Monday, February 25, 2008

Debby Ware Workshop

KANG hosted a great workshop this weekend with designer Debby Ware of Debby Ware Knitwares. She's the talented lady that designs so many of the cute hat and bootie kits that you find in many of the yarn shops. On Satuday, we spent the day trying out different techniques to design our own caps. She brought lots of her own for us to see, so there was no shortage of inspiration! She also brought cotton yarn in LOTS of colors so we had plenty to choose from. Below you can see my finished Birthday Cake Hat. It's not blocked yet, but I still think it came out pretty cute! The candles are 6-stitch i-cord that is scrunched down on itself, then the flame is a 5-stitch finger. I was going to use a glitzy fuzzy yarn for the flame, but I think I like this better. Sunday, we did baby booties. I'm still not through with those yet, but will post pics later. Everyone had a great time, and I think went away inspired to come up with some interesting designs on their own. Baby things are a great way to try out ideas and colors since they are small and don't take a lot of time. And everything looks good on babies. Right?

Birthday Cake Hat
Theresa's Birthday Cake Hat

Birthday Cake Hat
View from the top

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Back from Vegas

Vacation is almost over. Bummer! It's been a great 2 weeks and I wish it could last longer. I've hardly even thought about work at all! The first week, I goofed off. I'd do maybe one chore each day then play the rest (or start getting ready for our trip). We drove up to see the boys during James' birthday weekend, then off to Michele's to meet the new beau. He seems very nice and we all had a good time going to dinner at the Mandola Winery in Austin. Dinner was wonderful and the wine wasn't bad either. Needless to say, I brought home a few bottles to add to the stock.

We were home just long enough to do laundry and pack for Las Vegas and Tina's wedding (3 bags for 2 days). Since we were staying at the Bellagio I didn't want to look like a slouch, and hardly ever get a chance to dress up anyway. The hotel is even more beautiful in person, but you could hardly tell with the afternoon crowd checking in! You get a much better look around breakfast time. There was a convention going on at the hotel, so they upgraded our room to a! I swear it was at least 2000 sq. ft. with a living room, wet bar, dining room, office area, bedroom, and a huge bathroom with jacuzzi tub and steam shower; and flat screen tv's in the living area, bedroom, and bath. I could have just stayed in our room the whole time and been perfectly happy. Wouldn't you just love to live this way all the time! Once we settled in, we went down to the buffet. Since we flew Southwest, we hadn't had anything to eat except a bag of Wheat Thins. The buffet looked really good, but the sushi bar part was actually the best. I'm not sure what all I ate, but it was delicious! The desserts, on the other hand, were beautiful but disappointing.

Wednesday night we went over to the Venetian to see Blue Man Group since that is what James wanted to do for his birthday. They are a bit on the strange side, but great fun. There is a lot of audience participation so is geared a little more toward the younger (adult) group. If you don't like loud rock music, this show is not for you. For those of you who know me, and how early I'm usually in bed, you'll be amazed to hear that I was actually up until 2:30 PST! Didn't really do a lot of gambling, but managed to lose enough to pay for drinks.

Valentine's Day we slept in then went downstairs for breakfast at La Patisserie (apple pecan crepes) with a BIG coffee. We sat at the windows overlooking the pool full of lawn furniture that had been blown in overnight. The weather was clear and beautiful while we were there, but definitely cold and windy! After breakfast, we wandered back up to the room, sacked out on the couch, and watched tv until time to get ready for the wedding. We had to be dressed and downstairs for the limo at 2pm so there was plenty of time to be lazy. The wedding was held at the Little Chapel of Flowers. They did a very nice service which was videocast on the web. Hopefully they'll have the final version out soon so we can see it again. Tina and Steve were both teary and happy, although Steve was looking a little tired by the time they finished with an hour of picture taking. Once we got back to the hotel, the ladies changed and we met in the Fontana Bar to drink martinis and watch the fountains until time for dinner. Tina had made reservations at Prime Steakhouse which was fabulous. Believe it or not, but I ate pretty healthy while we were there (except for all the alcohol). And since we were keeping such odd hours, we only ate one big meal each day. After dinner we hit the casino. James pooped out early and went back upstairs while mom, my aunt, and I cruised the slot and poker machines. Somehow I ended up on a nickle slot machine and accidently maxed out my bet when it hit for two $400 jackpots! I didn't think it was ever going to quit dinging! You'll be happy to know that I immediately cashed them out and only blew another $100 playing. In reality, that didn't even cover what we spent for the two days on food and entertainment, but it was way fun! I don't think I'll ever be a big gambler though. Unless I start winning something immediately, it gets too boring and I wander off.

When I made our travel reservations, I had us booked for a 5:45pm flight out. In retrospect, I should have made it earlier. We were exhaused by Friday, and we had to check out by noon, so after wandering over to Caesar's Palace and getting a gellato we took an earlier shuttle and just hung out at the airport with mom and my aunt. It was a good thing we did, too. The line for security wound around and around and felt like it took forever. You know, I used to love to fly anywhere. But now it is such a pain to have to get there early, fight the crowds through security, you have to be careful what you take in your bags, and on and on. I'll stick to road trips until the gas prices make that unreasonable too.

Saturday, I slept in until 9:30 and probably would have slept later but I had to go do my monthly Weight Watchers weigh-in. I was only up 1.6# from January, so I guess that's not too bad, all things considered. Next weekend we have a retirement party to attend, so I went looking for a pair of cowboy boots since it's being held at a country western place. Can you believe I've grown up in Texas and never owned a pair of boots? Well I do now! They are so cute and pretty comfortable too. Got a couple of shirts to go with them, so I should fit in with the rest of the party next week.

Well, this is getting long so I'm going to quit for now. It's nice to be home, but I'm sure not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

An unfinished project

There's been lots of discussion on the Spin List of late on Bluefaced Leicester fleece and how wonderful it is to spin. Actually, it was the first roving that I bought when I was learning and it really got me hooked on spinning. I bought my roving from Copper Moose and can recommend them highly. Their fibers are wonderful, the prices are good, and the service is excellent.

BFL is a long and lustrous fiber that spins like butter, and it feels good against the skin. A while back I bought two lamb fleeces from Robina Koenig of Tumble Creek Farm. I washed them when they arrived, but thought that I had felted the butt ends so I hadn't done much with them since. All the discussion made me go get them out of storage and I sat down to really take a closer look. These fleeces have so much crimp, that when I would try to pull some locks out, it would make the cut ends tangle together in a knot. This morning, I very carefully began at one edge and pulled out individual locks, combing the tip and butt ends with Bailey's grooming comb. It's a slow process, but looks like I'm going to be able to use just about everything with very little waste. The fleeces were beautiful, clean, and well skirted, so it wasn't a problem with that. The problem was my impatience and inexperience in washing them. I really should have taken the time to do smaller batches. You could probably equate it with washing an afro. I'm just going to to have to chalk it up to a learning experience and look forward to spinning the final product some time in the future (this is going to take a LONG time). In the meantime, here are some pictures of "Mab" and "Piper". Sorry but I've forgotten which is which.

Fleece 1 - Notice that the locks on this one are longer, thicker, and with a little less crimp than the other fleece. This one will be easier to card so I'm saving it for last when my resolve may be running low.

Fleece 2 - This was actually the first one I washed and is the more matted of the two. Add that to the fact that the locks are a little shorter, finer, and with more crimp, and I'll be working on this for a long time. This shot really shows how fiber practically glows.

This is my original sample showing some washed locks and carded fiber.

This is a batt that I carded on my Louet Jr. drumcarder. I'm having a hard time not jumping in and spinning it!