Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's Official! I'm Going to the Gathering! YIPPEE!!

I've been anxiously awaiting confirmation of my place at the NEHA "Gathering" in November. I got it today. Also, included was the fact I'm able to go to my first choices for all three classes. Now, I need to get my list of things needed organized. The list will be revised several times before the event gets here. lol This is going to be a blast! I can't wait.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tour de Fleece, Ravelympics, Strange Weather

The Tour de Fleece finished on July 27th. I didn't get to spin all the silk to ply with the yellow fiber. I did meet my personal challenge though. Learning Navajo, (chain) plying, using a new to me fiber, Corriedale, and using the Sonata for this.

The latest fiber/yarn thing is over on Ravelry and is called Ravelympics. Of course, after some encouragement (not much needed) I have joined Team Splurk and am participating in three events. One is the Homespun Heptathalon where I spin fiber, the next is the Dyed Hurdles where I do some dyeing. The last is the easiest part. It's WIP Wrestling. Now, don't go thinking whipped cream. It's short for "Works in Progress". I plan to finish the Butterfly Socks and a couple of other projects. I won't even attempt to finish the Swallowtail in 17 days. During the Knitting Olympics I was ready to scream while I rushed to finish the Lady Eleanor. I made it with a day to spare.

Lately we have had severe thunderstorms, and even a couple of tornadoes. Did I mention I live in RI not in the Midwest? The sky has been getting this strange reddish orangey glow before the storms hit. Thankfully, nothing here has been damaged by the hail, lightning, downpours, and high winds. And the tornado wasn't close to me. It was about 30 miles away on the other end of my small state.

Sun Dyed Yarn, Fair Spinning, Knitting with Friends, Fleece Washing...

O.K. The Pickle Jar sat on the counter taunting me to do something with it. Finally 4 packs of Kool Aid was added, 2 strawberry lemonade and 2 plain lemonade. Then about an inch of vinegar and water and mixed the whole thing with a vigorous shake. The final item, a lovely skein of superwash/nylon sock yarn, was put in and the cover closed tightly again. Out to the yard to ferment/cook it went. After 2 days and an occasional check to see how it was doing, I emptied the jar. I knew superwash would take the color differently than fiber or regular wool. Here's the results. I'm calling it "Unripe Watermelon" because it reminds me of the part right near the rind after the white.

my kool aid sundyed yarn unripe watermelon 2 my kool aid sundyed yarn unripe watermelon 1

I brought it to knit night last Tuesday at Sue's shop and to craft night at Panera on Wednesday. It also traveled to the Foster Old Home Days with me on Friday and Saturday. Now, it's so tired from riding around, I'm letting it sit and rest in the house.

Speaking of Foster, I had a great time spinning on the Sonata in the Spinners' Tent. I managed to Navajo ply my third bobbin of Corriedale and it's getting better. There's a discussion on Ravelry that it should be called chain plyed not Navajo. I don't know. I'm just learning the technique and can call it whatever is preferred. I also managed to start spinning some of my DkKnits fiber. It's coming so fine and thin, making me very happy.

There's been a few more people joining the Wednesday night group at Panera. We have a wonderful group and always have a great time. Some people haven't been in a while and they are missed.

The current knitting projects are still the Butterfly Socks and the Swallowtail Shawl. I had trouble wrapping my head around picking up stitches with the provisional cast on. I got the chain and those stitches fine. The problem was undoing the chain and picking up there. I decided to do the optional regular cast on and will sit down and learn the provisional later. I'm on repeat 10 of the 14 bud repeats. So far it's an easy pattern, but I know the lily of the valley part is the real challenge. Another Traveling Scarf arrived yesterday, and I'm going to work on that tonight at a local concert near the water.

Today is fleece washing day. Right now, I've washed the Santa Cruz fleece in the buckets in the back yard. The 2 mesh bags are currently in the washer for the rinse cycle. I don't like to do the wash in the machine because of all the grease/lanolin going down the pipes. I did 3 washes because this was a very high grease fleece. It will get at least 2 more rinses, possibly 3 before it's put on screens to dry. Right now, it's snow white and feels so soft, even though it's very wet. Time to go drain the washer..........

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Spinning at the Fair, Learning New Things, Dyeing Fiber, Vet Visit and Late Nights

Last Sunday was a warm, not too sunny day. I decided to put the Kool Ade in the pickle jar with the vinegar and water for an attempt at sun dyeing. The test fiber was the rest of the BFL I had took to Sandi's back in June for our impromptu dye day. So I stuck about 3 1/2 ounces of fiber in the jar, put the lid on and stuck it in the back yard. It sat there for 4 days. I didn't think it was taking because the water was still red. Well, when Pat brought in the jar and I dumped it out, the fiber is a bright, deep red and the water was clear.

BFL koolade dye 2 BFL koolade dye 3

I will definitely be playing with Kool Ade again. Maybe tomorrow since it's suppose to be a nice day......

Last Thursday and Friday evenings were spent at North Stonington, CT's fair. I took the Sonata and had a great time with all the other spinners who were there. There was a very good concert on Friday night to spin by as well. I got home quite late on both nights, but, it was not really a problem since I'm a night owl anyway.

As well as learning how to spin on the Sonata, I finally tried Navajo Plying last night for the first time. It looks bad. Honestly. Because I'm still not used to the Sonata's treadle, I tend to treat it to the same amount of speed/rhythm I use on the Minstrel. This does not work because the wheel is larger and requires less treadle speed. As a result, my singles were "a bit" over twisted for the Navajo ply. After much patience on Marva's part while showing me, I managed to muddle my way with two bobbins of barfy ply at the end. I plan to make a hat with this and possibly full or felt it to hide some of the really bad parts. This is part of my self-challenge during the Tour de Fleece. The rest of my challenge is to spin the silk for the yellow BFL. I have a few more days before the TdF ends so I think I can make it. I've decided to spin it on the Minstrel. I pre-drafted it the other night, so it's ready to go for Thursday evening.

Saturday is the guild meeting and cook out at Sandi's farm. Nice warm day, good company, good eats, and lots of laughter, plenty of spin time, and animal visitation is the menu of the day.

Another thing I have been attempting is the fair isle knitting of the Butterfly Sock for the DkKnits KAL. I started it on the smaller size 2 DPNs in my Knit Picks set and, after reading some of the Ravelry threads of how it was too tight in cases, I decided to switch to the larger size 2. Seems to be o.k. now. The fair isle isn't as hard as I thought it would be and I'm pretty happy with the end result. As of today, I have most of one leg done. Tomorrow is craft night at Panera and I plan to finish the leg and maybe start the butterfly on the heel flap. The heel flap may have to wait until I'm home and not distracted though.

Hanna went to the vet today to have her teeth cleaned and had a tooth pulled at the same time. Pooh was beside himself when she left with Pat this morning. When she came home with me this afternoon, he was all over her. ha-ha

Hannah posing

I'm heading off to bed now. It's almost 3 a.m. Good night all.....

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fiber Goodies, Yarn, and It's A Warm, Sleepless Summer Night....

The time is a few minutes after 4 a.m. and I can't sleep. Every time I try, my legs are jumpy as well as my mind. I don't know what going on lately. I've had several of these nights where I'm tired, but, just can't sleep. Usually I just get up and come out to the living room so my poor husband can sleep. The a/c is on in the bedroom, so that's not the cause. Maybe I'm just getting to that age where this starts to happen. What sucks is I'll be dragging my butt around in the morning and not wanting to get up, leading to another wasted morning. Grrrr.

For now, I'm knitting on my basic sock, which is almost ready for the toe decreases. Just about 2 more inches and they start. Here's hoping I zone out from the boring knitting and can go back to bed. I do have a busy day planned for today, including errands, housework, laundry, cooking, and craft night. I know. Not too exciting, but necessary stuff.

I took a break from spinning today because the wrist is a bit sore after finishing all the BFL in two days. Maybe tomorrow I can spin a bit of the silk on the spindle. I think it's going to be on the Butterflygirl one.

My order from CJKopec came in today. It's three different fiber blends and she included a nice fiber gift for me as well. Thanks, Coby. Also arriving today was my order from DkKnits which consisted of my Seaside Bond Collection yarn , two other skeins of yarn , and some roving she had dyed. Lovely stuff.

Well, let me finish this row and try to go to bed again.......

Monday, July 07, 2008

Day 3 of Tour de Fleece...Fiber Dyeing....and Humid Summer Days

As Day 3 arrives, I'm looking at what I accomplished for Day 1 and 2 of this ongoing event I decided to participate in. So far, I've used the Sonata and spun a bobbin full of Corriedale to use to learn how to Navajo ply. The Minstrel is being used for the "Evelyn's Roses" BFL we dyed last month. So far, I've spun 3/4 of a bobbin of that. After realizing how much the BFL poofed up after it was dried from dyeing, I decided to spin it fingering weight. After I ply the matching silk single, I think it will poof again when washed and finished. I chose to use the Minstrel for this so I could have two projects going at once for the Tour de Fleece. It also made sense since I'm still getting used to the Sonata that my spinning tends to be a bit thicker than I wanted for the yellow BFL. I need to decide which will give me the better result, spindle or wheel, for the silk. If the spindle is going to be used, I have my new Golding and two from Butterflygirldesigns to pick from. It needs to be a fine, thin, laceweight for this project. I'm hoping to get enough finished product to make a nice scarf or small shoulder scarf similar in size to Swallowtail which is already on the needles in a different yarn. I don't have a pattern in mind yet. As the yarn develops, I'm going to let it "tell" me what it wants to be knit as. Definitely something lacy.

Besides spending 6 hours with the wheel yesterday, I washed half a fleece and set out the pickle jar full of KoolAde and about 3 ounces of BFL roving to sun dye. Since the sun then decided not to co operate and it became a cloudy, humid day, the jar is still out there "cooking".

Today, I plan to finish the 1/4 bobbin of yellow fiber and start a second one. This morning was also a dump in the trash morning. I tossed a couple of things I'm not planning to use, or feel are useful to anyone else. This is the only way to get a handle on some of my "stashes" other than fiber, yarn, and glass. I'm talking about clothes and odds and ends. The garbage truck just picked up the bag. :)

As I said, it's been high humidity and cloudy the last couple of days around here. The cats and dogs don't seem to mind. It's lay around and chill for them as usual. Katy has decided the big windowsill is her permanent perch and rarely leaves it. She looks so content and plump snoozing away right now. She used to be so tiny as in slinky. Since she became diabetic and went on the insulin, she has gained over 3 pounds and now weighs over 8 pounds. For the first 10 years of her life, she was never more than 5 or 6 pounds. She even has a rounder face now. The attitude is still there so her nickname of "Katitude" is still suitable.

Now we no longer have to worry about "accidents" from sweet Babs, the gate is always open and Hanna and Pooh have the run of the house, except the bedrooms. They are much happier with this than just the kitchen area. The cats have all adjusted well to the two dogs invading their turf, the living room. Megan lets Pooh know he is not allowed to bother her. lol It's funny, that now the gate is open, the cats are in the kitchen more and the dogs still prefer to sleep out there at night.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tour De Fleece, Summer Fairs, The Gathering, and Dog Grooming

Recently, I signed up for the Tour de Fleece, which is a spinning event. You spin every day when the Tour de France starts until it finishes. You also are setting a spinning challenge for yourself. The start date is July 5, and ending on July 27th. I haven't figured out which fiber to spin yet. I'm thinking of the yellow we dyed a few weeks ago. I could use my new Sonata for the occasion, since I had planned to spin this fiber on that wheel. This sounds like a plan.

Spinning demos are planned for the North Stonington Fair and Washington County Fair for this summer. I plan to be at both and hope to get quite a bit spun.

Today is the day I am sending in my choices and payment for the Gathering. The postmark couldn't be before today.

Last night, Hanna and Pooh both received the full treatment. Baths, haircuts, and nail trimming was the order of the night. They were not the happiest little dogs after, but, seem to be recovered now. lol

Well, I need to get ready to go to the vet's with them now. Wish me luck. :)