Monday, January 18, 2010


So far this year has been pretty busy. Although I have to admit last month was kind of busy too…and the whole year. I haven’t posted anything in months. I really thought that I would be able to keep up with a blog a lot easier than this. Well since October I had been working on X-Mas presents. By the beginning of December I had made a little over 30 mini-sweaters. It was an idea I got from a friend the year before. They weren’t hard to make and required no sewing of pieces, which is what I love about making sweaters like this. I hate sewing pieces together. Neck down patterns are awesome.

I also had been working on birthday presents. There is this neat pattern that is for a hat and neck warmer. It can be worn 3 different ways. I received it as a X-Mas present from a friend of mine and decided to try out the pattern on my own. I’ve made 2 so far and am currently working on my 3rd. It’s a really easy pattern. 1-1.5” rib, 7.5-8” St st, eyelet row, 2” St st, BO.

I then started a project that a local knitter at the shop and I have been talking about for a few months. It’s a project that my Ravelry friend, Elemmaciltur, has knitted and posted on his page. It’s such a gorgeous pattern. I just never thought that I’d be working on a doily pattern. The Hemlock Ring goes really far back and I think it’s even an old Irish pattern. I thought that I would go around the shop to find the best worsted yarn for the project, but recently I went through my stash and organized it all. A few years ago I had bought a few skeins of yarn in Fort Collins at Lambspun. So it wasn’t until then that I remember that I already had a few skeins of worsted yarn for my project. It wasn’t the color that I wanted for this project exactly or was looking for at the shop, but it works. I did like the color when I bought the yarn and can definitely live with the color.

So the original pattern is for a table doily and my friend is making a shawl. Since I have about 900 yards of this Burgundy 70% wool/ 30% silk, I figure that I can make a throw for myself. I just bought a new bed set and I think it’ll look nice on my bed. I started my project a few days before X-Mas. It’s my first flat circular project and my first time starting from the center out. I started with a size 10 needle but decided that since it was going to be a throw, that it was too loose. So I decided to change to an 8 and it looks much better. During X-Mas break, I worked on it a lot. I wanted to get as much as I could while I could. There were a few rows that had I known how many stitches were part of a repeat, I would’ve counted instead of frogging back. Once I got to the chart, things were all good though. About a month later it’s about 2 ft in diameter. I’ve almost gone through 1 skein of 318 yds. I just increased to 408 stitches. I can’t wait til it’s done, but with every increase row, it takes more yarn and time to make one round. It’ll be gone before I know it though.
Last weekend was Distaff/Rock Day. It’s the first day after the 12 days of X-Mas, that everyone gets back to work. Last year I filled in for Rosemary, but this time I went for me. I just wish that I hadn’t stayed up late the nite before to finish a project on the wheel. Because of it, I was about 2 hrs late. It’s a good thing though. I was able to finish my Cranberry Merino that I’ve been working on for about 1.5 years. I still have a full plyed bobbin that I need to put into a skein, but when doing so my bobbin decided to fall apart. So not it's all tangled! :-/ I still have about a third of a bobbin full of a very thin single. I’ll have to find something to ply it with.

I did get some spinning done though. I worked on some variegated Alpaca that I got at the Taos Wool Festival in 08’. Sharron had worked her’s up the last time I saw her at Knit Nite, and so I decided to get mine done so that I could make a hat for my niece. I actually just finished spinning it the night before, Andean plied it yesterday morning.

I’m not sure what else to work on now. I want to do some more spinning, but out of my stash I’m not sure which fun fiber to work on now. I did get more fiber to add to my stash. (Like I need more.) I went to Fort Collins to see what Lambspun had up there since I had been up there more than a year ago. I got a handspun skein of mint baby llama that has a hint of silver metallic, a bamboo/wool blend, silk, and lavender mohair locks. While at Rock Day, I wasn’t able to stay away from the goodies. I got about 2 oz of Alpaca from Allie’s Eyedazzler and about 5 oz of a merino/angora blend. I really didn’t “need” all of it, but it was nice. The Alpaca I think I want to put together with the bamboo and silk I got from Lambspun. Although I think I need to borrow a drum carder from Allie or someone. I think the combination of the orange, pinks, and purples would be awesome!

Taos Wool Festival 2009

Even though it’s January of 2010, I felt like I still needed to write about my Taos experience from last October. Last year I drove by myself, but went through Cimarron, NM. It was a gorgeous drive, but took the longest because of the winding roads. This year I took the more direct route through Fort Garland and San Luis. It was a clear, but cold morning going up. It had been a year since I had been through the area, but it was nice to see the scenery.

Even though the gang wouldn’t be there until Sunday, I had to be there early Saturday morning to drop off my skeins. I decided that this year would be the first to have my spinning judged. I had 2 huge skeins that were definitely much bigger and heavier than the minimum requirements, but I wasn’t about to cut my skeins. I wasn’t really going to win ribbons. I had heard that they judging here would really let me know what I’m doing that’s good and things I could be doing to make my spinning better. While there, I ran into Sharron, Peggy, Allie. Both Sharron and Peggy were there filling out their many cards for judging. They had a lot! Sharron had some for different categories for using the wheel, one or two for drop spindle, and maybe one for novelty. Most of Peggy’s was novelty yarn. She’s soooo good at her boucle and such. Both women of course would be entering as an expert. I would be entering as a novice, since this was my first entry into a competition. You are allowed to step up into the expert category by placing in any of your entries.

I thought that I wasn’t going to go through the booths until the rest of the gang got there, but I couldn’t resist. Both Sharron and Peggy were there with their husbands. Sharron’s husband had to work on some things while there. Peggy and her husband, Jeff, had volunteered to work around the festival. So Sharron and I decided to make our rounds. There were booths that I recognized and those that I didn’t. It was fun. We got to see a guy spinning! I mean I have seen a guy spinning before at Rock/Distaff day in Jan ’09. What was different about this guy was that he was a cowboy. He had the jean, boots, and cowboy hat. It was awesome! We were also able to see Peggy doing a spinning demo. It’s always nice to see her doing something I hadn’t seen before. She was using a string as a core yarn and then using fluff and another string to ply it all at once. It came out so nice and airy!
Since I had been the year before I had more of an idea of what I wanted to get. I had seen a shawl that I absolutely loved, so I wanted to get the pattern and yarn to make it. I had also learned how to work with mohair locks, so that was something that I wanted to get. Since Peggy was the expert of using mohair, I had asked her where the best locks were. She told me that I would have to spend some money, but they would be good quality.

We also were able to see sheep get sheered. The guy who did it was pretty fast! I think he had one done in less than 5 min.
When I first started I didn’t think that I would be the type to buy a full fleece. I really don’t know what makes a good fleece well…good. I don’t know enough about the different breeds of sheep or goats and the type of staples that are produced by each. I don’t really know what to look for, but after seeing Peggy with bags of Wensleydale and Teeswater fleece, I wanted to find some for me! When Sharron and I did find full fleeces I was shocked by the price. I knew that a full fleece would be expensive. Then you have to take in mind that you loose some of the weight due to lanoline and VM. I’m so used to buying prepared roving, but didn’t really think I was ready to buy fiber that required me to wash and prepare the fiber. There was a fleece that was so pretty. The curls were so nice to see and feel. I wanted it sooooo bad, but couldn’t afford the entire bag. I did find a smaller bag of Teeswater. I was happy to find out that all I would need to do with this was wash it. I could spin it as is. I didn’t need to card it out unless I wanted to. I have asked Peggy whether or not she would help me dye it and she’s agreed! It’ll be so much fun to finally take another step forward in my spinning.

We were told that the judging of the spinning was supposed to be done by 5pm, so Sharron and I sat around talking to other spinners while we waited. During this time we both decided that we needed to bring our wheels for next time. We saw that they had gone through the drop spindle and novelty categories. We also saw Allie holding up skeins of Sharron’s when they had received a ribbon. Before we had gotten there, Sharron had received a ribbon on an original knitting pattern for a hat. By the time I saw her receive another ribbon, her first spinning ribbon, my whole idea of not needing a ribbon changed. I wanted a ribbon! I got myself so worked up so much that a migraine started. I can’t remember what time it was when all was finally judged. I think it was close to 6pm.

When Allie did hold up my wool skein, I turned to Sharron and hit her in the arm with a huge smile on my face! I think I took her by surprise. When my alpaca was held up, she leaned to the side knowing I was going to hit her again. Haha When we were finally allowed to go in to look at the wall of skeins I started texting everyone I knew that would appreciate or understood why this was so important. I informed Rosemary that one of her drop spindle skeins got runner-up for best of show. I was also able to look at the other winning skeins. The person who got best of show, I thought, shouldn’t have received it. It had guard hairs in it (which I guess were purposely left in). The plying I think could be a little tighter. Rosemary’s spinning is just awesome! I really wish I was able to drop spindle like her!

In the novice wool category I got 3rd place. I didn’t quiet pay attention to the skein that won 1st, but I did look at the 2nd place skein. I understand that my skein was not completely consistent and it was 2-ply, but I really didn’t think that the 2nd place skein was 2nd place quality. Yes, it was a 3-ply but there were so many more inconsistencies in the spinning. There were a lot of very thin spots and thick spots. Maybe it’s just me.

The second ribbon I got was for my alpaca. I got first place! Allie told me that I was the only entry in the novice category for alpaca. She also told me that if the judge didn’t think it was worth a blue ribbon, I wouldn’t have gotten it. I could believe it! First place! It was so awesome to see that! Allie was so happy with how we had done. I told her that it wasn’t really us, it was her fiber. She tried to argue with me, but I told her that her fiber is a dream to work it. It pretty much tells you what it wants to become…how it wants to be spun. So if there is anyone who wants to work with great alpaca, Allie Neas from Eyedazzler’s is the best person to talk to!

On Sunday I made my way to the festival again. I decided to start my X-Mas projects of mini-sweater ornaments while I waited for the gang to show up. I got to sit around and talk to other knitters and spinners. Most of them were followers from Ravelry. Around lunch time, I was finally able to meet up with the gang: Emily, Joyce, Karen, Winnie, Sue, and Sandy. (Not shown, Sandy and Karen.)

There were some booths that I didn’t go into the day before on purpose. I wanted to wait until I was sure what I wanted from that booth and whether or not I had the money. I was able to get the pattern and yarn for the shawl that I saw from the year before. I couldn’t find the same color waves from the one I saw last year, but I got some that I thought would look good together.
Overall the trip was great! I think it was a beginning to another chapter in my spinning. Not only will I just spin, but I will learn from my spinning and new spinning techniques. I just wish that I remembered which direction I was going in. When I’m in Denver, I’m so used to driving down I-25 going south. For some reason I decided that when I was in Walsenburg that I wanted to go south. Well about 15-20 minutes later, I noticed that I was heading to Aguilar! So I had to turn around and wasted about 30-40 minutes. It was funny afterwards, just not at the moment.
Well onto the many spinning projects til October 2010!