About Me

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Illinois, United States
I am a band director at five private schools in Kankakee. Music is a big part of my life, but knitting and crafting are right up there too. I own a ridiculous stash of yarn, which I am slowly using... and replacing with better yarn... I tend to knit and crochet a lot, in class, out of class, while watching tv, while driving, pretty much constantly. I have been involved with crochet romantically for 15 years, and involved with knitting for 11 years. They sometimes get jealous of each other. I think its funny. Along with knitting and crocheting, I quilt, spin (drop spindle) and design patterns!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Found it online and wanted to share it!

Knitter's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
There was unfinished knitting not under the tree,
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
'Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep---he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was 6" too small.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tripped over my yarn and fell down in my stash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how far I still had to go.

When out on the lawn I heard such a noise,
I was sure it would wake up both Dad and the boys.
And although I was tired--my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment that it must be St Nick.

Yet what I heard left me very perplex-ed
For nothing I heard was what I expect-ed.
"Move Rowan! Move Patons! Move Koigu and Clover!
Move Shelridge! Move Starmore! Move Spinrite!
Move over!

Lopi, don't circle around, just stand there in line.
Pay attention you sheep and you'll work out just fine!
I know this is hard as it's just your first year
But I'd hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer."

I peered over the sill. What I saw was amazing:
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing!
And then in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's big boots stomping on the porch floor.

I rose from my knees and got back on my feet.
As I turned around, St Nick I did meet.
He was dressed all in wool from his heat to his toe
And his clothes were hand knit from above to below.

A bright Fair Isle sweater he wore on his back.
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His hat was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosey red face.

The scarf on his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
On the back of his mitts was an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I spotted a small label:

"S.C." in duplicate on the cuff.
So I asked, "Hey, Nick, did YOU knit all this stuff?"
He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to knit when I was just a kid."

He was chubby and plump, a well dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I'd thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.

He spoke not a word, but looked down in his lap
Where I had laid my needles and yarn for a cap.
He began then to knit, first one cap then 2--
For the first time I thought I might really get through.

He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks,
While I sat back drinking a scotch on the rocks.
Quickly like magic his needles they flew,
Good Grief! He was finished by two!

He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
I heard him explain as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year, start your knitting sometime around JUNE!"

Monday, December 19, 2011

Episode 8: Hi all! It's been a while!

The band! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpwrDarlze0

Christmas Blanket- stash bust Red heart
Blue and Silver Scarf- Vannas glamour yarn
Chunky Cowl- Malabrigo in Zarzamora (gifted)
Passafier Baby Blanket- baby yarn
Field of Greens- Baby yarn
Shawl- Handspun
New York Jets Hat- Red Heart Yarn

Slipped Stitch Cowl- random sock yarn
Socks- Salvia- 100% Merino
Black eye shawl- Zauberball

Taylored Fibers- Super wash Merino 100% wool 137 yards
Seaweed yarn 78 yards Navajo Plied
Gifted from Alpacaandwe 244 yards, plyed with white yarn I spun a couple months ago
Far Nebula - Madd Mess roving - 4 3/8 ounces from http://www.etsy.com/shop/Dingbattz?ref=seller_info - 548 yards  plied with three threads at once

Friday, December 09, 2011

But why do you spin???

This is not for those who spin.

This is for those who do not understand why I own a spinning wheel.

This is for those who stare at me weird when I say I spin my own yarn.

This is for those who are confused what I mean when I say I spin my own yarn.

Get ready for the extremely watered down version of how I go about spinning.

First off. You have your animal.

Sometimes sheep, sometimes alpaca, some times even silk worms. For realz.
You make the sheep bald and cold, then clean the wool.

Then someone dyes it. I have not gotten into dying yet, as I do not have the kitchen space, free time, or creativity as of yet. Though it will happen in my future.
^someone dyeing their fiber. Beautiful right?

After it is dyed, they dry it and braid it (depending on how they finish their fiber, sometimes they braid it, sometimes they batt it. There are differences but its just too much detail :) )

It is literally a thick....well... wrist thick...chunka.

Then you do this thing called drafting, which means you pull at the fibers so it is no longer thick, but looser and loftier.
And you take a drop spindle (which is what I started on)

Or a spinning wheel (Which I now have *SQUEE!*)

And you spend hours, (more so on the spindle) and I mean hours spinning. I am not very fast at the wheel yet, but I am getting better. The spindle and wheel literally twist the yarn, making it stronger (most of the time). And once you're done spinning half of the fiber you can stop there and call it a single. Or you can ply it, where you literally twist what you just worked with with another yarn, or onto itself. Confusing? It's really not. Its just alot of steps!

Once the yarn is spun, I wrap it around this swift which my awesome dad made me for Christmas last year. wrap wrap wrap, tie, measure, and then its off to the sink.

You have to soak the yarn to set the twist, then you fwack it. (Slam it against the wall, pull it, yadda yadda.)

Once the yarn dries, you have a skein of yarn! (I navajo plied this! First time and it went sorta well)
Close up of the yarn, not too shabby!

Some other yarn I recently spun and navajo plied. I was not fond of it at first but now I love it. I only wish I had more!
I LOVE IT! But seriously. 74 yards wont even get me a hat... hmmmm
What do I do with the yarn once its all spun up and pretty? I usually put it up in my store for a couple months, and if no one buys it and it expires in the store, I usually knit it up into something.
For instance! This was some of my favorite yarn that I spun up. It was 100% wool, and so colorful! The hat will be sold in my store shortly.
This is a shawl I made with some yarn I recently spun. It will also go up in my store soon.

Hopefully that gave you an idea of how I go about spinning my yarn.

Why do I do it?
It's relaxing
It's fun
It's exciting to really get down to the basics.
I couldn't find a good rainbow yarn, but I found some fiber. So I made my own yarn. How many people can say that?

I like knitting with the yarn I spun.

It's unique.
I like saying that I spin yarn.
It's what I do when knitting, crocheting, and quilting get boring.

And lastly.
It hypnotises my cat.
Which just makes it that much more worth it.

Spinners out there? Why do you spin?