scribbling and reading

This summer I have had the good fortune of being part of a wonderful writing Co-op, The Word Nerd Co-op run by the amazing Beverly. Unfortunately my writing this summer has fallen the way of my socks; once I sign up for something this summer, I seem to loose the inspiration to continue with it. Well, that isn’t quite the right set of words. Hmm.. I think that has actually been my problem.

Except for last night. I wrestled my muse and I think we both brushed ourselves off and walked away happy.

In about forty-five minutes last night, with the ferocity of the thunderstorms we have recently been blessed with, I more than doubled the writing found within my summer exercise book. The words within took an unexpected turn based upon a memory and some recent reading, but it felt amazing. Thoughts, phrases, and a living scene flowed from my pen, and I’ve spent the day multi-tasking wanting to spend more time with this. It’s different from what I’ve been writing, but I was forcing a character and a place wanting it to work. I still want that story to work, but now is not the time for it. I see parts of both within my new creation, but time will tell what fruit these seeds bring.

I’ve also been reading and thanks to a new pillow catching up on sleep. Thus there isn’t as much reading as I would have liked, but sleep is very important too.

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I always fall hard for these

I made yarn

lavendersheep roving
It started with some very beautiful superwash roving in Mountain Sunset from Lavender Sheep.

I made singles on Squeaky (who doesn’t squeak much anymore but is purring because I’m playing about 10 minutes almost every day). The first bobbin was much more evenly spun and consistent on all counts. I think this is because I was very impatient to see what it turned into.

Mountain Sunset Singles mountain sunset progress

I then plied the singles. This time I used my brain a little and made a simple lazy kate out of an old shipping box and some dpn’s so I could put the bobbins where I could more easily ply from. I ended up plying two very full bobbins worth on Squeaky and for variation in technique did the last little bit by spindle.

Mountain Sunset full bobbin

And I made these yarns.

I definitely see improvement in my spinning over the past year. I have a long way to go before I think I’ll produce anything remotely useful but I’m having fun and learning a vast amount of really cool things about fibre and spinning and patience.

The yarn definitely turned out pinker than I expected, but I have a feeling that’s due to how I pulled apart the roving. The little bit as PG’s neck warmer I’m currently classifying as about a DK. The rest is a heavy worsted to Aran. I’m totally guessing here because I’ve not yet notched out a bit of wood so I can wpi (wrap per inch) it and figure it out for real. I’ve tried just wrapping it around any rulers I have laying around but that doesn’t seem to work for me.

Mountain Sunset Mountain Sunset Mountain Sunset Mountain Sunset

Yardage ended up about 155 yards for what I’m calling the Aran and 42 yards for the DK.

I also made yarn (a while ago) with that “robins nest” roving. But it’s really fuzzy and so far has eluded its portrait.

What’s next on the wheel? Already some “pocket money” merino from Cabin Cove Yarn. My goal again is consistency and I think I have to pull back and figure out what to do with what I spun today. Yesterday I was spinning a single that reminded me of about a laceweight. Today I feel it’s spinning thread. Speaking of thread ….

There is a new singer in the house. I’m not yet sure her name, but a gift card to a certain store made this a good buy. Why this one and not the green hello kitty Janome I was eyeing? Stitch size variation and that I have a bunch of Singer stuff already for Shira that she’ll share. I’m still experiencing some bobbin tensioning issues, but if it wasn’t 10 pm on Tuesday night I’d probably still be working to solve it (I only brought her home at about 8:30.. right now I just go too far at one extreme or the other. It’ll take some play and isn’t anything outside my knowledge or experience.). She purrs along quite nicely and I’m looking forward to start sewing up the fabric stash. I don’t mind some sewing by hand but largish scale projects (i.e. more than 10 inches of sewing) are not my cup of tea. Since it’s the three weeks, I won’t embark on any clothing, but I’m not aware of any issues with piecing together fabric for simple bags and things at least not until Rosh Chodesh Av. In any case, right now I’m not sewing anything functional, but learning how to accompany her song.

There's a new song in town

Made It!

It always amazes me how time does funny things in the last days, hours, and minutes erev shabbat or yontif and things that you don’t think will come together do.

Book post will come on Thursday, bli neder.

finished pesach 5768  shawl detailsSummer Shawlette
by Sandi Wiseheart
Interweave Knits, Summer 2006, also published at Knitting Daily
less than 1 skein Lavendersheep Espresso Tencel Sock Yarn [50% Superwash Merino Wool, 50% Tencel, 4oz/112 grams; 400 yards]
CO: Thu 10 April 2008
BO: Wed 16 April 2008 (yes, it really is fast)
Needles: Addi lace© turbo, 24" US 5/3.75mm
Mods: er, a few unintentional ones on the lower lace border. I’m not a huge fan of the arrow-head lace but I didn’t want to tempt my timing by pouring over stitch dictionaries. ;) (back detail) Also none of my photos do justice to the beauty that is this yarn. There is a slight shine, and it softened considerably while I was working with it and even further upon Soak’ing and blocking. I’m not quite sure if I’d want to make a pair of socks out of it, I’ve discovered that I wear socks really really hard, but with my leftovers (once weighed) I will explore the option.

er.. yeah, i can eyeball itSimple Matzoh Cover
by Me
Verdict: Smiles around, so I think that’s positive. It’s a step up from the disposable napkins we use in the past and hopefully less wasteful. I still want to make a fancier version, but may just continue to build upon this one each year.

– 4 cheap 2/99¢ nice-looking-but-hopefully-machine-washable napkins
– embroidery needle
– embroidery hoop (mine is 7", I think)
– 1 spool Gütermann Metallic Effect thread, #41 (Silver)
– regular thread, to match the napkins as close as possible or contrasting, or whatever you grab first
– a source for the lettters, I used both my Complete Guide to Yarmulka Design and a haggadah. I wanted slightly my letters to be seriffed for a “traditional formal” look.
Caveats: It’s been eons since I’ve embroidered. Back when I wanted to be Laura I practiced all the time (I wonder where all those things went). Sure I’ve done a few little things here and there, but nothing that I was sharing! My lack of practice definitely shows.
Step 0: Determine that crochet is not working out. (it was pretty though, proof)
Step 1: Wash & Iron the napkins
Step 2: Find center of nicest looking napkin and put in embroidery hoop.
Step 3: Look at clock and utter numerous profanities.
Step 4: Knot thread and start with the Mem (of Matzoh)
Step 5: Look pleased at the size & shape
Step 6: Decide not to pencil it (b/c you can’t find the disappearing fabric ink pen) and eyeball the Tzadi.
Step 7: Repeat step 3.
Step 8: Lightly sketch the Hei to make the tazdi look like a planned design feature instead of the large monstrosity it became.
Step 9: Be very pleased with results.
Step 10: Pin the four layers together and sew at the hem ⅓ of the way down from the upper left corner along those two sides (top & left). This will create the envelope.

Step 17: realize you forgot to make an afikomen pouch. (next year, b’Yerushalayim)
Step 18: spill grape juice and wine all over! :)

Have a great week. I read a TON this shabbat and yontif, so I hope to write up my reviews by Thursday, I’ll get done what I can and try to post something.

I don’t often do this, but a personal request: Please think good thoughts for both me and a classmate between 6-9pm on Wednesday as we do our formal Final project presentation. I can easily help tweak others presentations but not my own. *sigh*

meet shira

shiraShira is my Model 221 Singer Featherweight. Right now she’s in a corner for time-out as I cannot get the top tension right. But it also shows what E and I did today. We finally fixed the bobbin casing and now she sings pretty well, except for tension. When I picked her up rescued her from mum five years ago the bobbin was all funky and would wrap around instead of doing what it should. E and I took her apart before we got married and never totally got her back together right. Until today. She was a gift to mum from my grandma. Mum tends to have bad luck with sewing machines so I thought I’d give Shira a good home. In any case, I don’t have very much from grandma so she means a lot to me. I’m a little frustrated at the moment because while I love her, the light gets VERY hot (I just spoke to E and he said he’d help me wire an LED in there instead.. she won’t get hot and that makes me happy, I have a nasty burn on my index finger). I’m also miffed at the tension. I would expect that old springs would be LOOSER instead of tighter. I’ll be googling later and will figure out the rest. I have a pile of fabric that I really want to sew up. If Shira doesn’t start behaving I’ll have to buy a sister for her (or maybe that’s why she’s misbehaving). I’m eying some of the newer Singers.. the Inspirations look nice but I haven’t yet seen any of them in person. E wasn’t biting for my request to visit either Joann’s or Sears today.

Oh, you came for knitting? Photos here, details following. :)

Finished Monkeys Finished monkeys FIL stretch sock progress MS3 progress B's new bag FIL stretch sock progress c's cargo pants progress

Let’s see… I finished Monkey last week and while they need some elastic at the top I am very happy to have another completed pair of socks. I don’t know WHY I believed I should just follow cookie’s amazing pattern as my sock needs are different than many others. I started with 2.75mm’s on the cuff and first repeat, went down to 2.25mm for the rest of the leg and the short row heel, and I finished off with 2mm through the toe. There isn’t as much stitch definition with the 2mm needles but the foot fits perfectly. I’ve decided that I like short-row heels for two reasons, they’re much faster than a flap and they fit me much better. The pattern was quite fun to knit.

I’m almost done with the heel of my FIL’s sock. I have to review the halacha for three weeks to see if I can give them to him. We probably could pull medical need (his feet are always cold) so as long as I finish them this week I should be ok. I’m in discussion with my MIL as to what she wants for her birthday socks. After I finish FIL’s I need to finish the blue ankle socks with leftovers from Monkey and also my beautiful baby cable socks with my LavenderSheep fiber goodness. I’ve been working with Yvonne on a form so soon custom orders will be much easier to request. Once I get my act in gear it’ll be even better, but I want to get a form out to the world first. :)

Baby knits are chugging along. I have to sew on buttons better for the bootees and then I’ll put up photos. I started a pair of Cargo’s for my friend M’s son, C. But.. uhm.. E doesn’t like the colour, he says it’s too stripey, so I swatched with some cotton-ease (in Taupe) this morning and I’ll be back to the store tomorrow afternoon to see if I can grab another ball in the same dye lot (hah hah hah). Then I’ll frog and cast-on again. sigh I wish he had commented before I had finished 3 inches…

I’m almost done with chart B, first clue, of the mystery stole 3. I have no good reason at all why I signed up for this when I have 3 other lace projects on the needles and lots of other knitting to do this summer, not to mention a large pile of other work. I’m using clear seed beads leftover from fixing up my wedding dress (which I borrowed, fixed up a bunch of the beautiful beadwork on, and returned in hopefully nicer condition (not that it was bad, but through use some of the beads weren’t sewed on well anymore. It was a beautiful dress…)). Speaking of lace, I did complete another repeat for mum’s shawl and a bit of work was done on the two seraphims I’m working on.

knit+sew+bead: look, over there!

I’m distracting you with lots of other things this week so you don’t notice the lack of knitting. Also, a warning this post was written under insomniatic conditions.


I found this easy and [photopress:flowerpin.jpg,thumb,alignright]beautiful felt flower pin at craft and as I have a felt stash that just is sitting around, I decided to make one myself. I think hope the recipient will like it and not notice her lace shawl (which she doesn’t know about) isn’t finished yet. (that is the “sew” for the week, which was done totally by hand b/c my real machine is still in pieces in the closet.) I really liked it and I think a few more to have on hand as gifts would not be a bad thing. I’m not really thrilled with my colour choices but that is my own limitation as my felt stash isn’t that big. It was easy and fast even by hand using horrible office scissors.

Darn Craft. I was planning to take E’s old jeans to the thrift store. Then I found this pattern. I also picked up craft yesterday (Tues) afternoon but have not yet had a chance to open it. I totally need to decide if I will buy any more copies or not because at $15 a pop that is a TON of money (that’s 75% of my weekly “allowance”! PB&J for lunch!)

In good news, E played with my camera a bit and said he understands the focus a bit better now. So maybe he’ll explain it to me one of these days.

I made a friend some stitch markers recently. I only am about a month behind on holiday gifts (we won’t talk about the birthday knitting, I frogged the too small knuck, so progress WAS made. sort of.) I really hope that my friend likes them. I only have at least 3 more people to make stitch markers for. At least in the urgent batch.

Ok, knitting. Mr Baby A and Ms Baby B were born Monday evening. [photopress:kimono_preseam.jpg,thumb,alignright]Which means I need to knit faster. I cast on for the second sweater Tuesday morning but that was as far as I got. This is a pic of the kimono pre-blocking and seaming. I hope that my few wonky sized stitches aren’t too noticeable and bad. I also hope that the baby likes green. I have some store-bought goodies to send as well so if I’m too embarrassed about my horrible first sweater I can wait a bit. I (am writing this at midnight, we’ll chat about insomnia later) will bring my sweater knitting with me tomorrow. The significant thing about this kimono and its brother pullover is that i knit this on 10" straights! Nice cheap metal clanky straights. It was quite therapeutic. I hate big needles and these classify as big needles in my book. Heck the size of the needle on Addi 24’s drives me crazy. I can’t explain why I want these straights to do the baby knitting but there you go. I’m planning on knitting Erica Knight’s one piece classic cashmere as it’s similar in style to the MDK kimono, but with cotton. When both are done and gifted I’ll write them up super proper. If anyone has any huge comments one way or the other about the EK please let me know.

A classmate’s second son was born last November? December? *blush* and I quick knit up a HUGE garter stitch bib in some Sugar n Cream faded denim. At our first class meeting after the break last week I was shown a photo of the handsome baby dwarfed by this bib and it just warms my heart. I reiterated if they wanted to use it to mop the floor I didn’t care. He is a wonderful little baby and I think his father is a very nice guy too. I still need to knit up his real present and figure out a gift for his older brother (who is 3 or 4, I was thinking one of the dinos..)

Other knitting. Mom’s shetland shawl is not going well at all. I just[photopress:e_sock23jan.jpg,thumb,alignright] don’t want to knit it. I have no clue as to why. Maybe it’s because I have to go out to visit her and I’m dreading it because I won’t have Cosette to play with. I’ll probably rip the one repeat I’ve done and cast on another swallowtail. I’d love something fast in garter lace, but we’ll see. I’ll poke around. E’s socks are slowly making progress. I am really really hating black. And that he has an overflowing black sock-bin as is. *sigh* Here’s where they were Tuesday morning. I added about 8 rows on the subway on my way to campus.

I recongize that I broke the progress meters a few days (weeks?) ago. Here’s the roundup:

  1. Baby Surprise Jacket #1 – 18% I’ve stalled on this and have no idea why. I expect to pick it up after second rush sweater.
  2. MDK Kimono – 99% needs seaming and blocking.
  3. Gift for S (who I haven’t emailed in ages) – 8% It’s been sitting there staring at me. I don’t know what my problem is, it’s perfect get ready for sleep knitting.
  4. E’s socks – 72% need to get this done ASAP
  5. geeknoob’s knucks (her birthday was only at the start of october)- 45% I need to stitch up the first one and reknit the second. I actually frogged it this weekend so I had some progress on it…
  6. mum’s shawl – 1% i finished one repeat but am just not into it at this time. I need to produce something fast and pretty and complicated looking. she’s my MOM!
  7. purl berets – on hold as I have a long talk with the pattern and my brain. Error exists between needles and yarn. Might gift up and make a wimple or something weird. Who knows. In good news, grumperina solved her problems!
  8. surprise for dave – 0% oops. I’ll try to do this soon. :)
  9. surprise for sara – 0% as soon as urgent baby knitting is done. I was sketching it out earlier today.
  10. wedding afghan for j&v – I need to redo the maths as I’m petrified I’ll run out of yarn. My goal is to get 1/9th of it done each month between now and September.

  11. blue socks are dreaming of being cast on.
  12. lavendersheep socks are also dreaming of being cast on.
  13. Icarus – 0%

Right and how am I supposed to do all this knitting working 60+ hour weeks, keeping the flat clean, E fed, and hamster happy? And I keep saying I want to spin?

Ok. This insomnia is horrible but not totally unexpected. I return home from class half an hour before bed. I’m hungry. I’m tired (physically) but my mind is racing with exciting thoughts from class and things I have to do tomorrow and things that are undone from “today” (Tuesday). It hasn’t helped that I shifted my journal writing to the mornings in order to give that some more focus. I need to work on quickly clearing out my brain so I can just fall asleep when we crawl into bed. I’m sitting on the couch now with a hamster actively running on her wheel (which she’ll only do if the lights are out, as if she’s ashamed of her big butt..) [it’s loud. she broke her other one the spoiled overfed furry ball of love] and a cup of chamomile green tea. Last night I went to bed about 1:30 and fell asleep after 2. I hope to beat that tonight as it’ll be another 5:30a wake up and get home at 10:30p.

I should not be allowed in the library. I was all proud of myself for returning 7 books to 4 different libraries Tuesday afternoon. And then I realized that FIVE of my holds had come into NYPL. And their policy is that you must pick them all up at once. That branch is closed on Wednesday so they followed me around on Tuesday. I also picked up two others at the Uni so we’ll see what happens. I was trying to clean OFF my to-read pile. I want to blame Rachel for two of the books I took home, but that wouldn’t be fair. Two of the books I picked up on typography and ROCK. I recently discovered Rachel’s blog and obviously love the title. Can you believe those stranded black and white socks are her first REAL pair of socks? Go woman Go!