Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween Everyone!

The candy is given out as much as it's going to be. There's a bit left over, but, I'm giving that to Pat. After the third child was very rude, yelling "Give me some candy" in a very demanding voice, I called it a night. There was one more little girl coming toward my house. She was about 18 months old. I don't know if her hand was covered for a reason or missing. She was adorable and very sweet. I gave her and her parents the last 4 packs of M&Ms I had in the bowl and said have a nice night.

Now the street is quiet and the dogs have calmed down, so I think I will sit here and fix the mistake I made in my Nanner sock while giving out the candy. Then it's going to be an early night.

Tomorrow is the monthly Spin-in at Sue's shop. It's actually October's since she backed it up a week for her schedule. I am riding up with Jean and Lisa from Cranston.

My new picker came in today by UPS. It's a good size, but, unfinished. I think I will have Pat stain it to match my wheels like he is doing for the lazy kate and swift he is making for me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tick, Tick, Goes the Clock .... Dragons....

It's ten days until the Gathering. I'm getting excited. I need to finish emptying those bobbins for my Sonata. Some will get finished at Sue's on Saturday. Pat is busy building me a lazy kate and staining the extra bobbins I bought. I plan to take as many bobbins as I can just in case.

Of course, I always tend to over pack whenever I go away for a couple of days. This time, I'm trying to control what goes in the bag. I figure 2 complete sets of clothes, a nightgown, toiletries and meds. As for the spinning stuff, the wheel and it's accessories are ready. I'm going to carry the straw basket to bring my niddy noddy, ball winder, swift, combs and handcarders, a couple of towels for the dye class and any other item I can think of needing. Oh, and a bit of fiber for the spin in during the evenings. I might throw the socks I'm knitting in there too. They won't be done by then, I'm sure. I think that's all I need to bring.

I'm still playing with the Dragons at Dragon Cave. I have one more to grow up to adulthood in the next couple of days. I'm not going to get any eggs now because I won't be here to work with them.

I am thinking of getting a lap top computer to take with me when I'm not home. Right now, I'm weighing the actual amount of use it would get versus the expense. I don't need a fancy one. Hmmm, need to think some more about that one.

Well, I'm heading into bed now. I've managed to get almost all of the first repeat of the lace on the Nanner Sock 2 done tonight. I started knitting later than usual, so didn't accomplish as much as I would have liked. Maybe tomorrow I can get a couple of complete repeats in. I really should take a little time to work on the Dragons Scale Shawl too. It's been sitting in it's bag for a while with very little attention lately.

Good night, everyone.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Latest Knitting and Spinning Update

I posted all those pics in the previous post, and didn't mention my latest progress on my projects.

All Traveling Scarves from both my groups have been sent to their respective downstream partners. As you know there was a deluge from my first group as we play catch up. My scarf has only a few more stops before she returns home to me. In the pictures on Ravelry, it looks pretty. My other group, crochet sideways scarf, is moving speedily along. My upstream is a fast worker. I am having a bit of a problem with these scarves though. Due to my right wrist, thumb, and tendon problem, I can only crochet of about 30 minutes before it becomes too painful. I think it's the way the hook rests on my hand like a pencil. I tried holding it like a hoe or scoop, but that put more pressure. I just take a bit longer than I would like to complete any crocheting right now. I can knit much longer, and spinning doesn't seem to bother it at all.

With the scarves caught up, I can turn my attention back to my projects. Right now, I'm on the leg of my first Nanner Sock. I struggled my way through the short row heel and have no holes. Yay! I hope to finish it by the end of the weekend if no scarves arrive. This has been a good learning experience for me,also. From the toe up pattern, magic loop method, turkish cast on, and short row heel, it's an interesting and challenging project for me.

The Dragon Scales Shawl is growing slowly, also. I have been alternating it with the socks. It's not a good group project for me since I can mess up lace easily. I took it to craft night, but, didn't work on it. My Nanner sock heel was the project of the night.

As for spinning, I'm trying to empty a couple of bobbins this week as well. I have one almost full on each of my 2 wheels, one ready to ply, and another partially full. If I can ply up the 3 that are ready, and empty the fourth, I should be all set. Pat hasn't had a chance to stain the ones I got from Copper Moose yet. He plans to do that tomorrow, Saturday, in the afternoon since it's going to rain. He's also building me a tensioned Lazy Kate that will work better than my basket one. The basket keeps breaking little pieces off where the knitting needles rest if too much pressure is applied to them. I think the wood is very weak. It did it's job, though when I wanted it to. I will probably keep it for holding my bobbins in at home. I broke another bobbin, too. That's 2 or my original 3 with the metal cores, now. It's a good thing I ordered the extra ones from Copper Moose. At this rate I won't have any of the others left. lol The bobbin was sitting on top of the basket and somehow the whole thing got knocked over. I think a cat might have tapped and off balanced it. Anyway, Pat glued it for me, since it didn't break all the way through. I can still use it until it gets to where it can't be salvaged any more. The first casualty is still usable and spinning as if nothing was ever broken on it.

I am going to process the challenge fiber tonight and hopefully get that spun before the Gathering so I can knit a hat in the evenings there. I need to finish that project before the next meeting when we need to gather all of the hats together.

Well, that's it for projects right now. I'm off to work on finishing that last bit on the Minstrel, and then the Sonata..........
Dye Day and Summer Demo Yarn Pictures

Be warned that there are quite a few pictures this time. I finally got around to downloading the pictures from this summer as well as taking a couple of the yarn and fiber I did on the last dye day a few weeks ago.

First, here's some of the yarns spun or plyed at Washington County Fair back in August. Please bear in mind these pictures are before I washed the yarns, so they look a little fluffier now.
This is the kool ade I solar dyed in the pickle jar. I had spun it at home, and Navajo plyed it at the fair.
BFL koolade dye 1 Jamacia Red Kool Aid N Ply BFL

This is from DkKnits, "Mandeville Trellis". I spun the first bobbin at home, and Navajo plyed it at the fair. I started the second bobbin on the last day of the fair, but, don't have a pic of that one.
dkknits superfluff mandevilla trellis DkKnits Mandeville Trellis N Ply

The next one I had spun back in June, but, had to learn to Navajo ply before I could finish it. I think it came out really nice. It's from Allspunup and I've named it "Beach". It's also my June fiber for the Spinner Central monthly fiber on Ravelry.
All Spun Up Beach SW Merino 1 All Spun Up Beach N Ply

This one is the BFL and Silk I dyed with some friends last spring. I named it in memory of my mother, "Evelyn's Roses". The BFL was spun at home in July, and the Silk was spun at the fair. Both skeins were plyed at the fair. The front skein is 1 ply silk, and 1 ply BFL. The back skein is a 2-ply BFL.
My Fiber Evelyn's Roses braid standing up Evelyn's Roses 2 ply

Here is the latest attempt at dyeing fiber. It's Rambouillet I bought from Flawfulfibers and I just love how this fiber feels when you spin it. It practically spins by itself, letting me do a modified long draw. I've named this one "Pansies in the Sun". The color in the pic is a bit off. The purple looks blue and the raspberry pink looks purple. The purple skein is a 50/50 blend of Merino/Silk dyed in 3 shades of purple. One has a blue undertone. I love the shine from the silk. It is an extremely squishy yarn.
Pansies in the Sun Rambouillet fiber 1 Purple Passion 2

Monday, October 20, 2008

Impromptu Dye Day, Smith Castle Harvest Fair, Tunis Fleece Washing

Last Sunday, Oct. 12th, was a beautiful, sunny day without a rain cloud anywhere in sight. I spent the day with a couple of friends, our wheels, and knitting. Of course, fiber and yarns were brought along just in case the dye pot came out. It did. I made a beautiful tri-shaded purple yarn I'm naming "Purple Passion" and then 4 ounces of Rambouillet fiber in a bright happy yellow, purple, and raspberry. Where the colors met, greens and oranges were created. This is called "Pansies in the Sun". After we finished setting up the second round on the steamers, we took a ride and after meeting up with another friend, decided to stop at a New York Pizza restaurant. Delicious pizza and garlic bumps were served fresh from the oven, piping hot, along with cold sodas. After that we headed back and packed up for the day.

Wednesday was Craft Night as usual at Panera. Again, it was a small group. I think some of the missing friends will be back this week. One was in Italy on vacation and I know she will have stories to tell.

This past Saturday was another impromptu adventure. Marva and I were going to head to the Fiber Hop event in Hopkinton/Hope Valley. Instead, since we had a late start, we decided to check out Smith Castle's Harvest Fair. Several familiar faces were demonstrating and selling things. We ran into the lady, Janet Austin, who gave our Tapestry Workshop last spring. Jonne was there with one of his wheels demonstrating. One of the nurses I used to work with was doing a candle dipping demo. Also, there was natural dyeing, a blacksmith demo, soap, jewelry, alpacas and fiber/yarn, fresh cheese, bread, johnny cakes, apple cider, and of course, the Museum. Many people were in period dress. I think it made the event more festive.We were there until 4 p.m. and had a great time. An invitation was issued for the RI Spinners Guild to come to the Strawberry Festival in May and the next Harvest Festival in 2009 to do demonstrations.

Today, I washed another fleece. This one was the Tunis and is a pretty creamy color. It's not really white, but, more of a soft buttery color. It's drying downstairs since it's too cold to process anything outside now or leave in the shed to dry. We used a pump to empty the bins after the washings and the rinses were done in the washer.

That's it for now. I am going to head down to the drug store to get my meds and then call it a night. Have an enjoyable evening. :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fence Installation, Another Scarf is Sent Traveling, and Spinners Guild Meeting

The sun was barely up this morning when Pat got me out of bed to help him with the new fence. We started at 6:45 and worked until about 10 a.m. with the result of 6 sections installed as well as the connector to the house. Now one side is finished. Did I mention these are 8 foot sections??? I was so tired, I had to take a power nap which turned into an hour. Of course, the other reason I was so tired was I just couldn't sleep last night. I think I got 4 hours.

I hope we can get the other side installed next week, and then the gate can be put up. This will enclose the yard, keeping unintended visitors of the 2 and 4 legged variety from straying into it. It will also give me great privacy if I wish to sit out with my wheel while the weather is nice. The back has a chain link for now, but will be receiving a stockade later. The dogs are going to love running and frolicking once it's finished. Next comes the deck. Yippee!!

I rushed after waking up to get showered and dressed to head out to the post office and mail another Traveling Scarf on it's way.

Then it was time to head down to Gilbert Stuart Museum in South County for our meeting. The fall foliage is starting to show it's glorious self and the ride was very soothing. It's a true wonder to watch nature at work.

I got there with 5 minutes to spare. It was nice to see so many friends again and listen to the wheels whirr away. Since we have so many new members, and continue to grow, we went around the room and introduced and gave a little history about ourselves.

Two members, Dave W. and Richard, had their wheels set up to give us great demonstrations and tutorials in flax preparation and spinning. It was quite interesting to see it up close. Dave had done a demo at Coggeshall Farm last month, but, I didn't get to really see it. I don't think I will actually work with this fiber in the near future, but, it is nice to understand it better.

Friday, October 10, 2008

All the Pretty Colors in My Head, A Quiet Craft Night

Well, as far as washing the fleece and getting the scarves out of here are concerned - it didn't happen. I got busy with other stuff and none of that was accomplished.

Craft night was quiet with only Lisa, Marva, and myself. I worked on my Dragon Scales Shawl only to have to frog back over two rows to fix a mistake. Marva was working on a pretty new scarf pattern she had just got, and Lisa was working on an adorable baby blanket. There was much counting and a bit of frogging from all of us.

Today was a doctor's appointment. Not a biggie, just an annual. Everything is fine. I did mention my funky moods the other day. She thinks it's just my age and tried to attribute it to my being home. I explained that I have a busier social life now than when I worked. I'm not going to worry about it.

I did do a bit of spinning on the Minstrel, since I really want to empty out both of those bobbins and return them to the Sonata.

Now, the colors in my head are in regard to some dyeing I want to do. I've come up with about eight different themes, mostly centered around winter and the holidays. I have Merino, BFL, Rambouillet, silk, bamboo, and Corriedale all here I could dye up. Plus sock yarns. I just need to order the dyes to get started.

Pat has said I can use the small room in the basement for my stuff, so I think I will use it as a dyeing studio. It's away from the animals and I won't have to worry about them being safe from the chemicals and things. The lighting is good and has plenty of outlets to plug things into.. My glass studio will have to stay upstairs though. The room isn't big enough to handle both things. I might have him hook the phone line back up in there as well so I will have a phone handy while down there and not have to run upstairs for it. There's a sink in the laundry room that will work.

Well I'm off to bed now. Tomorrow is housework day and the never ending laundry will be needing attention again too.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Jane Austen Quiz

I joined the "Jane Austen Book Club" group on Ravelry and this quiz was posted in a thread. I had took it a while ago and am still the same character.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Feeling Better and Plugging Along on Projects

Today finds me in a better frame of mind and spirit. I've got an appointment in an hour at the podiatrist and will feel better after dealing with that. I'm taking my Nanner Sock with me to work on in the waiting room, just in case. Usually I get in rather quickly there, but, you never know. After posting last night, it took me another 2 hours to finally get to bed. I started doing a couple of things and the next thing I knew Pat was home.

The plan is to wash a fleece tomorrow and get that out of the way. If I can get to it, I'm going to set my drum carder up tonight and work on some of the fiber I have in the bins that need processing.

The crochet scarf is also on the agenda for tonight. I would like to drop that one in the mail tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, there won't be one waiting for me so I can catch up with the last knit one. That one will be going to Craft Night with me I think.

Well, I need to get ready to go to the doctor so I'll see you all later......

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fiber Update and a Whiny Post, So Be Warned....

Yesterday was the National Spin/Weave/Knit event at Slater Mill. Several basket makers, quilters, knitters, crocheters, weavers, and spinners were all present demonstrating their love of textiles crafts. It was great to meet so many people there from Ravelry, and see and catch up with friends not visited in a long time. I finally got to meet Guido from It's a Purl Man Podcast. He and his wife were very nice to talk to. Three more people have joined the RI Spinners Guild as well. It was a fun day with about a half bobbin filled of the Ramboullet fiber I started last month at Sue's Sit and Spin. I hope to finish that one this weekend maybe at my Spinners Guild meeting Saturday. The plan is to then get back to a couple of other bobbins awaiting plying. One from a center pull ball, and the other a 2-ply of an alpaca single and a wool single which were spun back in May. The Minstrel still has part of the 12 ounces of BFL from Spunky Eclectic in "Mandy" on it. Here's hoping I get a bit more of that done too, since my Sonata bobbins are tied up in that fiber by accident. If possible, and Mother Nature permits, I want to wash another fleece Friday or Sunday. I just need to to do the wash part outside. I don't like to let the grease/lanolin go down my pipes. The rinses I do in the washer, then lay the fiber on elevated screens to dry.

Several Traveling Scarves have been knit or crocheted on lately and headed to their next destination as well. I have one of each sitting here today and plan to finish them both by Thursday or Friday. The crochet is next since a knit one went out today. As for my own knitting, it's sitting on the sidelines while I tend to the scarves and spinning.

For the last few weeks my hand has been sore. This is the hand in which I have a tendinitis type thing from the broken wrist last winter. The cortisone is mostly worn off and this is the cause of the pain. I can only crochet for about thirty minutes and have to stop, put the ice or heat on and rest it. It's not bad with the knitting or spinning. Jars are very hard to open, baskets and things are difficult to carry, and trying to pick up a cat or dog is tricky. Groceries are carried on the left arm and take a few trips to the car.

In the morning I have to do range of motion and sometimes the pain makes me catch my breath. Calling the doctor won't really help. He will just advise me to do what I already am. Of course, this is also my dominant hand and writing can also be awkward at times if the pain starts.

I dread the onset of winter because my hands and feet are always cold. This started about 7 years ago when I learned I was diabetic.

Tonight I'm in a funky mood. Earlier I was fine, then cranky, now mopey. I don't know what's wrong with me today. I don't feel sick, just don't want to be bothered. Little things are aggravating me for no reason. Uggh! Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. I also have a sore toe and am going to the podiatrist tomorrow to have a procedure to take care of it.

Well, that's enough whining for one night. I think I will straighten out the desk and call it an early night for me. It's only a bit after 11:00, but I think I'm ready to snooze. Good night all........

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A New Spin Group and The Gremlins Strike Again.....

I was invited to the Bayberry Spinners meeting last night. It was fun to see so many familiar faces again. My wheel was making a clunky noise, so when I got home it got a thorough cleaning. Pat looked at it, and tried a few things. First, he tried to tighten the footman arm at the top. The brass piece is kind of loose, but I think it's better now. Then he took the right treadle apart and tightened one of the screws which was a bit higher than the others, checked the hinge, oiled it and put it back together. Well it was still making a noise, but a little different. He adjusted something else and now Esmeralda is quiet again. And boy was it dirty in the hinges. I think originally a piece of sand or a pebble might have been stuck from when I was at the demos outside. There was some stuff on the table after we did the treadle.

As I've mentioned before, there are gremlins living in my house stealing knitting needles. Well, I think they have advanced to bigger things. I searched last night for bobbins after realizing I didn't have one to ply with on the Sonata. I know I have 5 for this wheel. Finally about an hour ago, I found the last one. One's on the wheel, one is full waiting for plying, one is in another fiber started, and one is on the Minstrel. I wasn't thinking when I went back to spin on Millicent and started a new bobbin, using my other nylon core one. Duh! I've got 6 metal core sitting here empty. Now, I need to finish up something in order to ply on the Sonata. Of course, I could take the bobbin off the Minstrel and use one of the metal core bobbins for it. Hmmm, might be a good idea.

By the way, the Gremlins still have not returned the circulars or my Dolphin shaped notions case......