Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stitches South! It's a Good Thing!!!!!!!

The very first Stitches South was here in Atlanta this weekend and it was a wonderful thing!!! The market place was big and there was lots to see and buy and do. The very best things I found were from local artists and shops, but there was a lot there and many places to spend money.

Miss Babs is one of my favorite indy dyers, because I just love the base she uses for her sock yarn. So, I visited her booth and bought some sock yarn, but more than that, I bought some fiber to spin. This is corriedale roving - a lovely teal with shades of blue and dark green. I also bought some purple with dark green and bits of other colors because it spoke to me. I thought we might spin them up (there is some dispute as to who will be doing the spinning, but since I paid for it, I figure I get to spin it if I want to) and then ply the two together . . . . Like this:

This is the sock yarn - kind of pinky, that way I'm sure my husband won't try to steal the socks.

And then I found and bought two lucets. I used to have some around here, but dang if I can find them. The girls glommed these and both are currently making cords with them. Sometimes it doesn't pay to show off what you buy!

And next, the award for Best Of Show goes to these wonderful Trindles! They are hand made drop spindles made by a local science teacher - Jeremy Armstrong. He sells them through a local yarn shop and has a new shop on Etsy called Trindleman. These things are so perfectly balanced that if they fall out of balance, he pulls them off the sales floor. (they only do that if dropped and either bent or broken). They are so perfectly balance that Miss M picked one up and spun almost perfect laceweight yarn the first try out of the gate. Now, she had been attempting to learn on the wheel, but had not gotten drafting down yet. So Miss S picked one up tonight and while hers wasn't as close to perfection as Miss M's, it was better than any first handspun I've ever seen and she's never touched a wheel or spindle in her life! And the really good news is that I have 5 - one for everyone!

And this is a free bag I got from Southwest Trading Company, a yarn company that has terrifically soft and wonderful yarn. I want to pick up a pattern and enough of their yarn to make it cuz it was slap-dab gorgeous!

My new shawl pin - very simple but the wood grain is actually quite pretty. Since I usually don't close my shawls, it is plenty for me and it was very inexpensive.

Twined Knitting Patterns for us to choose from! I learned much more than I knew about the technique and so I picked up these patterns as they are probably much more explicit (and more well charted) than what is in either book. Which one will you knit?

Some lovely roving for spinning - more corriedale from Gale's Art Yarns. Miss M is claiming that I said this one was for her too . . . .I did not say that. I'm sure I didn't.

April Phat Fiber - I'm Phat!

First a picture of Cat showing the proper way to sit in a chair . . . she is very lonely since we lost Jessica and has learned to open any closed door and go on walkabout. She really likes to be with people.

Then there is the Phat Fiber Box. I was lucky enough, or fast enough with that clicking finger, to get a box for me and another for D. This is the yarn that I got this month. I am GOING to order some of the Oriri Draco Yarn - so soft and lovely and nice. And I am also going to order some of the Extreme Spinning bamboo yarn I got in the March box - sooo soft and shiny!!!

I got two patterns in my box. I might knit the Celtic Cable Socks and Miss S has said that she'd like to knit the bracelet. She was wondering which samples had enough yardage for it and we looked and a lot did not. I told her to mix two together but then she got spinning and that thought went out the window.

And I got a few other little goodies - some stitch markers (a little green pepper that I love, a red bead that is gorgeous and a glass bead with flowers in it that is to die for!), some wonderfully smelly mint soap, a little magnet with a bit of fiber and the cutest sheep decoration ever! (Yes, that's lavendar, what color is yours?)

And the fiber - Oh the Fiber!!! There was a LOT of fiber in the box this month which is a really goo thing given that both girls have figured out how to work the new drop spindles!!! Ten vendors sent 14 samples! I know for a fact that I like the Northern Lights Fiber and already bought some of the wild hair recycled soda bottle fiber (haven't spun it yet) Never tried Cloudlover, or Aurora Fiber Arts or Vines, or Tactile Fibers. Never spun bamboo and that Natures Obsession is just gorgeous - wonder how it would look plyed with the dyed by danido? Love the organic sample from Extreme spinning and the bat from Silver Sun Alpacas has got to be a joy to spin!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

No time to post pics and stuff, because I've been so busy. I love Mom's little stained glass plaque and thank you for posting the close up of it. I have the contents of my box photographed and ready to post but I've been in class till 4:30 each day and will be again tomorrow. I also have pics of what I knit in class and will take more and post those as well. And I'm saving the notes so I can teach you what I learned at the Idaho Fiber Fest in June. love you both, more later

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring is Getting Here

Spring is finally getting here. Mom's daphne is starting to bloom. The daphne is along side where her ponds are.

Then around the back of her house, right outside her bedroom window is the lilac that I gave her. The flowers are just beginning to open up.

On the side of her house, facing into the woods of pine and walnut, are her fruit trees. She has a pear (white blossoms), a crab apple (bright red blossoms) and near her front steps is her apple tree with the memorial plaque.

I have added a picture of the plaque so you can read it. Mom got it to put in her garden as a memorial to dad.

You can see her irises popping up around the japanese lantern. There is another half of this garden but I haven't finished weeding it yet, so no pictures. I put a layer of grass clippings over the garden which should fade into the ground in a day or two. If you enlarge the picture with the japanese lantern in it, then look at the left side behind the lantern, you will see a bird on a stake next to an iris. The name of this iris is Elaine-alope. It is a gorgeous purple. Okay, I helped pick out the irises and they are all gorgeous purple. But the marked iris is named after an Elaine and so mom got it.

Pond 2

Here are the lilies (Perry's Baby Red and Gonnere) along with the Baby Doll Lotus. They are in water and will get planted tomorrow. The lotus will have to live inside until Idaho gets a lot warmer.

I will try to add a picture of the ponds and bridge and their home to be.
Okay - these plants will go in the first pond (see older pictures). This is a 100 gallon pond with a plant shelf all the way around it for the bog plants. The second pond is a 50 gallon pond and the bridge will go artistically between them.
Perhaps you can see the daphne is near the pond, soon to be joined by two more daphnes - a carol mackie and an odora.


The box of water plants from Teresa came. (So did my Phat Fiber box which I haven't gotten to yet.
The plants appear to be (uneducated guesses) Variegated Iris; Variegated Water Celery; Lesser Spearwort; Pink Muhly Grass; and Bog Violets.
They are soaking in water along with lilies and lotus and will get planted tomorrow. Seems I need water plant pots and I didn't realize this. Mom and Fred are out shopping with the car and we will get pots tomorrow and have them planted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I forgot

When I showed the Easter presents that Mom sent, I forgot to take pics of these very cool little Knit Kits she sent us. They are so full of every thing you need in your knitting bag - and both girls use the row counters a lot! Thank you so much!

I forgot to take a closeup of the Toasty Twist Socks that I'm making out of the Regia Galaxy that Dena sent me (thank you, I like it a lot!). I've finished the gussets and am working my way down the foot. I'm afraid that I'm going to lose them to my photography model tho - she's decided that they feel really good and she wants to brag about the pattern when she wears them. At least I know that Regia yarn holds up to a teenager.

Now for Today's News. I got this lovely alpaca fiber in the mail today from Maple of North Star Alpacas. It's a blend of fiber from three alpaca - the brown is from Luke, the white is from Pollux and the gray is from Gunny. I would love nothing better than to go meet these fur bearing beauties up in Michigan. Anyway, this is the fiber I plan to bring for the spindling class at our fiber festival. It's very easy to spin and oh so soft and wonderful before, during and after spinning. And, since Maple stores lavender with it, it also smells lovely.

This appeared on the table next to the chair where I knit and spin . . . I think it came out of the bag of scrap fiber I got from Northern Lights Fiber, in fact, I'm sure it did. It might be more frightening if it was gray or black, but I didn't get any fiber that color.

Monday, April 20, 2009

This, That, and The Other

I have finally finished one birthday present sweater, the Tantric Puzzle Sweater. I can't show you what it looks like on because, fortunately for me, there is 3 days before her birthday. And even better, 5 days before she will be down. That gives me five days to get the other two sweaters finished.
Okay finished might be an exaggeration. One is cast on and I have a few inches knit. The other was cast on and one skein knit but I had to rip the whole thing out because I changed needles and thus changed gauge. The one cast on is going to be the most amazingly beautiful sweater I have ever made. A shawl collared cardigan. I am doing it in purple on purple with the second purple mohair and silk. Double threaded it is easy enough to work on but it makes the whole thing so softly squooshy and dreamy.
And - the boys got their hairs cut. All of them. So they don't look like Casey anymore. The big one is Fritz (as befitting a big german name) and the little one is Alf.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What's knitting? . . . and spinning

First, a gratuitous pic of my cutest sidekick . . . just because I haven't posted enough of her already.

Then, this is the Sahara Sweater pattern by Wendy Bernard of Stitch Diva Studios that I'm making for myself in the Brooks Farm Riata Yarn I bought at SAFF last fall. I love this yarn - it's so soft and so smushy and so lovely - it's wool, mohair and silk so it's bouncy, soft and shiny all at once!

The Toasty Twist socks in Regia Galaxy are more than halfway done. Not sure if I'm going to get to keep them tho, one of those short, strange creatures that I keep running into everywhere I go seems to have taken a shine to them.

And I cast on and am almost halfway thru with the shawl I'm making out of the handspun alpaca. The pattern is a Judy Pascale pattern that I've had for several years and have made before called Eyelet and Garter Shapely Shawlette.

It is very easy and quicker than most shawls because of the simple pattern.
Last, the spinning. I spun another 4 ounces of the chocolate brown alpaca/merino blend from North Star Alpacas. I cannot begin to express how much I love this fiber! It's just so nice and soft and easy to spin and wonderful when spun. And I started spinning the 2 ounces of the white/gray/brown 100% alpaca roving that Maple sent with my last order. I have decided that I love it too, so I ordered more from her. It's a swirl of fiber seconds from three of her alpacas - Pollux, Gunny and Luke. I'm spinning it as fine as I can and then I think I'm going to be brave and navaho ply it.