Sunday, February 26, 2006
SHEEP THRILLS, SPIN-INS, TALES FROM THE ARIZONA SONORAN DESERT AND CATALINA MOUNTAIN FOOTHILLS, PENNSYLVANIA SHEEP TO SHAWL, AND OTHER RAMBLINGS….OR… THE BAD BLOGGER FINALLY UPDATES HER BLOG!
No..I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth – I just have been too busy to sit long enough to type! 2006 started off with a bang with preparations for the Washington DC region SCCA awards banquet and dinner. I am the trophy chairman for the region's MARRS series, so there were a number of road trips to retrieve perpetual trophies from last year’s winners as well as numerous trips to the various trophy houses that handle our account. I also spent the first 3 weeks of January completing and putting the final touches on the banquet's music videos reflective of the region’s past season. We won’t talk about how many hours during and post season go into putting this together, but I have fun doing it. This year, my health prevented me from gathering as much footage as I would have liked, and I got behind schedule on production work, so I ended up going to the Banquet with a fever of almost 104! I got there with banquet “hair and make-up” and within an hour looked like I had jumped into a swimming pool! So much for fever reducers and antibiotics! LOL After the banquet was done and put to bed for the year, I was able to get back to all kinds of fun fiber-related activities, so pull up a chair and I will fill you in!
The first fiber play-date came when my dear friend, Elaine Harvey of CCR Rabbitry, came down to evaluate some stunning alpaca fleeces belonging to some up and coming breeders who live in Garret Park, MD. My mother lives in Bethesda less than 5 minutes away, so of course Stephen went to play at her house for a little while and Elaine and I went to look at the this season’s show fleeces. Mary and Barry Clark of Peaceful Hollow Farm started in Alpacas about 2 years ago with tremendous success, and the fleece I ended up buying (Klondike) won multiple blue ribbons and Best in Show awards for its fabulous qualities. For those fiber addicts within driving distance of the Bethesda, MD area, I highly recommend giving them a call if you want some truly decadent Huacaya Alpaca - either in raw fleece or finished yarn skeins. Elaine is a well-known and respected Alpaca fleece evaluator, so she was able to guide the Clarks on how each fleece should be processed at the fiber mill and for which fiber activity – spinning, weaving, etc- each fleece was best suited. Of course, I grabbed the nicest fleece, so niah niah – too bad so sad for those of you thinking about snatching up the prime fleece! Elaine did me a GREAT favor driving down from PA to evaluate these fleeces, so I took her out to lunch at a great little place in the heart of Garret Park reknown for catering to “ladies who lunch” and we had a fabulous lunch after which we rolled ourselves out the door and promised whole-heartedly to get on the treadmill as soon as we got home! Yeah right!
The next fiber escapade also involved Elaine, who is the media rep for the Pennsylvania Farm Show’s very prestigious Sheep to Shawl competition. A week before the event, she called me up and asked me if I wanted to be the timekeeper for the event. Of course, I jumped at the chance to spend some time at the Farm Show, so Stephen went to Grandma’s house for the day again, and I took off in pouring, torrential rain for Harrisburg! For those of you who have no idea what Sheep to Shawl is, the link above is a great way to get a taste of what these competitions are all about. In a nutshell, a team includes a shearer, a weaver, a carder and handspinners for a total of 6 people per team. The teams are judged on how quickly they are able to shear the sheep that they have chosen to bring, card and spin the wool, and weave it into a shawl of specific dimensions and requirements. The teams are judged not only on the quality of the work, how quickly they complete the shawl, etc, they are also judged on team costume and set up, work area presentation, etc. There were 8 teams competing this year and it definitely was a challenge to pick a favorite shawl from among the finished products! Elaine did a great job handling the local media. My other dear friend, Tom Knisely – weaving instructor extrordinaire from The Mannings, is one of the coordinators of the event and also is one of the media commentators reporting for the Pennsylvania Cable Network which covered the event live (yes I wore black in a desperate attempt to avoid the extra 10 pounds the camera adds – haha – for those of you who know me, you know it takes a LOT of food to maintain a body like this –LOL). Anyway, I had a great time, am planning on timekeeping again next year, and got a lot of great pictures! Of course, I had to shop while I was there, and following the auctioning off of the shawls, the Fleece Auction began. I was able to land the Reserve Grand Champion fleece for the entire Farm Show Fleece Competition for this year, and I was tickled with the quality of the beautiful Romney fleece I won. The crimp and length is gorgeous, and the young teen who raised the lamb had sheared it herself – her first time. She did a great job and I have yet to find any second cuts! I also won another beautiful colored fleece – a pale silver gray that I am fairly sure is a Columbia cross. Needless to say, I went home happy!
Okay – so I now have a 5 pound Alpaca fleece and two 6 pound sheep fleeces in the space of less than 10 days! Add this to the wool I have harvested from the bunnies over the last 6 months, and I SHOULD be happy and content for at least the next 2 years, right? Of course not! I had a playdate at a local Cormo breeder’s farm today to go pick out some nice covered fleeces that were shorn just a few days ago. I will comment on that in a separate post because I had such a great time and the fleeces were so amazing! I also have a few Shetland fleeces lined up from a breeder in PA. Sigh – something tells me that I won’t be scouring all this stuff myself and that I might even send in some of the Romney and Shetland to the fiber mill to be blended with some of my Angora and made into roving so I have more time to spin.
Okay – back to the update. February was spent trying to get Stephen and me over the nastiest rounds of flu, sinus and lung infections, etc that I have experienced in YEARS. Of course, Ironman – aka my husband, Ken, never had a sniffle, cough or anything else. He NEVER gets sick, and couldn’t believe how the rest of us could be so miserable. SO…..he surprised us with tickets out to Arizona to go out and visit his mom and stepdad in Oro Valley outside Tucson and his sister and her family in Phoenix. I was very lucky that a good sheltie breeder friend was able to stay here at our house while we were away and take care of my crew of shelties and the herd of bunnies. Of course, 2 days after we arrived, Stephen spiked a fever of 104.1 (let’s hear it for the central air recycling of germs on the plane!). I ended up staying in the house round the clock with him for almost 3 days while Ken ran up to Phoenix to visit his sister and got to do stuff outside the house. Being housebound wasn’t so bad – Ken’s mom and her husband own a GORGEOUS mediteranean style house in Oro Valley complete with a beautiful outdoor living area, pool, etc that is too sumptious for words. House arrest was very relaxing in that environment, although I am a cold-weather person who really can’t stand anything over 30-35 degrees, so the 70-80 degree temperature while we were out there was wonderful for everyone else while I pined for the snow we left behind in the Washington DC area – sick but true!
The day before Stephen got sick, we were able to get him out to visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum just outside Tucson. What a great and unusual place. For those of you who have never visited the Sonoran Desert, the Suguaro (pronounced “Sue-ah-row”) cactus is indigenous ONLY to this area of the Southwest and is the great pride of those living in the area. They grow by the thousands in the canyon surrounding the desert as well as all over the Tucson area, and Stephen became enamored of them. We obviously have taken him to Arizona before, but this was the first trip where he was old enough to understand what he was seeing. By the end of the trip, he was calling pickles little Suguaros! The trip to the desert museum was great, we saw lots of interesting animals and plants, and a small desert mouse even ran across my foot and got its foot stuck in my clog! What a hoot to watch my mother-in-law, the coolest lady I have ever met – let out the most piercing scream ever heard in the Sonoran Desert! LOL
On the last day of our stay, Ken treated me to a much needed and appreciated Spa Day at the exclusive and world-reknown Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa in Tucson, AZ. For those of you who have never been to one of these spas, they are just wonderful. Those of you in the Tucson area should request Michelle, my massage therapist, who hands-down gives the best deep-tissue massages I have ever experienced! Her great personality is a breath of fresh air in an environment stereotypically strewn with haughty women lounging about in plush robes and sandles congratulating themselves on being in the social position to enjoy this type of luxury - GAG!!!!! (this comment actually was made to my mother-in-law the last time she was there – we couldn’t believe it!). I had previously staked out the Local Yarn Shop, so after leaving the Spa I did a little shopping before heading back to the house. All in all, a great vacation.
So…we arrived back to reality this past Wednesday. Thursday I went up to The Mannings to buy my long-awaited travel spinning wheel, the Ashford Joy! Ken really has spoiled me this month – Valentine’s Day turned into Valentine’s Month! I could hardly wait to get back home to try it out and spent Friday playing around with it. Yesterday I took it to the bi-annual legendary Spin-In at Lissa and I got to catch up with each other too after way too long, and I am hoping to get her out to the track this year to watch Ken race (plus I won’t look so out-of-place in our paddock area when I pull out the spinning wheel during down time!). The shopping spree continued at Susan’s house with Elaine buying a Majacraft Little Gem with Woolee Winder and me buying a beautiful Bosworth Attache Charkha from Susan. The charkha barely has been used for more than hour total by the original owner from whom Susan had bought an entire lot of weaving and spinning equipment. Apparently the original owner developed Fibro Myalgia and couldn’t use the charkha after she bought it, so I was the lucky spinner who was first in line at Susan’s house to buy it! SOOO…two new toys in two days – I have been thoroughly spoiled this month by my awesome hubby!
The night ended with an after-dark caravan of cars and vans down to the farm where Susan keeps her flock of Border Leicester Sheep. Her favorite ewe, Snow, who was one of the original 6 sheep that Susan bought, had given birth to twins 2 nights earlier. The babies had been sired by the Reserve Champion Ram lamb that Susan had bought at Maryland Sheep and Wool last year – a beautiful black boy with a really nice fleece, body and personality. Snow’s twins are the first to be born this season, and the first BLACK lambs produced in Susan’s breeding program. Susan tells us that she was jumping up and down ecstatically on the cell phone to her daughter, Heather, as the babies were being born – a little boy followed by a little girl! Of course, those of us who went traipsing out through the pasture to the barn in the dark absolutely were delighted by the babies and didn’t want to leave! The little coats on the babies are called Woolovers and were developed by a breeder in Australia to help the little newborns withstand frigid weather. They are now used all over the world in other breeds such as horses and cattle as well. Snow wasn’t so sure she liked the little coats and the perplexed look on her face after we put the babies back down for her to inspect was hilarious! Heather, Susan’s daughter, was great holding the babies so we could get some nice pictures for the baby book. In these pics, the twins are just barely 3 days old! Happy Birthday little guys!
Friday, November 11, 2005
From neck to "tail" (#1).
Around neck - at midway up the neck (#2).
Chest between front legs (#3).
From neck to underarm (#4).
Chest - around the widest part of the chest (#5).
Friday, October 14, 2005
I have been VERY busy getting fibery stuff ready for Christmas. I went nuts dyeing Superwash Merino, Border Leicester from Susan Withnell’s flock, Angora from the bunnies, and luscious silk top that I bought at the Mannings a while back. I think the frenzy started out of necessity to have various samples ready in time for my spinning demo at Elioak Farm in September. The demo went really well, and a reporter from a Baltimore paper did an entire article for their weekend section on me – ooh la la! I even got a COLOR picture with my article – aren’t I special?!!! Anyway, after dyeing several pounds of fiber for that event, I sat down to make out my schedule to spin, knit and complete the various Christmas presents that have to be finished from this stuff before December hits. Let’s face it – December is a wash when it comes to trying to finish any fiber project, so I mostly turn my efforts to the Temari Balls that family and friends have come to expect as ornaments for their trees. I can tuck the Temari into my bag and work on them easily at Stephen’s playgroups, etc, so I feel like a woman possessed trying to spin up and knit everything in the next month and a half. I love Gaywool Dyes because of the intensity of color and reliability in exhaustion of dye into the fiber. For the Border Leicester (BL), I soaked the roving in a vinegar-water solution first and then placed it in the dyepot with just enough water-vinegar to keep the roving from burning. I sprinkled several colors randomly on the roving, turned on the stove, and simmered for about 35 minutes. I usually allow the pot to sit overnight to allow the roving to come to room temp before rinsing. The incredible variety of color striation through the roving was just gorgeous, and I repeated the process with a batch of Superwash Merino as well.
I also handpainted two batches of Superwash Merino. I layed out plastic wrap onto which I snaked the roving after I had removed it from its water-vinegar solution bath and squeezed out most of the liquid. I painted on the dye from stock solutions I had already prepared, and rolled up the batches so each color stayed separated from the others. Instead of nuking in the microwave or steaming, I place the packets on my driveway in the full sun of the afternoon when the temps for the day had soared to about 91 degrees and left them there for the day. I had about a pound of Merino, so this was a great way to do a large batch of space-dyeing without dealing with steamers or other kitchen equipment. I left the packets on the driveway till the sun went down and the packets had cooled, and I REALLY was impressed with the results. The singles on this bobbin are the result.
The batch of Angora was an afterthought. I realized that I had gone back to the same several colors in various colorways in the different batches of BL and Merino, so I decided to dye the Angora in a limited color palette that would unify the other fibers if I chose to incorporate a variety of finished skeins into the same project. I usually blend my fibers before spinning, but in this case, I will spin singles of pure fiber types, with the Angora singles being the unifying ply in the finished skeins. I am planning on one ply of BL or Merino plied with one ply of Angora. The Angora will soften up the BL and make a very nice sock yarn that will feel super-soft to the touch but will have the strength of the BL to keep the sock structure from falling apart. I am not sure yet if I will ply Angora with the Superwash Merino. It is such a decadent fiber on its own that I am thinking about sock and mitten sets might be in order for those batches. We’ll see.
The nicest surprise was the experiment I did with a batch of BL on the bottom of the dye pot with a batch of Superwash Merino on the top. The Merino sucked up the intensity of the colors, leaving several areas of undyed fiber which added to the interest of the finished product. The interesting thing is the soft, muted overall tones that the BL produced. No undyed areas, and the gorgeous muted tones could not have been achieved through space dyeing. Since both fibers are the result of the same colorway, this may be the only batch where I will ply a single of each together to produce a BL/Merino skein. Again, I am thinking comfy boot socks are calling out!
SHETLAND LACE WORKSHOP
Ahhh – my favorite current project! My dear friend, Elaine Harvey of Crystal Creek Rabbitry (aka CCRFuzzy!), is the moderator of a great Yahoogroups list called EZasPi. It is devoted to making Pi Shawls in the method “unvented” by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I had thought about joining the group last year when it was being created and discussed on the Spin-List, but was too busy. After seeing the shawls at Elaine’s house, I HAD to join! Good thing I joined when I did – Elaine’s good friend, Liz Lovick, who lives in Orkney (an Isle south of the Shetland Isles) has agreed to teach an online workshop on Shetland Lace via the EZasPi group. Our group grew from 200 to 800 in about 2 days! I have knitted lace before, but this workshop has put on hold all of my other projects as I have become addicted to Shetland Lace. Since I breed and show Shetland Sheepdogs, I definitely have a love affair going with anything coming from the isles. Participating in this workshop was a no-brainer and I rarely am seen anywhere without my handspun alpaca lace WIP (work in progress). The first stole I finished was done using Chris Morgan’s (Woolybuns German Angoras) Feather and Fan pattern. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this pattern. Fortunately I started this project after the beginning of the workshop, so it is eligible for the contest that is being held. I can’t believe that I will have a finished project to submit in time for the deadline! Definitely a first!
I started knitting a pair of socks for Stephen at the first competition committee meeting for WDCR-SCCA. I designed them to be 2 sizes larger than what he was wearing at the time. This was this past Spring. The pattern for this sock is one of my own. Needless to say, this became one of those WIP that just never got anywhere until this past weekend when I finally finished the first sock. Of course, it is too small now for Stephen, not to mention that fact that I missed the slight sparkle in the yarn when I first started - a factor that makes this sock way too "girlie" for Stephen...probably one of the reasons I was not rushing to finish the pair. I do love the colors and the way it turned out, so sock number two is now on the needles and this pair will become a Christmas gift for a special little girl.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Well, I never thought it would take this long to post again to my blog, but boy have things been busy…
Two tons of tree fell 2 weeks ago in our front yard in the middle of the night with no wind or storm provocation (very scary since Stephen and I were playing under that tree just that evening) and that took some time to clean up! It brought down a live power line that was in contact with our yard and went about 3 blocks down the street. I watched the power line blow up like a firework display from the kitchen window and had no idea the tree had fallen till Ken came out and told me. The scariest thing is that there had been a huge party next door and the last guest left about 10 minutes before the tree came down and the power line crossed right over the party had been.
Ken and I celebrated our 5th anniversary over Labor Day Weekend. We have both been married before and have done the elaborate wedding “thing.” We decided to have a good time with no stress at our wedding, so five years ago we got married on a friend’s sailboat (our immediate family was on another friend’s sailboat) on the Chesapeake Bay. We had our rehearsal dinner at Harris’ Crab House on Kent Island next door to Mears Point Marina where the boats were slipped. We had a huge pig roast at our home the next day to celebrate and had a ball. So…every year since, we have tried to spend our anniversary on or near water. This year, we had to be at the track for the MARRS double, so we didn’t have a full day. We decided to go back to Harris’ Crab House for lunch and recreated a picture from our rehearsal dinner 5 years ago. It is scary how the parents of a toddler spend their time when they actually get out on their own for a few hours!
Most recently, Chris Morgan of Woolybuns German Angoras drove down from Connecticut for the weekend and hosted her famous Felted Angora Mittens Workshop. It was AWESOME!!!!! I only finished one mitten and am waiting for the felting needles to arrive to start the second one. Once both are done, I will dye them something really obnoxious, I mean, BRIGHT, so that no one can miss my really cool mitts! I am also thinking about trimming the edge with a brocade fabric - too many options!!!
After we finished up with the mittens, Chris and I decided to take an impromptu road trip to introduce her to The Mannings about 45 minutes “up the road!” We brought the mittens and showed them to Carol, who owns the Mannings – hopefully we will see Chris on the class schedule next year! I indulged in several more hard-to-find books on knitted lace and Chris picked up some gorgeous Koigu and some other stuff. I am so glad I was able to act as Fiber Enabler and ruin Chris for good now that she has been to fiber Disneyworld!!
When we got back, Susan Withnell of Storybook Dreams German Angoras came over. I got to demonstrate the high velocity blower from the grooming shop and how I use it to blow out the bunnies’ coats. The bunnies were not impressed! I also showed them both my “dirty little secret” that has remained hidden in my Sewing/ Knitting room until I can get over the feelings of guilt that I am cheating on my handknitting - - my newly purchased Brother 260 Bulky Knitting Machine/ Ribber combo with all the doodads and accessories! I adore to knit by hand, but I have soooo many friends having babies these days that there is no way that I could possibly ever get any gifts made for all of them before they graduate from college. So…I checked out the machines and decided that since I quilt by machine, which is just a faster way to make the quilting stitch, the knitting machine falls under the same category. You still need to design, choose yarns, etc. After I made my first baby sweater with my own handspun in about 1 hour, I have to say that I was hooked. Of course, the sad sock I had attempted to make was a really sorry site, and I thought both Chris and Susan were going to lose it as they tried to figure out which end was the heel and which was the toe!
Susan had a ball with the metal tensioning antenna, even yelling out “ I think I found water” as she used the antenna as a divining stick! I think her space alien impression was pretty good too. I have to admit, when the whole thing is set up, it looks like a space ship console and can be intimidating! I then tried to show off the little bit I have managed to figure out so far, but instead I think I convinced them both to run, far, far away from that apparatus, shut the door, and never look back! It was a hoot. Again, the bunnies, who were looking on from their crates, were not impressed…
After the frightening experience with the knitting machine, we were hungry, so pizza on the deck was in order, and the rest of the evening was an enjoyable evening outdoors with family and friends.
Chris had to leave by mid-morning on Sunday to get back to CT in a timely manner, but not before Ken let her into the racecar trailer to take a look at his “baby.” The end result? Chris and her husband are journeying back here in October to attend Ken’s last race of the MARRS season at Summit Point. YeeHaa – two new converts!
So that sums up the last few weeks. Not much fibering going on except a few Christmas presents that I can’t mention here!
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Hi there! Here is the press release from Elioak Farms for the Farm Days Celebration being held in the Fall of 2005. I am doing the Sunday, Sept. 18th, spinning demos and would love other spinners to come out and have some fun! This is aimed at kids - I am planning on having some toy wheel drop spindles for them to try out as well as the wheel. If you know of anyone in the area who you think might be interested or could pass this Press Release along, that would be great! The Farm is located just outside Baltimore, MD.
Clark’s Elioak Farm
SCHEDULE of WEEKEND EVENTS
SEPTEMBER: TUES thru SUN 10 AM to 4 PM
Also open on Monday, Sept 5
OCTOBER thru NOVEMBER 6:
Seven days a week
10 AM to 4 PM
10500 Route 108
Ellicott City, Maryland
Attractions include the petting farm, hayrides, pony rides, hay bale maze, picnic area, country store,
Enchanted Forest figures, mini-farm play area, Fall decorations, pumpkins, and birthday parties.
SEPTEMBER 3-5, 2005 LABOR DAY WEEKEND CELEBRATION! What better place to celebrate labor than a working farm! Visit our museum and see the different types of work farmers and their animals do on the farm. Goats, sheep, cows, chicken, donkeys, ponies and horses all work on the farm. Can you guess what they do? On Saturday THE HOWARD COUNTY ANTIQUE FARM MACHINERY CLUB will have hands-on exhibits and machinery. Come learn about farming in a by-gone era.
SEPTEMBER 10-11, 2005 GRANDPARENTS WEEKEND. Free hayrides for all grandparents accompanied by a child. Don’t forget to take a pony ride, too.
SEPTEMBER 17-18, 2005 SPINNERS WEEKEND! Talented spinners will show us fibers from raw to finished, different types and qualities of wool and do spinning demonstrations. LESLIE SELBY from Cedar Wool Farm will be on hand on Saturday and DANIELA ANDERSON will delight us on Sunday. Other spinners will join them as well. Kids of all ages will get a hands-on opportunity to experience the art of spinning. Demonstrations throughout both days.
SEPTEMBER 24-25, 2005 FALL HARVEST AND COWBOY ROPING WEEKEND. Celebrate the harvest with apple cider, apple butter, pumpkin butter and pumpkin bread. It doesn’t get better than that!! Also, enjoy a cowboy trick roping demonstration by GLEN HOPKINS at 1 PM both days. NOUVEAU FACE PAINTER LAURA RENEE DAVIS will delight you with incredibly beautiful designs for your face and hands (10 AM to 4 PM both days). A work of art!!
OCTOBER 1-2, 2005 FARM-CITY CELEBRATION WEEKEND! MASTER FALCONER MIKE DUPUY will do a Hawk Talk and Falconry Demonstration at 1 PM on Sunday. Learn about incredible birds of prey and the 4,000 year-old art of falconry. Sunday is our PUMPKIN GROWING CONTEST WEIGH-IN!! It’s time to see how big your pumpkins grew over the summer. Bring your biggest pumpkin to the farm for weigh-in and display. The winner will be announced on Sunday at 4 PM and will receive a special prize and a season pass to the farm for 2006. Full contest rules available on our website. Facepainting by LAURA RENEE DAVIS.
OCTOBER 8-9, 2005 TEDDY BEAR FARM VISIT. Bring your bears! Free hayrides for all children who bring a teddy bear. Teddy bear contest (1 and 2:30 PM) both days. Folk singer TONY McGUFFIN (Noon-4 PM) both days. Scarecrow making available. Visit the pumpkin patch! Take home some cider. Facepainting by LAURA RENEE DAVIS (10 AM to 4 PM) We can paint a picture of your teddy bear on your face or hand.
OCTOBER 15-16, 2005 THE SOUNDS OF THE SEASON. Choral director, Jim Carothers, brings his students from CATONSVILLE SCHOOL to sing for us at 10 AM and 11 AM on Saturday. Visit the pumpkin patch, build a scarecrow. Facepainting by LAURA RENEE DAVIS.
OCTOBER 22-23, 2005 PUMPKINS, PUMPKINS, PUMPKINS! Come to the pumpkin patch to get your Halloween pumpkins. Take a hayride, take a pony ride, get your face painted by LAURA RENEE DAVIS and make a scarecrow. A great Fall outing for the family.
OCTOBER 29-31, 2005: HALLOWEEN WEEKEND. Costume Contest (11:00 AM and 2:00 PM) Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Prizes for all. Scarecrow making and facepainting by LAURA RENEE DAVIS too. Cider and pumpkins at our country store. Take a hayride to the pumpkin patch!!
NOVEMBER 5-6, 2005: PUMPKIN CHUCKING WEEKEND. In the spirit of the season, let’s have some special fun with pumpkins!! We have a specially-designed catapult that will launch your pumpkin across the farm. Bring your own pumpkin or purchase one of ours and let’s see how far it will go!
CHECK WEBSITE FOR DIRECTIONS AND POSSIBLE SCHEDULE CHANGES FOR EVENTS.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Unbelievably, this weekend was the second in a ROW that was slower-paced and very enjoyable, at least for me! Ken worked some more on the ongoing construction and re-landscaping of our property yesterday. Today was devoted to prepping the racecar and organizing the trailer for the upcoming race. Sooo…I spent Saturday relaxing and playing with Stephen, who is having a ball with his new water and sand activity table – he is practically velcroed to this new toy! Since we put the sand/ water table on our deck, I grabbed the spinning wheel and finished up the 4oz bag of Camel Down that I started spinning at the beginning of the week. I just need to ply it, and start knitting up the gloves for Christmas. This fiber is amazing all around, and the sample two ply I made up checks in at about 30 wpi. After finishing up the camel down, I started a new bobbin on the wheel with a blend of Merino and Alpaca that I carded on my Fricke Finest. I absolutely LOVED it coming off the drum carder – a rich mango-colored alpaca blended with natural colored merino which resulted in nice variegated shades of peach and cream, but I am not thrilled with the way it looks on the bobbin so far. It spins up beautifully and easily, but I am not sure I like the finished product. I had intended on knitting up a lacy, drapey scarf that would throw a splash of color over a black sweater or turtleneck, but I guess I will probably end up using this skein of yarn for a pair of cozy bed socks for me – you can’t beat alpaca and merino for pampering your feet at night! In any case, I have had to walk away from the wheel for a while till I can decide if I want to continue spinning this batt the way it is, or maybe blend in some other fibers and colors until I am pleased with the results.
Today, in anticipation of the frantic pace this coming week, I grabbed a skein of Koigu Merino in a purple, lavender, and burgundy colorway and a set of #1 Addi Naturas and cast on for a “skinny scarf” in Feather and Fan for another Christmas present. Wouldn’t you know…about 25 rows into the project, the bamboo tip snapped off. This is the second set of bamboo Addis in size 1 to do this. Carol at the Mannings told me several months ago that Addi has stopped making the Naturas in this size or smaller because so many people have had the same problem. I am considering sending back both sets to Skacel and see if they will replace the needles – you never know! Anyway, I decided that my gauge was too loose the first time around (how convenient that the needle snapped off, right?!), so I cast on with regular Addi Turbos in size 0 and started again, but this time with a different pattern that I think will complement the handpainted yarn a little better. I think I will be able to memorize the lace pattern fairly quickly, and this will become my first non-sock take-along project in over a year. We’ll see how long it takes me to finish this project…I love knitting with Koigu, and I can’t seem to put the needles down!
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I guess the Spin-In at Susan's house jump started my energy towards finishing up a bunch of projects that have been sitting on the bobbins for months- either that, or it was the necessity of getting those projects done to free up the bobbins for the new stash I bought at her place! So...I have one mini-skein sample of 2 ply in Rose from a Romney/Columbia fleece that I bought last year, a wonderful skein of Mohair, silk and Merino in various shades of lavender and cream that was supposed to be finished last Christmas to become a Moebius scarf present for my best friend (oops, sorry Becky!), and the skein of Alpaca/Merino in Dusty Rose that I finished at Susan's over the weekend. I also wound off a confetti colored Merino skein intended for toddler socks as well as another skein of self-striping Merino also intended for toddler socks.
I am so delighted with the bouncy, lofty quality of the merino skeins - so soft and so fluffy - I can't wait to get them on the needles! The Mohair/silk skein is so lustrous that I can't wait to see how it knits up. The only two projects left on the bobbins from months past are one partially filled bobbin of 100 percent silk in deep tones of navy, teal, aqua and white, and a bobbin with more brightly multi-colored merino singles for more kids' socks! I had all these skeins drying in my kitchen, hanging off the baker's rack and various other places, but Stephen kept trying to pull them down to play. After some thought, I remembered this great, display stand that I bought from a craft store that was going out of business. I intended to use it for the Fetching Fashions vendor booth, but it seems custom made for hanging up the skeins. So...here is a picture of the skeins shimmering in the sun on our back deck, safe from little hands until they are dry!
After plying, washing, setting twist, blotting and hanging the skeins to dry , I finally gave myself permission to start spinning a new fiber I bought at Susan's that promises to become one of my favorites - Camel Down. It spins like a hot knife through butter and is as soft as Cashmere - the color is rich and I am already thinking about how nice a luxurious pair of gloves would be made from this stuff! Hmmm - someone's Christmas stocking will get lucky this year!!!