Rhinebeck-ining

A house and a car were rented & a gaggle of 5 ladies headed across the border in hot fibery pursuit and to see some friends for a great weekend of fun!

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The house was a beautiful Victorian in Kingston, New York.

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Best of all, there was a huge table that we were all able to gather around.

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We got up early Saturday morning to get to the fair in good time…

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This is the line to enter the fair grounds…at 8:30 am…the gates open at 9am…Once the gates were open, things moved fairly quickly although there was some confusion as to where the pre-paid ticket holders & those who still needed tickets should go.

Once in, I had my list & map set to go (there was a comment about my level of organization being on the level of the Invasion of Normandy). By about 11 am, my shopping list looked like this:

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I take a precision strike team approach to fibre festivals, having the list keeps me on budget as it’s very easy to get overwhelmed & blow your budget at the first booth!

My focus this year was not yarn, I was in search of beautiful hand made tools as I am of the opinion that if you have lovely tools, you will use them more. There is no shortage of makers who are able to supply us with beautiful hand made tools for our pursuits.

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My big purchase was a hand made tapestry loom and some tapestry needles from Stephen Willette.

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I visited Journey Wheel for another spindle.

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Prior to the trip I had reignited my interest in hooked rugs and Rhinebeck was a good place to get supplies as there are at least 5 vendors! I found a complete kit to get me started & purchased 2 more patterns. I busted out the kit as soon as I got home & am making steady progress.

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Some fibre was procured from Into the Whirled & Spinners Hill

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I ran across this massive ball of Herdwick roving!

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Last thing on my list was a Saori Weaving Sewing book!

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So by 11am, my list was complete & I was free to wander the grounds & eat fair food!

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Gary’s Pickles are possibly the BEST Full Sours I’ve had! I may have smuggled a quart back with me… We ran into this lovely Lincoln ewe on her way from the auction to her new home…she was very much having none of it!

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I kept trying to get a photo of this Herdwick, but some odious Hipsters kept trying to get “just the right photo” & wouldn’t move after 15 minutes! That is one of the moron’s hands in my shot! The Herdwick looks about as impressed with them as I was!

After the fair, a few of us trundled off to Jill Draper’s Studio Open House! Which was conveniently located in Kingston, about a 15 minute walk from the house! I picked up some Rifton & 2 skeins of Valkill, which turned out to be the only yarn I bought!

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My friend Leah came this year & it was her first Rhinebeck. I think she had fun..

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until I sternly told her she could not buy more green yarn & encouraged her to buy that gorgeous blue yarn! Which she did.

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And then it was time to head home…through intermittent wet snow.

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It will probably be a few more years before I return to Rhinebeck as there are some new local fleece fairs I want to check out as well as my ultimate goal of Shetland Wool Week.

 

It’s not a new hobby, just a variation on a theme.

Up until the other day all my current knitting projects are shawls & I’m feeling a bit shawl-ed out. All of them are at varying stages of doneness, but working on them was feeling like a slog & I needed something different for a change of pace.

During yet another reorganisation of the Girl Cave, I excavated a huge bag of my early attempts at handspun yarns. Most of it is spindle spun with some early super lumpy wheel spun. There isn’t quite enough of anything in a consistent enough yarn thickness to knit something, so these yarns just sat in this bag, some for 10 years. I was looking for a use for them & figured they would be best used for weft in a weaving project. I considered a rug, but again the inconsistencies of thickness would not work out well & the thinner bits would fray very quickly. I decided to mull things over a bit longer…then I got a newsletter from The Workroom with their new class list & they had added an Intro to Tapestry Weaving class! Unfortunately, it was being held at a time I couldn’t make, an annoying side-effect of working weekends. So, I did what I always do when I can’t make it to a workshop/class to learn a new skill, I looked for tutorials online & in books then assembe a list of supplies.

I had considered using my rigid heddle looms, but after a lot of reading, discovered they are not able to maintain the high degree of warp tension required for tapestry weaving & I didn’t want to risk breaking them. A bunch of tapestry weaving blogs suggested Archie Brennan’s copper pipe looms as being a very good DIY tapestry loom. Being made of copper it is better able to support the higher tension required for tapestry weaving. I printed the plans & headed out to the hardware store…

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Liam even got in on the action!

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After assembling the copper pipe loom, both Liam & I discovered it was a bit heavy & unwieldy. The lack of a drill press to make the holes to put in bolts to stabilize it was also a problem. I was staring to consider just ordering a proper tapestry loom/frame loom from one of the two weaving supply shops in Ontario, turned out both Gemini Fibers & Camilla Valley had just closed for 2 weeks for their Summer breaks. Back to the internet to searched for other DIY Plans for a tapestry loom. MAKEzine’s tutorial to build a lap loom was the second result.

A quick trip to the arts supply store & hardware store, a bit of assembly and 30 minutes of glue drying time & I had a workable lap loom for making small tapestries/wall hangings. I picked up the “gallery stretchers” as they 2” & sturdier than the regular frames. My final size was 24”x16”.

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All that was left was to warp it

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and make with the weaving

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The instructions called for string heddles, but I found using pick-up sticks to be faster especially when I was making the hills since I only needed to pick up some of the warp threads.

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I’ve been puttering away on it for a few weeks & quite enjoying it. Am not using a pattern & just playing it by ear, but I will need to order a proper tapestry beater and some 20” pick-up sticks. I currently have 10” & 30” pickup sticks, which are causing a bit of a Goldilocks situation where they are too small & too big, I need some that are just right. A comb with the handle snapped off is sort of working as a tapestry beater, but not quite.

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Some of the tapestries I came across in my searches were amazing & very inspiring. Am now keeping my eye out for a 2nd hand Leclerc Tissart vertical tapestry loom, so far all the ones I have found for sale are in British Columbia…

Whole lotta Sweaters

It all started back in October while I was giving the Girl Cave a cleaning & moth check. Things were being sorted, purged & what was staying was updated on my Ravelry stash page and linked to a project in my queue. Organization & efficiency was the name of the game!

I had finished my Not Going to Rhinebeck 2014 sweater…290Pattern: Artichoke French

Yarn: Briar Rose Fibers Abundance

and was looking for a NaKniSweMo project…I came across some Lopi I had picked up during one of my LYS’s February Bulky Yarn Sale. The original plan was to knit myself Odinn, but I decided to make a stab at knitting a sweater for Chris. My first attempt was about 10 years ago…it did not end well and we avoided the Boyfriend Sweater Curse only because we were already married…This time things went considerably smoother…although I think Chris was getting annoyed by my constant requests for him to try the sweater on so I could check fit…. 031I really enjoy knitting Lopapeysa and am partial to the yarn made from Icelandic sheep that is used to knit them. As Christmas was bearing down on us and I had promised my Dad a sweater years earlier, I figured it was a good time to get that done & cast on a second Odinn.

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With the help of my sister, I decided to sort of recreate a ski sweater my Dad had bought when he was 16 and my Mum tossed when I was 16. It was the height of Grunge & I had found its well felted & moth holed remains in the depths of a closet. The Sweater was so very Kurt Cobain! My Mum was horrified that I was wearing it & promptly removed the temptation! Some words may have been exchanged when my Dad discovered it had been tossed.

My sister suggested I try to recreate that long lost sweater. My Dad is quite pleased with his sweater even though he didn’t get it till after Christmas due to my coming down with a Cold of Space & Death. I rarely get sick. but when I do, it really wallops me! He has received at least one compliment about it every time he has worn it!

After knitting the same pattern in a row had me looking for a change…but I still needed a sweater as the weather was unseasonably cold…like below -30C (-22F) with wind chill and I had no intentions of leaving the house unless it was for work, school or food!

Antrorse  popped up  in my feed so I picked my honkin’huge skein of Jill Draper’s Mega Empire  in a nice sunny yellow as I refused to knit anything grey in the depths of a deep freeze!

254I am really happy with this sweater, it has a neat construction & I really loved using Jill’s yarn! She buys the entire shearing from shepherds around her neck of the woods in Hudson Valley, New York. The fleece are processed at a local mill and then Jill dyes them! I really love that she is supporting local shepherds as I remember when we were getting fractions of a cent for our fleece in the 80s. The yarn is a bit rustic at first as the mill doesn’t use chemicals to dissolve the vegetable matter in the fleece and will smell a bit sheepy, but that is the kind of yarn I really enjoy working with and it blooms up so nicely after a soak! I picked up some locally made buttons to use on the yoke.

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After Antrerose it was still freaking cold! I had a bunch of left over lopi from Chris’ sweater & there was just enough that I was able to cast on another sweater…technically it’s a lopapeysa…but not really.

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Scatter is a free pattern via Ravelry. My stitches got a bit tight across the chest, but a stern blocking sorted that out. This sweater is knit a bit tighter than it should, but considering how cold it’s been, it makes for a great base layer.

As I’ve knit roughly a sweater a month since October, I’m taking a bit of a break before I hit burnout and dusting off the loom & pulling out the sewing machine.

 

Not a year end review.

Am late for the annual round up that bloggers seem to do at year’s end…quite frankly I have very little interest in doing a year end round up because 2014 started off with much promise then in April went straight into the shitter when Chris lost his job. We however, have survive. Chris started his new job on Jan 5th so we are moving on & taking with us new things we learned about ourselves, each other & the strength of our relationship when faced with a challenge.

Moving right along…The one tradition I do in January is to toss the stash, check for moths, purge and organize the Girl Cave into a workable space. There is really nothing more frustrating than having an idea and not being able to find what you need because the room is a hot mess…

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Yep, I should probably be embarrassed to post that photo, but I’m not. I  embrace my flaws & screw-ups and especially my bad crafting, it all becomes a learning experience. No one is perfect and maybe, just maybe if people showed more of their fuck-ups instead of their perfectly “curated” (unless you are a Museum Curator, DON”T USE THAT WORD!!!) Pinterest life, the world would be way less medicated.

Anyhoo….The gist is Girl Cave is getting organized.

Lists of sewing projects are being drawn up. Merchant & Mills‘ Factory Dress & Trapeze Dress will probably make up a fair amount of my wardrobe once this is all over. Sonya Phillip’s patterns flesh out the rest.

Yarn is being checked for moths then being sorted into “Keep” & “How Drunk Was I When I Bought That?!”…don’t judge me…we all have crap in our houses we question the reason for it being there.

Ravelry stash page is being updated & yarn is being associated with actual projects! I know, this is freaking revolutionary for me!

The BIG PROJECT for this year is a weaving project I have been trying to figure out since I first heard about it back in 2011. I want to try to recreate a shawl/wrap thingy based on the diamond twill weave pattern from the tunic. There is a crew who are recreating the tunic using mostly traditional methods. My plan is to spin two of the fleeces I have taking up space in the Girl Cave & using them to weave the shawl. This will be the first time I have used hand spun for both warp & weft…this will be a great learning experience regardless if I succeed or fail most sensationally!

 

Multi-Craftual

I need to keep my hands busy…mainly to keep me from placing them around certain people’s necks & squeezing till their eyes bug out…Suffice it to say with the Summer Holidays and currently all 4 of us in our 750sqft house I’ve been keeping myself quite busy.

The frantic sewing pace I had going for a while has slowed down as other projects took over.

The months started with Tour De Fleece (yes, I know that is a 5 year old link, all organizing of Tour de Fleece has now moved to the Ravelry forums) prep. I have a rather large collection of batts and braids of hand dyed or hand blended fibers and decided it was high time to deal with them. Before I started spinning, I needed to find a pattern to use up as much of the eventual yarn as possible. I figured an afghan was a good idea, but didn’t want to have to lug around a massive bit of knitting! I needed small bits of knitting that would later be seamed together. May I present The Barn Raising “Quilt”. I’m not at all concerned with the squares being symmetrical.

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After 2 weeks of near constant spinning, I was running out of space for all the singles I had spun as well as bobbins. I am currently waiting on the delivery of a bulky flyer and some extra bobbins for my wheel so I can continue to the second stage of the process by turning the singles into 2 ply yarns or possibly Navajo plying to keep the long colour repeats in some of the fiber.

As I wait for the delivery, it’s going to be a bit as my local-ish spinning supply store (Gemini Fibres) are on vacation…So I moved along to another project… crochet.

Cal Patch has recently put out a crochet rag rug tutorial video on Creative Bug which was well timed as I had a lot of left over fabric scraps from my sewing binge.

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I worked on the rug for about a week…then had to stop as my right wrist & shoulder were SCREAMING at me. Clearly the previous two weeks of spinning and the week of crochet had not been ergonomically correct…Stretches were done, things are less stiff and the rug was ripped out to be given a new life as a woven rag rug.

The floor loom was dusted off, a warp was wound off, then I lost the cross while warping the loom…a frustrating learning experience…One cannot have too many ties on their warp! The kids acted as Loom Minions and helped me get a very arsed up warp onto the loom and then I was off…

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Abi even asked to be shown how the floor loom worked!

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My progress on the rag rug was briefly interrupted yesterday by Liam having a play date…3 boys between the age of 6-8 don’t need strict supervision, but a parental presence in the room acts as a deterrent for the occasional wild idea. Thankfully, the rigid heddle loom was in the living room where the boys were playing and it had a very near complete project on it. I say “Had” as I was able to finish the Rothko shawl. This was the painting that inspired it.

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I woke up this morning filled with a bunch of ideas for more weaving projects which will also help in getting the assorted stashes of fiver & fabric under control and give my shoulder a nice break…

 

 

Time stops for no one

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve had a series of posts lined up, just needing photos or links addedthen some time passes and another post topic comes up…then more time passes…we can see where this is going. In short, I’m so freaking behind in posts that I could either forget those posts entirely, make a mega post with far too much info or just give a breif synopsis, which is what I’m going with.

First up, the basement. It is done and I couldn’t be happier about it! We will be eating red beans & rice for the forseeable future to pay for it, but our house will no longer burn down from the ancient knob & tube wiring or the shitty job some moron who clearly didn’t know the basics of electrical safety did. Al, the Electrician did an awesome job in making everything safe. Contractor Neil & his crew did a fabulous job with all the non electrical & I look forward to having him back in a few years time to do the kitchen reno. Chris & I have our bedroom set up downstairs so now the kids can each have their own rooms. By the weeks end, we should be done with the cleaning & painting the kids rooms. We had hoped to have them all set up by the end of October, but we hit a bit of burn-out so had a bit of a break.

(Please ignore the chaos, we are slowely getting the bits and bobs organized)

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My Girl Cave is everything I wanted it to be and more.

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In keeping with the creativity thing…I’m once again participating in NaKniSweMo. This time I think I stand a good chance of finishing too! I’m knitting Comfort Cardigan from some well aged Auracania Nature Wool Chunky from the stash.

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I also learned how to make moccasin’s earlier this month, but that will become it’s own post. My plan is to try to get back into the habit of weekly blogging, so things don’t pile up again & so my Mum can keep better tabs on me & my antics.

Wild Hair

More often that is probably good for me I get “ideas” which quickly become “obsessions” or as I like to call them “Wild Hairs up my Butt”. These “hairs” most often have a fiber/textile focus, in my pre-fiber junkie days they covered the gamut from piercings to learning guitar, Chris is much happier that I have a focuse now. A friend once theorized that these obsessions are probably a low level manifestation of manic depression seeing as I have a family history of that illness. It’s an interesting theory, there may be some stock in it, but that’s besides the point. The point is that I have a wild hair up my butt that should last me through the summer and it’s pretty awesome!

Allow me to outline my plan (which contrary to Dr. Steph’s plan, it will not be me giving all my Indigodragonfly yarn to her!):  Kim dyes yarn, she dyes REALLY AWESOME YARN! and she & her man Ron give these yarns REALLY AWESOME NAMES! Put awesome yarn colours with awesome colourway names and have these awesome yarns made by a local-ish (based in Haliburton) small company, my resistance becomes futile. The fact that Kim and Ron are REALLY AWESOME PEOPLE is just icing on the cake & I think I just used up my awesome quota for this post…

It appears I have amassed a respectable collection of this AWESOME YARN (sorry, needed one more), a fair amount of which is fingering to lace weight and I’m fond of shawls, put these two things together and I’m feeling a Summer of Shawls coming on. I’ve made stabs at Summers of Shawls in the past & failed miserably mostly due to over commitment & a complete inability to accept that I cannot bend the space time continum to suite my needs. Drawing on these previous failures and my brand new mad knitting beaded lace skills I picked up in a recent beaded lace class with Laura Nelkin at Lettuceknit, I’ve set a goal (that sounds much better than ‘a plan’) of knitting three shawls with Indigodragonfly yarn between now & Labour Day.

The Shawl & yarn combos are as follows:

Aestlight Shawl using MCN Lace, Drusilla colourway – I started this in September 2011, it some how got buried in the Closet of Shame where it was excavated from the stash during the big stash organization binge I went on in January. I’ve hit a tricky part that I can’t quite make sense of yet which was probably why it was set aside way back when.

Colour Affection Shawl Of Nerd Awesomness using MCN Sock, Did I Listen to Pop Music Because I was Miserable or was I Miserable Because I Listened to Pop Music; and two skeins of  Merino Sock in Also, I can Kill you with my Brains and Bunnies, Bunnies! It must be bunnies! This shawl combines two of my favourite nerd/geek shows & a favourite book/movie.

The last shawl is Faberge, using a skein of MCN Sock in Did I listen to Pop Music… and a skein of Merino Sock in Slutty Thursday Things & it’s got beads! I have some charcoal seed beads but after the class with Laura, I’m concerned that the metallic lining on these beads may wear off & cause problems with the yarn or bleed/leach something onto the shawl. I really should just steele myself for a run up to BeadFX for the type of beads Laura reccomended and bring along a non crafting person who will slap my hand when I get distracted by something shiney or start getting “ideas” then before I know it, I’m some how $100 lighter than when I came in.

With my bathroom reno coming to an end and with it the subsequent chaos & upheaval it creates in ones life, I plan to get back to a semi regular blogging & crafting schedule as I have quite the backlog of stuff to show & tell like how I finished my first big weaving project, the new veggie patch & probably some other stuff…

 

 

 

Oh right it’s a new year!

Because I have spent nearly my entire working life in the service industry I have very different (often negative) associations with almost every holiday on the calendar. There is nothing like seeing people come to near fisty-cuffs over the last baguette at the bakery or witnessing families who have clearly spent way too much time together freak the hell out on the poor holiday hire who has very politely informed them that their level of membership does not allow 15 guests and it also expired 3 years ago. The stuff I’ve seen is enough to make me weep for “society” and to seriously consider relocating to a very remote cabin in a very remote part of the world with a very large dog, an even bigger gun, my books, loom, spinning wheel, yarn…you get the picture.

Of all the questionable behaviour and annoying habits/traditions of the Holiday Season, the one I do try to hold to is the New Years Resolution. Perhaps it’s a bit of residual who knows what from my years as an active pagan (I lapsed into a comfortable solitary practice years ago when the kids arrived as getting out with a newborn is like mounting an expidition to Mt. Everest) but there is something very nearly electric and palpable about a new year! I get the same excitement and anticipation at the beginning of a new school year. It’s the combination of a fresh, new start and the heady scent of possibility that I look forward to.

My first resolution is always: Start as you mean to go on! This can be harder to keep than you think! After that my resolutions vary depending on what I want to accomplish and improve over the year.

For 2012 I’m going to look inward (in a sense) and return to some old practices that served us well but fell to the way side. Two of my resolutions that I’m most excited for are my decision to improve my textile/craft skills either by challenging them or taking a course and to fill the holes on The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred list.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

It shall be fun to complete the list and I have a very dear friend who will probably quite willingly assist me with #37, #45 & #73…

Wish you all a very happy & safe New Year and hope that you too were able to start as you mean to go on.

 

 

And then there was plying!

Last night I finished plying the Sweet Georgia BFL/Silk…It’s quite lovely! And as suspected Abi tried to claim it for herself!

I’m very pleased with how it turned out especially as it’s been a good almost two years since I was able to get at my wheel. Once I track down my WIP tool, I’ll be able to get a rough estimate of the WIPS, but currently the yarn is a balanced ply that’s between a Sport to Worsted weight. Going to skein it off and give it a soak in the tub before I figure the final yardage and then what I’m going to do with it…

Oh and this weekend…I made a spinner

Busting out the Wheel…

In a spate of fiscal responsability, stash management and a bout of creative whatever-you-want-to-call-it, earlier this week I unearthed Viktorya (that was done on purpose and is not a misspelling), located all her bobbins and located the misplaced flyer because; Dudes, I was going to spin!

Viktorya has sat idle for almost two years thus causing my hard learned spinning skills to go fallow, meanwhile my fiber stash was seeing semi-regular deposits thanks to two different year long batt of the month club memberships I had received as gifts. NOTE TO PARTNERS OF SPINNERS: Batt/fiber of the months clubs are wonderful gifts for your beloved. They will get colour/fiber blends they would not normally have chosen which will expand their creative horizons providing they are open to the experience. There were also a few additions I made here and there when something caught my eye, needless to say I have quite the fiber stash that’s just bursting with creative potential, some days there is a little too much potential which makes the decision making a bit difficult!

So this is where I found myself the other night, I was not feeling the knit love but wanted to keep my hands busy (bad things happen when I’m idle…walls have been know to go missing in my house during such moments), while looking through a box of stuff for something completly different I found this:

Two 100g braids of Sweet Georgia BFL+Silk in the Summer Dusk colourway…luscious ain’t it? My Dad will be pleased that Sweet Georgia is a Canadian Company and that I bought it at my local yarn store. He’s all about the buying Canadian, local and supporting the small business owner/artists.

I divided the first brain in half, fluffed it ever so slightly, poured a cup of tea and got to work…

BFL + Silk is a great fiber for acolyte spinners, it’s a bit slippy, a bit grippy, quite forgiving and all around dead sexy! Highly recommend it!

I spun up the first half of my braid onto one of the bobbins ten called it a night, unfortunaly due to the work schedule I havene’t been able to get back to it and it’s KILLING ME! Just look at that yarn!

I’m aiming for my final product to be a 2-ply Worsted weight yarn with enough yardage to knit Sweetgum or one of the shawls in my Ravelry queue.