Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Knitting Post 

Well, I was making my mom something for her birthday, but predictably, I didn't finish it in time. I gave her a pantload of locally produced organically grown lavender products instead.

But I showed it to her anyway and have told her it will be a Christmas present. Although, honestly, I'll give it to here when it's done, because I have a hard time waiting for Christmas to give presents.

So now I'm feeling free to post pics of it here.

The start of a Clapotis, one ball gone, a new one just attached, and three stitches dropped.

I had a hard time capturing the color in the pics and my photo editor hasn't been much help. Here's a swatch of it which represents the colors well though:

It's the Louet 50/50 silk/wool yarn, handpainted just for this purpose, just for my Mom. I love working with this stuff; shiny, soft, a little bit of bounce, it makes the Clap just fly.

Well, that and that "Magic Book Clip" thingy.

I'm terrible at estimating how long it takes me to make something. Some days I don't knit, or I'll knit but I won't spin, spin but not knit, just read, waste a lot of time on the computer...I know according to the blog that I started it on the 15th, but I couldn't tell you how much actual time it's taken. I can estimate though that it has taken Twice Shy by Dick Francis, Harry Potter IV and half of the fifth HP book to get to here:

That's the second ball gone, about nine stitches dropped, and the third and final skein awaiting balling next to it. I'm omitting a repeat in the third section so I should be on track to have just enough yarn. Fingers crossed ;).


Thursday, November 24, 2005

'Tis the Season 

Man, everybody is running around with cranky-faces on this week. Yikes.

I myself am easily irritated and "angsty" lately for no d@mn good reason. I had a nightmare last night that Louet sent me three skeins of the "Pearl" (sock yarn) and charged me $65 in shipping fees. Lamest. Nightmare. Ever.
It's just a weird time of year I guess.

So here's a list of my reasons to knock that anxious sh!t off:

  • 3lbs of merino/silk came today in the "lichen" colorway. I think I'll be spinning it to make a 3 ply, but I haven't decided whether I'll be plying it with itself, or with some other color. But I think it will become the Rogue.

    Yes, starting that nonsense up again, we'll see how long it lasts this time.

    In the pic here it is next to a pound of Ashland Bay's merino/tencel in "peacock" and a pound of "Pine Merino" my SP6 sent me (it smells like baby! Good baby smell, not gross baby smell). So I think I'm going to spin thin and try some different samplings of the colors.

  • Friends who set you up with great straight lines:
    Heidi said:
    "So what would you knit for your man if you were to knit him a sweater?"

    Well, first, I wouldn't knit him a sweater.

    I might really want to knit him a sweater, I might love for him to wear a handknitted-by-me sweater, but I have to be honest with myself and knit him the item that HIS heart desires, that HE would actually wear.

    Yes, I'm talkin' about the "mancho":

    Okay, no. Not really.

    When I've finally got 'round to spinning up the merino/possum Mom bought for the specific purpose of making The Handsomest Man I've Ever Married a sweater, it will probably be one of these two:

    Sorry for the cr@ppy scans, but you get the idea. They're both pretty unisex if you ask me, and not terribly fussy. The first is from Sirdar Family Denim Book 283 (the same as I knit my hoodie from) and the second is Kathy Zimmerman's "Bed & Breakfast Pullover" from IK's Winter 2003.

  • The infinite variety of a bit of wool, a bit of dye, and a bit of time with a spinning wheel can produce.

    (Although, sometimes, even with different materials, we handspinners produce eerily similar results.)

    South African Fine Wool, dyed blue and green (o' course).

    L to R, a standard two ply, light worsted, then a bit of thick and thin single, and then a spiral yarn (though it doesn't look very spirally in the pic) created by holding the light colored single fairly firmly and at a straight 6 o'clock position to the orifice and very loosely and rapidly feeding the a thick multicolored single made from a separate section of the roving onto it at about a 90° angle.

    Very fun. I should have locked it down with a binder to make it easier to knit with, and I should have left it longer on the bobbin for the twist to set, or washed it immediately. But I didn't, which might be why it doesn't look terribly spirally (and I liked the way it looked as-is, and didn't feel like adding a binder, so that's my excuse there).

  • Spacebags. I went a little crazy and put all my personal yarn stash that wasn't on the needles and personal spinning fiber that I don't have direct plans for in the next two weeks into space bags. For the sheer feeling of organisational power of it.

  • I found my wedding ring again; it's been lost for almost a month.
    It feels good to have it back, and I was starting to get a little frantic and sick at heart about it. I only take my ring off for pottery, and usually I remember to pull it out of my pocket and put it right back on after we're done, but somehow I forgot. For a week, and then, it was Lost. But now it's Found, hooray!

  • And pottery. We are still loving us the pottery. Nick wasn't very happy with the way his glazes turned out this time, but he produced some very cool shapes.

    His are in the middle, click here for more pics, I made this page up to share with our families without dragging the blog into it.

  • And Crivens, the beautiful Crivens. Sometimes weekends just feel weird because she's not here. She's just so pretty. I love her angles and lines.

  • And our own dogs as well, of course.

    Today, I laid down in bed just to watch Nick sleep and breathe him in and Belu came in, leapt onto the bed, and dropped her stuffed cat on my head.
    The crusty one that's all the dogs' favorite and stinks like all the dogs' mouths and bottoms. Yeah, "well-seasoned," we call it.

    Anyway, I just love how attentive she is to us, and how she doesn't let me wallow in moments which might be needlessly sappy and smarmy. I just love the way he smells, especially when he's sleeping, and stinky pussy was just the thing to snap me from the moment. Good girl.

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    Monday, November 21, 2005

    More proof of my dumbassédness. 

    All my personal mail is set to go to my hotmail account, and Microsoft is testing out a new anti-spammer service which quite effectively shuts out all its users, so if you've sent anything to my hotmail acct, I'll be even worse at answering e-mails than usual as I won't know when they'll knock this off and can't get into my inbox.

    In the meantime, I guess if anyone needs to contact me, you can contact me through Lanas de Libélula using this e-mail, or if you have, like I have, configured your mail program to use hotmail as a default and that isn't working for you, wendyATldlDOTcom will work just fine as long as you stick lanasdelibelula where ldl was.

    Just on the offchance.

    P.S. Thank you everyone for all your lovely compliments of the Butterfly, I look forward to wearing it the one day in January it gets cold here in San Diego.

    And I'm not sure what was going on with my face, I'm not sure if I was going for a moody model expression or what. I don't know that I have very good control over my facial expressions at the best of times. I'd like to get "carefully blank" down, that seems to be a useful one from the books.


    Friday, November 18, 2005


    I finished the Noro Butterfly once and for all last Thursday. I kept forgetting to ask Nick to take pics, then, when we finally did, some shadows cast on the knit garment made them kind of useless. So I submit only slightly less crappy photos taken in a hallway with a timer under the close supervision of the dogs. (The current treat cache is contained in the nearby cupboard).

    Even though I started sleeve cap shaping about two inches before instructed (like everybody else I've seen in blogland who knit the Noro Butterfly) I ended up with mondo-long sleeves (like everybody else I've seen in blogland who knit the Noro Butterfly) but I think it looks just as good when the sleeves are cuffed (like everybody else I've seen in blogland who knit the Noro Butterfly) so it's all good.

    I crocheted along the front but didn't really like it, so I pulled it out and knit two five or six garter stitch strips about 18" long and sewed them up the front and along the collar.

    I really like how it turned out.
    It kind of cleaned up the line and gave me a solid spot to attach the closure to, and although I think that perhaps the jaggedness of the knit was what first appealed to me about the lines, this makes it a bit less trendy and more er, jackety. Yeah. I'm not much of a designer. I just know what I like. Sometimes I even like it after I've knit it. Sometimes.

    While I like how my handspun faux Noro knit up, if I was going to spin up more fake Noro I'd do it differently. I would dye up the colors solid in different little batches, divide them evenly, and then spin them up. I think dyeing a variegated roving, I ended up with a nice result, but not one which accurately mimicked the Noro in anything but gauge.

    It's comfy, and it's warm, and it's been about 85°F around here lately, so it hasn't done much but be modeled for craptastic photo shoots.

    Hey, if you are an independent crafter, and you want to be on the LdL links page, drop me a line. I know there are a ton more of youse crafty types out there I dig, but I'm spaazing about putting together a solid links list. I just keep blanking.

    Also, if you bought any handspun from me and you've made something with it, let me know if you'd like to be part of a handspun FO gallery I've got planned.

    Speaking of crafty fun, have you guys seen this? Very cool. LoriO sent me the link a while back and I filed it away as something to look at more in depth when I had time, then Amy refreshed my memory today. It's really fun to browse all the neat stuff, and it benefits greyhounds, hooray!

    Snowball has learned how to get on the couch and bed all by himself. And he's got "sit" pretty much down. The housetraining...well, we're having a relapse on that one. Thank goodness for modern chemistry and Bissell. But how could I not love this face?

    I'm working on developing a knit wool doggie "soaker" pattern.

    No, not really.


    Tuesday, November 15, 2005


    (Sorry, couldn't think of a better title.)

    From what Heidi's Shoebutton said, and from what the rest of you who can see my blog said, and since everybody else can apparently see MJ's button but me, I have concluded that this thing came in piggyback on either iGive's Shopping Window or eTrust's Internet Security Suite, since I installed both of them around the same time I started experiencing the "trouble." If you've installed iGive's Shopping Window, d'ya mind taking a look at the source code of any page you are viewing in your web browser? Same with eTrust users, if'n you don't mind. The rogue javascript appears just above the style end tag in the header. Lemme know, m'kay?

    (BTW, in case you don't know how to view the source code [and this is by far the most useful blogging tool I know] in IE it's under the Tools menu, "View Source" and in Mozilla you can just hit CTRL+U [although it is also under the Tools menu, if you aren't into keyboard shortcuts]. This way, you can see the cool things people do to make the cool things you are seeing in the browser.)

    Moving on to More Important Things

    Which is to say, dog stuff.

    The role of a foster parent is to help the fostered become adoptable. To engender good habits, teach important living skills, good manners and so one and such forth.

    Um, yeah.

    Since we pretty much figure GAC has forgotten all about Snowball, we're not stressin' out about "adoptable."

    He's learning to sit. He's learned to pee in the yard, and not mark anywhere but there. Mostly.

    He has been taught some bad habits.

    Shredding paper.

    Barking at cats.

    Devouring porn.

    He pulled this out from wherever it had been and shredded it.

    "Take that for airbrushing out clitorises!" he seemed to say.
    Good boy.
    I don't generally object to porn, but this issue was lame.
    And seriously, only one model apparently had a clitoris which escaped the attentions of their airbrusher.

    On a Less Google-magnetic Note...

    On Friday I picked up all the dogbeds in our little living room and tossed them on the couch so I could vacuum. Libélula decided to recreate a childhood fairytale:

    The Princess and the Pea

    She looks comfy, eh? Then I turned on the vacuum:

    And they huddled together for safety. Really, the great sucking noise machine might just possibly try to kill them someday. So you can't blame them.

    Snowball slept through most of the vacuuming. He was at GAC for about 8 months and we vacuum the kennel about 4 times a day, so he's pretty well socialised to the sound and sight of it.

    Knitting and Spinning

    I've been doing a fair bit of both. I've started a project which would annoy Nancy greatly, so I won't show it here (and really, I can't show it, for the same reason I'm not posting about where we went on Saturday), and I'm slowly plugging away at the ribbing on Tahoe's sweater.

    Speaking (typing) of dog sweaters, I totally spaced out on going to the Knitting for Dogs book signing and fashion show at Knitting in La Jolla, attended by such dignitaries as Marnie (she's spinning now, check it out) and MamaScrapalotta and their dogs.

    A lot of dogs; it looks like we missed out on some serious dress-up fun, Mom, I'm sorry I spaced. The author's blog also has a lot of pictures of the event if you scroll down.

    Sort of Knitting and Spinning Related

    I have finally got the shop up and sort of working.

    Of course, I have to assume that you guys can see the pics of the stock, and that pages are loading the way they should.

    I gave up on figuring out osCommerce, ZenCart and the mysteries of php, cgi, api, soap, whatever for now and am just using Paypal's basic build a button, cut and paste it, basic shopping cart thingy.

    So please, please, please let me know if you are playing on the site and you get a weird 404 or malfunction, because with this javascript thing, I don't really know how stuff is displaying or if malfunctions are from the virus or not.
    I've also placed a button for the shop in my sidebar. Can you see it? This thing is strange, like being selectively blind.

    Anyway, everything's table-based, I hope it loads and displays okay. I'll do a css navbar and stylesheet soon so everything will load faster, I promise.

    The "glacier and stone" merino/silk two ply is what I've spun up most recently, along with the muppet yarn, and I have to say, if nothing else comes from Lanas de Libélula, it is really fun to play with all the different fibers.

    And as always, I'm wide open to suggestions. If you'd like to see something, or think something looks terrible, or...anything really, let me know.

    Updated to add: Oi, definitely a case of seeing the same things over and over again and not really seeing them, and a MAJOR case for a navbar css thing...I went through all the pages and changed "handpsun.html" to "handspun.html" like it should have been. I couldn't see the difference last night, 'though I looked and looked. I had chalked it up to this virus thing. Thanks Krys!


    Monday, November 14, 2005

    I throw myself upon the mercy of the tech gods 

    I suddenly have a little piece of javascript that is appearing in the header between the style tags of all my pages. At first, I thought it was just the pages I had created, that it had something to do with my host. Then I started looking at the source for EVERY web page I visit and I see the nasty little bugger there too.

    <script language='javascript' src=''> </script>

    It doesn't seem to do anything but eat img src tags.

    When I view this blog, I see only 6 of the numerous blog buttons, and it ate all the pics of my stuff in stock on my shop pages...but is it just me? Can you see yummyyarn's button?

    When I view the page source, the img src tags are missing from the ones I can't see...so it makes sense that I can't see them, but these are not changes I made.

    I can re-imput all the missing img src tags, but it just eats them again, and I never stuck this thing up there to begin with, and don't know how to get rid of it, and don't know where the hell it's from. I just want it to go away (and know how to kill it if it tries to come back).

    I would think it was spyware, but I've run ad-aware and that hasn't stopped it. I see it in IE, I see it in Mozilla.


    It's driving me b@t$h!t. It's not a long drive for me to Guanoland, but still, please, please help if you can.


    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    Aah! Paypal & osCommerce/ZenCart you are killing me!
    AKA a completely boring post all about the shop and spinning 

    Seriously, I have a hard enough time putting together a website as it is, I don't need weird issues with Paypal and open source shopping cart programs that somehow eat all the pictures of my stock (the code is still there, but it's as if they were never part of the table and it's because of some stupid javascript cgi style sheet crap thing one of the carts inserted at the top of all the pages) or won't install at all. Although, better to not install at all than to install, ruin the look of the site, then refuse to allow me access to uninstalling you. Bastages.

    On the brighter side, I am enjoying the fruits of my ordering. I've spun up that wintery merino-silk and it's on the plying bobbin now.

    And since I just wouldn't feel right if I was selling stuff I didn't know intimately and love, I'm spinning up a bit of everything. And while I'm annoyed by all the fiddly computer bits, I love this "excuse" to self-indulgence.

    Here's the big fun stuff news though: I bought another wheel.

    I actually bought it for Lanas de Libélula to have a rental wheel, but until the site is functional and ready to be unveiled...this Louët S17 is all mine.

    It's a kit which has to be assembled, but it really isn't very difficult. The directions are certainly better than the assembly instructions were for the Mazurka.

    It comes in the wee-est box with a carrying handle on it, perhaps 3 inches thick, and three feet by four feet.

    Whippet provided for scale.

    Once you open it up, you spread stuff out in two halves and...

    all the fiddly bits


    I am really surprised by this wheel.

    I think it's a great beginner wheel--it treadles incredibly easily with true heel-toe action in the single treadle, adjusting tensions is easy (it's bobbin lead) with a poly stretch drive band, it's relatively easy to put together, it comes with a free half pound of fiber (the Louët people pick it and put it in the box; on the invoice it was going to be grey Icelandic, but it showed up Dark BFL [which I love as it's the softer kind of BFL and I already have an amount I'm planning to spin up for plying for a cabled sweater]), it comes with three bobbins and an attached lazy kate, and the bobbins are 8 oz. bobbins! Which is frickin' amazing, since 8 oz. is Lendrum's idea of jumbo and you have to have a whole other drive band, flyer head and bobbin to wind that much on. It's really their plying head.

    Anyway, I spun more and spun faster on the S17 than I ever have on either the Mazurka or Lendrum...but I did spin thick.

    Imagine this times two, in about two hours. A pound of South African Fine Wool, spun thick and thin.

    The Louët wheels are made to spin thicker yarns, but they have special bobbins for lace-weight spinning with finer whorls, and you can cross the yarn over the hooks to slow the take for spinning lace, so this is a wheel you can use forever...but at the same time...it's not.

    If you want to spin lace, probably not the right wheel.

    But for DK to bulky, it's great. In fact I was trying to get the take up even more and with the fatty yarn I was spinning, too tough a take-in didn't seem like a problem.

    I've been of the opinion for a while that there is no "perfect" wheel for the beginner, that there's just the wheel you can afford to learn on, then the one you research, save for, try out and splurge on. Kind of like cars. Your first car teaches you the skills, and teaches you what you want in the next one.

    Anyway, since I've moaned on an on and sounded like an ad, here's what I didn't like:
  • it comes unfinished and there are some rough bits (they include sandpaper and all the tools you need to put it together except for a flathead screwdriver [which is weird, since they include a nice phillips head screwdriver] and the glue clamp, but I just sat on the crosspiece for fifteen minutes instead of clamping it, so there wasn't any need) and the unfinished wood really sucks up the lemon oil.
  • Although you can adjust the take-in, and move it to a different whorl, there isn't a ton of fine-tuning of spinning you can do. With what's out of the box, most of the control is in your treadling.
  • Let's face it, this is not a pretty wheel. It looks like the remedial geometry teacher banged the woodshop teacher and they had a crafty lil bastard.

    Of course, I thought these wheels were ugly (which is one reason I got a Mazurka for my first wheel) but putting this thing together, I love the canvas that the big flat solid wheel and its block of a treadle actually are.

    If I hadn't been in such a hurry to put it together and try it out, I would have decorated it, with something like one of those hypnotic swirly pinwheels, or the Vitruvian Man

    or a celtic circle (artwork by Carol Sexton)

    or, painted it black and done a glow-in-the-dark representation of our spiral galaxy, or, more locally and small scale,

    The possibilities of customization are a little overwhelming. I'm open to design suggestions too; I know that I will be painting this wheel, I just don't know what design will win my heart.

    So I stick to the smaller canvas of yarn at the moment. Here are the two half-pound skeins I made after dyeing, one blue, purple & green, and the other orange and red.

    I just think it's interesting the way yarn looks in the skein v. the ball.
    Anyway, I've plied up a Lendrum "jumbo" bobbin of it and...what do you think? One minute I like it and think it's a fun quirky rainbow ply yarn, and the next I think it's hideous and ill-conceived.

    I left the price sticker on the bobbin, 'cuz that's just how I roll.
    (remember price tags still on hats "gang" fashion?)

    When the bobbin is whirring and blurring, the color is a light purpley-pink wine color, oddly enough.

    I'm going to wash it and the merino/silk tomorrow to set the twist.

    And tomorrow I'll have pics of doggy doings. The non-poopy kind.

  • |

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Don't forget to vote! 

    It seems like I have been spending a ton of time on the computer lately, but not much time here. I'm really excited about something I've been doing and I can't wait to show you, hopefully by the end of the week. Hint: it has something to do with the removal of my etsy shop button.

    Sunday was fun, Nancy has a nice breakdown of it with good pics. I honestly wasn't going to buy anything, because my Secret Pal sent me a nice package with anti-stink stuff & a lint brush (she really has my number ;)) and a pound of lovely dark green merino fiber to spin.

    But Village SpinWeave was there, and had one Lendrum jumbo bobbin, so I had to get that.

    And then I lost my mind.

    This was a four and a half pound bag of Lincoln-Targhee cross for sale on consignment with the Morro Fleece Works booth and I just couldn't stop digging my hands into the CLEAN gooey lanolin-y loveliness that was "Eloise."

    Even though I'd been blabbering to Nancy about how the effort of raw fleece just doesn't make sense money and time-wise not an hour earlier.

    I have been wanting to try spinning in the grease for a while, and I think the nasty eBay experiences kind of compounded the desire. And then, I saw Eloise's silver patch and that was that.

    I just love shepherd(esse)s who coat their sheep. I know there's some controversy over it, but I don't care. I love you guys for it, and I love those relatively vm-less locks.

    I have more to blather about, but less time. Here's a pic of Snowball's bed the other day:

    The stuffed ferret? Okay, normal toy, after all, I bought it for Belu (our "little weasel").

    My sneaker? Okay, still within the normal dog plaything range, although not exactly appropriate. He grabs the laces in his mouth and shakes it fiercely, thus giving himself quite a headkicking.

    But a roll of pennies? Where did you even get that from, kiddo?

    Weirdo greyhound.

    I set up an album for him on flickr, but this is my favourite pic of him on there:


    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    The Power of the Internet(s) 

    Caroline found the exact "Book Magic" (that was the silly name I was thinking of) doo-dad and Inky linked in the comments to something only different in shaping of the front T. Fast results and freedom from fear of losing it and not having a replacement, hooray for the internet and great schmartypantses like you guys!

    I know I mentioned iGive.com in passing before, but since the holidays are coming up and since I do almost all my shopping online (I just don't like malls. My MIL told me I "have issues" [with same inflection as "you are a pile of shit"] but strangely, it didn't change how I feel about malls. Nick and I were walking through Fashion Valley and passed two girls and overheard, "Well we hate everybody who shops there, so whatever." and that comic moment kind of encapsulates why I don't like malls/mall culture. Plus, they are designed to keep you inside the structure as long as possible so you'll spend more money, the architecture often makes getting out in a hurry difficult. Try to get off the top floor of Horton Plaza in under five minutes, and unless you started right by one of the two stairwells, good luck. How do you feel about being trapped in a crowded mall during an earthquake/shooting/worst case scenario? It's southern California, after all. Anything can happen. And maybe I'm just a smidge paranoid. ;P) I thought I'd pass the link along.

    Almost every place I've spent money at online is there, with the exception being the little independent crafters, although finding a specific shop is sometimes a little clunky, as a search of a store name brings up a lot more than just the shop link.

    You can look through shopping categories too, if you know what you want but don't know where you want to buy it.

    And unless you download their shopping window, you have to click through to the store's site through iGive's site.

    But once you are at the shop's site, it's just like normal, except that the shop donates a percentage of your purchase to an iGive account in the name of a charity you designate and once more than $25 is accumulated, they send a check to your charity. You don't pay any extra, (I guess there are even tax deductions available) and they have a lot of special coupon codes and deals available through their partnership with iGive.

    So, anyway, I think it's pretty cool. Buy the stuff you would anyway, but your charity gets a piece of the pie too.


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