Have Ewe Any Wool?

Thursday, March 31, 2011


As part of the Nerd Wars challenges on Ravelry, I decided to attempt making coasters/hot pads. Ideally, I was going for a finished coaster that was a bit smaller than this, but I'm pleased with the results none the less.

I started by knitting two rectangles out of Paton's Classic Wool. The sizes were approximately 6 3/4" by 8 1/2" before fulling.

After fulling, they were roughly 5 1/2" by 5 1/2" in size.

Once the coasters had dried, I then needle felted purple flowers (complete with stems) onto the blank coasters. I used "scraps" left over from my recent hand spinning - waste not, want not!

The coasters are a bit over-sized and can easily be used as coasters or as hot pads. Wool is fire resistant, so it's great for use as a hot pad - especially in knitted form.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Home Spun Yarn Party


I had a fabulous time at the Home Spun Yarn Party...as usual! The venue was perfect - Savage Mill used to be an knitting/weaving mill. What better place for a fiber festival?

The weather reports for Sunday were a bit ominous - they were predicting a bit of snow...eeek! Thankfully, it was just a dusting...visible only on the lawns and in flower pots with no accumulation on the roads. I was a bit relieved that the weather was on the cooler side - last year, it was very hot in the "party" room.

As has become my tradition, first stop was at the Ramshead Tavern for "Annapolis Benedict" - basically Eggs Benedict with crab cakes instead of Canadian Bacon. Mmmmmm!!!!! I really like their presentation - the orchid is just gorgeous! And their crab cakes are fantastic!!!!

I definitely missed both Loop and Spirit Trail - they had to cancel at the last minute. BUT...they'll be at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in a little over a month! Mainly, I shopped for a friend that couldn't attend, so I was able to keep my personal purchases in check. My personal purchases included a few silk caps from Misty Mountain Farm, some fiber from GnomeGarden (one bundle for me and one for another friend), and 2 skeins of Sanguine Griffin Skinny Bugga.

I spent a bit of time at the charity table practicing my crocheting skills while crafting a square that will ultimately become part of a blanket. Even when doing a charity square, there seems to be a common color theme - purple, of course!

As usual, it was quite crowded. As the afternoon wore on, the crowd dwindled a bit...making it easier to get around and much easier to see all the fabulous yarns and other goodies.

I did see many friends and favorite vendors. Mary and Carol are taking a bit of a breather...and still others are learning to spin with excellent instruction from Sue.

While I was at the mill, I managed to stop in at both"Noni" (Nora Bellows' studio) and "Jul" (her sister's studio). Both studios are located at Savage Mill. Nora has some fabulous new patterns, and gorgeous samples of all her wonderful creations. At "Jul", you can find shawl pins, hand crafted knitting needles, and lots of handles, etc. for making the purses/bags.

Friday, March 25, 2011


This past week has been a productive one. I've nearly finished the 2nd Jawoll "Magic" sock - hopefully, it will be finished by next week! I'm almost to the toe shaping, so there really isn't much left to knit!

I finally finished the "Nemesis" socks (one of my entries in "NerdWars"). I really like how they turned out. I made them from Louet Gems - 100% Merino superwash. The pattern is "Nemesis" and is in the Fall 2010 Knitty. The socks are a bit loose around the foot - that seems to be a common observation. The fit none the less and will look awesome in a pair of Mary Janes!

I also finished a little "lambie" out of Bergere de France "Plume". I thought it had a nice fluffy look that was perfect for a young lamb. I used the free pattern called "Knitted Lamb" from the Living Crafts website.

March comes in like a lion...

and out like a lamb. (Although, based on our weather reports, I'm not sure it will "go out like a lamb"!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Daffodils


No knitting content once again, but I've been busy taking photos of the local flora. I believe that Spring truly is here...hopefully to stay! I even managed to catch a cardinal too! (Be sure to double click on the photos for a closer look.)

The daffodils have slowly made their way to full bloom....FINALLY!

And various other flowers and trees have burst forth in their Spring glory! I LOVE this time of year! Everything is beautiful and fresh - and the smell in the air is fabulous!

Some flowers even "volunteered" in the middle of the lawn - most likely from "avian fertilizers"...LOL!

There's a "natural red carpet" in my neighborhood as well. Part of the path had been re-paved last year...and it's in the exact spot where one of the trees sheds it's buds...thereby creating "Mother Nature's Red Carpet".

Even the bulbs I planted have started to come up and will soon bloom! This is the first time that I've successfully planted bulbs, so it's very exciting to see them actually sprout.

And of course, I had to plant some purple petunias in my planters!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spinning with the Animals

I almost forgot to post about the fabulous time I had spinning at Sharon's last week. She has the most adorable "four legged friends". There's the adorable and very loving Briggs...the Springer Spaniel. He LOVES to be pet and is very happy to lie down right next to your wheel...even "encroaching" on the pedals so you have no choice but to reach down and pet him as you scoot him out of your way..or snuggling close to a bag of roving as he's doing here. He's also very well behaved and content to just lay around on one of his beds...out of the way of the spinners!

The two bunnies are adorable. I believe that one is a lop eared bunny and the other is a German. The male bunny has a birth defect with his ears, so one is lop eared and the other is upright - both should be upright. He's absolutely adorable none the less.

Cinders, the "snuggle bug" of a cat, is always scheming for ways to get up on your lap. I welcomed her aboard while I was eating my lunch, but she soon lost interest the minute I started spinning and jumped over to an empty chair. Evidently I wasn't spending the appropriate amount of time stroking her fur - LOL!

I did manage to get a good start on the 660 g. of teal-green mohair from Avalon Springs Farm. The photo makes it look a bit blue, but it's actually much more green than it looks here. I LOVE the color. As usual, I have NO idea what I'll make with it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Too Much Entertainment...AKA No Time to Knit!

Whew...what a whirlwind week!

Friday night, I headed downtown to the Warner Theater to see Sinbad in a fabulously funny show. I truly enjoyed it - he was very funny...especially when he "picked on" those who arrived late! I was quite impressed with how very current events were worked into his routine - very up to date references with great twists. My cheeks hurt from laughing by the end of the very entertaining evening.

I had planned to get some knitting in on the Metro...or perhaps once I got to my seat, but I was to full of anticipation on the way to the show...and full of excitement on the way home.

Sunday, it was off to the Old Brogue with DH and my friend Paula to see the Celtic group, IONA. They were fabulous as usual. I just love their music! This is the 2nd time we've heard them at the Old Brogue...plus, we've been to their show at Jammin' Java. Of course, we have ALL of their CD's - fabulous...just fabulous! The food at the Brogue is quite good too - I ordered the French onion soup and the Guinness Beef Pie. I also discovered a fabulous drink there as well - "The Dark Side of the Moon". It's a martini comprised of Vanilla Vodka, Kahlua, and Dark Creme de Cacao. Mmmmmm!!!!! What a wonderful evening!

Tuesday, it was back downtown for the viewing of Kevin Smith's latest movie, "Red State". We managed to hit the traffic just right and arrived downtown VERY early with lots of time to kill before the show.

We grabbed a bite to eat at a very unique restaurant, Funxion. The decor was very sleek and modern and the menu had tons of delicious sounding food and drink - all with a very healthy twist. It's the first FIT restaurant and bar. DH and I shared the guacamole with baked tortilla chips. I've gotta admit, I definitely prefer the full fat, full grease, salty tortilla chips over baked ones, but these weren't too bad. I had a bison slider and DH had the bison burger - both came with a side of fresh fruit. The sandwiches were DELICIOUS!!!! I definitely look forward to eating here again! It's evidently quite a hopping place on the weekend.

We still had quite a bit of time to kill, so we decided to get a pint at the tavern we saw about half a block down the street - Shelly's Tavern according to the awning. It turned out to be a cigar bar...Shelly's Back Room...I had no idea they were still allowed in DC...especially with all the bans on indoor smoking. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected...the cigars and tobacco were a much higher quality so they didn't have that obnoxious smell. In spite of that, we still drank our pints quickly and exited out into the fresh air. It was quite interesting...and I enjoyed the decor. I did gain a bit of appreciation for cigars, but still have no desire to ever try one.

Back to the show... Kevin gave some of the back story in a chat with the audience prior to the screening and then provided some commentary and Q&A for a couple of hours after the showing. Kevin is touring with his movie to raise the money for distribution to the various theaters. The movie was very disturbing and thought provoking - definitely a departure from his typical movies. It's definitely not a light and entertaining, but instead, a movie to make you think.

Wednesday, it was off to Reston's Center Stage Theater to see the fabulously funny Reduced Shakespeare Company perform "The Complete World of Sports (Abridged)". I did manage to work in a few rows on my green Jawoll "Magic" socks while awaiting the start of the show, but that was it...just a few rows. The show was incredibly funny - as usual. They even had some audience participation for some of the scenes!

It was a wonderful week, but VERY exhausting!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Is Finally Here!

This past week, I got visual confirmation that Spring is FINALLY here!

For the better part of two weeks, I kept noticing a very sweet, floral smell - almost like honeysuckles - as I'd round a specific corner on my walks. Each day, the scent became more pervasive. I finally pinpointed the source. It's a tree-like bush with some tiny blossoms. It's incredibly fragrant - and I have no idea what type of tree/bush it is.

I also saw my first Spring blooms - in two shades of gorgeous purples. I not sure what type of flowers they are, but they look like small irises.

I also noticed that some of the daffodil tops are starting to swell as the flower buds mature. I suspect that any day now they'll be in bloom as well.

Sadly, many trees have been lost due to the heavy, wet snow we had last month. Thankfully, we only had one such snow storm this year! However, many older trees were snapped in half and needed to be chopped down. There is some simple beauty in the remaining trunks. I was especially enamored with this one - I'm always intrigued by the growth rings. I think they're absolutely beautiful!

Finally, I found some very "sunny" yellow flowers. I'm not sure what flowers these are either. The crocuses in a nearby bed are barely beginning to "peek out".

The weather has been just delightful and puts one in a fabulous mood. In addition to enjoying all the delights of Spring, I have managed to get some work done on various projects as well....

I've completed the first "Nemesis" sock using the Louet Gems that I received from Alix. It's 100% Merino, so it's super soft. The pattern uses quite a bit of yarn - I had very little left over from the 50 g. skein. Thank goodness I have small feet! I've just started the second sock. The pair will be complete by the end of the month as they're part of my entry for the "Nerd Wars" challenge in Ravelry.

I've turned the heel and am well into the foot of my "Jawoll Magic" socks. I should be able to finish them off in no time! Then, I can start on the second "Plymouth Zino" sock and finish the comparison that I started several weeks ago. I am convinced...without a doubt...that both yarn companies received their yarn from the same mill in Italy. Not only is it from the same mill, but it also appears to be the EXACT same yarn! Thank goodness I started each pair of socks at a slightly different spot in the skein...else I would be making two identical pairs!

On the spinning front, I just started spinning some mohair - I believe it's 100% mohair. It's in the "Water" colorway and is from " ". It a very nice teal green with some blue undertones - it's much more green than it appears in the photo. I plan to make this a two-ply yarn...and it will most likely be a worsted weight yarn as the yarn will definitely "bloom". I'm not sure what this will "grow into", but I have nearly 1 1/2 lbs, so it can be made into just about anything.