Monday, October 27, 2008

Saff continued

The Loot

625 yards of laceweight

4 oz of Blue Faced Liecester

2 oz of llama

Superwash merino and 30% alpaca-total of 6 oz!

4 oz of Wensleydale roving

4 oz each of superwash merino

Small trash bag full of unwashed alpaca-natural colored

3.5 oz of alpaca batt

I did very well, budgeting myself to get a lot of fiber for my dollar.  

We had a great time!  Friday was rainy, but we got there so late we only spent about an hour in the sales arena with Susannah and looking around.  Mom picked up a new drop spindle and some alpaca and spent the evening spinning.  I worked on my handspun scarf I am making for my MIL.  It's purty.  Pictures later.

Saturday we woke up really early and rushed over.  We waited patiently for Target to open so we could get some Starbucks.  Then we rushed over and realized we were early.  I thought the other vendors might not be happy with us wandering around before they got there, so we waited in the car until 8:40.  Then we saw most of them were getting ready so we headed over to Susannah's booth.  We started unpacking for her and then helped her get set up when she arrived.

Then it was on.  It was mostly a blur, but somewhere in there I acquired all the fiber pictured above and my new spinning wheel!  Its an Ashford Kiwi, and I love it!  We got an amazing deal (b/c we bought two) and I love the style.  I've been wanting an upright wheel and this one has a little more contemporary look that I love from Louet and Lendrums without the price.  I'm so happy!  I've been spinning on it the last two days. 

Sunday I spun up 3 oz of the superwash merino/alpaca in brown and last night 1 oz of llama.

On another note, I've been reading Three Cups of Tea.  It is the amazing true story of a man who is trying to help educate the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan in an attempt to stomp out hatred.  We all know that there are few options for people in those countries, and ignorance leads to hatred of other groups.  (just look at the Germans post WWI)  He builds schools (55 now) in those two countries in the most remote regions, the ones that have historically been the most susceptible to influence by fundamentalist Saudi muslims who promote hatred of America.  There he has educated thousands of children and have given them a chance at a productive life without attending the madrassas that the Saudi fundamentalist Muslims build.

Its an amazing story; full of his real life adventures (and misadventures) but overall, a great read.  Everyone should check it out!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crisp Fall Air

Last night, for the first time this fall, I was cold when we walked Max.  There had been a few times when we were chilled when we left the house, but walking warmed us up.  Last night, even with my fleece jacket, I was still cold.  I'm so excited.  I love fall.  I wish we had a longer fall season.   I know that winters aren't very cold here, but it seems like the leaves change while its still hot out, so that when it finally is cold, its gray and drab outside.  We don't get much time to enjoy the cool air and beautiful colors.

Its perfect sweater/mittens/scarf/hat weather, which is ideal for a knitter.  Today I wore a knit sweater to work, although I didn't make it.  Its my Eddie Bauer cabled cowl (?) neck sweater.  Its in a nice tan and even though its a cotton and synthetic blend, I still  love it!

I'm not totally a yarn snob.  I use acrylic for my donations, especially baby knits, and even for baby gifts.  I just can't see a baby in a cashmere blend sweater.  I don't even have a baby and I know that's impractical.  I am so excited because Wal-Mart (I know I know) is selling Simply Soft Eco.  Simply Soft is the best acrylic, in my opinion, because it is very soft and has great colors.  But Simply Soft Eco is made from recycled plastic bottles!  This is awesome.  The package says 100% from recycled plastic bottles.  I am excited because if you've read The World Without Us you know that plastic is the bane of the earth and is going to overwhelm us one day with all of our trash.  Recycling it is great, but there aren't a ton of uses for recycled plastic.  Now us knitters / crocheters have away to give back!

Speaking of babies.... they're everywhere.  Two weekends ago we went to a baby's baptism reception where the guest of honor was adorable in a long christening gown.  Her mother asked me to change her into her real clothes (ok, I volunteered), and I learned why baby clothes area always snap or button up.  This poor baby was swaddled in two layers of cotton with only a neck hole and a small slit with a couple of buttons.  It took DH and I at least five minutes to get it off.  She kept squirming and I was afraid I'd rip an arm off if I pulled too hard.  Luckily, no limbs were rended and I deposited her in her mother's arms with her cute little jean outfit in about five minutes.

This morning, while walking the Blue Mutt, I came upon another baby.  He wasn't alone though, his mother was holding him and their new puppy Seargent, a Welsh Corgi.  Seargent really wanted to play with the Blue Mutt, and they are about the same size, so we let them scrabble for a few minutes.  But they kept getting tangled and I had to go to work, so I said goodbye.  But she seemed very nice, and I liked her baby and dog too.

This past weekend, DH and I spent running around.  Saturday, the animal rights group I am co-president of had a bake sale.  I had come up with the idea so I was sort of the mastermind.  I also baked (with much help) 6 batches of cookies (18 dozen cookies).  We didn't have too many cookies left and made a few hundred bucks.  I'm so excited to give this money to the charities we chose, which are the Athens Area Humane Society and the Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter.

Knitting wise, I've mostly been doing some Preemie hats for charity.  I usually send them to Stitches from the Heart in California, but next month, Main Street Yarns and Fibers is collecting them for a local charity.  They're doing a night where you can come and knit them and get food and possibly win something, I think.  But I figured I could just drop by all the ones I've done and save on postage (with my budget being what it is).  

Stitches from the Heart does send them across the country, but I like the idea of helping out local charities as well.

My stitch markers are coming along!  I think I'm going to have close to 100 for SAFF this weekend.  Sunday DH and I came up with something to hold them, using all of our carpentry skills.  I think it's perfect and will allow them to be seen well and accessed easily, without being a mess of little baggies.  All that's left is to finish the last few I can make with the supplies I have, make the tags and put them on the stand.

I'm so excited about SAFF that I can hardly stand to get through this week.  But I do love my schedule this semester with only four days of classwork!

I don't think I ever put pictures of my dying experiments on here, so here are some:

The first is Osage Orange from my friend Susannah's yard.  This is bark shavings, I believe.  With an alum mordant, it gives a beautiful buttery yellow, much less garish than the Marigolds. 

The second is black walnuts.  I let them steep, in the green/black hulls for a few days, and then dunked the pre-soaked fiber in with no mordant.  I've done it twice now, and both times I get this light taupe color.  Its an ok color I guess, but I was hoping for a darker brown.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Never Underestimate a Cat

I'm giggling as I write this.  Shadow, the boy cat, has Max, the dog, trapped in the office.  How does a cat have a dog trapped in an office, you ask?  By sitting in the way.

This is the third time tonight this has happened.  I didn't realize what was going on until I heard a weird growl/yip in the office.  I poked my head in, and apparently that gave Max the courage to jump over him.  The cats don't even have front claws (Ouchie, I know, they were like that when we got them!) and he's terrified of them.  Terrified, yet loves to taunt them, like an avid horror movie fan.  

I'm wavering on my Warm Woolies commitment.  Before I started this blog, I said I was going to complete 25 projects for them, and submit them for the Lion's Brand competition.  (25 items by November 30th gets $75 worth of Lions Brand products donated by Lion's Brand)

I initially said I was, then I said I wasn't, and I think I'm going to after all.  I think I have about 12 done.  Wow, now that I wrote that, I'm not sure I can do it!  But then I did knit a vest in the last two days, plus did several repeats on my Monkey sock.

This was my sister-in-law's birthday gift, My So-Called Scarf.

Yesterday I followed the recipe on Smitten Kitchen for Challah Bread.

I don't know how to pronounce the word but the bread is amazing!  I can't wait to try more of her recipes.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reality TV

I used to think that I hated reality tv.  And I do hate some of it.  I hate when they over-dramatize a situation, like on Survivor.  But I really do like the trashy reality tv.  Like I Love New York or Charm School on Vh1.   Those shows are like watching a train wreck.  You can't tear your eyes away but they're more and more trashy in every episode.

That being said, DH and I are thoroughly enjoying our cable and especially TruTV (formerly CourtTV).  I don't remember Court TV being this good though.  They show COPS, Speeders and Bait Car.  There's also some show about really horrible things, like train wrecks and car crashes, that are caught on film.  I don't like that one as much, but DH enjoys it.

Right now Bait Car is on in the background.  Its an interesting idea: police plant a car in a crime plagued area and the police monitor it to see how many times it gets stolen.  There is a hidden camera in it to record their faces and what they say.  I'm no expert in Criminal Law, but this seems a bit like entrapment to me.  I guess its probably a close call, or it wouldn't be on television.  The best part though is when they shut the car down while the thief is driving so they can't get away.

Rant about Reality TV aside, another reality television show is on tonight, the VicePresidential Debate.  I did watch the Presidential debate last week at a friend's house (Lotus Yarns).  But tonight I'm not in the mood to watch the ... discourse.  Palin's accent is too funny and I have trouble concentrating on what she says after seeing Tina Fey's portrayal on SNL.

I did however see something I LOVE on the Yarn Harlot's blog.   She knit Hey Teach and I think I'm going to have to do that next. Its in cotton, which is good, both because we live in Georgia where it never really gets that cold, and because I know some reasonably priced sources for nice cotton.

Knitting wise... 

The dog chewed the ends off of the needles I was using for my sister-in-law's scarf for her birthday.  Luckily I have more and he didn't get too much yarn.  One more skein and I'll be done!

This is clearly from earlier in the week, since its only about a foot and a half long!

I acquired some yarn from Lotus Yarns directly from the source.  I laughed when I realized that what I thought were spices in her kitchen were actually her dyes!   This is Speakeasy.  Its so soft and I can't wait to knit a pair of socks! 

I'm completing a pair of Monkey Socks with Trekking.  I love the subtle variegations of the colorway, dark purples and mauves.  Is mauve a term people use anymore?  It seems to me like a very '80's color, like in the way that people would wear big mauve and grey blocks of color on an oversized sweater.  The '80s were all a blur of vibrant colors, oversized clothes and big hair.  I don't really remember much about fashion except that my mom wore a lot of oversized sweatshirts with puffy paint designs on them.  She was so skinny that she was probably really in style, but looking back.... I just hope we don't look back at today's fashion like that.

For a friend's new beautiful baby Genevieve, I made these beautiful bibs from Mason-Dixon Knitting with some Lion's Brand Organic Cotton yarn.  They have such an amazing effect but are literally just squares done in garter stitch. 

And finally, I sent off my dear friend V's birthday present today.  Her birthday is actually Sunday, but I think she'll get it on Saturday.  She sent me some awesome gifts that I'll be using to make some more socks!  I'm a little sock crazy!  These are Fetching in some blue color of Malabrigo.  I love them!