Saturday, November 29, 2008

Spinning Bliss

After some practice with cotton and re-spinning the camel I butchered at GGFI (it was my first attempt in long draw), I felt I was ready for the yak down. I had two 2 oz bags from Tactile -- one I got as a door prize at GGFI (thank you, Maia and Brooke!) and another I purchased at California Wool and Fiber Festival.

It was another humbling experience. But after fumbling with the whorl size and skipping the carding process, it started to go much better.

This is before fulling, in a somewhat poor light -- and here's the one after fulling in hot soapy water. Yes, the sun makes it look much happier as well.

It's so soft and downy I can't stop fondling it. I think this might be the softest yarn I've ever spun. Spinning from the clouds of down is also very different from spinning a commercial top. This may get me addicted.

The four day weekend has been very nice and relaxing -- tomorrow I'm going to go take my scarf to Llama Llama Knit. They are hosting a "Knitting for Others" event, and all knitted objects gathered from the knitters will be donated to Homeward Bound of Marin. Llama Llama will also give you 15% discount for the yarn for this project, and there are some raffle prizes for the participants too. The event ends on Dec. 19.

I love this scarf -- very light and soft, and love the color gradation. I hope it will keep the recipient warm. Used two balls of Gedifra, US 10 needles.

Despite the fact that our annoying neighbors have already put up the Christmas lights, I am still in denial that Christmas is just around the corner. I'm so not ready.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful for...

The beautiful morning glow yesterday at 7 am from my house.

I was already on the phone when I took this shot. This is what happens when you have to work with lots of East Coasties. But then because many of my coworkers are remote, I get to spend time with the phone headset on my head, knitting. (If you are a non-knitter and think I'm slacking off, no. Many people listen better if combined with fine-motor activities, like knitting and doodling. Knitting is more productive.) Because of the long meetings for the last couple of days, I'm done with the scarf I'm knitting for charity (which of course, I am in love with! Photos next time.)

Sometimes I wonder if I can spin at all -- here are some merino that I spun for some Christmas knitting, but I'm not very pleased with it, although washing improved the evenness and the texture.I'm working on the yak down right now, and I'm getting better with it. Can't wait to ply and full the yarn.

I have harvested the Japanese indigo seeds. Hopefully they'll do better next year.

And Thanksgiving is here! I'm looking forward to some relaxing time. We have a lot to be thankful for. In this difficult time, we'll always find something to be happy about. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Beach in November

We are having a record-breaking warm weather here in Northern California. I took my son to the beach last Saturday to take advantage of the unexpected gift. I thought it might get foggy and colder as we head to the coast, but in fact the thermometer climbed up to 75 F when we arrived at the beach. No wind, no waves, just a perfect beach day.

The locals know -- there were many families with young children. It was nice, peaceful, relaxing day. The water was just amazing!

And after leaving the beach, we stopped by Windrush Farm in Petaluma -- they were having a gift show - open house. My son is very tolerant of me taking him to fiber-related outings.

He got to feed Mimi's goats -- they love grape leaves, and Mimi let him treat them.

(Waiting Anxiously!)

I finally finished my FIRST pair of socks of the year. After knitting ten pairs last year, I may have gone sock-shy, but here they are.

Classy Slip-up from "Knit Socks!" by Betsy Lee McCarthy. Yarn - Lana Grossa Meilenweit, US 0 needles. I made them quite a bit longer than I usually do, and I only have 15 g yarn left over. I think they'll be very warm because of the waffle-weave pattern, but if you try this pattern make sure to knit them just a tad smaller because they scrunch up.

I didn't want to start anything else until I'm done with them, so now I'm eager to get started on Christmas knitting, finally! The heat is on.

I finally skeined up the silk hankie 3-plies as well.
I spent my Sunday afternoon at Llama Llama Knit. Their first Spinning Sunday!

What a great weekend it was. Just not long enough!

Friday, November 07, 2008

I Will Not Stop

I know I shouldn't be ranting about politics or the election on our joint KNITTING blog. My blogmates are so tolerant of me and my big mouth. I promise that this is going to be the last one, at least for a while!

I, like many others, was elated with the outcome of the election. It really was a historical moment, and I do love the fact that my son will grow up having a person of color as our president -- he wouldn't understand what the big deal is, and that's beyond exciting.

But my joy was cut in half by California's passing Prop. 8. This is going to amend the state constitution to prohibit the same sex marriage. While the nation celebrates the equality of us all and a remarkable achievement by a racial minority, the state with the largest electoral college is legally denying one of the most fundamental rights to the certain population.

I can't express how sad I feel about this. I was in tears.

I hope that this will not be the end of the story as I watch the massive protest march in San Francisco. I respect the integrity and ethics of the Mayor Newsom has exhibited on this long battle to ensure the equal rights to San Franciscans and Californians -- how courageous is that for a politician to risk his entire political career on such a controversial issue?

It took us years to pass the Sonoma/Marin Smart Train. It took the nation 232 years to elect a black president. Persistence.

I will be back with some knitting/spinning posts soon.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I can't believe it's THE election day tomorrow. I consider myself to be a political being in a relative sense, but I think I've been rather quiet, at least publicly, about this year's election. It's not because I feel less strongly or excitedly about it -- rather, I try to keep it to myself because I worry that I may become too opinionated, or even emotional, if I started talking about it.

I think it was last year just before the election that I ran into a blog post by a well-known textile artist (whom I admire) on how she disliked all the "noises" about the politics and election. She said something like "I can't wait for it to be over so I can just sit and weave with my friends without being bothered." I know why some people might feel that way -- even I feel overwhelmed by the political ads right now.

As much as I'd love to, we (or most of us) don't live on a lonely island paradise. Everything to do with politics, elections, measures and propositions have some effects on our lives. And why do we look away from it and pretend that you have nothing to do with it? We may not even have the peace and freedom to sit in the quietness of your own house to do what we love to do, if we let the nation and the state crumble.