Saturday, July 26, 2008

Busy Busy Busy!

Which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it!
Saturday, I went down to my LYS and met a great lady, Meg! She is a spinner/weaver/brand new knitter! I got to try out a beautiful little spindle, which spun on forever! It was really neat! She also let me spin on one of her wheels! It was great fun. She has her very own sheep, and brought her very own wool! It was very interesting to talk to her and learn more about the entire process.

I've been plugging away at the colonial wool that Opal sent! I finally managed to finish it up tonight and here's what it looked like on the spindle:And here is what it looked like after I wrestled it off:
Mental note #5,432,738 - a Niddy Noddy will be a good purchase.
Mini-Me and I managed to finagle her desk chair into becoming a stand in swift/winder. She turned the chair while I kept the tension and controlled the spindle.
It's currently hanging up in the bathroom after a wee bit of a soak. It still has some kinks in it - not very severe, just some rolling hills. I tried weighting it down more, but it really didn't seem to help much. Perhaps when I get it into a ball it will decide to behave! I will be utilizing this yarn for the 2008 Ravelympics! I'm pretty excited about it. I have no clue what my yardage is - I'm guessing maybe 100, but who knows. I would like to try and do a funky sort of hat - kind of like this. Maybe using a generic wool for the underside, then my wool for the top. Hmmm. Any suggestions? I'm open!
I'm going to spin up this beautiful roving that I picked up from FlawfulFibers. It's BFL and sooo soft I just want to wear the roving itself - it oculd pass as a scarf, right? The colorway is Siouxsie. (The bright gold spots you see don't exist in real life - POS camera)
Anyway, my goal for this roving is to just get it spun up. Period. If I manage to knit something with it - super. If not, oh well! If you are participating in the Ravelympics and are not on a team - why not Team Splurk? Plurkers knitting with handspun or spinning up fiber. It will be fun, and we will emerge victorious!

Have I missed anything? Hmmm... Oh! I made this for Frankie. It's his birthday in August. I'm hoping this keeps his balding head (uh-huh, I said it) warm while he's off keeping us safe. It's called the Utopia Cable Hat, and you can get the pattern here. Oh yeah! And I'm almost done my first nanner sock! Woot! Woot! It's been taking a while, but it's my travel project, so I'm ok with that

I think that's it for now! The pillow is calling my name, and I think I may have overloaded you guys with all of these crappy pictures. Hope the remainder of your week is a good one!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things I like - I'm starting a MeMe....

I saw this done last year, and I thought it was pretty cool, but I could never figure it out. So, I challenge everyone to do this - it's pretty flippin' simple. Just take pictures of some of your favorite things, upload them into Flickr, and then make yourself a pretty little mosaic!

You can find this feature of Flickr by using the drop-down menus at the top of your Flickr page - click on Explore, then select do more. Once you get there, select QOOP, then make a poster!

See? You don't even have to come up with witty answers, or try and remember something pointless like the last time you wore blue underwear. Just pick out pretty pictures of your favorite things, then, viola!

Happy Monday everyone!

PS - Make sure you comment me when you get yours done - I wanna see!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It kept me up until 1 am!!

So yesterday, I get home from work and find this!!!

First, let me tell you, that there was another box from my mom filled with pretty little things for me and for Mini-Me, but I knew what was in this box, so sorry mom - yours had to wait.


My Plurk Bud, Akamai Knitter had offered to send me a drop spindle - and I only accepted once she gave me her address so that I could send her a box of treats in return.

I NEVER expected to get roving - which is beautiful! I had a quivering chin folks. Opal and I met through Plurk and now visit each other through blogs, plurk and email. I enjoy our conversations a lot - she sees things in the same way that I do. And, bonus - she lives in Hawaii - one of my favorite places on earth! Oh, and wait - can you say pearl stitch markers????

Here is a close up of the spindle top and the pretty yarn that was still attached to it!

For real, folks - quivering chin turned into tears. Opal's generosity has blown my mind! After I had completed gushing and ooooo-ing, and saying thank you about 3 million times via Plurk, I opened up my box from Nanna Cassidy. More on that later - for some reason I can't upload a picture. (Boo!)

Once I had calmed down, I sat with good ole' Youtube open and figured out ho w to get my new buddy to spin - and I got it after about the third try! I think I went crazy with excitement and the sheer joy of it. I admired it for a while... I put it gently on my table and walked away. I finished off Opal's goodies, and then laid down. I could hear the spindle calling my name. I got up, put it in the box it came in and laid back down. It started screaming for fiber. I put it in the hall closet and shut the door. The spindle then started clunking around in the closet and screaming "Try me!" It was awful. It was gut wrenching to lay in bed trying to watch Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern's when the spindle clearly crying out for attention.

I got up, pulled up some more YouTube videos, and gave it my best shot. At 10:45 at night. I can tell you that I did have issues (ha ha - go figure) - mainly with the concept of letting the twist travel up the yarn and how to ply and twist, so it's not pretty, but there is a wee bit of yarn on the spindle this morning. I will not be picturing the yarn, however. It is simply too pathetic to share with Blogland - or Plurkville for that matter. But I am proud, and freakin' exhausted today! My new buddy kept me up until 1am!

Please check out Opal's blog!! She is spinning up some seriously delicious yarn. Rumor has it, ahem, that she will soon be opening an Etsy store. I'll keep ya'll posted on the grand opening. Well, then again, maybe not, because if you don't check it out soon enough, I will have bought everything.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What Inspires You?

This last week, I have really tried to pay attention to what inspires me to take on a project. Let's face it - some times there are projects that are just downright beautiful and we feel compelled to make them! But there are often times when it's quiet, we dream of our own projects, or how to change a pre-existing project into something that is distinctly our own.

For me, it's color and people. I can see a color and it just screams "YOU NEED ME!" Many times when this happens, I have no true plan, but I know I need it. ShibuiKnits Orchid did that for me. I love the way that the pinks quietly change colors, and the bright shot of chartreuse that comes at the end. It excites my senses and plants the "what could I do with this" seed. I love variegated yarns - the way the colors flow together, the variations of the colors, and the unknown factor. I get excited watching the colors knit up! I have often wondered how hand painted yarn is thought through - any one can paint yarn, but true artists paint yarn that looks beautiful when it's used. Last week I got some super colorful yarns!

Lorna's Laces in Black Watch and the beautiful yarn Bellamoden dyed up for the Loopy Groupies that are reading The Historian. Not sure what the Lorna's Laces is going to be yet - definitely a pair of socks, just unsure which ones. The Historian yarn is going to become a pair of Mitred Mittens for moi. Yay!

People often ask for me to make them something. Gladly is always my reply. What kind of yarn should I get? None - I'll find one that fits. I love looking at things and matching them up with people. Even Mini-Me will see some thing and tell me who needs it! I think that yarn itself has personality. You get a different vibe when you look at a tweed as opposed to a fingering weight merino. One makes you think of warm winter sweaters - the other a baby sweater or a beautiful shawl. A friend of mine's husband wants a scarf. He's a character - always making me laugh, and loves playing with Mini-Me. I think I'm going to look for a chocolaty hand spun make a real earthy, cozy, manly looking one for him. All I need to do now is find a pattern. I'm thinking that some sort of rib would be cool, however, I think that the linen stitch would be down right scrumptious in some squishy yarn (but if I do that, I'll have to stray from hand spun - crap)

Last but not least, I get inspired by others! Some times it's the challenge of learning something new. Wendy inspired me to knit socks. Opal inspired me with her cable hats to knit a hat for Mini-Me and to use a pattern with cables. Mini-Me is inspiring me to become Jackie O.

At any rate, my point is, take a minute this weekend and figure out where your mojo comes from! The more we pay attention to what makes all the wheels in our brain start to spin, the more focused we can be on our goal - making things that we love and get excited about!

So tell me, fair knitters, what inspires you?? Inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Holiday Rambles and Yarn Stuffs.

I grew up very close to where our Nation's Independence was started - Boston, Massachusetts. When I was in school, most of our field trips were some how related to our Nation's history - either early settlers or the various historical monuments in and around that area. At that time, I had no desire to visit those locations. BORING. It was the only word that could sum it up. Now, as an adult, I gobble up history like it's the last thing I will ever learn.

What I find extraordinarily interesting is how everyone views their patriotism. I will go ahead and state for the record, that when it comes to patriotism, I am such a right winger. My social views are quite left, but when it comes to most of my political views I'm a righty. I think it's difficult in this day and age to separate patriotism from political views. People tend to place importance on patriotism based upon their values and what impacts their lives on a daily basis. I don't think that's wrong, but I do think that when we allow our political views to take over our patriotic views, we do ourselves and the nation a huge injustice.

Here are some things that I want you to think about over the long weekend:
  • Read up on your history! I think that as an adult we need to go back and review what we learned in school and see it from a more mature standpoint. I think that as we grow in our knowledge and world view, we can come to appreciate our history in a much broader sense.

  • Be humble! If you can take our own beginnings as a nation and apply what you know to the world 200+ years later, you will start to have a greater appreciation for the democratic political process and the hard times that go along with becoming a new nation. There democratic process is just beginning for some nations. Instead of complaining that it isn't to our liking in belief systems and laws, humble yourself and remember that to each his own and support the struggle for freedom of any type!
  • Support the Struggle! We struggled against social injustices, tyranny and a corrupt political system to become what we are today! Folks, support the struggle. There are fledgling democracies in the world today that need our help to make them great. No one likes war. It's ugly and painful, but it is what it is. There are thousands of great Americans putting their life on the line for it as you read this support them any way that you can! They are doing their best to provide others with something we hold dear to our hearts.

  • Recognize! No matter how you cut it, we are a great nation. We live in a country where we can (for the most part) exercise one of the most basic of god-given gifts - FREE WILL! Bask in the ability to use it!! Millions of people will never know what it's like to be able to live freely and honestly.

Ok - Now that I have come down off of my blah-blah soap box, I have some things to share. Last Saturday, Mini-Me and I packed up in the car and headed out to A Row of Purls. Yay! I spend 2.5 hours there. I let Mini-Me pick out yarn for her birthday, and I picked up some yarn for a special gift. Here they are!

So are you noticing the trend of pink, purple and green? Of course! Because ya'll are smarties! Mini-Me picked out some Cascade Sierra Quattro and I picked out some Noro Silk Garden. We enjoyed ourselves in a big way. We will be going back for sure! She even said my 1st sock ever looked great! For those of you who read regularly, you will know that I have had sock knitting dreams for about 3 months, and I completed one!!! Who cares if it's too short, or the heel is too narrow, of if the toes are lumpy. It's a freakin' sock people!!!!!

Please hold your applause - throw money for yarn instead!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hello Plurkette Hencircle!

Hello, my name is Megan, and I'm a knitaholic.

I am also a single mom, who knits and avoids household chores like the plague. My daughter, aka Mini-Me and I take the world by storm daily, and enjoy ourselves while we do it.

I got interested in the Henhouse because although I live in a third floor condo, life wasn't always that way. I grew up in a very small town in New Hampshire and miss that type of life. It was much slower, quieter and above all not so freaking hot. My mom was always very crafty - and thrifty. She made a lot of our clothes when we were young, always kept a garden, and made sure we had plenty of hand knit mittens to go around when the snow got deep!

Because it's just myself and the kiddo, I find myself moving at a consistent break neck pace, and when I stop, I have very little energy for much else. By joining this group, I hope to re-focus myself on what's important and get back to basics. I also figure that Mini-Me will enjoy the projects as well, so we will just become our own little Plurkette-mother-daughter-Hencircrle -tag-team duo! While we may not be able to have a garden or chickens, there are lots of things that we can do from our third floor balcony! One day, I hope to be financially well off enough to get us back to the country, where we can have a garden.. maybe even a sheep or two. Until then, we'll just sit back and wave at the clouds!

There is a lot to be said for being independent. I have been out of my mom's house since I was 18, joined the military, and became a military spouse. 14 years of being on my own and living away from the nest has forced me to become self sufficient, strong, and resourceful. To me, that's part of the farm girl way of life!

Oh! And I need to learn how to sew too. (I broke the sewing machines when I was young - maybe at the fine age of 32 I can get with it)