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07/29/2009 July 29, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing, kidlet, photography, spinning.
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More photos today. Forward momentum, slow but steady.

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things BFL

i make things BFL

I am really loving this yarn, it was an experiment. It involves mixing up a crapton of dye and was very fiddly but I think the results are worth it.

i make things worsted

i make things worsted


Kidlet was particularly handsome today so I made him submit to an impromptu shoot before I took him to camp.

I love this outfit – Jenn got him that shirt and I think it’s hysterical.

Kidlet

Cheesy fake smile.

Kidlet

Kidlet

I’ve never really converted my pictures to black and white before – it’s much, MUCH more forgiving. Why haven’t I done this sooner?!

“Look up. No, higher. Don’t tilt your chin up, just look up with your eyes.”

Kidlet

Kidlet

To try to get him to smile I asked him what would make him happy and he said, “Strawberries!” so I said to him, “Think about strawberries!”

Kidlet

Kidlet

He is truly his mother’s son.


Kidlet

Kidlet

God, I love that kid. More than life itself.

07/28/2009 July 28, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing, spinning.
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I managed to take a few pictures today. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

I don’t have any names for these though.

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

i make things merino seacell

I guess I’ll have to drag my motivation back here kicking and screaming.

Joy’s visit! July 7, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing, food, spinning.
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It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is Joy’s last full day here in Maine. Wahhh! We’ve had a great time even though we’ve only had about a day and a half of not-rain in the entire time she’s been here. Talk about a bummer. I really wanted to make it back to the beach again and do some quality sitting around on the deck around the chimnea but sadly it just isn’t to be. Next time.

Yesterday we did a whole lot of dyeing – we took advantage of the nice weather Monday afforded and the empty counter tops in my kitchen thanks to the ant invasion. Poor Joy – she’s had to deal with ants and all of my kitchen appliances sitting out on the floor in the extension while we battle them. I tried the greenish way of getting rid of them by putting Borax out for them to presumably eat and carry back to the nest, eradicating the whole mess of them, but after a week there were even more ants partying down on the counters than there were before so Michael bought some sort of highly toxic ant bait that resulted in scores of dead ants piled around them the next morning. Hmph, fine.

Joy just pointed out that in their zeal to escape the toxic poison, the ants actually crawled up into the Borax traps and expired there. What an insult.

Anyway. Dyeing. We scored a couple of bags of yarnz from the LYS, I guess I can say she’s my supplier now as she gives me a sweet discount if I buy in bulk. We also cracked open the 22# bump of Falkland I’ve had stashed for a couple of months awaiting Joy’s arrival. I’ve weighed out at least thirty 4-ounce bundles and the damned thing is still bigger than Margaret.

We set up a couple of kettles on the stove, a few crock pots and I have a lidded enamel turkey roasting pan that fits two skeins of yarn or four ounces of roving. We started a bit late around 3pm as I was anal retentive about setting everything up and in the next 3-4 hours dyed around 25 skeins of yarn and at least 10 bundles of roving. Honestly I’ve lost count. They were hanging outside on the clothes dryer, warming happily in the late day sunlight so we left them overnight figuring they could finish fluffing in the morning. Sadly we woke to find it pouring outside so we’re considering adding the descriptor “rinsed in pure Maine rainwater” when we list them to sell. My house is currently filled with hung up bits of wool dripping water all over the place. It’s sort of homey in a “crazy yarn lady” way.

For further confirmation that someday we will indeed take over the world, Joy and I discovered that we have very distinct and different methods of dyeing that yield unique results. It’s kind of cool – the stuff I prefer to do isn’t what she prefers to do and vice versa. It sure made it easier as we weren’t fighting over resources. She also brought her Cushing’s dyes with which I had very much fun. If we could accomplish what we did in just a few concentrated hours, I can’t even imagine what we could get done in a permanent dye studio 2-3 times a week for, say, five hours at a time. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that invisible trans-US bridge from Montana to Maine.

I am tippy tapping away on Joy’s swanky laptop (of which I am covetous) while she sits beside me on the couch knitting a really giant bag. No, it’s really giant. Like I could fit both of my kids in it giant, with room for the cat. She’s going to felt it when she’s done knitting (it has to get to three FEET long, like whoa) and I feel bad for her washing machine. Maybe I’ll recommend she go to the laundromat.

Another yay fiber thing was finding some amazing waste roving at the fiber gallery – they had a huge trash bag full for 0.75 an ounce, I’m not sure what it is but it’s snow white and so soft. It’s from the Jagger mill so it’s not perfect like combed top, but I combined some of it with some colorful silk/cashmere mill waste and it spun up in a super soft, nubbly and wonderful yarn. So wonderful in fact that we went back today so I could buy three more pounds of the stuff. It was even cheaper with the volume discount.

I used the studio’s drum carder to card up a bunch of it – I had sat and hand carded probably about twenty batts last week and was tired of it. I really need a drum carder someday, talk about useful. Anyway I got a huge bag of the stuff for a song and I love it. I’ll have to see if it felts, I’m pretty sure it will.

After visiting the fiber gallery we headed back to Kennebunkport as we were on a mission to find Cushing’s. I had to call for directions as the rain started coming down so hard I couldn’t see the lines on the road. We did make it there and now I know exactly where it is so I can finagle a visit there when we bring the kids (“Oh look honey! Cushing’s just so happens to be right there! I’ll just be a minute.”).

We rang the doorbell and I wasn’t sure what to expect – it was housed in a gorgeous old farmhouse and barn in a very swanky part of town. The woman who answered the door, Jillian, was probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She was so happy to help us find dye and talk about dye and show us the sample book and talk about dye some more, not to mention she called us “girls” which instantly make me like her because I’m shallow.

We bought dye, of course, and since we came to the studio she put my name in their files so I will now and forever receive the volume discount even if I’m just ordering one packet of dye. That totally rocks! While we were chatting Jillian said, “Hey! Let me get you some dye technique handouts!” and came back with a sheaf of paper covering eighteen different methods. We both stood there with our eyes wide and thanked her. I practically clicked my heels together. I also wanted to try rug hooking so I bought a very small kit and asked if I could have a different background color and she said, “Sure!” and swapped out the wool strips and cut me a new backing on the spot. Talk about customer service! This place could be very dangerous – less than an hour away and super nice. Definitely worth the trip, Joy and I couldn’t stop talking about it as we drove away.

By this point we were ready to gnaw off our own arms out of hunger so we drove up Route 1 and discovered there are a hell damn shit lot of antique stores on Route 1. And tires. And dentists. And storage facilities. DO THESE PEOPLE NOT EAT?! We nearly stopped at a “saloon” (no shit, it was really called a saloon) until we saw a creepy middle aged gentleman leaning out of the open porch in the pouring rain staring at us. Joy held her arms out in front of her with her hands splayed open and said, “No!” Then we saw the attached seedy motel and the signs “no burnouts – no loud acceleration” and decided that perhaps this wasn’t the kind of place for us.

We ended up in a shitty little joint in Biddeford that proudly advertised “PIZZA – SANDWICHES – FRIED FOODS” on the sign outside and discovered that chicken takes a long time to cook. Either that or the dude behind the counter just didn’t want to make chicken right now. I mean, come on, it’s a fucking fryolator for cripes’ sake. We ate something edible and drank something potable and used a bathroom that was nasty (no, not together) and then hit the road.

On the way back we stopped in Portland to pick up our mugs from the paint-your-own-ceramics place, which was cool, then came home. I got one of those befrigged culinary chain letter “Amish Friendship Bread” starters from Jenn and had finally gotten around to baking the bread this morning so we had some of that, which was good (the kids friggin loved it) and I sneaked a bag of starter into Joy’s stuff to take home, heh heh. She said later, “You know, I’ll take one of those starters if you want me to,” and I replied, “Yeah…I already put it in your stuff.” Hopefully it won’t explode all over her suitcase on the plane.

Whew. Well, that’s a lot of what we’ve been up to. I’m going to relinquish Joy’s laptop back to her and I’ll probably update again once I’m back to work on Thursday (wah) since I’ll have to turn my computer on again eventually.

More stuffs. April 3, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in Crafty, Etsy, spinning.
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Okay, I did more spinning. I’m so excited! I haven’t done this much spinning in ages. I feel like I’m going through phases – dyeing to knitting to spinning and back again. Well, that’s fine, I can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time anyway. What I REALLY need to do is finish listing the stuff on Etsy that’s just sitting in a bin doing nothing. It’s all tagged and ready to go, I just need to take the time to list it. Sigh.

Anyway, anyway. Here are two more skeins I finished up – the BFL that was on the bobbin for about a million years, and the easter-egg dyed that I got from that Ravelry friend. Please excuse my poor worn out fugly tablecloth.

worsted to chunky weight 2-ply
100% merino wool | hand wash
228 yards
(No name yet)

Merino two-ply yarn

Merino two-ply yarn

Merino two-ply yarn

This was the roving I got from that friend on Ravelry, one of her first dyeing experiments. I really love the colors and this is super lofty and warm. This is another skein of “spin fast and less exact” in an attempt to pry the anal retentive spinner’s stick out of my own ass. I do like it a lot, just counting the strands I could feel how cozy it was due to not being plied to death. I think I might keep this one to make something for Mim. The skein is huge!

fingering to sport weight Navajo-plied
100% superwash Blue Faced Leicester | machine/hand wash
210 yards
(No name yet)

Superwash BFL Yarn

Superwash BFL Yarn

Superwash BFL Yarn

The BFL skein is really more green than blue, but Joy expressed lust for it so she gets first dibs on it if she wants it. It looks a little kinky in that first photo and it is – it Navajo plied a bit stiffer than I was anticipating as the roving was very soft – too soft, almost. I’m coming to find that I prefer to spin rougher fibers, I’m not as much a fan of the soft-soft-soft stuff. I may have plied this a bit too aggressively as the single ply was nearly falling apart in my hands in a couple of places. Very delicate. In any case it’s been washed and thwacked and at second glance I think the soak helped relax it a lot, so we’ll see what it does once it’s dry.

New Yarnz March 31, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in Crafty, Etsy, spinning.
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Here’s the Knit Witch roving done up and made pretty for the camera:

Superwash merino two-ply yarn

handspun worsted to chunky weight
100% superwash merino | machine/hand wash
3.6 ounces | 11 wpi | 228 yards
(No name yet)

Superwash merino two-ply yarn

This skein hasn’t been washed or thwacked yet, and already it’s balanced. I’m very pleased about that – I tend to choke up while plying and really twist the heck out of it and end up with, to put it nicely, an “energized” yarn. With this bundle of roving I made a conscious decision NOT to try and get it thin-thin-thin and perfect and NOT to overspin it. There’s a few small bits that are thin but overall I tried to just enjoy the sensation of roving through my fingers. When plying I did the same thing – a conscious effort NOT to ply it as much as I thought it needed to be plied, which is always too much because I’m too much of a high-strung perfectionist worrywart. It was hard to do, I felt like I was working against my innate desires. I’m super happy with the result, though. I could see myself knitting with this yarn, it’s very fluffy and lofty, it’ll be nice and warm.

Superwash merino two-ply yarn

This isn’t even all of the roving as I broke a ply toward the end so I’ve got just under half an ounce of single sitting in a bowl. I figure I’ll ply that up as a skeinlet later. Still, 228 yards isn’t too shabby.