Monday, April 28, 2008

What's Going On?

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. First there's the critters in the attic. Loud. Large. Busy. Critters. In the attic. Neighbor thought she saw squirrels going in to the house, but the Pest Control Specialist we finally called in (when the noises brought Mom to the brink of insanity) thinks it is a rat. A FOOT long rat. Sigh. So the traps are set, and he comes back to see if they've tripped this week. So far, the noises indicate they haven't found the traps yet. I'm so very happy. Not.

Then there's the overwhelming chaos in my house. I just have too much crap. Too much fiber. Couldn't use it all in a lifetime. So I'm packing it up. Giving it away, donating to the Mission, sending some to a needy person, throwing some out. Mind you, this is just the acrylic stuff, and I still have boxes. I'm keeping the natural fibers stuff (and putting it where, you ask? Good question.) And I've made a vow to do the stash busting thing this year. No new purchases of yarn or fiber till I've greatly reduced the current stash. However......

Prior to this vow, I'd been working on spinning this:

A full pound of lovely moorit brown merino, which I hope to make into socks. I spun half of it a bit ago, only to find that my "fingering weight" somehow bloomed to worsted weight when plied and washed. Not what I wanted for socks. So I'm doing the other half, and aiming at a much smaller grist.

Then there's this:

Four lovely ounces of beige silk spun cobweb fine. It's beautiful, soft, and I love spinning silk. So? What's the problem, you ask?


I want color.

Bright beautiful bold gorgeous color.

Everything I've spun recently has been a neutral. Moorit, beige, lots of white. Some black.

It's spring, and I want color.

So before the vow (phew, under the wire!) I bought this:

A pound each of superwash merino (again, hopefully for socks!) in the brightest colors I could find. The pictures really don't do them justice. The blue is electric. The yellows so vivid it's like looking into the sun. Thanks to Christina at for brightening my day.

In mind of the stash busting idea, I knit two hats this weekend, using up balls of commercial but still lovely 100% alpaca. Used up two skeins that otherwise would be languishing in the stash, and learned some fair isle. Pretty cool! I'll try to get pics of those later.

Then the family. Here's our slugger, at his latest game:

A big HIT! The Catcher

It's funny; he's pretty good at baseball, but soccer is still his thing. We're already saving the pennies for soccer camp this summer. An athlete. My son. Whoda Thunkit?

The rest of us are fine, hanging in. Hot weekend, up in the triple digits. Today should be 90's. Then the 60's by Wednesday. Bizarre.

Stay cool. Oh, and the contest is still open... Can't even give my stash away, apparently.

Monday, April 14, 2008


For the first three people that reply to this post, and who re-post this challenge: you win!!!

For your prize, I will send you a gift. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

It might be something I’ve made, or something cool from my hidden stash of fabulousity. It might be a mix CD, or a rubber duck, or a book I think you might enjoy. A love letter, a useful object, or something else that is awesome or maybe just taking up room in my house.

Whatever it is, I promise I will get it to you in 365 days of your posted comment or less, and I will need your snail mail.

The only thing you need to do to receive your gift is PARTICIPATE.

Be one of the first three journalers to reply to this, (make sure I can contact you via e-mail) and post this very same thing in your journal, and YOU are the lucky giftee.

Just ‘cuz.

Because you get what you need when you ask, and because it’s fun to give people stuff.

I accepted the challenge from LizzieK8. If you accept the challenge, you need to link to me showing you accepted the challenge from this blog.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Time for the Monthly Update

Someone from an email group I belong to asked about Tofutsies yarn. I've been meaning to post about this for a while, so this is as good a time as any.

I have made two (and a half) pairs of socks with this yarn. It was pretty fun; the colors are very bright and interesting, and it's novel to be knitting with crab shells. I did find it splitty, but tolerable for someone with low standards, such as myself.

But there was a very big problem, once the socks were completed.

I mean, serious fade.

These socks were knit last summer and fall; so they're less than a year old. And I admit, I am not a handwash sort of girl; they get thrown in the washer and dryer with everything else. The nice thing is they didn't shrink. Take a look at what did happen.

The original colorway is black, magenta and gold. Each color was plied with a white strand.

The left is the socks as they currently are. Gold? What gold? Magenta faded to pink, gold is gone completely. White is almost all you can see though the black has held up fairly well.

The second item in the picture is a headband I made to match the socks. It's obviously been washed much less, and therefore isn't too bad off, unless you hold it right up to the remainder of the skein. Not sure you can see in the picture, but there is obvious fading between them.

This is the second pair I made. Green, blue, yellow. No white. Very bright and vibrant colors. I really loved this colorway, which is strange, as green is not really my thing. See how they've held up?

There is literally NO blue left. The green and yellow have faded to pastel. Sad.

I also am not sure how durable they are. The black and gold ones have worn a hole at the base of the little toe on the instep. Strange place for a hole!

Now, I do wear both of these pair at least once a week, and as I said, they get washed in the regular clothes wash. But my Trekking socks have not faded one bit with the same treatment. Regia has not faded (can't remember which one; the line that has elastic in it.) My bamboo ones have faded noticeably, but still not to this extent, and they were the first ones I made.

Now I know that cotton tends to hold dye less well; it may be a function of that. But I probably won't buy this yarn again. If you buy for color, and then the color fades, what's the point? And truly; they aren't quite as comfortable as my wool socks.

Ok, so what have the family been up to? Well, we took a vacation day and went to Knott's Berry Farm. Fun! I was worried about how Murphy would do, as he gets notoriously carsick. Instead, Eric and I got carsick on the way down, and then Eric did the "Sidewinder" coaster, and that pretty much did him in for the day. Murphy? Well, he went on the "Wipeout" which is a spinning ride that also goes up and down. Dad took him on and I was so afraid I'd hear him screaming. Well, I did. Screaming "Let's do it again, Dad!" Well Dad looked a little pale, so Murph went on alone. And then a third time. And then a fourth.

And by then, Dad was feeling better, so they went on the "Boomerang." TWICE. This ride goes fast forwards with a loop de loop twice; then goes back to the beginning backwards. LOOP de LOOP BACKWARDS! Oy. Needless to say, Mom stayed with her feet planted firmly on the ground and took pictures. This is actually THEM in the third car.

Murphy can't wait to go back. Actually, neither can I. It was a pretty awesome day.

Then there's the baseball. Murphy is on the Cardinals, and is probably the best thrower and hitter on the team. He is the oldest (it's really T-ball) and by far the most huge on the team. Here's the team picture; can you guess which one is Murph? Oh man, there is nothing as cute as six and seven year olds trying to play ball. Not even kittens.

Here is a big hit:

Here he is sliding into home for a run:

Then we had a lovely visit from Eric's grandmother, Estelle, and her husband Abe. We only get to see them once or twice a year, and it's always a treat. We had a lovely talk, a tour of Lake Casitas, and then a dinner trip to Carrow's. They're always welcome!

I think that's about it for now; we're all well and happy and going strong. I do hope to get back to some spinning and dyeing soon!