Celtic Cable

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Duck a la Brrrrrr!

Brr! We are having an awful December! It's been more like February here lately. Luckily, we did not get hit by the blizzard that buried the Mid-Atlantic States over Christmas weekend. We had high winds and about a quarter inch of snow, but the snow blew away before it landed. So nothing much stuck. I can't describe my relief.

I wouldn't mind snow so much if the local government would spend some of our hard-earned tax dollars on proper snow equipment. Baltimore's solution to snowfall, no matter how much or how little, is to dump enormous loads of salt on everything. Sometimes they scatter it, but often, you just see piles of salt at the head of the road. It's a very illogical way to deal with the snow, I think. An acquaintance of mine spent a year in Canada, and she said they didn't close anything no matter how much it snowed. Wish we could do something like that.

Anyway ... in the face of what is to us unreasonable cold (25 - 30F, wind chill in the teens), Georgie Girl and I bundle up and head out for the duck pond.

I'm very pleased with the way the jacket turned out. Georgie Girl gets compliments for being stylish. I'm usually out in sweatpants and sneakers, so I don't get compliments.

 I ran out of red yarn, so the collar is black. Isn't she smart-looking?

 Not sure what is happening here ... I think some local high schoolers (high school in the back ground) were trying to sled across the pond. There are also footprints crossing the lake.The graduating class is going to be a few short if they don't wise up. The ice was barely a half inch thick, at most.

My latest fascination is using up the yarn I just handspun. This is a Multnomah shawl. I have abandoned all WIPs to work on this! I hope it turns out like the picture, but it is hard to tell with handspun.

And in closing, a candle safety lesson. When cheap candles burn down too far, the wick falls over sideways and burns through the side of the candle. This causes melted wax to pour over whatever surface is closest ... and the cats will not warn you that this is happening. No nice Lassie-like warning barking. Just a cat (visible on the left) staring with fascination at the dripping wax.

There was another cat present, but apparently she got too close to the wax ;-) because she suddenly ran out of the room, flinching and wiggling her nose.

Purple runner woven by my mother, many years ago. I know I can use an iron and paper bag to get to wax out, so I'm not too worried. I learned that trick after Tropical Storm Isabel.

Hope everyone had a merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Spinning Wheel Sulks in the Corner

This is my spinning wheel, Esmerelda. She is sulking because not only have I not used her since September, she has been pushed aside to make room for the Christmas tree.

She tends to be a bit of a diva, despite being the least expensive model in Kromski's line.

What? Your spinning wheel doesn't communicate with you? Heck, even my spindles talk to me! Nothing wrong with that!

Anyway, Esmerelda doesn't understand why I sometimes eschew her for a tiny spindle that takes so much time and effort.I've been plugging away at this fiber for quite a while. Both spindle (see previous posts) and fiber from zebisisdesigns.

So I am nearly finished with this spinning project. Being a typical knitter-spinner, I figured that meant it was time to begin another project.

Spindle from skeinwinder123 on Etsy. The fiber is yak-silk, which sticks to everything. I received my exotic fibers goody bag in the mail yesterday...

Goody bag, or sampler, from WildOrchidsFiberArts. Camel, yak, silk, cashmere, angora, qiviut. Some blended, some not. I figure each little skein will spin up into enough to trim a pair of mittens or a hat. It's all very lovely, but the silky fibers are very slippery and require a lot of concentration to spin!

An almost-WIP ... Georgie Girl's new winter coat. I worked on this at a staff meeting at work, and actually ran out of yarn (meeting went on longer than usual). I had my spindle with yak-silk, but I thought my boss might not like it if I got up and fetched that and proceeded to spin while he was talking. I've gotten pretty good at knowing how far I can push it ;-).

I bring spinning to work, sometimes. I'm trying to gradually get the bosses used to my doing it ... sort of a slow initiation. This time next year, they won't bat an eye at my eccentricities!

And lastly ... a friend at work passed out all these plastic vases full of chocolate truffles. I think they'll be perfect for displaying my unspun fiber! I emailed everyone that got one and asked if they'd save me the container. This is 8 ounces of colored merino top from Spinning Flock Farm, purchased at MS&W. I think this is a great way to display my fiber!

And on a side note ... the weathermen at weather.com are making ominous noises about a monster storm that might hit the Mid Atlantic states over Christmas weekend. The local weathermen have been talking about snow that weekend, but -- oddly -- without mentioning any amounts. That generally means we're going to get CLOBBERED. I still remember this:

The horror ...

     ... the horror ...

Friday, December 17, 2010

What is this MADNESS?!

Suddenly, I have around 8 WIPs! I don't know how this happened. I don't remember starting most of them. My brain has been a little scrambled lately, as I rushed to finish a class a week ahead of schedule, write a research paper and read and study. Work got a little hectic, and I think I was starting simple projects to take to work for meetings and such. Today I took stock, and found that on top of about five WIPs laying around, I started three new ones!

This is a new sweater for the doggie, whose orange one has gotten a little too small. I have made several of these as gifts, but I never see the doggies in question wearing them, so I guess not everyone is keen on keeping their doggies warm in the winter :-(

It's a very simple pattern, and knits up in about an afternoon. It has a cute little turtleneck, too. It's from "Stylish Knits for Dogs."

Below is a scarf with the yarn I dyed a week or so ago. It's a cable pattern from the Reader's Digest Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches. I meant for this to be for our Christmas gift exchange at work, but it didn't happen. Between the cold I caught and the
paper that was due, it languished.
This is another scarf I started a while back, with the leftover yarn from my Bountiful Bohus sweater. It isn't a tricky pattern (Also from the RD book), but it requires three strands of yarn, which is tiresome to keep track of.

Then, I dropped everything to start knitting a hat from the alpaca I spun up last year, from the Wonder Why gal. It is too big, even for my big noggin, but I wanted something that wouldn't press on my hair and make it flat (I spend ten minutes fixing it in the morning, then squash a hat on it to go outside and walk the dog).

At least I finished that simple little shawl I was working on. Here, Petunia guards it from harm while it blocks!

And here is how I wore it to work. It is really really warm! Unfortunately it didn't stay blocked ... not sure why. But it's still super warm and it got a lot of attention from my co-workers.

I am now eagerly awaiting three packages ... two books and a calendar from Interweave, a new trindle spindle, and the "Spin Off Exotic Fiber Sampler 10:  Qiviut, Cashmere, Baby Camel, Cashmere Mulberry Silk, Cashmere Tussah Silk, Cream Yak Down, Baby Camel Tussah Silk, Yak Tussah Silk, Baby Suri Alpaca, Top Roving Spinning Fiber 4.75oz"

C'mon! Yak down?! Really? I can't wait!

I have discovered something very important about myself. Every time I swear that I will NOT purchase any more yarn or fiber until I've used up what I have, within 3 days I am on Etsy, ordering something sheared off of some animal. So the only solution to this, is to stop swearing off buying more fiber!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A WIPsnesday in December

WIP update!

  I'm a liar. This is actually a FO. The Garish Socks for A., a five year old super-energetic little girl, for Christmas gift. My own pattern (as if you hadn't guessed that!) and Vanna's Choice yarns. Aren't they hideous? They certainly won't blend in with anything. And they are acrylic, A.'s mom will be happy to know. Wash and dry!

The Bigfoot socks continue:

I got a lot done on them in a meeting at work today. I used to hate meetings, now I look forward to them.

My other WIP is a spinning WIP. Hand painted Rambouillet Top, resting here in the ever-classy toilet paper roll shot.

I'm gonna buy me one of those fancy expensive wooden things to ply from. These toilet paper rolls are just not worthy of the fiber I spin!

I spun it on the spindle underneath, and plied it on my old standard workhorse top-whorl-from-a-kit spindle.

Here is roughly 85.555555 yards of double-ply. I love it -- the colors are darker than they showed up in the picture.

Spindle and fiber by Zebisisdesigns.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Home with a Cold

I really don't like missing work for a cold. It seems like such a ridiculous reason to stay home and use up my sick hours. I have a headache, sure, but my job is a very sedentary, sit-in-front-of-the-computer job, and that's what I'm doing now anyway. As long as I don't change the elevation of my head, I'm fine!

But no one wants a contagiously sick person to come to work, especially in a closed-in office without good air circulation, so home I am and home I stay. I will drink several pots of hot tea, and stay close to the vaporizer (thank GOD for vaporizers!) and eat as much garlic as I can stand. I have heard that you have to eat it raw for it to really work, but I just cannot do that. I had garlic in my eggs this morning, and I will make a nice garlic soup later on. Maybe a nice roasted garlic spread to put on some crackers.

Anyway, I'm going to sit at home in front of my nice warm computer and finish a homework assignment and start another, and maybe be finished with this class 2 weeks early. And when I get tired of studying, I will work on one of the seventy-five WIPs I have laying around. Here is one:

Garish, aren't they? They're for a five year old girl who likes yellow and purple. I've made them a bit large, so that she will be able to wear them for a while (hopefully). I figure the bright color scheme will keep them from getting lost in the laundry.

The yarn I dyed the other day. It's not quite uniform, because I left in KnitPick's yarn ties, and they were so snug they blocked the dye from absorbing underneath. Lesson learned.

I started handspinning again (that should have been my first clue I was getting sick, I didn't want to knit). Spindle from zebisisdesigns.

I think my new year's resolution will be to finish all my WIPs or frog them, and to use up a lot of my roving before I buy more at the next Maryland Sheep and Wool in May. I sincerely doubt my ability to stick to that resolution, but it makes me feel better to make it ;-).

I'm not sure which is the stalker, here ... I'm just glad they didn't shred the curtains. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Good Day to Dye

     When I first started to dye yarn, I was enamored by Kool-aid dyeing. I went to my local Joanne's Fabric store (Joanne's will always be my favorite craft store) and bought out all of their white Lion Brand wool and dyed until I ran out of Kool-aid. After a while, I started buying Jacquard Acid Dye. I used my soup pot for a dyeing kettle, so now I don't have a pot for soup anymore, but I have lots of pretty yarn!

     The measuring cup holding six tablespoons of white vinegar, if you're wondering. It's the mordant (makes the color bind to the fiber).

      Anyway, some time ago, I bought a few skeins of KnitPicks Bare Yarn and tossed it in a drawer until inspiration struck. I can't really say that inspiration has struck, but it's cold outside and I still haven't turned on my furnace, so I figured I'd warm up the house a bit by simmering some yarn soup.

The color is "Chestnut." The tutorial for the process can be found here.

     It's now simmering, and the house is starting to smell of wet wool. One of the cats seems to be searching the kitchen for sheep.

  Not this cat, though. Does she really think she's hiding? Maybe she's doesn't know how big her butt has gotten.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Isn't That Just Ducky!


It's almost winter here in Baltimore. Georgie Girl has to wear her sweater during the day now, not just in the morning when it's colder. We're actually quite fond of cold weather, because we can go on long long walks without having to find shade to rest in. Georgie Girl is a short-nosed dog with a black coat and a heart murmur, so she overheats pretty fast in warm weather. But in the cold weather, she is at the end of her 16-ft leash and wants to run! If I stop, sometimes she whimpers for me to hurry up. We love to come to the duck pond by the high school. Yesterday, I brought some bread for the duckies: 

Before I got the bread bag out....

And after I got the bread bag out.

I'm not a duckologist, but I think there are two or three different types of ducks and a few different flavors of geese out here.

This big fella is pretty aggressive. If you walk past him and you don't have a bit of bread for him, you might want to pick up the pace.

Here are a few more shots of the duck pond.

A tree that might not make it through the winter, judging by the roots.

The last of the pretty foilage.

Yikes, I gotta go ... those ducks are coming at me like torpedoes, and I'm out of bread.

So, here's some knitting. I decided last week's wrist warmers were lonely, so I made them some mittens. I use a generic mitten-generator pattern from a tutorial in Knit-n-Style's 2008 Jan and Feb issues. You just start at the top with about 8 stitches and increase to desired width, knit to thumb, do some funny stuff to make a thumb gusset, then finish with a cuff. These will be finished tonight and worn to work tomorrow. Made from Berroco Sox sock yarn in a nameless color ... just a number. Why do they do that? Half the fun in selecting yarn is the funny colorway names! This should be Purple Nurple or something like that.

Here is half a pair of socks for my friend Jeff, for his Christmas gift. I won't worry about him seeing this, because he NEVER READS MY BLOG. Edgar Allen Poe Cat is included for interest, because there is little interesting about a half finished sock (My own improvised pattern, which I call "Boring Sock Pattern," yarn by Vanna. Vanna's Choice? I think that's what it's called).  Color is a little darker than shown. On a side note, I'll have to get a bigger lens to take a picture of them when they're done. Jeff has enormous feet. Like a clown. He has no need for skis, with feet that big. Good thing he never reads my blog!

And a hat for me. I spun the yarn earlier this year, but I'm too lazy to search out what exactly it was. I know I bought it at Sheep and Wool and really loved spinning it up.

The love affair between Georgie Girl and Petunia continues, though I suspect for Georgie, the bloom is off the rose. I think she'd just like to sleep alone again.

I was listening to "Dirty Jobs" while I write this, and I just heard Mike Rowe say "Wherever there's hot oil, there's a dirty job to do." Really got my interest, until I realized he was talking about making potato chips.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Ta - Da! Chevron Lace Fingerless Mitts, pattern by Lynn A. Evens, from my new favorite book:

These are for me...I've made three or four fingerless mitts but always gave them away. There are SO many patterns I want to make from this book, and I have barely touched the last two pattern books I bought. It's like an obsession, purchasing books. These one-skein-wonder books have me by the neck. I can't resist them, they're like crack. Molly the Cat is also a fan.

I am still working on the simple garter stitch shawl:

I don't have any more knitting projects to show ... I've been caught up with studying. But here's another picture of Petunia ... looking so innocent ...

Her work here is done.

Bye from Spinster Beth's House o' Pets!