Monday, December 21, 2009 Minute Xmas Knitting

I'm not usually one to be knitting frantically the week before Xmas, but I find myself doing just that this year.

No Room For Error
With my mom's sweater, I am both shocked that I have left absolutely no time for errors and that I've not made any as I've been designing this beauty on the needles.

I also promised a family member a pair of FiberTrend Felted Clog slippers, so I have to fit that in with finishing the mom-gift.

Fortunately, I'm pretty confident I'll get it all done, but I just can't believe how closely I timed this one...not like me at all.

Current Knitting
I have sewn on the buttons, and finished the two sleeves up to the sleeve cap shaping. I actually had to give myself row-deadlines, such as "You can't go on the computer until you've finished 30 rows of knitting." It helped, because now I feel that the remaining knitting is manageable over the next couple of days.

Click here to view the most recent picture!

I'll post a couple of pictures of the felted clog slippers when I get the chance.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Hate Joe Lieberman

Is there anyone on the planet that actually likes this man who clearly only answers to the insurance companies that pay to get him elected?

Health Reform?
Great...they've worked like dogs to get a bill that is so watered down it makes virtually no impact on health care in this country whatsoever.

I don't quite understand what the harm was in offering Medicare to people starting at age 55.

It would seem to me that having a less aged pool of health care recipients, who pay into the Medicare fund would only be a good thing.

Oh...of course unless you were an insurance company making profits off of that same population, and you had spent almost a million dollars in election contributions to help get Senator Lieberman elected.

Then it might not be such a good thing.

I am incensed that Lieberman can be so obvious and the entire state he represents doesn't physically storm his office to unseat him.

Current Knitting
It's been a while since I posted.

I'm still working on the cardigan for my mom for Christmas.

I'm happy to say I've finished the back, the two fronts, the button band and the button-hole band. There are pictures out on my projects list in Ravelry...just click on the picture below.

I'm also happy to state that as it's 10 days before Christmas, I have also finished the ribbing on both sleeve cuffs, and knitted a bit of both sleeves (I'm doing both at the same time).

Readers' Comments/Questions
Concerning storage of contact information, Johanna asks, "Might you try something that isn't tied to your work? Like Gmail or something else?"

I may end up doing something like that, but some web softwares charge for the service, which I think is ridiculous, and I feel like you never know how stable applications like Gmail will be over the decades. Even my blog server (Blogger or dumped all my photos when they were bought out by Google...and I had paid to store them.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Three anniversaries recently passed, and only one got any attention at all:

1. Our delightful little kitty, Gage died three years ago...Thaddeus and I do an annual mini-hike to where he's buried...a beautiful wooded area that overlooks an estate on the Delaware River.

2. Thaddeus and I hit the 26 year milestone of being together in the middle of last month.

3. November 11th was my 7th year of writing QueerJoe blog.

Without Technical Help, I'm Useless
I am terrible at remember birthday's anniversaries, or even simple scheduled events like doctors visits. I rely heavily on having software like Outlook remind me of such things.

Unfortunately, when my company was bought out this past June, I had to convert from Outlook to Lotus Notes...and I just HATE Lotus Notes (even more than Outlook!).

I still haven't finished loading all my contacts onto Lotus Notes, and it's been five months. I also haven't been able to load all my birthdays and anniversaries.

I feel as though when I finally get all the data that I used to keep on Outlook, loaded onto Lotus Notes, I will probably have to convert to some other system!

Current Knitting
I'm happy to say that I've completed quite a bit more of my mom's Christmas gift sweater.

I've made it up to the point where I have started shaping the arm holes, and I'm working both front parts simultaneously, figuring it will be easier to do the neck shaping on both sides, rather than try to remember what I did on one side when I finally make it up to the neck shaping on the second side.

Free Knitting Pattern Links
I'm sure web sites like this have been created before, but this one looked like a good list of the 25 best web sites for free knitting patterns, so I thought I'd pass it on.

25 Best Places to Find Free Knitting Patterns Online

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I've Subscribed Again

Well, I never did subscribe to Spin-Off before, but I used to subscribe to other knitting magazines.

I can't remember why I subscribed to Spin-Off Magazine. I think there must have been a deal where I got an extra issue for free or something, but I don't recall.

Regardless, I'm quite glad I did...even if this is the only good issue I get in a year.

There's a wonderful article by Abby Franquemont on plying on a spindle. She's got a few e-videos where she shows herself doing this technique that Ted linked to in comments a few weeks ago, but they're non-tutorial. Combining the instructions from the magazine article, and the videos will be a good way to learning this new technique (new to me anyway).

Jacey Boggs had a fascinating article on spinning coiled yarns...I may never do it, but it was a fascinating read. I also got a lot out of Jeannine Bakriges article on Seven Drafting Techniques and Debbie Grale's article called "Two Yarns, Three Projects." While I don't intend on making any of the projects, her experimenting with different variegated rovings helped me understand spinning better.

Finally, I've realized I must own Abby Franquemont's new book, "Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite Yarns with One Amazing Tool
"...I think Abby is amazing spinner and I find I understand her writing about the craft very well.

Current Knitting
With plain stockinette stitch on the current project, it's moving along quite well.

Since the project is looking more like the final gift, I've decided I will only link to my Ravelry project pictures of the garment.

I'll be working on this over the next week or two until it's done.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Re-Doing, Re-Tooling

One of the guys at the last Men's Spring Knitting Retreat (hey Vince!) taught a class on continental knitting and purling. I've been practicing it on and off since May, and just got the perfect excuse for doing a LOT of practice.

The Mom's Cardigan
After doing endless ribbing on US0 needles, I finally made my way up to the stockinette stitch of the cardigan I'm working on.

It only took an inch or two of knitting to realize that the fabric was going to gather way more than I planned as it transitioned from the ribbing to the plain fabric. I considered it to be completely unacceptable and I couldn't think of any way to fix it, so I realized I had to start all over...which meant re-doing all the ribbing.

My practice in doing ribbing in the continental way paid off, as I was able to re-do all the ribbing (actually about 10% I wouldn't get the same amount of gathering).

I'm quite pleased with my progress so far. In fact, I'm pretty certain I will have to link to Ravelry for the remainder of my photos of this project so that my family won't get to see the project until my mom does at Christmas.

Here's a video describing how I do continental ribbing, in case there are those out there interested in learning it.

Four Days of Love
One of the best parts about four day holidays like this past weekend's Thanksgiving holiday here in the States, is that I get time to spend with my two loves.

Unfortunately, only one of them will let me take a picture of them!

Actually, Nico takes a bit of time getting used to me each weekend when I get home from work travel, and four days in a row with him and he turns into a complete love-bug.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Knitters - The Nicest and The Meanest

I had the great fortune to be able to meet up with the "Presto Knitters" this past Monday (they meet in downtown Wilmington on Monday nights for anyone interested), and they are a great group of women. We were discussing how the on-line knitting community has introduced us to both the most amazing people, and the most awful people.

Clearly the Presto Knitters are part of the former group!

Social Knitting
As anyone who has ever observed me at the Men's Knitting Retreats will tell you, when I'm around a group of knitters, I end up being WAY more interested in socializing than knitting.

The same was the case this past Monday. Here are pictures of the group.

I figured since I would only be going to this group once, I wouldn't bother myself with learning names.

The one in the center here is devilishly funny...ask her about Flamingo Bob if you ever meet her.

The woman on the right is Meghan...I promised I would link to her blog, Running With NEED to scroll down and check out the picture of her dog...she told me it was a chihuahua and something mix...can't remember the other breed, but he's a complete is Meghan.

The man in the corner was there for over 3 hours, completely surrounded by knitters and never once felt compelled to move to a quieter area of the cafe. I was astounded.

And finally, the devilishly funny one...I had to go all "papparazzi on her ass" because she was getting a bit too sassy. Although she did suggest a new video series, "Knitter Girls Gone Wild" where we'll get a bunch of knitter women drunk and have them flash for the video camera.

It was a great time, and I was sad to have only discovered this weekly group the last week of my stay in Wilmington!

Current Knitting
I've almost doubled the amount of work completed on the new project. doubled isn't so much...but once I get past the ribbing, I'm expecting the sweater to zip along.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the cardigan, Ron Huber asks, "Are you going to make set-in sleeves? And if so, how do you calculate them?"

Yes, the sweater will definitely have set-in sleeves. I usually calculate the set-in amount at about 10% of the width of the sweater. I then come up with the number of stitches to cast-off each row at the sleeve hole opening that will give it the correct looking shaping. In the case of this sweater, I will have to carve out about 2.5 inches which equates to about 33 stitches. This will end up being binding off 8 sts on the first row of the arm hole, 4 sts on the next 3 rows, 3 sts on the next 2 rows, 2 sts on the next two rows and 1 st on the next three rows...or something like that. If the result doesn't look right, I'll re-do it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Intent vs Letter

I know it seems a lot easier to have a world that's black and white with no grays, but as most of you know, life just doesn't work that way. Looking at what policies, rules and laws intend may take a bit more work, but it accomplishes what was originally....well....intended.

I have a friend who is very conservative, both politically and socially. He rages against folks that don't use turn signals, and can't abide folks that can't make snap decisions about things like sending troops into Afghanistan.

We were at lunch one day in a restaurant, and he loudly berated the waitress for some minor infraction of server etiquette. It seemed to me the ultimate in hypocrisy.

Etiquette, to me, is the set of rules by which we show civil politeness to each other, and yet my friend was willing to throw out all attempts at being fact he was quite insist that someone follow the rules of politeness.

The irony was lost on my friend when I tried to explain this.

I know it would be easier to just blindly follow the rules and pressure people to do the same, because a world of absolutes is so much easier, but the more experienced, sage folks among us will always tell you that there are no short-cuts. The easier, softer way will only lead to needing to fix shit later.

Current Knitting
I started a new project this week (as if I didn't have enough on the needles). A week or so ago, my mom asked me if I would make her a heather-gray cardigan for Christmas. She couldn't have asked for a nicer gift for both of us.

I measured one of her existing cardigans, did a bunch of test-swatches and then calculated out the majority of the pattern.

You can see I haven't gotten too far on the bottom ribbing, but based on the picture below, you'll note I'm working on quite small needles.

Fortunately, my mom is petite, so it shouldn't be too difficult getting this all knit up and finished in time for Christmas.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks to all who commented about the new recommendations on breast cancer screening. As always, I found your ideas interesting and thought-provoking, and I was mostly glad to be able to read perspectives from women. I was particularly grateful to hear from the women that shared personally incidences.

Regarding my latest gossamer lace project, Kerry writes, "That lace design is interesting. Is it one of your own designs or is it commercially available?"

It comes from one of my lace books...I think it's from Gossamer Webs by Galina Khmeleva. I can't remember the pattern stitch name at the moment, and I don't have it with me...I'll check when I get home on Wednesday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Are Women Saying?

With the recent recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (an independent panel of government-appointed experts that reviews medical research and recommends ways to reduce the risk of illness and death) that mammograms women (who are not at high risk for breast cancer because of family history) should start at age 50 instead of 40, I was wondering what women feel about this change.

Personal Experience
Knowing a few under-50 women who were successfully treated for breast cancer because they followed current standards, I was at first very concerned about these new recommendations. But then I realized that the women I know, were all considered high-risk for breast cancer.

Even though the task force who made these recommendations is sponsored and funded by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, I still got the impression the results were impartial and based on statistics and actual history of breast cancer detection. They also must have understood the shit-storm of response this recommendation would get.

So...I just wondered what the folks who are most affected by this decision think. Does it seem reasonable if the numbers add up? Or is this the latest in ways that bureaucracy have denied women adequate health care for years...or somewhere in between?

Current Knitting
I finally got around to doing a quick, careless blocking of my latest new project so I could get a picture of it.

Yes, I decided to start making myself a lace wrap using the Shetland gossamer singles I bought at Rhinebeck.

I'm glad I stopped to check my work through to this point, since I found a pretty significant error that required me to pull all this work out, and start again.

I'll keep you updated.

Readers' Comments/Questions
LesleyD and others have asked about the hand-spindled lace-weight, "Love the laceweight too!!! What's the lace weight's destiny?"

Not sure yet...I'm thinking about a nice lace scarf, but it definitely won't be for anything too big!

Regarding the political fighting over health care in the U.S., Canadian Barb B. asks, "Can you point at something that would help me make sense of this?"

Not really...most folks are mostly afraid of what they don't know...or they fear that a government run health plan might raise their taxes, reduce their existing (government-run) Medicare benefits or make them wait excessively for a necessary medical procedure. Dealing with the devil they know (the current for-profit insurance companies) is less scary than the devil they don't know...or in other words, it may be shit, but at least it's warm.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Traitorous Bastards

The Republicans are now well beyond bi-partisan politics...and even beyond obstructionists...they're traitors...trying to undermine the President and the U.S. government at every turn.

Throw The Bums Out
Remember how "unpatriotic" you were if you didn't support George W. in every one of his decisions?

Remember how many conservatives who were disappointed with the last presidential election claimed that they would support this president and see what he could do?

Do you think the Republicans are hoping that the country will be in worse shape by the time they come up for elections and the Democrats will be blamed.

Well, I say the Republicans in this country are acting like treasonous jerks...sacrificing the country's welfare for their own selfish, power-hungry motives. They would rather see millions in this country go uninsured, rather than pass a health care bill. Hell, they'd rather see this country fall into ruins, rather than have the President look even the littlest bit successful.

I can only hope the folks that truly have this country's welfare in mind, will reject this bitter, unpatriotic nastiness, and tell their representatives that it won't be forgotten next time they're up for election. Hell, perhaps they should be tried for treason!

Current Knitting
Using up some of the left-over Berrocco Peruvian yarn from The Expedition Pullover, I started a new scarf...mostly because I didn't feel like getting into something overly complex.

I'm using what I thought would be a very interesting looking stitch, but it's turning out rather ordinary looking. Oh well, the scarf will look good and keep someone's neck warm even if the complexity of the stitch isn't evident when looking at the stitch pattern.

Current Spindling
I finished plying up about 120 yards of the laceweight I've been making on my drop spindles.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how this project is turning out so far...but even more pleasing is the new niddy noddy I got from Bosworths when I was at Rhinebeck. This little delight is a thing of beauty, and works just perfectly for the more delicate yarns I can create on a drop-spindle.

Readers' Comments/Questions
RowsRed, in responding to the yarn store in Livingston Manor, NY, asks, "Did you mean 'the Catskills'?"

In fact, I did. Van's store is in the Catskills. Sorry for my geographic gaffe and getting your hopes up.

Ted (the inspiration for my spindling project), asks, " are you plying that yarn? The best method for spindle-plying (IMO) is described by Abby Franquemont in this article:

I'm really just plying on a larger spindle, directly off the two smaller spindles. I read through Abby's great article, and will probably try it her way next time. Or perhaps I'll just keep spindling singles till May, and have Ted show me at the next retreat!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is It Worth $9.00?!?

Especially when there's a a Marvel Comic book called "Going Rogue" that goes for $45.99!

The Book's Not Even Out Yet
Yes, Sarah Palin's oeuvre (I think that means "rotten egg" in French), will be available for shipping from Amazon on November 17...less than a week...are you as excited as I am?

And even without a book on the shelves, the retail prices has gone from $28.99 to $9.00 on

Current Reading
I haven't posted about my reading pursuits lately, because I've been in the process of reading the first 5 of the Harry Potter series (still don't own the last two yet!).

For the most part, I've quite enjoyed reading the Harry Potter's been a relaxing and pleasant read, requiring very little of my concentration.

In the middle of the five books, I also took a little time out to read Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin. For those of you familiar with Maupin's Tales of the City series
of books, this one is a very pleasant ride down reading memory lane. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Back to knitting in my next post!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Perfect Coat For A Consultant

When you travel a lot, and go between climate zones and need to be prepared for cool weather, cold weather, rain and still have a coat that will go over a sports jacket or a casual shirt, there is no better coat than this.

Looks and Versatility
...No...I'm not talking about myself here.

This is the Barbour® Active Bedale Jacket. It's a waxed cotton coat that is water resistant, and can be worn on cool and somewhat cold days. You can also get an extra hood and a zip-in lining that makes it perfect for rainy days or days that get quite cold. It's very light to carry around and onto airplanes and can be crumpled up in a suitcase without getting it irreparably wrinkled. It also has quite a bit of pocket space.

Plus, it looks great in basic black.

It's an expensive little item, and care for the coat can be a bit fussy...especially if you send it away to have it re-waxed, but it is completely worth it.

I can't imagine how I lived as a consultant for years without it.

Current KnittingSpinning
I have been working on a new knitting project, but it's still not overly ready to photograph...not even sure it's going to work out at all.

So I did a bit more spindling of the lace-weight yarn from Black Bunny Fibers roving.

I've started plying the two singles onto my spindle from Tilt-a-Whorl. The resulting yarn is coming out very nicely, but I have to admit, it take a long time to spin such a fine yarn on drop-spindles!

Catskill Area Knitting
For those of you in the Catskill area of New York State, there's a Wednesday night knitting group at Mountain Bear Crafts. The store is located at:

8 Pearl Street
Livingston Manor, NY 12758

Say hi to my friend Van if you get to go!
Stop by and bring your current project for an enjoyable night of knitting.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Are You a Misfit?

I'm reading a lot lately of folks that consider themselves to be misfits...even among their own self-identified group of people.

Not Since High School
I haven't felt this way since High School.

There were certain areas where I had a lot of confidence in high school...French class, my part-time job, and at times with my friend Colleen. But for the most part, I felt like a complete misfit. Part of it was rejection by those peers from whom I sought some sort of validation...but the larger part was a self-identified isolation.

As a gay man in an allegedly predominantly heterosexual World, and one who has adopted a hobby that is certainly not mainstream, I think being a misfit would be a likely result. But when you take away the self-identification part, I find that those aberrant characteristics only serve to make me more interesting and multi-dimensional.

Or perhaps self-delusional.

Current Knitting
Was glad to get home to finish my latest sweater project, and I am very grateful to Todd for pulling together such a great pattern (he's also pulled together a Men's Knitting Retreat for this upcoming weekend in the Midwest...busy guy!).

I made a slight change to the sleeve. I figured since it was going to be a pretty warm sweater used on colder days, then I would rib the sleeve cuffs. I'll see what I can do to try and get Thaddeus to model the sweater for y'all...but don't hold your collective breath.

Readers' Comments/Questions
RaenCT asks, "Whats Birmingham like? My husband finally found a job in Birmingham (after a year of unemployment) and will be leaving in a month to start and find a new home for us. I have never been."

I've been down there quite a bit, and it's like most places...there are some wonderful parts and some less than wonderful parts. My experience of Birmingham is very limited...I stayed a great old hotel (the Tutweiler) and walked to my client. I went to a couple of very nice restaurants (John's City Diner and Little Savannah), but other than that, I can really only discuss the airport (which is small, but easy to manage).

Lesleyd271 writes, "In Birmingham AL still? That's where I am! shoot me an email if you want to catch a drink and some knits!!"

No...I actually just finished at that client, and most probably won't be back. Sorry to have missed you.

Monday, November 02, 2009

So Busy...So Important

Yes...if you could stop with all the camera flashes for a second, I'll breathlessly tell you all I've been doing. Along with my regular knitting and spinning (and irregular blogging about it, of course), I also had to fly to my client site last night and then take an early morning call to be interviewed by Swedish National Public Radio.

International Knit Fame
Every once in a while, a friend really will say something that will indicate that they envy my life, and I always think of something a wise person told me years ago, that helps me when I feel envious of someone or something:
"Don't compare your insides to someone else's outsides."
Don't get me wrong, I really like my life, but like everyone else it has it's wearisome aspects.

I really did fly to my client site for the week but what I didn't mention is that I had to leave my house after dinner last night to make a 9:15 flight to Alabama, which was delayed for 2 hours, getting me into my Birmingham hotel at 12:30 am (thank goodness they're in a different time zone at least, so I could get 6 hours of sleep before my radio interview!). Jet-setting really isn't what it used to be.

I really was interviewed by someone from Swedish Radio. Lovisa Lamm will be airing a five-part series on knitting and other fiber arts sometime in December, and was very interested in the Men's Knitting was a delight to speak with her. When I googled her name and translated one of the Swedish pages about her radio programs, she did a series on how to survive using street smarts, including the following topics:
Så blir du din egen polis (How to become your own police)
Så överlever du som soldat (How to survive as a soldier)
kurs: Så blir du strippa (Course: How to become a stripper)
Jeanette: Så lyckades jag ta mig ur en gruppvåldtäkt (Jeanette: So I managed to get me out of a gang rape)
kurs: Så slår du ner en våldtäktsman (Course: How to turn down a rapist)
Hopefully the knitting programs will be a bit more sedate...I'll make sure to send out a link when it gets aired at the end of the year.

Current Knitting
I've been working on three projects since last I blogged. I ripped out the lace ribbing at the end of the Mini Mochi scarf, so I can add some more center repeats. I started a new lace project that I have to see if it pans out before I blog about it. And, I got more done on the Expedition Pullover...:

You can see I've finished the first sleeve, and I've started the second, and I've also added the buttons, which I thought were PERFECT for Todd's masterpiece of a design. The buttons are from Nature Buttons and they're lightweight, recycled ceramic buttons with a great mottled gray glaze on them. The color and the shape are exactly what this sweater needed.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my latest spindling project, Wendelene asks, "Do you find it hard to keep your plys the same weight when you spin them on different spindles? I've bought several spindles over the years, and just can't seem to get the hang of them."

I'm surprised to read this. If anything, my spindling is a bit more even than my wheel spinning...I've always felt like I had a bit more control using drop-spindles than when I used my wheel. It's a little easier for me when I spin any fiber as thin as it allows...especially when the fiber is as evenly carded as this roving is. My only complaint with spindling is it takes me longer to get a similar result as the wheel, but I am truly enjoying both my latest spindles.

Pam writes, "The pink Chibi thing is just disturbing on several levels. Cheap plastic needle case selling for HOW MUCH(!!) because it happens to be pink?? And people were actually paying?"

Actually, the Chibi craze was an artificially created fad by someone on the KnitFlame list who wrote up some excellent eBay offerings and KnitList postings that gave the original color pink Chibi an amazing amount of snob appeal...she made it sound like you weren't a real knitter if you didn't have one in the original pink. What she didn't mention, was that they are still making pink was really a very clever demonstration of how you can bullshit some folks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rare Knitting

I find it fascinating that some things in the fiber world get to be extremely valuable.

What is The Holy Grail of Knitting Collectors?
I have always found it difficult to believe that folks would pay ridiculous prices for certain things related to knitting.

I own The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons-Hiatt.

It's a relatively impressive book, but is it really worth $200 or so for a knitting book?

I own an antique sock knitting machine made in 1900, and it still has the ability to create socks including ribbing and heel and toe-turning. It's an amazing little antique. For this item, I can kind of understand folks desiring it and paying high prices.

But then there's all things Alice Starmore. I'm seeing paperback books of hers like Stillwater going for over $100. I actually like Alice's designs and think Stillwater is a good book of hers, but honestly, it's not worth $100. And then of course, there's "The Scottish Collection" which includes the design for "Marina"...which I consider to be mediocre as far as Starmore designs go. Although, in that same thin pamphlet (yes, the thing is just a flimsy pamphlet!) you can also find a chunky entrelac pullover in pastel colors designed by Carol Lapin.

Anyway, I've been thinking that I should try and see what I can get for this little gem.

This is a project bag that was given out to people that came to a traveling tour of Alice Starmore conducted by Tomato Factory and Broad Bay Company (the original promoters of Alice in the states). I can't imagine there are many of them around anymore...although I did see a Broad Bay "On The Road With Alice Starmore" bag during my google searches to research this blog entry.

And then of course, there's the "pink chibi" craze...

Current Knitting Spinning
I have done some knitting on the sleeve for the Expedition Pullover, but I also started a new spinning project.

I have been inspired by a few things. First of all, at Rhinebeck, Knitterguy Ted had a beautiful lace-knit scarf that he made used hand-spindled laceweight yarn and it was just delicate and beautiful.

Second, I had my two new purchases from Rhinebeck to play with...the Bosworth niddy noddy, and the drop spindle from Robin Wheels.

Finally, I was mostly inspired by a gift from knit-friend, Loraine (fiberninja).

Her husband started making drop-spindles, and as they downsized on their recent move to Florida, she gifted me with this lovely spindle. Thanks Loraine!

So, using some naturally dyed Coopworth roving from Black Bunny Fiber (dyed with cochineal), I decided to start spinning up some laceweight yarn of my own.

It will end up being a two-ply yarn when all is said and done, and then I'll try and make something nice looking from the result.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have always been pretty ambitious, and it surprised me in my early adulthood to learn that not everyone is. I just thought it was one of those things that everyone was naturaly.
n. 1. a. An eager or strong desire to achieve something, such as fame or power.
b. The object or goal desired: Her ambition is the presidency.
2. Desire for exertion or activity; energy: had no ambition to go dancing.

How Will Retirement Look?
As I get closer and closer to a concept I call retirement, I have to admit that I find it inconceivable that I won't be actively pursuing various avocations and vocations to the same level I pursued my career...even if that means taking a paying job. Certainly I will continue to knit, spin, crochet, etc. But I think I will always have a desire to be useful and appreciated, even if the appreciation comes in the form of a paycheck.

I have always affirmed the majority of my worthiness through what I do for a living, and I can't imagine I could easily do without maintaining some level of that affirmation.

Current Knitting
I finished the front/left and the collar on the Expedition Pullover, and I have started down the first sleeve.

It's nice to be working on a pattern that works up so nicely and easily.

I also finally got a picture of the almost completed Mini Mochi scarf.

I have definitely decided that I will rip out the ribbing and add a few more lace repeats and then re-do the ribbing. I can't imagine wasting any of this lovely yarn.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my Robin Spinning Wheel, Seanna Lee writes, "I'm assuming for such a gorgeous looking wheel that Gil has quite a long wait list."

When I ordered mine a few years back, there was a 15 month waiting list and he finished it in 12 months. Now that he has an intern, he said he's been able to keep a steady production of wheels...although I don't know if that means the waiting list is shorter, or back to his normal 15 months. But you're right, his wheels are truly gorgeous and spin like a dream.

Regarding my Robin spindle, Duffysan writes, "What a pretty little handspindle. How many grams is it?"

I don't pathetic is that...and since I just started a new spindling project with it, I can't weigh it. It's pretty light...even lighter than it looks if that helps. At one point when I get it emptied, I'll weigh it an let you know.