Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer of Love Yarn Swap Questionnaire

I have said I am incapable of project monogamy. I seem also incapable of swap monogamy. I have joined Summer of Love Yarn Swap. Here is my questionnaire.

1.Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been at your craft? I have been a knitter for over 20 years. I can’t crochet to save my life. 
2. Do you spin? What type of spinning? Yes I love to spin on a wheel although I would like to practice more on the drop spindle.
3. What are your favorite yarns/fibers? What are your least favorite yarns/fibers? I like all yarns and fibers but my favorites are the shiny ones – silk, bamboo, soysilk! But I love all kinds of yarns and fibers. I am least fond of generic acrylic but it does serve its purpose in the yarn world.
4. What are your favorite colors? What are your least favorite colors? My favorite colors are purples and blues but I love all colors. Least favorite would be ugly brown – you know the shade that resembles mud or worse.
5. Are there any yarns/brands that you are dying to work with but never have? Noro and Dream in Color are two that come to mind.
6. What is/are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet? Right now, lace especially shawls. I also like bags.
7. What are you currently working on? Anything you plan to work on this summer? Currently working on a shawl from my handspun and a sweater for my son. I have a slew of projects queued up including gloves for hubby, socks for hubby, a headband for hubby. Hmm - hubby gets a lot –but he has been waiting patiently.
8. What is your favorite FO? (Post a pic if you would like.) I gotta be honest and say I did a kick-a** job on the item I made for my spoilee in the HSKS5 swap but I can’t post or tell without giving it away. But I am very happy that I produced such a good piece to give away.
9. What is your oldest UFO? I just pulled a baby blanket I started for my son out of my stash to put in the yard sale pile. My son is 4 now. This is definitely never going to become a FO.
10. Are there any techniques that you want to learn? Magic Loop socks.
11. Are you on Ravlery? What's your ID? Yes – Chloecat262
12. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yes. Womens size 9
13. Do you collect anything? Books, Disney – especially fairies and princesses, shoes and I have a strange fascination/addiciton with small storage containers (baskets, drawers, boxes) – I seem to think I need more storage containers.
14. Do you have a yarn winder and/or swift? I have an antique yarn winder that matches my antique spinning wheel. No swift though.
15. Do you love sweets? What are your favorites? Chocolate! And Sweet tarts and smarties!
16. What are your favorite scents? Lavender, vanilla, fresh rain, bounce dryer sheets, my son.
17. Where do you keep your needles/hooks? Besides all over? I have a needle bag which holds most of them.
18. Do you have a wishlist (Amazon, Etsy, etc?) Amazon
19. Having a birthday this summer? Nope – Im a fall baby
20. Are you allergic to anything??? Please let your pal know! Though I am actually allergic to everything under the sun (trees, grass, dirt, dust, mold, cats, weeds, guinea pigs) its not something to worry about unless someone plans to send a pollen collection.

Quidditch! Go Hufflepuff!

My first Quidditch Game! I have also included the page numbers from my book. Hope that helps my fellow Hufflepuffs!

1. Which of Arabella Figg's cats ran out from under the car?
a. Tibbles (page 20)

2. Which of the following is NOT one of Albus Dumbledore's middle names?
a. Ignatius (pg 139)

3. Which educational decree introduced a High Inquisitor to Hogwarts?
d. 23 (page 307)

4. Apart from Harry, Ron and Hermione, who was the first person to enter the Hog's Head that showed an interest in Harry's Defence Against the Dark Arts classes?
b. Neville Longbottom (page 337)

5. In the first Quidditch match of the year which player attempted to score first?
a. Angelina Johnson (page 407)

6. What kind of bush does Harry hide behind to listen to the news?
b. A hydrangea bush (page 1)

7. Why is Mundungus Fletcher disguised as a woman when he witnesses the DA (Dumbledore's Army) meeting in the Hog's Head pub?
b. He was banned from the Hog’s Head pub 20 years ago

8. When Harry and Cho go on their first date to Madam Puddifoot's in Hogsmeade, what is it decorated with for Valentine's Day?
c. Golden cherubs and pink confetti (page 559)

9. How old is Sturgis Podmore and where does he live?
a. 38 and number 2 Laburnum Gardens Clapham (page 287)

10. What did Fred and George Weasley do to Montague?
a. Forced him head-first into a Vanishing Cabinet on the first floor. (page 627)

Picture Scavenger Hunt

Fred and George Weasley
Hog's Head Pub
Sirius Black

Mr. Weasley & Harry (Together)

Draco Malfoy

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The tale of my first

One of my fellow Hogwarts students is running a contest to win the pattern for the bag she designed and I must say, it is a stunning bag. I love it - nice and lacy. Check it out here.
The contest is to post about a knitting first. Well, I have been knitting now for over 20 years. I find that hard to believe myself as sometimes I swear I am not over 20 myself but it is what it is. During that time I tried my hands at all kinds of patterns and never had any fear. I was always self taught and being a knitter in high school in Southern California in the 80's was not exactly cool. So I learned to be a solo practitioner of the art of knitting. And then I found Ravelry. For the first time in my knitting life I met others who shared my passion! It was such an amazing eye opener. Imagine, being able to ask someone a question instead of hunting up answers in books. (Did I mention that where I lived was rather lean on yarn stores as well?). It is amazing to finally come out of the knitting closet and be accepted for the yarnie that I am! Needles and all.
So, that pretty much sets up my first. My first is that I am participating in my first swap. The Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap 5 is my very first swap. Until I joined Ravelry and met others I had no idea this wonderful world of swaps existed. Imagine, nice people sending each other presents just because! I know I could easily go out and buy yarn for myself but it is so much fun to make a package for someone and surprise them and then get a package in the mail with goodies. I have been looking at pictures all over blogs of the packages and I am blown away by the care that is shown by the sender to make the receiver happy. Best of all, it is a way to get to know other knitters, to read their blogs and to spread knitting love.
I don't have a picture yet but someday I will be posting my first package and hopefully many more to follow. I have already signed up for a second swap so I am obviously hooked. It is nice to finally share my passion with others and I hope I make my recepients happy! So that is my knitting first!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I don't know if its the polyjuice or just that it is a beautiful holiday weekend and I have FOUR whole days to do nothing but play but the twisted universe is laughing at me again. I have a cold. Not the Oh, I sneezed let me take some drugs and carry on type cold but the let me knock you on your a** stay under covers with your head buried misery kind of cold. Why oh why on such a beautiful weekend. I am literally sitting on my couch buried under a warm blanket with hot tea looking out my window at the sunshine. And of course DH has control of the remote. I am currently being forced to watch some bizarre documentary on weapons throughout the ages. I think its time to stick my head back under a blanket.

HP Who Am I

Which HP Kid Are You?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hogwarts Update: Dear Diary

Dear Diary, its Emma hear. Shhhhhh. I have a little secret and I have to get it out but I can't tell anyone. Ohhh, I don't want to get into trouble.So the other morning I got an owl with a care package from my Aunt Ermentrude. I thought it was awfully nice. All my cousins are finished at Hogwarts with her youngest, Ambrose, leaving last year. So my aunt knows how it is and likes to send me owls with fun things. I guess Ambrose decided to have some fun. I should have known better after the "incident" last summer with the garden gnomes, the butterbeer and the fireworks. Oh, those gnomes will never be the same. Anyways, I was just so happy to get a package that I didn't think. It had lots of my favorites. Some new yellow yarn, some Bertie Botts, a new quill and a bottle of chocolate drink. So I settled down to start some socks with my drink late one evening when I felt funny. That stupid Ambrose sent me Polyjuice Potion. So the next thing I know I'm his girlfriend Daisy who was a Gryffindor last year. I didn't know what to do. Fortunately the prefects sorted it all out and they think it was Peeves but I'm not saying anything. I don't want to get kicked out of Hogwarts all because my stupid cousin decided to play a joke on me! Of course, I feel so bad about all the confusion. I just had to confess to someone. So shhhhh This is between you and me Diary. 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hufflepuff Quiz #2

Potions Ingredients

1. colimamhe

2. hianeaecc

3. lgveoa

4. nsaie

5. itlhhawcez (2 words)
 Witch Hazel

6. ladeevrn

7. oynranlype

8. iwelnrepki

9. aavvakka (2 words)

Kava Kava
10. waoalhmlsrm (2 words)

 Marsh Mallow
11. gseginn

12. uwgtrmo

13. What is your favorite thing to do besides knit and crochet?

14. Do you collect anything? (yes and no are invalid answers)

15. What is your favorite flower?


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another day at Hogwarts

Hi - its Emma here! Just dropping a note to keep everyone up to date on life at Hogwarts. I really like my Potions class. I spend a lot of time over my cauldron especially making potions to change yarn different colors. I am working on a potion that will let my yarn change colors when I say a specific word. It will make a fun scarf.  Defense Against the Dark Arts is also a wonderful class but I think its because the professor is so yummy to watch. Of course, I have to force myself to take notes so I am not just staring at him like some of my classmates. Transfiguration is my toughest class but I think I will enjoy it all the same. There is a party tomorrow night. I only hope I can stay awake as I find I prefer to get up early and enjoy a walk to the Owlery while the school is quiet. 

Picking out the sheep poop .........

Its my anniversary weekend. Hubby and I have made it 9 years. And what a romantic way to spend the time ... picking out the sheep poop. Sigh. You know you have a steady marriage when you get to this point. I had some cleaning to do on one of my fleeces and unfortunately it was pretty full of that stuff left by sheep when they .. well, you know. 

On a positive note I think I have the whole fleece cleaning thing figured out. I am finding I am most successful by doing three hot tubs of dawn with 30 minute soaks. At that point the lanolin seems to be gone and I just need to rinse. Now I can leave it in the utility sink in a cooler soak for as long as I want. After about three rinse soaks in plain water it ran clean. Of course, I am still not overly enamored with the Romney/Corriedale as it is a bit short and not terribly soft or pretty. But hey, it was a $20 fleece so I can't complain too much. It is good for practice. 

I finally took my Cormo fleece and spread it out for a good look. Ohhhhh. It is so pretty. I am in luv with it! The staple is long and crinkly. I couldn't find any poop! There was very little observable VM. This was a nicely sheared fleece. Of course, it cost quite a bit more but oh it is so worth it. I put it in a new wash bag and have it living inside for now. I am going to wait until I finish the other fleece before washing the Cormo to make sure I really understand the process. But the Cormo is so pretty I may find myself pulling it out just to look at it. I can't wait to see how it ends up. 

I did take some of my clean brown wool and carded it up. I ended up with a huge batt and it doesn't look or feel too bad. Not as soft as I would like but it is what it is. It is also a bit grey. DH says it looks like old woman hair and he is right! It would make a good wig for a costume. I decided to try it in some Kool Aid to see what happens. I mean, I don't love this stuff so I will consider it my experimental wool. I can play with it all I want and not feel too guilty. 

My other experiment has been reclaiming Cashmere. I found a sweater at the thrift store for $6. I was lucky in that it is white. I spent several days carefully unwinding it and then navajo plying it up. I ended up with about a 1000 yards of fingering or light sport weight cashmere yarn that smells dreadfully of moth balls. I decided to throw it in the dye pot. It is now blue/green, drying in the fresh air and no longer smelling so awful. I intend to reskein it and turn it into a shawl. I found a red Cashmere at a garage sale for $1 which I intend to do the same thing with to get some red yarn. I may overdye it to brighten it up a bit. Not sure yet. Its a great resource for Cashmere provided you have patience. 

Next weekend is the Mass Sheep & Wool festival. I hope to go.... trying to decide about spending the time and gas. I will see how work goes this week but I really do want to see the Tsock Tsarina and look at her patterns/socks in person. I missed her at the NH show and I am bummed. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hufflepuff Quiz

Hi - Its Emma again. Boy, its amazing how much is going on at Hogwarts this term.
First, my homework. I had to take my first quiz. Here it is!

1. Is from a muggle family and the first to attend Hogwarts? Both Penelope Willow and Perenelle Ballycastle seem to fit this one.
2. When knitting socks you use dpn's, 2 circ, 1 circ 1 sock, 1 circ 2 socks? So far only with dpn’s but I want to try magic loop and 1 circ 2 socks
3. Their owls name is Owlbert? Eleanor Wigworthy
4. Beat Agatey Mirrofold in a contest? Lily May Clearwater
5. Your favorite non 'puff color? Purple of all shades
6. They learned to knit for a school play? Me – Emma Kettleburn
7. They got engaged last week? Selena Starfire
8. One sentence/statement you would use to describe your stash? Patiently waiting to become something
9. Their best class is Divination? Daisy Chang
10. Last term everyone thought you were your sibling? Antonio Dela Weasley
11. When not going to Hogwarts your favorite thing to do is? Besides being a mom to my four year old …… oh wait there isn’t anything besides being a mom! While being a mom I love to read fun chick books, dream of having more time to spin, play with dye, drink coffee and stare in amazement as my son grows before my eyes.
12. You have read the books, watched the movie or both? Both many many many times over
13. Your family includes? Myself, my dear husband, my four year old son, Tucker the dachshund and soon to have Blue the English Staffordshire bull terrier
14. They have frogs in their room? Clidonia Acromantula
15. Has a dog named Kluane? Ursula Longbottom
16. My favorite thing to knit is. At the moment lace shawls and scarves
last a picture. please attach a picture of your Favorite Harry Potter Character.

I love a good mom. Harry really needed a good mother figure to help him through his trials. 

Doing my homework was lots of fun. I got to read everyone's blogs. It interesting to read about everyone and where they are from. We even have one of our housemates in China right now. That's pretty exciting even though she can't wait to get to Hogwarts. I am sure Lily will bring lots of good stories. 

I also got my owls with my Swap partners. I get to spoil another Emma, this one is from Ravenclaw (I think almost all the Emma's ended up in Ravenclaw, except me). I think she may even be related to the greatest headmaster of all time, Dumbledore. I am waiting to hear back from here about this. I will be spoiled by Cressida, a Gryffindor. It looks like she has been at Hogwarts for awhile. I am excited about getting to know both Emma and Cressida, along with all my other school mates.

Oooh - almost time for dinner. Gotta run off to the Great Hall. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hogwarts Update

Hi - Its Emma here. Well, I have made it to Hogwarts and my first year has begun. The trip up on the Hogwarts express was exciting. I love trains. I have also made some new friends in the common room including a few people from my hometown. It turns out that Methuen is a knitters haven. I still haven't learned the name of my spoilee but I am sure that owl will arrive soon. I am, however, already making plans for their package. I hope to know something about them before the Mass Sheep and Wool so I can find some goodies there. Well, its time for breakfast in the Great Hall. I best be off. Maybe my owl will arrive today!
Update: My wand arrived today.

What Harry Potter Wand Are You?
Your Result: 12.5" Yew, Dragon Heartstring

Your wand is longer than average, with a flexible and long-lasting wood. Dragon Heartstring is a common Ollivander core. Your wand is ideal for jinxes and hexes.

9" Willow, Phoenix Feather
11.5" Yew, Unicorn Hair
10.5" Ash, Phoenix Feather
11" Mahogany, Unicorn Hair
8.5" Mahogany, Dragon Heartstring
11" Ash, Hippogriff Talon
14" Holly, Veela Hair
What Harry Potter Wand Are You?
See All Our Quizzes

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thankfully my husband wanted Alpaca poop .....

What an amazing day! After waiting what seemed like years the day finally came to go to the NH Sheep and Wool Festival. I have been anticipating this ever since I first started spinning and I was not disappointed. We left early and arrived shortly after festival opened. I had a plan, plenty of money (or so I thought) and bug spray. Good thing I brought the bug spray because we needed it right out of the car. Once in the fair I made a beeline for the fleece sale as my main purpose for going was to get my first raw fleece. I was so glad I went early as I pretty much had my pick of everything. I wanted Cormo as I had heard wonderful things about its softness. My first pass I didn't see it, then as I was turning around to look through it again, there it was hiding behind other fleeces. I ended up with a beautiful 4 pound bag of white Cormo. Best of all it is mostly clean - very little VM. Then DH decided he really liked the darker fleeces and he talked me into a 5 pound dark grey/brown Romney/Corriedale fleece. Ok - it didn't take too much pushing to get me to buy the second fleece. So within 10 minutes of arriving we were headed back to the car 80 bucks lighter but carrying 9 pounds of wool.

As you can see we even lucked into pretty weather! No rain!

After depositing the fleece into the car we headed back in to start looking around. Because I wanted to stay in my budget and I knew I had several items to look for I decided to make the rounds of the place first before buying anything. This ended up being my saving grace. I looked at wools and silks in all kinds of pretty colors. Yarns was hang
ing everywhere. Spinning wheels and drop spindles had me wishfully thinking how I need to win the lottery. The variety of knitting needles was almost overwhelming - and I thought my Harmonies were pretty. It was a fiber lovers fairy land. 

Finally, at the very back of the fair behind the Alpaca fest I found what I needed most - the restroom. I badly needed to wash the bug spray off my lips from where I wiped the cloth on my face. Good for keeping away bugs. Bad for tasting. Yuck. Thi
s is where the magic started. As I was off "powdering my nose" my husband was wandering the last aisle of the Alpaca area
 and found Alpaca poop for sale. When I came out he took me over as he was seriously considering spending some of my precious fiber money on Alpaca poop!!!! 

And then I saw
 it ....... sitting there, so lonely, so shiny on the table next to two of the cutest naked Alpacas ...... a Louet Drum Carder with a tag saying $75.  After asking if it was for real (it was) I eagerly handed over the rest of my money and walked away with my very own drum carder. I think I shook for the next half hour with disbelief and excitement over this find! You have to understand, drum carders retail for between $400 and $50
0. This model is the big one, 8 inches, and retails for $525 new. I have looked all over 
for a used carder but have never seen one below $350. To find one at this price, and in such excellent condition was unreal. And as a bonus, the fellow offere
d to give my husband all the Alpaca poop he wanted if he c
ame up to visit the farm. For free. 

We headed back to the car to drop off the carder and headed back into the fair for some more.
 At this point I was out of cash but happy as could be! Th
ankfully the vendors took plastic so I was able to buy the few other items on my list. I finally got a WPI measure with a Diz, which I have been wanting, and some silk hankies. I also got a handful of pretty dyed silk cocoons which make a fun sound 
when shaken. These will probably stay as is as they are so pretty on their own. 

Overall, if you don't count the carder, I actually stayed within my budget.  We looked around a bit more, watched the spinners and weavers and even got to see a sheep being sheared before we made the final trip back to the car. 

We got home and were happy but tired. DS stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa and apparently had been a handful all day and wore himself out. 
This is him at six o'clock. This is how I felt! What a day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Forest Rain

Forest Rain, originally uploaded by skoswalt.

I finished my first skein with my Wilton's Black Icing Dye experiment. It makes me think of misty rain in the forest. I love the results and I cannot wait to knit it up. Today promises to be a rainy day here in the Northeast and I have the next five days off. Time to knit! I have a second skein to also spin up but I just can't wait to get this one cast on.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Think of summer

I was just posting about blueberries on Ravelry and it made me think of picking blueberries in summer. So I decided I needed to share these pictures. Ahhhh - what we have to look forward to now that summer is on its way.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I Received my Letter and have been Sorted

What a tremendous surprise it was when I received my letter informing me I had been accepted to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy as a first year in the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap 5 - Order of the Phoenix. Once I arrived at school I was quickly sorted in to Hufflepuff under my alter ego name of Emma Kettleburn.  I look forward to a spirited term and putting together a package worthy of my house to send to my swap spoilee. I am off to the common room to meet my house mates, share some knitting in front of the fire and await the games. I understand there are still some openings for this year. If you want to join in the fun head to HSKSwap. I hope to see you there!

Friday, May 2, 2008


Well, I have to post a non-fiber related achievement. I received word that my Masters Thesis has been accepted and I am all set to graduate this May. Yeah! Since I have spent the past three years working toward this day I am pretty excited. I remember starting the program and thinking will I ever see the end? Now here I am. My degree is Masters of Science in Quality Assurance from California State University Dominquez Hills. It is a distance learning program so my successful completion of my degree depended entirely on my own self discipline and dedication to "attend" class and complete assignments on time. Since I usually did my classwork at 4:30 am in my pj's I was able to get into a good routine of school first before anything else in my day. I am happy to say I finished with a 3.97 GPA so I must of done something right. Well, it is done now and basically I have more time to spin now!