Archive for October, 2008
I’m not really that late, just a little late, and it is mostly due to my intense disdain of things having to do with packing. Yesterday, I went through all my fibers and other products to put on the prices and other finishing touches, it is the personal packing that really gets me! Anyway that stuff is all boring, here is the fun stuff- some of the rovings coming with me to Vermont today!
I made an inventory sheet for tomorrow and I have 83 items that I am bringing with me. They include roving, yarn (even some undyed), fiber batts, hats, and tie dyed shirts. I hope if you are in the area you will stop by. I have about 40 little samples to hand out too. Well, I guess just in case you haven’t been here lately, I should add that tomorrow is my first fiber event! I’m going to be selling my Spincerely yours, stuff at a table with my sister, LFG and Cathy from IBIWISI Alpacas at the Southern Vermont Fiber Event in Brattleboro, VT. You can click here for more information.
Besides the fiber event, I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with my sister. Tomorrow night we are going to a “Witches Ball” with her lovely fiber friends. I threw some stuff in a bag that will hopefully assemble itself into a costume with her help.
IHA is staying home and playing Mr. Halloween tonight. Mostly, that involves shuttling children around. He may actually end up putting on more miles that I do on my way to VT! This is all good though as he is a much better Halloween parent than I am. Just the thought of them eating all that candy puts me in a really bad mood. I do wish you all an excellent weekend though and I won’t bore you anymore with my Halloweenie ba-humbugism! If I don’t see you Saturday at “The Event,” I’ll see you around the blogs (and ravelry, and facebook…) next week! Happy Halloween and Happy Fall Back!
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Yup, that is me – 8 stitches too short! I recently cast-on for a pair of socks and left 8 little stitches off.
I’m making just the regular Yankee Knitter Socks in this fab color from Twisted. The pattern is written for multiple sizes in multiple gauges and I, apparently, became mismatched. I didn’t even notice that I had too few stitches until I was decreasing for the toe and I had an unequal number on the top and bottom. I’m now making the second sock with the correct amount of stitches and all is going well though I haven’t brought myself to rip out the first one.
Of course, casting on too few stitches is a perfectly normal knitting mistake, right? This is what really worries me. Yesterday, I forgot how to turn on my cell phone. I don’t really turn it off too much so when it does end up off, I always have to think on how to get it back on. For some reason I always forget that I have to press and hold the off button to turn it on. I kept pressing the green button thinking that was right because green means go.
Anyway, I’m also making these mitts for a cold librarian:
They are called Porphyria by Cissy Black and I’m making them out of a skein of Koigu that I’ve had for a while. I was saving it as part of a set, but I can always get more, right? There are plenty of mistakes in these but they do disguise well! This is a really fun pattern and the ribbing makes is perfect one-size-fits-all gift choice.
Well, running late again as usual… I hope I get a chance to blog again before the Fiber Event on Saturday. Have a great afternoon and thanks for reading!
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Posted by: Tamara in nature, tags: fall, oaks
Whereas most of the leaves have fallen off the lesser trees, the mighty oaks hold onto theirs, not even surrendering to the strong gusts of autumn wind. They surround my house like sentinels being both a treat and a curse. Their leaves display a rainbow of the the fall palate — orange, yellow, red, and rust fringed with crispy browns. When the sun shines, my house fills with a yellow glow and even when it is overcast the warm colors radiate in making this one of my favorite seasons. The curses are many though — so slow to lose their leaves, yard work can never be completed until the snow melts in the spring. Oak leaves are notorious for their long lives – they flit from the mower and are heavy to rake. When the leaves finally give way and leave the branches bare and expose the green mossy trunks, gloomy days are are sometimes too much to bare. But for now, I will take the treat of the oak and feel cozy and protected in my house as they stand proud and strong outside all my windows watching over me and my family.
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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!
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Posted by: Tamara in knitting
Rhinebeck 2 days before the the floodgates open to torrential fiber enthusiasts:
To everyone going to Rhinebeck (while I go to work) tomorrow – have a great day! (I was going to write “and fondle something soft for me,” but that just doesn’t sound right, does it?)
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It seems as if knitters agree – there is not much not to love about October. After all it is the official start of the cool weather fiber season. Of course, non-knitters also love October too — pumpkins, fall leaves, apples, Halloween – oh the fun! So far, I’ve had an overwhelming response to my contest, but if you haven’t entered, yet, don’t worry – it doesn’t close until the 18th so go ahead and enter away! Everyone seems to love thinking about the things they love in October (also sometimes known as Socktober and the month that contains National Rhinebeck Day). I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I repeated this contest in March. Can anyone think of three things to love about March except that it is one month before April when the spring Sheep and Wool Festivals start to hit?
Hey guess what? This month is flying by so fast that I haven’t even had time to post about the spinning class that I am taking, AND it is tomorrow! I have to get ready!!!! I’m taking Spinning for Socks with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin. I’m looking forward to the drive over to Rhinebeck – no highways and gorgeous foliage. I have the audiobook of No Idle Hands to listen to in the car. There are so many great spinning retreats and festivals this fall but a lot of them book up early and you have to plan way in advance which is not easy for a mom of 3 sporty girls and who sometimes works on weekends. I feel very lucky to have found a class that I wanted to take that was not sold out and was not on a Saturday! I can’t wait to go and tell you all about it. I hope I remember my camera and remember to take photos. I am not going to be able to go to the actual Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, however. I have to work on Saturday and will probably just have too much stuff to do on Sunday, but I can’t wait to hear about it from all you you who will be going!
OK, I better get going as I have a very busy day today but I just wanted to let you know about another thing that happens in October that I didn’t know about, and you may not know about either. Apparently, October is the time of year for baby snails! Look what I found last week when I was cleaning up my solar dyeing bins:
There were hundreds of these tiny, itsy, bitsy snails all in my bin, on the edge of the bin, and on the bricks near our basement door – I just thought they were little pebbles at first but when they were clinging to the bin, I was like, oh my, what kind of weird thing do we have now. I was very happy when I looked closer and found they were just baby snails and nothing really yucky.
Here is a close up – they are really very tiny — just a few millimeters in circumference.
And here is the oddball snail. All of the other baby snails were regular snail shape but this one had a tall conical type of shell. Does anyone know anything about snail genetics? I’ve probably spent way too much time looking for clues on google but haven’t found anything that fits this situation yet.
Well – enjoy another wonderful October day and don’t forget to enter my contest if you haven’t already done so!
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Hello and Happy Columbus Day! My favorite holiday! I wish all holidays could be like this one. There are no preparations, no decorations, no cards, no special foods, no presents, and no expectations. Columbus was one cool guy and I love him! I don’t care what he really did or didn’t discover because he just has one awesome holiday and that is it.
I haven’t had a blog contest in quite a while so I thought that to spice up your Columbus Day, it would be a great time to sponsor one. For this contest, all you need to do is to submit a comment on this post. Please include in your comment 3 things that you LOVE about October. The last day to enter will be Saturday, October 18 and I’ll throw the names in a hat and have a junior agent draw a winner. I’ll put together a special prize package tailored to the likings of the winner so also please include what your favorite hobby is (i.e. spinning, knitting, scrapping, eating…) if you would like something in particular. I’m also going to include a few gleanings from the OneThing CT Expo that we went to in Hartford yesterday.
Our BIG OneThing that we are going to do in our family is to sign up for CTCleanEnergyOptions. This means that we will choose one of the 2 clean energy providers that are available to us and that we will start paying them for our electricity instead of our standard electric company. All our electricity will be generated by either wind power or hydroelectric power. Now, it is a little confusing how this works – it is not like we will directly get that electricity sent to our home. I guess the best way to explain this is to post the info from their FAQ:
Q: If a customer signs up for the CTCleanEnergyOptions, does that mean that clean energy is being delivered directly to that customer’s home or business?
A: No. The clean energy that is being generated is being delivered to the electric system and this will displace an equal amount of electricity that would have been generated from traditional sources, such as nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas-fired generating plants. Once in the system, the electricity from clean sources (like the electricity produced from any generator) follows the path of least resistance and, thus, cannot be delivered to a specific location (home or business).
Ok, so I know what you are wondering – what is the catch. Well, there really is no catch except that it is a bit more expensive. But, it is not really all that much more expensive – only 8 to 9 dollars a month and I’ve already taken account of that in our budget and downgraded our Netflix account accordingly.
Quite a few towns in CT have joined the 20% by 2010 Campaign which mean they have made a pledge “to obtain at least 20 percent of the electricity for all municipal facilities from clean renewable energy sources by the year 2010.” If you live in CT, your town may also be participating. Also, for every 100 residents who join your town will get a free solar panel for municipal use.
Renewable energy programs have different names in different states so if you don’t live in Connecticut, you may still be able to do this. I’d love to hear about what your states have to offer if you know…
Just to show that there is fiber everywhere – these adorable sheep were part of an exhibit sponsored by the new Science Center of CT. They were so cute! We only caught half of the program, but I think they are Canadian Sheep (See how they are wearing earmuffs and hats?). They Told us about some great things coming up with windpower (I don’t know about you, but I think that wind turbines are graceful and beautiful) and hydrogen power. They were pretty funny actually – very expressive.
Ok, so I will leave you to think about what you love about October! Don’t forget that you can’t win if you don’t play! Here are some photos our local fair from last weekend for inspiration:
Agent B is somewhere in that band playing her trombone.
Librarysarie and I independently took photos of the same bunny!
Three of a kind!
IHA entered his hot peppers — his first fair entry ever in his 40 years of life. He won third place, but has big goals for next year.
Thanks for reading and have a great Columbus Day!
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I’ve Received my Fibery Goodness Swap package from my partner Trinette (Tr3n1ty of Ravelry blogging at Purely Whimsical)! She lives in Alaska so she sent along some specialty treats with the fiber and yarn. Here is the eye candy:
My fibery goodness treats include:
Alaskan Fireweed Honey
Alaska Wildberry Products: Wild Salmonberry Jelly
Alaska Wild Teas: Alaskan Wild Rose Tea (Some of this is coming to work with me today.)
A beautiful card of three bears sitting on a red autumn tundra.
A skein of her handspun – beautiful oranges, reds, and rusts. I think she Navajo plied it and it appears to be bulky weight. I’m brainstorming yummy plans for it now.
2 batts of multicolored fiber from Artemis Artemis. It has gorgeous, scrumptious colors in it. There are greens, yellows, oranges, and chocolate browns. There looks like there is some sparklely, coppery, angelina in there too. The thing that really sets it off and makes it exceptional is the smidgen of light sky blue. Just perfect!
Thank you so much Trinette!!!!
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Have you seen this new website yet? I just came across the advertisement in my new issue of Memory Makers (Nov/Dec 2008). it is called Shophandmade beta and according to the website it has just recently had its soft opening. I’ve clicked around a bit and the one feature that really impresses is what they call ReSupplies – or as they say – “ReSupplies:…heavenly for the earth.” If you buy or sell using this feature it is a One Thing! We are always looking for One Things in my house and I’m even thinking of have a One Thing family contest (anything to get more lights turned off!). If we have a contest, I could shophandmade and get points! Also when you buy at Shophandmade you reduce your carbon footprint through rainforest protection – another One Thing.
I’ve been clicking around on this Hallmarkeque site for a bit and while at first it seems a bit clunky to navigate, eventually you can find things. It was very quick to register for an account, and though I did not set up a shop, it looks like if you are have graphics and already have a paypal account, it shouldn’t take very long at all to get started. (If you are in need of graphics, there are already shores listed that will provide you with inexpensive graphics too.) The policies are very simple and quick to read. (That is one of my main complaints about Etsy – trying to figure out the rules!) ShopHandmade just doesn’t seem to have as many rules. Basically, if it is handmade and not mass produced you can sell it. If it is anything that can be used to make crafts, you can sell it. There doesn’t seem to be a rule against cross promotion either. So are any of you out there itching to start ReSuppling your stamp collections? I know what you are thinking!
The the listing fees are very low on this site as you can choose to have sponsor advertising appear with your listing instead of paying the fees. You can also choose your own commission. You can either pay none or you can choose to support the webiste by paying up to 12%. Sellers also have the option to increase the donation made to rainforest protection through the sales of their items.
While this site appears to be geared more toward scrapbooking and papercrafting (Currently, their 3 sponsors are all in the that field), there doesn’t appear to be a reason not to sell fibery goods there. I didn’t see a big wooly presence, but there is a needlework category and it clearly states that you can ReSupply even partial balls of yarn.
Let us know what you think in my comments if you give Shophandmade a visit. Is the potential there? If you end up setting up a store – please share with us here too.
Thanks for reading and happy Friday!
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Even though I’m focusing on dyeing, I’m kicking off the fall fiber season with a completed knitting project! Okay, so maybe I technically started in summer, but I definitely finished in fall.
Back to School Cardi
Pattern: Hey Teach from Knitty.com
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease. A little less than 3 skeins in Cactus.
Needles: Size 8 Addi Turbos
Modifications: I added 2 inches to the length in the stockinette section and I only added buttons to the top lace section.
Thoughts: This was quick knitting until the seaming. There was a lot of finishing! Lace pattern was easy and intuitive. I would make this again if I didn’t have so many other things to make. Actually, I’m thinking of making a smaller size for one of the girls as I have 2 skeins of yarn left. I’ve never used Cotton Ease before but I liked knitting with it. Since I’m always too hot to wear anything wool or even slightly related to wool (including Cotton Fleece) and since 100% cotton is hard on my fingers, I’m hoping that this will wear well and I can use it again. Also, this yarn is very easy on the knitting budget!
I’ve actually been working on Sock Blankie quite a bit lately. It is just so easy to pick it up and just knit and take it in the car with me when I wait for field hockey to never end. I just ordered Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic and I have my eye on a couple of patterns in there. I’m ready to start swatching!
So moving on to dyeing…
I am very excited to be participating in my first fiber show! On November 1, I will be sharing table space with Llama Farm Girl of Hemlock Haven Llama Farm and Cathy of IBIWISI Alpacas at the 4th Annual Southern Vermont Fiber Event. It is in downtown Brattleboro from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I have a link to the directions in my sidebar. I’m going to try to continue to stock my Etsy shop while preparing for this show so I’m going to have to start dyeing like a maniac. This isn’t easy with 3 children playing sports and all the fall yard work to do, let me tell you!
So moving on to spinning…
I just finished spinning for my Ravelry Fibery Goodness swap. I’m a bit late but my yarn is just not drying. Darn yarn. Anyway, I better not put a photo up yet, as you never know, my partner may decide to cruise by my blog…
I also have some plans for Hollis (the drum carder that LFG and I share). I hope he is ready for me!
Around the blog…
I’ve been busy updating my Reading page. I’ve also noticed that some of my tags do not work properly so if you want to search for something (like Dark Victory), the best way to do that would be to go to my archive page and type into the search box. Maybe someday I’ll have time to figure out the tag thing. I think it may be because I some of the tags were former categories and they didn’t convert well. Lately, it seems like may pattern has been posting about once a week. I’m going to try a bit harder to step that up a bit, but time seems to be on fast forward lately. It is just crazy, you know??? Anyway, have a great day and thanks for reading!
ETA: Photo credit: Agent B, age 10
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