Have Ewe Any Wool?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Knitting Update and Seven Random Facts

Here's the promised photo of the progress on the beaded scarf. It's really starting to look like something! I just love how the beads fall on the edges. I can't wait to start the other half and put it together! I'll definitely have a fabulous scarf for next winter!

I haven't made much progress on my cotton/wool Sockotta socks....I am almost done with the first sock, though! I just need to buckle down and finish it. Perhaps that should be my goal before I head back home?

Random facts - some fun facts, some serious thoughts:
  1. I love cold "corn on the cob" as a snack - try it....you might like it too!
  2. I like to draw faces on fried eggs using Chinese Rooster sauce - I guess this means that I like to "play with my food!
  3. I'm basically a "hippie chick" at heart . Many of my friends say I remind them of a "flower child". People that don't even know me say the same or say that I strike them as very "down to earth" or an "earth mother" type of person.
  4. My second toe is longer than my big toe. All my life, people have been amused by this....which is odd because having a longer second toe is genetically dominant! (Although, some of the "traditional" interpretations of this trait are much more interesting - and some are just plain amusing....like this one: "The longer second toe is a indication that that person is a alien hybrid" - LOL!)
  5. I love a good cup of coffee.....and I get real cranky if it's weak. You can salvage strong coffee....just add water....but weak coffee is a total loss!
  6. I really try to make everyone happy - I just want everyone to get along, but sometimes, it just doesn't work out, and I have a very hard time accepting that. Life could be so wonderful if people just learned to embrace rather than criticize their differences!
  7. My favorite T-Shirt has a hole in it.....but I still wear it.....in public.....much to my mother's chagrin!
I've tagged the following bloggers: Yarn-Monkey, Terri, Abe & Happy, Ce, Lindsey, Sue, and Aimee
(Finding people to tag was REALLY tough....almost everyone I know has already been tagged!)

Wahoo! Another quiz (thanks Elizabeth!) Wow.....this is so true!

You are Ocean Blue

You're both warm and practical. You're very driven, but you're also very well rounded.
You tend to see both sides to every issue, and people consider you a natural diplomat.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Knittin', Spinnin', and Parties

Whew! What a whirlwind few days! After driving 14 1/2 hrs. straight through to central Illinois, I managed to setup my spinning wheel and work in a bit of spinning - mainly to "recuperate" from the stress of the drive! I managed to work in some spinning two more times during my visit, so I made a bit of a dent in the Peacock colored Merino/Tencel that I got from "The Drafting Zone". It spins up like butter! (Just before I left for Illinois, I finished spinning the deep lilac colored Merino/Tencel and plied it - I needed the bobbins for my trip, so I had a marathon "plying session" last Wednesday AFTER my knitting guild meeting!)

Since arriving in Illinois, I've attended two parties - one was planned - my Aunt's 70th Birthday party...which was the reason I came to Illinois in the first place! The second party wasn't planned (at least by me!). It was a surprise birthday party for me with most of my cousins and aunts and uncles. You could have knocked me over with a feather - I was so surprised! It was wonderful having everyone there! Thanks mom and dad! Thanks sis! What a fabulous surprise! (My birthday isn't until next month, but obviously, I've already started partying!)

Leave it to me to find a "fiber animal" at my Aunt's birthday party! I found that my cousins had not only miniature horses, but a Llama as well! Poor guy....he's so lonely! He actually belonged to another cousin, but the other male llama at his original home tried to kill this sweet guy....so he moved in with the miniature horses at my other cousin's place. This llama is VERY sweet.....see how he's trying to kiss my daughter?

And then, there's all the precious little kitties at my Aunt's house. She always has a bunch of new kitties every spring, but the calicos are my favorites. Isn't this little guy adorable? My aunt even had to hand raise an entire litter this year - the mama gave birth to them under the "burn pile", so they had to be "rescued". Once they'd been touched, though, the mama rejected them and they had to be hand fed and cared for! My aunt even went out and purchased special bottles and milk so she could feed them.

On the knitting front, I completed quite a bit more of the beaded scarf.....I'll have an updated picture later today...or perhaps tomorrow. The scarf was easy enough to work on while visiting, so I managed to work in quite a bit of "scarf kntting time".

I'm in Michigan now....visiting my daughter and planning a trek over to ThreadBear Fiber Arts Studio....and also perhaps to Rae's Yarn Boutique! Poor hubby had to stay back home and go to work while I trek all over the countryside visiting family and yarn shops. (Secretly, I think he's relieved that he DOESN'T have to ride in the car for hours on end OR visit yarn shops.....not high on his list of "things to do"!)

Oh, my! I've been TAGGED by Mia. Now, I have to come up with 7 random things about myself....and tag 7 other people! ARGH!!! (Last year, we only had to tell 6 random things.....and tag 6 people!) I'd better get busy on this now - most of my blogging friends have ALREADY been tagged, so it's going to be a challenge for me to come up with untagged "victims"....er, I mean friends!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Best Wishes Heather!

My knitting and spinning friend, Heather, is moving to Ohio. I'm going to miss her! I did manage to enlist her as the official model for my recently finished Swallowtail Shawl, so now I have a wonderful picture to remember her by. Besides, I think she did a much better job modeling it than I could!

I did have a "brief moment of fear" after the "photo shoot" was done.....I wasn't 100% sure I'd get the shawl back - she appeared to be quite comfortable snuggled inside it!

When I got home tonight, I noticed that the larger tulips that I'd received from my daughter were fully opened and probably wouldn't last through tomorrow. I thought they looked quite interesting....so I couldn't resist another shot or two of the flowers in their full splendor.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Swallowtail Shawl and Mother's Day Flowers

Whew! I'm finally getting around to blocking my Swallowtail Shawl. I know, I know....it's about time!

Here's what the shawl looks like "unblocked", just laying out on the towels on my blocking board. As promised, I've shown the measurements. It's hard to believe that it's currently about 36" across the top and about 24" down each side. It's "barely" a neckerchief! The second shot shows the "center point" of the shawl....and a closeup of where the points along the edges will be - all the way down each of the 24" sides. They don't look very "pointy" at this point....just a bit "messy".

Next comes soaking the shawl and finally pinning it out. Hopefully I'll be able to add that picture later on today. Of course I'll include measurements with that one as well.

UPDATE: Busy day. I did manage to soak the Swallowtail and pin it out. It's amazing how much larger it grew! Now, it's 61" across the top and 38" down each side. Wahoo! This is the first shawl that I've actually blocked. Other than Feather and Fan projects, it's the first REAL lace project I've completed as well. I guess this is just a "day of firsts" for me! My only worry with this shawl is that it's made of Baby Alpaca and Silk - which means it basically has "no memory" - and so I'm not sure how well the blocking will "take". I guess I'll just have to wait and see! ( I've made a triangle shawl shawl before, but it wasn't lace and since it was all acrylic, there was no blocking required. I did make a rectangular Feather and Fan shawl from black Louet linen....looks down at the ground in embarassment....I....uh.....finished it around January 2006.....and still haven't blocked it.)

(These pictures are of the same shawl....it's just when I take a closeup with my camera directly over the item instead of off to the side, the flash really washes out the colors. The first picture is closer to the actual color of the shawl - a rather deep lilac color.)

Oh! I've fallen "in love" with some yarn and a shawl - keep in mind that I usually don't care for "rainbow colored yarn", but in this case, I'd definitely make an exception. Check out Jeanie's post on May 16th at this link: Just Me, Jeanie. The yarn is absolutely gorgeous! I love the effect! It's called Kauni (it's from Denmark) and available from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions. (I was VERY tempted, but to make it worth the international postage, I'd need to place a nice large order. Since I spent quite a bit at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival earlier this month, I decided to "pass" on this.....at least for now!)

Finally, here's a few shots of the lovely flowers I received from my daughter for Mother's Day. She also sent a lovely jewelry box with a mother and daughter sculpted on it. She made me feel sooooo special! I should have only received one bouquet of flowers, but the order got messed up, two florists ended up getting involved, and the net result of it all was that I received a total of 3 bouquets (There were actually 4 deliveries, but the first was taken back up by the original florist! Long story.) The entire saga is a bit too long to go into here , so I've simply posted pictures of the three bouquets (Two shots of the pink and purple bouquet and one each of the other two!) Click on the picture of the tulips in the white container to get a better look - the photo came out a bit dark, but provided a more accurate color. (The tulips on the left got a bit washed out by the flash.)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Frying Pan Park Sheep and Wool Day

Again this year, I was asked if my friends and I would like to help demo spinning/knitting/weaving at the Frying Pan Park Sheep and Wool Day. This festival was for kids and their parents. Kidwell Farm, part of the part, demonstrates sheep shearing and has several activities for the kids - including crafts and a hay ride. They also invite people from the local area that spin, knit, weave, dye, or raise "wool" animals to participate by providing demos.

Last Saturday was a perfect day for the festival.....it was sunny to start, but then clouded up a bit. It didn't rain, but the clouds really helped keep the temperature down to a pleasant level. My friends and I really enjoying sharing the "love of fiber" with the kids and their parents! We had a wonderful time once again....and many kids got to try their hand at spinning, weaving, and knitting. Here's Jo with her wheel and Jo Anne trying out my wheel - which is a very hard one to use....it's not well balanced and it's only a single treadle. If you can master spinning on this wheel, you can spin on ANYTHING!

Many thanks to both of you for all your help!

Most of the pictures I took were when there was a lull - otherwise, I was totally preoccupied with "hands-on spinning" with the kids. I even managed to convince a couple of parents to try their hand at spinning as well. I managed to get a shot of Jo Anne teaching a young man how to knit and a quick shot of part of our display. Jo had a fabulous loom from Schacht that attaches to the table, but somehow, I managed to miss getting a photo of that!

I did wander out of the barn a couple of times and caught a young lady "grazing her little lamb". I also caught the "colonial girls" before they got their alpaca fiber demo set up.

Here's the whole "Alpaca Clan". In the foreground, they're running the alpaca fiber through the carder to make roving - very soft and yummy roving!!!! Then, the spinning begins. Finally, the alpaca is woven or knitted into scarves, shawls, and other fabulously soft garments. The woman on the left is making miniature alpacas out of pipe-cleaners and alpaca fiber as little gifts for the attendees.

The sheep will be so much cooler after they're sheared. Here's the mama just prior to shearing.

Now, check out the mama and one of the little lambs right after being sheared. They look kinda naked right now, but so much cooler!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Thank You Ce!

Wow....this is incredible! I was an "Angel" to Ce in the "Spin-to-Knit" secret pal exchange....and now she's turned around and become an "Angel" to me! I just got a fabulous and very thoughtful package from the UK!

Ce could not believe that I had never spun silk! So, to remedy that, she's sent me a package containing several undyed silk hankies so I too can dye and spin my very own designer silk yarn! But that's not all...she also included a wonderful skein of her very own hand-dyed hand spun silk yarn! It's absolutely gorgeous! Be sure to click on the photo so you can see a "close-up" of the delicate colors and the fabulous sheen of the yarn. She did a fabulous job Navajo plying the yarn (yet another thing I haven't tried!). Thanks soooo much!

I'm a firm believer in "Pay it Forward" - it makes the world a much happier place and you can forge fabulous new friendships! Thanks again, Ce!

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2007

Wow! What a fabulous time I had....but I'm soooo tired! The weather was absolutely perfect - no rain and no excessive heat. I went both days - a first for me! Check out the crowds!

These are just a few of the many pictures I took - mostly of my friends and all the animals. I'll try to get the rest posted to my Flickr account sometime next week. On the left, we have Mia's mom, Mia, and Erica - Mia was my SP8 Secret pal. I first met Mia, her mom and her friend Erica "face-to-face" when we did a "yarn crawl" in Alexandria back in February. I also ran into Jody, my SP9 hostess...but unfortunately, I didn't think to get a picture!

Here, we have Karen (it's her first time here, can you believe it!) and Carol - with her wonderful llama fleece. Check out the shawl Carol is wearing - she hand-spun a ball of wool from the Barefoot Spinner and then wove it into an absolutely stunning shawl. (Karen and I definitely lust after that shawl!) And then there's Lisa with her fabulous cabled Aran. She finished it Wednesday.....just in time to model it at Sheep and Wool. The day started out quite chilly, so it was the PERFECT accessory for the day!

Ohhh.....the Golding Spindles booth. They have the most incredible spinning wheels, looms, and drop spindles. You really must take a look at their website. They definitely love and respect wood and make absolutely exquisite fiber tools! The spinning wheel to die for = it's called "Flock of the Shepherdess" - it's so beautiful and spins like a dream! Check out the matching chair! You can also see part of the loom in the second picture. And their drop spindles....wow! What can I say! (I was bad.....I got three of them! All different weights, of course 'cause you never know what you "need" to spin!)

These shorn alpacas were so cute. I do think that the front one got tired of being peered at and "hid his face" so he could get some peace! Poor thing!

Colleen was a featured artist at the Springwater Fiber Workshop booth. She had her own mohair roving and yarn at the booth. The wool on her drop spindle is mohair from her goats. Another friend, Jayme (sorry, I didn't get her picture....) has drop spindles and orifice hooks that were featured here as well. All is not lost....if you missed them at the festival and want some of Colleen's incredible roving or yarn or some fabulous fiber tools hand-crafted by Jayme, you can still get them at Springwater!

Amy and her friend (sorry...I forgot her name!) were working the Toutha booth - incredible handcrafted articles made by incredibly talented artisans. Amy, a very talented fiber artist, had several felted bags featured there.

The Jacob sheep is probably the oldest known domesticated breed of sheep. It is believed that they descended from Jacob's flock.....from way back in the Old Testament. I think they're so cute! (And Carol couldn't resist picking up a Jacob fleece while we were there!)

I think this is the ultimate - spinning angora directly off the bunny! For some reason, this ALWAYS fascinates me! I'm sure it takes quite a bit of skill to comb the fiber off the bunny and then spin it immediately, but she always makes it look so easy!

Oh...while I was at the festival, I solved the "mystery wool" question. I found a nearly exact match of the roving I was given - it's 85% Merino and 15% silk - no wonder it was so incredibly soft and gorgeous! And now I know what gave the finished yarn the fabulous luster! I still haven't "set the twist"....I'm running a bit behind on everything!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tomorrow is the Day!

It's FINALLY here....the eve of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Show! I'm so excited - I can't wait! It's going to be so much fun - from the huge eclairs, to the little sheepies, to the yarns, and fibers. Imagine, an entire fairgrounds overflowing with everything for knitting, spinning, and weaving! I have my list....and some ideas for a friend.....as well as some ideas for my Secret Pal for SP10! Oh, and I'm very excited about visiting the Tuatha booth to see my friend Amy - she's a fabulous fiber artist and has made some wonderful bags that she'll be marketing!

I've been spinning a bit this week as well. So far, I've spun 4 oz. of purple Merino/Tencel from The Drafting Zone - it's a dream to spin! One bobbin is full...and I've started the other. I just love the luster of this wool! (And they'll be at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival too!)

At my Tuesday spinning group, Jennifer announced that she's moving (sniff, sniff!). She's left us a parting gift though - tons of Merino Fleece, a Jacob Fleece (at least I remember it as a Jacob), and a Shetland fleece - as well as a bag full of undyed cotton roving and some dyed cotton roving. What a sweetheart!

On another note, here's a fun little quiz....if you love Sesame Street, you'll love this quiz:

You Are Ernie

Playful and childlike, you are everyone's favorite friend - even if your goofy antics get annoying at times.

You are usually feeling: Amused - you are very easily entertained

You are famous for: Always making people smile. From your silly songs to your wild pranks, you keep things fun.

How you life your life: With ease. Life is only difficult when your friends won't play with you!

I think this pretty much matches my personality....I'm generally a very happy and amused person.