Thursday, July 26, 2012

Preppin' for the Ravellenic Games!

Well, I guess the Ravellenic games start tomorrow at 4 to coincide with the opening games of the Olympic games!   I'm excited, and have big plans.  First, I want to knit my first ever pair of socks! I found this Toe Up Sock Pattern Generator via Ravelry, and am going to swatch for my pattern tonight. The only thing is I needed to put this pertty skein of yarn from Ancient Arts into ball form.

Sock yarn from ancient arts

There was one little problem though... I don't have a ball winder, or a swift for that matter.  And to top it off I couldn't find my beat stick.  I mean my Notespinne.  So I grabbed a knitting needle and a willing soul and created something that worked quite nicely.

I call this video: Necessity is the Mother of Invention.  Or Child Labour is Great.  Or My 7 year old rocks.  Or... Well, yeah. You get the idea.  He was actually having fun doing this with me!  I no longer have to enlist my husband, who admittedly does it willingly, but imagine!  I could get 2-3 skeins wound in a day if I had two helpers! 

I've also got this lurvely Jacob yearling ewe fleece that I plan to spin, and hopefully knit up during the games... We'll see how it goes... 

One little lambs worth of wool

Once the games are over, it's all homework all the time time... Because I will not repeat last year!  Will not!

Let the count down begin!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy blogiversary to me!

It's been 1 whole year since I started this lovely little blog.  It's been really fun!  But every time I look at it I can't help but think it could be laid out better, look fresher, be just a little more modern, be easier to read and easier to find the important information (like how to follow, the about me info, my tweets, etc.).   So I've done an update.  You've probably already noticed (if you follow) and even if you are new here, I hope you dig it!  Maybe this year I'll even venture into pages, and do up some tutorials.  You know, 'The best laid plans of mice and men....".  We'll see what this year throws at me!  It'll be a fun year, still filled with homework woes, and lots of procrastination spinning.  And I'll share all I can with you!

Here's to one great year, and to many more to come!  *Raises coffee mug* Cheers!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Craft Camp 2012

Something came over me a while back and I decided to see if there was any interest in a Craft camp for kids this summer.  Well, there was!  And so, I ran one.  This is the creative chaos that happened in 3 days.
Designing our Monsters felting by hand is an amazing amount of workBest action sequence part 1 Best action sequence part 2 Thwack that Felt!! Finished pieces of feltstitch stitch stitch stitch stitch stitchSome Pocket Dollies Cool leech monster
Finished Stuffies!

It was a very very fun 3 days! 


p.s.  I got my Master Spinner Level 1 workbook back... I passed! with flying colours! yay me!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fibre Week 2012 - Part 2

Alrighty, lets start up part 2!  This one is ALL about the Master Spinners, Level 2 course!

Monday June 25, 2012
I woke up nervous as all heck. I'd not even handed in my workbook for level 1, and was having serious doubts in my ability and knowledge.  Will I even pass Level 1?  What if I get terrible marks? What if I go into this level that involves math, and tpi, and angles, and more scary stuff, and I just can't do it?  So, I took an early AM class, Yoga for spinners.  The class ran for 45 minutes, and it seemed to go by really quickly.   It did quite a bit to calm my nerves, though.   That is until I walk in and sit at the wheel and we start covering basics of twist and how to tell what just is wrong with that unbalanced skein.  I get it now, but at first it confused the heck out of me.  If your skein twists in a "Z" direction, it needs more "Z", and less "S".  So if the singles are spun "Z", then you need more "Z" in the singles, or less "S" in the ply.  But if your yarn kinks back "S" way, then you've plied to lightly, or over twisted your singles.  This threw me for a loop at the time.  And I went for lunch feeling very lost.  We also covered the color blending theory as well that day.  It's not as simple as 50/50 red/blue for purple.  It makes good sense though.  And fun to boot.  Our teacher, Gayle Valance, wasn't feeling all that well, as she was recovering from Bronchitis, so the class was relatively low key, which worked out okay to calm me after lunch, just do the practice skeins, and relax.
Monday night was also the Fashion Show and Silent Auction.  There was even some live music as entertainment before the show!  Otto Pahl, the coordinator for Fibre Week, even dawned a cowboy hat and played guitar for some of the sets!  It was great!  I modeled not only my own garments, but some others as well.  There were plenty of great things in the Silent Auction, and I scored two piles of books,  and a puzzle.  Unfortunately someone made off with the knitted frogs I wanted so much.  Oh well, just the way it goes!

Tuesday June 26, 2012
I had a hard time getting out of bed, and out the door in time to get to the AM Yoga for Spinners session, which was to bad.  I really enjoyed it the first time around.   We got to class and Gayle told us she'd been to the hospital the night before.  It turns out she had pneumonia! My goodness.  She kept teaching anyway,  which is both brave and crazy.  On Monday we were asked to wash and finish our skeins that we spun on Monday, and hand them in so we could go over them.  This is when I regained all my confidence and then some.  Gayle went over every single skein, remarking on each of their strong parts and their weak parts, where they could improve, and how to go about doing that.  When she got to my skein, she lifted it up looked and said "This is excellent"  I promptly got an elbow in the ribs on each side from my class mates.  I tried my best, and it was deemed excellent by a pro!  Very worth the elbows!  There was more work on determining ratios and the math of how to spin to get a certain twist per inch, the 2/3's rule of ply, and other very technical things that sometimes go against my grain to just spin and come what may.  This is why I'm taking the course though.  More control.  I want to be able to recreate and control my spinning.  But I'll still goof off at the wheel now and again.
I took the Spinning as Meditation class after the long day of math and technical spinning.  It was so relaxing, and quite interesting.  And she had Chocolate.  It was good chocolate.  It took me 3.5 minutes to eat a single square.  I sure wish I could find 20 minutes in my daily life to do this every day.  Maybe once the kids are smidge older.

Wednesday June 27, 2012
Oh Wednesday,  what an adventure.  Wednesday was the day we started to delve into other fibres.  Llama, mohair, and alpaca specifically.  Now, if you know me, or have read my blog, or follow me on twitter, or stalk me on Rav or Craftster, you'll know I've discovered an allergy to alpaca.  I thought I'd be perfectly fine to be in the room with an alpaca fleece, so long as I didn't touch it.  And oh boy. Was I wrong.   Not even 5 minutes after Gayle dumped that alpaca fleece onto the floor did my throat start to tickle.  Then my chest started to tighten.  Then I had to excuse myself from the room.  Luckily it was nearly lunch, and I could be out of the room for a good while and not miss anything.  My wonderful class mates cleaned up the room, stuck a fan on, and tried their best to remove any visible traces of alpaca from the room.  Thinking this would be okay, I returned to class after lunch.  And then my throat and chest began to tighten in ernest.  I took a chlorotripilon, and had to leave the room.  My wonderful classmates joined me in the hallway to discuss Mohair.  By the end of that discussion, I was in a drug induced blur, and ended up taking a 20 minute cat nap.  i woke up and pulled all my gear into the hallway and spun mohair alone.  Which was a heck of a lot better then spinning mohair in an environment that cause my throat and chest to tighten.  After class I promptly went to the pharmacy and bought some non drowsy antihistamines. And then I went and had a nap.
That evening was the Potluck supper, where everyone who is still at Fibre week brings a dish, and enjoys the company of others who share at least one thing in common.  I woke up from my nap and headed right over, still in a daze from the chlorotripilon.  I knew we had the test on Thursday, but I said to heck with studying, I was going to hang out with my Fibre Week friends.  And I did just that. It was a good night.

Thursday June 28 and Friday June 29, 2012
I woke up in an antihistamine induced fog, but proceeded to take the non drowsy type anyway.  And given that I spent all of Thursday and Friday that way because of the drug cycle the Pharmacist gave me (non drowsy in the AM and Drowsy in the PM for 4 days) both days kind of blurred together.  So I'll go over what I can remember of those days!  We covered braiding and needlework, and spinning to suit those.  We also covered drop spindles, and wheel mechanics.  Now I understand my Aura better, at any rate.  Oh! and the test.  It wasn't as bad as I'd expected it to be, and only got 2 of the answers relating to the Alpaca wrong.  Not so bad, for not studying.  I do know that by Thursday Gayle was feeling better, if exhausted yet.  But class became more lively, and she admitted that she packed the first days in fear of not being able to last the week.   I don't blame her, really.  She had pneumonia! I'm amazed she made it to class at all!  Because there was not much to do by the end of the day, Gayle looked over our last set of skeins in a one on one way.  This gave me even more confidence, because there wasn't much at all wrong with my work.  It was over all even, and all spun with enough twist to be resilient. We got out by 2:00pm on Friday, as we covered all the course material.  Most of us went over to the library and had a look at the Level 6 in depth studies.  There was an amazing variance in amount of written, and amount of yarn work, (some had more of the first, and less of the second and vice versa) but it did give me a good idea of the amount of work I should be putting in.

It was a really awesome time, and I'm eager to get to the homework done.  Only now I've gone and sprained my wrist.  So all I can do is the reading and research.  And I just want to blend and spin!  Maybe its for the better, as you all know, and I know to well, the written work is the part i would put off until the end, and that's not a good idea at all.  No repeats of level 1 workbook anxiety and stress!

Fibre Week 2013 is June 21- June 28.  My calendar is marked!  And I'm ready to go! well, except for the homework of course!


p.s.  Sorry no pics, but I'll share once I get spinning again.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tour de Fleece spins

Sadly I've not gotten to spin every day of the TdF.   I'd love to put life on hold and just spin for days on end, but that's not happening.
I've lost my marbles, and decided that this is not thin enough.  I want thinner.  I checked it's WPI, it's 53.  Why do I want this thinner?  I have no idea.
TdF day 2

This one was a mental health spin, done after the lace.  Instant gratification. Very relaxing and zenful.  Crazy carded batt, corespun on crochet cotton.
Tour de Fleece, day3

A whole lambs fleece, washed to retain the lanolin, and just get rid of the dirt.  Breed: Jacob.  This is for the whole fleece with lanolin scarf project in Handspun (or was it Intertwined?)  Sadly it's still wet, so I can't play with it yet
One little lambs worth of wool

And lastly, a non spinning but wool related project from Handspun, a rug made from a lovely piece of fleece.  I can't wait to get to felting this, it's going to be so soft.
The beginning of a small wool rug

We've been camping for a few days, but came home, for a few good reasons, one being that I injured my right hand.  I've discovered I can still spin, with very little, if any, pain.  But it's going to be a heck of a lot slower then normal.  Thankfully it's not my drafting hand.  It has, however, put me in the downy dumps.  But I'll bounce back, I'm sure.

Off to find a cuppa tea and see if I can get my kids to sit and watch a movie with me.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fibre Week 2012 Journey PART 1

Where ever to start? I suppose at the beginning is best.  This will be a long post, so grab a cuppa, and find a cozy place to sit.

Friday June 22, 2012
  I woke up, friday morning at 4 am, from a nightmare that I'd lost my children in a Costco.  What a terrible way to start off a day that should be fun and exciting!  I could tell my Mother Guilt at leaving the Family for 9 days was starting to get to me... I'd been wondering all month if I should drop the two extra courses I'd signed up for, but it was far to late for that.  I woke up, had a some coffee, and got the kids ready for thier day and dropped the oldest off at school.  Then it was my turn to go to school.  Although it took me a heck of a lot longer to get to school then it took me to take the kids!
Along the way I stoped in at The Fat Ewe Bed and Breakfast to pick up some wool.  Oh my goodness. This place is my dream retirement!  There's this gorgeous home, filled with antiques and 4 rooms for the guests to use.  Besides the gorgeous accomodations there is a big barn and a bunch of small coops for chickens and ducks and geese of all sorts, and pigs and goats and SHEEEEEEEP!  Gosh, the sheep are certainly the cutest critters.

Anyway, I figured I'd grab a couple of the fleeces, and share with the master spinners.  I took off with two Karakul, a goodly handful of short shetland, and a HUGE bag (25lbs worth?) of East Friesian.  My trunk was FULL of unprocessed wool.   I spent some time talking to Eileen (who served the most interesting drink, Rhubarb juice.  It's very good, try it if you have the chance!) and then went on merry way.
And then promptly got lost.  I ended up zigzagging my way to the #2 highway, on back roads and secondary highways.  I did end up finding my way, mind you.  Not before I got very worried I'd miss meeting the person I'd promised to meet, so we could get groceries.  I messaged her, telling her that's I'd be late, and ended up in Olds with plenty of time to spare anyway!  Getting lost didn't take as long I'd thought it would.
Then I went shopping.  At the Fibre Week Market.  Blew over 200$ in less then 30 minutes, I'm sure.  A new spindle, a whole bunch of pottery (By Heather), and a weaving book for my Mom.
It was a long day, but a good one!

Saturday June 23, 2012
 First day of class!  I took Getting Even with Michelle Boyd.  This was an extra course I opted to take, as who doesn't want to be able to make amazingly even yarn?   The kind that makes people go: 'You spun that?! It looks like a machine made it!'  Then you can blow them away with your amazing skilllz.  Don't get me wrong, funky cool, textured yarns are also amazing.  I love creating things that just beg to be touched, stared at and loved.  But that perfect singles, incredibly even ply....  Perfection at it's best.  I know to some, that seems an insult, but to me it means I've become master of the fibre, and can dictate what I want a fibre to become (to a point, of course.  You aren't going to get a lace weight yarn out of Scottish Blackface, but you can make it perfectly into a suitable warp for rugs.)  I went from pretty bumpy in the morning, to really quite amazingly even by the end of the day.  And all with just a few nifty little tricks.
Woolen spun before class and after class:

Worsted spun before class and after class:

Saturday night was the Kick off Social.  The Keynote Speaker was Karen Workman who presented the topic "How I sold my Landskin for 2000$"  A landskin is a gorgeous piece of fabric stitched, and layered and dyed and felted. I took from this two things: 1- Never undervalue your work.  And 2- If you make something beautiful, it will be priceless to someone.

Sunday June 24, 2012
 Sunday I had chosen a knitting class.  I'm an alright knitter, but there are a few things I'd like to improve upon, like wonky edges, diferent cast ons, and such.  Those tiny details that give that finese to a garment.  The knitting class was called Beginnings, Endings, Edges and Joins, with  Jani Meyers.  We covered a few cast on's that I was unfamiliar with, including the provisional and a circle cast on.  Those were the most intriguing and kind of fiddly.  But I feel like I could confidently do them again, should the need arise.   One really cool edge/cast off is something I'm not sure if there is a name for.  It involves casting on at the edge and a series of k and k2tog's that give you a really nice perpendicular garter stitch. I'm sure you could alter the garter stitch to be any stitch, but it's really quite nice, all things considered.  One other thing I thought was really really cool, that we squeeeeeezed in at the very end was the i-cord cast on.  There are sooo many uses for it!  I've got to try it again and again and again, just to be sure I'm getting it right.  It would look very lovely on a circular vest, or a toque, or sleeves,  or hems....  Anything with an edge!  Sadly, we didn't get to the Joins part.  I think it was because the class was slightly larger then it should have been.  Though truth be told, had those same 6-8 people with all the questions and difficulties (and yes, I was one of them!  some of those things were tricky to get off the start!) been in a smaller class, we'd have only gotten so much covered anyway.  It was still a valuable lesson in knitting.
Sunday night was the Spin in, and unfortunately, I'm not really sure what it was, but something kept me from it...

Okay, I'm starting to realize this is going to take a lot of words to get through the whole 9 days away.  So I'm going to do it in parts.   And I think this is the only part with decent pictures... Perhaps I will take a few shots of the samples we did in the Level 2 class before I start on the next post.
Hopefully it won't take to long to get the next post up, but we've gone camping, and theres no service up there. Maybe I'll be able to make a draft in my "free time"(like one gets much more then a minute of free time at a time camping with small children) and post when we get back.