Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another year older. Almost.

OHHH good news! My birthday is approaching! I've been wanting a laptop for, well, forever. I practically got off the plane in Australia asking Chris for a laptop. He's asked me every year, birthday and Christmas, "What do you want", since I've been here. I say "A laptop". He always just looks at me and says: "No, really, what do you want?"

This time, he didn't say that. He didn't say anything else, well, not the first time, but at least he didn't make a joke of it. The next night, he asked again (I'm guessing just to see if I was sure. YES! For five years I've been sure!), and I replied "a laptop" again, and this time he said something to the effect of "Well, I don't know exactly what you want, so pick one out and I'll get it". I was (and still am) over the moon. I'm getting a Dell Inspiron with duo core processor and 2GB of RAM...vroooom vroooom. Ok, to some of you eggheads, that might not seem very impressive, but for me, a person who not two years ago was working on Windows 98, on a computer put together from parts in '99, with nothing more than dialup, it's an absolute rocket! And I'm getting it in Sunshine Yellow, to match my car!

Now, I must work out the "wireless router" thing, and of course buy one. I have zero experience with wireless anything. Ok, I do have cordless phones, but I'm pretty sure this is a bit different. I've seen wireless routers from as low as $53 to as high as $200 (there are probably some even more expensive, but I've blocked those out completely). I have found out, through various investigations, that all wireless routers will work with all ISP's as a rule, so I don't have to buy one from my internet provider if I don't want. I've found out that some have a bigger range than others. Sometime, over the weekend I suppose, or Monday at the latest, I'm going to go out and buy one, by hook or by crook. I want wireless, and I want it NOW!

I swear, I'm dreaming of this thing. Thinking of where I will take it and what we will do together. It's due to be here Monday, which is my actual birthday, so that will be awesome. We have a short holiday planned for the second week of school holidays (which begin next week) and I'm thinking of it as the laptop's first holiday. I'm even looking for patterns for "clothes" to make my new baby. I'm obsessed. Again.

Speaking of knitting, I finished the "Thank God They're Not Black" socks for Chris Tuesday morning. He tried them on, and as expected, loved the fit of the Widdershin's heel.

I'm happy with them. I made them one at a time, as mentioned, but I estimated the yarn I would need pretty well, so no "running short" disasters, and not too terribly much left over either.

A lovely friend from Ravelry, Sandybags, sent me some yarn to donate to the nursing home. What a kind and generous gesture! Knitters are just amazing people! I had to wind the blue skeins into balls, which took me days to get around to, but I'm finished now and it's in my car waiting for me to go back to work tonight.

I've been busier with my spinning, which I'm starting to at least understand better. Mastering it is another matter, but as they say,"practice, practice, practice". I finished off another batch of the brown wool,

which I will admit is becoming more of a chore than a joy these days. It is fiddley stuff to work with. The fibres are so short, and it's really hard for my inexperienced hands to keep the yarn at an even thickness. But at least bulky is what I'm going for. I think if I were trying to get thin yarn out of this stuff, I would go mad. But I've almost gotten all of it spun up. I've got a couple of bobbins full "relaxing" before I ply them (probably Sunday), and then perhaps enough to spin a couple of half bobbins to make one more plied bobbin full after that. And then, whew, I'll be finished with the stuff and can move on to brighter colors and more interesting projects.

Also on the spinning front, my one side excursion from the neverendingbrownstuff, the black and white Border Leichester, has been plied:

And seen here, straight off the niddy noddy:

And here they are, my two (albeit small) finished skeins:

The close up, as you might have figured out, is at the very top of this blog.

Can you tell that I'm really really proud of this stuff? It looks like yarn I might actually buy! And to think I made it from a bunch of fibres (beautifully prepared ones, but still!) I don't know what I'm going to make with it yet. It's about 100g. Any suggestions? I can't wait to get started on SOMETHING!

Another landmark event in my woolie pursuits happened this week. On Tuesday, I actually pulled out my brown Corridale fleece (bought from the Walking Wheel Studios) and scoured it. I cannot explain the trauma I went through, dropping wool down into super hot water! Emotionally, it was pretty awful, but in the end, it taught me plenty.

Lesson number one was that fleece that looks brown when you buy it, might just be really really dirty.

After scouring, my brown fleece morphed into a mostly grey, with spots of white and a very few spots of brown fleece.

It took a couple of days to dry, but right now it's setting in my clothes basket on the table waiting to be "teased". Now, I've done a bit of teasing in my day, but never wool, so this should be an adventure. Ok, not really. It looks pretty boring. But, according to my handy dandy book on spinning, it makes much better yarn if you prepare it. In the end, the teasing isn't what I'm worried about. I'm still all thumbs with a carder, so we shall have to wait and see how that goes.

School holidays are coming up, and Chris has a couple of weeks off (lucky bugger). He's going away during the first week, on a three day, two night boating outing. He's taking a couple of fellow teachers out on the fancy free, which leaves me with the house to myself and my fibre. I have one of those nights off work myself, so I'm looking to get alot done then.

The following week, I'm taking a day off work, to add to my two regular days off, and we are going over to Port Victoria on the Yorke Peninsula (the laptops first holiday, as I mentioned earlier). Of course, I will drag along my knitting, and sit outside a lovely cabin overlooking the Southern Ocean. Can anything sound nicer?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fibre Freakin'

At the time of my last post on Wednesday, I mentioned that I was finishing off the pink silk/wool skein, and that I would include pictures here, so for continuities sake, here they are:

On the niddy noddy:

(Isn't my "posing" here artistic???)

Off the niddy noddy, before setting the spin:

And the finished skein:

I'm not sure why, but the pink wool didn't turn out as "fluffy" as the blue:

I reckon I might have overspun it, but it didn't seem overspun when I took it off the niddy noddy. Well, no more so than the blue anyway. Perhaps I accidently spun it thinner. I'm really not a skilled enough spinner yet to figure it out, but I'm not displeased with it, in the end, so I'll leave it at that.

I could not WAIT to get at this spinning business again, so as soon as I took the pink silk/wool off of the bobbins, I pulled out all of my tops, rovings and other spinnable matter, and decided that next, I was going to try and spin this batt (is batt the right word??) of Merino/Corridale carded wool slivers that I bought at the Adelaide Show from SACSOS:

I bought this because, mainly, of the gorgeous brown colour, which, of course, most of the pictures do not do justice to. I need it for a special project which will remain nameless. I had already bought other homespun from Walking Wheel Studios in Adelaide to make this project with. I wanted to spin this up for two reasons: a.) I didn't have enough bought stuff and b.) I thought it would be nice to include some of my own handspun in this project.

But (and this is a very BIG "but") I needed to come as close to the size/gauge of the stuff I had already bought. Now lets face it, I just haven't tweaked my spinning enough to be able to do such a thing, but I had 500 grams of the stuff, so I thought "What the hell, I'll try until I get it right...or don't". So on Wednesday evening, I began spinning the brown.

The handspun that I have bought is a fluffy and large, and knits up at about a heavy aran or light bulky guage, almost the same as a twelve ply. So I set about trying to spin this up a bit on the thicker side of things, best seen in this photo:

On a bit of a housekeeping note, I can be alot more critical of other's housekeeping than I am my own. It's a character defect of mine. Anyway, I had been looking a spinning videos on YouTube, watching other's spin, and had been just a bit critical of some of the spinners floors. I'm thinking, "Good lord gal, do you not OWN a vacuum cleaner?". But then, after being brave enough to actually DO a bit of spinning, I decided I was being far far too critical. Fluff and stuff goes everywhere, no matter how careful you are. So, having learned a bit, I threw an old sheet down on the floor before attempting these extra messy slivers.

It does help, although, being winter here now, I'm always in socks and tend to track the fluff all over the house anyway.

Now spinning this stuff was something of a chore after the very long fibres of silk and English Leichester. The fibres seemed really really short, and drafting was definately a chore in comparison. But I perservered and came up with a bobbin full by bedtime Wednesday.

My goal was to get two bobbins full by the time I had to go back to work Thursday night. I reckoned (correctly it turns out) that it would be Sunday morning, before my next scheduled night off, before I was able to ply it. Which is, of course, fine anyway. The experts (and the books) say to leave the fresh spun single on a bobbin at least overnight, so that the twist in the single can sort of relax and naturally spread itself around a bit. In my incredibly limited experience, I've found that singles get better and better with age, and prefer to wait at least a couple of days before plying.

I also got a long awaited package in the mail Thursday from my mom. I had ordered some knit picks harmony needles in 100cm lengths, to do 2 socks at the same time using the magic loop method. I had ordered 6 of them, in all of the sock type sizes. I tried to get them from Australia, but couldn't find any in anything over 80cm in length, so I had to go abroad, and as KP won't ship overseas, I had to call upon my dear mom to help me out and forward them on to me, with, of course, a hundred or so packs of Koolaid.

I went to work Thursday night with ideas and colours swimming in my head. I had gotten it into my mind that I was going to dye some wool on Friday morning. I had bought those beautiful multicolored painted rovings at the Adelaide show, and I really wanted to try spinning with all the different colors, but I didn't want to practice on the good stuff. I took my "Twisted Sister's Sock Workbook" to work with me Thursday night, which is really not a sock book at all. It's more about spinning with colours, and tried to get a few ideas.

In the end, it was Friday morning, I was dead tired, and sincerely wanting to dye some wool so that, ideally, it would be dry and ready to spin on my next day off, Sunday.

I pulled out of my stash about 200grams of white corridale I had purchased from Walking Wheel studios and went to work. I really just wanted to mix it up a bit, do a dozen or so colors on the roving and see what happened next.

It was the first time I had tried out my new Bra's off lingerie bag that I got from a pharmacy here doing a charitable promotion for breast cancer. I put the roving in that and dunked it for a soak.

That worked out pretty well, but I think next time I will give it a longer soak, as it was rather a tight roving, and what with the bag and all, I'm not exactly sure it was as wet thru as I would have liked.

The dyeing itself went pretty well, but when I tried to get such a huge length in the pot to microwave it, I wound up getting some colors in places I had never intended:

I let it hang, and on Sunday there were still areas on it that just wasn't quite dry. It was a fine day, so I hung it out on the veranda to finish drying:

Sometimes small mistakes and colour blotches can lead to pretty results:

But since it wasn't dry on Sunday morning, I haven't quite got to spinning it yet.

I plyed the brown singles on Sunday morning, just as I had intended to do. I wound up with a really full bobbin and a nearly full bobbin of plyed yarn, which I wound onto the niddy noddy.

Here's one skein, straight off the niddy noddy:

And here it is, the finished yarn, after washing, setting and drying:

Sorry for the blurry photo, but wonder of wonders, it turned out just the size I wanted it to be on the first go! Hard to imagine, and I can't really write that down to anything but dumb luck. But luck or not, I got exactly what I wanted.

Both finished skeins:

Since the rovings I had dyed weren't dry yet, I then decided to spin up the black and white Border Leichester that I bought from Jane at Moseley Park. It felt so very good in my hands, and was so much easier to spin after working all those hours on the brown carded Merino/Corridale slivers. I spun it in a sort of varigated pattern, black for awhile, then white for awhile. On the first one, I did more black than white, and on the second, more white than black, thinking that would look cool plyed together. The only trouble is, I have one bobbin full, and the other only about 3/4 full, so they won't ply evenly together.

I'm not sure what I will do about that yet, but they are now resting comfortably, relaxing until whenever I figure out what I'm going to do with them. Navaho plying perhaps? I haven't tried that yet. It might be about time I did.

I finished them in what seemed no time flat, and since I had had such success with my first "batch" of brown, I decided to start another. So Sunday afternoon and evening, I managed two more bobbins worth of brown:'

I'm stoked! I'm just so into this spinning thing right now it's not funny. Or maybe it is! In any event, I only have 6 bobbins, and four of them are full right now. I need at least 1 of the 2 left to ply on, so that leaves me only one bobbin until I ply up the stuff I have already spun. I'm trying to let them "relax" until at least Wednesday, so I guess it's back to knitting for the next couple of days.

Or I could spin on that last available bobbin if the itch to spin gets too uncomfortable, but that's like using my last lifeline. A scary thought indeed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Looks like a fair to me...

For the sake of continuity, I'll take the first few minutes here to update the previous blog before getting to the meaty stuff.

I had mentioned knitting a hat for my mom's stepdaughter's new baby, John Calvin, who is in the hospital and has had to have fluid drawn off his brain. His poor mom was distressed because he has to be in a hat constantly, and the only hat the hospital could provide that would fit him was this pink and pastel number.

(Aint he CUTE??)

There are times when logic fails me, and this was one of those occasions. Considering the fluctuations of his poor wee head under such conditions, I assumed that a very stretchy rib stitch hat was what he needed.

I had some nice Sirdar Supersoft Toddler Aran in baby blue, and I had 4.5 DPN's that would do the trick, and a nice pattern from Ravelry for a rib baby hat. Yes, I dislike knitting with DPN's and am generally a magic loop convert, but this was a small commission, I wanted to get started immediately, and I saw no reason to buy Addi's in 4.5, and I don't like magic looping with my Denises, as the cords aren't as flexible as I like for ML.

So I got started, and had knit about 4.5 inches on the hat when a dear friend told me that rib was not the way to go, as some hospitals don't allow them because they mark the baby's head. I wasn't sure if this was the case, and at any rate it was a tiny project. Chris and I were going for short boat ride in the Footloose the morning I learned this, so I took the hat along (seen here in progress in Chris' car seat at the marina):

and finished the hat on the boat ride. I love river knitting, so pleasant.

This was last Friday, and I had really wanted to get the hat in the mail that day, but fates were now conspiring against me. We needed to go into town that day to celebrate Father's Day with Chris' dad. We had dinner with his folks, and then I went on to work. Chris spent the night with them, and I went back over the next morning after work to get him. He needed to go to the credit union, which opens at 9 on Saturdays, and there just happens to be a shop that sells Addi's on the way, so I broke down, stopped in and bought some 4.5 Addis. I simply couldn't face doing another hat on DPN's, so soon after the first one. After we got home, I cast on a new hat using the new needles and the same yarn, knit about 3 rows of rib for a border, and then did the rest of the hat in stockingnet stitch. I also did this hat a bit bigger, as it's not as stretchy.

Monday, finally, I got the package sent to mom. For those of you concerned, there's a good prognosis for little John Calvin. He'll be released from the hospital and coming home soon, although he'll still need to wear the hats for awhile. I wouldn't mind if he didn't need them, so long as he's home and reasonably healthy!

I did manage to get some work done on the "Thank God they're not black" socks. It wasn't always practical to take the hats with me, particularly during the complicated decrease rounds of the first one, but a sock..well...a sock goes anywhere. I'm about halfway thru the foot of the second sock now, about an inch before I need to start on the gussett.

Now, for an account of "The Big Day", otherwise known as my trip to the Adelaide Show. I had planned my day for Tuesday, as I worked Monday night, but didn't work Tuesday, so I figured I could go after work, without having to make a special trip to Adelaide (petrol costing what it does these days). Monday night wasn't a particularly rough night at work, but I was pretty tired, and I spent half the night trying to talk myself out of going. I kept reminding myself of how nice it is at home on Tuesdays, when I can potter around with my knitting and spinning, fool around on the computer, and have the excuse of being too tired to get any housework done. But then I thought that I had told someone that I would be there, and not wanting to disappoint, in the end, I made up my mind to go.

I got off work Tuesday morning, and decided that I would stop at McDonalds, change out of my workshirt, and get a bit to eat at reasonable prices, something I had heard was more or less impossible to do inside the showgrounds. I sat there, ate my brekky and then just sat listening to the ipod and knitting till around 8AM, when I decided it was about time to drive over to the showgrounds.

My drive there meant I had to head in towards the city, which of course was full of rush hour traffic at that time of day. It was a bit stop and go, but in the end I got there without too much hassle or incident. I'm blessed, on most days, with a good deal of patience for traffic. Finding a park was easy...paying for it was another story. Wow! They do get you coming and going. It was a good park, not far at all from the main entrance, but it was NOT the one advertised on the website as costing $10. Nope, it cost me $20. But once there, I just shut up and paid up, as it didn't seem worth $10 to me to fight my way back into traffic and try and find the cheaper parking. Live and learn.

I sat there in my car waiting until it was closer to 9AM before walking up to the gates. I put on a dab of makeup, and then knit and listened to the ipod for the rest of the time. At 8:45, I finally wandered up to the gates, bought my ticket, and then waited in line until the gates opened. While standing there waiting, my CNC (a boss) at work called and asked if I could come into work that night. I told her where I was, and what I was about to do. She gave that hesitation (they all do) as if waiting for me to say "I'll drop it, rush home and get some sleep and show up tonight". But I didn't. I told her "No" and offered a workmates name who I was fairly certain wasn't working that night. I hate leaving them in a lurch, but then also have to remind myself that I deserve a life away from that place too. Thankfully, as I was actually going through the gates, the workmate I had suggested called me to tell me she was taking the shift, and to gossip a bit about the circustances. I felt better then, because I knew everything was taken care of.

As I've previously mentioned, there was a lady I had planned to meet and say hello to, so I went in search of her first. (Well, nearly first. My first stop anywhere I go is the toilets.) She was supposed to be found at the SACSOS booth in the Goyder Building. It took me longer than I thought it would to find her, first because of some confusion as to which building I was in, and then because once getting lost, there was just ALL this other stuff to see. I saw some really cool woolen stuff, and one stand that sold cashmere clothing, yarn and fibre, so I made sure to get my bearings there so I could remember how to get back later, and then continued my search.

Finally I found the SACSOS booth, and full to the brim it was of all these georgeous fleeces, fibres and skeins of lovely wool.

The only thing it didn't have in it was the girl I came to see. I'm not sure what the problem was. She had been scheduled to work, but then someone else had been called in. One girl reckoned it might be a dentist appointment. They did say she would be in in the afternoon, but even then I held little hope of being able to stay that long.

But not being one to cry over disappointment, I decided instead to shop away my blues. I bought an entire fleece (yeah, like I need another fleece...I don't know what to do with the ones I have) of beautiful white merino. I bought two skeins of brown wool that will look good and work well, in an upcoming "striped" project I'm soon to start. I also bought two beautiful "ropes" of rovings Handpainted by Kathy, and some very dark brown carded slivers that will also look great (assuming I spin them up properly) in the same project. I also bought some really cute little greeting cards with sheep on them. All in all, not a bad haul, and they agreed to keep it there for me until I was ready to leave. I figured I would want to check back to see if my friend had gotten there before I left anyway.

I then started to wander. I was looking for the "Old Ram's Shed" where I had a suspicion I might find more woolie goodies. On my way, I came across the live broadcast of the ABC radio program. Next to them on their stage were these three ladies, doing a "back to back" project, where they took a project from fleece, thru spinning, plying and then finally knit into a scarf. I'd heard of folks who do this, but had never seen it, so I stood and watched awhile.

Then I continued on my way, finding the "Old Ram's Shed" without any difficulty. When I first came in, these two blokes were set up showing off their "old timey" crafting skills.

This guy making rope:

And this guy doing woodworking:

The SA Spinners and Weavers guild was set up in that building as well. There was a member plying up some wool as people watched. I had a look around and bought another skein of dark brown wool (all into browns right now). Once the ladies there found out I was a beginning spinner, they offered all sorts of kind encouragement and advice. I think I was so carried away by their friendliness and kindness that I forgot to take a picture.

It left, went back by and watched the "Back to back" ladies a bit more. By this time, they were getting along quite nicely with their scarf.

I was starting to get very tired, having worked all night, much of it on my feet, and then been on my feet all morning. Besides, anytime I stay after work like this, I worry about my ability to drive home safely. For my part, I can generally push my awake hours beyond common endurance, but when I need to drive at the end of the day, well, I get out on the safe side if at all possible.

With this in mind, I started wandering back up towards the Goyder building, which was located near the entrance that I parked closest to. I went back in, relocated my "cashmere man" and bought a bag of cashmere fleece. It's just too soft for words.

On my way to the SACSOS booth, I passed a man selling bags of Hazelnut biscuits (Australian for cookies), for a dollar a bag, a terrific bargain, so I got two bags. I had been looking for something to get Chris, but couldn't settle on anything, so he wound up with cheap hazelnut cookies!

I went back by SACSOS to pick up my stuff and check on my friends whereabouts. She still had not made it in, unfortunately, so I gathered up my goodies and headed for the gates. I was rather laden down with woolie things, like a Peruvian donkey. I had a full bag of fleece over my shoulder, and three bags of fleece, cards and cookies in my hands when a workmate shouted out and got my attention. They were having lunch and insisted I join them for a few minutes. Not being able to NOT notice my purchases,they did politely inquire as to what I had, and I showed off my things. Some of it, I could see, impressed them with it's pretty colors, but for the most part, their response was a puzzled "And what do you do with that again?". Ahhh well, normal people are just so clueless...

We chatted for about 15 minutes, but it was getting after noon by this time, and I had to excuse myself and head out the gate and on towards home.

Of course, I unpacked immediately, posed my purchases, and snapped a "group photo" of my woolie goodies:

The merino fleece, obviously, is to the left. The dark brown carded slivers are in the front middle, and above them are the most beautiful ropes of roving "Handpainted by Kathy". In the front, to the right, is the super soft cashmere fleece. Just above, and to the right of that is the dark brown yarn I bought from the SA Handspinners and Weavers Guild, and then, on the top right is two skeins of a lighter brown yarn from Moseley Park.

Having a night of work and walking around the show behind me, I didn't mind what I did next, so long as I could do it sitting down. After all the woolie inspiration of the show, I had the burning itch to spin. So I pulled out the wheel and began plying my pink silk with the pink wool, and as plying tends to go, I had the bobbin full in no time.

That's about it for yesterday. I put the pink silk/wool on the niddy noddy and then washed it to set the spin, and I've been taking pictures, but I reckon this is enough for one post, so I'll save the pictures for that and further spinning/knitting adventures for my next post. Until then...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Spinning, Spinning, Spun

There's much to catch up on, as I've been rather neglectful to this poor blog once again, but much goes on in life, and sometimes such a small job as updating this page takes on gigantic proportions and I just can't seem to face it on the day. But today is special, and I'm quite pleased with myself, so I was actually looking forward to making a post today, although I will still be taking pictures as I write. That's how unprepared I am!

Worklife has settled back to normal, more or less. I had alot of holiday time off scheduled for this winter, a day here and two days there, so I've hardly worked a full fortnight in the past couple of months. But the party is over, and work is back on the agenda full time agian. I've been taking both the second sleeve for the "Peace in the Hood" cardi and the first sock in the "Thank God it's not Black" sock set, but I have hardly picked up the cardi at all outside of the house. About a forth of the second sleeve is done.

The sock has seen the majority of knitting done "on the fly", and I managed last night to finish it, or at least the knitting part. I need to cast it off (using Zimmerman's sewn bind off) today, and cast the other one on at some point, but probably not today.

I've been commissioned by mom to make a quick hat for her stepdaughter's son, who is in LeBonner Childrens hospital in Memphis and has to wear a hat at all times. He's a pretty sick little fellow, and recently had fluid drawn off of his brain. I'm searching for a pattern now, and plan to cast on this afternoon. I have a meeting tonight, so I know I'll have time to work on it there. Work is not so good for knitting these days, at least not on the floor I'm working on tonight, but maybe I'll get a few stitches in, in between those infernal call bells.

I also did some reorginizing, using those vacuum sucky storage bags I bought. I got two of the large ones filled, and the air sucked out of them, and stored them under the bed.

I also filled the two travel sizes, squished the air out, and stored those in the chest, to make more room in there. Everytime I go through my "stash" I'm a bit amazed by the sheer size of it all. I did this over my two days off, last Tuesday and Wednesday, but there's still a couple of bags of yarn sitting in the guest room waiting for me to find it a home.

Also on my two days off, I pulled out the koolaid, and pinched off about 1/2 yard of my corridale rovings and tried some experimental dyeing. I really wanted to get a nice soft brown color, but I cant say I had much success. Everything looks a bit too orangy. But I got frustrated with measuring everything perfectly so that I could repeat it later if needed. So I put the project away for another day (or not..I might just go for a natural dye for my browns).

Last weekend, my hubby wanted to take the boat out on the river, as the water is the highest it's been all year and this was the first time in a long time we could safely get the boat out of the marina, as the channel leading out is getting low. So Saturday morning, shortly after I got home from work, we took the boat out. The water, as I mentioned, was higher than it has been in a year. This is the time of the year, at the end of winter, when it's expected to be at it's highest. It isn't likely to get any better, barring some flooding of biblical perportions, and in fact will likely do nothing but drop over the hot dry summer. What's sad is, the water was still well below it's AVERAGE level. Here's a picture I took of someones boat jetty:

The average depth of the river should have the water up to about midway along those tires. It's nowhere close, and this, at it's highest point in a year, with nowhere, realistically, to go but down. It makes me want to cry. We have a natural disater going on here, and noone seems to notice much, much less care. The environmental do-gooders are off saving whales so they can get on TV I reckon. Bahhhh!

I've gotten alot of spinning done over the past couple of weeks. I spun up the light blue and the pink wool, although I had to sort of prepare it for spinning, as it was dyed, but not in nice pretty rovings like I'm used to.

Then I actually got the blue silk and the blue wool out yesterday and made my second ever attempt at plying, which seemed to turn out ok, so I wound it onto the Niddy noddy:

and tied the little figure 8 tie thingys on the skein.

So far so good. I think I took this time to breathe. I then slowly, carefully and with a good deal of fear in my heart, took the skein slowly off the Niddy Noddy. I was half expecting the whole thing to go into a riotous batch of curly cues like my previous "poodle" attempt did at this stage, but it just came off and lay there, looking for all the world like YARN!

Quickly, before the skein changed it's mind and morphed into a poodle, I filled the utility room sink full of warm water and before I could change my mind, or the yarn could change it's shape, I threw it in.

I still have issues with throwing wool into warm or hot water, fearing felt almost as much as I fear moths, but all was well, and 30 minutes later I drained the tub of soapy water and put it into a water/vinegar mixture for another half hour or so, then last a soak in some clear water to rinse out the salady smell.

Then I hung up my masterpeice to dry.

Ok, the "blue" wool now looks sort of white, and there are a few "waves" (I prefer to call it that...kinks sounds so harsh), but it is the first real yarn I've made, and I'm delighted with the outcome. I can actually KNIT with this stuff, and that alone, as far as I'm concerned, is a miracle.

The yarn has, while I was writing this, finally managed to get dry. So I wound it up into a skein. Here it is! My first successful skein of handspun yarn: