Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Spinning/Roving Secret Pal Swap!

I joined a Spinning/Roving swap awhile ago. My partner just ROCKS and she was so on the ball that I got my package yesterday, even though they aren't due until the end of October :)

Of course, me being me, I'm still working on MY secret pal's box...but it will be send out next week, I think :) She's in Austrailia on vacation right now anyway, so even if I sent it, she wouldn't get it until the middle of October :P

When the postman walked in yesterday carrying a box, I just KNEW it was full of fibery goodness for me *happy dance* I slit it open and revelled in the BEAUTIFUL fiber and other goodies my Secret Pal spoiled me with...I certainly am a lucky swap participant :)

The dark brown and medium brown on the left and top are both Alpaca...my pal even met the animals the fiber came from! The lighter brown on the right is Suri-Alpaca. It's all soooo soft and just begging to be spun up into beautiful things :) I've wanted to spin Alpaca ever since I first started spinning months and months ago ;)

She also sent me three patterns to use my handspun yarn for, some tea, three beautiful beaded stitch markers, Wizard of Oz book plates and some taffy! Talk about going above and beyond! You ROCK, secret pal!

My pal's son also included a hacky sack for my son...it's a gift that keeps on giving for the whole family :)

I am just thrilled at the thought and care that went into my package from Spinning Dervish and I only hope that I can put together as nice a package for my secret pal!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Picture Pages

I went on a bit of a picture taking spree today :) Hope you enjoy some of them....
1) For someone who is allergic to chocolate and frankly, just doesn't care for the taste, I've been finding an awful lot of these in my shopping cart as of late....

2) Before my back went out and I was off work for a week, I came home one day to find my Butch had left these all over my house....I am so in love *swoon*

3) My printer died about a month ago. I researched my heart out and bought this one to replace it. I'm VERY happy with it thus far...it has two paper trays and also does duplex printing, so it's won me over quite a few times already :)

4) This is the cable bagette I'm making for my sister in her wedding colors on my small gauge wonderloom. Yes, her wedding was a few months ago and yes, I'm only a small part done, but hey! I have more projects than time, so give me some slack :P The lavender in the yarn was the same color as our bridesmaid gowns and the other color in her wedding was brown, so it's just a perfect reminder of her wedding day, in my opinion :)

5) This is a project I started at random one day, when I was bored and didn't feel like working on any of my already-started projects. It's going to be a bag, I think, with a flap on the top. I love the yarn colors, which is odd since I usually shy away from blues...but they're just so striking :)

6) I realized the other day that my mother's birthday was in a few weeks and I should get something made for her. I stopped by my LYS with my son and he picked out some brilliant red yarn for her gift. It's soooo soft! Merino wool and silk blend *texture swoon*

I got a few other things too, while I was there :) The blue was on sale and my son said he wanted something made out of it. I got some new circulars for the red yarn and I bought some DPNs for making Icord...I tried on a circular, but it was just a pain in my arse. I had already started my mom's scarf on the circulars when I decided to take a picture, so you get to have an action shot :P

7) This is the stitch pattern I'm using with the red yarn above for my mother's present. It's going to be a scarf. I'm 24 rows into it now, that's 2 pattern repeats, and it's soooooo beautiful. She's gonna be amazed and impressed...it's my first time doing anything remotely lacy, so I'm pretty jazzed with myself ;)

It's a pattern from "The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches."

I'm done overloading my blog with pictures now for awhile :D

Spinning Roving Secret Swap Questions

I joined a spinning roving secret swap! I'm so excited to get fiber from a secret pal, chosen just for moi :) I'm also jazzed to try to pick just the perfect fiber for my secret pal as well...yay for swaps :)

Here are the answers to my fiber swap questionnaire...enjoy!

1) How long have you been spinning?
Actually, I haven't been spinning that long. I think I bought my first spindle in March or April of this year.

2) Are you a beginner, novice, or experienced spinner?
I'm going to go with intermediate beginner :D I can draft and spin at the same time; my singles are (relatively) smooth and even, I have been plying for awhile.

3) Do you spin on a drop spindle or wheel, or both?
I am a spindle spinner.

4) What types and weights of drop spindles (or what type of spinning wheel(s) ) do you currently own?
I have 6 spindles...my first one from Annie May on eBay(bottom whorl), a hand made CD spindle (top whorl), a rough wooden bottom whorl that I got for free so I know nothing about it(and have yet to actually use it), and my favorite, a bottom whorl Greensleeve Lionheart :) I also have a Spindolyn, which I've never used and a hand-made reproduction or something akin to a Rakestraw spinner, which I have used on occasion where I want to spin sitting down. It works well, but I get fed up with the constant park & draft you have to do in order to use it :)

5) What type of fibers have you spun with before?
Um, I haven't ventured too far into the exotic. I've done almost exclusively wool roving, with a dash of silk hankies throw in (I LOVE how the hankies turn out when spun, but my hands snag the HELL out of it, even when I use a glob of lotion). I'm currently spinning the silk hankies, some Brown Sheep Mill End Roving (wool), and some merino/New Zeland Possum mix. The possum is really sticky, even after repeated washings, so I am not enjoying it as much...but I need to get it done!

6) What fibers do you prefer to spin with?
So far, my favorite has to be the Brown Sheep Mill End Rovings :) They always send you extra fiber, it's processed AMAZINGLY and it practically jumps off my hand and onto the spindle, it's so easy to spin.

7) What fibers do you dislike?
I wouldn't say I've found anything I dislike thus far, but as I said above, the sticky possum is a pain in my ass and the silk is hard because it catches on my hands. I think for me, at this point, it is more fiber prep that I prefer/dislike. I like roving. Bats are okay. I'm not a fan of spinning from rolags or raw locks. I also dislike fiber that has a really long staple length. Although, after I learned how to spin from the fold months ago, even that isn't in the "dislike" category...it's just more challenging.

8) Do you prefer natural colored fibers, or handpainted/dyed fiber?
Honestly? I prefer natural colored fibers. The only colored fiber I liked, was the dark red with speckled bits of other colors I received with my first spindle from Ebay. I like the natural colors, direct from the animals :) I'm not one for garish, bright pastels and making "fun" yarn. I spin for utilitarian yarn and, well, I just love the natural colors of the animals :)

9) Would you prefer all one type of roving or smaller amounts of different types to sample?
I think I would prefer all one type of roving. I like to spin with one thing for awhile. I am not into mixing different colors (although, if the natural wool is striated, I really enjoy that. For example, some of the mill ends I just spun up was medium brown with some cream stripes. Spun up lovely!)

10) What are you favorite colors?
I like dark, earth colors. Brown, grey, forest green, dark reds and oranges.

11) What colors do you dislike?
Light colors, yellow, white, blue (except some dark cobalts), pastels, pinks.

12) What would you like to do with your handspun yarn, or what do you plan to do with it? (pattern clarification here)
Hrmmmmmm....well, I would LOVE to make fingerless mittens from it, but I don't know if I can spin enough to make them, lol. I haven't gotten to the stage where I can spin a lot of really thin yarn yet. my max so far is around 85 yards of 2-ply yarn. I envision it becoming a purse or a scarf, lol. Or maybe, I can use the handspun as an accent on the end of the fingerless mittens, using a different yarn for the hand...the possibilities are endless :) Just so you know, I'm a beginner to intermediate knitter....

13) What spinning projects are you currently working on?
Ooops! I answered this above :) I have the silk hankies on the CD spindle. Some brown and cream mill ends on the rakestraw knock-off, the possum on the eBay spindle and some dark brown mill ends on the lionheart. In the to spin fiber pile, I have a TON more of the dark brown mill ends, a fair amount of possum/wool to finish up on, and about three fleeces worth of washed, but uncarded wool in my garage : I found out after getting it all that I like to spin, not process wool, lol...so, it's waiting until I have some money to spare to send it all out for processing. Also, waiting for processing, I have a lot of mohair and angora. I'm thinking of trying to spin some of the cream angora in with the dark brown mill ends to see if I can get something nice with that :)

14) Do you have a wishlist?
Yes, of course I do, silly questionaire :P I am DYING to spin camel and yak. I would really love to spin some alpaca and/or llama as well. I look at the fibers online longingly all the time, but I figure I want to be a *really* good spinner before I try the expensive stuff....oooooh, but the baby alpaca and the baby camel call to me.....buuuuuyyyyy uuuuusssssss......spppiiiinnnnnn uuuuuussssss.....maaaaakkkeeee soooommeeeeethhhiiiinnnggggg sooooooooooooffftttt wiiiittthhhh uuuuuusssss........

15) What are your other favorite hobbies?
Gosh, I officially have too many hobbies :) I spin, needle knit, loom knit, crochet (although not really, just learning), I make jewelry. I am an amature photographer. I love to cook and especially bake. I do graphic arts and design websites on the side of my real, paying job :) I sew clothes and accessories. I read voraciously.

16) Do you have any allergies (pet, smoke, food, fiber,etc...)?
I'm allergic to chocolate. I don't smoke and don't like fiber from people who smoke. Other than that, I'm good to go :) Well, I'm allergic to gold, but I don't think you're going to be sending me gold jewelry, so that isn't pertinent :P

17) What is your preferred shipping method (USPS, UPS, FedEx)?
Aw, heck...as long as it gets to me, I don't care :)