Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mum's birthday

At the sheep and wool festival I got my mum a birthday present!

The new knit kits were on display at Holiday Yarns. We were all laughing a bit, because most people think that they looked like birth control pill packs. Abe thought that they looked like toilets. And then when I looked at the package out of the corner of my eye, I thought it said "toilet"! Very unfortunate design. Despite this being the first generation, and I'm sure that the next version will be much better, it's still a handly little gadget. As for it's unfortunate looks, I have a daughter who is quite handy with her paint pens from the craft store (the kind you have to shake and they have a ball bearing to mix the paint, and a brush tip you have to push up inside to get the paint to flow).

Here is what Wendy did to her grandma's new knit kit before we mailed it!

Looks great, now!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I love a good sheep and wool festival! Today at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival it was terrific. Ok, my knee hurt. A lot. That wasn't at all terrific. But the festival was fun. I was a bit restrained in my shopping, at least compared to what some years were like, and compared to what I wanted to buy!

I saw people. I saw some people from La Leche League, who I haven't seen in years. That was fun. I talked to lots and lots of people. I like being able to see someone with a Tsarina kit (the leaves/wine one) and ask if they've done those before, and discuss it, and mention I'm working on the Scheherazade Shawl, and have them say, "oh, I know that pattern...lovely", and not look at me like I have two heads!

I met Claudia! I've read her blog for a couple of years, I've emailed with her, but I've never spotted her and her orange tandem, despite being in the places she rode by many times...but today I finally met her! I was sitting, resting, telling Abe that I was hoping to see Claudia and Julia (Moth Heaven, but I didn't spot her. I met her last year). And then, there Claudia was! That was great timing. When I was talking to The Tsarina, I also met Dan. He's fun, too!

I bought no yarn. Nope, none! But I DID buy fleece. It's red. It's pretty. I love it. Got it from Jennifer, it's dyed by Damselfly Yarns. I have been spinning again, having had to get my wheel working again, to be in the filming shoot for Lexington Historical Society. So I got this nice red. Of course, I MEANT to get something with more distinct colors, and didn't. So, I'll need another, if I go back tomorrow, I'll get Jennifer dyed one, probably.
red roving

I've been able to get yarn, not good yarn, but yarn nevertheless on my spinning wheel all along. I figured it was just a matter of practice to get good. I finally learned to watch the little triangle of drafting fiber, nothing else, and only let the twist into it when I'm ready. NOW I'm getting much more even and thin yarn. I think it'll be sock weight when I ply it, so I'm pretty pleased. So I figured it was time to learn to use a drop spindle. I was never able to actually get yarn on one the other times I tried. I figured that it was a matter of 1) practice and 2) that triangle of drafting, although I wasn't sure how. So I sensibly went to the person I knew who was the most recent and obscessed convert to spinning. The Tsarina of Tsocks. I figured Lisa'd have good advice to a beginner, having just been one, and would know what spindle would likely be good, and be able to describe what to look for clearly. I was right. She had the most evil look of delight when I asked! She sent me to Bosworth for this.

It's purpleheart wood, and weighs 1.13 oz. I will try it out soon!

I got some plain creamy colored fleece. It still smells a bit woolly. It's cormo and alpaca. It's yummy. It's for playing with the drop spindle. It will be fun, it's so soft. I hope to get something fingeringish weight, and to make a really simple shawl out of some forgiving pattern.
cormo alpaca roving

She gave me a quick demo, and I realized that she was suggesting a technique very similar to what I use on the wheel....soon, soon, and I will see.

I've been working on my Scheherazade Shawl for Wendy...prom is this Friday....think I'll make it?
scherctrschercloseup edgescherend
I have about 20 rows in the chart plus a border to that is 40 rows plus 2 borders on the ends.

You are supposed to provisionally cast on, for the center. Then work out to one side, do the border then pick up the center, and repeat. BORING. After I worked a few rows in the center, I picked up the cast on, and with another ball, caught that side up. Now I work the rows twice, one for each side. It's much faster, in the long run, because each row is completely different, so when I do it the second time, I sort of remember it, rather than having to completely relearn it if I were doing them totally separately. It goes fairly quickly...when I work on it!

I added beads to it, that weren't called for. Wendy picked out fairly large purply-maroon round faceted ones. I added them along the zigzags on the sides. The yarn is zephyr laceweight, of course. I really like that stuff!

I've got it in my favorite little bag.

The other side:

Only certain projects can go in this bag. Wendy's prom shawl counts. I've had it 22 years, (I's a number, and it changes. Every year!). I got it on the NY Air flight, with an apple, cheese, crackers and juice in it (remember when airlines gave you food?) I was seated next to this guy...the one who asked me what IHTFP meant (it was on my MIT shirt), because he said he couldn't remember, he knew that there were lots of answers....and then while we talked about that, he mentioned a friend's wedding he'd been to, that many of my friends had gone to...and, well, anyway, we've been married for 21 years, now. So it's a special little knitting bag.