Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

Finally, I've had time to clean up my on line photo storage, take pictures of my haul from SAFF, and sit down to tell you all about my recent adventures.

We arrived at SAFF bright and early last Saturday morning with a plan of attack already mapped out! From the on line vendor listing, we knew Lewis from Little Barn was vendor number 1 and our first stop! Imagine my delight to see Silja sock yarn for $2.75 a skein! Twenty-two skeins later, I stopped! We also picked up some spinning fibers from Lewis.

After spending several minutes with Lewis, husband's wallet was noticeably lighter, and our loads were noticeably heavier. Being the gentleman he is, husband took our loot to the truck! Nothing else along the way really caught our eye until we rounded almost the first half of the arena upper level. I noticed a young woman wearing a shirt that said "X Marks the Scot." Cool, I thought. Scottish things are interesting. Little did I know that this particular Scot was my blog pal Shea! Fortunately, she recognized daughter from my description in an e-mail, and approached us. We had a nice chat and planned to meet again later.

A few minutes later, we found ourselves with Karen, the nice bunny breeder from whom we'd gotten our beloved Phoebe back in February. We chatted with Karen and told her how well Phoebe is doing and how much we love having her in our family. Karen told us about a little buck who needed a home. Upon seeing the cute little guy, we decided he had to join our family, too. We've named him Patrick, and he is a satin angora like Phoebe. Patrick was born three months after Phoebe, so they are pretty close in age. He is a red, and she is a chestnut.

I had the pleasure of meeting Linda from Grafton Fibers at SAFF. She's such a nice lady, and she had some of the most gorgeous Corriedale cross batts for sale! We ended up with 5 of them. The stuff is a dream to spin. Here are some of the batts we've not yet spun as well as one of the three spinning wheel baskets I got from another vendor.

Here is a sample of some yarn I spun from another of Linda's batts. It's the one on the right in this photo. The purple yarn is some that daughter spun. I can't remember who the vendor was. The colors in the photo are not nearly as vibrant as they are in person!

I found a very useful toy at SAFF! It's Katie-a-go-go, a portable tensioned lazy kate. I hesitated to buy this, but I am so glad that I did! It is really nice, and it's so portable, too. It fits well in my spinning back pack!

We spent most of our time at SAFF socializing. The spinners' circle was our favorite hang out spot, and we enjoyed seeing many of our friends from Peachtree Handspinners Guild. Here is a special young spinner who belongs to our family. Doesn't she look like she's having fun?

I wanted to share some photos with you last week, but thanks to Comcast....we won't go there. Here is a picture of "the lion" (our tom kitty, Mocha) lying down with "the lamb" (some roving husband was trying to spin).

Here is some pencil roving I spun. Husband was out of town a few weeks ago, and I decided to fire up the dye pot all by myself. This is a photo of the single on the bobbin of my Schacht. I needed a free bobbin at SAFF, so wound off the single and now can't find it. It has to be here somewhere. I need to ply it.

That's the SAFF report. On Sunday afternoon, I flew from Asheville to Orlando for business. That is a story unto itself, so I think I'll save it for another time. Let's just say it is great to be home. I missed my family, my wheel, and all of you!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I Am Back!

Immediately after SAFF, I had to fly to Orlando on business. There was no internet service at my hotel, so no chance to blog. I just drove in from Atlanta (boo hiss on Delta!!!) and will give you an update on SAFF as well as my Orlando trip tomorrow!! I missed you guys!

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Car is Packed!

The car is packed and we're almost ready to head out to our great SAFF adventure! I've been looking forward to this since last year!! I hope to see some of you there.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Asheville, Here We Come

Tomorrow is the big day....and I'm not ready! There are still clothes in the washer waiting their turn to go into the dryer and then on into suitcases. There are crafty things waiting to be packed. EEK! I may not get to sleep tonight.

Look for me at SAFF! I'll be the plump, dark haired almost 40 year old accompanied by a very handsome bald man and a gorgeous auburn haired almost 12 year old girl. If you see the man trying to buy mini sheep, STOP HIM! They don't allow those in city limits, but I can see dear husband trying to tell the authorities the sheep is a new breed of poodle. That's my guy!

There would have been some lovely pictures tonight....had it not been for Comcast. Apparently I've used up all my allowed disk space. Comcast does not make it easy at all to manage accounts either. Just when you think you have it all figured out, they change things around. Fooey on you, Comcast.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

48 Hours to Go!

The countdown to SAFF is well under way! We are leaving about midday on Friday for Asheville. I can't wait. What do we need? Well, nothing. It's just going to be fun to see all the animals and all the vendors. I'm not taking classes. Nothing really jumped out at me as a must do. I am making a list of some things I want (note want, not need) such as some wool yarn for felting.

The spinning demo/class that husband did was quite a success! He did this for an undergraduate weaving class from Savannah College of Art and Design. This opportunity could turn into something more for him. The shop owner asked if he'd be interested in teaching a spinning class! How exciting. He is so in love with spinning and this is just one more way he can help others become as addicted as he is. :-)

Have you ever been too tired to knit? That's been me the past few days. This "single parent" thing I've been going through Monday and Tuesday really sucks! We've been so busy with my job, after school appointments, homework, housework, etc. that I've been too exhausted to do anything in the evenings. Tonight will find us gathering things for daughter's class field trip. They are going on a three day camping trip starting Monday, and we have to pack tonight since we're out of town over the weekend. This trip was put off two or three times in September due to the hurricanes, so I hope that this time they'll actually get to go. The forecast is for rain, but it's now or never for this trip. The kids will love it no matter what.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Yes, I had the old "cauldron" out last night doing a little dying. This is my first solo dye job, and it didn't turn out half bad. I dyed some pencil roving in magenta, apricot, and purple. The dye didn't go all the way through the ball of roving, so I'm going to have some nice touches of cream in the resulting yarn.

I am ashamed to say that I've not touched knitting needles in two days. I dutifully picked up the zip loc baggy containing my fluted banister sock and took it to daughter's orthodontic appointment yesterday and to her dentist appointment today. I think little sock enjoyed the outings even if it did have to sit in that old plastic bag both times. Maybe tonight...

Three more days until we leave for SAFF! I can hardly wait. I don't know what I want, and heaven knows I don't need a thing. I'm just excited. I think seeing all the pictures and bloggings of Maryland Sheep and Wool a few months ago and now all the talk about Rhinebeck just has me in a fiber festival frame of mind! If you want to read a wonderful story about a Rheinbeck adventure, you have to visit Amie's blog, RoseByAny. That girl knows how to tell a story!

I am planning to do some updating and improving around this blog within the next few weeks, hopefully before Thanksgiving. I'm going to add a list of sites that I read regularly as well as some links to my favorite vendors and other useful sites. If you read me regularly and would like me to add you to my list (including a handy dandy link back to your site) drop me a note!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Why Yes, He Does Sell Those Spindles!

I've heard from several people wondering if husband sells his spindles. Yes, as a matter of fact he does. He's sold some to a shop in Savannah, GA, and apparently they flew off the shelves they sold so fast. He will do sales by mail in the US at a cost of $10 per spindle plus shipping costs. If you are interested, e-mail me and tell me the size spindle you want (see yesterday's post) as well as the finish (paint or stain).

I worked a bit on the K1P1 hat that I'm making from Merino Plus and started the decreases last night. I wasn't happy with the way it was turning out so ripped all the decrease rows out. I'll have to play with it and see what I come up with as far as a nice looking decrease.

I'm still working on a project for my Knitty Secret Pal and was hoping to have it ready to ship today. Unfortunately, the project isn't cooperating, so it isn't quite ready to mail. Maybe tomorrow. I really need to get it out this week.

I'm planning to get back on my Fluted Banister socks tonight. I've taken a little break from them, and they are calling for attention.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Busy Weekend

We had quite a busy weekend! Saturday found us at one of the local universities for a science fair type activity. There were displays and hands on activities in areas including robotics, weather, math, chemistry, archaelogy, and environmental science. Daughter collected quite a bit of material for her science class at school. She has to do a series of reports and projects this year, and she is well-armed with material now. One of the highlights of the day for her was meeting one of our local meteorologists. She's seen him on TV before, and meeting him in person was quite exciting. She got his autograph and even had her picture made with him! He was such a nice guy and so good with the kids.

After the science fair and lunch, we stopped in at one of the local yarn shops to see their new location. They are still very much in the moving and renovating stage, so we had to maneuver our way around boxes and avoid stepping on the freshly painted polka dots on the floor. I managed to find two skeins of Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn (like I needed more sock yarn!) in Ruby River and Evergreen. The colors are so much nicer in person than I can get them to show up in photographs. I am thinking the Evergreen will be nice for Jeanie Townsend's Cascading Leaves pattern.

Colonial Days was being held in our town this weekend, and we couldn't pass up the chance to attend that! Colonial Days is a nice time for the re-enactors to demonstrate the life and times of the mid 18th century. We saw dancers, backwoods hunters, blacksmiths, a spinner, Native Americans, toy makers, and a variety of other personifications. We had a great time talking to the spinner and even took a turn at helping her comb wool, drop spindle, and knit. Here is a picture of some of the folks attending the event.

The rest of our weekend has been filled with supervising science projects and fibering. The dye pot has been going strong today, and I've been working on a fiber related project for my Knitty secret pal. Of course I can't reveal the almost finished object to you, because I don't want my Pal to guess my identity!

Husband is teaching a spinning class in Savannah later this week, so I need to show you some of the spindles he's prepared for the class to use. He has been making toy wheel spindles for the past year and does a nice job. He usually uses craft paint to decorate them but recently decided to try staining them. Here are some examples of his work in two different size spindles.

The stained spindle is the smaller of the two. It weighs approximately 28 grams with a length of 10.5 inches. The whorl is about 2 inches in diameter. The painted spindle weighs approximately 48 grams and is 11 inches long. It has a whorl about 2.5 inches in diameter. Husband does his spinning with the smaller size spindle and uses the larger to ply.

Here are views of the tops of the spindles:

Friday, October 15, 2004

My Favorite Day of the Week

Ah! Friday is here at last. This has been quite the interesting week what with the ER visit and all. I'm glad to report that daughter is doing much better now. Thank goodness it was just a bad bruise and not a break.

I managed some spinning time last night and got to try out my Woolee Winder. Wow! It is the best thing since sliced bread, as they say. I love it. My bobbins are so nice and even. I am planning to ply tonight and dye my yarn. What fun!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Just When We Thought We'd Have a Relaxed Evening...

Last night while I was making dinner, husband commented that he'd like to spin and knit a bit afterward. That sounded good to me, because I wanted to get some time to try out my new wheel toy. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Just moments after our conversation, we heard a crash from the back of the house and a cry of pain from daughter. She'd been sitting in her bed doing homework (an antique iron bed that sits up about 3 feet off the floor) and instead of getting out of bed to put her books back in her backpack, she leaned over the side of the bed to do it. She fell and landed on her elbow. We called the pediatrician (who was not in the office due to the time of day) and were able to speak to the nurse on call. Because daughter was in a lot of pain and not able to move her arm, off to the ER we went to get her checked out. Fortunately, x-rays revealed a healthy arm, so the doctor concluded daughter only has a very bad bruise. They gave her a dose of pain killer with codeine and sent us home. It seems that daughter is feeling a bit better today, and she should be back to her old self in a couple of days. She has to sit out PE for the next 2 days, and she's not terribly disappointed about that!

Yesterday was the last volleyball game of the season, and our girls won!! They only lost one game this year. I wish they played for a few more weeks, because they are really doing well and playing so much better. They've had a good time with it, too, and that is the most important thing.

In spinning content, I looked longingly at my wheel last night, but I didn't get to do anything more than caress it a bit. I took knitting along with me to the ER and got a few rows done on a K1P1 hat that I'm making. That's it. I was too pooped from our big adventure to do anything else.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Never Say Never

I am sitting here chuckling, because husband who just could not see why people would want to recycle yarn from thrift store sweaters is busily unraveling a 100% cashmere sweater salvaged from Goodwill! At $4.50 each, I guess it's quite a bargain. He was beside himself with joy when he found a gorgeous mens size XL in charcoal grey. The sweater was much too large for him to wear, but perhaps he can make something equally nice with the salvaged yarn.

I had a great Goodwill find myself--a 100% Icelandic Wool sweater in almost perfect condition! This sweater is not destined for the "recycle" pile but is going to make a nice addition to my wardrobe. Again, at $4.50, how could I pass it up!! The sweater is clean looking with no stains at all, no snags, only a couple of pills, and it has all its buttons. I've been wanting a Dale of Norway sweater for a while now, and this looks close enough to one to me!

Here is a photo of the first Little Shells sock. One down, one to go. The fit is perfect on daughter.

I've made good progress on the Fluted Banister sock, too. I am actually liking this pattern a lot more than when I started it yesterday. It knits up quickly and looks nice.

Husband got the Woolee Winder going on my wheel last night. It works great! He spun a bit, but I haven't had a chance yet to try it out. Maybe tonight I will. I am going to spin some natural colored pencil roving and then handpaint the resulting yarn. At least that's the plan right now!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Lazy Sunday

Today has been a wonderful lazy day. I have been putting off casting on for the third sock (Fluted Banister) in the Six Sox KAL, so today I decided it was time to get on with it. I am using some Plymouth Sockotta in the colorway 14. I've seen it named Hawaii, Ocean, Pacific, and Marine. It's a nice mixture of blues and greens. I've never used this yarn before, but was attracted to it because of the high percentage of cotton to wool. Wool socks sometimes get a little warm here in the south. I'm pleased with the way the socks are working up so far, but I'm not wild about this pattern. It's pretty worked up, so maybe I'll get more into it as the sock grows!

I want to make this shawl: Sea Scallop Shawl. Isn't that the prettiest thing? I stumbled across the pattern today while lusting over yarn on line.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Girl Day!!

Daughter and I started the day wonderfully--there's nothing like waking up to a sweet hug, kiss and snuggle from your child. We made ourselves a hearty breakfast then set out for some shopping. Interestingly enough, I ended up with a $5 wallet from Wal Mart while she brough home bags of clearance rack finds from Cato and two new pair of shoes from Hamricks! We also found the perfect pink sweater and scarf to go with her poodle skirt. I ordered saddle oxfords from an e-bay seller last night, so all we need now is the crinoline. I'm glad I checked e-bay, because they had the exact same shoes (same brand and everything) for $28 on buy-it-now that the local 50s shop was selling for $49. Yes, I had to pay shipping, but even adding that in, I saved about $15 by ordering. Sometimes you can find a deal on e-bay.

While we were out shopping, I picked up some catnip to go in the little mouse that I made. The kitties should love that! If they cooperate, I'll post a picture of the high cats for you. Mocha, our boy kitty, especially goes wild for cat nip.

It was a great mail day today! I have a new toy--a Woolee Winder for my spinning wheel! Husband has one on his Lendrum, and I'm so impressed with it. The Woolee Winder winds the yarn onto the bobbin very evenly. You don't have to remember to stop and move the yarn onto the next hook, because this little contraption does it for you. It's kind of pricey, but since work had given me the $200 in Am Ex checks, it was sort of like having "found" money. I can't wait to give this thing a spin, literally!

Friday, October 08, 2004

EEK! A Mouse!

I found this pattern for a felted catnip mouse and thought it might be fun to make. Besides the fun for me, my cats will LOVE having a new toy. I think the project took about an hour to knit and just a few minutes to felt. I felted it by hand in the kitchen sink--just filled the sink with warm water, added a little Dawn dish liquid, and squished and squeezed the mouse until I was pleased with the felting. Here is how my mouse turned out:

Remember the yarn I spun this weekend? Here are the pictures. This yarn is from the pencil roving I dyed a few weeks ago.

I opted to buy a poodle skirt for daughter instead of taking on another project and sewing it myself. The cost was going to be about the same either way. We stopped in at Lost in the 50s yesterday and got a great black poodle skirt with a pink poodle on it. The skirt is adorable! I think we'll go back today and get the saddle oxfords, too.

Amie, AKA RoseByAny, has started a spinning blog web ring! I'm on the waiting list, but it'll be Sunday before tech support (husband!) will be home to help me get the code loaded to my blog. I seem to mess it up every time I try. Here's one of the neat buttons Amie made for us to use.

We girls are on our own for the weekend. We have lots of fun girl things planned. We might also dye some of those "cheeses" that are sitting so temptingly by the fireplace. I'd like to do some spinning this weekend, and of course some knitting. We also have a copy of Aladdin (first time on DVD!) that will need to be watched. We miss Daddy/Husband when he's not around, but we do enjoy our girl time, too!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

A Star Is Born

Warning: Bragging, Proud Mom Post Alert

My daughter has one of the lead roles in the school Grandparent's Day musical! Her music class is putting on a performance featuring 50s music, and daughter has to part of Mary Lou, a naive 50s high school girl. She is so excited! She has quite a bit of lines to say and she has to dance with a boy! I had a moment of temporary insanity when I thought I'd sew the costume myself, but then reality smacked me on the head. There is a 50s memorabilia shop not too far from our house. We stopped in today and bought a cute black poodle skirt. I still need to buy the crinoline to go under the skirt, a sweater, probably a scarf to tie around her neck, bobby socks and a pair of saddle oxfords. Daughter has a very unique sense of fashion--she doesn't want to look like everyone else--so I am sure all the clothing except the poodle skirt and crinoline will be worn to school. She also said that she'll wear this as her Halloween costume this year. Her school includes pre-school through grade 12, and all of the kids dress up each year and have a costume parade. It's lots of fun.

I knit on the Little Shells socks last night but didn't make as much progress as I'd hoped. They are coming out well, though. I thought about spinning last night but was just too wiped out from this week to get any further than that.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Say Cheese!

We had a visit from the UPS man yesterday. He left 17 "wheels of cheese," AKA pencil roving in the rest of the world, on the front porch. That stuff is just begging me to dye it and spin it up into something gorgeous. To be nice, I really have to wait for husband to help play with the pretties, and he's not here tonight.

I'm getting close to done with the first Little Shells sock. I need to knit about another inch to inch and a half and then start the toe decreases.

Daughter's volleyball team scored another victory yesterday! They had another game with the only team that has beaten them this year, and out girls "whupped the tar" out of them this time around. Unfortunately, I was out of town on business and missed the game. Husband was there to cheer the girls on, so he told me all about it. The last game of the season is Tuesday. I can't believe it's over so quickly! It will be nice, however, to be able to come home right after school dismisses.

I've been baking sour dough bread!! This is the first batch with my newly made starter. It was delicious, but I think it will be better once the starter gets a little age on it.

I know, I know. I owe you guys pictures! I promise pictures by the end of the week. What would you like to see? Knitted objects? Spun objects?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Another Victory!

Yesterday was homecoming at daughter's school. My mom and brother were in town for the volleyball game. The girls played in front of what was likely their biggest crowd to date. The stands were filled with cheering parents, grand parents, other proud family members, and friends. I am so impressed with how well the girls played. Our team won game one (in which my daughter started--so proud of her!!), lost game two, and won the tie breaker. That gave us victory for the match. We left after volleyball was over to have a celebratory lunch at Ruby Tuesday and some family time at home.

Last night, we printed out several documents for daughter's science experiment. She's expanding a bit on her yeast bread topic to include sourdough, too. One of the sourdough papers tells how to "capture" your own yeast rather than using the packaged, so she's going to try that. It should be interesting.

While searching through some old cook books, I found the instructions for a sourdough bread that I used to make years ago. I'm going to set up a starter of my own and see if I can get this going again. I used to bake bread every week, but somehow I got busy and forgot to feed my starter for a few weeks. That was the end of that! If things go well with my own sourdough attempts, I'll share the recipes here later.

There was no time for fibery adventures yesterday or Friday, unless you count that I picked up 4 balls of the new Lion Brand ribbon yarn. I normally do not care for ribbon, or rather, it doesn't care for me, but these colors were too pretty to pass up. I have two balls of the Fall Leaves colorway and two of the Copper Pennies.

I spent the afternoon spinning some of the pencil roving I dyed a few weeks ago. I spun the bunch that is dyed purple, green, and gold. I'm so pleased with the way the yarn turned out. I did not draft the roving at all, because I wanted a bulk yarn. I have to set the twist in the yarn and let it dry. Pictures will be coming later in the week.