Sunday, September 30, 2007

a big batch of wonderful from Denise

so i have a very firm policy regarding presents: i am not allowed to play with anything until appropriate thanks have been rendered. you can imagine my torment the past week as tendonitis, excessive busy-ness teaching, and general malaise- the frontal assault of my current crud- prevented me from documenting this wonderfulness from Denise (and thus prevented my playing with same treasures):

Loot from Denise
Originally uploaded by jacquichris

well, perhaps you can't yet- that photo is awfully far away from the fiber at hand... it was the only way to fit it all into one photo! let's move in for a closer look...

Dyed mohair with a silk cap
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
first up is a stunningly soft mohair with a silk cap. interestingly, the cap is dyed in the same colors as my favorite t-shirt of all time. it was a tie-dye that looked for all the world like light falling onto the forest floor deep in an autumnal hardwood stand. in this cap we see the purple capturing autumn's last valiant wildflowers, burnt umber of rotting logs and falling leaves, the soft green of mossy rises and underbrush. the dusty angora a perfect match for forest ground, spongy with decay and cushioning to the weary backpacker.

next is a baby alpaca. he has tangled up in the spider's gossamer web during his morning romp. the color reminds me of hot chocolate swirling up with steamed milk.

on to creamy angora blended with Dorset. two bumps of snuggly goodness, perfect for the growing chill as Indian summer deepens into autumn.

here are a coarser Corriedale top and finer Ramboiullet top combed to spin laceweight. the textural contrast tickles my fingers as the subtle variations in hue sooth my eyes.

Baby camel down
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
down from a wee* camel tumbles from the bag to snuzzle invitingly against my skin.

ever the mentor, Denise includes detailed instructions on handling the down so i do not set it aside in a fit of panic.

*wee is the camel in my mind's eye, tripping ungainly over her knobby ankles and playful disposition. the down itself makes quite a tumbling hill.

'Internet fleece'
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
Denise includes this fleece as a sample of 'horrid' supplies. she notes:
'There is so much of it that it's been the victim for my unskilled adventures in dyeing.'

to this i take exception. victim, my foot! the fleece provided is a gorgeous multi-dimensional burgundy copper. i suspect it will sit unspun quite a while on my desk as a respite for my eyes from the brutal never-ending flicker of the computer monitor! lucky recipient is more like it.

a succulent treat is this- a lovely bit of the Eugene fleece, hand-washed and combed by Denise before heading out for final processing. it truly is soft like butter with a lovely crimp and a gorgeous sheen.

6 bumps of Grey Romney
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
finally, we close the tour with six bumps of carded Romney, the color of sea clouds and the softness of fog. already, potential projects for the final yarn twirl in front of my eyes, tumbling one after another in and out of view.

so NOW you can taste my torment, the temptation to just pet this one a little, just this once. i held fast to my 'rule' and now the reward will be even sweeter!

tune in next time as we explore a very thoughtful package arriving from the great land of hockey...

[maybe i will also get around to posting my own craft progress.]

Saturday, September 29, 2007

good works and bad crud

today was a Feral Fixins day. what, i hear you query, is Feral Fixins?

well, it is an event sponsored by the vet school where feral cats are altered for free. the local feral cat people go on a trapping spree and arrive with simply buckets of feral cats in traps. they are knocked out and proceed through a comprehensive assembly line of examination, pain medications, ear tipping, surgery, vaccinations, flea control, deworming, and any other treatments deemed necessary to awaken safely back in their traps. the various stations are staffed by vet students and faculty, all volunteers.

being a glutton for community service work i am a shoe-in, even before consider my devotion to animal welfare and minimizing overpopulation. the up side is making a big difference in the lives of individual cats as well as the community. the downside is getting up well before the stars have fallen from the sky.

i had a great time, as always, but crashed hard when i got home. Travy and i both have some sort of crud that seems to apply differential high gee gravity to our persons, in addition to headache, congestion and coughing. so, although i have huge updates in the way of presents received - many many thanks to Denise and Lara - and projects at hand, there will be no real updates until i can successfully hold the camera focused on my loot.

trust me, the wait will be worth it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Block central

my goals for the weekend were to tie up loose ends and minimize wip's. here i am, rating my weekend:

ICU rockers
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
to start, i finished up the first batch of ICU binkies. they aren't the cutest, i know, but that is part of my cunning plan to keep them from walking off. they need to last as ICU buddies and that requires nuclear plastic yarn (for the repeated washings in medical grade detergent) as well as a certain lack of prettiness.

Block central
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
then i moved on to one of my least favorite craft tasks- blocking. ugh. i find it tedious instead of rhythmic, anal instead of artistic, back bending instead of unwinding.

but... the effort is always worth it.

here lie MS3 (Swan Lake) and the Wine and Roses Mitts, blocking their little fibers away on my (and by 'my' i mean 'Trav and my') most brilliant of discoveries. a new, highly underpriced blocking board as known as 'Dow R4 Sheathing Insulation'. It is sold for ~$12/piece for 4' x 8' x 3/4" at Lowes. i cut mine into thirds to fit in the car then used packing tape on one side to reassemble in a storage-friendly accordian-style. it is waterproof, takes pins easily and holds them well, and is thick enough to move after pinning. i am as close to in love as possible for a non-human, non-yarn item.

Swan Lake (MS3)
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
the results?





i leave you with a shot of the mitts frolicking among zinnias:

Wine and Roses Mitts
Originally uploaded by jacquichris

Monday, September 17, 2007

gettin' culture

Stepping out with my baby...
Originally uploaded by jacquichris

aside from the feeling poorly, i have had two good weekends in a row. two weeks ago, Travy and i went home to my Mom's. we went to a great concert with Mom and Rol at the new home for the Nashville Symphony- Schermerhorn Symphony Center named in honor of the late conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn. the concert marked the debut of the new world class organ and was quite spectacular. Mom got us tickets in a box perfectly placed for watching the musicians. we all had a great time.

since my movements are very limited when i am on clinics, we decided to go back to Nashville this last weekend to spend a bit more time with Mom and Rol. Travy mowed the lawn while Roland trimmed hedges, and Mom and i went through my Grandma's Christmas decorations to see what should be kept and what was just trash. we fit in a trip to the Rec Center which has left me pleasantly sore.

Sweet Peas
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
Friday night i got my Ravelry invite. HOORAY! my username is JackieChris. find me! this weekend i feverishly added projects during lazing about time, and have to say the project manager is just awesome. i am done adding projects for the time being and stash cataloging is next. [eek!]

this is my newest lace project, a 'scarf' from Victorian Lace Today. [the colorway isn't as neon as all that, but i don't feel like trying to photoshop it to accuracy this morning.] it is nice and fairly brainless, though i have been tempted to pick up some of these row markers to decrease confusion between sessions. it seems silly to buy them when i have all my own wirework tools, but making my own would require the purchase of supplies and i need to restart another hobby like i need a hole in the head.

Knitted cuddlies
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
the neon bunnies are part of a 'service' project. i am making a stash of binkies to keep in our ICU for nervous dogs and cats. it is amazing the difference a binky makes - dogs that are falling asleep sitting up because of fear will curl up and actually rest when they have binkies to 'stand guard'. the binkies will need to hold up to industrial washing, various unsavory fluids [and not be so cute as to tempt people to walk off with them] so i am using cheap leftover yarn and not worrying too much about the esthetics. the pattern is available to Knitting Daily members and is completely brainless. perfect for night-time car knitting. these guys are just waiting for faces, a few more buddies, and a trial wash before they get 'deployed'.

finally, a fellow crafter could really use good thoughts and prayers right now. head on over to share good cheer!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

migraine haiku

vision narrowing.
icepick. cattleprod. fog bank.
buzz buzz. hammer down.