Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Greetings from Amsterdam

Hello everyone! Well E and I are halfway though our trip andwe've had a great time so far, even though it's been raining on an off. I wanted to write an entry the day we were leaving but it got way too hectic - yes I am a very LAST minute packer.

We've seen the Anne Frank house, the Rembrant House, a few churches and Museums, and yesterday we took a trip to Antwerp and Brussels (I Love pretty) The only complaint I have so far is I've yet to have a decent meal. It's most likely I'm going to the wrong places but there seems to be way more bars and "coffeeshops" than real restaurants. Oh well, I'll keep looking.

Today it's pretty crappy out so we are taking it easy and just chilling - I'm catching up on some knitting. I will definately finally have my Clapotis done...I know, shame on me I've had it in a pile so long I almost forgot what I was doing!

I'm thinking tomorrow we'll take the train to Haarlem or Utrecht and see what they have to offer. Sorry for the pictureless post, this place doesn't allow uploading.

Since this is a fiber blog I will tell you I have been to one yarn store already and have the address of another to visit before I leave. I bought 2 skeins of a simple lambswool blend for socks and 5 small cones of a really funky holographic thread to spin into a future yarn. I thought with all these sheep around I'd be able to buy some wool but alas spinning hasn't caught on here...oh well I have plenty anyway.

Hope to check back in again soon!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Shop Update

Hello All -

I have updated the Shop Go take a look! I have 3 different superwash sock yarns - I like them all so I think I'll keep offering all three.

Look what I do while I'm on a phone meeting...I'm sure plenty of you do the same!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fiber goodies

Yes, I decided to join the hordes and go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival! E and I drove down on Sunday morning, got lost about a mile away, spent 45 min and precious expensive gas trying to get there - we did eventually. Once there it wasn't too crowded - My guess is everyone went on Sat. We walked around looked at some cute stinky sheep and then met up with the wonderful MamaE, her husband and thier son - the cutest little cowboy out there (it's so adorable the way he called me Miss Marie, and called E Miss E!) After a quick bite to eat with them and my induction into the deep fried oreo lovers club (Erin you are so in trouble for that!) , E and I went shopping...ok well, I went shopping and she stopped me from buying another wheel (have you seen - these - Like I can afford a Golding Wheel, it's on my lottery list.)
I want one of these - Alpacas are so cute...poor baby, if he was mine he'd always be cold!
Here are the goodies: 1 lb of white cashmere, 1 lb of black alpaca, 8ox of 100's merino, 8 oz commercial angora, 3 batts of amazingly soft angora, silk, fine merino, and Brooks Farm Duet - 3 skeins of a pretty blue for a sweater for me, and 1 of some earthy colors that E picked out - destined to be a hat and scarf set or maybe a small vest. All In all, I did well, and I didn't break the bank. Good thing E was with me becuase there were a few wheels I really really wanted - oh well there is always Rhinebeck!

After MSWF - I came home to a lovely package of goodies from Stephanie. Since she lives too far to attend the festival, we had a little fiber exchange of our own -

Take a look at those batts - they are so delish you can't tell in the pic but they are filled with sparkly firestar and just soooo soft - I can't wait to spin these up! Everything is so nice - THANKS STEPH!

Now if you've read this far - you're in luck...I will be updating the Shop tomorrow at about 2 pm - with at least 30 skeins of sock yarn in all new colors!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

McGyver is at it again

Lately I've been thinking about electric spinners - mainly because spinning cotton on my louet is driving me bonkers - for cotton you need to spin fast and have very little take up or pull on your yarn. I could go and buy a high speed spinning kit (I probably will) or I was thinking a smaller electric wheel would be nice, like the Roberta (faint, swoon) But over $750 is just not in my budget!

This is where the cheap-ass-make-use-of-what's-lying-around-the-house skills come in. I do have the bulky babes spinner - which is great but if I want to spin finely I really don't want to use a bobbin which holds 2 lbs of fiber. I took the motor and foot pedal from the babes and connected it to the louet like so -

And guess what? It works like a charm! And it goes fast fast fast - max is about 7,000 RPM's. I was able to spin some cotton on it and also some really fine lace weight merino. The only problem with this is that I was doing this at about midnight (yeah I'm loopy like that) and E had already gone to sleep, so I didn't want to make much noise. And as many of you know who have sewing machines - they aren't exactly quiet. In addition, while the foot pedal is great and allows me start and stop hands free, it's hard to keep the wheel spinning at a steady speed. Any slight variation in pressure from your foot will either speed it up or slow it down and this isn't the best when you want to try and get a very even fine single. So I was looking around to see what other kind of motor I had in the house and Viola! I found one. I pulled out my little quiet Dremel tool it's powerfuland can go up to about 20,000 RPM's and it's variable speed so I can go slow or fast with a change of the little speed indicator (although I do have to then disrupt spinning and use my hand to turn it up or down). Since I don't have a proper vise, I used a clamp from a pasta machine (from my polymer clay days) and a wooden board to secure the dremel to. Here it is -

It also works well and much more quiet. I'm thinking of buying a mother of all and flyer kit and mounting them on a board along with some kind of motor to make my own smaller electric wheel - maybe one which uses the louet bobbins I already have. Either that, or save up for the Roberta...hmmmm

I thought you all would get a kick out of my craziness!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Labels!

A wonderful fellow knitblogger designed a new label for my yarn and also was kind enough to make a banner for the upcoming website and a button for all of you to steal!

Like the label? I love it! Just what I wanted and it only took her a weekend! This lovely lady is Chris of Fuzzy sheep Knits And not only is she great with Photoshop - she's a sweetie!

Here - take a button! (please use your own bandwith)

Now I'm off to have them printed up all nice like and start using them! Wow I feel like this is a real business - it is a real business but the labels make me feel all grown

Also, My yarns can now be purchased at Yahaira's fancy new online store Pure Knits While you are there, check out the rest of her site - she has some amazing products. For you spinners out there reading this, she has super soft and sparkly batts by the talented Stephanie under yarn and Spritely Goods - also check her blog out for more handspun and fab. batts.

I've been playing around with my collection of beads and decided to bring my two passions, jewelry and knitting, together. I've combined stitch markers and jewelry - I know this isn't a new concept but I haven't really seen stitch markers which use semi precious stones and sterling silver! I'll probably offer them with a sterling silver chain - you never know when you need a stitch marker!

What do you think? Would you wear them? I think they make great cluster necklaces. 4 regular stitch markers and one center one just in case you need to mark the beginning of a row. Of course I can always add even smaller ones on the right or left side of the necklace if you need more markers.
This one is Garnet, Aquamarine, Peridot, Amethyst and Citrine - great for up to a size 6 needle.

This one is all faceted Smokey Quartz - and can be used with larger needles up to 11.

Edited to ddd - The stich markers are being held in my hand - although I can see why some people have thought they were my boobs - nope, luckily my boobs don't have creases like that! LOL