June 04, 2008

handpainting color tests

Please go to this page to see the blog entries THANKS!!

Well, I did some testing and came to the conclusion that the colors are deep enough so I went ahead & did some more yarn painting & after I get off the computer, I will skein up the rest of the cone of merino yarn & pop the skeins in the presoak liquid... and will skein up some other stuff that I want to use for my own personal use. Here are the skeins:


The one on the far left is mohair (my stash yarn) and the next to last one on the right is fingering weight mohair wool (also stash yarn) and the rest of the skeins are fingering weight merino.

In the next batch, which is in color set mode, I have some more merino & some sport weight wool sock yarn and some more mohair wool. The colors look fiery so I'll probably come up with related names.

Tomorrow's batch will probably have some more of the wool mohair & I may skein up some other stuff that I have in my stash, we'll see. The limit of my canner seems to be about 2 or 3 lbs of yarn... I could probably fit more but I need to come up with something else to hold the yarn above the water besides a strainer.

Gonna go see if the other skeins are dry & do some more skeining... maybe tonite I'll do a test knit & see how it comes out...though these skeins were more for color testing than pattern testing, so I might wait on testing a merino skein for when today's dye batch is ready.
I'm not happy with where the colors landed in the test batch, but I wasn't going for a particular pattern set up... I'm happy with the colors, though!

Posted by Jessica at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2008

weaving experiments

The Navajo inspired experiments that I'll be doing are based on a small rug (about 9"x15") that I saw at a flea market last fall:


The piece I posted a couple of days ago didn't show the center motif with the points, I still need to learn how to do those...

Time to get ready for the pool! Just wanted to post this...

Posted by Jessica at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2008

Friday Fill-in #74

Got these from here

1. For me sitting on the computer is the opposite of creativity...BUT it also has the effect of recharging the creativity batteries & is inspiring, which makes it a good thing!
2. The Knitting Circle was the last excellent book I read, and am still reading it.
3. I like fill-ins because... did I say I like fill-ins? I thought it might bring a little something to the blog
4. In nature I like looking at birds.
5. Someone who cares about the country & the planet should win the US elections.
6. The last time I laughed with all my belly was this morning when I was reading the book above.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading, maybe watching a bit of the Northern Exposure DVD & having tacos for dinner, tomorrow my plans include going swimming & maybe having french bread pizza for dinner and Sunday, I want to read, relax & stay cool & maybe clean up a bit around the house, maybe do a bit of knitting/reading or weaving!

Summer is Here

and the pool opens tomorrow... we're looking forward to it, it's refreshing & an exercise that I enjoy. Gary probably won't be able to come swimming unless he just hangs out in the shallow water... he's still recovering from whatever is wrong from his fall in April or maybe his medications aren't right for him or something else...


Here in Texas, there is an ice cream place called Braums that has wonderful milk. The boys love it & their cows don't have any hormones. We ran out so I bought some Oak Farm milk & one of my boys reported that it's "so-so"... hmm... the milk says on the label that the farmers don't use antibiotics & such, so there must be something else about the Braums milk that they like. We will try Bordens next time if we run out before Thursday... Thursday we'll be near the Braums & will be able to refresh our milk supply! It's also less expensive, but momentarily not worth the gas to go pick it up, we need to have other things to do in that area as well!

New Tapestry weaving piece (or navajo) (or both)

I started a new piece on the small loom but it's in limbo for now until a book I ordered gets here... Designing With The Wool by Noel Bennett & Tiana Bighorse...if I remember right, it should have instructions for how to do the motif I want to do. I THINK it would require 2 pieces of yarn to have it look balanced, but maybe 1 will work...

Did I already mention that from now on, whenever possible, I will deal with the ends on tapestry pieces in such a way that I can just snip the back instead of having to weave them in? I'll either use an overlap technique or just tuck the end in right then and there...


No kitten update... I'm afraid to just give them away to strangers: I read on one of my email lists that some people take kittens just so that they can give them to dogs to hurt torture or kill. Ugh.

Posted by Jessica at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2008

PS forgot to post the Navajo piece

Forgot to post this with the last entry, oops! Not very many ends: I had already decided to deal with the ends problem before I started working on the center motif.


Posted by Jessica at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

Tuesday update

The weather is warming up around here, but is still quite comfortable. We have not lugged the air conditioner in yet but I'm betting we'll need to before the month is up. It's hard to believe that it won't be long before the swimming pool is open again for the summer! Whee!


I finished the Meow tapestry, now it's called "Mew" instead of "Meow" because that's kind of what a cat sounds like when it talks.


I need to block this so it's a bit more square & I'm not sure what I'll do with these ends:



We still have the kittens and I'm having trouble with some aspects of giving them away. Tomorrow I'll call the person who runs the no-kill shelter in town & ask her for some advice. I'd advertise on the homeschooling list but the gal who ran it closed it because it was so quiet. (Maybe I'll set up another list, I don't care if it's quiet from time to time, but I want one available!)

I want the kittens to go to good HOMES & not somewhere they'd be tossed outside (though I would not be opposed to them becoming barn kitties if it's a good place) or maybe used for inhumane purposes... and would actually prefer knowing the family who has them so we can get updates & such... we'll keep Callie for sure (unless we find someone who wants her) and need to get her spayed pretty soon.

Here's some photos.... feel the cuteness:


Shadow on the left, Supo on the right... Tornado was off somewhere, probably taking a nap!

This is a so-so photo of Supo's awesome patterning (which earned her the name "Supo", the reverse of "Opus"):


Shadow wants to make sure that everyone knows that she is just as pretty as her sister.

Oh yeah, they're 8-1/2 weeks old now!

Summer of Socks & Handpainting projects

Well, I've joined the Summer of Socks & probably will try to whip out a pair or two this summer, we'll see! I have a cone of fingering weight softball cotton with elastic in it & once I'm done with the handpainting of the Treadsoft merino wool sock yarn, I'll see about dyeing it. I'll be using a different type of dye with the treadsoft than what I'd use for the cotton yarn.

First I need to set up my swift, it's an old plastic & metal thing, works pretty well, and make a few skeins. I'm thinking of making 1-1/2 or 2 ounce skeins as well as a few 4 ounce skeins. I figure for socks, it would be nice to have the skeins already divided up into 1 adult size skein, but if you have thoughts on skein sizing, PLEASE comment! Thanks!

Posted by Jessica at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2008

Update Sunday

No photos today, maybe later, maybe in a few days... the kittens are now 6 weeks old and as soon as Gary gets back from the hospital, we'll try to give away at least 2 of them... I'm thinking we oughtta keep either Shadow or Tornado as they both seem to really like our family... Supo is fun too, but she's not as cuddly or people oriented as the other two (but still more than other kittens I've met)... Shadow purrs & talks when she sits with me and I was woken up a time or two by her trying to lick my nose or something, eeeek, lol... Callie-mama still nurses with them & plays with them every so often & comes running if she thinks there is something she needs to attend to.

We're having guinea problems: Pete disappeared about a week ago, we had him for over 5 years...then Mario died: he apparently got attacked by a dog or other predator, at first we thought it was just his foot & we were going to try to clean it up & such & then we found that he'd gotten attacked underside as well when we came home to find him dead... now we're down to 1 guinea again, Paul... maybe next week we'll try getting some more guineas to keep Paul company but will have to keep them in the cage until they're big enough to fly up to Tree Bed at night. Maybe we won't get anymore, I don't know.

Gary's been in the hospital & being a faux single mom, I haven't felt much like writing... but then I DO have a Blogging W/O obligation on my sidebar! I'll blog when I feel like it! He MAY come home on Wednesday.

I have not liked the hospital staff at the hospital he's at now: they are not very family friendly & maybe it's because we have not been down to visit but when visiting hours are 1-2 and 7-8 and they ONLY allow 3 people at a time to visit, that doesn't make the trip worth it for the kids (it's over an hour drive)...bringing them to a babysitter is not something I'm interested in at the moment, plus I keep thinking that he may come home any day now.


The poncho has gone into temporary UFO mode, but I'll probably work on it today.
I need to find a pretty lace pattern that doesn't NEEEEEEEED to be blocked. That's one of my major pet peeves about knitting lace.

I've been futzing with a crown down hat in some stretchy yarn I have... worsted weight, an OLD Brunswick Comfy, has something like 99% cotton 1% spandex... kinda like fixation/esprit, but thicker. 100 stitches is too many for what I want to make, so I think I will try a do-over with another skein... maybe 90 stitches would be better or even 85... I want it with neutral or negative ease so it'll keep my hair from flying about: in the wind... not so tight that it gives me a headache, not so loose that I can easily twist it around my head.

I got eliminated from Yarn Smackdown in round 3 by a lovely lime green hat from Alaska... now I know who to root for! I promised pix for my opponent & will post them sometime this week!

Posted by Jessica at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2008

Poncho progress & photo

I finished a full repeat on the poncho & have gotten a couple more rounds into the second repeat... not a great photo, but it was nighttime & I wanted to get the thing uploaded & didn't want to take another... there's a problem with my camera screen (you can't see the photo) but the light from the screen still comes up so it makes it hard to use the viewfinder...need to go on the Kodak site & see what to do: I got the camera last August, so hopefully it's still under warranty, or is that 30, 60 or 90 days?? hmm...


Next time I take a photo, I'll get a better one, or I'll replace this one... so if the photo looks good, it'll be a replaced one...

Lotsa rain last night... had to turn the computer off because of thunder & lightning... wheee!

Posted by Jessica at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2008

Food memories

I got to thinking about food earlier while I was preparing dinner...
It was triggered by reading someone's blog about how she just found out that her children have diabetes & she's trying to make changes & can't convince them to eat fresh fruit & veggies or even applesauce..

In our house, that stuff gets inhaled & on produce co-op days, my guys look for whatever extra fruits are available & often have a piece while we're talking to the folks there...

I got to thinking about why my kids like fresh food: I think it's because they started on it from the get-go... first on breast milk and then they started on solids when they were 6 months old... later for the other 2 since they weren't interested in solids... baby food was either the jar stuff (Earth's Best when we could afford it) or mushed up people food...

We had tacos for dinner (DINNER, not SUPPER, lol.. we war about that in our house for fun.. hehe) tonite & when I was going to sit down with mine I remembered the first time that I think I had tacos: I was a Freshman or Sophomore in college & my professor invited the class to his house & he had taco fixings set out for us.. I told the boys about that & Micah said that he can't REMEMBER when he had his first taco! Funny how that works. I think I had my first rice & bean dish when I was around 7 though when my babysitter who was Puerto Rican OR best friend Elizabeth who was Cuban (I think) had me over at their house & offered me some. Their mothers loved me because I loved their food... I was acting like it was gourmet food because I never had it...

That got me thinking about all different foods and how we think about them: a few days ago, one of the boys said he would have yogurt with his bananas and strawberries & I said "why not try sour cream with a bit of sugar" and he said he thought of sour cream as a savory food! Huh! I grew up with bananas and sour cream as either a snack or a cold lunch. Even today, I struggle to convince myself to eat yogurt with my fruit instead of sour cream... sometimes I mix them together so that I can have that wonderful sour cream flavor... and I think of sour cream as an accompaniment to a savory OR sweet food...

Luna Moth Poncho

3 or 4 more rounds & I'll have completed a full repeat of the poncho. I think it's going okay! Maybe I'll get Opus to model it, hehehe...

Posted by Jessica at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

Just a cool typing test

71 words

Speed test

That's typing in a hurry, which happens if I'm excited or something... my normal relaxed speed is probably around 50 or 60 words a minute, like right now. I took typing classes in junior high school & my mom got me a how-to-type booklet and I got to practice on an old Corona electric typewriter... I still remember practicing gibberish like:
juyj juyj frtf frtf

I also love playing typing terror on neopets... and have achieved a 3rd place avatar... and last night when we were in Pizza Hut, my son told me that he thought he overheard some kids talking about typing terror & neopets... since he wasn't sure, none of us went over to say hello... oh well!


I think I finally figured out how to turn the Luna Moth shawl pattern into a poncho & have about 1/2 a repeat knitted plus a row or two from the first section... basically you figure out how many stitches you want your neck hole to be (I started with 66 stitches) and knit a round then purl a round & then start the knitting. I dropped the first 3 and last 3 (garter) stitches and also dropped the first & last yarn over & stitch & also changed the first & last decrease from a 3 (k3tog or ks2p) stitch decrease to a 2 stitch (k2tog and skp) decrease...so far it's working & is giving me an 8 stitch increase every other round. If I wanted to increase more slowly, I might need to drop one of the triple yarn overs in the middle in one half of the chart & add an extra decrease (possibly turn that k2 tog/skp into k3 tog/sk2p) except I found that I had to downgrade that decrease or the stitches wouldn't line up properly.

We'll see how it goes... I found another poncho pattern done in the round that increases 8 every other round and it looks nice, but it just seems like I'm generating an AWFUL lot of stitches. I think I have about 100 stitches on the needle so far and only in the middle of the 1st repeat... but that other pattern generates about 200 or 300 stitches so maybe it'll be okay... basically I'm making 2 luna moths this way... sort of!

I'll take a photo when the knitting looks more substantial!

more knitting patterns at Weaving Rainbow

I've added two more Patons patterns to the website... one is Chunky Knits and the other is Weekend Retreat as requested by a customer... they should be here in a few days...


are getting bigger & more adventurous... they seem to really like Opus & I like cuddling with them. Only once or twice a day as I don't want to get too attached since we can't keep them. In 3-1/2 weeks I'll start letting folks know we have kittens & hopefully they will go to families who have children...

Posted by Jessica at 01:28 AM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2008

Gradually Catching Up

For the last few weeks, the Street Smart booklet has been out of stock and orders have been piling up. I finally got a batch of booklets last week and what just HAD to happen to complicate things? The printer threw a hissy fit & wouldn't print! SO I had to make 2 or 3 trips to the library to print shipping labels.

We weren't sure what the printer's issues were, but figured that the black ink cartridge needed replacing, so I ordered more & today they arrived.

I CAN PRINT AGAIN... at HOME! YIPPEE! The printer is an old HP 842C... it's wonderful, but doesn't communicate very well. It was the ink cartridge. and when the printer is not happy with the ink cartridge, it just refuses to print, the blinking orange light flickers & it won't do anything else... won't even print a FADED printout (which would be a definite clue that the ink was running low)... all or nothing & guessing with this one!

Patterns & Projects

Luna moth is finished. I've yet to block it, and I'm a bit leery of the neckline: it doesn't look like blocking it will help shape it (the yarn is 75% acrylic & 25% wool), but we'll see:


The batteries & remote are in the picture there because I thought maybe the camera battery was running down, so swiped out the batteries from the remote.

Now I've got some ideas for a couple of things I'd like to make next... I may try to use the Luna moth pattern in a poncho for a little girl or may use some other stitch pattern that I think would go well with the same yarn & send the shawl along as well so they'll have a sort of mother-daughter outfit...

The Luna Moth shawl is too long for Reuven (he's 6), so it'll be too long for the little girl, and I think a poncho might be better...

We'll see how the poncho project goes! Hopefully fast! It'll be easier to see how it's shaping up size-wise...


The kittens are growing & their eyes opened on Wednesday & Thursday (yesterday) one kitten's eyes opened Wednesday & the eyes of the other two opened yesterday... so now they are going to start moving around more and in about a week, we may have our hands full and all the other animals will REALLY have to get used to having them around! Here's some pix... feel the cuteness!




Posted by Jessica at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2008

middle of the night ramblings

Someone needs to tell me to get OFF the computer, and to bed... but I'm a bit wired right now from getting my Street Smart booklet orders sorted out so that tomorrow I can head over to the library & print out some more shipping labels so that I can get all caught up on my orders... 22 more.

I'll also be ordering some Shetland Chunky yarn in 4 colors: white, black, stone ragg & red... these can either be used as sock monkey hats or for the Urban Aran pattern in the Street Smart booklet. Although my Shetland Chunky page doesn't show all available colors, I CAN special order them in bags of 10. I WILL be adding the colors to the page, tried to do that on Monday morning, but was making a mess so I decided to take the easy route until I can get some help with the HTML. I also need to go through the colors since it's a revamped old page and some of the colors may be discontinued.

Another good yarn for the Urban Aran might be Briggs & Little Atlantic 3 ply. My only concern about that yarn for sweaters might be that it is a pretty dense (almost hard) yarn. I'll swatch & wash & then we'll see how it looks!


The kittens are getting bigger. One of them (who we nicknamed "Mexico" because the pattern on his/her back reminds me of central America...) had his eyes open earlier when my oldest (and tallest!) son took the kittens out for a cuddle. "central America" doesn't roll off the tongue as easily as Mexico does... we nicknamed another kitten "Supo"... anyone know where we got that name from? Pix another time, we're planning a photo session sometime during the day...we still haven't decide what to call the grey-striped one...

Callie is a very good little mama!

We are planning to find homes for the kittens. That is going to be SO hard... we couldn't give any of Nikki's kittens away, but at the time we didn't need to, we lived where it was safer for cats to go outside... she had 4: TreeCutter & Yoda (who are now playing & frolicking at Rainbow Bridge) & LoveSlug & LittleFace... we still have Slug & Face & still miss the other 2 quite a bit.

Sad news: we had another sweet kitty who told me her name was Melody...she'd been hanging out on our porch with Callie, following us around outside etc... she died on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Not sure what happened (attack or accident? not sure...): last week we noticed she was having some trouble getting around so we brought her inside. She was quiet for a few days & then on Friday she seemed a lot better, was moving around a little more... that was the "if she's not better by" day that we were going to take her to the vet, but since she was doing better, we decided not to. Saturday: nosedive... we'll miss her & I'm still kicking myself for not taking her to the vet Friday...


Luna Moth is almost done... I'm working on the edging row & then I'll do the cast off row & then I'll analyze it to see if it'll be too big for what I have in mind. Photos another time, it doesn't look MUCH different from the last photo, except more scrunched since it's on one needle.

I'm still waiting for Yarn Smackdown group to get going again. We're just waiting on 2 more people before addresses will be sent & the new pattern section released. I'm doing my hat in more than one color again, using some other Peace Fleece yarn that I found because I'm not 100% sure that the yarn that my 1st opponent sent will be enough to make the hat in solid. I'm using Lucas numbers & doing the main color in one direction from 18 to 2 and the companion colors in the reverse order from the main color as thus (going from the middle of the hat down to the end of brim):

green 7
plum 3
green 11
plum 1
green 18
plum 2

I'm still not 100% sure how I'm going to do the top part, we'll see what the pattern section looks like & will go from there!

Bedtime (and maybe a bit of the Luna Moth edging....)

Posted by Jessica at 05:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2008

Some updates

Yarn Smackdown
Last week, the pattern & opponent info was released & I made a hat:


I mailed it to my opponent in Montana along with a bar of chocolate & Monday I found out that she had forgotten all about yarn smackdown, so she ended up sending me the yarn she was going to use to make the hat, Peace Fleece in a color called Anna's Grass Hopper, which is a heathered grey green with blue and off-white flecks.

I got into the 2nd round & I'll probably mix the yarn my opponent sent along with some other Briggs & Little colors for hat #2.

My opponent also sent me a gorgeous sock yarn by C Eye Ber Fiber called Spring's Beginning. It's got pink, yellow & lime & should make pretty socks. I think I will use a contrasting heel & toe color & use the Sarah's socks pattern when I make these socks. Pics of the yarns another time!

I found that I like casting OFF a hat at the brim rather than at the crown, so I did a provisional cast on and am working my way down... I'll either use a sewn cast off or will cast off "in pattern", which is also pretty. I would have used a sewn cast off for the first smackdown hat except I was REALLY pressed for time & as it was, Evan flew to the post office at around 4:15 pm (they close at 4 but sometimes are busy getting the mail ready to take to the distribution center, so he made it IN TIME!)

I've started the ribbing for it & once that is done, I'll have to wait until Helen sends the instructions for what to do above the ribbing & will be able to work on other projects in between.

Luna Moth Shawl

I also took a photo of the Luna Moth shawl that I've been working on:


I took this picture when we were at the park... the weird background is a part of one of the picnic areas...

This is with Patons Decor in the color "King's Corner variegated" and I'm thinking about adding some loops & buttons (maybe the barrel type) so that it has the option of being more poncho like... we'll see how big the thing actually is once I'm done. I have about 5 or 6 more pattern rows to go before starting the edging & will get back to that when I'm either not working on the next hat for Yarn Smackdown.

One of my concerns about the Patons Decor yarn is that it's the same content as Plymouth Encore, which I've heard pills BADLY after the first washing...I hope this doesn't apply to this yarn...will handwash the sweaters that I made & hopefully that won't happen. I'll try washing a swatch or something small in the machine on a gentle cycle & see what happens...


Last but not least: last Friday, Callie, one of the strays that hangs around our house, had her kittens in my car... we brought them into the house so they'll have a safe place to be & will find homes when they're around 6 weeks old... here's a pic of them:


And their proud mama:


Posted by Jessica at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

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