Thursday, May 25, 2006

Good things loom ahead

Like many knitters and spinners, my stash definitely exceeds any possible life expectancy that I might have. I've collected yarns for scarves and small projects for awhile now, and continue to do so all the time. I also do demonstrations for kids of spinning and weaving, and was looking for a simple small loom that would fold up and be very portable. I already have a small right heddle table loom, but it isn't well made and is very combersome to thread and use. I decided to try the Ashford Knitter's Loom which is pictured here. The loom has some definite shortcomings if you're a weaver such as no separate harness and reed, you beat the weaving using the rigid heddle itself, but for a non-weaver that wants a way to make up small projects and not have to learn to weave in a more traditional way, it would be perfect. You wind your warp directly onto the loom and threading it is very easy. My practice project was a narrow scarf made of Euroflax Aberdeen Heathered yarn, but it's drying now after a ride in the washer so I didn't have a picture. This scarf is Noro very chunky weight yarn, and took one (very large) skein. The loom is warped with some heathered and variegated wool that I bought for a scarf that would go with my Navy Blue uniform overcoat. I like the way it's turning out already. I did 2 scarves yesterday, it goes very fast.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A weekend in the woods

We spent the weekend camping out along with several other Reenactment units portraying several states at the Steppingstone Museum in Susquehanna State Park. It was wonderfully relaxing and fun, the guys got to skirmish for spectators Saturday and Sunday, I got to teach spindling to several ladies in the Unit, and I brought one of my spinning wheels so I spun while the spectators were in camp and answered questions and gave demonstations. The spectators seemed to enjoy the spinning wheel being there, and learning about it. I sometimes felt a little odd at having people just walk through and take my picture (same with everyone that was in period clothing) but I have kind of gotten used to it from my volunteer work at the Carroll County Farm Museum. I didn't realize until this weekend that along with us having fun and building friendships with fellow reenactors, having us there is a big draw for the museum for bringing folks to watch the skirmishes as well as to walk through camp and see how the people lived in that era.I snuck away from the spinning wheel on Sunday just long enough to watch my two guys on the field. In the first volley of "fire" Mark went down, that's him in the foreground on the grass. The Virginia unit also took heavy casualties due to cannon fire from the Union artillary, but Jonathan and the Maryland group fired the Mountain Howitzer back with lots of noise and flames, much to the delight of the spectators lined up on the hill to watch. After the skirmish was over, there was a group demonstating Victorian Era dancing along with a live musical group.
Here are Mark (far right) and Jonathan (in his red artillary shirt) conferencing with the Major with his wife in the foreground prior to the battle. Our unit is very family oriented and many folks in the unit have kids that are involved, both grown and young. We enjoy each other and have some lively conversations around the campfire with lots of laughter all around! It's all about frienships and teaching living history to the public. We're tired and have a mountain of laundry to do (and I have to go back to work this morning!) but it was well worth it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Happy Mother's day to everyone! :)

A Happy Mom's day (I know, a day late) to everyone out there. Mine started out nicely with a "Happy Mother's Day" message on My-space from my DSD Meghann. It definitely made me smile. Then my DS Jonathan called and later came over to take DH and me out for a wonderful Mother's Day buffet at one of our favorite places. He drove us all the way up to Yokumtown, PA to KClinger's Tavern where they were having an all you can eat buffet that was absolutely wonderful! Then he gave me my gift which as you can see is a beautiful old oil burning lamp. He found it in an antique shop in Northeast, Maryland. It'll be perfect for re-enactment weekends, and he has it already filled with lamp oil for me. I got a special treat, my son-by-choice (and son-in-law) Michael called me from Iraq to say Happy Mother's day. He and I talked for quite some time before going to dinner with the boys. Then that evening my DD Jennifer called from Virginia to say Happy Mother's Day. Then I got to talk to my favorite Grandma, "Nanny" who is Mark's mom and one of my favorite people. Then my DSS Matt called Mark and asked him to relay his Mother's day wishes. All in all, a really great day full of family and good cheer.

Knitting and spinning progress report

These last couple of weeks have brought me the time to organize a little bit, and to spindle with two new spindles that have come into my life. These two beautiful spindles are by Cascabeles through the Kendig Cottage Ebay store. They spin really wonderfully, and though I love all of my spindles, these are the newest and just had to be tried out. I've been working on some Merino and Cultivated silk blend in a variegated colorway. It spins very nicely on these mid-weight spindles (they're each about 1.4 ounces) but then again, I like a little heavier weight spindle. I'm getting a very fine, lace weight thread, and have been spinning while I demonstrate at the Museum.
I have now spun about 12 ounces (it was in a bag marked 1 pound) of Iclandic down roving that I purchased at the New York Sheep and Wool show last fall. It spun nicely on my wheel while I was at the museum, but I like to have shawls that are over a pound of fiber. I had this brown fleece that comes from a sheep named "Wendy", I think she's BFL and Romney. I had this processed into roving locally, and honestly, it spins so nicely and so quickly that it's nearly effortless! This is the first 4 ounce skein, I have nearly 2 bobbins already done for the the next skein. I think I have a little bit over 2 pounds of this fiber, I can't decide if I want to use it with the grey Icelandic yarn for a shawl or make it into something on its own. I will wait to see how much I get from the fleece. It has a nice tiny bit of variegation due to the sunburned tips on the fleece, and I like the interest that it added.
Here's the knitting project, about 3 inches got done while I was on vacation. I have around 2 inches give or take before I start the steeks for the armholes and neckline. I haven't been working on this much at home as lately I've been spending my evening hours sewing or taking in some of the clothes I already have. I had a marathon "try on" last week of my period things so I could mark where to move the hooks and eyes to for fit and also where to put darts and such so I can wear everything I already had. Last year about this time I was 30 pounds heavier so some adjustments were necessary. Thank you to the good program and supportive staff at Weight Watchers!

A week at the museum in period dress

I had another week of vacation left, and Mark was on a business trip so I spent each morning interacting with the children that came to the Living History museum as field trips, with evenings spent working on the business, and on being creative. I have started decorating hats for period wear, I love them! I did a felted "spoon" hat that started life as dark brown, and I actually did a couple of different straw hats, this was just the most accessible to take a picture of. With beginning to sew again, I can have a whole bunch of different things to wear for less that what I would have paid for one outfit, so I'm enjoying the creative process. But then again, that's also why I've been quiet, I'm busier now than I've ever been before. But busy is good, and it feels so good to see what I've made, or to wear a new outfit and have comments made upon it. We have a reenactment weekend coming up (actually at least one per month for the season) so I'll have more opportunity to wear my newly created things.

Maryland Sheep & Wool...some unusual buys

Yes, I bought some fiber too. I got about 2 pounds of Navajo Churro and 1 pound of Navajo Churro/Lincoln cross roving while I was there. But the real finds this time for me were when I went to look at the Navajo rugs. There was a gentleman by the name of Rick Ortiz that was there with his grandmother, who was one of the Navajo weavers. He was a silversmith and made some beautiful jewelry. I'd bought an inlaid silver saguaro while in Arizona, so I was very happy to have found some earings that will match both the Saguro and my new Bear charm. I got a couple of other small things from him as well. I really enjoy the culture and artistry of the Native people so finding these was a real treat!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mark and Vicki's Excellent Arizona Adventure

I had so many pictures from vacation that I knew family and friends might want to see, that I made up webpages with them. They all have clickable links to larger versions of the pictures and are found at this link: Arizona Vacation.There are three pages each with links to the others as well as back to my blog. It has taken me many hours to put it all together so I hope you enjoy it and that it doesn't take too long to load on the computers of it's viewers. We're glad to be back but we really enjoyed our vacation.

Finished project before vacation

This is the dress that I finished on a icky rainy weekend before vacation. It's the one that I pictured in the sewing stage in an earlier post. I wore it to the museum today and got Mark to take my picture before I left. I've got two other dresses cut out right now, and hope to have a little time to work on them before I have to go back to work.

And a huge Thank you to Gabe

This beautiful spindle was made by Gabe Jaramillo of Cascabeles Handspindles. It's title is "Hopi Butterfly Maiden" and I think it's just exquisite. Gabe sent this to me as a gift, and I am very, very touched and grateful. It spins beautifully and it's especially beautiful in light of the vacation that Mark and I just returned from in Arizona. Thank you, Gabe! :)