Sunday, October 02, 2005

Long Time No Blog

I had way too good a time, yarn-wise, at the Common Ground Fair in Maine last weekend! That's me on the left, trying to hide the huge bag of yarn I had just bought from the lady on the right. This is Nanney Kennedy, Seacolors Yarns dyeing Goddess. It was through complete serendipity that I ended up at the fair in the first place. With very last-minute notice, hubby and I ended up at a lovely B & B in Camden ( ). We secured a room in the Inn's sister property, The Elms, and were completely spoiled with gourmet breakfast and a whirlpool bathtub. (Not simultaneously, but you get the idea...) The Common Ground Fair was about an hour's drive away, and knowing that Nanney would be there, I thought it would be a good idea to go. I picked up a dozen skeins of a gorgeous Terra Cotta/Rose blend, and at some point in the future I will design a very special Aran sweater for myself, to showcase the yarn. Thanks again to Nanney for being so very good at what she does with wool-dyeing, and being such a terrific, warm, friendly person, too!

From Common Ground, we headed back to Camden to take a sunset sail aboard The Surprise. I couldn't go on the NETA knitting cruise in September, so I created a mini-cruise of my own! This is my first Flamingo Opal sock in a nice razor shell stitch. Lovely view of Camden Harbor in the background, eh? And a nice shot of the Fleagle sweater, and the funky felted hat I bought myself at the fair. Yes, folks, the lady I bought the hat from was selling her merchandise from within a Yurt she had felted herself! My fascination with Yurts does not just continue; it intensifies. I want a Yurt! Such a structure would be sooooo nice for a fiber workshop, but before I get one, we will probably end up fixing up our barn instead. The barn would be a great space, too, but right now the house requires whatever restoration capital we possess. [sigh]

Cap'n Jack let all the passengers on the cruise take a brief turn at the helm for photo ops, so Keith and I passed our camera off to the Cap'n, and he took this nice picture of us. We enjoyed the sail and the stories the Cap'n offered so much, we actually seriously considered going back for a second sail first thing in the morning. But the breeze was not impressive when we went over to the Blackberry Inn for breakfast, so we decided to wend our way home slowly and visit some antique shops along the way.

I also thought it would be cool to stop at the Mexicali Blues shop on Route 1. I've always wanted to, but we have either been in a hurry, or passed by too early or late in the day. This time, we hit it just right. Keith went out for a coffee and snoozed in the car while I enjoyed the store. And what a store! Hippy Heaven, complete with incense burning, Buddha and Ganesha figurines, bright-colored , floaty Earth Mama clothes, and mirrored accessories. I'm not usually much of a gung-ho shopper (unless it has to do with yarn or fiber), but this place sucked me in FAST! I found the most incredible dress for me. Rayon, with a very full skirt, and of course the photo does not begin to do the garment justice.

It's still air-drying after its bath today. I love "Eau de Head Shop" when I am in a store like that, but at home it can be a bit cloying after awhile, plus to avoid skin allergy reactions, I have to give EVERYTHING I buy a bath before wearing it. The dress will get its first outing at church tomorrow, where for once I will be pew-sitting amongst the congregation instead of singing. The reason?

I caught a cold while I was in Maine, didn't realize this until Monday, and by Thursday I had a full-blown case of bronchitis. The doctor prescribed complete bed rest over the weekend, so I have not attended any rehearsals, and these lungs don't feel like producing much sound at the moment, beyond a hacking cough. I have never been advised to take complete bed rest before and, on a Prednisone High Friday morning, I felt silly staying home from work and in bed when I had so much (albeit false) excess energy. What's a gal to do? Why, dye a couple of little ol' skeins of wool on the stovetop, of course! Little did I know that the color I was doing would be such a perfect match for the new dress, but lo and behold...

OK, so thanks to Judy ( ) I started my own version of Cheryl Oberle's Wool Peddler's Shawl from her Folk Shawls book. The colors are a wee bit darker than the dress, but so far, holding them next to each other, I think the combination will be wonderful. Oh, and the yarn I overdyed was originally, believe it or not, a most vivid shade of Road Construction Crew Rain Slicker Yellow. So, there is hope for the future of those several BINS of yellow yarn I have in my inventory. I mean, I haven't yet run into enough people who are fond of bright yellow to warrant keeping it all in its original state. I will obviously have to use colors that are compatible with yellow if I want to succeed, but so far it looks like I'm off to a good start with this colorway, "Autumn Leaves."

There is also a batch of muted yellow/greens that I am calling "Willows," which I haven't had a chance to photograph yet. What fun!

Well, I'm still on a Prednisone High, so I think I'll take it back to my knitting needles and make a few more rows of this shawl!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Does anyone remember...?

This was my obsession project on Friday night, when I couldn't get out to go and hear Black 47 at the Ocean Mist. Anyone who can guess who/what this critter is wins the Steel Trap Memory Award. (Not that the award amounts to much, just my admiration for fellow Steel Trappers.)

During, I swear, the last 3 minutes at work on Thursday, one of my co-workers mentioned Shmoos, and this brought back a flood of memories. WHERE, for instance, did the sock Shmoo my Dad once had end up? It may be in some of the stuff we brought back from cleaning out the old family homestead a few years ago, but frankly it was far easier to design and knit a prototype than to go a-hunting. So, I made it up as I went along, got the bulk of it done on Friday, knitted and attached the legs on Saturday, felted it lightly on a glass washboard, and left it to dry. Today my book of Shmoo cartoons arrived and I chose a face to copy. It's not an exact replica, but I had a lot of fun creating the face with a felting needle. The only area in which this Shmoo is deficient is the butt. Quite simply, it just isn't big enough! But I am content. My Shmoo is cute and smiles down on me from atop the piano. And I did not have to go pawing through the basement.

I used stash yarn, some natural Shetland I had lying around, double-stranded, and size 4 needles.

Saturday saw me making a trek to Pasa and The Yarn Shop, both in Uxbridge. The Yarn Shop looks terrific, but I tend to have more fun at Pasa. You never know just what you're going to find. Anyhoo, my great-niece, Kitty, not quite 3 years old, kept grabbing skeins of more expensive inventory at The Yarn Shop and carting it over to the Bargain Bin, as if to say, "This is nice! Let's make it cheaper so more folks can enjoy it!" So my sister was pretty busy retrieving these skeins and replacing them on the shelves. This child may grow up to be a knitter yet. She certainly has the die-hard's love of a bargain.

I finally finished the back of the latest Aran extravaganza and have started one sleeve. That will be good car knitting on the way to Camden tomorrow. Will miss everyone at the spin-in, but really need a weekend away. With my choirmaster out of town for the weekend, it's a good time to carpe diem!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Dyed 'n gone to heaven?

A friend sent me this cartoon in an e-mail the other day. Is this what all we wool-loving folks are coming to? Or perhaps it should feature a couple of knitters conferring about how they'd rather put gas in the car to make a trip to their LYS than mow the lawn....or how about "Look at all this WOOL, and they keep the lawn in darn good shape, too!!!!"

Here's the latest from the dyepot. It's a lovely wool/silk blend in Deep Teal, and there are twenty 200-yard skeins! This was originally a light brown, and as always, I am amazed at how well the dye takes. Nice and even, and knitted up on size 3 needles, this stuff has the most fabulous stitch definition. (Those of you who have seen the Egyptian Red aran sweater I'm currently working on will know what I mean. And those of you who haven't...sheesh! I've gotta post a picture soon!)

I'm within 30 rows of the end of the back of the afore-mentioned sweater, and am very pleased with the way it is coming out. One front, two sleeves, and a neck to go!

The Deep Teal yarn is for sale, by the way. Only $9.75 per skein. If you want some, e-mail me. ( Shipping is via USPS Priority Mail, or if you are local, I can make arrangements for drop-off or pick-up. Sometime this week it will very likely appear in my ebay store. (

Well, it's That Time Again. Off to work in a few minutes. Knit a few rows for me...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

When the World Goes Crazy...

The prices at the gas pumps are frightening. I don't even want to think about how much worse it's going to get. The way things are going, though, I may have to choose between keeping up with the kids' choir schedule or taking time out for ME. I don't want to give up going to knitting and spinning meetings, as these are what keep me sane. I just don't know what the proper answer is right now. [sigh]

I thought I had figured out a solution last week at knitting, when Patty talked about her daughter running her (diesel) car on biodiesel. I have long though that biodiesel was a real slick concept (no pun intended), and I quietly made the decision to start pricing diesel autos so I could finally put this into practice for myself. I went as far as making a trip up to the local VW dealer to inquire about a diesel Beetle. Well. It seems that the state of Massachusetts passed a law in January 2004, banning the registration of any "new" diesel automobiles. You can register a "pre-owned" diesel vehicle, which is what I hoped to do, but...just try finding one now, with EVERYONE in a panic about fuel prices!

I thought my modest little RAV-4 was good on gas, but lo and behold, this morning I "did the math" and came up with about 22 mpg. This is not good. And then there is hubby's "man-mobile" which doesn't do too badly for a pick-up truck, but his commute is about an hour-and-a-half one way, Monday through Friday.

I think I am going to have my doctor to write me a stronger prescription for my daily dose of "Fukitol" (aka Celexa).

On the textile front...

Here is the latest batch of tres cool dyed stuff. This is Persian Wool Yarn, originally a pale cream color, which I overdyed with a lovely greeny blue. The photo doesn't do justice to the intricate subleties of this colorway, so trust me, it is gorgeous! AND it is FOR SALE. Generous 150 yard skeins, $9.00 each, 12 available. E-mail me if interested and we can Reason Together. [grin]

Along with half the rest of the world, I am so sad about what has happened to Louisiana. I had friends who lived in Shreveport and Benton a few years back, and while they were there, I visited. I loved the area and was privileged to drive from there to New Orleans just once. Though the weather was beastly hot, there are things about that city I will never forget. It was such a vibrant place, with streets full of impromptu entertainment. My personal favorites were the tiny black children who would affix bottle caps to the soles of their shoes and tap-dance their hearts out. Adorable and talented! Now I imagine it will be many years before the people feel like doing much of anything celebratory again. So much has been lost. What, if anything, can be salvaged?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Catching up

Isn't this amazing? Hubby caught this close-up photo of this incredible spider during a raging storm last Sunday night. The web was enormous, and decently sheltered from the storm, yet by morning the whole thing was gone. I'm glad we noticed this splendid creature at the right time and thought to grab the camera. Spiders fascinate me. I could watch them for hours, from a safe distance of course. (This one looks like it could have delivered a nasty bite.) Every now and then I will find a big garden spider building its web, and I'll watch awhile, just to see the age-old architecture appear. So beautiful.

In my knitting news, I finally have a Finished Object to show! This is Meg Swansen's Spiral Yoke Sweater. The yarn is Nanney Kennedy's Seacolors. ( ). When I bought it at the NETA Spa weekend in February, I knew it wouldn't take me too long to decide what to do with it. With eight 200-yard skeins, I didn't have enough for a "me-sized" Aran extravanganza, so I chose this pattern instead. A bold move, since this is the first time that I have ever dared to make a really fitted sweater. (Being an ample lady, I tend to hide beneath sweaters that more resemble blankets than garments.) However, fear of running short kept me ever aware of yardage conservation, and -- surprise, surprise! -- I still have about 2-1/2 skeins left for accessories! I'm thinking a watchcap and/or scarf would be nice. Or maybe a pair of Barbara's "Wristers." Ahhh, possibilities!!!!

Working with this yarn was a delight in so many ways. The wool/mohair blend was so soft and luscious passing through my hands, plus it smelled nicely of the sea. (Nanney sun-dyes her yarns using seawater in the dyebath.) Countless times during the knitting process I lifted the whole piece of work to my nose and inhaled that delicious ocean scent. I was afraid that would go away with the first Eucalan bath, but not so! The wool smells even more oceany when wet, and now that the sweater is nearly dry, the scent still lingers. This warms my Piscean heart in more ways than I can count. There is such a powerful holiness in the ocean, but I am not able to get to the seaside as often as I would like. This sweater will keep me in touch with that feeling whenever I wear it. What a blessing!

I had to laugh after washing it, though. I did my usual Eucalan soak in the washing machine (sans agitation), then spun all the water out about a hour later. Took the garment out and admired it, then wondered what in heck was that dirty RING around the bottom of the washtub? Did any of it [GASP] land on my sweater???

I reached in to examine it, and lo and behold, it was SAND that had been spun out of the sweater! I guess the yarn must inevitably pick some up from its seawater dyebath.

Also this week, I attempted something I have never made before -- Fish Chowder! I had a nice basic recipe from the NETA group recipe file, but of course, as with knitting, in cooking I have a hard time sticking to the recipe as written. I made my own variation. Hickory-smoked bacon was my substitute for salt pork, and the potatoes were Yukon Golds. I added dried thyme and fresh-ground pepper to the broth. The second day, after re-heating the chowder base prior to serving, I added a pint of light cream, a bit of sea salt, a flour paste to thicken it slightly, and a generous glug of one of my Old Kitchen Standbys. (That's good ol' Carlo Rossi Chablis in a screw-top gallon jug. very handy for cooking!) For the fish, instead of the suggested haddock, I used a mixture of striper and bluefish that had been in the freezer for awhile. And even though the fish was a touch on the elderly side (though NOT freezer-burnt, thank goodness!) the resulting chowdah was FABULOUS!!!! Next time I make it, I plan to try using some dill instead of thyme, or maybe both, who knows? In any case, what a fab way to use up some of the fish Keith brings home in abundance, especially the bluefish. And maybe the occasional mackerel for added pizzazz...hmm...again, more possibilities!!!!

My new job seems to be going well, i.e. I am still enjoying it and not resenting having to spend 5 hours each day in the workplace not knitting, spinning, or dyeing. I am the part-time admin department "floater," which means I am always multi-tasking my little heart out. I handle the phones, inventory the stock-room and hardware, put together kits for the assemblers to build, do some general clerical stuff including copying and filing, and when I am ultra-efficient at the afore-mentioned tasks, I get to BUILD THINGS!!!! Yes, folks, I am having a blast learning to assemble simple electrical cables, which includes an array of exotic tools. Yesterday I worked with a pneumatic crimper. Whee!!!!

The company is owned by the fella who used to be my supervisor at UniStar Textiles, so when the opportunity came up, I wanted to grab it. The man is a good and just employer, plus I already knew most of the folks working for him. My two immediate supervisors are pleasant to work for, I can still take plenty of empty boxes home for shipping Mad Angel Creations merch, AND no one minds if I knit on my breaks. Oh, and did I mention that this place is a mere 5 minutes from my house? And the job is permanent, but with a part-time schedule of only 5 hours a day? Basically, what's not to like? It's steady, pleasant, and still leaves me time to run my business.

Speaking of the business, I think I'll be doing some spinning today, and perhaps sone dyeing in between rounds of laundry and figuring out what to make for dinner tonight. But I think I am going to start off by kicking hubbby out of bed and suggesting we go get breakfast. I hear a Belgian waffle screaming my name...

Friday, July 15, 2005

My Favorite Cows

Ent they cunnin'? Belted Galloways relaxing in their pasture last weekend. This is my very favorite breed of cow, and though I'll admit I know almost nothing about cows except that milk comes from them, seeing these always makes me smile. And now the Guilt sets in as I recall that we saw these on the way home from Lowe's with our new gas grill, and suppertime saw me grilling some distant relative of theirs in the form of bratwurst and bockwurst...

In a few hours' time Keith and I leave on a potentially major stash/inventory acquisition trip. My aunt & uncle's neighbor passed away a few weeks ago, leaving behind an unbelievable stash. She bequeathed it to a friend who took what she wanted, but was overwhelmed by the rest, which will all be up for grabs at an estate sale...tomorrow. We will be driving most of the night to get there, but I suspect it will be well worth it. I've seen pictures. The sheer beauty of the woman's organizational skills is enough to make me weep.

My aunt has been helping organize for the sale and is picking up a piece of equipment for me today. More details about that when it's actually in my possession, will be a real asset to my design business, I think.

Anyone want a Bond Incredible Sweater Machine to mess around with, cheap? I bought it used, and the two of us unfortunately did not "bond" [ark, ark]. First fifty bucks takes it. (I've seen them at AC Moore for $150 recently.) If you are local (i.e. from my knitting and/or spinning group) I will bring it to you. If you need it mailed, I have to charge shipping and will let you know the exact cost by Monday morning.

Shoot, I have a lot to do before I hit the road, but am looking forward to Tuesday night at Su's. I was bummed to miss it this week, but family stuff intervened, and by the time I got supper on the table...too late. [sigh]

Work continues smoothly on the latest Aran project. Pics next time, as my camera battery is charging right now.

Have been digging Cindy's movie quiz. Sometimes I get 'em, and sometimes I don't, but it's always fun to see the answers, even if a particular quote mystifies me.

Note to Judy...PLEEZ send me your mailing address so I can pay you for the hostas? We planted them and they are already looking gorgeous and HAPPY. Keith was thrilled with them.

Happy fibering, folks! Be good while I'm gone. [wink]

Saturday, June 25, 2005

It ain't spaghetti... Posted by Hello

Dyeing Again

I suppose you could say I'm crazy. With temps in the 90s around here, what does Paula do? She presoaks 2 pounds of yarn, unearths the 60 qt stockpot that will never be used for food, fires up the new Cajun Crawfish Boil outdoor propane stove, and soon is set to dye.

It's not as crazy as it sounds. I chcek the status every 15 minutes or so, then retreat to the air-conditioned living room. So far, so good, and I am actually going to be a good-dyeing-do-bee for the first time ever and leave the skeins and swatch outdoors in the pot overnight to cool. Whatever exhaust dye is left will be re-heated and used for some other yarn. I have a bunch of mohair boucle hanging around for just this purpose, as I hate to let any of the dyestuff go to waste.

This yarn is for a commission job I'm doing. I'll be designing (what else?) an Aran style sweater for a dear singing friend who is a member of my alto section on a part-time basis. So far she has commissioned this sweater, five hats and a pair of mittens made from my handspun yarn, and she also purchased my "Stars in the Night Sky" triangle shawl. How's that for a vote of confidence? I feel very blessed to have a friend who likes my work this much!

If time and luck are with me this summer, I may get the new sweater done in time to enter in The Big E. Wouldn't it be nice if I could tell my friend that, not only did I design her sweater and hand-dye the yarn, but it took a ribbon at The Big E. That would make it even more special than it's already going to be.

Above is a picture of the yarn and swatch simmering in the kettle. Too bad I didn't think to throw the swatch into the mix until the yarn had already been in the dyebath for 20 minutes. It just is not going to match the color of the yarn, but at least I'll have an idea how the sweater's textures will look with some color added.

I'm using Cushing's Egyptian Red for this. What a nice color, and of course I cannot say enough good about Cushing's. Love the stuff. So easy to use, a good value, and splendid colors!

I missed the spin-in today -- too hot -- and decided not to go to the NETA Summer Spa after all. I was just too tired after Phoebe's first week at RISD and all the driving I had to do to accommodate her schedule. Plus it was a rough week moodwise. I was just feeling unfit for human consumption all around. But being in the process of finishing this dyework that was hanging over my head is helping. So too is the fact that business has really picked up quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. All three lots of my first attempts at dyed silk roving have sold. One little bump is actually on its way to Chilliwack, British Columbia. I haven't looked at a map yet to see, but it sure does sound like a far-flung part of Canada to me.

Fifteen more minutes 'til I can turn off the fire under the dyepot, pop the lid on the pot, and forget about the whole darn thing 'til morning...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Cockleshell Scarf for Daphne's Teacher Posted by Hello

I have been busy...

Barely any time to write lately, but I HAVE taken a few pictures to share.

The one below is a test swatch for an Aran commission. It's to be knitted up on size 4 needles, and the yarn is a gorgeous wool/silk blend. I haven't started the actual sweater yet, as I will be dyeing the yarn beforehand, and it has just been too darn HOT around here to fire up the outdoor dye stove.

The one above is a Shetland Lace Cockleshell scarf, pattern from Candace Eisner Strick's lovely book, "Beyond Wool." Her original pattern called for quiviut but, lacking the funds for that kind of expenditure, I decided to use Su's fabulous space-dyed kid mohair/silk yarn instead. Su started making these sorts of yarns in the last month or so, and it was so luxurious I had to have some. Of course, at the time I had no idea what it might become. Then, a serendipitous browse through Candace's book whilst in the "reading room" one morning got me thinking that this scarf might be a perfect, simple project. Well, sho 'nuff! This will be a gift for Daphne's classroom teacher, Miss Mahoney, who has put up with an awful lot from my girl. Miss Mahoney wears a lot of red, I've noticed, so this will be a perfect accessory.

I'm working on another for the classroom aide, Mrs. Beccia, who seems to volunteer so much time for kids' programs all over town. Phoebe had her as a teacher in her last year of the town's Vacation Bible School and loved her as much as Daphne does. She's one of the most enthusiastic and energetic senior citizens I have ever met. Daphne says her favorite color is purple, so I am making the scarf out of a beautiful, deep purple laceweight wool yarn I just happened to have on hand.

It was such a pleasant surprise to have the cockleshell pattern turn out to be so EASY. I was not expecting that. But it is sooooo easy, I have managed to memorize the entire 12 row repeat! This is a first! Memorization of anything lengthy has never been my forte, but I've noticed that I've been doing this more and more with choir music. It must have to do with the amount of repetition we do. Somehow it all gets into my brain, so many times on gig days I am holding the music for security's sake, but rarely do I even look at it. Evidently, this skill is beginning to translate to my knitting. Who'd-a thunk it???

Time to go scavenge through my inventory again, with an eye to possible new listings. I'd like to keep my weekend sales trend going. It wasn't huge, but it was steady, and I have a lot of nice little hosta plants coming in from Vermont soon...maybe tomorrow? I owe, I owe, so winding skeins I go...

Heat wave is due to break tomorrow, but does anyone believe that's REALLY gonna happen? Thank God for AC, is all I can say. Keith put the big one in the living room yesterday, so now I feel as if I can breathe and function semi-normally.

Stay cool! Think snow! Think knitting!

Test swatch for new custom Aran design. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005

Just checking...

Which flock do you follow?

OK, so I took The Sheep Quiz again. Thought maybe my general outlook might have changed since the last time I took it, but nooooooo. I am still a "Goth" sheep. [sigh]

Choir season is almost officially over, with Phoebe's RISD program due to start a few days after the last gig. I'll be on the road a lot more than I had anticipated. Blogging may be even more sketchy than it has been in the last few weeks. Urrggghhhh...

Am also bumming because I did a preliminary check on airline tickets for next summer's Orkney trip. [ulp!] I had originnally planned to bring Keith AND Daphne along, but yikes! And I don't think the price will go down significantly by next summer. Keith, like a good sport, says I can go solo, but I am wondering WHEN I am ever going to get to travel someplace exotic WITH HIM! If business doesn't pick up soon, I may not even be able to go solo. A sobering thought, when I am so looking forward to meeting fibery folk from all over the world. Well, it's still a year away. Perhaps there will be a Miracle. Or perhaps I will finally begin buying lottery tickets.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Fuzzy Llama Butts! Posted by Hello

I Dyed Again...

The white silk roving keeps calling to me, so when all else fails...DYE!!! Today I chose some orange, and as you can see, even wet, it is gorgeous! The subtle variegations never cease to amaze me.

There was, as usual, plenty of dye left in the pot when the roving was done, so rather than waste it, I grabbed 400 yds of white mohair/nylon and threw it in. Never mind the fact that I had not presoaked or mordanted it. What the heck, just toss it in and see what happens. It will be done in half an hour or so, and it looks like it's sucking up the "exhaust" beautifully, and EVENLY. What an adventure!

Below, the roving. Above, another amusing pic from NH Sheep & Wool. With any luck at all, I may actually be a vendor there next year! What a great excuse to hang around for more than a few hours. [grin]

Tangerine Dream Silk Roving! Posted by Hello

Monday, May 16, 2005

Daphne and Friend! Posted by Hello

Fleece Sins and Confession!

I made a mistake, but it's not irremidiable.

I came home from NH Sheep & Wool with the proverbial Three Bags Full. One black Corriedale, One gray Romney, and one white Romney. I mean, I am Woman, I have a Drum Carder. Right???

I dutifully washed up a good-sized clump of the Corriedale, laid it out to dry, and this afternoon at 1 PM sharp, I set up my work table with clean fiber, hackle, and drum carder.

1-1/2 hours later I had a whopping ONE OUNCE batt, and not a very nice batt at that. [sigh]

Corriedale seems to hold beaucoup loads of grease. Words cannot fully express how much I LOATHED trying to card it. No one must EVER allow me to leave a wool fair with big bags of fleece again! Tie me up, confiscate my bags, and take them to Zeilinger's. PLEASE!!!!!!

Needless to say, I will be sending my boxes out very soon. Even if it takes 3 months (which is pretty much what they said when I called today), it's not like I don't have tons of other stuff to do in the interim. And I know I will LOVE my new fleeces when they are fresh, clean Roving.

Hubby the engineer encountered an electric spinner and wanted me to take a look. So, I looked, I tried, I bought. I now have a brand-new Roberta with jumbo bobbins, especially for plying. I have yet to try it for singles, as I think I would really prefer to do singles on a manual wheel. But this will help me a great deal with all the plying work I have on hand.

Above is a nice picture Phoebe took of Daphne with a Furry friend!

The kids are still clamoring for an Angora rabbit...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Seamus in his Mad Angel Creation! Posted by Hello

Seamus' Sweater, Part 2

Seamus got his sweater last night, and kindly allowed me to snap a pic of him wearing it. I was pleased to see that it fitted so nicely! I should have made him pose in the main church, though, instead of the Chaffee room. It would have been a more aesthetically pleasing venue.

The pictures of the sweater (without Seamus inside of it) were taken with the sweater hanging on my clothesline, before washing and blocking. I have a line that can be detached and threaded through the sleeves of a garment, and while it makes for a nice photograph, I suppose one of these days I should invest in a Real Sweater Blocker, especially if intend to be serious about pursuing commissioned design work.

I had a nice vist with Jonne Gomes on Wednesday. ( ) Shooting the breeze with him is always such a mind-expanding experience. We get showing each other stuff, and then the ideas start flying faster than newspapers on the wind on recycling pick-up day! This of course led to a trip to Wal-Mart for me yesterday, to pick up disposable roaster pans, squirt bottles, and blank business cards. I oven-dyed a half pound of my silk rovings in various colors and made up some business cards. All in all a productive day. Now I just have to wait for the silk to finish drying so I can photograph it and put it up on eBay.

I must say, I like this oven-dyeing, especially since I have double ovens and can process three pans at once...

Looking forward to NH Sheep & Wool tomorrow! Maybe I'll see some of you there...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Seamus' Sweater -- "Abbotts Bromley" Posted by Hello

I Finished!!!!

Looky, looky, it's Seamus' sweater, at long last! I'll bring it to knitting tomorrow night for all to fondle, so don't miss your opportunity! The sweater will go to Seamus on Thursday when I go to choir practice.

It weighs a grand total of 1 pound 6 ounces, so now I have an idea of how much yarn to ply to recreate it. Now, if I only had the will to write down directions in a slightly-better-than-pithy fashion!

More pictures are available for viewing at:

Suzy the crazy blind Corgi snuck into Phoebe's room this morning and got into a bag of tortilla chips -- literally! She came staggering out of the room with the bag over her head, frantically trying to retrieve the last crumbs at the bottom. They were ever so slightly out of her reach, so she butted her head up against every surface she could, just to push the bottom of the bag with its crumbs closer to the end of her nose and within reach of her tongue. She may be blind, but she is SMART and quite resourceful when it comes to Food! Roisin and Finney looked on in awe and appreciation. Makes me wonder what tricks THEY will attempt next!

Desperate for Tortilla Chips! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Blackberries 'n Cream Silk Roving Posted by Hello

At It Again...

I am having waaaaaay too much fun with my dyepot! Below, you see the color that resulted from throwing some skeins of wool/mohair into the exhaust left in the pot from my batch of dyed silk roving. Above is the silk roving, which I've decided to call Blackberries 'n Cream. Now, if someone could please tell me how the exhaust of a dye this purple could yield salmon pink...??? Well, I'm pleased with both final products, anyway, and looking forward to seeing what they look like when dry.

I should be working on Seamus' sweater again, but think a nap is gonna win out again. I love this dyeing business, but it does tire me out after awhile!

I bought the latest re-mastered Billie Holiday collection recently, but today is the first chance I've had to really listen closely. Gorgeous. I just love Billie.

Oddly enough, I began my listening day with Pet Sounds (Beach Boys), followed by the Screaming Trees anthology, followed by Nick Cave's latest oeuvre, followed by Billie. Yes, my musical tastes are more than a bit eclectic. Is anyone surprised?

What's Cooking????

What cooking? Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Mallard 2 Posted by Hello

Now, THIS is more like it...

I am now officially happy and ready to start knitting for the afternoon. This is what I was aiming for when I got "Mallard" and "Willow" from the same dyepot last week. This one is "Mallard 2," and there are 5 200-yard skeins that all resemble each other pretty closely, despite the slight shade variegations. I'll be putting them up for sale on eBay tomorrow.

Seamus' sweater is almost ready for assembly, so guess what I'm likely to be doing at the knit-in tonight? [grin] I can't wait to see what it will look like as a whole garment. I mean, yes, I have more than a vague notion of this, but I still have a need to see it in one piece.

I finally managed to sell my Stars in the Night Sky shawl. Seems that one of my fellow choristers was perusing the eBay store and knew she would buy one of the shawls. It just took her a little while to decide if she wanted "Stars" or the purple mohair one. It is actually being given as a Christmas present! I'm thrilled that my work is viewed as being special enough for such an important occasion.

Larry loved his Fraternal Socks. I was able to give them to him after all, because the yarn relaxed after the socks were washed, and then they seemed "right." He was looking forward to wearing them in the van for the ride home after the show.

What a schedule! I don't think these fellas ever actually leave a venue until well after 2 AM, and then they have to go all the way back to New York City. What a great show, though. And one of the opening acts featured a really great lady trombonist who was invited up to jam with Fabulous Freddie Parcells during Black 47's part of the show. What a nice treat, to hear two great 'bone players going at it with such great gusto! I couldn't see much of anything from my spot at the merch table, but I could sure hear everything. Fantastic.

I should go knit now, but I feel like I need a nap, and I think that the nap and a Corgish Cuddle are going to win...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Larry's New Opal Socks Posted by Hello

New Opal Socks!

Well, I finished 'em. These are just washed, still drying, and I'm not sure but what they might be too small for Larry! Thanks goodness I have a second ball of this yarn, so I can do another pair if need be, and keep this pair for myself.

The day marches forward, though, and still I have managed little more than breakfast for the dogs and myself, and a shower for me. I guess I'd better wind some more skeins. Also, I'm due to pen a newlsetter for my customers, so people know I'm Still Out Here with nice yarns.

I've had a lot of fun dyeing some of my yarns lately, and hope someday to be as accomplished at this as Judy and Su. It amazes me, what these two ladies can do with multiple colors! I aspire, but continue just doing single colors for now.

I think I'm gonna get busy on Seamus' sweater again for awhile, and hopefully some inspiration will hit me for tonight's supper while I'm working.

Have started some flowers for the garden in those funky little peat pots, in hopes of defeating my "black thumb" for once and for all. I'm even going to gamble on some tomatoes, and will plant those seeds as soon as the peat pots have finished expanding to full size. I have such a nice, sunny back deck which at the moment only gets used for drying clothes. It might be an ideal place for tomatoes in containers, if I can just remember to water them once they are in those containers...

Mr. Finnegan says: "That was yummy. Can I have some more?" Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Mad Angel & "The Kids."

Kewl. As y'all can see, I done figgered out how to do this here picture thang. 'Bout f****n' time, eh???

Well, at least I don't feel so STOOPIT now. [grin]

Back to work on Seamus' Aran sweater now. I looked it over carefully while the kids were at choir practice and discovered that I don't have as much left to do as I thought! I'm within 7 rows of completing the second sleeve, and within 17 rows of the front neck decreases! O, happy day! Maybe by this time next week, there will be a picture of the finished garment...

Mad Angel & "The Kids." Posted by Hello

This is a Test...sort of...

OK, Cindy and Su, I'm trying my hand at this and will see how it goes...

I should be winding skeins. I should be organizing new listings.

However, I'm here typing instead as I wait on hold for the orthodontist to tell me when they can possibly squeeze Phoebe in. She was just in to have a couple of brackets replaced yesterday, and within minutes of arriving back at home, having put nothing whatsoever into her mouth food or drinkwise, the two new brackets had fallen off and were dangling by their wires. [sigh] So now we have an emergency trip to South Attleboro to look forward to. The Chepachet office is not open today.

So go my days lately, Murphy's Law all the way. No wonder it's hard to get anything done!

She has to be there at 10:20 AM, and I'm hardly put together yet. Maybe I'll have a chance to add more to this later....

mad angel

Back again, albeit briefly...I can't figure out how to upload pics! I've tried using "Hello," but it's all Greek to me. Every time I tried to upload a photo, a window came up telling me I would have to download "Hello" first. I did that, but the site is acting like I didn't. I need to get away from this machine now....

Still haven't figured out how to upload pics properly, but just found out that Phoebe got accepted to the RISD pre-college program for this summer as an illustration major. Illustration was her first choice, so I'm really happy for her, but oh, my achin' WALLET!!!!

As for the picture uploads, tomorrow is another day...[sigh]