Monday, September 27, 2010


It's midnight. I'm reading for theology, a chapter called "The Meaning of Revelation." The author is discussing how God is hidden from us, and God has hidden in Christ. And then the quote: "God's hiddenness...."

Except it's midnight, and I've been reading for classes all day, so what my brain reads is: "God's hideousness...."

And for a brief moment, my brain thinks "Well then, that must be why God stays hidden."

Maybe I shouldn't be reading theology at midnight.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I was ambitious earlier this summer and decided to look beyond my lovely, wonderful wool. I bought cotton. Soft, beautiful, wonderful cotton. Better for Texas weather, I thought.

Why, oh why did I do it to myself?

I understand now why, whenever they show a cotton mill, the air is full of nasty, nasty cotton bits. It gets everywhere. Stuck on my fingers, my clothes, the fabric from my chair, and in the air. Wool doesn't do that. Wool likes itself. It sticks to itself and doesn't fly around too much.

Since cotton doesn't come from an animal, it doesn't really have fiber length...there are just tiny little bits, less than 1/4 an inch long. Which makes it really really hard to draft and spin.

All throughout the yarn there were big fat slubs and thin strands that would break when they went through my wheel's orifice. I nearly gave up...I felt like I was spinning cotton balls, and couldn't believe they would stay together in the end.

But in the end, when I started to ply it...the cotton charmed me. It's so soft. And the uneven singles were actually turned into a pretty neat looking yarn.

In the end, I was pretty happy. However, I have decided that spinning cotton requires patience, determination, and a good amount of biting back the curses while praying. Or something along those lines. Maybe I'll try it again sometime...maybe.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shalom Cardigan

I know, I know. I'm not supposed to be knitting this much. I should be studying hard and learning all sorts of new things, and telling you all about them. And I promise - I AM learning lots of new, wonderful, confusing things. And I will write about them...when I can wrap my brain around them. Until then, I'm doing a lot of knitting.

I frogged the cardigan I was working on. In the end, it was a bit of a disappointment...there were a lot of shortcomings in it, and I really wouldn't suggest it for a beginner. I'm sure some people would be able to figure it out...but I didn't care to struggle with it. So instead, I found another (free) pattern - Meghan McFarlane's lovely Shalom Cardigan. Here is the direct link to the pattern and her blog if you are interested.

When I went to Knitter's Connection in Columbus, OH this summer, I spoiled myself with some beautiful Briar Rose polywarth roving. Their dyeing is stunning. My mom and friend Hannah have bought their yarn several times, and I've always lusted over it. I was thrilled to find that they sold roving...and had such a hard time deciding! In the end, though, I picked out a lovely blueish greenish wool that reminded me of the pictures you see of Earth from space.

The Shalom Cardigan was perfect for this yarn. I had just a few yards left over, and so nothing was wasted. I managed to spin a lovely worsted-weight, which was a little thin for the pattern, but I used size 11 needles and the gauge was great. If I made this sweater again, I would probably change a few things with the yoke, and add 2 more buttons. I may make it with sleeves.

Here is my end result! I'm very happy. Please ignore the dumb expression on my face....

Will upload more pictures to my Ravelry page later!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rainbow Stitches...finished

I've said this before...but I love this yarn. Kauni is wonderful stuff. Yes, it's slightly scratchy, but that's forgivable when you look at the colors. They fade seamlessly from one shade to the next. I am so happy with this shawl.

The pattern is Stephen West's Boneyard Shawl (Ravelry link). It's very easy and is great if you're interested in showing off the qualities of your yarn rather than your knitting (which I generally am...). I'd definitely make it again with a different yarn. For Kauni, though, it was perfect. The shawl size is perfect, too. I've been carrying it to class, since the rooms area usually kind of cold. I've gotten a lot of comments on it.

With that finished, I decided I should probably start getting rid of all this handspun yarn I now have lying around. I started a cardigan using the pattern Presto Cardigan. I like the pattern so far. I've finished the back and am working on the right front.

I love the yarn separately, and I liked it when I laid the skeins next to each other...but I'm not sure what I think of it. It's very Christmasy. I'm using a maroon merino bought at Sheep Street, a forest green BFL from Miss Babs, and a orange/purple/green Corriedale called "Autumn Leaves" from Fantail Fibres. All were wonderful to spin (though BFL is amazing stuff...)

So I might end up frogging this; I might keep it. I'm not sure yet. I'll finish the front and see what I think. I might change up the striping for the sleeves.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Society, women, and rape

A friend linked THIS on her facebook page, and I thought it should be shared further. It is a very well-written blog post about women and the way society expects them to act, and then the way women act when they are raped. Very interesting, very informative, and very important for everyone to read.

Gardening prayers needed!

There's been a lot to pray about lately, but tonight it will be for a non-human. I planted an herb garden today! I love having green things around (the grass outside my window doesn't count). I think we all need "green" in our lives, and that it can really help make a place seem like a home. So I decided to try growing some herbs on my window ledge. I planted sweet basil, parsley, and chives. If they grow, I hope to learn to cook using them. If not...well, at least I tried.

I'll post updates on these as they grow...if they grow

Natural Dyes - Nature's Blessing Stole

For a good portion of the summer, I worked hard on a project for a friend: a stole made from wool which I cleaned, combed, and spun.

Raw rambouillet fleece. You can see just from the fleece that there were varying shades of cleanliness.

We washed the fleece in warm water with soap (3 baths), and warm water without soap (3 baths). We used Seventh Generation dish soap because it doesn't have enzymes in it, which can ruin the fleece.

After the fleece was washed, we lay it out to dry on an old screen door. It took several days to dry fully.

One of the ways I prepared the fleece was by carding it. I bought two dog combs from the pet store and use them as combs to make rollags. I've also carded wool and used a makeshift dis (basically a circle with a hole in the middle) to make long bits of top. I don't have pictures to demonstrate this.

And then I spun it into yarn! This stuff is heavenly to spin. I think it may have something to do with the fact that there are less (no!) chemicals in the yarn once I've finished it, or maybe the fact that I worked with the wool from almost the beginning. It spun so easily, no drafting necessary.

The wool was a gift from a friend, and I wanted to make something with it for her. Because she is very much a gardener and nature person, I decided that I would experiment with natural dyes while working toward the final goal of knitting a stole.

Black and white fleece spun together and then dyed twice with red onion skins. In the final stole, it looked greener than it does here.

From left: Pink: third dyebath with tickseed (little yellow flower we have in our front yard). The water boiled away partially, giving the yarn a variegated look. Orange: First dye with tickseed. I used copper pennies as mordant for this dyebath, but took them out for the pink. Yellow: Queen Anne's Lace with allum mordant.

I dyed this roving with tickseed. I believe the finished yarn is the orange in the picture above.

The finished stole! The pattern is called "woven stitch." I embroidered a cross and a flower on the two ends, and I think they turned out fairly well, despite my lack of embroidery skills. Marie loved the stole, and I loved making it!

I started the project with the hope to make something for someone who meant a lot to me...doing it in a way I thought she'd approve of. I'd never really considered using what is given to us in nature for something like this before...but now I think I will find it hard to return to using chemicals to dye with. Those dyes fade over time. Centuries of cloth from Europe show us that natural dyes stay brilliant for much longer. The extra effort is worth it in the end.