Tuesday, October 30, 2007

So, how was YOUR earthquake?

That's the question our nieces asked when they called us a few minutes ago. 'Our' earthquake was small by some standards, but the biggest I've experienced. Until this evening, the earthquakes I'd been through in Vermont were much bigger than any I'd felt in CA since we moved here 18 months ago. This one happened a little after 8:00 pm, and registered 5.6. The epicenter was in or near Alum Rock, which is about 12.5 miles from our house.

It sounded as if someone were dumping a truckload of rock on our roof. Luckily we didn't have any damage. The animals were a bit freaked out - as was I - but we're all fine now.

So, how was YOUR earthquake?

Monday, October 29, 2007

San Jose's Next Top Model

Riso insisted on modeling the finished Shapely Tank:

I had spread it out on the guest bed to take a picture and he immediately leapt up and announced he needed to be a part of it.

This is his orignal pose - he felt more comfortable modeling it like this:

I've also been spinning. This is some Merino/Tussah from Deep Color Studio near Berkeley (they don't do retail any more - therefore no link). I finally figured out that the secret to spinning this stuff is to not pre-draft it. I was pre-drafting at first and kept breaking it because I couldn't control it at all. Second try was much better. I've got about 188 yards of this stuff, and I have no idea what to do with it. Any suggestions?

Riso suggested serving it with Fava beans and some chianti. I'm hoping someone else has a better idea.

Next WIP - a baby sweater. A friend just had a baby girl, and her husband announced, before the kid was a day old, that she was already a Yank-me fan. So I HAD to make this for her. I'm sending with a note: "Dear Bella, I know your daddy loves the Yankees but I thought you'd rather dress like a winner". Hee...

It's almost done - I did the neck today during lunch, and all I have left is blocking and seaming.

Next project: the Mimimalist Cardigan from the IK fall issue (though I hope I have a less sour look on my face than the model has here):

I'll be using Legato from The Yarn Place. It's 80% bamboo, 20% merino - the same stuff I used for the Twinkle Toes Socks I made this spring. Lovely stuff!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Remember this? It's some of the roving I dyed at Jasmin's. Out of the three batches I dyed it was the one I prefered the least. It just didn't grab me the way the other ones do, and I thought I might have used too many colors and they'd all mix together when spun and turn out kind of drab. Well what did I know?

I haven't spun the other ones up yet but oh MY, I think it just jump-frogged into first place. This was my first attempt at Navajo plying. Well actually my very first try was about 10 minutes before this, with about 20' of scrap. Once I got the movement down, I went for it with this roving and I love it! If I'd just plied this as I usually do with 2 strands from separate bobbins, I think it would have turned out kind of muddy. But the Navajo plying keeps the subtle colors clear. I thought it was really over-plied at first but a good soak and then hanging it to dry seem to have taken care of that. So YAY!

Another first - I love to cook but had never cooked Persian food (we go out for it when we can - I have yet to try a dish I haven't liked). This is from A Taste of Persia by Najmieh K. Batmanglij. The dish is called khoresh-e qormeh sabzi - a fresh herb stew with chicken and kidney beans - and is served on top of saffron basmati rice. It's easy to do, though it does take time - and that time is well worth it. Freakin' yum!

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Good Day To Dye

Edited to add: Oooh! Oooh! Go over to Rachael's blog first, read it, vote and then come back, ok? Go Rachael!!

Ahem. Where were we? Yes. Ok. Though I don't think the Klingons meant it the way I mean it. Or maybe they're secretly fiber enthusiasts and all that fighting was the result of one horrible misunderstanding.

Saturday I went to Jasmin's house for a nearly all-day dyeing session with the Minions. Not my minions (I have none, though a few around to do my bidding would be nice); they're a group of very fun, very funny and just a touch crazy people. Jasmin will have to tell you from whence the Minion moniker came; I have no idea.

Anyway, I had taken the Icarus Shawl to the yarn shop and received in exchange some lovely Bamboo-Wool blend (below) and a couple of pounds of soft, soft, SOFT merino roving.

While knitting at Purlescence I mentioned that I needed to dye it and was promptly invited over to join the Minions in their dyeing adventures. Yay! I'd never dyed anything before and while I'm perfectly capable of reading and following directions, it seemed as if it would be easier and a lot more fun to join a crowd.

It was a gorgeous day, sunny but cool, and we had the nicest time playing with fiber and color. I had brought 3 types of roving and decided to try a few different techniques and see what happened.

The first one was just a small blob (is that a technical term?) of Blue Faced Leicester that I'd bought for practicing when I got my first spindle last year. I put the soaked roving in a pan, chose a couple of colors, squirted them with various colors and just watched to see what would happen.

The second batch was some some of the Merino I mentioned before. This time I squirted the whole thing with Chestnut dye (unevenly on purpose), let that soak, and then tossed on a few spots of gold (Aztec Yellow I think). It's hard to see in the picture but the crimpy parts of the roving have a nice sheen to them that I really like.

Last, I used up some Corriedale I'd bought at Stitches. This one I dunked and soaked in a dye pot for quite a while. I plan to make socks out of this. They'll be great if I happen to get stuck upside down in a snowbank - anyone will find me if I wear that color on my feet!

I'm pretty happy with all of them and I'm interested to see how they spin up!

I finished up my stuff pretty quickly, so I spent the rest of the afternoon dyeing other people's fiber and generally having a good time. I don't know who owned what, but there was some beautiful stuff made, that's for sure.

He thinks I meant the other kind of die:

Is that the evil eye or what?
Fortunately, he changed his mind and decided to let me live another day.