Friday, October 23, 2009

Long Time No Update

Wish I was Here, though perhaps not right now, when it's gotten awfully cold in Massachusetts, and so must be even worse in Northern Maine. These pics were taken in August, in Baxter State Park, during a week of Record High Temps in Maine. honestly, I have all the luck. Go someplace cool in the heat of high summer and walk right into totally non-typical weather in Vacationland. Well, at least there was one day when it was cool enough (sort of) to hike.
Can I remember the name of this spot now? Heck, no, but it sure was pretty, even though Daphne and I had both been stung by the same hornet by the time this pic was snapped. Dang thing bounced off my hand and on to her shoulder. Lesson learned by Daphne: don't tailgate Mom on a hike in the woods.
Then Daphne took a pic of me and Keith.
Now on to some recent spinning. One bobbin of Gray Cotswold, and one of a luscious BFL roving from Infinite Spirals. It was called Sand & Sea, and I couldn't resist, even though it was the last 2.5 ounces. I decided to ply it with the Cotswold to maximize my yardage.

And here's the plied skein, which is rather highly energized and still needs a wash.6.15 ounces, 490 yards. Looks like it might be a great sock yarn, as the twist is really tight. I'll see what it's like after it has had its bath.

All through with the final edit of Doubtful Sound and am now contemplating how to tackle writing a synopsis. I really should have one written before I start sending out query letters. Also contemplating how to compose a heart-stoppingly thrilling query letter that will make some Big Publisher shout, "This woman is a genius! We must publish her NOW!"

Well, I can dream, can't I? LOL.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Doubtful Sound Update

If you have been following my Story, Doubtful Sound, please see my latest update. There are two pages. You may link to the second page by clicking "NEXT" at the bottom of the first page.

I have made a much-needed artistic decision.

If you have been reading, please wish me luck, send good vibes, say a prayer, or whatever.

One way or another, someday in the not-too-distant future, this will be a real book you can hold in your hands, and enjoy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Spinning Batts!

These are fresh off the carder today, my friends. If any of them calls your name loudly, please feel free to visit Mad Angel Creations and indulge yourself!
Iris. Wool, Silk Noil, & Angelina.
Water Lily. Wool, Silk Noil, & Angelina.
Fire. Wool, Bamboo, & Angelina.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Recent Spinning

From Portland Fiber Gallery and Weaving Studio. This was a gorgeous, soft, superwash merino and seacell blend roving, hand-dyed in a coorway called "Ocean Breeze." 8.55 ounces of roving yielded 748 yards of 2-ply yarn. It's kind of a heavy fingering weight, about 2 wraps per inch. I had never tried seacell before. Fabulous stuff!
This one came from my friend Sue at RI Handspun. Alpaca, mohair, silk and a bit of angelina for sparkle. It spun up like a dream. 4.85 ounces yielded 286 yards of 2-ply, again in a sort of thick fingering weight. I love the woodsy colors in this!
Last but not least is the yarn I made up from about half of the samples from my June Phat Fiber box, mixed with some black roving I had on hand. I think it will end up being a hat. I think I want to try doing the heavier version of Boho Knitter Chic's wonderful slouch beret, Sweet Georgia. (I featured my lighter weight version in my last blog post.)I did end up washing and blocking my Sweet Georgia snood after all, and it fits and drapes even better than it did before its bath.

And I have to let any snood fans know about Distinctive Hair Coverings! This lady does beautiful work. My favorite thing purchased from her so far is something she calls a "scarf gripper." It is a simple, elasticized velvet band which, when applied with the nap facing in the proper direction, holds your hair back without slipping, AND keeps your snood/hat/scarf in place ALL DAY LONG! No barrettes or clips needed. I put the band on, then my head covering du jour, and I don't have to even think about it again until I am ready to remove my head covering for sleeping.

The passion for head coverings is partially spiritual, but mostly due to the fact that I have Big Hair and don't like to braid it or bun it or ponytail it. I like it to hang somewhat loose, so it doesn't give me headaches. I know, I could cut it, but I really don't want short hair at this point in my life. Not sure why. I have had very short hair in the past and liked it, but...I just don't want it that way now. I also do not want my longer, fuller, wilder hair in my eyes, up my nose, in my mouth while I'm eating get the idea.

Oh, and it's also a nuisance flying around when I'm drumming. I can't drum and itch my nose at the same time. I'm just not that co-ordinated.

So, I'm experimenting with head coverings. And I like the way they look, and the way they make me feel.

Sweet Georgia is my favorite pattern of all so far. Watch this space for the next editions thereof!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

In a Snood Mood

My Sweet Georgia snood!I cast this on last night and finished it about half an hour ago.It was a simple, pleasant project, and I found I couldn't put it down once I had begun.Yarn is my own hand-plied wool/camel blend in a really nice heathered purple color.I Navajo-plied this on my Roberta, from some commercial singles I got as a mill-end from UniStar a few years ago. I've used this yarn for socks before (in a different color) and loved it. Turns out it's equally nice for lace!

Still trying to decide if I should block this or not...

Monday, June 29, 2009

My First Tie-Dye Ever!

So, in my quest for good performance clothing for drumming (provided I ever get good enough), I've checked out a lot of websites with some truly spectacular garments I simply cannot afford to buy right now. Lucky for me, I remembered Dharma Trading Co. while on my quest. I cannot say enough good things about this little company, so I'll touch on my favorite basics: excellent customer service, huge variety of products, great prices, and mega-fast shipping. If you're looking for dyes and cool items to dye, look no further than these folks. Awesome. Simply unbeatable!

Anyhoo, I like Caftans. They are big, floaty, and really comfortable, and Dharma has beautiful plain white rayon ones just waiting for dye. They also have iDye, a Jacquard product for those of us who want to experiment with easy-peasy fiber-reactive dyeing. I didn't know if I really wanted to invest in a lot of extra dye-setting chemical yet, so iDye was perfect. See?
They do caution that iDye is not the most colorfast dye they sell, but it's way better than anything one can buy in the local Wal-Mart, certainly. And I expect the color to last well enough with an occasional cold water wash. These caftans will not see heavy every day wear.I will wear these to church in the summer, mostly, and if I drum "out" someday, I will wear them in performance.I ordered the plus size, so I would have extra room to move. These pics were all taken after all the pre-washing, post-dye rinsing, washing, and machine drying were done. There was a lot of shrinkage, BUT Dharma has these things sized so huge you could fit a couple of elephants in them prior to processing. Shrinkage was a good thing in this case.Yup, see how big it is? I do love the way it came out, though. The orange one has just finished simmering, so it's bath and rinse time for it now. And very soon I will have two whole brand-new dresses for summer and drumming wear for a mere $50. That includes the dye and sundries needed for the job. Can't beat that!

Friday, June 26, 2009

On Being Re-invented...AGAIN!!!!

What does an ex-chorister do for fun when the singing is over?

No, that's not a joke. There is no punch line. Say hello to my new djembe!
This beautiful drum came from Mali, via Sidy, who teaches my drum class.

I wanted to provide the goatskin head of my drum with extra protection while toting it around in its case, so I knitted up a djembe hat from some handspun I had lying around. The color mix is quite Rastafarian. I thought so when I bought the roving from Sue a couple of years ago, and I still think so. It looks great knitted up, and I might even have enough left over to make a slouch beret for myself.
Having sung higher voice parts all my life, I decided I wanted the deepest-toned drum I could possibly get: the exact opposite of what my voice does. Deep, low, and loud. This drum is perfect in that respect.It's also a lot of drum for me to grow into. It will last me a long, long time.
Here's a close-up of the hat. I do love the way it came out.

Now, why African drumming, when I have never (up until 2 weeks ago, that is) touched a djembe before?

Well, there is a nice little drum circle in residence at my church. They don't play in church often, but they did on Pentecost, and it totally blew me away. I had been intrigued by the idea of playing myself in the recent past, but there was no time. I was too embroiled in choir. There were plenty of other excuses as well, all lined up in neat little rows. But the drums were always in the back of my mind.

Now, at last, the time is right. "Stop thinking about it. Just do it," came the message, loud and clear.

Interestingly enough, that was one of the directions Sidy gave, too, to everyone in attendance at my first meeting with the class.

So, I am trying to let go of thought as I practice alone. To feel the rhythms without over-analyzing them. There are three I am working on for this week's class, and they are not as easy as they might seem to a listening bystander. Sometimes I can drum accurately, without even looking at my hands. And sometimes I get terribly out of synch. But it will come in time. A new rhythm bit will be added for me to learn this week. Piece by piece, stroke by stroke, a whole song will emerge in time. I don't even aspire to solo. It's enough for me, now, to strive to be a competent part of the whole, and feel where I fit within the structure, and listen while Sidy takes a solo.

I love it. :-)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Goodies!

Please stop by the shop for a closer look!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Stuff!

For sale now at Mad Angel Creations!
Hand-dyed Sock Yarn, "Tourmaline," 100 % wool, non-superwash, 500 yds (475 m).
Hand-dyed Sock Yarn, "Periwinkle," 100% Superwash BFL, 400 yds (365 m).
Hand-plied fingering weight, a blend of equal parts Silk, Flax, and Polyester, 600 yds (548 m).
Hand-dyed Sock Yarn, "Dayflower," 100% non-superwash wool, 500 yds (475 m)
Hand-dyed Sock Yarn, "Autumn Splendor," Superwash Merino & Nylon blend, 440 yds (402 m).

Friday, June 19, 2009

June Phat Fiber!

My box came in today! What to mess around with first? I am completely unable to make a decision, so at the moment am simply spinning what I already had on my wheel. Some really pretty stuff in this box!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Remembering Rory

I miss you, Rory...


The Dolls are coming! The Dolls are coming! To think I will get to see Jo-Jo perform again after all these years! Wheeee.......
Off to see if Rhapsody is smart enough to offer their latest CD!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

New in the Shop!

Please visit Mad Angel Creations for further details and/or Retail Therapy!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Me and my big....

Hair! And finally, a solution to keep it off my neck and out of my nose and/or mouth!
Here's the yarn, from String Theory in Blue Hill, Maine. It's a nice, hand-dyed sock weight yarn, merino and bamboo blend, in a colorway they call Labrador. It shines so beautifully! And I have enough left over to make something else semi-substantial, like, maybe a pair of socks?The pattern is the Lacy Starfish Snood, which I found free on Ravelry, thanks to the nice ladies in the Veiled Knitters group. It was a really pleasant, quick knit. So, if you find yourself in need of near-instant gratification...I love the way this contains my hair so elegantly! I may not be so quick to chop my hair short this time, now that I have an effective way to tame it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

In this Litigious Society...

I'm wondering if our local Wool Festivals are going to become Things of the Past for small vendors. Each and every one is now requiring liability insurance for participants, and my insurance agent just informed me that I must buy a commercial policy from a commercial agent in order to have this coverage. I can't just bump my personal umbrella or homeowners' up to the next level for a few days a year.

I am such a tiny vendor, with a tiny inventory and an equally tiny profit margin. I just don't see how I can possibly afford a whole separate insurance policy for a business I run publicly from a 10' x 10' booth two days a year.

I'm afraid the Death Knell has rung for Mad Angel Creations, as far as festival participation goes. I intend to maintain an online presence as long as I can, but am saddened to know selling face to face is probably not going to be possible anymore.

So much for small, independent business enterprises. [sigh]

Rosie the Riveter Kerchief

I made this kerchief from one of my own batts. wish I had thought to photograph the batt ahead of time, but oh, well...

The blend was hand-dyed wool, undyed milk fiber, and a bit of dark red angelina. I had a total of 1.3 oz, which I spun on the fine side and Navajo-plied. I ended up with a total of 106 yards, and at the end of the project, I think I had maybe 3 yards left. Talk about knitting on the edge!
"Rosie the Riveter" is a free pattern on Ravelry. While I love the shaping of it and will experiment with that more in the future, the pattern itself either has way more mistakes than a pattern should, or I had a bad case of the stupids when I sat down to make it. I ended up reworking the whole thing, and while it came out nicely enough, there are things about it that did not please me. I think some math was done wrong, either by me, or the designer, or both.Anyhoo, the problems are not so glaring that I felt a second trip to the frog pond was necessary. I wanted this thing on my head, not in my UFO pile!Yesterday was Pentecost, so we were supposed to wear red to church. So, I dutifully wore the new kerchief and paired it up with this vintage caftan I found in an antique store on my last trip to Maine.Can you believe, only $30 for a real Balinese batik caftan entirely made of SILK????? And I have lost a few more pounds, so it fits even more comfortably than it did back in April when I bought it! Wheeeeeeee......
And the orange-red motif really did look rather obligingly like tongues of fire...

And now I think I need to add a djembe to this ensemble. Seriously. I am really thinking I want to try joining the church's drum circle. They were so good yesterday, and just seemed to be having so much...FUN! I wants me some of that fun...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sins Committed in New Hampshire!

No, I do not feel the least bit guilty!
Another fabulous Ledbetter! This one has what he calls a "shell skeleton" on top.
Fiber came from "Farm in the Woods" in NH, and would you look at that? Oopsy-daisy. I've gone and chosen fiber that matched the spindle again!
Here's a nice superwash merino/bamboo blend from Mocha's Fiber Connection. 1100 yds in the Sugar Maple colorway! I don't know what this wants to be yet,but please don't suggest socks! This deserves something more magnificent, like a shawl of some sort. Hmmm...I think I hear the Estonian Lace book screaming my name again!

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Hummers are back!

Just saw my first little fella of the season at my feeder! 6:54 AM EDST. I'm so glad I took Judy's advice and put my feeder out on Monday!

eXtreme Spindling!

On vacation in Stonington, April 19th. We had GORGEOUS weather!

Note: Sooooooooo annoyed! Hubby edited the video for me so it would show properly, but You Tube is now showing it sideways, and I can't figure out how to fix it! If I do figure it out someday, you all will be the first to know.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I tawt I taw a puddy tat...ent he cunnin'?

More new yarns in my store!

I'm having too much fun again, folks. Here's the evidence. If any of it grabs you, please visit Mad Angel Creations.I had hoped to post a video from my recent vacation in Maine, when I actually plied some yarn off the upper deck at the Inn on the Harbor, on my (formerly Mali's) Golding spindle. However, until I can figure out how to re-orient the video so you don't have to lie on your side to watch it, you'll just have to chuckle at the thought of it. But the upper deck is a good 10 to 12 feet from the lower deck, so I had that sucker going for awhile, and I kept it going, and got a nice 2-ply fingering weight for my efforts. What fun!

I also completely neglected to take any pictures when I paid a visit to Maiysha's home studio, Zebisis Designs. Talk about feeling like a kid in a candy store! Unbelievable stuff everywhere I turned, but the one thing I really wish I had thought to dig the camera out for was the "Welcome Mad Angel" written in the dust on the rear window of Maiysha's van, to let me know I had found the right place. I'm still chuckling at that. It was an awfully sweet thing to see upon arrival, when we really weren't sure if we had got to the right place or not.

I got some gorgeous fiber to spin, which will probably be the first treat I allow myself when I'm done with NH Sheep & Wool, and acquired a couple of new spindles -- green opal for me and a malachite/grass agate for a friend who probably thinks I forgot about it a long time ago. So, it will be a nice surprise indeed when I finally send it out!

Anyone coming to the NH Sheep & Wool festival this year? I am in my usual location, where people are guaranteed NOT to find me, in the Kimball Dairy Barn. This may be my last year participating in the Festival, as my request for a better location has not been honored. I'm still hoping to do better this year, as I have been putting lots of effort into my products, but I'm not letting myself get too excited. I figure, if I don't expect too much, maybe good things will happen, and I will be pleasantly surprised, and will consider returning next year.

If it goes the way it has the last two years, though, it just isn't worth the trouble. It's far easier to be an online presence, and put money I spend on iffy booth rentals back into acquiring good stock people will love.

I'm not really as down about it all as I sound, and if I don't vend next year, there's a lot to be said for spending a day at the festival and simply...enjoying myself. Though I do love meeting the folks who stop by my booth, even if they are all spent-out by the time they find me, and would miss that interaction. It's always nice to see what other fiber fiends are up to!