May 15, 2011

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2011

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 11:08 am by Jenn

It was a fun filled day of yarn fibery goodness.  My friend Christine came in from Boston.  We were both practically hyperventilating by the time we pulled in to the parking lot.  It was a great weekend!  Here are a few pictures taken mostly on Sunday. 

May 8, 2009

Wooly Wooly part 2

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 5:53 am by Jenn

As promised here is a continuation of the post with links to the vendors I loved from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  Sorry for all the links and pictures, but I know you’ll love it!

The first thing we did when we arrived at the festival was enter the main exhibition area and bought a fleece.  7.75 pounds of merino…super soft and yummy.  Of course I forgot to take a picture so you’ll have to wait to see the finished product but our intention was to buy a chocolate colored fleece…I’m pretty sure what we ended up with will be a steel gray or pewter color once it’s cleaned and processed in to combed top….we’ll have to wait and see.  We dropped the fleece off to Zeilinger’sand should be getting the combed top back in 4 -6 weeks!  YAY.  Can’t wait.  I’m curious to see how much we get back…it didn’t look too dirty so I’m guessing maybe 5 pounds back…that would be 2.5 pounds of combed top a piece to spin spin spin….

What am I going to spin it on?  Funny you should ask.  I have some cash stashed away for a spinning wheel.  I’m trying to decide which one I want, but I know who I’m getting it from…The Merlin Tree.  If you are going to buy a wheel, you might as well buy it from a super nice guy in a kilt!  My sister has one of his Hitchhiker’s and she love’s it.  She brought the wheel with her to the festival to inquire about having it made in to a double treadle.  Sure enough, Dave said no problem.  They chatted for a while,  I was impressed so he’ll be getting my business…best of all, he’s a Vermonter!  SOLD!

Here’s a picture of Dave

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Now to back track.  Before we even left the main exhibition hall I parted with with some cash for this great scarf kit from Cloverhill Yarn Shop.  The kit is to make the Gradiance Lace Scarf designed by Kelly Eells.  The colors are great and I can’t wait to start knitting it up.   Cloverhill is the shop that my sister goes to for her spinning group and I’ll be joining them this Friday to spin for a few hours.  If you live in the Maryland/Baltimore area and have an interest in spinning make sure to pay them a visit.  They even have wheels that they rent for VERY reasonable prices.  I’m trying the Ashford Traveler right now and plan to rent either the Ashford Joy or Ladybug on Friday….decisions, decisions.

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We wondered for a while and happened upon the American Cormo Sheep Association booth.  I immediately grabbed up this yummy bundle of fiber.  It’s a brown with a pinkish tinge to it and I can’t wait to spin it up.  Hopefully I’ll be able to make a plyed yarn…keeping fingers crossed.

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One of the best surprises of the day was seeing the Creatively Dyed Yarn booth at the festival.  Apparently there was a last minute cancellation and she was able to get a spot last minute.  I’m sure she wasn’t sorry.  The booth was PACKED!  Yarn was flying off the shelves left and right and the women (and men) were oohing and aahing over the fiber.  The website doesn’t do the fiber justice, but trust me…the colors are nothing less than spectacular.  You WON’T be sorry.  I bought once skein of the Tradewinds - a Superwash/Nylon blend with a whopping 510 yds per skein.  The colorway is Butong and I’m planning to make the Drop Stitch Scarf  from the Spring/Summer 2009 Vogue Knitting (Ravelry link).   The owner – Dianne was running the registered and when my sister paid for her yarn, she mentioned that the sweater she was wearing was made from Creatively Dyed and Dianne just got the sweetest look on her face and said, “That’s mine?”….she was so surprised and humbled.  It was awesome.

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Next we wondered over to the Brooks Farmbooth to pick up some yarn for my mom to make a Clapotis for the principal at my nephew’s school.  I must say that I was IMPRESSED with this yarn.  The yarn my mom wanted was Duet, and it was great.  As I wondered through the booth I came across Primero which was SUPER FAB.  In fact, as I looked around ALL of the yarn was yummy.  It was so yummy that I couldn’t choose.  I mean really, I was overwhelmed an almost started to cry.  I was nothing like being in the crazy yarn store.  There was yarn EVERYWHERE and I could touch it.  I did not purchase one single skein but I will….you can count on that.

We wondered around a little more and I bought a few funny buttons for my knitting bag.  “Fiber it’s not just for breakfast”, “Spinning because knitting’s not weird enough” and “A bad day of knitting is better than a good day at work”.  LOL, 3 for $5…I had to do it.

Tess’s Designer Yarn’s was very very interesting.  Check this post out for more details on that.  I didn’t buy anything here, but I have some of her yarn already.  It’s great.  I’m knitting my Clapotis out of her sock yarn.

I also bought a pattern for a hexagonal scarf that my mom, sister and I are going to knit as a knit along while we are watching tv in the evening.  It’s made with Jojoland’s Melody yarn.  I didn’t buy the yarn, because by this point I was running short on cash and I still had lots to see at the show.

We stopped at a couple more booths and I finally ended up buying a knitty knoddy from the Spanish Peacock.  Again, a great guy who loves custom work so if you have a special request send it his way, you will not be disappointed.  After my knitty knotty purchase I had 2 dollars in my wallet – time to go home.

So there you have it…my favorite vendors from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  Check them out!

March 2, 2009

Walk-about

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 8:27 pm by Jenn

Today I got the urge to take a stroll.  A week or so ago I saw this big head statue of a guy that I had no idea who it was because there was no plaque.  This morning I was reading in the Azerbaijan tour book by Mark Elliott that this “head” is a bust of a famous Azerbaijani poet by the name of Vahid.  What’s fascinating about the bust is that in his hair there are carvings of scenes from his various works.  I saw the bust and took a picture of it, but I didn’t see the carvings….so I went in search.  You can see today’s photos in my album here.

I also decided that I wanted to visit one of the local yarn stalls and also try to find the No Limit shop that I’d been hearing about.  I did both of those things, even stopping to ask for directions to the No Limit shop, in Russian no less.  I’m getting pretty good at that.  Thing that that is amazing to me is that everything is “left”. 

I had a good walk, it was about two hours in total, and I was moving pretty much most of the time.  My right calf is killing me!  I think I zigged when I should have zagged or something along those lines.  Anyway, I can definitely tell that I did a bit of walking today.

In knitting news, the Crafters Guild is up to 7 members now.  We are still meeting on Tuesdays and the response for an evening group has prompted me to start an evening meeting as well.  We’ll give it a try with this Wednesday being the first meeting.  Hopefully lots of people come.  If not, I’ll have a quiet evening knitting by my lonesome, which I don’t mind at all.  I haven’t made much progress on the Welt and Rib Raglan this week.  I am at the last decrease and then I just knit in 5×1 rib til the thing measures 15 inches or something like that…stay tuned.

I’ve been surfing around on Ravelry a lot lately because I was procrastinating.  I had a paper due today, so of course I did what I always do and that is procrastinate.  In the process of procrastination I found a great project that is right up my current alley of fleece!  It’s a fleece study where you are sent 12 samples of fleece from different breeds of sheep.  12 samples weighing about 2 ounces each.  You wash them, spin them, dye them, do whatever you want with them.  Track your findings and record them in your notebook and share them with the other people who are participating in the study.  I think it’s a wonderful learning experiment and I’m glad I found it.  If you are interested check out the Beginning Spinners group on Ravelry and search for Fleece Study.

I’ve also decided that I’d like to learn Tunisian Crochet as well as Continental Knitting.  I bought a crochet hook today to practice, though it isn’t long enough, but it will get me started.  Next week I hope the group takes a field trip to the big knitting shop.  They are supposed to have the right hook there.  As for the new knitting method, well it’s faster and is supposed to be better on your hands/wrists….you know, to prevent carpel tunnel.  I don’t have any problems, but I think with all the knitting, spinning, fleece carding and lord only knows what else my mom and sister have planned for me when I’m home I better start thinking along those lines….oh, did I mention Sheep and Wool Festival?  It’s the first weekend in May and that should work out perfectly with when I’ll be home for a visit!  YAY for me.  My first Wool Festival.  I’m doing a fiber dance!

Speaking of fleece, here’s a little picture of the scenery around town today

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This picture was taken about a block from my apartment at the park near the Narimonov Statue.  Just the local sheep out for an afternoon snack.  At least there is some grass for them to eat.

February 22, 2009

Making Progress

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , , at 12:31 am by Jenn

As promised yesterday I have several pictures to post today.  First, I finished my February Challenge for the Ravelry Spindlers group.  The theme was Mardi Gras.

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This picture was my inspiration, this was my fiber, 

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this is what it looked like spun up on the spindle

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and at last, the finished yarn, all 27 yards of it in one little skein.

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I am finally making progress on my Welt and Rib Raglan, now that I’ve gotten the pattern problem sorted out.  The problem wasn’t with me, it was in fact with the pattern…the math…it just wasn’t making sense to my brain so I brainstormed with a friend and together we decided that the math was wrong.  For the two smaller sizes you either need to add or subtract six stitches from the cast on stitches to give you a number that is divisible by six….the number when divided by 2 must also be divisible by six.  For example.  I was making the 35 1/2 size.  The cast on stitches according to the pattern were 222 with the 1/2 way marker at 111.  Well 222 is divisible by 6, but 111 is not so when the 1/2 way marker was placed it was placed in the middle of a 5×1 rib which did not allow for a nice symmetrical pattern to develop down the side….in order for that to happen the marker at the 1/2 way point needs to be placed at the end of the 5 x1 rib, between a purl and knit stitch…adding or subtracting 6 stitches from the cast on allows for this.  I chose 204 stitches because the 222 just seemed to be way to big.  Anyway, if you are reading this and having problems understanding, post a comment and I’ll contact you.

Here’s my progress

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This picture shows the right side of the sweater…how it looks when you knit it.  This picture shows the wrong side of the sweater…how it looks when you wear it.  You are supposed to wear it inside out.  I think it’s going to look great.

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Scott’s back from Turkmenistan.  He spent the better part of the week there for work.  He came home with a great carpet.  Here’s a picture. 

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In other news, I FINALLY after 16 months got paid by Tricare for medical care that I had when I lived in Belarus.  I plan to use the money to buy that crude oil painting that I want.  I hope Scott feels like taking a field trip tomorrow.  I’d like to take him to the gallery and also to Samir’s carpet shop to look around and also take some pictures for Dr. Miranda.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but Scott and I submitted our choices for our next post so we should be hearing any time now where our next assignment will be.  We were really excited with the choices that were available and there may actually be potential employment opportunities for me with PPD.  I’m thrilled about that because PPD has a facility in Wilmington and working internationally for PPD would be a great foot in the door with the company (thinking ahead to moving stateside).

It’s getting late here so it’s off to bed for me now.  I may start Changeling tonight.  Last night I watched The Reader.  I thought it was a great story, but there was way to much unnecessary nudity, including full frontal male which I really didn’t care to see.  Anyway, it was a good story….Oscar winning ???  We’ll see tomorrow.

February 8, 2009

Another ballet and randomness

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 2:21 pm by Jenn

I have been a bad blogger lately, in part because I’ve really been trying to get this school work done (which I did today) and in part because I’ve been busy with nothing really…more randomness.

I intended to blog on Thursday evening when I got home from the ballet.  I saw Seven Beauties.  I was by far the best ballet I’ve seen here in Baku.  I’m sure I’ve been to other ballets in my lifetime, but I can’t remember any of them so I’m just going to put this out there and say that Seven Beauties is the best ballet I’ve ever seen.  I really think this is where a lot of the money from the Ballet and Opera theater goes…to this production.  The program is full color and bilingual (Azeri and English).  The costumes are magnificent, the music beautiful and the dancers are well rehearsed.  I’m hoping that I can find a video taped version of this ballet to share with my friends and family.  I know I’ll be able to find the music on CD no problem.

I wish I could find a great picture of the performance.  The pictures I took don’t do it justice.  Here’s a picture of the program cover

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this doesn’t do it justice either, but you get an idea of how colorful the costumes were. 

Friday I intended to post about my walk and the “loaded lada” that I finally took a picture of.  I got sidetracked and then we went out for the evening and so much for that.  Here’s a picture of the car, loaded down with apples.  This is a typical sighting all around Baku.  You see cars filled with various food stuffs parked in the alley, off to the side of the road, etc.  If you want what they are selling you buy it.  This guy has a regular little produce stand.  His good actually look pretty decent.  I may have to visit him for some fruits and veggies every now and then…especially since he didn’t charge me to take his picture.

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Yesterday I didn’t blog because I was playing Mousehunt and still trying to figure out this sweater snafoo!  I still don’t get it.  It seems that there is an error in the pattern in the number of stitches/placement of the second marker for the two smaller sizes.  I’ve posted to Ravelry, I’ve put a call out to my mom and sister, my friend here in Baku is helping me and still I am stumped.  I think I’m going to frog it and start over with the number of stitches that I think it should have and go from there….but before I do that I’ll be scouring cyberspace looking for any information I can on how the heck to do the 5×1 rib with increases on the Welt and Rib Raglan.  Certainly I’m not the only one who knits, blogs and is making the sweater in this size.

January 22, 2009

Carpet

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 6:28 pm by Jenn

Today one of the women from the embassy hosted a carpet show.  A local carpet vendor came to her house with about 15 carpets new and old and displayed them for us with the hopes of making some sales.  This isn’t the first carpet show he’s done for us.  I’ve been to two others and liked a lot of the carpets that I saw, but none enough to buy…until today.

Today I actually saw 4 carpets that I was interested in.  Now I don’t know if it’s because I’ll be leaving here soon that I was so ready to buy a carpet or if it’s because it’s winter and the floors are so cold here.  Either way, I ended up purchasing one carpet and one mule/horse bag.

The mule/horse bags are really neat.  They are made of woven wool, and hang across the mule/horse.  They have a large pocket on each side for storing whatever needs storing when you are riding a mule/horse.  I haven’t been doing much mule/horse riding these days, but they sure are neat to hang on a wall or over a staircase railing, chair, etc.

Here’s a picture.  Right now I have it laid across a table as a runner, but the pictures show it draped over a chair so that you can really get a look at the pattern and colors.

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This is a picture of the carpet.  Max claimed it for his own right away, but I had other plans for it.  This rug is a Zili which means it is pileless (not plush).  I love the pattern.  It kind of looks like a patriotic design in red, white and blue at first glance.  It even looks like it has dollar signs.  When you look more closely you see that it is people and animals, I’m assuming some sort of hunting scene.

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Here’s a closer view of the pattern:

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The carpet is roughly 4 feet wide by 6 feet long (give or take a few inches in each direction).  It’s the perfect size for an  area rug.  (Mom – the amaryllis that you sent bloomed while we were on vacation.  When we got home the 3rd blossom was just starting to wither.  It looks pretty sad now, but I’m sure it was really pretty when all the blossoms were out.  I’m bummed that I missed it!).

In other news I finished my Unoriginal Hat  last night.  Unfortunately, it was WAY too small.  I did manage to gift it to a woman from the embassy who has a 4 month (or so) old little baby girl.  She was really appreciative, but boy was I disappointed that it didn’t fit.  It was SOOO cute.  I started this hat once before and ripped it out because there was no way it was going to fit.  I switched from size 7 to size 10 needles and it was STILL too small.  I’m going to make another one, hopefully in the right size this time.  I need to do some research on gauge and actually maybe make a swatch this time…wish me luck.

Here’s a picture of the finished hat.

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