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We moved this website over to a new server last night, so I'm going to wait until we make sure all the kinks are worked out before I do the store update. Also, I will be out of town this week (Dallas!), so I probably shouldn't send out an email telling everyone to buy all my new stuff, and then not be able to ship it out for 5 days.

I'll be back in Houston next weekend and I'll do the mailing list email and store update as soon as I get home. Until then, I better go dig up all my unfinished knitting projects because I have an entire week of sitting either at The Woolie Ewe or a hotel with not much else to do.


I tried out the scribbling with crochet and found it MUCH easier to handle. Not having all the live stitches in the way really helped keep things in order. It's still a bit hectic, but I got through this swatch in less than half the time of the knitted one. Thank goodness I procrastinated long enough to try this out instead. I've already got some of the tutorial written (in my head), and there will be instructions for knitting OR crocheting so you can each pick your favorite method. Ooo, now comes the fun part--choosing which yarns to use.




Here's a preview of the batts I made this week. I'm hoping to get these (and 11 new handspuns) in the store by this weekend. Look for an update on or before Sunday the 28th. If you're not already signed up for my mailing list, put your email address in that little box over on the left of your screen, and I'll email you when I add things to the store.


I've been carding at... LUDICROUS SPEED!

In an effort to ramp up my spinning fiber section, I've been whipping up some crazy (pronounced kuh-RAY-zeh) batts, chock full of every fiber I own. Wool, locks, flax, hemp, silk, bamboo, corn fiber, angelina & metallic stuff, even cut up strands of other yarn. Most of the batts I had for sale previously were pretty boring by comparison, so hopefully this will give spinners something to get excited about buying. I've also been trying to make large batches of the same colorway (9 ounces of each, so far) so that someone could spin up a nice, big project if they wanted to:



I'm really trying to keep this whole "productive" phase going for as long as I can. Not only am I spinning and carding every day, I'm doing all sorts of housewifey stuff like keeping the sink empty of dirty dishes and vacuuming on a regular basis. (I know--WEIRD. It's like invasion of the Natasha-snatchers.)

Next on my list of crafts to try is vegan soap-making. I bought a couple different bars from independent sellers on Etsy and I really like them, so of course I've got to try it myself. I found a basic recipe that uses olive oil & coconut oil, I knitted up some little mini-washcloths out of organic nettle yarn and I'm going to embed them in the soap bars as a built-in scrubber. I'm also thinking about putting some four-leaf clovers inside the bars just to make them cuter. I'll probably test out the first batch on family & friends to see what they think, but if I become a talented soapstress, I may eventually want to sell my washcloth + soap sets over in the "handknit items" section.



Yesterday's swatching turned up two failures and one success. I had some ideas for a traveling cable that turned out to be the most unremarkable thing ever knitted so I didn't bother completing it, but my second experiment came out okay. I've got a ball of Lacey Lamb cobweb-lace yarn that I've been wanting to combine with some handspun to create a shawl or scarf of some kind. Along the lines of a scribble scarf, but with large blobs instead of individual lines. I'm carrying the thin yarn through every stitch, but only grabbing the handspun in certain sections, leaving spiderweb-style fabric connecting them. It took lots of wrangling and wrestling to keep everything untangled. I may go ahead and cast on for a full shawl this weekend (and I will take notes as I go, since I think the idea is rather publish-worthy). Here's a photo of the general idea:


dot pee are oh

alpacasilkfluff<< Here's another skein from yesterday afternoon's spinning session. It's more of the super-fluffy uncarded alpaca mixed with bright fuchsia sari silk. I didn't realize that I had made this dye batch quite so huge, so I've still got about 4 ounces left that I plan to card into some crazy-batts for sale to other spinners.

It has been a while since I've done any pattern writing, so I sat down today with an idea that's been floating around in my head and tried to map it out on paper. My first tiny swatch was not what I wanted, but I think I'm on the right track. I'll scan and post my next one if it comes out a little better.

In other news, the ".PRO" top level domain recently became available and I sprung for "" today. They're supposedly requiring proof of being an actual pro, but since there's not one official knitting genius certification program, I'm hoping my business license will suffice. Fingers are crossed.


Yesterday afternoon, I came downstairs after my shower and saw a yellow and brown piece of paper taped to the front door. I nearly had a heart attack when I realized it was the "Sorry we missed you" note from UPS telling me they had tried to deliver my wheel but needed a signature. (Did I mention we recently discovered that the doorbell can't be heard upstairs? What kind of ghetto doorbell only rings in half the house?) I flung the door open and, THANK GOD, I saw the UPS truck still parked outside, so I ran out and found the driver in the back of the truck rearranging boxes. I must have looked like a crazy woman, sprinting out with my hair still dripping wet, frantically waving my door note in his face. After I babbled on and on about how glad I was that I caught him and how impatiently I had been waiting for this since before the hurricane, he chuckled at me and said, "I'm glad I picked this street to stop and organize my truck."

So far I am very pleased with my results. The learning curve with this wheel was fairly small, and after only one minor screw up (I forgot to attach the tension knob and couldn't figure out why it wouldn't suck the yarn in) I was trucking along. The foot pedal placement is nice, and the concept of having brakes is neat although I doubt I'll use them. It weighs one meellion pounds, so I have to stop what I'm doing to move it around rather than scooching it to the perfect location with my toes.

I'm up to 4 yarns so far and they all turned out almost exactly like I had in mind. My favorite is the uncarded alpaca (the greenish one in the bottom picture). It turned out very similar to a skein of Ozark Handspun, but much softer and fluffier. (Surely it will shed like crazy, but there's no use fighting it. That's what alpaca does.)

There's a botleneck of twist-setting because I've only got one yarn-tensioning-device. This leads me to believe I've got to come up with some sort of system for mass skein drying. It's no use hanging them all with weights in the bathroom because our shower curtain rod topples to the ground every time you put too much weight on it. Maybe I'll get one of those metal laundry racks or outdoor clothes lines. Anyway, here are pictures of my adventures so far:





Thankfully, no bad news to report from Hurricane Ike. We were without power for only about 12 hours and there was no damage to the house other than a couple of loose fence boards. Uprooted trees and torn up rooftops are all over the neighborhood, but our little subdivision is intact. The house did a lot more shaking than I would have liked... I still feel like if I push too hard on a wall, it will be the last straw that causes the whole building to collapse.

The recording that plays when you call UPS says they will not be resuming Houston-area deliveries today, so there's no telling when I'll get my spinning wheel. I realize I am lucky that being without my package is the worst of my concerns at a time like this, but dammit, I am impatient! I thought I was being responsible by thinking about my purchase for a few days before buying it, but in reality I should have bought the thing the minute I decided I wanted it, and it would have been here before the hurricane.

The grocery store by our house is back open with no long lines, so I was able to replenish my vinegar supply and get some dyeing done:


boo hiss boo hiss

GAHHH! Damn you, Hurricane Ike! "Due to circumstances beyond UPS' control," my wheel will not be delivered today as scheduled. (As if to add insult to injury, the online tracking device used one of my most hated grammatical errors of all time, the dreaded s' when the original s was not a pluralizing s. I don't care what the stupid rule says! When you say UPS' control, it means the control belongs to multiple individuals, all of whom are named UP. It should be UPS's!!!)

I couldn't resist spinning something last night. I figured since this yarn wasn't going to be bulky, I had no reason to wait for my novelty wheel. It turned out pretty nice, it's spun from camouflage-dyed merino wool:



My spinning moratorium got even more difficult today as I opened up my latest shipment of sari silk. This time I opted to pay a bit extra and buy the premium fibers instead of the recycled fibers, which makes them closer to fabric remnants. There's a long ribbon of fabric with curly silk "locks" streaming out and there's not as much overlap in colors. It doesn't have the muddy character of the recycled fibers, but since it's a higher quality silk I can spin it into luxury-type yarns designed for next-to-the-skin wear without worrying about the bits of recycled-ness being scratchy.

Since I bought way more than I could ever use, I'm going to put some up for sale in my next store update in case anyone else wants to try it. See:



I put all spinning on hold until my new wheel arrives. I have no plans to get rid of "New Zealandy" (my Traveller) but I just have so many things in mind that it can't do. Here's a bit of what I will be spinning when the Mach1 gets here:



I'm currently waiting for Ravelry to designate me as a "yarnie" so I can begin uploading my pictures to their database. Then next up on the to-do list is buy some advertising, and then see if I can expand my store items with a few good consigners. (Consignees? Whatever.)


Haha, so I was looking up information about the medication I'm taking, and two of the side effects listed were "euphoria" and "mania". I guess that would explain why I just SPENT $700 ON A NEW SPINNING WHEEL!!!! Not only did I buy the wheel (mania) but I don't even feel guilty about it (euphoria). I'm dyeing as much fiber as fast I can (you might even say maniacally) in anticipation of the arrival of my SuperWheel. I will spin faster than a speeding bullet and more powerfully than if I were a locomotive! Able to leap 12 ounces of fiber in a single bobbin!

Here's the company's youtube video describing how it works, which will be very boring to you unless you're an obsessive yarn spinner:



A few years ago when I was first starting to get interested in spinning, I saw this one particular yarn that I really loved. I can't remember who spun it or what website I saw it on, but I remember that it was not for sale or I would have bought it in a heartbeat. Specifically there was one small section, maybe a couple inches worth, that had one color wrapped on top of another in a very interesting way. That yarn randomly pops into my head now and then, usually when I am spinning and *almost*, but not quite, accomplish that technique.

After a failed attempt last year with the Stained Glass yarn (although that skein was still awesome, just not what I meant to do), I finally figured it out. The light bulb went on over my head and I spun a giant skein of it night before last. It's a very time consuming process because it involved a lot of overtwisting to get the wraps on and then untwisting to get the coils out of the base yarn. Not to mention that in order to effectively untwist, it helps to be working with very short roving lengths, which meant wrangling 10 times as many strips as usual. Hard work but totally worth it in the end, I'd say.

The thought of selling this yarn makes me panicky, so I am definitely going to keep this one for myself. I still have lots of matching roving left, so I may make a pink skein to coordinate with it and give me a little more yardage.

p.s. I did a lot of picture taking and organizing last night. As soon as I get done setting the twist on a couple more skeins, I'll be updating the store with all the yarns I've been posting about this week. Look for a store update and mailing list email to come soon, hopefully by this weekend.

I has a bukkit


I was SO HAPPY when I opened my box of alpaca this afternoon. I wanted to dive in and swim around in it, like Scrooge McDuck in his gold coins. It's so clean I almost feel like I could dye & spin it right out of the box, but I'm giving it all a quick soak just in case. I found a giant blue bucket at Lowe's for $7 and I made some drying screens out of some crummy old paintings. I just ripped the canvas off and re-covered the wood frames with a roll of nylon screen and a staple gun. I made 2 of them so I could clamp them back-to-back and the thickness of the wood creates a little pocket to keep the fiber from blowing away.

I carded the horse hair with some variegated swampy-green merino this afternoon and will hopefully spin it tonight or tomorrow. It is SO MUCH LIKE HUMAN HAIR! Seeing it caught up in my carder reminded me of the vacuum cleaner brush as I cut out all my hair that's tangled down there making it smell burny. (Is everyone as nauseous as me now? Yeah, you're welcome.) But seriously, folks, I have faith that there will be others who, like me, have a Tim Burtonesque appreciation for the weird. SOMEONE, somewhere out there, will see this yarn and say, "I love that! I will knit it into a creepy something and love it forever!" Just look at the batt! Can't you just hear it glorrrppp-ing out from the depths of a bog and smothering you in your sleep? Or possibly just causing you a mild inconvenience like having to call a plumber to remove it from your drain?



The chatters in the Ravelry group for spinning art yarns have been talking about a new spinning wheel called the Mach1, made by SpinOlution. I MUST have one, but there's no way I can justify $600 for another wheel. ...Can I? ("No, Natasha, you can't. You are certifiably insane." -Adam, probably)

But it's got no orifice! The bulky flyer on my Traveller is big, but not big enough for all the things I want to do. This wheel has a design I have never seen before that appears to have a little twisting hook to hold the yarn instead of an orifice, allowing you to remove and replace the yarn at any time to allow giant pieces of bulk to go through. Not only that, but apparently the guy who makes them will customize it for you. One of the purchasers mentioned that the company was installing larger guides at her request.


Last night at 5am, I finally went to bed. Then at 5:30, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to sleep while my head was so full of bulky yarn thoughts. The above yarn is what happened when I got back up to card and spin the bulkiest yarn I have ever made. I spun it so thick that a single ply wouldn't go through the orifice without me stopping to yank it through and wind the bobbin by hand. Then I took it off the wheel, folded it over on itself, and plied it by hand, inch by inch. I would pull out some length, let the string dangle until it was done twisting, secure the ball, and pull out another length. It didn't take as long as you might think because I only ended up with a few yards' worth, but it was quite a hassle nonetheless. And the end result was still not as bulky as the plan had been in my head, making me even more sure that I need to acquire one of these newfangled Mach1's.

For now, I will have to let my super-bulky project planning fall to the back of my mind because there is another much more pressing matter at hand: The 20 lbs of alpaca sitting in a box in the kitchen. It's off to Home Depot this afternoon and, depending on if the hurricane brings rain today, possibly a marathon washing session in the back yard.