Wednesday, May 25, 2005

so about that yarn...

I like this feather and fan/wave scarf pattern, but will also head to the library and browse through the books. I'm thinking a semi-circular or faroese-type pattern would be fun to try, if I can find one that isn't too complicated/fluffy looking. I really don't need another shawl, though. Maybe Charlotte will be gifted away to a deserving relative at some point, since I don't wear her very often.

All of the newly-dyed yarns are up on now, including these cool worsted merinos:

They're spun such that one ply picks up color differently than the others, so there's a darker stripe running through. Observe the blurry close-up:

There are a couple of different blues, the pink/purple highlighted above, a red/green/blue/purple, and green/blue/purple that I LOVE that didn't photograph that well. Must take Yarn Photography 101. I'm sure they offer that at a school near me :)

Monday, May 23, 2005

shawl ideas?

I have 850 yards of this lovely merino, in its impressionistic handpainted loveliness, which knits at 6sts/9rows = 1":

What shawl pattern would you recommend for some/all of it?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

(much) more dyeing madness

So many people came over that I actually cleaned my living room! Paula, Christina, and new-to-blogland Libby, with boy in tow, descended upon my dye kitchen, which is really just my regular kitchen, with all gadgetry, dish racks, and sharp objects moved into the dining room, and all surfaces covered in newspaper. From about 10 a.m. until about 9 p.m., there was much dyeing, eating, learning to use niddy noddies, and other general fun. Thank goodness for nice weather - it would've been awfully stuffy if all of us plus the yarn had had to huddle in the house. As it was, the yarns got their dye treatments, and then bathed lazily in the sun to dry. In all, I think we must've dyed four 12 miles' worth of yarn. I haven't actually added it all up, but the share that will go into the store is about a three miles' worth:

The details should be up on the website in a few days!

Monday, May 16, 2005

tools of the trade

One of the purchases that I made at Sheep and Wool that I hadn't pictured yet:

The contraption on the right is my fantastic ball winder, which I prefer to call my yarncake maker, since it makes pretty little cakes of yarn, fresh off the wheel. They fit much more happily on my scale as cakes than they do as skeins! This one is handspun from awhile ago. I took some roving and just dribbled dyes all over it in no discernible pattern. I may have used a few more colors in a few more intensities than could have produced a really pretty yarn, but boy, is this one colorful. I'm actually knitting these days, for a change (I've been so spin/dye focused recently), and this cake will finish off a second kiddie hat, and hopefully get me through a third, before it runs out.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

more spinny

I spent most of the weekend playing Scrabble, but I did manage to get some spinning in today:

I plied some wool that I dyed with the black merino from Sheep and Wool. The colors include red, orange, green and purple, and they stand out nicely against the black. The beginning of the colored wool had gotten a little felted in the dyeing process, so I had to coax it into drafting and spinning. I imagined a stubborn, technicolor sheep as I spun it.

Also finished up some merino dyed awhile back:

Each skein is about 120 yards, and will self stripe from blue/purple to greens and back to blue/purple. Both should go up in the store some time, and we'll also be doing more dyeing next weekend, so there should be more sock yarns and others soon as well!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

MDS&W, Part II

Returning early this morning rather than staying later to brave the crowds yesterday was a good choice. I'm possibly getting over whatever illness I had, but I'm coughy, and after walking around the Fest with the boy from 8:50-10:40, was more than ready to go.

It was much, much calmer this morning than yesterday morning. The Koigu booth was closed (rumor has it they sold out yesterday), so the only ridiculously long line was for Galway. I walked right by -- I didn't even want to know what was in there, because today was about taking my time and just wandering, rather than kamikaze shopping.

We started the visit with a trip to the sheep cheese people, just like yesterday. Got some farmer cheese that I actually like, which is surprising -- I'm not a goat cheese person at all, and usually not fond of sheep milk, either, but this stuff is light and smooth. I took more time in the Main barn today, stopping by to chat briefly with Jen at her very cool booth. Made it all the way to the ends of the barn, feeling lots of roving as I walked around, and showing things off to Tim that I'd seen on Saturday. I ran into a wool booth that I'd completely missed, and bought some black roving with silk noils:

It should spin up into a neat, textured yarn. I may even ply it with some of the pure black merino that I also picked up today. I've been wanting to experiment with plying thicker singles of my variegateds with thinner singles of black, so that will be the next thing to go on the wheel, after my current batch of fluff is spun.

I sat at a Lendrum castle wheel to test out the Woollee Winder. Yep. Still want one. Also want a Lendrum castle wheel. Someday, perhaps.

Also spent more time watching the Sheep to Shawl competition, and petting the non-sheep livestock -- alpacas, llamas and bunnies, like this guy:

...and puzzled over the booth that included commercially-produced yarns like Noro, plied with other yarns:

I don't really understand... if you want to knit something with Noro and mohair, can't you just hold the two together and knit? Do you need them to be plied for you? I guess it lets the sellers show off what they think are cool color combos, but still, just seemed kinda odd.

Anyway, more pics in the slide show, and a couple more of the stuff that came home with me:

firesong rovingKoigu for AnneKoigu for meCorriedale roving

Saturday, May 07, 2005

MDS&W, Part I

So, in three hours of Sheep and Wool, I managed to overspend my budget (but not by as much as I easily could have), and exhaust myself enough that I took a two hour nap this afternoon. I've been feeling under the weather all week, so I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised, but there was also the combination of not being able to sleep until the alarm (too excited!), tree orgies, not enough caffeine (I refuse to wait in the bathroom lines and squander that fibertime -- even at 9:30, it was getting long). If it wasn't for the adrenaline, I think I would've climbed into one of the sheep pens and snuggled up against a nice, fluffy Ovis aries.

My friend Nadine and I arrived around 9:15. The line was already queueing to get down SR-144, but still, the parking was reasonably close, and the traffic wasn't so bad. The weather was perfect -- my Clapotis and a t-shirt was just the right amount of layering. Nadine had never been to S&W (this is only my second year), so it was fun to see her surprise at the immensity of it.

Of course, I missed much of that initial wonder, as I made a beeline to Koigu, to try to score some for Anne and me before it got too daunting. I probably spent my first 45 minutes standing in that line, but at least I had company -- Michelle was also there, and during the time she stood in line, she went from yarn for one pair of socks to at least two, and maybe more, since I was a few people in front of her. I scored enough purples to make just about any shawl or scarf I want, when added to the Koigu I have left over from my Charlotte.

From there, I wandered the barn a bit, and picked up a new spindle for my sister, a hand-turned threader for my spinning wheel made of purple heart wood (it pulls the leader out through the wheel orifice, so that I can attach fluff and have it feed on to the bobbin -- my current contraption is a piece of coat hanger on a thread, so this is much prettier), and some beautiful Corriedale roving from Carolina Homespun. Since Nadine had wandered through the main hall for the better part of an hour, we left, picked up some kettle corn (at $1.50, possibly the best deal of the day), and proceeded through the vendor and sheep barns.

I think this guy was my favorite, 'cause his apparel reminded me of Tim's fancy running gear:

This one was also cool -- pre-variegated fleece for spinning!

I picked up my ball winder and a simple spindle to replace the one that I gave to a new spinner, tried to say hello to Dalis at Dancing Leaf's booth, but it was too packed, ran into Sarah (I think it was Sarah! and I don't even know if she has a blog to link to...), drank water (to lighten my bag as much as to stay hydrated), and grabbed some BFL roving at Firesong. So pretty.

By noon, I was feeling a little delirious. We had been through all of the barns and buildings, and were doing the outdoor vendors. Had to stop by Cormo, at Sarah's recommendation, and picked up a lovely 8 oz. of white Cormo/Alpaca blend. I can't wait to start spinning it. I will reserve all spinning, though, until Paula returns, in case she wants to split/score any of it. I think one of my favorite parts of the day was shopping for other people! Too bad 'yarn personal shopper' isn't a real job. I bet there are some celebrities out there who would pay for such services...

So, the inventory in all -- 8 oz Cormo/Alpaca, 8 oz. Firesong BFL, 8 oz. Corriedale, 37 ounces of Koigu (17 of which is for Anne), threader, two spindles, ball winder. Oh, and some smoked sheepie cheese for the boy. Pictures of the loot soon!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Game Plan

Friday: finish either Clapotis II (with scrap yarn, 'cause I ran out with 10 or so rows to go. Boo), or tank top. Pack bag (water bottle, sunglasses, wallet, wish list with yardages, Harlot book, directions, cell phone, cookies). And, Linda Eder concert!

Saturday: leave home at 8:30ish, arrive 9:15ish (gates open at 9). Head to Koigu first, stand in line if it seems reasonable, grab enough goodness for a decently sized project (maybe a multi-directional scarf) if it's not ridiculous. Wander through the barns with Nadine. Try to convince her to stay til lunch with various people, including Christina and Libby. Get book signed by Yarn Harlot, get inspired by award winning stuff in the Bingo Hall. Find spindles, unfinished niddy noddy from the same place as last year, and I have to figure out where that was...

Sunday: early again, with boy in tow, because he loves me that much and I have no other ride. Try to see if I can find Lolly, watch sheepdogs at 11. Hit barns I missed the first day, and backtrack to stuff that I coveted on Saturday to decide if I really want it.

Curious what you might find at Sheep and Wool? check out my photo album from last year.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Wish List

Spindles: one 1.5ish ounces, top whorl with grooves for Kim, one basic to replace the one that I gave away, maybe an extra for teaching people
Roving: merino, white, 21ish micron count; corriedale, bfl...
Yarn: enough for a summery tank (Ballet Neck tank = 750 yds 18sts/4" on 7s; Soleil = 700 yds 22 sts/4" on 6s; Cleo = 700 yds 16 st/4" on 9s); Koigu depending on how slammed the booth is; something dyeable, or that can be made into a good xmas gift shawl for my grandma
SpinGear: Ashford drive band, maybe a jumbo flyer, or other fancy attachment (like a WooLee Winder, or some new bobbins...
Paula and Woolarina: Louet S10 DT winder; larger niddy noddy; dye; undyed yarns; ball winder!
What NOT to Buy: Yarn without projects, shirts, Angora bunnies