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ok, so i started writing this post a looong time ago! the only thing i can remember about january is that my kids and i were sick on and off pretty much the whole month!! i didn’t get on the internet for ANYTHING, much less blogging for weeks!! thankfully, everybody is better *for the moment, anyway…. you know how it is with school-age kids*. SO, here is the post i started writing after in the beginning of january.

something happened to me around the first of january. i never make new year’s resolutions…. it’s so pointless. i think it’s fake… in MY outspoken opinion, people act like they care, but only for one month *IF that*. FOR ME, new year’s is a time of reflection. i think about the year that has passed; what did i do or accomplish, was it a year  well spent?  what can i improve upon?

this year there was one glaring dissapointment in my spinning and knitting life. my lack of uncompleted projects. first, the danish tie shawl from spin-off- my first shawl EVER!! i definatley wanted to spin the yarn for the project but i also decided that i’d process my own fleece for it- a targhee! i had recently bought a pair of mini combs and i thought this would be the perfect first project to use them with!

i was crushed to discover how long it took me to comb a handfull of fluff into a tiny roving ball. especially since the targhee is such a fine fleece, it takes forever to get the neps out. i tried other options *which i’ve talked… or ranted…. about in previous posts at great lengths, i’m sure* nothing really gave me the preparation i was hoping for. the combed fiber was beautiful, of course, but looking back i wish i would have purchased full sized combs so that i could prepare more fiber at once. needless to say, i gave up on the shawl.

then there is my bambigi- otherwise known as gigi from knitty. this was another “first” for me, my first garment. yes, it’s true, for two years i’ve knit many accessories, but have always been a little skittish about knitting a piece of clothing. it started out hopeful enough, it was only the enormously long stretches of stockinette that finally bored me enough to stop knitting on it.

so my non-resolution, more of a realization, is that i will be going back to those projects and whole-heartedly trying to finish them. bambigi will not be hard to finish, i just have to barrel through the stockinette and try not to fall asleep while doing it!!

my solution for the shawl is that i’ll use the targhee fleece for another project, instead, i’ll raid my stash and see what kind of roving i can come up with for it. i’m pretty sure i have enough *without looking at the project specifics, i believe you need 18 ounces* undyed roving to complete the project. and actually, this project has taught me something that i will use for the rest of my spinning life. i’m impatient. *well, i’ve known that for a long time* but i can’t stand waiting  through processing a fleece to start a new project. from now on, i’m only using unprocessed fleece for novelty yarn, or any yarn that i want to be highly textured. for everything else, i’ll have to use processed roving. as much it pains me to say that!! i L-O-V-E raw fleece!!! i can’t pass one up in person without stopping to touch and inspect it. and i love the idea of creating something from the sheep up, but it’s just not for me. i’m heartbroken to admit it, too.

so, kid ‘n ewe 2008 was november 7th through the 9th and i’m just now getting around to posting about it? trust me, i know how lame that is! but with all the blog changes i’ve been doing and the holidays i’ve been pressed for time. not to mention my digital camera was MIA after taking it out at my dad’s house to take (what will become) a very embarassing picture for my son when he’s 16! *a mom never misses an opportunity like that!!!*  but my trusty digicam has just been returned to it’s owner! so, without further ado, i give you my kid ‘n ewe 2008 fiber haul!

from the fiber lady- (left) undyed bamboo and hibiscus color way (right) seconds and dyed hemp

from the fiber lady- (left) undyed bamboo and hibiscus color way (right) seconds and dyed hemp

all-but-the-kitchen-sink roving from ozark carding mill

all-but-the-kitchen-sink roving from ozark carding mill

beautiful grey alpaca and viscose. sounds weird, but it's soo soft!! like buttah!

beautiful grey alpaca and viscose. sounds weird, but it's soo soft!! like buttah!50/50 alpaca bamboo yarn from ozark carding mill

(orange and mint) cotton roving (raspberry and blue/yellow) soy silk

(orange and mint) cotton roving (raspberry and blue/yellow) soy silk

what i did in my dye class!!

what i did in my dye class!!

what i dyed at home after my dye class!

what i dyed at home after my dye class!

so, i mentioned on my twitter that i had cast on a scarf that i wanted to finish before the short texas winter comes to a close for…. myself!! that’s right! i said it before, this holiday knitting season, i made a pledge to myself that i wouldn’t be stressing myself out knitting presents for everyone else *well, i couldn’t resist the request for the kid’s hat for my dad’s angel tree family, which i finished by the way, and of course forgot to take pictures of* so i decided to knit my first ever christmas present for myself!! i wanted something cables and/or lace. i poured over a book of stitch patterns but couldn’t decide on anything, so i did some pattern searching on ravelry and found the perfect stitch pattern! a one row lace pattern! but it was a little plain for me as is, so i decided to flank it with a simple six stitch cable on each side.

to make it even more interesting- this would be my first cable project EVER!!! hard to believe since i’ve been knitting for a few years now, but cables have always intimidated the crap out of me!! i tried them once a very long time ago with a plastic acrylic yarn….. it was bad!! but this time i was determined to do it with style, so i taught myself how to cable without a cable needle using this tutorial. and here are the results:

cable-scarf-into-beech-wood-cowl1

ok…. wait…. what is that at the bottom? well, that’s what my scarf is slowly but surely turning into. you see, i’m so cheap, i told myself that i’d knit a scarf if i could squeeze it out of one skein of that lovely alpaca/bamboo yarn. i hardly ever buy yarn, i just think it’s so expensive, so this is a rare occasion and i want to get as much as i can out of those two skeins!! well, i ran out of yarn at about three and a half feet- which didn’t suit me. so, i went back to ravelry searching for a project that would eat up less yardage. i kept seeing cowls, and i liked a lot of them, but i wanted something that could be pulled up around my head. so what i came up with was my own “pattern” based on the beech wood cowl by ilga leja. i love the stitch pattern she came up with, it lends so much texture to the fabric. but to make it long enough to go over my head, i increased my cast on stitches to 124 and am planning on knitting the pattern repeat for around 21 inches. i’m playing it by ear, but i hope i come up with something i really like this time.

cable-scarf-into-beech-wood-cowl21

*progress*

in my prolonged absence, i finished the main body of the filet crochet piece i’ve been working on! it’s been really hard to remain faithfull to that project! my fingers are NOT used to crocheting and i’ve experienced all manner of hand and finger cramping and stiffness lately! but the recipient’s wedding was yesterday, the 20th, and unfortunately, their gift did make it to the wedding, hell, i couldn’t even go- a four hour drive and two kids? no thanks! not to mention, i still have to get the piece blocked and framed!! i’ve been procrastinating the blocking for weeks now *pretty much since the moment i  finished crocheting* and i’ve got to get it done soon!!! oh, and no pics until it’s absolutely finished!!!

funny story about the border of the filet crochet name doily: i went to the local library and hurriedly picked out the only book of crocheted borders they had. it was one of those books with the word “complete” in the title, so i was positive i would find something that perfectly fit my project. the book looked to be from about 1970  and i realized pretty fast that most of the borders in the book were extremely gaudy. nothing simple, nothing plain, nothing sweet. all 1970’s gaudy. and not only that, but the carefully taken pictures of each individual border were no help, either. all the crocheting had been done with yarn so thick that you couldn’t see any detail, all the dainty shells and little lacey holes were closed by the bulk of the cotton thread.

so i started picking the borders apart, page by page, seeing if there were any elements of one border or another that i could isolate and use by itself. i experimented and finally came up with a simple but pretty border that required only single and double crochet stitches and could be completed in a few rows. it was from a chapter called staggered squares, and i really like the look of it, from a regular viewing distance it looks like any lacy border, but up close you can see how ingenious the stitch really is. and best of all it took only a few days of working *only when i had the time* to finish it.

the link for this book on amazon shows a recently reprinted book with very nice examples of the work to be found within the pages!! uh, old ass library books! from the picture of the reprinted version’s cover, i’d actually be interested in looking through it again! that was my only gripe about the book was the pictures/ the way the samples were made.

and here is a last minute inclusion: a yarn i spun from teased cotswold locks and merino. this was a really fun yarn!!

sunset-cotswold-merino-yarn22

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