Wednesday, February 25, 2009


As I dyed up a batch of laceweight merino this morning, I did something very uncommon for me. I worried.

I'm not a worrier by nature, but in these gloomy economic times it's difficult for even the most carefree spirit not to worry at least a bit on occasion. Perhaps "worry" is too strong a word, but my mind was certainly focused on the economy.

Today, a letter arrived in the mail to put things in perspective. For some reason, I immediately thought to share this with all of you. I'll cut out the personal bits, but the letter began with some family news and went on to mention a concern another family member was having over money problems. I'll pick up at that point in the letter:

... but I don't know if she is overdramatizing. After all, I lived during the Depression and I know what it's like to have NO money, not even the 2-cent fine for an overdue library book. We had electricity cut off because there was no money. A quarter-meter was installed in the basement, and when electricity was a must, we'd insert a quarter in the slot and we were given 17 cents worth of juice. The other 8 cents went toward paying the bill that we owed. We used oil lamps for light. We had no refrigerator, just an old-fashioned ice box. We had no washer, no radio and no telephone. That's what NO money means.

I've just finished taking a bath. A FULL tub of hot water. In those old days I was talking about, we had no hot water. We had to heat up a pailful in the kitchen stove and lug it upstairs for a skimpy bath. Now I luxuriate in the whole tub of hot water right from the faucet! I think nobody knows what the "Great Depression" means, except us who lived through it.

How I pray - Not again - not again!

This letter comes from my mother, who was born in 1923, a little girl during the Depression, living in Rhode Island with her parents and five siblings, eeking out a meager survival.

My father (long gone now) also lived through the Depression, although he was older than my mother and so was already a teenager when the Depression began. About two years before the Depression hit full force in 1929, he quit school at age 14 to go to work and help support his family. He lied about his age and got a job as a messenger for a Wall Street brokerage house. He worked for that same brokerage firm - moving slowly up the ranks to a lower level management position - almost continuously for 46 years, with the only time interrupting that employment being when he left to fight in World War II.

My parents' experiences certainly shaped the people they became, but at the same time, so much is dependent on one's own nature and perspective and view of the world. My mother is an eternal optimist. My father was an eternal pessimist. I am more like my mother in that respect and right now I think more than ever I must make a conscious decision to remain on that path. Staying in touch with reality and what's going on in the world is important. Evaluating and understanding one's own financial situation, and living responsibly within one's limits, is important. Worrying, however, is not. It is not productive, it is not useful, it is not helpful.

And, of course, when I worry too much, it interferes with what matters: Enjoying time with my husband. Knitting. And writing to my mother, to whom I owe a letter.

Monday, February 23, 2009


From all of my mentions about how Spring will be coming soon, one would think I live in the depths of the most frigid cold. I'm actually here in Oregon, where the temperature is relatively mild and the spurts of true cold are few and far between. Regardless of the moderate winter temperatures here, I still long for Spring. I think it's the need to feel the sun (at least on occasion during the rainy Spring of Oregon) and to hear the birds sing. I suddenly and quite happily realized this morning that we're actually less than a month away from the official start of Spring now! (Official, since the weather likely won't reflect it for a while beyond that, but hitting the milestone date of March 21st is still something for which I'm anxious.)

Why this talk of Spring, you ask? Here's why:

JuniperJune knit these fabulous Orchid Lace Mitts (pattern by Anne Hanson) using FF Laceweight Merino Yarn in the Brunette colorway. Aren't they glorious?! Of course, it's not the color that sets my mind to Spring, but rather the pattern. Lacey fingerless gloves are so perfect for Spring and these are just so beautiful!

You can see more of JuniperJune's work on Ravelry, as well as on her new blog.

Before I sign off for today, I want to give you all a quick heads-up that I'll be posting lots of new items in my FF shop this morning. Stop by for a browse if you have a moment.

Great day to all!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Catching Up

I had one crazy week last week, without much time for blogging, so I've fallen a bit behind on posting my silly little knitting endeavors. (Pardon me for sounding as though I'm minimizing knitting. No, no! I only minimize my recent projects because they've mostly been using my handspun pyarn, which is still pretty sad and not really worthy of being knit just yet.)

To catch up . . . remember this?

It turned into this (actually two of these, but the other one still needs ends woven in).

The pattern is Anne Hanson's Hot Waffles. Although the finished mitts are really rather pathetic, the pattern did help to raise them from pure trash into something not so bad. The textured waffle pattern lends itself fairly well to a less than perfect yarn, so I think it was a pretty good choice for this pyarn, which was one of my very first attempts at spindling.

Remember this?

This one turned into this:

This is an Almost Scarf. The finished piece ended up only long enough to serve as a muffler, draped around the neck and crisscrossed in front beneath a jacket. I seem to have some sort of delusion about yardage with the spindle. Even if I do a rough yardage measure when making it into a skein, it's as though my brain just will not accept that it took me so much time to create so little pyarn and so I just pumped the yardage figure upward and tried to convince myself it was enough for a scarf.

Although not enough for a real scarf, I have to say that I really love the way it looks. The colors are among my favorite and I like the way they knit up, with lots of variation but still a reasonable amount of subtlety. I also think the stitch pattern works nicely to blend with the imperfections of the yarn. The stitch is a super-simple faggoting. Although I normally associate faggoting with lace, it worked really nicely to create a highly textured fabric and also one that's reversible. The faggot stich I used on this is the world's simplest: Even number of stitches cast on, and then every row - right and wrong side - is K2TOG, YO. A selvage stitch at each edge caps it off.

Then there are these:

The teal green one is another handpsun that I forgot to photograph before knitting it up. The other is FF Merino/Tencel Sock Yarn. I used Anne Hanson's Spiraluscious pattern, but without the edging that goes around the bottom. I had only a small quantity of the handspun and a bit of leftovers from the sock yarn to work with and so I just made simple neckwarmers without the edging detail. As I look at the photo, it looks as though I actually screwed up the green one. Looks like I missed a row or something in the pattern and didn't even notice it (how on earthy could I not see that while knitting?). Ah well. These things happen (well, to me anyway ;).

There's some new handspun waiting in the wings now:

This one I didn't ply and will see how it goes to knit as a single. I chose not to ply it mostly because this was a failed dyeing experiment, with long stretches of fiber in semi-solid shades of blue. I think it will look better knit up without plying, so that the long stretches of color can fade in and out rather than having mostly dark yarn with the occasional barber pole of light blue plied in. We shall see.

The yarn itself is again just pyarn. It doesn't seem much better than what I've spun previously (although it is far, far thinner, spun on my newly acquired lightweight spindle). What you can't know from looking at the photo, however, is that there was a big leap in progress with this skein. I forced myself to stop the "park and draft" method and actually drafted the fiber as I spun on this one. It was a difficult transition and I still have a loooong way to go for that to be comfortable and for the results to be even, but it was still a big step forward just to manage the juggling act of drafting as I went.

Lest you think that these little projects have kept me from dyeing, here's a small sneak preview of just a couple of new things coming.

And this:

There are more as well, all patiently waiting in the wings for their pictures to be taken, names assigned, labels put on, and listing descriptions written. It will then be their turn for their day in the sun, as they will be added to my shop very soon.

That's about all the news that's fit to print here. Hope everything is going wonderfully for all of you!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Baby Fern

These socks were knit by Marjorie with FF Merino/Tencel Sock Yarn in the Insouciant colorway. The pattern is Baby Fern Socks by Charlene Schurch. Such beautiful detail!

It was a particular treat for me to see these socks, as they are the first ones I've seen knit in the Insouciant colorway. It's always great fun to see how a colorway translates from the skein to a finished project. Marjorie's beautiful work really shows this one to its full advantage!

A big Thank You to Marjorie for sharing her lovely work! You can see more of Marjorie's work on Ravelry where she is mmarker.

Keep those finished project photos coming! You can send them to me by e-mail or post in the Fearless Fibers Fan Group on Ravelry.

Everyone have a great day!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Manly Monday

These are Vickie's rendition of the Lacunae Mitts by Anne Hanson, which she knit for her husband.

Vickie's thoughts mirrored my own when it comes to most fingerless mitts. "The mitts don’t look special off the hand, but on the hand the pattern comes to life"

The yarn is FF Superwash Merino Wool Sportweight in the Deepest Forest colorway.

I just love these and I'm sure Vickie's husband must as well. Who wouldn't?! You can see more of Vickie's lovely work on Ravelry where she is VickieK.

A big Thank You to Vickie for sharing her work and a great Monday to all!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Ham and Socks

These are the socks I showed in progress last week, now all finished and ready to keep my feet happy and warm. As you can see in the photo, my husband had a bit of a hard time getting a decent picture because a certain ham wanted so much to be in the photo.

Indie is both a ham and rather hopelessly attached to me. Any chance to nuzzle a bit - even just my feet - and he's all over it.

Here's a closeup so you can see the stitch detail a bit better.

I made these socks with handspun superwash merino. Of course, not handspun by me! My own spinning attempts with my trusty spindles are progressing a bit, but I'm a million miles away from spinning anything like the yarn used for the socks!

Here's my latest pyarn, spun from the superwash merino roving that I dyed and showed in a blog photo last week:

Getting a little better with each attempt, but still a long way to go. I do love how the colors worked up though! I've got a second smaller skein done as well, for a total that I think will be enough for a rather narrow scarf.

I also knit up my last handspun attempt into a pair of fingerless mitts, but I've got a long list of things on my To Do List this afternoon, so no time for photos at the moment. I'll save those for next week.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Blue Ribbon Socks

Before I dive into today's project feature, I want to give a quick heads-up that the signups are now open for the FF Whisper of Spring Lace Club! Woohoo! We're off and running at last :)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .

These lovely socks are Amy's rendition of the Slippery Socks by Olivia M from the Winter 07 edition of Knitty.

Amy knit these with FF Lightweight Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Shades of Teal colorway. (Shades of Teal is now on the backburner, but it was retired due to its similarity to the popular Spellbound colorway, which is still available.)

Not only can Amy be proud of these socks because they're just plain smashing, but she also has a Blue Ribbon from the South Carolina State Fair for the Textile Craft category to prove it! Way to go, Amy!!!! And it's easy to see why these lovely little socks took the blue ribbon . . .

You can see more of Amy's beautiful work on Ravelry where she is socialconstruct.

A big Thank You to Amy for sharing her lovely work!