Friday, October 27, 2006

my precioussss...

since i've mainly been buying fibre to dye, spin, & sell, i haven't had much of a chance to amass a fibre stash. i've mainly been placing small orders, dyeing them & spinning them up straight away, and packaging them into hat kits or skeins, then ordering more fibre when i've run out of what i've got.
this may all be about to change.
remember my ravings about the black shetland? despite my professions of undying love, i'm a spinner who practices some serious non-monogamy. i loved the black shetland, the silk, and the blue-faced leicester. i loved the merino silk, and even the plain old merino. but today, i found myself the victim of some sheer fibre-y lust which left all my previous loves in the dust.

this is the brown cashmere & silk blend from scottish fibres, which arrived as part of my order this morning. it may look unassuming in its shy brown & white, but the softness of this fibre is unbelievable & indescribable. it's softer than a pile of kittens. it's so soft that i'm scared to touch it in case the tiny bit of dry skin on my hands snags it. & it's so soft that i don't even want to spin it - i just want to hide it away somewhere & take it out & pet it every once in a while, possibly while whispering softly to it (my precioussss...).
i'm actually a little scared to spin it - the yarn that i imagine creating when i look at this fibre will never, i'm sure, be matched by the yarn that i actually spin. i'm imagining a fine, fine 2-ply laceweight; the silk will make it faintly shimmery & the cashmere will give it a soft halo, perfectly suited to a small lace shawl or a scarf. this yarn will most definitely not be for sale - it's mine.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

sock carnage

(the faint-hearted knitter should not read this post - come back tomorrow when i post about happy things.)

despite my extreme luck on tuesday in getting the yarn shop in glasgow to stock my hat kits (and they're even up on her website now, on the front page!!) it nearly wasn't a good day at all.
the first inkling that this might be a Bad Day was when i started getting ready to go out, to get the train into glasgow & the bus to the yarn shop in the west end before going back into the city centre for my SnB meetup.
"i know what will cheer me up on this gray, gloomy, permanently-about-to-rain day", i thought. "my brand-new, just-finished, only-worn-once Socks that Rock 'ruby slippers' socks!".

as i pulled them on i marvelled once again at the soft, squishy yarn in the perfect colours to brighten a dreary day. i loved knitting with this yarn - it's the first time i've tried socks that rock yarn, and it is everything you want a sock yarn to be, both in the knitting & in the wearing.

but wait... what's this???

(insert much cursing & swearing here)
a HOLE. in my brand-new, just-finished, only-worn-once rockin' socks. i don't remember doing it, but i must have snagged them on something when i wore them the very first time.
and then, on the way to the yarn shop, i got off the bus too early, tried to take a shortcut, and ended up wandering about some completely insane maze of back streets clutching a bag of yarn... and then, it finally started to rain. and then my umbrella broke...

and now, this morning, after some fortifying coffee...

good thing i like knitting socks - although i don't normally have to knit the same pair twice. le sigh...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

lucky tuesday

my lucky tuesday can be summed up in one sentence...

katharine at k1yarns in glasgow is going to stock my handspun hat kits!!!

that's just crazy.

i'll post again when i've calmed down a little...

Monday, October 23, 2006

buy my wares...

the market was a success! i sold two hat kits & a skein of handspun, and made a grand total of enough to cover the materials cost for all the hat kits i've made thus far. wheee!! elaine took some pics of the stall which i'll post as soon as she sends them to me. there were a lot of favourable comments from people at the market, so i'll definitely be doing the next one as well, and hopefully will sell even more as it gets closer to xmas & people start to think about gifts for the knitter in their life.
in the meantime i've set up another blog with the kits & yarn i've still got for sale; please go over & have a look! if you're interested in buying a hat but find the pics on the blog too small to know for sure, let me know and i can email you a bigger & better picture to help you make up your mind. you can find a link to the new site in the sidebar, or click here!

p.s. elaine said that the person who bought the two hat kits is a reader of my blog; so, hi! how are you? & thanks for buying stuff!! :) if you can leave me a comment so i know who you are that would be great - and i'd love it if you could send me a picture of the finished hats...
& thanks to dancingnic for buying the skein of "bluebird" handspun, and leaving me such a nice comment as well as posting about it on her blog! again, i'd love to see what you make out of it...

Thursday, October 19, 2006


the yarn is spun, the pattern is written & tested, and the hat kits are ready to go.

top, l to r: the test hat, knitted in merino/silk blend (embellished with beads because i hadn't received the charms yet!); "viva las vegas"; "strawberry beret"; "carmen miranda"; "see you in september"; and "lucky you, lucky me".
bottom, l to r: "let it snow" (my personal favourite - 100% blue-faced leicester & 100% silk for the contrast colour - so soft!!); "california dreaming"; "see you in september"; "strawberry beret"; and three skeins of merino/silk hand-dyed that i'm hoping to sell as single skeins.
now that all the kits are packaged up, i'm taking the day off from spinning, and will be doing terribly exciting things like watching bad films, knitting, and hennaing my hair (i gave myself a trim over the weekend which cut out most of the colour from my previous henna job, and i was alarmed to see about 50 new gray hairs since the last time i did my hair about 2 months ago!).
i'm meeting elaine tomorrow to drop them off, as she's letting me use a corner of her table for my yarn. & the market is on saturday, so fingers crossed - it would be very exciting to sell some kits! everyone who's near glasgow should go buy things please...
& if the kits don't all sell out (which would be fantastic, but perhaps a bit optimistic!) i'm hoping to start selling them on the web, so let me know if you're interested...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

the good...

remember this? well, it was worth it... i won!

nothing like some sock yarn & chocolate to make up for the embarrassment of outing myself as a former corey feldman fan. the sock yarn is opal hundertwasser in "silver spiral", a limited edition sock yarn inspired by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a famous Austrian artist. thank you crafty fox!!
then the resident sock appreciator arrived home from work with a present for me - i was a bit sad yesterday so the RSA decided something was needed to cheer me up, and spotted this in a shop in town....

not only is it super cute, it's full of candy - who wouldn't be cheered up by that?
and last but definitely not least, my needles from celtic swan forge arrived today. although molly at celtic swan makes beautiful dpns for sock knitting, she can't knit socks, so she had put out a call to sock knitters for a barter - a pair of knitted socks for a set of hand-forged bronze dpns. how could i resist that? i sent off my socks & received these today.

they look absolutely gorgeous - i'll be casting on a new pair of socks with them later so i'll let you know how they knit.

and the bad...

the first thing i saw when i opened my mail yesterday?

oh, darn.
the rumours of my death, alas, are not exaggerated. i'm out of sock wars, thanks to laurie from oregon. funnily enough, the socks of doom arrived by courier delivery about an hour after i got the unfinished socks from my target - i managed to knit a grand total of two rows on my next target's socks before getting killed! it wasn't a bad way to die though - not only did she make me a beautifully squishy pair of socks of doom (interlacements toasty toes yarn, which is every bit as gorgeous as i'd heard) she also included a felted sock bag of doom, and some eerily delicious creepy hallowe'en candy (which i opened before i even took the picture - to console myself, of course!).

i'm off to eat chocolate & mope...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

hey, daddy-o

another lucky tuesday post - but i have to admit, i don't feel so lucky today.
today would have been my dad's 65th birthday. he died five years ago in march, roughly nine months after being diagnosed with lung cancer. since he was in canada & i was over here, i only saw him twice during that period; once just after he received the news that his cancer was terminal, and then for the few days that he was dying in hospital. i actually wasn't even supposed to be there the second time; i'd seen a last minute cheap flight deal & had booked a week's holiday without telling anyone, and just showed up on my parents' doorstep one day with my bags. two days after i arrived my dad went into hospital with pneumonia, and a few days later he died.
even five years later, "event" days like today are still really hard. although i didn't see my dad very much after i moved away from home, i would still always talk to him on the phone - he wasn't a great phone conversationalist (like a lot of guys, i suspect!) but on any big day (my birthday, christmas, his birthday) we would always have a chat. it's still weird not to talk to him when those days roll around, even after five years.
this picture was taken during my trip over to canada when he found out his cancer was terminal. he was already pretty sick, and couldn't walk very far (the cancer had spread to his spine, & he was in pain a lot of the time). most of my family were there that week, and we took a trip out to a local park where we used to go when we were kids - it had a huge hill in the middle of it, & we used to climb the hill & fly kites from the top. by that point my dad was too weak to make it up the hill, but he was still determined to have a good time, so he & i "flew" a kite in the parking lot (if you look closely, i'm pretty sure he's saying "wheee!").

my dad had a great singing voice & played guitar & autoharp. he loved telling stories & singing songs, the sillier the better. he adored bad puns & terrible jokes, and laughed a lot, even when he was in the hospital. & he was a big fan of action fims, especially arnold schwarzenegger (if he had stuck around long enough to see arnie become governor of california, he would have laughed for about six months). he listened to a lot of music from the 50s & 60s, and when we were joking around, he'd get called "daddy-o". we definitely had our disagreements, - because of his upbringing & his religious beliefs, he had a really hard time when i got my first girlfriend. but ultimately he just wanted me to be happy, and did everything he could to make sure i was.
from my dad, i get my love of awful puns & ridiculous jokes. i get my ability to make up silly songs for every occasion, and my musical talent. i get my seriously sweet tooth, and my enjoyment of bad action movies. i get my hair that wings out at the sides uncontrollably once it gets past a certain length.
& i get it now - even though he & i didn't always see eye to eye, he truly loved me & would have done anything for me. although he's not around anymore, i got to have an amazing dad for 25 years...

...lucky me.

Friday, October 13, 2006

hat -shaped hat

- in walked a man in the shape of a man holding a hat-shaped hat -
(ani difranco, "hat-shaped hat")

i always get songs stuck in my head, and i've been singing this song over & over, making up my little hat kits in preparation for the miso funky market next weekend (at which the lovely elaine is going to let me use a corner of her table, as i don't have enough handspun to fill a whole table yet!). the hat pattern i wrote up to go with the kit is a simple, basic, hat-shaped stockinette hat, which is what prompted the song. the kits are slowly taking shape - i was a bit worried about each kit having enough yarn, so i'm adding accent colours for stripes just to be on the safe side (although i managed to knit the test hat out of one 50g skein of handspun with no accent colours to bump up the yardage, so perhaps i'm just being paranoid - it even fits me, and i have a disproportionately large head).
i'm actually finding the thought of trying to sell my handmade things vaguely alarming (that's my 97% neurotic personality showing again!). i'm also having a dilemma over pricing the hat kits - any suggestions? the kit comprises (more than) enough handspun to knit a hat (varying fibres, depending on the kit) as well as a basic pattern inside the label, & some pewter charms for embellishment - the yarn colours & the charms are worked around themes - the one pictured below is called (perhaps rather obviously, but i like it!) "strawberry beret"...

so, how much would you pay for that? (be nice...)

Thursday, October 12, 2006


like a computer can give an accurate picture of my personality...

Openness To Experience
Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report

ok, i knew it wouldn't be great... but 97% neurotic??? ack. now i must go away for a while & overthink this... :)

(edited later to add...)
now, let's compare that with the scores of the resident sock appreciator. (if you in fact are interested enough to click through to the full report, please ignore the bit about the RSA being a 25 year old man from yemen. people home exhausted from a full day at the office do unexplainably silly things.)
Openness To Experience
Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report
who can tell me which one of us is the stable one in this relationship? (apart from that bit about yemen, that is.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

a day late

(and a dollar short?)
once again, i've missed "lucky tuesday"... i'm only a day late this time, & happily i'm full of it today (luck, that is).
today i'm lucky because it's rainy & gray, and the fog is rolling in so that when i look out my window, all i can see is the sea. i've been sitting in my comfy chair pretending i'm the only person in the world, drinking excellent coffee, listening to agatha christie audio books & knitting the cashmere susan shawl. i won't bother with a picture just now - progress pics for lace are always a bit disappointing. although it currently looks like an amorphous blob, it is in fact about 10 inches of shawl length. the rows are about 500+ stitches at the moment, so it's taking about 25 minutes per row, and it's only getting wider - this could take a while to finish. with the cashmere handpainted lace and the ebony circular needles, though, just knitting it is pure luxury.
i'm also lucky because i'm going to club noir on the 21st, and i'm very excited - it looks like it's going to be a great night (& since i don't get out much, this is a big deal for me!). i've been planning my outfit furiously, as they have a strict dress code, and the more goth & glam, the better. i already have a black dress that's pretty fancy, but i hardly ever get to wear it - it's quite clingy & alas, i'm - shall we say - not as slim as i used to be. enter the great invention of the half-corset:

you can find just about anything on ebay, can't you?
with my clothing sorted, i've been searching for some fantastic shoes to go with the outfit. the caveats are a) they must be cheap (i'm very short of cash!); b) they have to be relatively goth/glam, and go with an outfit that features skulls; and c) i have to be able to dance all night in them. due to a serious lack of girly abilities (i can't, for the life of me, walk in heels) the perfect shoes were proving hard to find. then today, i was strolling down the "main street" of my town (i put this in quotation marks because the town has a population of about 10,000 people, so the main street consists of about ten shops). as i was passing one of the charity shops, i suddenly thought "hm... i should look in there, they might have shoes for me". keeping in mind that the average age of the town residents is about 65, and the shoes one most often finds in charity shops here are either pastel-coloured or orthopaedic, i was extremely surprised to find these, for the bargain price of £6...

aaaah... feel the biker love. get me a pair of fishnets, and i'm ready to go....

... lucky me.

Monday, October 09, 2006

throwing a wobbly

in the ongoing saga of my weird & not-so-wonderful health, i've woken up this morning with a serious case of the wobbles. i seem to be having near-constant vertigo & dizziness today, as well as an odd feeling of my brain being very slightly "disconnected" from my body (very peculiar & not at all pleasant!). i managed to wobble my way around the park this morning & toss the ball about for the pup (luckily we have one of these ball throwing things for him, which makes things easier for me & means he still gets a good run about!) & wobbled my way back home, where i've been wobbling about the flat for the rest of the day. it seems to not be so bad if i stay very still, so of course i needed to cast on some new socks to cheer me up... and what better than my first try of socks that rock sock yarn?

i got this from my knitty secret pal in the last secret pal round-up (it's not available yet in the UK, alas!), as an apology for her package to me being delayed because she'd not put enough postage on it! i felt a bit guilty at the time that she felt she needed to apologise - i was just happy to be getting lovely presents in the post, and wasn't really bothered by the delay. now that i've started knitting with it, though, i'm glad that she felt guilty, or else i would never have got such gorgeous yarn!! it's so nice to knit with & the colours are beautiful (the colourway above is "ruby slippers", wound into a nice centre-pull ball - by my fantastic new ballwinder that i finally managed to win on ebay after bidding on them for about the past six months with no success, so that's cheered me up as well).
i've also managed to card together some more fibres - this time it's merino & angora, dyed using the microwave kool-aid method as described here. the carding took ages & was a bit sneezy as the angora was very fluffy & flyaway, and kept going all over the place. i'll try to spin some up tomorrow and see how it goes.
(hm - blogger won't let me add the pic of the dyed fibres so i'll try & do that tomorrow as i must go lay down now).

off for more rocking socks... and if the socks are a-rocking, don't come knocking... (i'd probably fall down on the way to answer the door, anyways).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

cherry bomb

the dyeing & spinning experiments continue, as does work on the prototype project - a test knit for a hat kit that i'm hoping to sell, incorporating handspun yarn, a basic pattern of my own invention, and some pewter charms for embellishment, all based around a central theme (different theme ideas are still being played around with, so any suggestions are gratefully accepted - if i use your theme, i'll send you... i don't know, some chocolate?).
the prototype hat used the "cherry flame" dyed merino/silk handspun, and since my order of charms hasn't arrived yet, i improvised & used a beaded cherry stitchmarker for decoration. i've had the above song in my head since i started dyeing & blending the fibres, so the cherry embellishments seemed appropriate:

elaine is going to have a table at the next miso funky market in glasgow (october 21st - come and buy things please!) & i'm hoping to put some handspun up for sale on a wee corner of her table, as well as some more hat kits. i've been spinning, dyeing and blending fibres like a madwoman to get things ready in time as well as test-knitting the prototype & working out any pattern kinks. i'm hoping that people will like the hat kits - whenever i see single skeins of a nice handspun, my first thought is usually "pretty - but what would i use it for??" so i'm hoping if it's in a kit form, that question will be answered & people will be more likely to buy it... we'll see.

twice as lucky

can you believe, i forgot "lucky tuesday" last week? so today, i'll have to be twice as lucky...
today, i am lucky because i got to pick up my ring that i had ordered from bethsy gray (scroll down) a couple of weeks ago. she does amazing silver jewellery & i have a couple of smaller pieces already, which i love. when my gran died she left us all a small amount of money (which my mum made bigger by adding in some of her inheritance as well - thanks mum!) & i had planned to use some of the money to buy a really special piece of jewellery to remember my gran, but hadn't found anything i liked yet. luckily for me, bethsy gray takes commissions, so i was able to get her to make exactly what i wanted. i hadn't expected to be able to pick it up today - when i commissioned the ring she had just had an operation on the tendon in her wrist and was having a hard time working, so she didn't know how long it would take, and i had prepared myself for a long wait.

unfortunately the flash washed out some of the colour - it's a much deeper purple in real life (do you know how hard it was to take even a half-decent picture?!). it's silver with a boulder opal set into a very chunky setting - huge & flamboyant (totally unlike my wee unassuming scottish gran, but quite me!) but somehow extremely comfortable to wear - i love it. now i just have to be careful not to inadvertently injure someone (or myself) with my new massive knuckle-duster.
and (and i can't believe i haven't mentioned this before now, because she did it ages ago - i'm so ungrateful!) i am lucky because the lovely elaine sent me a gift voucher for posh yarn, so i get to browse their website to my heart's content looking for something luxurious, all without spending any money. i'm on a sort of yarn diet at the moment, as (apart from inheritance-funded ring buying!) i'm very short of cash - illness-forced inability to take any work will do that to you. i'm trying not to spend money on yarn or fibres, or any other "luxuries", so i'm saving the gift voucher until i'm absolutely desperate to buy some new luxury yarn, and then i can do it guilt-free thanks to elaine.

lucky, lucky me....