Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fest:The Festival

I did make it to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fest yesterday. In spite of all the gloom and doom from the weather people this past week, it turned out to be a spectacular day.

See what I mean? Cool enough for socks and light knits but warm enough to stretch out in the sun. It was gorgeous.

 Early that morning, we made our way down Rt 7, over the Shenandoah  River and.....

...through the misty mountains on our way to Berryville, Virginia.

It is hard to describe this particular festival and it was hard to get pictures that captured it. The vendors were spread out nicely, which benefits the shopper in me but that makes everything look rather sparse, which I assure you was not the case. I could have spent a fortune there so it was a good thing I didn't bring one with me. I will next year though.

I was also reluctant to snap away at the vendors because I was forewarned on Ravelry that they can be snippy about that sort of thing. Here I am trying to kinnear a shot with my fingers in the way. Duh. It does prove, however, that there were lovely displays and plenty of stuff to fondle.

Here is another kinneared shot that actually worked. I loved this display by Wolle's Creations. Their color changing cotton yarn is amazing and I am kicking myself for not buying any. They do have an Etsy shop so I may just have to save my pennies and get some when the shop is updated.

The fleece sale was nothing like the one at MDSW. I didn't have to elbow anyone and when I put a fleece down it was still there when I went back for it. It was an amazingly simple process very unlike the complicated mess we put ourselves through quite eagerly in Maryland.

Another difference from Maryland is the bathrooms. This is the line. There was none. Ever.

There is also plenty of seating. Everywhere you looked there was somewhere to park your tired carcass.

There was a decent turnout at the Ravelry meet up. I didn't meet up, I just lurked-just the way I do in all the forums.

I did enjoy the natural dye demonstrations.

 The ladies were very friendly and informative.

 I learned a lot and was inspired to give it a go someday in spite of the obvious hazards.

Tomorrow: The Stuff

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rain or Shine

I have been looking forward to attending this new-to-me Fiber Fest for months now and I hope a little bad weather this weekend won't stop me. All it took was one look at the vendor list and I knew it was somewhere I needed to be. Sealing the deal was a sneak peek at the festival artwork that was shared in their Ravelry group. Connie Togel is the artist behind the website Sheep Incognito and she designed this year's adorable SVFF memorabilia. Who could resist those faces?
Since I have no idea what it's all about yet, here is an enticing blurb from the SVFF Ravelry page:  
The Shenandoah Fiber Festival offers quality activities and exhibits without the multi-thousands crowds found in some other regional festivals. Leave the pushing and shoving to others and enjoy the relaxed Virginia Hunt Country ambiance. 
Sounds good to me.
Ravelry meet up at noon on Saturday at the picnic tables by the Lion's Pavilion.
The Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival site can be found here.
 See you there?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Completely Warped

My second attempt to weave a rug was not any more successful than my first. There is too much warp showing-again. The second one (on the right) looks better but there is still too much white cotton poking through.

I want to show off my handspun Romney X and not the cotton warp. All this has to do with having the correct sett and I obviously don't. I am not even really sure what that is or how to get it but I'm sure I'll figure it out one day. Maybe.

Although I am not getting what I intended quite yet, my rejects have been put to good use. As soon as the first one hit the floor today, a cute little gray kitty spent the better part of the afternoon wrapping herself in it.

 Apparently her idea of itchy and my idea of itchy are two different things.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Virgin Territory

I have to confess that I have never knit with Socks that Rock before. I have stood in line to buy it-several times but until today I had never actually used it.

The praises of this particular sock yarn has been sung by just about every knitter on the planet so I was expecting an unparalleled knitting experience bordering on pure bliss. I am not going to say I don't like it but it is unusual in it's texture and energy level. If you don't spin you might not know that twist puts movement into yarn and this yarn has moves all right. It moves all over the place. It twists and kinks and wraps around itself like homespun gone bad. It has a ropey, cabled texture that feels like anything but sock yarn to me. Having said all that, I am going to try not pass judgement too soon. I know the real test is in the wearing so I will hold my opinion until I get these on my feet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Clun Forest

 In June 2010, I carded these batts from some Clun Forest fiber that I had bought from someone on Ebay. I had no idea what I was getting. I just liked the name.

It didn't start out as a very promising project.

 It had the shortest staple length I had ever seen. I doubted I could spin it.

It washed up nicely, took dye well and carded without a problem but I was still not convinced it was worth spinning so I stashed it and forgot about it.

Since it's been staring at me from my Ravelry project page for over 2 years, out of shame, I decided to finally see what I could do with it.

It turns out that it spins beautifully. It drafts just fine and is light and bouncy. While not particularly soft, it feels like it would make good outerwear. I am not going to get too far ahead in the project planning, however, because right now, I just want to enjoy the spinning.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On the Edge

I've had miles and miles of binding to sew onto Daddio's quilts this week.

He's had quite a lot of things rolling off his assembly line lately.

Strangely enough, I put the last stitches into his Labor of Love quilt within days of his finding out that a great-granddaughter is finally on the way. When Daddio goes off to the big fabric store in the sky, it is his wish that she inherit his little tribute to Mom. Due to the fragility of its vintage material, it is not a good baby quilt but it is the prefect size for rolling up dollies in or for tea parties under the trees.

 There is only a small amount of hand quilting on it, so to stabilize it, the hexagons were tied in the center which gives them a flowery appearance, which I love.

I have to admit, now that it is done, Daddio knew what he was doing. The whole time I was helping him with it, I thought it was the ugliest thing in the world but now I think it's quite beautiful. I'm pretty sure Mom would have liked it, too.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Special Day

It's my little sister's birthday.This yarn is not for her nor is it going to be knit into something for her (I can hear her sigh of relief from here). It is, however, because of her that I bought it.

 She made me sit in the yarn section of her giant Joanne's while she picked out yarn for Daddio's afghan a few weeks ago and it was there that I fell in love with the Arcadia colorway of Lion Brand's Amazing. I would have bought it then and there but they did not have enough of any single dye lot. I went home and tried in vain to talk myself out of it but when I found it at Knitting Warehouse for $4.75 a skein, I had to have it. It is destined to be a simple warm and fuzzy, lay-about-the-house raglan pullover but until then I am just going to admire it. Being the cheapo acrylic that is is, I don't have to hide it away from the moths-just the cats.

Have a happy birthday Sis. I hope you get to spend some quiet time with your own fuzzy projects today!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Agony of Defeat

It seems like just yesterday that I was showing off part of my successful redo of my February Ladies Sweater. Today I regret to be reporting her tragic and untimely demise.

Early yesterday morning, while the house was quiet, I began the painstaking task of pulling out the second sleeve. Something went terribly wrong. Somehow I ended up going across into the back. Lace came apart from lace. Not good. I can't graft lace to lace. I have tried it before. I tried it this time and it was as bad as I expected. Maybe worse. Even though I didn't love this sweater, I was heartbroken when I realized she wasn't going to survive the horrific five inch gash.

I salvaged her buttons and then did what every knitter wants to do from time to time.

I hacked her to pieces and chucked her in the trash, boo hooing the whole time. I was not going to even try and save that awful droopy bamboo. It all had to go. I wish I could say that my temper tantrum made me feel better about it but it didn't. It still stings.

Since the tragedy, I have been fighting the urge to cast on another one in some brown wool that I have in the stash but I know I would only be doing it out of guilt as I really didn't love this pattern on me at all. I am also pretty sure knitting icon Elizabeth Zimmerman wouldn't have been caught dead in this rather silly knock off of her February Baby Sweater-and the thought of that is the only thing making me feel a tiny bit better.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Drumroll, Please...

Dale of Norway's Lillehammer: Olympic Series 1994
I completed a milestone in my knitting life last night. I finished that chart. I should mention that this is only one page of it. There are two pages in all and you have to knit both pages twice for a single row of this in-the-round pullover. I should also mention this has been a WIP on my Ravelry page since August 11, 2009.

Although I am far from done, it was nice to be able knit with something other than black or white. The shoulders are wild technicolor bands.

While the shoulder pattern is simple, the technique is not. You have to knit back and forth in order to shape the neck. Purling in fair isle is not my idea of a good time but so far it hasn't been as difficult as I had a thought. This section should be done pretty quickly and then it is on to two heavily patterned sleeves. When I started this project my goal was to have it done by my next trip to Rhinebeck but it's more likely I will have it done by Sochi. Russia, that is. You know, the Winter Olympics in 2014? It's not like I am going to be there but to get something like this done, you have to have a goal.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Reality Check

The sleeve on my February Ladies Sweater is heading in the right direction.

I stood on the deck this morning posing all over the place trying to make it look better than it actually does.

Nothing helped. It really is a ratty looking sweater. My garter stitch is loose and uneven. I blame the yarn. The heavy bamboo blend was not a good choice for the large gauge.It has way too much drape for garter stitch. It also has several snags from the last (and only) time I wore it. I also wish I had done what others had done and not put in all those holes for the increase row. A M1 would have been better than a YO-those holes at the top of the sleeves right before the lace pattern look like mistakes. Having said all that, this messy monstrosity is just the kind of thing that I will eventually wear and wear and wear. I love the crappy stuff. It always matches the rest of the crappy stuff I usually have on.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Jacob is my favorite fiber. I love the raw sheepiness of it. I love the the rough dark hair that makes it change colors all by itself. I love its itchiness on my feet on a cold January morning. I love that I can see what it has been rolling in out in the field. This particular Jacob is very sheepy and so far I have done a pretty poor job of washing it. I have had too much going on since I brought it home with me from the MDSW so I did not give it the attention it needed. Now with the cooler weather, I may have to get out the washing pots and have another go at it before the sun on the back of the house is gone for good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wash Day

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to wash ALL my handknit sweaters at the same time.

It is getting chilly and when I took them out to inspect them, they made me sneeze, so I dumped them all in the wash machine for a quick rinse.

As soon as I closed the lid I realized I couldn't put the wool ones in the dryer. Where on earth was I going to dry them? Outside was out of the question. The ragweed pollen would only make matters worse.

I've always hated the black wrought iron railings that surround the staircase but today I was blessing it. It holds a lot of knitted stuff and it is all drying beautifully.

 While I was at it, I also washed and blocked a few of my favorite wear-around-the-house shawls. It certainly makes a difference in them. I should do it more often.