Wow – it has been so long since I posted and so much fun stuff has been going on that I am in desperate danger of losing track and never catching up. So I am yet again dumping large quantities of information and pictures at your feet. Brace yourselves.
Garage Sale -
When I last wrote in, I was insanely busy preparing for a garage sale. Yikes. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. I mean, it was okay, but it was a lot of work and I ended up clearing about $50 for the day. At least it was a nice day outside, and my in-laws took the girls so they wouldn’t be stressed out watching their stuff get picked through and taken away. I did end up getting rid of a lot of stuff, but a lot of the big stuff is still hanging around – I need to either list it on Craig’s List or Freecycle but haven’t had time yet.
In the future, I think I will strive to find new homes for things as they are discovered to be unneeded in ours either by giving them to a local charity, a friend, or listing it on the internet for sale or give-away. Much easier and less stress. But now I’ve got the experience under my belt.
Spinning News -
I’ve got one more picture of the red-orange merino to show you.
The three skeins of this yarn turned out really nicely, and within a certain tolerance thickness wise. I’d say the last skein is definitely fingering and the first skein is more like sport/DK give or take, but I can get away with using them in the same project. The only catch is that the last skein I spun (the one in the middle in the picture) turned out self-striping – pretty much on accident. You can see it just by looking at the skein. I had been planning as I spun the yarn to make it into a lace scarf or small shawl, but now I think it will have to be socks. I can use the thickest skein for the heels and toes, switch to the stripey one for the feet and up part of the ankle, then back to non-stripey for the ribbing or whenever the stripes run out. Unless any of y’all have a brighter idea. Unfortunately, this stuff isn’t superwash.
More Spinning -
I just couldn’t resist digging in to my next project – the Sheep to Shoe kit from Blue Moon. No surprise there, right? You start with this giant pile of roving.
Oops – I should have warned you to don some sunglasses. It’s pretty bright. Then you split the roving in half lengthwise to make two seperate balls. Which you then split in thirds lengthwise as evenly as possible to make a total of six balls.
I left one of the big balls (big balls! get your mind out of the gutter!) intact and will split it later.
Eventually I hope to have two nice skeins of self-striping three-ply barberpole yarn. In the mean time what I have is this:
Oh, my this yarn is fun to spin. It is so much fun to watch the colors change. I have been dropping my spindle a little more than I like because the merino is slippery. But that brings me to another angle of the whole spinning-obsession topic. The day I bought my first spindle and fiber at the sheep and wool festival, I ran into a friend from Knitting Camp who lives in Eau Claire. She warned me that spindles have a way of multiplying and to watch out. Well, she was right.
A couple weeks ago, I decided that the Ashford spindle I had started with was really nice but too heavy for the lightweight yarns I prefer to knit with and want to spin. So I looked around the ‘net and chose a couple of Greensleeves spindles from the Woolery. I bought two of the Ethan Jakob models because I wanted to try plying directly off the spindles onto my Ashford. They arrived and I liked them okay – they didn’t spin as smoothly or as long as the Ashford, but I figured that was to be expected because they are so much lighter.
The only catch was that by the time I had finished spinning a full cop on each of them, they both had big chunks missing from the top edges. I wasn’t handling them especially carelessly, but I couldn’t help dropping them sometimes, and we have hardwood floors. I was disappointed, to say the least. These spindles weren’t exactly cheap – although cheaper than many I’d looked at.
Well. I looked around the internet some more – mostly out of curiosity – and decided that I needed to try some Golding spindles. I know, if I had been a more responsible consumer I would have ordered one and decided whether it was worth buying more. But I got caught up in the enthusiasm, and there is the combined shipping issue, and suddenly I was ordering not one, not two, but three identical ring spindles (so I can make three-ply yarn!) plus – um – this thing…
That’s a lazy kate for spindles – for you lay people, it’s a contraption that assists in plying, or twisting together multiple strands of yarn that have been prepared on seperate spindles.
I have no regrets so far. The new spindles are really well balanced, and so far seem to spin at least as long and as smooth as the heavier Ashford. Plus the ring around the top edge probably protects it a bit when it falls on the floor. I can’t wait to try out plying with the Lazy Kate. If you’re at all interested in spinning, you should go check out the Golding website. This guy is an amazing woodworker and produces beautiful fiber tools including spinning wheels and looms as well as gorgeous spindles. I bought about the most boring kind he makes – partly because I like simple lines and partly because I was looking for durability and function. I tell you what, though – if I had $5,000 to spend on a spinning wheel I would so totally buy one of his!
And speaking of buying wheels – Joe made me an offer today. I got him a somewhat lavish Father’s Day gift (a flat-screen monitor for his computer) and he had kind of fumbled on my Mother’s Day gift (a
cheap inexpensive piece of software for my computer that I didn’t want and that doesn’t work with Windows Vista anyway). I don’t mean for him to feel guilty. I wanted him to have the monitor, and I had told him I didn’t want a Mother’s Day gift anyway because I’d just had a free day at the Sheep and Wool festival where I’d bought myself the spindle as a gift.
But then our anniversary is coming up tomorrow, and he knows I’m kind of lusting after a spinning wheel. So he told me that if I want one, I should go ahead and pick one out and buy it. Yowza! Well. We do have a semi-local store that sells wheels and has a great selection available to try out before buying – I’ve heard great things about it through word-of-mouth. I am tempted to make an appointment to go out there and do some shopping. But I hesitate because I’ve just gotten into the spindles and I’m having fun with them. I think maybe I should wait a bit – maybe do a couple more projects on my spindles before I jump into an even bigger investment. Maybe do a little more reading and pondering. I don’t think I want this badly enough yet, and maybe I need to evaluate the craft supplies I already own before I go about hoarding more. We’ll see.
switching topics to….
Dance Recital! -
The girls had their spring dance recital yesterday, and it went oh-so-much better than expected. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I just have to admit that we’ve struggled with the whole dance thing pretty much all year. Julie has a love/hate relationship with it, and Sophie has a mostly love/love relationship with it even though she wasn’t supposed to be a student in the first place. But Sophie butted right in and by the time they started rehearsing for the spring performance, we all accepted that she was going to have to be on stage too.
So we got her a little costume and she hung out backstage with the big girls waiting her turn.
I watched from the wings, so that I could chaperon them back off to the dressing room when they were done. My girls were in a smaller class because Julie was a little overwhelmed by the bigger class at the beginning of the year, so it wasn’t a problem for Sophie to be involved too. The teachers were out there with them, and they danced to one of Julie’s favorite songs – the theme from Sleeping Beauty “Once Upon a Dream”
After the performance Joe gave them each a bouquet of roses and we took some pictures.
I can’t tell you how proud I am of my girls. Of how hard Julie has worked this year to participate in something that she loves but does not come easily for her, and of my little Sophie who may some day be one of those big girls dancing solos and will be able to tell her friends that she started dancing when she was one year old because she saw her big sister doing it and didn’t want to be left out.
The flowers are beautiful and sweeten up the air in our kitchen.
And then of course today was
Father’s Day -
Julie had made a picture frame at school and was so excited to give it to Joe she woke up talking about it. We also had a card and I made a giant pile of blueberry pancakes for breakfast. The girls ate more than I could believe would fit in their little tummies, and we all had purple mouths afterwards.
And Sophie had a purple face.
Later in the day I took the girls outside to play so that Joe could set up his new monitor and re-arrange his desk.
Julie found a little green caterpillar in the sandbox, and I was surprised at how willing she was to let it crawl up her arm.
And then we went out for pho for dinner at our favorite hole-in-the-wall, so it was an almost perfect day.
Tomorrow is our seventh wedding anniversary. Joe’s parents are coming over to watch the girls so we can go out for dinner. That should be interesting for them, putting the girls to bed. We are going to the Melting Pot, and I am really looking forward to it. Not only a meal without having to stop and take a child to the bathroom or cut up their food or wipe up a giant spill or fetch the tenth thing from the kitchen. But a meal consisting of fondue! I told Joe I’d be happy with the cheese and dessert courses only – maybe we could share a salad too. The hot oil course always scares me a bit.
Joe already knows what he is getting – he’s tried them on for me…
I don’t think they’ll be entirely finished. They’re both nearly done, but I spent a little more time spinning than I should have the last couple of weeks, and I’ve had the household chores keeping me busy in spades as well. Plus, I have to admit to having fallen asleep over them a couple of times as they are just. so. boring. to knit. But they are turning out beautifully, and they will be nice on his feet come next winter.
And that’s about it! See you next time.