Monday, May 29, 2006

Guitar pics, no pun intended

Well, the bedroom reno is finally pretty much done and the monkey made it through alive. Just the odd finishing touch left to be done. Here are the wardrobes that ate my bedroom. They're massive! They allowed us to cut our closet space by about a third, which makes the tiny room feel a little bigger.
Can you believe I thought I could assemble these monstrosities myself? Not one of my brighter ideas.

This is a steel string guitar that I built about 15 years ago. It's got a red cedar top, satinwood sides, and...

a holly, satinwood and mahogany pieced back with purpleheart binding. Quilt inspiration? You bet!

This dyed targhee arrived today from Spinning Bunny. The colours are gorgeous and the fibre is very soft. It's going to make beautiful hats and socks. Maybe a lacy scarf.
The spindle is from a local guy. It's 1.4g and has an oak shaft and flamed maple whorl. Love the hook on this thing, it's perfect. I initially thought the carving on the shaft would bug me, but it doesn't affect winding the cop at all and the spindle spins like a dream.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dear Ingmar

Dear Ingmar from Ikea,
May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your hairy parts. I have just spent three hours wrestling with what will forever be known as, "the furniture that ate my bedroom". I realize that I'm partially to blame. We measured everything in the store, but we neglected to take into account the fact that things in large warehouses are larger than they appear. Much larger. Perhaps signs to this effect in the store would be helpful for hapless consumers? But that would likely ruin your fun. I can hear you laughing at me all the way from your hillside chalet in Sweden. The chalet that does not contain any furniture that you had to put together yourself. And WTF? MDF? Shouldn't that be MDL? Medium density lead? I'm no weakling, but wrangling this stuff makes me feel like a puny little girl. I guess I should have realized that the offer of having it installed was really a very strong suggestion and the couple hundred bucks it would have cost would have saved much more than that at the chiroprator. Silly me.
In closing, I'm coming for you. Be afraid. As soon as my back heals, you're in for a world of hurt my evil swedish friend.
Your impending doom.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Now, if I could just teach him to knit...

Spike loves wool. He particularly loves wool that's knit into things. Like my almost finished Cowichan sweater. If he could knit (and wasn't so freaking lazy) he'd be the perfect man.
I bet you're wondering about the fate of the reno monkey. He still lives. Mainly because I'm too tired and achy from sleeping on the futon for nine days. If I had more energy, I couldn't vouch for his safety at all. He went back to work on Tuesday and the renos were barely started. He spent a lot of time mudding (five bloody days!) and used a lot of spackle. I just put the second coat of paint on the walls today and I'm hoping that the window trim will go back on tonight. I also hope that the floor will go down tomorrow. If that happens, I could be sleeping in my own bed by tomorrow night. That would make me VERY happy. Of course, that still leaves four new wardrobes to be assembled and furniture to be dusted (effing drywall dust gets everywhere) and arranged, but at least I can see the light at the end of tunnel. Hah! It's probably a train.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Welcome to swatch hell

Just look at the cheeky reno monkey threatening to spray me with the hose! His blatant disregard for my wrath is shameful. I'll have to beat him with a rolled up newspaper later. Perhaps when he's not so dirty. Hmm, that doesn't sound right.

So, I was a good bunny and knit the swatch and did the drawing for the Nihon Vogue class this morning. I really liked the swatch and was looking forward to knitting the sweater. Stupid me. I should have known that it would mean curtains for that particular garment. At least for the time being. The gauge is too big and so is the cable pattern for the shape of the garment I meant to do. And when I came home to pick out a finer wool for the swatch, I came to an alarming conclusion... I have no wool. Okay, I can feel you rolling your eyes, but with the upheaval around here, most of The Stash is unaccessible right now. The plan as it stands now: save pretty swatch for later when class is over, continue with stretchy cotton swatch for tankini for final project, swatch bluey handspun for other final project, and finally, swatch purple Optimum for insanely patterned cardigan that teacher has made. Did ya hear that splatty popping sound just now? That was my head splitting open like an over-ripe grape and messing up my computer screen. Think I'll curl up in the fetal position and hum for a while.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated...

Okay, so I missed a day, stop emailing me! The reno monkey is NOT dead. See? Here he is, happy, smiling, well-fed and very clearly not buried under the shed. Sheesh. Give me a little more credit. That's the first place anyone would look for a body. Yesterday he chose the new paint colour, a nice soft mossy green. Yes, I got a man to choose a paint colour for something that wasn't a car. Where's my medal?!

It would seem that my resistance is at a low point these days as I have been quite easily coerced into joining two knitalongs: The Amazing Lace and Trek Along With Me. I'll admit it, I'm weak. It's not like I don't have enough to do already. And I just looove deadlines. I've picked the purple merino laceweight to do the Adamas Shawl with and the blue Trekking doesn't have a sock pattern yet. I'm open to suggestions, just no more knitalongs please. I may be weak right now, but eventually I would find you and, payback as they say, is a me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Proof of life

Day 2 and the reno monkey is still kicking. We even cleaned him up and went out for dinner. Progress is slower than we had hoped, but that's always what happens with renos. Not enough hours in the day and we're overoptimistic. Still haven't even picked a paint colour!

And just so no one thinks it's all about the monkey...
I finally got the owl charted for the Cowichan sweater and now I can continue with the back. I'm not usually happy with browns, but the colours go together so well that I really like it. It's gonna be a great beach sweater.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Reno Monkey Death Watch

Day one of renos and the monkey is still with us. The new window snipe hunt was a close call, but things are back on track. I'll try to use a newspaper tomorrow so everyone will know he's not "swimming with the fishes".

Monday, May 15, 2006

Spindleholics Anon

Hi my name is Lara and I'm addicted to drop spindles. I haven't ordered any spindles now for several days, but they keep coming in the mail. I have no hope of getting clean. Is there a Betty Ford for spindle abuse? Anyhow, here we've got a Gabe C. in aromatic cedar, a Bosworth in Kauri, and a Grafton Mala. Sadly, I've been too busy to really try them yet.

Another Nihon Vogue project done! Getting closer to the end all the time. Yup, it's crochet, but thankfully, it's only a collar rather than the skirt suit the text would have us do. Pretty sure I don't have the physique to carry off a crocheted skirt, let alone an entire suit. Bet Anthea will figure out how to comment now, if only to send me big, wet raspberries.

My Peonies have bloomed! The tree peony has two blooms this year. It's one of my all-time favorite flowers. Had to put something pretty up as tomorrow the bedroom renos start. Pray that I don't have to club the monkey on the head with a heavy object.

Friday, May 12, 2006


25 colours, one pot of Brazilwood. I admit it, I didn't believe it would give really different colours, but it did. Not only that, but some of those pinks and purples are really great. I might even use some of those colours. I'm still not a natural dyeing convert, but results like this do make me rethink my, "ugh, it's so much work" feelings.

Yay! Another Nihon Vogue project done. I don't even know what number this one is. I've totally lost track and I'm doing two or three extra projects, so who knows. There's such a fine line between over-achiever and just plain dumbass. This sweater proved that simpler is sometimes better. I tried to do a really fancy border before the yoke and it looked really bad. REALLY bad. Took me six hours. Three sets of calculations, two picked up bands (one with over 400 stitches the other only 300 and some), and two inches of knitting. Six hours. Knew I should rip it out and continued knitting. Thought I might like it more in another few rows. I was completely delusional. Spent twenty minutes the next day pulling it all out. I'd call it a learning experience, but it wasn't the first time I've done it and I somehow doubt it will the last. Yup, dumbass. Not such a fine line after all.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hat Redux

I love the smell of merino in the morning.
This is the same hat as the yellow/burgundy one from previous posts, done in handspun merino. It's from roving I got from Winderwood Farms in NY. They have some gorgeous colourways and some great fibres.

Here's Spike riding the shed monkey. He'll ride his human for hours. Strange but cute. The shed is done but for a door on hinges. I hope to move the gardening stuff out there next weekend and start planning out the stash storage. I can't wait to have a semi-organized stash. Might put a chair out in the middle of the room so I can just sit there and dream up projects. Ahhh...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

SP8 yay!

Here's the questionnaire:
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I've been told I'm a bit of a princess when it comes to yarn. I like soft stuff. Merino, fine wools, cottons, alpaca, that sort of thing. Shetland and I are not friends and I'm not a huge fan of novelty yarns and 100% acrylics.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have some fabric rolls that a friend made me and they work very well.
3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting since I was 5, about 35 years. I think I'm fairly advanced, I haven't met a pattern I couldn't knit and I do design a fair bit myself these days.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wishlist?
Yup, but it's a little pathetic right now. I keep it to remind myself of things I'd like to buy eventually. It needs a serious overhaul.
5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I like grapefruit, lime, and peppermint.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Chocolate! Add raspberries to that and I am extremely happy.
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I'm a certified (or is that certifiable?) guitar builder, I do beadwork, cross stitch, needlework, and I've been spinning for 15 years.
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like a fairly wide range of music from old jazz to spanish rap to hardcore. Right now I lean more to hardcore and unless it's Johnny Cash, I think country is evil.
9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color/family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you can't stand?
I am very much a purple girl. Even when I try to get other colors into my life, I always wind up with some sort of purple or burgundy. Anything with yellow tendancies is taboo around here (unless it's complementing the purple).
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
There's a man that I clean up after (see cheeky shed monkey), a dog and two cats.
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes to all but the last.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I'll knit pretty much anything. I even knit a chair cover a couple of years back. But shawls are fun and socks are what I use as a brain cleanser between larger projects.
13. What are you knitting now?
I've got a cable patterned yoke sweater and a hooded buffalo sweater on the go for the Nihon vogue class (yeah, I said a hooded buffalo sweater, stop snickering, I'm a slow learner). Then there's about 5 pairs of socks, a tank top, a moebius scarf... I'm not going any further 'cause this is getting embarrassing.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum or plastic?
Mostly circs (addis), although I love the Crystal Palace bamboo dps for socks.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes to both.
17. How did you learn to knit?
My grandmother taught me. She liked to keep me quiet. This is the same lady that sent me outside with a salt shaker and told me if I could get salt on a bird's tail I could catch it. Her neighbors must have thought I was insane. I spent hours outside as quiet as I could be (see a trend here? She wasn't stupid) trying to catch a bird with a salt shaker.
18. How old is your oldest UFO?
Sheesh, isn't that like asking what I weigh? A lady never tells. Okay, I know that leaves me out, but I'm still not telling!
19. What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween. You can scare children and not go to jail.
20. Is there anything that you collect?
Er, spindles, nosties, wpi tools. But the collection is kinda scary already.
21. Any books, yarn, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I'd like to try the Regia bamboo sock yarn. I usually just pick up a knitting mag if it interests me.
22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
None come immediately to mind, but there's bound to be something.
23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes. I'm a size 7.5 and I have wideish feet, thickish ankles and a narrow heel. If a duck foot just sprang to mind for you, then you've got it.
24. When is your birthday?
Dec. 20.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Things I learned this weekend

1. Spinning all day on stuff you have to do rather than stuff you'd like to do is more fun if you do it with someone else who's in the same boat. As you can see, Angela just loooves working with Clun Forest fleece. Made me feel so much better about the many kilometers of targhee I did and have yet to do.
2. A beautiful sunny day makes above mentioned spinning also seem much nicer.

3. Happy shed elves never work when you're home. If you're home they send the cheeky monkeys in their place. The monkeys are occasionally foul-tempered, make faces at you, swear and get tool belt pant sag (hence the "cheeky"). You can see a monkey on the shed roof at the top right of the pic. Thankfully, feces were not thrown.

4. Targhee does not fluff up as much as I had hoped. The many klics of 3 ply that I spun and washed have decided to be about a sport weight. It doesn't seem to matter how much a beg, whine, plead or cajole, it's still not a double knit. Crap.
5. I should have sampled my ply before I spun almost half a pound of roving. Damn.
6. A 3 ply sport will make a really nice light cable knit. Oh yes, it will.