Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I do like to spin!

I am so enjoying my spinning wheel. I am pleasantly surprised, pleased as to how much I enjoy spinning - kind of like a challenge to be consistent, makes me focus and is relaxing all in one.

I am playing with several different fibers seeing which ones I like more - the funny part is each time I spin a new or different fiber I like it 'best' until I spin the next one.

Someone told me how 'creative' I was because of spinning - I laughed. No, not creative - heck Hubby and I went tile shopping (taking up our hardwood as the dogs just are too hard on it) and we are replacing it with tile. We had samples of our cabinets/woodwork and countertop with us. We knew exactly what we wanted. We found about 95% of that. We brought home a sample. We were carrying in the sample board and Bree says, "Ewww, that doesn't go." We argued, we set the tile sample down on the floor, and she is 150% right. So, creative I am not.

But, I am a great technician. That's why I can knit. It is all about putting different types of stitches together in an organized fashion to make something. I cannot visualize putting those stitches together, but I can carry out instructions perfectly.

Spinning is much the same way. It really isn't creative. It's technical.

Here's the last fiber a superwash 100% Merino (yes, it is very soft!) in a hand dyed green multi colorway.
It is amazing to me how different it looks when spun as a single strand then when you ply it (twist 2 strands together) it takes on yet again a different look!

I also finished 2 pairs of socks - now, remember I only allow myself 2 pair a month - in order to knit other things - LOL - but, in March while working on Mom's sweater, I only knit 1 pair - so, of course, I had to catch up in April - I have now hit my quota - finishing 3 pairs this month -

The purple-ish is Angee from Cookie A's new book, Sock Innovations using Sundara, Be Home Late sock yarn. The caramel is Grapevine from Charlene Schurch's book, More Sensational Knitted Socks using Sundara, Comfort Zone sock yarn. Both are soft and stretchy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bree's Civil War Night

This was a great learning experience for the students as well as their families. The students have been studying the Civil War in school and have been building to the Civil War night!

Last week, the kids went to Springfield to tour the Capitol, Lincoln's Tomb, the Museum, the House, etc.. they had to be at school at 6am and arrived back home around 9pm - long day!

Then they all had research topics and have been diligently gathering info and had to create a powerpoint presentation and display board. They also in their music class were learning songs from and about that era.

This all culminated into the Civil War Day/Night this past Tuesday -

Our family friend, Ainsley who collects the women's perspective of Civil War clothing, jewelry, and artifacts was so very gracious to come to the school during the day and demonstrate how women had to dress - including showing her 'originals' dating back to the 1860's - she taught the students the names of all the various garment pieces (and I think they were all grossed out by the drawers (underwear or what some called 'bloomers')- they did not realize that they were - ahem - crotchless so women when in their hoops/gowns, had easier access to use the facilities! The boys were even quite interested! She also explained that in old photographs it is/was difficult to determine if kids were boys or girls. She explained that girls always had their hair parted in the middle and boys on the side. She had an array of old photographs and kids had fun pointing out based on this new info which were girls vs boys.

Then the evening program included the student display boards set up on tables for all the families to review, they sang their songs (all 5th grade classes together - about 140 kids) and then we had Civil War experts in the multi-purpose room.

Ainsley brought numerous dresses dating back (all ORIGINAL) to the 1860's - silk! She had original bonnets and numerous other artifacts!

The 'committee' (us Mom's volunteering to set up this evening program) also invited Esther's Place to come and show how fabric/yarn/fiber was made during this period in order to make those beautiful dresses of Ainsley's. Donna, from Esther's place demonstrated cutting shearing to carding to spinning, also displayed the types of fibers that would have been used during that era and types of dyes and tools that were available. The kids enjoyed all this immensely!

To represent the "manly" side of the era, we had Joe, a Civil War Re-enactor in with uniforms, weaponry and equipment that used in the battlefields. Again, a wealth of knowledge and interesting to all.

I'm posting some pictures here, however, to see more - I have loaded them in a link here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14597896@N02/sets/72157617222408972/

Monday, April 20, 2009

Current spinning and knitting project!

To keep my sanity... Especially with Bree's Civil War project due 1/2 today and rest tomorrow -

I've been spinning a wool called Targhee - this is an awesome fiber - I see lots more of it in my future! This is bobbin 1 with 1/2 of the 4oz of wool. I am about 3/4ths finished with the 2nd bobbin and then I'll be plying them together. I like this so much and it is turning out so nice (at least as a single) that I'm hoping after plying I'll like equally as much and I'm thinking of making fingerless mitts with it!

I've been also working on a second sock pattern from Cookie A's new book, called Angee - Glynis is finished and gifted to Val. This is an easy-peasy pattern and I'm using Sundara yarn, in the color "Be Home Late" - a light purple with some blue/gray in it! It's turning out wonderful - very stretchy pattern - If I knew what I know now, I'd use US 1's instead of 1.5's... I love it though!

All I have left is 18 rows of the toe to do on sock #2!

It will be back to my Northwest Celtic Jacket upon completion as Val has finished her sleeves - so I need to get caught up to her so we can steek and complete - I haven't even started my sleeves yet so I need to hop to!

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous by the weekend so, I'm sure we'll be outside alot!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lots of knitting and spinning!

I haven't blogged lately - I think about it- get distracted and don't get back to it - but, I'll have several in a row, I'm sure -

An easy one, of course, is all the knitting and spinning to get caught up on!

I don't even remember where to begin. Mom's birthday was March 17th - so I made her:

It's a pin cushion, wood sunflower box - a kit I got at The Fold in Marengo by CiDDesigns - it's cute and uses scrap sock yarn!

Then I also made her this - inspired by Jen (Knitting Like Crazy) - who made one and I thought it was awesome!

I also made Bree this quick scarf (all the kids are wearing what I call the 'indoor' scarves!)

Then, since I hadn't knit her socks lately - I had found this conjoined creations flat feet tye-dyed yarn at Gene Ann's in Barrington just her color way - the pattern is Twisted Tweed - As usual, they are almost knee socks and I felt like they would never get finished (plus I ended up redoing them 3 or 4 times so they would fit)

Then, I started these socks from Cookie A's new book called Glynis - I am using a super wonderful, fantastic, phenomenal yarn from Zen Garden's Harmony Club called "Be Mine" or as I like to refer to it as Chocolate Covered Cherries - It is merino, cashemere and nylon - 450 yards... And I ran out of yarn with 20 rows left on the 2nd sock - how in the heck do I use up 450 yards? I dunno. But, I know Val has some of this and I'm going to beg, bribe and offer up some other yarn to get enough to finish! They're gorgeous!

I've also been taking regular lessons at The Fold on my Ladybug Spinning Wheel - I know have completed a couple of things - I have realized I need to spin thicker! (2 ply sock weight isn't going to do much - as you need 3 ply for socks) - But, the first is corriedale wool in two tone browns (med and light)

And the 2nd is a two color polworth wool - one a rust/burgundy which was a beast to spin with as there was alot of vegetation and 'nubs' in it - and an awesome blue-jean blue that spun like a dream! It's too fine by itself - I will need to double it or run something with it to knit - but, I am, if nothing else, consistent! haha - I also learned NOT to ply at night with dark colors - you cannot see the amount of twist you're plying - and my first skein is uneven - but, ok, I learned. I have a ton of yardage though (4 oz of each color) -

While at The Fold last week, I came home with about 20 different kinds of wools and other fibers at sample amounts to get a feel for spinning other fibers so I know what they're like if I want to purchase in qty! I think I'll make a notebook with my samples and notes about spinning them - I'm looking forward to the BFL, Ingeo (Corn), the blends and all the different breeds of sheep wool!

I think that's the result since my last blog post - but, I'm sure I'm missing something - more to come!