My December was very full, with making stuff and going places and continuing to apply for jobs.

I identified a loom setup that works for me–sitting on a flat surface with either an upturned bin or a small cardboard box under the non-turning beam at the back of the loom–which meant that I got a good bit of weaving done:

Not Socks

That’s the Not Socks rectangle for Georg, though I did twist the fringe before sending it to her. I’ve been wearing the socks she knit for me a lot lately, as it’s been cold, so I’m glad to have sent her my part of our trade.

Next up was a very late birthday present for Anju:


A merino/cashmere/nylon/organic merino scarf, only about ten months after her birthday.  (The warp is MCN from Spirit Trail Fiberworks and the weft is my handspun organic merino, Natural Beauty from Southern Cross Fibre.  Plainweave with a 12-dent heddle.)  And the colors are somewhat more saturated than they appear in this photo.

I finished Anju’s scarf just before leaving town for a week and a half, so my loom sat idly in a corner for a couple of weeks, but I took advantage of having the house to myself yesterday afternoon to warp again:


This is theoretically a shawl warp for me, using the leftovers from my turquoise sweater, some teal alpaca-blend handspun that was a gift from a friend, and a few other handspun yarns that I thought would go well.  I’m a little concerned that I don’t have enough weft yarn, but I’m sure I’ll work something out.  Maybe some extra green or tan.

And I’ve continued to knit, mostly on Desdemona:


There’s a lot more border than there was last time!  It’s useful that it’s a simple pattern to knit, as the center was, because I’ve been able to knit and either talk (during family gatherings) or listen (at concerts at First Night yesterday).  The rows must be something like 500 stitches by now, but they don’t feel like they take all that long to work.

And I finally mustered the time and energy and motivation to try something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years, a felted mask.


This one was a midwinter gift for my grandmother.  The base is cormo/bamboo rayon, and it’s sewn with handspun merino/tencel.  I’m really pleased with how it came out, and I’m looking forward to trying a few more.

I mentioned going places as well as making stuff: these photos are from our trip south for midwinter.


I love winter forests with trees with light-colored bark (especially birches), but this beech is interesting for more than its compact and mostly-symmetric immediate footprint.  The roots downhill from its trunk are a mix of its own, with smoothish grey bark, and roots from the red pine uphill from it, which are more of a red-brown.  I like the way they intertwine.


And I’ve always liked the frilly shapes and tonal colors of lichens.  I’m not sure the tree is thrilled, but I was happy to see these.


I am hoping for a new year full of more making things and finding beauty in the world, and I wish the same for all of you.

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.

It’s late, I’m just about to leave work now, and I’m not taking my computer home, so here’s a quick photo:


It’s my mom’s birthday present, the scarf I warped on February 7th.  It’s also the Pleasant Stuff I alluded to just after the weekend of the 13th/14th, when I finished the weaving, but it took until last night for me to finish twisting the fringe.

I’m really happy with it (hence the hurrah mentioned above).  I love the way the carded Zombies goes with the handpainted merino/bamboo, and it drapes beautifully and is really soft.  It’s still got a few signs of my inexperience, mostly along the edges, but they shouldn’t be too noticeable when it’s in active use.


Also, in case anyone other than Chris wasn’t sure what I meant by angelina, it’s one of the varieties of sparkly stuff that sometimes get blended into batts.

• 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.

Pretend it’s really eye candy, okay? It’s supposed to be sunny later today, but it’s been a while since there’s been sun in my kitchen.

First, the shetland singles I alluded to last week:


This is the Banff colorway from Spunky Eclectic (4 oz, just split into two skeins). I have yet to count the yardage, but I’m happy with the yarn (despite some overtwisted spots). It’s really soft. And now I’m especially happy that this month’s club fiber is shetland.

Next, weaving!



I’ve finished sampling for my mom’s birthday stole. This piece is about 3.5″ wide and about 2.5′ long. The bits with superwash merino/silk weft are softer than the bits with the Falkland weft that I’m planning to use for the actual stole, but I think the Falkland will be quite nice when not right next to a silk blend. And if I can refrain from beating quite so hard. (Should be doable.)

And, lastly, here’s some knitting:


I couldn’t resist the Funhouse singles (from that same post linked above) for very long, at all. This is the first chart (aka 25 rows) of a Revontuli.

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.)

Alas, I’m still busy.  But I’ve managed to fit in some Finishing of Objects, so here are a couple of pictures.

First, I finished my first Official Weaving Project, the scarf I posted about in…probably November:



It’s not perfect, but it’s a first project, and it’s totally usable. It’s long enough to wrap around twice, to keep my face warm, and it’s soft and only 156g. The weft includes some commercial yarn, some of my handspun, some of my handdyed/carded/spun yarn, and some handspun from my friend Sarah. I love it.

…And I finished this fall/winter’s one knitted gift, for my dad’s birthday:


In case it’s not immediately obvious, it’s a tea cozy, specifically designed for his favorite teapot. Most of it is Manos, with stripes of my handspun (merino/mohair from Spirit Trail Fiberworks and merino/silk from probably Louet, purchased ages ago at NEFA).

Time to finish my lunch and stop typing one-handed. There might be spinning pictures tomorrow.

So, as I said, I spent a lot of last weekend cooking.  In fact, I’m still eating leftovers–it’s a good thing I don’t mind doing that.


Lamb/cauliflower/carrot curry. Local ingredients: ground lamb, cauliflower, carrots, onion, garlic, milk.



Roasted veggies. Local ingredients: cauliflower, beets, carrots, parsnips, onion.

Once I ran out of leftover rice, I switched to eating the lamb curry over the roasted veggies.  Not bad at all.



Granola. No local ingredients that I recall, except for the maple syrup. I usually make granola with honey, but I had just barely enough maple syrup in the fridge for this granola, so I figured I’d use it, instead, and get to open a new jar of syrup. This was a clean-out-the-freezer batch of granola, too–I put in the remaining bits in bags of hazelnuts, almonds, wheat germ, pecans…and enough of the wheat bran to fit it into a smaller jar. And it’s tasty. Mmm.


I’ve also been doing a bit of weaving, on and off, since I set up my loom. I finished that first sample; it’s pretty clear that I gradually learned how far to pull the weft before beating–the edges are much nicer toward the end than at the beginning.


And then I decided to play around with two-heddle weaving, to see if I could make patterns.


It didn’t come out amazingly well, but I think it’s a decent step, considering how much planning I didn’t do. Next time, for example, I’ll know to pay more attention to the exact order in which I tie the first couple of warp threads to the front apron rod–it didn’t matter much in the plain weave, or if it did, it all worked fine so I didn’t notice, but part of the reason I got impatient with this sample thingy is that I messed up the beginning of the warping. The weaving set on flickr includes closeups of several of the patterns I managed; I think the half-basketweave looks pretty nice on both sides, but I need to write stuff out and maybe just play with threads a bit in order to figure out how to get twills.

Both of these samples were warped with Rowan Linen Drape; the main weft is probably Cascade 220.

As I said, though, I was getting a little frustrated with the two-heddle sample, so I figured it might be time to warp for an Actual Project, one playing with color more than texture (well, texture just in yarn and not in weave structure). I hope it will actually turn out to be useable…


The idea is that it will become a scarf. The warp is two colors of Silky Tweed (I had one ball of teal, and two of green). Halfway through warping, I remembered having heard that it doesn’t do well as warp, but it seems to be okay so far. Probably in part because I’m not trying to make a really dense fabric (going for drapey, just hoping it’s not too terribly open and floppy) and in part because it probably wants a denser epi. But I still only have 10-dent heddles…for now.  The warps visible in this picture are a smidge of handspun merino (the light blue at the bottom), some of each color of silky tweed, and some…Mountain Colors, I think.  It’s a mohair-blend single, in “New England Autumn”, which includes almost exactly the same teal as the teal silky tweed.  I have the rest of these, plus a couple other yarns that seemed to go; I’m going to do more or less random stripes, trying to keep it somewhat balanced so it’s not too colorblock-y.


Anyway!  Enough typing for this evening, unless I’m going to do some actual work.

This has been a near-perfect fall afternoon. I have made soup, drunk tea, watched the sun on the turning leaves outside my kitchen window, eaten an apple with sharp cheddar, and….woven on my new loom.

Yep, new loom. I decided that I’d go ahead and get myself a loom at Rhinebeck, as an early birthday present for myself. I got a Schacht Flip, with a 20″ weaving width; it’s about 24″ wide total. I also bought an extra 10-dent heddle, so I can try some 2-heddle patterning once I get the hang of the basic process (should be soon, unless I decide to try color patterning first).

I warped it last night with a ball of linen/rayon that I had lying around. Using it for both warp and weft was making a more open weave than I wanted, so I dug out some mystery wool (probably but not definitely Cascade 220) once I got past the header.


I’m gradually getting the hang of how to work the loom more efficiently and how to have not-entirely-terrible edges.  This is going to be fun.  (This photo is lit by actual sunlight, in the corner of my living room that’s farthest from the windows.  Sunday afternoons are great.)