Monday, August 23, 2010

My new LOVE from an old LOVE

My DH (dear husband) surprised me on my birthday and wanted to take me for a drive. I thought ok we have not been for a "long" Sunday drive for a long time it will be fun. With Lucy and my knitting bag in tow off we went. My husband driving some old winding roads headed north some roads that he used to ride his motorcycle many years ago.

He is driving my SUV and the roads are winding around rolling hills the weather is perfect we have great music on and ...... life is good. He is driving with all the windows down making motorcycle engine noises and taking the corners as if he was driving a sports car. I smiled it was very cute. Lucy loved sticking her nose in the wind and our hair was blowing in the wind.

After about an hour of this I asked where were we going? I see we are approaching Ojai then the fog of the beach and Santa Barbara but he keeps going. I'm getting a bit hungry now, hang on he says we are almost there. Where? Where are you going?

Oh the Anderson Pea Soup place, we have not been there for many years and I remember having delicious pea soup there. It's kind of far for lunch from Los Angeles but great it was a fun drive. The pea soup is not quite what I remembered the place is exactly the same as I first saw it several decades ago. It was kind of like a time warp, same since the 60's and some of the waitresses looked like they were there since the 60's. The soup was salty and thin and not at all what I had in my memory. Oh well I was hungry and they had crackers.

Then my husband asked me to see how far Solvang was from there, I immediately took a look on my iPhone only 4 minutes from here. Let's go to Solvang. My heart kind of skipped because you know what's up in Solvang? Village Spinning & Weaving

My husband bought me an Ashford Joy spinning wheel. I am now officially a "spinner".

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to my Self-Imposed Schedule

After I posted about the schedule thing I realized that I was not that far behind after all. I should not be so hard on myself, this is something that I really enjoy and is not work but play. Sometimes though this playing around gets to be hard work.

I am organizing and getting ready for a class I'm teaching: "The Magic of Dyeing Wool" I figured that I should be able to show some examples and it would have to be shown step by step. Write up my handouts make my list of stuff to take to the class and then teach 12 to 20 students how I dye wool. I limited the class to 12 students but I know we will have more judging from last time. I have some wonderful friends who will be helping out because this is a very hands on exercise.

We will be using Food Coloring that I get at Smart & Final and is readily available at most food markets. There are no special tools or containers just stuff we all have around the kitchen and it's not toxic. This is the first project I made from the yarn I dyed pictured above.

These are little yarn cozies or anything cozy. Little bags or bowls that I love to make. Some are knitted and some are crocheted. BTW those two in the front are made from fiber I dyed and spun.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yesterday it was Flashlight Day.

What in the world is Flashlight Day? I've written about this before right here, and the story goes on. It was my Birthday Yesterday and my son delivered! I got the best flashlight ever!

It has a dimmer and it's feet are magnetic and it has wrapping legs! I got lots of nice presents but this one is very special it's from my son who has the best sense of humor and makes me laugh every day!

With its wrappable legs and magnetic feet, the Gorillatorch secures to virtually any surface and allows you to cast a focused beam of intense light virtually anywhere and everywhere. Use it in ways you could never use a traditional flashlight.

I'm way behind schedule

What schedule? I ask myself over and over this fiber obsession is a hobby. I should not have deadlines because then it would be a job. Somehow I always have a schedule in mind some sort goal to finish a certain project or accomplish a certain skill etc. It's just how I "roll" and lately I'm "rolling" out of control.

I've seen movies like this when a drug dealer offers somebody some drug and says just try it one time. You can't get hooked by trying it one time! Then suddenly you have an out of control drug addict. Now I need an intervention "Hello my name is Ana and I'm a spinning wool addict". I have the urge to spin all the time. Having the fiber slip through your fingers and creating yarn is magical. I have fallen in love with spinning.

I originally got attracted to spinning by watching people at different knitting events. The first big event I went to was Stitches West, I had no idea that they had these huge organized "knitting conventions". It was like knitters Disneyland. People running around taking classes, shopping at the market place like a bunch of crazed ladies with a token man here and there. The stress level was on high, you would see people plopped down on a couch here and there with obvious total exhaustion.

(BTW I won "Editors Choice" when I entered their student fashion show. I was surprised but totally hooked I wanted more events and have not stopped since.)

While at stitches west and every other event I've been to since there are spinners. In the middle of chaos an island of calm. Usually off in a corner there is a group of people with their spinning wheels spinning yarn. And it's like somebody turned down the stress button from frenzy to total calm. This attracted me but it looked complicated, there is the wheel and even though it looks so easy when an expert is doing it I could tell this was a refined skill.

I decided to start slow and bought a drop spindle. Which one to get? I got the cheapest and thought if I made bulky yarn it would be easier than what I saw those spinners making "spider web" wool. Got the roving got the drop spindle had somebody show me and started to practice. Things just did not go well. But I kept trying for a couple of years I would take out the spindle and try, with a no this is not going well. Then I would buy a different spindle and try to realize once again it's not the spindle but it's the lack of skill. Then one day a couple of weeks ago it all "clicked" and suddenly it worked! Funny because I've talked to spinners who have told me about that aha moment and wondered if they were just making it all up. But no I had the aha moment too and now I am hooked.

I can combine it all: Dye the roving, spin the yarn and knit the project. Yes knit a project but I'm too busy experimenting with all this dyeing, spinning and plying and my knitting schedule is way behind.

A friend offered to send me a little baby sheep! Not funny Miss Leslie!

I'm getting ready for a class I'm teaching at the Santa Monica Library. The class will be September 1, 2010, Wednesday evening from 6 pm to 8 pm. We will be using food coloring to dye protein fibers. I hope I'll be able to share my enthusiasm and fun that I'm having playing with wool and color.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law - everything that can go wrong will go wrong..

The Demo Factor - when showing something to somebody and it does not work, it worked fine before you started showing it and works fine after but not working when you are showing it. This especially applies to machines like the computer or anything mechanical.

Over Confident Factor - when learning a new skill and you start thinking that you are doing something really well and oh how clever you are how you picked it up fast. Boom you make a big mistake and have to start all over perhaps with a bit more humble attitude.

Desperate Factor - usually happens when you need to do something in a hurry. The more desperate you are the more things can go wrong.

Why am I going on about this? You guessed it things are not going as smooth as I would like them. There are outside interferences to my agenda. I would like to be left in peace and just do what I want when I want. But there is disturbances like taking care of my family.... dogs ..... household chores ...... garden duties oh yes and work. I'm amazed I get as much knitting, and spinning as I manage but I want more.

What set me off this morning are my dogs! I love them very much but they can be a pain in the rear sometimes. When I sit at the spinning wheel Lucy wants to sit right next to me or play with my roving and even help with the foot pedals. If I keep my roving in a basket she is sure to jump right in and curl up happily as if the wool was the most comfy thing she has ever laid her little body down on.

Because I knit "by the seat of my pants" with no particular pattern and improvise a lot often I forget what I did. I originally started this blog to keep track of my knitting. It was pre and it was a handy way to journal my hobby. When I tried to keep a real paper journal I kept misplacing the books and was not able to word search. If I wanted to include a picture I would have to print it out paste it in the book etc. Keeping a web log (blog) seemed the perfect tool. I did not think anybody would be interested in my stuff so I thought this was a private personal amusement. I am still shocked that friends and strangers actually visit my blog and read what I'm up to.

A lot of knitting techniques are difficult to explain in words, as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well then a motion picture or video is worth a million words. So since taking a video snippet of a technique is so easily done now I've started to take videos of what I'm doing. But this presents a challenge, most of the time I'm alone and I have to manage the camera and audio and make sure that I'm covering what I want to without shaking the camera or having weird noises in the background. For example part 2 of the picot edge I've been doing on my "Magic Bags" you can clearly hear Lucy barking her little head off.

Both dogs are so sweet and quiet most of the time but the minute I turn the camera on or get on the phone they start barking. (See below) I wanted to remember how I was drafting and document my progress in this new skill. Got the white towel in my lap so I can see the yarn fibers clearly, got the camera positioned and ready set go.... nice Zen . Oh spinning is so relaxing ...... Bark..... Bark..... Bark. Bark Louder BARK BARK SCREAM!

Suddenly my Zen experience got uptight. I suddenly forget my technique the draft is too short I'm pulling the fibers awkwardly and it's not what I wanted to show. Darn I'll have to do it again.

Here is the finished stage 1 of mystery wool 8 oz. Now I have to learn how to ply.

Crochet Picot Edge Bind Off Part 1

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Out of the closet.

My friend Andy "The Dodger Fan" drove her new car and we were off to Dodger Stadium.

I have been knitting most of my life however I only discovered the "knitting community" about 5 years ago. When I first met Kathy Silverton at her charity store Stitches from the Heart she asked me where I knit? What do you mean? Which chair or what room I sit in? I thought what a strange question. When I told her that I knit at home and most of the time alone she called me a "Closet Knitter".

I had no idea that there was such things as "stich n bitch", Stitches West, Stitches East, fiber festivals, knitting guilds etc..... I could go on and on. And what a wonderful community it is, knitters are fun! I now belong to two knitting guilds and about to join the spinning guild, not to forget the machine knitters and various Stitch n Bitch groups. Then there are the knitting trips, the SeaSock Knitting Cruise, the Sock Summit, the Sock Camp and the retreats .... Oh my calendar is full.

Last night I attended our Stitch n Pitch, which is sort of like a Stitch n Bitch but at the Dodger Stadium watching a baseball game and knitting. What fun! We bought our tickets at our LYS, (Local Yarn Store) Wildfiber..... oh yes there is special language that goes with knitters they love to abbreviate and share this secret language of the knitting world. And not to forget "Closet Knitter".

I'm out of the closet now! And having a wonderful time hanging out with knitters.