Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gotta love it!

From the Washington DOT:
(I am obsessed with this site because I love looking at the pass cameras.)

Snoqualmie Pass (3022 ft) (This is I-90.)
Restrictions Eastbound:Pass Closed
Restrictions Westbound: Pass Closed
Conditions & Weather: Snoqualmie Pass remains closed due to extreme winter conditions from milepost 34 near North Bend to milepost 106 near Ellensburg. The pass will remain closed for at least the next 24 hours. Due to wet, heavier snow, the avalanche threat has increased. Friday, Feb. 1, at 9 a.m. is the earliest WSDOT will be able to assess the effects of this storm and our ability to reopen the pass.

Stevens Pass (4061 ft)
Restrictions Eastbound:Temporarily closed
Restrictions Westbound: Temporarily closed
Conditions & Weather: Stevens Pass will be closed between milepost 56 to milepost 99, Scenic to Leavenworth, while wreckers remove a pair of semi trucks that slid off the highway on the west side of the summit. Avalanche control is also in progress. Estimated time to open is 6:00 p.m. Snowing.

I love living somewhere where they have to close the roads due to snow! How exciting - I predict epic snow when we go skiing on Saturday!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Not that Innocent

First off, thank you for all the compliments on my cardigan! I love getting comments, it makes me so happy, and I'm glad that you all liked the sweater :) Today I'd like to tell you a little story about my darling feline Oliver...
Oliver looks all cute, doesn't he? And loving? He loves to cuddle on the sofa, and he only chews on my hair in the bedroom, and he's been doing that less and less frequently. However, he has developed some annoying new habits...

Dave has been having insomnia, so after we read our nightly installment of The Intellectual Devotional (Yes, we are supremely nerdy, and happy about it. The Intellectual Devotional is based on the religious devotionals where one reads a Bible passage and comments each day, but with topics like visual arts, science, music, philosophy, etc. There is also an American History version that we'd like to get next year.), he usually heads back out to the living room to read until 3:00am while I fall asleep immediately. Now, generally Oliver wakes up and starts agitating for breakfast around 6:00-6:30, but sometimes earlier if he's really feeling peckish. I've been trying to get up and to work earlier, not to mention to my 8:00 pilates class, so the 6:30 thing isn't that big of a problem, especially considering I usually drag myself out of bed grudgingly, feed Oliver, and go back to sleep. And I do mean me, since Dave rarely deals with the hungry beast. Because Oliver only pesters me. Me. Even at 3:00am. When Dave is AWAKE in the living room. Meow. Leap onto my head. Off of my head. Back up. Back off. Meow. Feed me. Chews on my hair. I'm starving. Don't ignore me. At 3:00 in the morning! Eh. Dave? Completely oblivious to all this, although he did feed the cat when I yelled brought the situation to his attention. I'm really not sure why but all of a sudden Oliver is complaining a lot more about not having enough food. He's a bit overweight so we've got him on a lower-calorie food, but we're still giving him more than he really needs. And, look what I had to do to the stash this weekend:
Those are bins of yarn behind the towel, as seen in this post. I've always covered the bottom bins because sometimes the yarn rolls out and Oliver finds that quite intriguing. But, generally speaking he ignores the stash in this form. However, suddenly I've been finding chewed on yarn balls - some Cascade 220 (still in the skein, now with more than two ends) on Thursday and then some turquoise mohair (now with many ends and some thin bits) on Saturday. So, desperate measures were taken, as you can see. Although I miss seeing the yarn I'd rather have Oliver not chew on it and hurt himself, so this is what I've got. Oh, and despite all this complaining, I love Oliver to death and wouldn't change him for the world :) Well, aside from the waking up early!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Drops Swing Cardigan!!!

Voila, the Drops Swing Cardigan! I'm really happy with the way this came out. When I first tried it on I thought it was a bit big, but after seeing the photos I don't think it looks as tentlike as I feared.
Project Stats: Drops Swing Cardigan
Pattern: DROPS Jacket w/ A-line shape and 3/4 sleeves (103-1). I made the worsted weight version, not the bulky.
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran (sadly discontinued, but I have a lot in the stash), dusky blue (SH964). I used about four skeins (~800 meters). The yarn was purchased at Cucumberpatch UK (Ebay).
Size: Medium (36.4"). I was torn about this because I was between sizes, but I went with the larger size since this isn't really meant to be a fitted sweater. Plus my gauge was slightly off, so I think my finished sweater is a tad smaller than 36" and fits quite nicely.
Modifications: I didn't do as many sleeve increases as the pattern called for because the sleeves were already looking really wide. I was worried that would cause trouble when it came time to set in the sleeves, but it was fine. I should have made the sleeves shorter - I was going for the 3/4-length option but with them uncuffed they're to my wrists and just look like they're too short. But I like them better cuffed anyway, so it's fine.
Needles: Size 8 Clover bamboo.
Time on the Needles: September 11, 2007-January 18, 2008. I was actually pretty dedicated to this aside from when I had to deal with the Christmas knitting. There was probably a month in there where I didn't touch it at all, but when I was working on it, progress was fast.
Impressions: I'm really happy with this, my first completed sweater that wasn't made in one piece! I had to seam! I didn't screw it up! It doesn't look handmade in a bad way! I did a few things that aided a lot in my finishing of this project in a moderately timely fashion. First, I seamed the shoulders as soon as the back and both fronts were finished, to get it out of the way, and I joined them with the three-needle bind-off so they look perfect. Then, I knit both sleeves at the same time to avoid second-sleeve syndrome (sss). And, I didn't procrastinate on the seaming, I just leapt right into it as soon as the sleeves were finished. I had slipped the first stitch of every row on all the pieces, which made the seaming a piece of cake. I also think the slight slubbiness of the yarn aided in the sleeve-setting-in process because it hides some minor issues, but overall the seaming wasn't as bad as I feared. The blocking was easy, but I was stymied for a couple of days by a lack of buttons, and then by a lack of daylight, which is why this is just getting posted now even though I attached the buttons on Thursday.I call this one a great success!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The Drops Swing Cardigan is blocking! And I am afraid.

I tried to only get it damp and I was very careful not to allow it to put weight on itself so it wouldn't stretch out. It's already a tad big and I don't want to have to felt it into shape (although I bet that would be lovely)! This is the last time I don't wash my swatch - just saying (Remind me that I said that if need be, please.). If this grows I will have learned this lesson twice, but I think I'm safe. Laid out on the futon it looks about the same size as it did pre-blocking. The only reason it really needed to be blocked was to teach the bottom ribbing to be flat and to (hopefully) make my decent armhole seams even more presentable. And maybe to soften up the yarn a tad as it's pretty itchy on the neck. The stitches, however, were remarkably even. I procured buttons and will attach them as soon as the sweater is dry. You can see in the photo the the front center must not have gotten very wet as it's much lighter...That's some lazy blocking, that is!

The spring Interweave Knits preview is up! I adore Holly, the cover sweater, which reminds me a lot of this one, which I've had in my Ravelry queue for awhile now...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

You always remember your first time...

Minds out of the gutter folks! I've got a new FO to show you, my first Elizabeth Zimmermann project, a Baby Surprise Jacket for my friend Vivian: I finished this a week or so ago but the baby shower wasn't until today and I didn't want to blog prematurely in case she spied her present. This is, quite possibly, the cutest thing I've knit. I love the yarn, I adore the buttons, and it was just so fun to knit because I quite honestly had no idea what part of it I was knitting at any point, including during the end when I was knitting the buttonbands. You know you're doing that because you're making buttonholes, but even so I couldn't fathom how what I had on the needles was going to turn into a sweater with only small seams to sew. This is what it looked like when it came off the needles:

Can you believe that that lumpy mass of garter stitch turns into an adorable jacket? It's amazing. I can't wait to make another one!

Project Stats: Baby Surprise Jacket for Vivian

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann, from The Opinionated Knitter

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, colorway Rainbow. I used about 1.5 skeins.

Needles: Size 8 Clover bamboo circulars. To think I contemplated knitting this on straight needles! Thank goodness I read over the pattern before I was stuck on plane with 9" needles with way too many stitches on them...

Buttons: Purchased at Weaving Works. I think they're my favorite part of the sweater. So perfect!

Time on the needles: December 21, 2007-January 10, 2008. I cast-on for this on the plane home for Christmas - see:

Instead of peanuts we had bananas! Actually, we had a whole little breakfast pack - it was pretty good, thank you Continental!

Impressions: I've already mentioned how fun this was to knit, but it really was, and I'd recommend it to anyone up for a bit of an adventure. The pattern is, shall I say, a bit vague. What you see in the photo is all there is, and the top bit isn't even directions. You have all the info you need, but if you're like me you'll find yourself wishing you had a little bit more. However, if you just trust in the genius of EZ you'll get there in the end. I didn't take photos of the folding process, but Anne-Marie has a really good series of them here. I also really liked this yarn. It's a bit bright but Vivian and John intend to be surprised by their baby's gender, so neutral was key, and who doesn't like rainbows? The yarn is very smooth and nice to knit, which is good because I have a whole sweater's worth in the stash, ostensibly for a Dave sweater, but that is on hold because of the sweater curse. We are not married nor engaged, so no sweater for him. I don't actually believe in the curse, but it's a better excuse than the reality, which is that I'm too lazy, although Dave isn't really much bigger than me. What else can I say? The buttons were a great find. I was unsure of what color/style I wanted, but these jumped right out at me and they were perfect. The sweater has buttonholes on both sides (with the intention that the knitter would gift post-birth, thus knowing the baby's gender and afixing buttons appropriately). Waiting wasn't an option for me so I just went with the buttons on the right. I doubt the baby will care what side the buttons are on, frankly, and neither do I! The simplicity of the garter stitch is one of the appealing parts of this sweater. It creates so much textural interest while being truly simple to execute - no purling the entire sweater! Overall I call this a roaring success, and I think Vivian and John really liked it. Their baby is due on Valentine's Day, but it might be awhile before he/she can fit into this sweater!

In other news, I have finished the hat for Rembrandt and, drum roll please...the Drops Swing Cardigan! It just needs blocking and buttons, but it is seamed and ready to go. I hope to get the buttons tomorrow and have a photo shoot soon thereafter! In case you're counting those make foru FOs already in 2008. Phew - wonder if I can keep this up?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Carpathia Scarf/Hat

First FO of 2008! Here is the secret Carpathia Scarf and Hat, which I knit as a gift for Daisy. Not a Christmas gift, really, just a to-be-nice gift. I won this yarn in a blog contest, and although it's quite nice, it's really not my color. However, Daisy took one look at it and proclaimed that she loved it, being a fan of the chartruese. So, then and there (about 1.5 years ago now) I decided that I would knit her something with the yarn. It came with the pattern for the Carpathia Scarf, so I knit that, and because it was getting to be a good length with a lot of yarn left, I made a matching hat.
Project Stats: Carpathia Hat and Scarf
Pattern: Carpathia Scarf from Cider Moon. I improvised the hat based on the scarf pattern.
Yarn: One skein each of Cider Moon Champagne (mohair) and Glacier (superwash merino), colorway "Ruffled Feathers," held together throughout.

Needles: Size 11 bamboo straights, circular, and DPNs. This is why one needs so many needles!
Time to knit: Not long, a week maybe?
Impressions: These were lovely yarns to knit with, and I'm really happy with the finished scarf, although the hat came out a tad larger than I intended. Daisy seems to like it (or she is a convincing liar!), and it looks better on her than it did on Dave and I when we were testing it out during the knitting, which is good (notice there aren't any photos of us in the hat...). The stitch pattern is easy but results in a pretty cool pattern, as you can see in the close-up from yesterday's post. I didn't get a chance to block the scarf, but it's quite drapey and I'm not sure how well it would have held the blocked state. The scarf pattern called for one skein of each yarn, but I knit the scarf almost to the length in the pattern, with hardy fringe, using only slightly over half of the yarn, leaving me enough to knit the hat as well. If anyone is interested I can reconstruct how I made the hat - I wouldn't mind having one for myself, albeit a bit smaller in circumference.

Now for the juicy details of what I really learned knitting this project! First off, it is not wise to try to be efficient by winding two skeins of yarn together into one ball to save oneself the trouble of carrying around two balls, especially when one winds up knitting the entire project at home anyway. Ask me how I know this. Because this project entailed knitting with two strands of yarn throughout, I had the brilliant idea of winding them together with both skeins on the swift at the same time and a giant ball on the ballwinder. Well, in theory this was a good idea, but the first go at it I had one yarn going one direction and the other going the opposite way, which obviously didn't work. A little foresight could have prevented that. Also, a little foresight could have prevented me from putting the larger wool skein above the smaller mohair skein, such that it kept falling down around the mohair while I was winding the ball. Although annoying, that didn't result in any real difficulty. The problem I ran into was during the knitting itself. Anyone who has knit with mohair knows that it likes itself. Very much. So, while I was knitting (from the outside of my giant double-yarn ball), several rounds of adhered-to-itself mohair would peel off together, causing tangles and preventing the wool strand from coming off the ball. So, I spent a lot of time untangling yarn, removing it carefully, or, when all else failed (often), breaking the mohair, removing the mess, and tying it back together. Let me tell you, this was really irritating. If I was really careful I was able to prevent the yarn belching (not vomiting, as it was only one yarn of the two, and in smaller quantities than would have come out if I'd have been using the center-pull method), but more often than not, even with due diligence, it would happen. But, that's all water under the bridge now, right? And I've learned my lesson on this one...

In case you're keeping track, I'm doing pretty well with my January goals. I have accomplished #2 (soon to be gifted and then blogged), #5 (Carpathia Hat), and #8 (the gold shawl). #4, the hat for Rembrandt, is at the crown decreases (thank you Dave) and will be finished any day now, and I am almost finished with the sleeves of #3, the Drops swing cardigan. So, I consider that good progress being made, although looking at the sleeves I'm a bit skeptical about them going into the sleeve holes, but I'll have an answer on that pretty shortly, maybe even this evening...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More skiing, and a peek of some knitting

Sorry for the delay, but I had a friend visiting this weekend, which both slowed down my knitting and kept me from blogging! Brent, one of my roommates from college, came to Seattle for a few days, and it was great to get to hang out with him. It's been quite awhile, although we did see each other at Andrea's wedding back in September.
Sunday we went skiing at Stevens Pass, which was great. Lovely sunny day, pretty good snow, no major incidents and everyone made it home in one piece. Brent did have a slight issue when he fell and his binding twisted when his ski came off (Which I really don't think is normal. The binding, not the ski. The ski is meant to come off if you fall with enough zeal.), and he walked down quite a bit of the hill before a ski patroller stopped and fixed the binding. I had been ahead of him so I didn't witness this, but it made for a good story...I wish I would have been skiing with the camera as it was a really spectacular day. These photos were taken around 4:00 so the light was already not ideal, but you can see the blue sky at least, which is always appreciated around these parts.
Since I waxed poetic about Mt. Baker last week, I feel I should give my 30-second review of Stevens Pass. This was only my second trip there, and it was much better than the first. We went there three years ago (Really? Wow. Time flies.) and that day the visibility was awful because it was snowing like the dickens (What does that even mean? Why do people say that? Do other people say that? And should it be Dickens?), and really crowded. As I've mentioned the weather was beautiful on Sunday. But, it was still really crowded, and the lift lines were totally chaotic and completely unorganized. However, aside from that it didn't really seem that busy since the ski area is pretty big and everyone was spaced out around the mountain. So, although I wasn't keen on the waiting, overall the skiing was pretty good. They have a nice variety of terrain and good grooming, and Dave reports that the double black diamonds were to his satisfaction. The drive is about an hour less each way than to Mt. Baker and much less frightening. Plus, leaving home at 6:30 instead of 6:00 felt downright luxurious - I even took a shower! I suspect we'll go back.
I'm sorry that this appears to be turning into Emily's Musings on Skiing (Maybe I should grab that and save you all the boredom of reading this? And why aren't there more knitters who ski? Do they just not talk about it, or are they mutually exclusive activities?), but most of my knitting has been secret gift knitting that I can't talk about yet. However, here is a snippet of something I can post about soon, and after Sunday I can show off another secret project.
Them some bright colors! Sorry about all the parentheses this evening - apparently my mind is wandering...

Friday, January 11, 2008

A bloggable project!

Finally, something I can blog about! I've been doing quite a bit of knitting, especially considering all the "work" related stuff I've had going on, but sadly none of it has been bloggable! However, I'm charging along on my January list. I've finished the secret gift project (#2) and the Carpathia Hat (#5). I have also started #4, the hat for Rembrandt, which is going to be a joint project between Dave and I. I cast-on and did the bottom ribbing, and now he is going to knit up to the crown decreases. This way the hat can be from both of us without me having to do all the work! Dave is a good knitter (albeit not the fastest), but he has no interest in purling (Nor do I, really, but it's tough to avoid if you want to knit anything interesting!), so he's doing, as he put it, "the part of the hat that doesn't require me to purl."
So, that brings me to item #8 on the list - "Pick out a pattern and yarn for a semi-secret gift that I'll probably blog about whilst being coy about the recipient and occasion."
I have done this, and had actually already done it when I posted the list, but once I get going on making lists there's no stopping me. Plus it felt good to have already accomplished something! I've decided to make the Swallowtail Shawl from the Fall 2006 Interweave Knits. I'm not going to mention who or what it's for, to keep it secret, but I'd like to blog about it as I go since it's my first triangular shawl. Plus, otherwise I'll have nothing to talk about. I cast on last night, and got through the first Budding Lace pattern and one repeat of the second Budding Lace pattern:

The color is less orange in person - more of a deep gold. I'm suspecting it's going to be a difficult color to photograph accurately. This isn't a color I would have chosen for myself, but light gold was suggested to me and I did my best to find appropriate yarn (Which was NOT easy - there is a dearth of gold yarn out there.). This is Zephyr wool-silk, the same yarn as I was using for the mystery stole (Yay, no need to swatch since I already know it'll work on these needles!), colorway "Curry." It's similar to Oliver's lighter orange bits, and he's pretty interested in it. Or in the blocking pins - just before this photo he had one paw on the yarn and one paw in the pins:I realize it still looks orange. God, now that I'm looking at it in these photos I'm a bit worried about the color. Eep. Last night I ordered some Knit Picks Harmony needles to work on this, but I'm using my Clover bamboos until they arrive. I'd continue with the Clovers but the tips really aren't sharp enough for the complicated stitches that are going to come up later in the shawl. I resisted the urge to even look at the Knit Picks yarn and just ordered the needles, which even with shipping were much cheaper than the comparably sized Addi Turbo Lace needles I was eyeing at Acorn Street when I bought the yarn. Plus, I really prefer wood needles, especially for lace with slippery yarn. I have enough problems keeping my stitches on the needles without the needles conspiring against me!

Monday, January 07, 2008

In its element...

Yesterday Dave, Kristen and I had an epic day of powder skiing at Mt. Baker. I didn't carry the camera around with me because it was snowing and thus the views were pretty much non-existent, but I did get a nice photo of my Jeep in its element: Note that we even broke out the chains for the drive down from the mountain. Although not many people seemed to be using them, I think they were a wise decision as the roads were pretty bad. Better safe than sorry! A lack of foresight (and living in Seattle, where it really never snows and where I park inside) led us to the old-fashioned coat sleeve snow removal technique - thankfully there wasn't much ice on the windshield or we'd have been there all night...

We had a grand time. I really have no experience skiing powder so it was a day of experimentation for me. Kristen does a fair bit of backcountry skiing so she had some useful advice for me, but mostly I just made it up as I went along. There were a lot of ungroomed intermediate runs for us to deal with before moving on to the really tough stuff, which I should do. I'm in a "I'm a blue run skier" rut, when really I'm certainly competent enough to ski harder runs, I just lack the confidence to get on with it. Kristen and I did go down 1 (2?) of the black runs yesterday because there was so much snow that it was hard to get too much momentum going. It's not the steepness so much as the potential moguls that freak me out, to be honest. And it was fine, and fun, because the snow was nice and fluffy. They have SO much snow at Mt. Baker - the base is up to 140" (That's 11.5' - the most in the country.), with 20" more forecasted by Wednesday. Baker is interesting because they're not particularly interested in providing a pampered skiing experience. No high-speed lifts, lifties who may or may not notice you're there, etc. But, they have the best snow and the cheapest rates around, which makes it well-worth the drive for us, even though it's the furthest ski area from Seattle (within a reasonable drive). The remoteness and the "lack of amenities" result in fewer crowds, which is great, and I think it's part of their strategy to not upgrade the lifts and such in order to keep the mountain less commercial and more for the locals and purists (I'm not really either of those, but after having fun with the powder yesterday I could see how it could be addicting). Some of the closer ski areas get really crowded on weekends, but even on great powder days like yesterday the lift lines were really pretty short, especially in the afternoon when all the people who are only there for fresh tracks have gone home. Plus, when it's not cloudy, you get views like this:

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A few goals for January

I'd like to be one of those people who make itemized lists of what they plan to accomplish. Instead I just make vague lists with no time frame attached, with items that are easily be pushed aside at will. So, this year I'm going to copy Dawn and make monthly lists. We'll see how long it lasts...

What I Hope Intend to Accomplish in January 2008
1) Finish the Anastasia Socks for my grandmother, which were a Christmas present.
2) Finish a secret gift project that I really can't show you (Sadly, as I might advice on it!) as I suspect the recipient might be reading.
3) Finish the Drops Swing Cardigan, which is currently at the upper sleeve stage.
4) Knit a hat for Rembrandt, which will be a belated Christmas present. An army green skein of Manos is wound and ready next to the sofa.
5) Finish the Carpathia Hat I'm knitting to go with the Carpathia Scarf (No, you aren't losing your mind, you haven't seen the scarf or the hat.). This might be dodgy because I'm really winging the pattern on the hat, and it's lacy. I'm charging along but I fear the decreases might get a bit interesting. Maybe I'll just do the top in stockinette...
6) Cast-on and knit 5 inches of the Ivy League Vest. I'm SO excited about this project but I feel like some of the others really have to be accomplished first.
7) Design my ski hat, as it's really past the time to have done that, being January and all, with the snow falling fast!
8) Pick out a pattern and yarn for a semi-secret gift that I'll probably blog about whilst being coy about the recipient and occasion.

Anne-Marie and I were planning to both knit Bird in Hand Mittens over Christmas, but I didn't get to mine due to items 1&2. I'm not sure how she's doing with hers, but I've not heard mention of them. I'd like to add them to the list but I think I'll just have them in my mind and cast-on if it suits me. I see a lot of things on my list, but most of them are small(ish) or mostly finished already, so we'll see. I reserve the right to add projects as needed for sanity/gifting/procrastination/etc.
I think January might be a pretty busy month for me. I have to give another talk next Wednesday (I plan to largely recycle the one I gave in December), a journal club (basically another talk, but short and on someone else's research) next Thursday, and prepare a poster for the annual American Academy of Sciences meeting in mid-February. Plus, I'm taking the second term of the science writing class I took last fall, as well as doing some copy-editing for the magazine that is partly attached to the class. I'm also taking pilates, at 8:00am (eek!). Oh, and I'm supposed to be finishing up experiments to write my first research paper. And I'd like to go skiing a few times, if I get my hat finished!
You know what I've just realized? I mistype "the" as "hte" almost half of the time...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmas Wrap-up

I had a lovely time at home with my family for just over a week. As usual it went by too quickly, but I did get to enjoy a bit of Dozer taking over the sofa:
Some adorable longhaired Welsh cattle:
A spectacular photo of my grandmother eyeing an unfelted clog:
And a lovely Christmas tree:
My parents sent me back with a gift for Oliver, which he loves:

The gifts I knit (knitted?) went over very well, and all of them fit their recipients except for the Anastasia Socks, which ended up being okay in the heel/leg but too long in the foot. I had only finished one of them as I was fearing heel issues, so at least there is only one to fix, and I think I can do it by ripping out the toe and knitting it again shorter instead of taking out the whole leg/heel/etc. And yes, despite the photo above my grandmother's clogs did felt down to the perfect size and hopefully my parents will gather some photographic evidence of that for me to post at a later date.

I finally went back to work today and it was a struggle. I tend to completely forget about the whole operation as soon as I leave for more than two days, and it's always tough to get back into the swing of things. Thankfully this year I planned ahead and had experiments ready for right after the holidays, which should minimize the amount of "what am I doing again?" that usually goes on right about now...

Oh, while I got many lovely gifts for Christmas, the only one that was knitting related was money to get my five pounds of alpaca cleaned and spun. Remember the alpaca? Here it is again, just in case. That's only four pounds of it. It's a lot of fleece, and fairly clean already so hopefully I won't lose too much. Anyone have recommendations for a good place to ship it off for processing?