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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Amityville Historical Society Fair and Spinning

Today was the day that a few of us got together to spin at the Amityville Fair. It was a lovely day, low 70s, light breeze, dry, ah! Spinning al fresco was so nice and it was the first time that I did it! I brought my wheel and some beautiful soft and squishy Opalescence fiber that I picked up in Maryland. I am regretting not taking home more of this stuff. It's silky and soft and spins so nicely. I am spinning it relatively thin and plan on Navajo plying it. I have fallen in love with Navajo plying. It's beautiful, it's like crocheting and you get a smooth, round yarn. I thought that one would feel the bumps of the chain stitches but that isn't the case.

Many of the spinners brought wheels and spindles, some brought knitting and some had lunch of Burgers and Fries from Five Guys. I was good and actually passed on the food, saving up my calories for the evening meal so I could sleep on it and make quality fat.
The Bagpipes played songs that I never heard played on bagpipes before.
There was face painting, all proceeds being donated back to the Historical Society.
There were old cars. I'm glad they had these REALLY old cars. Last time I went to the street fair in Massapequa the cars were...well, from my pre-teen years and I was feeling really old. Some of these were nearly 100 years old.
There were old buildings. Actually, there are many old buildings in Amityville. Yes, yes, I know all about that "horror house" and it's really a very nice part of the town. That house looks different nowadays though - This isn't it. This is an old school building.




And there was this....

UGH!

See the chip on the small whorl? I'm kinda upset by that. I'll have to buy a new flyer. I have the piece that broke off and I will attempt to glue it back on but I'm not sure it's going to work all that well. That has to be totally smooth or one risks ruining their drive band. I don't know how this happened, being I transported my wheel in it's padded bag. I took it out and it was CHIPPED. Drat.

I am spinning the most deliciously smooth and soft fiber which you can almost see on the bobbin. It's purple and it's 70 Merino / 30 Tencel but it's the softest I 've fondled yet. The supplier was "Opalessence" and I picked it up at MDS&W and I'm in love. It was inexpensive and the BESTEST. No Etsy shop, not on Ravelry..nothing. I found her webpage so you can check it out. I'll be buying more of this, for sure! Very reasonably priced, too!

My DH was such a doll today, taking the kiddies all around the fair so that I could park myself and spin. It was a nice day all around. Later, when we were hanging in the backyard, I had to photograph this. Maybe summer is coming after all?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Eye Candy Friday - Spring Lily Sprouting


It's raining and it's only 55 degrees. Sigh...this spring has been nothing but rain. At least the flowers like it...baby Lily sprouting up through the ground.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend - that means family camping trip. I keep telling myself, "I love camping, ah, the great outdoors". Is it all worth it?

A week before the trip, I start packing. Two of our nice LL Bean sleeping bags were ruined this past winter when a bottle of bleach leaked, ate through a shelf and dripped onto them. The bleach ate through the bags, through the zippers and destroyed them. Ok, so that's $150 to replace....mere headache. I did 200 loads of wash, washed up the camp knives, forks and cooking stuff. Oh, did I mention my dishwasher picked this week to die? Well, it did. I replaced it and the new one is coming on June 4. Until then, we eat on paper plates. I simply refuse to do dishes. Then came a full day of packing, shopping for food, exhaustion and trying to get out of here by Friday afternoon. Around 2pm or so on Friday, I noticed that the windshield cracked. Sigh.... The Glass Man said to leave it alone and take it camping and we'll fix it on Monday. Then, we're all ready to leave and hubby, who was expecting a 3pm dismissal found out that he had to work until 5. Ho hum. 5 turned into 6:30 because of overtime and an unexpected trip to another branch of the bank. Now we're up to bad headache and the kids are itching to leave. He gets home and we can't find the adaptor to the gas grill. We can go camping but we can't cook. Trip to Sports Authority only to learn that he has the right parts. It's now 7:30pm. Van gets packed up. Not sure I could make it 130 miles away before 11PM. We tell the kids we're leaving in the morning. They cry. Headache intensifies, I fall asleep. I get up at 5, rouse the kids, head upstate.

At this place, electric and water are shared between sites. The people next to us were very nice but must've not ever gone camping before. Who sets their tent up practically on top of the water?

If you look closely, you can see the front of that box is the electricity and the back is the spigot, the rock is all wet as is the bottom of their tent. Their table was located where my screen room is (the right of the picture). They set up all the way at the edge of their site and I felt a bit squished. Actually, initially, they were in my site. I had them move their table to give me access to the water and electricity. They weren't too happy but understood. They had miles and miles between their tent and the tent on the other side. Ok, fine......I guess. I could hear someone snoring and it had to be them.

The weather cooperated, it was sunny and in the mid-70s which meant the first swim of the year in the heated spray pool and in the frigid built in pool. Kids do not care. They're happy as long as there is a playground, a pool and a tent. They love to see Yogi and Cindy, too.
Seeing my babies glow and my DH interacting with them, quality family time, that's what it's all about. It's worth it to spend 18 hrs packing and unpacking for these Kodak Moments........right?

Here's my dear hubby and baby girl. That's our tent in the background.

Being it's the unofficial beginning of summer, it is time to start working on a pair of socks. Here we have a pair for DH, in man boring black, Knitpicks Essentials, size 2.25mm, 64 sts casted on, pattern is Seeded Ribbing. Let's see how dark my thigh gets by Labor Day weekend.

I leave you with this pretty picture as I head over to Ravelry to see if I can do a Summer of Socks KAL or something!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Merino Blend Fiber and Spinning

So, I'm spinning up a storm. My Lendrum is becoming very fit, as are my ankles. I wonder if there is any aerobic benefit from this? I suppose there could be some extra calories burned because treadling is certainly more taxing than being a couch potato.


I replenished my fiber supply in Maryland as well as through Woodland Woolworks. I figured, what the hay, I had to pay for shipping on the fast flyer I got so I matters well get some fiber to play with. I give thee, Fiber Bouquet:



On the left, we have Rose Merino 70% and Tussah Silk 30%. I was inspired to knit with something silky after playing with all the silk things at the Guild meeting last month. It was quite interesting learning about silk and silkworms! My DD actually picked out both colors because she wants silky soft scarves to wrap herself in. On the right is my latest fetish, Lilac Merino 70% and tencel 30%. I must say that I very much like that blend. It's easy to spin and is NEARLY, but not quite, as soft as the silk. I bought a full pound of the former and 1/2 pound of the later. I wanted a pound of raspberry merino tencel but they were sold out. I was so miffed being DD loves that color best.


I've also spun up 1.7 bobbins worth of mixed berry. Here's an old picture of the fiber. It's rambouillet and I'm going to attempt to Navajo ply it nice and neatly. I just have this inkling that bobbin 2 is a little fatter than bobbin one but we'll see. I am so thrilled that I am going to actually have a 3 ply yarn!



In other knitting news, I still haven't started a sock, toe up or top down! I'm taking a break from sock knitting although I will probably cast on one very soon. I want to finish up husband's sweater that has been 'almost done' for about 6 months. ... uh... since October. That may be what he wears to Rhinebeck this year if it's cold and if he stops losing weight. DD wants a Weasley sweater so that will be summer sweater project and DS wants more socks. He loves wearing handknit wool socks and hasn't stopped wearing his even though it's MAY. He loves the color yellow but I explained to him that we can do black, green, tan, brown or almost any shade of blue because boys really don't wear yellow socks. So, he'll have to pick out the next color!

In weather news, it's warming up, I guess. They said 77 and sunny but it's 60 and overcast today. My barometer is way down in the 'stormy' category so I'm not trusting it to get nice out. We're going to eat an early dinner and we may take the kids down to the beach tonight to go for a walk and let them play on the playground a bit after dinner. Or, maybe we'll just go to the park for a bit. They need to get out of the house more because with it being the end of the school year and them getting tired of all this homework and being cooped up indoors, they're getting a bit stir crazy.

It's also that time of year when I start going through the camping gear, getting ready for a camping trip. It doesn't look good for the Adirondacks this summer but I'm thinking about a fall foliage trip this year! Also, planning a few short trips, things to do with the kids. They want to go to the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Atlantis Marine World. I can do that. So, we'll see how things go. Stay tuned for pictures of my socks over NYC taken from the top of the Empire State Building!

Happy knitting and spinning!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Navajo Plying

I have been spinning. I have been spinning on my new fast flyer. (love the grammer, I have been reading too many Kindergarten books!)

Let's discuss plying. You spin singles and you have to either ply them together with other singles or ply them back on themselves. Using a single to knit is usually not the desired route. A single will untwist, possible produce a fabric that is biased and not behave as a plied yarn will. Now, after carefully weighing out half of my fiber in one fluff and another half in another fluff, I still am not a machine. I will never be able to spin two singles that are the same by weight and by length. It just won't happen and I hate winding up with 23 yards on a bobbin that I refuse to part with yet can't really use other than to tie the skein together. Toss it? Give it to the kids? Get a cat and let it play with it? Learn to Navajo ply? So, I decided to practice Navajo plying.

For the past three nights, I've been spinning some black (or very, very dark brown, can't tell because the sun hasn't come out all this time so we live in the dark here in NY...) Shetland wool. From roving, not from top so it wasn't as smooth as it could be. It had little fuzzballs in it here and there but very little vegetable matter and no Shetland Sheep poop. I spun this on my fast flyer on the middle whorl, I guess that would be 15:1. I then attempted Navajo plying but didn't do it right. I got decent yarn but with many coils. I'm not sure, but I think that I would've done better had I went back to the slow flyer and did this slowly. The loop closed up way too quickly and I was nearly finger chaining at some points instead of big loop chaining. I used my right hand to do it and shouldn't have done that because I got coils.
Coils are loose spots in the yarn. Ugh...

It's sloppy.





It's sloppy but it is truly three ply yarn!

Today, I watched a very good tutorial which demonstrated Navajo plying. I highly recommend you watch this before and after you try Navajo plying. It's great! I was just pulling up a loop and trying to do everything with my RIGHT hand and had major tension issues which caused an unbalanced skein. I will do it correctly next time! I was always under the impression that I would feel the bumps of the chain in the finished yarn. I couldn't feel a thing. My yarn was nice and smooth. I was imagining irregularly spaced little knots and that wasn't the case at all. Hmmnn...

I have one bobbin of Mixed Berry Merino all spun and resting on the bobbin for several days and may Navajo ply it tonight. No sense in filling up the bobbin because it won't all fit on the bobbin when I ply. Another advantage of Navajo plying: barbershop pole yarn is reduced. For the most part, color changes will happen nicer than they would if two or more singles were plyed together.

In other news, when I'm not spinning and I'm letting the house go to pot, I'm knitting this beautiful baby afghan. I love it! Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece rocks!

Back to the grindstone!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Maryland Sheep and Wool - Part Deux - The Haul

OK, now onto the fun part of the festival - What I bought!
10 oz of 100% Merino in this Eggplant mix. Soft and lovely. I was running out of money and didn't want to go over my budget so I only got 10 oz. I was tempted to buy the rest of what was in that beachball they had.....This came from Shadyside Farms.
Here we have 8 oz of Blueberry, 70% Merino/30% Tencel GORGEOUS and must be felt to be appreciated. It nearly feels like mink! Sorry, no website. You can e-mail opal@pa.net for inquiries. To die for! Next to it is Shelridge Farms soft touch ultra in a nice...you got it, green!


That's a Kromski niddy noddy that I could use to make smaller skeins.

Here's a 1.5 lb bag of not fully made roving, more like messy batts. 70 sw merino/30 tencel in powder blue, gray flannel and cream. This was from Autumn House Farms and I used my coupon to buy it. An excellent purchase and good price. It just needs tidying up.


I also bought a nicely made cherrywood diz which is also a gauge so I can measure WPIs when spinning. Plus, I bought two Christmas tree ornaments of little sheep handcrafted from real wool and some felt. Very cute. The kids confiscated that out of my loot.

Not shown is a gift for Elizzabetty who couldn't be at the festival this year. I can't give it away just yet because she hasn't seen it yet. I know she'll like it though!

I also recently picked up some more roving, ALSO merino/tencel and some merino/tussah top. It's VERY PRETTY and requires that I practice more with the fast flyer that I got last week.
(not pictured.)

Yes, I finally sprung for the Lendrum fast flyer for my wheel and I'm very excited. So now I have 6 ratios to play with 6,8,10,12,15,17 to 1. If I ever add the 'very fast flyer' that will give me 26, 30, 36, 44 to 1. I could spin any kind of yarn I wanted if I add that one. For now, I'll stick with what I have. It's harder to spin with the fast flyer and I'm not that good at it....yet. It's a pain if it breaks because it's harder to neatly join when the single is so skinny to begin with. HOWEVER, spinning finer with more twist is easier than spinning finer with less twist. Sometimes, my yarn would fall apart because I didn't twist enough. Now, I'm getting the hang of how fast to go and how much twist to add. When I first tried the fast flyer, I got little pigtails, too much twist, now it's better. That was after only one session so we'll see how it goes later today. Luckily, I have some practice fiber that was gifted to me so I can play. I may even make a 3 ply yarn soon! There are 10 ratios on the Lendrum, it's portable, spins smoothly, relatively inexpensive compared to other wheels with these options. In fact, if I ever wanted to add the quill head, that would give me two more ( 6, 25 and 37 to 1!) What more can one ask for?




Speaking of wheels, I did see some really lovely wheels and did get a chance to try the Ladybug! I must say, I thought that I would hate the fact that it's plastic. It's not at all bendable plastic, it's like a cast piece. Hard like a rock yet lighter than wood. It spun smooth like glass. If I had to chose today, I think I would still choose the Lendrum for a few reasons. I'm really a wood person. I saw beautiful handcrafted carved and decorated saxony wheels and pined for a 7,000 square foot Victorian to put them in. However, let's face reality. The Lendrum costs a tiny bit less than the Ladybug and it can fold up to be put away or for travel. The Lendrum is wood. The Lendrum felt more comfy to me (familiarity?) and the Ladybug made me feel like I was wearing scuba gear. PADDLES, huge. Made my feet feel so big! It was so peculiar! I did like the red and I did like the fact that there is a ladybug on all of them. Nothing cuter than that. No buyer's remorse for me.

I wanted to try the Kromski but the lady that was on it wasn't budging and I didn't have alot of time to spend there. Maybe, someday, I'll add a saxony wheel to my collection but it will probably be something used off e-bay and for my daughter to play with when she gets bigger provided she doesn't buy a loom first! :)

Well, time to make banana bread with the bananas that all ripened on the counter while I was away.

I leave you with a picture and a thought:

Picture: Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2009 - Crowd Shot

Thought: How many weeks until Rhinebeck?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, the Good, Bad and Ugly

I'm back from a rainy weekend in Maryland. We drove down on Friday evening and it was a pretty good trip. It's 230 miles from our house to the hotel we were staying at in Baltimore, which was wonderful, btw. More on lodging later. Saturday morning, we got up early, had the complimentary hotel breakfast buffet and headed out to the festival. The weather was drizzly and a comfy temperature, mid to upper 60's. Traffic wasn't terrible although the last 1/4 mile took awhile and the parking lot was filling quickly. We arrived at 9:30. This was good.

As soon as we walked in, I knew that I wasn't going to like it as much as Rhinebeck. I know, I know, it's just 'different'. Rhinebeck takes place in the fall. The air was crisp, the sky was blue, the leaves were in full color. Maryland was cold, wet, early spring. But that wasn't it. The parking lot had grass that was up to my knees. It was difficult to wade walk through it when it was wet. Plow the field, dagnamit! This was BAD. Wet ankles and sneakers!
Anyway, that was my first impression. I was keeping an open mind.

Then, there were many, many tents. I didn't really shop in them. I missed the handout of the map so I had no idea where any of the vendors I wanted to see would be. That wasted some time as I walked around looking for whatever it was that I wanted to find. This was BAD.

I bought a pound and a half bag of SW Merino / Tencel (my latest fetish for spinning) in light blue and gray flannel. I have no idea what I am going to do with it but the color was pretty and I had a coupon knocking nearly $6 off the price. You know I can't resist a good price.
After that, I showed the kids some sheep. A little sheep smiled at me.

The kits watched sheep shearing, in awe.

This sheep wanted to come out and play!


This little guy had such a cute haircut.


There were tons of spinning wheels for me to play with and pile and piles of wool and bad lighting just about everywhere, as you can tell. This was all good.

Both kids got to try a loom. Missy paid attention while DS tried it first. This was also good.

She LOVED it.

Naturally, she walked away wanting to buy it.

Now, the ugly.

My daughter, who has allergies and was on her meds, really reacted to the hay. At least, I think it was the hay. Sheep haven't bothered her before. Her eyes really swelled up. I had to get her out of there. She had to go to the bathroom. I knew the bathroom scene was bad. I wasn't expecting this bad. First stop, mens and women's rooms. The women just 'took over' the men's room. There were two LONG lines for the rooms. Now, how many people attend this thing and other fairs they have whenever? Alot. How many stalls? There were 2 in the men's room. The whole family stood on line for 45 minutes...2 stalls. A few urinals but that did no one any good. There were some portapotties out by the field and there was another bathroom with an equally long line by the main hall. After that, plus DD's eyes, I knew we couldn't stay much longer. It was not raining so we watched some sheepdogs but DD was out of it. There was no place to wash hands and although I brought wipes and antibacterial, I didn't want them eating with sheep poop everywhere. This was all bad. Inadequate facilities!! BAD.

So, we left at about 2:30 and headed down to my cousin's house in Annandale, VA, stopping for lunch along the way. Seeing family and eating, always good!

I went all the way to Maryland, I bought some stuff and got to see my cousins. It was a GOOD weekend, there were some BAD things and there were some UGLY things.

Stay tuned tomorrow for photos of my haul and more sheep. Oh, and I have to update you on the Pinkaboo Blanket!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Eye Candy Friday

"The Meadow" at Garvies Museum, Glen Cove, NY.