NY Sheep and Wool–part 2!(The Haul Edition)

Despite the crazy that was Hurricane Sandy, October had been fairly good to me. Most years it is, because it’s my birth-month.  This year in particular I got spoiled like nobody’s business..

My Virtual KnitChat girls gifted me at every turn for my special day,  and some of us got the royal treatment at Rhinebeck as well. Knitters are some of the most generous people in. the. world.

While browsing the offerings, I did purchase a few goodies such as:

Finn fiber from Point of View Farm

1 lb. of Finn! I love me some Finn! I haven’t had any since Rhinebeck ’08, from Misty Mountain Farms. I went by their booth this year but they only had top, not roving. Bah. During a second pass-through on day 2 of the festival I found a vendor selling nothing but Finn products. Score! I will be sure to find them next time.

Little Barn haul

Another old stand-by that I did manage to get lucky with was Little Barn. I always make sure to stop by their tent and I was not disappointed. I’ve never spun Coopworth before so this will be my intro to it; 8 oz. total, plus 4 oz. of random dyed wool (maybe Corriedale?)

More goodies!

Then I scooped up 4 oz. of Falkland fiber from Into the Whirled and an oz. of Suri Alpaca with sparkle from Still River Mill. I’ve never spun either of these breeds so I’m really looking forward to them. Into the Whirled actually had a similar colorway all dyed into one braid but I chose the separated version so I could stripe the yarn myself. It finally occured to me why I sometimes get disappointed with the results of pretty colorways spun up: short color blocks get ‘muddied’ when they’re spun and plied; with separate color sections you can spin them end to end and navajo ply them for striped yarn. I’m hoping to spin the Alpaca on a hand spindle to get a really thin single. I spindle park-and-draft style so that shouldn’t be too hard.

Now, for the surprises(I told you knitters were awesome, didn’t I?):

Batts!

A mystery bump from Still River Mill and the infamous Loop Bulls-eye Batt! I’m guessing the ‘mystery’ part is the colorway, as the bumps were labeled as Alpaca and Merino. *shrug*. I’d heard a few things about the Loop batts, but never really considered buying one. I actually finished spinning up the singles last night to Navajo ply another day, and I swear pulling the fiber out of the middle was like a fiber-y clown car! There appeared to be 4 different colors but there were actually 5! I like big batts and I can not lie! ;). I will do a proper review of the spinning once it’s all done.

Merino fiber

Last but not least, almost 8.5 oz. of lovely pastel ‘clown-barf’ Merino fiber. I don’t know. All I did was look at it, put it back and 10 min later it got laid in my arms. Weeee :D

So there it is!! Truthfully though, I could have left Rhinebeck empty handed and it still would have been a great time. I got to hang out with some of the coolest people I know: Yarnies!! :D Thank you ladies for an awesome time! I am truly blessed!

TTFN!

A day late and a bobbin short…

HelloYarn Merino wool for Tour de Fleece

Every year, there are special fiber-craft events going on. Lacevember(and NaNoWriMo, for everyone) in November, Socktober in October, various Mystery shawls, and Tour de Fleece which is held during the Tour de France cycling event.

This will be my first time participating in TdF. I don’t have any specific spinning goals; I’m simply using this to get back into spinning. I admit I did get in over my head trying to spin an adult sweater’s worth of yarn(2 years ago) and that frightened me a bit. But I’m back in the swing of things, so to speak.

TdF began yesterday July 2nd but I’m starting today. No goals, remember? ;)

I’ll be spinning some lovely HelloYarn 100% Merino gifted to me by MUAKnits. YAY for crafting friends, huh? :) I love HelloYarn fibers, so she must have read my mind because it couldn’t have come at a better time. Alors!

Ooh I’ve been bad.

Instead of knitting, sewing, crocheting and getting the next podcast episode together I’ve been playing with my new toy:

ISO test

No, I didn’t get a new cat; that’s Cookie. What you’re looking at is the difference in photographs taken with my new dSLR. ;) An Early V-day gift from Mr. Beanknits. (Shamelessly I’m working on him for our Anniversary or Mother’s Day.) Coughlenseshackingcoughexternalflashcough.

So far I only have the kit lens that came with the camera but it’s working out really well. I kept wanting to improve the quality and have more control over my photographs. I know, I know, some crafters out there get great photos with their point-and-shoots. My long-standing desire to ‘go there’ with my photography, coupled with hubby’s frequently wanting to take the P&S with him made me go ahead and get a dSLR. That and a nice sale. ;)

There’s a deep learning curve with this type of camera but I’m up for it. One exposure at a time. Can’t wait to snap some ‘real’ pics of WIPs and FOs. I just have to get used to the lens cap:

There's always one of these...

Oopsie!

TTFN

Unmotivated

Can I whine? No? Well, I’m gonna anyway. Blah.

That’s basically how I’ve been feeling lately about things. I’ve managed to get yarn that matches the Dream In Color Classy that I ran low on for the baby sweater. The sweater pieces are blocked so that I can put the sleeves on, but I’m not feeling it. What’s the deal??

I’ve been meaning to cut out more PJ bottoms and… nope. So many patterns I want to try but can’t seem to get started on ANYTHING.

I’ll tell you what I finally DID get around to.

Lemon Meringue Pie!

Lemon Meringue Pie! I had some lemon pie filling(yeah, so?) in the cupboard, a pie crust in the freezer(bad move, next time use a graham cracker crust!), and a craving for something sweet.  I decided to go ahead and try making my first lemon meringue pie.  It tasted ok despite the fact that 1) I accidentally got some yolk in the egg whites and the meringue didn’t stiffen as much as I’d have liked; 2) I didn’t think to add some corn starch to the filling to thicken it up, which made slicing it futile.  The kids loved it  though, so I’m sure I’ll be making it again at some point.

I’m also still undecided about how to finish the sewing table. Granted, money is tighter than a virgin on prom night so, I can’t really do anything with it yet. Meanwhile I have to beat people away with a stick to keep them from putting wet items on the table. Except for this:

Boy-oh-Boy sweater

 

Well it wasn’t directly on the table. This is the first time I’ve used my blocking wires and I’m not sure if I did it right. Oh well. Hopefully I’ll get it done before the weekend is over so I can give it away.

Well, back to daydreaming about  how I want to rearrange the sewing/livingroom.

 

TTFN

BeanKnit Going’s-On

It’s been two weeks, give or take, since my birthday. I have yet to actually enjoy my new table, as I’m debating how to proceed with finishing it. I could a) just throw on a few coats of polyurethane and call it a day, b) use a stain with built-in polyurethane or c) paint it with a combination paint/primer. I’m not sure if I’d still need the poly on top of that.

Now I don’t really like the color of the table as is, but I’m not feeling the stain choices either. So the last resort is to paint it. Hmm how about a nice BLUE! :) If I can’t paint my walls that, then dammit I’m gonna have something BRIGHT in my livingroom/craft area. So that’s kind of on hold while I decide what exactly to do with it.

In knitting I’ve picked up the needles and started a baby sweater for a friend. I recently received a prize of some yummy Dream In Color Classy, in Shiny Moss, from Karen. I didn’t know what to do with it until I browsed through “101 Designer One-Skein Wonders”, edited by Judith Durant, where I found this simple baby sweater that called for the exact same yarn I had in hand. It was an easy knit, despite me making a few booboos and THEN realizing there were errata. Made a few MORE booboos, rip, rip rippity rip. And now this:

Not Enough Yarn!

 

Aww crap! I’m done with the sweater itself,  it just needs seaming. But I don’t think this little bit is going to be enough to do the neckband. I’ll give it a shot anyway, since it’s just pick up and knit and there are some live stitches at the center of the neck. Then if it’s not enough I can rip and find a yarn that’s close in color to finish. I just have to get a move on before the intended recipient outgrows it. It’s been years since I had an infant and well, I umm.. can’t remember how big they are at a certain time. Throw in the fact that I have yet to actually SEE this baby and well, yeah.  At least I got the gender right! If it doesn’t work out I’m screwed because I don’t know anyone else expecting to have a 6-9mo old baby in the cold weather.  I have refrained from showing the actually sweater, lest the recipient’s mom sees this post.

 

I’ve also been tooling around with a proto-type of sorts for a teapot cozy. OK fine, it’s just me winging it because I’m not finding anything plain and simple. All the cozies are some complicated shit that probably won’t even fit my teapot. I just want a friggin’ tube with a tie on the top. Can’t be too hard, right? til I put it down and lost a DPN. Go Me! I’ll find it. If not, I’ve got a bunch of spare 4.5mm DPNs laying around. They came in handy for something huh? Back to the drawing board!

 

TTFN

Aww.. Bye, Summer; Friendship: The gift that keeps on giving; Paying Attention

Friendship
The Summer is almost over. Boooo hissss. It was a bit of a scorcher but I dislike the cold so I’ll take what I can get. I had lots of fun swimming with the family and can’t wait til the Summer comes around again.

But with the cooler weather comes more opportunities to indulge in warm drinks like tea. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you? ;) ) What better way to slide into Fall with some pretty, new tea acessories? A dear friend I met some 10 years ago has been reading the blog and decided to RAOK me some tea cups!! :) The one in the picture above pretty much sums up how I’m feeling right about now. (Click through the photo for a better shot of the cup design!)

And the other:

2nd pretty cup

There are also some pieces which I thought were silver but are actually silver PLATED. At first I thought I was looking at tarnish but in fact the plating is coming loose in some spots. I’m not sure how to proceed with those. If you have any ideas, just leave them in the comment section.

In the knitting area, let me just say, ” watch that third step, it’s a doozy!” ;)
There are 6 repeats of the first chart pattern in the Fall/ Winter Season Shawl. A few rows less than halfway through the 5th repeat I start to see the yarn is looking a little low and I start to panic. After a few moments of “OH NO! WTF?” I look at the pattern photo and realize that this color band is thinner than the others. After consulting the pattern instructions more closely I realize I’m only supposed to do the first half of the chart in that color and then add in the next color(where it’s one strand of each color) and finish the chart. Whew. For a minute there I thought I was going to have to put the project on hold while waiting for more yarn. Which ultimately means, I need to learn to pay attention.

I actually haven’t done anything with the shawl since I made that discovery, what with getting the last of the Summer out and prepping for the start of school. Ahh the insanity of school shopping. Bring it on!

TTFN

I’ve been RAOK’d! and New Teapot!

Gifts and new Teapot!

The week was sorta dragging along until I got a RAOK(Random Act of Kindness) package from Nashe . She sent me the two knitting novels and some lush spinning fiber(Hello Yarn!), along with a cute little notecard. And it’s knitting themed too! I gotta find out where she got them from, I’d love to have some to send out to other crafties!! It’ll be a while before I can allow myself to play with the pretty fibers but I’m definitely looking forward to it! Crafting buddies are the best!! :D Been thinking about new knitting mysteries and this came right on time.

As I type this I’m sipping on some Adagio Rooibos Orange tea. I’d previously tasted rooibos and didn’t care for it at all. But this flavored blend is really nice; neither flavor overpowers the other. I’m thinking this, along with their Bengal Green Chai and Ti Kuan Yin are my new favorite teas!! And yes, that’s a new teapot. My first ceramic pot got sick and I had to put it down. It had fine cracks that I decided to ignore. Well, the cracks grew and got all gross inside so I had to chuck it in the trash. I miss that pretty pot and I’m glad pots like it are still being made. Maybe in a few years I’ll get another.

I had a second pot already to brew the teas because it has a built-in strainer, but the holes are a little too big and small bits of leaf were getting through. Once that first pot went kaput, I broke down and purchased the PersonaliTea pot, again from Adagio.(Sue me, their tea is reasonably priced and they deliver fast because they’re across the river!) This one is considerably smaller but! it has a mesh infuser basket that fits right in it! Makes much better tea. The smaller size is perfect for me since I drink tea alone. My only real peeve about this one is that the lid and infuser get very HOT and picking them up is tricky. Hmm.. Maybe some tiny tongs are in order.

In knitting, the Seasons Shawl is coming along nicely.

Seasons Shawl progress

That’s the third color I’m working on and soon I can add in the fourth. Why, yes, those ARE lifelines every 12 or so rows. I kid you not, if I don’t use them I fark it up lovely. I refuse to allow this project to wind up a mess because I didn’t take the time to put them in. So far, the only mistakes I’ve had to deal with were no more than half a row away. I plan to put some more rows on it this weekend if I don’t start seaming squares first. That’s right. A while back I mentioned sewing a baby blanket or two and now, everyone has popped. I admit my craft depression got the best of me and I never even started. But dangit, at least ONE baby quilt is getting made and gifted before this year is out! I must!

TTFN

Easy on Sunday…(photos!)

It took everything in me, not to take out my hair dryer and work on the hoodie pieces:

Heather Hoodie blocking

It’s STILL drying, but it’s almost there. Maybe tonight I can start seaming. And then I can work on the hood. I still have two full skeins left, which should be enough for it. While that’s percolating, I cast on for the Hat Heel socks last night. I don’t have a pic of that; it’s not much to look at. I’ve got some thoughts about this pattern but I’ll keep it to myself til they’re done. ;) I also hope to get some use from these

Ohh Yes!! before the long weekend is out. I’m trying not to drop WIPs to start something new. It’s a struggle, I tell you.

Brand-spanking-new Gingher Dressmaker shears! A gift from my crafty chat friends!! The love keeps coming, I tell you. I mentioned how my kids got a hold of my sewing scissors and used them to cut PAPER. *cue blood-curdling scream* Well my friends heard my lament and sent me a new pair! Weeeeee! I haven’t had possession of an all-metal pair of scissors in who-knows how long! :D Thank you again, ladies!!

Glamour shot: Mine!

I’m being spoiled all around, it seems. The kids have figured out that if they do things around the house they might get treats. My son has always been more willing to do chores without being asked but this takes the cake. I snapped a photo of him and lil sis washing and drying the dishes the other night, so that I could whip up a smoothie for them

They're up to something..

Now to get them to understand that they should help out around the house because they SHOULD and not just to get things.. ;) too late, huh?

Birthday Goodies and WIP progress

Pretty Birthday Wrapping

Over the past 5 years I’ve come to know some pretty cool crafting ladies. This year, some of them got together and surprised me with some neat birthday gifts! They may have arrived late, but they’re ‘right on time’!

I guess it’s true the squeaky wheel gets the oil, because I received:

Birthday goodies!!

Two extra Fricke bobbins and a handmade scissors case from Chateau Designs.

I had to show the kids the scissors case immediately, so they’d get the idea. Do NOT FREAKING TOUCH. I think I need another cork board to hang it from. Then I’m going to get my scissors sharpened and in they go!! YAY! :D

The bobbins, I can’t wait to fill up. My spinning startitis always got the best of me and then I’d never have enough bobbins to ply with after I spun singles to my heart’s content. Now, I do. ;) Of course, I have to wait. I’m in the middle of the second front section of the Heather Hoodie Vest and plugging along nicely. It appears, though, that I’ll definitely have to add some commercial yarn somewhere in this project. I’m still deciding if I’ll forgo the hood altogether to make sure I get the button band out of the yarn, or, do the hood with whatever I have left and use contrasting commercial yarn for the button band and sleeve ribbing. (I just realized there aren’t really sleeves per se, just ribbing straight off the armholes. Interesting.)

I’ve already got it into my head that if I’m going to go for contrasting yarn I might as well do full sleeves. Then, at least, I can wear the hoodie as a true sweater, until it gets too cold and I need a real coat. * Ideas swirling around my head*

I’m off to fight off my spinning startitis and work on the hoodie!!