Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

Not even 60

February 14th, 2013 4 comments

George took the call from Reiner this afternoon.

We met Nina Fink in In the summer of 1994. Out in one of the small towns near Heidelberg at a Fest and there was a group of spinners. One of them was Nina. She reached out to this fairly lost American and made me feel welcome in the local spinning guild. Over the next several years she and I got to know each other better at various spinning demonstrations and Spinntreff. Our families got together for various picnics and other events. My eldest has been good friends with their eldest for years and we have known their youngest since birth. George and Reiner have collaborated on some projects.

Since they live off the end of the earth (train or car to Eberbach then head up into the Odenwald till you feel like you have traveled back decades. The old house in which they live used to be a guesthouse complete with hof, barn/stables/carriage house and a huge room for parties. The place was packed on her 40th birthday (14? 15? years ago).

What with the distance and my retirement, the last time we physically saw each other was at our home in May 2011 (Been there, Done with That party).

Nina in the yellow shirt and her son Tim. Nanawolf is in the middle

Nina in the yellow shirt with her son Tim. Nanawolf is in the middle

Apparently she started feeling ill and developed what is often called “the dwindles” about six months ago. Repeated doctor visits didn’t come up with a cause. But Nina was her own person as well; German by birth she became an Australian citizen when they lived there 25 years ago. Didn’t matter to her what the local Amt had to say when she returned about residency permits and the like. Aussie she had decided to be, and Aussie she was. So you might say a bit stubborn. She turned down the advanced diagnostics offered.

Last Thursday, 7 Feb, she took a sudden turn for the worse and went the “stop breathing, ambulance, resuscitation, hospital, intensive care” route but nothing worked.

Reiner called tonight to tell us. It turned out to be disseminated cancer. There will be a memorial service in about a week.

Bright, funny and extremely capable, her loss will be felt not just by her family but all the rest of us who knew her. One of those people who helped without question and rarely asked for much of anything in return. Saying someone was a good mother, goat herder, spinner and baker might not be impressive to many in this day and age but it made a difference to her husband and children.

Besides feeling the hole that is there, I acknowledge my share of anger. At myself for not staying in closer touch since we always think we have all the time in the world. And at Nina for not being willing to find out what was wrong in the face of increasing physical illness. She might not have chosen to live her life any differently, but her family would have had time to come to terms with a future empty of her.

George and I looked at each other. We will do what we can for both Reiner and Timmy over the coming months. We also made the commitment to each other to “knock you over the head and drag you in by the hair (long, short, doesn’t matter)” if either of us gets ill. I am a believer in knowledge as a way to exercise what little control one has in this life. Denial and avoidance generally don’t have any better result than having information and can limit choices.

I can’t die in my mid-50s – I am already well past that. Losing friends younger than me? Just should not happen…….

Categories: family, home, Spinning Tags:

not even a picture

August 25th, 2012 Comments off

I started something different today – a cowl instead of a shawl. Took the ball of Zauberwoll and a pattern from Raverly. Knit in the morning.

Had a couple of friends over for knit, chat and spin this afternoon since we would be the only ones at Red. Nice time seemed to be had by everyone and….

I was able to send along fiber and orange yarn to Catrin, wool and the promise of borrowing the Louet to Brigitte. Diana (who currently has the Louet, probably since about 2006) is more than willing to try and see if she likes the Schacht. This leaves me with the thought that if everything works out well, everyone happy I could potentially reduce my wheel collection by two!

Then, if I can sell off the Victoria for a decent price I might just replace it with a Schacht sidekick. I do want a portable wheel, just not that thrilled with the one I have.

Back to the “no picture”.

Went to dinner with friends last night and knit some more. Turns out I really like the pattern but did not like how the yarn looked. Frog time for this version which might explain why there is no picture. black/white gives a picture that looks like a blob……

Categories: Knitting, Spinning Tags:

California Handweavers

May 19th, 2012 Comments off

Sometimes you can just be in the right place at the right time. My luck ran that way today. From what I think I read, it was the annual convention of the California Handweavers complete with classes, banquet and fashion show (last night) and a room full of dealers with lovely things to buy.

It has been a long time since I have done any significant weaving. Years and years as a matter of fact. The Glimakra drawloom went to live in PA in 1993 and I sold the AVL leaving me only various toys and an 8-H Baby Wolf. My interests drifted over to spinning and knitting.

The guys dropped me off late morning. I intended to buy a day pass and then join them in a shoe-shopping-for-the-boy expedition. Instead I texted them back saying I wasn’t going to be done till about 1700.

It was easy to spend a couple of hours in the dealers and exhibition hall. First looking at the fashion and weaving displays then wandering from booth to booth feeling all that luscious fiber. Carolina Handspun had a number of spinning wheels to try and I have now managed to talk myself out of buying a Schacht Sidewinder. I have a portable wheel which I really don’t much like (Louet Victoria) and was hoping to find an alternative. I managed to avoid all the fiber and all but a couple of skeins of yarn.

Then there was this dude with glass earrings. If I hadn’t already had plans for Thursday evening i would have been over at the Oakland Center taking a class from Harlan. As is, I just had to settle for indulging in a couple pairs for me.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon in a class taught on finishing techniques for handwovens. Daryl Landcaster started out in haute couture and tailoring taught by her mother. Weaving was a later addition. Reviewing seams, edge-finishings and hemming all of it is applicable to “normal”

I will give you the photos as a gallery – click to embiggen…

Categories: Fiber, fiber toys, Sewing, Spinning, Weaving, yarn Tags:

Trying to find the bed

June 12th, 2011 2 comments

Since my plane went to Munich in order for me to change planes to go to Frankfurt to catch a train to go to Heidelberg (you figure it out, by the time I was on the train I was too wiped out to care) I got home several hours after George.

I had stayed up all night in spite of being given one of those nice emergency exit row seats.

Can you say too tired to be smart?

George was sound asleep when I arrived home; denying the whole thing of course. Thanks to the girls – the upstairs was still fantastic. Bothering the Mole a bit, he got back on the chore list I had left for him.

I am glad to be home. Unfortunately the problem with napping at all is that sleeping at night is then a bit more difficult. I am not sure that the answer is five row wool combs, but it is an alternative.

Combed Shetland makes a nice fine singles

Combed Shetland makes a nice fine singles

Categories: home, Spinning Tags:


September 9th, 2009 Comments off

I went ahead and frogged the second sleeve of Pyramide.

hours worth of knitting, gone

hours worth of knitting, gone

leaving only the first pattern repeat, I picked up all the stitches and am working my way back down the sleeve.

forever to go

forever to go

This time I will check regularly to make sure that the sleeves match.  I know that I will be much happier with the result, even if it was painful to undo all that work.  The good thing is that I am decreasing on both ends of everyother ridge, so each pair of ridges is just that little bit shorter.

Moving on – I took a spinning break

shetland singles

shetland singles

testing some commercial Shetland roving that I got in the UK Swap.

I still haven’t come up with a name for her although I really did decide that this Louet is a she, rather than a he. Calling her the brand name of “Victoria” just seems a bit much, but selecting a name from the Victorian Era might just do it.

Finally, I made a bit more progress on the textured sleeveless pullover. Working past the split in the neck, I am now in the not fun position of having three balls of yarn dangling so that both fronts and the back are proceeding at an even pace.

sleevelss pullover, neck split

sleevelss pullover, neck split

Since I managed a bit more after the picture, I have only a couple of cm to go before starting the shoulder shaping.

Obviously, my goal by the end of this coming weekend is to have completed three outstanding WIPs (pullover, Pyramide, Pagode) if not a fourth – the Faery Ring so that I can start Brage (Lavold Sweater) on the 15th.

Two/three are safely back at school and I survived a second night in a row at the gym.

Categories: Knitting, Spinning Tags:


July 26th, 2009 1 comment

There is a certain quiet of a house when the dog has gone. Toys sitting where they have been forgotten, dog bed empty and the food dish just waiting to be filled. There is dog hair on the carpet of several rooms waiting to be vacuumed. Completing all these tasks will make things a bit more final than I think my daughter is ready to have happen.

Friday night we had dinner in Guildford with a friend which eased things a bit and yesterday was a quiet day with Internet only an option at work. Today it was more of the same. BT down and me thinking about how I can force them to give me two days credit for service not delivered.

I am not talented in jewelry making. Ms Soprano messed around a bit and came up with both button cuff links and a good dozen lovely stitch markers for me.

stitch markers and cufflinks

stitch markers and cufflinks

The black wool that I received in the Ongoing Swap (Ravelry UK Spinnners) is now spun –



The Dreamsicle merino/silk is now plyed

two ply with remaining fiber

two ply with remaining fiber

I also finishing spinning and plying all of the grey shetland that I had coned. Not being smart enough to take a picture prior to dropping it in the sink, at least I managed to weigh it (445 gm) prior to the start of the soak.  There seemed to still be a bit too much lanolin left so I expect to lose as much as 50 gm in the washing.

Now, all I need is a set of wringers. You know, the kind of wringers that used to top every old fashion washing machine. If you crank yarn through them, you can powder remaining veg matter….

Categories: computers, fiber toys, home, Spinning Tags:

Volunteers and the rest of the stash

July 12th, 2009 1 comment

So where, you might be thinking, is the rest of the stash?  It is tucked in here.

organiized. Finally.

organiized. Finally.

Seriously, this closet contains the total and complete UK stash not including WIPs and the sock yarn. I have a sweater envelope with the handspun, two bins of lace yarns, the large box is Kauni, a bag of Smart, Drops and Dale, and the rest of various yarns. I could knit at top speed between now and when I leave the UK and not use it all up. There is definitely some which will find a new home rather than be transported back.

Last evening saw (heard?) the first annual RAMC (V) Band Concert. The members are all in the Territorial Army which makes them Volunteers who more than likely put in much more time than they ever will recover in either drill credit or pay. From Marches through Overtures, Regimental Songs and a Fairy Tale, it was a great program. I only regret a few more people didn’t get themselves out for the program. Did I mention that it was free? Or that I was not organized enough to bring along my camera?

The gym is closed on Sunday, so I substituted some spinning wheel treadling –



two ply

two ply

but have no clue as to what it will eventually become.

Categories: military, Spinning, yarn Tags:

Sock Yarn Stash

July 11th, 2009 Comments off

I don’ think that I mentioned cleaning, organizing and moving the furniture in my bedroom. Or maybe I did, with apologies for my lousy memory. As part of the straightening, Ms Soprano and I moved all of the fiber related stuff (from there and the living room and the back office) up to the top floor.

After a couple of days of getting my strength back (plus putting the DH on a plane this morning back to Germany) it seemed time to tackle the disorder with detours out to get running shoes for the daughter and an exercise hour at the gym.

George had purchased this wonderful huge basket for me several years ago at a German craft fair. It is lined which makes it safe for yarn. Rather than dribs and drabs of this and that – I decided to load in all the sock yarn.

just a few skeins and balls

just a few skeins and balls

Did I mention that he is 61 today and we took him out for dinner last night? That I still need to find him a present? There are always the usual fall backs: books, music, luggage…. Knitted things are rarely an option: he either tucks them away or runs them through the washer and dryer which does not do much good to a handspun, hand knit vest.

Since he is on his way back to Germany, I rewarded myself with a trip to the gym and a bit of spinning – with fiber from LimeGreenJelly



Categories: Spinning, yarn Tags:

More Combing

July 10th, 2009 Comments off

Shetland is so much fun. I like the length of the locks, I like the color (might it be because I am getting more than a bit grey myself?) and I really prefer combing to carding as fiber preparation especially since my spinning preference is semi-worsted. Admittedly, it does mean a lot of waste. OTOH, I have few lumps, bumps or short fibers and trash sticking up here and there.

a bit wavy....

a bit wavy....

Now, if I only had a pair of heavy rollers to smash all remaining veggie matter I would be a completely happy camper. It is probably not worth finding the wringer portion of an old washer, but it is definitely a thought…..

On other fronts, we hauled the dog into the vet on Wednesday. She started limping and it had become progressively worse over the last several days. Turns out to be most likely significant arthritis in that hip and she is now on an anti-inflammatory. Being a retriever, she has little taste in what she wolfs down so putting liquid on top of her dog food is not an issue. It is inhaled so rapidly that I don’t think she even noticed.

Meanwhile, it means that neither the daughter or the dog get to take long walks. End result is that Ms Soprano and I hauled ourselves to the gym yesterday at lunch for the induction. To a total cost of 5 Pounds Sterling for the year (insurance) we are now allowed to use the post gym. Open Mon-Sat, we have made the commitment to go everyday it is open. I badly need to get back in shape and exercise is always good for increasing one’s lung capacity…..

Categories: home, Spinning Tags:


July 9th, 2009 1 comment

I spent a bit more time pying and now have almost a full bobbin on the dutch wheel of the grey shetland. It takes forever to ply on this wheel since it seems to have perhaps the lowest ratios in existence. OTOH, there is a lot to be said for a bobbin that holds over 250 gm of 2 ply with room to spare.

If I wasn’t taking advantage of my new USB tape player to create MP3 files from audio cassettes, I would go totally bonkers.

2 ply grey

2 ply grey

On a roll, I finished spinning and started plying this white wool that has been hanging around forever. Someone gave it to me last year. To say that it was not high quality is being kind with the wastage on combing more that 50% due to second cuts and fractured locks.

white singles

white singles

So I will see what it looks like when plyed. I can always use a bit of white for something.

The grey shetland? There is this sweater in the Meg Swanson book called Faero…..

Categories: Spinning Tags:


July 8th, 2009 Comments off

finally managed to get these babies in the mail. The UK Spinners (on Ravelry) have an ongoing, rolling swap. I had claimed a lovely braid of hand dyed in soft russets and browns (fall project in mind) and it was my turn to figure out what I had that was swap worthy (and could exit the stash without too much pain). Looking through, there was about 22 oz of hand dyed Cotswold locks in my stash. Just go and look at those wonderful faces and all those long locks. No wonder a lot of their fleece goes for crafts, dolls hair and the like. These are long locks.


anyway, I finally got to Royal Mail today and sent the package off to a wonderful fiber person Swansea.

Now I just have to keep my greediness to myself and not go after anything else…….

Categories: Spinning Tags:


June 26th, 2009 Comments off

Remember last year (2008) when I bought those Shetland Fleeces? Or a while ago when I spent a day up to my elbows in hot soapy water?

It is dry. The weather is lovely. And I have my combs……

Categories: Spinning Tags:

Spinning around

June 23rd, 2009 1 comment

As you can tell, I have been messing around with the blog appearance again. Never mind that the sidebars seem beyond repair in all themes or that this particular theme has no options whatsoever. (Meaning that I have to get creative and actually edit some php and css files myself. Not mentioning that the editor does not seem to be working nor remotely does anything resembling the archive function.

Ah well. Clean, simple. Lots of white and the Heidelberg pictures rather than my current garden. Please let me know in the comments what you think and what you find that is broken, I would really appreciate it.  For that matter, does anyone really check the blogs anymore as apposed to reading feeds?

In better use of my time, I hauled out the spinning wheel yesterday.

fine black singles

fine black singles

and tried spinning a bit of the black roving I received in the On-Going UK Swap.
Looked at some of the white shetland

unprepared locks

unprepared locks

and combed at bit, spun it into singles, then plyed.

two ply shetalnd

two ply shetalnd

it was happy to be fine

15 threads over a pound coin

15 threads over a pound coin

and it is now washed and hanging. That small amount turned into 30 meters of two ply.

not for dogs

not for dogs

meanwhile, the grey fleece I washed last night is mostly dry

grey shetland

grey shetland

My choice of listening today has been Zombie Chronicles by James Melzer which you can find on his website or Podiobooks and The Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steven Miller. You can find it contained in the Saltation Podcast on Fireheart Foundry or available on iTunes. It will be out in hardcover from Baen this fall.

At almost 2200, it is dark enough that I need to bring in yarn and fleece.

Categories: Books & Tapes, computers, Spinning Tags:

Oh, ewe

September 8th, 2008 1 comment

The lightening struck, the penny dropped.

Standing in the bathroom this evening wondering why my clean towels all smelled a bit off. A bit funky, a bit like…….sheep?

All the clothes have smelled a bit weird for the last month or so, but I just blamed it on the dryer which sometimes decides to heat and other times is more than happy to churn away hours at a time with a nice cool breeze fluffing the interior contents.

Right before vacation – so I guess it is getting on closer to 8 weeks, I used the washing machine to soak out some fleece. Nice lingerie bags, hot water and lots of soap. Took three times through, but the end result was some fairly clean, soft white fleece for spinning.

After I was done, I ran an empty load with soap and didn’t think anything of it.

Since I have been living with German front load washers for years, I have not exactly been using this method for washing fleece in recent times. This dim light in the back of my brain is now mentioning something about bleach afterwords, or at least vinegar.

As I put these words to screen (doesn’t sound anywhere as nice as “pen to paper” I can hear the washer churning with perhaps this time a better chance of clean smelling laundry this time.

Books & Audio Books

Chaos King by Laura Ruby on the MP3. Teen fiction – highly recommended.
The Watchman. by Robert Crais in the station wagon. First thing I have heard by him. Have a few more now in the queue.
End of the World Blues by Jon Courtenay Grimwood on the bedside. Stunning.

Categories: Books & Tapes, Spinning Tags:


June 19th, 2008 Comments off

It has been a long time since I muttered around about spinning. And normally I go no where near fleece, washing fleece or processing from the beginning.

But lately, as the price of roving seems to have sky rocketed to the point where painted and dyed roving is more expensive than commercial yarn, I have been reconsidering. I don’t begrudge the Indies for wanting to make money, but when I am looking for sweater/vest amounts of yarn it starts becoming a bit dear.

Please also remember that I am now living in wool country. There may not be as many sheep here as in the UK, but some of the rural areas seem pretty close. One of those areas is the Shetland Isles. You have heard of Jamiesons, right?

As essentially the processor on the Shetland Isles, fleece is available for less than half the price of roving. In turn this seems to be about half the price of yarns (which can be purchased on cones). I liked the price on the fleece, especially since all grades are the same price. Shetland fleece are small, so buying by x number of fleece or I want y kilos are both possibilities.

My fleece appeared at the back door yesterday.

The magic box

Opening it
inside the box

I found this sturdy plastic bag containing neatly rolled fleece in exactly the colours I had requested.
Fleece in the bag

Each fleece was already decently skirted. The rain in the Isles must contribute to the cleanliness as these were nowhere near as dirty as I expected.
One of the grey fleeceA bit of the white

I think I am going to plan either this weekend or one in July as fleece washing.


Doesn’t look bad blocked at all
Diamond Fantasy Shawl, blocked

And I have taken a skein of J-Knits in colourway Maryland
Marylandwound in a ball

and am going to test drive Forget-me-Not by Evelyn Clark as a possibility for the Eldest. The colours are something that would appeal to the Maus (Ms Copper by any other name) so I know I will have a taker when it is complete).


Half Share – Nathan Lowell.

Both my headache and meds have finally worn off, just in time to crash.


What to do

June 13th, 2008 Comments off

Goals and Priorities for the summer. Hummm.

The KnitWit brought up the idea of setting some knitting and spinning ones for the summer.

It is summer out there, isn’t it? Given that it has been cloudy and a whole 15 degrees. I really need something to concentrate on other than the back garden which is rapidly going to seed.

Unfortunately, my goals for knitting and spinning may need to take a backseat to three work related tasks that have actual deadlines.

I had submitted for a couple of presentations at an August Conference. [Un]fortunately, they were both accepted and I now have to put them together. Unlike the good old days where you could finish up your talk the morning of, the new rules require that all presentations have been vetted by the security folks and are uploaded by 25 July. Takes the pressure off me at the last minute, but I really should have more than the abstracts at this point.

The other project is a bit larger. Several months ago I became involved in a review of materials for teaching Catastrophic Medicine and Disaster Operations to Military Officers. As a side bar, I half jokingly suggested that I turn the work into a thesis for a Diploma at Apothecaries. I have to write the requesting letter (which pretty much commits me to the project) and then have it finished by the first week in August so that I can sit Parts I & II of the exam in Oct (on my birthday no less). The High Holidays don’t even interfere this year.

See the problem?

Work or knit? Or perhaps work and knit. But all my outside reading is going to have to stop along with design work, housework (hey!) and the garden.

Never mind about the garden.


From last Saturday at Winchester


Categories: Arches&Doors, Knitting, military, Spinning, Travel Tags:

Socks Update

May 28th, 2008 Comments off

Work, as you can tell, is not exciting.


While wandering around, looking for something else (like a source of Finwool outside of Finland), I came across a lovely site on the Northern European Sheep Breeds. Not only have they correlated history with current sheep, but have also accomplished the supporting scientific analysis. More breeds of wool to sample?

Sock Wars

No, I haven’t forgotten about it. Or been killed. Still alive here. My assassin apparently died right before I left for Finland, sending off the unfinished socks that she had started upstream to the person who had killed off her.
My target apparently finally got her socks, and has socks on the way to me.


Kneedle Meister is now at peace.

There she lies brokenhearted.

Got her socks and ‘poof’ departed.


Think I forgot to mention that the second pattern in the Sock Knitting Olympics was released 1 May. Since there seemed to be some pattern errors, I held off till it was sorted out. I am recycling the yarn I had selected for Sock Madness – much happier with this pattern called Berlin Mȕster.

Berlin Sock Pattern from SKP2008

Fiber and Belts

May 18th, 2008 Comments off

It finally happened today. The Mole started on the garden.

Look at me, I am mowing!

munching along through the high grass.

munching through the high grass

unfortunately, the fan belt gave out – leaving me with an incompletely mowed lawn. Lawn sculpture anyone?

Lawn Art

Ah, well. I have flowers
FlowersMore flowers

and plenty of bees.
very busy bee


Since it was sunny, I took photos of the rest of my spinning stash. Blue Faced Leicester Roving, some Lornas Laces and the last from Creatively Dyed.

Blue Faced LeicesterLornas RovingCreatively Dyed Roving

Audio Books

Finished Bloody Mary and on to Rusty Nail. Can you tell that JA Konruth has a name thing going?

Since I have to catch a train at 0617, it might be wise to go pack a suitcase…


Spam in cycles

May 14th, 2008 2 comments

Honestly, you wonder that people don’t have better things to do.  Dummy websites that pull posts from around the world based on key words. Mailers that send out dozens of offers for various insurance schemes. Drugs that none of us need or want. I would home that no one would ever answer any of these bogus offers.

I suppose that I should be grateful to somehow be missing all the porn spams.

At the same time, I have no clue why Askimet keeps dumping comments from my friend Carmen in the spam bucket. I might have thought it was because of having a gravatar (Odin is quite the cat) since I have have it set to catch all comments that have links, but this happened before she got the pix uploaded.

There has to be a logical reason why all of this spamming occurs. Someone must bite. Same reason that pfishing is out there, and all the letters from Africa hinting at untold millions should you only help by first opening an account with your own money. (That disappears. And someone might be surprised?)

Sock Wars III

The forums on both Ravelry and the Sock Wars sight have been hilarious. As of shortly before midnight, there were 81 fallen in their socks and comments flying thick and fast. Besides a few rather sour grapes, I have seem prose, poetry, beautiful sock pictures and some really creative obits. Krafty1 went all out in her packaging (and the socks are pretty cool too).


Finished up the last ounce of Temptation and all of the plying. Picture tomorrow, since it would involve going and locating the camera.

We (the Mole and I) braved Tescos for gas and some groceries, dropped off the recycling and made it back home with only one detour. I just love people who ride on your bumper even when you are doing the speed limit.


Spinning Guilds

May 12th, 2008 Comments off

A Monday back in the office means a number of email accounts to check, a search of the calendar to make sure that I don’t forget anything and a bunch of filing. In other words, booorrrring.

Sock Wars III

I have heard from my assassin. She is in the US. I reached my victim. She is also in the US. Luckily, she is not allergic to wool since her socks are just about done. Without a screaming reason to really hurry, I didn’t knit during breaks today.

Sock Wars III

At the start of today, one sock was complete and the other half way so. (Well, I did tell you that I spent most of yesterday spinning. Pink and hot pink it was with that grey thrown in).

The “dead” count started at 5, since that was the number of those who opted out after the alleged start. From here on in, I suspect the first ones out will be US based who received US based victim’s dossiers on Friday. Could have gotten socks in the mail on Saturday. Or even Sunday if you live near a major airport.

Seems like a lot of people are taking this more seriously than I. Airmailing small packages actually costs the same US or UK post. (under $5). DHL? UPS? FedEx? Not me!


I am in West Surrey. Surrey Heath to be specific. Don’t ask my why my post code says Guilford. There is a local spinning guild which meets occasionally in Farnham. Another spinner (ound through Ravelry) and I went together. The speaker was excellent, funny and dynamic.

The speaker

20 year ago, she and her husband moved into Hampshire. Having a large garden (US this = yard) they decided to get a couple of biological lawnmowers. They had never had animals before. The Shetland Sheep really took over their lives.

She brought about 12 fleece to demonstrate the breed characteristics – never mind that it turns out the breed has literally dozens of recognized colours and patterns. (Lets hear it for the Scandinavian names.)

Just a small sample.

Here is a bit better look at the fleece

But you know what was really amazing? No one, I mean no one brings knitting to the meeting. All those knitters and spinners, they are all worried about offending the speaker. I thought for a moment and asked the question. Not surprisingly, none of them would worry about knitters, they all believe in multitasking.

Perhaps I am just too young for the group?


Lazy Day

May 11th, 2008 Comments off

The blossoms are just about gone from the trees.

Backyard again

Sock Wars III

I forgot to show you my progress on SockWars from Friday evening.

Sock Wars, the pair

Since as of last night, I still didn’t have my target, well taking an updated picture seemed pointless.

Some sense intervened somewhere and the complete list was posted on the website. It was easy to figure out who was your enemy and your target. As it turned out, my first assassin bailed on the play, but I was able to contact the person before her on the list. Having email addresses is so nice! Both are in the US.

Given that I am not making the post till tomorrow and I am much farther than the above, I spent the rest of the day spinning.


I don’t care for Inspector Morse (BBC) but found Hamish McBeth (also BBC) pretty funny. I have a real feeling it is like Lake Wobegone; close enough to the truth to have some reality and far enough away that you can write off a fair amount as stereotypes.


Spun out

May 4th, 2008 2 comments

Warmed up the house a bit more today with open windows and doors. Of course, I will need to be reminded about how cold things were once we get to the two weeks of summer when it will be too warm.

About the time I was really settled in back with the spinning wheel there were a few drops of rain.

The clouds sense of humor and mine just aren’t the same

Socks on the line


From Sakinaneedles I have this merino silk roving. In fact, I have two of them at 4 oz each. Spun the first into a nice fine singles and will tackle the second tomorrow.
Colourway temptation

From the same dyer also comes Rufus in BFL; four ounces spun as well with another 8 to go.

Colourway Rufus


No DvDs today, the computer seems to be crashing every 5-10 minutes meaning I need to do some backing up. Instead, it was listening and reading hard copy . Compulsion by Jonathan Kellerman.
Hard Truth by Nevada Barr. Finished today. Train Man by PJ Deutermann, started and finished. Good story for spinning or eating desert. Think strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate.


May 3rd, 2008 2 comments

Admittedly, I did feel a little bit sulky when I noticed that the temperature in Heidelberg was 24 degrees while it is a whopping 15 here. Still, I had sunshine for a good portion of the day. Enough so that I could enjoy all the small blooms in the back yard (ok, garden. I will learn the proper British terminology one of these days. Right about when I finish and head back to Germany.)

When I figured out that it was much warmer outside than inside (heat? what heat? It is May, no one runs heat in May. Even if they had working heat which I don’t.) I opened up doors and windows. With a nice cross breeze I might have suceeded in raising the temp a degree or two. Seems like brick walls hold the cold stubbornly not giving up without hours of coaxing.

I have flowers



Pink buttons
Purple Bells

None of which show what the lawn is starting to resemble
more flowers and grass

At least, that is my excuse for not cutting the grass. All those little flower heads would be decapitated. Given a choice, I would much rather have long grass than lose all the flowers. And I would rather look at flowers than do laundry. With a clothes line and sunshine, I didn’t see that opting out would be all that smart.


Took the wheels outside

The Paulitz
The Paulitz
Dutch Wheel
The Dutch wheel.
Finishing up the first two bobbins of singles
The Singles
It gives some great colour combinations when plyed. Lazy here – just going from one wheel directly to the Dutch Wheel. A bargin off Ebay a few years ago, the bobbins will hold a good 300 gm of finely spun yarn. With the low ratios, it take forever but is makes it easy to avoid over spinning.
2 ply


Anyone else remember the old Sockknitters Listserve? When one new sock knitter mentioned how weird her socks looked, I told her to go and look at the Museum of Odd Socks.

The Barcelona pair doesn’t qualify for membership. I rather like them.

Barcelona FrontBarcelona Back


The BBC production of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple: The Moving Finger and At Bertram’s Hotel.

Great productions to knit by.



May 2nd, 2008 Comments off

You don’t talk at breakfast it seems in the British Officer’s Mess. Squeaking into the dining room five minutes before the end of morning serving time, I was greated by a wall of silence. Carefully spaced out around the table with at least one space between each person, everyone had their eyes down reading the paper and eating.

Custom it seems is all important. Unlike other Messes, you don’t need to wear your hat here to be left completely alone.

Having a warm breakfast was nice. The most energetic I will ever get at home is oatmeal. I still clearly don’t understand toast racks; just appear to be a device destined to make your toast get cold immediately.


The mail run this afternoon turned out to be a good deal. The four boxes that I had mailed to myself all showed up.

So once again, I can get back to the Hodge Podge,

Hodge Podge

adding a few more rows to the upper section.


And it was on to finishing the foot shaping on the Barcelona socks.

Going down the foot on Barcelona

SKP2008 pattern also came out. I had forgotten completely. Since it was a 1900 or so last night US release, I could have pulled it this morning. Dropping out of competition on Sock Madness made me sensibly look at the projects I want to do and where I am going to spend my time over the next few months. I will knit all the pairs for SKP2008 (as long as they are not too stupid) but I am reserving the right to bail, just like I am skipping the optional pattern for Madness.



There is also this project which had been at a standstill for a while.

Spring Colours Merino

Books & all

The RAF Croughton Library is being returned to its old, renovated quarters. Since it will be closing for a couple of weeks, the librarian increased the length of time one could check out A/V materials. ANd the number, that is also important. Not only is this great for some of us at a distance, but it makes good logistical sense; the more items are out on loan, the fewer to get moved and shelved in the wrong place.
In my bag heading out the door were several Miss Marples, two Inspector Morse and a Hamish McBeth. Never let it be said that I have anything against British Programming.


Last Friday morning I was in Munich. Not having enough sense to come in out of the rain, I went prowling around the Rathaus. Some of entry ways are arches set with metal gates, going in or coming out.

Munich RathausMunich Rathaus


May 1st, 2008 Comments off

As should be pretty obvious, I am playing around with the blog again. I still like the simplicity of my original theme the best, but since there is still an unresolved copyright question I am not going there.

I played with MistyLook for a while. It has some nice clean lines which it seemed that everyone in the world loved. The theme itself didn’t like the random header plug-in and I really can’t make up my mind which picture of the back garden I like the best. It changes. Now, obviously, so does the header without any work from me. I suppose that I could do knitting pictures, but that might be work. The main background of snowy branches became a bit too much, so it is now grass in sunshine. I keep thinking that something other than blue is good.

This theme started out as Mandigo. There are still fixes needed. I don’t like the basic css for the pictures as I have to remember to add certain things on every line at the moment. There is also the issue of the galleries not working properly, but I think that is a side effect of two sidebars. I will try taking them out of the childpages and see if things improve.


All of this takes time away from what is important – knitting. In this case the Barcelona Socks

The Barcelona Socks


And spinning some more of this wonderful merino roving. Finished up the first bobbin last night and started on the second

Spinning progress

Audio Books

While starting a new book – Hard Truth by Nevada Barr.


Categories: Books & Tapes, computers, socks, Spinning Tags:

Six Words

April 26th, 2008 4 comments

I haven’t yet been tagged – but this one is worth doing. I picked it up from ScrabbleQueen.

What is your philosophy of life in six words?  Think about it for a few moments.

For me it is the essence of Tikkun Olam and my obligation as part of my existence.

Make the world a better place.

If you want to participate –

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you/where you found it.

2. Post the rules.

3. Share a 6 word philosophy of life

4. Tag at least 3 other people – ok – Carmen , Amanda, Marit and  Jinx:
and post in language of your choice.

(Gee – and I am also hitting four countries – isn’t the Internet great?)


Before I get to today’s Spinning- I have to really fill you on on this past Monday. The part that did not include Sock Madness. A couple of the Heidelberg region knitters were able to come over for a few hours of spinning. Once again, I didn’t arrive in time to make the Knit Meet up last Saturday (might have been something there about Pesach preparation in the way also).

Monday Afternoon Spinning

We had decent weather and I hauled out three wheels – my steadfast S10 Louet, a Dutch wheel I picked up off a couple of years ago and my Timbertops.

Today – I finished up the bit of roving that I started on Monday – only a couple of ounces total and started some alpaca.

Well, it was just sitting there.

Evening spent at the Zwinger1 (part of the Heidelberg Stadt Theater) seeing Verzeihung, ihr Alten, wofinde ich Zeit, Liebe und ansteckenden Irrsinn? by Christian Lollike. Translated from Danish to German by Gabriele Haefs.

The acting was good – the play itself left me a bit cold. I don’t think it was just the translation – I found the world view and the over blown stereotypes a bit much (see above – building the world better). A friend of my husband’s is in the play. As the program notes state – he has not gone quietly into his retirement, becoming active in theater.

I’ll find the rest of the Heidelberg and surrounding pictures for tomorrow. After all, it will be more interesting than another train trip to the Frankfurt Flughafen.


Categories: home, Spinning Tags:

Frost on

February 17th, 2008 Comments off

This morning, it was the windows –


and the back garden.


yesterday’s blooms



and frost flowers on cars.


Making it much nicer to stay in the house


The Blue Faced Leicester only needs to be skeined, washed and mailed.
Leaving me free to take out a very spring looking Tussah/Merino blend hand-painted Roving from Winderwood Farms.
Practically glowing in the sunshine, it makes such a cheerful singles.
After spinning about an hours worth, I finished up the toe on


The Trekking XXL Art Yarn socks
The next socks up will be of Opal Bamboo
keeping in the cheerful colour theme

Viking Sweater

In my effort to crank off socks, I haven’t worked on this at all this week. Working my way up the mountains, I now have 44 cm finished.
That is the good part, right along with being spot on with my revised gauge (no way did I want a 121cm sweater, instead preferring 100 cm). The catch of course is that the row gauge is also affected, which was what I expected.
Given where I now am in the pattern, without further lengthening the sweater will be 58cm long instead of the printed pattern’s 67cm.
To see an example of the pattern knit as writ – you can look at Anni”s on Ravelry.  I have the choice of inserting some rows of just white (and fussing with the front and back so that the edge pattern stays intact) or lengthening the diamond pattern at the top.

What do you think?

Audio Book

Disks 4-8 of Flashpoint. Much as I am enjoying this book (and believe it or not, this is one that I have previously read), I am beginning to suspect that I really prefer abridged books. My attention span is just not up to 11 CD stories. I never take more than a couple of days to read a book, why would I want it to take 11 hours to hear it? Yes, I do miss some of the descriptive settings, but it balances by making most mysteries and thrillers move a bit faster.

Fair amount done today I would say, as I head off to read blogs.


Categories: home, Knitting, socks, Spinning Tags:

Weekend Ponies

February 16th, 2008 Comments off

There are others that don’t feel obligated to work hard on the weekends.


As far as I can tell, they live at the main stables during the week and take a break on the weekend, with a total of seven of them visiting the paddox behind our row of houses. Not the sturdy outdoor horse of my childhood, but barn ponies needing blankets and a lot of care. I certainly don’t mind them; they are relatively quiet. But I do need to have a talk with their keepers. Since I am not a gardener – I have no need for the fresh manure that someone has deposited over the fence into my back yard.

Looking around on the way back in from the ponies


and the early flowers


Makes it a great idea to stay inside – listening to

Audio Books &

Suzanne Brockmann’s Flashpoint
or watching another DVD of Medium (season 3).

and otherwise spending the day


having spun and plyed about 3/4 of the total roving.

and on


starting here –
and completing all but the toe on the second.

And completely leaving out the housework.


Categories: home, socks, Spinning Tags:

It took 40 Minutes

February 3rd, 2008 Comments off

I got up early. My intention was to drive to Richmond and back before the traffic got horrible. The 42 km took 40 minutes; on a Sunday morning before 0800 without traffic. This does not bode well for doing this anytime during the week. Driving this during rush hour, ie. mornings is completely out of the question. The train, by contrast takes 50 minutes on weekday mornings.

After all of that, the gates were locked, so all that you can see is the don’t enter sign.


Across the street is the bus stop – aptly named the Fox and Duck


Speaking of ducks – back on RMAS

we have the strangest ducks which obviously show up any time they think food might be in the offering.


Oh, you want to actually see them without the picture wiping out the screen?


The ladies are polite, but he is a nasty hissing character, looking for more than his share.


Making progress on the Blue Faced Leicester.



The first Silver Streak is complete


A few rounds more on the Skull Wrist warmers. Long arms are the boring part of the knitting.

Viking Sweater

And a few more rows on the Viking Sweater. Being into the mountains, it is taking quite an effort to stay on row.

Audio Books

Acts of Malice by Perri O’Shaugnessey

who now only needs to figure out why the heat decided to shut itself off.

Categories: Books & Tapes, home, Knitting, socks, Spinning Tags:

Burns Night

January 26th, 2008 1 comment

For those of you who are not familiar with Scotland, there is a poet named Robert Burns who happened to be born on 25 Jan several centuries ago.

I got sucked into attending the Burns Night Dinner last night, even tho I have absolutely no interest in either Haggis or whiskey.

I realized that I was familiar with Robby Burn’s poetry, as are most of you (Does Auld Lang Syne sound familiar?).

In any case, speeches, poetry and pipes were the order of the evening.


There were kilts, trews of appropriate plaid, several skirts plus shawls of various family or regimental origin.

The evening ended with a Ceilidh band and Scottish Country dancing

Today I had a lovely quite day.


Alternating between spinning some wonderful Blue Faced Leicester


finishing up socks, a row or two on the Viking Sweater and listening to Audio Books.


Categories: military, Spinning Tags:


November 14th, 2007 1 comment

Which stands for Request for Orders. This nice little one pager from my branch that I have to take over to the personnel office comes in by email (after I have to go to the main site and reset a password and log in manually), and then they cut me orders for the move. Without these particular sheets of paper, I don’t have the authority to do much of anything but sit and whine, much less get the good old government to pay for that which they should.

All sorts of fun, not that I did not have enough to do this week. I am going to try and bug out on all the mandatory briefings for movement overseas…seems like I am already there from a US point of view.

Now on to the more important things in life –


These came in the mail today.


It is my October (and last) SOM from Chameleon Colorworks. Bamboo, incredibly soft yarn in a pale seafoam color. Last kit, not because I don’t love Janel’s hand dyed yarns and patterns, but because she is selling off her business. I now have collector’s kits (grin) and I am hoping Nancy Colburn carries on as well (could not find a website for her).

and from The Sweet Sheep this nice box contained this-

and this underneath.



Would you believe that this


fit into this?


Tomorrow it is on its way to PA. The challenge for the last several weeks has been to find a box that would hold the 24″ diameter wheel. [Hint, think diagonal placement in the box]. After worrying about two boxes, I managed to get the legs off the base, all the metal thingies in a baggie, uprights, footman, whorls and bobbins into the same box, padded with some wool. Wool is a wonderful packing material.

Now also to mail off some other things at the same time (wool, boxes of books to downrange, a few holiday packages and the like).


The start on the second Wicked –


Books & Audio Books

Finished the Berenson and Greeley and now on to Sweet Revenge. Reading is better than packing.

Tomorrow I will start thinking about what I want to take on the cruise. After all, the boat doesn’t float till Monday. That is plenty of time. Right?


Categories: Books & Tapes, military, socks, Spinning Tags: