One of the very first projects that I knit out of my handspun was a shawl, knit with one of Lion Brand’s free patterns.

It’s true what they say about learning to spindle spin. Now that I’m capable of doing nice, even yarns at a light enough weight to still get fingering weight with multiple plies- I want to go back to that first yarn, because that yarn at least has character. My yarn still has character but it looks like a ton of stuff on the market. That shawl looks like nothing else out there.

Unfortunately though, it’s a fairly fragile yarn. It’s a single ply and even though that shawl doesn’t get the wear that it probably should, there were places that had drifted apart. I found a ball of dark hand dyed babydoll, and did a rough mending job. There was no way that I was going to be able to keep the pattern so I didn’t try.

I really wasn’t going for appearances- if it were my Wool Peddler’s I would care slightly more. Right then I was more concerned with warmth and functionality- and continuing the lifecyle of a piece that I’m never going to be able to mimic again.

Right now we’re getting on to evening and it’s finally starting to cool down- really cool down. If the wind shifts enough the lake smells like snow. It’s not the prettiest shawl in the world but it’s certainly warm and comforting.

posted to here

frugally sustainable

Tour de Fleece update- through July 9th

my scrap/recycled wool project, now dubbed ripley. i finished the singles for this batch on the morning of the 5th. as of that morning, i had half of the singles left to ply. (i’m using my blackberry for the pics, which explains both the clearer images because it doesn’t shake as much but the fuzzier photos). the yarn lightens up a lot when plied with white wool.

i got all of the ply balls that i have made for ripley so far spun on the 6th (the bottom two photos). i’ll weigh and solar dye it at sirius next week.

i started, well continued, a project i’m calling iris on the morning of the 5th (it was laundry day). it’s a unmarked purple wool batt that i got at rhinebeck circa 2005. i had about 2/3 of it spun up already into these lovely slightly thick and thin singles. i overdyed half of the singles with a darker purple and the other half with blue. i’m going to ply them into a 3 ply once i finish this set. it’s a really fast spin and it turns out into a lovely subtly multicolored single with a soft luster. i’m spinning with a modified long draw and semi woolen like normal.

okay i should say that i hate merino. at least this braid. the color is beautiful and i think i’m going to like the end result (i’m fractal spinning, split half the braid and put aside to be plied with a solid red, then split the remaining half into half again, then one of the quarters into smaller strips so i get a ply with long repeats and a ply with short repeats. i’ve wanted to try it since i saw it on hello yarn) but the spinning is make me want to pull my hair out. i have to constantly pay attention to it and i’m not getting an even single. though it’s vaguely thick and thin in a uniform way so it’s not too horribly outrageous…i think i’m the only spinner who doesn’t like merino. if this wasn’t for a much larger (and more expensive) project i would just say the hell with it- pun slightly intended since it’s going into my inferno shawl.

Vacation Day

Today wasn’t what i would call a rare vacation. today however was a day off for no reason, and those are the type of days that i like to take for myself because they come around so rarely.

i had a dentist appointment this morning, and surprisingly it went well. i have really bad teeth genetically speaking (one of my first memories is having a meltdown at a base dental office). i’ve been cleared until my next cleaning in january.

my appointment was a lot earlier than i thought it was though, and i’m not sure why i have the entire day. i’m not complaining though, i must have thought the appointment would take longer. and to be fair, my gums were bothering me afterwards. i went to mid’s company fourth of july picnic and then spent the afternoon doing things that i wanted to do.

i’m working on my faux gradient project. i plied up the first skein. this is a lot sooner than when i was thinking of starting this project but i want to try solar dyeing at sirius this year which means i need to have at least a skein finished ahead of time so i can get it set out as soon as possible when i get there.

fiber crafts in summer means…horror movies. so far today there’s been two.

elvira mistress of the dark

…i’m fairly certain that’s the full title anyway. it’s a campy, wonderful, horrible little movie.  it’s definitely not a serious film but it doesn’t try to be either. the humor is low brow, the effects are stupid, and it all just works. i don’t think that it’s a classic film by any means but it’s a fun movie by a horror icon in her own right. it’s one of those movies that is best watched when you don’t want to have to think in all the best ways.


i think that children of the corn is worth watching only because of its place as at least a minor cultural icon (i mean, who hasn’t spoofed it?). i obviously disliked fingerprints intensely. however, a good number of my favorite films do involve children as a plot element or central symbol- the omen, the orphage, the remaking the haunting of hill house (okay that one’s a tentative favorite). fragile is the story of an american nurse in britian who begins work at a children’s hospital that’s slated for closure, and the effects of that closure.

i think that fragile holds a weird middle ground between ‘good movie’ and ‘why did i waste my time on this’. the thing is, fragile is not a bad film. if you’re not paying attention to it. it’s a good filler, in the background type movie. the effects aren’t bad. the storyline is passable, and actually the ending has a lot of potential- the lead up isn’t bad and the ending isn’t one that’s so overused that it’s trite (the caller is in the house!!!!1!).  it just falls flat. the villian/monster has a great lead up and then just looks clunky. the dialouge starts out fairly strong and then just goes flat and predictable. once the main twist is provided everything else is really transparent and obvious. there’s a couple of scares that border on the silly.

that being said i did actually watch fragile twice in the past week, because the first time i had put it on and only started really paying attention when the climax became apparent. i think that the movie would be good for a marathon or halloween party, but i’m not sure it holds up so well in repeat, even if the only thing i really watched in the film was a half an hour stretch near the end.



just under 75 yards of unmarked wool that i got from a swap. i spun stripes until i ran out of the first color (the green) and the chained plied it. this was my first attemt at a heavier yarn- and i got it. i weighted a spindle with a washer and then drafted out more fiber than i normally do. i normally average around 16 to 20 wpi and this one came in at 13 to 14.

i need 110 yards of colored wool for a small colorwork project that i want to work on, and i have the teal and blue rovings left that i’ll spin and chain ply by themselves. that should get me the rest of the yarn.

75 yards at just under 1.5 oz (yay i bought a cheap kitchen scale today!)

290/500 june total

75/110 project total

I’m Clotho. You know, the One with the Spindle.

(I’ll post a progress picture tomorrow. I wanted to get this on paper, er, blogged before Mid got home so i don’t forget anything).

Today was UBCon, which is a yearly event that the gaming club at the University at Buffalo puts on each year. I was never a member of SARPA but mid’s been involved with this thing for years.

i should just admit it now. i am one of those elusive female gamers. i have a level 3 female tiefling warlord with a god-possessed battle axe for 4th edition floating around somewhere (her name is steve). i play d20 systems but i don’t like white wolf’s games, they’re way too complicated. i prefer 3rd or 3.5 over 4th. i carry a d6 around with me as a personal totem. i never got in trouble in high school for being out too late, it was being up too late playing diablo. i have strange emotional connections to 80s soft rock and gaming from hours playing a game called heretic (one of the original quake based platforms that you can get in emalator (how do you spell that, anyway?) currently) to the radio.

so i do game, but i don’t really do cons, if that makes sense. i don’t like playing with strangers and i don’t like crowds. but mid announced last night that i was going.

i ended up grabbing my spindle on the way out the door. i wanted to be able to at least have something to show for my time (other than stuff from the dealer room-though i did a couple cute prints for the walls and an adorable stuffed quail that i have named quinn).

i spun waiting at tables. i spun walking around the student union. i spun at lunch. i spun in the dealer room. i actually did get a good bit done, i got about 90% of the first batt spun. and the alpaca is much easier to spin than i thought it would be.

the con was huge this year. they went viral with advertising this year and pulled down some really big named guests (well not like dragoncon big but big for a campus event in this region). there was a ton of cosplay, and i STILL managed to get a lot more attention than some of the people who put in a lot of work on outfits…so i guess that makes me clotho, the fate with the spindle. or something.

this con also helps to confirm one of my suspicions about mid: that he secretly knows everyone in the city of buffalo who lives here for more than 6 months. the entire day he kept wandering around running into people and announcing that he knew them from here or went to school with them there or knew them from online (he apparently knows the guy that owns a local supply store that my coworkers like from old internet message boards).

i suppose that a gaming con being weird would depend on your stance on the matter, but if you craft in public, where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crafted?


The great frappe experiment…

(against all appearances, i AM actually doing fiber related things at this point in time…i just keep forgetting to grab my camera when i go pick up another load to bring to the apartment. i’m working on a 3 ply with my hi-low in the most glorious noxious shades of yellow and orange that you’ve ever seen. i believe it’s 100% alpaca and i have no idea what i’m going to be doing with it when i’m done but it’s wonderful).

have you seen the prices at chain coffee shops lately?! i get that coffee is a luxury (except for me. i have been known to blog that i would rather give up produce than coffee, and only be half joking) and that there’s a pile of ethical concerns connected to drinking it, but it’s starting to border on the insane. especially since while i live and die by iced coffee, i don’t actually like most places’ frappe style drinks. they’re way too sweet, don’t taste like strongly enough of coffee, and if i have the audacity to ask for soy they want to charge me extra (and sometimes close to a dollar extra).

i’ve wanted a blender for several years. it’s just a toy that i’ve kept my mouth shut about but there’s now enough things that i want to make at home that need blending that i used some birthday money and picked up a tomato red oster blender at target. i got thinking about the homemade creamer in my fridge that needed to be finished off and my ever present supply of coffee concentrate*.

mid was impressed, i was satisfied with the results, and we both agreed it needs to be slightly sweeter. so we’ll probably be doing a lot more frappes at home as soon as the weather warms up. besides, i need my fives to do laundry now.

This post needed a photo. Once I make frappes again, it won't be a stock photo.


coffee concentrate*


homemade creamer**

milk (any fat content, or soy, almond, or coconut- i had organic skim in the house. i imagine evaporated or sweetened condensed would work just fine, and condensed would probably make an awesome thai coffee inspired frappe).

this is dependent on amount desired and honestly i just eyeballed it. i used about a tray’s worth of ice, about 2 1/2 cups worth of concentrate, probably about half a cup of creamer, and a splash of milk. it made about 2 servings worth of frappe.

my oster has an ice crush setting, and i blended for 30 seconds to a minute. i blended slightly longer than was necessary because i had flashbacks to my barista days of people asking for highly blended drinks for mouth feel.

* coffe concentrate

i like my frappes to be strong on the coffee, but a dark roast that’s normally brewed and cooled would probably be fine.

using a 2:1 ratio of water to coffee (i generally do a heaping cup of coffee to about 2 cups of water or more) place in a french press and let sit at room temperture or refridge for at least 4 hours. plunge and refridgerate up to 2 weeks.

** i used my creamer because i had it. i imagine store bought creamer would work, or substitute more milk and add flavorings like essences, chocolate, or spices. soy or other non dairy creamers could be substituted, but my instinct is that they need to be there for mouth feel.

great fiber no buy: day 20: the future’s so bright…

…i have to wear socks.

i have a thing for ugly things. i’m a fan of the ugliest finished object thread on ravelry. i’m the one that’s attracted to really horrific colorways. i like clown barf yarn. i like to seek out really ugly things. extra points if it’s really bright ugliness.

i’m not a really big fan of wearing bright, warm colors, except in small projects (i really love my rainbow poo mittens– named for the prize that you get in neopets). it’s not something that i try to push on anyone else, either.

so when mid announced his 11 pairs of sock challenge, i realized that i was going to have start buying sock yarn at every paycheck, essentially.

i had to work black friday, but mid had it off. i work a modified second shift, so we had time to do some shopping. after we discovered that michael’s had no yarn on sale (who came up with that bright idea?) we went to have ewe any wool? on main street near harlem. mid likes the tobacco store next door (he’s given up cigarrettes but i think i’m going to have to pry his pipe out of his cold dead hands), and i like the sock yarn selection there.

anyway, i was trying to pick out men-approved sock yarn and stuck on more navy blue or going with brown.

when he came up with this:

trust me...the camera pics aren't doing this thing any justice.

i’ve started refering to them as the starburst socks, because that’s all that i think of when i look at them. they’re literally wince inducing under florescent lights. they were driving my eyes nuts while i was working on them at work on friday.

and yes that would be signs that i had the wonder that is mighty taco on saturday:

it's a buffalo thing. but it should be an everywhere thing.

great fiber no buy: day 18- respect


Mid bought me an early christmas/yule present on sunday. i’m quite happy.

i’ve been looking for a copy of respect the spindle for about 6 months now. it’s one of the better books on the market that’s purely spindle spinning. most spinning books will cover the extreme basics of spindle spinning- top vs low whorl, how to do very basic drafting, mention the difference between a worsted and a woolen spin. it’ll amount to about a chapter’s worth of info, and you have to sort of guess your way through the rest, and go online (or take a class) and hope that you can find someone who can sort it out for you.

respect goes a lot deeper, and for someone who’s been self-taught and doesn’t have steady access to other spindlers, it’s been a godsend. in 3 minutes i figured out the difference between worsted and woolen yarns. i got the basic gist- it has to do with the amount of air allowed into the single while you’re spinning but that was about it. every explanation i got from very well meaning individuals on ravelry amounted to, you let more air in for woolen and smoosh it out for worsted (i think. i may have that backwards). anway, respect has some really clear pictures including pictures of the drafting triangle for both worsted and woolen that finally cleared up the difference for me- it has to do with how you form your triangle that allows air in, or doesn’t allow it in as the case may be.

for whatever reason i couldn’t find this book anywhere including my normal go to online sources. i could have purchased straight from interweaves but the shipping seemed high at the time that i looked. i finally found a copy at the indie bookstore on elmwood. i’m quite pleased.

photographing one's feet can get a little akward.

i finished the scrap socks yesterday. the people that have seen them in person seem to react favorably to them. i don’t think they’re attractive, at all. but they’re scrap socks, and while i do favor certain sock yarns i’m not one of those people that have to have cute/pretty/attractive socks…i mean, it’s a sock. they fit better than i feared but i defintely move up at least a size for this pattern, or even mod the pattern for slightly bigger than that.

current stash count: i haven’t been spinning so nothing was added to the stash this week. i used 1 skein for the scrap socks, and i’m giving someone a skein to learn to knit with today which brings me to a difference of postive 2 balls (i used 3, bought 1 for mid’s next pair of socks) that i can buy.

Great Fiber No Buy: Day 6- it’s not my fault!

an early post, but relevant.

my mom apparently went out and bought me two bags of alpaca roving (yes, bags. i have no idea what size bag we’re talking about, i’m guessing anywhere between four ounces total to a pound, knowing how she buys wool) and a new spindle.

so while my diet has been broken, i’m also not the one to do it…

Great Fiber No Buy: Day 5- Knitcore


sunday is my free knitting day. i work on whatever project i feel like. today was my 1426 socks. i’m up to the gusset of the first sock, but i’m going to swap out for another gusset. i think i know what she’s trying to tell me to do, but i have a gusset i like just as much that wouldn’t require as much fiddling as she’s trying to get me to do.

current pattern modifications: 11 gusset dec rows (presuming that your gusset is 16 or 17 sts deep, then you work 10 rws, which makes a gusset of 19 sts deep the way the pattern is current knitted 11 gusset dec rows).

every four st increase in the width of the sock is calling for an increase of 4 rws to the foot length, so for an average male sock of 76 sts then i should aim for 56 rws, give or take (68 sts = 48 rws).

gusset directions: “Starting at center back of heel, work across first needle to last 3 sts. K2tog, K1. On needle 2, work across evenly. On needle 3, K1, Sl1, K1, psso,
then work across to the end of the needle. You should be back at the center back of the heel.
Next round: work even.”

(in case you’re wondering, this is the basic sock generator that i use, and have used for close to 10 years).


I’ve been going to a new knitting circle for three weeks now. this is something of an event for me. i’m not very good with meeting new people (imagine that). but i really needed a new/expanded social circle- i like most of mid’s friends well enough, but at the same time, they’re his friends and most of our interests don’t overlap. for example, i have absolutely no interest in fire dancing, drinking homebrew, or hula hooping.

it’s been going well enough. it takes me 3 or 4 times of hanging out with a group to get a really good feel about whether or not i’ll return on a regular basis. there are some issues- they really hate acrylic. i work with it just fine, and have problems with ‘fiber snobs’. however, i’m also aware that my issue with fiber snobs is intense enough that i’m almost a snob in the opposite direction. however, i seem to be meshing well enough, or at least, as well as i can. i have a rather dominant personality (what i’m trying to say, delicately, is that i’m well aware that i can be an ass) and it can get worse when i’m in new social situations.

but i haven’t gotten the cold shoulder, entirely at least, and there are some people that i like enough to outweigh any negative impressions i get from other people. and it’s like a line from a poem i’m found of, everyone has their own stories to tell.

mid likes it because it’s at a coffee bar in a part of town that he’s fond of, and he likes the coffee bar. i like the barristas, and i like the coffee (it’s actually the brand i used to sell at perk’s). i go and i spin, and i knit socks. i have also taken up a habit of waving at the people who stare at me through the window like i’m some new exhibit at the zoo.