small and fuzzy

I’ve been home for nearly two weeks now, but it’s gone by amazingly quickly. Oh, especially because I went to Massachusetts over the weekend, mostly for the Sheep and Wool festival.

I’m still working on labelling my photos from Europe, but here are a few from since I got back.



Japanese maple


If things go more or less as planned, I’ll have a post on Venice up tomorrow.

The title refers both to the fact that I think I’ll be back to blogging more regularly now that I’ve basically finished school stuff and packing/moving stuff (unpacking is a different question, but it’s less urgent) and to the welcome I got from the weather here in Vermont:


That’s looking out toward the deck and backyard, a few minutes ago.

This next photo is from last Tuesday, in Philly:


Just a little different, there… But I don’t have to go anywhere today, so the snow and wind aren’t a problem.


As far as fiber, I’ve finished a batch of spindle-plying and started a new set of AbbyBatts:

IMG_5739 IMG_5740

And I finally finished knitting my Hedgerows of Screams:


(Photo taken before moving.)


Also, thank you to everyone for congratulations on my defense. (WP had some comment-emailing hiccups, and I got caught up in an extra experiment for my paper as well as moving stuffs, but I do appreciate your comments.)

Random Wednesday is a good way to try to catch up, right?

Anyway. Stuffs. I’m still working on revisions to my thesis, but I’ve got a few other things to share here.

First, the weaving I learned in that class I went to Michigan for:

IMG_5688 IMG_5690


I had a fantastic time that weekend, despite the stresses of all that driving (after a couple months of not driving at all). It was great to get to hang out with fiber people, and really fun to learn something totally new. Also, though SE Michigan and NW Ohio are kinda disturbingly flat, I’m glad I got to see them, and it was good to get to see the scenery around Pittsburgh again. It’s been quite a while since Pittsburgh was the nearest big city, but I used to see those hills on a pretty regular basis. (Philly, though less freakishly flat than the parts of Michigan near the highways I took, does not have scenic hills. Except in the northwestern bits, but those only sorta count, because they’re smaller hills and I rarely see them.)

…And some yarn:


This is a batt from Enchanted Knoll Farm, in the Titania colorway, made from wool from Josette’s sheep. Very, very nice.

…And a happy cat:


Mel turned six last week, and he got to spend part of the day sitting in the sunshine, with the warm air from the fridge as an extra treat.

…the “Hey, look! Stuff!” edition.

Also known as the “work-writing has taken most of my words” edition.

So I present some of the things I’ve been doing to de-stress over the last couple of months.



Each of these skeins is ~2.5 oz, for that mixed-handpaint sweater. Actually, the bottom one is the one that showed up a few weeks ago on the bobbin.


Cheviot plying ball. Will probably grow up to be a pair of socks. I’m hoping the orange dominates over the purple.




My first attempt at warping from a warping board, and my first all-handspun item. It’s too short to be a table runner, even, so it may just be a wall-hanging by wherever I put my loom in my next home. (It’s less than 4oz, because it’s all from one braid of polwarth in Pandora, from Southern Cross Fibre; 2ply warp & pseudo-thick-and-thin singles for weft.)

…and Cat-Entertaining:

Mel has a new favorite napping spot

He seems less fond of the tuner as a napping spot now that I’ve taken to piling my shawls/hat closer to the right-hand speaker. He still sits there sometimes, to supervise dinner, but he’s gotten comfortable enough with Being Downstairs that he’s started sitting on the couch with me, even when my housemate’s cat is within sight on her couch, on the other side of the room.

San Diego photos will be up eventually. I think.

Today’s translation of “random” post: “Hey, look! Pictures!”

Mel, wondering why I kept shining lights in his face. (Mostly the autofocus thingy.)

Oscar, one of the cats I’m co-catsitting for Min.

Oscar again.

Felix, Min’s other cat.

Felix “pretending to be cute”, as Min put it.

Mel, far enough away from the camera that it’s not disturbing him. (This was a couple of weeks ago, when it was cooler.)

Knitting! I’m making good progress on my sunflower shawl, thanks to the knitters’ housewarming I attended on Saturday and the Momix show I attended on Sunday. (Yes, it’s tricky to knit lace in a dark theater, but I only made one mistake. And I was exhausted, so the fidgeting helped counteract the darkness-with-soothing-music. It helped that I was on the aisle, so I could use the emergency lights in the stairs to read my (backlit) stitches.)  Please pretend I vacuumed before taking that photo.  I meant to, but I couldn’t bear to disturb Mel, who was napping peacefully a couple feet away.


And on my way to Min’s yesterday evening, I stopped at the pet-supply store, mostly to ask about the cat-for-adoption (from a local rescue org) whom I hadn’t seen recently (he’s been adopted, and seems to have taken to his new family quite nicely).  I wound up chatting with the storekeeper, though, because she asked about my Mirah shirt, and whether it meant I was going to Mirah’s show at the Unitarian Church next month.  I’ve now checked the R5 show listings, and I’ve found two I want to attend: Mirah, even though she’ll be here the Monday after I move, and Stars.  I’m sorta happy and sorta frustrated, since I haven’t had lots of spare energy lately even without concerts…  (Also, I wish they were at World Cafe Live instead of the Church.  I like being able to sit at shows–it means I can see better, and it means I can knit more easily.  And WCL has better (i.e., palpable) air conditioning.)

So….I’ve continued to spin kind of a lot.

Superwash batts from Enchanted Knoll Farm, in Gold Dust Woman and Jester/Chestnut (with Mel because someone on Ravelry complained that GDW wasn’t as nice without him).

Superwash top from Enchanted Knoll Farm, in Fawkes (I will need more of this colorway.)

Polwarth from Southern Cross Fibre, in the January club colorway Pandora. I’m much happier with this round of thick-and-thin, and I’m considering making a scarf with the 2ply as warp and the thick-and-thin as weft.

sumac plying ball
And, on Saturday, I finished (the singles of) this sorta long-term spindle project (2oz of merino/bamboo in Sumac, from Spunky Eclectic), which is now ready to ply (on the wheel, as soon as I finish plying that plying ball I showed last time, and maybe a couple of smallish batts that are also waiting to be plied).

The bouquet I bought last Wednesday is still pretty and making me smile to see it.

And I’ve continued to knit some on Revontuli, because it’s really good socializing-knitting. But I’ve been wanting to knit on something that grows a little faster than Revontuli but which I’m not making up (like the chai/phoenix shawl) or modifying (like the Hedgerow mitts). Just for fun. So I cast on another shawl.
springtime bandit
This is Springtime Bandit, in Acero from Brooks Farm, which I think I bought a year and a half ago at Rhinebeck. I cast on and got through the setup chart last night. As long as the wavy edge blocks out, I think I’ll really like it.  And I’ll at least kinda like it anyway.  It’s been lovely to see how much color variation is in that yarn–I’d totally forgotten.

I took today to Not Leave My House and actually get some cleaning done.  I had moved the oak chest that I use both as yarn storage and as a low armrest/endtable at one side of the couch, and piled up the blankets that have been out on the couch all winter…and then Mel hopped up to the other side of the couch and started meowing.  I spread out the blankets again, and then saw this:


Mel immediately purring and kneading the nest of blankets.

I’m feeling sorta blah today, despite having “gone” “running” this morning and having had a very nice lunch. So I figured I’d post a cheery, sunlit picture of Mel being a weaving assistant last weekend.


I’ve only got fringe-twisting left on the stole/scarf thing.  And I’m about halfway done with my Olympic knitting project, though I’m nowhere near done with the plying.  Ah, well.

• I stayed in my apartment for the entire weekend, not dealing with Snowpocalypse Part I until the streets and sidewalks were relatively clear.  It was wonderful.  (And the cold is nearly gone.  Neither decongestants nor more than four tissues today!)

• I am not looking forward to Snowpocalypse Part II, which should start any minute now.  I don’t really care for more than a couple of inches of snow in places where the sidewalks don’t get cleared.

• On the other hand, lots of snow can be awfully pretty or otherwise interesting-looking.


• Part of what I did on Sunday was warp my loom and start weaving a stole for my mom:

warping in the sunlight

(This is a mid-warping picture, when the afternoon sun was filling my living room.)

• Mel was being a pest the other day. (Surprise, surprise, a cat being a pest…) So I moved the bin of fiber that had been on the Lendrum-spinning chair in hopes that he’d at least not knock so much stuff over. This had the lovely side benefit that I actually spun on my Lendrum. I love the wheel, but the chair that fits with the Victoria is also the right height for the table on which I keep my laptop… Anyway, I had started spinning some Coopworth roving from Beth at The Spinning Loft. I’d been spinning it relatively finely, I think so that I could keep it as even as possible, and I wasn’t enjoying it much. When I picked it up again the other day, I went for long draw and had it drafting itself. It’s bumpier, but it’s pretty soft, and I think it’ll make a nice, squishy 2ply. Much better.

coopworth roving

(Sorry the picture isn’t better. There isn’t sun in that corner in the morning, and I didn’t want to deal with moving the wheel. It’s a lovely dark brown wool.)

• I’ve also been spinning some Polwarth on the Victoria, Pandora from David’s January club fibre.


• I got an e-mail this morning from my vet’s office, saying that it’s Mel’s birthday. (They’re also the vet for the woman who fostered Mel and his mom, so they have better records of his first few weeks than I do.) He’s now a five-year-old adorable pest. Amazing.

• Mel used to be tiny!


• I think I’ll go sit by him and weave for a bit.

I blame part of the delay, at least, on the nasty head cold I’ve been fighting this week.  (In one day, I used at least a third of a box of tissues.  I stayed home on Thursday (the Day of Many Tissues) and couldn’t really think about anything.)

So here’s this week’s intended eye candy, with a few more rows than it would’ve had yesterday morning:


Revontuli is much, much easier now that I’m past the setup chart. And it’s still really soft. (I am pleased.)

And an extra bonus, since there’s all this fresh snow around now:



“What’s so interesting about this white stuff that’s blocking my view? Why are you not paying attention to me?”

This week has been full both of things going wrong and of wonderful time spent with friends (even if some of that was because I said, “hey, I’ve been having a rotten day, can I come over for a while?”).  Today, there will be napping and cooking and maybe some more baking, to reassure myself that I can actually bake successfully.  (I remain unsure about why the vegan chocolate cake turned into a pudding cake, but it went over quite well anyway.)

Today is also beautiful and sunny, so I’m going to enjoy the sunlight in my kitchen and living room and make tomorrow the afternoon to spend in the microscope room.


No, that’s not contrition on Mel’s face, that’s fascination with a reflection on the floor.

And these are the fibery goodies I picked up from Josette on New Year’s Day:



The braid is bluefaced leicester in Natural Turquoise. Not really my usual colors these days, but I love it.

Mel has a new favorite pillow.

I’m not sure I’m going to get to spin that silk hanky….

I said last week that I was planning a blanket for my next weaving project, but I ran into a problem. I don’t think I have an appropriate warp yarn.

Sort of understandable, since I originally assembled this yarn for a knitted blanket…

So I warped the loom with some merino/bamboo to sample for a stole for my mom. I’m thinking of giving her a woven stole instead of the lace cowl I’d planned, on the basis that it might actually happen by her birthday.


Note my lovely new shuttle, made out of the end of a Settlers of Catan box.  There are occasional benefits to procrastinating long enough to miss a week’s recycling pickup!


I had actually dyed this warp yarn myself, a couple of summers ago; it was supposed to be black with bits of bright colors, but I rather like the silver.  (The purple weft is Rowan 4ply soft; the blue-green is from one of my first batts on my new drum carder.)

As I said, I’ve got some fresh spinning to post:


This is an ounce of cotswold/cvm from Jen at Spirit Trail. I had spun half of it, then set it aside, and spun the other half and did all the plying during Chanukah, by candlelight and trying not to look at the drafting much. It was a fun project–I could see my (pale) hands, but not the fiber, so I watched my hands and how they moved. I’m not really thrilled with the yarn–the dark red was much more prominent in the roving–but it might be in the right color family to go into that woven blanket I (think I) mentioned yesterday.

And this, though it isn’t skeined or finished yet, is my Acadia Finn:


And, since he inserted himself into both of the yarn photos, here’s a photo of just Mel:


Complete with a smidge of Acadia in the corner.

Next Page »