Thursday, October 26, 2006

Getting Fleeced

On a scale of 1 - 10, Rhinebeck was a 55. Where do I begin? The best part was being with my knitting and spinning buddies. Left to right from front row; Adrienne, Vanessa (in her amazing Firebirds), Hopealope. (Back row right to left) Stephanie, Anmiryam and Regan. Veni, Vidi, Vitaculture. We came we saw, we drank wine.

It rained when it didn't matter and the sun shone when it mattered. Rhinebeck is like a Mid Eastern bazaar or maybe it was just the camelids that made me think of this analogy. Here are a couple of cute little Alpaca just passing through. The chocolate brown one is darling. It was so much fun to wear the sweaters that actually made it to the FO pile and have people recognize what book or designer it came from.

The festival is made of many outdoor buildings which are often barns. Vendors set up their wares and let the games begin. We really enjoyed checking out the unusual rovings and yarns. Here is a great shot of Stephanie fondling some colourful yarn. Her Koigu sweater garnered many admiring comments and longing glances.

I'm pretty sure this was the booth belonging to "The Fold". Talk about a feeding frenzy - Socks that Rock continue to be a big draw and the inventory was depleted pretty much the first day. Chalk me up for one skein of "Olive Garden" colourway. I also got a pair of the new Sheila Ernst Pyrex glass circular needles in a bright cobalt blue colour. They're a different feel to knit with and I think with a silky yarn they'd be perfect.

The other highlight for me was actually getting to try out both a Robin Wheel and an Wee Robin Wheel. I put a deposit on the Wee Robin wheel last March without having tried it. I figured if I tried one at Rhinebeck and I didn't like it I could cancel - no harm done. If I did like it though, then I'm through 6 months of the wait. The vendor was there and I did try one - I truly LOVED it. I'm so happy to have this reassurance. Thanks to Vanessa for enabling me on this one. Here she is spinning on the Wee Robin (she's ahead of me on the list). By the way, that's her Marina by VY Yarns that she's wearing. Seeing all of Vanessa's Starmore creations was another high point of the trip.

I did buy some Mostly Merino in a lovely Periwinkle colour to make Ariann by Bonne Marie. I had to guesstimate the amount needed when I bought my 9 skeins and after checking Hope's handy laptop at the hotel, decided to go back and get an insurance skein. DRAT - Murphy's Law. All the periwinkle was gonzo. I guess I'll just have to live on the edge. I think I have enough but it'll be close.

The objective of the trip was to beef up my roving stash and I was successful in doing so. Here's a shot of all the lovely colours. It's now packed away in a box so, I'll need this to remind myself of what's tucked away.

I tried to get a variety of breeds to try the different fibres. I got Blue Faced Leicester (Biffle as Hope calls it), Polworth and Corriedale from Grafton Fibers. It'll be interesting to see the difference in how the various breeds spin up.

I also nabbed some bright red merino made by Ashland Bay. This was to christen my lace weight Golding spindle. I got the tsunami design in purple heart. What is that next to it????

It's a long discontinued Lollipop spindle in the ladybug design. I have a sentimental attachment to ladybugs. My late mother collected them so I continue the tradition. Hope has let me be its Foster Mom for a while. If anyone knows where a used ladybug lolli is being sold, let me know.
Doesn't it look nice with the red roving?

It's been a busy stressful week but every now and again I picture the brilliant leaves and all the wonderful yarn and fibre. Better than Prozac baby!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Feeling Sheepish

2 more sleeps until I wing my way to Rhinebeck and in honour of that trip, I've been working with my new Schacht to attempt to do some plying. First I set it up in double drive and spun the singles from two different batts of merino roving. One was variegated ruby tones with flecks of mustard and charcoal from Grafton Fibers. The top bobbin was a deep rose colour from The Black Lamb. You can see the singles on my Lazy Kate here. I've been reading the Deb Menz book on Colour in Spinning and though these singles were intended as a way to get acquainted with my wheel, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone and ply them to see what the blended result was.
Here it is - the first full bobbin of 2 ply yarn. It's interesting to see how the rose "quiets" the fiery colours on the bottom bobbin. I also boldly decided to set up my Schacht in Scotch Tension mode to do the plying. I chose the Schacht because of it's versatility so, I figure I'd better use the different settings. I did like the Scotch Tension for plying - the take up is nice. Of course, I couldn't get the plying to work until I used the hooks on the flyer on the left side instead. I couldn't find any reference to doing this in the instruction book, I guess I'm supposed to be bright enough to figure it out...guess again.

Up until now, I've only spun with Merino which I hear is a hard one to start with because the staple is not so long. It's so soft though that it makes it worth while. I have wanted to try some Blue Faced Leichester for a while so, I've treated myself to some roving from Lisa Souza. Here are 4 x 4 oz hanks of BFL roving in colourway Jonquil and colourway Lime and Violet. I can't wait to try this. Lisa's customer service is wonderful, I highly recommend her to do business with.

I'm sure these lovelies will be joined by my bounty from Rihinebeck. I'm hoping some of my favourite podcasters will cross my path. This trip is all about the roving for me (and the amazing friends I'm going to see). I'm not really planning to buy any yarn or books. Maybe a Golding spindle lace weight? I also want to try the Louet Victoria. Every girl needs a few wheels right?

Stay tuned - full report next week.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Skirting the Issue

It's Saturday night and I should be writing two articles that are due soon. I write to make extra money to buy yarn. I rarely have time to knit because I'm busy writing...However yarn-buying on line, oh yeah baby that's easy to sneak in between paragraphs.

Though Ava has been my front burner project, I did manage to fall in love with and cast on for this little number last Spring. It's made from Koigu PPM pink, wheat (cream)and white. I love working on this project because it's a bit of a sampler where patterns change up and give some variety and also because "hey - it's Koigu. Nuff said."

Here's a shot of the skirt in the day light just shy of finishing the biased lace part. The pattern really twists to the left but that all gets hidden when it's assembled. I'm now zipping along on the top part which is straight stockinette and decreasing so hopefully the front will be done soon. Prior to assembling the front and the back, I'll weave in cream coloured ribbon on the upper lace part and use the white to embroider flowers and outline the cream bands.

Here's another shot taken outside on the grass and a bit more straight on.

Popular theory seems to be that knitted skirts are a "no-win proposition". They supposedly stretch and bag. I tried on a beautiful crochet ready-made skirt last spring by Nanette Lepore (selling to the tune of $385) and was hooked on the idea of knitting and or crocheting a skirt. I didn't buy the Nanette Lepore skirt but did stash up to make this adorable crochet skirt. It's by Doris Chan from the Fall KnitScene. Ms. Chan has a book about crochet coming out this Fall called "Amazing Lace" that I'm intrigued to see. I did actually get the exact yarn as specified (on sale no less) at Romni wools. It's
Muench Sir Galli (100 % silk; 104 yd (95 m)/ 50 g): #4907 beige rose, 6 (7, 8, 9, 10) balls. This yarn has been discontinued but my guess is that Rowan Summer Tweed would make a great sub.

In the meantime, I'll bond with my Koigu in front of Grey's Anatomy. I'm so glad Dr. McSteamy is back. Personally, I'm rooting for Addison to grab the brass ring. I actually bought season 2 on DVD to get my fix all week long. The podcast by the producers of the show is awesome too. There's even a Greys Anatomy Knitalong to knit something gray while following the show.

Happy Thanksgiving here in Canada. I'll be having Andrew Peller Signature Series Sur Lie Chardonnay with my turkey. The wine is aged resting on its "lies"(pronounced lees) which makes it taste like taking a big bite into a warm slice of bread with butter. Yeasty and buttery. Perfect with stuffing.