I can’t even believe how the contest entries have poured in during the week! I’ll admit that my main goal in having a contest was to spice up the activity level of my poor little blog and it sure did work. (Now, of course, the challenge will be in maintaining…) Anyway, since the contest had so much more participation (I had almost 60 entries and I typically only get 2 to 8 comments per post) than I had anticipated (mostly due to being noticed by the blog called WiKnit), I felt a bit torn. I would be so happy to send a prize off to a regular reader and commenter, but wouldn’t it be nice to send a prize off to a someone new to me? What to do? What to do? OK, really not so hard to figure out — I’m sending out 2 prizes — a silver and a gold.
Agent K and I printed out all the entries and separated them into 2 piles. One for people who have been to my blog and commented before (many whom I know in real life too!) and one for newbie visitors. Then we drew 2 winners.
The GOLD prize goes to Nicole from Bookwrym Knits! Nicole has been reading my blog for a very long time and she comments on almost every entry that I write so this is a well earned prize (I know, oh-the-torture of having to read about all the strange insects in my yard!). Thank you so much Nicole! Coincidentally, you will see, if you go to her blog, that I recently won her contest. Seriously and really — just a coincidence! You will also see that she just partook in a read-a-thon. I should have done that today to get through the book I need to read for book group tomorrow night. It is a great book and I want to read it, only it is not a book that can be rushed.
The SILVER prize goes to Terri D. from Off Jumps Jack! Yesterday was Terri’s birthday too. What a great time to win a contest! After perusing Terri’s blog and her Ravelry page, I found out a few interesting things about her. She is an Obama supporter, like myself. (Ok, well, she is probably a little more vocal about it than I am, but I working up to it…) We have both made the following items: baby surprise jacket, coronet, multidirectional scarf, and a booga bag. She lives in the the city and has 3 children. She likes all kinds of colors (which will make choosing a yarn to send to her very easy!).
OK winners, I will be contacting you to get your mailing information and any additional preferences and/or allergies. Thank you to everyone else for entering. And to all my “newbies,” welcome and I hope you will “stay” for a while!
The class was fantastic! I learned so much. The workshop portion of “Rhinebeck” started on Thursday and I drove out to take Spinning for Socks with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin. If you have been reading for a while, you know I’m a bit of a stalker when it comes to famous fiber artists and Judith was extremely “stalk-worthy.” There were a couple little glitches in the morning – I parked a bit far away from the class building and I was running late. I rushed to the class only to find that I need not have worried as the workshop was also starting late. The classes were held in a large building with the “rooms” divided by curtains so it was also a bit difficult to hear at times. Judith was recovering from a cold so I really had to concentrate to hear. The other thing I forgot was a notebook and so I found myself writing all that I could on little scraps of paper. Other than those few things, I thoroughly enjoyed my day.
She started by teaching us the attributes of a good sock yarn. She talked about top versus roving. This part was especially interesting to me as I’m never quite sure how to label things in my Etsy shop. I buy some fibers as roving and some as top. Most people search for handpainted fiber on Etsy by using the word “roving” so I always want to include that. What she taught was that once top, which has all its fibers aligned parallel and straight and is steamed and pressed, is hand dyed and washed, it is no longer top. It would have to be recombed to realign all the fibers to be labeled again as top. This was when I made a big “note to self” to only use the word roving in my listings for now on. It is a relief that I don’t have to worry about that technicality anymore.
As you can imagine, one of the attributes of a good sock yarn is strength. We talked about worsted spinning versus woolen spinning and discovered that worsted spinning would be a good choice for socks. Thus, much of the class was dedicated to learning worsted spinning techniques and I learned to spin in a way I had never tried before.
As we tried some different fibers, she went around the room helping all the students. There were 10 of us in all, though I have to admit that I only learned the name of my neighbor to the left (Cindy) and didn’t really get a chance to mingle much throughout the day. I discovered that I need to work on which hand I hold my fiber supply. Even though I’m right handed, I spin with my left hand and hold my fiber with my right hand. I’m not sure why this is, I did try both ways on Thursday to see if the switch would be easy, but my hands cramped. The question I have is if my hands cramped because they are not used to spinning that way or if the reason I spin with my left hand is to avoid the hand cramping and give them break from their usual roles.
We were all allowed to take enough merino top to make a pair of socks using a spinning technique called marling (not sure about the spelling on that). This is when you spin multiple colors into your sock yarn by holding 2 or 3 different color tops in one hand while spinning across the tops of each (yes, the tops of the tops) and then switching out the colors so you have 4 or more colors all together. It is not easy, but the effects are pretty. Here is a photo of a sample of my yarn (3 ply) and my fibers that I took at home the next day (the lighting in the workshop classroom was not very good for my camera).
We also spent a lot of time talking about plying. Multiple plies are good for socks and we got to learn some new plying techniques to add to our “bags.” I would highly recommend to any spinner to take as many classes as you can because there are some highly knowledgeable teachers out there and they have so much to give. You can never have too many spinning tricks in your bag and you never know what you are going to need to know for any given fiber, project, or situation. So take that class you have always wanted to take — it will be worth it!
So now, I’m off to go tell my Gold and Silver finalists the good news and visit some of your blogs! Thank you again for sharing your love of October with me. It is a great month!
I can’t believe that it has almost been an entire week since my last post. I really meant to write every day! I actually compose blog posts entrys throughout my day. Most of them sort of sound like this “Knit blogger gets stuck in traffic…” or “Knit blogger pays $6.50 a pound for American cheese…” It is probably good that most of these in-my-head-posts do not make it on my actual blog.
Today, as you can probably tell from the post title, we went blueberrry picking. We brought Grandma and Grandpa too. Agents J and B combined picked 5 pints, I picked 5 pints, and Grandma and Grandpa combined picked 20 pints. They were raised picking berries so it is hard to get them to stop, But at $2.00 a pint there has to be at some point, some stopping. When I say that they were raised picking berries, it is really no exaggeration either. For example, the children in my dad’s family would be sent out to the blueberry fields to pick a certain amount (probably at least over 50 quarts) and not allowed to return until they had done so. And back in those days the berries were tiny, not the huge ones that we have now. Today, I was “reprimanded” several times for not picking more than I did. Grandpa grumbled to me in his low gruff voice, “What are you doing taking pictures, don’t you know you are here to pick berries!” I better include (with much love and fondness) his photo for you to get the full effect.
Now, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that it was just about a year ago that my mom was diagnosed with lymphoma. Well, she just had a whole round of testing and a new checkup and is officially in remission. AND, her hair is back and it just as full and healthy as ever! She doesn’t really do photos, so I just have her back and all her hair is under her hat. She would really like me to wear a hat too, as she reminds me all the time, but I’m not really a hat person.
As for other things going on – I think I will do a list update…
Knitting – Still working on Spring Forward socks. I hope there is still time left in the Summer of Socks to enter.
Spinning – I’m working on plying some roving from The Painted Sheep. It is bfl and it is just lovely!
Blogging – My 2 year blogiversary sort of just passed without much fanfare. I never got my act together to have a contest or anything, but I do have a new blog upgrade and this nice new theme!
Etsy – I’ve been dyeing every little chance that I get. I’m working really hard on learning the business part to this and I’m currently working on making spreadsheets and paying taxes. I also just had an Etsy-anniversay with my first sale being July 14, 2007. Today I hit 364 sales. I’m not really sure what I expected when I started, but I think 364 is pretty respectable. Etsy is a pretty good venue for me as it is flexible and fits with my crazy life with kids. Although I have flirted with starting my own website, I think for now, I am going to stick to Etsy and see what happens as the girls grow older.
Girls – Agent K is doing field hockey camp this week. She is going to play on the high school team in the fall and can you believe this? They practice everyday from 3 to 6. That means that she will leave the house in the morning at 7 and get home after 6. Long days – she better start eating and sleeping more right now! Agents B and J are just hanging out this week working on making videos to show to the LLamaFarmAuntAndUncle when we visit this weekend.
IHA – He hurt his back this weekend doing some *heavy lifting*. Hopefully some PT will get him feeling better before our long drive to Michigan in the middle of August.
Work – I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately since it was last July that I stopped working at the yarn shop and started working at the library. Though I miss some of the customers and my coworkers from the yarn shop, I do very much like working at the library better. No one complains about the prices, people are more respectful, and it is child friendly. It doesn’t have yarn, but it has books and I can take them home with me and not lose half of my paycheck in doing so.
Well, that is is for now as I have some more paperwork to do before going off to work tonight (where I will do paperwork). Have a great day and thanks for reading!
I did it! It took almost 3 hours and I have to give many thanks to David Cumps. I have to say that in the spring I had attempted to take a php class and I just didn’t really get it. I think if they could have related the class more to my blog and less to making a recipe website (cooking – bleh!), maybe I would have been more interested. But tonight, I am so proud because I worked it out. It took me forever to find phpMyAdmin and the table to edit and then I had to find my back up file and unzip it. I also have 33 categories so just typing in all the data fields was rather time consuming. I had to add the category names and slugs in the wp_terms table also because when I went to my wp-admin, it would not let me edit my categories, so that involved a little more trial and error. I do believe they are all working now so please feel free to have a walk down memory lane. I was just looking at some older posts and I can’t believe how much Agent K has changed just in the last year and a half.
Thank you for being so patient with my blog upgrade and theme change. I still have some behind-the-scenes stuff to update, but I think I’m done with the major changes for now. Perhaps on to some fiber content soon? I hope!
Does anyone want to guess how many photos of tree tops I have taken in the last month for my new blog header? Probably about 124. It is not easy getting the right one and then I had some uploading issues after I had the headers all made. They would appear like they were ftping but not really actually transferring any data. IHA showed me how to upload in my control panel so now I’m good to go. Here are a couple others that I made before I found the best trees tops you now see in my header. I actually had this first one up for a few days, but it didn’t have any treetops at all, its only redeeming quality was that it ftp’d correctly.
Early in the season we noticed (we being me and Sarah and LFG) that the foliage was very red. Sometimes the overall coloration was more “fall” than “spring.” I remember taking photos last year to dye springtime colored yarn and I don’t remember that much red – maybe orange, but not so much red. Well, I wanted that color for my blog as it was time to move from the winter header to the summer header and the red matches my blog color theme more so than just blues and greens. Trying to get the right amount of tree tops with the right amount of sky is not as easy at it looks!
I bet you are wondering where and when I took my new blog header photo. I took the photo this morning at Boyd Woods (an Audubon sanctuary in a nearby town) during Agent B’s Junior Audubon session. The birds were really out today and we saw quite a few cool ones including an American redstart building a nest, a Baltimore Oriole, a common yellowthroat warbler, and even some baby bluebirds in their nest.
And I have a few photos from our nature walk to share with you…
These are the baby bluebirds. As you can see, they are real baby babies. Don’t worry, our leader has been trained to show them to us and knows how to do it responsibly.
Agent B and I just thought these were really cute fungi.
This is Agent B leading the group over to where she spotted 2 large black water snakes. Please note, I took this photo on mega-zoom.
I hope to have some time to put together a knitting and spinning post soon. I have been working on spinning the roving from the Etsy fiber swap that I received from Foxy at The Fox Hop. So far is has been great fun! It is going to turn out to be “rainbow” in that it will cycle through each color just once in ROYGBIV order (except that there is no R or Y). I’m also knitting the baby kimono from Mason-Dixon knitting, but I’m trying to make a larger size and I’m just wondering if it would have killed them to have published the pattern in multiple sizes??? I’m just saying…
Oh yes, and we also had an exciting event at softball today. I hope that IHA will write about that one and I can direct you to his blog for that. Let’s just say that Agent J was given the game ball to take home! (Ok, I’ll admit, I didn’t know that such a thing ever happened, but it is still exciting!)
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
* I decided to go with reverse psychology in choosing my new tagline to get in the summer spirit this year. I can do it! I may need your help, but I’m going to make it.
A little fiber p0rn for the start of your weekend:
So really my intent with this post is to apologize for yesterday’s post. I have a little pet peeve about cryptic blog entries and then I went and wrote a cryptic blog entry myself. Oh, the guilt!
Basically, the reason I was so unsettled yesterday was due to rushing at work on Wednesday evening. I felt rushed and when I feel rushed I make mistakes. As any stay at home parent can attest, sometimes you just feel like you spend your day rushing around. You rush to one place just so you can rush to the next. I currently work part time. My work hours are composed of 3 four hour shifts which are each like an oasis of stay-put, no-rush-around time. Also, when I work Wednesday evenings, I do not work again until Monday morning. That means that I have to really stop and think and make sure all my stuff is done, cleaned up, and put away before I leave. I just want a minute or 2 for composure before the alarm is set and we rush out the door. Let’s just say, my heart was still thumping when I got home on Wednesday evening. I just didn’t get good closure.
It is a very small problem in the scheme of life and I’m sure it will work itself out. I think. ETA: OK, I think this actually is working itself out. I still think I need that brain transplant, however. My next problem I have to work out is that my little Fusion Xtreme scale has stopped working!!! I love that little thing!
Agent B just arrived home and said “Happy, happy, joy, joy, it is Friday!”
So Happy, happy, joy, joy to you all!!!
I must now super-quick dry my hair and rush to the post office before it closes at 5!
I just read in the newspaper that March 20 is “Sweater Day” in honor of the late Fred Roger’s birthday. I found this video on You Tube:
I think if we start knitting now, we can make sweaters for everyone right???
Anyway, I have never been able to embed a You Tube video before. I hope this works as I watched a You Tube video to learn how to embed You Tube videos in Wordpress. Apparently all you have to do is take it out of WYSIWYG editing for any post you wish to embed a video. The catch is that you can not ever go back into that particular post in WYSIWYG or you are doomed.
Today, I cleaned like a maniac!!!! I am so glad that I’m almost done. I am so tired of cleaning, and I’m so ready to get back to dyeing next week. I’ve also been shopping for yarns and fibers on Etsy and other places with an fervor atypical to my normal shopping habits. I think that is due to my own lack of dyeing – I have to fill that void! Plus, how can you resist buying a yarn called Numma Numma Toastyboo? So next week, I shall have lots of goodies to post.
Have a great evening and remember to start knitting your sweaters!!!
Good morning and Happy Valentine’s Day! Guess what??? We pulled our winner for my Valentine Crush Contest! I just want to thank everyone for playing along with me and sharing all your literary crushes. I thought of a few more of mine along the way but I guess I will spare you for now as I’m sure you want to find out the winner! I remembered to do this before Agent B left for school so we could have an impartial name drawer.
I wrote all the entries on slips of paper.
I folded them and put them in a LYS bag. Agent B closed her eyes and pulled a slip.
Congratulations Ragan! I’ll send you an e-mail to make arrangements for your prize! I’m still stalking Handgrown Pottery and her stuff is so gorgeous this week. It just keeps getting better and better if that is possible.
“Under the best of circumstances, a handspinner’s hour is 48 minutes long. Under adverse conditions (sadly enough, the typical condition), the handspinner may achieve 20 minutes of spinning per hour. The other 40 minutes are consumed in locating things, winding yarn, preparing fiber, rethreading the wheel, finding the broken end, answering the telephone, going to the loo, and so forth.” — Alden Amos from the Big Book of Handspinning, page 147.
2.5 weeks ago, I checked this book out of the library, but I hadn’t had a chance to open it until yesterday. As I flipped through the pages, the one with the above quote caught my eye because of the nifty little pie charts accompanying the text. What a wake-up call. I’m sure accounting for one’s hour is second hand to people like IHA where the billable hour is king, but with moms/crafters, hours slip away very quickly, sometimes with not much actual product to show.
Thinking about my own “Spinner’s Hour” (or whatever craft/activity you are trying to do – for example, I know may of you reading this are thinking “Scrapbooker’s Hour), I don’t think it is very long (esp. when the Junior Agents are home!).
My typical “Hour” goes like this: 5 minutes deciding what craft I should be doing, 5 minutes locating supplies, 5 minutes making coffee/tea/snack, 10 minutes changing laundry, 8 minutes checking e-mail, 8 minutes taking blog photos and jotting down notes, and 7 minutes stalking my favorite Esty shops. So, how many minutes does that leave? 12??? Oh, wait and then the phone rings so it is good-bye to that hour! Sound familiar? How does your crafting hour go? I think I’m going to have to work a bit harder on time preservation! Any tips, IHA???
I noticed an incoming link on my Wordpress Dashboard this morning that led me to a blog called Pioneering on the Homefront where I discovered that Tracey had listed me as one of her “You Make my Day Award” recipients. Thanks Tracey! This award goes to blogs that provide “inspiration and happiness” and I now get to pass that along to some other blogs/sites that I read.
Ragan Knits (really, I just click there and immediately start laughing! Watch out for her Howler socks!) and The A.D.D. Knitter (she has already been awarded, but I just love her tween humor!). In the last couple of days, I’ve really spent much of my time (way too much probably) stalking a certain Etsy shop. Seriously – this has cut out much of my hour of doing anything let alone crafting. This Etsy shop rocks. I am so seriously addicted that I’m not really sure that I want to even share the name of the store as I get very upset when someone buys something while I’m still deciding what I want. I think I will wait until I get my first order and then write up a nice post about how wonderful it is. I guess though, if you really want to know, there are ways around waiting – you could probably go to my Etsy shop and peruse my favorites because she is there in a big way:) Or you could ask nicely and I’d probably tell you.
(ETA: Egads, I forgot to mention Crops-a-lot! Oh, I hope no one noticed… Also, if you get a chance – click on over to her blog as she is having a 100th post contest that closes the evening of 2/3.)
So now, as promised, a preview of my new Botanical Color Line! This is my first one and it is going to be called Sunflower. Actually I’m not sure yet if I’m going to use the common name or the latin name yet for this and future colorways. I guess I better decide soon if I want to get these listed today!
(These sunflowers are a bit of a nice contrast the winter out my front door today…)
I seem to be a bit derailed from keeping up with my blog. I haven’t been very good about reading blogs either. Part of that is Ravelry related I think. At lot of the information I previously found on blogs, I can now find on Ravelry. I do love blogs though and I’m making an attempt to read and comment whenever I have a moment.
I’ve also been busy scouring the internet for any info on Dark Victory. Through Ravelry, I did find another knitter attempting it, but she ran in to many of the same issues as I did. Someone also just posted a couple of days ago on the Romantic Hand Knits-Along that she cast on for Dark Victory so I will be looking back there to see how that is going. For now, I’m going to put it on hold. (Take that, you darn Dark Victory, I may even put you to sleep on Ravelry!) Maybe I will swatch to see if I can do Mr. Greenjeans in Malabrigo (Does anyone else keep having Captain Kangaroo flashbacks?). I will also e-mail the link to LFG to see if she likes Mr. Greenjeans. I think she liked him on Captain Kangaroo, so she will probably like the sweater too. (I know, I know, the name of the sweater is derived from the colorway of Miss Priss used by the pattern author, but I just can not think Mr. Greenjeans and not think of Mr. Green Jeans and Captain Kangaroo. Mornin’ Captain!)
So, I have this yarn (worsted) that I spun from a Funky Eclectic (please note at this point if there is anything incoherent in this blog post it is NOT my fault as I have a fourth grader walking by my door every 3.6 seconds with her brand new ginormous and extremely loud trombone…) superwash merino roving. I want it to be something. I don’t know what I want it to be. I have close to 200 yards so it can be more than a hat. I think my swatch is looking much more pastel than I would have expected from a neon colorway called Nuclear. It would be so perfect for a little baby girl sweater ( but I don’t know anyone having a little baby girl or do I?). Does anyone have any (non-baby) ideas for me?
I guess that is all I can cram into this post for now as I have to go begin making dinner, but it is a start to getting back on track. I think I will end with a couple random photos…
This is IHA and the Agents Geocaching at Kent Falls on Columbus Day.
This is the cake (carrot with cream cheese frosting) from Mad Knitter Dara’s baby shower. As you can see from his little bib, she is having a little baby boy. (I really can’t wait; there hasn’t been a baby in my life since Crops-a-lot moved to MI…)
I’ll be sending you e-mails to find out your prize preferences and what colors you like!
Thanks everyone for playing along with me (I had 28 entries!!!) and the Happy Blogiversary Wishes! I had a great time!
Special thanks to Agent B for pulling the winning names…
In dyeing news, I finally got more dyes stocks mixed (I’m moving up from ProChem One Shots to ProChem WashFast Acid Dyes. There are more color choices so I even bought their color card. I am so excited about the colors that I am dyeing with today. They are all my favs — purples and greens, pinks and browns… I can’t wait to see how they come out! Oh, and how can I forget that I did some tie-dying this weekend too! I can’t wait to post those photos!
Once again, congrats to my contest winners and thank you so much for all your nice comments. Love them all!!!! I can’t wait til Punkin comes to fold my laundry. I have a feeling that may take a while since it looks like she lives in Oregon… hummmm…..
Oh, and one last thing… Check out Angie’s blog at Knitrelief. She make her own Lazy Kate! I’m going to have to pass the thanks back once again to Leslie for the wonderful instructions that IHA and I used to make our tutorial… Thanks Leslie!!!
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