Have Ewe Any Wool?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Knitting and Spinning Progress

Whew! Finally! Some real progress on the "198 Yards of Heaven Shawl" - the end is in sight! I seem to have used a lot of the yarn and I'm getting worried that I might run out. I thought I had about 34 extra yards, but now, I'm thinking that with the thicker yarn, I'm using more than I'd thought!

I completed the "Christmas Bag" for the stocking or bag swap. My swap partner preferred a bag, so I modeled this somewhat after a Santa Bag, but did it in blue and white - colors that remind me of the winter and snow. For the swap, the 24 gifts can go inside, but once the holidays are over, the bag can be used as a project bag or whatever...it's certainly not limited to just the holidays!

I've managed to work in quite a bit of spinning this fall with my drop spindle. Typically, it's while I'm waiting somewhere...like the lobby of the Synetic Theater....waiting to see "Othello". (This photo was actually the one taken while waiting to see "Macbeth" a few weeks earlier, but i was doing the same thing while waiting to see "Othello". (BTW - this theater group is FANTASTIC!!! If you ever get the chance to view one of their productions, do it!!!!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Snow...in October?

Holy Cow!!! I can't believe it!!! We have snow in October...just before Halloween!

I believe this is the EARLIEST I've seen snow in Virginia. The leaves are still on the trees!!! I hope this doesn't mean we're in for another "Snowmaggedon"!

Thankfully, it was just a dusting...no lasting impact!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Food and Spirits....including Lutefisk!

Food and Spirits...

The Tuesday after I returned from the NY Sheep and Wool Festival was another festival...this time, a celebration of the "birthday" of our local Dogfish Head Alehouse. There was a special dinner to celebrate - the food was fabulous...and the beer pairing phenomenal. Lothar (a German Master Butcher from Purcellville) provided luscious sausauges and pork - it was fantastic!!! Lothar's sausages are available at the Purcellville Community Market.

The highlight of the evening, however, was the visit with the founder and president of Dogfish Head Brewery - Sam Calagione. My friend Paula made a special "Fan" in honor of Sam's visit declaring that "Sam is a Hoppin' Rock Star".

Paula, DH, and I all posed for our photo op with Sam. He even took the time to autograph the books my DH brought - both written by Sam - "Brewing up a Business" (for my step-daughter) and "He Said Beer, She Said Wine" for DH and me.

Just Food - Lutefisk!!!

Then, on Saturday, it was time for the annual Lutefisk Dinner sponsored by the Sons of Norway Lodge. This year, I helped before, during and after the dinner.

In addition to setting the tables and basic setup, I was responsible for mashing the rutabagas. Wow! What a job - I don't think I've ever seen so many rutabagas in one place before. My arms were SOOO tired! (I did all the mashing by hand).

There were several of us working on the various parts of the dinner. This included the primary "lutefisk chef". Debbie initially tutored him on the finer points of cooking Lutefisk. Then, he was left to his own devices to cut and cook the delectable fish from the large fillets.

It's definitely a team effort to get the food prepared and served. Ham....meatballs...and everything else!

And all this effort led to the buffet line - full of lutefisk, rutabagas, ham, Swedish meatballs, lefse, green bean, herring, and a variety of other tasty goodies! Mmmm.....lutefisk!!!

The dinner was from 4-6 pm - and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Lots of smiling faces!

I did take time out to eat though...doesn't this look delicious?

It was a long day...We didn't finish cleaning up until after 9 pm. We were all wiped out!!!

And now for some knitting updates...

Remember the lovely yarn that I purchased at the Bluemont Festival? (photo on left) It was gorgeous handspun in purples and mauves - all spun by my friend, Debbie. I started working on the "198 AYards of Heaven" shawl - which I thought was perfect for this yarn (I have about 238 yards, so no worries about running out of yarn.)

For some reason, I've had a hard time with the instructions. I've had several false starts because of the way the charts are written. I've used many charts from many different designers, but this one just doesn't "flow" the way I expected, so I kept having to re-work my knitting.

Another thing I noticed was that it's not symmetrical....the eyelets from the lace of the body are not in line with the eyelets in the edge. Some are, but some aren't. At first, I thought I'd screwed up, but it turns out that that's how the pattern was designed.

Anyhow, progress has been very slow....and I brought the shawl with me to work on when I went to the Wegman's knitting group. However, I once again found I was tearing it back and reworking. Sigh. I showed the charts to some of the other knitters...and yes...it IS different than the way most charts are done. I find it a bit confusing...and coupled with the fact that I really don't like charts, I'm think I'll let this "marinate" for a while. I definitely plan to finish it by the end of this month, but for now, it's in "time out"!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NewYork Sheep and Wool

It's October...the leaves are falling, the wind is whipping and there's a chill in the air.

It must be time for the NY Sheep and Wool Festival!!!! I made my annual trek to NY to help my friends, Linda and Leanna, with their booth at the NY Sheep and wool Festival.

I stayed with my good friend Cathy. The apartments where she lives are somewhat secluded and have a fantastic view of the Esopus Creek and the Catskill Mountains. I always feel like I'm at a mountain retreat when I stay here.

Of course, I have to share my quarters with her five precious cats. (Only 4 are pictured here because "Gracie" is blind and tends to hide whenever she hears a stranger.) All but one of the cats were feral...but they've become the most loving and sweet cats...mainly because Cathy socialized and treated them well. I'm a dog person, but I find that I'm just as attached to these furry friends as I am to any dog. And...unlike the typical cat, these guys aren't aloof and they love to interact with "their humans"...Rusty will even snuggle.

Joey and Rusty...

Shelley and Mama...

On to the festival...

The booth setup was a bit more open this year...making it much easier to get around when the booth got crowded. The roving was twisted into long braids and hung to form the "wall of roving" - I just love all the colors!

With the setup complete, I snapped a couple more photos. Leanna (in the distance) is definitely ready for the booth to open!

The booth stayed steadily busy...and was swamped much of Saturday, so I didn't venture out much during the festival. My shopping was pretty much limited to before the official opening. I did manage to find some awesome patterns....all I need is the time! Of course, I did quite a bit of shopping in the Misty Mountain Farm booth - I LOVE their yarns and fibers!

I got a fabulous surprise on Saturday - a Ravelry friend from the UK, Hannah, stopped by the booth to say "Hi"! She had "Wandering Woolomena" with her - our Ravelry group's equivalent of "Flat Stanley". Woolomena was crafted by Pat and has been sent out to explore the world. I was absolutely thrilled to meet Hannah in person! I've spoken to her on line a number of times...especially in the MA Ravelry group. Meeting Woolomena at the same time was an added bonus!

I also managed to slip out to check out the tapestry that my friend Cindy had finished. It was on display at the the tapestry loom booth. I watched Cindy sketch out and start this project about 1 1/2 years ago...and then she tore it out and started it again. I saw the start of this new version about 6 months ago. It was great to see it finished!!! Hopefully, she'll bring it to our retreat in January so we can all get a closer view.

And now for my rant...

The down side of this year's show was that one of the customers unwrapped a lovely scarf/stole from the Alpaca yarn display at the Misty Mountain Farm booth and walked away with it. It definitely took a lot of nerve to steal a hand crafted item - especially an item that's constantly referenced as an example...and typically only 3-4 ft. away from the workers in the booth! It was a gorgeous basket weave pattern in dark charcoal grey and white (the plies in the yarn was all dark charcoal except the one strand of white...giving it a tweedy effect). The scarf is extra wide, so it could be used as a nice thick scarf or as a stole. The person obviously has no respect for the crafter...total disregard for the law...and hopefully, has found such utter contempt for his or her self that he or she cannot bear to wear the stolen scarf!!! (Internally, I keep hoping that this disgusting person is NOT a crafter...I would hate to think that someone that KNOWS the time and effort that goes into creating a hand crafted item would stoop so low as to steal the work of another!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nerd Wars Dissertation

I have a number of kits, patterns, and yarn from "Just Our Yarn". But...have I finished any of the projects? Or even started them? No.

I now have a remedy for that problem....Nerd Wars. I've been a member of Nerd Wars on Ravelry since its inception....and it's been a lot of fun! I've been working on numerous smaller projects and have completed two larger projects....just because I committed to finishing them!

I've decided that for the third Nerd Wars Tournament, I'll complete the "Sparkle Diamond Shrug" for my Dissertation. It's a lovely shrug in purples and blues with purple and blue beads throughout. Perhaps I can actually finish (start AND finish!) one of my "Just Our Yarn" projects!

Oh...the other bonus when doing a Nerd Wars Dissertation is that I'm REQUIRED to do a gauge swatch. (I'm generally too lazy to do a swatch!).

Here's the project....swatch and all. Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Spinning the Day Away...

What a glorious day! The weather was absolutely beautiful...perfect for spinning outdoors!

I drove down to Culpeper to meet up with my friend, Elizabeth, and we headed down to Charlottesville to join a spinning group. On the way, we stopped at the Lime Leaf restaurant for some yummy Thai food.

The spinning group meets at the local fire station. The fire fighters were out on a call when we arrived, so we "hung out" on the patio. The weather was so fabulous that we all decided to just stay out there...even after the fire fighters returned.

There was a lot of spinning going on and we had a great time - as shown in all our smiling faces! The wheels ranged from antiques to modern with many types and styles between. I'm always amazed at the sheer variety of wheels that you see in any group.

One of the members of the group just started making her own drop spindles. She's a wood worker and does fabulous work. Each one she crafts incorporates what she's learned from the previous....making each better than it's predecessor. I expect to see her selling her wares in the not to distant future!

Be sure to click on the photo on the right for a closer look at her 3 drop spindles.

One of the spinners brought her daughter...a blossoming new spinner. She seemed quite at home with all us "oldsters" and had a great time spinning the bright colors. Needless to say, mom didn't get much spinning in!

It was a wonderful way to spend a fall afternoon, but seemed too short! We met for nearly 4 hours, but it felt like just a few minutes. I just wish Charlottesville wasn't so far away!!!