It's not rocket surgery


This entry also posted at the Create Along.

Hey, it's a Lily update.

The second sleeve knit up in a jiffy, even with my lack of free time, and then it came time to join all the pieces into a single unit. While the sleeves were knit flat (more a product of my lack of US #7 DPNs than anything,) everything else is knit in the round. The process is largely like that of the relatively ubiquitous top down raglans (Good ol' Barbara Walker!) only this one is bottom up.

The pieces and I had a bit of a kerfuffle at the time of joining. The body was knit to a slightly different point in the lace repeat than the sleeves and I did not realize this until the second round of attachment. I had to decide whether to rip out the extra rows in the sleeve or attach another ball and knit up the body further. There may have been some language unbecoming a lady. Panda offered to jump on my lap and help, but we both ended up showing much restraint.

I decided on the former option, ripping down, as I can use the tails to seam the sleeves, later.

I don't feel like the rest of the piece should pose any real problems, it's not brain science, after all. I'm keeping the formula fairly simple; decreasing every other round, yet, I have this foreboding feeling that when its all done, I'm going to need to rip back. I'm not sure why. I think some of it stems from the fact that I'm not doing any sort of bind off under the arms. Will it be all bunchy and uncomfortable? I am waiting to try the piece on until I've worked a few more rounds and if I do have to work back, I have a few ideas for remedies, but I'm really hoping I don't need to go that route. Because the body is knit in the round, even a gusset would pose a lot of work. Don't you even think about using the "s" word with me. Some of us learn from our friend's blog posts.

I think I always have this sort of anxiety when I'm knitting my own designs. No matter how much I do this, there's always some portion of the process that seems more dictated by the little knitting fairies and gremlins than by math. Hopefully when I'm all done, I'll love it and wear it with pride, but for now, it's too soon to tell.

Does anyone speak Portuguese


I am participating in Kelli's project to make care packages for children in an orphanage in Mozambique (thanks Jessica for the link!).

She has asked that we include a card with a picture and a note in English and Portuguese, extending our well wishes and friendship. She links to Bablefish, which is fine, but I know from experience that the results are often comical at best and unintelligible at worst.

I have my packages all ready to go, I just need to write my notes. I was wondering if there is anyone who'd be willing to help me translate my English message to Portuguese?

It's amazing how much you can fit in a quart sized bag!

In case you are wondering, I have 4 bags each with the following items:

  • Sheet of stickers

  • Soap

  • Toothbrush

  • Hair elastics in lots of sizes and colors

  • Floss

  • Chapstick

  • Gum

  • Crayons

  • 2 pads of sticky notes to use with the crayons

  • A bouncy ball

Not bad for cramming into a single quart sized bag.

If you want to participate, please do so. This seems like a great cause and Kelli has assured me that if she gets too many bags, she'll take the excess to the next orphanage she visits. Read all about it here.

Anyway, I digress
Subliminal message: go participate
If you happen to be willing and able to help me translate a simple message, suitable for about a 7 year old, I'd much appreciate it. Just leave me a comment.



What can I say, I'm a weak weak woman. With all the gorgeous luxury fibers I've been getting, and my poor results with them on both a drop spindle and the wheel, I thought it was time that I give into the siren call of the supported spindle.

I ordered myself a Spindolyn which I had first seen in action while shooting this episode of Knitty Gritty with the magnificent Shannon Okey. Of course, as soon as it came in, I wanted to play with it, but decided to be a good doobie and at least wait until my work day was over. The days are long enough that I had just enough time to snap some progress pics before the sun was completely gone for the day. Here is

Spindolyn nestled in a clump of flowers in my back yard


It's probably not a fair to make an assessment of the Spindolyn at this point since I've used for all of, maybe, 2 hours, but this in the internet and lack of authority on a subject has never stopped anyone from waxing unintelligibly before. What's to stop me now? Of course, when I have a new opinion in a few months, all of this will be moot, but here's a virgin's assessment of the Spindolyn.

Why I chose the Spindolyn

Firstly, for the price, it definitely seemed worth the risk. At $26, the Spindolyn is cheaper than many spindles of a similar size or smaller.


A couple full frontal shots.



There are several types of supported spindle on the market including the Navajo and Tahkli. Since both have long histories, I'm guessing they are excellent tools and well tested. However, the Navajo seemed a bit large and unwieldy and definitely lacked the sort of portability I'd hope for and the Tahkli seemed so small that you would only be able to work super fine lace weight in order to get any sort of yardage on the spindle. The Spindolyn seemed like a nice middle ground and a tool that would be easier to learn on since you could use both hands to draft.

Taking her for a spin

The movie on the Spindolyn homepage seemed fairly straight forward so I got right to spinning. At first, it seemed nearly impossible to get the spindle to spin for any length of time and since all the cuts in the demo movie were relatively short, I started to wonder if this is just the nature of the beast. With a bit more time, I was able to get a longer spin. Excessive predrafting helps a lot. After I got the hang of it, it seemed to go fairly well. I'm not dancing on the tree tops with delight at my progress, but do feel I'm getting the hang of it.


And my first little skein


Comparison to a drop spindle

In general, I don't feel I got as long or as effective a spin as I get on a drop spindle. This isn't necessarily a problem since you don't have that same risk of the fiber breaking from lack of twist, but it's definitely something I noticed. I love spindles and the processes, but not so much that I want it to take any longer than it has to. I'm about efficiency.

The shaft onto which you store your fresh spun is short compared to my drop spindles so if feels like I have to make a significantly smaller cop than I normally do. I was usually able to get close to 50 yards of 2 ply out of a single cop. With the Spindolyn, I think I'll have to settle for less.

In this same vein, being limited to the spinning the distance from my knees to as far as my arms can reach overhead, before having to wind the yarn on, also feels limited. I played with placing the Spindolyn between my feet which was awkward when just spinning close to the floor but does seem to give me more spinning time before winding on, which I like. I don't think this is a negative of the Spindolyn, more an issue with supported spindles in general.


Obviously, you knew there'd be a Panda shot too.

Benefits of the Spindolyn

I do love that the Spindolyn works as its own lazy kate, though. This is much nicer than my old shoe box lazy kate, I use with my beautiful Goldings. This is not a deal maker but it's pretty darn nice.

Additionally, as I mentioned before, there's little risk of breaking your yarn for lack of twist, though, I'm skilled (ha!) enough to manage this nonetheless. Later in the evening I tried a bit of angora and found it far easier than my previous experiences on a drop spindle. For the purposes of short silky fibers, this really does seem to be a great option.

The Spindolyn also seems to be well made, durable and a good value. For the price, I think you really do get a lot.


Obviously, it's too early to make any final conclusions but based on my first impression, I think this is a good purchase and one I'll have plenty of use for. I still love the drop spindle and find it more relaxing and more efficient. I don't like to have to wind on the fiber every few seconds. I find myself spending a lot more time with my arms craned uncomfortably over my head in an attempt to extend the time drafting and spinning than I do with the drop spindles. However, as I said, I do not see this as a shortcoming of the spindle but as a byproduct of supported spindles in general and my own impatience.

I would love to see these, at some point, come in a model with more wood at the edge of the spindle, to facilitate longer spin time, and perhaps a longer shaft as well, to allow for a larger cop. I don't know if this would adversely effect the performance, but it seems like both would allow for more efficient spinning.

I'm back!


Well, I just mailed off my top secret project, with all its fixin's to it's rightful owner. I'll miss that beautiful plum color Calmer but not as much as I've missed being able to talk crafty on my blog. While stories of Panda and hikes and tea and eating are all fun, it's yarny goodness upon which this blog is built.

So adios pretty plum calmer and, long time no see, Lily!

I've only had time to cast on and work a few rows of the second sleeve and it's amazing how hard it's been to get back into the swing of it.

Truth be told, I'm the sort of person who would likely have abandoned this with such a long hiatus. I know that's crazy, but when I lose momentum on something, it's almost never that I pick it back up again. It's good for me to push myself to finish these projects so they don't languish and end up ripped, or worse, donated to charity in their half knit form.

I have a couple other projects I'll probably be working on this year; projects that cannot be blogged right away but which I'm pretty excited about. But I also have big plans (bigger than any warping of the space time continuum can accommodate) that should all be bloggable.

Water a-fallin'


Leo, Panda and I went on an amazing hike and beautiful drive, this past Saturday. Our original intention was to go to Mt Hood and enjoy its splendor, but we got sidetracked and by sidetracked I mean that Leo didn't believe the maps, GPS, or various signs on the road, that Mt Hood was that-a-way, not this-a-way. But who cares, where we ended was more beautiful than I could have hoped.

It was rainy and cloudy, but hardly a drop fell while we hiked and no one, not even Miss Pukey Pants herself, got sick in the car. In my book, that's a winner of a day, all around.

Want to see a bunch of the pictures (not all, I took nearly 200)? If so, just clicky right here.

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