Saturday was Maine Fiber Frolic

And frolic I did!  As I have the past few years, I went with some of the ladies from Whorls and Purls, and we met up with even more of the group once there.

A gave me cash for my early birthday, and I had been saving up quite a bit of cash for the event, so I felt quite flush this year!

I am going to try the link thing again to all of my goodies, please let me know in the comments if it doesn’t work.

I was not as organized as I like to be when I go there, with patterns and ideas in mind.  I was thinking I wanted some fairly solid DK weight yarn for a couple of sweaters (suddenly all the patterns I like call for DK, and I have none!) and I knew I would be on the lookout for some yarn and matching beads for the Biophilia  shawl I will be starting soon.

I also knew that Bartlett Yarns would be a vendor, and I wanted a sweater quantity (SQ) of their yarn.  If it could be DK, so much the better, but I knew what color it would be.  I had a sweater in this color out of their yarn years ago, and I wore it until it could be worn no more.  I miss it and want another.

So, Bartlett was the first stop.  Even knowing exactly what I wanted, I had a hard time choosing! They have so many lovely colors. I chose what I went in for, though, a lovely shade of soft aqua blue and I am going to love the sweater.  It is sport weight, so a little lighter than DK, I will survive, and see what a swatch tells me.  I knit loosely, so it might work. If not, I will find something.

After that, it was to my favorite Pine Star Studio, where I got this and this.  The redder one is a contender for the Biophilia, but when I found the beads that worked best, I realized I had some at home already, so I didn’t buy more. The cranberry one, though, I found those gorgeous beads to match.  I have no idea what the pattern will be, the yardage is crazy high on that one, so I will not do the Biophilia with it, but choose something that will make more use of the whole skein.

Then there is the fiber.  I have bought a few large lots of blended merino silk over the years, and thought about combining them to have enough to make a sweater, but I really needed more to make the project work.  I knew I would never match the colors exactly, so I wanted to get some with all the colors, and I will spin it as a combo spin.  Maybe I will hit DK weight on that? So when I saw this, from the same vendor, I knew it was coming home.  I love all the blues and greens, and the fiber I already have is also blues and greens, though darker and grayer, so it will get toned down.

Lastly, I wanted to get something I have been eyeing since I learned to spin.  Every year I want it, every year I don’t buy it in fear of not being a good enough spinner.  This year I decided I could do it.

Camel and silk, undyed.  It glows in the sunshine.

All that plus a couple of ice creams (Stone Fox Creamery – oh my!) and some pizza for lunch, plus fudge to bring home to A, and I had five dollars left in my pocket.  Truthfully, it was not in the same pocket the rest of my cash was, I found it as we were leaving.  Had I known, I would have gotten more beads, for sure.  🙂  I think I did pretty well, and will have enough to keep me busy for a while.  And I will start saving my pennies again, because Knit East is in October, and I will want to shop there as well!

 

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Feeling neglectful!

I feel a bit guilty for not writing more and sharing what I have been up to.  I have sat down to write several times, but clearly, that hasn’t amounted to an actual post.

Things have been kind of chugging along in fits and starts, lots of work, lots of knitting, lots of spinning, lots of weather.

The biggest news is that a couple of weeks ago – on the MLK holiday weekend, A industriously went to work the day after the snow storm, and on her way home, she hit a deer.  She was going slowly to start with, due to the bad roads, and she saw the deer, and braked, but the road was icy, and she slowly slid into the deer. Deer and A were both fine (apparently – the deer rolled into the ditch, hopped up, and ran away) but the truck – ! Scotty needs a face lift.  So now we are in the whole insurance company, adjuster, body shop dance.  At least it runs, and everyone is fine.  It’s just one more THING, you know?

Last week was a good fiber week – it actually started the week before, when word went out that our local salvage store, Marden’s had truckloads of Classic Elite yarns at half off retail! I checked it out after work Friday. There was a LOT but not a wide variety of colors and not their very best fibers. Still, I found a few balls of Liberty that made it worth the trip!

I really only wanted to get the purple one, but the others called to me and I couldn’t leave them behind. 😉

Thursday I took the day off and spent it at Mom’s knitting and chatting with her and my sister.  Mom tried on the sweater, and I am glad she did – it needs some adjustments, so I had to rip it back to the waist.  Easy to do now, before trims and button bands and what not are added. So I did that ripping, and will add some darts front and back to fix the fit issues. Also, I gave my sister her pretty cowl and she loved it.  Whew!  I also brought my dye book over to have her show me what colors she likes and what colors she doesn’t like.  The girl who had her entire room – walls, curtains, bedspread – in purple is gone.  The grown woman likes no kind of purple now.  Glad I asked.  🙂

It was a nasty stormy (rainy) day with lots of road flooding, so going home was an adventure, but I made it with vehicle intact!

Saturday was our annual potluck party with the Whorls and Purls gang.  We added two things to the event this year – a yarn swap, where we each brought a nice skein of yarn in a brown paper sack, and played Yankee Swap.  But then we also all brought yarn and fiber that we would be happy to have out of our stashes, and piled it all on the dining room table of our hostess.  We drew numbers, and took turns choosing something.  We thought it would take forever, but it went quite quickly!  I brought home slightly less than I took there, which is a plus, and even more of a plus is that I brought home things I love and will be happy to use, and that was not the case with the things I took.    I managed to stick to the Whole 30 (day 22) in spite of all the delicious looking soups and desserts.  Thankfully, I brought salad, and someone else brought fruit, so I was able to eat just fine.

Sunday, A and I went over to Rockland and volunteered for the annual Pies on Parade event, held to support the local food pantry.  Mom is on the board there,  and is always looking for volunteers to help at this amazing event.  They had 27 venues, all serving pie in some form, and sold 700 tickets.  We were stationed at one spot and spent the afternoon greeting people, checking tickets, answering questions. It was fun, but exhausting!  Still, we both agreed, we would do it again next year if we are needed.  And if we aren’t needed, we think we will buy tickets and join the eating frenzy.  And for those of you keeping track, that was day 23 of Whole 30, and I had not one smidgen of a bite.  A brought some nuts and things, I picked out the cashews from her stash at the end of the day, when I was ravenous.  Instead of eating, I knit.  It was interesting, as always, to knit in public like that.  Most people paid me no mind, but several ladies commented that they were glad to see me knitting, and a pie vendor told me she was sorry she hadn’t brought her own knitting.  But you know me, have knitting, will travel!  I almost finished my second blue sock. I should have it done this week.  Not sure what sock will be next… but I have some ideas. I need to design and knit a Liverpool football team themed pair for my BIL… that might not be my NEXT pair,though.  I have to get just the right colors and pattern.

So that is what I have been up to –  still spinning 15 minutes most days, knitting, most days, though the work days last week were long, because of all that time off, I still managed to touch fiber a bit.

Finished the Aegean on wensleydale…

 

and began it’s solid complement, Oliver Twist, also on wensleydale.

 

I am spinning both of these “backwards” to see if I notice a difference when knitting. Instead of spinning the singles “Z” and plying “S” I am spinning  the singles “S” and plying “Z”. We will see if I can tell the difference when working it.

 

I told you how the brown sweater  and blue socks progress, and the Nymphalidae is coming right along as well. I am almost done with the increasing section.

 

And Durrow.  Durrow. Oh, it is going to be so lovely, but it moves so slowly!  It least I am done with all the squares that start inside and work out.  Now I have two to knit from the outside in. I have started the first and an slowly working on it.   I had made a good start on it,but somehow got it twisted.  Sigh. That meant ripping out and starting that square again. I am loving how the two colors of purple are blending together as i join the squares to form this one.  I can’t wait, because once these two are done, I introduce the third purple, a pale one, for the two end triangles.  And THEN I am done with the tricky parts!  There will still be a whole body to knit, but plain stockinette!  Yeah! And a lace border… not sure, I have to see it, but I am thinking of using the lightest color for that and the i-cord bind off.  We will see.  You know, in 6 or 8 months when I finish this thing! And when I do, this thing will be worn a LOT to show the world that I finished it! 

As I work my way through it, I am in awe of Lucy Hague’s ability to conceive and write the instructions for this beautiful, complex shawl.  Her directions are very clear, though involved.  The ONLY thing I wish she had done differently is combine some of the row instructions (and presumably charts, I am not using them for this project) differently.  I fear losing my place as I flip back and forth.  But that is it, the only thing I would change.  Well, one other thing.  I think I need a reader.  But that is not on Lucy.  Unless she wants to make an audio pattern, and read the row by row instructions to me.  That is what I need though.  Someone to say “knit one, ssk, knit three, cable 4 right, cable 4 left, knit 3, ” etc. slowly, as I knit.  Any volunteers?

The other knitting thing happening is that I joined a Japanese Lace Sampler Scarf MKAL.  It starts on 2/1, and I can’t wait.  I have my yarn (Swan’s Island natural colors fingering) and have swatched.  Now I just need the first clue!  Clues come out every two months, and there are 6, I believe, so this will be a long term project, over the course of a year. I have a Japanese Stitch bible, the patterns are so lovely!  I need to start incorporating them into more things.

This is my swatch, using a variety of needle sizes. I am going to start off with the top one, a US size 3. And I am in love with this yarn!

 

That is about it at this point –  life moves on, snow comes and goes, work seems ever present.  Thank goodness for knitting and fiber!

 

 

A knitting finish!

I am unreasonably proud of this colorful scarf. I dyed the fiber, spun the yarn, and knit the scarf. 👍

I typically will avoid linen stitch but this yarn begged for it. And I found a genius pattern that calls for knitting it in the round and cutting it apart when done. No purl rows!

When I dyed the yarn, I was doing some experimenting with colors. And then drafting created another color experience. The linen stitch created the third surprise, the colors are well and truly blended now. But still bright and cheerful, just not so in your face bright.

And you can’t tell but it is oh-so-soft!

Weekend plans in June

This weekend has far fewer plans than the last two did, and that’s a good thing. A has been working on finishing the bookcases for my birthday. The last one is ready to be painted, so I will work on that. It will take longer than the weekend for me to prime and put two coats of paint on.

Tomorrow I get out of work a bit early, and have to run to Bangor in the afternoon. A has to be there too, so we will connect and go to the “big” grocery store before heading home.

I have a plant I need to get in the ground, and I haven’t been sure where I want it, but I think I know now, so will try to get it planted in the afternoon.

I also need to get the pool water tested and the chemicals to put in, so I can get it really clean. If I don’t get that done tomorrow, I will do it on Saturday.

Saturday is Whorls and Purls in the afternoon, that is my only commitment for the whole weekend! Not bad.

Sunday is Dad’s birthday AND Father’s Day so I will try to reach Dad to say hello. That is more difficult than it used to be. But I’ll give it a shot!

I think step brother J arrives in Maine tomorrow for his summer holiday. Not sure when he will be able to help garden, but I need to get ready for lots to happen! I am a little bit anxious about it this year, the projects I really want to focus on are big and maybe nasty…

I hope to find a little spinning time, almost done with bobbin one of tree bark. And knitting! Plugging away on the sweater, but I can’t just knit at W and P, I need to knit on it other times or it will never happen.

I did finish a hat this week

Not sure what I will do with it (sell or gift) but it is ready to go.

That’s about all she wrote. Just anticipating a weekend filled with meaningful chores and fun crafting and DIY.

Quick weekend report

The weekend went much as planned. The weather was absolutely perfect for all the things I had on my plate.

Saturday was sunny and very breezy, so I was able to work in the yard in the early morning without being tortured by black flies and mosquitoes. I got lots of weeding done, and planted the last of the seeds I wanted to. Likely too late to be really effective, but better to try than not! I also planted a six pack of zinnias that one of A’s co-workers gave me. She has a green house and is growing flowers to sell. I was hoping she had some tomato plants for sale but she doesn’t. She did suggest where I could get some, though. Maybe this weekend I will track some down. Need to get them in the ground if I am going to. Last year I didn’t even try. The previous year, for the first time here, we had those big ugly caterpillars. I am hoping by not growing them any food last year they went away again. So I am willing to try again.

Anyway, after standing on my head in the yard for a couple of hours, I cleaned up and went off to Whorls and Purls, which was fun and productive as always. Still plugging away on the body of my sweater, and did a few rounds on my sock.

Sunday morning I was back over at the Purple Fleece before 8 to meet a couple of the ladies to head off to Fiber Frolic. We gathered up another along the way, and got there a little after 9.

It was an absolutely perfect day again! Less windy, but sunny and very dry and cool. And the crowds were very small compared to Saturdays in the past, so we were able to walk around and talk to vendors without being crushed. It did feel like there were fewer vendors there, but there were plenty of them, and most of my favorites were there. I only noticed I was missing one in particular.

My budget was just the right size, letting me get a few things here and there, but not going wild and dreaming crazy dreams of future projects.

I got (from the top) some sock yarn from String Theory Hand Dyed on the bluestocking base, which is BFL with a touch of nylon. I usually get her merino cashmere base, but I thought I would branch out. And I need more dark blue socks.

Then some lace weight yarn from PineStar Studio. I love her colors and can never resist a skein of her lace yarn. She also packages up gorgeous kits of yarn for patterns that don’t require full skeins of a few colors, like a linen stitch scarf or a fade style cowl. And this year she had mini skein bundles as well. I could literally spend thousands in her booth. I still haven’t knit up last year’s purchase (a skein of a silk blend destined to be a Reyna shawl) but that didn’t stop me from adding to the collection.

Next is a ball of blended colors on a silk and merino base. Last year I missed a super deal on this stuff by running out of cash before I found her. This year I went there first. 😊 She didn’t have quite the same super deals, but I got 5 ounces of this. It is very similar to some I got in Wisconsin, so I think I will spin them all together, someday, and have enough for something fun like a vest or something.

Last up are some pretty little handmade brass buttons. Not sure what they will go one, but I will think of something. The booth that had these is one I visit every year to drool. It is an LYS shop in the Portland area that I haven’t visited yet, but intend to someday. She always has this lovely camel and silk, yak and silk, merino and silk, blended fiber for sale. It is all gorgeous! I love touching and ogling it. But my wallet has kept me from trying it out. One day I will. I found the button rack and had a hard time choosing among the selections, they were all so beautiful.

So with these purchases, the gate fee, lunch, lemonade, and an ice cream, I came home with 18 cents to get me through the week! Luckily I have a full tank of gas and a pot of chili for lunches. 😉

We finished the day at the festival by watching some sheep shearing before heading for home.

When we dropped of one of the ladies, we got out for a visit at her wonderful house. She has a perfectly sized house on a lake, so it was fun to see the place she is always talking about , and see her fiber den. It is very cozy and lovely, complete with a friendly cat.

On the whole it was an excellent fibery weekend!

How was your weekend? Did it go as planned, or were there surprises?

Almost back

Knitting hard on the Fine Sand cardigan all week got me back to the point of dividing the sleeves from the body last night. Yeah!

Thankfully still loving this project!

On other knitting fronts, I spent Saturday afternoon at Whorls and Purls making this

A paper bag full of brown yarn balls! Why, you might ask?

Well, years ago, Mom bought this yarn, and a few years after that, I knit her a cardigan from it, which she loved. Then she lost a ton of weight and the sweater no longer fit her at all. She was very sad about that, so I offered to rip it out and reknit it on her size. The ripping out took three hours! So this will be my next sweater project. Luckily the pattern was my old standby top down cardi, I can knit those in my sleep almost!

Here are a couple of progress shots of other things I am working on. Spinning is progressing slowly because I knit the sweater so monogamously, but the second bobbin is done.

And the second sock is moving along more quickly now that I am around the heel.

I didn’t just knit this weekend, I also did a small amount of gardening. Very small! I planted carrot and lettuce in among the garlic, in the hopes of fooling the resident wild bunny. I suspected he survived the winter because my tulips were leveled, and we had confirmation of that with a sighting yesterday.

I also planted some cosmos and zinnias in various places, if they grow, we will finally have some color around the place!

And we had two meals so far with our own asparagus! I think there will be a few more this week. I planted 5 plants about 4 or 5 years ago, having no idea what the yield would be. That is enough for us to enjoy in season, but not enough to put any by for the rest of the year. If I ever get another good spot for it, I will put in a whole lot more. I really love it picked fresh for dinner!

Other than that, my limited time out in bright sunshine was spent continuing to fish debris from the pool. I am trying to figure out how to reach the middle without getting into it. Even with the long handled rake, I can’t reach the middle. So I scoop what I can reach, and stir it all up so the filter can do its job, and progress is as slow as every other year. Sigh.

This week is looking reasonably normal. One late day meeting that I can’t knit through, but otherwise a normal work week, I think.

Next weekend we are off to Pennsylvania to see niece C the younger graduate from college! Seems like she was just born! It will be good to see her and her sister B, whom we haven’t seen since a year ago when she graduated and returned home to Pennsylvania. I miss the days when these girls would come have nice long visits with us in the summer. But I guess grown up kids have to work and want to be with their friends, not their two old aunts. Such is life.

Well, let me leave you with two shots of other parts of my world.

The ugly curtains were proclaimed to be perfect and wonderful, and they do the job of cutting glare on the computer screen.

The quince in the front yard started blooming in the nick of time, just as the first hummingbird arrived.

Hope you had a good weekend and that your week ahead is better than you expect!

2017 Review – as it relates to fiber

Lately it seems many of the bloggers I follow are having a reflective look back at what they have and haven’t accomplished. It made me stop and think and wonder what I did this year.

It seems I knit a lot.

According to my Ravelry page, these were all finished in 2017.  And I happen to know there were a few more ornaments knit.  And hats.  🙂

Then there was spinning:

And I am still working on that last of that big purple spin on the bottom!  Was hoping to have it done in 2017, but time is running out!  I also spun 4 ounces of secret challenge yarn that I can’t share until mid-January.

I did some traveling and met some amazing ladies in Wisconsin. Yes this is fiber related, as I am sure they will tell you! We all connected through Ravelry and built the trip around the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Except Mom. I already knew Mom.

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and saw some amazing sights along the way (OK, maybe not so fiber related, but there was knitting!)

and did some yarn dying

whole-batch-for-web

It was a pretty busy year and loads of fun!