Sunday, October 28, 2007

Evil BMFA!

G'day all!

I got my latest Socks That Rock club installment yesterday. Can I just say this is the only one this year that I've gone OMG, I MUST knit these socks! Others are nice but these? Already on the needles...

Can I also say that they are evil evil b@stards too?

In the bag with the yarn, I saw a spider. A plastic spider. Yeah yeah, whatever. After all Halloween is coming up and spiders (fake and real) and booglies are everywhere here. (They are trying to find warm places for winter. As long as the spider is not a black widow/katipo/red back, I mostly let them live, or shove them outside.) So I put my hand into the bag to grab the most droolsome yarn, a different spider wriggled in a most life-like way. I nearly hit the roof! LOL

I would show you a picture but I most foolishly upgraded my computer last weekend. I didn't realise that the new version had only been released that day. What a STUPID idea! Whose dumb idea was that? I had hoped it would fix some problems that I have been working around for months now (eg the system recognises the camera but won't download from it for love nor money nor a whole lotta prodding). Anyway, along with my web access being whacky (it looks up a DNS server that doesn't exist and then of course won't crawl the web so ever three hours I have to go change a file under the administrator access) I've now discovered that I am not allowed to write files to my own disk! Files of course include pictures. Now maybe I could go use admin access to write jpegs but really! DH is going to have a fun time fixing my computer when he gets home.

Man, I am soooo underimpressed with this latest release of Ubuntu. Others reckon it is great but I obviously have a whack system and it does not work for me at all.

Anyway, to distract you from the lack of pictures, I give you


Woo hoo!

Keep this link until Tuesday. I think it expresses a thought common to anyone working Monday-Friday.

T. rex and other large dinosaurs were teen mums. It's not just humans that have babies young!

Algae may not only be able to produce biodiesel but a different strain makes hydrogen - fuel cells anyone?

Britain's chief scientist in conversation. He's been pushing the climate change barrow and a code for scientists.

Neanderthals had red-heads too. Alas, the mutation is different to the one seen in H sapiens sapiens, so dangit I don't necessarily have neanderthal blood (my old man was a carrot top).

I am finding some of these jumpers interesting, particularly the snow shadows one.... It is a pity that picture sweaters are not fashionable at present and also that I am not at that age where you don't care any longer if something is fashionable or not. Of course if you saw me dagging around town in a pair of baggy trakky dax (tracksuit pants) with one leg tucked into my handknitted sock (for cycling), an overly large by current standards t-shirt (ie not skin tight), a sloppy top and/or windbreaker you would wonder if I notice fashion at all. I do, vaguely. It isn't that important to me, but I do notice if I am not wearing clothes even remotely like those of the people around me.

Holy guacamole. We have our neighbours demonstrating the massive power of their subwoofer (doof doof doof doof) and across the road the boys with their Subarus are testing them out - they put a new muffler on one yesterday. I think it may be a little quieter - it was just a drainpipe before and the noise! Nope, they've started up the one with the new drainpipe. Ick. Anyway, it is going to drive me mad. I think I shall go for a walk along the creek where it is pretty still. I would show pics but well see the above discussion.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

List mode

G'day all!

Beautiful weather these last three days. I've been out and about a bit. But that is not what I want to talk about! Actually I don't know what I want to talk about. I have no plan at all.

I've been spinning so much that I could hardly walk up or down the stairs today - I have a double treadle wheel but one leg obviously was taking the strain. I have stuff to destash - even though we've only been here for a little while I have already managed to accumulate stuff I know I won't use in the short or even medium term, so it should move on (eg all the recycled angora yarn that I won't need to use now that we are moving to San Jose, assuming the visas come through). I have an FO I still need to have a photoshoot of. I have an almost FO that I need to frog back to make longer. The Mystery Object is continuing and looks totally bizarre at present. I have to show of my new slipper too - there's only one yet, but the second one will have pics taken of the whole process so you too can make easy warm slippers!

I am making me a couple of lists or three, just so I remember stuff I need/want/don't need. I figure I will put it on the blog cos then I cannot lose the list! So excuse me whilst I put them here.

    Things to buy:
  • electronic kitchen scales
  • hair-dryer
  • crock pot/turkey roaster (for dyeing)
  • crock pot (for making food!)
  • more landscapes dyes (particularly galah, I'm out, and Opal, I'm nearly out)
  • two more bobbins for my little gem wheel
  • a new mattress (husbandly legs literally stick out of end of bed from about mid calf with current mattress, not an issue when it was warm but now an issue)
  • a base for the futon we are currently sleeping on (for the parental units when they visit)
  • more pots (I won't buy them from a thrift or op shop cos they are evil and glutened)
  • another cast iron frying pan/skillet (for the Boy's pancakes)
  • a pie tin (I threw the old cake/pie tin out cos the non-stick coating was coming off on the food - I noticed some stuff was oddly silvery a week ago. Hmmm....)

    Things I want to buy:
  • those really pretty harmony wood needles from KnitPicks
  • lots of yarn and fleece to roll around in and be happy with
  • lots of yarn to dye
  • another fleece from Black Pines Sheep
  • a gazillion knitting books, particularly Joan thingo McGowan's lingerie knits, Fitted Knits, lots of Elizabeth Zimmerman, Annie Modesitt's latest one, oh so many!
  • heaps of magazines
  • heaps of CDs
  • heaps of DVDs

(due to budgetary constraints, want to buys are on the wait until we have money list!)

    Things I don't need to buy for my birthday:
  1. Cat Bordhi's new sock book
  2. two skeins of new to me sock yarn (Araucania and a umm, erp, OnLine supersocke)
I have put those aside so DH can wrap them for me and pretend he was very thoughtful :-)

Oh dear. Time to cook dinner. I am totally out of steam - I've ridden to (or from) HP twice this week and then done the tour around the Other End of town. Will my poor tired overworked leggies manage to hold me up long enough to chop vegies and throw everything into a pot to make some sort of elk-based tomato spag bog sauce?


Sunday, October 21, 2007

What is it?

G'day all!

What on earth is this weird thing?

And what could this be the start of?

A hint on the latter. It has two strands held together, one of sock yarn and one of in my version a recycled angora yarn:

It is cold here today. We had a humdinger of a change come through - yesterday got to about 28C, today it reached six degrees Celsius, and is heading rapidly for 0C and below. Our first proper freeze!

What is it?

As it is cold, I am glad I am really getting moving on the cold weather gear. This picture helps out a bit with working out what the grey thing in the first photo is.

Yep, it is a face mask/neck warmer/whatever for wearing whilst riding the bike. This one is for Nathan and is too big for me cos it has to go over his beard. I've tried it out and it really made a difference. It is made out of cashmere. How on earth can someone with my budget afford cashmere? Recycled cashmere from a thrift shop sweater (or in Oz parlance an op shop jumper) costs say $5 for the sweater, a bunch of my time and a way to ply up the yarn into something handknittable (eg my spinning wheel).

I started with 120 stitches on a 4mm needle, the yarn is about DK to worsted weight. Working in the round, I did about six rounds of garter stitch (pita when working in the round). Then I did 6 rows of stocking stitch. Next round I decreased every 10 stitches. Then I worked another 4-5 rounds of stocking stitch. Then lots of rounds of 3X1 rib. When the ribbing was about 5cm long, I started doing short rows across about 2/3 of the stitches, working in one set of ribbing each time (ie doing the wrap and turn on the purl stitch on one repeat earlier each time). This made it longer on the front than the back. I had to do a second set of short rows to make it long enough in the face/front neck to get over Nathan's beard. Then when it was 4cm from being long enough, I made a little nose dimple with short rows and finished off with about an inch/2.5cm of 1X1 rib. In other words, I fudged it.

The thing that amazed me most with that pic above is I saw it and realised that I really do look like my brother. And my next up sister. (My next next up sister has a squarer face.) It could be almost any of us being amused behind the mask. Various of our cousins on our father's side look like us too.


How about a dalek pumpkin for Halloween? Their website is generally amusing. I found this pic on their website very disturbing. I'll never see lego in quite the same light.

Who else remembers ED-209? (Read the comments. Some are hilarious, if disturbing...)

Anyone know if the Dinosaur Diamond in northern Utah is any good? It looks pretty....

A knitty link - how come I only just heard of the Mobtown Review?

So Aussies (OK, me at least) thought Magnums (the icecream, not the Dirty Harry gun) were Australian? Have a look at this Italian icecream sign!

For the Lovecraftian Mythbusters out there. I know you are out there.

An article about composting toilets that amused me. I feel sorry for (?the unclean caste of?) people who have to "carry human excreta on their heads." I reallllllly hope they do so in containers and don't just dollop it on.

On that charming note, I bid you


Friday, October 19, 2007

Some Taos, since everyone is at Rhinebeck

G'day all!

Feeling very jealous of all those off to have fun at Rhinebeck. I'm not amongst them! Mebbe next year....

So I shall enthrall you with pics from the fibre festival at Taos.

Taos is host to a festival with probably about 60 vendors. Not all of them deal in fleece and yarn - some are weavers, some have ready made knitted or felted articles or sheepskins and so on. IMO there are too many alpaca and llama shepherds, but that is because I am jealous! I am allergic to those camelids, yep the ones that are hypoallergenic! (It isn't the first time I've come out in a rash to hypoallergenic stuff - I can't use Neutrogena for example.)

So whilst various bloggers are pushing their way through the crowds at Rhinebeck, I give you pictures to reflect upon at Taos:

(The tent on the left is the one where I did the most damage...)

I actually had to say, "Excuse me!" to someone at one point when I had to shove past them to get into a tent! The worst traffic was outside the fibre festival - Taos is NOT meant for lots of cars. The centre of town is a rabbit warren and there is not enough parking, whether or not you have to pay for it. And I wrote to three of the council department heads suggesting better toilet facilities are vastly needed....


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kauni question

G'day all!

Here's a question for all those who have got Kauni yarn and/or made a cardi from it.

How soft is the yarn? Y'see with my hoped for tax return, I want to buy me some Kauni yarn for my birthday. However, I am one of these people who has difficulty wearing the softest, finest merino next to my skin. Anything the slightest bit prickly has to be worn over two layers, not just one.

Anyone got a little bit (of Kauni) they could send me? Just offcuts/scraps? I am one of those people who gets an idea of how wearable a yarn is by rubbing it against my neck. My neck will prickle to most wools, especially if I am sweaty. Too much information?

I have a small FO to show off, when I get organised and get pics of it. It is nice and warm. Mmmmm. Warm.

I've spend the last two afternoons riding around Fort Collins with the bike trailer hitched up, buying LOTS of groceries. I sorta went berserk yesterday at Vitamin Cottage cos they have a big range of different gluten free stuff. Then there are so many different sorts of pumpkins here, well Americans call them winter squash, but squash to us are the UFO shaped green or yellow tasteless things, and things like butternuts are called pumpkins in Australia. Pumpkins here are mostly inedible it seems and only used for Halloween decorations (ie carving). Anyway, we will be having LOTS of pumpkin risotto since I keep making chicken stock from the roast chook we have once a week and we have about 5 different pumpkins to try.

Which reminds me. I buy the roasting chicken from Wholefoods cos they say their "frier" chickens are not quite certified organic. I figure the less crap put into the chook the better for us (and the environment and the chook, though it doesn't have much say being dead and all). So I look at one of the chooks in the cold cabinet, and holy cow, it says it costs THIRTY-ONE DOLLARS! 31 bucks for a chook? I know Wholefoods is usually called WholePayCheque but really! Then I read the label again and realised that is how much nearly four pounds of a very nice cut of beef would cost. Except this beef is a chicken. And the chicken is $1.99 a pound, not $6.99. Three chooks were mislabelled and any of them were the size I wanted, unlike the correctly labelled ones in the cabinet. I took them to the meat counter and showed the butcher there, who was rather surprised by the cost. "You'd want them to be gold for that price, maybe wear it around your neck!"

I have some projects that I am not quite ready to reveal yet. All very mysterious, all in the fullness of time. Several projects involve sweaters from the goodwill shop and lots of washing. One involves spinning massive amounts (a sweater worth) of shetland yarn. Hopefully the projects will work out as I want them to. If they don't, we'll forget I ever mentioned it.

The shop update is going slowly mainly cos I could not find the pics of the yarns and tops I left Back 'Ome. Turns out they were on Nathan's boss's old laptop which we used for the first month we were here. That would explain why I couldn't find any of our early pictures either. We now have copies of all our pictures. Since I am hoping to stay home tomorrow, being exhausted from riding around at top speed with a heavily laden bike trailer, I might get some pics edited and online. Note that my lovely assistants Back 'ome have to consult with each other to find all the yarn as it is split between two households, so it might take a while to get sent out.

Y'know it is a pity that we only have a bit over two more months here in Fort Collins. I am just starting to lay down some connections and bingo, we'll be moving! However we might be happy to be moving to a warmer climate - SJ is a bit warmer in summer than Melbourne and a bit drier (though not with the drought Melbourne has been suffering). It will be an adventure!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Taos goodies

G'day all!

The stress continues here in Fort Collins. The other job offer is proceeding and they are trying to get us into a visa interview ASAP. To do the visa interview, we have to leave the US. This means Mexico or Canada. Much as I would like to go to Canada, the wait is 43 days for an interview whilst in Mexico it is 2 days. DH has been inspiring me with stories of this particular town in Mexico, so looks like we will be going to Toronto instead. We know people who live just outside To, and I "know" some bloggers who live in To. If we go to Toronto, we are unlikely to leave until after Christmas as Nathan's parents are coming here and then to Toronto around Christmas, so maybe their plans change again.... If all goes well, the new job wants Nathan to start early in the New Year.

So to distract ourselves from fussing, let's look at goodies. The goodies I got at Taos.

An ounce of polypay top. We don't have polypay in Oz.

And some cormo (*American* cormo, no less, LOL cos the New Zealand stuff must be lacking somehow, but then again Americans believe all their stuff is The Best) roving. We don't have sheep called cormos either.

Some really pretty Crayon roving from Fiber Fanatic in Texas - no website alas but I do have her email if you want it. She uses fleece from Tx, NM and Co sheep.

(can you tell I like this one?)

The local coloured fleece sheep breeders had a tent of absolutely luscious fleeces. I could've walked away with about $300 of them but alas, I had forgotten the cheque book and they didn't take visa so I had to make do with the cash on hand. Probably just as well given Monday's news....

Some luscious CVM fleece. I was looking at a number of fleeces from this dealer. All of them were coated and the coats had not been changed often enough so the tips were a bit matted/sticky. Plus a few of the fleeces had scurf in them - large chunks of scurf obvious enough to be seen in the raw fleece. In my experience that is not very common. So I showed one of the scurfy fleeces to Nathan so he knows what to look out for if he ever is looking at a fleece for me. "Look at this! You don't often see this in a raw fleece. See this funny stuff? That is scurf, sheep dandruff. It means that a mite or something got into the sheep and made it itchy." Thank heavens that is all I said, and not that that amount of scurf indicates poor husbandry, cos the shepherd of that particular flock was standing right next to me! Quelle horreur! How embarrassment! Still, I don't expect to find scurf in a spinner's fleece, not much of it. If the sheep are lawnmowers well I don't expect much of the fleece, but if a sheep is raised for its fleece for handspinning, I expect a much better fleece.

Anyway, my fleece is *verra* nice. You can see the silver and moorit colours in the dirty locks. I've washed it now and it is all soft and puffy and wonderful. It is very silvery with a little beigey colour in it, not that dissimilar to the dirty fleece! Can't wait to spin some up!

This lovely Australian Bond fleece from Gleason's Fine Woolies. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm..... It has been a pita to get dry - it is very fine but doesn't have a fine crimp and likes to clump onto itself. I've been fluffing locks out for two days now. I wish I could've bought another fleece that was a lovely chocolate brown. This one is a sort of grey/silvery brown. It is another coated fleece and has very little VM in it.

Plus a yummy "Kev's Korner" Shetland fleece from a sheep called Ginger. It has a few gingery coloured hairs in it. Now that I have washed the fleece, some of the locks pull out to about 20cm - from my fingertips to the base of my hand. I can't wait to get into this one either!

I will be fluffing some of this fleece up and selling some as I have lots of fleece now and will need $$$ more than I need this much fleece! I will see if I can get some of it to Oz quarantine standards - no VM whatsoever. It should be pretty easy with some of the fleece....

Yarn? What is this thing you call yarn? There was lots of lovely yarn there but given a small budget and the choice of processing fleece from scratch or buying yarn pre-made, I seem to go for fleece. I can make LOTS of stuff from a fleece but not much from a skein of yarn.

(Whilst I am excited about my acquisitions at Taos, I'm feeling blasted peeved cos I've realised that for the second year in a row, my birthday is going to be pathetic, present-wise. This year we will be on such a budget that I will be lucky to get a card, let alone the little spending spree I wanted on Amazon and say the Loopy Ewe and (yet another fleece from Black Pines Sheep). Whinge, grizzle moan. Wail. Sniffle.)

Next time, I hope, some pics of the festival and talk about Taos itself.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007


G'day all!

We are still in a panic here. We have no information about anything.

In response to possible impending poverty, I am going to list some stuff on my yarnivorous pages over the next week, see if I can raise a bit of cash that way. Stuff is still for sale there! There will be more, probably including fleece that I have bought (can't sell stuff I've been given, that is rude!). I am processing a shetland fleece I bought at Taos at this instant. It is soaking in a hot shampooey wash. Then I can flick it out. By the time I am done it and two other fleeces should be fine to send to Australia or anywhere else that has very strict quarantine laws.

I figure that it is not illegal for me to sell stuff I've bought - it isn't work if I sell my own possessions! There'll be all sorts of stuff, including yarn that I've reclaimed from sweaters and overdyed.

I will return with pics of our travels - they will be on the Colorado Dreaming blog - and pics of what I have been up to recently. I'm just too busy panicking currently to sit down and process the pics for the blog.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thank heavens Taos wool festival is "small"

G'day all!

Just driven to Taos and back. It was a bit of a drive but we enjoyed it!

Thank heavens the wool festival is "small" and well populated by alpaca (which I can't handle due to weird allergy stuff). Otherwise I would've blown the budget for the rest of the week, not just the weekend budget! I really like eating so just as well I didn't buy more!

Can't show you pics of the new stash, well not yet as I have not taken any. I didn't buy one skein of yarn - I figure I have plenty of yarn and prefer to make my own if I can. I did buy fleece. Mmmmm, lovely pretty fleece.... roll around in fleece.... I now have enough fleece to keep me quite busy for the next while. Oops :-)

Back when I am not feeling cross-eyed and wobbly legged from driving on and off (mostly on) since 10am.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


G'day all!

I while ago I had to join Flickr (I'm natiel3) so I could upload pics to Ravelry (where I'm yarnivorous). I've been putting more and more stuff onto Flickr, though I still use our server for blog pics. I figure that having two different servers acting as backup for my pics on my hard disk is probably a good idea.

Anyway, I've been trawling around Flickr and came across various "partners" like Blurb. You can make books with Blurb. I seriously want to make a book of yarn p0rn and one of our pics from our travels, such has they have been, in Colorado.

Blurb's bookmaking software is only available for Windoze and MacOs. Dangit!

Anyone know of other bookmaking software? Particularly anything Linux-compatible?

Speaking of yarn porn, here's some I bought recently

Fleece Artist Sonoma. It arrived in the yarn shop on the afternoon of the weekly knitty gathering and I saw it and grabbed it and walked around the shop with it for half an hour trying to persuade myself to put it down.


Plus I got a nice new skein of (mumble mumble) to replace the one that had problems in the carding, only they sent me one that was dull brown and blue. I like blue but the skein did not exactly sing to me. I was allowed to swap it at my lovely LYS for something much nicer!

I should show the fleece I bought too. It is LUSH! CVM/rambouillet. Mmmm-mmm! Soon, soon my pretties!

Only two sleeps before we take off for Taos! Hooray! The weather is going to be the worst we've had this fall. Should be interesting! And I still have not finished the two jackets I am making - I'm nowhere near done. Eeek!


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Holey blessed scarf

G'day all!

Tuesdays are roast chicken night and knitty group at My Sister Knits. Yep, whilst I am not making it to the SnB at Catalyst on Mondays, I am dragging myself off to MSK on Tuesday nights. Y'see there is the added bonus of lots of yummy yarn there - coffee just doesn't do it for me as I detest anything bitter. I get to see what other people are making - currently lots of little cold weather things. Except for me. I hauled in my pinwheel jacket that I ripped back 10-odd cm the other day. After all, we all need a challenge and finishing TWO jackets in a week when one has 20cm of edging and the other the whole body to knit is a mild challenge....

Anyway, I am sooo glad I took my felted scarf with me. It was a random thing I got in a swap, and it is the bestest thing I got, apart from a sheepy mug. The nights here in Fort Collins are starting to get a little brisk and I am riding my bike in the dark, with lights of course!

(What is it with people who put kiddie trailers on their bikes and ride around IN THE DARK WITHOUT LIGHTS OR EVEN REFLECTORS???? Like HELLO! What are you people trying to do to your kids? Kill them when a car doesn't see you at a crossroads and you fail to stop at the stop sign? Which reminds me, I must get a light for my bike trailer. It only carries groceries and other shopping, or books for the library run)

Does your nose drip in the cold? Mine is like a leaky faucet (I said faucet! Not tap! Though at home I'd say tap). I had my lovely holey (it wasn't well felted) scarf wrapped around my face and voila!, no need for tissues! Hooray! But it might need a wash now. :-( But that will felt it better :-)

(Blogger does not recognise voila! If it recognises wallah I will throttle it. Ack, it does. How about wa-lah? Wallah is the background noise on a movie or tv show though, so hopefully it is not a corruption of the French word. I see too many people here spelling voila in umm, *interesting* ways. Not classy, people! More yokel!)

This random post is brought to you by Staying Up Too Late combined with Very Likely Gluten and/or Casein Imbibing. Something is setting off my gluten/casein whackiness, and I dunno if it is a new pill that is supposed to be ok, or my new favourite dessert, which has been ok until this new packet, or a result of chiropractic making things the "way they should be" and not the way my body wants them to be....

Only a month to my birthday. Less than three to Christmas. I'd best start knitting and spinning frantically to get everything done! (Though I might need to spin yarn before I try knitting it - might be a bit easier when I am making stuff from handfuls of fluff....)