Tuesday, February 22, 2011


So, I sort of neglected to mention another thing I did this weekend that wasn't knitting: I moved the blog to Tumblr. Well, not exactly "moved," because Tumblr won't import old posts. I guess it's more accurate to say I set up a new blog at Tumblr. There are pros and cons: the pro is that is easily enables mobile posting. The con is that it's not really a perfect setup for a knitblog. But I will blog more often, I suspect, if I can do it from my phone. Anyway, here's the new address:

Martita Rampage on Tumblr

Hope to see you all there!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

This in What I Did Instead of Knitting

Well, at this point I kind of have to knit and read; I have a week to finish a sock (1st one's done) and 1.5 weeks to finish a 600 page book about World War I (hosting book group). But I have kept to my pledge to at least limit the knitting and reading. This week, I:
--started sewing an ottoman slipcover;
--finished caning my Nantucket basket. I still have to put the rim and handle on in class in two weeks; and
--babysat my friend's kids.

I didn't do any spinning or knitting. Tomorrow the hubby and I are going up to the big city to a Kosher deli for his birthday dinner, so that'll be something new for me, too!

Monday, February 14, 2011

One New Skill

Well, it's not exactly a skill yet. But in this, the winter of doing things other than knitting, I am taking a basketweaving class. I gotta say, this is one of the slowest-going crafts ever.

This picture doesn't really demonstrate the complete inadequacy of my progress, but the meager amount of caning you see represents literally 8 hours of work. Dude, that's like a sock! Okay, maybe only half a sock. But still. What you're looking at is the base of an 8" bread basket, surrounded by about 2" of caning.

On the plus side, caning is fun and kind of meditative, and the basket is really pretty. Ultimately I'd like to make a tote bag. I've seen these really cool Nantucket basket tote bags with fabric drawstring linings, and I am cheap, and they are crazy, crazy expensive.

Of course, now I can appreciate why! It'll take me, like, a year to make one. But I just might.

Friday, February 04, 2011

A New Year's Confession

So, this is kind of an awkward New Year's resolution to state on a knitblog, but my primary resolution this year was to knit less. I have gradually come to realize that knitting is a crutch for me. It's easier to sit at home, knitting & reading, than to go skiing, or meet people, or learn a new skill. I rarely choose challenging knitting projects, sticking to things that can be easily knit while reading or watching tv. A friend of mine recently took up the electric guitar, and mentioned today that she wishes I would pick up my guitar someday & join her. And I thought to myself, I'll add that to the list of hobbies I don't have anymore because I spend all my free time knitting & reading. And I literally did.

So how have I done so far? I have been spinning once a week (shut up, it counts) and I am going on my second ski trip (with strangers) tomorrow. I practiced drawing twice, very badly. I haven't broken out my watercolors yet, nor have I gotten out my guitar. BUT on Monday's task list, I put "check on guitar and mandolin"-they've been neglected so long they will need some work before they can be played. I'm hoping to draw on Sunday.

I do realize my free time is too limited to have more than one hobby and be fairly good at it. And I need to get used to the idea of being happily mediocre. I'm not a competitive person, but I hate to be bad at things. So if I stick to my resolution, 2011 will be the year I make peace with being awful. That might be the hardest resolution of all.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The End of Waldo

Back at Spa last winter, I bought a Spunky Eclectic project bag of 8 oz 60/40 Merino/Bamboo in the colorway Diesel and 8 oz in the Steel Driving Man. Since I was concerned the pound wouldn’t be enough to make a sweater, I decided to blend it with a pound of Nick’s Meadow Merino roving I had sitting around the house. The other benefit of blending it with the merino roving was that it would cut the sheen of the bamboo (that stuff is shiny like cheap, worn polyester).

First, I tried spinning it in sections: 1 part Diesel, then 1 part natural merino, lastly 1 part Steel. I Navajo-plied the single and got this:

At first I thought it was too “Where’s Waldo?” But then I decided it was what the grizzly bears spat out when they were done with Waldo. Some poor hiker stumbled across this little square of fabric, and their heart sank for children everywhere.

After suggesting that I blend the rovings together, Carole and Sharon offered to lend me their drum carder.

Yay! I’d never used one before so there was a bit of a learning curve, but after one pound I had the hang of it. (I know that sounds like a joke, but I maintain that my later batts are substantially more interesting and better striated than my early batts.)

I pulled the three rovings into equal length sections and bunched them in threes, one of each.

Each bunch of three became one blended batt.

A test run poorly spun and double-plied confirmed my suspicions: a nice, gently-striated steel blue-grey.

Where’s Waldo? He’s dead in the woods, kids. Moral: don’t mess with grizzly bears. Or drum carders.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all my friends have a relaxing and wonderful Thanksgiving full of food, friends and family!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Most Ironic Thought

I worked on my feet all day at a pumpkin sale, and when I got home I sat down at my spinning wheel and thought how decadent it was that I had nothing better to do than spin fiber into yarn. It probably helped that I was spinning tussah silk from Spunky Eclectic, but still. Just another reminder that a few generations from now vacuum cleaners will be quaint Olden Time living room decor and people will clean house for fun. Please, please let this be within my lifetime! I'll park my broken-down Miele right under the Bombay Sapphire circulating fountain I intend to build in my living room when I grow infirm, so I don't have to risk breaking a hip to get my martini.