Saturday, December 22, 2012

'Tis the Season...

Oh it is the season of Holly-Daze and Christmas and pushing and shoving; joy and peace...and tragedy.

I grew up in a small town in Connecticut called Weston.  When I was there, the population may have reached 2500 people.  Less than 20 miles away was another town called Newtown.  You would turn right from our driveway and come to a Y.  To the left across the bridge and then right was Georgetown Road which lead to Danbury Turnpike.  Bear right at the Y and you could go on Newtown Turnpike to Waterbury's (Weston Riding Club, now gone), Weston Jr High and now Weston High School.  There was also the pond at Phillips' where we could skate when Mr. Phillips said the ice was good.  You could drive further and come to the place where a man who owned the Empire State Building lived, according to my dad.

Until just a few years ago, Weston was the place I had lived the longest in my life.  If you limit it to one address, then Weston is still the place I lived the longest - from third grade through high school.

Slightly over a week ago a young man entered a school and killed 20 children and six adults, apparently after killing his mother earlier.  This has hurt a lot, not because I knew any of the families involved, I don't, but because the memories of innocence in a small town are now tarnished.  The whole area I lived in had been fairly innocent.  Yes there were drugs and teens did drive to just over the border in New York to buy liquor.  But people were not shot.  They died in accidents, of illness or for most, old age.  They were not murdered.  Murder happened in bad areas - slums or ghettos - places like that. 

I live in a city where shootings are, regrettably, too common.  Most are in lower income areas but they occur in higher income areas as well.  But until last week, murder didn't happen in small towns in affluent Fairfield County CT. 

Enough of that.

Knitting and stitching and spinning go on and on.  This will be a bit photo heavy so you have been warned.  Some photos are pretty poor as they were taken at night - I'll show them anyway as Photographer and Stylist are not titles I deserve at all.

Spinning - I purchased some lace hankies at Fiber in the 'Boro last October.  They were an intense fuchsia pink.  They are spun now and have been N-plied or chain plied into a nice sport weight yarn:  The first photo shows the color best and the second shows a bit more of the color variation - well maybe not.
Right now this sits on the mantle for me to look at and admire.  It's out of the cat's reach as well.

The wheel sits empty, waiting for me to make up my mind what to put on  next.  I have some more wool/linen blend to spin, lots of wool, alpaca, silks, and cotton.   It will be one of those.

Santa came early and I'm in love, again.  I've always wanted a Lark
spindle from Jenkins since I first saw one.  This is a tiny Turkish spindle.  My Lark's cross pieces are made from lilac (one of my favorite flowers) and the whole spindle weighs 21 grams (less than 3/4 oz).  With it came some fiber, a silk blend that I spun and made into a 2-ply yarn for fun and to learn how this baby works.  She works fine and is a lot of fun.
 The upper photo shows the singles and the fiber while the lower one shows the 2-ply on the spindle.  The coin is a US dime.  So the yarn isn't quite lace weight but the next batch should be. 

The April/May 2010 Spin A Long for AllSpunUp was a 75/25 mixture of Blue-Faced Leichester (BFL) and Silk.  The colorway was Ice Caves so it's shades of blues from the very pale to the dark - but these are like the ice colors - with a small touch of greens/teal to them.  I had purchased 8 oz of the fiber so half will be spun to a 2-ply lace weight.  Project to be determined based on yardage.  The other half will be wheel spun to a 3-ply for socks.  Again, pattern to be determined by yardage.

Knitting - well a lot to say and not as      
much to show here.  I'm trying to finish some things and decide what to do with others.  I finished a pair of socks last night - a Ribbed Skyp Socks out of a yarn called Sockotta.  It's a blend of equal parts cotton and wool with some nylon for strength. 

It took almost 2 full months to do these socks as each sock was responsible for a broken needle and the first one also lost a needle for me.

I think I'll change the name to Naughty Skyp Ribs.  I do love the pattern.  It's so easy to do and I will be doing more with the pattern.  I'm going to discover how the yarn wears and how it feels.  There were some mods to the pattern in that the gusset decreases were worked as for the Breakin' Hearts Socks (more later). 
 The upper photo is good for color but the bottom one - well you can see the Skyp stitch twists near the toe of the sock.  There are 3 little twisty looking stitches in the ribs of the sock, first in one rib then the other.  They are not twisted stitches however.  Slip a stitch, Knit a stitch, Yarn over, Pass slip stitch over both the knit and the yarn over forming the name of the stitch.
Normally when knitting a sock with a heel flap, one has to pick up stitches along the sides of the heel flap.  That creates a gusset.  This extra material allows you to get the sock over the widest part of the foot.  If you can see on this lower photo, there is now a curve on the heel and not the < shape one normally sees when the extra stitches are decreased out.  What is done in the pattern Breaking Hearts is that instead of decreasing the gusset stitches where the gusset stitches meet the instep, you decrease at the point where the heel and gusset meet so the decreases are on the bottom of the heel.  This makes that curve and some say the heel fits better when this is done.  I think I've shown photos in earlier posts.  These just need a rinse and blocking then they will go off to the new owner as a belated (again) gift.

Next are the Breaking Heart socks.  I'm sorry I've lost misplaced the label from the yarn.  The yarn feels great but the condition of the yarn was another story.  There were several areas where one ply had run out and not been immediately joined with a new ply.  I have no idea how these will wear but I guess I'll find out.
This photo shows the pattern a bit but the color is too red, the golds don't show.  Second sock is just at the heel flap.  You can see they are a bit big for the blocker - but they are going to someone who has bigger feet than I.  These will be off to a new owner when done.

The next pair is Gold Medal and they are worked in Wollemeise but I don't know the colorway other than it's green!
Oh, I didn't realize it was that blurred.  There are cables (3x3) with a bit of lace in between.  The pattern uses a bead in each lacy bit but I'm skipping that bit. I like these and they will stay here.  Better photos when these are finished - they are too pretty to not show again.

Next comes a fun sock for a granddaughter whenever it is done.  The yarn provides the pattern:
Other socks and stuff to show up soon.

One of my friends decided to accuse moi, along with 3 others, as enablers who caused her to purchase excessive amounts of books, magazines and patterns.  She joined a Ravelry group 13 in 2013 and coerced uh, encouraged us to join her.   The premise of the group is to knit or do 13 projects next year.  So I've listed 13 knitting projects but reserved the right to amend the list as the projects are pulled out and evaluated. 

One of these is a 2-color sock called Granada by Janel Laidman.  This is my first 2-color sock and it is challenging.  Here's where I am on the first sock.  This is just about a knee sock and the 2 photos show front and back. The photos are not great because chart as I knit split in the center of the front.  The needles didn't want to lay flat for photos.  So far so good and they do fit.  The rest of the projects will show as I come to them.
 On to other things.  Stitching.  I do several types of embroidery including counted cross stitch and other embroidery stitches.  One that I'm in the midst of is Celtic Garden which is counted cross stitch and black work.  I hope to finish it in 2013.  Each quarter is a mirror of the other so it's fully symmetrical.  This shows where I am at present.  The Celtic Knot is counted cross stitch in some beautiful variegated threads.  The black work is the filler in each block and worked in
what is called a running stitch.  Every other stitch is worked going one way then the others are filled in on the return trip.

The other stitching will be shown as I come to that project.

The last is quilting.  I'm doing the hand quilting of a queen sized quilt in the Lone Star pattern.  It has been in process since 1976 or so.  It was put up for a number of years and now it's found again and I'm working to complete the thing.  I've purchased a stencil and the chalk pencils to mark the pattern on the blue border.  I believe I'm about half done with the quilting.

I tried to find my larger photo showing the entire quilt, but I can't locate it easily.  This is showing a bit of the feather wreath in each filler part, a whole wreath in the squares and a half-wreath in the triangular pieces.

Another quilt project is not making me happy right now.  There is a story behind it so bear with me and you can input your thoughts if you desire.  I took quilting classes when my kids were small.  We made a quilt with 9 blocks, each teaching us a different technique and pattern.  Everything was hand pieced and hand quilted.  When we were given what materials we had to buy, we were told to wash each in cold water, gentle cycle, dry and lightly press.  This was to take care of any uneven shrinkage between pieces of material. 

I saw something from Keepsake Quilting, out of New Hampshire, on Facebook.  They were offering a discount on a kit called Time After Time.  The colors would work in my bedroom and I wanted to make it up and use it as a wall hanging/headboard.  Sent off my money and got my kit.  There was a roll of 40 strips of fabric cut across the bolt from one selvedge edge to the other.  The cuts were done with pinking shears.  There was another piece of fabric for the binding.  The first thing I did was to pull out the instructions and read.  Nothing about washing material, and only one place was seam allowance mentioned.  The curved edges were to be sewn with a 1/8" seam.  I called Keepsake Quilting and confirmed the remaining straight seams were to be 1/4".  The fabric was washed on gentle, dried on gentle and lightly pressed to remove wrinkles. 

The next step was to take the strips and join 5 in a light to dark sequence and repeat until all strips were used.  Done.  Cut each wide strip at 10.5" intervals - 4 blocks per strip.  Done.

Now I made a template from the drawing provided to cut 1/4 circle from pairs of these wide strips when one was turned 90 degrees from the other.  I did just the first two to try it out.  Did the 1/8" seam and assembled.  

Here's the problem.  I'm to trim the sewn block to 10" square.  This is what I have:
 Here's my problem - showing one of the uncut blocks.  The bloody thing is only 9" wide, not 10".  I turned the thing over and double checked all my seams and they were the 1/4" needed.  If I had sewn 1/8" seam, I'd have the 10" needed.

I called Keepsake on a Thursday to ask about this.  I was told someone would be in touch with me.  The following Friday I sent an email.  The Wednesday after I had an email asking what the problem was.  I told the woman what happened and said the strips went down to 1 7/8" from the 2.5" we started with. 

Her response:  We don't advise washing until after the quilt is complete. 

If I were to have done that and had the shrinkage (just with the grain) and since the quilt has pieces that are rotated, I would have had seersucker!  I would have been much more irritated then I am right now.  I asked them what would be done about this and have heard nothing, no email to say they won't do a thing, nor an email apologizing.  Nothing.  I'm ticked off to say the least. 

This kit was fairly inexpensive.  Some of their kits will cost about $500 or more by the time everything (fabric for top and binding only) is paid for - not including the buyer's time.  $300 is about average for the ones I've liked - but I didn't pay that much for this one.  I have to buy batting and the backing plus thread.  My time is worth something as well.  If I machine quilt this, which is my plan, I now have a quilt that will be 1.5" per block smaller.  4 blocks wide  makes it 6" less then 8 blocks long makes 12" shorter.  72 square inches smaller.  2.7% smaller than advertised. 

After Christmas and New Years, I will contact them again and see what they say after the crazy days are over. 

So that's the wordy entry with lots of photos.  I hope to update at least the first part of each month saying what progress I've made on what. I'll be participating in a group where the goal is to knit 13 pairs of socks for 2013 and progress there will be included. 

Wishing you and yours all the happiness, peace, and joy of the season and hopes that the New Year will bring all you wish it to.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Oh the Shame of it All...

Don't worry too much about the title of this - it's actually my view of Spud's thoughts - well the ones that can be published.  You see she was spayed on Friday - and all went well until we were told she needed an E-collar (cone of shame) to keep her from licking the incision site.  OK, not a big deal except the store was out of the plastic traditional cones.  So it was suggested we get one of the inflatables.  They look a bit like a horse collar; blow it up and velcro it around the neck.  $20.00 plus tax.  One (the last one in the store in that size) purchased and applied as directed as soon as we got home.  Spud is stumbling around like a drunken sailor on Friday.  She goes into her room and I rush to Fiber in the 'Boro to get the Spinner's Circle aka Fiber Circle going and start spinning.  (more on that later)

Saturday I was gone all day - and apparently Ms Spud slept most of the day.

Sunday she slept near me all day.  If she tried to lick the site, I'd just put my hand in the way; she'd slurp on that and go back to sleep.

Today:!  Overnight that cat learned how to roll up to lick the site and opened the skin layer, removing some/a stitch(es).  So we made a trip back to the vet, got superglued and got a real cone of shame.  All instructions, from the vet and on the cone, said to make sure there was 2 fingers of space between the cone and the cat.  Done:  proof is in the photos:
 She's headed in reverse trying to back out of the cone.  Didn't seem to work.  I did some things then looked to see how she was doing.  She was in her cat box with the cone in place.  I sat down and ate lunch.

After lunch, looked for cat.  Ms Spud emerged from behind the couch... without the cone.  I began a cone search and can't find the $#@%^ thing anywhere.  I looked in and under and behind both couches.  I looked under chairs.  I looked in her room to see if I could see it in there.  It is gone.  I don't know what she did or how she did it but that stupid cone is gone.

OK back to the inflatable.  Since she can roll herself up to lick the site, I had to jury-rig something to try to keep her tongue away from the superglued incision.  Here's the result and the reason for the title.  The shaved part on her front leg is where her IV went.  She could care less about it.

So on to other things: 

Quilting:  Making progress: This one was taken 10/8
This one taken today:  It may not look like much but it is hand stitched at about 12 stitches to the inch.  That's twice as many as most garments you purchase today are sewn at.  When I worked at Levi Strauss, the jackets were sewn at 6 to the inch and I guess they still are.

When I finish this block (some diagonal lines to fill the white background of the feathered wreath, I'll move to the next star point that you can see on the right.  The upper half is done, but the lower half of diamonds need to be quilted with 1/4" seams.  There are 100 diamonds in each large diamond.  That means 800 diamonds, 4 triangular spaces and 4 square spaces each with feathered wreaths or portions of and stitched lines creating the background stitched from the seams between diamond patches.  OK clear as mud and sorry 'bout that.  Let me see if I can find a better photo to show what I mean.  Looking at the photo below, the left side is done except for the border.  The top white triangle and the white blocks on the right need to be done along with the outer halves of the big diamonds.  I'll take a photo of the reverse for the next entry as that fabric is the same as the border so the quilting will show up better.  

Knitting and spinning also continue.  Fiber in the 'Boro was last weekend and was the 2nd annual.  We were in a bigger barn at the Ag Center in Murfreesboro, TN.  We were also on cement rather than wood shavings which makes spinning much less of a challenge.  There seemed to be about the same or slightly more people then last year and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.     This young man is learning how to feed spoil an alpaca.  The lady alpacas seemed to love the attention.  The one being fed is named Emmy if I remember correctly and her home is Cedar Rock Ranch in Lebanon, TN.  

I was good and only made one purchase.  I'd been spinning white Corriedale fleece and just needed some color.  So I bought some silk hankies and started playing with them.

The unspun hankies are draped over the tension device for the wheel.  I'm different in that I just start at a corner and draft as I spin.  Most spinners prefer to draft the fiber first then spin.  That's too much invitation to snarl and make a huge mess in my world.  I'll ply this back on itself a few times - maybe a six-ply - to make a bow for granddaughter #2 who wants a hedgehog and a cow for Christmas.  I have a pattern for the hedgehog and her favorite color is pink...One down, 5 more to go.  I think all the boys will get hats and the other girl will get an Irish crocheted mask.  She's into costumes right now.  Hope she is still interested at Christmas.

Knitting continues with socks and more socks in process and a finished object - also for Christmas for someone.  Since they don't read this blog I'm safe to post photos.

From the top we have 2 measures of Joy.  I have to embroider the notes, clef and time signature then line it and it's done.

Next are a pair of socks in merino with some cashmere.  They will be bed socks for my mom as I think they are too big to wear with shoes.

Finally Spring Wings, my version of Wingspan.  This is knit with a Zauberball and I lucked out as to the way the colors fell.  Much better than I hoped.  Again, a present for someone.  

That's all for now and I go back to the salt mines and get some other work done.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Catching up again

Oh what a tangled web...

Each time I think I can take the time to write a new post, life butts in.  For a while I was picking up grandkiddles #1 and #2 from their respective schools and taking them home.  For those who have not had the pleasure of this, one goes to school A about 1/2 hour before dismissal, gets in line and parks.  One has to remember to put the child's name thing on the dashboard or one cannot pick up said child.  Then come the buses and loading of the children begins.  Then the parked cars start their engines.  One teacher or other school official is in between the 2 lines of waiting cars and calls out student names as the cars roll by.  She or he has a walkie talkie to do this with.  Supposedly then the students, hearing their names, get their stuff together and line up to be escorted out to the still idling autos.  Some times this happens in a timely fashion and some times not.  Once this child is seated and seat-belted off we go to the next school.  

There, no name card is required but this line up is a bit more challenging.  Again a double row of parked cars and again, buses arrive. At this school, however, not all the buses can fit in the area designated for buses ONLY.  So when the riders (not students at this facility) are dismissed, the drivers start their engines and then are waved through between buses and cars to the area where the riders are to wait for their rides.  Now the job is to get the attention of your rider so that person can come and get in the car.  This being a facility for older kids - early teens and precocious tweens - the males are busy with display activities to impress the females.  The females are in groups watching/ignoring the males.  Apparently this activity has not changed in the decades since I was that age.  As a female you are to notice the male, but seem to not pay attention to his/their activities.  I never understood why the males participated in some of these activities as it often made them look very stupid. 

Once this rider has noticed the driver and sibling and enters the vehicle, then it is time to drive to their home.  This has a moment or two of interest as we pass the local Wal-Mart near shift change and near a local manufacturing facility with a LOT of truck traffic.  Since the trucks own the road (even 1/2 ton pickups), being in a car - not an SUV - means you are invisible.  Lane changes are necessary to keep from being flattened by a truck driver doing his/her thing.  Never had any mishaps but did have very interesting conversations with both grandkiddles.  

Not long after #1 and #2 finished their school year, I was kidnapped by my daughter and driven to the wilds of south Jersey.  There I encountered grandkiddles #3 through #6 and the newest addition to the family, the South Philly Alleycat.  I had a wonderful time spoiling kids and refereeing battles between the South Philly Alleycat and The One Who Was Here First.  

I also got to spend time knitting on my Zilver shawl which was round 1 in Camp Loopy 2012.
 Here is the completed version - somewhat blocked but not showing the true color which is a darker blue - but not quite ultramarine.  The lower photo shows the detail of the lace pattern of the shawl.  Looks good, simple to do if one can count, and since you start with one row of the fancy stuff then go to 2 and on to 5, it's pretty hard to mess up too much. That's what I needed when dealing with the daily circus of my daughter's household.

I was also able to experience the Fifths Disease in 3 of 4 children - without catching it myself and a birthday party with about 20+ kids for #4 who celebrated the first anniversary of his 8th birthday.  He did not want to be 9 this year so this is the solution for him.

Father's Day saw the daughter, her hubby, his parents and myself having a meal at a local diner.  Those who do not know what a true diner is are missing a wonderful experience.  There is usually a display case with desserts which add about 7 million calories to you per second you look at them.  The food is awesome and the memories for me are great.  

I also got to experience a phenomenon called a derecho.  It is, if I understand it, similar to a hurricane but it develops over land, not water.  Fortunately we were on the edge so didn't have any of the issues that some areas of NJ, MD, DE and Washington DC had - and maybe VA.  

On the 4th of July we all (7 of us) loaded into daughter's soccer mom vehicle and headed down to my home.  Well there was another rider too:
Meet Spud.  She is a South Jersey Feral Kitten.  Daughter found her under the above-mentioned soccer mom vehicle and captured her with a large fisherman's net.  Poor thing was skin and bones, literally.  I was not sure she would make it - her tongue was white - sure sign fleas had been feasting.  We treated for fleas but I decided we would wait on worming treatment until she gained a bit of strength and weight.  Other feral kittens I have dealt with are full of spit and hiss.  This poor girl never did that - too weak I think.
So after arrival in the home place, we, along with grandpa, went to different places to entertain the kids.  We went to the Science Adventure Center which was a hit with all and to Percy Priest Lake for swimming - also a hit with all.  The best part for me was when DH set up his hammock.  Later he came back to sit in it only to have it flip him feet over rear!  Daughter and I had quite a laugh from that!  

The highlight for me was dinner at The Aquarium Restaurant.  This is a chain which features a large (200,000+ gallon) tank in the center of the room.  Tables are situated around.  DH and I with both kids, and all 6 grandkids had dinner there.   Grandkids 3 and 4 sat closest to the tank and loved watching the fish swim past them.  Their dad was able to identify some of them and the rest of the family helped with others.  The food was good - no problems there - but service - not so.  I had made reservations for 12, with 6 kids, one needing a booster seat.  Well, no booster seat and food was delivered in shifts - and some not at all.  Manager treated us to dessert - and hopefully the server was told to ASK FOR HELP when dealing with a large group.

Spud went to the vet and was found to weigh in at 2 lbs.  She was unable to give blood for testing and did have a bacterial infection in her gut - which was successfully treated.  She is now gaining weight and growing and now, acting like a kitten - learning pounce and finally playing with her toys.  She is also now a camouflage cat, blending in with our bamboo floors and my maple spinning wheel.

So I'll leave with these photos of Spud and will be back with more spinning and knitting - and Spud - another time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Warning -- wordy...wordy

Please note the title - this will probably be wordy and up to 18 photos if I get really froggy and show everything I took photos of this week.  Believe me I did delete some fuzzy, duplicate or just yucky photos.

 To start: Loopy Ewe made an offer I could not refuse about 2-3 weeks ago - it was if you bought a skein of Dream in Color Marvelous (50/50 silk/wool) that has 1100 yds (1005 m), you would receive for the asking the pattern Vostok, a beautiful shawl. This shawl has been in my drool, um favorites in Ravelry since I first saw it and I'd been almost holding my breath until 5/1/2012, when it would be available for purchase.  So guess what I did...
Yep, I did... The colorway is Brilliant. The colors are a bit more sea greenish but I think the silk shine is messing up the colors for the camera.

The lacy part I'm on is the part from the shoulder down in the pattern photo.  I'm doing the second of five repeats.  This is fun except the "purl three together through the back loop inserting the needle from left to right".  That stitch does cause me to mutter words under my breath that would make my mother take a bar of soap to my mouth.  The other solution would be to get into the car and drive across town in any of the compass directions about 20-25 miles to a yarn store and buy size 5 lace turbo needles by Addi.  Nope, can't do that right now.  I'll mutter and "vent my spleen" as the saying goes.

So that's my primary knitting, but there are at least 3 pairs of socks on the sidelines waiting their turns.  I have a sock in a colorway that makes slices of watermelon as it is knit; a pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder in a Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in a greenish blue - photos later; and another in Unwind Yarn Company's Dazzle in a purple.  Again, photos later.  I thought I had posted them to Ravelry, but guess I didn't.  There are two sweaters, Evenstar (lace shawl), and some scarves sitting in the time-out box too - but some may be frogged (NOT Evenstar) and started again now that I have figured out what I'm trying to do with them - or learned a better way.

Spinning - fun time...  I've been playing with cotton and trying to re-learn how to spin the stuff.  I have to admit, 32 years ago, things were not as nice, fiber-wise, as they are now.  And I was not told you could not hold on to the cotton, that it just had to lay in your hand until it was spun or else!  I purchased the beginning to spin cotton kit from Cotton Clouds in Arizona along with 1 lb ginned cotton and 2 lbs of cotton on the seed.  I also downloaded my purchase from Interweave Press of Stephanie Gaustad teaching how to spin cotton.  Then I started... What I've trashed as being cotton-disintegrating-as-you-watch yarn, was never photographed.  Let's just say cotton needs lots of twist - and there is almost no way to over spin cotton.  Well, there probably is, but I haven't found it yet.  I do know how to under spin cotton quite well.  The Takli and I didn't get along well at first but we're learning how to play together most of the time.
Oh, I forgot to add, cotton needs to be spun quite fine and plied to get the thickness needed.  My hand, and I wear a medium in gloves.  The brown is a natural color and was sliver (sly-ver) included in the kit.  There is also a green, tan and 2 whites (I think - operating off faulty memory here).

Then I went to the wheel and tried to spin from the seed.  That's fun and fairly easy to do.  There is a YouTube video that shows how this is done and it's quite good - that's exactly what I did - watched her video and did what she did.

Then I really got brave and made my own punis.  Punis are fun, basically you card the cotton then roll the carded cotton around a dowel or chopstick.  It's rolled to be fairly tight.  Push up on one end of the stick and off pops the puni.  I did not like spinning punis.  Lumpy, bumpy, thick and thin.  It was probably my preparation, but either way, didn't like it.

Next was carding some of the ginned cotton.  Giving a bit of a history lesson here, Eli Whitney's cotton gin was just for ginning hairy seeded cotton.  Slick seeded cotton can be put on a slab with a roller just squishing out the seeds. Hairy seeded cotton has longer fibers and is what was grown in the colonies.  Eli's gin basically pulled the fibers off the seeds.  Sometimes the seeds break apart.  Often the fibers break, making them even shorter then normal.  Some vegetable matter from the bolls gets through this process too.  So ginned cotton may not be the cleanest product available.  I carded the rolags (fancy name for the cotton carded and rolled loosely into a sausage shape) and spun from them.  Much better!

Now I have singles (1 ply of yarn).  Lumpy, bumpy, but a bit more even.  Next I tried 3-ply, but I used the chain ply or Navajo ply method.  I'm not going to explain it, but if you want to see it, search YouTube for Navajo ply yarn.  So now I have this:
The whiter parts are those I spun from the seed.  The other part is from ginned cotton and looked a bit lighter when I first spun it.  Next step with this is to cable ply it with some silk hankies I've spun.  Not going to explain this either, but will post photos when it's done and when I've swatched some knit pieces with it.  I'm hoping it will work for a tee-shirt I want to knit to wear during hot weather.  Next will be plying the silk then cabling it with the cotton.  A quick rinse and thwack then let dry.  

Bobbins for the wheel are at a premium and I have a lot of stash to spin.  Next comes Koi Pond, a Polwarth (sheep) wool dyed by AllSpunUp on Etsy.  This will also be Navajo-plied to keep the colors together.  Depending on yardage, this will be a scarf or afghan...

You can see it is mostly blues with orange/white spots.  Those are the koi.  This should finish to be a nice squishy sport weight yarn when I'm done with it.

Well, that ends my fiber stuff but not my talking writing about it.  The next 2 photos are of a hat I asked someone to crochet for me.  It's not mine, but going to my 2nd granddaughter, she-who-loves-birds.  The lady who did this did an awesome job and is so very, very fast!  She did what would take me 3-5 times the amount of time.  Sorry for just calling her she, but I've not asked her if I can use her name.  Besides, I'm having one of those "senior moments" and can't remember it.
 In my opinion, this is terrific and I love it.  If she-who-loves-birds doesn't love it, well I'll take it back and wear it.  Actually one of her three brothers will probably go after it, it has 2 of the boys' favorite colors in it.

I have a job interview tomorrow - the second one I've been able to have in the year I've been unemployed.  Hopefully this one will result in a job.  That's all I'm going to say until after I hear if I'm hired or not.

The remaining photos are just that, remaining photos.  I have relatives who live where winter usually takes its job seriously and the whoosh of spring is still just thinking about doing that. So without much further ado, here are clemantis and roses from our yard.  Can't show the tomato plants yet - they will get set out over the weekend.

The white rose above has the most wonderful fragrance - it's a David Austin rose Duchess of Edinburgh, I think.  Winchester Cathedral is the other one I have and it's covered with buds - will get photos when it blooms.  It's fragrant too.  The red/white one is called Double Delight and it was on sale for $5.00 so DH bought it.  It's blooming heavily - more so than last year!  The clemantis are growing on netting around our garbage cans - to hide them a bit.  Some of these started blooming in March!  They bloomed 4 times last year so don't have any idea what they will do this year when they started 2 months earlier.  The lavender is outside my front door.  It started blooming in March as well.  I hope to harvest and dry some to store with my wools to try to prevent critter infestation (insect type).

So this is my wordy entry.  Love to hear/see comments from anyone who stumbles across this.