Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because I believe the spirit of the holiday to be one of the greatest goals a person can strive for, to constantly be aware of one’s gifts and blessings.

As usual, I spent mine with my family. It was a bit odd this year, because this is the first Thanksgiving in my 27 years on this planet that our whole immediate family has not been present.

Nonetheless, Mom, Dad, and I set a lovely table (please forgive the lighting, the battery was dying and I didn’t have much time to futz)

With all the traditional things, turkey, cranberry sauce, green jello (with pineapple and cream cheese), stuffing, gravy, potatoes, peas, wine… and pickles. You’ll notice in the front of the first photo that there’s a bowl with olives and string beans in it. That’s a sweet, a dill, dilly beans, and olives. All but the olives I made and canned.

And we all thoroughly enjoyed the meal

Even the non-human member, Charlie (Red fronted green conure)

Unfortunately, the other non-human member of the family, “Princess” the cat, was not so happy. She’s spent the last week since arriving, hiding around the house, only coming out in the depths of night to eat and go to the bathroom. Until the last two days, when she didn’t even do that. We found her and got her out. She’s now occupying a large dog crate in the downstairs so she can get used to being near people. She put up with being held and petted for a while, so I think she’ll likely adjust. We’ll see. She’s highly unlikely to keep the name. It’s most undignified. Right now Mom’s voting for something related to stealth, I think. Given her hiding habit.

This morning, I finally had to go back to my place, back to lab to set up cultures, back to the grind. Whee! But, on a good note, this box was waiting for me.

When opened it happily exploded into this roving

This is my hopefully-sock-fiber. Superwash, 80% Merino / 10% Cashmere / 10% Nylon Oh. My. Oh my oh my. I didn’t know if the 10% would be enough to make a difference. Let me assure you it is. I hope to weigh it out into more rational sizes tomorrow for dying.

My one regret? Not having much more money to buy her completely out of this fiber. 3lbs isn’t near enough.

There was also a lovely box of two boxes of tea from a friend! Mm tea. I like tea. I’m something of a tea snob, in fact. My main sacrifice to that snobbery being the using of tea bags when I’m out, for convenience sake. I got an aged Earl Grey, and an Oolong. I think my friends have figured me out. Another friend went to San Francisco and sent me back a huge box of nothing but fancy tea.

I am a lucky lucky man. ::grins::

So, it was a good Thanksgiving, even though my brother wasn’t there. Because… this is why my bro, Matt wasn’t there…

Because in October, our whole family went for a 5 day backpacking trip in the Wild River Wilderness, and he used up his days off. He’ll only just manage time off to come back for Xmas.

You know what? We aren’t complaining. It was worth it. Despite raining almost the entire time, freezing cold, fords, falling down mountains, and ending with me making a hitchhike and seven mile run with a 27lb backpack and wet shoes and socks… it was totally worth it.

Like I said, I am a very very lucky man. I have a family that not only gets along but loves eachother deeply, is all happy, largely healthy, and can find the time and desire to get together to do amazing things.

That’s not a small thing.

And so, I’m thankful.

Even if I didn’t get almost any knitting or spinning or crochet done. Must get Matt’s hat started…

~The Gnome

Knitting and spinning!

First, knitting…

You might remember the Lichen yarn I spun up a while ago. Well it came time this weekend to use it. I’m knitting a scarf for starters.

Well first I decided to do a basketweave, without looking at any directions, and then to do an edge to make it a little smoother. After two attempts futzing around without direction or a clear plan, I made this…
Basketweave Scarf

I think that it still has potential. But it needs some working, and it’s not right for either this yarn (too texured a yarn) or the receiver.

So I started again, and decided to try a “Mistake Rib” for the scarf. I sat down and looked at it, emailed with a nerdy friend, and figured out how it “worked” and decided it would work well. Finally, I actually started knitting.

This worked well, and I think will fit with the person better.
Mistake Rib

Also this weekend I finally got the yarn “Summer Breezes” finished, plied, set, skeined, etc. This yarn has a bit of a story.

So back before Rhinebeck, I was actually running out of fiber. Can you believe it? Luckily, I have friends. Jennifer, of Holiday Yarns, sent me this roving called “Mint Mojito” that reminded me of nothing so much as honeydew melons (which I love). So I knew it had to be a part of a summer yarn.

Right around the same time, my dear friend, Tom came up to visit. While we were out, we went to a local fiber shop, and he bought me some merino/silk roving
Me Picking

Hrm… looks like summer sky, doesn’t it? And so, Summer Breezes would be born. It was a learning experience. The two fibers spin very differently, and drape really differently. It’s not what I envisioned when I started, but how often is anything exactly?

The honeydew got much yellower as I spun it, and even yellower next to the blue (which I expected to bring out the green). It’s really a pale chartreuse at this point. Like the newest maple leaves.

The roving became this

Which was plied to become this

And then skeined, set, and wrapped up to become this
Summer Breezes

A closeup of the ahem, breezes around the maples

[ETA: 75% yarn is now in the 50% bin… of my brain]
472 yards, DK weight
25% Silk, 25% Merino, 50% Wool
Soft, a lot of loft and spring from the “Summer” ply.

Making good on the blog name…

Dyed a bunch more roving this weekend.

Ok, so it’s a “bunch” for me. ‘Cause you know, I live in a small apartment, and do all my dyeing in one-and-a-half pots and one-and-a-half baking pans.

But anyways, a bunch of roving! I also got a yarn done, it’s set, almost dry. Will be posted soon. I hope to be ordering beads for more mythic yarns this week.

First, Sweeney Todd was ridiculously popular. So I dyed a couple more. But um… it appears they’re all already spoken for. I think I have one more 2oz batch of unspoken noiled silk roving, so I may dye still one more this week, we’ll see.

Along with Sweeney, in a similar method, I dyed Bronze Dream, Winter Walk, and two more plies for Yingarna (a Mythic yarn).

Then I messed around a little with my serendipity method, named appropriately by the lovely Laurie. I made Golden Serendipity and Spring Serendipity (also called Christmas Candy) and then decided to see what I could do with it on some baby alpaca roving given to me at Rhinebeck by Pixisis, and came up with Sunset Serendipity.

And, for those morbidly curious, here is my fancy schmancy washing/drying facility…

Very state-of-the-art, I assure you.

All the roving posted here will be for sale. The Sweeney’s, I think, are spoken for, so if you want some, drop me an email. The Sunset Serendipity will not be up on the site since I don’t really like posting roving I can’t make pretty there. I’ll spin it myself into yarn for the site unless someone emails for it.

I’ve also got a knitting project underway, a crochet project on the burner, and the new yarn to post about. I’ll try to get information up on those shortly.

Also, I posted about acid dyes before. Any interest in fiber reactive dyes?

~The Gnome

That other “job” thing…

::waves:: Hallo again!

A special hello to anyone who’s wandered over here from the fabulous Tsock Tsarina’s blog!

Last night I made a new page, with the stories of the Mythic yarns. Check it out. Some of the stories still need a bit more fleshing out, but you can see what’s been done and why.

I’m going to be dyeing (and spinning) a bunch more this weekend (yay! a rare weekend these days I can spend doing what I like), and as soon as that’s dry, they’ll go up in the shop. I really wish I had more time to devote to this, as I’m still recovering my stock size from Rhinebeck, unfortunately, there’s this annoying “job” thing which pays my bills.

Currently, I’m spending a lot of time in the lab, counting thousands (yes, thousands) of yeast (one at a time too), which takes away from the time I’d like to spend on Gnomespun. If things go well, I’ll be writing and publishing my paper come January/February, followed by my dissertation. When that’s done… I will be Dr. Gnome! Also, I’ll have a much more predictable schedule with (hopefully) actual free evenings and weekends.

So until then, please bear with me, check back regularly, and I’ll get as much stuff up as possible!

As for the blog, I hope to do a post about fiber-reactive dye chemistry soon. Because, despite spending all day every day thinking about science… it still interests me.

Rats. I just realized I forgot to pack my lunchtime knitting. I’m designing a scarf. Because, well, I’m never quite happy with the options out there, so why not make my life more difficult? ::chuckles::

~The Gnome

Oh right, that fiber stuff…

So I promised you a fiber post. And here it is.

I haven’t had near the amount of time for spinning that I would like. I have a deadline fast approaching. If I meet it, I get to start writing my dissertation. If I don’t… well… lets not think about that.

But I have had some time for dying. Been messing with a few new techniques.

Here’s one that didn’t even get a name, or get put up on the site before it sold! [Edit: I have been, correctly, informed that I did name it. Due to the way it looked when first dyed, this roving was named “Frog Guts.” Pleasant, huh? ::grins::]
Sold Roving

And, using a modification of that method, “Autumn Serendipity” which is now up in the store. I like what I can do with semi-blended color.
Autumn SerendipityAutumn Serendipity

It should allow for some interesting yarns with a unified project “color” but still variegated local color. Essentially a multi-color vesion of a semi-solid. This one, “Soft Serendipity” I’ll be spinning myself (for the site), since the roving got pulled apart during washing so it’s not braidable.
Soft Serendipity

Then I decided to try using the method I used for the Mother of the Twelve Moons yarn Twelve Moons on roving, instead of yarn.

Not as predictable a result on roving, but I think I’m figuring it out, and I got some cool effects.

“Sweeney Todd” (yes, the Demon Barber, but if you prefer, Nightmare before Christmas). Up on the site.
Sweeney ToddSweeney Todd

And, the first of two or three roving pieces for yet another Mythic yarn, “Yingarna” using the same method.
Yingarna Ply One

That’s all the new fiber for now. Except for the roving for a new yarn, “Moss Agate.” But I’m keeping that one under wraps for now.

And, totally unrelated to anything fiber (unless that’s what you search for), Google has teamed up with LIFE to bring, all of LIFE’s photos since 1970

~The Gnome