Sunday, May 27, 2007

Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Festival Part I

It is a known fact that God laughs when we make plans.

So begins my wool fest saga.

4:30AM -- I am awake. I don't want to be. It is dark out -- the birds are silent. I hold my breath and then he starts chirping -- Fritz is awake. Since he is still in our room, this is problematic. We give him a little while to see if he will go back to sleep, but no luck. He is AWAKE.
Since we have a long drive to the fest, I decide to get up with The Boy and let Mr. Spiffy sleep in, since he will be driving.

7:15AM -- Mr. Spiffy gets up and we are on the road in an hour! We have lunch, diapers, Ergo, Stroller and a little spending money. Anneke is ready to go, but is a tad camera shy. Just call her Garbo!

My nod to Yarn Harlot -- here is my sock admiring the ride through Western Mass.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I hope Stephanie agrees!

10:30AM -- We arrive at the fairgrounds. All is well, except Fritzi slept a whopping 40 minutes on the ride out, when he should have slept the whole way. I am very afraid of what this means for my usually very good napper.

Off we go, heading into the animal barns first, to keep Anneke, our firstborn, happy. She is very much in love! By the end of the day, her favorites are the llamas and we go back to see them three or four times. I'm sure she will be trying to convince me we need a llama or two in a few years.

Now, what did I see? Too much. It is not a very large fest, but it was still big enough to see lots of spindles, wheels, sheep and enough yarn, roving and fleece to last me a long time. The colors I saw were wonderful. In particular, some beautiful blue BFL that I am now sorry I didn't snag.

While I was there, I did get to try out a Louët S10, which was very nice, but at $465 for an intro model, when I can get a double treadle Lendrum that I will be ablr to upgrade so much more easily? I am sure I could teach myself in a snap on it, but think I will hold out for a bigger, better wheel that I might get frustrated with in the short run, but will be able to keep for a long time.

More tomorrow

Friday, May 25, 2007

Eye Candy Friday

Ok, so I am completely and utterly unoriginal. I have no idea where ECF started, but I love looking at other people's pics, so here is mine!

While we do not have blue bonnets here in central New England (growing zone 4-5), we do have False Indigo (Baptisia australis), which I love.

False indigo is a stunner, it attracts butterflies, naturalizes, gets funky-looking seed pods and is a native to the eastern US. What more could a gardener ask for?


Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Spinning Bee

A new online friend, Lea, has drawn me further over to the Dark Side. I've decided I want to spin my own yarn. Quite frankly, the coup de grâce was Yarn Harlot's recent post about spinning. The pictures overwhelmed my senses and I thought, "Must.Spin.Yarn. So.Pretty."

Actually, I think I want to eat that skein!

So, I joined the local spinning guild, which I do not have the time for and can't go to the meetings, since I am still nursing Fritz down to bed at night. A member posted about a colonial spinning bee nearby in Chelmsford, so I decided to go.

I barely made it into the door and was put behind a Majacraft Suzie and forced to spin! It wasn't easy, as the ratio was 12:1 and she was using merino; imagine trying to pat your head, rub your belly and pedal a bike on the lowest gear all at the same time. I haven't felt that inept in a looooooong time.

The nice ladies were excited to sink their spinning hooks into me and show a newbie the ropes. They sent me home with 2.5 oz of Kool-aid dyed carded roving and a CD spindle. It is a crude tool, but it is good enough for now. Of course, I already want a better spindle, and I am trying to figure out what wheel to buy! I am thinking a Fricke or Lendrum will suit my purposes best, and after looking at a million sites, I am leaning a liitle more toward the Lendrum. Now I just need to find one to try out!

It's been a while since I posted pics, so here are some shots of my first handspun. It is admittedly very crude, but I'm please that I am figuring it out.

here is the spindle and roving

and the handspun close up

And just because -- here is the Yarn Pirate yarn I bought recently. This is the Apple colorway, which I adore.

Georgia has stopped reskeining her skeins, which is a little disappointing, but I figure I can glean a lesson when I wind it up -- a sneak peek at how a pro makes such yummy yarn.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wool Gathering

I often feel like my life is spinning out of control.

Between two babies, a dog that sheds enough for an entire pack, a husband who commutes three hours a day, plus my compulsive desire to have a home that Martha would approve of, I frequently fantasize about not sleeping and getting a full 24 hours to do EVERYTHING THAT I NEED TO AND WANT TO. I think want is the key word there.

The fact is that I can't and I shouldn't, but it doesn't help me get everything done. Life is just like that.

I stumbled on another blog today -- Dogs Steal Yarn -- the May 19 post -- and got the karmic thump on the head. I do believe that there is some Higher Power out there. My term for it is The Infinite Yes. I am a semi-practicing Very Bad Catholic. That whole free will thing often puts me at odds with the human construct that is the Church. But Mass is a meditative, slightly rote experience for me that I find allows me to slip into myself. I think I would enjoy it so much more if Vatican II hadn't ruined everything. I miss the old hymns, but that is another story.

A dear friend, YB, will chide me when I start to get out of control. "Give it to God," she reminds. And the post I read this morning reminded me again. Most things are beyond my control for a reason. Control is not what life is about, experience is. Love is. Learning is. Teaching is.

So I put my thanks out there -- into the ether -- and hope that this post inspires a sense of peace in others the way another's post did me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sock Progress

I am really excited! I've finished the flap, turned the heel, finished the gusset and now I just need to chug away on finishing the foot before I get to the toe decreases. It is looking very nice, but I won't be posting pics until I have "sock!" I have hideous feet. They are truly an abomination and will only post a pic of my foot when appropriately swathed in wool!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

This will be a quick post, as I have one of my progeny using me as a jungle gym at the moment, begging me to go play Chutes and Ladders with her!

I wanted to post a couple pics of my Mother's Day gift -- or part of it.


And not just any chocolate, but LA Burdick chocolate! These are the best chocolates I've ever eaten. A close second would be Unlimited Delicious in Amsterdam, but that is another post!

This place is in Harvard Square and Mr. Spiffy picked them up on Friday on his way home from work. I will come back later and post more, but I had to get these pics taken and up before I devour these! *Slurp!*

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Yarn Pirate ROCKS!

I don't have a pic yet -- the weather here was depressingly cruddy, so no good natural light for Eye Candy Friday, but anyway, I got my skein of Yarn Pirate sock yarn!!!! Woo hoo! First, Georgia must be a saint. Her shop cart oversold and she dyed up more yarn for those customers. I thought that was an incredibly classy thing to do. Really going above and beyond.

When she contacted me, I mentioned that I was buying the Sweet Magnolia, after Apple was swiped out of my cart mid-checkout. I expressed that I would be happy with either, and I ended up with a skein of Apple! It is stunning! I suppose I'm easy, though -- put pink and green together on yarn and I'm pretty darn tickled.

OK -- must get back to my knitting. I am working on my first pair of "real" socks -- AKA for an adult foot. I'm using Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Mountain Tango colorway. It is looking really, really pretty. And I am about to start the heel flap. Progress!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pics of FO's

I've been meaning to post some FOs and haven't had the time. After getting started, I realized that I don't have all the pics on this computer, but enough good stuff to make it worth posting.

First up is the Everlasting Wonder Soaker I made for The Boy.. I knitted it up in Zenstring Nirvana Worsted in the Mateo colorway. It is a real stunner, but the colorway has been discontinued. *Sniff.*

Next is some super-yummy yarn that my mom got for me. She bought it in Ushuaia, which is in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, Agentina. It's the city closest to Antarctica! It's merino handspun and so luscious! I put the phone in the pic to show scale.

And another pic to show the yumminess upclose!

OK -- that is all I have time for -- gotta go get dinner started. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Still Life with Dishpan Hands

I've been wanting to get this photo I took up for a long time. I took it shortly after Valentine's Day -- the flowers were from Mr. Spiffy. I learned a trick from my mom -- when you get a mixed bouquet, cull the dead and dying and get a smaller vase! The tulip arrangement is the result of following my mom's advise. Nice to know that at some point you are old enough to listen to your mother!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

OK, I have no self-control

I just got caught up in the frenzy. Yarn Pirate -- AKA Georgia -- finally has some yarn to sell. I came this close to getting a skein of Apple, which is downright stunning. I ended up with a skein of Sweet Magnolia instead. Really, really pretty!

Is It Safe To Come Out of The Cave???

OMG, what a totally sucky winter this has been. Mr. Spiffy brought home the flu last month and spent four days shuffling from bed to sofa to bed and back again. I finally got really impatient with him and ended up getting my cummupance -- I came down with it myself a week later and was laid flat. I had an acute appedicitis about 12 years ago. Scary stuff. And I would gladly have my appendix out again than ever get the flu. Sickest I've been in my entire life.

So, needless to say, the knitting was on the backburner for a while. I was cranking before I got sick -- I made booties for The Boy, a hat, sweater, socks and a bib for Mimi's baby -- who decided to show up a month early! It was scary for the 1st few days, but William Sebastian is doing fine now! I also made a bib for The Boy. Good thing, as he is a bottomless pit. I need to make a few more! Getting pics up is my biggest prob now. I need to find a quicker, easier way to do it.

The latest WIP is an Everlasting Wonder Soaker for The Boy. Since he is so huge (21 pounds at 7 months!), I need all the room for him to grow that I can get. I am hoping that it will fit this summer and next. We'll see.

OK -- gonna post this and get back to knitting. I promise some pics soon -- FO's, yarn pr0n, and more!