Have Ewe Any Wool?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Home Spun Yarn Party

Wow...once again, I had an absolutely fabulous time at the Home Spun Yarn Party. I just love the fact that it was held at the Savage Mill. This had been a working mill back in the day and all the buildings are named after their original purposes: the Spinning Building, the Old Weave Building, the New Weave Building, the Cotton Shed, the Carding Building, etc. History seems to envelope you as you wander through the various buildings and hallways.

I started my day with a nice brunch at the Rams Head Tavern - just like I did last year. The "Eggs Annapolis" were, once again, absolutely fabulous! They don't bury the crab in breading....you get mostly crab. And the presentation is divine! (I wore the flower in my hair the rest of the day.)

The decor within the tavern was very appropriate - it was reminiscent of a Viking Feast! I LOVED the mural on the wall - isn't it wonderful?

Off to the party.....

It was a rather warm day, so it was a bit stuffy in the room. However, this didn't dampen my spirits! I spent some time at the charity table and crocheted a square for a blanket. A couple of my friends came by for the "Learn to crochet" workshop.....Pamela and Jill (Jill is hiding from the camera.....) Clair was teaching the class...and it looks like everyone succeeded in their mission!

Oh...one of the girls I was knitting with at the charity table had a fabulous purse/tote. Isn't it gorgeous! I just love it. I can't remember what the pattern is...I just remember that it's not a Noni bag. ETA - Thanks Joanie for reminding me of the name/designer of the pattern. It's the Felted Rose Trellis Bag by Nicky Epstein.

The party wasn't as crowded as last year as they let people in by groups - plus, the "deck" was open, so the "overflow" could mingle there. The center of the room remained much more open - plenty of room for the classes and charity projects!

However, the line for the Sanguine Gryphon yarn was VERY long! The Bugga and Skinny Bugga yarns are definitely coveted by many knitters and crocheters! It reminded me of the lines typically seen for "Socks that Rock" at Toni's booth, "The Fold", at Maryland Sheep and Wool!

I kept my purchases in check and bought a few skeins of yarn, a bit of roving, and some soap. Of course, the Sanguine Gryphon represented the majority of my purchases....but I also spent a bit of cash at Shelby's, the Neighborhood Fiber Company, Gnome Garden, and Ewes-ful Fiber Arts. I have to retain some spending power for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!

Lisa checked out the yarn at Dragonfly. She seemed to enjoy the party, though she didn't make any purchases. She's much better at keeping the spending down than I am. Maryland Sheep and Wool is only about a month away!

Blue Ridge Yarns got in at the last minute and had to scurry to get everything packed up for the party, unloaded, and setup...just in a nick of time! I'm so glad they were able to be there - their yarns and colors are fabulous! Linda was manning the booth with help from Lynn and Sue. (Linda is sooo much fun!)

Across from Blue Ridge Yarns was Sue (Ewes-ful Fiber Arts) with her FABULOUS felted soaps. The scent is wonderful! I had to buy two for myself and one for a friend. The soap is from a named sheep! She also had some awesome alpaca and other yarn...I believe I'll have to purchase some - ever since the party, I've been thinking about the white alpaca. Luscious!

Within the, I also found some fabulous shops. My favorite was the "Noni Studio" where Nora Bellows sells her patterns and has a studio. I FINALLY have met her in person! She's absolutely delightful....and so talented! Of course, I had to buy several of her patterns...and ordered two of her new ones as well. (They should arrive later this week.)

One of the new patterns is this little sheep bag. It's too cute for words! I love anything "sheepie"!

The samples in Nora's shop are absolutely wonderful! All the patterns are displayed as finished products around the perimeter - many in multiple colors and sizes. The myriad of colors and styles definitely inspired me to finish some of my felting projects that have been languishing for a while - the Cascading Fuchsias in particular. The room was absolutely bursting in color! The shop isn't normally open on Sundays, but she opened because of the Home Spun Yarn Party. It was like an "open house" complete with cheese, crackers, wine, grapes, and other munchies.

And Anise "modeled" the very cheery bouquet of sunflowers. You can't help but smile when you look at these happy flowers!

Nora's sister is in the adjacent studio called "Jul". She has some fabulous metal work (buttons, clasps, handles), leather work (straps), and wooden notions (shawl pins and hand crafted knitting needles). I couldn't decide which shawl pin to purchase, so I bought an entire "family" of them. Left - Rosewood, Mangowood, and Fern. Middle - Rosewood, Mangowood, and Coconut Shell. Right - Rosewood, Mangowood, and Cinnamon Stick My favorite of the three is made with cinnamon...and it smells wonderful!!!

There was another shop that had some fabulous and unique items, the "Out of Africa Boutique". I purchased a flat woven basket in natural and purple - it's awesome! I also found a very nice "project basket" with an attached lid - it's perfect for smaller projects...and I can't possibly misplace the lid as it remains attached when open! The shop is a mother-daughter venture. The daughter is living in Africa and markets their goods here and helps support and build their local economy. It's an awesome little shop.

It was a wonderful day...and I can't wait for next year!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Felt Mania!

Since I always have "little things" laying around that should be organized, I've felted a set of nesting bowls to do just that. The bowls were a very quick and easy knit using the pattern I found on the Alice*Thelma blog: Felted Nesting Bowls.

I didn't measure the bowls when I started, but the largest fit easily on my head as a basic winter cap with a rolled brim. This is a great stash burner - especially if you have small amounts of wool yarn (non-superwash!) left over from previous projects. These bowls are an "instant" project since they knit up so fast.

I really like how these bowls turned out. Of course, I'm a bit partial to all the pinks and purples, but the shape and size was perfect too.

I also tried designing a felted flower. There are a couple of problems with the flower. First off, I made each petal a little too long and a bit on the narrow side. Secondly, the construction was a bit fiddly and didn't quite come together as I'd envisioned. The join of the petals was VERY messy pre-felting.

Post felting, the flower was a bit too floppy(and rather plain), but I was somewhat pleased with the overall shape. It will have it's limitations though. It will definitely need to be "tacked down" on a bag rather than free-standing as a decorative felted flower in a vase...even if I did add leaves and a stem. I'll probably "finish" the flower by adding a large button or pompom for the center.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Girls Day Out - Yarn Spotting, Museums, and Food

It's Springtime in DC, and that means rain...and lots of it! However, a bit of rain certainly didn't dampen our spirits! Two of my friend and I headed into DC for a fabulous "Girls Day Out". We had a fabulous time - in spite of the rain!

Right after getting off the metro, we spotted the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market. It was fabulous! There were lots of things to sample, tons of produce and food for sale, as well as yarn! In my mind, a farmer's market is just NOT complete without "home grown" yarn for sale.

Of course, I had to search out the local yarn vendor, Solitude Wool. They're not at the farmer's market every week, so be sure to check their website for the schedule - the next time they'll be there is the 28th of March. Sue and Gretchen have a wonderful variety of yarns made from the wool of locally raised sheep. They do all the prep work and dyeing of the wool/yarn which is sent out to be commercially spun.

The variety of yarns and the colors are fabulous! I LOVE their yarn! I highly recommend the hat kit - it produces a gorgeous hat - and you have your choice of a number of color ways!

Next stop, the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit at the The Phillips Collection. The display was beautiful! I am so intrigued by the colors and beauty she manages to capture in all her works. My favorites are "Blue No. 1" and "Music, Pink and Blue No. 2" (1918). "Blue No. 1" - elegant, yet simple in very soothing shades of blue. The shapes remind me of Moroccan archways and the color the Delft blue of Holland. "Music Pink and Blue" is alive and vibrant...like music for the eyes. (Sorry...no photos were allowed in the O'Keeffe display)

In the museum gift shop, I picked up a copy of the Georgia O'Keeffe cookbook - it had some very interesting and earthy recipes. There were many other books as well, but I haven't decided which one I really want to purchase...plus, they were a bit heavy to lug around all day! The most amusing item I found in the shop was a diorama of Georgia O'Keeffe - with the artist represented by a purple bunny "Peep"! The detail is awesome - including one of the cloud paintings in the background! Be sure to click on the photo for a closer look.

The permanent collection did allow photos, so of course, I had to capture the works of a couple of my favorite artists - Picasso and Degas. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to tour the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain - it was fabulous! My very thoughtful daughter had given me a Picasso print for my birthday a few years ago...what a sweetie! I just love it!

The Textile Museum was a bit out of the way and was a bit of a walk. As a consequence, we traversed some rather scenic and interesting streets en route to the museum. We happened onto a restoration project for the fire, police, and art call boxes.

The police call box.

The fire call box - love the horse drawn fire engine!

The art call box.

These steps and fountain are probably gorgeous in the summer, however, right now, it looks like it's seen better days. Hopefully, I'll make it down here for another visit once Spring/Summer is in full swing.

At the top of the steps was a very bright and festive panda. It definitely brightened our day and brought some "sunshine" to the drizzly rain that's surrounded us all afternoon!

The Textile Museum's visiting display included "Contemporary Japanese Fashion - the Mary Baskett Collection" and "Fabrics of Feathers and Steel - The Innovation of Nuno". The fashions were very unusual - and most were asymmetrical - definitely something that doesn't appeal to me. I prefer symmetry and what I define as "balanced" asymmetry. I was thoroughly fascinated by the fabrics of Nuno (Nuno means "functional fabric" in Japanese). It's amazing how feathers can be embedded within the fabric itself. The combination of unusual items with fabric was fascinating. Many of the fabrics themselves could be considered works of art and could easily be displayed "paintings" on a wall.

We finished our day at "Heritage India" in Dupont Circle - an Indian Tapas restaurant offering "Street Food Tapas". It was fabulous! The decor was beautiful and the music varied from contemporary American to traditional Indian. And the food....oh my! It was wonderful! We all ate way too much and had to sample each other's dishes for the full experience.

Papri Chat
Frankie (aka Kathi roll)
Lassoni Kabab
Polenta cake with an oriental curried chicken
Spicy Lamb vindalo empanadas
Lal Tikka
Sag Paneer
Basmati rice with saffron
Naan - both plain and Parmesan

We definitely had a fabulous meal and PLENTY to eat! It was an amazing spread!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Springtime Progress

This past week, I've made a lot of progress on my projects. The weather has definitely made some progress as well...finally! It's starting to feel like Spring around here - a very welcome change from all the snow we had last month!

While digging around in my spinning bag, I found a length of about 3 ft. of lilac Merino superwash roving that I'd somehow overlooked when I had changed bobbins to start on the silk. I found my two "completed" bobbins of the lilac and spun the remaining little bit. I plied it right away - no more leaving "unborn yarn" languishing on the bobbins! My efforts resulted in a total of 557 yards of two-ply yarn when measured on my niddy-noddy. Not sure what I'll make with it, but for now, it will be a lovely skein of "decorative yarn".

The "2x2 Ditto Socks" (made from Univeral Ditto) are coming along as well. The first sock is at about the half-way point - I'm ready to do the heel shaping. I just noticed that the colors in this yarn is nearly the same as that of the yarn used for my "Dark Chocolate Raspberry Socks"(made from OnLine yarn) socks - funny how I tend to gravitate to similar color ways! I'm always drawn to purple and burgundy, as well as bold gem tones.

The springlike weather has enticed some of the flowers to finally poke out of the ground. My favorite flowers are the purple lilacs...they're just beautiful!

The birds are finally back as well. I've even seen a few blue jays in addition to all the crows. It seems like the crows never go away - ugh! The robins are everywhere. I also spotted a bird with a very pretty blue neck (right). I just love the iridescence of the blue (be sure to click on the photo for a better look at the color.) Anyone know what type of bird this is?