Thursday, July 23, 2009

Once Every 20 . . .

This past weekend, I attended my 20th high-school reunion. Oh my.

It was nice to catch up with old friends that I don't see often enough (even though many of them are still somewhat local), reconnected with friends that I hadn't seen in 20 years, and just had a good time. Maybe too much of a good time. I had my first hangover in SEVERAL years. Didn't miss that part at all! I'll spare all the gory details and just include a few borrowed pictures from the beloved Facebook.

This one's my favorite. I think I look much better when surrounded by a TON of man candy, yes??!!

Here's some of my best friends from HS. I forgot my camera, so this isn't everyone, but just some borrowed from friends who've posted on FB already.

One of the best things about the weekend was visiting the National Harbor and realizing what a HOT place the Cadillac Ranch is on a Friday night! Wow. A bunch of classmates met there for happy hour. My sister went with me - she attended the same HS and graduated two years before me, so she was familiar with some of the folks as well. But that place - oh my! When we walked in, it was calm, nice decor, friendly staff, etc. When we walked out?! O.M.G! Beautiful people everywhere, waiting in line to get in, hanging out on a great patio. Makes me wish I was young and cool again! I was trying my best:


Friday, July 10, 2009


Yesterday there was little spinning toward the TDF goal. Why? Because my fleeces FINALLY came back in from Zeilinger's! Yay!

This bag had 3 pounds of this dusty-brown merino top. Yum. The woman I dropped it off with at the MDS&W suggested making it into top for a smoother fiber to process into a smoother yarn. She said that the short "neps" would come out that way, and make for smoother spinning. I believe her now, because there was a whole bag of "waste" as well-nothing but short, pill-y stuff that I'm assuming I can stuff a pillow with, but nothing more. Unless anyone else knows of something to do with fiber that has a staple length of about 1/8 of an inch!!

I am sharing this fleece with my sister, so I grabbed 4-ounce hanks and put them in separate ziplocks. I'll do the same with her half. Hopefully there will be a tad more for sampling when I've finished divvy-ing!

The spinning I DID do was maybe half a bobbin of the CJ Copek BFL that is on my list. I LOVE that fiber, and will try to content myself with that while I decide what I'd truly like to do with the merino. I have thoughts, but I need to make my spinning plan, do some sampling, and spin this stuff right. No messin' around with the merino!

Today, I am on my own for a bit, so I plan to do some work (a power-point that I really need for reading evaluations), then get back to the fiber, so I'm off to get busy!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

TDF Check-In

This is a progress pic for my TDF spinning. So far, I've spun up these two bobbins that I plan to ply together - one is the "Cowboy Up" fiber in red, white, and blue, from Copperpotwoolies. The other (that I finished spinning last night) is some plain navy blue mohair. I think the two together will be wonderful. I am ready to ply, and that's today's main project.

I also want to spin up the rest of the teeswater/alpaca that I blended on my combs. I might even try navajo plying with that, since I STILL need to learn that lil' trick!

After that, I plan to andean ply some small bits of fiber that is currently taking up space on a few bobbins so that I have free bobbins for this Friday's spinning group meeting.

The Baltimore Spinners meet at Cloverhill Yarn Shop in Catonsville every 2nd and LAST Friday of the month, and lately we have been spinning different types of things together as a group. The last idea was to spin singles - I did one skein of a BFL fiber named "Emerge" from CJ Copek. The last skein/braid is still to come on the TDF plan! BUT! This time, we are going to take a lesson from Jody - a fabulous spinner in the group who is fond of art yarns. She's going to teach us how to do some of her tricks, so I need free bobbins, and to select a fiber to play with. That will be the last item on my "to-do" list for my free part of the day.

Sounds like a good afternoon to me!


Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Tour, 2009 Edition

This summer, I am once again going to participate in The Tour de Fleece, a spinning-wheel take on Le Tour de France, a bike race. Related only in that there are wheels involved, and marathon-like goals! I participated last year with my Golding spindle, but this year, I get to use my Hitchhiker spinning wheel. She's just come back from being tricked out (i.e., made into a double-treadle wheel instead of a single treadle.)

Yesterday was the first day, and after returning from vacation, setting up my new flyer and tension knob, I was ready to spin. Here's the day's progress:

My first goal is to finish (spinning and plying) this yummy stuff from Coperpot Woolies that my sister sent me at Christmas. The name of the colorway is "Cowboy Up" and it's red, white, and blue. Very appropriate for a start on the 4th of July!

I also did some combing, and spun up 4 combed rolags of a teeswater-and-alpaca blend.

My comobs are new to me, and blending on the combs is very interesting. I have a little more than one ounce of the teeswater locks to blend with this yummy alpaca, and when the teeswater is gone, that will be it for this experiment. The Ravelry group Spinner's Study is the main reason for doing this - they study two different fibers each month and prod us to try fibers that are new to us. Since I'm so new to spinning, most fibers ARE new to me, so this is right up my alley right now! I do have more alpaca for spinning, and blending, though. Yum! A member of my spinning group was giving lots away at our last meeting, and my sister and I were quite tempted. We came home with this bunch of white you see here, plus a bag full of a gray color. Fun, fun!

So, one of the ideas behind the TDF is that each spinner spin toward a set goal - time or an amount, etc. I think I will aim for an amount. I want to get to some yummy things I've been dying to spin up while my wheel was away from me. So, I'll set as my goal for the end of the tour, the following:

1. Spin and ply the Cowboy Up with it's matching blue alpaca roving.
2. Comb and spin the teestwater/alpaca blend. Ply it (not sure "how" yet).
3. Finish spinning my light/dark Coopworth yarn (this involves combing half of it and making rolags, so long process!)
(4. "Emerge" singles to match skein/hank 1)
(5. Pick a fiber from stash to practice skinny spinning for 3-ply yarn.)

I guess I don't really need five separate goals, but I'm assuming the first three will be easy-peasy to finish. It's Summer Break, after all! Heh.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Secret Pal #14!

Wow - has it been that many already? The last one I did was LAST summer, so I guess I'm about due!

Here's my info:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? My very favorite yarn is Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, but anything soft and beautiful is good! What fibers do you absolutely not like? “Fun-Fur” types of gaudy acrylic.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I was gifted a circular needle holder, and I love it. My straits (what few of them there are) are stored in a roll-up bag made by my auntie.
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Knitting for about 12 years again now. Taught by my mother as a teen, didn’t do much with it until I was given some old needles, yarn, and a pattern booklet by my former MIL. Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? Intermediate/advanced knitter.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? NO
5. What’s your favorite scent? I love natural scents, like lavender, sandalwood, and patchouli.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Yes Favorite candy? Junior Mints and Skittles
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Spin and process natural fibers (card and comb). Do you spin? YES!!!!!
8. What kind of music do you like? Jazz Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? Yes (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Reds and greens are my favorites, although I’ve been on a purple jag (especially with spinning fibers) lately. Sometimes I get myself in a rut. I also love the yarns and fibers with browns in them lately. Any colors you just can’t stand? I’m not a big fan of pink, although when you put brown with ANY color, I’m definitely a fan.
10. What is your family situation? This question always cracks me up! I am a single mother with one son. We live with my parents and one lovely standard poodle. We also have two hermit crabs that entertain us from time to time!
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Yes to scarves, hats, and ponchos (occasionally). No to mittens.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Sweaters (all types) and lace shawls knit in sock yarn.
13. What are you knitting right now? I keep a sock going all the time (sometimes not too quickly, but it’s going!). I’m also knitting the Medallion Cardi from Vogue for me, and the Entomology shawl for a dear co-worker.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Of course.
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I normally use circular, wooden needles, but some of my favorites are a metal pair from JoAnns, and a small plastic circular needle!
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Both
17. How old is your oldest UFO? About 1 year old – it’s on my list of “fixes” for the Summer (a tank I put aside for some warm weather knits, but really, really need to finish!)
18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas What winter holiday do you observe? Christmas.
19. Is there anything that you collect? Turtles – sculptures, figurines, pictures, paintings, etc.
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? See favorites above for yarns. I’d kinda like to have a pair or two of the Harmony circulars in sweater knitting sizes (5-7) cause of their lovely pointy tips!! What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Currently – Interweave and Knitter’s, I usually buy Vogue and Vogue International as well as Spin Off.
21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn? The techniques I am interested in now are for spinning – different plying techniques, and blending for color.
22. Are you a sock knitter? Yes What are your foot measurements? Size 9 shoe, 9.5 instep.
23. When is your birthday? May 6th.
24. Are you on Ravelry? Yes. If so, what’s your ID? Heather219