Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Birthday, Jenn!

21 years ago on a snowy New Year's Eve about 11pm or so, it was finally time to go to the hospital to welcome my very long awaited and special daughter, Jennifer, into the world. I'd been in labor since the early evening before (27 hours before it was over), and she didn't decide to appear until 6:32 am on New Year's day. I guess I should have known then that she wasn't going to make things easy for me! But like anything that's worth the effort, and she certainly was and is worth it, she was worth every moment in labor, and even the challenging moments afterward, and even the moments that made me cry. She's grown into a beautiful young woman that I'm proud to be the mom of. Happy Birthday, sweetheart! I love you!

A moment taken out to relax and spin

Last night, my dh and I visited with LizzyB and her dh. We went out for dinner but spent lots of time spinning and chatting, watching a good movie, and generally just relaxing. I spun some brindle alpaca roving which Liz then plied from a center pull ball, and while she was plying some of her gorgeous Marigold heathered yarn, I finished one bobbin and did another of this shiny and soft Merino/Silk in multi-colored green. I plied it today. All day. There was a lot of yarn on those bobbins, and I plied it into one monster skein! I did a little bit of plying, then walked away and did something else that was on my "to-do" list, then came back and did a little bit more. Finally it was done! Now I'm spinning some Apricot Merino/Angora that I've been wanting to play with. It's very wonderful...of course, that's on one wheel, I have things going on multiple bobbins already. Call it startitis...but the green was a finished skein so I'm so excited! Now to decide what to knit of it.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm going to be a bit quiet for the next week

I hope you'll forgive me if I don't get much posting done in the next week. I have to study for my annual requalification for my "real"'s all about the things that we hopefully will never have to use but need to know word for word as well as practical examinations. There's lots of pre-work to be done online and the usual making new flashcards and drilling myself on the written items that we could be tested on. It's next Friday and Saturday in Chicago. Hubby is going to fly there and meet me and take me to dinner at the "Shnitzel Hauss" before we come home (forgive me if I've spelled it wrong) which is such fun and with great food too.

In addition, I got this lovely bunch of spindles just today. They all need to be weighed, listed, and photographed so that they can start to be adopted out to good homes. That's going to keep me busy!

And in knitting news, I bound off the Gypsy shawl today. I'm hoping to get it blocked onto the carpet in my guest room sometime over the weekend. I'll wait to photograph it until then. The crocheted fringe will be added after it's blocked. I began to gather up some of the UFO's today to work on, and they are numerous. Ah, the startitis always gets me, I wish I had finishitis too!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A little knitting, a little catching up, a little Holiday frenzy

This is the Koigu gypsy shawl at it's present state of knittingness. The lace pattern that I'm doing now seems to have my brain tied up in knots and I think it's just that I'm so busy and frazzled. I knit at Weight Watcher meetings and a little bit when waiting for planes at work, but I don't really have any time to just sit down and knit so it'll get done when it gets done. I'm actually about 12 rows from binding off, then it'll be blocked and the fringe edging will be added after blocking. I really like larger shawls, so I'm waiting to see if this is large enough for my liking before I bind off the edges. I purchased an extra skein of yarn so I could make it a little bit larger if I thought it needed it.

I'm valliantly trying to catch up with the business issues while getting Holiday cards out and keeping up with the travels and activities of the various children! Mark went to see Matt and Nick this morning and to bring Meg back from Michigan, we had dinner with Jon last night (he picked US up in his new car!) and Jenni is supposed to come tomorrow. I love having a full house! Of course, flying is very busy this time of year too, so that takes a little bit of time out of my schedule. I do hope you and your family aren't getting as frenzied as we are here, and I send my warmest wishes for a delightful holiday with family and friends near and far.

My "to do list" isn't even beginning to have progress made, as I have a dye run to produce for a dear and wonderful customer's request as well as keeping up with orders and trying to get to a point where I can even imagine closing out the year's books here in a week or so. I'vealso got a secret for all you fiber folks out there...plenty of customers are ordering things for themselves that they're not getting or not asking for as Holiday gifts which makes me smile with fibery warmth. There's nothing like enjoying a nice relaxing spinning session to de-stress from this busy period.

Myself, I'm looking forward to sitting down and spinning some more of the merino and NZ possum blend that I sent to be processed this fall. It's really exquisitely soft and wonderful, as I was able to spin some of it at a guild meeting/party last Sunday. I'm also looking forward to sharing some with my dear (local) fiber friends. Thank you so much for your friendship, laughs, sharing, and fiber togetherness this year! I feel very blessed to have such wonderful friends in my life.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.....that's a cleansing scream from all the activity. Gee, I feel so much better now...time to get back to work!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tagged by LizB

Well, I got tagged by Liz for a meme so here it is:

Make a List of all the Different types of items you’ve knitted and completed:
Hats of many varieties, scarves, sweaters, shawls, headbands, socks and mittens. I'm more of a spinner than knitter, but I seem to make the same things. That's going to have to change. I'm ready to step outside of my comfort level!

Of all the things you’ve knitted what was your favorite type and why?
I enjoy doing color work, and really enjoyed doing stranded fair-isle patterns. I did a beautiful sweater that was color stranded leaves on a cream cardigan. It was horribly stranded and it didn't fit, but I've wanted to do more color work. I'm playing with the idea of doing a fair isle sweater from handspun, but I don't know in which lifetime I'm going to have the time.

List the types of items you haven’t finished yet, but intend to either finish or knit at some point.
That fair isle sweater, another Koigu shawl, a whole set of mittens, scarf, and hat in a fair isle style. I'd love to say that I'm going to finish all my unfinished projects, but I know myself and that's not realistic. I'd like to learn to do cables, and aran knits too. Too many aspirations, not enough lifetime left to do them all!

Have you ever knitted anything that at one point you had sworn you would never take the time to knit?
Not really. I knit so slowly that I plan each project and start it (yes, I do have startitis!) as something I'm planning to allocate the time to finish. My problem is more that I don't finish what I start. I also tend to start small projects so they are portable like socks so that I can take them when I fly.

Thanks Liz, you made me think! :)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A very emotional day

Today is my son Jonathan's 18th birthday, and his graduation with a Maryland High School Diploma from the National Guard Challenge program. He's posing here with his mentor, Scoutmaster and all around Fantastic Person, Mr. Charlie. Mr. Charlie really helped him through this tough program of personal and academic change in which Jonathan turned himself around completely. He was awarded both a Savings Bond and a $500 scholarship for his great work in the program, and we're so very proud of him! The second picture is of him giving a Keynote speech that brought everyone (especially me!) to tears in the audience. It was a beautiful and sunny day for this event, cold but clear. Here's one of the family (Jennifer, Jon, me and Mark) enjoying another hug before departing for home. Unfortunately not everyone could come to the graduation while all us parents and "additional parents" as well as Aunt Wendy were there, Jon's Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles and cousins in Illinois and Iowa, brothers and sister in Michigan, and Brother-in-Law deployed in Iraq also are very proud of his accomplishments although they were unable to attend. BUT, I know I've been ignoring my knitting, and I will get back on it now that some of the excitement of the season is over. In fact, I'll have a pattern and some info if you'd like to help me in a project that will be posted on the blog this week.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Playing Catch up

My absolute apologies for not posting for awhile. We were away for Thanksgiving (pictures are: of me with DSD Meghann at my Mom-in-Law's on Thanksgiving, of my DS Jon with a friend at parent's visit day the weekend before Thanksgiving, and of my DD Jennifer with my DSL Michael in Texas a day before he had to board an airplane bound eventually for Iraq) and it's just been crazy here since then. I'm back to flying, and you know how the holidays bring out the most frazzledness in people! Actually Jenn is home for a little while now in preparation for moving down to Ft. Bliss to await Michael's return.

And on the fiber front, I've gotten a few more rows knitted on my Koigu Gypsy shawl, I think I'm to about row 135 on that. I'll get a picture up soon, I promise. I'm really enjoying working on it, I love the yarn, but I have so many handspun projects percolating in my head (and some already cast on and on the needles) that I want to get moving! Could anyone send me some time that they're not using? On the spinning wheel: I'm doing some grey yak, but I don't expect to get much spinning done in the conceivable future.

Also, you might have noticed the sidebar has an addition, Mark and I joined Weight Watchers together and we're charting our progress. So far I've done ok but not what I'd hoped for, but then again with Thanksgiving (and left overs!) I didn't gain and that's the important thing. I'll keep updating the figures on a weekly basis, my goal for the holiday season is to not gain, and perhaps lose. Mark is doing much better than I am in terms of amount lost, but he's my helpmate and it's so much easier to do the program when he's on it too.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Fun with Google

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and managed to survive without getting too full!

I was reading Elaine's blog and came upon this fun little game: Type "(your name) NEEDS" and hit enter on google. Then post the top 10. Here are mine (truncated by google):
1. Vicki needs to pay the rent, and without community approval she might as well...
~Hehe...always a concern...that darn rent. Especially with my job.
2. Vicki needs to realize that dogs are not little people in furry costumes ...
~Actually I thought dogs were people in furry suits. At least my dogs have always been.
3. "Vicki needs more yarn like she needs a hole in the head," ...
~~This one was my personal favorite, and true for ME at that! In fact this one came up numerous times.
4. Vicki needs all the help she can get and your prayers can assist in that regard. Also the CBC program ...
~Not sure about the CBC programme, but I can always use assistance from the "upstairs"!
5. Vicki Needs to Go by JeeHoon Lee and Artie Romero,
~No idea what that was, and I didn't feel like googling any further with my laptop battery on it's"die at the most inopportune time possible" setting.
6. Vicki needs help when transferring to and from the car.
~Probably need to file this one for many years from now.
7. Vicki needs to learnabout “she bang” magic. As in “she bang” her head against the wall with
~No, that's not (to my knowledge) about having too much wine with dinner...
8. Vicki needs me in Tuscaloosa
~Actually I've never been there. I've been to a lot of small towns, but not that one.
9. Vicki needs treats! Vote for Vicki. You can vote once a day per IP, and any votesthat violate that rule get canceled out at the end. ...
~Hey, feel free to send treats at any time. Well, actually, unless they're Weight Watcher's one point mini bars, please don't...sometimes I need to be saved from myself. And since you asked, I'm glad I have a week after Thanksgiving until I weigh in again, but I didn't go as crazy as I usually do so that in itself is a small personal victory. Now to navigate my mom-in-law's fantastic leftovers!
10. Vicki needs to forget about him and find someone ...
~Naaaahhhhhhh, I've got the absolutely most fantasticist guy in the world. I wouldn't trade him for anything.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Holiday to all

We're getting ready to go to my husband's parents for our Thanksgiving Holiday and I wanted to tell everyone that I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving! Of course, we're totally swamped trying to get everything done at the last moment, that's how most of us work best!

If you don't want to hear some venting, feel free to not read the rest of the post. I was happy to spend Saturday with my son, and have some opions of my own to make known as a result of also spending the day with my former husband: (As well as my son's mentor who is the finest person I have ever met): "If you give a person everything in the world that he wants, he loses the motivation to do anything for himself. He will lose the drive to excel, and if you then do everything for him under the guise of "helping", he will have no reason to be proud of his own accomplishments. He does not value the things that are not earned himself, nor does he appreciate what goes into obtaining them, and does not respect the work that others must do in order to own their own rewards. He becomes negative and entitled and will continue to desire to be spoiled and have everything handed to him as time goes on unless he himself breaks this cycle since it's much easy to take with open hand than to work for rewards. The parent who indulges in this way is creating a dependant adult for the parent's own misguided gain, not an independent and well adjusted adult." Those are my opinions on childrearing, which force me to sometimes make unpopular decisions based on the difference between easy and fun to having rules, boundaries, and responsibilities for my child. Being the one that was "a parent" was always more difficult than being the one that was trying to always be "a friend". It's so much more than what a parent buys for their child.

Pending his graduation in 3 weeks, my son has been given: a resume written my my ex, a job through a relative that DS hasn't even yet interviewed for, a car (test driven by my ex, and will be purchased by him although my son will supposedly pay him back), a driver's license ( appointment for the test was made for him), insurance for that car, contact lenses that I always said he should earn by his behavior, and is being actively solicited for what he wants for graduation gifts which will no doubt add to his already large collection of DVDs and electronics. Things like this have robbed this young adult of much needed life skills and lessons in doing things for himself and reinforced how easy it is to be entitled, and I've not but listed a few.

This program DS is enrolled in was a fallback position because he did not do his work in High School despite mounting groundings and restrictions for his defiant behavior. It's obvious that the negative teaching of entitlement and growing up hearing how horrible "rules" were was deeply rooted, and the "cause and effect", "earn your rewards", and "action and consequences" based teaching that I have tried to counter the negative done all these years was lost to the easier path from my marriage and move from Colorado when my son was 4 years old. I am very proud of my son's progress, his academic honors, his fantastic grades and test scores, his volunteer work and his rising to the top in this program, but since it's a residential program since July, I can only surmise that he is successful since he was left to his own "sink or swim" motivations without the "easier path" being there for him. He excelled and blossomed in an environment of structure and rules without having the negativity of "those rules are stupid" whispered in his ears. He's done it on his own, and he deserves to be very proud of himself, as I am very, very proud of him. I knew he could do anything he wanted as long as he was able to do it for himself and that the environment of structure as I always fought for would be beneficial. I do hope that he can get away from the influence of entititlement and laziness so he will continue to thrive and What a shame, my heart cries out for this wonderful kid that I love more than words can express, and I sincerely hope that my son realizes what has happened. I hope that none of the single (or remarried) parents out there has to deal with anything negative happening to their child.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A + B = C

These three pictures show the two singles of different but contrasting and related color that I spun, and the resulting two plied yarn that came out of them. I am really pleased with the effect on the yarn. I can't wait to knit it up and see what it looks like...I love the heathered look. I'm not sure what I'm going to make from it (just what I need - another Unfinished project!) but I'm looking forward to using it. It's so soft and wonderful. Both fibers were Corriedale, the solid lavender is NZ Carded corriedale, and the multicolored is just Corriedale roving which was then hand dyed. I'll put pictures of any finished project I make up, but somehow, I don't think that's going to happen until after the holidays!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The new Joy is here! :)

And it's definitely more of a Joy than the old one with the wobble in the wheel. I spun up 2 ounces of NZ corriedale in Lavender to ply with some hand dyed corriedale that I have going on my Louet (which, by the way, I've decided to name "Louey Louet"). I love the color, and the Joy is sure to grow on me as I use it more. I'm looking forward to taking "Chava" (Joy in Hebrew, and one of my Hebrew names from my Mother) with us for Thanksgiving in Illinois.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Big Thank Yous to my Secret Pals!

I'm in two secret pal groups, and I very much enjoy sending things to my secret pals and getting to know new fiber people. It's always a surprise and a pleasure to get packages from the ladies that have me as a secret pal. This first package came on Saturday from my Spindlers Secret Pal, in Canada. Isn't the fiber beautiful! Now I just have to decide which spindle is worthy of that gorgeous Merino Silk, and how finely to spin it and what to make of it too. Decisions, decisions, decisions. The CD you see on top of the fiber is in my machine and playing now, It's called Tapestry IV-Gentlemen, and is so wonderful for spinning, knitting, and just relaxing. It's music from the 17th and 18th century in Britian as well as some new compositions, and I can't even describe how beautiful the music is. Perfect! Thank you so VERY much, my spindler sister from Canada, my Spindler's Secret pal!
The next picture is the package that came last last evening from my Secret Pal 6 pal, and what a perfect combination of such nice things! Thank you so very much! I know the picture is kind of hard to see, but my secret pal sent Chocolate because she knows I love it so much! In the background is a set of Clover circulars to do the beautiful Lorna's Laces yarn socks that I'm planning out of the yarn she sent me last month. It'll be a project to take with me for Thanksgiving travel! Isn't the yarn fabulous and beautiful! It's called Whispers, and is made of 50% Mohair and 50% Acryllic. I've never seen this kind of yarn before, and trust me when I tell you that touching it is pure heaven, it's so very soft and the color and luster are gorgeous. And if that wasn't perfect enough, in the foreground are some knitmarkers that my talented secret pal made for me. I'll treasure them and use them with pride. Once again, to my secret pal knitter sister from Belarus (and now Florida), Thank YOU!

After knitting between doing everything else yesterday and this morning, I finally got enough of the Koigu Gypsy Shawl finished to take a picture of, I'm now on row 53 so it's expanding enough to be seen. I went to the LYS and broke down and bought a Addy Turbo Circular to knit this on, I love the bamboos usually but the one I was knitting on made it so slow and sticky to slide the stitches on, perhaps it wasn't sanded well, I don't know. But now I'm moving right along! I love this yarn, and I thank Liz for showing me her stash and getting me started on my very own addiction to it! I have just the outfit to wear this shawl with too!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Today's Chuckle

I was reading the digest of Yahoo group's Sheep Thrills and came upon this: so perfect for me, and for others that I know...

SELE: Stash Exceeds Life Expectancy! Isn't that the truth!

And on that note: Im working on the Koigu Gypsy Shawl, I'm on row 35 but it's still too small to photograph without laughing. Maybe when I get to row 100. Of course, I'm blaming my friend Liz for introducing me to this lovely yarn...her Charlotte's web shawl is exquisite!

Hubby found this great German Beer hall called Blob's Park that had decent German food, but what's more fun is that they had a live Polka band and we danced until we couldn't dance any more. We've now signed up for Lessons since Hubby's Polish Polka Gene somehow didn't transfer from his parents. I learned as a child, standing on top of my dad's feet at Slovak family weddings and such. We still had fun, and are planning on going back whenever we can.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A new addition to the fold

Just look at this beauty, it's the latest spindle to be added to my collection, and I just love it! This beautiful Loki spindle made of Box Elder Burl was in the box as a gift for me from Elizabeth Daily, the creator of the gorgeous line of Greensleeves Spindles. I proudly carry her spindles in my store and ebay store as they are some of the most artistic and most beautiful spindles I've ever seen. Elizabeth has a real way of bringing out the potential in wood, as you can see from this spindle. I had a scrap of Merino/Yak roving (50/50 blend) sitting on my desk, so I've been spinning it on the spindle, which is not only beautiful, but spins really well! I've been doing a lot of my samples lately on the wheels, but I think this fiber is going to be spun on this beautiful spindle. And did I mention that I unpacked 20 other drop dead gorgeous spindles from the same box, but alas, they're not for me...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Sex while hubby was away!

Now before all you search engine folks get disappointed, SEX to a fiber and yarn person is a "stash enhancement excursion". I have the great pleasure (sometimes it's not a good thing) of having a LYS right near one of the local post offices. So when I do my shipping, I'm often tempted to wander in and see what they have to offer, since I don't sell each and every type of yarns through the Kendig Cottage business. They carry some really strange and "You knit what?" worthy yarns, but I was looking for something to make a couple of funky scarves to wear with some mostly black and/or white clothing that I'd recently gotten. You know, to add some color to the outfit. I started this scarf from the ribbon yarn, and let me just tell you, the color might be very striking, but I hate this stuff. It's stretchy, it twists terribly while you're working with it, it loves for your needle to get caught in it and poke holes, and it just is generally disagreeable. I will finish the project because I spent waaaaayyyyy too much money on the yarn not to, but I'll never recommend this to anyone that I like.
Upon seeing the beautiful Charlotte's Web shawl that Liz has made (I got to see it in person on Saturday!...ooooooooooo,'s beautiful!) I ordered some Koigu online and it was delivered the same day as I went to the LYS. Now, I've pretty much been able to keep my stash of yarns in check because I generally prefer to spin my own, but this stuff just makes me want MORE! This little beauty came for me this week too.... I had wanted a very portable wheel to take with me when I travel with hubby. I put it together and spun on it, but the drive wheel was a bit warped. Liz came over Saturday and showed me how warped it was, so there's already another one on it's way from the distributor, I'll be sending back the one with "issues" problem! I still have wheels to spin on. *grin*. Back to having sex, I took a Spindling class with Tom at the Mannings on Friday, yes, I know how to spindle but I wanted to see if there was anything else I could learn (a few things, indeed). Well, the Koigu called to me there too, and I came home with a bunch. Now it's back to work, but I WILL find time to knit in between Flying, doing the business work, washing fleece, housework, well you know...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Socks and other wooly things

Ok, I'll admit, I started another project before finishing one of the UFO's. It's a brainless pair of socks. I do love socks, but I wanted to do a lacy pair next. I just didn't have the patience this week to work on my complicated patterned UFO's, and I didn't want to start anything lacy, so a round and round and round pair of simple socks sounded great. This pair is "Herb Garden" BFL wool yarn via the Kendig Cottage ebay store. I just love what the green in the space dyed yarn is doing, I think it's really pretty.In moments of more lucidity, I've been doing a row or two on the alpaca/angora lace scarf. I'm using the pretty new needles that I picked up in Rhinebeck, they're pointier than the ones I used to start the scarf, making my life easier for K2's and such. Besides, they're beautiful and I enjoy using them. Remember the roving I said I didn't really like but it was spinning into beautiful yarn? Well here it is, I'm calling it "Mums" because it reminds me of the color of the beautiful dark green leaves and the deep autumn colors in the flowers. I knit a sample and it's beautiful, and so very soft (maybe it was some of the Mohair I had blended into the rovings?) and I can envision it as a vest or sweater, it could be for a girl or guy. It's Rambouillet wool, and although the pictures turned out a bit darker than I'd expected, it's really a beautiful color.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Maybe I'll knit, maybe I'll just whine

I was all packed and ready for my trip this morning, an easy trip from BWI to Chicago and then Ted (which is fun and I enjoy working those flights) from Chicago to Phoenix for a 19 hour layover. Then about midnight I started feeling horrible, and without going into too many details, having a Crohn's Disease attack. I haven't had a bad one in awhile, so it took me by surprise. Needless to say, after hours of dealing with it, it totally cleared me out and now I'm just nursing the horrible pain that is part of having this auto-immune disorder. Today will be a quiet day as I sit doubled over, I tried to knit earlier and my mind just isn't in it, lace patterns aren't going to work for me today. Tomorrow I'll be seeing my Doctor, and hopefully have some real food in my belly by then. If you'd like more information on this, here's a link: Crohn's DiseaseI hope everyone has a wonderful and fibery day!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Rhinebeck Adventure Report

What a fantastic weekend! After a rainy drive up to NY state with rain continuing into Saturday morning, we arrived at the Dutchess County fairgrounds for the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival in good spirits. We picked up fiber that had been processed by McClellan's Frankenmuth Woolen Mill as well as Zeilinger's Woolen Mill for pick up at this festival and got them squished into the car in the rain. We had a great time talking to John from Frankenmuth while we were there and had more occasions to visit him during the day (wink wink). These hand dyed fibers will be on the business website as soon as I get the chance to weigh, divide, and photograph the rovings. I began spindling the roving that I actually liked the least, and it's drop dead gorgous as yarn! Go figure! The picture you see is the pile of processed hand dyed rovings sitting in my living room after we got home last night. Of course, it's all awaiting my attention. Mark and I enjoyed looking at the various sheep breeds there, the Tunis being this year's featured breed. We visited our favorite vendors as well as some of my suppliers, and met a lovely lady by the name of Claudia that
produces "Heal my Hands" all natural lanolin based hand, lip, and nose creams which will be featured on my business website hopefully within the next couple of months. She is shown here (sorry, I didn't know her eyes would be closed in the picture) holding a purse she made of some of the rovings she purchased from Kendig Cottage. It's a beautiful project! We ran into Risa and her delightful twins while walking around looking at the vendors. She was accompanied by Nancy of Knitting Wench fame who was truly delightful. We were lucky enough to run into Risa and Nancy later during the day, along with Elaine Harvey with her friend Judy. The twins were having fun running around and being 2 year olds, and Mark and I were enjoying them too. Ok, I'll admit, there was a visit to the fleece sale in there somewhere. I looked up to see one of my favorite people, she who helped suck me back into the fleece vortex, Lady Vee, with her beautiful daughter! I'm not sure if she made any purchases or not as she slipped out while I was waiting in line. For personal use, I picked up a beautiful white Merino as well as an Eggshel colored slightly red "Moorit", (which went straight to John of Frankenmuth Woolen Mill to make roving from) and snagged some beautiful fleece for my future dye runs for the business. I purchased a "few" Shetland fleeces from my favorite Farm as well. Mark and I ended a wonderful Saturday by meeting Myrtle Dow and her beautiful lambs, one was a CVM, and one was a Wensleydale cross. We had a delightful conversation and I truly enjoyed meeting her, she's fantastic! Of course, never one to turn down a beautiful CVM fleece from Myrtle, there is a gorgeous Chocolate brown one awaiting washing in my basement now! I have just the pattern for it, along with a light grey lamb fleece I'd gotten from Myrtle earlier and a white one I purchased elsewhere, but it probably came from her and Roy's farm. We also managed to say hello to Jonathan Bosworth, Linda Diak, Tom Golding, and many of our other favorite folks. I purchased a pound of Icelandic Roving from Diane Golding at Meadowsweet Farm Icelandics which I can't wait to spin, it's so soft and wonderful. Sunday, Mark and I came back for awhile on our way back to Maryland. We just happened to run into Cindy from Foxglove Fiberart Supply, who has always been such a wonderful person to talk to via email, I'm so very pleased that we got to meet her at last! She's even nicer in person! It was a chance meeting at a vendor's booth, but I feel very fortunate that I got to enjoy talking to her before she went back to Washington State and us to Maryland. Speaking of going back to Maryland, we rented a car since the Mini-van was in the shop, and here's how it looked. I always enjoy car trips because Mark drives and I get the opportunity to knit, as happened in both directions on this trip. I now have 3 projects going and worked on all three, depending on my level of tiredness and mood. We stopped for lunch at a place in Poukepsie called the River Station, and this was the view of the Hudson River out of their window by our table.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Thank you, Secret pal!

This came in the mail yesterday, a package from my Secret Pal! It's wonderful and I absolutely love everything! It's got a CD with knitting patterns and magazines, Dark Chocolate, Lavender bath fizzies, and that gorgeous lavender and purple hand painted lace weight yarn. mind has been full of possibilities for what that yarn will become, but I haven't decided yet. Thank you so much, Secret Pal! :)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Date night!

Dinner and a movie, what could be a better way to spend Friday night with my sweetie? Maybe going to Trader Joe's afterward, followed by a trip to Starbucks and Barnes and Noble for some book browsing? That's my idea of a fantastic romantic evening. The only disappointing thing about the whole evening is that Sean the Sheep wasn't in the Wallace and Gromit movie, and you know what a wool fiber person I am! I did manage to drop a couple of stitches while knitting in the theatre while waiting for the film to start, that's tomorrow's project. :) Have a good weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Knitting, Fiber, and Friends

I've been working on my moorit shawl, the boring one that's for reenactment dress in the winter, functional but not particularly lacy in the interest of keeping warm. It is growing, I'm now on my 4th ball of yarn, thinking about what I'm going to do to finish off the long edge. In between washing some of the fleece from NJ and getting it into the dyepots, I did a swatch from the Beginner lace pattern in "A Gathering of Lace" with the Merino/Kid Mohair yarn I finished the other day. This pattern gave me a fit. I didn't know why it wasn't turning out right, but I wanted to see the color in a swatch so I could decide if I liked the yarn. (I do, especially in the sunlight-it's beautiful!) That brings me to the wonderful evening DH and I spent with LizzyB and her DH and their furry children. Liz was able to figure out what I'd done wrong in the pattern and help me come up with a solution. I'm actually probably going to start over or do the Faux Russian shawl from the same book, but I learned a heck of a lot. Liz and I talked fiber while the "guys" talked about guy stuff. Liz shared some of this beautiful light brown Merino fleece with me, and I gave her some CVM (and to share with Lady Vee). I have the Merino soaking in hot water as we speak. It was so much fun to explore the fiber and yarn in Liz's stash and we even got to spin for awhile, all the while enjoying good food, good company, and good fun! Mark and I can't wait to return the favor, with dinner and fiber and fun at our place. :)

Friday, September 30, 2005

Not sure if I like it

I finally finished a monster skein of yarn I'd been working on here and there since about July. It's merino/kid mohair, and I was thinking of a lacy shawl or wrap for one of my reenactment/living history dresses. It's kind of muted pastels. I think it's going to be way more attractive of a yarn when it's knit up than it is right now. Here it is on the dress I'd intended to wear it with. I think it's going to go better with a darker color dress to contrast with, but that's getting way ahead of the whole process. First I need to finish one of my other projects (which I'm planning to work on this weekend), then I have to pick a pattern, then I actually have to get it knitted. Maybe this one will end up being a fashion statement for next winter. I have plenty of fiber to make more yarn...Now where are my lace pattern books?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

How I'm spending my September vacation

I ended up with this week off, I get a certain number of days of vaction a year, (all awarded by seniority) and I have to take it regardless of when I can hold the days. I couldn't hold vaction during the summer, during spring break, or any of the other times that I might have wanted it, so I ended up with this week off. Even still, I've had a chance to do some volunteering at the farm museum doing living history, and catch up a little bit on unpacking from the NJ Festival. I was able to get some color samples started for the fibers I carry for the business yesterday, the fun thing is that I decided to spindle them all, and I spindled each one of the samples on a different spindle, some that are from my collection, some that are part of my inventory. It was fantastic for getting to know the spindles, plus a great way of lessening the boredom of spinning and plying 36 separate pieces of yarn. I'm not going to tell you which spindles were my favorites, because some of my favorites in the past weren't as good on that kind of fiber as they would have been on other fibers. And some that I usually don't like as much were perfect for this kind of fiber. Go figure, I guess it means that having more spindles is better than having less! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Questions, questions! :)

I've been asked to answer the following questions on my blog...

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I'm a definite yarn snob. I spent way too much time making things in my "youth" that didn't wear and wash well because it was cheap crap yarn. I enjoy using anything natural, I do use some commercial yarns, but mostly make my own these days.
2. Do you spin? Yes, it's my passion! Crochet? Not if I can help it! I've made a few scrunchies in the past, but I don't enjoy crocheting.
3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.) Definitely allergic to smoke, it makes my eyes itch and water and makes me cough. Other than that, nothing.
4. How long have you been knitting? About 10 years give or take. I spent a lot of years in that time not doing any knitting at all so I still think I'm a beginning to intermediate knitter.
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Nope, not yet.
6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Hmmm, lavender, gardenia, anything floral except rose.
7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Step away from the Dark Chocolate and nobody gets hurt! Actually yes I do, I fight with it every day, I love everything!
8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Basically dyeing, spinning, knitting, and that arena are where I'm at these days. I used to quilt and make soap, but lately I haven't had the time.
9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I like classic rock, modern rock (not headbanging though), folk, some classic, don't like Rap, Hip hop, or most country. Crossover country/pop is ok. I think my Comptuer can play MP3's, I don't know. I know it plays CD's.
10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? That's a tough one. It depends on my mood. I think blues, and purples most times, but then again I love the greens and autumn colors. I'm not much for yellow and most oranges though.
11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I have a husband who I adore and two grown and moved out kids that come back and spend time regularly. I travel overnight sometimes and so does hubby, so I don't have pets. I miss having a dog but it wouldn't be fair to have one and not be here for him.
12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know) I have a job I enjoy, kids that I love and enjoy, and a husband that makes me really happy. I have hobbies that are fufilling, and have lots of friends that I very much enjoy. So, I think I'm living my life dream. Sure, I'd like to have more money and be more comfortable, but despite that, I'm happy.
13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Right now I'm making a lace scarf with some Angora/Alpaca blend that I made, but I enjoy thinner yarns with character. There's not just one type that I could call my favorite. I love pretty much them all!
14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Acryllic and "fun" fur type yarns.
15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? Would have to be Lace work and Fair Isles. I just love watching a pattern develop when I'm doing fair Isle, and when you block the lace you've made it emerges into a beautiful thing!
16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I knit pretty much across the board. Smaller projects are gratifying because they can get finished so quickly, but the satisfaction of completing a large project such as a sweater (none of those to report in many years) or a shawl is so sweet!
17. What are you knitting right now? I'm working on 2 easy shawls for reenactment wear, a lace scarf, an entralac hat, and thinking about a Fair Isle Sweater.
18. What do you think about ponchos? I liked them when I was in my 20's. I don't really think they're great for my body type and age, but for kids and young adults, knit on! :)
19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Circular needles are easier to carry so I use them all the time now.
20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Mostly bamboo. I do have a couple of sets of Addi turbo needles for socks and one of my shawls is on a set. I might be becoming a fan, but I still like those Bamboo ones because the stitches don't fall off as easily when I'm in the car (as a passenger) knitting.
21. Are you a sock knitter? I love to knit socks! But I have second sock disease. It takes me no time to make the first, forever to make the second. But I love them. You reminded me that I want to start another pair!
22. How did you learn to knit? I taught myself out of a book. I didn't have any knitters around me when I was younger so I was on my own.
23. How old is your oldest UFO? Right now, it's around 5 years old. It's a sweater that I have the bulk of done, I just can't seem to get back to it. It probably wouldn't fit these days anyhow, and my knitting is so much more consistant now that I'm really thinking about just throwing it away unfinished. But I just can't bring myself to do that so it still sits on my UFO list.
24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? Patrick the Starfish and the Serta Sheep for animated, and anything sheep related for non-animated.
25. What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving. It's the big family holiday on my husband's side, and I absolutely adore his family. We all gather in Illinois and see everyone and bond and just have a fantastic time! There's no pressure and it's something I look forward to every year. We also drive there so I look forward to getting a lot of knitting done in the car.
26. Is there anything that you collect? Is there anything that I don't collect is more the question! Actually, I had been collecting sheep figurines and pictures for my office - mostly primatives, but now I have no more room. I collect fiber like most spinners, and I also collect Boy Scout Council Shoulder patches, that's how DH and I met. My salt-glaze pottery collection is pretty much full too, but I enjoy looking for new manufacturers and picking up a small piece every now and then.
27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Interweave Knits, InKnitting, Spin Off.
28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on? Not really. I'm pretty goal oriented. A soon as I see one that I have to have, I usually buy it. I'm bad that way. I haven't really started looking at Fair Isle books, I have the Philospher's Yarn one, but that's it. I will probably build my book collection in that direction next but don't know what's out there yet.
29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another?? I have been looking at patterns on the web lately for most of my projects, or from the books that I already have.
ETA: 30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like? I'm about a size 9.5-10US, which measures 9.25 inches tip to heel. I love the funky self striping yarns for socks but I'm also thinking about making some from handspun.
Have a fantastic and fibery day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Finally, the fleece samples are finished!

OK, almost finished. I have one left to get done tomorrow and then they're all completed. Whew. I thought I was never going to get through them all, but it's been a wonderful learning experience! I'm very glad I spun them, you can't learn and experience the differences unless you actually wash and card or comb and spin the samples. Everything feels nice in the grease, and even washed, it's hard to tell how a yarn is going to develop. And this is my latest aquisition to arrive. This is New Zealand possum fiber. This isn't the possum that you see in America, these are beautifully furry and soft animals. This is destined to be blended with a nice and soft fine fleece like Merino, CVM or Finn, depending on what I locate in the upcoming fesitvals that I'm going to attend. It's so soft. I've spun Merino/Possum from NZ but I can't get more than a sample without having to purchase a Sea shipping container full of it. So, I'm going to make my own blend. I can't wait! :)

Monday, September 26, 2005

NJ Harvest Sheep & Fiber Festival report

DH and I spent the weekend at the NJ Harvest Sheep & Fiber Festival in our first foray into the vending arena. We decided before going that we were just hoping to break even, and we'd go and have fun. We did just that, so we weren't disappointed. This show is small and friendly, and it was so nice to meet the wonderful wendors, organizers, and folks that came to participate and look. The large shows such as Maryland and NY are getting to the point that you can't even walk in the vendor areas without getting hit and jostled by all the folks, and you certainly can't see anything or spend time talking with folks. This was different. This was really nice. They had live music, fun classes, a beautiful farmland setting, and adorable sheep, goats, bunnies, alpacas, and more sheep! My favorite, the friendly and sweet California reds were in attendance as well. They just love to be scratched, petted, and talked to, and their shepherds are just as nice as they are! And did I mention that my dh is now officially a fiber enabler? He went to the fantastic fleece auction and came away with 5 beautiful fleeces. When he was showing me, I heard such terms as "great staple length", "luster", "well skirted", so I think he's been hanging around us fiber folks quite a bit! Did I marry the right guy or what! I won't even tell you what a fantastic deal everyone that was at the auction got on their purchases, because you'd be so jealous. There was also a silent auction of great handmades and a fleece sale. I bought a beautiful chocolate brown BFL, CVM, Rambouillet cross fleece from a farm in NY at the sale. They always have fantastic fleeces for sale, and this one was no different. It wasn't advertised as being skirted (and the price was very, very low for a non-covered fleece, fantastically low for a covered one) but upon washing it today, I found absolutely nothing that I had to throw away. And besides the usual lanolin, it was clean as could be. I can't wait to start spinning it, it's drying right now and calling my name!