Happy First Day of Spring

Spring is finally here, though you wouldn’t really know it by looking outside.  It’s very dark and dreary with a fine rain falling on the layer of sleet that fell yesterday.  Hopefully, the weather will start improving, the buds will start popping up and Mother Nature will show her true beauty in all the flowers and green leaves.  I’m looking forward to the snow going away!

I’m also hoping that I won’t need all the winter woolies anymore.  Though, that will make me kinda sad as I just finished a pair of fingered gloves for myself.  I’m loving the colors (black, red, green with a hint of white and blue) and they match my winter coat and hat perfectly (well, the black and bright green do anyway), but I’m kinda sad that while I made them to fit me perfectly, they have stretched a bit with wearing them a few times and now feel like they are floating on my hands.  They are still warm, though and I’ll either keep them or give them to Darling Hubby if he’d like them.  I was considering making them with a mitten flap to go over the fingers, but I don’t think I have enough yardage leftover to do both flaps…Oh well.

I haven’t been spinning since the Ravellenics ended in February (geeze, that was a month ago almost!).  I went to Open Spinning at the LYS last night and finished up the 2nd skein of my X’s and O’s worsted weight Navajo plied yarn.  It felt good to finish something.  I finally washed the first skein of X’s and O’s and the skein of Ten and Tardis singles that I spun.  Now I’ve got 3 skeins of yarn drying.  I’m hoping the weather improves so I can get out on the porch to photograph.  The dark and dreary light of today isn’t great for photography…and my attempt at making my own light box was a failure.  😦  Sometimes I’m crafty, but this wasn’t one of those times!

Oh, and I have added one new project to my WIP list.  Little Fidget will be turning 4 in May and along with that he has the opportunity to go to pre-k.  I’ve already put his application in for the district pre-k lottery which will be drawn on 4-11-14.  We should hear if he got into our chosen school by the following week.  We’re really hoping that he gets into the same school his brother currently attends.  It would make life so much easier!  lol  Anyway, since school starts in 6 months I figured that would give me plenty of time to work on a “nap blanket” like I made for Bug when he went to Pre-k.  Fidget decided that he wanted something simpler than the Wheels on the Bus blanket I’d made for Bug.  In a way I’m grateful that he chose something simpler.  While the Wheels on the Bus was a cute blanket it was a lot of work and after a school year of weekly washing it didn’t hold up as well as I’d have liked. Plus, sewing all those 2 inch squares together was a right royal pain!  lol

Fidget chose a red blanket at first, then chose a red and black blanket.  I fell in love with the Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting so we scoured Ravelry together to find red and black blankets to give us ideas for 2 more colors.  We settled on black, red, white and dark grey.  So far I’m on block 6 and only messed up once, putting block 4 in the wrong place, but it will work out in the end I think with a bit of fudging.

Sadly, I don’t have any new photos.  Hopefully I’ll get something this week to share.  It’s weird, but I don’t like talking about my craft projects without photos to share!  Better get back to knitting.  Happy Spring, Everyone!

Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival 2012

Yesterday was an adventure into all things fibery!  A couple members from the Frequent Fibers Club at my local library went for a drive to Rhinebeck, NY for the annual Sheep and Wool Festival.

Let me tell you there was so much to see, touch and even smell!  There were over 260 vendors, not counting the food.  That’s barns and barns full of yarn, wool, animals,  needles & hooks, spindles, hats, scarves, shawls, patterns, books and of course people…OMG I could go on and on…It was serious sensory overload.

This is just a sample of  the yarn.,  Every where you turned there were walls, baskets, bins, and tables full of yarns in all colors of the rainbow and every size you could think of.

Lots and Lots of Pretty Yarn!

We arrived at opening and immediately started shopping.   I decided before going that I wanted to try my hand at spinning my own yarn.  My friend Barbara who spins yarn for her online shop Kitty Mine Crafts makes awesome things and because of that I was bitten by the bug!   Rather than shell out a ton of money on a spinning wheel, I decided to try a drop spindle…I’d been advised to look for a top whirl one, but I’d viewed a video on Knit Picks with someone using a funky looking crossed one, so I’d already had that in mind.  In the first building, I ran across this kilted guy using that same funky looking drop spindle I’d seen in the video.

Kilted Spinner

He told me it was a Jenkins brand drop spindle and that I might find one a couple barns over.  Another pro to this particular spindle, which I later learned is called a Turkish drop spindle, is that if you wrap the newly spun yarn around the tines a certain way you can create a center pull ball!  Sweet!  My search was on.

In the second barn we found it filled with llamas, alpacas, sheep, their owners, and respective shops.  Here are some pictures of the more interesting specimens.

This guy was not happy about being the center of attention…no siree bob!  He gave everyone who got near his stall the stink eye.  I was just waiting for the spit to fly.

Unhappy Camper

This guy was pretty unusual.  He has a wicked under bite.  It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a pretty face to have pretty fleece!

Under bite!

These little sheep were playing shy.  They wouldn’t let me get a good shot of them.  I think the little brown one was too embarrassed to his his picture taken.

In one of the later rows of vendors we stumbled across a shop called Still River Mill.  They sold interesting yarns like yakaboo (combination of yak and bamboo yarn) and dog hair yarn.  I contemplated the yakaboo yarn, but decided it was too thin to make a hat (I was thinking something for Darling Hubby since it was a nice gray color) and ended up picking up a dark blue skein of the Seven Sammy’s dog hair yarn.  It’s made from the hair from a Samoyed sled dog team from Cambridge, VT.  It has a beautiful halo effect after handling and I’m partial to Samoyeds having had a big white one named Sheba growing up.  Her long hair would have been perfect for spinning.

Also around that area we came across this cute little knitted monster.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of him.

Eventually I did find the spindle I was looking for.  It was indeed a Jenkins brand (hand made by Ed Jenkins) Turkish drop spindle, made from purpleheart at 2.22 oz.  I’m excited to give it a try.  I know I’m not going to be perfect right out of the gate, but a girl can hope!  Maybe I’ll take to it like I did to knitting.  The best thing about that purchase was the other customers there that I spoke with.  One was adamant about using a bottom or turkish spindle while her friend was all about the top.  They both were really helpful in giving me pros and cons about the different spindles and I think I made the right choice.  The one woman, Elizabeth, even gave me her card and told me to shoot her an email if I got stuck.

Now, before I could even think about trying out my new purchase, I had to get some fiber to practice with.  Having not purchased fiber before it was a bit overwhelming, to be honest.  There were so many different colors, feels, and blends…I really didn’t know where to start.  Barbara told me to look for something with a long fiber and I did my best…I ended up getting a 2oz bag of a mix of merino from Loop Fiber Studio in a gorgeous sea treasure colorway.  It’s got lots of greens and blues and a bit of sparkle.  I also found a merino and silk mix, from another shop that sadly I missed the name of, that is so soft!  I do remember they also had adorable 8 week old bunnies for sale.  They were so sweet!…Not that I need a rabbit!  lol  I fell in love with the black, blues and silver of this 2oz of dyed wool.  I know this will be rather difficult to work with out of the gate, but I’m holding on to it for when I get better.  It was just too beautiful to resist.  I think it will make a gorgeous yarn!

Aside from knitted monsters we came across a knitted critter that looked like Eeyore and a knitted moose. Both were too cute to resist taking a picture of.

 

Other things we saw were a demonstration of needle felting and of someone using a circular sock knitting machine.  Personally, I think hand knitting is more fun!  lol

Circular Sock Knitting Machine

There was even this funky contraption below.  It was a spinning wheel created by this woman’s husband.  It was called a pendulum spinning wheel…it was a crazy looking thing.  Basically it had this super long arm that had a spindle at the very end that was spun around by the wheel.  It seemed to me to be a version of a drop spindle laid on its side.  Personally it seemed like there were many easier methods of spinning…and the amount of room that was needed was enormous…I don’t even think it would have fit in my living room!

Spinning Contraption

Later in the afternoon was the drop spindle contest.  There were approximately a dozen people signed up to see how much yarn they could spin in 10 minutes.

Drop Spindle Contest

It was interesting to see each person’s method of spinning.  Some preferred to sit, while other preferred to stand.

Drop Spindle Contest

Some preferred to drape their roving over their hands and others over their shoulders.  A few, along the back wall, were able to continue a full conversation while spinning…they didn’t even seem under pressure.  lol

Drop Spindle Contest

Some gave their spindle a quick flick with their hand to get momentum while other preferred to spin it down their leg.  I was a bit disappointed to only see top whirl spindles as I was hoping to see all the different kinds in action, but it did give me an appreciation for both types of spindles.  The winner of the contest was able to spin 16 yards of yarn in 10 minutes and there was a tie for 2nd place with I think about 13 yards.  I hope that I can one day be that good.  I also got to see this thing called the niddy noddy in action.  Apparently that is how you can wind your spun yarn into a skein and know how many yards you made.  I may have to get one in the future…lol

And the day wouldn’t be complete without a picture of me wearing a big fluffy, fuzzy wool hat.  I think it suits me!  lol

Here are a couple pictures of some of the other random animals that really had nothing to do with fiber arts…they were just there to keep the kids entertained in the kids zone  🙂  The red kangaroo seemed to be posing…He was sexy and he knew it…lol

This was a ginormous bunny.  I think it was a Flemmish Giant.  He was also in with a big tortoise.

Overall we had a fun day with beautiful fall weather.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day, especially at the end of October.  The sun was shining, the weather was warm and not too humid.  There was a ton to see and by the end of the day we were all a little overwhelmed and a lot tired from all the walking.  I’m looking forward to maybe going again next year.  Maybe by then I’ll be an accomplished spinner and can broaden my horizons even further!  One can hope, right!

FO Friday And A WIP Sneak Peek!

Considering at the beginning of this week I was shocked that it was only Tuesday I can’t believe that it’s already Friday!  I think it helped that Wednesday we got some snow.  We’ve had a very mild winter this year and I’m loving it!  The snow was predicted to start after noon, but it started a little after 11 while I was out buying yarn, of course..  We only got about 5 inches in our area.  It’s funny that this is only like the 2nd storm we’ve had since Halloween last year.  The first one, in January, we only got a couple inches and it didn’t last that long.  The weather is supposed to get warmer by Saturday (near 50*F), so our recent bit of snow probably won’t last long (and I’m actually ok with that!  lol)  My boys, however are gonna be kinda bummed.  We had a snow day today for Bug and after breakfast we bundled up and went out to play.  Fidget loved being dragged around in the sled.  I will say that snow is a good workout for me.  Before 8am I had the front walk, side walk and the bottom of the driveway shoveled out and all the running around in circles pulling both boys in the sled gave me some cardio!

Anyway, like I mentioned in my last post, I finished my Grey Hooded Cardigan.  Here are a couple pictures of it.  I really do love it!  It’s my new favorite!

And here’s one with the hood up.  I mentioned previously that with the first sweater I made with this pattern I had trouble with getting the front panel of the hood on easily and without a slight twist.  I felt it was unnecessarily difficult to sew on the extra piece.  Following the suggestions of fellow ravelers who endeavored to make this sweater, I picked up the stitches along the front of the hood (the same number as the final amount of rows for the front panel) and knit it to the width of the 20 stitch button area.  Then I inserted the cord and folded it over.  It doesn’t twist like the first one and gives it a slight flair, which is unique.

I don’t have a close up of the buttons, but they are a silver metal button that has what appears at first glance to be a Celtic design.  They really suit me and the sweater nicely!

I mentioned buying yarn, too.  I picked up some Caron One Pound skeins at Joann’s on Wednesday (Lavender Blue, Deep Violet, White, Sage Green, and Petal Pink) and I’m using some Rose and Cream from my stash.  I’ve started working on a Twin Sized Spring Flowers blanket for my friend Pammi’s daughter.  I’m really excited about it.  Here’s a sneak peek.  The pattern can be found here on Ravelry.

So far (in 2 days) I’ve made 7 white ringed hexagons and 7 cream ringed hexagons (only the white are pictured).  I really like how the cream looks…I’m leaving it up to Pammi whether we omit the white and go with the cream only or if we use both.  It would probably end up with diagonal stripes if we go with both, though that’s not a bad thing.

WIPS and FO’s – Sweaters

So, I’m still working on Fidget’s sweater.  I have only worked on it a bit here and there after posting last Wednesday.  I did manage to sew the one neck seam and pick up the stitches around the neckband and knit that for an inch or so, but other than that it’s just sat in the work bag.  I was hoping to get to it today (maybe during Fidget’s nap while watching Breaking Dawn part 1 that Darling Hubby bought me yesterday) but it’s looking like it might be tomorrow or this weekend.  lol  I’m hoping for a snow day tomorrow for Bug since we are supposed to get our first big snow of the season…I can’t believe that tomorrow will be the 1st of March and we are just now getting some snow that will last more than a few hours!    At least if March comes in like a LION it will go out like a LAMB, right?

On the other hand, I did pick up my hooded cardigan a couple times over the week.  I finished sewing the button holes Monday night and last night at Craft Night I sewed on the buttons.  It’s a bit bigger than the last hooded cardigan I made using the same pattern.  Mostly because I used heavier yarn and I didn’t do a proper “washed and hung” gauge swatch.  I just went with the needles called for on the pattern and my quickly knitted up, measured, and then frogged swatch.  It’s fine as I prefer my sweaters to be a little baggy.  It’s not like the sleeves are too long or anything!  lol

Hopefully by next week I’ll have another WIP to write about.  One of my fellow January Jubilee mommies approached me asking if I’d make a blanket for her 7 year old daughter.  I’m looking forward to the task.  I have to take some measurements of Bug’s twin bed and calculate dimensions and figure out how much yarn I’ll need.  I also have to find a pattern.  I’m thinking flowery hexagon granny squares in purples, pinks and white with some light green.  I’m excited to start it!

Photo Challenge – June 11-15

I feel behind a bit because we went away for Father’s day weekend and this week was busy with the end of school, but I’m catching back up!  Here are the 5 newest pictures for the June Photo Challenge

June 11th – Silhouette – This was taken on Christmas Eve 2006 after coming home from visiting family for the Holiday.  It’s one of my favorites.


June 12th – Sun Flare


June 13th – Childhood Reminder – This was once my tree house that my parents built me when I was around 7 or 8.  It was called Cratewood Manor because it was built from old wooden crates. It hung in a big tree in the woods for many years until I grew up and moved away.  My parents took it down and transported it down near the house so my mom could house chickens in it.  The chickens may be gone now and replaced with tools and random things, but I’ll always remember all the fun times my friends and I had in that old tree house whenever I look at it.


June 14th – Someone You Love – My Dad – he was burning the garbage and didn’t know I was taking pictures.


June 15th – Action – Doing 65mph on the highway.


Photo Challenge – June 6-10

Here are the 5 newest pictures for the June Photo Challenge

June 6th – Books.  Since I couldn’t choose just a few books, I took a picture of my favorite spot in our office.  This is my bookshelf with all my favorite books and knick-knacks.  There are 3 more in the room with more books and knick-knacks, but all of those aren’t mine!  We love books in our family!

June 6 - Books

 June 7th -High Angle – I trapped my cute little model in his playpen and stood on my coffee table for this shot.  I’m sure he was trying to figure out why I’m standing on the furniture like and idjit!  lol

June 7 - High Angle

 June 8th – Sunset – This was a Wednesday night and it was just me and the boys.  We had some terrible thunderstorms roll through our area, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get a sunset shot being alone with the 2 kids and the storms.  This was taken after I got both kids bathed and into bed, after the 2nd storm blew through (the first was complete with hail!)  Our house location doesn’t lend itself well to good sunset pictures, but I quickly snapped this shot as the sun was sinking below our neighbor’s garage.

June 8th - Sunset

June 9th – Fresh Fruit – Fruit doesn’t tend to last long in our house. I haven’t been shopping in nearly a week and there was only 1 kiwi, 2 strawberries and a few apples left in the fridge.

June 9th - Fresh Fruit

June 10th – This is a woodpecker in our ornamental cherry tree in our front yard.  I have fond memories of this bird.  It’s not a real bird, you see. Our former neighbors hung this bird in a big tree in their backyard, one that I could see from my kitchen window.  I spent a good long time attempting to take a good photograph of it before it flew away…when it didn’t move for over an hour…it dawned on me it was fake.  We had a good laugh over it.  Well, our neighbors moved to a new house a few weeks ago and gave me the bird.  We hung it in the cherry tree and now when I see it, I think of them.  They were awesome neighbors, but I have high hopes that the new neighbors will be just as nice. A bonus is that they have a little girl who is only 3 days younger that Fidget!

June 10th - Animal

Photo Challenge – June 4 & 5

Here are the newest two photos in the June Challenge.

June 4th – Clouds – The sky was mostly blue for much of the day until the clouds started rolling in during the afternoon.  I love how they are both puffy and windswept.  Everyone tells me the trees at the bottom are a nice touch.

June 4th - Clouds

 June 5th – Breakfast – Sunday mornings we usually have sausage and eggs, but Darling Hubby wasn’t in the mood for sausage, so I just snagged a blueberry bagel with some cream cheese and some Dark Naturals Cranberry Pomegranate Raspberry juice.

June 5th - Breakfast