the Intrepid Fiberwizard

adventures in spinning, knitting, gardening and life

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Let me say it right up front........
I am a fiber enabler !
(and durned proud of it!) I believe that honesty is always the best policy :-) And yes, for all you observant ones.. I gave in, and am spinning one of the newest colorways: Twist and Shout. photos will come soon.

I come home from work, get into my "comfy" clothes and sit down to spin. Sometimes there is a glass of wine at this hour... but one thing is for certain...... there is always a kitty cat "helping". Here's Miss Em giving the assist tonight.

Speaking of cats: it has been a long time since I have updated anyone on our indoor beauties: here they are, sprawled across my favorite white chair (of course). definately no longer "kittens". We got them one year ago, and our lives have been so enriched by their presence.

I've been spinning for 5 years now, and I can definately say that I'm loving every minute of it. Spinning is one of those hobbies that relaxes me. My mind becomes quiet - and the space where new creations can begin opens up. I do my best thinking while I'm spinning.
Sometimes I will listen to music, but mostly I just spin - watching the colors glide through my fingers, twisting into a beautiful yarn.

This is a post to encourage all you beginning spinners out there - Spin On! Don't worry if your yarn is lumpy, bumpy, loose and floppy, overspun or too flat - spin. and save everything. One day you will find the perfect project for the wonderful yarn you are making.
Do I hear some disbelief? Do I hear.. "oh, my spinning is so bad, I'll never use that..."?
Not true

This is a table scarf that I created in a beginning weaving class through the Northwest Regional Spinners Association. It is entirely made up from handspun yarn. (specifically... the first handspun yarns)

My husband began spinning in 2002 - and while he hasn't spun much in recent months, he can spin ! (His is the reddish-blue yarn in the woven scarf) I had some pale green handspun "flicked" cashgora yarn (see closeup photo above of that yarn). I made it from our goat's fiber - and the texture was so wild! I set off for class, and I took my husbands very first spinning and combined it with my very first flicking - it came out pretty great (if I do say so myself)

The lumps and extra twists add a dimension that a 'perfect' yarn could never have. It is exactly
what I was hoping for!

We sell a wonderful handmade turkish drop spindle on our website - and we are adding a beautifully written booklet on how to spin with a turkish drop spindle. (scroll down to the bottom of this page to see the booklet) This sweet little booklet was written by Wanda Jenkins - and the photos throughout the booklet are of her spinning. It is just about all you'll need to learn on your own! (well, of course you'll want a bit of fiber too!)

So spin if you're busy; spin if you're alone, spin with pets and without... just spin. It is truly a delight to knit and weave with handspun fiber.
You can do it.... give it a try :-)
(even the kittens approve.)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What's a girl to do?

Spin~spin~spin... and not much knitting lately.
Now, don't get me wrong.... I love to spin! and this superwash that we are using for the Sock Hop Yarn is delightful........ yet.... we're still spinning on what seemed like a humongo list of backorders from our one day of selling handspun yarn (back in the end of July). Slowly but surely we are getting done.

Thanks again to all of you for your patience! We've added one new spinner (who might be willing to go public with her name *grin* - I'll let her decide!) and we are delighted with her work! I am currently testing out more people who can spin to the standards we want.... but in the meantime, from dawn to dark on the weekends (and in between seeing clients) I've been a spinnin' queen!

So I ask you, what's a girl to do???.... the pile of fiber that is waiting to be spun looks huge- my fingers and feet can only go just soooo, what did I do? Created five new colorways! Yup.. I know. don't laugh. (not too hard anyway)
Guess that I just can't get enough of this stuff :-)
Want to see them up close?

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (designed for Amanda!) all light pinks and orchid

"Crazy Love" - a sweet combo of deep violet with a few hints of crimson

"Do you believe in Magic" - a wild smash of subtle colors: silver grey and tan

"My Boyfriend's Back" - perhaps the guy in your life will enjoy this combo of deep maroon and burgandy

"Twist and Shout" - and just because I couldn't resist another blue... here's a vivid royal blue and soft green

The pile of fiber to spin is calling my name - so I'm off to do a bit of plying now. And the promise of spinning those new colors keeps me inspired!

P>S> our webmaster just finished adding them to the website click here to see.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On the Street where you live...

With kind regards to Lerner and Loewe for the title of this post, I have a small interesting thing to share.
Many of you have seen the photos from last March of the view from our back yard. We live on a rocky hill, surrounded by about 200 acres of pasture where a neighbor grazes his cows. We're approximately 30 minutes (as the crow flies) from Mount Rainier. It is truly beautiful - and very country! Despite the urban sprawl that is creeping our way from nearby Tacoma, we have continued to enjoy our view of the gorgeous "Bald Hills" that are owned by Weyerhauser.

Last weekend, I was sitting outside on our front porch, enjoying the cool evening breeze, and I heard a low growl from under the deck. Thinking it was the raccoon who normally drops by in the evening to swipe some of out outdoor cat's food, I didn't think much of it, and sat awhile longer. Next time, perhaps I'll reconsider; for yesterday our farming neighbor told us that he had seen a brown bear on his property over the weekend. whoa.
Definately country living!
A couple of years ago, another neighbor shot a cougar that was hanging out in a tree by their front door - and now here come the bears (for where there is one, there are more.)
Needless-to-say, I'll be cautious when sitting outside in the evenings now. (silly K said that he wants to see it too! I said, no thanks.)
and to think that my oldest daughter said that there's nothing to do here but watch the grass grow! hah!
And now, in keeping with the bear-theme, may I present:Baby Bobbi Bear (yes, I'm actually squeezing in a bit of knitting amidst the spinning)

A blogging 'friend' is having her first baby ~ and this calls for celebration ! May I present to you... Baby Bobbi Bear.
Made from Blue Sky organic cotton
Pattern and yarn were purchased here.

thank you so much Emily for sharing the source of this wonderful pattern.
It was a delight to create.
and it's the most wonderful cotton I have ever knit with.

P>S> nope, I'm not tellin' who this is going to... it's a suprise! (but a few of you already know for certain that it's not for you.. tee-hee)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

What have I been up to?

Spinnin' up a bit of "R.E.S.P.E.C.T." (Sock Hop style, of course) - and rockin' out with Aretha again:-)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Eye Candy 2

Ahhh - one of the few hardy survivors of this year's garden neglect.
I am truly grateful for gladiolas. :-)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I begin again.

Now there have been good days in knitting, and there have been not so good days. My fellow bloggers, you have read the recent tales of both on this "intrepid" blog. Yet even this brave knitter knows when to throw it away and begin anew.
I came, I saw, I conquered, I tossed it.

Yup - Toasty Toes sock in colorway Ivory by Fleece Artist is now pushin' up daisies in the town dump. May it bring beautiful blooms.
Let me set the scene prior to last nights firm decision to dump it (yes it truly is gone, so no gnashing of teeth nor begging from any of you sweet friends out there ): I had been knitting between seeing clients in my office - normally I have about 10 minutes to either return phone calls or sit and knit if nothing else beckons....... I was knitting. in fact, comin' down the finish line on the first sock. Toe decreases had begun; counting of stitches had commenced; it was allllllllmost complete... the excitment was growing..... pride filled the air (was that my first clue?) Finally I got very busy at work and had to set it aside until I got home around 8:00 pm.

With tremendous excitment in the air, I slipped it onto my foot to brag about (I mean model) it for my husband.......... oooohhh and aaaahhh's were appropriately voiced (he's a really good enabler and encourager for this knitter!)
then..... I loooked down...... about 1 inch down from the cuff (yes, I knit that part first) was a hole.... the dreaded hole...the quarter-size gap that seemed to laugh and mock me with it's absurdity.. It did NOT belong there. I did not put it there (yet I needed to reassure myself). sigh. I began to tear back the sock.
it wasn't pretty.
my beautiful "invisible join" rent asunder.
I kept on pulling the yarn for what felt like hours.
the yarn coiled in wrinkles at my feet.
I got back to the durned 'hole' and examined carefully...... and what did I see????? yarn damage in a big way.... grease rubbed into the yarn (I must not have been looking at my fingers for a few rows while I was knitting.) durn it all.
I had missed this flaw - and it jumped out and bit me! (so glad that it happened to me and not my giftee~ how embarassing that would have been!)

So I then proceeded to turn the remaining ball over and over in my hands. Were there more of the pesky little frayed spots in the ball? un huh... yup... multiple ones.
Looks like this lovely yarn must have gotten snared in an electric skein winder, and gotten chewed. poop.
An executive decision was made. Not wanting to risk sock holes in a sock that is to be a gift, I decided that rather than 'repair' all the breaks, I would take the hint and:
begin again.
and so tonight, I did just that :-) Here's a lovely sock start in Lorna's Laces Powder Blue.
P>S> see the nifty little bag? It has made it's appearence in a few earlier photos. My clever Mom handmade this. the little pillow rests on your knee (or the arm of your chair) while you knit, and the bag part holds the ball, extra needles and what have you. It was perfect for knitting while sitting outside on vacation. I just love it! thank you Mom!!! I was trying to convince her to make them and sell them through my blog..... anyone interested?? I might still be able to encourage her to do it... but ssssshhhh, don't tell her I told you! (hee hee, Ilove you Mom)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mishap Managed

We left our Intrepid Fiberwizard in the midst of a dilemma a few days ago... the gorgeous Fleece Artist yarn was damaged (and upon closer inspection, it had been caught in some sort of machine~ the telltale signs of grease in that spot gave away the source of the problemo)
Waiting for the right moment of calm, the wizard courageously cut the precious yarn....
would she have to reknit the whole sock?
could she repair the yarn, allowing her to continue?
would the newly formed join hold across the instep of the foot?

Ta Dah !
behold - a rescued sock!!

I'm doin' a little happy dance right about now :-) If you look very very closely in the center of this first photo, you will see two teensey stray ends that need to be snipped.... but it will hold (yes, blogging buddies... I tried it on to make sure *grin*)
So, my Toasty Toes secret pal can breathe easy - her sock won't fall apart (this is good) and I can knit on!!!
Okay - wanna see one more sneak preview? We're celebrating in wizard-land so here you go!
thanks for all the encouragement - the sock has now left time out - and I return to the joy of knitting... It's a good day.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Eye Candy

The view from our dining room deck last week ~around 7:30pm.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bummer ~ not again !

At Black Sheep Gathering,last June, I went over to a friend's booth and "treated" myself to some new Lantern Moon ebony double pointed size one knitting needles. joy.... not.
I took them on vacation, and the very first time I knit with them, they broke.. 3 out of five... within moments of using them.
luckily I had several other pairs of needles along with me.
When I returned home, I called this company, and they cheerfully switched out my order for a set of rosewood Lantern Moon double pointed size 1 needles. I was delighted with their customer service, and ever since they arrived I have been anxious to take them out for a spin. :-)

Today was the big day - I was testing out a pattern for a pair of socks that I am designing. JOY>! they felt like heaven, gliding through my fingers. My mind wandered about the post I would make, extoling the virtues of rosewood dpns........... not... here's what happened, again first time out of the box, and within a few rounds of knitting... sigh.... cursed... dumb, dumb, dumb. Wanna see even closer?

Now, mind you, I love my Lantern Moon needles in size 7 and size 9 - I use them with great delight - but never again for their dpns. no more. nada. zippo. zilch. I don't need another experience to tell me what I know..... these are not for me. $21.00 down the drain.... yet I am not a slow learner - It doesn't take three times to learn. these small Lantern Moon needles - well, to say it clearly, they stink. don't buy 'em..... "just sayin"...

So, then I went back to my wonderful Fleece Artist handpainted "Ivory" socks for Toasty Toes. I knit a few rows, did all the decreases for the heel to instep - and THEN..... THIS......
sigh... I think that it wasn't my day..... I am soooooooooo disappointed.
Perhaps it is because we try to be so careful when we make the Sock Hop Yarn - perhaps it is because I know that this is a hand-painted yarn, and the artist's handle every inch of the fiber...... perhaps I expect too much....
These socks have gone to the time-out bin. I'll resume when I have the wear-with-all to repair the yarn, and do some sort of "join" to hide this yucky blooper in the yarn.
disappointed ?
Who knows how long the "time out" will last.... I have until the end of October to finish the socks for Toasty Toes. We shall see.
Is anyone else out there experiencing this? or did I just have an exceptionally bad sock knitting day?

Saturday, August 5, 2006

A funny Thing Happened...

.. on the way to the sock drawer...
Remember these? From last February? They were my second ever pair of hand knit socks - and my second ever lace knitting. I made them for the Knitting Olympics.

On the way to the sock drawer via the washing machine...... (note: we're playing a sad tune here... bum,bum,ba,bum; bum bum bummmm da bum da bum..) this happened:

Now this might not be a problem if I still knew someone with size 4 feet. But being as how my girls and I all wear an average size 8, these shall now find their way to the trash. I thought about donating them to some charity... but I figure they might still shrink - and I wouldn't give that experience to anyone on purpose!

Me? I'm still laughing hysterically at my own silliness. I am always soooo careful with my laundry; ~ wash on cold ~ line dry the expensive stuff ~ it's just been forever that I had anything that was handwash only........ I missed that step!

My resolution? superwash only. I solemnly vow. (grin)

So leaping forward to today, and in keeping with my Bloomin' Feet tradition of not unveiling everything all at once - We now have a peek at the sock I'm making for Toasty Toes.

Thanks for all the wonderful input on choosing this yarn. I decided to go with the Fleece Aritist in colorway Ivory. It won by a landslide.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Blog-iversary Contest Winners

First off, thank you for all the fun responses to my contest!
According to Karen 'it was a "freakin' hard contest" - true enough (*grins*) but then I never promised easy ! hah! Acutally, with all the hysterical fun around here, I am laughing very hard, because the last two questions were very very easy :-) So, two hard, two easy : works out okay, eh?

And now a brief word from our sponsors.... yes, another Sock Hop sock in American Pie! (my Mom just finished this one) yay Mom!
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled blog:

Here's the contest answers:
1. How many years have I been spinning and knitting (not counting back when I was 10 and fiddled around) I've been knitting and spinning again for 5 years. (see my March 22, 2006 post)

2. What's my favorite wheel? hands down, my Schacht. Now the confusing part to many of you was that on our website, I am pictured with a Majacraft, ...... this is true..... I have indeed spun with these wheels. We sell them, they are wonderful. but I love my Schacht. I also own an original Rick Reeves Wheel (pictured on our home page on the left) yet it is currently in a time out for bad behavior (and no, we won't go there today) I love my Schacht. I can make it dance to any tune I play. It is a delight. (AND - it is pictured all over my blog whenever I show my spinning : see posts from 11/1, 4/7, 5/17, 5/22, 6/29 to name a few.

3. colorways in pencil roving..... 41 (natural is not a colorway .tee hee)

4. Sock Hop colorways.... currently is 24. more will be added someday.

And now for the big moment........... the drawing of the winners.............. drum roll please........... bbbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmm.....
Grand Prize Winner:
Carole Julius!!! come on down and collect your prize! (that translates to email me your address and I'll mail the 2 skeins of "I Feel Good" to you. )Yay Carole!!!

Second Prize Winner:
Siew Sim : you are entitled to a 10% discount on the majority of items we sell on our website

thanks all for playing along. and thanks for the comments and support. It has been a fabulous year. I am loving the blogging community, and I am excited about the years to come.
Spin on! (and for those who are curious.. here's a close up of the Sock Hop color Satisfaction that I am plying )
edited to note: bad blogger bad blogger.... it's got the WRONG date on this post. sigh. dumb, dumb, dumb... I actually posted this just a few hours ago, on today, August 4th.... it took me about 4 hours just to load the photos..... dumb dumb dumb... I'm going to take the advice of a sweet friend and switch ot WordPress..... just as soon as I figure it out!