Sunday, January 24, 2010


Lots of fiber content today! But first a status update.

I've been substitute teaching pretty regularly, and it's usually pretty fun and easy, but I'm still not used to being on call. I really don't like waiting for the phone to ring at 7am every morning. Usually they tell me in advance though, so it's ok.

We haven't gone out much this month, but we did attend a wine tasting party with Joe's coworkers last Friday. We tasted about 16 wines, mostly whites, from a local vinyard at the owner's house. We purchased 7 bottles. Wine is very affordable here, and very good (if you like German whites).

I made my first batts on my new Kitten Drum Carder!
I got it for xmas, and was having a lot of trouble with too much fiber sticking to the licker-in, and not filling the drum correctly, but I was able to fix this by adjusting the distance of the drums and using a dog brush to pack the fiber onto the drum. I think the fleece that I was trying to learn on was a little too damaged anyway though.

These were made with some Border Leicester fleece I got last year and washed and dyed myself. I separated the colors and flicked open the locks, and carded each color into its own batt, then stripped them apart to combine into 2 striped batts. I estimate that I have just under 4oz between the two of them, but my friend has my scale right now so I'm not certain.

The dark purple batt
batt 001

The finished striped batt
batt 006

And look how big it got when it came off the 10" carder! It doubled!
batt 008

I'm re-ordering dye supplies this week (had to leave my dyes in MD) and will be making many more batts in the near future :) It's a lot of work, but fun.

I'm currently spinning up some Merino/Silk/Angora batts I got a few years ago at MDSW. I got some encouragement and ideas on how to spin it on Ravelry, and am enjoying watching the color changes. I decided to split each 1/2 oz batt in half lengthwise, creating two similar piles of 2.5oz each, and spin the batts 2 at a time by color. So hopefully I will be able to have a two ply laceweight yarn with long stripes of solid color. The dye job is not even at all though so there will be some mixing. I am debating plying the 2 finished strands with a third strand of sewing thread with tiny beads.
jan 009

Here's how it's spinning up. The first picture the dark orange is not visible, which is why I included the second, even though it's blurry.
jan 013
jan 010

I also finished my Spiral Cowl, using Tess Designer Yarns Cultivated Silk (gorgeous stuff, I had exactly enough in one skein), and a handmade button. It's surprising how very warm it is!
jan 008

I finished Amused as well, but I am not happy with how the ribbing sits on my hips, so I'm going to rip it out and extend the stockinette and make it a tunic/dress, since I have a ton of yarn left.
Amused from Knitty

I'm also working on Pomatomous again, this time Magic Loop so it's less confusing!
Pomatomous: Take 2/>

Also, if you're on Ravelry, go HERE to see the hat, cowl and mitts my friend made from my English Licorice handspun!
And here to see the shawl she made from my hand-dyed sock yarn!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Year's Eve!

For New Year's Eve Joe and I joined two friends of ours for dinner, fireworks, and dancing in Frankfurt.

I love an excuse to get dressed up, and I am just sad there are no head-to-toe pictures, because I don't wear this dress very often! It's one of those where it drapes in the front, and WAY down the back. I had pointy brown boots too, and got my hair done and even painted my nails! I went all out.

We had drinks and munchies at our friend's apartment and watched a "traditional" British comedy called "Dinner for One". The Germans love this short play, and it is played on a loop all New Year's Eve, despite being in English and not being popular anywhere else in the world.

It's Miss Sophie's 90th birthday, and all her friends are dead, so her butler acts them all out for her. It's great!

For dinner we ate at an Ethiopian place. I have only had Ethiopian food once before, so this was a bit of an adventure, but we got a big party platter with a variety of stuff on it to try. I think they tone down the spices and weird stuff for this platter though, no raw beef and nothing very spicy like I had before. It was very good though, and fun to eat with our hands! The rest of the diners were mostly African so that was interesting too.
NYE 006

After dinner we went to the river bank to ring in the new year and watch fireworks with the rest of the city. Unlike other NYE events I've been to, there is no professional fireworks company that puts on a show, just thousands of Germans launching their own mortars and roman candles over the river! Very dangerous and chaotic, but fun and exciting as well.
NYE 019
NYE 012
NYE 029

Following that we went to a club for drinks and dancing. Our friend Chris had heard good things about this event from people who went last year, and it was full of pretty people, but it was not at all our scene. Ilona, Chris and I had fun dancing (mostly to early 90's and 80's music) but Joe was bored out of his mind. Next year I will try to find something a bit more interesting.
NYE 034
NYE 033

And last night we got more snow!
January Snow!
We also drove down to Ramstein AFB with those same friends to go bowling, see Sherlock Holmes, and have dinner at Chili's. Unfortunately both showings of the movie were sold out, but it was still a fun day. The theater here on base is showing it too, but the projectionist is horrible so we try not to go there.