Have Ewe Any Wool?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Spinning and Weaving

Yesterday I had a fabulous day! I was a volunteer at the Handweavers Guild of America (HGA) booth at the annual Sewing and Quilting Expo. I was so excited when they contacted me and asked if I was available for a couple of hours. It's so much fun to represent a fiber group and chat with all the others that are interested in "anything fiber".

I reconnected with several of my friends from other fiber groups, as well as some knitting friends from other states. I did a lot of chatting as well as demo'd spinning using a drop spindle. (I also managed to work in a few purchases...including the purchase of some fabric for my "new" sewing machine.)

HGA had many books and some yarn for sale...as well as some fabulous socks! The HGA socks (designed by Sandy of HGA) are absolutely adorable - they're black with knitting sheep on them! You definitely have to check them out - they have an e-shop. They also organize the biennial Convergence Conference - it's in Tampa next year - June 22-28th 2008.

Did you know that Oct. 1 through Oct. 8th is National Spinning and Weaving Week? HGA has some ideas to help celebrate the week and share your craft here - National Spinning and Weaving Week.

Oh....last week I FINALLY finished spinning all my multi-colored wool - wahoo! I have a grand total of 1 lb 14.8 oz. of handspun yarn - definitely enough to make the Samus jacket! Now, all I have to do is wash it to set the twist and I'm ready to go. This photo shows my entire "pile" of this wonderfully colored wool. This is definitely a case where the finished yarn is even prettier than the I had imagined! I just love it!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fleece and Solitude

At our Purls of Distinction Guild Meeting, we had a FABULOUS presentation by Gretchen Frederick (of Solitude Farm) and Sue Bundy (of Redgate Farm). They spoke about the sheep they raise and how they purchase wool from other small "fiber farms" in the Chesapeake watershed area, process it, dye it, and market it to our local area. I LOVE the idea of supporting our local fiber farms - they're a wonderful source of a variety of fibers! These pictures "attempt" to capture the lovely yarns, but you really have to see them in person to really appreciate them. (I also managed to catch a quick photo of Sue and Gretchen as they were being introduced to our group.)

Their presentation was very informative and we all learned a lot about the entire process - from sheep to yarn! They both were very dynamic speakers and produce beautiful natural colored and dyed wool from a wide variety of sheep. Listening to the process made everyone appreciate the end result even more.

I purchased some sock yarn from local Corriedale-Lincoln cross sheep that came from 3 farms - Waterford Wool, Sheepy Hollow, and Black Sheep Farm - all in Loudoun County. The wool is white and natural colored wool - totally undyed. I also purchased some Shropshire yarn from Temple Hall Farm (a natural and a blue/green/white variegated). Shropshire is an English breed that produces a "down-type" wool. My final purchase was some Karakul - a Persian sheep breed with hairlike wool - great for felting or rugs. This wool was first-clip from lambs at Red Gate Farm.

Of course, I have to show highlights of the recent finished objects by several of my friends within the guild. I'm still in my "knitting funk", so please bear with me!

Here's a shot of Jo Anne's Mountain Colors Mountain Moss Vest in Wool Crepe. The colors are so vibrant ....definitely gorgeous!

Jo Anne is modeling her Mountain Colors Foothills Vest in Mountain Goat - the colors and the buttons are fabulous! Nora made the lovely red cabled scarf for the "Red Scarf Project" - the cables really make this scarf stand out - it's a fabulous pattern. I definitely want to try to make one using this cable pattern - I believe it's the pattern from Interweave Knits.

Nora is modeling her "Drifting Dreams Jacket" from Blue Heron Yarn - it's almost finished...just needs a wee bit of edging. It's absolutely stunning. Anita is modeling her finished Mystery Stole 3 - I just love it! She used an alternate "clue 4" so that pattern "finishes" prior to starting the "wing" - I think that's what I'll use....whenever I finally get back to finishing it!

Tiffany is "hiding" behind the lovely black shawl she made - it's not yet blocked, but it still looks lovely! And finally, there's Gretchen's gorgeous shawl - love the rich blue colors!

This is Carols fabulous table topper - a gorgeous Neibling lace project out of hemp. Last week I posted a photo of the nearly complete "pre-blocked" project....and this bit of loveliness is how it looks now that it's blocked.

Finally, the "cute animal" picture. Georgia is seen posing with Sadie - they both seem to really enjoy getting their pictures taken.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Traditional Norwegian Handicrafts....Knitting, Spinning, Weaving, and More!

Friday night. the Sons of Norway meeting was fabulous! The first meeting of the year is dedicated to traditional Norwegian Handicrafts. As a result, several folks were asked to showcase their traditional craft or crafts....and I got to be one of the participants! There were wonderful examples of knitting, weaving, spinning, hardanger, baking, tole painting, paper crafts, and several other crafts. Of course, we started with the fabulous pot-luck complete with traditional dishes and desserts as well as American dishes. We even had a Norwegian exchange student who was there with her host mom! Her dress is a reconstructed 1700's style Norwegian Bunad - it's definitely a "one of a kind" and very traditional.

Ellen and her fabulous cake - the special pans for making the Kranskake are shown as well - I definitely need to get a set! Not only does the cake look fabulous, but it tastes great too! One of the main ingredients is ground almonds - mmmmm!!! (Almonds are a common ingredient in many traditional pastries.)

Scrapbooks and photo albums for keeping memories.

Melanie demo'd weaving and I demo'd spinning - we both had a blast!

I just love the Rosemaling and I'm in awe of the variety of Norwegian sweaters that Mary made! They're gorgeous!

Two people provided these fabulous examples of Hardanger.

I had an absolutely fabulous time chatting with everyone about spinning, fibers, sheep, and fiber preparation....and I got to spin on both my wheel and my drop spindle as I did it! The only down side for me was that as a demonstrator, I didn't get a chance to listen to the presentations by the other artisans.

One additional spinning note - I'm currently filling the LAST bobbin with the green multi-colored "generic" wool! Wahoo! It's almost completely spun! Then the next step will be to actually knit the intended jacket, the Samus from Knitty.com. I can't wait. I do need ot get on the stick though as Fall officially started today....and the Samus would be a fantastic Fall jacket!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Scottish Games, The Bluemont Fair, and More!

This has definitely been a very busy week - and I've hardly found the time to post! This past weekend, I went to both the Scottish Games and the Bluemont Fair. The weather was absolutely fantastic!

On Saturday, I went to the Scottish Games at Sky Meadows State Park. The weather was absolutely perfect, and in the rolling hills, it definitely felt like we were in Scotland! For lunch, I had a Meat Pie and an Eccles cake....and believe it or not, I even tried Haggis! The park was the perfect venue for this event with with lots of interesting things to watch:
Caber Tossing (Click here to see the video)
Hammer Tossing
Men in Kilts
Bagpipe Competitions
Fiddling Competitions
Highland Dancing
Exhibitions of British Cars
Live Entertainment

I even worked in a bit of spinning on my spindle as we walked through the vintage car exhibits for a second time! (I'll bet you were wondering how I managed to work knitting or spinning into this adventure!) Hubby was definitely impressed that I could walk and spin at the same time - although it did cause me to walk a bit more slowly!

I discovered a fabulous Celtic Rock band, Rathkeltair, and bought their latest CD, "Everybody". It's fabulous music and very cheery! I've been listening to it at work this week (along with my CDs of Norwegian Hardanger Fiddling).

Sunday, a few of us met for a wonderful lunch at Panera - Catherine, Lisa, Elizabeth, and me so we could exchange information about the latest books and needle purchases that we've made. I'm DEFINITELY lusting after the wooden "Options" needles from Knit Picks - they're gorgeous and have fabulous points! We then decided to take an impromptu trip out to the Bluemont Fair - specifically to see the fiber animals and several of my friends from the Blue Ridge Spinners and Weavers Guild as well as Gretchen from Solitude Farm.

Sunday too was a wonderful day - perfect weather for a festival! I went a bit crazy taking pictures of several fiber animals - Alpacas, Llamas, Pygoras, and Sheep. (Remember, I'm in a knitting funk right now, so I'm concentrating on other things...like fiber animals, spinning, and the finished objects of my friends!) I ran into Anita at the festival too...she's finished her "Mystery Stole 3" and really likes it! I can't wait to see it! Hopefully she'll bring it to our guild meeting next week!

Remember the adorable "February Sweater" that Jayme finished last week? Well, she's finished a matching hat and little baby socks as well! They're so cute! I just love how the Socks that Rock "Little Bunny Foo Foo" colorway worked up!

I have been concentrating on my spinning - as of Tuesday evenings spinning group, I've managed to nearly fill a second bobbin and am ready to ply tonight! Wahoo! AND....I only have 9.8 oz. of the green multi-colored wool left to spin! (Geez...2 lbs. takes FOREVER to spin!). I've already decided that I want to make a sweater jacket from this wool...and I believe I've finally picked a pattern as well - the "Samus" from Knitty. I just LOVE the edging! (Ferol...see, I've finally come around to cabling!!!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Busy Bees!

What a bunch of busy bees! Everyone has been knitting up a storm, and I'm still in my "knitting funk"! As a result, I've been featuring other people's knitting since I don't really have anything of my own to show.

This sweater is Jayme's latest creation and it's just darling! I can't believe she made it in just two days! It's the February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman and has a very nice lacy pattern to it. The pattern can be found in the "Knitter's Almanac". The yarn is "Socks That Rock" in the "Little Bunny Foo Foo" colorway. The color combination is fabulous!

And in keeping with the "busy bees" theme, I caught these busy little guys while on my dog walk this evening. I'm amazed at the clarity!