Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sweater progress

I have been making great strides (or great arms) on my Handspun sweater.

Funny thing, when you actually sit down to Knit something--you make progress.

(Pardon the pool hair)

I love being able to try on the sweater as I go (note to self, don't try on sweater with the needles still in it while it's small enough to just go over your sweater....Others have tried doesn't work)

Since this picture I have finished the back and one sleeve..One or two more nights and this baby will be done!

I am happy to report that I will NOT run out of yarn. This is not me being hopeful--I know for a fact that I will have enough yarn. I left the bottom on a holder (not finishing the ribbing just yet) to let the rest of the skeins go for the sleeves. I had allotted myself 2 skeins each for the sleeves, and used only one for the first sleeve.

I will add a bit more length to the back and the figure out what to do with the collar. Looking back (actually I thought of it at the time) I should have done a provisional cast on for the collar--which would leave me " live" stitches to just pick up and knit later....but we shall see what I come up with.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blog blahs

I don't know about you, but I totally think my blog needs a new look. I have tried to tweak things myself and usually end up wrecking everything and having to start all over. I just don't have the time or knowledge to putting into making this space prettier. So, I found this contest where you can WIN a blog makeover!!! Click on the pretty button below and you will be taken to the designers website to see all that she has done!
(p.s. please excuse the overlapping ads--the button she has is longer than my typing screen will allow--see I need help!!)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Winning Weekend

This past Saturday was a busy one.
I was off to Kingston for the annual Kingston Sheep Dog Trials and the Sheep To Shawl Competition.
I was on observer two years ago when we won the Lendrum Wheel (!!) and was a Spinner this year.

The team consisted of 4 spinners and a weaver. We received a raw fleece (unwashed, unbrushed) and have 4.5 hours to Spin/Ply for yarn and weave a shawl to a specific measurement.

We received last pick of the fleeces this year (Not sure what kind of fleece it was--either a Romney or Texel I am told), a long stapled white/natural fleece, very very sticky with Lanolin.

Sandra brought her Wool combs which were a lifesaver.

I had purchased a dog brush to help with combing tips, but fully combing the wool made it so much easier--It took out more of the dirt/hay etc and got rid of harder spots in the fleece--so as not to have "lumpy" yarn.

Sandra or Muriel combed while we were spinning, then Sandra plied and gave the yarn to June Anne for weaving.

June Anne chose a natural/white, orange and green warp for the loom--which the Judge later commented made her think of "Sipping Margaritas".

We had fun, lots of people came in to see what we were doing--and we had Colleen this year who walked around an answered questions while we worked.

We finished up in the nick of time, wondered if we had a long enough shawl (it becomes smaller when you take it off the loom)--and waited for the results.

Kingston completed first with a pretty blue and white shawl that was woven to appear like waves.

Belleville had a beautiful warp of handspun--natural, a denim blue (hand dyed) and dark grey/black that was spun from dog hair!
They had challenging shawl that was put together on an angle to make a natural drape around your shoulders--they finished last as they needed the extra time to put their shawl together.

The Judge awarded us first place (!!) and we all received fibre from the Wilton Fibre Mill and Cornerstone Fibers (Both booths were conveniently right there so we could spend our money $$)

We had a blast and I would do it again next year!

While I was in Kingston, my daughter was competing in her Soccer tournament and made it through to the Play offs on Sunday
They had a very good team this year and I really liked their Coach (the Principal of a local public school) as he taught them some technique, encouraged them to learn new skills and was very encouraging--overall they played well all year and came in 3rd overall.

My daughters words after losing Sunday (Their only loss of the year): "Now we get TWO medals--the "Thanks for coming out medal" and a "Thanks for playing medal" and ice-cream--can we get ice cream now??"

The game ended just before a crazy storm blew in with lightening and torrential rain--the other games that were still going on, halted for a 1/2 hour to let the lightening blow over.

So, I came home with bags of fiber and a really cute apron (They were giving us a discount and we all bought one), Daughter came home with 2 medals and some ice cream

A great weekend :)

Update: Our picture was in the paper this past week

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The weekend of all weekends

So, let't set up the story
My sister bought a Spining Wheel from Susan's Spinning Bunny last year (awesome customer service--SUsan's husabnd actually dropped the wheel off at my sisters door because he would be nearby)
So then my sister received an e-mail about a Knitting/Spinning retreat for this summer.
She sent me the link months and months ago--didn't say a thing, just sent the link.

I have never been to a Knitting retreat. I've never taken a Knitting class. I've never done anything Knitterly related (except buy, knit, read etc)--so I was excited.

There was the financial hurdle to overcome--so I started a Fiber Club.
THe customers who purchased my Club bought my way to the retreat!! (Thanks ladies)

Hubby's work is busy, usually with weekend plans and activities for his "other job".
He did have an event to attend, however because of the awesome Spouse of his co-worker, he took the kids with him and they were well cared for.

The only hurdle left was how to get myself there: If I drove the car, Hubby couldn't do his work event, If my sister met me at the border we'd miss most of the first day.

All the details with work, the car, my son's summer school etc etc all worked out beautifully so that this past Friday we met Michelle at the Syracuse mall for a pick up/drop off.

Some bad directions and construction put us a bit behind, but after some luggage/wheel switch and some hugs good bye and we were off in the pouring raing on our way to Ithaca NY for an awesome weekend (we didn't know yet how awesome, but we were so excited)

We had some, um, trouble navigating the route to the highway in Syracuse (I seriously believe the roads are like a small intestine)--we kept following the signs, which would lead us to nowhere, we'd turn around and find the sign pointing to another direction.

It was stressful

but we found our way

Due to a strange warp in the time/space contiuum, we were only a little bit late (we missed intros and nametag making)--but caught up quickly.

About an hour in we realized that no only were we amongst "our people' (Knitters with a Captial K) and that our brains might explode with awesome sweater design.

The whole theme of the weekend was that we would purchase yarn (from Susan or on our own) or spin yarn to make a custom fitted raglan sweater.

We knew we needed to think about design elements (cardigan, pullover, cables/lace etc) but that was all we knew.

Once we got started measuring (necks, arms, etc etc) we were told that this sweater pattern could customize to fit our specific measurements (no back gaping because you needed to fit the front, no to tight arms or gaping sleeves or seaming!!)...we loved it.

Our hotel room was beautiful,

The "Lounge"

with the best pillows ever (we seriously contemplated buying them from the hotel and taking them home in our suitcase)

There was an awesome Swag Bag

with awesome stuff in it-- (click on the picture to go to Flicker to see the notes)

Originally uploaded by

Friday night was awesome food at the Moosewood .
I had big plans for swimming/hot tubbing, spinning and Knitting --but like a true tired Mommy, I fell asleep sitting up in bed with Knitting in my hand.

Saturday we received our custom fitted patterns from Cathy Chesnut (a Knitter, Knitting Teacher, Pattern designer extrordinaire).

That's TeAntae, she's a very excited Knitter

MIchelle and I were so excited we had written a song that we sang for Cathy (we actually wrote it Friday afternoon but since we were still in the "get to know you stages" of the weekend we didn't sing it until Saturday)

If you want to hear it, you can click on the mp3 link in this blog post (Thanks Louise!!!)

So, just before noon we cast on for our sweaters---
Susan and Cathy were there to help with the pattern and make some suggestions (ie: how to knit a firm button band so that it doesn't sag and pull when you button it up--amazing)
a great lunch and we were off to Susan's house/store to shop and knit away the afternoon.

I bought some awesome Merino/Bamboo, some Merino/Cashmere and some Superwash Merino for socks (her prices were amazing and her hand-dyed, you guessed it--amazing :) )

We sat and knit,

met the bunnies

were awed at Susan's view

Chatted and then some people needed to head for home.

The rest of us went out for some seafood (I had crab stuffed shrimp wtih rice and lobstser sauce..mmmm) and we all decided to knit at the table

(Dark picture--the sun was setting and we were outside

(MIchelle is wearing her "Hey Teach" that she just finished!)

This is Jane and Delia --they were the other set of sisters on the retreat!

Delia's face is saying "I think I knit too far on my sock"--so what's a Knitter to do??/div>

Try your sock on at the table.

Sigh...What a great weekend
We laughed, we ate, we knit, we ate, we talked, we ate--amazing

So, for a first year doing the retreat--it was a smashing success
I thought it was well organized, Susan and Cathy are great teachers who compliment each other beautifully.

My sweater progress on the way home:

Michelle is camping this week at WA, and I took a picture of her trying on her sweater-yeah! It totally fits! (of course it fits--we have an awesome pattern)

So that's my big old blog post about the amazing weekend.
Can't wait to do it again next year (right hubby? right Michelle??)