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August 2009

Nominate your favorite handspun yarn (mine?) on Etsy!

From Etsy's The Storque:

We will be voting on the best of the best handspun yarn. You can nominate your favorite item or one of your own items by linking to it in the comments below. Spread the word to supply sellers and knitters!


I'm just saying, you know, if you wanted to nominate someone, you could visit my shop and then click here to leave a comment.

Just sayin'...



My movie collection

When I was a teenager, I decided that one day I would get an old movie camera and take lots of random movies in both black & white and color, and then I would edit them together into a film. I'd create a collection of these films and then when I had my tiny apartment in New York City and worked for Vogue magazine, I'd have really great parties. At the parties I'd project these movies onto a wall to create a cool background ambiance.

I haven't done any of those things.

This morning, as I was waking up, I had a short dream. It probably lasted all of two seconds.

I was standing in the back of a dirty, red pickup truck. I had a video camera in my hand. The ground was light brown, dusty. The sky was bright blue, cloudless. In front of me were pinto horses, noses to the right, saddled up with cowboys on their backs. They were standing around. I looked through the viewfinder, started at the left, and quickly filmed the cowboys and horses from left to right.

My eyes opened and my first thought was that film would be perfect for my collection.

***

I'm submitting this post to Gayle's Monday Memories. Join us for more memories, won't you?


Sweet little babe

Look at this sweet little baby! Isn't she cute?!

One of my first customers, Brandy Jaggers, is a family portrait photographer in Saltillo & Tupelo, Mississippi, and she bought two of my yarns to turn into super cute little hats and nests to photograph newborns in.

BrandyJaggers001  

I love her style. And this baby! Don't you just want to cuddle her? She is an absolute beauty in her little pink nest. Look at all that gorgeous hair!

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Brandy, thank you for allowing me to share your photos on my blog. You are one talented photographer and you made my day with these photos.


She's not usually so snoozy

I have this post in my head on Rainbow Rock. Can you guess what that is? No? Well, it was making me a bit sad and I don't feel like being sad tonight, but I scanned some old pictures and a postcard and I'll write about that soon.

So then I was looking through the photos I've taken recently and came across these of Roxy.

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Love her light and dark paw pads.

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We really couldn't be happier with her. She's got spunk. She knows no fear. And she's great with V.

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V has taken to calling her Tooshie. Or "Little Dickens." No idea where she got either of those, but I love them.

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Have I ever told you how much I love taking pictures of yawning cats? I have a whole collection. Maybe sometime I'll scan some of the old ones for you. Looking at them one after the other makes me laugh. Out loud.

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I finally got to create my first Treasury on Etsy today. I loved putting all the photos together. It's called "V is for Violet." Please check it out if you have a moment & let me know what you think.


Today is Monday

So far today, we have had lots of fun.

Monday and yarn 005

First, V and I both worked on our respective fiber arts.

Monday and yarn 002

Then we played in her room.

Monday and yarn 007

Where we put the baby bunny to bed and read some books.

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Then we blended some fiber together for a new Halloween-inspired yarn I'm working on - V spreads the fiber out to feed into the drum carder and she turns the handle.

Next we were hungry for our big lunch salads, and after that I photographed two skeins of yarn to list in the shop later this afternoon or tonight, whenever I can get to it.

today's yarn

Then we came downstairs so I could write this post. V found a picture of Wylie, who passed away in May.

ears 001

She talks about him every day and has now decided that she is Wylie. The little bits of marker you can see on her forehead are from where she drew her own stripes and whiskers the other day. She redraws them all over herself every couple of days.

ears 005

Next we'll go back upstairs to clean up the living room and kitchen and then we can relax for a while with a little Between the Lions or WordWorld (or both) before it's time to make dinner.

And how's your Monday? If you have a minute, tell me about it.


Morsel (& a winner at the end)

The other day, I saw a post that reminded me of a little cat we had for about five minutes named Morsel. Natalie's mom was looking for a name for her new kitten and Natalie asked her readers for suggestions. I said Morsel because I think it's a great name for a cat (it didn't win, but that's ok).

Like I said, we had a cat named Morsel when I was a teenager but Morsel was a feral cat and he disappeared when his mom disappeared. Long, sad story I don't really feel the need to revisit, other than to explain that that's how I decided to name my new Kitty Morsel.

"What? Another cat?!" I can hear you cry. "Aren't three enough?!!!" Even Roxy disapproves.

hello kitty 052

Ahem. Yes. Three are enough. But this Kitty is a good bit more sedate than the other other three and instead of cat food he eats fiber, or he gnaws on it a little bit and then spits it out, which is actually a lot more wonderful than it sounds.

Ok, I'm getting weird here. Meet Morsel - here's his fat little belly.

v hello kitty 013

Morsel is my new Fancy Kitty drum carder. Ain't he sweet?

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I like his orange stripes.

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Drum carders are the coolest thing going. You can take all sorts of fibers in all kinds of colors and add some sparkle and blend them all together into what's called a batt and then spin them into really cool yarn. (Here's a video of how they work)

v hello kitty 007

Once they've come off the drum (that's his "belly" I was talking about above and in the photo below) the batts are light and fluffy and make spinning loads of fun. Last night I was working on an idea for a Halloween yarn I want to make this week that I think is going to be really cool. I carded together some fiber and then spun a sample and knitted it up. The effect blew me away and I can't wait to do a whole skein of it.

(yes, my fiber studio is a gloriously girlie pink - the bottom half of it, anyway. the top half is white. i'm not so crazy about that part. but one day i'll finish getting it together and then i'll share pictures. i need a chair and shelves and other shelves and picture frames and  ...)

v hello kitty 027

I'd looked a lots of batts for sale on Etsy before I got the carder and they seemed so expensive to me - but once I started using the carder, I could understand why. It's lots of fun, but more work than you'd think. And I've already stabbed my fingers pretty well a couple of times with those sharp teeth while trying to clean Morsel. He's feisty! But I don't mind - there's nothing like spinning up a drum carded batt. I want to have more for sale in the shop, but I'm slow about it. I put a lot of thought into the colors and what the yarn might look like when spun. And I like to spin up a little sample before I finally make my batts and these things all take time.

So that's my new Kitty. I love him so! I think Morsel is really going to be happy in his new home.

***

I was so pleased with my little contest. I think I announced it on twitter three times and that's all I did to promote it. I wanted it to go to someone who actually reads my blog on at least a semi-regular basis, so I loved each and every one of the 18 comments on that post. I threw all those names into a hat and the felted rock will go to Puna. So Puna, if you'll email me your address to springtreeroad (at) yahoo (dot) com, I'll put it in the post for you.

If you didn't win one, don't be sad. You never know when I could get a hankering for some more rock felting. Or some other kind of felting. Or something else entirely. Hmmm...


A very tiny giveaway

I was in my backyard just now, taking pictures of yarn to list. It was about to rain so the wind was blowing and the clouds were ominous and I hurried to finish.

But I had to take pictures of the clouds in black and white, because they looked like this.

yarn 003

Excuse the house and the dish and stuff, but what can I do? I live in suburbia (I'm not complaining).

yarn 005

I've given up on the first day of the month in black and white, at least for now. Too many other things going on. But there's still the flickr group and you're more than welcome to come and look or come and join in and that's where I'll be putting all my b&ws from now on.

Today I cleaned off my drum carder after blending some wool so that I could card some more wool and muck it up again. Anyway, I got all these little bits of wool off in various colors that are pretty much good for nothing. So I asked V if she wanted to felt them to make some balls for the cat to play with and she did. So we did.

Then I remembered I had some green left over from the Tink yarn I did (which has sold) and the Tink batts (which haven't). And I thought about the smooth rocks I picked up at the beach in Topsail, NC, a couple of months ago and how I keep meaning to take pictures of them. So I felted some of the Tink leftovers onto one of the rocks.

It turned out pretty.

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And I was thinking about it, how the felt covers the rock and it feels really nice in my hand. Felty, but with a bit of weight. And I was thinking about how I've gone from editing other people's words to creating my own yarn. Yarn that I'm proud of, that I love, that I can't wait to get up and do it again tomorrow even though I haven't even started spinning tonight yet.

And today held another blessing because another one of my yarns was on the front page of Etsy, which was wonderful and exciting and made me feel like I've finally answered the elusive question of what I want to do with my life.

So I want to give you advance notice that I'm going to do a yarn giveaway on Shealynn's blog. I think it starts tomorrow, but I'm sure I'll mention it here. She did a giveaway on my blog a while back and now I'm doing one with her. But I also want to give something away myself, a very tiny thing.

Just because.

I want to give away the felt-covered rock. Silly maybe, because it is such a very small thing, but there are a lot of good, positive feelings wrapped up in that little rock. And if you'd like some of those, just leave me a comment telling me why, and I'll choose someone on Saturday. I'll keep the comments open until sometime Saturday morning and then choose someone right after.

Sound good?


Inside the aquarium

I love taking pictures at the aquarium. Here's a seahorse for Gayle.

r TN Aquarium 209

This otter is for me. They're really hard to catch in a photo with the low light and their lightning speed.

r TN Aquarium 255

Here's a turtle for V.

r TN Aquarium 278

I like snouts.

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Or snoots. I like snoots. Especially funny looking ones.

r TN Aquarium 308

And prehistoric looking ones.

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How's this for crazy?

r TN Aquarium 345

I bet he keeps that tank pretty clean.

Next time I'll be back to talking about the yarn, I think. I've got some pretty pictures of my new Kitten. Tee hee.


Outside the aquarium

Last week R was off for a few days, so on one of our staycation days we drove up to Chattanooga to the Tennessee Aquarium. It was a beautiful day.

v TN Aquarium 113

While R stood in the long line for tickets, V and I walked around outside. There was a drummer playing under the bridge, which was a nice, cool place to get out of the sun. He let V play his drums and seemed to be a nice guy.

v TN Aquarium 118

Then she played in their little water feature. All the other kids were playing there so you know there was no way I was going to be able to keep her out of it.

v TN Aquarium 126

Of course she got completely soaked, but my good husband R had the foresight to bring her some extra clothes. While he took her to change, I sat under the bridge on a bench behind the drummer guy.

v TN Aquarium 155

I was trying to work up the nerve to ask him if I could take a picture. I don't think he would've minded, but I get shy.

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Before I could summon the courage, an Aquarium security employee came over and told him he couldn't play there. So he packed up.

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And left.

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This really annoyed me.

Did I mention it was a beautiful day?

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So I talked to the lady sitting on the bench next to mine.

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And then a kid came over and bummed a cigarette off her. He went back and sat with his buddy on one bench.

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While a new mom fed her baby on the other.

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And then R and V came back and we went inside to see some big fish. And little ones. And seahorses.

I'll have some pictures from inside the aquarium next time.


Whew!

I've had a heck of a day or two. My to-do list is getting longer, though it would help if I would actually write the list down instead of keeping it all in my head.

My blog. Oh how I love it! And I feel like I've been neglecting it. Or neglecting the parts of it that I truly love - the photos of things besides yarn and the writing of stories from my childhood and daily events. So my intention is to still keep doing that and it will get done. But it can't be the way it was before I opened my shop on July 15th. That's just not possible. So life changes again, and this time that is a good thing.

But I have yarnie things to mention, because I am grateful and happy and joyful and blessed.

Two of my wonderful customers have knitted things from my yarn - and they both write the same blog. I love Knitting Sandwich! It's three college friends who all knit. They blog about their knitting, their meet ups, and whatever else is going on in their lives. They also take great photos.

Melissa got my "Pink Loves Silver" yarn and she made the cutest hat for her daughter Lily. The button absolutely makes it perfect, don't you think? And what a cutie!

Lily

Claire chose "Garden Snake" and made a gorgeous cowl from it. Stunning. Her pictures make my heart happy.

Claire

Thanks to both of you ladies. I'm so happy you like the yarn.

So yesterday was a very productive morning for me. I dyed a lot of roving to spin and finished spinning a skein of yarn while V played with her Playdoh spaghetti factory. Next up on the list in my head was laundry and dishes (yeah, I tend to do the fun stuff first).

Then the earth stopped and time stood still.

Ha. Just kidding. But one of my yarns was featured on Etsy's front page. Here's what it looked like, if you're so inclined.

After that I didn't get any more work done. I pretty much danced around, called my best friend & emailed everyone I know.

The not getting stuff done has continued all this morning. I don't know what the problem was (actually I do - it's called the Internet and it has its way of sucking you in). But next on my list is getting to the laundry and those dishes, finishing washing a bed-full of sheets and quilt that had a 3am run-in with a certain little girl's dislike of fully chewing mouthfuls of food (yuck), and happily spinning these:

today's roving

I also have to list this yarn (done!), which I think looks good enough to eat:

Felicity 005

And play "it's Halloween inside our house" with Miss V. She found a bunch of Halloween stickers and has been going to town!

Whew!


Tink - soft, sparkly batts & yarn

For more fiber fun, please visit Alpaca Farmgirl's Fiber Arts Friday.

***

I had an idea for a sparkly yarn that was all in greens. And I just got a new drum carder (which I'll talk more about soon), so I set to work.

I dyed some Merino wool three shades of green by using the same dye powder, just different amounts for each bit of wool. Then I blended it together with some fluffy white alpaca I bought a while back and I added some firestar. Firestar is a sparkly nylon - a little goes a long way and I just wanted a hint of shimmer.

I sent it through the drum carder a second time to blend the colors together the way I wanted them, from light to dark. Here they are, all carded up. These are called batts.

Tink 001

I made six batts all together, each of them .55 ounces. They are light as air. I couldn't resist spinning some of them, so I thought I'd spin three into a small skein of yarn and list the other three in my shop. I named them Tink because the colors remind me of Tinkerbell.

To spin a batt, I laid it out (there's more than one method to spin it, but I wanted the finished yarn to keep the color progression).

Tink 002

And gently separated it.

Tink 003

Then I spun it from light to medium to dark/light, medium, dark, through all three batts. I spun it pretty thin. I don't know why, that's just what it felt like.

Tink 004

Now I have them each listed in my shop. Here's the spun yarn.

Tink 001

It's notoriously difficult to take good pictures of the firestar sparkle - I imagine it's kind of like trying to catch a fairy in Pixie Hollow. I'll have to keep practicing.

Tink 005

And here are the batts that are for sale in the shop.

Tink 001

This was my first real foray into drum carding. It's a lot of work, but so much fun to plan the colors and then see how it all comes together!


Roxy loves smoothie

I've noticed before that kittens will eat some fruits and vegetables that they won't usually touch when they're older. Here's Roxy eating some of my breakfast smoothie this morning.

Makes me laugh. This cat will eat pretty much anything - I've caught her drinking coffee from my cup!

I think tomorrow I'll have a post about carding, glitz, batts, and Tinkerbell. Hmmm...sounds like fun!