Well, Mel ask for a close up, so here it is.

Yep, the tattoos are long gone. They only lasted about two days, and then they started to wear off, so we washed them the rest of the way off. You see, they were only airbrush tattoos. Sorry to disappoint.

We got the tattoos on vacation down Rehoboth Beach, DE. On our first night down there, we were walking Rehoboth Avenue, and saw the tattoo designs outside of a place that does teeth whitening and spray tans. (Wait, it gets better.)  As we were looking at the designs, our twelve year old saleslady comes out to greet us and inform us that the airbrush tattoos are buy 2, get 1 free. How could we refuse? (So, Roseann, you are correct, there was a Chinese character on Mr. Penney’s upper arm. That one was performed by our young saleslady. That was our free tattoo.) The tattoos were rather realistic while they were on, as we went to the Double L (a leather bar) and people were surprised to hear that the tattoos were not permanent.

As for how long they lasted, they started to wear off after two days. Not wanting to look smudged, we washed them off after that.

I was actually kind of surprised by how mine looked. While I like how tattoos look on some people, I figured it just wasn’t something that wouldn’t look right on me, like I was trying to be something that I am not. But the armband that I chose, that couldn’t go around my whole bicep (Welcome to the gun show!), reminded me if ikat, and didn’t look totally out of place on me, like I feared. Maybe one day I will get a tattoo, but I do have the concern that Lisa expressed, which is how it will look 30 years from now. Everything might not be so taut and lovely as it is now.

As for fibery things, all that is moving along at a good pace. Here are a couple pics of the spinning as of a few weeks ago.

All of my available bobbins were full for this picture. I have had to wind the yarn off the bobbins to free them up for more spinning, of which I have done two more bobbins. I figure I have about three more bobbins worth of spinning to go with this fleece. I am thinking of dyeing the yarn different colors for warp and weft, so if anyone has recommendations for dyeing handspun singles such that they do not become an unruly mess, I am all ears.

The socks are nearing completion.

And Roseann was correct again, these are for Mr. Penney. His birthday was while we were on vacation, and these are to keep his feet comfy. They were also a chance for me to test knit the write up of this pattern, which was a good thing, because the instructions for the heel were a mess.

The scarf is coming along as well.

It is still kind of boring as far as knitting projects go, but the change in colors helps.

And there is one more thing,

That I will get into later.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com



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 textillian.com



Another blog entry, another completed project!

I finished my slip stitch rib socks in Djinni in the Reluctant Dragon colorway this past weekend. They immediately were washed and on Wednesday were worn all day.

The yarn is 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. Having worn the socks, I can tell you that they are comfortable and WARM! Fortunately, I tend to work in cold environments, dealing with computers all day, so that really isn’t a problem for me. They should be especially good for this winter.

I have also finished up the singles of the BFL in the Everglades colorway.

For some reason, in my strange mind, I think of this as being done, though it really isn’t, as I do plan on making a two-ply of it, then then winding a warp with it. Though I must admit, changing a braid to a single ply is a significant milestone. Milestones are sometimes the only thing that keep me going on a project, though that wasn’t the case here.

With all of these completions, you know new projects are not far behind, and thus:

I am knitting up the elongated chevron sock again, this time in the Black Pearl colorway of Naiad that I got from Cloverhill at MSWF. I wrote up the pattern a little while ago, and this is my test knit for the pattern. So far, so good. (I say as I keep my fingers and toes crossed.)

And this is the last completed handspun that I posted, already being knit up. Imagine that! This is just a simple feather and fan pattern for a scarf. While I like the resulting knit, I am finding it a bit boring to work on, and I am not sure why. It might be because I know it is just going to be the same four rows for most of the way, without any kind of indication partway through to say that I am X% of the way done. It is not like I have a heel to turn, or armholes to cast off for, or anything like that. The best that I have to go by is how much yarn I have left. That will have to do, I guess. I do like my milestones.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

Roll With It


Writing this post makes me feel like I am on a roll. I am not. It was just that it was so long since I have written about something other than the blanket or stash enhancement that I have had time to actually do some knitting and some spinning. Let’s start with the spinning.

This is the silk/merino blend that I got from Neighborhood Fiber at the Homespun Yarn Party. It took what feels like forever to do the plying for this. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I did not bring the Louet that I use for plying upstairs, and instead did the plying down in the basement. Not the most conducive of environments. But I did persevere. I am thinking of knitting some lace with this, though I have not settled on a pattern yet, as there are only 350 yards here, so some of my initial thoughts are out the window.

And here is some of the Fiber Optic that I picked up at the festival. They are both BFL. The Sapphire is waiting to be plied, while I am more than halfway through spinning up the Everglade into singles. I am very happy with it, so far. Once finished, I hope to use the one as weft and the other as warp to weave a scarf. Fingers crossed.

And I finished another pair of socks! This is the Dubious Oriole colorway in Naiad Sock from Dragonfly Fibers. This was my easy knitting, as it is just the plain old 2×2 rib. Not that the next sock is difficult.

This is Djinni from Dragonfly Fibers in Reluctant Dragon colorway. Both this and the Naiad you just saw are ones that I got at the Homespun Yarn Party. The stitch pattern for this sock is the slip stitch rib from one of the Schurch sock books. Like I said, not difficult.

And this little thing?

Is one of of Opal’s Off the Hook stitch markers. You can see them better over at her store. BTW, she has moved her blog, in case you are keeping track.

And since I am giving shout-outs, here is a shout to my friend Nancy, who started up her blog towards the end of last year. Pop by and say hello, or she might go medieval on your …. Just kidding, Nancy!

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

Cover Me


So, about the baby blanket. As I mentioned earlier, I had a few gifts to make for people that were having babies, and this is the last of the gifts in that series. It is for my niece, who is expecting her first child, my sister’s first grandchild, and my parents’ first great grandchild. Something special was needed, and once I found out that she is supposed to have a little boy, I could start picking out a project and colors.

I went to the Homespun Yarn Party hoping to find something that would appeal to me for a baby project. I wound up heading over to Sheila‘s booth and ordering her superwash worsted weight merino. Having all of her colors there in front of me was extremely helpful, and I ordered two skeins each of “Horse with No Name”, “Scarborough Fair”, and “Blue Bijou”. With all of the confidence that I have in putting colors together, my question to Sheila was, “Do these colors look okay together?” Guess what her answer was….

Emily at Sip and Knit asked me if I was going to weave with the yarn. My answer then was no, as my big loom was still in the process of being dressed for the rug that I started three years ago, so my initial intention was to knit a baby blanket with the yarn.

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I had given enough time to the rug trying to get on the loom and I should give another project a chance on the loom.

So the rug yarn with the reed came off the loom, and I started to wind the warp for a baby blanket. I decided on a 2×2 twill plaid sett at 8 ends per inch. The warp would be 36 inches in the reed with each color stripe in the plaid being 4 inches.

All was going pretty quickly, until I got to the last weft stripe. That is when I realized that I was too skimpy in calculating loom waste when figuring out how long to make the warp. It wound up that I still had three inches to weave, but not enough room to weave those three inches in. I actually had to weave those last few inches because the symmetry of the blanket would be totally thrown off if I had just to decided to leave it as is.

To solve the problem, I got some left over yarn of similar weight and started winding a dummy warp to tie onto the blanket warp and weight in the back. I threaded two nuts (the kind that goes on bolts) onto a dummy warp thread, and tied the dummy warp thread onto two blanket warp ends. This gave a pretty good, though not perfect, even tension along the blanket warp.

It was not enough weight, though, to create the same kind of tension on the warp that I used for weaving the bulk of the blanket. Since I have a sectional warp beam on my floor loom, I took the two inch sections of dummy warp, with nuts attached, and tensioned the back by making a half-hitch with these threads onto the pegs used to divide the sections. From here I was finally able to weave again. And this pick is of the dummy warp threads after the blanket was cut off the loom.

Like I said it gave a good, but not perfect, tension across the blanket so that I could weave the final three inches. Since the tension was not perfect, I had to use a tapestry beater that I happened to have when putting in the last of the weft.

With Maryland Sheep and Wool coming up, and this blanket being all wool, I figured I would enter it. With only a few days to go before I had to have my entry in, I just did an overhand knot to tie off the fringe, ran it through the washer on handwash cycle, hung to dry, and trimmed the fringe for this.

I entered it in the Mamie Francis category for baby blankets. When I arrived at the festival on Saturday, I was greeted with congratulations from the knitting group that was making camp at the hospitality suite. They told me that I got a first and a second for my baby blanket, which confused the hell out of me since I only entered the one baby blanket. As it turned out, the first was for the baby blankets in the Mamie Francis category, and the second was for all of the blankets that were woven from commercial yarn.

I must say, I am pretty proud. And the first place prize for me was a $100 gift certificate for Harrisville. I still have to figure out what I am going to get with the certificate.

After getting the blanket back on Sunday evening, I went to work of re-doing the fringe. Since this is something that is going to be going through the wash (spit happens!), a blanket twist fringe will wear better, especially on a superwash yarn. (Being superwash, the wool doesn’t have its little hooks anymore, so it will want to separate in the wash rather than stick to its closest buddy.) After the change to the fringe, it got another wash and another trim to look like this.

And here is a close up of the fringe.

The blanket is now in the hands of my niece, as I gave it to her on Mother’s Day. She was very surprised and grateful.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

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 textillian.com

Bad Boy


Well, you know I couldn’t stay good for long. The completion of two socks meant the commencement of two others. The first is in Dragonfly Fiber‘s Djinni Sock.

The colorway is Reluctant Dragon that I purchased at the Homespun Yarn Party. The stitch pattern is one that I have done before, the slip stitch rib from SKS. I started out the sock using a rib and moss pattern from one of the Knitting Treasuries, but it was just not working out as I had hoped. There was surprising little elasticity to the stitch pattern. Elasticity is not a problem with the slip stitch rib. In fact, I have had to change over to using the magic loop rather than my beloved 12″ circulars because the draw in of the pattern makes the 12″ kind of a pain.

You may notice that Reluctant Dragon is kind of dark, so for lighter knitting, I started another Naiad sock.

This colorway is Oriole – Dubious, which I also got that the Homespun Yarn Party. I am not quite sure what Dubious means, perhaps a test run of a colorway or something, but I really like how this is kintting up, and love the base yarn.

Oh, and I have started spinning up the fiber I got from Neighborhood Fiber at HYP.

It spins up pretty easily, with me being half way through the braid now. Being part silk though, it does stick to my sweaty hands. A little baby powder helps with that problem, though.

And finally, there is this to explain:

But I will do that a little later. Right now, someone is looking to be petted.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

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 textillian.com

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 textillian.com