Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's springtime, and I can't sit still!

As it happens every April, I've got a mad case of Spring Fever.  I find myself full of nervous energy, planning (and starting) far more projects than are reasonable (well OK, I do that regularly), anxious about...who knows what, and longing for....something.  I am dissatisfied, a little bitchy, and full of angst.  My poor husband.  Thankfully, he doesn't generally take me seriously when I'm this way, so it works out.  However, whenever I DO finally pinpoint what's wrong -- that it's just Spring Fever -- things start to look up.

This year, part of the solution was to pull out my sewing machine.  I am to not buy and dresses or skirts for Daisy and I for this spring and summer -- instead, I intend to make them all from what is either in my stash already, or else repurposing from material I find at the thrift store, etc.  This pillowcase dress was from a pillowcase I found at the nearby thrift shop for about $1 several months ago. 


Pillowcase Dress, using this tutorial from Grace Violet, and the armhole template from About.com.


As you can see, I made it a little big so it might actually last her a little while.  I also left just a bit extra on the inside of the straps so that I can lengthen them later on, and did a wide hem at the bottom that I can let out as well (initially I made the dress far too long, so I had to cut off the original pillowcase hem).



I tacked on this vintage rick-rack trim around the bottom hem.


I already have so many ideas for more Daisy dresses! If only there wasn't the housecleaning and cooking...or at least a few clones of myself. I could sorely use a few clones.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Handspun pr0n, and When Bike Rides Might Make You Want To Die

You've seen them in progress, and hanging out to dry, now here's an up-close-and-personal look at the finished handspun from the past week:


New Orchid (Handpainted Merino combed top from Selah).  188 yds, 4 oz, bulky/aran weight singles wrapped with varigated purple laceweight from Handpaintedyarn.com.


My favorite bits are where you can see, in the tighter coils of laceweight, where the purple varigation shifts.



Grafton Fibers batt "Teal Bliss" (originally "Blues"), 100% Corriedale.  2-ply, spindle spun and plied, 90 yds.


Every morning for the past two weeks on our way to school, we've had discussions about the swelling buds on the trees...the bursting little flowers...the tiny leaves pushing their way past the petals.  On Tuesday after school, we went back to the house to get our bikes and my camera.  Sparky had also wanted to hand-deliver a message he'd written to his Best Friend Girl "C", so we tucked that behind Billy's bike seat, and set off on a Flower Finding walk.







We, of course, managed to steer our course towards one of the many area playgrounds, and the children played there happily for quite a while.





There's a reason people think Sparky and Max are twins.




I think of my babies as a "baby" for long after they have grown into full-blown toddlers.  It is never until pictures like this that I realize....my baby is growing up.  This little face is on a fast track from "baby" to "little boy".  My heart aches at the speed with which they grow...


By the end of our mini bike ride, Daisy was exhausted and fussy (she likes to pedal backwards and lock her breaks up when trying to go forwards, and doesn't like to cross roads.  Ever.), and I was....well, frustrated would be putting it lightly... But it's all an adventure, my friends. Even when I am not sure if we will EVER MAKE IT HOME.


The children may throw fits, I might loose my temper and yell more than I should, but if we remember to stop and cuddle, to make time to read together, to set out on Flower Finding Adventures no matter the meltdown.... we find ourselves making precious memories, learning to love each other more, creating the stories of Us: Our Family.  I love these little guys like crazy.  Even if I have to bang my head against the wall from time to time.  Or scream into my pillow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Teal Bliss

At Knit Night last night, I had the great joy of teaching two friends to spindle spin.  Our yarn shop just started stocking basic drop spindles and handpainted Merino top from Scarlet Fleece, and I am so excited about it!


Yesterday I finished the singles from the Grafton batt.


I wound them into a double stranded ball on my ball-winder, then in a burst of spindling genious, stood on a nearby stool (to add extra height to my....Giant Stature of 5'3") and plied them straight from the winder.


I ended up with a monster of a plied cop on my Golding Celtic Ring Spindle (fat little toddler toes for scale):


I had several hanks saved up to wash in one basin together; here they all are, drying out on my Piano Bench Rack.


From left: ripped out Green Tea Sweater, ripped out Leisel Bolero (in Strawberries and Champagne handspun, handpainted fiber from Have You Any Wool), New Orchid handspun, Teal Bliss (Grafton batt) handspun.

I will shoot some Proper Yarn Pr0n for a later post, but no time now.  It's Texas Day round these parts, and I have things to do!  :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beautiful Golding

This morning in the mail, a new Golding micro spindle arrived:


Golding Solid Lignum Vitae spindle

It's so cute I can hardly stand it!!


I wanted another smallish one to have on hand, and the wood on this one is just so gorgeous.



Already at work on a sparkly, deep purple batt that I carded a year or so ago.


I am officially smitten.  But I've said it once, and I'll say it again: I AM NOT A SPINDLE COLLECTOR.  Yet.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Feeling the spindle love

Every time I pick up my spindles, I wonder why I don't use them more often...


Golding Celtic Ring Spindle (2-3/4 diameter, 1.3 oz)

Because between their great beauty and nearly endless spin-times, Golding spindles REALLY ARE that swoon-worthy.  I wish I had about eleventy-billion to fill a vase in my wool room just to look at...but that wouldn't really be practical now, would it?


 Seen here with a cop of Grafton Fibers heathered blue batt


Although it WOULD mean I could have eleventy-billion spinning options for projects in the works...hmm, maybe that isn't such a bad idea after all.  (As my gears start turning...)


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Strawberry Roses

Yesterday I loaded this chubby skein of wrapped handspun onto my Lendrum Jumbo Head (Selah handpainted fiber, "New Orchid"):

(Pic taken on my camera phone -- "real" photoshoot after I wet finish it)

Last night I started spinning some pure handpainted Merino from Have You Any Wool, colorway "Strawberry":

This is the first 2 oz, which I finished this morning.

Here is the next 2 oz, arranged into faux rollags (thank you David!):

The top was too compressed to spin easily -- possibly due to the fact that it's been tightly braided in the bottom of a stash box for at least 2 years (!!) -- but then when I remembered David's tutorial for the faux rolags, I knew I'd found my answer.  It's much easier to spin now!

I love how it looks like a bunch of strawberry colored roses:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Handspun has hijacked my world (and there's no help for me)

NOTE: I didn't take time to create links through this post, so you'll have to Google.  So sorry!  I'm just too busy this week.  :-0

I've been spinning lately.... A LOT.


I haven't been able to think of much else.  Continuing on my little crash course in novelty/art spinning, I've tried out a bunch of new techniques lately, and I've been having so much fun!


Stats: Fabulous Fibers by Twisted Sheep "Opalescent".  Spun from a blended batt: Merino/Seacell, Tussah/Bamboo.  2.12 oz, 3-ply, 102 yds. Two plies of handspun singles plied with a third ply of laceweight commercial-spun merino-silk, which I strung with large oversized sequins.




Stats: Spunky Eclectic South African Fine "Confused".  4 oz, 118 yds super bulky thick and thin.




This is the Funky Valentine batt from Susan's Kitchen that I blogged about recently, but I finally got it washed in this batch of handspun.

Stats: Luxury novelty batt: CVM, silk, sari silk, firestar sparkle.  1.6 oz, 66 yds, behives, coils, bulky corespun plied with laceweight singles.



Stats: Three Bags Full batt: "Here's to the Champions 2007".  Merino cross, silk, silk noil.  2.4 oz, 72 yds super bulky.  Thick and thin singles plied and coiled with merino/silk commercial laceweight.


(This is more true to the actual color.)


Stats: Copper Pot Woolies batt: "Peas in a Pod".  Merino (?) super bulky singles wrapped in a merino/silk laceweight.  4.3 oz, 96 yds.




Stats: Southern Cross Fibre Club August 2009: "Forest Moon".  115 grams Romney wool, 170 yds aran/bulky singles.



I'm currently working on another wrapped singles yarn with handpainted Merino top from Selah, and handpaintedyarn.com laceweight.

I've been spinning up a Corriedale batt on my larger Golding spindle as well, but I don't have any pictures of it at the moment.

This week has been Spring Break for Sparky and Max, so maybe it's just because I've dearly needed the soothing action of spinning so smooth my tired, stressed out brain, but spinning has taken over my world and truly, I CANNOT STOP THE SPIN.

I am helpless to resist the siren call of handspun.


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