the Intrepid Fiberwizard

adventures in spinning, knitting, gardening and life

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Surprises

It is always great fun to get packages - especially when they are hand knit gifts.
Today brought a perfect gift - Toasty Toes socks from Gracie.
Even my kitties were excited when I opened this box of goodies - they were trying to figure out how to get the wrappers off those sweet tarts. hee hee

The weather turned gnarly last night here, dropping from a previous day's high of 70 degrees, to the mid teens last night. Frost on the windows and all the plants outside makes it the perfect Halloween - and the perfect scene for showing off my new warm tootsies!

Thank you Gracie, for these gorgeous socks. They fit perfectly. And the color is divine. They are beautifully knit as well. I am one lucky sock pal. I am not sure how she got these knit up so fast, given all the other excitment in her life... the baby on the way ! - but I am delighted that she did. Thank you.
She included a bunch of Halloween goodies, and even a teensy Frankenstein finger puppet (which is going to my office for the kids to play with. hah!)

What a wonderful sock swap. I had a great time - thank you, once again Amanda, for hosting all this fun! I luvs me my new socks!! Yippeee...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Oom Pa Pa

I got back home from Tampa, Florida a day or so ago - at 2 am. My head and body are still a tad bit jet lagged - yet I'm here in one piece. The good news is that my luggage finally made it home too - yay! (two days after me)
I decided to wait to post, since my "road trip" knitting was in the suitcase (along with my entire set of dpns.... about $400 worth of needles) I wondered to myself, when they lost my luggage - what on earth possessed me to take ALL my dpn's with me..... (never did get an answer on that one)
I think that I had been more concerned about losing them than I was about my clothing, jewlery etc. It's a sure sign that you're addicted to the knit when you care more about losing your needles than you do about valuable jewlery..

Moving right along, here's the Socktoberfest Socks.. a completed pair (no laughing out there)- whoo hoo, and a big oom-pa-pa.
They are made from Sock Hop Yarn colorway "Respect"
size 1 needles
pattern Bluebell Rib
The best news is that they are actually for me. yumm. (and there are TWO of them ! (I know, I know, silly, yet true. Most of my knitting is either for the booth displays or gifts.) Can you hear the Oom-pa band playing those wonderful dance tunes as I twirl about in them? no? well, err, umm... maybe it's just me singing.

There was some other knitting that happened on the road as well:
I began these for my oldest daughter (it was a very long flight, with a couple hour layover)- They are a Christmas gift for this year (we hope) I have only one more repeat of the pattern (4 rows) and then I begin the toe decreases. I just love this yarn - the way the color dances around the sock never ceases to delight me. There will be a second sock for sure.

I wonder if anyone else out there has begun their holiday gift knitting?

It was a good trip to Tampa - and no, dear friends.. I didn't get to have a "cuban and a cigar" (I hear this is the "Tampa" thing to do.. ho ho...) All my hours were spent digging into a gazillion packing boxes, smooshing packing paper flat, and finding space for things to go inside various cupboards and closets. Cuban sandwiches will be the next trip. I must also confess, that the only sights of Tampa I saw were through the car window as we drove to my parent's new home. I have a feeling that there is another trip to visit them in my very near future.
We had a delightful time (believe it or not) and we got them about 90% unpacked; and we were hanging pictures right up until 5 minutes before my departure. If you're ever planning to visit Tampa, now is the right time of year. It is a glorious 70 degrees, with nights dipping down into the 50's. I loved seeing my parents - and their new home is beautiful (all except for the black widow spiders my brother discovered had moved into their encolsed lanai. yuck - and absolutely true.)

A few days before I flew out to the east coast, I began waking up at 4 am (excitment? or was my body just trying to change time zones ahead of me?) Truthfully, I didn't mind at all, for I figured that the extra 3 waking hours were totally MINE, to do whatever I felt like. Yipeeeee... so, now I can imagine, you are asking yourself - whatever did she do? spin (of course)
And here's the results:
This is the superwash merino that my friend Lisa gave me at OFFF this September. My fingers had been itching to spin it, but I hadn't been able to tear myself away from all the Sock Hop spinning. Now, finally I could. I am totally enjoying these vivid colors!. I spun it up in a similar manner to the way I normally spin our Sock Hop Yarn - so I can knit it up on size 1 needles. Look for socks to be sprouting from this skein right after my holiday gift knitting.

And back on the home front now, fall has truly arrived. It is my favorite of all the seasons - my flowers are in their final hurrah for the year - and there is a tad bit of work to be done at my office - do you see some jumping in piles of leaves in my near future? !. (*grin*)

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Just one more thought.. couldn't resist. It speaks for itself. It has always been one of my favorite songs..
Circle - written by Joel Friedmann, sung by Barbra Streisand on her album Higher Ground.

"Some say the walls between us stand so tall, they don't see there's just one sun shining on us all.
I say we each choose roads to call our own
but none of us is traveling through this universe alone.."

"and this circle just goes on and on
it began before us, it will be here when we're gone.
and this circle just goes on and on
connecting our humanity, joining me to you and you to me."

"Seasons keep changing on the wheel of time.
We stand, we fall, we struggle up the mountains we must climb.
Different dreams may color what we see ahead, but our lives are bound together on a common thread

and this circle just goes on and on.
it began before us, it will be here when we're gone.
and this circle just goes on and on; connecting our humanity, joining me to you and you to me."

" 'round and 'round and 'round and 'round we go.
around and 'round and 'round and 'round we go...
love and learn and change and grow;
'round and 'round and 'round we go."

"and this circle touches everyone, as it crosses
every boundary underneath the sun.
And this circle, just goes on and on and on.....

it began before us, it will be here when we're gone.
Someday we will come to see.....
I'm joined to you and you to me."

and now the wizard has left the building
see you in a week or so....

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Just a note

Thanks to all who have written asking about the shawl pin that I sent to Amanda...
It is every bit as lovely in person as it is in the photo.
Follow this link, and you can get one for yourself in either brass or silver.

And I have made the decision to withdraw from the Amish Shawl project. After reading the comment from Rosi on Diana's blog, and much thought, it seems that the most respectful thing is to let the Amish mourn in their own way. Diana and Shelly had a lovely idea - yet, the Amish customs are so different from our own.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Allure of Lace

Recently I have been contemplating lace. It's magic, the absolute airy, light, yet strong quality of lace. Rather like a spider web, it calls to me.
I figure that if this one, and this one and this one and this one and this one... can do it...... so can I. (at least that is the hope) - I know that many other blogging buddies out there have also heeded the call of lace..... many cheers. and wish me luck.

I begin. The search for a pattern was the first order of business. I hoped to begin that very day, so ordering a pattern was not a choice (you know how it is when you just have to begin something... the soul calls to you, and you press on).
I searched high and low through my gazillion books, and came across the lovely Folk Shawls. As I leafed through the book, I noticed that the rectangular stoles held more appeal to me. They held the possibility of me actually wearing the shawl.
After hours of enjoyable pondering, I selected the Bird's Nest Shawl. It is modeled after shawls made in the Himalaya's - this also appeals to me.
I dug through my stash, and found a yummy golden yarn that I had purchased years ago - definately a lace weight - 90% silk and 10% cashmere. It is a four ply yarn and down right teensy. yikes... yet I forged ahead. I knit a small 'sample' (as we are told that we should) and washed it, and set it aside. Bravely I decided that it must be alright, since the stitches looked fine, and so I cast on and began (naturally without waiting for the sample to dry)
Now here's the funny thing - our two black cats Miss Em and Lady Di; well, they have a 'thing' for goat fiber (any ol' goat will do). The second that I sat down to knit, Lady Di came racing over to my chair and edged her paws up closer and closer to the yarn. Who would have thought that her sense of smell was soooo keen as to awaken from a deep slumber all because of 10% cashmere!
Well - I knit on, and here's where I have gotten so far. four and a half hours, and I just began the actual lace portion of the shawl. sigh. I have discovered a few things..... I knit faster than I purl. It takes me about 15 minutes to purl an entire row of all these 346 stitches on size 6 needles. And it takes me 10 minutes to just knit the garter stitch rows. If my math is correct, that means that it will be about 38 hours of knitting that goes into this lovely garment. K asked if I had lost my mind - I assured him definately not :-)
Oh and what about the sample you might ask? Well, it seems that the cats found it, and have now hidden it somewhere special. So I am just going to assume that this yarn will bloom and be gorgeous. If not, we can always blame it on the kitties!

So what else am I knitting? Definately socks. Socktoberfest is going on you know -(how could you not know when it is everywhere!) Here's what is finished so far on that front. I promise that I am going to finish BOTH of these socks, and be wearing them before the end of the month. Thanks for all the good natured ribbing that I have received from all my blogging buddies, I am also going to begin knitting the mates to all my single socks.
The spec on this sock is that it is Sock Hop Yarn, colorway "Respect" - pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. I am really enjoying this colorway.

Last but not least, I am still spinning. every day. Right now, the spinning is black - all black. It is for the Amish Shawl project that Diana and Shelly are hosting. I am almost half way through the pound of wool that I dyed and promised I'd finish for them It is Corriedale Pencil Roving, hand dyed without about a gazillion packets of dye to get it truly black.
On my wheel at the office is some more Sock Hop spinning.
If anyone out there knows of folks who would like to earn some money while spinning, we're still looking to add another 3-4 spinners for Sock Hop Yarn. The demand for this is high, and we need some more full time spinners (2-4 pounds / week) Any takers?

I am going to be taking a week or so off from posting, as I will be heading out to sunny Tampa Florida. My parents are moving into their new home, and I am going to help them unpack and get settled. There will definately be knitting on the plane and in the evenings. I'm really looking forward to getting to see them again and also their new home.
Have a joyous week all of you -

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Calling all spinners

The Amish community suffered an enormous loss this week - as many of you have read in the news. It is a mother's worst nightmare to lose a child.
Diana has made a plan to respond to this horrific tragedy with a gift of handspun handknit shawls to the women who have lost children. Read her post here.
I just got an email from Diana, and she is in need of more spinners.
She needs handspun black yarn. about a pound of it.
Diana and Shelley will pair a spinner with a knitter, and then a gift of their jointly made shawl will be sent to one of the women who lost a child this week in the Amish community.
Please hop on over and tell Diana that you will spin a bit for this wonderful project.
Women sharing kindness with women.
Isn't that we're all about?

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Toasty Toes "Sehr Gut"

That translates to ToastyToes - very good !... and all done !
I totally enjoyed knitting this lovely pattern; and despite the tiny nature of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, it was a fairly fast knit.

Here are the specs:

Pattern : Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Sock written by Evelyn Clark
I love the way Evelyn writes her patterns. They are completely clear, and never ever contain mistakes. The lace is a delight to make - and might have even inspired me to knit a lace shawl.. now that's an accomplishment.
needles: size 1 dpn
yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport - color powder blue
Modifications: I decided that since my Toasty Toes pal is a totally lacey-kind-of-gal, that these socks needed a bit of a more fancy heel. I used the eye of partridge pattern, and followed the directions from Sensational Knitted Socks to pick up the slipped stitches along the side of the heel flap - it involves picking up the inside of the stitch, and knitting through the back. It gives you a delightful twisted edge along the heel.
And of course I couldn't resist trying them on - don't ya know... especially after my initial fiasco yarn that I tried. I just had to make sure that they would hold up to being taken on and off :-)

They are all washed up now, and awaiting a complete dry, then I will pack up the box and add a few goodies. It's hard to wait until the end of the month to send them on their way .
Crossing my fingers in hopes that they fit !
thanks again go out to Amanda for sponsoring yet another totally fun swap. You're the best girl!

Friday, October 6, 2006

Socktoberfest !

I'm a little behind this week in my posts... but am finally getting around to answering Lolly's questions for this month's Socktoberfest.

*When did you start making socks? did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
My very first socks were knit back in fall of 2001. not a pretty sight -they were big and floppy (no photos to show) - knit with a worsted weight yarn. I gave them to my daughter who loves to lounge around in them. I was first taught by the elderly German woman who also gave me spinning lessons. She did not use a pattern, but rather told us what to do as we went along.
My sock knitting stopped copmpletely with this pair, and I didn't try again until thanksgiving 2005. The second time around, I picked up some of the wonderful Dicentra Designs yarn and came up with this amazing pair. I love the smaller yarn - and the actual fit of the sock.
Finally, I took a class last February from Charlene Schurch - and I was definately hooked. Let me tell you, she's wonderful in person !

*What was your first pair? How have they held up over time?
That original pair was such a disaster - but the actual second pair (shown above) has been amazing. durable, soft, cozy. I wear them all the time.

*What would you have done differently?
With my initial pair: Used a better quality yarn ~ and a pattern :-)

*What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
Fleece Artist, STR, Lorna's Laces semi solid, Dicentra Designs and Sock Hop (of course!)

*Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on Dpn's, 2 circulars, or using the magic loop method?
I am totally a 4 dpn kind of gal. One pattern (that I really love) called for 5 dpns.. it was a little tricky with all those teensy points, but it worked in the end. My preference is definately only 4 dpns.

*Which kind of heel do you prefer? flap, short row?
I'm a top-down-flapper-girl.

*How many pairs have you made?
Now this is the "true confessions" question - if there ever was one! I have "completed" 5 pairs of socks - of which only 1 pair was for me...... yet, that being siad, I have also knit all of these :-) and I have 4 in partial completion on the needles as we speak. My goal for this winter is to make all the matching feet for these Sock Hop socks - then I'll have warm toes for the winter. It's just hard to resist trying out a new colorway once I have it spun. hah!

Sunday, October 1, 2006


Quark ~.... kerle, kerle, kerle ~ ...Mensch ! You know, I swear that I'd lose my heard if it weren't attached... I meant to post pictures of my stash enhancements yesterday.. but I forgot.

Yet first - let me explain the unusual beginning of the post; When I first was dating K in 2001, I focused on learning to speak some German. If any of you have spoken to him on the telephone, you'll have heard his wonderful accent (being from Germany and all).
Anyway... I am fairly good at languages, and so I began to repeat some of his favorite expressions:
Kerle, kerle, kerle........

Mostly these sayings were used when he was frustrated with something, or a tad bit ticked off shall we say? I assumed that he was cussin' in German..... I thought that I was doing fairly well, yet whenever I'd speak them, K would burst into hilarious bouts of laughter. (and still does to this day)
Finally I figured out why ( see the end of the post for an explanation and translation of these words.)

Without further ado - here's the stash enhancement from the weekend:

Gorgeous deep golden Wenslydale, raised and hand dyed by our friends Linda and Lois who own The Bellwether Wool Company. Hop on over to their site and say hi - they are fabulous folks, and have a great product!
Sorry about the ripped label - and the messy skein. It looked alot prettier when I first bought it. Who would have known that black cats love the smell of this fiber? I set it down in the RV, and left to load more stuff; when I returned with the next load, this lovely fiber was ripped to bits, and strewn from one end of the RV to the other. sigh. good thing it wasn't yet yarn! kerle, kerle, kerle!!

Beside this loveliness, you will see yet another brand of rosewood dpn's. I got these from Morgaine at Carolina Homespun. She thinks that they'll work a bit better for me, since they are only 5" long. fingers crossed, I try yet again :-)

And then as I was getting ready to leave, Lisa Milliman (of Dicentra Designs fame) stopped by with this gift! woo hoo ! It is about 2 ounces each of her new superwash hand dyed roving! What a sweetie! I can't wait to spin it up and test knit a sock with it. (notice the lurking kitty paws... look out kiddo - Mensch!)

Check out our website, and you'll see that we are offering an introductory special on this fiber. (as well as other new fiber and some close out sales on yarn)

And yes, there was a bit of knitting going on over the weekend - here's the sock I finished from Twist and Shout. (notice the single context of that word... yes, only one so far.. in fact, I confess, there is only one so far of all the Sock Hop socks I've knit up...) quark!

last but not least, a major gift to K (the birthday boy) was some hand made Porter beer - think rich and dark, and our friend Will even printed up custom labels for K. umm, gee... do you think he likes it? YUP!
thanks so much Will and Cheryl for this wonderful beer. You guys are amazing!

So now, for the conclusion of the lost-in-translation German words. As you recall, at the beginning of all this, I thought I was swearing up a storm. no such thing! Here is the closest translation K can make....
quark... sour cream (sort of, but it's also sort of yogurt)
Kerle ... adolescent boy
Mensch... human

So sour cream to everyone! hah!