Sunday, October 28, 2007

here he is...

My first wheel!!
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
[or at least i think it is a he. ]

my first wheel.


SAFF was a delight overall, though i was shocked and somewhat dismayed to discover i came home with less than $100 of fiber and yarn, once presents were set aside. [Travy is very disappointed in my lack of stash accumulation, esp since i spent the entire night before planning and packing like i was headed on an arctic expedition.]

i was well-rewarded for waiting on a wheel until i could try them all. i really really thought i would be buying the Majacraft Rose but i did not like her, not at all. it came down to the Lendrum and the handsome devil you see here. after much debate, i ended up committing to my new boyfriend, the Schacht DT Matchless. while i was at it, i also picked up a superfast whorl and two fast bobbins.

Pumpkin eater
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
i had dragged my toes on plying up my October SAL and so was able to enjoy using my new fella and a tensioned Lazy Kate for the job. i am incredibly pleased with the yarn. it is 2 plies of the space-dyed Suffolk with one ply of tussah silk from Abby's Yarns. the twist is currently setting and the WPI to follow thereafter.

this weekend i also managed to finish the Sweet Pea stole. only blocking remains. hopefully my lace wires will arrive before i exhaust my tolerance for its current crumpled form. i cast on a crocheted baby blankie for charity and a a second project toward my Christmas goals. [bonus: i learned a new cast-on technique: the Lighter Circular Cast-on. Sweet indeed.]

it is these things that comfort me given the underwhelming interest in the PIF post. if i don't get more sign-ups, perhaps i will just gift Lara thrice?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pay It Forward

... or if you stop lurking and comment already, you may receive a wonderful treat! :)

after signing up over on Maggie May's* blog, i am exciting to share the PIF game! here is the game:

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

so here i am, promising three jacqui-made wonders... don't leave me standing all alone on prom night!

* i know her name isn't Maggie May, but with all the rain, i am in a Vega sort of mood.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Postcard for Burma
Originally uploaded by trudib1974

Courage is grace under pressure. ~Hemingway

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchill

Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~C.S. Lewis

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer. ~George Smith Patton

Thursday, October 11, 2007

when i was seventeen,

Mallard's web
it was a very good year WPI,
it was a very good year WPI
with narrow gauge for sharp pointy sticks...

so yesterday i finally sat down and determined the WPI for all the yarns i have spun thus far. turns out i am very very consistent. perhaps a little too consistent. in spite of differences in fiber types, plying styles and plying speeds, my WPI were all 18 except for one 16.5. [i also had one 17 but i am pretty sure i subconsciously fudged that because i was disconcerted by all the consistency.]

i think i will be forced to try and spin my next yarn a little thicker.

this, however, is Mallard. it is a wool / silk blend that i bought at my first guild meeting. twelve ounces quietly minding its own business and waiting for me to be ready. i am going to try to keep up with a Spin Along on Ravelry. October's theme is:
Halloween colors / Plying with nubs / Silk (tussah, ingeo, hankies etc)

i didn't think i was ready to go full-on into the theme so i pulled out Mallard to gain some experience with silk. i have spun and plied 8 oz so far and am almost through the last 4. it is turning out quite lovely and a shocking 18 WPI. lol.

once i have completed Mallard, i will be spinning the Suffolk Linda and i dyed and then some silk i have that matches for a final ply together. perhaps afterwards, i will feel comfortable that i can spin the gorgeous silk Denise sent me without totally ruining it.

random joyfulness of the week sent to me from my dear friend Steinie: Snowball rocks out.

in other good news, my continued conscious attempt to limit typing appears to finally be bearing fruit- my arm is way less painful this weekend than it has been in weeks.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Originally uploaded by jacquichris
My fourth yarn. The wool is a sheep named Hoover, the product of a Romney/Corrie and [i forgot] cross. The roving nigh spun itself. I am pretty darn happy with the improvement in consistency. I forgot my little leftover ball (it wouldn't fit on the bobbins with the rest) when i plied Friday but finished him up Sunday.

Sweet Peas
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
i finally have hit the halfway point on this lace 'scarf'. although i like the pattern, i probably won't do another one like it. it is constructed in stages: knit 1st border, knot middle, knit second border. the borders are 30 stitches long for a total of ~440 rows and the center is 15 rows. the zillion short rows end up taking forever relative to the longer rows. in the future, i will probably try to stick with lace that doesn't have so many short rows.

Space dye!
Saturday i went to a dye-in with Linda. she brought roving from her Suffolk which we dyed in variety of happy yellows and oranges. the first of the rovings i kept is this, which i am looking forward to using for an Halloween themed SAL.

Mallard's web
i also found time to start spinning a silk-wool blend that i purchased when i barely had started learning. it is spinning up quite lovely and may actually be fine and regular enough for lacework. we'll see... perhaps i will swatch it for the Mystic Waters KAL. hmm...

Sunday, October 07, 2007


it has been a long wait, i know, but i now bring you the eye candy that i have named:

A huge package of fun from Lara to 'warm' my new house.

A huge package of fun
Originally uploaded by jacquichris

let's move in for a closer look...

Harvest bounty
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
first we have some fiber to aid my new addiction... i call it Harvest Bounty because the colors remind me of the Indian corn with which we used to festoon our door at Thanksgiving. the fiber is 4 oz of targhee top in Fruit Salad from Susan's Spinning Bunny.

next we have a wonderfully rich fingering weigt yarn named after one my favorite flowers. this is Sunny Orchid- an hand-painted yarn (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon) from Zen Yarn Garden. the colorway truly mirrors the blooms on my Dendrobium. this is particularly nice since i had to leave her behind in Colorado.

Colorado prairie
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
my excitement flits about like a dragonfly but this yarn has remained my constant favorite: 100 gm Hand dyed Suri Blue (50% suri, 50% blue face) from the Fleece Artist. the colors remind me of Colorado in the springtime, when the prairie explode with verdant and varied green in response to the rains. i never got tired of studying that particular interplay of color. this yarn has the same depth and variation. i'll move in closer so you can better appreciate her...

Colorado prairie
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
lovely, isn't she? and so so soft. Travy caught me snuzzling my face in this yarn the other day and asked if he should come back later.

Originally uploaded by jacquichris
Nerds! Gorgeous 100% merino dyed the colors of one my favorite candies! this is definitely going to be socks for me me me! the yarn is so very happy- i know it will make those hard clinic days easier to weather.

Minnesota lakes
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
last of the yarns - but certainly there is no 'least' in the group - is this lovely fine boucle. here is 75 gm of hand spun wool boucle by Robin Pascal. the texture and colorway remind me of the shallows in Minnestoan lakes, where the trees cast purple shadows into the reedy green ripples.

Emergency morale supplies!
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
Emergency morale supplies! i know you were wondering if i had forgotten something, so well-laden was my table, but no! here we have a feast of candies and mints to add zip to my step. i suspect i will save some of these to console my residents when they falter.

but not the pixi stix. those are MINE!

Keychain buddies
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
and look - a keychain sock blocker! those of you who are very observant will realize i now have TWO of these guys.

this is excellent news because it means i can use them to make Christmas ornaments! i am too OCD to make only one. (i know, i know- i am a freak.) tiny Christmas stockings on tiny sock blockers - can't you just picture them?

Fabulous stitch markers
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
apparently Lara has cottoned on to my new forgetful style because she also tucked in some fabulous stitch markers in yummy chocolate brown with rich accent colors. i will be putting these guys to work today!

so thank you again, Lara! thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

i think i am off to cast something on right now!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

stupid body

today has been a great day, and yet i am all crankified.

i reject suture (stitches) in my skin. my skin heals but then reopens in pieces to spit out the 'hidden' stitches in all their disgusting glory. being responsible and generally a 'good' patient, i tell my new doctor so she can note it in my file. she, of course, stares in consternation at my file for a few moments and then asks the question i have been assiduously avoiding asking myself...

What will happen if you ever have to have internal stitches, say abdominal surgery?
Well... maybe they could use hemoclips.
this, of course, is not a particularly good answer or intelligent approach. so blammo, now i have to make time to see an allergist.

which was today.

this is all well and good, really, since i have miserable allergies anyway and could use a better regimen than excessive layering of antihistamines. the allergist, of course, had no real insight regarding the suture issue. she is thorough, however, and used a comprehensive diagnostic approach. unfortunately, the upshot of this was that she determined i have mild asthma.

now, i have suspected this for a couple of years given my perception of bronchospasm in certain hiking altitudes and my inability to breathe around bathroom cleaners.* that doesn't mean i was really ready to have someone else know it or - more importantly- diagnose it. this, of course, devolved into a ridiculous panic attack, made worse by albuterol-induced jitters, that i am going to die an horrible death like my grandmother.

i am better now, but getting over the hump required a semi-choate call to my mom and a generous slice of carrot cake.

*Sheepie style i did not share this information but they caught me out with routine spirometry. darn them.

Desert storm
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
on the very much upside, though, word has leaked to me that the big external grant proposal i slaved on in July is going to be funded for the most part. this is HUGE, amazing news. i also have started thinking about a third grant (number 2 was submitted ~10 days ago) that would be a fun collaborative effort.

so, enough babble. what's in the photos? (yes, i can hear you from over here.)

these are my recent (2nd and 3rd) spinning attempts. Desert storm is Australian Merino, 2 ply. i just love the mango yellow color and would spin just that for ages. the skeins don't 'match' because i did not know to split the whole darn roving, spin through onto one bobbin and then spin through the other split on the second. instead, the mango was unevenly distributed, making for lighter and darker skeins. still i am pretty happy with them.

this is a Romney and Corriedale blend. more importantly, it was my first attempt at Navajo plying. the four things I was trying to determine were:
1. Can I spin finely enough for 3-ply yet? (Apparently)
2. Can I employ more of a long draw technique? (A bit spotty at first but getting there)
3. Can I figure out chain plying? (Apparently)
4. Can I successfully execute chain plying? (well, this one needs work.)
the yarn is definitely overspun and overplyed. The former is partially a result of hopping into such a different fiber type directly from Merino and trying to switch to more of a long draw and less of a point of twist technique.

the latter is partially from battling the overtwist, partially from learning a new technique, and partially for being so stupid as to decide to do it all while in the throes of an high g's cold.

I am hopeful the second skein will turn out better. i have spun up the fiber but am waiting for my head to clear a little more before i re-attempt the plying.

in knitting news, i continue to clicka clacka away on the Sweet Peas, while Valpuri waits dejectedly in my project basket. perhaps i will work on Valpuri during tonight's football game...