All posts by mausi

Fuchsia shock…

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated. But it’s also a little easier now, since we made a few changes here to make it more readable. I’ve got a new computer to play with, too. I call it the Dreaded Grey Beastie, because it is.  A useful, helpful beast, too…

Meanwhile, even though it’s the heat of summer, I’ve still been spinning a lot. Mostly to help me relax. Every time I check the news there’s new reasons to unplug and do something else for a while.  I’ve been spinning magenta and fuchsia yarns, with lots of sparkle and fluff.

Fuchsia yarn
Fuchsia merino and angora yarn with sparkles

It seems my hunger for this color is shared by lots of people. When I bring a spindle to work, my coworkers glom onto the bright color. I sold the yarn in the photo, and people asked for more like it. I’ve already had to dye another kettleful of this shade, and now I’m out of magenta dye. (Which means I have to brave the big, gorgeous selections of Halcyon Yarns to get more. *mock sobbing*)

You think I’d get tired of this particular color…but funny enough, I’m not. Not even close. It’s just so hypnotically attractive.

Hypnoyarn
Yesss….good…let the Hypnoyarn fill your mind…

I must be out of my mind, spinning all this wool in July.  But–but–fuchsia!!

Knitting in the workplace…

See this pretty thing?

Danse macabre
The darkest dark, the reddest red, the sparkliest sparkly!!

It started it’s dark and sparkly life in a basement of a museum, surrounded by coffee and polyester sweaters and noise.  Lots and lots of noise…

Breaktime Knitting
Not pictured: a handheld radio, a cup of tea, gurgling pipes overhead and my frowny little face as I try to concentrate…

I usually bring knitting to my job, to help me unwind between breaks and to sneak a little time into my various projects. More often than not it’s something I spun up myself that demands to be made into something right this minute. Yarn can be pushy like that. So very pushy. This yarn was a dark black, red and white spiral-ply I spun up from one of the beautiful batts at Butterflygirl Designs on Etsy. I’ve bought from her for years, and her goods are always so good. One of the nice things about handspun yarn is that you can keep your stitches pretty simple and let the yarn do all the work of being pretty…

Workplace knitting has it’s own challenges. It’s noisier than home, of course. There’s lots of traffic, and the possibility of spills, crumbs, overcurious coworkers poking at your project, moving it or distracting you enough to drop a stitch or two. I’ve lost count of the times on a break where I answer a workplace question while my hands are moving, and when I look down…I messed up that yarn over. Again. Drat it all. And I mutter quietly to myself when I think nobody can hear me. (But of course my coworkers can totally hear me. I can tell by the snickering)

Then there are the usual jokes.  Requests to knit whole sweaters for 20 bucks, or nothing. Various eyerolls, “only grandmas knit” or “knitting nerd” comments. The occasional vampire-slayer remarks. (I actually like these remarks because I get to brandish a knitting needle in a mildly threatening fashion.) But sometimes there are the people who sidle over and gently pet the yarn, or ask if I have time to crank out some wristwarmers for them, or can I make a goofy gutmonster for a birthday or something. I love these people.They get extra guts in their knitted gutmonsters.

Mostly I just like the peace. After I get into the groove a little bit, I can float right off into a nice soft realm of stitches and fluffy textures and away from the workaday life for a little while. I feel a little more rested on a break where I’m working on something. And when I’m finished, I just glow with a little well-earned pride. A moment in a gloomy basement redolent with the smell of burned coffee and old pizza can be the brightest part of my day when I bind off that last stitch…

 

 

Pirate Peg the Foster Wheel…Yarrr!!

Recently a friend of mine had given me the remains of her yarn stash. She’s had some serious medical issues, so she doesn’t really crochet or spin anymore, which is a crying shame. She also gave me her old Kromski wheel to fix up. It used to belong to another friend who wanted to be a spinner but lost interest, and it had been in boxes for a good long while. Of course I felt protective of it the red-hot minute it came into the house…

Pirate Peg the spinning wheel
Nothing like a spinning wheel in a box, whispering, “Please love meeee!”

The poor thing came to my house with a broken bobbin, several pegs missing, a part of a metal cable tying her treadle to her driveshaft, no flywheel…and no legs. No legs?! Zero legs!!

Happily, the flywheel and two of the legs turned up in another box. The flywheel has a big chip out of the side, like somebody dropped something heavy on it. As for that third leg Matt was sweet enough to cut down a dowel to the right size.  At first we thought it would be a temporary leg until I could get a new one from Kromski. (I’ve heard glowing tales about their customer service; getting new parts shouldn’t be a problem.) But the more I looked at it, the more I became enamored of that goofy wooden leg…and named her Pirate Peg.  And immediately started thinking of modifications for her–a new tension knob with a skull on it, copper around the bottom of the peg leg and a garter around the top to hold her orifice hook, black and walnut and cream and possibly gold leaf in a paint job that would wow anybody who saw her.

Pirate Peg
One of these things is not like the other…

 

At first I had doubts. Would this be too silly, even for me? So I talked to various fiber artists of my aquaintance who unanimously responded with gleeful enthusiasm. “Yes! Oh God, yes! Holy crap, this must be a thing! Where will you put the eyepatch?! Will there be a flag? Yarrrrr!!” and so on and so forth.  Nothing makes a weird idea better than more happy weirdos who like it too.

So I spun up a little yarn on Pirate Peg to see how she did. Even without her tension knob and that flywheel chip, she made some lovely, lovely yarn.  And lots of it, 110 yards of fluffy orange fun!

Orange yarn
Really nice, even yarn…Not bad at all for a wheel that just needs some love…

So this weekend between other things, I’ll give Peg a little lick of paint and sculpt some wood putty into the flywheel chip. And think piratey thoughts…Yarrrrr….

 

If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!

It’s been a little while since I posted here. Life just got a little more hectic recently, with projects and and whatnot. I also…heh…got engaged. I’m very happy about it all. Of course, now I’m thinking about things I’d never really considered before. Are there registries that aren’t specifically full of beige-colored towels? (Apparently there are. I still have to go digging around for them, though.) What will I do about a dress?  How much cake? What kind of cake? And how many Gothly decorations can I bust out at the reception? (Quite a few, actually.) Do I change my name, and to what? Sadly, even though it would be perfectly legal, my sweetie put his foot down at being called Mr. and Mrs. Dracula.  *sigh* Another dream shot down…

Meanwhile, a dear friend of mine brought me a very interesting bag. Cornelia had been traveling through Scotland recently, and spent some time happily wandering around the sheep-filled heather, plucking bits of wool off the fences here and there. People used to do this sort of thing all the time to get a little wool to spin up; it’s the original meaning of the term, “woolgathering.”  When she came home, she presented me with a nice fully Ziplock full of soft plushy wool…

Scottish fluff!
A wonderful bag full of Scottish fluff!

The wool smelled wonderful, all heathery and peaty. I kept inhaling the scent while Cornelia told me with a grin, “That, my dear, is what Scotland smells like!” Scotland smells this good? Wowwwww… I gleefully showed off my bag to my boss at work, who is very pro-Scotland. After happily squishing the wool and huffing it, he asked if he could keep a pinch, for the innate Scottishness. Of course I let him.  How often do you get to snort another country at work and have it be legal?

So now I’ve been spinning it all up. I hand-carded the wool that very night, and chose my nice heavy Ashford spindle to do my spinning. For some reason spindle spinning just seemed right with something like this. The sort of thing someone would do while walking a hedgerow, woolgathering…

Scottish yarn
A spindle full of Scotland! Well, maybe not full, not yet…

What will I do with the yarn once I’m done spinning? Hard to say. I’m guessing once plied up there will be enough for maybe a couple of sachet bags or some cool cabled bracelets. If I need more, I’ll have to talk Cornelia into going back to Scotland to gather some more wool for me. I may have to go with her, for ummm…quality control. Yeah. That’s it…

 

 

Steampunk made easy…

I finished up the pendants I wanted to play with last week. Here’s what I ended up with:

Purple eye pendant
I have a few leftover taxidermy eyes from a haul I made at Axeman, years ago. I hoard them like treasure. But this turned out nicely!
Steampunk pendant
Polymer clay plus watch gears equals rainy-day fun!

It’s been great goofing off this way. It kind of helped me get back into knitting things again after a short break. I thought of this pendant, and then though how cool stitch markers with gears would be, then thought about various projects that needed stitch markers…and before you know it, bam! A scarflette finished!

Of course, a lot of my knitting has been on breaks at my work. I also do a little sketching here and there to help with stress. I’ve had this look on my face pretty much the entire week…

Gothic Side-eye
Just a tiny little dollop of side-eye and annoyance…

So there you are…