Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Overdyeing: What not to do

My friend Denise, gave me a sweater that belonged to a mutual friend before she passed away last year. It is really nice, and we are pretty sure that Jane knitted it herself, but it has a big blotch on it that is bleached out. My challenge: to cover up the spot without ruining the sweater. As you can see below, it is a pretty reddish-brown.

I decided to try and dye it with a similar color. I thought it was probably not going to work, but I had the dye and some free time over the wet holiday weekend and I decided to proceed. I now have a nice reddish-brown sweater with a slightly different color splotch. So I guess now my only option is to try and strip the color, then redye it. I've done this once before with a cotton sweater and it came out great. But wool is a whole other matter. From browsing the Pro Chem website, it's looking like I can use Thiox to remove the color. So now it will be a few weeks before I have the free time to attempt this project again. But it will be worth it in the end.

I'm still working on filling up my first bobbin on the new wheel. I have a couple of Blue Faced Leicester fleeces that I'm working on carding, so I'm using it as my test yarn. So far it's spinning up very easily. This is a wonderful fiber to spin and should make something nice.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Isn't the internet wonderful?

I totally love that you can find the answer to almost anything by using Google or another search engine. Even if it doesn't answer my question, I can almost always find someone who can. Many thanks to Dawn Adcock who was able to put me on the right path to getting the new wheel (herein after referred to as Rapunzel)assembled correctly. It seems the metal piece that connects the whorl to the flyer had come apart. I was able to put it back together and everything is working great. Hopefully I'll have some yarn to post by tomorrow.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My new baby is home!

Woo Hoo! I spent the day and my new friend Linda's house test driving the Country Craftsman wheel that she has up for adoption. It's just like petting a stray puppy. Once you touch it, it's yours! So off we went through the driving rain through the Memorial Day weekend traffic. Felt like it took forever to get home since I was so anxious to play some more. But I was a good mom and took a little time to get everything adjusted and oiled before taking it for a spin again. It's spins fine yarn like a dream! And fast, too; although there is a problem with the whorl which I've got to fix before I can ply :-(. I've got to find a couple more bobbins, and I'll probably get whatever other accessories are available since this wheel is no longer in production. It definitely won't replace my trusty Lendrum, which I think is the easiest most versatile wheel ever, but I have room in my heart (if not my house) for both.

That's Bailey there to the right. Probably a little jealous because she's not the center of attention today!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I have managed to get a little bit done...

I whipped up these cute baby booties over the weekend for Emma (friend's first grandchild). The pattern is the "Stay on Baby Bootie" from Twisted Yarns. I made up the matching cap pattern on the fly. Came out pretty good if I do say so myself. Guess I'd better write it down before I forget what I did!

While cleaning off all the junk that has accumulated on the kitchen counter over the past two weeks, I decided to use up the yarn that I had left from the Merike Saarniit workshop. Since there wasn't a lot, I decided to make a felted wine holder - something to keep it cool and not sweat on the table. I haven't tested it yet, but I think it came out kind of cute. No pattern, just one of those things I decided to do on a whim. It came out shorter than I expected, but that's ok. James says it looks like something for the Cat in the Hat.

Now I just need to get to work finishing the things I already have started. And I REALLY want to finish up my Level II Master Knitting Program from TKGA. I had all the swatches done at one time, but with the new revisions, I'm going to have to make a few more. Plus, I think my knitting has improved some since I did them originally so I'll be reknitting a few too. I already have the argyle sock and the vest done, so other than the swatches, all I have left are questions, book reviews, and a report on the history of knitting. Yawn! You can see why I can't get motivated to finish this!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

New Spinning Wheel

I'm picking up my new spinning wheel next week! It's being adopted from a fellow guild member whose house is overpopulated with wheels. The new wheel is a Country Craftsman. I still love my Lendrum upright, but have always wanted a Saxony style wheel too. If my husband can justify having five cars, I must be at least three wheels behind, so what can he say. Linda is having a little reunion at her house for all the MS&W gang (we haven't seen each other in at least a week!), so I'll be picking the wheel up there. I haven't spun on a double drive wheel before, and will greatly benefit from a little instruction. I'll post some pictures next week.

I've decided that need to start setting aside one evening a week for spinning. There are lots of things I want to do, but I'm always putting it off because there isn't enough time. If our great-grandmothers had time to spin, certainly I can make the time. We have all the "time-saving" gadgets in our lives, but seem to have less and less free time. When Chris was little, I worked full-time, was room mother for his class, den mother for cub scouts, took piano lessons, trained for marathons, and my house was neat and clean all the time. Am I that much more disorganized now? Where is all my free time going? Maybe I need to fill out a timesheet at home like I do at work?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2007

Twenty of us from the Knit at Night Guild were scheduled to leave on Thursday evening to attend the festival on Saturday. Storms were brewing as we were about to board, and we were informed as we left the gate that we wouldn't be taking off until the weather cleared. About 3 hours later, after sitting on the runway with no food and only a small drink of water, we were informed that the crew had maxed out on their time allowed to be on the flight and we would be returning to the gate to deplane! Since there was only one lonely attendant at the gate to give out information, we eventually learned that most of the local hotels were already full of the people who hadn't been sitting on a plane, and that we were now booked on a flight leaving at 6am Friday morning (it is now 9:30pm). Do we try and get home for a couple hours of sleep, or do we camp out in the cavernous cot room next to gate 45?
Camping it is! After a couple of beers and a piece of greasy pizza we were ready to sleep. And if some *@#&! smoker hadn't set off the fire alarms in the entire terminal by trying to smoke in the bathroom, it probably wouldn't have been half bad.

Once we finally made it Baltimore, six of us decided to take in the Oriole vs. Cleveland ballgame at Camden Field. Since the game didn't start until 7pm, we had time for a water taxi ride around the inner harbor (with a side trip to A Good Yarn, and a local pub).

Our last stop on the water taxi took us to The Rusty Scupper for some awesome crabcakes! I bought a recipe book on our travels so my mission is to learn to make this delectable delight. Lucky for us Camden Field is a nice hike away to burn of a couple of calories!

Here we are at the game. Our seats were on the front row of the upper deck right behind home plate (and in the middle of all the college kids). The view was great and the Orioles hit a homer just as we sat down. We didn't stay for the whole game since we were pretty exhausted from no sleep the night before and sightseeing all day. Plus we wanted to be a little fresh for the festival in the morning.

The festival was awesome! We arrived early and immediately lined up for t-shirts, after being warned by many that they would be gone by the end of the day. The wait in line was a good chance to mingle with the locals and get more tips on what to see and do first. The shopping was overwhelming - yarn and fiber everywhere! Since I went with one particular thing in mind, it wasn't too hard to pass up a lot of impulse buys. Since I had already committed to buy Linda Woodward's Country Craftsman spinning wheel when we get back, my major purchase was a Golding Spindle that I had been lusting over for a long time. This is me with master woodworker Thomas Golding. The spindle is truly a work of art and I've already tried it out.

One of our favorite things about the festival were the sheep barns. Who knew that there were so many different kinds of sheep! We got to pet lots of of them (we were more than willing to do our part in "socializing" the little cuties) and I bought a little bit of fiber so I could test drive the new spindle. Is this not the cutest face you've ever seen?

While we were killing time before the Shepherd's Feast, we watched the sheep dog demonstrations. Those dogs are amazing! My dog doesn't do anything but chase rabbits and shake hands. Hmmmm. Maybe I need a trainer?

A great time was had by all! And we can hardly wait to go back again. If you want to see more pictures, check out our guild photo site. We'll all be posting our pictures there to share with everyone.