Thursday, April 29, 2010

Crazy Weather ... Finished Yarn ... Slipper Knitting

Ssshhhh. Don't tell Mother Nature, but I think she is a bit confused or extremely put out with the world. In the past month we have the Flood of 2010, followed by super warm days that felt more like June than April. This past week we have had a tremendous thunderstorm accompanied by giant pea size hail, low temperatures with frost on the windows in the late evening, and the last two days with blustery winds whipping trees like they are twigs. I hope Mother Nature calms down and doesn't decide to send blistering heat this summer. Oops. Maybe I shouldn't have said that.

On the spinning front, I have finished plying the Merino/Bamboo I won during the Ravelympics. As I mentioned before, it's called "Steel Magnolia" from FatCatKnits. The name is perfect because the finished yarn reminds me of the delicate flower. I Navajo plied it because the colors were remaining separate during the spinning portion. I'll post a pic after I set the twist.

Fuzzy Feet slippers were my travel project on the way to and from CT Sheep and Wool last week. As of yesterday, slipper 1 is ready for felting and slipper 2 is cast on. I'm not rushing these since they really are suppose to be my travel project right now. These are a fun, easy knit and work up fast thanks to the size 10 needles and worsted weight yarn used. If you have thought about making socks, but felt intimidated, this is a good pattern to start with. There is no actual rib, and except for the heel flap, you can do the entire sock on a 16 inch size 10 circular needle if you want. I somehow didn't read that part and just used DPNs for the whole thing. It works either way, and is good practice for using DPNs with fingering weight yarn socks later.

Right now, I think I will sit down with my Evenstar Shawl which hasn't seen much love this past week with other things needing attention. Bye for now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spinning Wheel on "Pawn Stars" Show

My husband and I like to watch a show called "Pawn Stars" on the History Channel. It's about a pawn shop in Vegas run by three family members, father, son, and grandson and a few staff members.

Last night's episode included someone bringing in a spinning wheel they wanted to sell. It had belonged to his grandmother and then mother. I recognized it as a Country Craftsman. The man didn't have a clue what to do with it or what it was worth. Rick, the son part of the owners, proceeded to tell him it was a "fake" wheel when he saw the stamp under the table of the wheel. He called it just a pretty decoration, saying people didn't really use them. Except for little old ladies. He then proceeded to say it was a worthless item and he should take it home and use it as a decoration. Or try to sell it to a shop that does home decorating. Grrr.

This wheel was complete. All it needed was a driveband. There was fiber and yarn on the bobbin. I'm tempted to write into the show and tell him he was wrong about it. I was surprised at his response because usually he will tell the owner of the item if he isn't sure of an item, not just brush it off.

Yep. I'm going to write a comment to the show. I'll let you know if I hear anything back.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Opening Day at Gilbert Stuart Birthplace

Today was the first day of the season for a historical home in Rhode Island. With a constant drizzle of rain, nine spinners, myself included, sat with our wheels in the tobacco mill and talked about making yarn. Johnnycakes, hot dogs, coffee, and lemonade were available to keep us full and warm. Flowers and some beautiful beaded items and jewelry were available to buy or just look at.

I managed to almost finish spinning the last of my Merino/Bamboo from FatCatKnits. Plans were to spin the last half ounce tonight, but, it didn't happen. I'll do it tomorrow night and start the plying as well.

Here are some pics of the grounds of the Museum. The first two are of the pond. The waters are still high from the recent Flood of 2010.

These two pictures are where you can usually see the fish swimming. Not so today.

Here's the view from the walking bridge and a shot of the waterwheel from the front.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fiber Festival Season Begins Today

Today was the kick off of the New England Fiber Festivals of the Spring. CT Sheep and Wool held all it's usual wonders and fibery goodness. It was the first time a friend of mine had been to a festival and she had a wonderful time. Seeing some friends I hadn't seen in a while was especially nice. The more years I go to the festivals, the more people I remember from the previous year. It was lovely to talk to some I haven't seen since last year's CT festival.

Of course, two Border Leicester fleece, one black and one white, came home with me. Add to that 1/4 of a gorgeous white scoured 4-pound Mohair fleece which was split between 4 of us. I was tempted to add both a Cormo and a Polypay fleece to my growing pile, but decided to wait until the MA festival in May. Both fleece were hard to leave behind.

My favorite wool fiber, Rambouillet, was being sold in the yellow barn at the A Touch of Twist booth. I got some to add to my dye stash. This fiber takes dye beautifully, and, spins like a dream. A couple of colored bumps also made their way into my bag for my spinning pleasure.

A new T-shirt also came home with me with this year's logo on it.

That's it. I didn't use all the money I had budgeted for today and am very satisfied with my newest acquisitions.

It's going to be an early night for me since I've been up since 4:30 this morning. I think I will go spin for a bit and finish a bobbin while the wool fumes are still floating around my head.

This was so much fun and I get to do it all over again in May. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fun at the Fiber Mill and New Lambs at the Farm

Wednesday found me riding up to Fibers4Ewe Mill with Sandi after a quick stop at Mystic River Yarns for a set of Addi Turbo Lace circular needles in the 60 inch size. I need these for my Evenstar Shawl. A skein of Mountain Colors sock yarn in the colorway "Lodgegrass" also came home with me.

When we got to the Mill, Liz was busy working on orders and packing stock for the
CT Sheep and Wool Festival which is this Saturday in Tolland, CT from 9a.m. to 4p.m. I helped Liz pack up some of her rovings and yarns. During that, I found 3 more rovings that were the same as my purple sparkly one I had bought back in October at the Pumpkin Festival. Of course all three had to come home with me, along with a lovely skein of sock yarn. I hope to have enough yarn from this fiber when I spin it up to make a good size shawl. The sock yarn is spun by Liz on her spinner machine and it's a dream to work with. I can't wait to pick out a pattern to knit it up in. Let's just say I started my festival shopping early. lol

Part of the time I was there I learned a little about how the machines processed the fiber. I actually got to put a fleece through the picker for that part of the process and add to to the conveyor belt for the carding machine. Sandi was working at the pin drafter. It was cool to watch different colored rovings become a lovely blend. My hands were itching just to snuggle some of the finished products. We had pizza and soda for lunch in between. The day just flew by and before we knew it, the clock said 3:45.

Supper was nice, as well. We went back to the farm and picked up Sandi's husband to join us for Chinese at the Tea Room Restaurant in North Stonington. It's in the plaza in front of the Senior Center where we have our Happy Hands Fiber Arts Group gathering every month. The food was really good, and it's the first Chinese food I've had in a long time. :)

Sandi has some new lambs at the farm. There are a set of month old adorable gray Merino/Coopworth cross ewes, and a five day old rambunctious Cotswold ram. As of last night, she can add another Cotswold ram, and a set twin Coopworth - one ewe and one ram. I can't wait to see the latest additions.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spin Demo, Destash Raffle, and New Spun Yarn

Last Saturday, April 10, found me in Groton, CT at the Groton Family Farm Sheep Shearing Day. Happy Hands Fiber Arts Group was asked to do a spinning demo during the shearing. It was a wonderful, happy time with over 100 people coming to see the Shetlands get their hair cuts. Monet, Sandi, and I were spinning on wheels, and Lora was using her spindle. Hot Chocolate, coffee, and cookies were offered. Eggs and honey were also available for sale. Of course, there was processed fiber available from last year's shearing. I think it was my favorite demo so far.

We had bought some of Warren's fiber during our first Happy Hands Fiber Arts Group Gathering last January, so we were spinning some of this fiber during the demo. An additional eight ounces found it's way home with me to be added to the original 8.

After leaving Groton, I decided I could still make it to Pawtucket to the Spinners Guild meeting which was at Slater Mill for April. I got there at 2 o'clock, so only missed the first hour of it. I really wanted to finish the bobbin I had started that morning so I kept going. A few days later, with two bobbins full, I have 8.35 ounces and 599.5 yards of pretty yarn. It's a heavy lace/light fingering weight. It will be joined by the other 8 after I finish the Merino/Bamboo I had started previously.

Sunday, found me heading back to CT for the monthly gathering of Happy Hands. This time, I had a big bag of yarn and a fleece to destash. At the March gathering, Lora had asked about destashing some of her yarns. It was decided to turn it into a "raffle" and have everyone bring stuff to re-home. I also belong to the Ocean State Knit and Crochet Guild and this is originally something I participated in with them. All the goodies were put on the table and arranged by item or group. A cup was put in front of each item/group. Everyone was given 20 "tickets" to write their name on and then put in the cup of the item they hoped to win. We had a bunch of fun and laughs with everyone going home with at least one new to them item. There were a few items left with no tickets. It was decided to donate them to the Senior Center where we hold our gatherings. Here's a couple pictures of the tables. Sorry they are a little blurry.

Oh, I almost forgot. I came home with a beautiful russet brown alpaca fleece and half of a yearling Mohair fleece. I gave half the Mohair to the other name in the cup with me, Monet. We were both drooling over it. lol :)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Blog Housekeeping

There are some new templates available, so I decided to clean up my blog a little. Actually, breathe a little color into it. :)
Leave a comment and tell me what you think of the new look.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Still Cleaning Up

There is still some water in the basement which is slowly being cleared up. The ground is still so saturated, it's still weeping in a little bit. The water only got a couple inches deep at it's worst. I consider us extremely lucky compared to so many other people. It could have been much worse. There's a tributary and pond behind a street in back of me. Before this flood, the worst storm I had seen in my lifetime was the Blizzard of '78.

I'm hoping to get the dye room back to normal so I can use it by next week. The big braided rug in the main room of the basement is going to be trashed. We may be scraping up some of the tiles too. I don't know how much of the stuff not in plastic bins is needing to be trashed yet. Thank goodness the boiler, hot water tank, washer and dryer are all safe.

My heart goes out to the people who have lost so much due to this catastrophe.