Have Ewe Any Wool?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Valiant Warrior Quilting



Once again, I participated in the Valiant Warriors Quilting event sponsored by Joshua's Hands.   It's a fabulous event - all the materials and the sewing machines are supplied.   You just needed to show up willing to help - no matter what your skill level or talents, there was something for everyone to do.  As you can see, there was an awesome variety of pre-cut fabrics to use for strip quilts. 

There were plenty of sewing machines in the front room, as well as in some of the interior rooms.   There were several machines on the other side of the room as well.   Many of the more experienced quilters either brought their own machines or would take the quilts home to work on them there.  




This time, I worked on the modified strip quilt.  Instead of a straight strip quilt, it has sections that are horizontal as well as vertical.   The first one I did a couple of years ago only had the horizontal stripes.  The way this pattern alternates directions makes a simple quilt top really look elegant..  I love how this new pattern is laid out.





It was a lot of fun.   I learned so much from  the experienced quilters - they are soooo incredibly patient!   I had only ever hand-pieced a quilt before working on my first machine sewn quilt top the first time I participated in the Valiant Warriors Quilting event a couple of years ago.  The experienced quilters were giving me tips on how to sew it together the best way to minimize the time it takes as well as to produce the least waste of the material and thread.




I am so happy to be be able to do something for our service men and women that have been wounded while serving our country.  These quilts are sent to the hospitals caring for the valiant warriors.  Here's a picture of some of the many quilts that were finished during the 10 day event - August 4 - 13






I eventually plan to learn some of the other processes - including prepping it with the batting and backing, stitching it together, and ultimately, learning how to use the long-arm machine to quilt it! There should be plenty of opportunities to do this as the Station Stitchers (another Joshua's Hands charitable activity) are quilting year round.   PLUS....in January 2018, there will be another Valiant Warriors Quilting event.  So many opportunities!



Friday, July 14, 2017

Tour de Fleece - Weeks 1 and 2 (July 1-14)


I got off to a really good start with the Tour de Fleece.  I spent a couple of days playing with my drop spindle before I got down to my more major spinning projects - spinning my two braids of Merino in the "Pansy" colorway and about 1 1/2 lbs of "purple encased" Coopworth wool.  (The purple is "gently" encasing the natural colored Coopworth.) I started with the Merino...


July 4th, I really got down to spinning on my wheel and became a spinning fool!   I had two braids of this gorgeous Merino in a Pansy colorway.   My favorite pansies are the purple ones with the bright yellow eye in the middle.   Just looking at this colorway makes me smile.   It's such a happy color....and truly makes me think of pansies..


 I spun the first braid during the first week of Tour de Fleece.   I treated each braid differently - I'm thinking that if I make a scarf or shawl with the singles I create plied together, the long color pattern will repeat about every 1/4 length of the finished yarn.   Then in each of those fourths, there will be about 5 shorter repeats of the colors.  Of course, that's only if I split each just right.

I split it into about 16-20 strips down the entire length of the braid.  I found it very easy to spin nice and thin, and the spinning itself went rather fast.  I couldn't wait to start on the second braid.




Week 2, I spun the second braid.  I decided to split that braid into 4 strips that ran the entire length of the braid - much thicker strips than the ones I created from the first braid.   The thicker strips weren't quite as easy to spin as I had to be conscious of the amount of fiber I fed in, else it would be too thick.  The previous braid was soooo easy to spin by comparison! 





I was a bit surprised when I was done spinning - it looked like the two singles were wildly different on the bobbin.   Both braids weighed the same, and I believed that my spinning was just as thin....or at least close.  However, as you can see, the two bobbins are clearly different in size. 

Of course, I wrote off the HUGE difference in the two bobbins as being almost 100% caused by the yarn that was on the bobbin when I started.   I had quite a bit of orange singles on the bobbin that I didn't wind off before starting to spin.   I assumed (and you all know you should NEVER assume.....) that was the reason that my second bobbin looked so "empty" - it had been spun on an empty bobbin, so there was no previous yarn to "plump up" the results.


Saturday, July 01, 2017

Staying Cool on a Very Hot Day

July has started out quite hot and miserable.   What better way to "keep cool" than doing a yarn crawl.  My friend Lisa and I headed off to hit a couple of yarn shops - Needles in a Haymarket  (Haymarket, VA) and Hunt Country Yarns (The Plains, VA) , a cupcake and sandwich shop - Cupcake Heaven and Cafe (Haymarket, VA),  and a coffee roaster - Weird Brothers Coffee (Herndon, Va).  It was an awesome day!  

At Needles in the Haymarket, I found the most awesome project bag - in purple (of course!).   I purchased it with the birthday $$ my mom had sent me.  I also found a really cool coffee mug - perfect for me!
Of course, to keep our energy up, we dined on sandwiches and a cupcake at Cupcake Heaven.   While there, I opened some birthday gifts from Lisa - two fabulous knitting books - "Classic Knit Shawls" and "Knitting Short Rows".   At Hunt Country Yarns, my big purchase was some Kauni EX yarn to craft the beautiful "Autumn Leaves Shawl" by Anna Stoklosa - made with knitted leaves.  This yarn morphs from greens through oranges and maroons...just like the leaves in the fall, so it's the perfect choice!

On the way home, we stopped at Weird Brothers Coffee in Herndon where I enjoyed a delicious cappuccino and purchased some whole bean coffee.  It was sooooo much better than Starbucks!   And....it's veteran owned.   I got to meet both the owner and his daughter - very nice people.  I'm a big supporter of eating and shopping locally.   All in all, it was a perfect day...in spite of the horrendous heat and the pop-up thunderstorm!

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!



Happy New Year one and all!   


This is the year of 'reductions'  - long overdue - and definitely necessary!

  1. Lose Weight...yeah, I know, I say that every year...one of these years I'll succeed!
  2. Financial obligations - reduce debt spend more carefully.
  3. Work down my yarn and fiber stash...use it, give it away...and definitely reduce purchases!
  4. Reduce clutter - ideally, I'd like to eliminate it, but since I'm a realist...and I know myself so well, I know that's probably not possible...so I'll settle for a reduction.
  5. Reduce my expectations - realize that my happiness comes from within and I should not expect others to share the same values, outlook, or priorities. 

Here's to a Happy and Prosperous New Year!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Snowflake Socks - Finished!


All right!   Last Wednesdy, I finished a pair of socks for "someone" that had complained that I had not yet knitted her a pair of socks....and she noted that everyone else in the family has at least one pair.   Hopefully this pair will remedy that situation!  I hope she likes them!



These were made from Cascade Sport Weight Superwash yarn on size 4 needles, so they knit up fairly quickly.  These socks are for lounging around, watching TV....not really for wearing in shoes.   I used the sock pattern that came in the Drops Advent Calendar this year.   Their pattern uses k 2 together through the back loop instead of an SSK on the gusset decreases and toe decreases.   I used their method for the heel....but found I didn't like it as much as the SSK, so I stuck with the SSK for the toe decreases.   It's a great little pattern.

One thing I need to learn, but didn't with this project, is how to do "jog-less" stripes.  Since the sock is knitted in the round, it's essentially a "spiral", so the pattern does not exactly line up where it's joined in the round and so what you see are stripes that don't quite match up.   (I didn't show the misalignment here....I wanted to show the "good sides" of the socks.   I did manage to knit them so that the "unaligned" sections can be worn to the inside.....and if you look at the outsides of the socks....all looks good.

Once I've mastered at least one of the techniques for "jog-less" stripes....I'll be sure to post "before" and "after" photos of my progress. 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Let it Snow!



Our first snow of 2015. The neighborhood looks so pretty and pristine (8 am as the snow was coming down....)


I love how it looks though....especially at sunset.These photos are reflective sunset....the sunset is actually behind me and the colors played out on the clouds and horizon in front of me.   The photo on the left was taken at 5:04 pm on Tuesday evening and the one on the right at 5:12 pm.   I love how the colors changed as the sun moved further down the horizon.

 

 However, because of the cold, it really made things slick!  The snow arrived Tuesday morning...and you can see the conditions of the road on Thursday evening - two and a half days later!   It really made for slow going.  




Sunday, January 04, 2015

Where's Aubrey?

Last night, DH and I attended a benefit concert for the "Downstream Project" at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville.   The music was fabulous!    "Where's Aubrey" is a musical duo playing the fiddle, mandolin, and guitar.   We thoroughly enjoyed the music and bought all of their CDs!     You can check out their info here:


They were joined on the stage later in the evening by some of the members of  "The Bitter Liberals".  We bought their latest CD as well.  Both groups made for a very enjoyable evening.  For information about "The Bitter Liberals", check out this link:


One of the musicians, Gary, is a member of both groups.   They were very entertaining and quite talented.   They were full of anecdotes and stories..as well as fabulous music.  I LOVE local groups and smaller, more intimate concert venues. 

2015 is starting out as a continuation of the fabulous musical talents we enjoyed in 2014!