Saturday, December 31, 2005


  • Stashbusting, fiber and yarn.
    No more yarn or fiber buying unless I have a very specific plan for it. Of course, LdL provides a nice big loophole there, as I have to make samples for the shop, don't I? I have to really be well acquainted with my product, yes?
    More Euroflax, Venne Cottoline and Gems for me please!

  • Learn more about natural dyeing. Try to stop having Hilari's sock reaction to it (eyes glaze and roll back in the head).

    Part of this: do seasonal dyestuff hunting hikes, take advantage of this climate while we live here--actually do a dyer's garden.

  • Learn to weave, start with a navajo-style loom, work up to a harness loom?

  • Get back in shape, do the Bay to Breakers run in SF with Stella.

  • Get pregnant. Ha! Just kidding, darling.

  • Go back to school, kick ass and take names.

  • Make LdL look more professional, cleaner, easier to maintain and update, figure out ZenCart/osCommerce.

  • Manage my time better. School, exercise and a part-time job will probably help with this.

  • Cook more at home, being more adventurous with ingredients.

  • Resist the impulse to buy live poultry.

  • Always remember how blessed I am. It's not many people who find such an amazing partner at such a young age (I think 21 was young, don't you?) let alone build a family and find friends which make us so happy.

    Even if they're a little bit goofy.

  • Go to dog beach more.

  • Spin and knit the damn Rogue already.

  • |

    Wednesday, December 28, 2005

    The Jokes About the Farmer's Dodder 

    Today, Heidi and I went on an East County Adventure. And while usually that might entail bingo palace fun and snootfulls of methamphetamines, we aren't Those Kind of People.

    We went hunting for dyestuff, specifically dodder.

    Heidi in front of a laurel sumac bush covered in pretty dried out dodder.

    There was an article in the most recent Spin-Off about obtaining yellow using no mordants on a protein fiber (samoyed dog hair) using dodder, and it rang a bell when the author mentioned that it looked like bright orange spaghetti. I used to see it all the time while riding on the school bus in elementary school, so we took a ride out to the old 'hood to see if we could find some.

    We did, but not as much as we might have liked. In retrospect, I remember it being most vivid when the rains had been through, and we have had a very dry season so far.

    What we could find (and reach) was mostly dried, but here's some that was in the relative shade:

    It had some blossoms as well:

    The light in the camera lost the kind of sinister shine the white seedy bits seemed to have.

    We continued into the east, but that was pretty much the end of good dodder pickings. In a week of good rain, maybe we'll go out again.

    We went to a local reservoir, and I found the most beautiful pond scum ever:

    I love that green.

    Can anyone tell me what this is called?

    I remember these things from kidhood too, and when the spines fall off they leave a sponge-like husk. I used to think they might be alien eggpods (those were the days of V, after all), but I'm pretty sure I know better now.

    Heidi also snagged some manzanita, lichen, some very robust sage, and a fig tree with the manliest fig I have ever seen. Forbidden fruit indeedy. The car smelled fantastic.

    Oh, and Heidi got to meet the little idiots I love beyond all reason.

    Belu had her pegged for a sucker and pulled her best "starving whippet" routine but Heidi did. not. bend.
    And while Snowball didn't flip over on his back and try to kick her in the face, I think he liked her a lot anyway.

    It was a very good day.

    Sunshine, fresh air, drunk belching men at fishin' at the reservoir talkin 'bout their pet squirrels...

    I'm knitting something, but I'm sure it will be a disaster.

    It's the Cabaret Raglan. I ripped the Tivoli because it was boring and I didn't feel like finishing it, and am using the balls to knit the CR. Then I'll unseal the vacuum-packed-stash for the rest of it.

    I've lengthened the sleeves to full length because 3/4 bugs me, but that's it for modifications. That and yarn. I'm using Reynolds Gypsy, an incredibly heavy cotton yarn, especially compared to the Reynold's cotton tape yarn for which it was written.

    The sweater will probably be heavy beyond belief and the stitchwork I so fancy will probably stretch grotesquely, but I needed something mindless and new to me and stash-eating to knit, so we'll see how it goes. It goes fast, thus far.

    I also need to post about the great final package I got from my SP6 Catherine, with three patterns printed out and 40" US2 Inox circs so I can try the magic loop method, and some US3 Crystal Palace DPNs and four balls of sock yarn; I've already cast on for MJ's Mirabella socks and mucked it up.

    I'd take a pic of the package, but I'm like a highly efficient whatchamacallit, pieces have been dismantled and filed away for easy access, but they aren't photo-friendly. But thank you, I love it!


    Tuesday, December 27, 2005

    Happy Food 

    I love brussels sprouts.

    Butter, garlic, salt, pepper and happiness.

    Pasta Pomodoro, a restaurant chain in the SF bay area specialising in inexpensive, fast, but good italian food is dog friendly, and it was there I discovered that Tahoe and I both love brussels sprouts. He and I split one of their huge plates, it was the first time eating them for both of us, and sometimes I still share mine with him.

    I love how they look like doll cabbages.

    Eat your Fiber

    I've been dyeing in tiny batches here and there, and plan to have a big fat shop update in the new year. I was really happy with this sock yarn:

    It made me think of Superman's underwear. But I just couldn't live with this:

    There's color there in the transition, but it's just too weak, it really counts as a dye void. I have some skeins of Lorna's Laces (that blue and yellow) that has voids at the transitions (pretty necessary if you don't want green) but I hate them. I didn't get very far on the sock I started, although it might have also had something to do with it being a gigantic ugly spiral rib tube sock...

    I re-wetted and filled the void with violet & purple, and it's quite different, but I quite like it. Um, but I don't have a pic. So just picture deep scarlet, wine, violet, luminescent turquoise tints.

    Heads up Locals!

    How about doing the critter crawl on the 8th? I haven't contacted them yet, but it's a Sunday, say midday? We could meet somewhere semi-central and work out transportation from there.


    Friday, December 23, 2005

    The Post I Would Have Posted 

    But first off, "feed a fever, starve a cold" or "feed a cold, starve a fever?" I can never remember which it is. But it's a moot point as I technically have The Plague.
    No, not really, just that crappy tenacious cold that's making the rounds.
    Hooray for Ricola. Boo Theraflu.

    Anyway, here's Snowball dreaming about May:

    He's head over heels in love, nyuck, nyuck.
    (If you guys have any good ideas for bridal shower activities, head over to May's and give her a holler. I only know what NOT to do.)

    And here's my beet-booby:

    Organic purple on the outside, bloody red inside:

    It was one of those things that started out bad and got trimmed to worse, but I like it--it's "arty." And good for drinking tea.

    And I forgot to mention that the weaving sampler will be handspun and either naturally colored or plant-dyed...And as far as being too low an aim, Ms. Absinthe, I'm still not even a third done spinning for the Rogue I started this dang blog for, so I've got to aim low, lest I disappoint mahself. Besides, it's the one in the book, and it'd make a nice bag, like they say. The biggest thing might be getting around to building it.

    And another thing I forgot to mention is that I actually have an FO.

    I bought Penny, some lovely handspun yarn from June and knit it into Amy's Lady cap, even though I look like absolute crap in hats.

    The yarn is supersoft and a total bargain, June spins a beautiful yarn, and Amy writes a great pattern.

    I had to do more pattern repeats because of the vast difference in row gauge, and knit it on US5s because my head is wee, but those were the only changes, except for my inevitable messups. A lot of this hat was knit in little spurts, waiting my turn to shoot pool, waiting in line, sitting at the wrong Coffee Bean...

    Geez, I look so frickin' disproportional, but I like it anyway. It's soft and green, and that's what matters. If I only knit things I'd look good in, well, I shouldn't follow that line. Mistakes have been made.

    I read Melissa Banks The Wonder Spot yesterday. Meh. Worst author photo ever too.

    Although, I love the phrase "porn-long and log-wide," so I guess I did get something out of it after all. And anything is better than Clive Cussler. ;P


    Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    Excuses, excuses. 

    The computer finally had its complete and utter breakdown last night as I was logging on to get my mail and do a nice arty post. Really. With pictures of my lopsided-mammary-gland-inspired-but-ultimately-beet-like-pottery and everything.

    And a picture of Snowball blissed out dreaming of his new love, May. She came over last night and rocked his world; he even started to do his upside down kicky-puppy routine for her which he only does when his heart is bursting with love and happiness.

    And I was going to talk about our fun Sunday, but since I didn't take pics, I would have to refer you to Nancy's excellent breakdown of the event anyway. Check out her Vietnam trip pics too, just amazing, I was jealous 'til the potty pictures. ;)

    So here's a semi-random new year's resolution:
    Build a navajo-style loom and weave the 10"x23" sampler piece using Tiana Bighorse and Noël Bennett's Working with the Wool.


    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    eBay fleece curse? I pronounce thee DEFUNCT! 

    Look what was waiting for us after King Kong and sushi:

    Hooray! Much earlier than anticipated, and much cleaner than expected.

    There is some dust trapped in the grease at the tips, but not much and overall very clean. And of course, no second cuts.

    Crimpy goodness, yay, yay, yay, I'll be bathing it tomorrow or Friday in batches.

    I need to clean the stash room so I can roll it out and really pore over it. But I am very happy with it.

    I also need to whip out my combs and prep some of the other fleeces which have been waiting to be spun.
    And finish spinning for the Rogue.
    And update the shop with some of the more recent dye results and wet out some new arrivals for dyeing.
    And locate, package, wrap and post some holiday presents.
    And write holiday cards...oh dear.

    I probably shouldn't be on the computer right now, I should probably be doing some of that stuff now.

    Wait, one more pic. Can you spot the bedshark? He is veddy, veddyy sneaky.


    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    We've just returned from southeastern Arizona. In lieu of the post which springs to my fingers, I give you something more in the spirit of the season:

    As seen in Bisbee, Arizona.
    The cat rides the dog, the white mice ride the cat, and the bird hangs out on the tip basket.
    Some of the money goes to Border Animal Rescue. The facial expression of the cat while the dog is walking is priceless.


    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    A week of D'oh! 

    Sunday, I met up with Heidi and Nancy to knit and spin at a local café and while parallel parking, I tapped the van in front of me.
    I have NEVER done that before.
    No damage (to either vehicle) and no irate owner, so no foul. Still, there were (of course) people sitting in the outside café seats watching.

    After the fiber, muffins, and caper fun, I walked over to Plum Pottery to see if any of our glazed pots had come out. I found that I over glazed mine and it had stuck to the kiln shelf. Thankfully, she coats the shelves with a layer of something like slip, so I hadn't broken her shelf, but I did have a cauliflower like bloom of jagged melted glass that had to be sanded and dremel-ed off on Monday.

    Monday, I did a really crappy job of dremeling and sanding the bloom off, scuffed the glaze in parts I hadn't meant to, and gave up because I started hallucinating that I could see the little sanded bits of glaze (glass) floating up and being breathed in.
    And I was doing a truly crappy job, but I do love the bowl anyway.

    I had carved dragonflies along the side of the bowl and the glaze kind of buried them.

    I think the colors on this bowl are my favorite. Bright blue, dark green, then inside, a granny smith green with the emerald green rim.

    Tuesday's a blank. It must have been really bad. I know we went to dog beach. And Snowball was really cranky that night, he wanted to sleep in bed but growled, barked, and snapped every time we moved so he was ejected and force to sleep on the one of the floor dogbeds. Horrors.

    Wednesday, I got a parking ticket, apparently UCSD felt I violated one of their "areas":

    But I got to see Hilari so it was totally worth it.

    And because of the wonder of modern technology, I've appealed the ticket online. I am a cop's daughter, and a cop's wife. NO WAY am I going to have to face the consequences of my mild rule-breaking.

    I hope.

    I also drove up to Santa Monica with Heidi and had a good time at Wildfibers, (thanks to MJ for the heads-up e-mail) which is a really great store if you have a fair bit of cash and love to knit with the best. I managed to only spend $20 on buttons despite never knitting anything which ever needs buttons. They're just so cool.

    And an oilcloth notions bag. Just to keep the little floaty crap in my bag in a bag of its own.
    Because I'm "rich" and "American" and we do things like that. I didn't throw down an average Ethiopian's yearly income ($100) on a skein of handspun cashmere, but I was sorely tempted, I'll admit.

    And they have the 5" Brittany needles which are impossible to find down here, and the little (I think they're Clover) circular needles which make my wrists ache just looking at them, the ones for sleeves or gloves). And a big selection of Tanglewood Fibers handspun yarn and some handspun made by Yee, a girl/lady/woman/womyn who works there. She does it on a spindle and it's great stuff in the Pluckyfluff style.

    Wednesday night, I came home to a Louet order which arrived looking like this:

    Thank you US Customs for the fine job you do protecting us from unmutilated cultivated silk sliver and superwash sockyarn!

    Despite my drama, only one skein and one half pound bag of the silk were damaged.

    Thursday I went shopping and placed the gallon of milk I bought next to a big bag of apples in the fridge. Now, our milk tastes like apple gas. Big deal.

    Saturday, I almost finished the Clapotis, but I ran out of yarn.

    So. %$#*&. close.

    I guess I should have dropped two repeats from the third section instead of just the one. Now I know.

    I consoled myself the only way I know how, by making the house reek of wet silk and wool.

    superwash wool and silk skeins

    The silks skeins on the right are part of 20 skeins of the WRONG YARN which arrived on Friday. Yes, and it was all my fault.
    Obviously I'm not terribly fussed about it though, as they are lovely, pure cultivated silk fingering weight two ply.

    This is my favorite result of the dyeing spree though, I wish I'd done more.

    superwash wool roving

    It's amazing how slippery and flyaway superwash is in the roving, you have to handle it even more carefully than the silk roving, and it even comes out of the bag a bit discombobulated so that doesn't help. It's an absolute pleasure to spin though, so it's worth it.

    And D'oh! The Next Generation

    You have to check out this pdf. First, I love the sheep in the header, and second, I love the "minimises teat and pizzle damage" benefit bit.
    June of Twosheep posted about bioclipping which I hadn't heard of and I broke my eBay rules (#1, no more fleeces bought online #2, don't pay more for shipping than the item cost) and snagged one. It remains to be seen if this'll be a fifty dollar d'oh! or not. What with holiday shipping and the Customs Faeries, I don't expect it to show up much before Valentine's Day.

    I have to admit, all these "d'ohs" actually make me feel pretty darn spoiled and lucky.


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