Thursday, September 29, 2005

Tales of a LYS 

Okay, remember Mike Meyers Coffee Talk voice? Please hear that Brooklyn Barbra voice for this next bit:

[Me]:"Le Stitch, this is Wendy, how can I help you?"

[Brooklyn Barbra from Bonita]:"Hello? I bought some mow-hair there and I'm knitting it and the pattern says, "See Oh Two-Six on You Ess Thirteen parenthesis Nine em em. What does that mean? Should I use the larger or the smaller size?"

It means that you should come in so I can show you how almost every needle made and distributed in the US has the brand name, the US size, and the needle's diameter in millimeters printed, stamped, embossed, engraved, whatevered onto it.
And then I can poke you with them, you silly cow.

Another call:
"Do you have afghan yarn? I'm making an afghan and do you have a silvery gray yarn?"

Um, yeah? We have lots of different yarns, lots of different colors (it is, after all, a LYS), so, um, maybe, yeah? Then the caller came in (disguised as a ribbed scarf knitter who had forgotten how to bind off and also needed to know how [and whether] to do fringe) and she seems really intent on recreating the exact patterned afghan her mother made.

Which I might try to make fun of, but it's sad really as she's not alone.

There seem to be lots of boomer generation ladies coming in, learning to knit, all to recreate the exact same ratty afghan their mother or grandmother made for them. I guess it's the whole wonderwoman thing--the career, the owned home, the nice cars, the forgotten "feminine arts?" Something they missed, a little nostalgia for a path not taken? I don't know, but it's not uncommon. Lots of stories of special blankets pass through the LYS.

Anyway, here are some pics of the stuff I've been up to:


This is that laceweight plied in different directions for experiments in making cabled yarns. We have three colorways, from L to R: blue/green, pink/muted purples, and "Hi, welcome to McDonald's can I take your order?"

Some knitting on personal time, the back of Noro's Butterfly:

Some dyeing (not blue and green!) on thick and thin millspun wool:

And my favorite, a stormy sky at night on a full moon type colorway:

I am so excited for this Sunday and Nancy's shindig. AND, I finally have a buyer for Audrey which is funny as I just dropped her off on Sunday at Jessica's place.

But, Susan's not in a hurry to pick it up, so Jessica has plenty of time to get used to/sick of the wheel and I've got lots of time to jinx the deal.

Because I love having half a closet taken up by reproachful (but prettily carved) bits of wood.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Amy's had her baby!


Self-indulgent Twaddle 

Here's the inevitable weird site hits/stats thingies post. Frankly, I find the random search queries to be one of the most entertaining bits about blogging.

For "hot chicks named Wendy" and "wild west wendy crack" I have, apparently, been the number one result.

I would feel more excited about the first one if only I could forget what crap the msn search engine truly is.

And I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that someone(s) out there has/have searched "naughtygirl" and "pompis" (booty) using Google Images and then actually clicked on the pictures of Belu with her head in a chip bag and Crivens' big ass respectively to visit this journal. I kind of wish I could place a pervo-blocker over their pics.

Speaking of images, if you are searching using Google Images, or Yahoo Images or whatever, don't attach "pictures only!!!" to your search query. Dumbasss.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

T'other day... 

I heard the parakeets shrieking (like they do when they are low on seed/water/we're on the phone) and I saw a shadow pass across the deck. Then, hello, my beautiful beady-eyed friend who is not intimidated by my awed "shoo. go away. don't eat my stupid multi-colored non-native species birds. shoo"ing:

In fiber-related news, I actually have an FO (for the LYS) and Louet delivered some of my backorder today. So, some dyeing to come.
And I will remember to take a pic of the FO even if it is not mine to keep on Monday.

And Monday morning I have an appointment with a merchant banking dude to see about a non-paypal payment acceptance alternative (and whether it is worth it).

And I vow to stock my etsy shop next week. I have (I think) the exact same two-ply KPPPM is made of, so I'll be sorry I poo-poohed it, I am sure.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I think I sense a color theme... 

On a personal business note:

I didn't have a ton of money for an order so I only dyed a bit of it and left a lot undyed in case others wanted to do their own color love on it.

I've never had faith in my reproducibility of colors, but this recent spate has...well, given me false faith. Even though I randomised my stupid little heart out, with no notes, I ended up with the same colorways throughout various materials.

First, you have to sit through a dog pic, because that's this blog's version of trial-by-fire:

That's Snowball, dreaming among the detritus of what used to be a guest bedroom and is now the Lanas de Libélula "warehouse." I'd prefer not to have him in there, but he whines and cries and makes me lose count on the niddy-noddy otherwise. He just needs to be where I am. I've created a love monster. The bag and the box of cylindrical things is the buttload of dyes Heidi gave me, because she is an amazing, generous person, and (maybe just a little bit) in the throes of that moving panic where you give away the old box of tools but end up moving boxes full of saran wrap and tennis balls. ahem, or maybe that's just our style, i dunno.

Okay, now here's some of the point.
Sorry, some of these pics don't really show the color too well because they're a little too dark.

Here's a pic of my work basket:

And here are the colorways of fiber and millspun yarn I hope to have posted online for sale soon.

A wintery, looking toward fall, merino-silk blend:

On top is the green superwash for a dog sweater --oh yes, Nancy, oh yes!--

These are nylon fibers (Louet's "icicle") which take up dye quite nicely and are actually very soft (but very scattery)--softer than Firestar, and finer.

And because I am still enthusiastic and freaked out about this entrepreneurial thing, and only have a pathetic jr. high ROP accounting background, I find this making me miss, once again, living in the Bay Area. A holistic approach to accounting. Therapy and finance, you betcha, so SF I could plotz. (ooh, I think I exceeded my regional voices allowance there).


Friday, September 16, 2005

My Week in Pictures 

I got a job. Just a little job, working at a local yarn store, teaching classes and (wo)manning the cash register and answering endless variations of the "how can I make a gorgeous timeless piece in almost no time with almost no money" type and "how many skeins of this do I need to make a sweater" (for this exercise you run around the store grabbing random hanks of yarn, and despite my picking up an identical skein, reading you the yardage and calculating the averages and variations out loud [because you never decided whether you wanted to make a st st sweater or a textured sweater] you ask the question each time, every time, making no attempt to read the labels and figure it out yourself.)

It's just a part-time job, but it's amazing how used to endless free-time I became, and it actually feels like a big adjustment.

And I'm in a quandary. Should I identify the LYS? I'd love it if people would come visit me while I'm there, to knit and dish, and Cristina knows which one it is, and here's a clue: it's one I never set foot in before I went in for a job, but at the same time, maybe it should remain un-named here, for the time being.

Anyway, on with my first week of employment at a LYS in pictures:

Look! VM from Taiwan!
(Crystal Palace yarns all seemed to be marked "Spun in Taiwan")

Is it just me, or are these barfy colourways? Something about the "kid merino" reminds me of tattoos on corpse skin (something about those not quite primary colours against a sallow yellow) And that Optik, well, go see Manuel the Marsupial's pouch for a non-barfy colourway. It is possible.

This "Poof" reminds me of pubic hair, but there's a sampler knit with a couple of squares and you should hear how the ladies go batshit over it. They still don't buy it though.

Here's a scarf I've been knitting in the store's logo colours (another clue, I guess) made from CP "kid merino" (in a non-barfy self-striping colourway) and CP's "Dragonfly" (they were even less diligent about recreating dragonfly form in the yarn than I was for this, if that's possible)

The week was so full of dull afternoons and no one buying and me inventory-tagging and price-tagging and sorting and displaying endless amounts of novelty yarns I despaired of anyone ever buying...that I decided to bend over to clean out a waste basket and slam my forehead into a display hook so hard I split the skin and grew a horn. Since I had a pricing gun handy, I re-calibrated appropriately and tagged myself (as in "I say I ain't giving you no tree fiddy you goddamned Loch Ness monster, get yo own goddamned money!") and took a piccie like a diligent blogger.

Please note the burgeoning blood, and how I suffer for my art.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Secret Pal 6 Qs 

I've never done a Secret Pal thing before, but my SP (hi mama llama!) asked if I'd answered the questions...so I have:

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I don't know that I would phrase it "snob," but I do prefer to wear self-extinguishing fibers. What can I say? I'm accident-prone.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I love spinning, love, love, love it. Probably more than I love knitting, although they're really two very different activities for two very different purposes (knitting=portable, finished garment/ spinning=not so portable but...different. Love it.) Crochet is neat, but I haven't learned anything more than sc to stabilise a hem.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
Sort of allergic to cats, but not all cats, so don't worry about it. That's what modern medicine is all about. And even when I know I'm allergic to a particular cat, you'll still catch me with my nose buried in its fur for kissies (reason #34 my MIL thinks I'm not smart enough for her son). I don't like cig smoke, but BBQ smoke is yummy. Love's Baby Soft gives me horrendous flashbacks. Other than that, I'm good with smelly things.

4. How long have you been knitting?
5 years? Yeah, or thereabouts. I'm not a BIG knitter, I mean, no Stitches West Workshops or anything like that, but I've done cables, mini socks...I like to experiment, but I'm not great on the follow-through.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I didn't, but now I do. It was fun to set that up, actually.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Woodsy, or edible yummies, really. I love sandalwood, cedar, pine, pine tar, vanilla, verbena, and clove.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
You bet your sweet bippy! I love the trail mixes with pieces of chocolate or peanut butter chips mixed in with the dried fruit and nuts.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Just the spinning, knitting, and dyeing really. That takes up quite enough space and time at the moment. Maybe I'll take up stamping and beading if I locate a wormhole in the continuum.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I love random music. Indian (punjabi) music or bhangra, bluegrass (Yonder Mountain String Band), Manu Chao, Robert Earl Keen, Dar Williams, MC Solaar, Willie Nelson, some Jack Johnson...happy music, I guess. No angry STP-type tunes for me. North African pop. I did the music meme awhile back (Feb 9) and my opinions haven't changed much.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love green, blue, red & orange. Elemental colours. Not too keen on purple. Green's definitely the favourite of the moment.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Our household consists of 1 incredibly sexy, charming, and indulgent husband, 1 "special boy" who upholds the reputation of sighthounds as being, er, "dim," 1 bitchy little fat girl who is a border collie in an overweight whippet's body, and 1 pseudo-greyhound foster dog who is still getting the hang of living in a "family situation" (and doing d@mn well for a dog who spent eight years sleeping in his own filth in the tiny sideyard of a Temecula home). And my Mom's greyhound Crivens spends a fair amount of time here because she's a Princess and likes to hang out here while Mom earns her kibble and greenie money during the workday.

We also have two parakeets.

But we don't really talk about them. They're weird.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
I'd love to figure out the secret to keeping myself motivated and actually get a degree in something, anything, rather than the half-assed expensive dabbling I've done to muck up my permanent record in the past.
I would love for us to own our own home and for me to be able to pull my own weight financially in this family. Nick says he doesn't mind, but I do.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Soft and bouncy. I think I like my own best, conceited as that is. Maybe I'm inclined to slightly hairy, because while thinking about my favourite commercial yarns I like I think of Lavold's Angora, CE's Lana d'Oro, and Naturally Merino & Fur.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Stuff which will melt on me, not breathe, or spontaneously burst into flame. Or really itch.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
I don't know that you could call any of my knitting an obsession. But I'm more intrigued by socks lately. And I've just dyed a half pound of superwash to spin into yarn for a sweater for one of the dogs.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Little dog sweaters are very satisfying. Hats, gloves, scarves, semi-instant gratification. I love cables and want to write my own cabled sweater pattern.

17. What are you knitting right now?
The Noro Butterfly from my own handspun. I've done two sleeves and have a couple inches of the back.

18. What do you think about ponchos?
Whatever floats your boat baby, but they don't do nuthin' fer me.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Circs all the way. I really, really wish my Denise Interchangeables went smaller than US5s. SO I go Addi Turbos for those sizes.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I guess I should say plastic for the sake of consistency, but I do love the feel of wooden needles. I just hate the joins and cables of the wooden ones I've used (CP).

21. Are you a sock knitter?
I've done a mini sock (hideous pink acrylic) and a big Christmas stocking for my Grandmother (the decorative details of which I still need to finish) but I have XRX's Socks³ and Zilboorg's fabulous sock book. I need to get the lead out on those bad boys.

22. How did you learn to knit?
From a cheesy Susan Bates booklet. Crucial help was received from Suzanne of Knitting in La Jolla while visiting the San Diego area (we lived in Oakland at the time & I can't remember what I was confused about. I think it had to do with "pulling it through, then pulling it off"). From the internet. The woman at the Knitting Basket in Oakland who told me I was purling "wrong."

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Probably the Map of the World Afghan. I stalled out in Canada on the first panel. That Tahki Donegal Tweed just isn't the most joyful to the hands kind of yarn. Good and sticky for colourwork though, it's true.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I think I've got a little thing for dragonflies. And whippets and greyhounds of course.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Our wedding anniversary.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
No, I don't think so. Clutter?

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don't have any subs; I've been meaning to get a Spin-Off sub. It gives me an excuse to go into a LYS and "control myself" to only one thing.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
The Walker stitch encyclopedias, esp. the third one.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??
I have a ton of patterns in the queue. No willpower for patterns, me.

ETA: 30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like?
Oh, eek. I traced my foot on sheet of paper and it's HUGE. It would take way too long to knit me a pair of socks. My feet make Baby Jesus cry.


Friday, September 09, 2005

What a dullard 

What a boring post I left last, oh my. About as boring as waiting for a file to download.
At least it was knitting related, although maybe that proves my theory about how boring writing about knitting is.
When it's done by me, I mean. Some people can work it, I am obviously not one of those people.

Let's go from little to big in the news department shall we?

First, I put up a button in the sidebar for a page where you can buy anti-administration, pro-troop stickers (and this time the paypal button works), if you're interested.

Second, and last (mildly) political thing in this entry, here's a funny screen shot from Viper007Bond I found via Jack Bog's blog.

I'm reading up on Portland blogs because Heidi and I will be up there October 6th through the 11th, doing a natural dye workshop that weekend.

We're staying the day before (the 6th) and the day after (the night of the tenth, morning of the 11th) wif wun o my crazee cuzzins so if'n anybody wants to meet up up there, that'd be fun. Or suggestions of stuff to do...although we may just walk into Powell's and never come out, from what I've heard of it.

I scanned a bunch of photos in and processed them yesterday for posting, but the system must have burped because half of them were gone. Weird.

But because I want to share Mandy's generosity with the world, I tracked those missing images down, so here they are:

This is one of the wackiest crochet booklets. I love the allover mesh crochet jumpsuit look--why isn't that popular now?

Further, the booklet contained some great accessories, including the trés chic faux roman gear.

Creepy French family.

And the God of VogueKnitting sent a plague of bobbles among them...

Just because he's wearing a matching hat, scarf and mittens set, don't think that you can mess with this guy.

Another Aran pattern booklet had a man with a bow and arrow...Aran Clans and a Culture of Violence? Or is it just to offset the feminising influence of bobbles?

#1 Fashion Victim: The Pink Bismuth Mummy

This is the coolest collection of vintage craft magazines, and Mandy rocks for passing them on. Nick and I had a lot of fun looking through them. I love them, and amidst the trendy patterns there are some real classics and the beautiful lines I love from these older patterns. She gave me permission to share the love and I'd feel guilty if I kept them all for myself, so look out LoriO!

Friday was an excellent mail day, an UPCO.com order full of greenies for the dogs, the photos I finally got 'round to ordering of our southern Mexico trip, and ta-dah!

the long-awaited Louet order!

Some of it is on back order, but hooray, yippeeee, YAY! I almost rolled in all the dyeable goodness. Some of it is cooking in the oven as I type, some of it drying in the spare room, some of it still bagged and pristine to be sold as is. But I am now, officially, a Louet dealer. Woo-hoo!


Thursday, September 08, 2005

I have a confession. 

Well, actually, a couple.

First, I found the other glove. It was in my knitting bag. My excuse is that the lining of the bag is green, and the glove is, after-all, a camouflage colourway.

This works except the inside of the bag is grass green, but hey, it was hiding under my fake Noro Butterfly sleeve in there and g-d knows what else.

Second, I'm posting this from my mother's new computer. I just set it up, have set it up to the internet and...holy cow dial-up is slow. So here's the confession: I learned to knit because I used to have dial-up.

I know, so shallow in a world full of people who learned at their (grand)mother's knee, or to honour the tradition of handwork, or as a feminist statement, or for therapeutic release, or to challenge themselves to learn a new skill...I learned because our internet was slow and I wanted something to do while I waited.

I was really into an internet forum called The Straight Dope and since it was a bulletin board I was reading with somewhat involved and often preposterous discussions, I found it dissatisfying to shift from the world of whatever book I was reading in these load-times chunks to whatever silly thread I was wanting to read.

The forums took FOREVER to load.


And every once in a while there'd be a thread or a mention of knitting that made it sound like a fun club to join, and we lived in Montclair, which is kind of like the La Jolla of Oakland and there was a little shop called The Knitting Basket right down in the village and I liked the look of the sweaters in the window so I went and bought a crappy Susan Bates Learn to Knit booklet, US8 Clover bamboo straights (12"s I think) and a ball of Patons Canadiana in a rainbow colourway.

I made a long, five inch wide garter stitch scarf for Tahoe. He looked so cute in his Fog Dog coat and a rainbow scarf wrapped jauntily around his long neck that people would stop and turn around to look at him as he passed. (and not to giggle behind their hands, but with genuine smiles on their faces, )

I was hooked by the repetition, the control over final product, the surprise of the final product (despite the control ;)) and the having something to do with my damn hands while I waited. I also discovered that it is the best way to maintain a flow in traffic. Having your knitting at the ready guarantees that your car will not have to stop. Or if you do, as soon as you pick it up traffic moves again. Almost always, this is true.

Initially, after we moved down here and went for the cable package because SBC apparently stands for Stupid Bitchy Cockweasels who can't set up a working phone line in under a month and a half and will still try to bill you two hundred dollars for a phone number you never were able to use, I was annoyed by the lightening fast loading, because it meant that I'd no sooner pick up the needles than the page would be up. And I read too fast to knit while surfing because one hand is always scrolling down or clicking. Eventually, the two hobbies of web surfing and knitting were pretty much separated. Until now, when the download window of this dial-up machine warns me that it will take four hours to download iTunes.

And I doubt it will take four hours, as it's almost at halfway and it's only been a little over an hour. Hooray!

Well, at least I'll get the second sleeve done today, and maybe the second glove, although I forgot the other one for matching it in proportion.

Oh boy! What an exciting post! One link and zero pictures!


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Uh, um. 

As I said to Nick last night, "How many times do I have to make a mistake before I learn and stop doing it?" I was referring to some other mistake I made last night, but I repeated this sentiment to myself this morning.

But first, some backstory:

I received a marvelous funpack from Mandy which held a huge bunch of vintage knitmags (some disastrous fashions from which I will scan and inflict on this blog soon) and a skein of Koigu KPPPM so that I might know its "deliciousness."

I love getting mail. I loved getting this package from Mandy and knowing that she thought about me, remembered a much earlier e-mail conversation and sent me this skein and these fun mags...but I still don't "get" the Koigu thing.

I'm so glad that she sent me this skein because I see people posting willy-nilly about how wonderful it is, but I don't know that I would ever have shelled out for it and the suspense of wondering whether I was just crazy and missing out on the best yarn of my life would have slowly eaten away at me...

But first the positives: great colourway and very strong and likely to be quite durable. I don't hate it, I just think it's been hyped.

But, it doesn't feel that nice to the hand in the skein or while working it; it feels like acrylic to me. The six balls of acrylic I bought in the market at San Andres for thirty pesos is softer though. As a two-ply merino I expected nicer loft and hand (skooshiness, I believe is the technical term) But I wanted to give it a chance, and discover the secret to the kpppm joy, (and I love the colours, now THAT is a camo colourway) so I whipped out a fingertipless glove.

I used the basic glove formula from the Winter 2003 IK, and in it they have you knit the thumb portion with waste yarn instead of just placing the stitches on the waste yarn and casting on to bridge the gap as I have done before. Which is a neat technique because 1) I hate casting on to bridge a gap. I do knit-on instead of the backward loop, but I still end up with annoying slack 2) while knitting around in the round, I find the thumb sitches sticking out annoying. What can I say? I'm a nitpicker.

But it is hard to knit it to fit when you can't stick your thumb through.

So where's the FO pic? Um, yeah, so here's where we come back to the "mistakes repeated" thing. I can't find it. I think I left it somewhere around the blue sofa, but I've pulled all the sofa cushions and looked everywhere and can't find it...and I think one of the dogs got it. So here, after all of that, I only have an in-progress pic, with the thumb and pinky still undone:

I immediately cast on for another because I knew I'd never get 'round to it if I waited, but, but, but, should I really keep going?

I think I should wait until I find out what fate the other glove found before I spend time knitting a mate for a possibly mateless fate.

I hope no one ate it. I have a history of wearing mittens that have been through a dog's digestive track, but I'm an "adult" now, and I don't know how I'd feel about it.

I'm hoping I'll find it just a little bit savaged somewhere.

Or maybe I just can't find it 'cuz it's camo-coloured.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Woo-hoo! and lots of chatter. 

Remember, way back when I was employed and I mentioned I was in love with someone I worked with? Well, because Nick is an understanding and patient man, he's allowed me to bring this object of my affection into our home:

I love everything about this dog but his silly name: Snowball. retch.
He's a total goofball, who doesn't look much like a greyhound at all but has the tattoos anyway.

La Mesa hasn't changed its doglaws, and we are still renters, so he's "just" a foster, but he'll probably be with us for a long time, because he's not your "typical greyhound" that your "typical adopter" will be seeking (like Jasper) and I love love love him, so his leash may have to be pried from my snot&tear-stained-tissue-filled hand when the time comes.

Or not.
His farts are pretty rank. ;p

Charitable Giving

So, another natural disaster has occurred and it is truly awful and has displaced many people. The links to give are everywhere. So this month for giving to any one but a Katrina-related cause is probably out, but if you are like me there is a different charity each month and you give what you can afford (it's my karma-savings program) and I was hoping to mention that Heifer.org has a matching grant opportunity with a deadline of October 25th.

So, mark it on your calendar please, and if anyone out there happens to have some spare cash to give please consider doing so. I love matching gifts, because "doubling your money" is a great feeling.

And if you're local to the Southern California area, the Greyhound Adoption Center is having a birthday party fundraiser which should be fun.


Look in the dictionary, and next to the word "boring," you'll find:

Thankfully, the solution(s) resided in the teeny cupboard above our fridge:

1,050 metres of laceweight from that four ounce bobbin ( I don't know what the weight really is, I just know I got too damn bored to keep on with it well before the bobbin was full) plus a big fatty skein made from most of the leftovers of the dog-savaged BFL from which I made the laceweight stuff.

I'm going to make cabled yarns from six of the seven skeins, to see what the different effects might come from the different ways of plying the S twist yarns together. SSZ, SZS, and SZZ. (meaning S twist singles, plied whatever direction, plied back in whatever direction from two ends of the first whatever direction ball) Might be interesting. Juno asked about making a cabled yarn and since when I first read about making a cabled yarn I could have sworn the directions were different than the ones I found online I figured I'd play around.

So I'm going to see if you can get to Cabletown via three different roads (long as you're driving the S twist car, I was too lazy to fll a bobbin with Z twist single. Though I suppose I should, I read in Spin Span Spun that Z twist yarns are considered good luck, or good in warding off evil.)

Fiber Question

Tussah silk isn't really my favourite thing. But I have some, and I dyed it up to spin it fine for plying with something else, and I was just wondering:

"How do I get my dyed Tussah roving to end the dyeing process looking like these when I'm done?" I don't mean the colourways, I mean the fluffy lushness of the shine. Mine always come out looking like crushed crepe.

Also, that wasn't the original link I wanted to post, there's a site out there that has handpainted tussah rovings that they photograph in a sort of fiber butterfly, but I couldn't find them again, but their photos REALLY shine and look lovely and lush.

If anyone can read my mind and knows who I'm talking about, please forward the link. Quite lovely. But so's the "silkworker" site, plus very informative.

Anyway, my silk rovings never seem so lush. Even after a lot of "popping" (drafting and fluffing) the fiber, it still feels "meh." And produces an inelastic unsoft single with kind of a begrudging shine. And my dyed tussah roving looks like clown brain matter:

Gratuitous photo

While we were staying at my Mom's, Bush Jr. was in town. (I wondered what all that honking was about until I turned on the news and saw "LIVE" and a ton of protestors on the street ["Protest Warriors" who essentially protest the protestors who protest against the war] where my mother lives. So that's what all that honking was about. Lovely.)

I took a TON of photos of his rockstar entourage --about twenty-five vehicles, not including the marked police escort vehicles, definitely exceeding the local speed limit and backing up traffic on the main road for almost a half hour while the road was closed so they'd be the only traffic on the route. Which makes sense: it would be a bummer to lose the Coronado-San Diego Bay Bridge just because some dumbass thought killing the President would actually solve anything--but this is the only photo I kept from that session. I was going to post something something snarky about politics and puppet presidents, but decided I'd stick with what makes me happy to see and think about:

Here's Belu, wondering what the big deal is:

Fiber-related Travel

If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you might remember when we went to Oaxaca and Chiapas.

We "did" Oaxaca on our own, but Chiapas with Eric Mindling and a group.

Eric has a South Coast of Oaxaca trip coming up in November that still had a couple of spots left the last I heard. Eric puts together nice trips, you stay in nice places (but not so plush you feel guilty and disconnected) and the groups and activities are fun. The days are full of activities, but there are free periods to use however you wish and there's not much rushing (it's Mexico, after all) and some good food with regularity.

Don't worry if you don't speak Spanish, once you get down to Puerto Escondido and meet up with the group you don't have to know a single word if you don't want to (¡pero qué lástima si eso es la verdad!) and getting to P.E. is fairly easy. And while I always thought I was never one for "group tours," we were definitely able to see and do things we would not have been able to arrange or been comfortable doing on our own.

I'd love to go, but Nick's vacay starts right after it ends, so, "oh well."

Anyway, if you're intrigued, check his tours out at his Traditions Mexico pages.

Sigh, I love Mexico, and these trips are an easy way to learn a lot about the country, the people, and the arts in a very short and comfortable time.

I have an Imagestation album of our Oaxaca and Chiapas trip, feel free to peruse it. If you don't already have an imagestation album just type "dogsweater" as the login and password.

Here's a table of contents, in case you are on dial-up and wish to utilise the "index" feature:

Oaxaca City 1-34,

Huatulco and traveling via air back to Oaxaca City 35-47,

Back in Oaxaca City: Art gallery and Monte Álban & San Martín Tilcajete 48-86,

Chiapas pics/group tour pics begin: Palenque 87-143,

Agua Clara 144-154,

villages in Chiapas 155-170,

Chincultic and the Hacienda Santa Maria 171-189,

Chamula's graveyard and a day in Tenejapa (weaving) 190-214,

San Cristóbal (my absolute favourite city in Mexico so far, stay and eat at El Paraiso) 215-222,

around San Andres (wasn't a good idea to take pics in the town, but it was fun. We went on market day and the smells made my stomach churn. I bought six balls of unlabeled acrylic yarn for the sheer hell of it, and for thirty pesos [like $2.80] and there was a woman selling spindles but I did not buy any) 223-225,
a master at net bag making demonstrates getting the ixtle fiber from the maguey leaf 226-236, and the last pics from our group tour.

We went back to Mexico City after that for a day and took 2 not so great pics of Mexico City's Museum of Anthropology's exhibit of Mayan textiles, which Chip Morris helped put together but was uncredited for and the cool fountain they have in the center of their building, 238-240. I could spend days in that museum.


I haven't posted one of these in a while but I saw it on Christine's blog and I had to take it. Hooray! I'm syphilis! I always knew it! I have eaten the brains of rulers and peasants!

I am Syphilis. Don't Screw With Me, Or I'll Give You Dementia.
Which Horrible Affliction are you?
A Rum and Monkey disease.


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