Tag Archives: knitting

Wendy, My Lady Love…

I was so busy with work this summer that I forgot to introduce you to my new favorite contraption: the Wendy spinning wheel! My parents picked her up at an estate sale along with a medieval looking drum carder, several big jars of buttons, some sock forms, metal embroidery hoops and a giant knitting book from the 70’s. I wish I’d known the lady before she passed because, judging from the amazing loot they found, I think we would have gotten on famously.

It took my Dad and I a few weeks to figure out how to put the drive belt on and get her working smoothly again but I’ve spent a couple hours spinning now and I think I’ve found a hobby I could do for a very long time (and maybe feed my knitting habit).

p1040345Isn’t she purty? The whole thing is just over two feet tall and it was originally built so that you could spin in the front seat of your VW bus. How amazing is that whole idea? Answer: very.
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Hey, remember all of that wool I had at the beginning of summer? I got one pound of it back after I sent it to From Barn to Yarn over in Boring and I’ve spun a ball of yarn on my drop spindle while camp was going and then I’ve spun maybe 1/4 pound on the spinning wheel (that’s all that pretty white stuff at the top there). I’m really happy with how it’s coming out. It’s not beautiful wool (it’s from a breed meant to be eaten (Polypay) so the focus isn’t on the wool) and it was pretty dirty so she did a really great job cleaning most of the stuff out for a pretty reasonable price. If you happen to have a ton of fleece that is just too dirty to manhandle on your own I would definitely recommend looking them (or someone who does similar work) up.p1040350
I think that’s a pretty good job for a few hours spinning and watching Fight Club and the Mighty Boosh in the basement.

Etsy of the Week – Yokoo –

I hear it gets cold in Vermont. I think I have a solution…

Ok, I know it hasn’t been a full week since the last one but I feel pretty good doing whatever I want, including oogling the amazing knit things over at Yokoo on etsy. Holy Macaronni! Have you ever stumbled upon something early in the morning and it took you a while to process what, exactly, it was you were looking at? And then fireworks happened in your brain as you connected the dots and little lights went on and everything started telling you “OH man, you should be about ten times more excited than you are” as the rest of you struggles to catch up because really, it is quite early and everything is still a bit muzzy when you’re cradling a cup of chai in your jim-jams without your glasses on. I’m still trying to process just how amazing the knitted things are at Yokoo especially when you pair it with the interview Etsy did with the artist. I want to meet this lady, I want to meet her and talk about knitting, life and bunnies. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? It does to me…

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The Nantucket Cowl in Pony Grey
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The Oatmeal Soopascarf
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The Raw Brown Warmer
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The Yokoo Spectacles
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The Paynes Grey Klumpen Hat
I love everything about this picture… everything from the idea behind it to whatever went into making that crazy-amazing hat to the quality of the photograph.
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Braided Chain in Pony Grey
This is by far my favorite idea. I want to make this, I want to wear it and I want to squeeze it because I can imagine how springy it would feel.

Piles of Wonderful

My neighbor Andy had a friend with sheep, but no reason to keep the wool. The lady he usually gives his fleece to didn’t want it this time. This all came up in casual conversation and I almost passed out when I realized that maybe, just maybe I could get my hands on this fleece. A month went by before I saw Andy again to ask him about it and when I finally did he said he’d look into it and bring them to me if his friend still had it. There were a lot of ifs and maybes so I didn’t get my hopes up. A whole fleece could fetch $30 or more raw and much more if it’s been processed into something you could spin right away so you can probably understand why I got a little excited.

I went on a camping trip this weekend on the coast, had fun and came home dirty and tired. My first stop was Monty’s cage (which has been relegated to the back deck now that the weather is nice). I had to step around this big blue tarp squatting on the deck to get to his cage and I thought “Well now, that’s a lot of disgusting insulation… I wonder how long THAT’S going to be here. Hurumph…” and didn’t think about it again until Mom and Dad came home. “Oh, so did you see your fleece out there?” Dad asked when they walked in the door. What I thought was a pile of nasty insulation was, in fact, a pile of skanky wool. Six fleeces, to be exact.

Now, I’ve never carded or washed a fleece before… and all I have is a little hand spindle for spinning it. I walked up to the tumorous mound very very carefully… I didn’t want to startle it in case it was really some sort of dead mountain beast hanging out on the porch. I opened the tarp and started picking through the pile, trying to determine where one fleece started and where the next ended. I couldn’t really, so I just pulled a large hank out onto the table. Underneath the… stuff… is some really really nice wool! I did a little research to figure out how exactly to go about making that huge pile into a nice, clean pile, and I found a nice little description on Fuzzy Galore. I went around the edges, pulling off the especially nasty bits and stuff about four pounds of fleece into a mesh laundry bag. Now I’ve got it soaking in the upstairs bathtub and hopefully, it’ll turn out well enough to card, spin, knit and then wear! How COOL would that be!? For free!

I don’t know what kind of sheep they are, or how much is here, but it’s probably just under 50 pounds.

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I swear, it’s not a tumor.

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This is where you can see the part of the wool that was closest to the sheep’s skin (the whiter half) and the part that was exposed to the elements and… other things less pleasant (the darker portion).fleece_17
Look how crimpy the fibers are! So cool. Everything is covered in lanolin and a little bit damp but after I’m done washing it all (which will take all darn summer if I do it in the tub like I am now) it will be a big fluffy cloud of wonderful. Oh I’m so happy!

Road Trip Sockies

So these are the socks I knit during the recent + epic road trip with Tyler. Nice, huh? I thought so. I just finished the second one this morning (the socks/mile isn’t particularly efficient… I finished one during the whole road trip).

socks02And no, for all of you concerned for my fashion well being, I didn’t wear that outside. This is one of those outfits I contemplate and then ask myself “What would Jessie do…?” and then change my mind. Ok? Ok.

Oh Lawdy

There are two stories here. I was listening to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me a few weeks ago (which is, by the way, my all time favorite radio show besides This American Life) and one of the things they talked about was a chicken rescue group who putting little sweaters on the naked, abused chickens at their rescue. Mo Rocca said he didn’t like hand knit sweaters and then he promptly got one from the ladies over at ravelry and then he apologized (and created a wave of discussion through the knitting community).

Anywho, back to what prompted this story. I sold one of my little hens (available in the etsy shop) to a very nice woman in the UK for her grandson, and she sent me the link to the Little Hen Rescue. Oh my goodness, the sweaters, the chickens, the ability to adopt such a chicken! It’s pretty fabulous.

I’ve got to confess, my sister and I were each allowed to pick out a chicken at the feedstore when we were little. We raised them and, after a while, they started to lay eggs and go about their chickeny business. 4273_89696492720_613252720_2235563_5957797_nI can’t remember what attempted to eat Jessie’s chicken (it was either a hawk or the dog…) all that was left was a pile of feathers until, that is, we found it crouched behind some feed bins several days later… totally naked. We took a doll sweater (and to make the visual even better, it was a Charlie Brown sweater) and stuck it on the chicken until it’s feathers grew back. It worked and after a few months all of the feathers were back!

Here’s a video of the sweater knitting action. There’s a pattern for a chicken sweater, if you wanted to knit one yourself.

May 10th Preview!

As ya’ll know I’m going to be a vendor at Crafty Wonderland on May 10th (Mother’s day for you guys… don’t forget!). I’ve been sewing things and knitting other things and dreaming up still more things to haul out there with me. Here are some of the things I’m sure you’ll see if you go!

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The lions.

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The weird squiddies and aliens.p1030337

Chickens!

Oh, there’ll be some bunnies, leeches, finger puppets and more things there too. Just wait and see!

Now, Just Because You’re Vogue…

Doesn’t mean you can pull out the crazy card in the name of “fashion”. Yes, I know it’s knitting and knitting is a totally un-hip thing to do unless you’re old and in front of some picturesque fireplace in a book like Little Women… then it’s ok. But when I hear that you’re have a sale (1.99 on all your patterns) I’m going to get excited even though I’m really not your biggest fan. I find some cute things, but then you throw in a wild card like this doozy: What is that? Just because you’re Vogue and everything that goes along with it does NOT mean that it’s ok to put a giant, fugly handprint in the middle of a dude’s chest. It’s already a struggle to make knitting look sexy and it’s not going to help if it looks like Manos, Hands of Fate has designed this year’s knitting patterns. Yes, you do have some sweet things to balance this (matching his and hers bulky 90’s sweaters were never cool) and that monstrosity out. It still doesn’t explain this “phase” you’re going through, I don’t think I like your idea of “whimsy”. Still, things are down to the $1.99 range and that’s pretty reasonable. But only until Thursday when everything goes back to the still reasonable $5 range. Wow, such savings…

Kicking it with the 80’s Fashionista

Not this Christmas but the one before that my Grandmother Joyce gave me about five balls of self-striping yarn and I’ve moved it through a few houses since then without using is. Until now, that is. I rediscovered it two days ago and I had this instant flash of genius: an 80’s sweater for the sweet Willow. And oh man, it turned out perfectly! I just did about five inches of ribbing for her tum tum then just knit back and forth until it was about the right length, went back to knitting four more inches of ribbing and I was done. VOILA! A perfect Winky sweater.

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Unfortunately she’s still itchy whenever we put clothing on her and this sweater is no exception. She looks sporty anyway.p1030014

Sigh… I still have four balls of yarn. Maybe Monty needs a matching cape?

Happy Birthdays!

dscn0569Surprise Surprise, I knit Jessie a scarf for her birthday! Yes, it IS almost spring, but I hear scarves are in style with young people these days. The yarn I used wound up turning my hands and my knitting needles blue… hopefully I soaked out all the extra dye so it doesn’t turn anything else blue.. heehee, as funny as it would be to have a blue neck. Happy birthday Jessie!

p.s. the pattern is the Morning Surf Scarf