Summer of Dreams Warm Up

I’m getting so excited about starting my Summer of Dreams projects! And I’m also excited about our group! I started a Ravelry group a couple days ago, and it’s grown quickly to 20 members from across the USA and Europe! There’s still plenty of time if you want to join us. Find Summer of Dreams HERE on Ravelry. My yarn is wound for the Waffle Blanket I’m knitting. How about a big pile of yarny goodness? I sure wish I knew where that missing skein was. The last thing I want to do is finish my blanket and THEN find it!

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So, I finished my three fabric projects for Loopy Academy, and I’m so itchy to cast on my summer projects that I can scarcely bear it, so in order to defuse a bit of that energy, I decided to work on a shorter term dream project today. I’ve wanted to play around with some Nuno Felting for several years, and just to get a toe in the water, I’d purchased a couple kits last autumn from Heartfelt Silks. Today I dug them out, along with the other gear I’d collected for the project, and I decided to tackle the “Lightweight Scarf” project. First thing I discovered left me a bit puzzled… I had not one, but three lengths of colored cheesecloth for a backing. My BFF was the one that solved the riddle by discovering online that I should be able to make 3 scarves or one wide shawl. Not sure why that info wasn’t in the package… After trying to figure out what I’d do with 3 scarves, I decided to try to blend them into one shawl instead, but this will definitely be an experiment. Figures I’d end up making my first project harder… 😉

This evening I staked a claim on our large, covered, concrete porch and started to work on part the first, not finishing until it was dark. Sigh… No good photos of “so far” and no part the second. However, here’s a teaser:

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I’m hoping against hope that overlapping the two layers and adding wool will “glue” them together. I most certainly wish that: 1. She hadn’t cut the cheesecloth in the first place, as it’s easier to cut it apart than put it back together again. 2. She’d put in more wool, as my 1/3 of simply didn’t cover the entire length of the cheesecloth, so I ended up shortening it. 3. That I’d not run out of daylight! 😀 What I did right so far – watch LOTS of YouTube videos! I think I would have felt totally lost reading the directions if I’d not seen the process demonstrated.

 

 

Published in: on May 31, 2016 at 5:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Summer of Dreams

I’m going to try something new. It seems like the only blogging I get done anymore is explaining why I’m not blogging. I’ve decided that’s a total waste of time. So I’m just going to pretend like I’ve not been AWOL and go for it. 😉

So…

For the past few years, along with my BFF (joylinnknits on Ravelry), I’ve been participating in The Loopy Ewe’s Summer Camp and having a lot of fun. However, there’s been a nagging feeling growing as I work on those projects that perhaps I’m being more true to The Loopy Ewe (which I love, so don’t get me wrong here…) than to myself. As the last half of the final project sped across my needles last August, a plan took shape in my mind which seemed a most excellent alternative – now dubbed “Summer of Dreams.”

Very logically, in order to win a skein of prize yarn, The Loopy Ewe requires participants to purchase their project yarn (on sale) from them during the month of the particular challenge and to fulfill their specific inspiration and yardage challenges each month. I have absolutely no pick with this, as they always have a nice prize, and it’s a very well run event.

However…

I also have some very nice yarn in my stash, and I have a LOT of projects favorited on Ravelry and planned, and by spending my summer buying new yarn and starting projects that fit the criteria for the Camp challenges, I wasn’t getting anywhere on them. This was making me a little sad. And I’m sure I’ve started hearing fuzzy little sobs coming from a few particular tubs of yarn.

What to do?

Well…

This summer I’m still doing a challenge, but it’s a challenge of my own design – Summer of Dreams. Requirements are:

  1. Using new or recently purchased yarn, make a project that I’ve been wanting to make for a good while. (For my purposes, it’s been “at least” a year.)
  2. Make a project that’s been dreamed of and stashed for awhile. (See that “year” business in #1.)
  3. Complete a UFO that got pushed aside (probably when I started working on a Camp Loopy project!).
  4. As with Camp Loopy, this will start June 1 and needs to be completed by August 31. However, the three projects don’t have their own months and can be worked in any order or simultaneously if that suits.
  5. As with Camp Loopy, the total yarn usage is at least 1800 yards. However, there isn’t any yardage requirement on any particular project, just the overall total, so if you’ve been dreaming forever of making a couple of headbands and a full-sized Shetland Lace shawl, then go for it!

As with Camp Loopy, there is a prize at the end, BUT it’s something of my own choosing (think “DREAM”) and it’s purchased with the money I didn’t spend buying yarn. I’ve already picked out the Taj Shawl knit in the Moroccan color way of some ridiculously delicious Artyarns camel/silk – something I’d have never splurged on otherwise, but which is definitely less expensive than a summer of Camp purchases.

I’m excited, because my BFF is committing to knit Summer of Dreams with me. I have my projects picked out, and I’m chomping at the bit to cast on! I’ll FINALLY be knitting a Strandwanderer, using some (need I say yummy?) Wollmeise I purchased this past spring, Ana Sancho Rumeu’s Waffle Blanket from the brown Plymouth Marley yarn I purchased a couple years ago, and I’ll be finishing my barely begun Gallantry, which I started April a year ago and put down within a week or two when vacation, then Camp, took over my life.

So… Now that I’ve said all this, I’m issuing an invitation. Do YOU need a Summer of Dreams? Are there projects you’ve wanted to do “forever” that just aren’t happening? Here is your chance to join us as we make some dreams come true! Perhaps you just love the idea and want to set up your own challenge, or perhaps you want to knit along with us using the same rules we have set. If so, drop a comment at the bottom of this post saying you’re joining us on this adventure. If we end up with at least five knitters, I will come up with a prize and have a drawing at the end of August, with everyone who completes the Summer of Dreams challenge being eligible. So not only will you have made 3 of your dreams come true, but maybe you’ll get a prize, too. Sure can’t beat that combination!

So, what do you think?

 

Published in: on May 28, 2016 at 3:23 am  Comments (1)  
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First Two FO’s of the Year

I may be behind posting, but at least it’s not as far behind as I am on last year. 😉 I have not one, but TWO projects finished, and before they become ancient history, I want to share.

The first official finished project of 2012:

I started this yarn last August when I needed something to do and demonstrate with whilst acquainting a new spinner with her new wheel. The colored fiber was a lightly roving of Australian 54’s – pretty enough, but nasty to work with since it was lightly felted. Predrafting took some effort, but paid off in the end. I bought the roving as part of a destash before I knew anything at all about spinning. Good thing I only paid $5 for it, but I still wonder about the morals of the woman who sold a novice roving in this condition. 😦 The white I picked up at Heritage in Michigan last summer. It was possibly the most unpleasant roving I’ve worked with. It was chock full of VM of the sort that doesn’t fall out during spinning, so I had to stop regularly and pry the bits loose. It also was prone to tangling, forming little neps constantly. Wish I’d written down what sort of fiber it was, as I don’t want to make that mistake again, but for some reason, I don’t have that information. Regardless of the struggles, I do have well over 600 yards of “Buttermint,” as I’ve christened it, and almost 50 spare yards of white to use as trim on something. It came out about sportweight. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet. It felts easily and it’s not my normal colors, so it will take some thought. Open to suggestions!

The second project I finished just this week, marking one of the 3 past due Christmas gifts off the to do list at long last. 🙂 That is a tremendous relief! Although I started this project last February, life quickly got in the way, and it didn’t much progress for quite a while. Ultimately, it was nearly all knitted after mid-October and while I was working frantically to do so many other major tasks at the same time that I couldn’t begin to count them.

The story behind this is that for Christmas 2010, my younger daughter had put a knit afghan sold by Land’s End on her Christmas list. I found this somewhat insulting, beings as I’m a knitter, so I finally braved asking her why that one and not one that her mom made for her. Her response was, “If you can make one that pretty, go ahead!” Considering how simple it was, that was NOT a problem! This is a close copy of the one from the catalog, but possessing more cables and substantially larger, since both of them are tall and my son-in-law is definitely not a scrawny fellow. At Christmas, it was larger than the average afghan, so I took it out to show, hoping for the go ahead to bind it off and be done. She asked how much more yarn I had – answer being 8 balls, which was 40% of the total I’d purchased. She told me to use it all! WAH!!! 😦 Well, it’s done now, and it’s a BIG blanket!!! It’s so big that I had to start carrying it in a mammoth tote bag with more internal capacity than my roll on suitcase, limiting the places I could take it as social knitting. The yarn is Lambs Pride Superwash Bulky, and I really enjoyed working with it. It was a pleasure to knit, and despite running 2136 yards through my needles, I never really grew tired of it. Since it is superwash, it was a bit of a bear to wet splice, but with perseverance, all superwash wools that I’ve used have finally capitulated, and I’d rather work hard for that bond than darn in 40 ends in a somewhat slippery yarn on a project that is going to receive heavy use by a non-knitting family. This yarn, though called bulky, knits more like an aran weight, IMO. The basic pattern I used was All Natural Cables by Lion Brand, biggest modification simply being the length. If I had it to do over again, knowing I was going to use all the yarn, I’d have made it one cable wider and just run out of yarn sooner, I think. It’s being delivered to her as I type this, and hopefully she will send me a picture of it in her lovely home, so I can update the post with an in situ photo.

Pamuya!

Okay, when it takes 4 days to get a shawl unpinned from the blocking mat, I know life is entirely too busy!This is my Pamuya, all finished and ready for duty. I know I’ve said this before, but I absolutely love this little shawl! The biggest reason for my romance at moment is that it is ever so much prettier than I expected it to be. I felt terribly insecure picking colors for it online, and it’s just a little out of my comfort zone to mix colors like this, so that makes a success feel all the more exciting.It was knit with two balls of Fleece Artist Trail Socks yarn, using about 75% of each ball once I rearranged my color plan. The biggest change I’d make if I knit this again is that I would do the Tiny Crosses sections with needles one size larger than the rest of the shawl. Those areas pull in quite a bit even with me consciously working them as loose as I could, and it made blocking a bit more of a challenge. I have some bits of info written out on my Ravelry page to help make this pattern look a bit sharper if you are working it in two colors, so check it out if you are planning to do that. 🙂 The pattern by Alexandra Wiedmayer is also available there. I highly recommend it for a truly fun, interesting, and cheerful knit. 🙂

Published in: on July 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm  Comments (3)  
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Camp Loopy: Dealing With a Few Loose Ends

So I’ve been a VERY bad girl – which doesn’t really take a lot, since I’m supposed to be fully focused on my MSP at the moment, a project that is taking many more hours than the predicted 100-150, and doing anything else is naughty. I’ve been trying hard to stay with the homework as much as possible, but there’s only so much “being good” that this person can manage. A few weeks back, I was needing a few minutes of break time and inadvertently (honest!) hit the link to the Loopy Ewe blog, where Summer Camp had just been announced. I temporarily took leave of my senses and signed up for camp, buying the requisite yarn and pattern, then feeling dreadfully guilty – enough so that I didn’t even tell my best friend what I’d done. Before my yarn arrived, she confessed to having done the same a day or two after me – and she picked the same pattern to knit… Pamuya.

Camp started on June 15th, and I could see no reason not to have my shawl knocked out by the weekend, or at least by the end of the first week of camp. Then I could go back to being a good little student, washing fleeces, spinning, writing reports… The yarn came about a week before camp started, and as tempting as it was, I did manage to wait, working hard the entire time to free myself up for some fun. All I wanted to do was knit my Pamuya, but I did such a good job of waiting that when midnight came, announcing the 15th, I realized I’d not even caked my yarn! It’s beautiful, soft stuff from Fleece Artist (a first for me), and the colors are gorgeous. What was NOT gorgeous was the discovery that the skeins were 25m shorter than promised. I called Loopy Ewe the next day, and of course, the color I needed the most was out of stock. However, the Seafoam was still available, and with another skein on the way, I rethought my design and plunged back into my renovated project.I love this pattern! I love the texture and the variation. I love the colors I chose and the yarn and the way the colors play together. And I’m going to confess that I suspect I like my remodeled colors even better than I’d have liked the original plans. I like it all a little too much, and every stitch I put into it was making me feel guilty. Finally I decided to give myself a particular assignment from my homework each day, and once it was done, I could knit. That didn’t work so well, and I went nearly a week without working on it at all! 😦Week two came to an end, and I still wasn’t done with what should have been a quick and easy project.Then I had a birthday… 😀 I had spent the weekend fighting with a part of my homework that wasn’t playing nice, and when midnight Tuesday morning announced the beginning of my celebration day, I stomped my foot and announced to the dog that I was NOT going to fight with silk and merino on my birthday – period! Instead, I knit on Pamuya through Sound of Music, You’ve Got Mail, and finally Titanic, getting tantalizingly close to the end, and loving it more by the minute.

Last night, I reached the edge, revised by the addition of two extra rows, and bound off. I so love this little shawl!Now I just have a few loose ends to deal with… sigh…And if you noticed the change in photo sizes, all the sudden, in the middle of writing this post, WordPress found itself incapable of dealing with the pictures in the normal size. 😦

Re-materializing

I figure that’s a good title, since it sort of looks as if I evaporated this past month. Now whereas I’d love to tell you I’m just home from some delicious, new foreign adventure, I make every effort to be honest here, so I won’t. Part if my MIA time did involve travel, however. 🙂 And although I had a wonderful time, I was doing pretty much everything BUT lazing about! I spent a couple weeks visiting my older daughter. This used to be something we planned often, but when she moved to Honduras, that became a bit more challenging, and when I went to see her there, the focus was a lot different. I do miss going to Honduras terribly, but it was a real joy to have our old times back again, too. 🙂

Since I just has my wonderful Fiber Adventure Week with so much “playtime,” when I packed for my trip, I took important stuff with me instead. To be quite honest, with what I packed, I could have stayed for 3-4 months before I’d have been in danger of running out of work to do. I had a few grand accomplishments and made some great progress on things. It’s amazing how much more gets done when there’s no internet, pets, housekeeping, and in-law attics on my daily schedule. I could use more time like that!

One huge, but no photo, project was working with my daughter to complete 15 pages in a scrapbook I’d assembled with contributions from friends and family in honor of her 16th birthday. The combination of trying to do both a scrapbook and quilt secretly while homeschooling the girls and the fact that there are a lot of procrastinators in the world kept me from getting it entirely done in time for the big day, and somehow we just never quite finished it. It’s very close to completion now, though, and we hope to see it done by the end of the year. One big sticking point is trying to locate a picture of Fairfield Elementary School, which was in Highland, Ohio. The school has since been razed, and hours of searching have so far shown me no pictures. I can’t believe that NO one has a photo, but whoever it is doesn’t seem to have posted it online, and all local sources I’ve checked have come up empty as well.

The yarn I started spinning during Fiber Adventure Week is plied, washed, and fantastic!I was counting on human imperfection causing the colors to change at slightly different rates in each of the three bobbins of yarn, with the hope being a very gradual shift in color over the length. This both worked and didn’t work. The imperfections exist, the shift is gradual, but it was a little bit TOO imperfect, and I reached the end with very unequal leftover singles, leaving me very little solid black yarn. I think I’m going to write to Kimber (Fiber Optics) and see if she can make me a bit of solid black roving.
I ended up with12 ounces, 860 yards of 3-ply yarn, about 11-12 wraps per inch, so roughly sport/DK weight. It’s soft and smooshy and absolutely gorgeous, and I’m SO wanting to cast it on right now! However, I’m trying very hard to be good. Perhaps it needs to be my reward for when I send in my completed Master Spinner homework…

Speaking of which, I spent hours making mini yarn skeins and then started the dyeing portion of that homework. Her stove was giving me fits, though, and I had a few unfortunate occurrences. I finally decided to pack that project in for when I was at home, and I’ve not looked at it since I came back.  Hopefully I’ll feel better about it for having been distanced from it for a few weeks now. No pix at the moment. I’m sure I took some, but must have missed them when I transferred things after I got home.

My other really big milestone was finishing the first panel of my Burridge Lake Afghan. I was “only” six weeks behind schedule when I did that, and I’ve not made up any more time since. I’ve only done one and a half repeats of the center panel so far, and it’s supposed to be entirely done by the end of June. I’ll just say now that it’s not going to happen!

I did some other spinning, some knitting, listened to 3-4 audiobooks, put a lining in my first felted bag, looked at all the scrapbooks the two of us have created, had some great food, slept well nearly every night, finally got to hear her chorus perform live, was taken out for Mother’s Day, and traded what turned out to be a totally dead sewing machine in for an entry level Bernina. In other words, it was non-stop action – the sort of which I wish I could manage all the time! I had a grand couple of weeks, despite most all of it being “work.” 🙂

Then I came home.

It seems that as I was leaving town (and the internet), MyPhotoAlbum announced that they were closing the site at the end of May. I had so very much info stored there and nowhere else… Several years ago, in fairly rapid succession, Yahoo photos and Epson’s photo site both closed down, leaving me in photo-shock. People warned me away from free photo sites, saying that they are very unreliable, and that I should go to a paid set up. Enter MyPhotoAlbum. I spent untold hours setting up beautiful albums and moving all my doll stories to the new location, rewriting as I felt necessary, and when I was done, I was extremely pleased. I absolutely loved that site. In the past three years, hundreds of people have enjoyed my picture albums and stories. Now suddenly, that’s going to be gone as of midnight on Monday. It was obviously a priority for me to salvage all my captions and pix from the site, and it took many hours over the past two weeks to accomplish that job. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll ever put them back online. Twice burned; twice shy. And it’s so much work to get it all set up. On the other hand, I do so love sharing the stories… Anyway, I just thought I’d mention it here in case anyone wants to see the albums one more time before the site closes. There’s a link in the sidebar here.

I have a lot more pix I could take and much more to share, but we’ll have to see how things fit together. I’ve been really busy washing fleece and working on my MSP homework, have some new toys, found new treasures at the in-law’s… loads of things I can share, assuming I can finagle the time. 😉 Hopefully the next post won’t be a month coming… 😀

Fiber Adventure Week – Blog Candy Time!

I just spent some time reading back over the lovely comments you all have been leaving for me over the past week, and I wanted to thank you for the compliments, kind words, and encouragement. As much fun as I had, I think it was enhanced by sharing with you all, and it was great knowing that there were so many people out there reading the posts each day. I love blog stats. 🙂 I’m really wondering how many of you noticed I managed to twice publish my post without putting the pix in and hand to go back to add them…

So, I’ve been rounding up treats! I thought about putting together just one big package, but decided it’s more fun for everyone if more than one person gets a something, so I have lots of smaller packages instead. 🙂 First, though, I want to tell you how to get into the drawing. It’s easy, but if you don’t follow the rules, you won’t be included!

  1. Look back through the Fiber Adventure Week/Weekend posts and scroll down this entry to see the prizes.
  2. Post a comment at the bottom of THIS entry answering these questions:
  • If you could have come to my house and joined me for ONE activity, which one would you have chosen and why?
  • Were you encouraged to do a special project this week? What was it? (This is an extra credit assignment. 😉 )
  • What candy do you want to have the most? Prioritize first, second, and third choice.

That’s all there is to it! Post and answer the questions, and your name will go into the drawing! Since this is a holiday weekend, I know many of you will be busy for the next few days, so I’m going to make the deadline for entering the drawing next Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at midnight EDT. That gives you 4 days to see the post and enter.

I’m going to show you all the candy options, BUT the actual number of recipients will be related to the number of entries I receive. For every group of up to 3 entries, another winner will be chosen – up to the point that I run out of gifts. So if there are 1-3 entries, one package goes out, and if 4-6, there will be 2. 13-15 would mean 5, and so on. Hopefully that makes sense.

So without further ado, does anyone want one of these?

  • About 18.5 grams of hand-dyed, soft yellow and green mawata (silk hankies). Should be enough to make a little pouch or similar sized item – or to just play and learn. Remember, although you can spin lovely, fine yarn with this, you can knit straight from the hankies as I showed in a post a few days ago. I’m eager to start on my part of the stack. These are really pretty in person.
  • A small stack of mawata (silk hankies) and a 6-color Paas Classic egg dyeing kit. Again, this should be enough silk for a small project.
  • My second rug mug, entirely handmade from braided wool roving in sand, brown, and teal blue. Sorry, my first one is not up for grabs, but I think I did a better job on the second one anyway. 😉
  • Six ounces of Corriedale roving and a 6-color Paas Classic Easter egg dye kit. Dyed and spun, you can do a lot with this much, but it is also enough to make at least 4 rug mugs.
  • A skein of unbranded, worsted weight wool yarn, ready to dye and a 6-color Paas Classic Easter egg dye kit. Best estimate is that this is about 220 yards, but that IS a guess! It might be fun to weave with this on a small loom after it’s dyed, but of course, it’s great for knitting or crochet or whatever else you love, too.
  • No photo for this one, but you can look on Ravelry (link in sidebar) to see them all – one download copy of your choice of my individual patterns or $10 off the Concerto Tutorial book download.
  • Lifetime supply of Easter stickers and egg wraps and such. This is just a small sampling of what there is. Nope, I don’t have grandchildren… 😉

Okay, I think that’s it! I need to get this published and go check on my dye pot! Thanks again to you all for joining me in this incredibly fun week!

Fiber Adventure Week – Day 4

I’m going to start off with “business” today, but will make it short – promise! First, don’t forget that there is going to be some blog candy available at the end of the week, so stay tuned! I’ll be posting details Friday, assuming things go as planned, but I will tell you that the amount of candy passed out will be directly related to the amount of participation in the end. 🙂

Secondly, I’ve received some comments that people can’t find how to post comments on my blog. It’s easy – once you know the trick! 😉 If you are on the main blog page, scroll to the bottom of the post and look at the small print. You should see either “Comments” or “Leave a Comment.” Click on that, and you are set. The other way is to just click on the title of a post. That brings up a page that shows only that day’s post, and at the bottom of it, there will be a comment box.

Monday of my Fiber Adventure Week was just as busy as my previous 3 days, but I have a little less to share, because I spent a large part of the day away from home attending my knitting guild meeting and making my once a month pilgrimage to Fiberworks, my LYS that is actually an hour from home, to see if there happened to be any mandatory stash augmentations. Of course, since this time I was there with a shopping list, I didn’t have a lot of trouble spending too much…There’s a pile of Cascade 220 in dark green, brown, ivory, and pink for a weaving project – a throw, I believe, and some already caked (compliments of store employees) Cascade Eco + in blues and greens for another weaving experiment – a tote. The thick mawata stack is indicative of how fascinated I am with knitting from the hankies. 🙂 There’s a bulk sack of generic undyed wool, bought primarily for sampling and class projects. I want to be able to use the same fiber consistently for as long as possible, as I feel that will keep my records more accurate, not to mention make my books more attractive to me. The bulky Mini Mochi was an “accident” – not on the list, but on clearance for 25% off. ‘Nuff said? And the yarn laying on the mawata is some Cascade Ultrapima and Noro Tanabata. These were an impulse buy, and I’m picturing them together, woven, and for a garment of some sort. The reason for the 3 roving nests will be explained later, and perhaps another day, also the felting tool… And I just realized, much to my shock, that the only thing I purchased to “probably” knit is the muwata. Oh dear…

The only one of my major continuing projects I worked on is the spinning. I’m now firmly entrenched in the red. The color makes me think of the flavor of my favorite cherry juice, if that makes sense. Is it possible to taste a color?Oh, and look how far I got on my Angela’s Fabulous Felted Bag! I was knitting like crazy during the guild meeting, and I think I put 4 stripes on it. Just imagine where I’d be if I’d not been late due to… ummm… checking out at the LYS… Ignore the colors. The real burgundy and mustard are a lot prettier and much more “me,” though I must say that the red and yellow I’m seeing on my screen would make an attention grabbing tote! Today’s real adventure arrived in the morning’s mail with decidedly good timing. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to make a braided wool rug, but it’s just never happened. Last week I made a serendipitous discovery on Etsy. ShepherdsRug has an intriguing spin on the braided rugs that grabbed my heart instantly. Instead of braided fabric strips, they use wool roving, making gorgeous rugs without the tedium of cutting and turning in edges, and decreasing the number of tools necessary for the project.  They sell gorgeous finished rugs, but they also have published a great book full of instructions and inspiration, along with some great background info on wool in general (great reference source for my MSP reports!) and information about working with the wool from various breeds when making braided rugs. Definitely recommend the book!I also recommend something else they sell – a mug rug kit. For $20, I got absolutely EVERYthing I needed to make two mug rugs with the braided roving technique, save for a pair of scissors to cut the lacing thread. The roving, sewing and felting needles, clamp, felting pad, instructions, linen thread, and even rubberbands are included. It’s one of the most complete kits I’ve ever seen. If you wonder if you’d enjoy this, get the kit and try it out. Look at the rug photos in their shop. You’ll know by then if you want the book. 🙂 The basic concept is the same, but there are a few special techniques needed for the full sized rugs. BTW, those two full spools of thread aren’t part of the kit. I bought those extra. I believe in being prepared for all eventualities. 😉And I spent the rest of my fiber time Monday night proving it works. 🙂 And this would be why I picked up a few bits of roving at Fiberworks. I figured if I was going to be out anyway, I may as well take advantage of having some more colors to work with, so I took the kit along with me and plotted 4 rug mugs with the 6 included colors and 6 more yards from the store.

  1. Braid the roving.
  2. Taper the ends.
  3. Lace into a circle.
  4. Finished and fabulous!
  5. Then start another one… 😉

Okay, so this is fun! I need to make a rug for sure now… 🙂 I think I might need to check into how much it costs to have fleeces processed at a mill…Whilst braiding and spinning, I treated myself to another DVD by Judith MacKenzie – The Spinner’s Toolbox. I love this set! The focus is drafting, first an overview, then an in depth discussion of each of 6 basic techniques, with loads of examples and hints and even demonstrations of what NOT to do! She covers the strengths and weaknesses of each, and explains exactly why you need to have each of them in your repertoire.  I can see myself watching this repeatedly through the next few years, as it’s going to take a while to absorb, then execute everything she shares in these DVDs. After two evening of watching Judith’s instructionals, I’m seriously addicted, and I’m really glad I have two more of hers yet to go. 🙂 My newest fantasy is for her to come teach somewhere in southern Ohio… soon… 😉

Fiber Adventure Weekend – Day 2

And the fun continues! What a shame I can’t do this EVERY weekend… but I have to say that the house is a total wreck with so much equipment out all at the same time. I’m having a blast, though. :o) You want to know what I did on Saturday? Okay, here goes!

First of all, the triloom project is moving right along. I’ve woven half the pins now, which, although not half of the weaving work, is a landmark point anyway. I’ve also reached the point that I feel like I’m just going to burst if I can’t take it off the loom to see what it really looks like, but I’ve got a long way to go before that can happen. :SThe spinning continues to be utterly delicious. I think I could be stranded on a desert island, and if I had my wheel and about 50 pounds of this stuff, I might not even notice. :o) I’m anticipating the pleasure of working with the finished yarn almost as much as I am enjoying the current spinning. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but I’ve spun through the papaya and am into a rich red orange. Scrumptious!Today’s dyeing adventure was another theory busted, though I can’t call it a total loss, as I have some more pretty fiber to play with now. My concept was to try to create a gradient dark to light by VERY slowly lowering the wet roving into the dye bath, using the same Easter egg dyes I was using yesterday. I put 4 cups of hot water and 3 ounces of vinegar into the pot, dissolved the tablet, and wet down 1 ounce of wool. I then spent about 4 minutes doing the “slowly lowering” part. Despite the good effort I made, the first one came out the same color from end to end, so the rest I put in without wasting the 4 minutes. 😉 It was a good exercise to do these as solid anyway. I’m not sure what to say about the purple, though. I did it precisely as I did the others, including stirring it just as I put the wool into the pot. The water LOOKED blue, and the whole time it simmered, I thought it WAS a blue pot. I was most definitely surprised when I pulled out the roving and found it multi-colored! Still have 3 colors to do. Since it’s only one tablet per pot, even though I’m cooking them for just 90 minutes, it’s still taking longer than yesterday’s process.When my daughter called on Saturday evening, it was the perfect excuse to pick up my current Angela’s Fabulous Felted Bag. This is the third one this spring, and a definite addiction. The first is finished except for the lining, but since the sewing machine died, that’s going to take a while longer. The second is knitted, and I’m waiting for the rest of the group so we can have a fulling party. This will be a new adventure for them. Meanwhile, I’m well onto my third and have yarn for two more. Yeh, I like them – a lot! BTW, the actual colors foiled the camera, even outdoors. Whereas the burgundy isn’t too far off, at least on my monitor, that is NOT tan! It’s mustard, and I think it’s a lot prettier than the tan, even if it does work…Probably the scariest and most adventurous thing I did today was pulling out my circular sock machine – CSM. It’s not been touched since last May, and then there were people who actually understand the little beasties around to help me every step of the way. Although one of my annual goals includes making two pairs of CSM socks, that wasn’t today’s goal. Today I just wanted to actually use it successfully all on my own. The project I had in mind was to take 4 balls of Knit Picks bare sock yarn and turn them into two blanks for dyeing. It turned out that I had a few obstacles to overcome, the biggest of which was that the machine wouldn’t crank. 😦 I don’t know a whole lot more about sock machines than I do about overhauling a jet engine, so trying to avoid total panic was the first step.I finally figured out that the little metal piece sticking up – the V cam – was not supposed to be like that, and I wondered if it wasn’t supposed to be under the butts of the needles. So, I pulled out some of the needles, dropped the cam down, then replaced the needles… and voilà! It worked! Now I realize that in the world of sock machines, that was a pretty minor fix, and scarcely worthy of an Einstein award, but I have to say that I’m seriously proud of myself! It’s my first solo trouble shooting success, and I’m quite pleased. 🙂

With a little more effort, along with the dregs of my oil, which appears to have evaporated (can oil do that???), I got the machine cranking fairly decently, though it’s still holding stitches at times and not knitting as nicely as it was last year.And a little while later, I had 7 yards of not-so-perfect-but definitely-good-enough-for-the-planned-purpose tubing knit. Now I need to find out what sort of oil I have to go buy. I can’t do socks on it without that.

Last but not least, I watched the DVD How I Knit by Rita Buchanan while I was cranking out my tubes. It was light and interesting, but not as in depth as I’d expected from it being a 2 disk set. It also isn’t very good training toward my MSP certification. Buchanan obviously loves what she’s doing, and she makes beautiful yarn, but she works rather freely and organically, openly ignoring some of the rules and techniques and even terminology that I have to learn to manage in order to complete my lessons. A large part of this set is also a bit more simple than I need. It was nice to watch her make yarn and to see some approaches that are different than I’ve seen with my limited exposure to other knitters, but I’ll probably tuck this set on the shelf for a while right now and look for something a bit more technical. I’ll try to remember to post what I find.

Okay, that’s it for Saturday’s activities. There’s one more day to go yet, and I’m eager to get with it!

My Eagle Has Landed

Actually, it was done over a week ago, but weather and life have prevented pix until today, which looks like a gorgeous spring day, but has a definite bite in the somewhat stiff, but irregular breeze.I dearly love this sweet little shawl! I love the yarn I dyed for it. I loved knitting it, simple as it was. I love the way it looks finished. I love that it took barely a week from dye to done. I love the way it settles gently on my shoulders and stays there as if it loves being with me. I love the way it makes friends with so many people it meets.And to think… it’s lemonade! It was born of the painful mistake I made in grabbing two different species of yarn when I was knitting my snow dyeing blank. I was near tears when I discovered what I’d done, and now it feels like an error that planned itself. 😉This is the darker of the two skeins from my Triumph and Tragedy post two weeks ago – the wool/nylon blend ball. I’ve since named the colorway “Alaska,” since I recognized where the feeling of familiarity with the colors was born. The pattern is Eagles Rest by Stephanie Rodger, and it can be purchased for a very modest price on Ravelry – a price perfectly reflecting the simplicity of the pattern, and well worth the small investment.One of the things I love about this garment is that it snuggles delicately around my shoulders and stays there. I’m currently just flipping a little half knot into the tails, but it’s become such a special member of my wardrobe that I’m in the process of obtaining a special little gift for it. Shhh!!! It’s a secret! 😀I had my Eagle done and blocked in 6 days, and I loved every addictive, relaxing moment of the knit. As much as I adore brain-bending knitting challenges, somehow this shawl fit my current mental set just perfectly, and I could barely put it down. The extremely simple lace design was built just right for a busy yarn like my Alaska dye – a rare find indeed! I very strongly suspect I’ll be tapping this pattern again  someday, perhaps with a finer yarn or longer skein, which is a very easy adjustment with this pattern.

It honestly feels strange to say this with so many lovely, complicated lace shawls to my credit, but my little Eagle shawlette is one of of my very favorite pieces, and it’s definitely a recommended knit!

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