30 May 2009

Evidence of Industry

I just celebrated the start of my 13th year at my job, and as a result, I'm accruing vacation time at a higher rate. As a result, my manager suggested I take every Friday off during the summer. BRILLIANT! Yesterday was my first vacation Friday of the summer and I give you evidence of my personal industry!

First: two skeins off the bobbins:
Below: Merino/Tencel Two Ply
Image of a skein of light green/light brown yarn

Below: "Forest floor", Wensleydale single. Verrrry long staple.
Image of yarn skein of green brown wensleydale fiber

Next, purchased merino yarn dyed to make a scarf inspired by this brilliant Cork, Ireland fiber artist.
Image of skein of blue and brown yarn

Also, some luscious super soft BFL yarn, dyed a Chestnut warm brown
Image of a skein of chestnut brown yarn

Then, onto fiber in the dye pots: "Ocean", Merino/Tencel blend
Image of blue green roving

More Merino/Tencel "Merlot"
Image of red/brown dyed roving

Below,"Girly" Silk/Merino blend - dyed with purple and fuschia. Most of the hot pink
fuscia ends up going down the drain in the rinse as it does not bond well to the fiber.
image of very pink silk/merino roving

Next, "Butterscotch", Silk/Merino blend
Image of yellow/gold silk/merino roving

And finally,purple! Silk-Merino that I overprocessed and now I'm having to hand card the
whole thing into rolags in order to spin it. Argh.
Image of purple roving

You may have noticed a little shift in the photos. I bought a new (cheap!) 50mm lens and love the narrow depth of field it offers at low aperture settings. Tuulia made me do it. (Hmm, so that's how Jared does it!)

26 May 2009

A Perfect Memorial Weekend

It was the most luxurious weekend I have had in ages. The weather was perfect. PERFECT. Sunny, high 60's, low 70's, with a hint of coolness in the air, and time to play with color and texture.

I started with two nearly full bobbins of a 50/50 split of a merino/tencel blend. I finished with a full bobbin of two-ply of the same. As always, click the image for big!

image of spinning wheel with a single spun on to it.

Image of finished bobbin of two ply

I also completed a project that I've been thinking about - you know, always thinking about the next project when one is clicking on the needles.

I love to dye and spin, but I don't want to become a production spinner, toiling over bobbins and bobbins and bobbins of singles in order to spin enough for a sweater. I love handspun, but a full sweater of it is not as appealing as having it in bits and bites. Why not dye white yarn in a colorway to work with a handspun - then handspin a related colorway with a specific design in mind? Maybe cuffs and collars in handspun? Or stripes in handspun? Or....you get the picture.

Here is the result of dyeing 1600 yards of 50% alpaca/50% wool two-ply yarn in a purple colorway, and several colorways of roving that I might spin up to work with the purple. Designs to mull in my head and to come at a later date.Your comments and ideas and pointers to inspiration welcome!

The roving below started as a light grey fiber.

image of fiber and dyed yarn

The roving below started as white and is now a mixture of greys, pinks, and purples.

image of another color of roving and the same dyed yarn as the previous image

The roving below started as a gradient-dyed yellow Falkland roving and I overdyed with crimson and purple. It is really electric!

image of yarn and roving dyed by Charisa Martin Cairn

And lastly, I'll show you this wonderful caramelly-plummy yummy roving I dyed late yesterday. Believe me, it feels as good as it looks. (Carol laughs and says I see colorways in terms of food. Don't you?)

image of merino/tencel fiber roving dyed by Charisa Martin Cairn

And to wrap this blog entry, I'll show you a fun snap that I caught as we were heading into the Folklife festival in Seattle. A bride and her maids - her wedding must have been at the EMP
(Seattle's Experience Music Project museum). See a few more of the festival here. Ah, to Spring, and youth and everything ahead of you.

image of bride and her maids getting their mugs shot at Seattle's EMP museum

22 May 2009

Proud Mama = Kiddos on parade

I finished a hat a long time ago - it's knit in short rows. It was an easy knit, I was just surprised by the point on the hat and put it away when completed. My daughter, Aden, found it in the stack at the house of hats and claimed it as her own. Perfect for her. She puts her dreads up and off she goes. And, side note, look how good her nose looks (it's the underside that was removed due to the melanoma, and has been grafted)! It's healing well - reconstruction in the near future.

Pattern: Strawberry Joe
Book: Going Straight - A New Generation of Knitted Hats
Author: Woolly Wormhead
Yarn: Soy of some sort (Not Paton's)
Needle size: US 5 or 6 (can you tell I wasn't paying much attention?)

Image of Aden in a pixie bonnet

Image of Aden in a pixie bonnet

Image of Aden in a pixie bonnet

Also in the news, my son, the map fanatic (if only I could make him a spinning wheel fanatic), gave a talk at the Where 2.0 2009 conference in San Jose this week. See his fascinating talk about Maps in 4 dimensions below (it's about 10.5 minutes in length.) He's wearing a hat I made for him during the presentation. (Looks like it's time to knit him a new one.)

And lastly, I heard from my baby today - looks like she got a gig cooking full time. I don't have a recipe of hers to share with you at the moment, so I'll give you a shot of her cooking for us and a promise to share a recipe of hers in the future.

17 May 2009

Lifestyle Socks: Videos

Videos to assist you in making socks that fit the way you want 'em.
The Pattern: Lifestyle Socks

Click the photo below to see the pattern and download it. It's free.

Not a pattern, but a lifestyle
My sock making guide with a great formula for toe-up socks:
• Judy Becker's Cast On +
• Priscilla Wild's No Muss No Fuss Short Row Heel +
• And any pattern you choose +
• Any weight yarn of your choosing = Socks that always fit.


How to knit on two circular needles, brought to you by Stitch Diva
She shows you multiple ways to knit small diameter tubes.

The Sock
Toe: Judy Becker Cast On for Toe Up Socks
Cat Bordhi demos, and unfortunately, you cannot elect for viewing in "high quality", but she uses large needles so you get the idea.

Heel: I walk you through Priscilla Wild's short row heel in my Lifestyles pattern

Updated: See a variation of this short row heel using stitch markers. You'll never lose your place between held and active stitches.

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Sewn Bind Off
You need a tail of yarn at least three times the length of the distance you need to bind off.

10 May 2009

Inspiration - where do you get yours?

Definitely inspring! Friday night - Amy and Emily, strong as ever. They are kind enough to allow photos and recording and I caught this with my point and shoot. Small venue, great sound, perfect. Their songs about justice, love, and learning how to do the journey are all food for thought for the art that I create.

What inspires you?

06 May 2009

Happy Birthday!

My partner, in life (and crime), has a birthday today! Happy Birthday Carol! See the wonderful inspiration she brings to my life - view her beautiful artwork here. Have her incredible work inspire you in your own home - click to purchase a catalog of her art.

05 May 2009

Geeks in motion, or well, not much motion.

From my son's blog:

I pulled a muscle in my back today, doing nothing more strenuous than standing and wiggling my shoulder blades around to stretch. It feels fine, unless I move or breathe, in which case it hurts terribly. Later on in the evening I went to meditation class. I started going last week, and found it calming and pleasantly novel. This week I discovered that sitting cross-legged, upright, and still is the perfect way to make nearly every muscle in my body scream in pain or go numb. Also, listening to my own breath makes me drowsy right quick. So there I am, half asleep, writhing in anguish, and the meditation instructor, who's oratory style can be complemented as nasal and rambly, is talking about how pain is a good thing because it provides contrast for pleasure and because it gives us something to focus on to bring us into the present. Instead of calming me down, this mostly just annoyed me, because I didn't feel the pain I was experiencing was really necessary or productive. So there I am: annoyed, distracted, half asleep, in pain, and my phone keeps buzzing.

The instructor tells a story about a study where they submerged meditator's hands in ice water to gauge their pain and fear before and after a three-month meditation class. They found that after the meditation class that the meditators did not feel less pain but they did experience less fear as a result of the ice water hand bath. This was attributed to the effects of meditation. I thought: was there a control group? You can't make any conclusions unless there's a control group. If there was a control group, the study probably would have found that repeated exposure to an ice hand bath reduces one's ice-bath anxiety because you learn that an ice hand bath is not harmful. I am going to make a tee shirt. The shirt will say, "Was there a control group?". Whenever someone makes a bold statement, I will point to my shirt.
So, I had the shirt made and sent it to my son. He found it on his doorstep today. You can get one too. (click to order) Oh, and I knit the hat on his head too!

02 May 2009

Handspun Shrine

Yarn I've handspun in the past couple of years
Someday I'll actually cast on and knit with it! (Click on image to see it big).
Photo of handspun yarn

Photo of handspun yarn

Some yarn I'm not that fond of, scratchy romni wool I think. Fun color: denim with pink shot. Used it as an opportunity to practice woolen spinning. About 350 yards, 2ply, 5.6 ounces.

Photo of scracthy denim colored yarn

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