Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Tale of the Walnut-Dyed Fleece (with photos!)

A year and a half ago, I bought a scrumptious Romney fleece at the Woolgathering in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I should have been organized enough to save the sales slip and maybe a business card, but I wasn't, so I have no idea who I got it from. But it was nearly perfect, with almost no VM (vegetable matter--in other words, straw and thistles.) After I washed it, it was a soft light gray. Unfortunately, I can't lay hands on a lock that I was sure I'd saved, so I can't show how it looked. (I have learned from that mistake, and have been saving paperwork and fiber so I can keep track of what I have and where I got it. As mentioned before, I can be taught.)

Anyway, I did wash it, and thought about spinning it in its natural color. But just at that time, our black walnut trees were showering us with hundreds of mushy green/black spheres that were serving no purpose but to stain our shoes. I got the brilliant idea to dye the fleece with the black walnut hulls.

Now, I don't really like dyeing anything. It's too much like cooking, and my family will attest to the fact that, even after almost 27 years of marriage, I can't cook worth a hoot. Oh, occasionally I can whip out the giant artery-clogging breakfast of eggs, bacon, gravy, hash browns, etc. But I wouldn't have the faintest idea of what to do with a pot roast, and I've never successfully fried chicken. So anything that involves measuring, mixing, and timing is not on my Must-Do List.

BUT. Walnut dyeing is stupid simple. You break the green hulls off the walnuts (then crack open the walnuts to use for baking if you're a masochist and happen to like the flavor. "No" to both for me, thankyouverymuch.) Break the hulls up into a big pot of water and let them soak for, ohhh, like, however long you want, but before it starts turning moldy. Then you strain out the hulls, throw in the fleece and let it soak for, ohhh, however long you want. You can even warm the water first, or you can just set it in the hot sun and let Nature do its thing. Push the fleece around a bit so it dyes more or less evenly. Drain, rinse, repeat, let dry. Tadaaa! A gorgeous brown-with-gold-highlights fleece!

Wait, did I mention that you should wear rubber gloves during this entire procedure? Did I also mention that black walnut stain is pretty much permanent? Did I tell you how I know this? Could it be because my hands looked gangrenous for weeks afterward because I didn't use the aforementioned rubber gloves? Even when the worst of the dark stain wore off my skin, the crevices around my nails were still almost black. I looked like I'd been digging in the dirt and didn't bother to wash up afterward. 'Twas a bit embarrassing.

The fleece, however, was stunning. I wasn't up to carding it, so I sent it off to Kent and Jenny Ferguson at Ohio Valley Natural Fibers where they carded it for a terrifically reasonable price. I now have a giant box of six pounds of fleece (minus the little bit I've drafted and the tinier bit I've spun.)

It doesn't look too remarkable in the box, but I could hardly wait to start spinning this wool. I wanted it to be thicker that the yarn I usually spin, and I had to retrain my hands to pull out more fiber from the roving so I would get an even yarn at the thickness I wanted. I finally had a sample I liked, so I filled a couple of bobbins and plyed them.

Then I couldn't wait to see it knitted up, so I did a couple of swatches, and was thrilled with the soft scrunchy feel of the swatches. I haven't washed them yet, and I'll probably do a couple more on different needle sizes, but I just love how this wool is turning out. Note the tags on each swatch, showing needle size and wraps per inch. I told you I can be taught!

I wish the photos could show the slight gold sheen on the yarn and the swatches. I don't quite know where that comes from. Is it something about the color of the fleece, or is it a quality of the walnut stain? Whatever it is, it's beautiful.

So now I have about 5 pounds, 15 1/2 ounces left to spin. I'd better get cracking for a couple of reasons. One is that the incredibly-patient-with-the-spinning/knitting/quilting-rubble husband is getting sick of the giant cardboard box in our bedroom. The other reason, well, I'll save that for a later post. But here are a couple of clues: Ravelry and the badges at the upper right of the page. You can probably figure it out.

BTW, if anyone wants walnuts this fall, you know where you can get some. I don't have any plans for them this year!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Two More Finished (okay, I cheated a bit...)

Two more Finished Projects on Saturday! Ok, ok. Neither of them was on the First List, but they were both on the Second List! I'm not sure why it matters exactly, as long as I'm getting things finished. Though the angora blend yarn won't really be finished until it's knitted into something. I ended up with a little over 300 yards, so I have to look through my patterns for something appropriate. I would have liked to have done a shawl, but it's not enough. So I'm thinking about mitts instead.

I hope to have pictures up in the next day or two. I've tried doing pics myself, but I just don't have a clue about how to make them look good. So I need the semi-pro in the house to take them for me, after he gets done with work, grass-cutting, home repairs, and TV-watching. Meanwhile, here's a peek at my gorgeous peonies:
I did manage to take this photo myself, after about 15 tries. (Good thing it was a digital camera! What a waste of film otherwise.) This doesn't really do them justice. The entire shrub is covered with these blooms that look like scoops of vanilla ice cream, with a cherry on top (and the odd ant here and there.) They smell delicious too. The New Dawn roses on the front fence are about to pop soon. I can't wait to see them--one of the first things I planned when we bought this house four years ago was to cover the split-rail fence out front with pink climbing roses. It's taken a couple of years for them to get going, but the biggest one is absolutely packed with buds.

Coming soon: The Tale of the Walnut-Dyed Fleece, and Why Do I Keep Stitching When I Know It's WRONG?

Friday, May 23, 2008

The List: #2

Since I've completely abandoned the idea of no more yarn purchases (that didn't last long, did it?) I'm updating The List to reflect what I really want to get done sometime soon. At least this year would be nice. And I've been thinking about whether I want to be more concerned with The Stash, or focus on The Finishing.

The funny thing is that on one of my Yahoo groups (Spindilitis) there's been quite the discussion this week about stashing, and both sides of the situation have been presented. Most people who contributed confessed that they had tons of fiber to spin, but felt no guilt at all. The reasons varied: some feel like they might as well buy now because they might not be able to afford what they love in the future. Some just feel like it's no big deal--this is what they do, so why shouldn't they stash to their hearts' content? And some don't think too deeply about it, they just do it!

A couple of people ventured different views. I can relate to the opinion that having too much stash can weigh you down. You know it's there, and you feel pressured to use it. Someone mentioned that it's similar to any other type of clutter one would have stored in the house. It can clutter your mind as well (like the unused clothes and books that I keep meaning to drop off to Goodwill.) I think the trend toward simplicity is beginning to touch more and more people, and having a huge unused stash of yarn, fabric, fiber, or whatever can make us feel burdened.

So I'm trying to tread the middle ground. I can tell that I'll always be tempted by new yarns and patterns, so I'm not really going to stop buying as I promised in my first post. But I also am going to be aware that I may not always love knitting and spinning the way I do now. I have two giant shelf units full of quilt fabric and dozens of cross-stitch patterns that are sitting here untouched, but I was as passionate about quilting and cross-stitching at one point as I am about knitting now. I'm not quite ready to part with that section of stash yet, so I want to keep working on some of those UFOs as well as knitting.

Anyway, without further ado, here's The Second List:

1. Dale of Norway sweater
2. Pink lace scarf
3. Crayon Box Jacket
4. Laurel Leaves Quilt
5. Waterlilies needlepoint
6. Pink Tofutsies socks Done!
7. Merino yarn to be plied
8. Weeping Tree Sampler cross-stitch
9. Baby sweater in Linen Isle Done!
10. Spin Walnut-dyed fleece
11. Spin angora blend from Fuzzarelly Fibers Done!

Most of these were on the First List, but I've dropped a couple and added a couple. I want to have a spinning project going, and the cross-stitch piece is so near to being done that I really want to wrap it up. Several of these projects are close to finished, but there are some biggies as well, so it's kind of balanced.

Now, here's the thing: I also signed up for the Summer of Socks contest, as I wrote a few posts back. So starting June 21, that's what I'll be working on pretty much all of the time. A couple more balls of sock yarn have found their way into the pile. I think I'm up to 26 now. I don't know if my hands can take only knitting, so I may keep the Arbitrary Baseball Rule in force. (I haven't gotten to use it much recently, as the Reds have been playing on the West Coast all week, so the games come on at 10PM here. That's a bit too late for me!) But, seeing as it's a Friday, I might just go flip on the radio and settle in for some stitching. Let's see--they're away, so I think the Rule says I work on the Laurel Leaves quilt. That's a switch from all the knitting!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Falling Waaaay Off the Wagon

The new computer is finally up and running, so pictures should be forthcoming. I'm probably the only person on Ravelry who has stash and projects listed with no photos whatsoever. Kinda defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, I had to blow away the contents of the iPod because it was acting wonky, so I had to hook it up to the website and restore it to its original settings, whatever they were. (They certainly did not include the amusing trick of simply scrolling through all the songs instead of actually playing them.) So now I have to reload all my CDs, re-download my books from, and save the purchased songs to CD from iTunes on the old computer, before it goes completely belly-up.

So....knitting and stash content. Let's see...I bought more sock yarn. And a Jo Sharp pattern book. And some great Rowan wool/silk blend for less than $4 a ball. And I ordered Lamb's Pride yarn to make a knee length cabled cardigan. Oops, I slipped.

That was on Friday. I haven't bought anything since then. But that's probably because I haven't transferred my bookmarks from the old computer, so I can't go shopping online.

And I haven't been working on a darn thing from The List. I've secretly been knitting a baby sweater from some Linen Isle that I got at half-price a couple of weeks ago. (Sorry. Didn't tell y'all about that one, did I?) And last night I pulled out the fiber that Nancy from Fuzzarelly Fibers sent me and started spinning laceweight on the new Jenson wheel. (Lovely angora, silk, and merino blends--and the angora is from her own bunnies.) That was a soothing, satisfying experience. I must remember to have a spinning project on The List at all times.

So why have I slipped so far off the straight and narrow that I swore to stick to way back in my first post? I blame Ravelry for part of it. You just can't get on there and start looking at everyone's projects without getting the itch to start some of them for yourself. And the blogs! Oh, my my my. Look at what I found yesterday. Just look at those shawls! How can I see those and not give in to the urge to start one for myself? Heaven knows I have plenty of laceweight yarn in the stash, because I shop here. I've got silk blends, cashmere blends, angora blends, supersoft merino, and the fiber--well, I could be spinning superfine laceweight for the rest of my life and not use it all up.

I think part of the problem is something I could see coming--I haven't finished anything in a while, so I don't feel like I'm making progress. I got my little projects done in a hurry, but now I have to slog along on the bigger ones. Starting something new gives me the false impression that I'm actually accomplishing something. In a way, I suppose I am. If I already had the stash and I start using it, at least it's part of the way toward being done. But then I'm back to having 30 projects piled around The Chair again.

At least I've gotten the sewing room straightened up quite a bit. I can finally walk around in here, and if I want to use the small loom, I can get to it now. I've located my skein umbrella and ball winder, so once I figure out where to set them up, I can start winding sock yarn balls. Best of all, I can get the closet door open, which means I can once again gaze lovingly upon the silk fibers that I had forgotten were in there.

Mission for tonight: make new List, which will include spinning and a couple of smaller projects that I need to dig out of the stash. And take some photos!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bored, bored, bored

How can that be? I only have 5 million projects to work on! I've just felt lousy the last few days, and can't seem to settle to anything. My neck is acting up, so it's hard to sit very long without getting stiff. I did go to the chiropractor and the massage therapist today, so maybe it will be better tomorrow. I wouldn't mind doing some spinning, but I don't think my neck and shoulders could tolerate that.

So I might have to go watch TV again. What a waste of time. Sleeping is also an option, since I haven't been doing much of that the past few days either. Which may be the whole reason I feel so cruddy. It's a vicious cycle.

So I've been puttering, updating stash and books on Ravelry. Not that I have any new stash, uh-uh, no way. (Not much anyway.) I did need more sock yarn for the Summer of Socks contest, and I found some really beautiful hand-painted yarn. I bought a skein of pinks and a skein of soft yellows, and I'll try my hand at Fair Isle socks. They're going to be great. And I couldn't pass up the Supreme (70% cashmere/30% silk blend) that I found for half-price online.

The new computer did come Tuesday, but it's still in the boxes by the back door. So much for all my impatience. I'll get my act together next week.

1. New project list
2. Set up computer
3. Take project photos
4. Post project photos
5. Actually work on projects
6. Don't buy any yarn

There, that should keep me busy next week!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Help meeeeee....

I really worked hard on cleaning on and around my desk, and things are starting to shape up in the Hellhole. In fact, this afternoon, I actually paid bills on my desk! Yes, it's amazing! After all this time trying to write checks with the checkbook balanced on my knee and bills and envelopes fluttering to the floor around me, it was a real pleasure to have writing space. Not that it was a pleasure to actually pay the bills, but I do want to continue taking hot showers.

And, as I was bustling around putting books on shelves, and sorting random project materials into boxes, I got this great idea. Hey, why don't I gather up all of the sock yarn I have so I'll be ready to go for the sock contest! You know what's coming, don't you? I found sock yarn I don't remember buying. I found duplicate balls of sock yarn. Not only do I not remember buying the first ball, but have no clue about when and why I bought the second. And I must have started something with it, because the center (commonly referred to around here as "the guts") of the ball had been pulled out, apparently knitted, and then ripped out. I have no idea.

I did remember some of the balls I found. Like the Opal that knits up into the most incredibly ugly sock I've ever seen. How do I know this? Because I actually started a sock, put it aside for a while, picked it up again about six months later, knitted a few inches, then discovered that not only was it butt-ugly, but my tension had changed drastically over those six months. I ripped it out, and I'm really not sure if I have the courage to start it again. If I had any backbone about me (it should be obvious by now that I don't) I would knit it first and get it over with. But I doubt I'll be able to fight off the siren song of the Panda Wool and Panda Silk.

So here's the Sock Pile:

That's 21 pairs of socks' worth of yarn there (22 if I knit up the duplicate ball.) The Noro at the top will probably end up as two pairs as well, because I'm going to use them together to make narrower stripes. The ugly Opal is at the bottom right, next to the luscious "Last Purchase" yellow Panda Silk. I hope the ugly doesn't rub off.

Do I really think I can knit 21 (or 23) pairs of socks between June 21 and September 1? I'm going to give it a shot. I should come up with some sort of special reward if I manage to do it. Trust me, I have no problem rewarding myself for any tiny little goal reached!

A funny thing happened as I was paying for a skein of sock yarn on Saturday ( was a grand opening for the shop and I got there the last 10 minutes it was open and I didn't want to leave without buying something because that might have hurt the owners' feelings and there was this really pretty On Line yarn that I'd never seen before and, well, never mind...) Anyway, I started chatting with another lady at the checkout (hey, she was buying wayyyy more than my one measly ball of sock yarn) and we ended up exchanging Ravelry names. Not our actual names, you understand. In fact, I had no idea what her name was until I pulled up her page on Ravelry. How weird is that? I feel like I'm in some strange parallel universe when it comes to knitting.

I would be writing this on my very own brand-new computer this evening if only I had stayed home from work today. They tried to deliver it at 10:45 this morning--half an hour after I'd left for work. Rats. Stupid job.

BTW, the chocolate and the cream of mushroom soup did not end up in the same dish the other night. She made a yummy crock pot chicken thing. The chocolate items have not been made into anything yet. I'd better go see if I can bug her into correcting that situation.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Still Waiting...

...but at least the computer has been shipped! Hooray! It's coming via DHL, and I don't know if they deliver on Saturday, so I may have to wait until Monday. I do hope it comes tomorrow, but I'm not expecting it.

Meanwhile, I've not knitted a stitch today. I feel really lousy, with no discernible cause. I staggered home from work and put my flannel nightie on (it's really cool here today) and have been lying in bed reading various knitting books, the latest issue of "The Strad" magazine (all about the world of stringed instruments), and I have a pile of computer books (all from the "Dummies" series) that I got from the library. I don't think I'm up to diving into them at the moment, but I'm looking forward to it whenever I feel anywhere near human again. My Emmy-cat is pleased that I've chosen to spend the evening in bed. She likes to snuggle, and the Evil One (the dog) is nowhere around to infringe on her snuggle space. But really, MUST she knead my tummy? I don't need to be reminded that it's squishy.

Missy/Viper went to the grocery store. I think she's planning to make something, but there's a baffling array of items on the counter. Cream of mushroom soup, Italian dressing, cocoa, evaporated milk, and baking chocolate. I sincerely hope this is not all for the same recipe, but with her, you never know!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


...for my new computer to arrive. I keep checking the link to see the status of my order:

"In production"

Half an hour later:

"In production"

Manage to wait an hour this time:

"In production"

Really, how long does it take to put some parts together?? It's not like I ordered one with all the bells and whistles. In fact, it's pretty much the basic model shown on the website. You'd think they'd have these babies boxed up and ready to go, but noooo. I have to wait and wait some more. I mean, I ordered it Tuesday night, so where is it already?

So no exciting new photos on the blog yet. I did finish a sock (yay!) and immediately cast on the second one, so that's exciting. Ok, maybe not exciting, but at least satisfying.

Now that it's been almost two months since I started this blog, I'm revamping the Project List. A couple of things aren't priorities right now--like the baby hat. She won't need that for another four to five months, so why make it now? So it's being dropped from the list. Same with her knit skirt. She's growing so fast it's better to wait and see what size she'll be come September anyway. And the cross-stitch project is a problem. Every time I pull it out to work on it, I realize that I just do not like one of the colors, so those stitches need to be frogged and re-stitched. But I have several pieces done and waiting to be framed, so again, this is not a priority. Off the list it comes. I'm putting some spinning ON the list, just because I miss doing it. Besides, I haven't even gotten to use my new Jensen wheel, which is disturbing.

The socks are all going to have their own list, because I've decided to stick with the sock contest, even though I know that there's no way in heck I could win, unless all the other knitters were suddenly stricken with carpal tunnel syndrome some bizarre temporary illness that happens to last from June 21 to September 1 and only makes one ill enough to not feel like knitting, but interferes in no way whatsoever with all other areas of life. (There. I don't even want to JOKE about carpal tunnel around a bunch of knitters. They'd probably kick me out of the contest.)But even though I'm sure this amazing illness will completely bypass all of us, I'm going to use the time to have my own personal contest to see if I can knit up all of my sock yarn. And I'm going to start collecting some patterns, because to be honest, my socks are comfortable but boring. I thought that I'd just let the variegation in the yarns do the talking, but after seeing some of the socks people are knitting, it's time to amp it up.

In other happenings, I've been learning a little about computering. I've always just turned it on, checked my mail, surfed the net, and ordered yarn and such, but that's been the extent of my computer usage. Monday night, though, I spent a long time learning how to put some buttons on the blog (isn't the kitty just too adorable?) and it's awakened some dormant (and I mean REALLY dormant) desire to learn how to do all the cool stuff other people do on their blogs and websites. I was inordinately proud of myself when I learned how to do strikeouts in html, and I want to learn how to do other programming stuff. Computering, computerage--I don't know what to call it, but more than just turning it on and clicking on "Buy Now."

The right hand is much better, but the left elbow has a twinge now. I think it's this storm system or something.

Gotta go see if they've shipped the computer yet.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Slow Days

I got very little knitting done yesterday because my right hand and wrist started bothering me. I don't know if it's from using tiny needles so much, but I started feeling like something was stabbing right in the center of my palm. I strained a tendon in my wrist (on the top) about 18 months ago, and I can still feel that as well, so I thought it would be best to rest it for a day or two. I suspect the palm pain is partly caused by using the number pad on the computer at work so much. My hand stays in a curled position for such a long time because of all the data entry I do, and I could feel the ache in my palm today.

Sooooo, I had to sit and read a book for a while, then watch TV the rest of the evening. The TV-watching is practically unheard-of for me. I don't care for it much, though I do have my favorite movies on DVD. I could have practiced on my violin for a while, but I kind of hate to drive my family crazy when I could practice while they're gone during the afternoons. I'm not sure if using the bow could also be adding to the palm problem, but I didn't notice anything an hour ago when I was playing.

However, I am feeling it again as I type, so I'll sign off. Gotta keep the hands healthy for all this knitting! Hmmm...I wonder if I could claim that doing laundry makes my hand hurt worse...

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I broke down and cast on the Dale sweater the other night. Hey, I didn't start the yellow socks, so this will be the substitute reward for having finished ten projects, ok? I can tell already that it's going to be The Sweater That Has No End. I've been knitting and knitting, and I don't even have the hem facing done yet. Which is actually ok, because I need to order a longer circular needle, and once the facing is done I have to start colorwork. Erk!

I thought I would save my sock yarns anyway because I joined a summer sock contest here. But I'm having second thoughts. Last year's winner knit 42 pairs of socks. I just did the math (in my own inimitable and probably incorrect way) and, as the contest runs from June 21 to September 1, that comes out to almost one and a quarter socks per day. That just makes me want to laugh semi-hysterically. A sock a day???? Well, I might as well stick with it, though I'll be doing well to finish a sock a week. I have yarn for at least eight pairs of socks (and probably more that I've forgotten) so it's a good way to work through it all and be prepared for next winter's sock needs even if there's no stinkin' way I can win the contest.

Right now, a problem I'm having is getting things up and running on my computer. I need a new one desperately--in fact, I've given up on mine and am working on the husband's. (Wow. I don't have to wait forever for a page to load, I can have two Explorer pages open at the same time, and so far it hasn't shut down on me! What luxury!) When he gets back from wherever it was he went, we are getting online and ordering me a new computer.

In the meantime, I can't set up my Ravelry page like I need to, and I'm even having a hard time getting a blog post done before my computer craps out on me. Photos are out for the moment, because they take forever to load. Not to mention that itunes simply will no longer run correctly, and it messed up my ipod because I had to shut it down while it was supposedly synching. Which it wasn't doing, because it didn't even show the ipod as being connected. Grrr....So no audio books during spinning & knitting.

Enough with the computer gripes. I got more cleaning and organizing done in the sewing room yesterday, and I can at least walk partway around the loom now. I can get to the various boxes, even if I have to move five to open one. That's still progress. My desk is a disaster area, however, so that's next on the list.

I was thinking as I was organizing (Yes! Multitasking!) about how much my "crafting" has changed over the years. In fact, I'm trying to figure out when I became a Knitter. I started out as a Quilter, even though I had knitted a sweater when I was a teenager (before I knew about gauge swatches and the horror of acrylic yarn. You can imagine the results.) I started making quilts when I was 20, and my first one was a Lone Star for my sister's first baby. That was my obsession for the next 14 or 15 years. I collected fabric, worked in a quilt shop, taught classes, went to guild meetings and quilt shows, and except for occasional forays into cross-stitch, quilting was my Thing. I remember reading the Kaffe Fassett books, and even met him at a yarn shop on one of his tours, and I loved the way he used color and texture. Part of me wanted to do that, but given our budget and my committment to quiltmaking, I just admired without doing any serious knitting. A baby sweater and a garter-stitch shawl (again acrylic, because I couldn't afford wool from the LYS) were the extent of my knitting attempts. I pored over Threads magazine (back when it was all-inclusive, not just sewing) and started seeing how the construction of knitting worked. I just wasn't ready to go there yet.

I guess it started changing when we moved, and I no longer had a separate sewing room. All my fabric and supplies were stored in our walk-in closet, and I had nowhere to set up my machine or frame to work on big projects. I started doing more and more cross-stitch, especially samplers, and even designed and sold patterns for a short while. I still admired knitting, and even made two major-sized afghans (still hadn't broken free of the Dark Side--acrylic) but I wasn't a Knitter yet. Though for some bizarre reason, I ended up with a 45-inch loom sitting in my bedroom, and actually made a few things on it.

So when did the whole Knitting Thing happen? We moved into this house almost four years ago, and I had TWO sewing rooms, but the quilts still languished unfinished. Why? Ahhh, I just realized why. I had learned to spin, bought a spinning wheel and about a million handspindles, went to SOAR one year, and was collecting fiber. Yep, that was the beginning! I stopped reading my quilting magazines--I just wasn't captivated by anything in them anymore. Spin-Off magazine became my new favorite, followed soon by Interweave Knits and Knitter's magazine. (It's taken me a little longer to warm up to Vogue Knitting, but it's now on my must-buy list as well.) And I now appreciate the "real" fibers: wool, silk, cotton, and all those funky new things made from various natural sources. That has to be the Spinning influence. Who spins acrylic, for crying out loud? (Though I do have some EcoSpun fiber to spin for hiking sock liners. But that's different.)

Yes, I've gone through the Novelty Eyelash Scarf Phase, but I think that was the obligatory warm-up for the Sock Phase. I'm kind of moving through that into the Incredibly Difficult Multi-Colored Sweater Phase. And I will always be in the Shawls Knitted With Yarn That's Finer Than Frog Hair Phase, partly because I can spin super-fine and I have several tons of alpaca, silk, alpaca/silk blend, superfine merino, and Optim fiber stashed upstairs. I'd say I'm now officially a Spinner and Knitter, with a little Quilter, Cross-Stitcher, Weaver, and Needlepointer thrown in for variety. I will never, ever be a Scrapbooker or a Seamstress.

Funny how things work out. I still love quilts, but maybe I knit instead of quilt because I get faster results, as long as I don't hop from project to project, of course. I wish I had kept all those back issues of Threads now, because I could get so much more from them. And boy, do I wish I had bought Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses book when it came out! I just found out yesterday that it's out of print, and copies are selling for something like $180 on So naturally I won't rest now until I get one. I may have to content myself with getting it from the library and renewing it as many times as possible. I remember flipping through it and oohing and ahhing, but thinking that I would never be able to knit something so complicated--much less be able to afford the yarn--so I didn't buy it. Actually, I probably couldn't afford the book itself at the time!

I also wish I hadn't thrown away that first blue basketweave acrylic sweater I knitted when I was 18. It would be good for a laugh now. And it was so big that we could use it for an afghan.

When I get the new computer, I'll do better about posting photos of WIPs. And I might even have more than one project listed on Ravelry!