Friday, July 31, 2009

WIPs Wrestling and Fiber Christmas

My goodness, I'm incredibly behind on this poor blog!

The month of July was WIPs (works in progress) wrestling on Ravelry, and I have one measly project to show:

I've gotten my bag felted, but I'm still working on the (incredibly monotonous) I-cord for the handles. (I-Cord stands for "Idiot cord" if you were wondering.)

I don't love it as much as I did before felting. The colors got kind of muddy, unfortunately. I'll definitely do more stranded projects in the future, however!

My sparkly socks are about 75% complete, about halfway down my foot between the heel and toes.

I've also been working on getting a spinning project finished. I bought the roving last year at Fiber Christmas and spun up a bit, but I've finally gotten back to it.

The smaller ball of singles is what I got done at Fiber Christmas this year, which wasn't much. :-) I've wound it back onto the bobbin and now there's almost as much on the bobbin as is in the bigger ball, but I'm going to go as far as I can before tackling the next bit. I'm going to make a two-ply yarn that will hopefully make a Bono Kimono (Ravelry link), although I won't be following the totally-less-than-adequate "pattern" I bought at Loops. (There's no gauge listed, among other pattern sins.) The garter stitch, while being phenomenally boring to knit, should show off the yarn quite nicely.


Fiber Christmas was AWESOME this year.

I taught four classes and everyone seemed to really get a lot out of them. Or at least they told me they did! ;-)

Here's a view from the back, where I had my booth (I had my quilts out with information about my machine quilting):

It's three pictures mashed together, but you can get the idea. There are six vendors (or seven? I can't remember) along that far-right wall.

I came home with quite a haul:

I'm not going to talk about everything, and a couple of things aren't in the picture, but I'll put detail shots up in a bit.

I got some more wonderful lavender sachets from Gina at Across Generations. I also got the rug hooking wool (back, center) from her. She's so nice and her stuff is top notch!

The bright orange roving called out to me from across the room. I don't know why, but I just had to have it.

I think it's the addition of brown and red. Gorgeous stuff! Now I just need to decide what kind of yarn I want it to be.

This gorgeous alpaca/silk yarn is what I got as a door prize. I was so thrilled!

Next up is some 70% alpaca/30% bamboo roving that I got from Ozark Carding Mill.

My original plan was to spin up one ply of that and one ply, tail-spun, of these mohair locks:

But then I noticed something not quite right and it doesn't wash out:

I thought at first that maybe it was just vegetable matter, and I microwaved it just to be safe, then washed it, and it's not coming out. It looks a lot like the leavings of lice to me. Anyone know what it is, and should I just throw out the locks?

It would really bite if I need to do that, but I did buy these locks from the same vendor:

They don't seem to have the same thing, thank goodness, although I haven't really examined it like I have the grey stuff.

Next up is my sheep ornament, which was my entry into the Christmas Ornament contest. There were some really, really neat ornaments!

I bought some sock yarn, although I'm noticing a definite autumn/brown/red theme in my purchases. I need to get off of my red kick!

The colors are slightly more vibrant in real life.

One of my students gave me two skeins of this WONDERFUL handspun yarn:

I was blown away! I think it'll become a neck scarf, or possibly a Quant.

At the very last minute I picked up four ounces of Kate's Wensleydale cross roving:

No idea what that's going to become, but I couldn't help picking up some of it.

I also picked up some cones of silk yarn, in fingering- and lace-weight, as well as two hanks of DK-ish-weight silk from Henry's Attic.

I also got a cone of black wool lace-weight yarn:

There's quite a bit on there and I'm looking forward to making a couple of lace shawls from it.

That's enough from me for now! Three posts in one day must be a record. :-)

I hope you're all having a great weekend!

Thank You for Voting! & Shoes

Thank you so much to all who visited and voted for my yarn ball decal. I think I came in second (although I'm not sure because I was so tired when I came home on the 25th that I didn't check my standing). I'm pretty thrilled to have done so well!

My wonderful Aunt Louise sent some really neat shoes for the kids. Thank you, Louise! Both kids immediately tried them on and have been wearing them since.

Idaho Trip (VERY picture-heavy)

Quite a few posts ago I said I'd finish posting about our trip to Idaho, and I didn't. Shame on me!

Now that Fiber Christmas is over for this year (post and pics later), I can concentrate on other things and getting caught up.

So, in the last vacation post I stopped as we were heading up to Island Park on Thursday. I'm going to go back to using my Dad's narration, so here goes!

June 4, 2009, afternoon

The drive up to Island Park was spectacular with the Tetons visible to the east.

Buffalo Campground, near Pond’s Lodge on the Buffalo River, was almost empty. We found a great spot by the Buffalo River in the C loop with its electrical hookups. Spot C14 cost us $11 rather than $17 per night because Bill is over 62.

We also reserved a spot for Mom Allred’s bus.

The mosquitoes were absolutely fierce until it rained and there was a wind to drive them away. Sand hill cranes (birds) were nesting on the other side of the river. I had never before heard them and as they flew overhead they were calling the entire way. We also saw osprey.

Five people are ‘cozy’ in a 21 foot 5th wheel camper but we all had a great time. There’s nothing like camping to bring a family together.

Friday, June 5, 2009:
We drove in the Avalon to West Yellowstone and stopped to see an exhibit of painted fiberglass ‘buffalo’ in front of the old Union Pacific Railroad depot, now the historical museum.

The ‘buffalo’ will be auctioned the end of August and are expected to bring from $1,500 to $10,000. I can’t imagine where a person would put one of them. Local businesses seem to become attached to the ones in front of their stores and will probably keep them.

Union Pacific also had a dining room to the west of the museum where Bill’s father was a dishwasher in the summer of 1939. Dad always loved West Yellowstone and Yellowstone Park.

Ryan announced that he needed a belt to keep his pants from falling down so we went to the old Eagle’s Store. Ryan picked out his own belt with horses and a shiny silver big buckle. He also got a glow-in-the-dark Yellowstone t-shirt and Gillian got two Yellowstone t-shirts. The adults had a cup of much-needed coffee.

The nice ranger lady at the West Entrance gave us an information package including a page of animals to check off for each of the kids.

We saw elk, buffalo including orange babies, bald eagles, Canada geese, and swans even before Madison Junction. We drove up the Firehole Falls road. We had lunch at the picnic area at Firehole Flats and saw a bald eagle circling nearby.

We drove to Old Faithful and while waiting for it to erupt saw Beehive and Lion’s Head erupt on the other side of the Firehole River. We watched Old Faithful.

The kids put their hands in the lukewarm water that flowed from Old Faithful.

We then went to the Old Faithful Inn and had ice cream and some iced tea while we sat on the balcony. We drove to Bridge Bay and had a potty stop and watched boats being launched including a huge one. We drove to the Lake Inn area and saw more buffalo. We watched a storm on Lake Yellowstone.

We drove through Hayden Valley and commented on the scoured areas where buffalo rolled and dusted themselves. Kathie gave each of the kids $5 and at the Canyon visitor’s center store Gillian bought a set of Yellowstone picture cards. The kids and Kathie played ‘go fish’ with them. Sometimes Ryan liked the picture on his card so much that he didn’t want to give it up. Kat also bought bookmarks and a refrigerator magnet with scenes of Yellowstone.

It began to rain hard and on the road from Canyon to Norris we were fortunate enough to be going against a long herd of buffalo that had been on the road for some time, judging from miles of backed-up traffic on the other side of the road going the same direction as the buffalo.

We could hear their grunts as they passed. They were shaggy from shedding their winter coats.

We returned to camp in Island Park about 6:30 p.m. to find Melanie, Kevin, and Emily already set up. About 8:30 p.m., Wayne Valentine drove Mom’s bus with Paula into the campground and Wayne and I helped plug the bus into power, light the hot water heater, and get Paula and Mom settled.

The mosquitoes were fierce.

An osprey was keeping an eye on Kat and the kids and came in for a landing on a tree across the river:

Saturday, June 6, 2009 (D-Day):

In the morning Bill took Ryan and Gillian to the fisherman’s dock at the far end of the campground and enjoyed the beautiful area.We later learned that Kevin, Melanie’s husband, has been coming to this campground and the others in Island Park from early childhood, camping and fishing with his folks.

Later Kevin took Gillian and Ryan fishing. He hooked fish and they reeled them in. Gillian caught two and Ryan one. They were both very proud of their fish. They also saw two moose!

It rained much of the day. The kids played with Emily and rode bicycles and scooters that Kevin and Melanie had brought for them. Grumpdad hid from the mosquitoes in the camper, read more about the Titanic and enjoyed a nap. We went to Pam and Wayne’s cabin for dinner and were joined by Rachel and Jeremy and their four children for the 3rd birthday of their youngest, Luke.

It was unusually silent when we woke up and Bill looked out of the camper to see it snowing! There already was about 2” of wet snow everywhere, very beautiful. We got dressed and had breakfast and enjoyed the snow, then started preparing the camper for the trip home.

Pam and Wayne joined us and Kevin prepared a brunch of eggs, sausage, and fish that Ryan, Gillian, Emily, and Kevin caught in Mom’s bus. We helped prepare it for the return trip and left by 12:30 p.m.

Kevin, Wayne, and I all emptied camper tanks at the dump station at Island Park, a very scenic area on the north fork of the Snake River. We couldn’t see the Tetons because they were shrouded in clouds. We were home by about 3 pm and unloaded the camper and spent most of the rest of the evening doing laundry and cleaning out the camper.

Monday, June 8, 2009:

We rested in the morning.

Bill went to work for an hour to make sure there were no pressing issues and then had an hour-long lunch at our house with some of the symphony people about symphony issues. In the afternoon we visited the library to return books, get credit for reading, and check out some more books. We drove to the Museum where Kathie bought two books to store squashed pennies from various locations since the kids have many more at home.

We then drove to the mountains east of Idaho Falls to about 6000 feet to see the giant windmills and stopped near one. We could hear its blades softly ‘whooshing’ and the gearbox humming. We looked over the Snake River Valley on the return trip down the mountain. In the evening, Kat, Kathie, Gillian, and Ryan played ‘Go Fish’ with Yellowstone cards Gillian bought at the store at the Canyon Visitor Center

Tuesday, June 9, 2009:

Bill went to work and Kat and Kathie packed.

Bill returned about 11:30 for lunch and good-bye and at about 12:15 Kathie took Kat and the kids to the Idaho Falls Airport. Our house is once again too quiet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cricut Contest

I've been spinning but not taking pictures, so hopefully tomorrow I'll get some pics. I've also been quilting up a storm! They're all customer quilts, not mine, but I've been having a good time with them.

A little while ago I entered a contest to win a Bind It All binding machine, and I'm blown away at the creativity of the other entrants!

Check out the entries and cast your vote here. It's definitely not just scrapbooking stuff--there are LOTS of different things that people have come up with and it's worth checking them out.

I entered my yarn ball decal, if you're wondering. ;-)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spinning and WIP Wrestling

I still haven't done the vacation blog post, mostly because I've gotten so sucked into the Tour de Fleece.

Here's what I finished up today:

This is the first time I've spun up three separate plies, then plied them together. I usually spin one long singles and then wind a center-pull ball, then ply from that. This time I separated the top into three parts and spun them, then wound them off onto toilet paper rolls. (Classy, huh?)

Two of the plies were within 6" of each other (AMAZING!!!) and the last one had 9 yards more than the other two:

I'm very pleased with the results!

I see a lot more three-ply yarns in my future, but I need to get another bobbin for my spinning wheel before I try it again. I spent a lot of time untangling the singles since they weren't under tension, but I got a gorgeous yarn anyway.

This yarn is for teams Spinning Bunny (because that's where I bought the roving) and team Suck Less, and I think I'm definitely sucking less with this yarn. LOL!


In WIPS Wresting news, I've gotten some progress done on two projects.

First up, I'm almost finished with the heel flaps on my Coupling socks. (I'm using the stitch pattern from the Coupling socks from Knitty, but making them top-down.)

This is the K.I.S.S. Bag (Keep It Simply Stranded) from Sally Melville's Color book.

I decided to do eight repeats of the motif instead of 10, because I'd rather have a shorter bag than a taller one. I'll probably use some leather handles, but I'll decide after I've felted it.

Both of those WIPs (Works In Progress) are for Team Team on Ravelry.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Quick Spinning Post

I know, I know, I still need to finish my posts about our vacation last month.

I'm going to post a couple of pictures of the spinning I've been doing for the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry for now, though.

First up, the merino and tencel that my Mom bought for me while we were in Idaho.

The singles on the wheel:

The color isn't quite right, but it was almost midnight when I took that picture.
The singles

The two-ply yarn on the wheel:

The un-set yarn with a nickel:

And a collage, before the twist was set:

Next is some merino that I bought in June 2008, but haven't done much with. It's 8 ounces, and I got some spun and plied but there's still a lot to go:

It's a bit felted (just a bit, not too bad) so it's requiring a fair bit of prep before I can spin it.

It's going to be worth it though!

And finally, the spinning that I did last night. This is the Anshan's Biscotti colorway from Susan's Spinning Bunny, and it's BFL.

I'm having a good time spinning and working on my WIPs (works-in-progress) for WIP Wrestling (also on Ravelry), so that means spending less time on the computer. Hopefully I'll get the post on our vacation finished soon!


I'm also working on getting stuff ready for teaching four classes (!!!) at Fiber Christmas in July, coming up at the end of the month. I might not be posting much between now and August!