I've moved

What can I say? I'm fickle.

You will now find me here:


I am also going to only maintain the one blog . . . two was too much work. I'm done here. See ya there!


Contrary to popular belief

I have not disappeared from the face of the planet, either by natural or supernatural means. Neither have I disappeared from the face of the internet, not that you could tell that from the state of my poor, neglected blog.

I've been fairly busy . . . not as busy as I'd like to say I've been, but busy enough. The biggest problem is that I haven't been good about taking pictures of things that I've been busy doing.

There's the sweater of which I'm quite proud . . .

. . . because it actually fits! And I loves it, it's soft and squishy and warm!

There's also been spinning, which I will go into more detail about some other day.

I've also been working on a website: SJGrayStudio. It's still a work in progress, but it's coming along nicely I think. Go check out the cool stuff in the gallery - and tell Curly how much you love it!

In other web related news, I'm now part of the committee (yeah, there's three of us) working on the church website. We're aiming to revamp it by this fall . . . so I'll give you the address when we're done.

There was other knitting, some of which has been gifted away, other of which isn't finished yet (and I'm shaming myself into getting it all done), so no pictures there.

We made a trip up to Maryland for their sheep and wool festival. Many sheep were appreciated . . .

and much fiber was purchased, including a half Bluefaced Leicester cross fleece I bought, that I sent off to be processed in order to spare our kitchen sink all of the lanolin.

Two years of the sheep and wool fest and I have yet to buy yarn there. It's not the yarn's fault; there's a lot of gorgeous yarn. I just seem to go into the festival with fiber on the brain.

And if the Sheep and Wool Festival has come and gone, then it must be time for vegetable gardening! Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! And we have a new planting box on the fire escape, which we are filling with herbs.

It has been a fun spring. We even taught middle/high school Sunday school on a couple occasions - that was a trip! I made soap - and it actually cleans stuff. I found a bread recipe that I just love. We almost moved to Alaska (well, almost might be an exaggeration). I'll have to talk about those things in more depth later.

Meanwhile, there's more knitting going on, even more knitting that I want to do, even more books I want to read, more movies to see, more things to see and do, more stuff to write about . . . eventually.


I got tagged!

Cheryl just tagged me on this one, so here are my answers to the current meme:

The Rules - Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.
Since I don't do this very often, here goes:

1. What I was doing 10 years ago:

I was finishing up my sophomore year of high school, starting another summer of swim team practices and lifeguarding.

2. What 5 things are on on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

Coffee, breakfast, feed the kitten, pack my dinner, go to work

3. Snacks I enjoy:

Snap peas, sun chips, oatmeal cookies, cheese, fruit

4. Things I would do if I was a billionaire:

Go and find a small development of McMansions somewhere in farming country, buy them all along with some more land, knock them all down and build a smaller house and a barn and start raising sheep and goats. Might even build the mostly in ground "hobbit" house I've always wanted.

5. Places I have lived:

Norfolk, VA; Wilmore, KY; Los Angeles, CA . . . lather rinse repeat

I'm not going to tag anyone with this - if you wanted a chance to do it and no-one's tagged you yet - consider yourself invited.

And yes Cheryl, I have another post coming, but I need a few more pictures. So maybe tomorrow, when I have a day off, I'll get that knocked out.


Adventure 2008 - #2

Meet Cecilia.

For the mildly curious - she's a spinning wheel, and yes, "they" still make those. For the increasingly curious - she's a Lendrum single treadle folding wheel and a product of Canada, where, I'm coming to realize, most of the best of wool related things on this side of the pond originate. Necessity is the mother of invention after all.

Here's some of yesterday's spinning. It's about 30 grams of white coopworth that I dyed a couple weeks ago. The coopworth came with the wheel, and after a couple of weeks of practicing with it, I had to dye some, so as to fend of insanity. All that white was getting to me. I dyed this wad to fit into the color theme for this month in Project Spectrum: Fire.

The coopworth is a breed of sheep with a fleece made up of medium length fibers that are somewhat coarse and crimpy. It's supposed to be good for beginning spinners because it sticks to itself readily and the fibers are long enough to make drafting easier. Merino would be softer than this is, but the fibers are also shorter, which is what makes merino pill, and also makes it a bit harder to spin because the shorter fibers are easier to pull apart and need more twist to hold together. Merino is on my to do list.

So I sat and made the wheel spin to the right while I fed it wool, filling two bobbins. Then I let the bobbins sit overnight. Then I took their pictures.

After that I plied them together, making the wheel spin to the left. What I got looks somewhat like this (this is a different roving I spun a couple weeks back), but as the light has gotten worse as the day went on, and the yarn is still soaking in woolwash before I hang it up to dry, I don't have a picture of the actually firey yarn yet. I'll get that sometime soon.

This is 4 oz. of Bluefaced Leicester dyed by Wiley of Sakina Needles in her Mango colorway. Bluefaced Leicester (BFL or Biffle) has much longer fibers that are also finer and softer, it is much like a very long staple merino as I understand it. I really like this fiber, it was lovely to spin and I hope to get my hands on at least one BFL fleece in May at the Sheep and Wool festival in Maryland.

I am trying to make sure I practice for at least three hours a week, and thus far I have had very little trouble finding time. I am really enjoying being able to make something "all by myself;" my inner five year old is very pleased.



I should begin an adventure in posting more often . . . but seriously.

I need to get some photo's taken so I can show the fun stuff I've been up to, but the light in the apartment has been abysmal, what with winter and all and there being a good bit of rainy days. And I need to take some process shots of things, which is hard to remember to do when you're in the throws of actually doing it.

But beyond that I was having a thought the other day as to this whole adventure thing, and I was feeling a bit ungrateful for some of the "everyday" things I'd been taking for granted. Shame on me. I guess it's amazing what you can get used to, if you let yourself.

For instance, we haven't bought bread in over a year. It used to be that I made bread as often as I thought I had time, and when we ran out or I couldn't keep up with consumption, I bought a loaf. I seem to have settled into a pattern where I can keep up just fine.

Strange thoughts I have at 2am . . .


A sweet scent is on the breeze

I'm plotting for another adventure . . . but for now all I have are two pounds of beeswax on my desk making the second bedroom smell slightly of honey. Darn!


Adventure 2008 - #1

The Sweater

Yup, I said sweater.

Pattern: Tangled Yoke Cardigan, by Eunny Jang, size: 50"
Isn't it lovely?

After a couple months of hemming and hawing and a couple of failures to acquire the desired yarn followed by a far and wide search of all the places I knew sold yarn to find a cache of enough skeins for the project, I finally located and purchased what I had decided was the perfect yarn. I wanted a lovely tweed not unlike that called for in the pattern, because I could just see a sea of stockinette dotted with cute little flecks.

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, 192 yd's/50g, color 08 Herb

I had intended to have some pictures of my progress over the last two weeks, but between rainy days that failed to provide good light for photography, followed by the sick lappy, I neglected to take any pictures prior to today - exactly the two week mark. So, I'll make up for it with lots of detail pictures.

Now would be a good time to note that I felt that in order to make this a sweater that I would wear, I needed to make some modifications. I love the sweater as written, don't get me wrong, but it breaks a couple of rules for how to flatter my plus sized, pear shaped figure. First off, I don't much wear cardigans, as those pesky buttons tend to leave gaps that make it look like my sweater is too small. So, step one, make it a pullover. I added five stitches, and knit in the round.

My intention is to split for a button placket after joining the sleeves and just before beginning that lovely cabled yoke - making it more of a henley, with 4 buttons or so. The other problem I had was the ribbing, which, while very attractive, looked destined to cut me off at an awkward point and serve to be less than flattering. So, it had to go (and the part of my brain that hates knitting ribbing because it's slow, rejoiced . . . until it realized that I'd be knitting stockinette for.ev.er.). I decided on a hemmed edge.

I also decided to use that hemmed edge to add an extra inch of length to the body, as I am long in the torso, and don't like it when I sit down and my sweater and jeans gap. When I wear a sweater, it's because I need the added warmth: gaps mean drafts kids, and drafts are cold! I intend to do the same to the sleeves, as I also have long arms. Now to the things I love and wouldn't change for the world!

See that? That's a fake seam. I am purling one stitch at each side to give the appearance of seam. That is why I chose this sweater - no seams to sew.

And see that? That's waist shaping. My sweater is going to have a waist! I figure if I have one, why shouldn't it?

Ok, so far that's all I have. I have two more increase rounds to knit on the body and then it will be time to start the sleeves. Thanks for playing along!

I don't often get a good shot of the kitten, as she tends to walk off when I get the camera out, but since this one turned out so well . . . here you go, gratuitous kitty pictureage.


To all those wise folks . . .

who ever told me to set goals, write them down, and try to meet them:

I am sorry. I'm sorry for every bad thought I had about you, every time I thought you were nuts. As usual, I was wrong. Here's the proof.

Goals for 2008:

Knit myself two sweaters (more would be good, but we'll see)
Knit the boy one
Spin for three hours a week
Knit up all the pairs of socks I have yarn for, or not buy any more sock yarn
Dye more, and take notes
Make soap
Find a pasta roller, and make more pasta
Eat more "good" cheese

Ok, those last two may be product of the munchies, but I think they'll improve my life.

I want to have more adventures this year. To that end I've already begun some adventures. Meanwhile, I got to have an adventure in sick lappy. Thankfully the lovely fruit store folks fixed my lappy right up. Now that the lappy is happy, I will get on to showing you my first adventures for the year. Life is too short to let it get boring - onward!


It was a banner year . . .

There you have pictures of nearly every project I completed this year. And I can safely say that in terms of knitting, I accomplished nearly all of my goals. The only thing I neglected was my sock club membership - I still have 4.5 pairs of socks to knit.

And while the Christmas knitting got a little hectic towards the end, I really enjoyed working on it. So here you have the "secret" knitting for 2007:

I finished 4 grandma shawls (some of which you've seen before):

Then for the MIL and FIL : a pair of socks and a hat.

For one SIL, a pair of mittens, for the other a wrap, and for the BIL, a manly scarf:

And to top off this show, I have a huge hat.

Ok, you'll have to trust me on this one, but when I tried it on in this state, it hung down nearly to my shoulders. Now this lovely blue hat, has a lovely cranberry colored twin. And I can say now that they've both been felted down to fit a more normal sized human head. However, I was not present for the felting. I have been promised pictures of the finished product, which I will share if I have permission.

We had a great time with our homemade Christmas, a tradition I fully intend to continue for a good portion of my Christmas presents (I hope they don't mind). The other part of our themed festivities was Christmas dinner. The decision was made to wait until after dinner to decide on next year's theme. Suggestions for next year would make a good gauge for the success of this year - the more out there and wild we got, the more we thought of this years theme. And let me tell you, we weren't shy about suggestions for themes and ingredients - and I'm excited!