Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Creations

Being an avid spindler with a vast collection of spindles and multiple projects-in-progress, it really was sort of shocking that I only possessed one wrist distaff. So, a couple of weeks ago, I made one for myself, then made another, just for a lark, and listed it in my store. I figured it would sit there a long time, so imagine my surprise when it sold with an hour!

So, I made a second one, and it sold very quickly, too, and then I got a request for a custom one, and then a request to barter a distaff and some yarn for some luscious spinning fibers!

I made a bunch more. This one is one of my favorites so far. It lives in Minnesota now, with a very happy owner who says she wonders how she ever managed to spindle without one. Well!
This next one was a custom order. The lady wanted a chartreuse sort of mix, and that's exactly what she got! I love this one, too.
And here's a custom one I just made today. Could I stand to make it with supplies I already hand on hand? Of course not! The good news is, I have enough of the yarn and beads to make a couple more, so I'll cover my costs and make a wee profit, too. I love making these things, even though they are a bit time-consuming. (It takes me about an hour, if I don't have any interruptions).
Now, because I can't show this off on Ravelry until I've mailed my samples, let me introduce my "Blinded by Science" hand-blended, hand-pulled, hand chained roving, "Curie." Unfortunately, the picture doesn't quite capture the vivid lime green of the Angelina Glitz I blended in with the Merino wool. But I was thinking of Marie Curie, and her tons of pitchblende, and her Radium. This fiber puts me in mind of Marie walking into that shed and seeing the glow of radium for the first time. Wild. Not fully isolated yet. Just...glowing in the dark from piles and piles of pitchblende.

OK, maybe it wasn't really quite like that, but permit me to hang on to my romantic notions....

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Not About the Haircut...

I can't argue with success. As of this morning, I was down a total of 17 lbs. When I started Weight Watchers on January 3rd, I weighed 212.8 lbs. Around the holidays, which is when the picture on the left was taken, I would guess I weighed a bit more than that.

If this keeps up, I am going to need to make a trip to Sallie's Boutique and see if I can find some smaller pants, cheap. Even the smaller size pants I have now, from my last go-round with Weight Watchers, are fitting me like clown pants!

What amazes me is I can already see a BIG difference in my face, especially in my nose and chin. Who would ever think of someone's NOSE getting fat? But it was definitely looking more bulbous than pointy.

I celebrated by dusting off the hair clippers and mowing my head, and now I feel more like myself again.

I also have a new song in the works...a blues tune about my wool obsession...and I know a bunch of knitting and spinning folks who will just about die laughing when they hear it. I just need to be absolutely certain of how I intend to perform it before I make a recording. Once it's set and uploaded, I'll post a link here.

Yesterday was a marathon day of working on my shop, so today I have not really done anything with wool, beyond a little bit of knitting on a hat I am test-knitting for a designing friend. It's coming out nicely, but I am taking my time and enjoying the process, and using the "Space Jazz" yarn I posted pictures of earlier in the week. It's wonderful yarn to work with, even if I do say so myself. :-)

Edited to Add -- Adorable teapot earrings by Cofanetto! People, this woman absolutely SINGS with fimo clay creations! I have a pair of her blue-flowered teapots, too -- a present she sent me when I was having a bad time and feeling, very, very down. Let me tell you, it is IMPOSSIBLE to feel "down" when I look at these little teapots, and I really treasure them!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Back to Etsy!

Well, from what I've heard from a bunch of my fellow vendors and customers, no one really likes Artfire very much, so after a little over a month, I've quit that venue and migrated back to Etsy. There is now a "widget" in my sidebar, below my profile info, that will give you a glimpse of some of the items I currently have for sale. If you like something you see, just click on it, and you'll be magically whisked away to that particular item's page in my shop. Ta-daaaaaa! There's lots of cool new stuff, including some hand-painted Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend yarns. Please do take a look if you feel so inclined, and if you love anything in particular, grab it while you can. I dye/hand-paint yarns in very small batches, and while all my colorways may be approximated again in the future, they will never be duplicated exactly.

Weight Watchers has been going rather well, and I am down a whopping 15.6 pounds since I began this journey on January 3rd. This puts me under 200 pounds for the first time in awhile, and I have been able to maintain this status for the last week or so, and have been losing a bit every week, slowly but surely. Now, if I could just get to a point where I enjoy exercising and actually want to do it...

Well, up and down the stairs several times a day to stoke the furnace with wood will have to suffice. That, and sitting down at the spinning wheel. See, a long time ago, I made sure I bought a double treadle wheel, so at least there would be the illusion of exercise, and maybe it's not such a joke after all. Treadling steadily with both feet for a couple of hours every day is a gentle form of exercise, and I don't notice that it's work, because I'm too busy watching my yarns take shape. And do they ever take shape! Here are a few examples.

This is "Black Gold," a totally sumptuous and decadent blend of gold silk and black alpaca. I have no idea what it wants to be yet, but it sure is gorgeous!

"Pumpkins A-glow" is a wonderful blend of superwash Merino wool, Cashmere, and Nylon. I guess, because of the nylon component, this means the yarn would make good socks, but somehow I cannot justify putting anything with cashmere in it on my feet!

The lady who made the batt I spun this next one from did not have a name for the batt, and since it made me think of outer-space and general delightful astronomical oddity, I decided to name it after a favorite song of Grant's. "Space Jazz." It's got alpaca in it, and I think some wool, and firestar, and angelina, and God only knows what else. Gorgeous and soft. It is being made into a hat I'm test-knitting for a designer friend on Ravelry, and I can't wait to wear it!

And last, but certainly not least, is a piece I'm especially proud of for a couple of reasons. One, this was my first attempt at dyeing yarn with black walnut juice. I had an abundance of walnuts fall from the trees after Hurricane Irene blew through, and thought it was high time to see what I could do with them. We got as far as gathering a big bucketful and putting the bucket in the garage. Luckily, before I forgot about them completely, I mentioned my plan to Grant, and one day after I had forgotten, he wrote and asked what kinds of yarn I was planning to dye, and cautioned me to make sure I wore gloves when I started working with the stuff.

There is nothing like a nudge from someone by whom I do not want to be perceived as a slacker, and it wasn't long after that when I got some fabulous "tweed" yarn dyeables, and into the kettle of prepared walnut juice they went. It was totally a done deal, unbeknownst to himself until the box landed on his doorstep, that Grant would get the first item I ever made from the stuff. I started this scarf in the car on the way to Maine on December 29th, and finished it in the car on the way home from Maine on New Year's Day. I'm rather proud of it, and delighted that it will be helping to keep my singing friend's golden throat warm and protected during the bitterest part of the winter.