Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bathroom Remodel, Part I

So, left without the option of skiing for the Thanksgiving weekend, and not wanting to make a long drive to visit family, we opted for the only sensible solution. DIY.

We decided to remodel the downstairs bathroom, and get our fingers wet in, tile laying, plumbing, painting, and decorating.

First, some before pictures:

The vanity with the ugly sink (hello sparkly gold swirls!), non-matching faucets, and a mirror we already ripped out. Also, the brown cabinet? That was painted by the previous owners, and the paint doesn't even go all the way back to the wall.

The unfinished wood side cabinet, with a look at the ugly stick on vinyl floors. Those HAD to go.

And, beneath the layer of stick on vinyl tiles, a layer of solid ugly vinyl! Removing that stuff is a pain in the butt, let me tell you. But really, it had to go too.

We ripped out the old sink, old tile backsplash, and refinished the cabinet. We painted the walls (we're doing a chair rail, so hence the 2 colors).

We tiled the floor with lovely ceramic tile, and grouted it! Yay grouting!

New white ceramic tile backsplash, new sink, new floor! New paint!

More tomorrow.....and it should be done!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

(mostly) Handspun Socks

Handspun Mockking XXL sockyarn knit up with contrasting purple KnitPicks sock yarn for the heels, toes and cuffs.

This pic ^ is true to color, no flash (the other two pics are slightly more blue due to the flash).

This was the quickest pair of socks I've knit to date...I'm no Yarn Harlot who can knit a sock a day! I think it took me 5 days of knit time to finish them. I guess I just don't have as much knit time in my day as some of the uber-knitters out there.

Guess what I'm wearing today?

I love these socks. Maybe my favorite pair I've made yet. The colors are very me, the handspun makes them cooler than the commercial sockyarn, since they're one of a kind, and I love that they match but don't.

Knit on US 1s, about 9 st to the inch for a nice stiff fabric. Good thing I had the purple cause they would have been anklets if I didn't do the second color! This is something I'll need to keep in mind for future socks, the cuff/toe/heel thing.

And, I need to take pics of the lovely package Bezzie sent, but alas I had to run this morning, and sock pics were the only thing on my mind!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fiber Friday--Spunky Eclectic Roving!

Today's Fiber Friday post is brought to you by the lovely Cathy/Bryghtrose! She sent me this beautiful braid of wool roving from the talented dyer Spunky Eclectic as a birthday gift when I mentioned that I wanted to branch out into some different colors in my spinning.

The colorway is Canyones, and Cathy said it reminded her of the pics of the mesas I post from time to time! I really love it, even though it is different from the normal colors I buy, I can see myself loving this when the yarn is spun.

Spinning-wise I'm working hard on finishing Laura's quiviut, which should be done soon.

Knitting-wise, I finished the first purple and handspun sock, and if I say so myself, it's awesome! Can't wait til the pair is done so I can wear them!

Blog-wise, sorry I haven't been posting as often or commenting as much, this week has been crazy busy. I'll try to catch up soon!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Best of the Southwest Fiber Festival

Well, as always I didn't take hardly any, or very good, pictures of the fiber festival. But, this is what I have!

Pam Dyer's booth; she's the founder of our local spinning guild and raises Churro sheep and herbs about 9 miles up the road from me. She specializes in Australian locker hooking, something I'd also like to try one day! And spinning...of course...
(That's my wheel in the foreground next to my new red knitting bag...and her Lendrum on the right.)

We kinda sat together for a while spinning, and there were four Navajo women who hung out with us. This woman was weaving a ceremonial sash on a homemade loom (very cool), one woman was carding Churro into rolags, and another was spinning on a Navajo spindle (you can see them in the pic below).

Part of our group...I'm in the back there, knitting some socks.

Overall, it was small, but nice. I watched the fleece judging and learned quite a bit (especially about Churro fleece, and wool/fleeces for weaving, bought a bunch of new wool types from a woman out of Moab who had interesting breeds at good prices, and enjoyed hanging out with the other spinners from the guild.

I'll go back!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Socks for Nate

Another pair many more I'd like to knit! Knitting socks is a great thing. Even the simple, plain ones like these are a fun knit.

From Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in Mineshaft. A great color for boys if you're looking for one.

Simple, cuff down stockinette socks. My favorite kind right now. I actually like my plain ones more than my fancy ones (yeah, I'm strange, I know!).

Just the thing to keep his feet warm this winter.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Today's Fiber Friday brought to you by...

Handspun Mockking XXL sock yarn and a ball of KnitPicks Essential Solid sock yarn!

The handspun:

With the KnitPicks:

And together they shall be:

Little socks for me! The cuff, heel and toe to be knit from the purple, the rest from the handspun. I had only purchased 3 oz of the superwash roving, and ended up with about 260 yds of it. So, in order to make socks, I needed to add something. And, the KnitPicks is perfect! The purple matches the purple areas in the yarn perfectly.

I finished Nate's socks (pair 2) last night...those will be on the blog Monday.

And, for my birthday tomorrow, I'm hanging out at the Best of the Southwest Fiber Festival all day! Spinning with my guild! What a great birthday for me, huh?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Handspun: CVM/Corriedale Cross "Jane"

On a still autumn morning, the grass was yet green.

Leaves of a Willow were yellow, Cottonwood--brown.

The light, just right, low and long.

The first big skein of yarn I have spun, from fleece I have washed, dried, and combed myself. I love the subtle shades of caramel, beige, tan and honey. The advantage of combing it yourself as opposed to getting it processed into roving is you can maintain these distinct color variations.

CVM/Corriedale cross is a nice fiber. On the finest side of medium or the coarser side of fine. Nice 4 inch or so staple length, good crimp and lock structure. Easy to handcomb. Lovely soft yarn I could wear next to my skin.

103 g / 3.6 oz
346 m / 378 yds
15 WPI
2-ply, Z-spun S-plied.
light DK weight yarn.

I'm really looking forward to finishing up this fleece and having a good useable amount of yarn for a large project!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Suffolk Cross sample yarn and Thanks!

Suffolk Cross wool handspun sample:

From Kristen, a fleece she had processed into roving. Lovely lofty yarn. A true worsted weight, and lovely color. Softness is about equal to some Shetland I've spun, but the springy lofty nature of the yarn is wonderful. Nice woollen knitting yarn.

40g / 1.4 oz
89 m / 97 yds
12 WPI = worsted!
2-ply Z-spun single, S-plied. Woollen/long-draw.

And...Thank-you Elizabeth! For my lovely early birthday present!

The Walker 4th Stitch Dictionary, which has some cool chapters on shaping, lace, and mosaic knitting, and gorgeous cards from her CafePress store, GardenShots. Her wonderful photographs really do look better in person, and CafePress does a nice job of printing them on quality cards.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Fiber Friday- handspun yarn gifts.

The yarn I love the most. The stuff I crave to knit, to think of things made of, is of course handmade yarn. Made by hand, not machine. Not perfect, but more lovely because of it. Each skein the only one of it's kind.

Today's Fiber Friday installment is handspun yarn, 2 skeins given to me by other Knitty spinners.

The purple is Rambouillet from Kristen, and the beige is baby alpaca from Bridget.

(Flickr pics, so you can click and make these as big as you want to really see that fiber...)

I was playing with some wool last night, spun a little more....but was distracted by the new IK mag. that was in the mail yesterday.

I'm really liking most of the sweaters in this issue. I'm now torn between knitting Samus or the Jacket for Arwen in the new IK for the next sweater.

The Aran yarn I have would work for either.

Lovely yarn. Thanks Kristen and Bridget!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Handspun llama-silk to....

Remember this?
Handspun llama-silk that my spinning SP sent me?

Well, mom commented on the blog that she'd like a lacey wrap with it. So I started working on one for her. Since I didn't have a ton of yardage, it seemed that a rectangular wrap, wider than a scarf but narrower than a shawl would work.

I found a couple of nice lace motifs I thought would work well together and started.
A traveling vine type design...

And a pointelle arch design...

I'm working them at different intervals through the wrap, and liking how it looks so far. I'm estimating by the amount of yarn left, I'm about 2/3 done with it.
(again, click the pic for a larger view)

I hope you like it mom!

Oh, and I tried the crockpot scouring method for washing some locks of the CVM fleece last far so good. If it truly makes combing the locks out easy and with little to no waste, it will be worth the bundling effort. (you can see it here).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

FYFS 2006!

(aka Flash Your Fiber Stash 2006!)

Here goes (and remember to click the pics today for big images of fluff):

First, general view of one half of the fiber room:

And, the other half:

The random fibers:
Top left-clockwise: Cashmere-soysilk blend, Tussah silk, Bamboo (from Laura!), and Paradise Fibers microblends Yak-wool-silk in evergreen.

Goat fluff:
In the back, 1st clip kid mohair from Carolyn (the unspun half), and Cashgora from Skaska designs.

Prepped Wools, part 1:
The gray is a ball of Corriedale from a sheep named Sabrina in MI that I traded Debbie on the boards for, the white next to that is some Merino top, then the quasi-felted pain-in-the-butt-to-draft Churro, and some Corrie-cross top.

Prepped Wools, part 2:
The lovely colored rovings that Laura sent, along with a small gray ball of local Churro, and some gray merino from CeallachKnits.

Fleece samples:
White Coopworth from merlinthecat and some purpley-red Debouillet from CK.

Tri-colored alpaca roving, a lb. of lovely cinnamon Suri alpaca locks, then two balls of 75% llama, 15% shetland and 10% sparkle, a bag of black alpaca fluff (also from spinny SP), and then the amazing Suri alpaca roving from my SP Sasha.

Details of the above:
Both of these are Taos purchases. I really can't wait to spin them. Lately I've been really loving natural colored fiber, and these have the best of color combined with alpaca!

British rare breeds wool sampler:
Kristen put this together and we split it; so far I've only spun one up. 13 different breeds of rare wools. Washed fleece samples. This is also a very cool thing!

Fleece 1:
CVM fleece from Taos.

Fleece 2:
CVM/Corriedale cross fleece from Taos.

Partial Fleece:

So, there you have it.

My fiber stash.
I think I need to get spinning, eh?