Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Dyeing Day

I'm on my way down to the basement to do some dyeing. I have never dyed with fiber reactive dyes before, so am excited to experiment with that. Wish me luck. I want to dye some of the beautiful bamboo fiber I have. So picture me standing here, grooving to the music on my ipod and dyeing some what I hope will be beautiful fiber.

It is a beautiful day today, and I wish I could spend it outside, but it seems that this is the only day this week that I will have the time to dye.

I think Gerard missed me when I went to camp. He is lying on my lap, on top of my arms as I am typing this, purring very loudly. Silly cat. Not only does he enjoy helping me write blog posts, but he is fascinated by drum carding as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Summer!

Happy Summer, a few days late!

I have been remiss in not writing a fuller report on my Bohus Stickning class at Harrisville Designs. I learned a lot about the history of Bohus Stickning and we saw some beautiful examples of the sweaters that were knit and sold, many to rich American tourists. The class was taught by Susanna Hansson, and if you click on the link to her site there is a much better explanation of the Bohus movement than I could give. There are also some wonderful photos of some of the sweaters, better than the photos I took. I enjoyed knitting the cuff, didn't mind the
000 needles, and loved the yarn. It is wool and angora and very, very soft with pretty colors. the class made me realize that I do not want to knit a sweater, perhaps a scarf and hat kit is in my future.

I did a small etsy update today. "Blue on Blue" on Mulberry Silk Brick, which as I have mentioned before, is one of the softest fibers I have ever felt. I do believe it is even softer than cashmere.

This is "Blue on Blue" on Milk Fiber.

This is a colorway called "Summer Fruits" painted onto Superwash Bluefaced Leicester. This fiber is a dream to spin, absolutely no pre-drafting required, and it spins up into a soft and lofty fiber.

This is "Summertime" on Merino Tencel fiber, which is also wonderful to spin, and the colors really reminded me of summer in the garden.

Tonight is a beautiful night. I think it is the first night this season that I can leave the windows open and not wake up freezing in the morning. It is making me very happy. Now we just have to have the pool people come to open the pool so we can enjoy it on these warm days. It seems that there were holes in the pool cover, and as we were putting water into the pool, it was being pumped out of the cover at the same time. I can't wait to see the water bill next month.

On Monday Conor and I went to Cranberry Lake for the first time this year, and it was beautiful there also. We couldn't stay because there was no water. The pump had a crack in it and had to be replaced. My sister and her family were there for three days with no running water. I think they are very brave. I would have turned around and come home.

Jane reminded me that we didn't have a hot water heater at camp until I was in college, and when I washed dishes by heating water on the stove, and almost burning my finger rinsing dishes, it all came back to me. We also had very large tea kettles in which we heated water when we wanted to take a bath. I was also reminded that one can bathe in about two inches of water when absolutely necessary. We will be going back to spend the night on Friday now that we have both hot and cold running water again. My brother-in-law is very talented when it comes to fixing things, although he did have to call in a plumber at the end. So we will be on our way to Cranberry Lake after the Farmer's Market on Friday.

So think of me Friday night, with my knitting and a nice glass of red wine, sitting on the porch enjoying a view like this.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home Again

I'm home from Harrisville, exhausted and happy to be here. It was a fun class and I spent a lot of time knitting on tiny (000) needles. Here is what I accomplished.

What was accomplished was one wrist warmer, about 16 rows of one pattern and 3 rows of another pattern. The Bohus yarn is some of the softest I have ever felt. It is wool and angora and has a beautiful halo when knit. I also learned a lot about the Bohus Stickning knitting tradition, met some fun and interesting women, did a little bit of shopping and ate some great food.

Here is a close-up of the wrist warmer. It is a small portion of one of the Bohus patterns made with real Bohus yarn from Sweden.

Despite the fact that I consumed massive quantities of caffeine on my way home, I can't seem to keep my eyes open, so I will return with a more extensive report tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Farmer's Market Today, On My Way to Harrisville Tomorrow

I will be leaving tomorrow to go to Harrisville, NH to take a Bohus Stickning knitting class. I am excited and a bit intimidated because it is rather intricate colorwork using tiny needles, but I am up for the challenge.

I am also slightly scared because I am leaving Conor home alone for the duration of my absence. I have been assured that since he turned 18 he has matured tremendously and I need not fear that anything will occur in my absence that would not occur while I am home. I sure hope he is speaking the truth. Any of my friend's who read this and live in the area, please do drive-bys and check for any illicit activities. I miss living in New Jersey where I knew that at least 20 people who lived on our street would have informed me of any inappropriate behavior which happened while I was away.

Today was our first day at the Canton Farmer's Market. I made no sales, but had a very enjoyable time sitting and spinning, chatting and people watching. We also had a mini-concert which was entertaining and unexpected. What a glorious day it was! Sunny with a bit of a breeze.

I am very grateful for the past few days where we have actually experienced warm weather. I guess we'll open the pool after all. I was beginning to have my doubts as to whether it would ever be warm enough to swim. I'm hoping the warming weather is a trend and not an anomaly.

The village green, site of the Canton Farmer's Market.

Here's Andrea happily spinning.

A few skeins of sock yarn waiting to be purchased.

Time to get packing. Or maybe I'll wait until tomorrow morning to pack. No sense rushing these things. There is no Internet access at Harrisville, so I will not be able to post from there, but I promise to take lots of photos and return with a full report.

Friday, June 12, 2009

School's Out for Summer!!!!!!

I am ecstatic! Today was Conor's last day of school for the year. He still has finals and Regents to take, but no more class days. I am so thankful that the school year is over. I did a little happy dance when he arrrived home. Only one more year and he will graduate, and I will be through with public school systems forever. It has been a long 21 years and I am planning a very large party when Conor graduates. (For me, not him, although I guess I'll let him come.)

I finished a project-a pair of sleep socks made from mohair and wool. It seems like it has been forever since I have finished any knitting project.

To celebrate finishing a pair of socks, I cast on a sweater, and a very large one at that. By large I mean it is long and has a hood, so there is a lot of knitting involved. It is the Susie Hoody from Big Girl Knits and I am knitting it in Peace Fleece tweed. Several members of my knitting group are also making one. It's my first KAL that isn't an on-line KAL.

I did a gauge swatch. Since I'm casting on over 300 stitches, I wanted to make sure this would be the right size. I have always contended that gauge swatches lie, and this swatch was no exception. I knit about 18 rows and then realized that I had messed up on the number of stitches in the cabled side panels, so had to rip it out. When I did, I realized that the sweater would be about three times the size it should be, so I will begin again with a smaller sized needle and fewer stitches. At least I had only knit 18 rows, but it does take a while to cast on those 300 stitches.

Tomorrow and Sunday I am going to demonstrate drum carding and spinning at The St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum in Madrid, New York. There are going to be activities to interest all age levels with demonstrations of many old time activities, like sheep shearing, fleece preparation, spinning, knitting, tatting, and quilting. There will also be old time spring planting and plowing, antique machines, cars and trucks, sheep, alpacas, live music and lots of good food.
It should be a good time.

I had hoped to have pictures of what I dyed on Wednesday, but the weather has not been cooperative. I'll try to get some this weekend. I am really pleased with the way the silk that I dyed came out, since it was my first time ever dyeing silk. So, since I don't have photos of yarn or fiber, here are a few flowers that are in my garden.

I must finish getting yarn and fiber labeled for tomorrow, and figure out what fiber I will bring to drum card.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Busy Dyeing Day

It was a busy dyeing day. I dyed my first silk, which was very exciting and not the way I usually dye. It is a wonderful thing that I am able to have a stove to use just for dyeing. I also did some more milk fiber, differently from the last time, so it will be interesting to see how that comes out. I will be rinsing everything tomorrow. I hope the weather is nice so the fiber can dye outside.

Not much else to report. I am wet and tired and on my way to bed. I am sort of a messy dyer, and have a tendency to soak myself in one way or another when I dye. Today I spilled dye on the floor, but fortunately it was a non-toxic dye. Again, I am lucky I have a designated area for dyeing where I can't hurt anything.

Doesn't it look like a wonderful place to spend hours and hours? When we bought this house I thought it was nice there was a sink in the basement, but never could have envisioned how it is being used now. Another affirmation that life is full of interesting surprises.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Phat Fiber Samples On Their Way

I finished my Phat Fiber samples and they are on their way to Phat Fiber headquarters. There were two types of batts, one wool and one alpaca, and a sample of a new sock yarn base. It is merino wool, alpaca and nylon and is very, very soft.

Here are all three samples.

This is the sock yarn. I apologize for the fuzziness of the picture. Maybe some of the softness and fuzziness of the fiber translated to the photo.

The brown batt on the left is alpaca, superwash merino, and angelina and the batt on the right is several different types of wool and angelina.

It was fun creating the batts. I think making batts is one of my favorite things to do. I find that it is a great stress reliever, almost as good as spinning. And a much better upper body workout.

Tomorrow was supposed to be our first day at the farmer's market, but because it is supposed to be a very rainy day we have decided to wait until Friday to start. Rain and fiber don't go well together. I am excited about doing the farmer's market, not only because I hope to sell a lot of fiber, but because I am looking forward to access to wonderful produce this summer. Canton is about 30 miles away, and I would not go there on a regular basis just to go to the market, but will enjoy taking advantage of the bounty of St. Lawrence County farms once I am there. It is a perfect location too-set in a park surrounded by an ice cream stand, a cafe with wonderful food and coffee and a yarn store in case we should ever have an yarn or needle emergency. Can't wait to start.

I'll leave you with a picture of Gerard sleeping next to May's Phat Fiber box, and on top of the tissue paper that was in the box. He is always interested in the box when it comes. That cat knows quality yarn and fiber when he sees it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Conor

I survived Conor's birthday. Now that he is 18 he feels that a curfew is not necessary. I let him think that for one night, so he didn't get home until 3:00 a.m., bringing two friends with him, who needed to spend the night. I have to confess to not being too happy to still be awake when the birds started to sing. I definitely made the right choice in deciding not to go with friends to visit fiber farms in Vermont. I would have had to get up at 5:30. I am pretty sure that would not have been enough sleep.I spent some of my awake hours last night loading yarn and fiber into my etsy shop. I have been making some thrummed mitten kits, and put three of them in the shop, two pretty vibrant in color, and one more subdued.

The black, grey and charcoal grey are all natural colored fiber. The black came from my friend Andrea's sheep.

These kits obviously do not have any natural colored fibers, but I think they will make really fun mittens.

I love the colors of the yarn in this kit. I always think of sherbet when I look at it.

I also added my "Rainbow Connection" colorway dyed on a different sock yarn base. This colorway has turned out to be one of my most popular colorways.

And another colorway of sock yarn, which reminds me of pansies.

I spent yesterday and today getting my phat fiber samples together. I will be sending in hand carded batts of wool and angelina; alpaca, superwash merino and angelina; and a new sock yarn base of wool, alpaca and nylon. The theme for this month is Oceanic. When I showed Conor the yarn and asked him if it reminded him of the ocean he pointed out that all the colors in the yarn are also present in a beach towel that we have had for years. I must have been channeling the towel when I was dyeing the yarn.

I received some exciting news today. My etsy shop has been included in a knitting podcast called Cogknitive. One of my customers took fiber she had purchased from me to her knitting group, one of whose members is Dr. Gemma, who does the podcast. She is a knitting psychologist. It is a podcast that I have listened to in the past. I like it because she usually gives a few life skills along with her knitting and crocheting discussions. Dr. Gemma gave my shop and my fiber and yarn quite a glowing recommendation, and it made me very happy. Last week was kind of a yucky week for a variety of reasons, so this news was quite an uplifting thing for me. I am very appreciative to my customer, whose name on Ravelry is limejuicy. I always think of tequila when I see her name. Juicy limes and shots of tequila, yummm. But I digress.

I am hoping tomorrow will be another dyeing day. I have tons of fiber to dye, including some of the most awesome silk I have ever seen. I have never dyed silk before, so it should be an interesting experience. I wish there was a way for you all to feel this silk. It is the smoothest, softest thing I have ever felt.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Migraine Megrims

I had a post all planned to write tonight, about the interminable Girasole Stole that I am slogging through , but a migraine has reared it's ugly head and I can barely open my eyes, so I am apologizing for not being able to write the post. I feel I have been sadly neglecting the blog lately and really am trying to get back to writing more regularly.

Here is where I wish I was-Camp Fi-Be-Gar, sitting on the porch looking out at the lake and listening to the loons calling. (This photo was taken from the shore of the lake.) Wouldn't you love to spend some time on that porch spinning and knitting?

This is an unusual photo of Seamus and Gerard actually sleeping together. They spend a lot of time wrestling, but not a lot of time near each other in rest.

And this is a picture of one of the cat's at work whose name is Priscilla. She has her head firmly placed in the time sheet holder, and slept like that for hours. Cats are very interesting creatures.

That's it for me. Time for some Tomato Macaroni Soup and Advil and back to bed to sleep away this migraine.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Snow, Snow, Snow

I had intended to go to St. Johnsbury, Vermont for my nephew Ethan's high school graduation this weekend, but Conor is still sick, and we were not able to go. I took him to the doctor again, and now he has an upper respitory infection, and because my sister is undergoing chemo, and has a compromised immune system, we couldn't go.

So instead I went to Saranac Lake this weekend to help Caitlin finalize her move into a new apartment.. A miracle occurred and Travis had Sunday off as well, so he and Begonia helped also. The plan was to move the last few items to her new apartment and then go for a swim. Believe me, I had no intention of going swimming, since the temperature was 59 degrees but Travis wanted to take Begonia since, for once, the sun was shining.

When leaving the new apartment to go and get Caitlin's cat Sterling Sylvia, we looked out the window and saw that it was hailing, and then were aghast to watch the hail change to snow. SNOWING-on May 31st, but that's life in the Adirondack Mountains. The temperature plummeted from 59 to 34 in about a half hour. The lakes were steaming because the water temperature was so much warmer than the air temperature. And I must say that my toes were a little cold in my sandals.

This is Sterling Sylvia hiding from her new roommates, a chocolate Labrador, and a tortoise shell cat. It seems she doesn't realize her size in relation to the thing she is hiding behind. Notice the intense "keep that other cat far, far away" stare.

Here I am helping Caitlin set up her room. My job was to keep the mountain of dirty clothes that is behind me from spilling onto the floor. I feel I did a stellar job of maintaining the mountain until she was able to put it into the washing machine.

Here is photographic evidence of this craziness. See those big white dots? Those are huge snowflakes.

This is a patch of snow on the side of the road. The fields were also covered with snow.

Wacky, wacky weather.

This weekend I also was able to pick up some fiber I had ordered, superwash BFL and merino tencel, and also the dyes I need to dye my bamboo and tencel fiber. I am very excited. Now I just have to stay home long enough to get some dyeing done. I'm hoping to do that this weekend, while trying to deal with the fact that my baby boy turns 18 on Saturday. Where did all those years go?

I am also working at putting some new thrum mitten kits together, and finishing my Phat Fiber Samples for June. I'm feeling really behind on the sample front, but life keeps getting in the way of getting the samples together.

Tomorrow is for spinning. I was considering not going to the group so I could get some of the many things on my to do list done, but it seems the only time I am spinning anymore is on when I go to the group, so it seems that I should go.