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Thursday, September 1, 2005

The morning routine at mi casa goes something like this: after the coffee is brewed, after the mail is collected, when the blinds are opened, I sit in my favorite chair with my cuppa and greet my day.

I check the weather forecast online for Chicago then I always go and check the weather forecast for my most favorite of American cities, New Orleans.

Everyday, every morning, I would go wander around its streets in my mind and picture myself as part of the landscape replaying the many, many happy visits I've made to the Cresent City over the years. Every day, I fantasize about moving there, being a neighbor to its warm and friendly people, me living in a shotgun cottge, growing old in one of the nation's oldest cities.

Words really fail me now.

The Images coming out of the damage area tell the tale much better than I but what they show makes my brain shut down and my heart break, helplessly, quietly.

As the city empties out, as it continues to be filled with standing water with no where to go, as the survivors are evacuated to far away places, it is so painfully obvious that our world has changed forever. Nothing has ever been so gone in my life before.

Please help by making a donation Here...

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then go join the Give-a-Little Project

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Thank You - Margene and Susan for organizing this effort :)

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Friday, September 2, 2005

Knit1 YO K1: the Worry Beads of a Troubled Mind...

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It Grows! It actually LOOKs like a shawl! I am amazed and humbled. I had not the faith to think it actually, by my hand, could.

All I had was time; lots of time with nothing but the temptation to immerse myself in the negative so instead I kept my head down.

And I kept my hands busy.

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The Worry Beads, they tumble...

With most of the projects I've worked on in the last couple of years, I do a parallel color study. This shawl was the actual result of me looking at a favorite orange chair in my living room that had a
blue patterned pillow on it.

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It seemed, once that color pair was in my brain, I started to see it everywhere, in and out of my house.

As the shawl started to grow, once I added the Orange to the Blue, the drama jumped; it was reminiscent of something else I was very, very fond of: Oriental Fabrics and Tapestries.

The piece below, a Chinese embroided Court Robe, (from the galleries of Marla Mallett Textiles), has been my touchstone while I continue to knit the Flower Basket...

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used with permission 2005 Marla Mallett

Now that I've arrived in the area where the rows are long and the repeats are a plenty (you told me there'd be days like this!), I NEED inspiration to continue. I need to have stimulation to keep moving in a forward direction.

So I look at this picture and picture in my mind the day I will wear my shawl and connect the past to the present to achieve my future chic...

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more breathtaking textiles...

Skirt with Paired Aprons
China C'hing Dynasty. Late 19th century

Embroidered Jacket and Pants

Child's Pinafore

...to be continued. For the whole shebang read it HERE...

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Monday, September 5, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

now that Martha's lost the ankle candy,
it's back-to-business with a vengence...

Coming Soon to a TV near YOU! The Apprentice - Martha Style!

And with every reality show goes a Catch Phrase!

Methinks it's No Bark - No Bite!

Vote HERE for the silliest of them ALL!

"At a press conference, talking about her secret catchphrase, Martha Stewart joked, "What I really wanted to say is, 'Your a** is gra**.""

AHHH, my mentor returns!

HAPPY LABOR DAY!!! :)

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Tuesday, September 6, 2005

and how was your Holiday?

I had to work, but somehow in their infinite benevolence, the Labor Godz positioned me in the jetstream of some FUN!!!

Wasting away in Margaritaville? Not Quite - but close enough! I was assigned outside of Wrigley Field where there was a huge Jimmy Buffet concert. I met some rather amazing people on their way out of the show...

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This wonderful guy illustrates why I LOVE Men! Not only is he gorgeous - his girlfriend made him this hat and he wore it, happily and lovingly ALL DAY! It is inscibed with the message: "I am cooler than you!" and indeed that is a $1.00 styrofoam cooler on his noggin', granished with a paper umbrella.

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Here are some more Parrot Heads - I don't really understand the origin of that phrase - anybody!?! (I thought the lady looked like Paris Hilton, cough, Parrot Hilton, and the guy, hmm, maybe, Toby Maguire?)

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Now here is something you don't see everyday on a city street -
just a guy in his Hula Skirt!

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On the Concrete Runway - a girl fully-fashioned to the HILT! Cheeseburger Hat: check! Coconut Boobies: check! Hula Skirt: check!

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Ok, dudes, your turn -
does Changes in Latitude = Changes in Attitude?


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Wednesday, September 7, 2005

it should look something like this:
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instead, it looks like THIS!
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It looks as if a Knitting Hermaphrodite, OOPs, Dermatophyte took a big bite outta my needle. (Sorry, that's what I always hear when that commercial plays on TV - I bet if that company did a survey, they'd find a lot of people hearing the same thing as me!)

Damn, I hate that commercial - almost as much as the Purple Animated Stomach! Drug Manufacturers - please stop torturing us!

Anyway, after my repeated, startling experiences with dysfuntional Bamboo Needles, (ie. Crystal Palace - whose bamboo ends came right out of their joins), I switched to Clovers.

Now, it appears, there is a wonky problem with these! The plastic compound they use to join the needle to the cable CRACKS and chips out leaving a ragged sharp area that pulls and catches the yarn when it's traveling over that spot!

I was moving right along on my second Ribby Sleeve the last couple of days and the problem got worse and worse. This is my mobile project and I kept forgetting to find another pair of needles so there was a lot of colorful expressions and language on the #66 as I huffed and puffed and kept on knitting with the Bad Pair.

I better go practice my incantations - (Reparo!) - I bet Mrs. Weasley didn't have this problem...

I am now on my second-go-round of HP5 - I think I read it so fast the first time, I missed half of it ("As the grasp of darkness tightens, Harry must discover the true depth and strength of his friends, the importance of boundless loyalty, and the shocking price of unbearable sacrifice."). I have the Scholastic Edition - just saw the British editions - wonder why they used different cover art than the US editions...

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Thursday, September 8, 2005

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival

September 9, 10 & 11, 2005
Jefferson County Fair Park
503 N. Jackson
Jefferson, WI

***** come say HELLO! to the critters Great & Small *****

--- including many Chicago Area Knitters!!! ---

(Jefferson, WI is about 115mi NW of Chicago)

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WSW Website

Events

Vendors

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Monday, September 12, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

OK - feeling just a little peakish?

Not quite up to the task

(Which is the way I AM 100% of the time on ANY given MONDAY!)

Here's the Ultimate Tool for YOU!


the Metaverse Exuse-O-Mat

Need More?

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

First there was the 4-H; ladies and gentlemen, I present a league of our own, the 4-F Divas

Friends, Fiber, FUN, Food...

the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival

Take a bunch of like-minded people, put a map and a cool drink in their hands and two hours later, VOILA!

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FRIENDS (from L to R): Michelle, Carolyn, Monica, Rachel, Dee, & Lynette

Not as huge as MDSW, the WSW fest was just as user friendly and fun! There were about three sheep barns and two big vendor barns located in Jefferson, WI, on the recently built fairgrounds.

We had a BALL! Many hugs and kisses to Michelle for handling, with ultimate style, the driving, and a big thumbs up to my mates for not mocking me when I discovered that I'd had my shirt on inside out for most of the trip! (I'm blaming the Rolling Stones concert I'd attended the night before at Soldier Field for that insane fashion faux pas...)

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FIBER: the really lovely stylings of Briar Rose Fibers, from Michigan, hand-painted yarns extraordinaire. I just love those little sweaters - what a great idea to simply show off how your colour ranges work.

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FUN!: a little bit of ye olde Men Who SPin! Oh, alright, the truth comes out at last! The only reason I've been going to all these Fiber Fests is not the critters or knitters, it's the MEN! I love a man with a staff or strand in hand!

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Awwwh! NOW we get to the real reason one might go to these events: the purdy little critters! Now, laugh if you must country-folk, but us City People have to get by imagining other four-legged species beyond the Domestic Chien et Chat (Rotweillers, although large, do not count!) We enjoyed a demonstration of some very large sheep running in a very large field herded up by a very talented Shepardess and her Border Collie.

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FOOD: nothing beats the wonderful viddles one finds on fairgrounds in America! Here in Wisconsin, I enjoyed a pulled-pork sandwich, with some delightful crisp and cool potato salad, polished off with a piece of homemade rasberry PIE! YUM!

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Thursday, September 15, 2005


I need some love yarn to keep me happy!
I need some love yarn to keep me happy!
HAPPY! Baby, won't ya keep me HAPPY!
Baby! Wontcha keep me HAPPY?
...the Rolling Stones

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my cotton Ribby - made from Samoa - featuring this Button Band...

Call me a nut, but I love to finish sweaters! Now, I don't mean just the knittin'. I mean the sewing, the picking-up, the BUTTONS!

chicknitsBOSS.gif: Here you witness a sure case of one eating dessert before dinner! Yum! Little nutty heathbar buttons all sewn on before any OTHER seams have been made...

It is SO MUCH FUN! to finish as you go - a little bit of this, a little bit of that and VOILA!

Before you know it, it's DONE! and walkin' away on your back...

Besides my Instant Gratification Fixation, the other sure-fire Finishing Technique I love is MUSIC! That's right - ever since ye Olde iPod landed at Chez Chic, there's been some rockin' rythm on those needles like never before. I saw the Rolling Stones at Soldier Field on Saturday night and it's filled my head with favorites, old and new! The very best thing about seeing the Stones was the audience - it was about 50/50 mixed between young and *old* proving once more that music just don't fade away...

Everyone in the crowd of +60,000 people had their favorite - when the first few bars would fire up, they'd jump up and sing along and the rest of us would be swept right away with them

My Favorite Stone Songs

1. Ruby Tuesday

This could possibly be my Anthem -
or at least, my tattoo...



Don't question why she needs to be so free
She'll tell you it's the only way to be
She just can't be chained
To a life where nothing's gained
And nothing's lost
At such a cost

There's no time to lose, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams
And you will lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you smile with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you...


*********************

2. 19th Nervous Breakdown
3. Fool to Cry
4. Get Off of My Cloud
5. Memo from Turner


Pick yours HERE...


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Friday, September 16, 2005

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TINKER rears his Fugly Head

This wonky sleeve has irritated me, well, ever since the sweater was done. Back in the day, because it was 100% according to pattern directions and finished dimensions, I just said OK. I'll wear it. I'll Like it.

NOT.

It is too damn long! I don't like to roll it back - it's too darn Tight as well. WHO cares that this is discovered 2 seconds before one must leave for their day job?! Not me! I must tinker tinker do...

Because, we all know, it can be FIXED!

I have the yarn. I have the Needles. I have the WILL!

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Because I used the M1 method of increasing for this sleeve, it is easy to see where I can start the new edge. I'll gain about 4 stitches as well and the sleeve won't be so tight at the wrist.

OOooops - gotta catch the #66...

This has to some kind of adjunt to Murphy's Law - just when things get interesting, you gotta run away and do something DULL...

To quote the intimitable Michelle: "Oh, well..."

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Monday, September 19, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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it's a Nice Day for a White Wedding!!!

...Everything at this wedding will be knitted, from the cameras, to the dress, the food, the decorations, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue."

WOOT! I'm there - quick, bring the jet around, Nigel!

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Join the fun - use one of Cast-Offs patterns and send the happy couple some lucky decorations!!!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bonne Marie & the Half-Blood Prince, part I

That's me in the corner.
That's me with the cauldron.
Stirring up my Potion...

That's right, Professor Snape!
That dark swirling liquid you see NEEDS no flame!
You don't see any steam because my potion doesn't HAVE any vapor!

I've found some new and crafty magic and decided to give it a try - my original stylings were a 50/50 mess and it was time to aim for some SKILL!

My most delightful finds from the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool field trip were two books on dyeing AND a differnt type of dye.

My friend Rachel and I decided we were going to try and *rescue* some fiber she had that was the wrong color - so to get my feet wet, I picked up some Procion MX in several shades to experiment with.

Now this dye is different than the Sabraset Acid dyes I've been using in several ways - it needs no heat (when dyeing with cotton), and can work on cellulose or animal fiber, depending on the pH of the solution used. WOOT!

The other difference this time with my dye trials was that I followed the directions, to the letter.

Advanced Potion Making, by Libatius Borage

1. I weighed the Garment so I'd know exactly how much of the other ingredients to use.

2. I wore a Face Mask and used Rubber Gloves (very good!)

3. I found a beautifully marked container already in my cupboard and measured my liquids to a T.

4. I washed the garment with Synthrapol, rinsed twice, then let it SOAK while I was preparing my other stuff.

OOps - did you say GARMENT?

Why, yes, I did! I decided to experiment on a couple of pieces that were not hitting the runway anymore so if they went up in smoke, it would not matter.

Remember THIS?

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a fun color for a season but curiously like a
Love Potion that's faded away...

after a session in the Remedial Dyepot, we have

ribbyA.jpg

YIPPEE! OD Green, in a very palatable, clear light shade! This yarn is by Reynolds, called *Navy*, and is a veritable Half-Blood Prince of 50/50 cotton/microfiber. I was really throwing the dice on this - cotton might absorb the dye deeper than the acrylic but it came out clear as a bell...

How about this?

cinniB.jpg

a deliciously tempting shape executed in an infantile shade...

but now, after a Dose of 2xOlive+1xBrown, we have:

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a more User Friendly Medium Olive!

This yarn was another 1/2BPrince: Cotton/acrylic blend (Filatura di Crosa *Spongy*) wrapped in a shiny thread. It dyed an even color on the yarn, and a slightly darker color on the thread. Tweedy goodness reigns!

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

the Pensieve of the Lacemakers

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At some point in the lace making,
the memories of the ancients arrived.

No longer was I jerking along and bobbing my head reading the charts; my hands became fluid in their movements. I found the areas of pattern repeats by touch not sight and flew...

This enlightened state took place not at the beginning. Not in the middle when tedium and mass crush the spirit, but at the very end, when now, empowered by intuitve understanding, I could've knit forever and a day.

At this moment, 7/8ths of the way, nay, 98? 99% of the way to the finished (and highly desirable edge) I stumbled.

Or more correctly, the Little Bad Muse HOT-5.gif stumbled...

I was almost OUT of YARN and there were 2 rows to go!

Surely my calculations/estimations were correct? Surely the amount the pattern called for was accurate? Sadly, I'm sure, this was not to be...

Desperately, I started thinking about what was to be done.

Tear out my hair! NAY - it was once again growing out from a bad haircut and I could not spare a millimeter.

Rippout the last pattern repeat and repurpose the edge with that? NAY - I was stuck to my proportions of blue to orange like the Super Glue bonding to your finger and the package wrapper when instead you're trying to repair an earring or two...

Rant and Rave and Raid the STASH? LIGHTBULB! But alas, there's nothing there remotely in the dramatic range of your first two colors...

But wait. Look UP. See your Sock Yarn Stash. See sticking out one lonely little ball of Hemp/Wool left over from some socks...

EUREKA!

This yarn was not the same color but it was almost the same colors - shades of yellow, rust, brown touched with orange. Applied on the very edge of my shawl, it would make a light little froth of color, maybe accidently banded on the curving edge wherever the darker tones arrived.

It was meant to be...


...to be continued. For the whole shebang read it HERE...

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Friday, September 23, 2005

New Threads FRIDAY!
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the Flower Basket Shawl

Pattern: Interweave Knits Fall 2004
Designer: Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Dzined *Handpainted Wool/Hemp Sportweight*
Color: Orange & Blue & Yellow
Gauge: 20 sts/28rows over 4"
Needles: #7

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Now that I've finished my very 1st Shawl, I'm wondering -
WHY THE H Did I wait so Long to Try This?


1. Was it the thought of having to pay attention to the charting and details? Nope - after several Aran cardies, I should've realized that fundamentally the stitch patterns are etched in the brain after a few repeats.

There were, counting right from the top neck edge, 7 full pattern repeats in Blue; 8 full pattern repeats in Orange; and the final edge chart in Orange, with two rows of Yellow. All yarn was one-of-a-kind handpainted Wool/Hemp Sportweight from Dzined.

2. Maybe it was because of all that skinny, tiny yarn - it might take forever and a day to finish something so small in gauge. But actually, the gauge was really rather large - I was using size 7 needles which resulted in a standard worsted gauge of 20/28...

3. Hmmm... Fear of Blocking? NAY, I was able to score some blocking wires at Stitches Midwest this summer and they were wonderful! I washed the completed shawl (it was filthy - old, stashed yarn & weeks of manhandling - EEEWW) - you just thread the wires through the shawl edges and pull and pin to shape.

The only thing I found out about blocking that was a little scary was I JUST COULDN'T STOP moving the Pins. Pin. Re-pin. Pin Re-Pin. Eventually I grew so weary from the neurotic fussing, I just collapsed on the couch and dozed - good thing too because the damn shawl was TAKING UP THE ENTIRE BED!

4. And yes indeed, my lace making friends - I am HOOKED!

...More Images HERE in the Flower Basket Picture Gallery

...Read the Complete Notes HERE...

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New Threads Weekend Edition!
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Chic Knits Twist
Designer: Bonne Marie Burns
Yardage: 1100 (1200, 1300, 1400, 1500) yds Worsted Weight Yarn
Yarn List
Finished Measurements: 36 (38, 40, 42, 44) "
Gauge: 19 sts/24rows over 4"

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Shapely Cables? Meet Sassy Fringe...

Get acquainted with some CHIC!

Chic Knits NEW! Twist Cardi shows off your knitting talents with a easy-to-do cabled panel front and is shaped for a modern, flattering fit.

A saucy Fringed & Cabled Collar add to the FUN!

buy the Twist Pattern HERE...

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Monday, September 26, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

Meet my new favorite friend...

myfave.jpg

Who ya gonna call when the weather turns on you like blender?

myfave2.jpg

Your Lil' Hair Buddy from the Dollar Store, that's who!

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And just check out the way This Paper Doll is dressed!

1. Orange Metal Hair Clips: Check

2. 4- Yellow & 2 - Orange little plastic spring clips: Check

3. and, saving the BEST for last - a Dress made from a bunch of Stretchy Terry Hair Bands: Check!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ode to the Fiber Fest

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Crispy weather now beckons me back to the Barn.

Barn Yarn that is.

And once I got there, it was a case of Lost and Found! Now who (or maybe How/Why/WTF) would lose yarn? (Now we're not talking about the naughty projects that might have landed under the sofa or the mis-dyed skanks, ah skeins that find their way into Closet Oblivion.)

Dirty Little Secret: Who would lose yarn? ME - I've done it before, right about this very same week, September 23, to be exact, and It TOO was Barn Yarn - some fine fine CormoCross. What's really weird, is that all the other entries in the blog from that week have a Daily link on the calendar here, But NOT THAT DAY! Creepy MT rears its Halloweenie Head...

But I digress - I am going up to Michigan the week after next and those Sirens are a callin' - the very same sirens that make me make Holiday Sweaters are now hammerin' on me to make a nice little casual Walking the Dog Sweater.

SO I'm makin' a Wool Scoop du Jour.

AND because I could only find SOME of the yarn that I thought would be nice, I'm combining it with some other yarn and it will be two-toned: Dark Olive and Natural Sheep Grey.

And here's where the Ode to the Fiber Fest begins - this is typical yarn that you will find all over the country from yer MomEtPop herders. I believe there are only so many mills that spin! SO regionally, you have places where everyone brings their fleece after shearing and it magically twists up into wonderful 2 and 3-ply Barn Yarn!

The Natural Grey (actually looks very brown to me) Worsted is from Chester Farms, in Virginia. I saw them first at Maryland Sheep and Wool - their booth one of the first you find after you entered (2004) and it was stacked to the rafters with yarny goodness. Carolyn got some, I believe, pretty lilac wool cotton. I left empty handed but wandered round and round and round enthralled by the yarny wooly smell...

I did fall into their black hole, mail orderstyle, this late summer - got some black too! Gonna make a Black Aran Cardi (quick call the Priest - if we start the Exorcism now, we will save Time later!)

The Dark Olive is this
greenyarn.jpg
from one of my first dyeing attempts, back in November of last year. I have LOST TWO SKEINS of this yarn (seen here pre-dyed, in its natural Barney state). If you see it wandering around in a field at Rhinebeck, please email me here...

...see all entries here in the Complete Notes: Barny Yarny

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ode to the Fiber Fest, cont...

Picture it, the barn that is: hay, critters, pens, dirt floor, boots,
wood, and more...

Move the wool to the mill - truck, shear, bundle, stack and spin...

Get it in my suitcase at the fiber fest - truck, tent, dirt, hay, sneeze, table, bag, ground (while I enjoy some fried dough)...

After all this, one just has to ask the question:

How Barny IS It?

barnyarn2.jpg
just l@@k @all that dirt!~!

Well, my little city friends, we are giving this
3 brn.gifbrn.gifbrn.gif 's out of a possible 4...

We LOVE THAT!

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1 - brn.gif : mule spun scored @the LYS

2 - brn.gifbrn.gif 's: hand-painting removed some of the field grass and hay

3 - brn.gifbrn.gifbrn.gif 's: has barely been touched by human hands

4 - brn.gifbrn.gifbrn.gifbrn.gif 's: still on the Sheep's Back

And the Best News for my 3Barny Wool is that after it got a soapy hot water DUNK, I was rewarded with this:

barnyarn3.jpg

a nice, soft, beautiful piece of wooly goodness.

A little of my own elbow grease and I have something I can't get anywhere else!

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ode to the Fiber Fest, cont...

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yum - Mocha Barny

The wooly goodness has left the BarnYard!

So far, I have the sleeves and back done on Missy Scoop. To bring it out of the Country and into the City, I gave the pieces (as I finished them in turn cause for some reason I couldn't wait!) a hot soapy sink bath, then several rinses.

This could be called Ultimate Wet Blocking...

Then I spread it out to size on my rug and let it dry.

I'm diggin' the Dk Olive on the Natural Grey - the ribbing has a slighty wooly-er, felt-y-er texture going on and contrasts nicely with the almost tweedy, mocha bod...

I'm also keeping track of how much yarn I'm using by weighing it with my new best friend, Mr. Digital Scale...

...see all entries here in the Complete Notes: Barny Yarny...


Updated Yarn Lists Here:

Scoop du Jour

TWIST

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Ode to the Fiber Fest, cont...

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Carlito would drool over this...

It's Friday, and I have no new threads to bragabboud.

I can sense a Wind of Keen Diappointed Astonishment blowing my way so instead I will brag about three of my most favorite possesions!

From L to R:

1. Mr. Chia Soldier: this hollow piece of Art is from WWII and has holes all over his head so you can grow Chia Hair (I need seeds, anybody?)

2. My New Digital Scale: WOWOWOWOW - my sister turned me on to this bad boy when I whined about figuring out postage in advance of mailing to avoid the 1+ hour I usually have to wait in line at the Division St Post Office. I got it on eBay. It is shown with a 3.7 oz. complimentary ball of Barn Yarn...

3. Ty the Jack Russell Terrior: or as I suspect, the Terror. This is currently my favorite dog photograph (I have a few). I found it at a flea market a long time ago - it is OLD and actually Sepia Toned. Someone wrote the name "Ty" on it with white ink. I think my Ty is better than that guy on Extreme Makover, who actually bounces off the wall alot like a Jack Russell might...

In other Knitting News: we have lift-OFF! POCKETS are now attempting orbit on the Scoop du Jour woolie...

barnyarn5.jpg

Beth writes: "That was FAST! Wow! :-)"

Ye, m'am! This is a fusion project - I'm knitting the straight St st parts on the machine and doing all the ribs and bands by hand. So far, all the parts are *loomed* and I'm plugging away on all that rib.


...see all entries here in the Complete Notes: Barny Yarny...

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