Sunday, October 28, 2007

Metal Sunday

So I've finally recovered from the abundance of spin ins over the past couple of weeks and have settled into my new wheel. I've discovered some quirks about it and had to get out my tool set to tweek it a little here and adjust it a little there. Now I'm spinning some lace weight camel/tussah silk blend on it and it's so glorious! The other gloriousness is that it is finally officially fall. The leaves have turned and are falling, the sun is going down far sooner than it once did and frost has covered my car every morning for the last week. But the thing that makes it most official is that I've gone down into the basement and have turned off the outside water. Yes. That is the first true sign that summer has gone! LOL! As I was walking around Mary's house on my way to work, I saw a sunflower that was just giving up on the blooming season. Its petals hanging down, I couldn't help but think it was weeping. And I couldn't help but take a photo of it.

I have finished spinning the Goldhill from Lorna's Laces. I started knitting the Cameo Cabled Capelet from Crystal Palace Yarns, but wanted the stitches to be tighter, so I used a smaller needle. And after nearly getting halfway through, I realized that the capelet was going to be far too small, so I took it all out today and have put it aside until the other items I'm working on have been finished. Or not. This yarn is so wonderful and so perfect for this time of year, I may have to get working on it again pretty quick.

The other items I've been plugging away at have been the Lacy Hug-Me-Tight from knit2together, a great book that I may have to purchase here shortly. I'm actually using the yarn it calls for, AlpacaSilk from Blue Sky Alpacas, only I'm using a pinky/red color (#123) instead of the blush color the pattern calls for. I actually swatched this one (yes, it is true, though I had knit about 3 inches before I decided it wasn't looking right and needed a swatch!) and discovered that if I used the needle size recommended I would be getting about 30 stitches to 4 inches instead of 20. So I bumped up the needle size. Now it actually looks like what the model is wearing! Yeah!

In other news, it was my birthday today. Yeah. Or something. Mary T. gave me one of her Longaberger baskets! A little tiny one that hangs off my wheel. I can put all my little goodies in there and not loose them as I've been known to do quite often! My dad and stepmom came over and went to church with me this morning and then took me to El Caporal, the local Mexican restaurant. It was a great time! And I got a call from my brother and my mom and Matthew and an email from my online friend Khalid, all wishing me a happy day.

And it was a good day. I have been listening to some of Demon Hunter's new songs, enjoying the sound of their album, Storming the Gates of Hell, that will be released in a few weeks. Right now I'm listening to Pillar. Though I haven't like much of their older stuff, their song Frontline totally grabs hold of me and makes me jump around like a crazy woman. LOL!

I spent some time while I have been cleaning house, decorating it as well. I bought a cute little Christmas tree at a yard sale over the summer and love it so much, I've kept it out. I decorated it with some garland I made from some tags and various buttons and ribbon and hemp and wound that around the tree. Then I pulled out my airy orange ribbon that I bought from Meadowlark Farms and draped that around the tree. The effect is wonderful and I find myself enjoying it as much as I would if it were decorated with Christmas ornaments and tinsel.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Fall 2007 Spin In

Two Spin Ins in one week! Aaaahhhh!!! I thought I'd be stressed. I thought I'd be psychotic. I thought I'd be overwhelmed... But no. It was a BLAST! And it wasn't stressful at all. I was in charge of the decorations and making sure there were name cards on each table and for each kind of soup and for the coffee. Though I got very little sleep, I had a great time coming up with fun ideas and using my computer and rubber stamps.

So, we had six vendors, all bringing something entirely different from the others. I really enjoyed the eclectic style of Janelle's booth and went back several times to find more things. And she bought my lovely Ashford Traveller for $350, which paid for the Schacht I bought last weekend. And she sold her Ashford Traditional for $3oo so she could pay for my wheel! How 'bout that for confusing. Mary T. also sold a wheel this weekend. A Louet for $150. Yeah!

We also had a couple of ladies from Rowan Tree Woolery who brought a ton of roving of various kinds as well as necessities like lavender scented spinning wheel oil and a stack of various sized knitting needles. Karen Dodson brought her stash of Ashford items, from looms to wheels to combs to dye kits. She also brought one of those newfangled picture frames that scrolls through your digital pics. On display was her trip to Norway. Yes. I drooled. I envied. Another lady brought some loom parts and pieces that you don't normally find just lying around. I loved her bundles of heddles and took several pictures of them just because. Ace Fields in Thorp brought her Mill Race Farms soap that she makes out at her house. She also brought more squash than I've ever seen in one spot as well as some great old issues of Interweave Press' Spin Off and Handwoven magazines. Another lady brought her weavings. After viewing them, I decided it's time to dust off my table loom and get back in the game! I have only woven a few things because the entire process scares me. But I plan to spend some time this winter, as it gets cold and icy out, warping it up and getting those weaving jitters out.

Mary T. bought some beautiful forest green wool and some handpainted roving of fun bright colors to go with it. She will be spinning on that shortly and plans to make a fair isle shrug, using the green for the background color and the handpaint for the design work. It will be beautiful! I bought way too much stuff. I got 1.5 pounds of some teal/blue/aquamarine roving that is from an animal called a Potluck. I can't remember if it is a sheep or a goat, but the wool is a gorgeous color and I plan to knit a sweater from one of the Noro books. I also bought another Lorna's Laces Wool Top for Spinning. This time I got Tuscany. It's the same colors as the Goldhill, but instead of pink, there's blue. LOL! I didn't realize that until I put them side by side. Hehehe... I also bought some camel down/tussah silk blended fiber that looks amazing. We'll see if I can actually spin it or not. And I got some of that sparkly StarFire stuff just to see what it looks like spun up.

You thought that was all huh? Well guess what? I got more! I bought some space dyed alpaca and some other space dyed wool roving from Janelle. She does such an amazing job dyeing her wool! I also got some angora top, some handmade paper, and a beautiful knitted wire bracelet with beads.

We also had FOOD! A Soup Potluck that had some of the best soup and other fun goodies I've ever had. Whoever brought the little scones...those were delicious! And the pea and ham salad was excellent. Mary made her famous Cheesy Corn Chowder. Yummy!
We also had Door Prizes and a Raffle Basket. Everyone won a door prize, and the leftover items were open to whoever wanted to haul them away when the spin in was over. Lynette Miller won the Raffle Basket and Janelle's mother won a bag of Columbia fleece to be processed and enjoyed.

Thank all of you who came and supported this Spin In! You were all lovely and I had a super great time just hanging out with you all!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eastward Ho!!! The St. John Spin-In

7:30 am: Mary T. and I started out for the far reaches of Eastern Washington. The area was foggy... So much so, we couldn't see anything around us. The only variation was the shift in colors of the fog, from gray to pink to green to peach. Then we came up over the hills and was greeted by a beautiful blue sky and the sun.

Once we passed Moses Lake and hit the long stretches of wheat and hay fields, we started to see the enormous old barns of a time that is quickly receding into the past. This red barn was still in good repair, though unfortunately most had been left to the decaying forces of wind, weather, and time. When we reached the Palouse, an area of Washington and Idaho that truly surpasses even the beauty of the mountains for me. The rolling hills of bright green, rusty orange, dusty tan, and dark brown don't roll out as far as the eye can see, but hem you in closely, their velvety textures inviting glorious peace. As we passed Ritzville and turned at Sprague to head south to St. John, we passed this round barn. We swerved off the road to get a few pictures of this rarity. The barn was run-down, yet still functional. Two others stopped to "help" us out, assuming we were broke down. One lady was actually going to the same place we were going! By this time, the early morning rise, the lack of coffee and the the bright sun in my eyes most of the morning had converged into a headache and I was quite frightened that I would be entirely unable to enjoy myself.

9:30 We finally reached St. John. As we cruised through town, I spied a food mart, guaranteed to carry at least bottled coffee if not the desirable freshly made kind. As I found the goodness, the cashier, seeing my rather pitiful state, informed me that I could find some "real coffee" at the floral shop two doors down. "Are they open?" I asked, astonished really to find anything open at all in this little town. "Oh, yes," the cashier replied. "Jessica's already been over this morning." I bought the bottled Starbucks anyway, then rushed out the door and quickly told Mary T. that I was going to the floral shop. She followed me over and what I found was a glorious little shop with even more glorious coffee. Once I got my fix, we headed back to the car and I snapped this pic of the General Mills building. I would have liked to have spent the day just taking photographs, LOL! But there was spinning to do!

10:15 Mary T. and I finally reached our destination and hauled our piles into the old schoolhouse. There were already plenty of people there and plenty of food to save us from our two hour drive. The first thing I saw when I walked in was a Schacht Matchless Wheel for sale. For $250.00. I immediately wanted to buy it, but assumed something was vastly wrong with it, so I ignored it the rest of the morning. I perused the other vendors and found a great many things I loved, but nothing I really needed, so I set up my Ashford and started to spin some Lorna's Laces in Goldhill that I had gotten at the local yarn shop, The Dancing Ewe. In between spinning strips, I visited the food table and worked my way through the vendors a few more times. Another lady began to try to spin on the Schacht and looked to be having some serious problems. Finally I went over and asked if I could help. I was able to figure out the problem, a bobbin that was sticking and not allowing the yarn to pull in. Mary T. then came by, fixed it and I turned to the woman selling it and said, "Will you take $200?" The lady nodded her head and I walked away with a Schacht Matchless Wheel, three bobbins, and a lazy kate for $200.00. Other than that, I bought some bits of fleece fore four bucks, some weaving yarn on cones for $2.00 and 10 beautiful handmade cards for $1.00. Not a bad haul, though quite a bit more than I had anticipated spending.

Besides spinning and chatting and shopping, there were some very cute and cuddly baby angora bunnies there for purchase. Though I probably spent as much time playing with them as I did spinning and taking pictures, I did not buy any. Whew! It was tough to leave them there, but given Gus' "one pet only" disposition, I feel that I had made the right choice.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Prayer...

This last week has been quite interesting in many ways. Opportunities seem to be jumping up in front of me so quickly, I kind of feel like it's my first time at Disneyland. Too much too see and do and don't really know where to start. As I sort things out and make decisions about the future, I'm learning just how much closer I am to being the woman God has made me to be. Many times at work this week, the old nature has grabbed hold of me and then I go home and feel like I've been slimed. By me! Did I really say that? Did I really do that? Wow! Part of the battle of overcoming sin is knowing what it is in the first place and being willing to see it as that. It's hard in that I tend to get extremely depressed and self-loathing when I'm forced to see my trash for what it is. But as this process has been playing out over the last week or so, I've noticed that I'm not even upset. I'm just saying, "Hey, God. I screwed that one up. Forgive me and help me do better tomorrow." I know that He's going to help me do better and others have definitely seen it come forth more than I have. Anyway, I came across a prayer a friend of mine sent me about three years ago. I kept it and have prayed it for nights on end when God's impressed it upon me to do so. I feel now that it needs to be shared with my friends here. So here it is:

Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this right now. Lord, show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence in Your ability to work through them. Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, patience, and strength as they learn submission to your leading. Where there is spiritual stagnation, I ask you to renew them by revealing Your nearness, and by drawing them into greater intimacy with You. Where there is fear, reveal Your love and release t them Your courage. Where there is a sin blocking them, reveal it and break its hold over my friend's life. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. Give each of them discernment to recognize the demonic forces around them and reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it. I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

On a knitting note, I have finished the Tyrolean Socks pattern and here are the results...

NAME: Tyrolean Socks
YARN: New England Highland in Oatmeal
SOURCE: Interweave Knits Fall 2007

I used size 3 double points and a small cable needle for these. They were a blast to knit and did not take nearly as long as I anticipated they would. The yarn is super soft 100% wool spun by Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire. It took two skeins, 200 yards each, to make these socks. And that's for my tiny size 6 feet. If you're looking to make these and you wear a size 7 or larger, you will need three skeins. I have a third skein on hold and plan to design a hat that matches these. Hehehe....

Speaking of hats, I just finished yet another one! It's insane! How many hats can one person wear?

NAME: Urchin
YARN: Alpaca/Merino/Silk blend
DESIGNER: Ysolda Teague

I knit this with size 11 needles with some worsted weight yarn I had spun and 2 plyed at the May Spin-In held annually in the Tri-Cities. The fiber came from Reflection Farms here in Washington and was purchased in April at the Western Washington State Fair in Puyallup. The yarn is yummy soft and the color is incredible. I totally love this hat! And it was all short rows, a thing of fear for me for many years. It was easy and only took me a few hours to knit up. If you haven't been to Ysolda's website, GO!!! Incredibly beautiful patterns with a classic feel.

And if that wasn't enough, on October 20, Mary T. and I are hosting a lovely Spin-In at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds. If you're in the area and love a soup potluck and enjoy fiber-related activities, come join us! It starts at 10:00 and goes until 4:00 and is under the Grandstands. If you would like more info, just leave a message and I will get back to you pronto!!!