Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Almost Time for Harrisville!

On Sunday I leave to go to Harrisville, New Hampshire for a Spinning, Dyeing and Knitting 5 day workshop with Twisted Sister Lynne Vogel. It is my third time attending the workshop, and I am looking forward to a wonderful class with awesome women learning a lot of fantastic things! It must be a pretty good time because several of us have returned repeatedly. One of the best things about the time away is being pretty much shut off from the real world. We stay in a boarding house owned by Harrisville Designs, which was the women's boarding house when the mill was in operation. There is no TV, no Internet access (I do admit to missing my Internet just a little), and I choose not to read any newspapers while I am there. I also don't call home much, figuring if anything goes wrong, I'll find out about it when I need to.

All this is not mentioning Lynne, who is a lovely, down to earth, extremely knowledgeable person who is very generous with her knowledge of dyeing, spinning, knitting and crocheting. I was nervous the first year because I had never dyed before and, as I may have mentioned before on this blog, preciseness is not my strong suit, but the class was perfect for my learning style. Lots of information, but a lot of latitude in the way each person applied the information. I can't wait until Monday!

I worked today and I work tomorrow and I will be having a house guest for the next 3 days. A childhood friend who is coming home to clean out the house she grew up in. It will be fun to have her here. My lovely son Conor is supposed to be helping me by cleaning the house before her arrival. He is MIA at this point, but I have the utmost confidence that everything will be shiny and clean when I arrive home from work tomorrow.

I am drinking a tumbler of red, red wine as I write this post. It has made me quite tired, so I must go to sleep.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Socks made of Milk

One of the things I did at the Cranberry Lake Craft Fair to keep myself entertained in between the infrequent customers was to spin. I spun some milk fiber and decided to use it to make a pair of socks using a double eyelet pattern. This is the yarn, which was dyed in shades of turquoise, green and yellow.

This is the leg of the first sock. I finished it this evening and have started the second sock. I love the feel of the sock that has been created. Milk fiber is extremely soft, and to me the sock feels like chenille yarn when knit up. I am looking forward to wearing the socks. I think they will be very comfortable.

I also spent a portion of today putting new yarn and fiber in my Etsy shop. I have seen some requests for worsted weight and heavier weight yarns on the Phat Fiber blogs, so thought I would dye up some worsted weight yarn.

Pink Lemonade

Pumpkin Patch

Purple Rain

Hi-Ho Cherrio

And I also added a little bit of fiber.

This is Bluefaced Leicester, Bamboo and Angelina in shades of lavender, pink and natural bamboo.

This batt reminds me of a creamsicle. Bluefaced leicester and Angelina with soft, soft Mulberry Silk in the middle.

There is still more to add, but I have a little re-skeining to do first. My next vending opportunity is at the Wilder Farm in Burke, New York. It is the childhood home of Almonzo Wilder, the husband of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Every year they have a spinning day where many north country spinners gather in one of the barns to spin and talk about spinning. It is always a fun day, and the non-profit group in charge of the Wilder Farm has done a great job of bringing Almonzo's home back to life.

One of my favorite stories is how Almonzo's mother used to have the sheep taken to the river which runs through the property to have them washed before they were sheared. I love to picture that scene in my mind. I wonder how cooperative the sheep were.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cranberry Lake Craft Fair

I'm sorry for my long absence. I was at Cranberry Lake with no internet access vending at a Craft Fair. I met a lot of wonderful people, heard a couple of fun stories about my parents, purchased an awesome rocking chair for $20.00, and had a good time with Judy, but believe that I will never do another craft fair that is not specifically fiber related. There are many other ways those days could have been spent more productively, especially since today was a beautiful day, and it would have been wonderful to sit in the sun looking at the lake, and relax.

I promise to be back soon with a longer post, but need to make my way to bed right now. It was a long three days. I just wanted to let the blog know that you haven't been forgotten.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Busy Hands Make Beautiful Fiber

I've been busy. Check out the new fiber in my Etsy shop and Hyenacart Congo!
Check Spelling
Milk Fiber- "Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright"

Milk Fiber- "Eventide"

Merino Tencel Roving- "Apple Blossom Time"

Merino Tencel Roving- "Sand and Sea"

Superwash Bluefaced Leicester- "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy"

Superwash Bluefaced Leicester- "Forest Glen"

Milk Fiber-"Storm over Algonquin"

Milk Fiber-"Aurora"

Milk Fiber-"Monet's Garden"

Milk Fiber-"Beach Glass"

Saturday, July 18, 2009

News Flash-There's A Yellow Ball in the Sky

Here is a Saturday sky picture-this was taken before the arrival of the big yellow ball in the sky.

I have tried very hard not to fixate on the weather this summer, but I believe I am failing miserably at this. I suppose part of the reason is that since I am doing a Farmer's Market and we don't go when it rains, since fiber, yarn and water do not mix, I am even more impacted by the weather this summer. So it is very exciting this morning to look out the window and see sunshine.

To give an illustration of how infrequently it has been sunny, I was doing dishes a couple of nights ago and couldn't figure out why things seemed so strange. I had a feeling that something was slightly off kilter. Then I realized it was because the sun was shining and the kitchen was actually bright and cheerful. To me, that was an indication of how little sun we have had this summer. Hmmm, or maybe it was an indication of how little time I have spent in the kitchen at suppertime this summer. Nope, I really think it's the lack of sun. I have actually been spending more time in the kitchen. I find the Farmer's Market has been inspiring as far as cooking goes.

An item that has been interesting to people at the Farmer's Market is my thrum mittens. I offer a thrum mitten kit and have a sample knit up with one turned wrong side out. People stopping at the booth have been fascinated by them. One woman thought they were for dusting. Pretty funny. I have decided to make a few pairs to sell as people have been asking for them. I began a pair last night. Seamus helped me with the photography by sitting next to the mitten so it couldn't run away as I was trying to photograph it. Such a helpful boy he is.

One thing the dreaded rain has been good for is my garden. I have a lot of day lilies and the
y love water, so are doing fantastically. I also have black eyed susans that are about five times as tall as they have ever been before and have sort of taken over the garden, but they are very pretty. I had a mutant arrive in the middle of one of the groups of flowers. It looks like an aster in the middle of a group of black eyed susans, very strange.

Can you find the mutant flower?

I have been spinning daily as part of the Tour de Fleece. I am currently spinning some milk fiber that I can't sell because there is too much residual dye in it. I grew tired of rinsing, so decided to keep it for myself and spin it instead. Dyeing milk fiber has been a challenge, but I think I am getting the hang of it. And I am in love with spinning it. It can very easily get away from me, so I have learned that it needs to be taken in very slowly, and then it spins easily. I am not sure if I am going to use the yarn to make a shawl or a pair of socks. Once I have it plied I will have a better idea. Sorry for the blurriness of the photo.

Off to do some dyeing now. I haven't photographed what I dyed last weekend either. It has been a busy week. I will try to get some photos taken tomorrow. Enjoy the sun!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunny and Rainy in Saranac Lake

Today was a very busy day. I started the day rinsing the 4 pounds of fiber and yarn I dyed yesterday, packaged an Etsy order, woke Conor up at least three times and got a very late start on our drive to Saranac Lake to see Travis and Caitlin. I foolishly dressed as if it was the middle of July, but have been around the Adirondacks long enough to know to bring along some warmer clothes and shoes to replace my flip flops. It was nice for the drive, and there was some sunshine, but also a lot of rain and colder temperatures once we got to Saranac.

The last few times I have gone to Saranac, Conor's one desire has been to go for a walk or climb a mountain and Travis has wanted to go to middle Saranac Lake and take Begonia for a swim. Neither wish has been accomplished because it is snowing (on May 30th) or raining, and once again today it rained.

So we had a glass of wine at Travis and Alyssa's apartment, sitting on the front porch and looking at Baker Mountain.

Not a bad view, is it?

It got too chilly and rainy to stay on the porch so we went to the Meet and Eat for dinner. They have wonderful, cooked to order food, but because it is cooked to order, there is a bit of a wait for the food to be served. So we played a game of miniature golf, which is offered free to the patrons of the Meet and Eat who are waiting for their food. The golf course was one of the strangest golf courses I have ever seen. It is set into a hillside above the restaurant, and the holes are sort of carved into the side of the hill. I don't think words can adequately describe the experience, but it sure was a lot of fun-a combination of golf and a walk up a mountain trail.

Each of the holes has a name.

Here's the lake. Notice the moss growing on the artificial grass.

Conor, Alyssa and Travis, having managed to navigate around the lake.

Look! Conor managed to get his ball in the hole. He also spent a lot of time in the weeds looking for the ball that he hit into the woods. The boy doesn't know his own strength.

Here we are back at the apartment. Conor, Begonia and Travis sitting together on the couch. Begonia believes that it belongs to her as well as the humans she lives with.

We needed to leave because I don't like to drive through the mountains in the dark. Deer like to jump in front of cars in the dark. We stopped at Donnelly's to get ice cream. Donnelly's is well known throughout the north country by those who love ice cream. They have one flavor a day and the ice cream is soft serve and made from cream from the Donnelly's cows. Monday is nut day and today's flavor was maple walnut. It was very yummy.

Time to do some spinning. I have spun every day of the Tour de Fleece and I need to keep on schedule. The weather is looking good for the Farmer's Market tomorrow. And we saw a red sky coming home, so that is a good sign for fair weather for tomorrow.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spindies Art Fiber Festival

I am happy to share with you the formation of a Congo on Hyenacart called Spindies Art Fiber Festival. It offers the opportunity to look at and purchase dyed and undyed fiber and handspun yarn from the shops of 13 Indie dyers gathered all together in one place, hence the Fiber Festival in our name. We are also offering fiber club in 3, 6 or 12 months, with each month being dyed by a different dyer, which I think is a truly awesome opportunity to obtain some beautiful fiber.

I feel honored to be involved in this venture with so many talented women! Stop by and take a look. My shop is a bit empty right now, but this is one of my listings. It reminds me of a creamsicle. The cream portion is mulberry silk, and the orange is hand dyed, hand carded BFL. I plan to spend tomorrow dyeing so will have the store better stocked soon.

The sun finally shone and we were able to go to the Canton Farmer's Market yesterday. It was a lovely day to sit in the sunshine and spin, and to sell a few bracelets and some yarn and fiber too! Holly stopped by and joined us for a bit of spinning. It's also wonderful seeing all the vegetables that are being produced here in Northern New York despite the lack of sunshine this year. I bought some yummy new potatoes and broccoli and had them for supper that night.

Today I went and met Jodi and her family in Potsdam at the Summerfest. We had an 80% chance of rain today, but it held off until we were almost done enjoying the craft fair. I was very strong and didn't buy the other 1/2 of the alpaca blanket that Jodi purchased. It was beautiful fiber, but I keep reminding myself of all the fiber that is in my house, and think that I need to sell some of what is here before I purchase more. Poor Jodi had to go home and finish packing as she and her family are moving to Florida and Jodi and her children are leaving tomorrow. I'll miss her, but hope that she'll be able to come to Rhinebeck this fall and we'll see her there.

I spent the rest of the day spinning and watching Harry Potter movies on TV. I am instantly transported to the movie theatre in Atlantic Highlands when I hear the theme music for the movies. I am spinning more of the two pounds of this fiber that I was spinning on Wednesday.

It would be great if I could finish it before the Tour de Fleece is over. It is fun to spin because it has so many pretty, but subtle colors. I am looking forward to plying it and seeing how the two bobbins combine to create some beautiful yarn. If I finish it, I can reward myself with purchasing more fiber from the same vendor when we go to Rhinebeck this fall.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It Was a Busy Fibery Day

In case you were wondering, if you sent positive thoughts for no rain on Tuesday, it didn't work. It was another rainy day which kept us from going to the Farmer's Market. I am quite excited that the forecast for Friday is 81 degrees and sunny.

Wednesday's are for spinning and knitting. It is the day when my spinning group meets, and also the day when we have our knitting group at the library. It's a very fibery day. Today I felt the need to spin some fiber that I didn't have to think about. I tend to like to spin fiber that has a lot of different color blocks, and I like to manipulate the colors to make a yarn that looks tweedy by stripping the roving and tearing it into pieces and piling those pieces together. I think it makes interesting yarn. This is yarn with one ply made from a navy blue BFL roving I dyed and the other ply is some of Lynn Vogel's BFL fiber I purchased from her at Harrisville Designs. I am planning to make some fingerless gloves from this yarn.

This yarn I spun from fiber samples from the Phat Fiber Sample box which I have collected since January.

However, today I didn't feel like thinking that much, so I chose to spin some fiber I bought at Rhinebeck last year. It is three colored, but the roving was dyed and then lightly carded together, and I chose to just spin it , which was just what I needed today.

Next week spinning will be at my house, which means I need to do quite a bit of cleaning this week, including cleaning off the kitchen table, something I probably haven't done since last time I had spinning. It is where I do my drum carding. It's fortunate that I don't have to put everything away every time I card, since we don't use the table much for eating. Having an 18 year old who is seldom home for meals makes that possible. I don't understand why he would rather spend time with his friends than his fun mother, but it seems to be the case.

I am very excited about a new yarn base I am getting. It is merino, silk and cashmere, and I am anticipating just how soft it is going to be. It will make some extremely soft socks, but also would be fabulous for shawls and scarves also. I am thinking it should be arriving soon, and since I'm planning a dyeing day for Saturday, I hope it will be here by then.

The pool water is no longer green, which is a good thing, and the water is clear enough to see the bottom of the pool at the deep end. Conor dove in today for the first time after his run, but quickly got out. He said it was the coldest water he has ever been in, including mountain lakes and the Atlantic Ocean early in the summer. He is campaigning for a new solar cover. I have suggested that when he gets a job, he can put some of his money toward the solar cover he would like.

Work tomorrow, so I'd best go to bed.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Think It's Summer!!!

Today (Sunday) was the first day that it's been warm enough to open more than one or two windows, so I think summer is here. The garden is also looking all filled in, and the pool is starting to look not gross and we can almost see the bottom in the deep end. Life is good!

My black eyed susans are the most immense they have ever been. This particular flower is about three times the size they usually are, and they must be at least three feet tall. I am assuming this is because of the amount of rain we have had this spring and summer.

I have spent the day making little braids of fiber for my samples for the July Phat Fiber box. The theme for this month is Non-Wool, so I dyed milk fiber, bamboo fiber and some mulberry silk. There are six different colorways, so it was a fun group of samples to put together. I didn't do any yarn because I don't have any yarn bases that are no wool. Here are the six colors, all braided.

Here is Gerard helping me. I went upstairs to print some labels and when I came down I found him holding onto this bag of fiber. He chose the mulberry silk to hold onto. He has very good taste in fiber.
And here are the braids in their little star spangled bags, all ready to be shipped to Phat Fiber Headquarters.

I am participating in the Tour de Fleece this year, and I think I must be crazy for even trying to do this. I am supposed to spin every day that the Tour de France is taking place. I still haven't spun tonight, but will spin for at least ten minutes before I go to bed. Yesterday I two-plied 492 yards of yarn that I had spun while Andrea and I were at the Farmer's Market. This is my "Fire on the Mountain" colorway. I'm pretty pleased with it. I'm hoping that spinning every day will get me back to being able to spin a little more evenly.

Send positive thoughts that Tuesday will be a non-rainy day so we will be able to go to the Farmer's Market. It is a pitiful thing that we have only gone two days since the beginning of June.

I'd better get spinning so that I can get to bed. Tomorrow promises to be a busy day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Results of Sunday Dyeing

I have been working on my Susie Cardigan for the KAL I am doing with three friends. What was I thinking? The only cable knitting I have done is a couple of hats and now I am knitting a long cardigan sweater with a cable all the way around. Any other cables I have done are ones where there are 3 rows of straight knitting and one row of cable stitching. Not this one. I must have been crazy. I like the Peace Fleece yarn I am using very much and the stitch definition for the cables is great. I'm sure things will get better as I get used to the pattern. Part of the problem is not having the time to do more than a row or two at a time, so it is difficult to retain what I am doing. It is so irritating to me when life interferes with my knitting.

I had fun dyeing last weekend. Sorry I don't have pictures to show. If it would stop raining I could take pictures. I made a first attempt at dyeing bamboo fiber and my first use of fiber reactive dyes. The colors are very pretty, soft and pastel, but not what I was expecting.

I dyed some silk with bright red and gold colors, and am very happy with the results. I think that will be my July sample for the Phat Fiber No Wool box. I've been pondering what to do for it, and I think this will be a good sample.

I also dyed some Merino, Alpaca and Nylon sock yarn that I am in love with. I think it would not only be wonderful for socks, but also for shawls and scarves. I did a sweater's worth of Merino and Mohair worsted yarn in my Lichen colorway. I think it is beautiful, if I do say so myself. I hope to have pictures soon. I believe I saw a picture of a partial sun in the weather forecast for tomorrow. Yippee!

Happy 4th of July! I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating our nation's birth.