Monday, May 28, 2007

I'm a dyeing maniac!

I know I'm a bad blogger. I'm so far behind on posting, but I've been WAY too busy lately. Of course, a lot of it is of my own creation, so I can't complain.

First, Pomegranite is almost done! It just needs to be plied. But I wasn't going to take another picture of singles, so you'll have to wait until it's finished. I'm afraid to ask how many yards it's going to be!

ALso, I've gone a little berzerk with the dyeing thing. I'm just having so much fun with it! But it begs the question, what the heck am I going to do with all of it. Well, I decided to try and put some of it up on etsy to see if any of it will sell. We'll see. Eventually, I'd like to set up something on hyenacart, but I'd like to do that right, so it'll take a bit longer. So in the mean time, etsy it is!

I've uploaded all the pictures, but it's late and I my husband is pestering me that it's time to go to bed. So hopefully I'll have time to add them to an entry tomorrow. But in the mean time, just wander over to my flicker photos to see, if you'd like. Or, you can go to Etsy!

Good night :-D

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fire Spirit - Icarus Shawl

Well, I finally finished it! I completed the knitting on Saturday and blocked it Saturday night. Just in time so I could wear it for Mother's Day! :-D I was so proud of it. Here are a few photos. Oh, and notice I included the backyard in the background. Just to prove it isn't usually underwater! Plus, you can kind of see our new "addition" to the yard that my daughter is currently obsessed with! LOL




The preblocked size was 25" x 50" and the final blocked dimensions are 32" x 66". Plus, I still have quite a bit of yarn left, so I'd guess I used about 7 oz of yarn (I really need to get a scale!)

In addition, I just finished a sophie purse from Magknits ( that I made for Cassie. But it still needs a tad more blocking, so I'm holding off on the photo. But in the mean time, it did help me discover one thing. Felted wool would make AWESOME oven mitt. How do I know this? Well, I decided to try and iron out some of the wrinkles, figuring it'd have the dual purpose of making the felted fabric a bit smoother too. Since I couldn't get the purse opening over the end of the ironing board, I ended up ironing it... well, on my hand! I stuck my hand in and proceeded to iron. And it worked great! Plus, I could barely feel the iron through the fabric... amazing!

Other than that, I'm still working my way through the Pomegranite. It's slow going b/c I'm making it laceweight, plus I was spending most of my time finishing up the shawl... Hopefully I'll have more time this week and can finish it up by the end of the week.

Next up is a "cleanup round". I have several projects floating around in various states of incompletion. So I'm going to go around, collect them, and hopefully finish some of them up. By then, I should be finished with the Pomegranite and ready to start on the next fiber (probably a worsted weight Fiore BFL, then some white fingering merino tencel I got to make a shawl for my mom). We shall see...

That's it for now. Just wanted to post the pictures of Icarus now that it's finished!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Warning -- the following is photo heavy!

Yes, I know I'm WAY behind in posting this. But between catching up from being gone, helping out a friend who's under the weather, and playing with a new toy -- well, I've been a little distracted!

(Oh, and before I start -- Kristen, if you are reading this, yes, it'll sound familiar... I copied alot from my summary to you for this entry to save time!)

Well, since it finally stopped raining (there were 2 more deluges after the one mentioned in the previously -- bringing us to a sum total of about 12.5 inches of rain in less than 4 weeks!), we were able to go to MSWF without any concerns of more flooding!

How was MSWF? It was wonderful! Cassie and Mike also had a great time. Mike even said he'd like to make this a yearly trip! :-D We'll see how he feels when we get closer to the event next year. The cutest was Cassie's obsession with all the animals! Saturday, she was obsessed with the "baa" She seriously spend over 3 hours (off and on) in the barns alone! Poor Mike was probably sick of the smell of sheep by the end :-D. Along with a cute little girl, I've included many pictures of fuzzy sheep for Kristen -- who wanted to go so she could hug sheep -- but couldn't b/c of work obligations... :(






BTW, it's hard to tell in the photo, but the black sheep in the last photo are some of the most beautiful sheep I've ever seen!

Sunday, Cassie switched her interest to "pacas", which was nice b/c of course they are outdoors There were 3 different vendors she focused on -- 2 w/ actual alpacas, 1 w/ llamas (at first they were the same to her, but by the end she was telling the difference :-D). In between she also enjoyed the Angora goats (which she thought were baa's as well) and "hops" (angora rabbits). She even got to feed the llamas at one point -- she loved it and couldn't stop giggling! She just kept wanting to feed them more -- if she had her way, we would have spent the entire day standing there just feeding the llamas!




We also got to see the sheep dog show, which she had fun at too... That show was just so cool -- it's amazing what they can do with those dogs (border collies in this case).



The only part that I thought she'd like that she was unimpressed with was the storyteller. Mike took her over b/c it was right before my class, and he said she was completely bored by it...

What did I do? Well, I just spent the entire time drooling over all the beautiful yarn and fiber. Interestingly, there was much more yarn here than at Rhinebeck (the only other Festival I've attended). And, of course, there was a huge line outside of The Fold again for the "socks that rock" yarn.

But I have to say -- the one thing they do much better at MSWF is selling the vendors' whole fleeces. Instead of each vendor having their fleece piled around their all their various stalls, they have a corner of the main building that is dedicated to fleeces. They are all separated out into their different types (fine wools, long wools, primitive breeds, etc) so you can look at them all in one spot. And there is a group of volunteers who just handle the sales of those. And let me tell you -- there were some beautiful fleeces there! I was tempted to get one, but I still have one that I've barely started. But as long as I finish the one I have, I think I'll just wait until I get there to buy one next year...

The other thing I did was the class with Judith MacKenzie McCuin, "Spinning a Fine Thread". Which was WONDERFUL!! I learned so much in that class! All sorts of tricks for being able to spin really fine. I actually got down to the thickness of cobweb weight at one point (even plied!) Of course, it's like the story of the fish that was "THIS BIG!" I have lost the samples in transit. However, I still had a reasonable amount on the bobbin. And they are still definitely lace weight -- about 40wpi plied. The left one is silk, the right one is a merino:


I'm not sure I'll be spinning a large amount in that weight anytime soon, but it was kind of cool that I could do it! :-D She also showed us tons of other stuff. Including a great way to wash fleece while still preserving the locks that is much easier than what I've been doing.

Also, I learned a great trick for working with silk. Usually silk, especially bombyx silk, drives me crazy b/c it just constantly catches on my hands? So she had me rub lemon juice (from a freshly sliced lemon) all over my hands. Once it was dry, I was able to spin bombyx silk top w/o a problem! It was amazing...

But because of that, my only real fiber purchase was a small package of dyed silk hankies. If you remember right, Sarah had sent me a few undyed back a while ago, and I had fun with them. So I figured I'd try out a small package of dyed (only 1/2 oz).


You might ask -- why so conservative on purchases? Well.... My special treat was actually my Mother's Day gift from Cassie and Mike -- a pair of Indigo Hound English Combs! Only I would be asking for something that could be used as a lethal weapon for my mother's day gift! :-D



Why did I want combs? Well, as I'm sure you can tell by the class I took, my newest enjoyment is fine spinning... and one of the things I learned in that class -- it's amazing the difference that fresh combed top makes! Either directly from the fleece, or if you want to blend fibers...

Don't get me wrong -- I'll still card certain fleeces -- such as the CVM fleece I got a few months ago. I'd still like to try and make it into a sweater for Mike. But the 1 lb of Polwarth that I still have left from Rhinebeck last fall is definitely going to be combed! And now that the weather is nicer (and I know an easier way to wash fleece w/o worrying about felting it!), I should be able to start working on them.

The only down side? No maple cotton candy! :( But at least they had funnel cakes!

Finally, not to be outdone... I got my second Zen String April Fiber Club. As always, it is beautiful!


4 oz of BFL in the Fiore colorway. I still haven't completely decided how I want to spin this one, but I'm leaning towards a worsted or heavy worsted to give the colors a chance to stand out a little more since they are lighter. It'd make a beautiful pair of shorts for Cassie! We'll see if I can get it done in time to still need shorts! Ahhh... so much fiber, so little time! But what a wonderful problem to have...

Oh, and I can't forget one of the reasons I was so delayed in posting... I was playing with my combs. One of the fun treasures I got to take with me from the class was a reasonably large sized chunk of raw Ramboullet fleece. So I washed it using my newfound method (involving a crockpot and cooking the locks like they were asparagus), which worked perfectly! Then I used my combs last night to create these:


I know, not much, but I'm still learning. Combs are definitely not as easy as they look!

Well, if you made it through this entire post -- I'm impressed! But it was nice to rave about the festival...