Saturday, August 18, 2007

Me O My! Yarn ball winder & Yarn swift!

Me oh my! I love my new yarn swift and ball winder! After reading for several days a discussion on Elizabeth’s year yahoo group about swifts and ball winders, I did some investigating on these strange contraptions. First remember, that I am a self-taught knitter so my first reaction was “swift? What are they talking about?” So I did the All American farm girl thing and googled it. Wow! What neat tools!
Well, I immediately got back on to the group and asked where and what brand everyone seemed to be using. I then went to eBay and did some searching. I also then went to one of my distributors. Lo and behold, they carry both a nice ball winder and a wooden yarn swift. I promptly ordered one of each, never mind that I didn’t’ make the minimum and had to pay my own shipping. Neat new tools! Who could ask for more?
Well, they arrived on Friday afternoon while I was out. My fingers have been itching to get into that box. I knew what long box from UPS contained! After finally finishing breakfast, making bird rounds, and feeding babies, getting Steve on the road this morning, showered, and dressed, I opened my big box!. Well, the ball winder had assembly instruction and directions for use included but the yarn swift had nothing. Thank goodness, yarn swifts are not difficult to figure out. It took me about 5 minutes to read the ball winder instructions and get the two tools setup on my kitchen table. It took about 5 minutes to make two working yarn balls from 2 of my 5 -50 gram hanks of Heathered lace weight yarn hanks. Who knew that these two simple but odd looking tools could make my creative time so much easier?!? I’m in love with these two tools!
Both tools setup very quickly and easily. The ball winder is plastic with a metal yarn guide. While I’m not crazy about the plastic parts, the whole mechanism moves quickly and easily.
The yarn swift is wooden with wooden “screws” that hold the clamp on the table and the actual “umbrella” part up. The umbrella is very easily adjusted to fit the hank nicely.
I’ve decided to try to give a review for new books and “toys” in this blog. I’d like to give my camera some more out of the bag time too, so more photos of WIPs will be forthcoming. I’m also waiting anxiously for my new Bluetooth module that will give me “voice” for my computer. I’m also thinking the Queen of Hysteria might enjoy podcasting for fiber crafters out there.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Knitting & design dilemma

I’ve accepted the EZ (Elizabeth Zimmerman) Almanac challenge. The gauntlet was thrown down by Kelley Petkun of KnitPicks. I’ve searched and found EZ’s book, got it ordered. I’ve shopped online for my yarn… found it. It is KnitPicks’ Shadow in the campfire color. I really do love the color and the yarn; however, after getting it in my hands, I just can’t visualize this autumn leaf burnt orange in a large Pi shawl. I put out a whine post on the yahoo group about my color choice and got several responses with pictures of my yarn as a Pi shawl. They were beautiful so I will stop my whining and get busy casting on the shawl. (I’ve frogged it completely twice already.)

Lately, all my projects have been learning experiences in that each one has taught me a new technique. My Pi shawl, taken from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitters Almanac, is teaching me to work with lace-weight yarn. I thought it might teach me to use DPNs but I’m going to work it with circular needles so the DPN lesson will wait for a future project. My ipod case will teach me a toe up knitting technique and felting. Miss Olivia’s kimono jacket is teaching me to shape while knitting a sweater. Steve’s scarf has taught me not to use multiple colors and knit cables in the same project. My ribbon scarf has taught me continental knitting method. My dad’s socks have taught me how to correct several dropped stitches.

I know this is a lot of projects going at once but I have gone several months with no projects in the works. In fact, currently, I have one christening gown (actually, it is not but the pattern is a christening gown), 2 quilts, and a set of burp cloths in addition to the various knitting projects. I love having projects going to keep my hands busy.

A double life ~ Birds & Fiber!

A double life ~ Birds & Fiber!

I lead a double life. I’ve floated between two very different worlds for years. I’ve been in love with fiber for over 30 years and birds for over 16 years. If you look back to my childhood, I’ve been dabbling in both my whole life.
I’ve been looking around at other blogs and podcasts. They all seem to be specialized in one particular area. Since I don’t separate the two of them in my daily life, I’m not sure how to separate them in my blog which is basically reflection of my daily life. While I love my hodge-podge blog here on Stayin’ Stitched!, I am considering making two more serious blogs about the two areas in my life – aviculture and fiber.
I would like the aviculture blog to consist of educational tips, articles, and various adventures in our aviary. More pictures of birds and current topics being discussed on the various exotic forums.
As far as my fiber life, I love designing, teaching, and constructing one-of-a-kind pieces. I miss the creativeness in my life when other areas take over. I’ve quilted for 30+ years now and can’t imagine ever not having a quilt in progress; however, knitting, beading, crochet, and hand-dyeing also provide endless fascination for me.
In both blogs, I foresee book reviews, possible interviews and photos. I started doing some research on podcasting as well, but in the meantime, I think I would like to work on the format for my avicultural and fiber blogs. Eventually, they might develop into podcasts.
So if you are a reader of mine and more specialized posts would be of interest to you, please, leave me a comment with your thoughts and suggestions.