Monday, August 29, 2005

My trip to the Michigan Fiber Festival

I have returned from the Michigan Fiber Festival a happy, but surprisingly not poor, woman. It was a wonderful trip! I was a passenger for the entire ride up, and I managed to finish a prayer shawl for charity, minus the fringe. Once in MI, my hostess Jan took me to shop at the Threadbear Fiber Arts store in Lansing. Holy ****. All of our local LYSs pale in comparison. They had a wonderful selection of yarns and all kinds of sample items knit and hanging from thewalls and ceiling. I restrained myself from getting too much there, as I wanted to save my money for the MFF that weekend. (I couldn't justify spending $75 on the 100% silk yarn from Fiesta for the LMKG tank top. *sniffsniff*) What I did end up getting was a skein of Koigu for the little cabled purse in LMKG and 2 skeins of Madil Kid Seta in a lovely coppery rust color for a windsock style hood/scarf. I managed to finish that up last night and I love it. So soft and cozy, and such a bold shade for my color-timid self! I can't wait for the temperature to drop.

Friday was workshop day at the MFF. The morning session was the handpainting class taught by Nancy Shoyer. The class divided up into groups of three and we each took turns adorning tables with plastic wrap, wringing wet skeins, picking colors and helping to paint said skein. After the yarn was painted, into the microwave it went and came out steaming in beautiful color! It was great to see the variety of colors and styles everyone chose for their skeins. I decided to do mine in (Country Classic) Persimmon, Chestnut, and Desert Sand. I usually don't care for pink, but in this case it's not overwhelming. I was a bit scared at first because the colors were quite a bit darker while the yarn was wet and the skein looked like a muddle of browns. As it dried, the yarn was magically transformed into something much nicer! The yarn we used was Henry's Attic Kona, meant to be sock yarn, but I still haven't gotten around to knitting socks yet. So I might just make a stocking cap for myself, hat freak that I am. I fear I've added another component onto my already addictive knitting habit: dyeing. The afternoon drop spindle class was fun, also taught by Nancy, but not as productive for me. We'll just let the picture speak for itself.

Jan and I spent a little time at lunch perusing the vendors who had set up early, but again I excersised restraint and didn't buy anything just yet. We came back again on Saturday to do our shopping. I think I spent most of the morning just taking stock of what was for sale. Thankfully not all of the vendors were selling yarn, or else I would have been there all weekend! Dave, dragged along not entirely against his will, went around with his dad and they looked at all of the wood constructed items: spinning wheels. I can only hope Dave takes a serious interest in spinning so he can supply my yarn habit! (Dare I dream on?) While we were in MI, he managed to spin up some slightly uneven, but perfectly useable yarn. I'll probably end up making mittens or yet another hat out of his first spinning effort.

So what did I buy? From Skaska I bought a lovely skein of merino/silk (50/50) for a shawl, (If you are interested in lace and/or enjoy sumptuous fibers, I strongly recommend taking a look at their website. They have some delicious blends and colors, and they've even got qiviut!); a bargain bin skein of steely gray wool/mohair yarn shot with lavender for a cabled hat; a skein of 100% alpaca in white for Faina's scarf (to be dyed!); 5 skeins of mixed breed wool in natural colors for the Old Way Gansey in Interweave Knits (possibly to be dyed); 3 skeins of a rich purply-red fingering-weight wool for a Pi shawl; and a single skein of Elsbeth Lavold's Angora for a cabled headband. I also picked up a couple colors of dye, one of which is going to overdye my horrible green llama/wool blend yarn so I can rip the crocheted shawl out and reknit the whole thing as a circular shawl in three colors. At least that's all I can remember buying.

The rest of the MI vacation was spent collecting honey from Jan's bees, taking Luna (a Haflinger) out for a drive with the buggy, fishing -- and catching my first walleye, eating lots of good food, and knitting (of course). It was far too short, but I have a feeling we'll be going back again this year, perhaps for hunting season.

As I mentioned earlier, I finished my windsock scarf last night, so I had to start a new project. Juli had donated a skein of Filatura di Crosa Gioiello to me so that I might make something for the auction to benefit Bev's poodles. I began Knitty's Branching Out last night, and signed up for the Knit Along that Nederlass told me about. I've never done one of these things before, but I'm looking forward to the company. And speaking of company, it will be good to get back to my Wednesday night knitting group... I missed three weeks worth of meetings! But it was all for a good cause.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Almost time to go!

In about 24 hours, I get to leave for MI in preparation for the Fiber Festival. Yay! I haven't been able to finish any other projects yet, so I can only hope to do so on the road during daylight hours. Tonight I will be packing up my drop spindle and yarn for a couple of projects to keep me occupied until I can actually buy yarn for more things. The two workshops I signed up for aren't until Friday. I'm taking a class on handpainting yarn that morning, and the beginner drop spindle class in the afternoon. That gives me all day Thursday to relax and visit with the critters at the Gauthier Homestead.

Hopefully I can get some good 35mm camera shots of all the fun I'm going to have and scan them in later. Signing off for a week...

P.S. I did get my paycheck bonus, but damn those federal taxes!!! O_o

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Project pile up!

Projects are now beginning to pile up, literally. I've got projects in bags heaped in the back seat of my car, and I've got ones not yet started that need to be finished soon lined up in front of my closet in my craft room. One that worked up quite quickly was the Doucer et Soie simple lace scarf. This one came from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, labelled as Airy Scarf. I was gifted with 18 of the original 25g of the skein from Juli and decided this would make a quick and easy project for the VIMS winter auction to benefit Bev's Poodles. It took me two scavenged evenings of knitting and I doubled the length of the original scarf just to use up the skein. The mere skeleton of yarn that remains and will probably go for a stuffed animal accessory scarf.

And I take back what I said about that Turkish stitch string bag being simple. Too simple = complicated! I guess I can't keep track of YOs, and eventually I must have not paid attention to where my yarn was wandering because I had somehow knitted a portion of the bag together and then knit 3 or 4 rows on top of the mistake. I frogged it to nothing and rewound the yarn on the cone. I'll try this one again some other time on a longer circular so I can see my mistakes more easily. Instead, I'll eventually be making myself a much needed yoga mat bag out of that cotton.

For now, Juli's barter-cardi will take priority when I knit at home. Right now the back and left front panel are completed, and the right front panel is about halfway done. The prayer shawl is my travel project and when that's done I'll probably give it to Janet so it can find a home somewhere. Next up for Bev's Poodles will be Branching Out from Knitty, done in a skein of slightly glitzy and mohairy yarn donated by Juli (Filatura di Crosa, Gioiello -- what a name for a yarn!). I'm also condsidering some kind of Moebius shawl/scarf for the auction as well. And of course there's countless other projects waiting in the cedar chest.

Departure date for the Fiber Festival is fast approaching and I'm bringing in a book a day to scour for project material lists to enter into my spreadsheet. The financial officer at my workplace assures me that my new job bonus will be deposited on time for me to spend. Muhahahaha! If I can resist spending it all at the MFF, then I know there are many other projects I can still buy yarn for here at home. Tonight, Mahi before knitting. Yum!

Monday, August 01, 2005

End of the afghan

After what seems like millenia, the zig-zag Homespun afghan is finally finished. I started it in May 2002 and finished it on Saturday. I think it only took me a few weeks to actually crochet all the squares necessary, but it's taken me until now to finish putting it together. This is how much I hate sewing. Now I can move on to other projects with the remainder of the yarn that I overbought. I have 9 skeins of green left which will go towards a sweater coat that I'm sure I'll enjoy wearing around the house this winter. The 5 skeins of white will go for a prayer shawl and perhaps a scarf or pillow covers. All that yarn worked up will put a substantial dent in my stash. And to think that it's all acrylic! (Yikes.) Not long now until the Fiber Festival, so I'm knitting as fast as I can!!

And since I finished a project, I figured that I was allowed start a project. Now on the needles is the Turkish stitch string bag. The pattern is simplicity itself (K2tog, YO for the most part), except the YOs sometimes seem to disappear when I'm not looking, and it rather screws up the pattern. I've probably gotten about 95% of the stitches right so far, and I'm not that concerned how it looks as this will be a well-used cotton string grocery bag. If I ever make another one, at least then I'll know to be aware of those pesky skipped YOs.