Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I hope I make it through today.

No one said that I’d have a day like this. It started out so well. Getting up, feeding the cats, picking up the paper as I go out the door to work, getting breakfast. All was going so well.

I forgot my knitting.

The socks I was working on are in the bag beside my chair at home. I can see them there. I had finished one sock and was ready to cast on another. The yarn was so nice to work with, the colors delectable. And I left them at home.

I could run home and get them. Work is close to home. But that would use up precious knitting time that my morning break has become. A time of meditation, calm, and the feel of yarn through my fingers, soothing away the tensions of the previous hours. But what is that time when you have no knitting? I would return still tense, my routine broken, making me more tense.

I must have some yarn around here somewhere.

I have a set of needles ready for emergencies. Size 5’s. They call to me. We’re here for you. Come ten o’clock you will have us. All you need is something to knit.

Something to knit. I know what I can knit but I need yarn. Something stringy. Maybe if I look under my desk in the box where I keep stuff I will eventually take home. Raffia? That would be interesting but hard on the hands. Rubber bands? No. Confetti strings? Too short. Dental floss? It's waxed -- too sticky. Plastic grocery bags? I’ve seen people cut them up and knit market bags out of them. Interesting but let’s look further.


I see it nestled at the bottom of the box, half covered by an unused mouse pad and a Christmas gift bag. Cheap acrylic but good stuff. A preemie cap will come out of this in no time. Success! My heart is settling and my breathing slows as I stroke the soft fiber. Nice yarn, nice yarn.

Problem? There’s no problem here.

I have my knitting.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I've seen these before. They're cool to look at. Click to embiggen.

You can make one for yourself at Wordle

Friday, July 25, 2008

Your comments

The Coriolis socks attracted a lot of attention. JoVE, I found that the patterns worked well for mindless knitting. The increase point is like a blip on the radar screen; the rest is plain ole stockinette. The instructions may appear a little daunting, but if you get your magic numbers, plug them in, and follow along, you should do fine. Really!

Jennie, the sock in progress is being made of STR mediumweight "Fire On The Mountain". It's wonderfully squishy. You must have it. Or you will suffer great pining that only a pilgrimage to Scappoose will succor.

And for those of you who think I'm kidding, I've turned the heel and am working on the cuff. You'd think I was Wendy or something.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm caught in a Coriolis

If you have knitted a pair of Cat Bordhi socks and fallen helplessly into the novelty of the architectures she spells out in her "New Pathways for Sock Knitters", you know what I mean. Yeah, I got the book and looked at it and yeah the pictures were really cool and the patterns intriguing but then I saw what could be done with them. Like the Coriolis. Your basic one looks like this. Who would have thought that a little band across the instep would make you want to knit like a mad fiend? (clicken to embiggen)

Then what does this evil little pattern want you to do? Make more, only with bigger bands. And not just a band but a cable! Yes, yes, I want a cable going over my foot because it's so fricken cool! Look what I've done in only 5 days! Muwahahahahahahaaaa!

The cats are waiting for the nice men in the white coats to take me away. "I called five minutes ago. Where are they?"

Note: next week will be Fiberqat's 3rd blogiversary. Have a nice piece of custard pie.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dear Miami

Dear Miami,

I wanted to write to you because your city was an adventure for me. But I have to put in the caveat that anytime I leave the safety of my beloved City of Roses it's an adventure for me. It makes the experience open for possibilities both negative and positive. When you embark on an adventure, you have a few expectations that you have taken an active role in making sure they are met, but there is always the unknown that makes a trip an adventure. So don't take my description as a diss.

Having said that, I would recommend that you take a hard look at your infrastructure of the downtown area around your performance venues. You have hotels but no restaurants. The sidewalks are in terrible disrepair and filthy with dead chewing gum and litter. The MetroMover, despite it being free and fairly reliable, is nearly impossible for someone in a wheelchair to access. For this you invite groups from out of town to visit your city. I can't say that I would relish coming back, even if I was physically more fit to walk about.

At the same time, I experienced rain that did not leave me cold. I met people from all over the Caribbean and sampled great food. People were friendly and helpful when I needed assistance. So you have much to go on that would make that part of the city great.

I saw towers of condos being built and wondered what those folks would do for entertainment. Would they leave the core for other places, or would they stay, walking to a restaurant to have a nice meal then go on transit to the venue to see the opera or the symphony? It's something you need to consider.

Anyway, thanks for the adventure. Take care.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Scenes from a Festival

I have one question for those of you who live below the freeze line and go through summer with humid heat.

How do you do it?

Sweet mercy mother, it was hot in Miami. Hawaii was warm but nothing like Miami. If I had to do the tropics again, I'll do Hawaii. But I survived the heat and the sun without getting burned or heatstroke. Thank goodness for Mr Carrier and the air conditioner. Otherwise you'd find me passed out under a palm tree from too many mojitos.

I'm glad I went though. The music was fabulous and the atmosphere of the GALA festival was so welcoming. Someone described it as a big family reunion, and in many ways it is (without having to bring cole slaw). This time though many of the women didn't come. I don't know if it was due to the cost or lack of interest, but there were far fewer women's choruses there than usual. So many of my conversation partners were men: singers, spouses of singers, support, and directors.

I have a ton of pics left to sort through but I wanted to at least share some that to me speak of the experience. So enjoy!

It was the music.

The young and the young at heart all making music together.

Of course there was audience participation.

The directors got a workout.

But the rewards were incredible.

There were storms and sunshine.

And a lot of cameraderie.

For love and peace.

And warm feet.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Heading Southeast

Just a note that I'll be away from the blog until at least the 20th. I have an early departure tomorrow for Miami and the bags are all packed. The children have a sitter, the garbage is out, and the hair has been cut. I promise pictures and stories. While I'm not doing the Tour de Fleece, I'm taking my Turkish spindle and the Bright Red Bug wool with me to try spindling on the road. I did it tonight at knit night with one of the other spindles and found I couldn't resist the allure of the spindle. So maybe I'll do up the entire 4 oz of BRBW. We'll see. I have knitting with me too. It'll be another adventure. And that's what makes it fun.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Fiber to Scarf Backatcha!

I have been keeping my fingers crossed these last few days, hoping that Canada Post would be nice and push a package my way. Back in January, I had sent off a bundle of merino/shetland wool from Spor Farm in The Dalles. It was for the Fiber To Scarf exchange that Ted organized. The fiber was a reddish rusty brown that I thought would be nice for someone to spin up, especially since I had no idea who was going to be the recipient and their skill level.

This is what I received in return. The real treat is that the spinner and knitter was Lorraine Smith of Spinner's Quarterly. She confessed to me that she couldn't leave it by itself to be spun so she blended in red merino with a hint of angelina in one stripe, white angora in another stripe, and white ramie in the third. It's nummy!

When she emailed me last week that the scarf was done and on its way, I voiced my hope that it would arrive before I took off for the GALA Festival 8 in Miami. So the neighbors must have heard my squeal of glee when I saw a white plastic mailbag in my mailbox. Just in time to be modeled before I had my hair all cut off in preparation for the tropical sauna that is Miami.

Thanks Lorraine!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Two for the price of one

Do you like to swatch to socks? Uh huh. That's what I thought. "Why swatch when you can just start a sock then rip back if it doesn't work out." I'm probably not the first person to figure this out, but it's a nifty idea, especially if you like to use Judy's Magic Cast On. You can use the Patch Toe method too if you want, but this recipe for a sock swatch/spinning oil bottle bag uses the JMCO.

With the JMCO, cast on 32 sts total with the sock yarn and needles you're going to knit the socks with.

-- Knit 34 rounds.
-- Knit one row *K2, ssk, yo*
-- Knit 6 rounds.
-- *SSK, yo* one round.
-- Purl 1 round.
-- Knit 1 round.
-- *SSK, yo* one round.
-- Knit 1 round.

Turn at the purl row and sew the live stitches to the interior of the bag. Take 24 to 30 inches of sock yarn and twist it until it doesn't twist anymore. Fold it in half, letting it twist upon itself, then knot off the loose ends. Thread into the holes in the sides and knot the ends.

You can now check your sock yarn gauge and you have something useful for you or your spinning buddies.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A picture thingy from Flickr

Duffy's Mosaic Originally uploaded by duffysan

I found on someone else's blog this thingy where you can do a mosaic of Flickr pictures based on the answers to 12 questions. 1. What is your first name?

-- Duffy

2. What is your favorite food?

-- Macaroni & cheese

3. What high school did you go to?

-- Grant High School (the sign is outside the auto shop)

4. What is your favorite color?

-- Red

5. Who is your celebrity crush?

-- Queen Latifah. Oh yeah.

6. What is your favorite drink?

-- I will always cherish an excellent cup of coffee.

7. What is your dream vacation?

-- Wales

8. What is your favorite dessert?

-- Custard

9. What do you want to be when you grow up?

-- Comfortable

10. What do you love most in life?

-- My cats.

11. One word to describe you.

-- Laughing.

12. Your Flickr name?

-- Actually it's duffysan, but I put in fiber cat to see what would come up. Cool, eh?

It's yarn!

Fiber: Wool/Mohair/???
Colorway: Vine Maple
Ydg: 149 yds
Wt: 2.45 oz
WPI: 11
2 ply
Source: Ferndale Fibers Potluck Roving

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Last night at Sip n Stitch with the PDX Knitbloggers, someone asked me about my spinning wheels. "Why do you have more than one?" That evening I had brought my Louet S-10. The previous week I had brought in my Ashford Joy. I also have the Baynes which nowadays sits forlorn but is clean and shiny. So why do I have more than one wheel?

Abby Franquemont did an excellent entry on her blog about why she has so many wheels. But I'm not a textiles professional, so the need shouldn't be that great, right? Well, yes and no. If I wanted to work one type of fiber and make one type of yarn, yes. But if I want to be able to try out different fibers, I need the proper tools to do the job. Ask a woodworker if he has only one saw, one hammer, a few screwdrivers, and a piece of sandpaper and it's most likely the answer you'll get is "no." So it is with spinning.

Now that I'm getting better at spinning and plying evenly, I've found that for fine spinning the Joy works very well. I can get some nice fingering weight off that little puppy. Her ratios are 6, 8, 11, and 14 to 1, which for those of you not familiar with spinning means that for every turn of the main drive wheel I get 6, 8, 11 or 14 turns of the flyer, adding less or more twist to the single. It's also has scotch tension, giving me more control of the takeup onto the bobbin, so more fragile singles can be made up. There's also the ease of portability with the Joy. But the bobbins are small, so I end up with small skeins. It's also more difficult for me to ply on the Joy, especially chain ply.

You'd think that with the Joy coming into the house that the Louet would be relegated to a corner to gather dust. Au contraire, mon frere! Louie has proved to be a great wheel for heavier yarns and plying. Not only do I have the benefit of larger bobbins, but I have great control of the wheel's spin due to the direct drive. The ratios are 5.5, 7.5, and 10.5 to 1, a nice complement to the Joy's. So Louie gets just as much attention as Joy does.

As for Goody Baynes, she has her place in the household. She's a more traditionally appearing wheel, great for beginners to learn on, and a sturdy workhorse. She's the backup for the other workhorses and available for lending to beginning spinners. She's portable and a fine little wheel. Her ratios are 5.5 and 7.5 to 1, so she's not very good for fine spinning, but for basic yarns she's a good one.

And that's why I have more than one wheel. As for handspindles, well that's another entry! ;)