Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A new member enters the fold

I've sucked another one into the "craft cult" as James calls it. I forgot to add to my post on the 21st about my friend Esther coming over for a spinning lesson. We had a very productive afternoon and she was able to leave with her first little skein of handspun yarn. So I loaned her all my beginning spinning books and spindles, and pulled out samples of various fibers out of my stash for her to try. As you can see from her blog, she's been hard at work and skein #4 is looking really good. I'm so proud! Teaching people crafts from the beginning has not really been my forte. I'm much better teaching techniques to someone who already has the basics. Some years ago I foolishly agreed to teach a basket class at our neighborhood clubhouse. There were 10 people in the class, and thankfully my friend Julie and my mom came along to help out. If they hadn't been there I totally would have lost my mind. Everyone said that they had a good time and really liked their baskets, but I wouldn't try that again. I've done quite a few workshops and programs for the knitting guild and am pretty comfortable with that. I guess because I still feel like an advanced beginner spinner myself, I'm not that comfortable teaching others.

So thank you Esther for being such an exemplary student and making me look good!

New Job (sort of)

I just moved to another facility to work on Monday. It was REALLY hard to leave all my "old people", and many tears were shed last Friday. I'd been there for 3 years, so it was almost like leaving family. It's kind of sad to think that being on therapy would be the high spot of someone's day. So now I'm working a little closer to home (cut my 45 minute drive by 15 minutes), I get every other Wednesday off, I'll be learning to apply all the modality training we did last year, and the building is better staffed which lets me better utilize my time for therapy. And as an added bonus, I'm still working with people that I like as well as respect professionally. Woo-hoo! Now if someone could just manage to figure out a way that we could do paperwork online my work world would be good. I'd even spring for my own laptop to get out of writing notes by hand!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Productive Week

I actually got a lot done this week, in spite of working way more than I really wanted. The Bobble Sweater is finished! And I've actually got a picture ready. Somehow when I was figuring yarn amounts, I totally blew it on the main color. I only had enough for the body and ended up buying 4 more skeins on the internet since Wendy only had 3. Part of the reason was that I added some length to what the pattern called for, both in the body and in the sleeve length. Once I was finished, I had a ball and a little bit left over so I could have just used the 3. But I did not want to take a chance on not having enough to complete both sleeves in the same dye lot. In the right light you can tell the sleeves and body are different dye lots, but it's not something most people would ever notice. I'm happy it's done and am now waiting on some cold weather to try it out. And I've got enough of all three colors to make a matching cap!

I think I may have mentioned finishing spinning a skein of the combed merino x romeldale yarn I was doing on the Country Craftsman. It came out pretty good considering the learning curve and all. Now I want to spin a couple more skeins so I'll have enough for a project. I thought I was spinning pretty fine when I was doing the singles, but once washed, it's more of a fingering weight. I should have known better with the merino.

Then today I spent the afternoon teaching my friend Esther how to spin using a drop spindle. I think she's hooked! We managed to spin a little test skein in two hours. She is a very talented knitter, and so I doubt she'll have any trouble picking this up. A bunch of us are having dinner next weekend so she's going to bring what gets finished this week. I can hardly wait to see it!

Monday, October 15, 2007

We're back!

Wow! This was an exhausting weekend! James arrived home from Topeka early Saturday morning and took a nap while I delivered Bailey to the kennel so we could make the trip to Dallas to see my stuff at the State Fair. And off we went! Fortunately (or not, depending on what you think of driving fast), we hooked up with a group of trucks that were making very good time so it only took us 3 hours to get from home to Mesquite! After a mess up with our hotel reservation, we ended up in a jacuzzi room for the night, which felt good after being so tense on the drive up. I was too nervous to even knit (plus we had the top down and it was too windy).

Sunday arrived and was just beautiful for our trip to the fair. We went to the Creative Arts building first and started making our way around the displays. About an hour later, we were getting to the end and still hadn't seen my entries. But there was a new display right in the middle, and lo and behold, there they were. I felt very special to have both of my entries in such a prominent position! They do such a good job of displaying things at the State Fair. It's always amazing how they can come up with so many themes for each showcase using just what's entered that year. I was really surprised that there were not many entries in the knitting catagories. In years past, the competition was pretty fierce. But I still feel very humbled to have won two 1st place ribbons. Below are a couple of pictures.

Since James' mom was also gone this weekend, I took the opportunity to try out a new kennel. It's not actually new, but new to us. It's called the Pooch Pad and we were very happy with Bailey's care this weekend. She's still on drops for an ear infection, and they made sure that she got all the drops and pills on time. In addition, they take her out to play 6-7 times a day! That's more playtime than she gets at home. She was still glad to be home again, though, and came in with a cute Halloween bandana. She's such a cutie!!

I haven't got much knitting done this weekend (actually none), but I did manage to get one sleeve finished on the bobble sweater before we left. It's really looking cute, and it actually fits! Hopefully I can finish the 2nd sleeve by the weekend. I'd like to have the sweater to wear for Kid 'n' Ewe weekend in case it gets cold. We're really looking forward to getting away for that again. I've already got more fiber than I can spin in a few years, but I do want some more yarn from Jojoland. I'm using the yarn I bought last year for the Victorian Shawl and it is wonderful to work with. And the colors are beautiful! Last year Roddie bought the cashmere and I bought the laceweight wool. The colors are great and the prices are very reasonable. My only other big purchase will be another case of wine from the Fredericksburg Winery. If you're ever in town, stop by for the tasting. They really have some good Texas wines. And their port is delicious! I never really liked ports, but this is great. I need to stock up on the Christmas wine which is wonderful during the holidays. The only problem is not drinking it all ourselves!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

It's October already?

Gosh! It's been a whole month since I posted last. Time sure flies! I've been working more, but James has been busy with the SCCA National Tour so I've actually made time to exercise most days and have almost finished a sweater I started last month. I'm doing the Bobble Sweater out of Jamieson's Shetland Knitting Book, but substituting Rowan Felted Tweed for Jamieson's DK. I've only got one sleeve left to do so hopefully I'll have it finished by the end of the week and get a picture up.

Last week on the spinlist there was a post on reconditioning the wood on old spinning wheels. They recommended Howard's Feed-n-Wax. After reading up on the product, and it is available at the local Home Depot, I decided to give it a try. The wood on my Country Craftsman was pretty dry, and the stool had several substantial scratches and blemishes to the finish. So I used the Restore-A-Finish first, then went over everything with Feed-n-Wax. It looks like brand new!!! This stuff is great. I spent the rest of the weekend waxing all my dry antiques.

It looks like October is going to be a really busy month with stuff planned every weekend. I'll just be glad when we finally get off of daylight saving time and back to normal. Who cares if it gets dark early? At least I won't feel like I'm getting up in the middle of the night. If I had my druthers, I'd skip DST altogether! I'll try and post a photo of the finished sweater and of my stuff at the state fair, but probably won't have time for much else. Only 74.5 months 'till retirement...