Slipping Away


Work is continuing on the socks that will be my demise.

I did finish the heels. (Actually, I am a good bit further along than that, but this was the last time I took a photo.) I did short row heels for this pair of socks, as it tends to be my default heel. When knitting two socks at a time, short row heels are not necessarily the best pick. Part of the idea behind doing socks this way is to do one round on the one sock, and then immediately do the same thing on the other. By doing short row heels, I had to do the entire heel of the one sock before I could start the heel of the next sock. Trying to do the heels one row on each sock “simultaneously” would have meant slipping a whole lot of stitches that would have been a lot of wasted motion, in my opinion.

Doing the short row heels here was all kind of awkward for me, especially when it came time to pick up wraps around the slipped stitches at the turns. Having that other sock hanging on the needles just felt like it was in the way just by having its weight on the needles.

Of course, having a tangled mess

after knitting the second heel does not help my opinion of the matter. This is due to knitting from the inside and the outside of the center pull ball that I keep in my “Yarn-Tainer”, which I lovingly refer to as my “Yarn-Condom.” (I call it this as it keeps those that want to handle and admire what I have got from actually touching the goods and getting their germs all over it.) When drawing the yarn from the outside of the ball to knit the second heel, that yarn would catch onto the yarn being drawn from the center of the ball, and bring it along for the ride, thus the big blob of yarn. This is why I always see Dorothy turning her ball of yarn over and back like she is playing timed chess against herself when knitting socks two at a time. Having my yarn in the yarn condom makes this difficult, though.

I need to finish this thing up, as it is a gift and it is keeping me from other things.


Yeah, I am not lacking for projects, am I?

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for



Woohoo! Look what arrived on Wednesday!

The fleece that I bought from Triple R Farms at MSWF arrived. Ain’t it purdy!

As you might have suspected, I have already started spinning it.

Being that it was over a six pound Romney fleece (though it may be less six now after processing), I have plenty to do.

Without making myself a wreck over it, I am going to try to see how fast I can spin the whole thing. The two bobbins of yarn that you saw in the photos above took about five hours for me to spin. The weight of the yarn on those bobbins is about twelve ounces; so assuming that I have six pounds of roving, at this rate it will take me under forty hours to spin the whole thing as a single. I am not going to hold my breath on that though.

As I mentioned before, I am spinning this with intentions of weaving it into a blanket. Whether this will be a plied yarn, or if there will be any dyeing going on, or if I will be spinning up another fleece from my stash to go along with it is undecided. I am going to see how this fleece goes first and play the rest by ear.

Now, back to spinning.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for

So Good to Be Bad


Well, as you might have suspected, I did go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival the other week. It was a hot one, too. I can’t remember it being that warm (up to 90 degrees) at the festival. Fortunately, this year, Columbia Sip and Knit had a hospitality “suite” just outside the entrance to the festival. So a big thanks to them for that. They helped out a lot of people with their lemonade and cupcakes.

As with every year, there was plenty to walk away with, and I certainly did my share. First stop was the Barefoot Spinner.

I just find her fiber so easy to spin and a quick way to generate some great yarn.

Then, I happened upon the Fold.

Actually, I happened upon them twice, once on Saturday and once on Sunday. On Saturday, I got the STR Lightweight in Cattywampus and BFL from Fiber Optic in Sapphire and Everglade. On Sunday, I picked up more BFL from Fiber Optic in Mulberry and Tuscany. I can not wait to spin these up. The colors are so rich and saturated. And when making my purchase on Sunday, I got to meet Kimber of Fiber Optic.

From the Fold, onto Cloverhill.

From Cloverhill, I picked up more of Dragonfly Fibers’ Naiad in Black Pearl and Spring in Washington. And I happened to see Kate, who I first met at the Homespun Yarn Party.

Next stop, Spirit Trail.

On the left is a merino/angora/cashmere blend in Celadonian Pines, and on the right is a baby camel/silk blend in River Bed. Luxury! Of course, seeing this now, I am kind of wishing I bought two of each braid. Hmmmm.

And on Sunday, I hit Miss Babs.

Working our way from left to right, there is Oregon Cellar and Jingle Jingle in the 3 ply, an unnamed brown in the wool/bamboo/nylon blend, and Denim and Bronze Plum in the 2 ply. I was kind of amazed by the organization of her booth. The racks were so that I was almost afraid to disturb the order of the yarn on them. Almost.

Now, looking back over this, I am thinking that I wasn’t so bad this year. But then I remember that I also purchased a six pound light gray Romney fleece from Triple ‘R’ Farm that I dropped off at Zeilinger’s to be processed. That should be arriving in July for more spinning goodness. I am hoping to spin the fleece up to weave a blanket, though I am undecided whether I will try to work with that fleece alone or combine it with some of the other fleeces that I have of a difference color. Decisions, decisions.

Now, why did I go back on Sunday? So I could pick up this.

Woohoo for me! More about this next.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for

Be Good Johnny


I have been a good boy lately. (I am strictly talking about being a good knitting boy here. I know it doesn’t seem like I have been much of a good boy if you are judging by the frequency that I update this blog and comment on other blogs. After staring at computers all day for work, coming home to look at a computer again has gone down on my priority list. Now staring at fiber and yarn! In any case, back to my original train of thought.) I finished the Kokomo socks at the end of last month.

Since they are not made for me, I can’t show them on the hoof. Hopefully, they will fit the recipient. The following do fit the recipient, though.

Yes, the Naiad socks in Winter Twilight came off the needles last night. And, as I said, they do fit the recipient…


And with these two pairs done, I haven’t put a new pair of socks on the needles yet. (Not that I don’t have socks from over a year ago still on the needles, but we need not get into that. I am trying to convince you what a good boy I am. No need to shame me.) I have gotten out some fiber, though.

Doing a little pre-drafting in preparation for some spinning. We shall see how it turns out.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for

Twilight Zone


Yeah! The first sock is done.

Sexy pose, no? Crappy photography, no? I do love the sock, though I am still not sure if I picked the right stitch pattern for the colorway (Winter Twilight). It is a fun knit, and that is what matters the most to me right now.

And do I like the yarn?

Yes. Actually, only the top three are Naiad from Dragonfly Fibers (in Oriole-Dubious, Canyon Flower, and Rocky Top). The bottom two are Djinni, also from Dragonfly Fibers (in Winter Twilight, again, and Reluctant Dragon). I got them at the Homespun Yarn Party this past Sunday. It was so close to my house that it is hard to stay away. I also got these.

The roving is merino and silk from Neighborhood Fiber (colorway unknown), as is the blue merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn next to it (in Palisades). The other yarn in the photo is Bugga from Sanguine Gryphon (in Marpesia Marcella).

Now, you may be wondering where the yarn from Sheila is. Well, I have it on order, and you probably won’t be seeing it here for a while, as it is going to be part of a gift for someone who may actually visit this site on occasion. I know, bummer; but just think: Anticipation!

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for

Gone, Gone, Gone


Just so you don’t go thinking our trip to P-town was just a maddening re-creation of Plane, Trains, & Automobiles, subbing Busses for Trains, here are the photos from the whale watching tour we went on.

Here are some recommendations we can make if you go to P-town:

Areas like entertainment are more subjective, I think, so I will just say that the dance clubs were good, and we really enjoyed the shows by Jennie McNulty and Miss Richfield 1981.

When we got home, there was lots of mail waiting for us. In that mail, was a package for me! From Opal!

She was sweet enough to send me the following:

  • Oatmeal BFL from Hungry for Handspun in the Earth Day colorway
  • Kuaui coffee from Kuaui Coffee Roasters
  • Kona coffee macadamia cookies from Kuaui Kookie (now gone)
  • Macadamia nut chocolate chip cookies from Hawaiian Island Crisp (now gone)
  • Maui Caramacs from Hawaiian Host (now gone)

Thank you, Opal!

Coming soon! Knitting, spinning, and weaving! Oh my!

Copyright 2009 by G. P. Donohue for

Experiment IV


This has been a pretty productive two weeks for me, even though I only have one thing to show you. I got a good bit of spinning done on the alpaca/merino/tussah silk blend, but there is really no need for a picture as it just looks like there is a little more on the bobbin. I maybe have about three hours left of spinning, and I will be done with the singles for it.

I am almost done the sock club pattern, but I may design up a second sock pattern, as a new idea popped into my head recently, and I think I might like that design better. In any case, I can’t show you that because that would ruin the surprise for the club.

But I can show you these:

Yes, the heel experiment is done. And, it is a success! Here are the socks lying flat in profile.

The top sock is the sock with the increases diverging as they approach the heel turn, while the bottom one is with all of increases along the center of the foot, causing a pointy heel. Even lying flat, I can tell that the top sock is going to fit my heel better because it is a bit more rounded there.

(Sorry that I couldn’t get a better photo. I am not a contortionist.) If you look really, really closely in the picture, you can see that the sock on my right foot conforms to my heel better, as expected. I think the moral here is not line the increases up next to each other. At least a few stitches of separation is needed by the time the increases meet the heel turn.

As for the Socks that Rock Lightweight that I used, I am still not that crazy about it. For one thing, there was a flaw in the skein, which is a major sock yarn no-no in my book. Yardage is usually at a premium with sock yarns, and flaws, especially in handpainted yarns, has a major impact on what is left to work with. Also, the yarn is just not elastic enough for me. I joked in knitting group that it was everything that you like about wool, and less. If only they didn’t have such wonderful colors….

And speaking of wonderful colors, look what arrived in the mail for my just before the Independence Day holiday!

It is my “first course” in my Fiber Feast subscription from Hungry for Handspun. I joined it on Opal‘s recommendation, as Opal is my sister in color. This fiber is merino and tussah silk in a colorway call Sea Kelp Salad. LOVE IT! Now, to finish up what is on the wheel at the moment so I can dive into it.

Copyright 2009 by G. P. Donohue for



Well, another two weeks and time for another update. Besides the club sock, I still have the heel experiment going on.

This time, rather than lining all of the increases up along the center, I am making the increases diverge from the center, forming a “V” at the bottom of the foot. I am getting near the heel turn, so I should find out soon enough whether this will work out any better than the first sock.

And, I seem to be on a spinning roll (spin/roll?) at the moment. This finished single is more merino from Enchanted Knoll, this time in the Mesmerized colorway.

It spun up as quickly as Silk Road, but was a little tougher to draft. Not sure why, but it just was not as smooth drafting. Nonetheless, it still only took about 35 to 45 minutes for me to spin up a half ounce.

Next up on the wheel is one of the alpaca/merino/tussah silk blends from Spirit Trail. Here is some of it pre-drafted.

I seem to want to spin this as fine as I spun the corriedale from Grafton.

As a matter of comparison, it is taking me between 75 and 90 minutes to do a half ounce of this.

And all of this spinning got me to get out fast flyer and extra bobbins that I have for my Lendrum Saxony and finally apply finish to them.

I used Tried and True Original Wood Finish that was a mix of linseed oil and beeswax. It worked great, only requiring one application to get the tone that matches the rest of my wheel, which I did with just boiled linseed oil (if I remember correctly) in three applications. Now I have eight bobbins total for my Lendrum. Woohoo!

Copyright 2009 by G. P. Donohue for

Hide and Seek

Reference Actually, this is my least favorite track on the CD.

This is kind of embarrassing to admit, given how I tease others for having to go through their stashes so that they don’t go out and buy something that they already have hidden away somewhere; but when I went searching through containers to find the worsted weight that I told you about in the last post, I found yarn that I forgot that I had! Fortunately, it is such great stuff that I have gotten over my embarrassment rather quickly.

As a means of setting the scene, the Interlacements yarn was purchased from Judy Ditmore during MAFA’s 2005 conference. That was the same time that I purchased the yarn for Mr. Penney’s sofa shawl. Well, one of the other vendors at that conference was Habu!

Yes, that’s right. It was chance to see Habu’s yarn’s first hand, rather than just on the website. And to see and touch these yarns meant that I had to purchase some.

This is 20/3 bamboo. It feels wonderful, and I have 13.7 ounces of it. SQUEEE!

This is 2/48 merino wool. I have about 7 ounces of this. There is no suggested epi for this yarn on the site, so I am going to have to do a wrap to find out what sett I will do.

And finally, there is this little wonder, 21/3×2 silk organize. According to the label, there are 4600 yards per skein for this silk, and I have 4 skeins of it. Working with this will probably make my head hurt, but it will be worth it.

Now, if you notice, all of this is undyed. Toward that end, this arrived in the mail the other day:

Granted, I have done dyeing before; but having additional references is never a bad thing for me. Dye days will be in my future!

Copyright 2009 by G. P. Donohue for