Friday, March 28

De Worm, De Gum & De Silk

Habu kamikuri silk cocoons

First, I have to thank Wormspit for having such informative and confidence-boosting silk cocoon tutorials on his blog. Heck, he makes it look like any 'ol fool can just chuck a bunch of cocoons in a pot and whip up some  hankies. And this fool did just that.

A few years ago, I went to the TKGA conference in Atlanta where I took a spinning class using a supported Russian spindle and I first ever saw Habu fibers. ( One event affects the other.) I circled around the Habu display a few times before zooming in and swooping up various stainless steel, silk and cotton yarns. And like the magpie that I am, I spied some bags of these kamikuri cocoons and bought a couple for good measure. And just what in the Sam Hill was I going to do with these nifty little blobs of gold? Uh, I them onto stuff? Make groovy fiber jewelry? Put them in a drawer for a few years and then recently find them?

During my recent manic craft week a go-go, I rediscovered the cocoons and decided to do a little research. It turns out that the kamikuri cocoons are considered much like the good looking children in a trophy marriage: decorative but high maintenance as opposed to the more classical bloodlines of their bombyx mori half-siblings.

Luckily, I have all the various chemicals needed for degumming as I'm housing a small DYE FACTORY in my guest bathroom. I like to think that the cocoons were taking a nice hot bath at some ersatz Japanese ryokan after a long spell in a plastic bag.

I'm sure the hardcore degummers have elaborate frames to dry their fibers on. Me? I had a big wire colander in my kitchen.

Then, I carded the dookies out of this snotrag, er, hankie and got some vaguely promising batts.

20 grams, 233 yards. Not too shabby.

Now you must excuse me. The McMansion next door is having their housewarming party and they're having a crawfish boil.
Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Friday, March 21

Sex, Crafts & Rock'n'Roll

Hanami inspired shrug: Colinette Tao silk, 'marble' with Swarovski crystal bead

Future Hanami: Malabrigo laceweight, 'Pagoda' with beads

Future Serape? Handspun/dyed merino/tencel plied with llama, 'Navajo'

Yep, that's what happened when my DH took the boys to spend a week with their grandparents in Miami. I had a whole week all to myself. Let me repeat that--a whole SEVEN days of nothing but the pure clean air of Planet Mary. The first thing I did was to go shopping. OK, the first thing I did was go back to sleep after dropping them off at the airport. And, thanks to Homeland Security, I didn't have to go into the airport and do the whole tearful hugs (of joy) thing at the gate. Nope, it was a drive-by drop-off at 5:30 am.

Later, I hit the mall, I hit the stores. I tried on 12 pairs of jeans and bought three. I went to Sephora for the first time and left with a 'beauty insider' card. I took my time and moseyed over to our local national bookstore chain store where I loaded up on steamy romancesSex, a couple of books on precious metal clay jewelryCrafts, and some new CDsRock'n'Roll. One last stop for AAA batteries and some plonk and I was good to go.

I partied with my SnB friends, I watched Leno, Letterman, Ferguson AND O'Brien.  Yarn, fiber and assorted knitting paraphernalia started to escape from the confines of the YarnCave and into uncharted parts of the house. It was a short hop from the dining room table to the kitchen and then, in a burst of Fiberfest Destiny...the bedroom with CAT in tow.

I bought some yarn online, offline and from a seedy chick down the street. I was goofing off at Gauge when I saw...Hanami. Go check it out. Go check it out on Ravelry. I love it. I love the modern look of all those eyelets countered by the geometric pattern on the other side. The closest we come to observing cherry blossoms is pulling over the pick-up truck and making our kids smile while sitting on top of a bunch of blue bonnets (lupinus texensis).

A friend of mine was complaining about her daughter's plain Jane Vera Wangesque wedding dress when I volunteered to knit up the Mulberry shawl from the Colinette 'Arboretum' book. I already had the Tao silk and Parisienne silk/mohair in 'marble' from an UFO. The bride then informed me that she would prefer a 'toreadita' aka 'bolero' aka 'shrug' to a shawl on her shoulders. I had already started the back with Barbara Walker's Vertical Lace Trellis from Book 1. I worked a few rows from each of the various Hanami charts and voila! the Hanami inspired shrug.