For the most part, when I spin, I grab my fiber, pick a whorl and go for it. I think this has worked out for me, largely because I tend to spin small quantities (generally around 2-4 ounces) and I have a pretty limited skill set and comfort zone with spinning. Even my last batch of fiber, which was closer to 7 ounces, came out pretty consistent despite my making little effort to check consistency along the way.

But, like the person who has reasonable success knitting patterns without making a gauge swatch, past successes do not mean future success. I've been holding onto a pound of fiber my parents got me, for over a year, awaiting a time when I felt I had the skill and patience to spin up the whole lot into enough yarn to make something substantial. I'm not sure that I've actually met either of those qualification but dammit, the fiber is gorgeous and I want to spin it.

Spurred on by Amy's great article in Knitty, I decided to try to approach this project with a semblance of a plan and, perhaps, some organization.

A while back, I ordered these Spinning Project Cards (I refuse to spell the last word with a "k" unless someone can give me a good reason for it being spelled that way) by mistake, thinking they were something else.


They are basically index cards with preprinted areas for information you might wish to include about your yarn. I don't think I'll be ordering them again. For the same price, one could buy a pack of 100 index cards and only include the info relevant for the project. I am not saying these are poorly designed. If you like the look of clean, unlined cards, and spin enough that you don't want to have to write out all the labels, this might be totally worth it for you, just not for me.

Even so, I had no normal index cards lying around and no need to waste these. Surprisingly, despite the myriad of fields preprinted, there didn't seem to be a spot to indicate the whorl used so I just slapped that info in wherever.

new project yarn.jpg

If all goes according to plan, I should be producing a 3ply yarn (off of three bobbins, not Navajo plying) that works up to, oh, 14-15 WPI. The fiber is corriedale in a beautiful deep olive shade.

So far, it's spinning up quite nicely. The fiber is well prepared and needs only minimal predrafting. We'll see how long I can spin a plain green fiber before I get bored. Luckily, I always have my spindles.

In doggy news, Thea seems to be healing up well enough. She's still a bundle of energy and I think I'll be as excited to be able to let her play as she will.

Our vet is quite awesome. Check out what we got in the mail yesterday:

award for getting broken.jpg

They took a picture of the little girl, before her surgery and printed out this lovely award. If you click the image, you can go to flickr and find a higher resolution version. Check out the text below the Vet's signature.

We pulled the crate out of the bedroom for use when the two of us have to leave the girls unattended. Theoretically, the crate should be for Thea, when she needs some quiet time.

panda loves her crate.jpg

Panda, however, seems to think it's all hers. Could you say no to that face?

As for the Photoshop tutorial, it sounds like there's enough interest that it's definitely worth my doing it. Getting stuff together, I'm thinking I may have to break it out into a couple smaller, more digestible pieces. Hopefully, the first tutorial will be posted by the end of the week.

Hola, El Matchador


You know how I said that spinning puts Thea to sleep? Well, that seemed as good an excuse as any to spend some quality time with El Matchador.

At first, I thought I'd just spin up enough of my Cotswold to have a skein ready when I run out on my skirt.

right off the bobbin.jpg

But once I plied the yarn and skeined it, I had, what appeared to be, a relatively small amount of fiber remaining, so I figured, what the heck, I'll spin up the rest.

hanging yarn.jpg

The result is a skein that is 297 yards long and a second skein that is 217 yards long. Added to the 225 yards I already have, I have a total of [insert calculator here] 739 yards. That should be plenty to finish the piece.


Thea helped me with the photoshoot. It's nice that we can have both an out of focus AND poorly lit image. She's really an artiste.

two new skeins.jpg

I'm not going to do another whole round up of the yarn, since I've already done one here and it's the same, only different, or whatever. I will say that I continue to really enjoy spinning this yarn. It is well prepared, with only a little bit of vegetable matter and the colors are gorgeous.

In my next post, I start doing the spinning equivalent to making a gauge swatch. Good girl, Marnie, here's a cookie.

Quick question, would anyone out there be interested in some very basic tips for using Photoshop to adjust color and exposure in an image? I'm no expert and I sort of wonder if anyone who can afford Photoshop, already knows it well enough, not to need any help, but if folks are interested, I'd be happy to do a tutorial. Just leave a comment with your thoughts.

Stitches and a weird little leaf


Well, the same night we brought Thea home, she shook off the anesthesia and was ready to play. This was at about 4AM in the morning. We were only very slightly amused. Since then, it's been pretty futile trying to keep her calm. Even giving her a half dose of a sedative in the day and a full dose at night, she's pretty active. It seems to get her kind of high. That is, she walks a little goofy and seems pretty content just sleeping or obsessing over a raw hide bone, but it doesn't totally squelch her energy level altogether. She still will play at the drop of a hat. It looks like she's stretching the skin near her stitches a bit. I'm really really hoping she doesn't pop her stitches.

soooo groggy.jpg

On the plus side, she hasn't been licking them. Small consolation, really.

It just kills me to have to sedate her, but since she'll hurt herself if she doesn't keep still, it appears to be the only recourse. Anyone have any good suggestions for putting a pup in suspended animation, while she heals?

spinnin and snoozin.jpg

One thing that does seem to calm her down is the sound of El Matchador. I've done a lot of spinning this weekend (more on that in a future post) and it usually lulls her to sleep.

She was particularly goofy after the first dose, I gave her. She was a touch wobbly, and then hopped up on the couch and reclined in this position for a good hour.

far out man 2.jpg

I figured that the dose was a touch too strong, so I cut her back to a half, for any daytime hours. The vet said that we might have to play with the dosage to get it just right.

In entirely unrelated news, we have a little mystery.

Leo found this leaf, with a rock and a q-tip on top of it, perched on the corner of our house. There's a little brick facade running along the bottom 3 feet of the house, that juts out a couple inches. Someone had placed the items there.

weird leaf.jpg

We are thinking that it was something the neighbor's kid made for us, but we haven't seen her around to ask. If so, it's a cute gesture, however, if it wasn't from a kid, the q-tip really creaps it up a notch, you know?

Here are the q-tip and back of leaf and rock. We placed them all in a bag, just in case.

weird leaf back.jpg

We have no idea what the writing says, it's a little hard to read, but it sort of looks like the biggest words are, "The King."

Anyway, does anyone have any idea what could have been used, in conjunction with a q-tip (ie, a liquid) to produce the blue writing on the leaf? Hopefully, it's something totally benign.

No belly rubs and lots of rest



Panda and I both missed Thea something awful. She was sad and mopey, so I gave her lots and lots of kisses. She likes kisses.

Of course, Leo and I expressed our concern by calling the vet every hour for an update. Kudos to them for remaining pleasant each time. I like our vet.

Sitting in traffic and waiting for Thea to be brought out from the recovery area, was nerve wracking but just seeing her eyes, as bleary and unfocused as they were, was sunshine.


Leo carried the little one in from the car. Her pink bandage covers the spot where they put in her IV. It also matches her pink stitches. Nice touch.


Panda looked so happy to see Thea but realized right away that Thea wasn't herself and gave her space. We all went out for a wobbly potty break and Thea spent a little time trying to find a nice place to relax. She finally decided on the bed (with a little assistance up, of course.)


She stayed pretty quiet and calm through the night, though she's been a little rowdier this morning. The doctor prescribed her some sedatives, in case she needs them, but I'm still holding out hope she'll remain relatively calm. I'm a shameless optimist.

So thanks again for everyone's warm wishes and concerns. I'm still really new to having my dogs go under the knife and it's good to be reminded how commonplace it is.

Thea update


As you all knew would be the case, Thea is absolutely fine and shaking off the anesthesia as I type. We will be able to pick her up in a couple of hours and bring her home to convalesce.

Thanks for all the well wishes.

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