Friday, March 31, 2006

A Sweater for My Mother

As usual, it seems I let time get away from me. I've been very busy getting the latest batch of crochet thread sent out. Also, have been having fun with some new dye colors I ordered and dyed tons of yarn as well. I still have a bunch of sock, worsted and lace weight to get swatched and skeined for listing.

It takes extra time, but I really like to knit swatches for the yarns, that way people can get an idea of what it really looks like. (click for bigger)

This is one of the latest colorways, as well as one of my favorites. I'm really loving the vivid colors I'm getting.

The Babe arrived on Friday. It didn't take DBF long to have it all assembled and ready for me to start the learning process yet again. It felt like being used to driving about 35 mph and then suddenly thrown on the highway to go 65 mph with no previous experience. I was quite older when my then husband taught me how to drive at age 28. Those memories are still quite vivid.

There she is in all her glory, or clutter. Tiny apartment, two packrats with multiple hobbies, plus a fiber business equals a whole shitload of clutter. They sent about 2 ounces of wool to practice with. It looked and felt quite similar to the Corriedale Cross I bought last month. Actually, I find the merino easier to spin for some weird reason.

What I spun the first half hour that first day wasn't fit for human viewing. I had to make it disappear hid it in the garbage can. Instead, here is the small skein from Saturday evening's practice. Wee, tiny little skein, shown next to a twelve inch spindle for perspective. This took me I believe four hours to make. I was moving way sloooow, a snail could have spun faster.

Since then I have spun these two spools. Spinning natural the natural wool they sent was getting boring. I had to switch to some merino. This was from my second dye experiment and just a little bit felted, but not so much that it isn't still easy to draft into fine single. I also didn't care for the pastel colors that it came out. I've had it held aside to spin then sell on ebay or etsy.

Last post, I showed the merino/tussah I dyed for my mother's sweater. I dyed a little over a pound. So I could knit the Milinda Pullover from White Lies Designs. I also ordered the Nicole camisole. I was disappointed in how much they charged for shipping and the patterns are a bit vague in places. I'm not one that needs my hand held to follow a pattern, but I do think these could be a bit more descript. Good thing there is a yahoo group I may have to join and hopefully someone else is working on these as well. Shipping was very quick, I do have to say that. I ordered them on Monday and had them in my hands on Friday. Yes, Friday was a wonderful mailday indeed.

It's going to take about 1100 yards to make the sweater in my mother's size. I do believe that with the singles I've been spinning, I will be able to get more than that in a 3 ply with the pound I dyed. Here's the small skein, plus two cones that I have spindle spun waiting to be plied. After I'm finished with merino I'm currently spinning on the wheel, I think I should be proficient enough to ply all the singles I've spindled so far. I do hate spindle plying.

Other knitting news, just in time to get packed away for the warmer weather, I started a mobious scarf in Knit Picks, Ambrosia, alpaca/cashmere in Night Sky colorway. It's more of a greyish blue and a little lighter than the swatch in both the catalog and website show. I ordered swatches of a few of their other yarns, but they don't have a swatch list for this yarn as of yet. I would like to make a sweater out of this, but I would like to see what the other colors look like in real life first. Being this is Western, New York, I might just get a chance to finish and wear it before it's packed away yet. I know, bite your tongue, my grandmother would tell me.

I'm really nervous about things slowing down with the store, just as I'm trying to get things going. Spring came so fast this year. I know it's going to take time for word of mouth to get out. Oh well, I guess it will give me more time to blog about what I'm working on.

Happy Needlecrafting

Sunday, March 12, 2006

How To Make More Time

That's an age old question, one which I bet 95% of the population would like an answer to. There are tons of time management books written on the subject. Plus, all the inventions that have been created to give us more time. But, we seem to have less of it.

Think back to just a hundred years ago, how long it would take women to do the weekly laundry. *shudders* Um, maybe not. That's why too much work. There is a reason why there is an age old saying, "The greatest thing since sliced bread." I'd hate to think of have to bake the daily bread back when I had three teenagers in the house.

So many gadgets to save time, tons of books meant to help organize it, yet we still want more hours in the day. Atleast, I do. What I really want is more productive hours in my day, that are less painful.

The ebay store has finally hit my weekly goal in sales for the past two weeks. We have recently opened a second store on etsy, for those that don't care for ebay. It's basically come down to maintaining and increasing production.

I'm purchasing my spinning wheel the 20th of this month. Actually, I want the pedal pusher model to help exercise my legs, as it's hard to go for walks in bad weather. I really need a wheel just to ply all my spindle spun singles. Plying, even on my large 36" cd spindle is just a pain, similar to chronic severe pain episodes and in the same body region.

I dyed a little over a pound of this merino/tussah to make my mother a sweater. I figured out how to greatly limit handling the wool during the rinsing process, thus limiting some of the slight felting that happens, so it's spins up like the natural undyed product.

I also finally finished my mom's sock. I'm knitting it with my Desert Sunset and Robin's Egg for the heels and toes. Yes, I did cast on right away for the second sock. Butterscotch is inspecting the progress.

I do have a few other things in the works, but I'll save those pictures for another time. If you could do me a small favor and let me know in the comments what colors/yarn type/fiber you would like to see made. It will be helpful to find out what people are looking for.

Happy needlecrafting.