Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fibery Goodness!

Took a dyeing workshop up at Purlescence on Sunday. So.Much.FUN!

Brought in a pound of unknown wool that I had found at home. Found out later that it might by Romney wool. I measured it out into 4 ounce sections and braided each one.

My inspiration was the Four Seasons of my garden.
(From the top of the center pic)
Spring - poppies, ceanothus & iris
Summer - yellow coast sunflowers, tomatoes
Fall - pumpkins, butternut squash
Winter - not as much color, sky, paler greens

I'm really thrilled with how they came out. After cooking and rinsing, the colors were more blended and muted than I thought they were going to be. Now, what to spin from it?

Did some yarn too - bottom center.  (Surprise, I made something purple!)


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Crossing the Finish Line!

Can’t believe I made it to the finish line of the Tour de Fleece! Two years ago, I managed to make my goal, but I bailed out last year due to some other deadlines that got in the way.

I spun every day except for the first 2 when I was out of town, but I certainly pedaled hard and made up for those days. My goal changed from the beginning, but I ended up doing more than planned. I spun a total of 2144 yards from 1.5 pounds of fiber.

A side goal besides working through stash fiber was to learn from the process. I’m getting better at spinning intentionally for a specific size single and also at balancing my plied yarns. AND, I learned how to make photo collages! (I'm using Picasa, by the way)

From the bottom, counter-clockwise:

Unknown blue merino tencel blend - already on the wheel and I'd forgotten about it. Needed to finish the 8 oz before I could spin anything else. Spun at least 4 oz. and plied all of it, 3-ply, sport- to dk weight - 470 yards

Faerie Mountain merino/silk. 2 batts, approx. 1 oz. each. 2-ply laceweight - 273 yards

Lisa Souza BFL. 2 batts (Shade Garden colorway), approx. 1.2 oz each. 2-ply laceweight - 302 yards

Royale Hare Superwash Merino, two 4 oz. braids. (1 of Sonoma Coast Iceplant, 1 of Lake Berryessa). 2-ply, DK weight, 590 yards.

Abstract Fiber Polwarth, one 4 oz. braid in the Iris colorway. 2-ply fingering weight, 481 yards.

That little teeny skein in the middle picture on top of everything is about 25 yards of navajo-plied Abstract Fiber merino in "Mood Ring". Some time ago, when the Abstract gals were in town, I got 2 little sample fiber bits from them, and finally decided to spin them up this afternoon.

Finally, I leave you with the best part of the Tour - dessert - which kept me spinning!

Nectarine Sorbet (from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz)

(Oh, speaking of food -- go see the blog Magical Eating -- for some fabulous summer salad ideas.)

(more fun fiber feats will appear tomorrow!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One Ply, Two Ply, Red Ply, Blue Ply!

Royale Hare Superwash Merino
colorway: Sonoma Coast Iceplant

Plus this...
Royale Hare Superwash Merino
colorway: Lake Berryessa

Equals THIS!
I spun 1/3 of the Iceplant and plied it with 1/3 of the Lake Berryessa to make a yarn worthy of Dr. Seuss! Approximately 220 yards of 2-ply DK weight yarn; hopefully about 660 yards when I'm all done.

Happy, Happy, Happy!
(Now I'm off to spin the other 2/3 of the roving.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Super Happy Fiber Day!

Caution: for my non-spinning friends, this is filled with fibery content.

How are you doing with your TdF goals? Mine are going like gangbusters, but I'm changing the goal slightly.

I already showed the blue merino/tencel (goal 1).

Goal 2: Faerie Mountain Fibers, merino/silk, 2 batts, each approx. 1 oz.

273 yards of 2-ply laceweight

I fought the silk a bit, but it wasn't too bad, and I'm still very pleased.

Goal 3: Lisa Souza BFL, 2 batts, each approx. 1.2 oz.

Colorway: Shade Garden (dark pink/burgundy, hunter green, navy)

302 yards, 2-ply laceweight, and even more perfectly balanced than the merino-tencel! I'm in love with this. Let's just say there was a Happy Dance involved when I pulled this off the niddy-noddy!

Now, here's where the goal has diverged from the original plan, laid out here.

I was going to spin at least 4 oz. of Abstract Fiber, either merino/silk or Polwarth. But then... this arrived at Purlescence today.

Royale Hare Superwash Merino, 4 oz. braids in the most luscious, happy colors! There was much squeeing and fondling and grinning over the fiber!

I couldn't leave without taking some home (I am working more hours at the public library, after all...). So I'm going to spin one of these two colors, probably the Sonoma Coast Iceplant color, the top/bottom braid with pink and bits of purple and green. What looks like red in this photo is really a bright fuschia pink. It will eventually be plied with the blues in the center (Lake Berryessa) for something incredibly colorful and happy! I might even have enough time to spin both of them before the last day, July 25.

Yes, I did get some of the beautiful purple Penngrove Purples color too. You didn't think I'd leave without a colorway that yelled at me, would you?

Hope you had a day filled with things that made you happy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tour de Fleece, day 7 (or day 5 for me...)

I don't know why I'm not spinning more often; it's so relaxing (mostly)...

Part 1 of the Tour goal:
360 yards, 3 ply, merino tencel
DK to sport weight
170 grams

There is also a navajo-plied skein of 111 yards, not nearly as pretty or as balanced.
Perfectly balanced (which I'm probably the most proud of)

Part 2 - Faerie Mountain Fibers is in progress! I should easily finish this ounce this afternoon and start the 2nd one. I'm aiming for laceweight.

How are you doing if you are spinning or hand-cycling (knitting)?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tour de Fleece

Well, I skipped the first 2 days of the Tour because I was traveling, but I think I'm making up for it!

Goal: spin as much of this as I can.

Realistic Goal: the 2 Lisa Souza batts and the 2 Faerie Mountain batts (a little over 1 oz each)

and the 8 oz. Crown Mountain Superwash Merino
(OR the 2 Abstract Fiber braids - 4 oz each, Polwarth in Iris or Silk/Merino in Poppies)

 Be Honest With Yourself Goal: finish the almost 8 oz of unremembered merino/tencel that is already on the bobbins, then the little batts and one 4 oz braid.

I had already spun 1 bobbin's worth months ago and was about halfway through the 2nd, so around 4 oz needs to be finished and plied off the bobbins before I can do anything else. I'm currently working on the 3rd bobbin. Can't wait to ply these (maybe tomorrow?).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Things I did this weekend:

Drove down to Orange County on Saturday for a BBQ with some high school friends that I haven't seen (in some cases) for more than 25 years, as well as my bestest friend and also a former boyfriend. There was so much smiling and laughter that my face hurts!

Drove back today (Sunday) after breakfast with my family.

Got rear-ended - which *did not* make my day. Luckily, low speed and the bumper did its job.

Decided I needed to take it easy on the way home and decompress by finding my Happy Place, which is on the coast near the water.  Took Pacific Coast Highway between Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach and saw plenty of sights (!) on this 4th of July. I'm now going to channel Laurie with her commute photos!
Apparently there is a pancake breakfast/parade/festival/day-long-party/fireworks show in Huntington Beach. People were setting up their barbeques & tailgate parties for the day (look on the right of this pic).

One of my favorite spots on 101 is north of Ventura where the highway is right next to the shore. When the conditions are just right, the tides are in and the wind blowing just so, south-bound cars can be splashed by the waves.

Wasn't sure whether one of our favorite Mexican hole-in-the-wall restaurants was open due to the holiday. It was and that made me happy! If there is no line outside La Super-Rica in Santa Barbara, they're not open. The couple behind me in line were on their honeymoon and had never been there before. The man behind them had just flown into LAX from Connecticut and promptly drove up to SB to see if he could get his Mexican food fix! Both of us told the newlyweds that they could choose anything and it would be fabulous. Due to the seating situation (lack thereof), my new friend and I ate together, and the young couple came and thanked us for the recommendation. They were sooooo cute!

Thing I did not do this weekend - Tour de Fleece. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to have to do a lot of treadling in order to catch up with everyone else! Also got about 10 rows done on my sock - no pic because I was knitting in line. Other than that - no fiber stuff. It's just too hard to spin or knit when you have to be the driver...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime...

It's taken nearly a month for me to finally feel like I'm on vacation. Usually the first few weeks is spent dealing with all the stuff you've put off "until I have a moment (or several hours) to deal with it". Oil change in the car, hair, dr appts, blood donations, etc. And then you need to get out and pick up that stuff that wasn't quite necessary, but would be nice to get fixed, stock up on, etc. Costco, hardware store, kitchen stuff, etc. Catch up on the emails you've been meaning to send and the websites on the list to explore, the music/books you've been meaning to pick up.

Then there's the retirement parties, graduations, college orientations, and some professional presentations to prep for.

No wonder I'm exhausted from my "vacation"!

There has been knitting during this time, believe it or not.


Finally finished the (no-longer-secret) Retirement blanket - each strip was made by a different person. I gave 6 other crocheters/knitters a skein (or two) of yarn and said something along the lines of "choose any stitch pattern you like, and make it about 7 inches wide and as long as the yarn holds out". Turned out that everyone's ended up being about 50 inches long. Mattress stitched the strips together and single crocheted edging, and there is a lot of love stitched into this blanket.

Citron shawl:
1.25 skeins of Dream in Color Baby, 8 repeats
Color: Into the Mystic
Needle: size 6 (4.0 mm)
Started: June 10, 2010
Finished: June 28, 2010
(but not yet blocked or photographed)

Also working still on the Susie Hoodie and my Purple Vanilla Rib socks, but no new pics.

The Dork also finished his first knitting project: the Horizontal Rib scarf (Ravelry link, even though he's not on Ravelry - yet) in Dream in Color Classy in Deep Seaflower.

He is one of the loosest knitters that I know! This was worsted weight yarn that I had to have him work on size 5 needles, and probably should have gone down to 4's. But, it's a finished object and he's already given it away to a friend!

Next up for me: Tour de Fleece. My goal is just to spin each day and see how far I can get into the stash of fiber! I've got at least 3-4 pounds of fiber of all different types & colors that I want to get to. There's Polwarth, Targhee, superwash merino, BFL, merino/tencel, merino/bamboo, various batts of unremembered fiber, etc.

But I'm heading to Southern California this weekend for a little get-together of some high school friends, many of whom I haven't seen in more than 25 years. [Love the House of Mom & Dad, too.] Should I take my wheel, or just my knitting? Hmmm, do I have knitting at the right stage of mindlessness... Oh no, maybe I need to cast on something!

Happy 4th of July to all US readers and Happy belated Canada Day to the Canadians! Happy Friday to everyone and watch out for invading grapevines!