May 13, 2010

Afterglow Part 2

Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 8:32 pm by Jenn

Last Saturday Heather and I attended a Maryland Sheep and Wool Afterglow party hosted by one of the members of our spinning group.  We also had an invitation from our knitting group, but the spinners won out.  They have been having this event for a few years now and I hadn’t been doing much spinning lately so I was excited to be back in the company of this great group and see all of their fibery purchases from Sheep and Wool.

Here are a few pictures of the day, lots of wheels, good food and fantastic company.  Thanks for the invite Jen.  Looking forward to next year.

The ladies:

Ready to comb

All spun up:

Heather and Gregory

Fiona: she’s owned by Jody, but I love her…I want one like her…saving my pennies.

The Charka:

Last but not least, my fleece.  Thanks Gregory for hauling it around for the week between the festival and the afterglow party!

May 2, 2010

Afterglow Part 1

Posted in Journal tagged , at 3:00 pm by Jenn

Yesterday was a great day.  It was a hot day, but a great one none the less.  Heather and I were out the door around 8:00 to pick up our friend Kelli in Bowie and then head to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  The forecast for the day was 86 degrees (30 celsius).  It seemed like a long ride because the line to make the turn on to the fairground round was LONG.  That turn part took about 30 minutes or longer.  Once we were on the homestretch the excitement in the car started to build.  We wanted to park by the back gate, but unfortunately we got flagged in at the front…..as luck would have it though we ended up in the back lot anyway and were able to barely make in the back gate to the fairground before it was locked.  Apparently this wasn’t an entrance this year, but the gate had been opened to let a vendor vehicle or something through and we just so happened to be in the right place at the right time.  The reason we like the back gate so much is because of it’s proximity to the Fleece Sale, which we planned to be our first stop….can’t devitate from the plan!

The day was long and hot, but we managed to see all that we wanted to see and more.  I still say I need two days, but this morning when I woke up the last thing on my mind was driving an hour plus to walk around in the heat again….maybe next year!

Here is a photo collage of the day and my purchases. .

Stay tuned for Afterglow Part 2 for a description of the purchases.

August 30, 2009

Second SP14 Package Arrives

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 6:02 pm by Jenn

This post, as man of my posts these days is overdue.  What can I say?  I’m lazy and I ‘m also sharing a computer with “the fam” these days so blogging time is hard to come by.

My second Secret Pal package arrived during the week and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the contents…see, I took pictures and everything!

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The box.

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Pre unwrapping.

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Post unwrapping.  Starting at the bottom right there is a fold up travel pack that I will most likely use for knitting notions.  Atonement, the book.  I watched the movie just a few weeks ago and loved it.  Now I’m going to tackle the book to see which I like better.  I’m betting I like the book.  The card explaining what everything is and why she chose it for me.  A mesh bag of stitch markers, hand made by a friend of hers.  Under the stitch markers is a notepad with a ball of yarn, some knitting needles and my name.  A stuffed coaster.  When you put your mug on it, the heat from the mug releases fragrance from the goodies stuffed inside.  A box full of gift tags for my handknit items.  There is space to write care instructions, etc.  I’m sure I”ll get a lot of use out of these (and there are a LOT of them in that box).  Lastly, notecards and envelopes that match the notepad and gift tags.  VERY COOL package.  Thanks Pal.

Also in Secret Pal news we have a contest going on to post our favorite baby pattern.  Well, it just so happens that I have a friend out there who is expecting so I’ve been skimming the pattern browser and have a few cute knits in mind.  I’m hoping to make Phazelia’s mitered baby jacket (ravelry pattern), and the 8 hour baby afghan (ravelry pattern) for the little bundle – but my friend reads this blog so that being said – you never know!

In my other craft related news this weekend was a fiber filled as usual.  Friday was the Spinners Guild meeting and Saturday there was an impromptu meeting of the Bowie Maryland Knitters Group (ravelry group).  I had a great time at both as usual.

I’m working on the Poppy, V-neck pullover and I’m ALMOST FINISHED.  I’m putting the final rows on the second sleeve, then I just need to attach the sleeves, sew in the loose yarn and I’ll be finished with my second sweater!  AND, Friday evening I purchased the yarn for my third sweater which I thought would be the Whisper Cardigan, but that will be my fourth because my enabler (Jolene) turned me on to the Featherweight Cardigan which is made from Malabrigo Lace.  This yarn I might add is only $9.55 a skein at Cloverhill and the pattern calls for 3 skeins.  So that’s a sweater for less than $30, which makes it my kind of sweater!  The color I chose for this sweater is called Marron Oscuro which is a beautiful reddy brown.

Lastly, I sent out my package for the Knitting Whodunnit Swap.  This swap has been a lot of fun so far and I expect that with packages going out and alibis starting to get posted the real fun is still to come.  Stay tuned for more on that – for now I’m off to finish that sleeve.

August 23, 2009

Scales and Arpeggios

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 4:46 am by Jenn

Yesterday Heather and I took a spinning class at Cloverhill Yarn Shop.  It was a small group, but it was well worth it and I learned a TON about my wheel and what it’s capable of.  I was really impressed with the yarn that I’m able to create.  I’m even more impressed that I was actually able to create a laceweight plied yarn!  YAY ME!  Finally!

Here is my pile of scrap/trash fiber at the end of the day

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My wheel has 4 ratios and here is are my scales and arpeggios using those ratios:

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From left to right using 64 micron Merino – the yellow is the 6:1 with brake and then no brake, the red is the 8:1 with brake and now brake, the blue is 11:1 with brake and no brake, the green is the 14:1 with brake and no brake and that white….wait for it -

that is also the 14:1 with no brake but the fiber is 80 micron vs 64 micron….what a difference the fiber makes!  All of these are 2 ply and yes folks, I can make lace weight yarn if I use the right ratio!  DUH!  I’ve been spinning on the 8:1 with brake so no wonder I wasn’t able to get the finished product that I wanted.  I’m so happy that I went to this spinning class.  Understanding what my wheel is capable of is probably the most useful information I’ve gotten in my 3 months of spinning.  Now I feel like I’m ready to tackle some actual spinning for projects!

Speaking of spinning….I plied some yarn last week and I have no idea what I did, but I somehow plied unevenly, so now I’m going to go back and add some extra twist to try to fix the uneven pieces….see

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Some of it is plied just fine,but other sections are just not good.  After I finish that task I am going to try spinning some of the fiber from the “bag of crap” that I received in the mail this week.

On Ravelry I belong to the Spin or Dye Swapping group.  Within this group is a “bag of crap” swap.  You claim a bag that has been offered and then offer to send a bag with a value of around $10.  The person who was supposed to send my crap, backed out so the crap angels came to my rescue and I received this wonderful crap from Vermont.

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The taupe colored fiber is Cormo/Alpaca, the white is East Freisien and the Dark Brown is Border Leicester/Alpaca.

Cande if you are out there I have your fiber ready to go…I just need your address : (

If you don’t send it soon, I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself…spin spin spin : )

August 13, 2009

My Medallion

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 1:27 am by Jenn

Well, here they are – as promised.  Pictures of my finished Botanica Medallion Cardigan.

I put the seam under the right arm instead of down the middle of the back.  The yarn I used was Berroco Ultra Alpaca.

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And this is probably the most unflattering picture of the decade, but I’m putting it out there anyway

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So there you have it!  My first finished sweater.

And for all you Max fans – here is a picture of the boy cooling off with an ice cold Frosty Paws.

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July 10, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 3:14 am by Jenn

Today was a fiber filled day on many levels.  My sister and I headed down to Crazy For Ewe to take advantage of the sales and shop for our Secret Pal 14 spoilees.  We met Ellen the shop owner, chatted a bit and made off with lots and lots of yarn fibery goodness.  I won’t post pictures of the items I purchased for my spoilee because that might spoil the fun for her (in case she’s super sleuthy and has me figured out).  But here is a picture of what I purchased for myself.

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On the left are 3 skeins of Noro Taiyo – a cotton, silk, nylon blend that I plan to use to make Yarnplay’s Poppy sweater.  I will use black for the body with the sleeves, top and vertical stripes in the colorway shown above.  The single skein on the right was a super lucky find and almost brought me to tears!  A couple of weeks ago Heather, Zac and I went downtown to the Folklife Festival and I lost my knitting bag.  The bag contained the second skein of yarn in this colorway, the skein I had just started to knit my SECOND sock with!  I was heartbroken.  Not only was I actually going to finish the sock, but the knitting bag was a gift from my cousin Carol (sorry Carol).  I put a lost ad out on Craigslist and filled out a lost form with the Smithsonian, but no luck – no one turned in my bag.  I also had two sets of needles in that bag one not so loved, but my favorite sock needles – my Blue Sky Alpaca – $28.00 a set needles were gone.  I’m sure someone found the bag looked inside, found no money and tossed the bag in the trash.  Somewhere out there is a homeless person with a half knit sock, expensive needles and Carol’s bag.  I hope they know how to knit!

So overall it was a great afternoon.  Ellen’s shop is fabulous.  She is wonderful and knowledgeable.  The customers were warm and friendly and stopping by to knit for a while.  We’ll definitely be joining them one of these days very soon.   I actually have signed up for a class at the LaPlata store to make the Undulating Waves Scarf –  I’m making the Heather version.  I think the class will be great.  I love knitting scarves and have been wanting to try knitting with beads so this is perfect!

Just when I thought the day wouldn’t get any better, there was a knock on the door around 6pm…UPS.

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At last it was here…remember back to my post from Maryland Sheep and Wool?  The fleece we purchased and sent off to Zeilinger’s had arrived.  Heather couldn’t wait to get the box opened and if you look really close you can see the look of a fiber crazed woman in her eyes!  Seriously.

So what was in the box that weighed 11 pounds?

Right on top was what I’ve been waiting for – the combed top that we had processed from the merino fleece that we purchased at the festival.  I can’t believe we didn’t take pictures of the “before”, but here is the “after”.

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Repeat after me….Ooooo…….Ahhhhh…..ssssoffft.  It’s the most beautiful milk chocolate brown color, approximately 3 POUNDS of it.  The fleece we turned in was 8 pounds!  I’m amazed at how much grease merino contains.  The noil weighed about a pound so that’s almost 50%.  The bag there in the center is the noil, which we really aren’t quite sure what to do with…kind of reminds me of dryer lint.

Now I really need to get to work so that I can buy that wheel!

At the bottom of the bag was almost 5 pounds of newly washed fleece that Heather obtained from her friend Gregory who owns a farm and invited the Baltimore Spinner’s group up for the day in the spring to participate in sheep shearing.

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That’s one heck of a lot of wool.  Stay tuned for some yarn pictures.  Heather is participating in Tour de Fleece so I’m sure she’ll be spinning up some of both of these TONIGHT!

So there it is, a fun fiber filled day!  I’m off to knit and hit the sack early.  It’s a DaVita day for me tomorrow!

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