Spectrum Crosses

May marks the start of a new Project Spectrum, a create-a-long near and dear to my heart. It also happens to be the absolutely perfect time to talk about my new blanket project which I finally started after planning it forever!

I’ve renamed my Mitered Crosses Blanket project SPECTRUM CROSSES, in honor of Project Spectrum. I have been busy gathering yarns and mixing and matching colors for weeks and it’s all together. I started my first square the other day and I’m off to a wonderful start.

My plan uses almost all of the Tahki Cotton Classic leftovers from Miter Madness, plus a few new colors that I had in the stash and didn’t use the first time and some new colors I bought to round out my color choices. Each square will have a different color for each miter/arm of the cross and all the colors in a square will be similar to each other.

There will be 25 squares in all and 23 of those squares will be the colors of the rainbow starting with all pinks and ending with some vibrant red violets. The two remaining squares will each be ROY G BIV. The blanket will “start” at the lower left corner with a square featuring a bright red, orange, yellow and green. The blanket will then move in the colors of the rainbow row to row until the final square, located at the top right corner, which will be made up of a bright blue, indigo, violet and red violet.

In order to mix things up a bit, I’ve put each grouping of four in a baggie and I’ve thrown all of the baggies in a green trash bag. I’m having Meli reach in and pick out a new one for each square. She loves helping with the knitting, and this way I’m surprised by each new color choice.

So far I’ve finished one square and am almost finished the second. And Meli has already chosen the colors for the third square. I’m absolutely loving how they’re coming out.

This is the beginning of the first square, along with a book that Lolly recommended on the Project Spectrum Facebook page. The book is called Color: A Natural History of the Palette and I thought it would be a fantastic companion to the blanket.

In the put on the back burner but in no way forgotten category, I finished all of the knitting and seaming on the Miter Madness project!

There are still a bunch of ends that need to be woven in and it needs a good steam block, not to mention a fantastic photoshoot worthy of such a project. I’m not sure when that’s happening. I needed a rest after all that hard work. It will happen and it won’t take another three years. Trust me when I say it’s fabulous. The black border came out better than I ever could have hoped and is the perfect frame for the squares.

Of course, I had hoped to be blogging more regularly, but life around here has been kind of crazy – literally – thanks to a nice round of postpartum anxiety/ocd. Things are finally getting back on track and I have high hopes for blogging lots of squares and lots of color in the near future.

Thank you, as always, for reading. I’m so happy this community is still so strong.

Happy Project Spectrum!!!
L, C

PS: Blue Heaven

I told myself that if I folded the 87 loads of laundry and put my stuff away INCLUDING the piles of towels and sheets that had been sitting on the floor folded for like two months, I was allowed to ply up all the merino I spun up on Sunday.

I was a good girl, obviously. I switched out my regular flyer for my plying flyer and plying bobbin because I wanted to ply it ALL. I’ve got about 310 yds there. For some reason (and yes I can hear you all laughing) I get really obsessed with the spinning and have to get it all done AT THIS MINUTE. And I never remember how long it all takes. I’m ALWAYS surprised at how physical the plying is – much more physical than the spinning – and seriously – it takes forever.

I’ve really only had one spinning lesson and that was really focused on plying and I was taught that no matter how thick or thin the singles being plied, the distance between the two singles should always be the same. I think I’m managing that pretty well.

I’ve got another 4oz of Amy’s Spunky Eclectic Merino in the Moonflower colorway from the Almost Solid series to spin up. I still don’t know what the wpi is on this but I compared it to some STR lightweight I had and I’d say it’s a fairly consistent sportweight. I’m also still feeling really precious about my hanspun and I have visions of a large basket or bowl sitting on the magic dresser filled with handspun – something like a living art installation where I can see it and touch it but never never actually USE it. I was thinking socks for this patch but how can I put this stuff on my feet and wear it around in smelly shoes and god forbid I get a hole.

In all the Spin Out excitement, I forgot to annouce the Bruce Quiz winner!!!

CHRIS from Woolybuns!

Congratulations Chris! I hope you enjoy the CDs and Yarn! Thanks everyone for taking my funny quiz. I think out of 202 quizzes, 95 were eligible to win. For those of you with less than stellar performances, here’s a little annotated answer grid:

Question 1: Which album introduced me to Bruce?
A) The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle
B) Tunnel of Love
Georgie used to drive me around NJ and sing me Tunnel of Love. Incidentally, I fell in love with both G and Bruce at the same time. Cheezy I know.
C) The River
D) Lucky Town

Question 2: Am I
A) wrapped up like a douche?
B) asleep in a papoose?
C) snapped by a noose?
D) cut loose like a deuce?
Manfred Mann recorded Bruce’s Blinded by the Light and totally mangled the words. To this day Manfred Mann’s version is Bruce’s highest ranked song – it reached #1 on the charts.

Question 3: Which artist DID NOT appear at a Bruce performance I attended?
A) Terrence Trent D’Arby
B) Billy Joel
C) Peter Gabriel
We attended the Rainforest Concert at Carnegie Hall a bunch of years ago that featured Bruce and Elton and Sting and Billy Joel and a bunch of others. Billy Joel also showed up at a concert we went to out on Long Island and Terrence Trent D’Arby showed up at a concert to sing Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
D) Sting

Question 4: Which song was first played for me at a toll booth on the New Jersey Turnpike?
A) Drive All Night
I’ve told this story before.
B) Thunder Road
C) Racing in the Street
D) Stolen Car

Question 5: Where did they blow up The Chicken Man?
A) Trenton
B) Philadelphia
Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night they blew up his house too….
C) New York
D) Atlantic City

Question 6: What was my first Springsteen concert tour?
A) Born in the USA
B) Human Touch/Lucky Town
’91 or ’92. Can’t remember. I pumped my fist so freaking hard I had black and blue marks across my palms. No lie.
C) Tunnel of Love
D) The E Street Band Reunion Tour

Question 7: In how many states have I seen Bruce play?
A) 9
B) 5
C) 3
New Jersey, New York & Pennsylvania
D) 1

Question 8: Which song did Bruce write about a suicide bomber?
A) Point Blank
B) Paradise
Lyrics here. But I just the few people who gave answer C!
C) You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
D) Souls of the Departed

Question 9: Bruce sings about getting stuck “somewhere in the swamps of Jersey.” Who’s he trying to get to?
A) Mary
B) Terry
C) Rosie

My tires were slashed and I almost crashed but the Lord had mercy
My machine she’s a dud, I’m stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey
Hold on tight, stay up all night ’cause Rosie I’m comin’ on strong
By the time we meet the morning light I will hold you in my arms

D) Linda

Question 10: Will I cry at the concert tonight?
A) Nah. I only cry when the E Street Band’s playing.
B) Maybe. Depends on the set-list.
C) Only if he plays The Fever.
D) Are you kidding? The waterworks will start on the Turnpike on our way down to Camden.
I’m pretty sure I made it there without any tears, but I was totally crying when
he played We Shall Overcome. I’m a wimp!

Last but not least – all you Chi-Town folks! You think I’m dumb just because I’m from New Joisey? The first thing I did when I found out I was heading out to Chicago was call Toni at The Fold and tell her I’m coming. 😉 G and I are roadtripping out there Saturday. I basically have Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night, Sunday morning and all day Monday free. We’re staying right off of North Michigan Avenue if that means anything to anyone.


PS: Forever in Blue Jeans

All I did yesterday was SPIN! I was so inspired by all of the spinners – old and new – at Saturday’s gathering that I couldn’t help myself. And I was so tired I didn’t want to have to think or use any brain power whatsoever. So I watched like 8 hours of Another World and spun up this GORGEOUS blue merino from Amy at Spunky Eclectic. It’s Moonflower – part of the almost solid series – but I think it should be called Forever in Blue Jeans.

I’m one of those people who drops trou the minute they walk in the door and leaves the clothes wherever they find the floor. So yesterday I was spinning in the bedroom and out of the corner of my eye I was constantly seeing my favorite pair of jeans (read the only pair that fits my fat ass these days) on the floor (pretty close to the closet door but more towards the middle of the walkway) and they looked JUST like the fiber I was spinning up.

This is my first attempt with merino and I have to say I’m really proud of how I’m doing. It’s a bit overspun in spots when I forget that I’ve got the drive band set on the lowest whorl and I’m treadling away like a madwoman, but for the most part it’s good. I’m going to finish up the little bit I have left of the first 4oz today and hopefully ply it all tonight. I think it’s a nice sportweight and I’m very tempted to make a pair of socks out of it. Depends on how much I get from the 4oz. I have another 4oz of this so if I get a lot I may make a shawl or something. We’ll see.

I promise a nice long post about Saturday but I’m really beat and need to process it all. When I talked to Shana and found out we had a place, I totally lost it. Tears and everything. I was just so relieved. Thank you again Shana and thank you Kim McNeal at the Parks Dept. Seriously rocking my world.

There’s still LOTS to do with Spin Out. The registry will close on Friday – but as of right now we’ve raised $13,467!!!! There are a few more prizes to announce and I can tell you right now that prizes will not be awarded until after July 4th. I’m sorry about the delay – but my family’s coming up to visit Friday thru Wednesday and I still haven’t received all of the prizes to put together gift packages. So I’m not going to kill myself about it all. I know you know that it will all get out and things will be GRAND! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

Here’s something for some of you to think about: I’m coming to CHICAGO! Yarn crawl anyone? I’ll be there the third weekend in July – Fri-Mon and while some of my time will be spent with G, it’s a work thing for him so I’ll be on my own a lot too. Let’s plan something!! (ETA: Um, I meant the weekend of the 15th. I figured that’s the third weekend because the 1st is on a Saturday. So sorry!)

Is this you? Or someone you know?

I’ve had a request for information about the spindle you were using on Saturday, but I’m sorry, I forgot your name! Can you leave me a comment so I can get in touch with you? Thank you so much!

PS: It’s Not Easy Being Green

I’ve been on the phone the entire day today – most of it was really productive. Ann and I ate lunch together. Over the phone. We both had salad. She’s losing weight and I had a pudding pop for dessert. 😉

Speaking of salad, here’s some verde for your Project Spectrum May Day. Enjoy!

The roving is a new colorway, dyed especially for my Project Spectrum spinning by Tina at Blue Moon, called Hiddenite in Biffle (BFL.) I think it will be available from Toni at her booth in Maryland. The yarn is heavyweight STR in (dark to light) Beryl, Jade and Limestone.

Oh and here’s a look at my Sockapaloooza package. Which went out today because I’m slow and I suck – but I think I made up for my tardiness:

Don’t forget Claudia’s MS Drive!!!! I’ve already pledged – have you?

PS: Yellow and Orange and April

Just a little something to start the month off!

Have a beautiful April!

PS – if you came here looking for my stash and instead got flowers and are now sorely disappointed, please see the entry below. Thank you!

The following preview may not be suitable for all audiences.

I’m giving you this preview of future projects because the ones I have going on right now are either, stalled, boring or in a time out. And really, all I want to do is spin, but I can’t because I have work to do and I’m procrastinating. I tried to work on the collar for short rows yesterday and it looks awful. Really awful. Did I ever tell you Claire’s inspired idea? You know the whole “should I stripe it or not” question? Well, Claire suggested I stripe the FRONT, but not the back. Great idea, no? I liked it anyway. So I started it and the thing needs to be ripped. I love the sweater so much and I think the knitting is really done well (if I don’t say so myself) and I refuse to fuck up the sweater with a shitty collar so I’m putting it aside for the time being. Maybe for Maryland, instead of Passover? We’ll see. I might need some help on it, and luckily help is coming soon. Current socks are boring. YAAAWN. BDFS is ready for action, but all I want to do is spin. See a pattern? But deadlines loom. Like this one:

Here we have my choices for my Sockapalooza Socks! That’s HOT FLASH Socks That Rock and the Simply Lovely Lace Socks from the current IK. My pal likes bright colors and ankle socks, so I’m pretty sure these fit the bill. I’m a little concerned about sizing though, as she wears a full size (or more) bigger than me and I’ve never knit for someone different than my size. The pattern says cast on 60 stitches on size 0 needles, but I plan on knitting with size 1s. It’s a six stitch repeat – do you think 66 stitches will be too much? She said she’s a bigger girl, so that’s why she wears ankle or crew socks. The best part? I know the person who made her SockapalTWOza socks, so I sent off an email this morning. Hopefully I’ll get some good advice. Of course I want these socks to be perfect. I’m going to try something new with them as well – two socks on two circulars! This way I can also be in the Cirque Du Socks KAL!

Neat, huh? You need to knit socks on two circulars, but if you’ve done that before, then try something new. So I’ll be casting on soon – 2circs2socks style!

Here’s another preview:

Thinking ahead to April’s Project Spectrum spinning! (Even though I’ve still got like 12oz of March spinning left to do. Did I mention all I want to do is spin? 😉 ) This fine fiber is from AmyBoogie. It’s her Almost Solid series in Corriedale, Sunflower and Marigold colorways. I saw some of the Sunflower spun up over at Marnie‘s, and even though I have some batts on order from Graton Fibers, I couldn’t resist. I LOVE Amy’s fibers. LOVE LOVE! And her dyes are wonderful too. Look what else I got from her:

It’s Amy’s Handpainted Tahiti biffle and if I had all the time in the world to spin, it would be a nice transition fiber from March to April – it’s got yellow, orange, pink, reds – just a whole lot of sunshiney goodness. YAY!

Just can’t quitch ya.

My house is too damn quiet. Don’t tell Ann (or god forbid my husband) but I think I might miss the chaos of the dogs and the cat and the screaming and the whip and the laughing. Oh my god the laughing. I don’t think I drew breath once the entire weekend we laughed so freaking hard – my stomach still hurts. My anticipatory anxiety evaporated as soon as I saw the elegant racing stripes of Onslow and we were off. Guess I’m not as crazy as I like to think I am, or, more likely, Ann and her wonderful family and friends are so welcoming and comfortable, craziness is the only way to keep up. I can’t thank them enough for embracing me with such love and laughter. Seriously. They are all the real deal.

I’m finding it very difficult to blog about the weekend. You know how some adventures are meant to be blogged? And some are just friends getting together and you say oh yeah I stayed with Ann over the weekend and we had a blast? And that’s all? It’s kind of like that. We’d go places and we’d have our fun and then one of us would say – we forgot to take pictures. Oh well. We were IN the moment. Blogging is a very conscious act. It’s deliberate. And I’d like to think that most of my life is just lived. You know?

There was some blog fodder though. On Friday, Ann drove me out to the lake for my spinning class. Ann and some of her friends (Hi Peggy! Hi Ricki!) have been taking classes with Peggy E. for about five weeks now. Ann’s been documenting it over at her site and she and Peggy E. were nice enough to carve out a HUGE block of time for me. We’re talking a FIVE HOUR spinning lesson. When we left the lesson Ann and I were exhausted. Like could barely move exhausted. We went home, scarfed some homemade spaghetti and meatballs, crawled into our pajamas and took up our chairs in front of the TV (think Archie and Edith – guess who I am?) and knit the rest of the night. And laughed. Can’t forget the laughing.

Anyway, the spinning lesson was a dream. My one real concern was plying. I felt like my last attempt was really awful (I know now A LOT of that had to do with my spinning, not my plying) and I was anxious to learn. I had some of the gorgeous pink stuff spun up on two bobbins so Peggy E had me start plying that.

It was really great; I learned some fabulous tricks and I really hope I can continue it with my own spinning and plying. To say I was thrilled with the final product doesn’t even scratch the surface. I may have teared up. This is the most beautiful yarn I’ve ever seen in my life.

And look how fantastic it looks next to my skin!

Ann loves to tell the story that the first time we spun together I stomped around because I was petulant and frustrated and couldn’t spin for shit. I hope she continues on to tell the story of the jig I danced because I was so deliriously happy with my spinning. Delirious. Out of my mind. Thank you Ann! I’m glad you were there for both experiences.

There was lots of knitting this weekend, but it’s boring. Or not mine. I’m to the gusset on two socks, a jaywalker and the embossed leaves sock and they both look fine. I’m happy with them. I asked no fewer than a 100 people (the kids in McDonald’s were surely confused!) about the sleeves on my Short Rows. I will be back with a schematic and a question for all you experts out there. Ann’s FANFUCKINGTASTIC friend Claire (I LOVE YOU FLAIRE!) came over on Friday night and we talked until 1AM. (Of course I made Ann stay up another hour with me until I was dead tired because they insisted on telling ghost stories and it was either that or make her sleep with me because I hate ghost stories. I believe them and they freak me out and then I can’t sleep.) I was helping Claire out with a project, this baby sweater that’s got one of the most convoluted constructions I’ve ever seen. So I was working on that with her Friday night and then when Ann and I had our yarn crawl Saturday we came across the sample sweater and I realized we were doing it all wrong. When we went to Claire’s on Saturday to see the not one but TWO cemeteries on her property (cooler than cool is allowed to be, by the way) and then stayed around to visit with Claire’s friend Nancy Christie and read Claire’s autograph books from elementary school (which, Claire, should become your one woman masterpiece. I see you in a darkened theater, alone on the stage, spotlighted, reading the entries and telling your stories. I’d buy a ticket every fucking night.) I worked on the sweater for her. I wanted to be knitting, but I was bored with my own stuff so it was a nice fit to be working out someone else’s knitting. Ann said I was enabling, but if you can’t enable a little, what’s life worth anyway?

I had one of those really surreal in the moment, but looking in from the outside experiences while sitting in Claire’s (literally) 300 year old parlor. There were four women there, telling our stories, knitting, laughing more that people should really be allowed to laugh – one in her 60s, one in her 50s, one in her 40s, one in her 30s – and yet we were all the same and completely different. It was really quite extraordinary. I’m not sure if the other women were conscious of it at all and it might have been one of those moments that I romantacize to death but it was a true feeling for me and I was so glad to be a part of it. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

No weekend on Lawn Guyland would be complete without a trip to GRANNY’S! Granny was fantastic. A find. A treasure and it was great to see Kathleen again, although our time was short. I will be back! I promise!

Once again, I’d like to thank Ann’s family – her husband, her daughter, her friends, her pets – for putting up with our silliness this weekend. It was my immense pleasure to meet you all and I hope to see you again soon. And to my dear real-life friend Ann. I just can’t quitch ya. Thank you.

PS: I love PINK!

Who knew?! I’m not a girly girl by any stretch of the imagination. I wear comfortable shoes. I don’t wear make-up. I really couldn’t care less about my clothes as long as they aren’t binding and don’t make me look much fatter than I already am. The only thing I spend money on appearance wise is my hair, which I cut and color regularly and have for years.

So what’s the fascination with PINK? I don’t know but I’ve been loving it lately. I have a few pink shirts and a great pair of pink courderoys that I love to wear and lots of pink in my socks.

You can imagine how happy I am with this month’s Project Spectrum color. SO. HAPPY. I told you all how I was going to use this particular a-long to concentrate on my spinning and man am I glad I did! I was sort of in a panic and didn’t get my roving in time for the start of the month, but I’m making up for it now. I called my favorite intrepid dyer, Tina, and asked her to bail me out. She sent me 8oz of HOT FLASH Biffle (and I’ve got another 8oz on the way!)

Oh my god this stuff is GORGEOUS! (Photographing it, though, is very difficult. Reds and pinks by extension get very very constrasty and your exposure has to be spot on and even then lightening or darkening even a little bit is very difficult and the colors never seem true. This is the best I could do.) Predrafting it has been a DREAM.

On the left is a third of the big hank. Then split in two. Then the final draft of the middle strand. Predrafting, it turns out, is key to spinning, thank you very much. Essential. This was by far the best spinning experience I’ve had so far. My last attempts taught me much about tension and the revolutions of the wheel and spin and this time out I paid very close attention to the feel of the yarn beneath my fingers. I set the drive band on the second whorl and therefore was able to treadle at my usual slow-ish pace but still get a really nice spin to the yarn. I felt the spin travel down the fiber under my fingertips and for the first time I think I really, really got it.

I made yarn. Every now and again I did the Claudia test and pulled it out from the bobbin to test it’s sturdiness. Yup. I made yarn. I’d like to think that 99% of this bobbin is actual yarn and will not pull apart when I go to ply it. I now know that in all my previous attempts I was NOT getting enough spin on the wheel – therefore there wasn’t enough spin in the yarn. It was falling apart all over the place.

Besides figuring out what SPIN actually is in the yarn – feeling it – really feeling it for the first time it seemed, this Biffle drafts like freaking butter. This is the most even yarn I’ve spun. And even then I was deliberate about it – pulling it back if it was thin in places and breaking off and rejoining the fiber to thicken it up, or pulling it out and respinning thicker parts. I wasn’t successful all the time, but I tried to be conscious of what I was doing. And I think it shows.

I had the MOST FUN last night. Just a blast. Thanks Tina and thank you Lolly for the inspiration of Project Spectrum! Tina sent me some beautiful Red Biffle as well, but I don’t think I’ll be able to spin it up before the end of the month – especially since I’m going to try to get the whole pound of this pink stuff spun up. It’s too good! I ordered some batts from Grafton Fibers today for next month’s challenge too. I can’t wait!

Project Spin

I know I said I was going to work on Short Rows, but really, that’s about weaving in ends so any distraction is welcome. Luckily, procrastination projects are close at hand as this is the first day of

the brain child of superfantastic librarian/historian extraordinaire, Lolly. As soon as I heard about Lolly’s idea to concentrate on certain colors during each month, I KNEW it would be about spinning for me. One of the main reasons I got into spinning was because of all the color possibilities – mixing colors in fibers, making my own barberpole yarns, dyeing even, maybe?

Last night I got out the old wheel. (Yeah, yeah. I know it’s brand spanking new. Don’t think that its lily whiteness doesn’t remind of my newbie status at every turn. I’m a dink-ass nub.) I’ve missed the ol’ girl. I took her up to Boston, but she got barely a workout.

Enough, though, that Claudia was able to give me some excellent advice which I incorporated into my spinning routine right away. She noticed that I was spinning, but I wasn’t actually making yarn. Which, in retrospect, I knew all along. She suggested that I move the drive band lower on the Mother of All so that I could treadle at the same speed, but have the wheel make more revolutions. Yes?

Things were a bit funky at first, but the beauty of spinning is that the more yarn you make, the faster it covers up the icky stuff with lovely, evenly spun yarn.

I know it’s not pink or red, but I love the yarn. And as I mentioned yesterday, Jan sent me more of this great Lisa Souza Biffle (Mardi Gras colorway) which I plan on diving into later today. Have I told you lately that I LOVE spinning? It’s been a while since I sat down at the wheel for some extended spinning and last night I spun up around 4 oz. and it was heavenly. The best part – G loves when I spin too. He loves to watch my feet treadle and he loves the whir the wheel makes as it goes round and round. He’s been pretty crazy at work, so it’s a nice break for him and me. Perfect!

Back to Project Spectrum. As I said, my goal is to spin yarn in the colors assigned to the month. I was behind in figuring things out fiber wise – I want to try some Grafton Fiber batts because I hear so much about their goodness, but they won’t get here in time so that will have to be for next month. In the meantime, my friend Tina is special dyeing some Biffle for me! Yay! I can hardly wait for the pink and red goodness.

So that I can start the month off right, here are a couple of pink and red pictures. (I know – the sky picture’s been getting a workout lately, but I just love it so much!) Enjoy!