Monday, November 30, 2009

Stress head

G'day all!

I can tell I am a stress head at present. I can't focus on anything for more than about 10 minutes. I have not finished my pair of socks for the month, for the first time in over a year, maybe 18 months. OK, I only have to do another 5 rounds or so of ribbing on one and the leg of the other but I don't think I have time to finish them.

We are into serious packing now. I have not yet booked sea freight for our stuff. I have a pretty good idea of how many boxes we are looking at so I reckon by the end of tomorrow I can get a couple more quotes from places that seemed reasonable.

(If that is a repeat, please excuse me. It is from 9 days ago when we drove up to SF to get a drum carder and then drove around a lot not quite in circles)

I can also tell I am stressed because I am shopping madly. Sometimes it is real shopping, sometimes it is online virtual window shopping. I want so many new fabric lines that I am seeing online that it isn't funny. I want this one cos it is called California Dreamin. I want this one cos it is so doggone cute. This set looks cute and lurid, just my style! I want to buy some Dream in Color Starry (sock yarn with a silver thread in it). Particularly this one. Or almost any of the pretty girly mermaidy colours.

I'm also stressed cos later this week I say goodbye to my car. I sorta like my car, if he was a manual he'd be almost perfect. (That's a pic taken by our mate AMac in Death Valley.)

I have so much fleece to fix up. I had sent a lovely fleece off to some processors for washing waaaay back when I bought it at Black Sheep Gathering in June. I finally got it on Saturday. It is a lovely fleece but now I regret not getting it processed as well cos most of it will have to stay here. I've emailed AQIS (Oz quarantine) to ask how clean is scoured and how much does the sterilisation (sticking it in a autoclave) cost if I have not cleaned the fleece well enough? Fleece (processed) goes in its own box. I don't want to lose other stuff if they decide that they want to destroy the whole box.

OK, brain is melted enough. Time to destress by knitting on a deadline. LOL Hope that I sleep tonight. I've rarely had insomnia but at the mometn my brain is working overtime.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fluff cleanout

G'day all!

Straight up, if you are not into fleece and spinning, this is a dull post. Go play somewhere else, cos it is also picture heavy.

I have a *heap* of stuff I want to destash before going back to Australia. Most of this came with me to the USA. Not all. Some of it I can take back with me (but why? I can get more there :-) but I thought it would be nice to share around. Well with a little greenback action to grease the wheels of destashing... Most of the undyed fleece has been flicked and is basically ready to spin. Some hasn't.

Scroll down, gentle reader, and see what lusciousness tempts you! Or what luridness, cos I have some of that too. LOL

Note that I can't send unprocessed fleece overseas (ie out of the USA). Processed top is fine. I take greenbacks (from locals) and Paypal (at natielthreeoneoneatgmaildotcom). If I have to post the items, I will have to charge postage as well. Oh and colours will vary from monitor to monitor. Oh and it has all been stored in a pet-free, smoke-free house (though I won't vouch for them all to be completely cat-hair free cos I keep finding the odd cat hair here even though we have not had cats in the US).

Finnsheep and crosses/blends

Corriedale X Finn. A lovely dark flecked with white fleece, nice long staples. Some locks have a little scurf but this mostly spins out. Some locks are lighter (see second pic). Fine, very soft almost silky fleece, washed and flicked.



8oz, USD16


Finn X Suffolk. This is one of my all time favourites to spin. Long staple, maybe not as fine as some of the corrie/finn crosses, but still creates a wonderful yarn. Washed and flicked, you might find the odd bit of VM but this is pretty easy to remove.


(a short bit)

Nearly 7oz, $USD15



Finn cashmere top. I have no idea what the blend is exactly but it feels lovely :-) 3.5oz, $10


There is also a Corriedale fleece that is virtually identical to the Corrie/finn cross, just a little coarser, 5oz for USD10.

Corriedale and crosses

This is part of a Bond Corriedale fleece. Staple is quite variable, being between 3-5". It's been in storage for a while and needs fluffing. It is very soft and quite fine, having been bred as a handspinner's fleece.



5oz, USD7

This is a lovely Corrie cross (75%). It is part of a grey fleece ranging from lightish to almost charcoal. It is soft and fluffy - finer than most of the US Corriedale I've come across. Staple is not particularly long but it is a great spinning fleece.



Almost 4oz, USD6


Both of these samples are from Wendy Dennis whose family bred the original Polwarths. These are both top notch fleeces. Look at the lock length. They are soft fleeces, particularly the beige one. They are washed (though the biscuit coloured one needs fluffing after being in storage). The white one has been flicked in preparation for spinning. The pics show how long the staples are - there's a few short bits but most of these fleeces were between four and six inches long!

White polwarth - 6oz USD10 SOLD!



Beige/biscuit polwarth - almost 24oz (nearly 1lb, 8oz) USD25 SOLD!


Top - 60% merino wool, 40% silk. This log cost a bit, I seem to remember, at the Bendigo Wool show about 3 years ago. It is lovely stuff and I've been hoarding it for a rainy day. Well that day has arrived, only it is your lucky day instead! LOL

(It's not a maggot, really)


9oz, USD30. SOLD!



Optim. Soft, silky, marvellous! 8.5oz USD32.


Comeback fleece - this is where a ewe has been bred outside her "breed" and then the offspring bred back to the breed. What was the breed? Who knows! This pretty grey washed fleece is part of a fleece that feels about the softness of a good corriedale. It is tippy (the tips can be broken off) and grot will fall out of it easily as you prep and spin it. It would be fun to dye and see how the colours change from dyed white fleece.


6oz, USD10.


A lovely blended roving from Table Rock Llamas. This roving is part domestic wool (about US Corrie in softness) and naturally dyed roving. I suspect the roving contains alpaca or llama (I have difficulty spinning it as I am allergic to camelid fibres).



3oz, $9


Silk hankies, undyed. 5. USD10

Hand-dyed by me

Two different fleeces dyed in a rather goth-type colourway - purply/reddy/bluey/grey, depending on what part you look at. These have been dyed in the lock and need more processing before you can spin with them. Carding or flicking would work well.

This piece is a merino cross from its crimp and fineness.

This is most likely CVM, probably from a sheep named Lulu from Black Pines Sheep. Just guessing!

Merino cross, 1.9oz, USD5 SOLD!

CVM? 4.9oz, USD9 SOLD!


A couple of "sheets" of US Corriedale dyed by moi in blue and plum/pink. This is a little sticky and would work best in felting I think. (But don't quote me). With a bit of work it probably will spin up ok.


1.6oz, USD3


Algae. Some sort of merino cross dyed in the most lurid shade of green you've ever seen. Guaranteed to make your eyes bleed. It is not consistently green across the fleece. It was dyed with Octopus' Garden (below) so there are some bits that are multicoloured. It needs to be carded or flicked before it can be spun.


3.5oz, USD6


Octopus' Garden. Merino cross dyed in a range of rather bright colours. The horror. It needs carding or flicking before it can be spun.


2.1oz, USD4


Top dyed in gothy colours. Not that I like them or anything. Not superwash.


3.5oz, USD12


Top dyed in pink, mauve, almost blue. Not that I like these colours either. Not superwash.



5.3oz, USD20


Last but not least, a very pretty pink to mauvey/bluey dyed fleece. (Colours look familiar? See above!) This would be wonderful spun as a gradient. You could make something that looks like this if you did it fairly fine. But it needs to be flicked or carded first.


3.5oz, USD9


I think that will do for the nonce! I still have some more fleeces to list. I am really not sure what to do about some of them. One was an expensive Corrie fleece that turned out to be full of scurf and only 2/3 the promised staple length. There's plenty of CVM fleeces to come and a Cormo fleece that I was very disappointed in. Anyone got any Cormo roving to trade? The stuff I have is full of VM and I have to spin it before going home. Leave a comment or email me natielthreeoneoneatgmaildotcom (change the obvious bits!).


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey day

G'day all!

Thanksgiving is wrapping up here in the US - we are as far east as any mainland state (Hawaii has a little more to go!). We've had a very quiet turkey day cos I have Nathan's cold and he was busy coughing yet another lung up. We were to go to friends but well.... I'd prefer they didn't get the cold!

I hope those that celebrate US Thanksgiving had a lovely day and those who don't? A far better day than me! LOL

What am I thankful for?

Friends who bring a care package around for us to eat on turkey day :-)

A roof over my head

New opportunities and ones seized in the past

Autumn leaves



Bucket of things but another time.

However I suffer a distinct lack of gratitude to DH for this cold, to sitting down on an open plastic box (ouch) and to people who think that their car is "compact."

Tomorrow is Black Friday, when the US goes nuts buying stuff. It is like the Boxing Day sales in Australia. I have to go out into it. Argh, but I need some Kona cotton for the quilt I am making. I bought two yards, I needed three. Poo and bottom! Getting the right colour is going to be difficult cos the place I got it from has sold out.

Knitting? Well I've been going through all my yarn and fleece and squishing it down in vacuum bags but the knitting has been a bit slow. This cold has melted my brain and I have been trying to set up the chevron pattern above the heel of the socks I am working on and that means counting and working out how many stitches and what the pattern is and oh my poor brain....


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Moving on up, moving on out

G'day all!

Spent a busy day getting more organised here. I have to work out what I want to keep and what is going by Friday. (Hope the various shipping companies are open on Friday - a lot of people have four days off over Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving is tomorrow!).

I got rid of a heap of stuff today - various items of clothing that I know I won't wear again and stuff I had stashed from the op shops for my fabric projects, a box of jigsaws, scraps of material - some went to the op shop (clothing and jigsaws) and some went to the recycle bin (material scraps - don't say I should keep them! I have enough *good* material to keep!). I bought some space bags and vacuumed down my winter clothes (leaving out a few items suitable for a Californian autumn) and some yarn and various clothes I want to keep but can't put in the suitcase. I now have a 3/4 empty closet and two spare plastic tubs.

Next I need to reduce the fleece stash. I haven't gotten pics of the stuff I know is going yet but here's a little list. NB this is only for US people and prices are plus shipping.

3-4lb of white domestic wool, micron count about corriedale. Staples are approx 3" long - mostly longer, some are shorter. Getting rid of this cos it has some VM in it - not heaps but too much for me to take into Australia. Washed and ready to be flicked out, carded or combed. $5 a pound. SOLD!

2-3lb of grey merino (Sarah). Lovely fine fleece but it is tacky from being stored for 18 months and needs to be rewashed. Cost me $15 but I'm happy to let it go for $8. Staple is about 3" long.

2lb or so of what I suspect is cormo but I didn't label it. Fine wool, very soft. Actually, I think it is Rambouillet (so I'll keep a bit). I've only washed most of the dirt out of this one and it needs the lanolin-removing hot wash. $5 a pound

Maybe a pound of grey CVM fleece (Merry) from Black Pines Sheep in Colorado. This fleece is mostly a light steel grey but has CVM variegation in it. It is a pretty fleece with some variation in micron count and staples of about 4". Cost me $14/lb but it is yours for $8/lb. SOLD!

My heart bleeds to get rid of most of my Lulu fleece (white/grey CVM also from Black Pines Sheep). I think there is about 2lb left. Lulu is a lovely fleece, crimpy and bouncy, medium to fine micron, and much of it is ready to flick out and card/comb/spin. Cost me $14 a pound, cost to you $10/lb. SOLD!

There's more to come but I have to go out to persuade some folks they really want our apartment. Alas I am coming down with DH's cold so it will be fun! No energy left after a day of madly packing stuff.


Monday, November 23, 2009


G'day all!

I'm a bit busy at the moment. It seems that not only do I have the majority of the crap to sort through here and figure out what to dispose of, I am also responsible for feeding DH and entertaining him and doing all the cleaning. OK so he has a bad cough that then turned into a cold so I don't want him near most things anyway but sheesh, he must be getting better cos he is bored witless and doesn't want to do anything. He says he has ennui. He wants to retire and grow plants. He had an interview on Friday, an interview that apparently went very well but if they want us they will have to pull out all the stops and make a good offer.

I'm going to have a bit of fleece to dispose of. I rented a drum carder and it is very good but I quite frankly am not going to card the 30-odd pounds of wool I have here before we leave. I could've hired the electric drum carder, which is very fast but weighs 20-odd kilos... I can only send fleece within the States unless other places have really slack quarantine. It is all washed but that doesn't mean it is clean, especially the stuff that has been in boxes for ages - it still has some VM in it and is going tacky again. Stupid fleece. Silly me for buying it all and thinking I'd have time to make stuff with it all.

Apart from the quilt top I am trying to put together, the crafting has been going pretty slowly here. I had better pull my finger out and get DH's Christmas socks done as my November pair of socks. I've been taking part in Sock a Month for the last hmm 18 months? Two years? Something like that. It has been very good for me churning out a pair of socks each month rather than singletons. OK so some of the pairs are not very pairy - there's always differences but still it is nice to have two socks to mix and match with other socks.

I also bought a heap of sock yarn to dye up. I'll bring some home with me and ship the rest. It should be fun! I can't do any work here now so any of my hand-dyed/hand-spun stuff will have to wait until I'm home. However I think it is ok to sell my possessions (with sales tax applied within California, etc). If it isn't, what on earth would I do with the car?

So much stuff, so little space to sort it out for keepings, givings/sellings and tossings. Fun for one and umm one!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Back in unhome

G'day all!

We are back in San Jose. It is interesting being back cos it seems I am starting to disengage. Whilst I live here, it isn't home any more. Nowhere is home (but Home is Melbourne). I've been having a lovely time riding around taking pics of the autumnal foliage - it is certainly Fall here. The days (so far) have been brightly sunny and crisp (rather like the leaves, actually). These are the autumn days that I love - the sunny ones when the air is a little cool (not frosty cos this is the Bay area and frosts are not common here, not this close to the bay) and the light is oh so clear. The light on the autumn leaves is delightful!

But I am aware that it is very likely to be my last hoorah here, so I am trying to take advantage of it. I've visited some favourite shops and bought a bit (ahem!) of quilting material (well I had to - Rowan fabrics in Oz are some hideous price, but $10.50 a yard plus tax is a bit cheaper... even after paying for shipping it home). I'm eyeballing some knitpicks yarn - that will be unavailable to me after I leave (if you need to know, the blue and green heathered yarns in the Palette range - yes I am a masochist cos I want to knit a pullover for me out of fingering/sock weight yarn). I haven't hit the yarn shops yet but I did hit wool2dye4 and bought a little yarn from them (it arrived in a box that is about 18"/45cm square).

I've started going through my yarn to leave/sell/give away here and there isn't as much as I'd like! I've cleared out about 2/3 of a 66qt container and now have the washing basket full of yarn that I want to keep. Plus now I have a conundrum - the sterilite plastic tubs I've been buying for $8-9 in Target here turn out to cost $25 in Oz. Ouch! Do I want to ship some tubs home? Hmm....

Anyway I am sure to have something worth showing off knitwise soon, I hope - the husbandly jumper is coming along slowly, the husbandly socks are also progressing, my not Aestlight is almost done... and I have new stash (I bought some stuff for me for my birthday and then I was not back here for it!) that I should show off including a lovely project baggie for ME. Plus I have been reunited with my wheel, oh lovely spinning wheel! How I missed thee - I had to make a CD spindle!


Monday, November 16, 2009

The longest day

G'day all!

We are going back to yesterday tomorrow.

Yep, we are off to the States to pack up our stuff and move home.

I really hope they will let us in.

So we cross the dateline, which means we are in today, not tomorrow, for a while and then tomorrow will dawn for the second time. Golly it is confusing doing that! Then when we come back we will lose a whole day! If we leave on Saturday, we basically lose Sunday and arrive on Monday.


Anyway, no new knitting to show off. I have been knitting on stuff but I don't seem to be making measurable progress even though it is clear that I am (12 row repeats are easy to count!). I have to shove it in the suitcase we are borrowing. Hope the wheel doesn't fall off this suitcase. It is deucedly inconvenient to have one less wheel than the case should have.

It's going to be sad, sorting out my US life and packing it for shipping or packing it for our friend who is moving to SF after Christmas or putting it on Craigslist or on freecycle or sending it to Goodwill. I was looking through some photos that I have never shared (and there are some fantastic shots) and I am sad that I will not be able to go for various drives that were wonderful. I love the Sierra Nevada but never saw the aspens in their fall colour and never really saw them at the peak of summer either. I am sad to be leaving various friends, but if they are friends then it won't matter that 10 years have passed, we'll still be friends.

There are of course compensations (like being able to visit Kuranga, one of the best native plant nurseries in Oz, where I took the flower pics). I sat on the train the other day, coming home, and looked on the tatty backs of the houses and light industrial places and shops (rarely their best angle!) and marvelled at how they did not dissuade me from my love affair with my home city. Everyone has a bad angle (heck I am *not* photogenic and getting a good shot of me is like finding hen's teeth) but for me Melbourne is most marvellous, even when I'm looking at a row of dumpsters and a back lot full of weeds. Or the Dandenongs, icons of Melbourne, from a building lot.


Melbourne is my home. Melbourne is a part of me. I can't really imagine living away from her. I have been but that was never going to be long term. It was while we were amused and occupied and had an income.

This place is my place. This city is my city. This is where I grew up, where I have lived for most of my life. This is where, if I may use an Aboriginal reference despite not having a drop of Aboriginal blood in me, my dreaming is. This is where I feel most connected to life, where I feel I understand the rhythm and flow of life. It's been grand getting to understand a little of a different place but I've not felt a part of it. I've never had that intrinsic understanding, though it's been fun trying.


Tomorrow we get on a plane and then change to a big plane and fly away.

Then we'll fly away home.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

OT - what has google done to google maps?

They have taken away all the interesting and useful stuff on Google maps (like the measuring tool) and now want me to make a my map. Plus they added a my map to MY account that is in German! Like umm, sorry dudes but I don't do German!

GRRR! And because it is google, there is no way to contact them directly.

Friday, November 13, 2009

We'll be home for Christmas

G'day all!

How things change.

I've been sitting on News. Yep. OK, only for two days (oooh, just realised that it is Friday the 13th!) but that is a long time to sit on News.

We will be returning to Australia before Christmas. For good. Well at least for the time being.

We got our new visas on Monday. Hooray! Thank you US consulate for such quick processing :-)

But on Wednesday, we got a phone call. Nathan's boss called up and said that Nathan had lost his job. (The boss lost his as well). So no job = no visa. All that work for nuthin'!

But all our current stuff is in the US! The car, our day to day living stuff, my craft stuff, Nathan's hobby stuff, etc, etc. Plants. (And I was looking forward to being back and getting life back to normal. A big fat HAH to that!)

So we go in on tourist visas and get rid of our stuff or box it up to send it home and come back home.

This is good (Home! Christmas! Yay!) and bad (didn't finish things off in the US at our own pace, didn't get to Maryland Sheep and Wool or Estes Park, crafting stuffs are more expensive in Oz, now I have to get a job!). We will be able to catch up with friends and family a LOT more often. We'll be able to move back into our own place, with a garden and cats and be able to modify it how we like (within reason) and apply for govt rebates to get solar hot water, etc.

But I am a bit sad. I've gotten fond of my life in the States, the eternal crafting, cycling around, the cheap craft supplies, being able to do as I please much of the time. I'm very good at being unemployed. I'm fond of various people and places (mind you not so fond that I would give up being an Australian!). The US is facing big challenges with this recession and an opposition who are determined to fight everything the govt tries to do. I can change things in Australia, or at least vote and push my local council, local member of parliament and local senator to do things. I even get health care as part of being a resident/citizen. I can't change things in the US. Something to do with being a barely legal alien, subsidiary alien at that. Now I'll just be a visitor with even fewer rights.

Oh the fun of it all. I am soooo not looking forward to working out what to keep and what to try to sell and what to take to the goodwill and what just to chuck in the dumpsters.

Whatever happens, it seems that we'll be home for Christmas, and not only in our dreams.


PS what do you do when you don't have any current referees for job stuff? All my AXA contacts seem to have flown the nest and I can't really use anyone in the USA cos I didn't work with anyone there.
PPS I am looking forward to playing a heap of Bing for Christmas time. I like a good bit of Bing. Yes I am 150 years old. (Imagine if I was that old and still could remember my childhood - I would've experienced so much! So much change! So many wars. Just So Much.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is it bad

to laugh at the next door neighbour cos they can't back down their driveway? Even after 20 years of living in the one place. They drive a small car. The driveway does a dogleg at the bottom. It has trees and shrubs on either side. There's always a lot of backing and filling. The other day they hooked the bumper skin off their bumper bar. They backed too close to a tree on one side of the driveway and to get away from it turned the wheel hard. Of course then the nose of the car pointed towards the tree and the bumper skin got hooked. The more noise it made, the harder they backed until they hooked it right off. If they had just gone straight, they would've been fine. Made their little car look a right mess with its bumper dragging on the ground.

I guess I can only laugh if I know I would've done it differently!

An FO. Beaumont and more yarn

G'day all!

The other day I finished off my variant of Jared Flood's Beaumont tam/beanie.

Here it is in all its unblocked glory.

I knitted mine out of handspun (the purple is dyed by me targhee roving, the white is some Polwarth I think cos it is very soft).

I started this in France, knitted more in Switzerland and

finished it off just in time for some rather warm days in Oz.

I love the way the top makes me think of a starfish or some other radially asymmetric critter.

I am contemplating sending it to a friend who loved the colours. I am just not sure it will be warm enough for her in winter! She will experience much colder temps than those I am used to in either California or Melbourne.

Did you know it is almost impossible to take pics of the back of your own head (without a mirror or a tripod)? I took so many shots with only a corner of the tam in the shot.

Now for the important stuff. Yarn!

Sock yarn. Sockulator. Mmm. This one is pretty thick. I'd knit it on no less than a 2.75mm or US2 needle. The colours are fairly accurate - pinky purpley mauvey colours. 100g hank, wool nylon blend, SOLD

More sock yarn. Off and on. This one is most likely self-patterning and is based on Patonyle, 75% wool 25% nylon. I knit it on a 2.5mm needle, you might want anything down to a 2mm/US1. Black, clematis blue and plummy red. 2 x 50g, SOLD

Another hank of sock yarn! Old Boy. This is a mystery blend (ie I lost the label). It is a blend of various darker colours, burgundy, mauve, purple, grey brown, blues... all sorts of colours. The pics do not do this yarn justice. It has so many colours in it! 100g hank, similar weight to Patonyle, I'll discount it for being an unknown blend. SOLD.

Who wants some cranberries? Plummy reddy orangey colours that I suspect might be self-patterning. Skein pic is a bit duller and redder and the closeup doesn't show the orangey-browny bits of the real thing on my monitor. Another Patonyle base. AU $15.

If you like any of these, email me at natiel311atgmaildotcom and we'll arrange postage and payment. I'd like to see these yarns get new homes! (Before I succumb to their charms :-)