Monday, September 24, 2007

Name that Wheel!

As I was cleaning and oiling my wheel I got to thinking that I should name it. I have a friend who has named his huge BBQ grill Beverly, I have another friend who named her wheel Rosaline. So I'm thinking its time I name my wheel. But I'm not the best at coming up with names so I come to you to get your ideas. So now you are asking yourself well what in it for me? How about a skein of handspun yarn on the newly named wheel? I will be running this contest for the next two weeks. So starting today Sept 24th through October 8 I will except names for my single treadle matchless wheel. On the 9th I will announce the new name and also the winner of the handspun skein of yarn. So please leave your ideas in the comment area of this blog. Good luck and I can't wait to see what you all come up with.

My next big project

Well its time to start to think about my next big project. Well let me confess I have been thinking of if for awhile. One of my knitting students has a copy of Spin Off's Sock special that came out a few years ago. So She has been looking through it and wants to make these socks. We have in the past worked on the same project together, so I said sure, but I want to spin the fiber. So I have been thinking about this for a couple of months. I told my friend that I was planning a trip to a fiber fair and I would look for fiber to spin. I looked through my stash and found that I only really have hand paints no real solids. So I wanted see if I could fine some really neat bright colored solids while I was in Salt Lake for the Great Basin fiber fair. Well as you can see I have found a few. The pattern calls for 109 yards of a fingering weight in 6 different colors. I bought 2 oz of 8 different colors so I'm thinking I will have plenty for the socks. So keep you eye out for more details to come. I need to go now and clean and oil my wheel.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Have you monkeyed yet?

So the question of the day is ....
Have you monkeyed yet? Or in other words have you knit a pair of Cookie A. Monkey socks yet? I have to say this is my second pair in as many weeks. This is a really fun pattern to knit and they really do knit up fast. I just jitterbug and size 2.25 needles. The really cool part was I had no idea that this colorway would strip like it did. You sure couldn't tell from the hank. I was am to get the majority of these socks done on my road trip to Salt Lake. I wasn't sure if I would have enough yarn so I cut back to five repeats instead of the 6 the pattern calls for. I was able to get both sock knit with a little bit left over to maybe make some mini socks for Christmas ornaments. Like I will get those done this year. Oh well. By the way you can find the pattern free on line at or just google monkey socks and you will find the link.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What's next? More socks

While I was on my trip to Salt Lake we took a small detour to Ogden and the Needlepoint Joint. Now this was a shop that I have herd about for years and was rather excited to visit, and not just because I was ready for a potty break. If you every get a chance to visit please do. The shop is set up really nicely. Very good lighting so its really easy to see the yarns and the buttons. Wow do they have lots and lots of buttons. As a matter of fact I picked up 6 Paddington Bear ones for some future project. While I was looking around I finally found the perfect sock yarn for my daughter. Her high school colors are green and gold and white. We have been looking for some sock yarn so she can knit some socks. Well it doesn't have gold but the green and white will be perfect. I'm thinking that she can add gold to the top of the cuff and the heels and the toes. I also had on my list to find a sold so that I could make the I love gansey socks from the Six socks yahoo group. I have quiet a bit of sock yarn in my stash but very little sold colors. I first saw the really nice slate green that thought that would be perfect. Then I saw the Rowanspun 4ply and just fell in love with the color. So I had to add that to my stash as well. As a matter of fact, later in the weekend I picked up some roving in just about the same color.
Its kind of funny, for the last year or so I have been trying to get to where I pick other colors besides green. I am noticing that I'm more into jewel tones these days. Or maybe its that fall is just around the corner. As a matter of fact one of the ski lodges locally reported a half an inch of snow yesterday. Can it be that its going to get cooler and become perfect knitting and spinning weather? But I sure hope so, I have so much to do and no time to do it in. I think I will start a sweater, now what colors should I use....

Natures Bounty

Last week, just before I left town I received my Natures Bounty swap box. The directions for this swap was to send 6 or so ounces of fiber and then any other goodies to express fall. Then once you get your box you are to spin up 3 ounces or so and sent that on to another partner. Well I took the weekend to think about what I wanted to do with all the goodies I got. Yes the roving is as soft as it looks and it was really fun to spin up. I first thought about making a three ply, using one of each color, but I also wanted to add the black eyelash. So I went back to the drawing board and thought some more. So this is what I came up with. What I did was spin a rather thick single of each. Starting with the orange I spun about 30 or 40 yards, then stopped the orange and added the grey and spun 30 or 40 yards, then stopped and finally added the brown. So I ended up with a ball that started orange, went to grey and then ended up with brown. I then plied it with the eyelash. I wasn't supposed to use anything other then what was in the box, but rules are made to be broken sometimes. I added a strand of black glitter. I think it came out well and its still really soft. To finish it off I tied the skein with the ribbon that has beads on it. I think it screams fall don't you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair

This past weekend I was able to attend the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair in Salt Lake City. I went with a friend who what scheduled to teach a class on wool combing. It took us about 6 hours to drive down. When we arrived a storm was beginning to brew. This is a picture of the mountain on the edge of town. This was the start of the storm. It did get much worse. As a matter of fact while we were in out Hotel room for the evening some of the vendors were trying to hold down their tents. A few were not successful. Many had to run out in the morning and buy new tents. One vendor was so upset she just went home. There is no telling what the weather will do.
This was my first visit to Salt Lake. I have to say I really didn't seem much because I was more interested in the fiber and the fair then the city. On Saturday my friend Lynn set up and taught her class. I decided not to take any classes for two reasons. Lynn will be teaching the same class in January here in Boise so I decided to wait until then, the other reason was I wanted to spend my money on fiber. Which I of course did. I do have to say the Wasatch Woolpack Handspinners guild were so much fun to meet and get to know. Also the ladies that planned this event were so welcoming to me a total outsider it made the whole event that much more fun.

One of the fun things of the fair where two guys dressed in Scottish attire and spinning. They were so fun to watch. They brought a great walking wheel which they showed how it worked and then they brought two of the smallest wheels I have every seen. Just a little note The older gentleman spun and then knit his socks.
Because I didn't take any classes I was able to shop and then spin all day. What can be more fun then that? One thing to mention, it was really windy all day. So there were bits of fiber flying through the air but it still was pleasant to sit out side and spin. So you are asking "So what did you buy?" Well the first thing I did was make a list of things that I have been looking for the first on the list was roving to make a pair of enterlac socks. The pattern that I'm planning on using is from the Spin off book called Socks a spin off special. The pattern calls for 100 yards of 6 different colors well I found 8 colors. So my socks will be a bit more colorful. Oh well.

The next thing on the list was some thrums from . I have bought a couple of thrums before and just love them so of course I just had to add to my collection. The one that looks like its yellow is really chartruse with glitz. This is one that I saw last spring and thought about it all summer so I was really pleased to be able to get one.
I also wanted to add some exotic fibers to my collection. I'm thinking on starting a Spin-A-Long in January. Where each month I plan to spin a specialty fiber. The reason is to get better at spinning different fibers. So on this trip I added some alpaca, llama, pagora, and angora.
When I got to a fiber show and sale my plan is to first walk around and take a look at everything that is there, then go back and buy what really strikes me. Well I went to my second booth which happened to be Woolly Wonka fibers. The first thing I saw I just had to buy on the spot. I bought all she had in the dark blue colorway. Its alpaca, silk and glitz. I also bought a few ounces of grey pagora/wool.

While I was in Salt Lake I did have a bit of an adventure. I was able to meet and get to know the owners of at 3 AM. You see we were staying at the same Hotel and at 3 AM the fire alarms when off. So we got know each other as we waited for the fire department to give us the all clean. I'm not sure what happened but there was no fire and no yarn or fiber was lost. But they were so fun to talk with while we waited. I have to say not a word was said about my mohawk hair style. I did take time to dress but not comb my hair. Anyway on Sunday I stopped by and pick up some fiber.

I really don't like to spin on spindles so I bought fiber instead. But who knows I just might pick one up next time I see them after all there were a couple of gals out side waiting for the fire department spin on a spindle. After all you never know when you have to wait out side in the middle of the night for the fire department to let you back in to your hotel.

And the world just keeps on spinning

It seems that I have recently had the privilege and joy to do several spinning demonstrations. I first started at the local state fair in August. Then I did an all day demo at my church. Each year we have whats called Round Up Sunday. This is an all day kick off for the fall and winter activities. First I brought my wheel and spun during services and then in a tent after. We usually have around 1000 to 1500 people attend that day. I'm not sure what the final number was but I do know I had lots of questions. I did learn that its best to spin a very colorful roving when you are demonstrating, it helps to get people excited about spinning. So the first skein below was the skein I did at church. I the roving what one I got from Spunky fiber in the fiber a month subscription. I can't remember what the wool is but I have to say I really like how it turned out.
The second skein is 4 ounces of superwash that I also got from Spunky fiber. I spun the majority of it at the Great Basin Fiber Festival in Salt Lake City last weekend. I will talk more about that soon. Anyway the real exciting thing is that I came up with 360 yards. Enough to knit a pair of socks. I have never spun superwash, I didn't find it much different then regular wool. I can't wait to knit this up.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sock it to swap parnter really did sock it to me!

Yesterday in the mail I got the very coolest box. My Sock it to me partner really knows how to spoil a person. In the picture you can see all the great goodies. Let me tell you about them. First there are two skein of Louet Gems in the prettiest shade of lavender, along with that there was some lavender soap, some lotion to pamper me with, monogram stickers that match the lavender theme of this box ,the neatest thread cutter ( its the small wooden disc on the book) and finally a sock book I have been wanting for along time but just never picked up. Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. Wow I just can't wait to get started on a pair of socks with this yarn. I think I will look through the book as see what I can come up with. Thanks so much for all the great goodies , I can't wait to see the next box with the sock in it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A surprise Sock

Even though there is only one sock in this picture I did knit them both. My daughter is painting her bedroom and she is storing all her stuff in my yarn room so I can't find the other one at the moment but its in there. This pair of socks is for a swap partner but I'm not going to tell you who in chase you are a partner of mine. I will tell you that the yarn is Reynolds Whiskey and the pattern comes from Interweave Holiday special. They were so much fun to knit I really like the lace/cable pattern I'm thinking of putting it on a cuff of a sweater some time in the future. Also the toe was really fun. Once you get the foot to the point you want to start the decreasing what I did was on all four needles I knit 1 purl 1, knit to the last two stitches on the needle and purled them together. On the next round I just knit. On the third round I knit 2 sts, purl 1, knit to last 2 sts and p2tog. I repeated in the same manor until I had 8 stitches left and the closed up the hole with a darning needle. It kind of looks like a flower on the toe and it does fit nicely.

Spinning at the fair

During the fair I had the great fun of doing a couple of spinning demos. I have so much fun doing this because is so neat to educate people about spinning. I am always asked why I would waist so much time spinning when I could buy it cheaper at Walmart. Yes its sad there are so many out there who are so uneducated in the fibers. My answer is always the same. "It may be cheaper to buy yarn at Walmart but if you add in the cost of seeing a psychologist, or alcohol, spinning wool is much cheaper, plus I do end up with some to show for all my money instead of a huge bill or a handover." below are the skiens I spun while at the fair. The pink are thrums that I bought at a show a few months back. I added some glitter when I plyed them together for a bit more glitz. The green was some alpaca/wool I bought at a local fiber store. I ended up with enough of the green to make the cabled socks that are in the current issue of Interweave Knits, which of course is my plan.

Its 101 degree out side it must be fall

Yes its 101 here in Boise on the 3rd of September. Well I can't believe its September already. August just seemed to fly by, but it usually does with all the things we have to do for fair and then getting everyone ready for school. So we are all finished with fair. It went really well and we all had lots of fun. But I do have to tell you that I'm glad its over. As I talked about before I did enter a few things and did pretty well, OK I did really well. I won the Needle Arts sweepstakes award. I have already started on plans to win both the Needle arts and the grand Sweepstakes award next year. I will have to step up my knitting and crocheting to win however. I will also have to add some needle work too. I'm thinking of doing some needlepoint, cross stitch, candlewicking and maybe even design a couple of things. My plan is to work on something each month for the next year to show at the fair next August. So please keep checking back on my progress. I do have a funny story for all you tatters out there. I made the rounds last week to all the fabric stores in the area to look for candlewicking supplies. For those who don't know what that is, its a type of embroidery where you make designs with french Knots or colonial knots. Anyway I bought some muslin at ones store and the clerk asked me what I was going to do with just a half yard. I told her I was going to do some candlewicking. She said "Wow that's more of a dying art then tatting."