, It was a prototype for mo betta to come. I will make a harness in the same style next.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New stuff

3-D view of a felted soap bar, a gift for Santiago.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Spinning Image

The stamp is a fun Mosaic. Happy New Year!

I’ve been having fun making handknit hats for Christmas gifts, experimenting with my knitting machine and spinning up yarn for some new projects. Current project OTN is an adaptation from Garn Studio ( see patterns links) for a pair of slippers. Fulled, I am adding thrums to the foot area and knitting them from energized singles spun from a Corriedale/Lincoln. The white fleece thrums are also from a C/L cross sheep. Sheep that graze at a great field at a Day program where I see them several times a week, and am the only person spinning their wool!

I continued with my dread lock-like hat pattern from the good response I received to them and several family members now sport one. I was amused at the great response I received when I wore mine around these recent colder days- many strangers approached me with the question of where I got it. Then if they could buy one from me, when they found out I had knit it myself.

I will have to get a few pix up! The hat is also the one I submitted to the local county fair and won a huge pink ribbon!- 4th place in the Art to Wear Division, the umbrella category for all garments, hundreds of hats,accessories etc at the fair. My first County Fair submission. Wo-hoo! I did take particular care with the finishing aspects. Paid off! One of these days I will get a pix up!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Surgery Decision

Booker’s mom checking in-

Recap - Limping, then Right knee had a positive drawer sign mid June. Initiated conservative management, supplements and food improvements, after it had stabilized, as far as we could tell i.e. when he returned to full weight bearing, we then slowly added activity, a short distance each day.

No more limping, muscles toned back up, happy, trotting fine, tho we hold back- no stairs, no jumping , no mega hikes and beach running mania etc...

Well, we got the right Ortho Vet for us and trust him 100%. The good news is his hips seem fine from his hands on exam and a look at X-rays we brought along. We had a set of really bad x-rays from the Vet who first saw Bookie-the general vet had stated he had misaligned hips-- man the X-rays are so very bad !! I want my 300 bucks back! I often see human X-rays and know these were.. of minimal value. The 2 x-rays basically only showed no other growths etc, not much information. We shall see.

In any case looks like Booker stabilized the tissues around the joint so he could use it but bone on bone will soon appear, and probably had a full tear occur; drawer sign is very evident when he was manipulated (albeit not sedated this time).

Waaa. We are going for the fully Monty- TPLO - for best outcome, least arthritis . Then see how the luxating patella changes- or not.

Booker‘s limbs are very out of conformation- all bowlegged in front (which may or may not catch up with him) and the right leg has a twist to it, which rules out the normal fix for patellar luxation ( repair=relocation of the bony prominence where the knee then, theoretically, will stay in place).

At least the his left rear leg is “normal”!

So for Christmas I am telling friends/family to donate to their favorite charity, and my funds will go to the Vet office! We usually don’t get caught up the whole gift thing too much anyway- prefer have them over all through December- to fix ‘em all great dinner and hang out instead...

Happy Holidays......... Surgery will be post Thanksgiving. I am on Orthodogs yahoo list and gleaning tips like the soft 3-collar, donut collar, no slippery floors, no stairs, pain management. Much of it basically a repeat of conservative management but with drugs.He was a total zombie on Rimadyl for a few days so I am researching the best way to manage things post surgery now.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Long time no Post

Been awhile since I posted here, life being as it is. Working full time +, death in the family and generally being gardening and happily taking a vacation this summer, and dabbling in my hobbies has kept me rather busy and off here!

Yesterday came the first rains, a welcome sight after many dry months. Here in Northern California it rains plenty part of the year, but most of the year is dry, dry, dry! I planted part of my winter garden recently so it is sooo GOOD to have Mother Nature help along.

Fiber stuff news is I acquired a few nice Alpaca fleeces this summer and also finally got back a set of 3 nice ( Cooriedale x Lincoln) fleeces back from the mill I use. Although the wait to get them seemed to be forever - wow! -Yummy! Spins itself almost! Just floats off my hands. Of course I am not that great a spinner yet, mostly inch wormy still, but hey- all this is my fun, not my work so no worries!

Spinning: I did get a wooly winder for my Ashford Traditional this year too and I can say it is a great convenience, no stopping to adjust yarn on hooks/wind on etc, so has helped me concentrate on producing even, consistent yarn. I now see how each roving really speaks to me as to how it wants to be spun. I can still spin thick and thin (aka as Designer yarn) on spindles ;-).

Milled: White and “black”, these will be spun up this winter. Oh yes, the white was blended with some yearling mohair. Last year I did the same blend and it really makes the yarn bright and shiny. My experiments with dying carded roving resulted in some really tight (as in felted) so prolly I will experiment a bit more but lean towards dyeing after spinning (and plying) this time around.

My time spent on scouring, carding and spinning up samples of the fleeces was well spent but I really advise letting a mill do it ( except the spinning!) if you ever want to have enough yarn to do a major project with! YMMV. For me- So many hobbies, so little time.

Here’s a good tutorial video: (joins my collection of 80+ Fiber-related You Tube videos)...

Last weekend the Editor/Publisher Linda Cortright of Wild Fibers Magazine visited our Spinning Guild ( gratefully is nearby).Wow! We were treated to a slide show about cashmere in Ladakhi, where they nomads opened up their own mill, and various aspects of 2009 having been declared The Year of the Natural Fiber by the UN.

I did win a few prizes for my 4 hats at the county fair - knitted, fulled and traditional feltingtechniques (dread lock hats were a hit! One was from commercial merino another from white handspun). $50 dollars more in the fiber coffers!

Yesterday was a day of bring yer machine and have fun at my machine knitting guild- it was really fun! I started a picot baby bonnet. Off to go and finish it now!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

KnittySpin - gotta love it!

Knitty of course is a fav site of knitters and spinners too- and this 08 Spring issue has a great article on plying:

This blog helps me get back to places I like, so hope this helps you too.

The long and short of my spinning life is:

I use an Ashford Traditional wheel- kind of a pain since it has a little lag when at the top of each rotation, that I have to watch out for, (the woes of a AT, single treadle newbie spinner)

I tried to learn how to spin yummy silk (tussah and bombyx top) but was a dismal failure; this was via a “ from (off?) the lock“ technique. 4-6 inch pieces of top. Super tangles is all I really got going. Will struggle along,silk is worth the effort to get GOOD!
I have some silk hankies to try next; it won’t be as frustrating to spin silk in that

Prolly if I had FIRST learned to spin wool off the lock, i would have done better.
Spinning on a spindle is way fun- yep, collecting these starts up quickly! I try out various wools, such as those I have dyed, to see how they spin up. My first attempts at dyeing wool became semi-felted- oops. Not easy to draft at all.... So I do very exotic yarn via spindling to make something of them! LOL - Moi Designer yarn.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Water pump Video

Water is so important. This video is great! I suppose in the USA, this would be considered child labor.

Goal is 4,000 by 2010 in (subsahara) Africa.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Fashion Amusements

Interesting how the fashion and color industry dictates the world of clothing and accessories manufacturing. Even in the homemade oops- “handmade“ area, since the available raw materials are also subject to the whims of those who set the styles of the day. Hence dying,spinning, and knitting yarn (or creating felt) not to mention weaving, gives the crafty artsy person at least half a chance to be unique. Maybe...I did actually get inspired from the pdfs I downloaded.

Two websites have received my attention. The first one Fashion Forecasts - European
Has an insightful download area that apparently outlines what consumers will have available fin the future.You will have to register but I found it was worth it to download the pdfs- WOW.

Addendum 1/08- now Yu have to pay big bucks so forget that one!

The second website
Fashion Trendsetter
is a collection of all sorts of multiple industry trends. Also not for anyone who doesn’t have time on their hands!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Checking in

Been quiet around here for awhile, but suffice it to say that i have been busy having fun when not at my dayjob, with the pursuit of gardening and crafting TIME. And of course trying to keep up with the ongoing household chores, getting moi taxes paid on time, and buying a new (used) car.

My Machine Knitting Guild had a nice retreat a few weekends ago.It was really fun- not that I got much knittin in tho.LOL. Had a huge need to just get away. The nice Inn we stayed at (run by a member and partner at the Russian River here in Nor Cal) was so wonderful! I was the only one who took advantage of their super hot tub too. 22 female members went (one husband too).They had chickens, so the eggs were really fresh for breakfast. I used to have chickens myself, so that was also really fun for me. Rooster crows.......Talk about over the top am meals-- Gourmet Dinners too! Now called the Orchid Inn

Oh yes- I also now have taken up Kumihimo braiding. YES!- another fiber hobby! Good thing I was a weaver of sorts as a child, so have gained insight enough to know I better NOT open that door.... am not going to go at least one thing you can do with fiber will be passed by. MAYBE.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Socks on a Knitting Machine

Many folks snicker when I talk about having a knitting machine. Little do they know how extremely steep a learning curve there is to it all( yes scarves are a snap) and how much handknitting is still involved. I will spare you the details! Here is a cute video to show you!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Filmed in the High Andean weavers Village of Quenqo,located 45 km outside of Cusco Peru at 4000m ASL.
The spinning of threads, is incorporated into all daily activities of the Andean women. The traditional Andean spinning top hand spindle called a Puscha is used to make threads from the raw wool. The threads are dyed and get a second spinning using two threads intertwined to complete the final working thread.

Music: Pueblo Andino, singing Mujer Hielandera (thread maker women)
Film: Sacred Valley Productions
Camera: Lucho Silva
Edit: Jeff Hall
Web: Renaud Nokin

Saturday, January 13, 2007

YouTube Group

I have a collection of FIBERY THANGS on YouTube now- You Two can now spend an entire afternoon watching videos of FIBERY THANGS. Actually I will save you hours of searching.....knitting felting spinning yikes..lots to see.

If the above doesn’t work....(and the below will allow full screen viewing as well):


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Real Men Knit and Weave

Yes, there are two men in my Machine Knitting Guild too.

And then there’s Michael...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Wool Spinning Factory

Recently I have been perusing YouTube for videos of interest, particularly interesting are those relating to fiber. Many have been imbedded in earlier parts of this blog, as a way for me to get to them again easily and to share them with ya’ll.

This one is really interesting, once you get past the dance-y into segment. The producer of this video did not let it be imbedded - so click to see a neat video of a factory that makes yarn:

Oromoland Video

Sunday, December 31, 2006


A bit difficult to see but I made a nice scarf and muff set from some very interesting yarn. It consisted of very small loops of grey/white and black wool. Knitted up on a Brother (Bulky) knitting machine at tension 9, it had the look of Persian Lamb! Hand knitted loops around the edge finished it off- I left one edge of the scarf un”looped”.Pulling the ends of the scarf through the muff made it even more thick and cozy for cool hands. The knitted fabric was exceptionally soft! So stretchy that it would not have made a good sweater or other fitted item. I’ll have to test out a hat next.

The first / earlier version went to a friend and extended family member. A close friend and life sister who lives in Mexico City now wears this one - apparently the weather has been much colder this winter, so it went to a cherished friend.

Knitting is so wonderful - a great way to say “I love you”.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Spinning info

Spinning wheels have technical aspects and recently I received this explanation that I though would be good to post:

Spinning wheels are pulley systems. Changing ratios is basically the
same principle as changing gears on a bicycle, except instead of
sprockets and chains, you've got pulleys and drive bands.

Simply put, a ratio of 5:1 means that the drive wheel's circumference is
5 times that of the circumference of the thing being driven (like the
whorl). For every time that the drive wheel completes one rotation, the
thing being driven (whether it's flyer whorl, or bobbin) will rotate 5
times. So if you treadled such that the drive wheel completed 30
rotations (or revolutions) per minute, the flyer or bobbin would
complete 5 times that many, or 150. Your 30 rpm at the drive wheel
becomes 150 rpm at the flyer or bobbin.

If you want your flyer or bobbin to be going faster than that, in order
to make more twist go into your yarn faster as you are spinning, without
different ratios, your only option would be to increase the speed of the
drive wheel, say by treadling faster on a treadle-power wheel.
Increasing your speed to where you are going 60 rpm at the drive wheel
would then increase flyer or bobbin speed in a directly linear way,
still at a ratio of 5:1 -- so now you're going 300 rpm at the flyer.

But, let's say that you have another ratio available to you, of 7 to 1.
In this case, the drive wheel's circumference is 7 times that of the
driven object. Simply changing from the 5:1 ratio to the 7:1 ratio,
without changing the speed at which you're treadling or turning the
drive wheel, changes you from going 30 rpm at the drive wheel and 150
rpm at the driven end, to 30 rpm at the drive wheel and 210 rpm at the
driven end.

So, an application of this principle: let's say that I want to spin a
really fine and high-twist yarn at a rate of, say, 1500 rpm at the
flyer. To do this with a drive ratio of 5:1 on a treadle powered wheel
where each treadle stroke represents a full rotation of the drive wheel,
I'd have to treadle 300 times a minute!! Yowza! There's no way that's
humanly possible. But at a ratio of 30:1, I'd only have to treadle 50
times a minute, to get 1500 rpm at the driven end. ;-)

To sum up, different ratios allow you to get twist into your yarn at
different rates while you are spinning, without changing the speed at
which you treadle (or turn the drive wheel).

Going from a larger drive wheel circumference to a smaller driven item
circumference, you get the biggest speed gains, and fastest flyer/bobbin
rotation relative to treadling speed. Going from smallest drive wheel
circumferene to largest driven item circumference, you get the slowest
flyer/bobbin speed relative to treadling speed. On most modern spinning
wheels, this means if you have your drive band going around the largest
groove on the drive wheel, and the smallest groove on your whorl, you're
going as fast as that wheel can go; if you're going around the smallest
groove on the drive wheel, and the largest groove on the whorl, you're
going as slow as that wheel can go.

Similarly with bicycle gears, some ratios also can require more effort
and force than others, just to get around -- think of shifting to a low
gear, for low-effort pedaling to get uphill, and then a higher gear, for
greater speed on a flat stretch once you get going. The same effect is
in play in pulley systems, but as implemented in spinning wheels, you
typically need to be pushing the limits of your system in order to
detect these effects to any great degree.

Above is by
Abby Franquemont
Production Fiber Artist Franquemont Fibers, LLC

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Traditional Monglian Yurt Video

In my quest to catalog various wool/ felting/spinning/ knitting web items (videos, images and websites of interest)- here is one on Traditional Monglian Yurt making:

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Felting samples

The simple description of felting is amazingly deceptive; BTW, felting is addictive:

Feltmaking is an ancient technique. You add warm soapwater to the wool, press and rub the wool and the fibres will tighten into a felted textile material.

Ha! Lots more to it!!! Wet felting is a lot of fun. Needle felting is very interesting too (think: painting with wool). The funny looking blocks of felt are felted-over-soapbars, and use both techniques. I got the idea to do them from a felting forum and craftster, both of which have numerous tutorials and commentary on both types of felting techniques.

I also have learned that knit first, throw-in-washing-machine-to-shrink-hats are technically called FULLED HATS, not felted (try telling that to all the magazines and websites where all the FULLED baskets, bags and hats are a big rage right now, identified as felted...),

Anyway- good fun - felting -, the flat square is an early piece (wet felted only) a sample of white merino with colored merino laid out in diffrent ways, to see how it all worked. Merino wool felts very easily and makes a very fine, soft piece,

I needlefelted the colored bits on top of lighter wool on the soapbars, to help keep them in place. Lots of rubbing! The soaps will be a holiday charity bazaar donation. It was truly amazing how well received the felted soaps are; I took a basket of them to Thanksgiving Dinner as party favors.

Booties, little bags, hats, vests, coats, and flat pieces-are relatively simple to wetfelt with wool that felts easily; some wool takes too much effort to felt, if at all. Before or after, one can add decorative touches via needlefelting.

Here’s a few inspirational places to find out more about felting:

Craftster Felting Area

Feltmakers List FAQ

The later will take you deep into the world of felting- BEWARE!!!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lefties and Continental knitting

Ran across an article that really sums my feelings about the dilemma facing left handed persons re learning knitting. Anyway, good article ahead; has an interestingly sexist slant too:


I am not left handed by nature but my mother was. She was forced to write right handed, as was the custom at the time.She did just about everything else lefty. She knit continental. I am somewhat lefty AND righty, probably from some genetic aspect as well as visually imitating a parent.

The article above is the first one I have seen that really hits the nail on the head. If left handed person is guided into knitting mirror English style- as many left handed folks are taught- the too many adjustments to patterns, etc., make it way too daunting.

Unfortunately, in the US knitting is taught primarily with the throwing method( aka English). Not very lefty friendly IMHO. I consider myself lucky to have been taught continental (aka picking or German) at a very young age and sense is it so much more ergonomically safe; it also balances the use of both hands very well.

Once upon a time I joined a knitting guild whose only requirement was the willingness to learn continental style! HA! No problem. The other women who had switched were all very content.

So- try it , you might like it!

Just be be fair here is a demo of English style
English style animation

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Spinning... and YouTube again

Old footage of spinning that is really interesting, so thought I’d continue with my current thrust of showing videos here.

Spinning, like knitting, is a very relaxing and creative endeavor- you can control wool to get the look and feel of yarn you want. In this video she is spinning a woolen yarn, probably from sticky in-the=grease wool, which (after washing),make for a soft yarn, from carding (also shown) wool into a every-which-way rolag. The rolags are spun and joined. I have raw wool which I have washed (getting all the itty bitty bits of vegetative matter ( aka VM) out is quite the undertaking too. I am doing the hand carding thang too, but the charm of washing raw wool wore off after a few fleeces. I have sent some wool out to a processor. 2 month turn around. Soon I actually will get time on the wheel, without having to hand card and pick out VM-from the wool of a set of sheep I have virtually exclusive rights to!LOL. Later I will prolly get a big carder (drum machine) for color mixing but am taking it slowly due to time constraints- like a day job. Darn!

Check it out- Isle of Mann, old as the hills footage:

Next up will be a cute music video of South American women spinning with spindles, which obviously predate spinning wheels. They also display a unique ( and new to me ) way of plying the yarn as they go too. So much to learn!

For the Andean Spindlers link- click here

Off to felt soap for more party favors this season....more later!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Knitting Rhymes and a Surprise Video

Poems used for teaching knitting to children / I was reminded of these on a Spindling List. Further commentary noted that the how to rhymes stem from the days before reading and writing were not that available to the common man, and these were the way for instructions to be taught.

I have always had a keen interest in how people actually lived, and what skills were necessary for their survival. Spinning and knitting ( weaving as well) were a vital part of life for everyone. These abilities were certainly not just hobbies!

For very little kids:

Into the Bunny hole
Run around the tree
Out of the bunny hole
Away runs he.

Knitting Continental

Under the Fence
Catch the Sheep
Back you go
Off you leap

Knitting English

In through the front door
Once around the Back
Out through the Window
And off jumps Jack.

And for the *Tough guys*

Stab 'em
Choke 'em
Drag 'em back
Throw 'em away!

Here are two for purling:

In front of the fence,
Catch the goat,
Back we go,
Jump off the boat!

Under the fence,
Catch the sheep,
Back we come,
Off we leap!

Click here for a Black Sheep Surprise Apparently, this was a recent leak, and will be coming to a TV near you soon!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Knit Fulled/Felted Hat and Guild

See previous post for before pix. As you can see, the end result is a WAY shorter hat, and it shrinks more in length than in width as well. This one has a nice firm brim that can be adjusted to fold up more in front or be the same all the way around.

I partially knit another wide brimmed hat for felting in Alpaca, a fabulous raspberry color but ran out of yarn (had doubled the thickish yarn ) so I may need to rip it and combine with a different one, or do something else. Now that I have used the yarn, I am thinking it is so nice and soft that it may be better off not fulled/felted at all. You can use hard yarn, even carpet yarn, and felting will make it very soft. It actully is a waste of yarn to use luxury yarn for felting.

Since these hats are generally knit up in a few Netflix sittings, no biggie ripping. Just hope the alpaca yarn survives ok. Lately I have read about knitting with strips of roving so will use those guidelines of I do rip per is was barely twisted.

Yesterday was my Spinning Guild meeting (we had a fiber related swap meet) and I came home with some fabulous knitting books (Barbara Walker), other fiber and craft books, and more WOOL!!! And a pair of lethal weapons, also know as Louet combs.

I had to explain to my Honey that the Sheep Sheparding book is not for getting sheep!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Winter hats are starting up

Oh been too busy keeping up with life duties to blog, plus of course doing some knitting, spinning, wet felting ( and raw wool processing) and knitting for felting. Oh yes, machine knitting too. No wonder blogging is sporatic!

WIPs are making progress. Latest completed is a wide brimmed knitted-and-then-felted hat. It turned out quite nice. Never can tell from knitting then felting, how tight or how long it will end up, and you have to really pay attention. This project ( see prefelting image) needed 2 full cycles through the washing machine with a pair of jeans. Tide and HOT wash COLD rinse. Can you tell I like to wear knit/crocheted things? I don’t crochet much and the crochet cardi is one of my treasures that keeps on trucking; Mom made it over 30 years ago.

Anyway, the hat was from a strand of fairly thick Lopi and another of a fine maroon colored carpet yarn, per 2 strands always help in the felting of a hand knit item. Size 10.5 needles. Using 2 circulars, this knit up in a few sessions of movie viewing. I will post the completed item soon.....

My machine knitting group met earlier this month and I am reinspired, new techniques. We had Tricia Shafer of Knitters Edge. She is so dynamic and has THE website for both machine and handknitting. She showed us many hand manipulated aspects to use on knitting machines. The tips re nice looking decreases were insightful.

I love going to my 2 guilds. Tomorrow my spinning guild is having a stash reduction and swap based meeting. Wo-hoo! They also have a great library and you can request books and magazines via online, and pick up at the meeting. Ain’t technology grand? I’ll be getting a book called Women‘s Work, the First 20,000 years. This book really speaks to me; I was an Anthroplogy Major when I first went to college. Margaret Mead inspired! I had just returned from Micronesia....Anyway, the book sounds great!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Spinning Links

Well, an Anonymous person asked about spinning so here goes tips ( courtesy of a Spindlers Yahoo Group Posting):

I'd suggest trying the park and draft method which is beautifully
explained in a photo essay at

just follow the links on 'instructions' to get there. P&D allows
you to focus on one aspect of spinning at a time, without
having to do it all at once. As you draft using this method, see
how fast the twist moves.... You might be drafting too slow or
pulling too much (too thick) fiber through your drafting triangle
for the speed of your spindle. Pre-drafting your roving will help.

You might want to take a look at the video library at -- there are lots of good pointers
there that can help if you have no 'live' help nearby.

The best help, of course, would come from seeing someone
do this right before your eyes.

Hang in there! Good luck!

Monday, August 07, 2006

You knit what??

Oh well, all good things come to an end I suppose. A great time waster of a website has retired but the archives will live on in the hearts of those who followed it.

The images of knitting we can live on without is here:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Misc *stuff*

Pix is of a felting on a balloon project- prototype for a felted hat series. See tutorial link below.

The Cedars of Marin, where I work, gave me a spinning wheel when they heard I was using a spindle and enjoying it. The wheel is an Ashford Traditional, 70’s knockoff I have been told ( I see it as the good solid easy to learn on wheel and potentially a keeper). Well, it is/(was?) the second wheel at the textile art center... and they don’t spin there. At fairs and visits from classrooms they use the first wheel to demo. The Studio is a Weaving Center only- and I felt honored by the sharing and it still “belongs to them” tho i have it at home. To make the long story short, I was also told there is another one buried in the back of the container, and is the one for me when they dig it out again... Mystery Wheel awaits.

There are sheep / fleeces too-

Do you like raw wool? I know it seems like pain in the butt, but that is what appeals to me. Somehow very grounding to me, being around the sheep here and there each week - and then working with their fiber for fun.

That being said I have a stash of not handmade (well, some are) odd balls, And cone yarn and hanks I have collected too- etthat was an impetus to learn machine knitting too. As a kid I learned weaving from Master Weavers- long story too- let‘s say from the next door Danish grandma master and another Aunty master at the College of Marin( Marianna Rauschanable ). I went to her classes as a grammar school child, as an afternoon workshop I could drop in on. I played there with fiber, looms and soft sculpture a great deal.

I also knit off and on from about age 5 or 6 (learned from Mom and Oma) and in fits and bursts as an adult ( moi baby came along and then knitting things had a long run, until he was about 8 years old; he complained of being the only kid who HAD TO WEAR HOMEMADE SWEATERS. OK now more.....The next project was a big sweater- we‘re talking a BIG Hawaiian Dad here...Took forever....Anyway it was an arsty 49ermotif sweater in the proper colrs, that was promptly left behind at the first game.Probably left at the tailgate! ( L;OL - Needless to say, he’s long gone ..;-)

Last year, while lusting for my knitting self to expand into as yet unchartered fiber waters..... I was ready for a leap into new aspects of the fiberaholic. Being the impassioned knitter, with less and less time on my hands, it was to be Knitting Machine rather than loom weaving.

Knitting and technolgy! What a hoot...then came the notion of spinning too..

I am still in my more rudimntary stages of spinning and machine knitting for sure and am loving every minute of it. Dyeing in the mix here and there. More time is spent planning and envisioning after exploring the stories and technique ideas, than actually implenting them. ( That darn Internet addiction thang).

Now with all the readily available WOOL, felting is Very do-able and I’m off and running there.Great for hot summer days‘ playtime!
My 12 hour work days this week ( too many things going awry with my rather extensive flock of Nursing Charges...) hasn’t helped productivity either...

so..... Balloon felting a bowl Or basket! It is.....

Craftster Balloon Felting Tutorial

Later now- The balloon wet felting was a bit of a challenge. I used tights instead of hose/nylons; Where the tutorial states to use an extra pair of hands -it made a big difference. Trying to keep wool from sliding around without the extra pair of hands when you put on the encasing- made for a bald spot on my second try.

This is a bit enlarged of the hat turned inside out. Frst try! I have made some nice slippers too- I really want to go for 3d work and do hats, vests, jackets, boots. We’ll see...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sheepish information

Now that my interest in all things woolly has taken a quantum leap, it has been very interesting finding out the history of the various breeds of sheep. Different breeds are suitable for differing purposes (or combos of use): Wool for spinning / weaving knitting/ crocheting/ felting/ art...., meat, milk, pelts and other purposes like helping keep the house warm in “the olden days”. I didn’t know that felt was long used in machinery too! Today prolly replaced by synthetics but gaskets- who da thunk. Not I! Until i started to research all this...

Here is a link to 500 uses for felt..

Which reminds me- As for Global warming- from the website I was reminded that Sweden used to have a climate similar to France today ....long before Petrochemicals were around...Anyway, I’ll spare you most of my opinion about the current media hype of “proof” regarding the ostensibly current, so-called Global Warming.

The animal husbandry in selective breeding of sheep involved goes back thousands of years and many distinct breeds have their origins in the crosses of others. Click HERE -Northern Sheep Breeds

The above website has history, maps with links, huge list of breeds and pix/ info ...WoW!

There is considerable controversy over when and from what wild species the first domestic sheep descended. Current chromosomal and archeological evidence indicates that the divergence occurred about 9000-11000 years ago and that the first sheep domesticated were from the mounflon (Ovis musimon) flocks from Sardinia and Corsica. (Grzimek 1990)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Tour de Fleece

OK couldn’t resist putting up their button. Tour de Fleece. Another knitting challenge for knitters, this one for following the Tour de France.Participants are donating prizes. This is the Virtual Fiber community, in action- lots of fun ways of learning and sharing. Fiber Exchanges are on, the yahoo groups are full of tips and tricks. Hooray for Felting, Spinning,Knitting....

-Onward to have some precious time off- will be knitting on the machine (cell phone bags are improving from experimenting) and spindling up some alpaca and silk.


Friday, June 30, 2006

Traditional Felting Video

This is very inspirational. I better start stockpiling wool! It is 15 minutes long so be patient with the initial loading. Apparently this is one of the few remaining felt rug makers in Iran. Sadly, a dying art form.

Traditional Felting Video

The Knitting Garter Carriage World Cup

Well, I am cheating on my Knitting World Cup project, and besides, who can really knit much while checking out the action! Normally I am not that interested in the sports on da tube, however things like Olympics and now the World Cup going on right now are fun and exciting. I can see all folks all over the world crouching over TV sets.....all day long. I do not have TV reception nor cable at home (Netflix only here) but have been watching elsewhere at times.

Anyway, back to the hobby related theme. I am cheating by using an accessory to my knitting machine, called a garter carriage. It knits away on it’s own! I am setting it up to be knitting little swatches of patterning with a few inches of ribbing at one end. These have been then sewn up by moi and are the cutest darn “cellphone bags“. My friends and coworkers are hounding me since I started wearing mine around my wrist last week. They pass cell phones out like candy at one of my jobs, so I have two now..uggh....

It’s really a test of the various patterns my Brother Knitting Machine (electronic 940) can produce. So far I have about 15 of ‘em. Sorry no pix-(may add some later). Currently they are flying out the door to friends and coworkers as fast as I can sew them up. I have to use the regular / handcarriage to knit about 600 rows of an i-cord, that is then crocheted into a thicker cord, which is then the drawstring.

Spinning has taken a back seat and is still in it’s rudimentary stages for me. Spindle and Ashford Traditional have lots of competition, between wet- and needle-felting, dyeing yarn and roving, washing wool and handcarding. And the machine knitting. Handknitting still abounds from using time otherwise wasted waiting in doctor’s offices.( As previously mentioned, I am a Registered Nurse for an Instutution ( now becoming group home based) and take folks unable to do so for themselves to MDs or the ER many times per week, among other duties of course) I am doing socks from yarn I dyed by hand, on matching “blanks” of machine knitted yarn that is then reknitted. Self striping! No ends! I have a link to the technique elsewhwere...

Anyway ..icanspin links were a nice starting point and of course the guild meetings and helpful members got me going. The tip to spin a little bit everyday has fallen by the way side for now; I better check these out and get going again!

Find links to videos showing
how to spin here:

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Humorously surfing the web

Click here for: GIMME YOUR STUFF

This is so funny. Unfortunately most of the exchanges being mentioned on the site are food related. I am rather a healthy (read: fresh is best) food nut so will be offering..FIBERS! I’ll throw in some chocolate, I have a humungous collection of yarn -ends, skeins and of course wool in various states of washing, dyeing, carding and spinning. The GIMME YOUR STUFF site was mentioned on a fiber related list I am on, so this is my post to OFFER. I’ll also include Northern California related items like postcards from Art shows, local newspapers (gotta love the personals) and anything else that I can gather up starting today. Maybe some healthy type of treats too.

Offering for spinners:
Raw wool from sheep only used for petting LOL (heh heh heh) Seriously, these are NICE. If you like to do the sheep to shawl bit. Or felting!
Washed wool from same- grey, white and black with some brown tips

Offering for knitters:
Let’s talk! Lots of wool, cotton and mystery yarn in a wide range of colors.
Pattern magazines

Happy Crafting and hope to have a fun person from overseas exchange with me. Any musk ox farmers? Camel drivers ...Just kidding (maybe!)

Sunday, June 18, 2006


I love knitting hats for fulling. I used to call it felting -until I became interested in TRUE FELTING, which is taking wool (and yes, sometimes other fibers or fabric) and magically transforming it into an item. Just kidding. Felting is an Ancient Technique and apparently predates any other fiber related technique for creating “things”.

And I thought it was cool when Judy (the nice lady from Utah who sold me my first spindle and gave me my first lesson at Stitches) told me about the pioneers collecting fur/hair/wool whatever from bushes and made yarn and thread via spindles, as they walked West. Then clothing was made etc..Maybe. Anyway felting has quite a history and Dang, yet another thing to do with fibers. I DO have access to lots of wool right off da sheep/ goat (some shorn last week too) and the rabbits are angora too. Can’t believe it; the wool is just stored! I am the only taker! (Dirt Cheap too). They DO have a spinning wheel out at demos but never will be able to spin very much of their wool at that pace, so my treasure is not going to have any significant dent put in it. The demos happen when school kids come around to see the Textile Art Center. Right now they even have rescue silkworms ( from school projects that got out of hand). I wonder.......anyway, maybe you catch my drift as to all the temptations around!

Anyway- been washing and dyeing and carding (by hand) and spinning..and now felting has entered the picture too. I got some great mystery wool Brown Sheep Mill ends at a great price, that I carded up a bit to fluff up (a bit comopressed from shipping) and my second project was done! Nice folks there assured me Brown Sheep uses an assortment of wools, likely merino, Romney, rambouilliet, etc.. I got a set of nice green and natural whites and greys so I could do some felting with less “work” beforehand.

Which is funny to me since the reason I like the idea of diving into all this is due to the “sheep to end product“ focus i am current enthralled with.

The first project was a little dog blanket for the new puppy in the family ( I have a cute sweet smart pitbull named Kona for a “grandpuppy“). Sheep to blankie!

Anyway, I enlarged to 135% an on-line pattern piece (called a resist) for a set of baby booties from 3-D felting technique page. The technique was great to get into but no self respecting baby would keep those things on for more than a millisecond. I will have to knit a little top for it that will draw it in and secure it from the little kickers.

Felting is way cool! I am teaching myself how to pull it off so there is no seam. A hat will be next ( maybe a cloche first then one with more of a brim.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Salad / Recipe of the month

AW Schucks! I submitted a recipe and !viola~ My online Knitting Machine Club’s newsletter showed up with this!

Recipe Of TheMonth:

Claudia’s Salad

This one’s a real crowd pleaser and helps folks get
“creative” with a salad recipe:

Disclaimer: no exact formula is required, most of the
ingredients are "to taste".

Salad fixin's: finely chop a ratio of 3/4 Chinese cabbage,
to 1/4 Red Cabbage. (3/4 cup per person is a good estimate)

Add as much as desired:
Finely chopped green onion, fresh basil, parsley or any
other herb combo.
Celantro is really good but some folks don't like it, so leave off for "potluck".
Tangerine sections can be put in as much desired, or cut
up oranges (if tangerines are offseason)
Daikon radish (I personally love daikon and add plenty to
mine) (Any vegetables you like could be added, in season etc.)

Dressing: (amount also approx- make as much as you need in these proportions)
Take 1/8-1/4 cup of roasted sesame oil. Mix with approx. 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar (seasoned rice wine vingar is ok too)
and 1/4-1/3 cup orange juice or concentrate.
If this looks like too much, you can save some for another time!

Crunchy parts: Depending on size of salad, take one or
more "top ramen" noodle packs, break into very small
pieces and DRY (no oil) roast in a hot iron skillet until
lightly browned. (Stirring at all times is the key to an
even roast and no burn) Remove from pan. Take the
same pan, getting it hot again, put in 1-2 teaspoons of
salt, allowing this to roast for awhile (2-4 minutes is ok, it won’t burn)
stirring occasionally, take out and set aside, preferably in
a mortar and pestle. In same pan, getting medium hot
again, quickly put in 10 tsp of sesame seeds (to each
tsp of salt). They will (if hot enough) immediately begin to pop like
popcorn, so stir well and shake pan with lid on for a
SHORT TIME, roasting to light brown color, checking
and stirring to prevent burning--about 1-2 minutes. Grind
salt and sesame together to coarse level-- some whole
seeds are fine- with mortar and pestle.(This is called
GOMASIO and is a very yummy, traditional Japanese food.)
Mix with the roasted noodles. Salt may also be omitted,
if necessary.

Assemble: Mix salad greens (reds too ;->), citrus and other vegetable
ingredients in a bowl. Immediately before serving,
mix/dress sparingly with the well-shaken dressing.
Sprinkle, for the top layer, with the noodle/sesame salt
mixture. DO NOT MIX. Serve with the crispy layer on
top. Best to dress and serve only enough to serve within
15 minutes, as the noodles stay crisper that way.

ENJOY! This is ALWAYS a potluck hit!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Spinning and Dyeing

Oh Boy! One of my fav knitting websites has in the Spring issue lots of stuff about spinning, spindles and wheels ..and -wow-dyeing wool for spinning! Which is a current focus of mine : how to simplify the process of permanent dyeing of wool. This webpage from is the best yet.

I and also seen a few other interesting techniques, like using colored tissue paper; a French website has a good overview of the process. I tried it and have come to the conclusion that the dyes used in France must be more “runny” but I did mange to get a raspberry, red, other pinks and purple roving done- all rather more pastel than I prefer. Just in case you are curious:

I used a free online translation service and it was very funny to interpret, their rendition. Anyway- color is cool!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Knitting World Cup

Did you join the Knitting Olympics?

Now you can join the Knitting World Cup!
Cast on : 9th June 2006 18:00 (Central European Time)
Finish by: final whistle 21:30 (CET) on 9th July 2006

Competition Rules:

1. Choose any project you will find a challenge.
2. You must complete it within the time frame.
3. No casting on before kick off
4. Finish before final whistle of the final match
5. “Training” sessions of tension squares are allowed prior to kick off.

Football(as in soccor) widows and knitting fiends get your team (i.e. project) selected now.

To join, email the yarn monkey and you'll be added to the teams list.

There will be a prize draw from the winners for some stichin' and bitchin' swag.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Continental Knitting

Today was a very inspirational day. The machine knitting guild folks did a fashion show and I saw some very nicely done items, creativity galore! A new member arrived today- the second man now in the guild. He goes to a class many of us attend- the daytime one of the night class I attend (same teacher) on Monday nights, when I can. Most Mondays.

The other fellow will soon be the President of the Guild! Very focussed and organized. He is also teaching himself to handknit. I had given him the heads up that I would be more than willing to help with tips there. He was so happy to show me his first efforts, apparently he went to the web and studied and started from there. I gave him the tip about slipping the first stitch to create an even edge.

I love the continental(aka German) knitting style (versus “throwing”) and commented on this when he watched me cast on and start knitting; he noticed my method was different than most others around. He tried both and wants to learn continental! Wo-hoo. My buddy likes the English (aka throwing) style (there are others too). I suppose the way you learn is the way you are most comfortable with. Years ago, I went to a HK Guild and the first thing they told me was- we need you to do Continental style of knitting, to be most efficient and “hand friendly”. No biggie- I was already there. Others in the guild told me of their struggle to “switch” but that they DID then see the merit.

Kinda reminds me of another area....I use a Mac! ......Oh...nevermind...we don’t want to go there. In my other “hobby life” I am a Macintosh User Group leader....Apple Ambassador is my title. Have held most positions including Pres forever...I also was given title of Queenie....guess they want to keep me around forever! Somebody has to do it- and it has been me...for way too long but I still enjoy the club.

Hope everyone is enjoying the Spring Weather! Sun at last. Tomorrow is gardening day for me! Parsnip seeds, beans, peas, carrots,beets more onions basil and some starts of greens will be going in. Still have plenty of chard- onions- strawberries-various flowers- and herbs around. Hot weather stuff like squash, tomatoes and peppers can wait a bit still. Have weeded and composted - now to plant!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pulling Sheep over Dutch Eyes, Silkworms and WOOL

LOL just had to lift this image off of the NY Times. The article is just as amusing. NY Times article

The long and short of it is that it violated the ban on highway advertising and due to 15% increase in bookings- the offending hotel is determined to continue the practice.

On another note i am hoping to resist the temptation to grow silkworms....I have seen this being done at TAC, Day Program I am affliated with and am sooo tempted. I joined a caterpillar breeding list serve (groan- can hardly keep up with the various (fibers-dye-spin- knit- machine knit) ones I am on already. The list will serve as vicarious thrills. I do not need yet another fiber related hobby.

Just in case you really want to see what is all about, below is the moderator‘s website pages about it all, that got me into trouble; Growing slikworms

Yesterday i bought about 10 lbs of raw fleece. and will be making a puppy blanket to go along with the bed (see previous post) during this coming weekend. Of course the weather is great so other activities beckon...The wool will be flicked and rubbed into a Felted Piece and I will add lots of loose yarn pieces to it, so should end up pretty interesting looking. An artist friend of mine has given me lots of tips The wool is so fab-various sheep- white, grey and “black” from sheep lovingly tended year around at an Animal Program for the developmentally delayed. Minimal VM! That’s vegetative matter for the unintiated.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Woolly Events...

Lots of list-talk from our East Coast spinning and knitting folks these days about the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. We do have a few events going on the West Coast- spread out through September. Best known of course is the Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon, in June.

More Locally an interesting one is the Dixon Lambtown Saturday, July 29th, 2006, from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. There are quite a few interesting classes in spinning, knitting and dyeing. Since the location is about an hour drive, this may be my “Big Event” this year.

Other upcoming events mainly around Northern California include:(Sorry no time to HTML it all...)

May 5 CNCH 06: Delivery due date for non-judged Gallery entries at Modesto Convention Center
May 5 – 7 CNCH 2006 California Landscape Conference of Northern California Handweavers, Modesto, CA. Write CNCH, P.O. Box 191119, Sacramento 95819 Conference of Northern California Handweavers
May 6 Spring Splash, Family Day at the Richmond Art Center 1-4PM, 2540 Barrett Ave, Richmond 510-620-6772 or
May 13 Alameda County Fair entry forms due. or 925-425-7611
May 13 Forest Home Farms Sheep Sheering Family Day 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon. 11AM – 3PM Spindles and Flyers guild will teach spinning and felting. More volunteers welcomed. Kim, 925-973-3283, or
May 15 CiNCHNotes Deadline for submissions or Susan 415-468-5590
May 20 Haiku Landscape, Shibori Dyeing lecture by Judith Content. de Young Museum, San Francisco. 10AM $5 non-TAC members, no museum admission 415-750-3627 or
May 21 S&F Meeting El Cerrito: confirm new officers for 06-07
June 3 Spinners Day at Retzlaff Winery, fleeces food, fun, and special guests 1356 S. Livermore Ave, Livermore. Bring wheel, sunhat and chair, potluck dish and water. 10AM – 5PM $5 admission. Will Taylor 925-228-7223
June 9-10 Alameda County Fair entry delivery days
June 10 Spinners Picnic at West Side Farms, 7097 Westside Road, Healdsburg. Demonstration volunteers wanted. Potluck picnic, fiber sales and spinning next to the Russian River. 10AM – 4PM JoAnn 707-874-3374 or
June 10 Yard Sale and Fair, Pacific Textile Arts, 450 Alger St, Fort Bragg, CA 707-964-5279
June 23 – 25 Black Sheep Gathering, 86460 Loraine Highway, Eugene, OR 97405-9481, or
June 17 Southern Quiltmaking and Gee’s Bend Quilters lecture, de Young Museum, San Francisco. 10AM $5 non-TAC members, 415-750-3627 or
June 18 S&F Meeting El Cerrito and Father’s Day
Jun 25-Jul 1 Convergence 2006, Grand Rapids, MI; HGA biennial fiber conference and workshops. HGA, 1255 Buford Highway, Suite 211, Suwanee, GA 30024 or
June 28 Speed Crochet Contest, Alameda County Fair
July TBD Sheep to Shawl Contest at the Alameda County Fair. Will 925-228-7223
July 5 Speed Knitting Contest at Alameda County Fair.
July 8 Carson Sierra Guild BBQ (and opportunity to visit Heidi’s new home) –
July 28-30 LambTown, Friday spinning competition with free admission. Classes & workshops Sat-Sun. $2 admission, $2 parking or 350 West A St., Dixon CA 95620
July 20 Stitch and Pitch, Knitters at SF Giants Game vs. San Diego Padres. Tickets include Stitch n' Pitch tote bag buy at Ticket Giants Dugout Stores or 877.4SFGTIX.
July 22-Nov 12 Quilts of Gee’s Bend. Textile Gallery, de Young Museum, San Francisco
Aug 7 – Sept 2 Tamalpias Weavers’ Guild Show, Tiburon library. Reception Aug 8. Dotti Day, 415 924-9436,
Aug 8 Artists Reception for Tamalpias Weavers’ Guild Show at the Tiburon Library
Aug 13 Samplings Textile Festival, Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St, Oakland. Noon – 5PM Free admission. 510-238-2200 or
Sept 15-17 80th Annual California Wool and Fiber Festival, with Mendocino county fair and apple show. Boonville 707-894-2591 or
Oct 3 - ? Innovations in FiberArts III, a biennial, open show. Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Submission date to be determined.
Oct 22-26 Camp Stitches Asilomar $535-$820 web: or 800-237-7099
Oct 29-Nov SOAR, Spin Off Autumn Retreat, Granlibakken, Tahoe City

Above is actually a tricky way for me to plan and review fiber related things to do, when I am away from home. ;-0

Happy Fiber-ing to you all!

Yet Another Yarn Show

Yesterday I wen to another Yarn and Other Associated Stuff Show. Next year they will probably not hold it so soon after Stitches. The machine knitting Guild had a booth there and I was around to talk and demo about machine knitting. I was also happily surprised to see the Nice Woman (Judie) who gave me my first spindle lesson at Stitches. Yesterday she patiently gave me my first carding lesson. I made quite a few purchases-some nice merino and silk roving, silk tussah, a new spindle, reference card to track my needle collection, a set of needles for sewing, 2 Books on spinning (one about color in spinning), knitting needles, plastic bobbins, and a set of hand cards for processing wool. This is one of 2 local events and most of the items would need to be mail ordered if I wanted them so - I indulged a bit! Actually, I managed to restrain myself....

Thought this little guy was so cute and couldn’t resist adding him to my blog:

my pet!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

fooling around

I managed to almost complete a nice linen/cotton lace Easter shawl but had too much finishing to wear it for Easter. So will do the “hemming“ (so both ends look the same) of these days. I pulled a few needles out of work on Stichworld pattern number 291 to be exact. Beats a few thousand extra passes with a lace carriage.

This Saturday we will be demo’ing a knitting machine for our guild at a show. Due to the hassle involved in returning items, it was suggested everyone just bring items they have created and display them during the time they are volunteering. Opps- most of my completed items are just swatches! LOl...actually a heart, some dishcloths, one hat, a few scarves and a baby sweater have made their way off the needles...Most have been given as gifts. Anyway, I will try to finish the shawl in time.

It’s in Oakland California Thursday 4/20 to 23/2006 (link is below)
The Knit & Crochet Show Spring 2006

As for hand knitting, I am doing up a pair of socks from predyeing the yarn on blanks which I knit on the machine and then painted/dyed for a self striping pattern. I did 2 blanks on nice merino yarn/ EON / on the standard machine. Pinned them down side by side to do the painting to be exactly the same-....Came out pretty nice! If I run out of yarn - which is starting to appear to be the case- I have some yarn still to finish toes with.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Alpaca Show! A Very Fun Event

Yesterday my knitting buddy Leslie and I had a really fun time at an Alpaca Show! Held at the Alameda Fairgrounds, the fiber was yummy, the animals so darn cute. They all were real characters! Before yesterday I only joked about wanting to have an Alpaca; now its going to be a serious thought for my future. It IS Springtime and the young males were so flirty, it was just so funny.

Anyway, the various Show Events gave me a few clues as to the qualities looked for in an Alpaca. Breeders, importers of items, and the public at large mingled freely with the leashed animals as they were waiting for their turn in the ring- very tame and soooo soft, with their full winter coats. Next month is shearing time, according to a knowledgeable person. One Alpaca that had been shorn was rather shockingly slim; now I see how much fiber they carry. Of course, these were all show animals on hand. The one shown was the only spotted one around and was very calm and placed well. She is a yearling.

Anyway, I’ll soon be spinning Alpaca fiber!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Before Pictures

The water bottle is a 5 gallon size and the exercise ball is the largest available, so you can see the size of this latest piece! This week‘s knitting project is the next felted item. I’ve done plenty of felted berets and cloches and brimmed hats so thought I’d venture forth into giganto land to make a dog bed. A puppy bed to be exact. Not sure yet how it will felt up so here are the before pictures. I have not taken any pix of my hats before felting but suffice it to say they all looked rather strange before shrinking down and being shaped. So this one stands a very good chance of coming out just fine. Especially since size and fit will not be much of a consideration. When she outgrows it- it can be a toy basket or something. The dog will grow to 80 lbs., so this item will be basically just a baby/puppy bed for first months away from the nest. All the wool is from left overs, many of which were hand spun from color experiment pieces. One main yarn is from a very old rug yarn and may not felt very much, coupled with a barely spun wool so may look interesting. It shrinks more in length than width. Size 9 US needles. The stitches are made from 3 yarn stands, which will become obscured. Or maybe a not. Time will tell LOL.. I’ll post the felting regime in progress later.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Shameless plug

My most wonderful man in the world / DH ( dedicated houseboy) is an artist - extraordinarily so- and has a website:
Thomas E Jeweler Website - http:/www/

Some of his jewelry is there for you to see.

The San Francisco Street Artist is a licensed program - a great opportunity for a small artist to sell his/her creations to the public. The image is from Sunday 3/27/06. He is usually at Justin Herman Plaza (near the Ferry Building) on Sat/Sun, weather permitting.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


This Sunday is the second Spinning Guild meeting and I will be taking a wheel over. DH just replaced a small leather piece that attached the arm to turn the wheel to the treadle, which promptly tore off the first time he stepped on the treadle. Guess I better learn the names of the parts now

This is a loaner wheel until another one is retried from a deep storage spot later this Spring. HAPPY SPRING!!!

Did the ol’dust off and lemon-oil cleaning and ithe Unknown Wheel cleaned up really well. Now to see if I can get it to work. At the last guild meeting I was given several pounds of raw and some once-washed fleece. I managed to procure some antique looking cards and figured out how to wash the stuff too. Wind dried! My first try at carding resulted in an hour long sidetrack in removing rust from the metal edging of the 2 cards. Don’t need rusty wool! I have (book and internet) 2 sets of instructions on using the cards, with 3 different ways to do it (par for the course). Nice to know there are variations. Anyway I did manage to card up some of the fleece I washed and then spun it on my spindle- wow- it was pretty nice going! Smooth.

The wool is a very soft Dorset. Have to give myself a pat on the back- my first yarn done entirely by moi. Lookie Mommie- I did it ALL BY MYSELF. Lol (mom died rather young folks - so forgive the personal aside). Now to find out how to really do it right. The guild folks will set me straight!

Sheep to sweater coming up!!! With some sidetracking into dyeing too.

Off to work. Just figured out my taxes. Yikes- I owe, I owe , so off to work I go (need to force that happy-song-voice in here).
Will be a tight belt time for awhile now- need to change my W-2s now that da kid is not a dependent. But that is another tale in itself!.

Good thing I can spin my own yarn now ( sort of - will be a raw newbie for awhile) and have some wool- time to NOT BUY YARN. My yarn junkie ways will have to be satisfied by the last pink batch of merino waiting to be picked up at the Post Office. eBay - What did we do without you???

No yarn on cones around my neck of the woods anyway. There is one yarn store that has ONE cone but I have never forgiven them since they disssed me when I mentioned I was a machine knitter. Heck- I still knit by hand every day too. Those brats- boycotted for now.

See ya!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Knitting at Meetings

Recently Ms. Manners in the Boston Globe answered a query about the appropriateness of knitting at meetings with a how rude etc., response. Needless to say, the hordes of knitters on a knitting related list were not too pleased and a shortlived, lively discussion ensued, until it was halted by moderators and the passionate purlers resumed sharing tips and queries.

The below response says it all. I agree,except for I never bother to ask. When I am at monthly meetings at work, after my presentation “part”(which is first)is over (unless I am the minute taker which occurs sometimes), I find knitting has always helped me to listen attentively.

One caveat: On these occasions I do not handle complex patterning that would require looking at any guides. Knitting has definitely helped me endure er a ...integrate into my brain... 3 day workshops, much better than daydreaming ever could have!

Anyway, here it is:

Subject: Re: knitting at meetings

Fellow knitters,

I am a psychologist, and have brought my knitting to many workshops
and training sessions. I always ask the presenter whether I can
knit, and so far not only has no one said no, but all have commented
on the benefits of knitting in terms of focus and concentration while
listening. One presenter, a nationally renowned expert in the use of
the body in psychotherapy, said that anyone who thinks that a knitter
cannot be paying full attention "obviously doesn't understand
sensorimotor integration." So there.


Happy Knitting!

Friday, March 03, 2006


These are nice images. I will be knitting on my machine- prolly a baby blanket and a ruffled scarf for this:

I belong to a Machine Knitting Guild that puts on workshops every month- sometimes one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

This weekend is a special 2 day seminar. They flew out Sandee Cherry from Illinois ( to NorCal). She was really fun today (Friday) and more to come tomorrow. She really conveys many good tips in with lighthearted humor. I purchased one of her workbooks- a book of patterns and tips and her Designing 101 CD and last but not least a Garter bar V-CD.

The garter bar seems to be a tool I will be using plenty now- I love cabled sweaters and she showed how to use it for cables today. Her 20 minute pants look like a likely project for me too. Soo much was covered today- my head is spinning....with ideas and more insight into just “having at it”.

I Also must confess that I bought a spindle at Stitches West 2 weeks ago and last weekend went to a Spinning Guild meeting. I was able to go home with a great big box of wool I have to wash and prepare. How exciting! Then i had a spinning wheel fall into my hands too, right away.

Dang- not enough hours in the day for my hobbies! Good thing I can knit while I am at work at times! Otherwise I’d go crazy

Friday, January 20, 2006

I’ve been lurking in various knitting listserves and am so amused....there is treasure chest full of support out there!

In the meantime I had the opportunity to get going on my patterning(card) based machines ...then got an electronic (all Brother)
So haven’t had time to do any posting, just too much to do!

Have a nice day ya all...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Knitting Resolution

My commitment to my knitting passion for this week (or two) is to finish the almost done pieces! Actually yesterday I DID finish a pair of socks. I use a little chimney technique to close up the toes, makes a perfect Kitchener type of stitch. The seamless “seam“ . Without the little mouse ears. Lately I always have a sock- in- progress going on.

I also finished another piece by putting the silk ribbon fringe on a scarf I made for a close friend..It was my first Machine Knit tuck patterned piece too. If you don’t count swatches and play learning piueces. Fun. Now she is getting interested in machine knitting. I will prolly set her up with my Singer LK 100. Good basic machine for getting going!

The scarf was made from a nice Angora mix I purchased at a Holiday Machine knitting guild swap based meeting. Most everyone brought yarn to either put in the charity bin or sell, and a few knitting machine items showed up too. I saw my first linker, looked interesting. An antique machine swapped owners too. There was huge stash of very nice coned yarn from the estate of a woman who had died, and the guild became the lucky recipient(s). I bought 8 cones, including the Angora, for next to nothing. This all was a fund-raiser too; the guild made 250 dollars.

In March the Guild will have a 2-Day Special Sandie Cheerie seminar, which everyone is excited about. I always stay for the extra/ guest session the guild meeting has each month. So far I have seen penny socks on ribber/main bed (in the round), a quickie, no ends to sew in poncho technique, shortrowing of skirts and a shirtrow hat. Cut and sew, hand felting and felting adornment of pieces, to name a few. I am still wet behind the ears with Machine knitting but am getting up to speed with lace, patterning, reading patterns, basic techniques. Next Saturday we will be shown as many attachments as we have time for!

One of the more insightful aspects of the guild is the show and tell portion; hand knit or machine knit. Seen some nice designs and brought my latest pieces-a yummy Noro Kureyan sweater, felted bag and felted hat samples(. Berets, bowlers, cloches) and a scarf I accidentally felted. Good thing short, ascot length neck wraps are very in around here (as well as long and “skinny”).

I had this very ancient favorite cashmere scarf-knit up at a Driving School Day years ago-that was tossed in the white wash- read: hot, one cycle. Soak overnight. Run through full cycle. Opps..ended up in the dryer too. Beat up into a great peice! At first I was a bit sad.. my soft and cozy scarf was gone..then realized it had this neat wavy edge. Tom calls it the lasagna noodle scarf since it is white, wavy edged. I wore it with a little Christmas tree pin holding it all together and it received rave comments. It actually had become a bit ragged but had been transformed into something very interesting, The crochet edge has morphed into an edge with a ripple!

Next project I’m going to have to do is rip/frog a piece I changed by mind about. FUG Poncho, what was I thinkng! I had revamped the Martha Poncho into a little just around the shoulders piece and now can’t stand it. Oh well..rippit, rippit coming up. So much for never keeping to a pattern. I usually have better luck with my own stuff anyway.

I have been knitting up a BIG lot of this nice pink yarn at a Church rummage sale - Was prolly a set destined for an Afghan and forgotten about...feltable too. It has provided me with the basis for lots of experiments in socks, hats, felting, baby sweaters. It is perfect for my bulky machine, which had remained in the box so far but I am itching to get it set up.

In the meantime we are redoing our loft, so I have to wait a bit. I live in a nice big loft, and with some transformation of space ~ a new workshop area is coming up for me, courtesy of the loving efforts of my best friend /SIG-O Tom. He is transforming a contiguous area for my craft persuits to be more handy. Instead of co-mingling with my Computer stuff /office space and living room; these areas are getting a bit out of hand.

Later this week I can set up the bulky and get going with it. I will be getting a shipment of dye for protein this week to and have yarn ready to go for some working on mixing colors for dyeing too.

Keeping a knitting blog is fun!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dyeing to Knit

Recently I became fascinated with creating my own colors for yarn and have taken the leap into dyeing yarn. Wool requires a dye that dyes protein, the same dye will also be useful for silk when I get there..In any case a very nice creative woman in my machine knitting guild has expanded on a technique she stumbled across and I just love it! Kind of like painting! Technique is done on a preknit piece of fabric from the yarn you wish to later use as a main color or background.

She is starting to teach out of her home and at some fiber “festivals”. She’s great. Her day job is an attorney for a firm specializing in workman’s comp. Gotta love it.

A bit complicated to explain but suffice it to say, it will be very useful and fun. The color gradiations possible are going to look very nice as the background on a 2 color piece. For starters.

My first experiment was taking two matching pieces of preknit (hooray for knitting machines as fabric producers!) which were laid out side by side and carefully dyed via brushing on matching bands of color. The idea was to have stripped socks in my choice of color combo and ultimately have 2 pairs of perfectly matched striped socks,without the hassel of carefully counting rows and changing yarns. In my choice of colors, the colors produced where the bands met ( to form ann additional color as well) are really interesting too.I’ll be doing the other idea mentioned already after I finish the socks.

Anyway, color work on my yarn is turning out to be quite the addiction-to-be as well. I have a close friend who just went back to Chile for a while and will be returning with a mega treasure trove of Alpaca for me to use for all this -some nice hand processed yarn to work with.

Nuf for now! Happy holidays!

About Me

Marin County, California, United States
I work for 2 non-profits in Marin County CA (near SF) that serve the Developmentally Delayed. I was introduced to weaving and knitting at a very young age. Over the years I have always had knitting on hand. There was a time where I was severely chastised for being so old fashioned, so it is great to see the upsurge in the home arts now going on! I have expanded into machine knitting; fortunately there is a great Guild nearby that has really been great. Spinning Fibers is a new thrust as well, and felting has creeped in too. If only I had more time...