Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Artsyfish is Hung Again

For many years I have been taking art classes through the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia (CACV). My favorite and most persistent has been Landscape on Location with Suzanne Stevens. Over this time I have evolved from a very tight pastel artist to a rather loose watercolorist. Suzanne called yesterday to invite me to put one of my favorite pictures into the Student Gallery in December. Last night I finally decided to name it "Cypress Spirit".

I was thinking of having it framed just because I like it, but now I have an excuse to spend the money!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back to the Mountains

This past weekend three of us trekked back to the mountains of Virginia. Yes, I do know that these are hills compared to the real mountains out West! But to those of us that live at or below sea level, these are very nice, easy to get to mountains.

The reason was
KnitXperience put on by Carodan Farms. For us it was a major yarn crawl with food thrown in! First stop was the Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg.

We all managed to purchase yarn, then retired to the deli nearby for lunch.

Next we drove across the state to Carodan Farm with the help of Kathy's
TommiTom, arriving before the bus from Graves Mountain.

We scoped out the little shop, got Noro and Fiesta yarns,

a basket and patterns.

Then it was time for a tour of the farm. They raise sheep and keep lamas as guards for the sheep. It reminded me of home with the baaing and smell (a neighbor keeps some sheep).

Following that was a terrifying ride to Graves Mountain Lodge following their bus driver. We arrived safely and after an overwhelming dinner were treated to some Celtic singing by our instructor of the weekend, Melissa Weaver Dunning. I ended up spinning with my Golding during the performance. Two nurses from Winston-Salem saw me and wanted to learn to spin (later in the weekend they did!). We knitted in Wallis' room until about 11:30, then were off to bed.

In the morning it was another monster meal and Cable Class. It was raining hard so we sat through it. Late in the morning I was distracted by the report there were bags of fiber sitting on the porch. I snuck out and sure enough Pat and Steve Harder from
Kid Hollow Farm had shown up with bags and bags of fiber along with their yarns.

After lunch we shopped again and had chair massages.

I was restrained and only bought 1 1/2 ponds of the Mohair/Border Leicester roving. Class was interrupted that afternoon buy the appearance of a gorgeous double rainbow when the sun came out.

After dinner was a visit from Linda and Emily Krag of Denise Interchangeable Needles. It was fun hearing the story of a product I had purchased years ago.

I also taught the two nurses to spin with some of the fiber they bought, and my Golding Tsunami. I may have broken them by teaching on a 1/2 ounce spindle! They did great, though, and I really enjoyed it!

Sunday we learned new cast ons (after MORE food) and headed back to the ocean side of VA. On the way we picked up some appley goodness to take back from the mountains!

P.S. My handspun in the LYS SOLD. It's a good thing after this weekend - I over spent a little!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monogamy - What's that?

When it comes to knitting and spinning variety is the spice of life. At least for me. Since this blog is Artsyfish Knits I guess I should post about my projects on the needles. At least active projects. We will not disturb the hibernating bears lurking in the yarn room.

My oldest active project is from last spring. What makes such an old project active? It's
intention. I do not intend to go near the hibernating and never to be spoken of again bits. This garment - the Notting Hill Vest in Donegal Tweed will be completed.

I just need to put it together, and finish. Finishing to be started tonight!

The next oldest knitting project is my Palette of Colors shrug using a combination of commercial (Lacy Lamb) and my handspun yarn.

I HAD to start it as soon as my yarn was finished! It was crying to jump on some needles. This was my first completed, usable handspun and was instrumental in the purchase of my spinning wheel.

Then there is Mystery Stole 4. I was going to just copy the clues as they came out and stash the pattern on my computer until I saw some finished Clues 1 and 2. Alas I am weak - I had to start it! I had yarn and beads in the stash that would work, so I dove into it.

The best intentions...

Finally, all the projects (except the Donegal Vest) were too complicated to take to S&B. So of course I had to start another. The Elizabeth Zimmerman Rib Warmer was my answer to that - but once started I found it would be way too small as written. So that was frogged for future pattern modifications, and I started the February Lady's Sweater again from the stash.

So far it's working out OK. I don't know how good it will be now that I am into the lace. Only time will tell!

Click on the pictures to find details in Ravelry. Not a member? Sign up here - so much fibery goodness (and enabling)!

Monday, October 20, 2008

One Knitter's Review

This weekend our knitting guild brought in Clara Parkes, author of The Knitter's Book of Yarn

and the Knitter's Review web site and newsletter. The weekly newsletter provides reviews of needles, yarns and other tools, as well as keeping its readers informed of Fiber Events throughout the country. The Knitter's Review forum is available for discussions of over 7000 topics related to knitting.

Clara's sense of humor came through as she led us down the path of yarn construction and what it does for the knitter.

She passed out samples of a wide variety of yarns as she reviewed singles, 2 ply, three ply, multi-ply and brushed yarns. We saw swatches (that WE did not have to knit) of the various yarns with cables and stockinette stitch.

We also saw a very sad swatch of brushed yarn that has not held up at all over the last 3 years.

In addition to Clara's talk we had a Berroco trunk show and got to try out some very interesting
square knitting needles. I was especially interested in the circulars, since I knit my socks using the magic loop method, and these cables are very soft and supple.

On Sunday a book signing, more trunk shows, and sweets at Ewe Knit Kits and Yarn followed Saturday's activities. A great way to avoid yard work and housework for the weekend. After all, the work will be there after the fun is done!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Off to the Yarn Shop!

Not me - my yarn! This yarn I spun up

from this

is now in a LYS waiting to be sold! Let's see how long it takes...

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Crowd Filled Weekend

This weekend was the busiest of the fall for me. Saturday was the Virginia Fall Fiber Fest and Sheepdog Trials in Orange, Virginia. This was the first fiber fest since I really took up spinning. Maryland Sheep and Wool was only my begin-to-spin fest.

Wallis and I jumped in the artsy mobile way early on Saturday morning and drove across the state to Orange and a wonderland of fibery goodness. The day was sunny with a nice light breeze - perfect for looking at alpacas (soooo cute and fuzzy
headed), sheep, fiber and yarn. I ended up being pretty responsible, although there were an incredible amount of real deals in fiber.

The second place we stopped I fell in love with this 70/30 alpaca/merino blend.

I waited until later to buy it, but it did come home with me. Then we encountered a bunny farmer with an offer of all the fluff you could stuff in a bag for $1.

As you can see - 2 ounces! Could have fit more, but the top had to close. Wallis says people are coming into the yarn shop looking for angora for Santa's beard on Christmas stockings. Hmmmmmm!

Finally the Blue Faced Leicester (BFL). I wanted red, but I went for the white - 1.5 pounds of it.

I could have gotten superwash for a dollar more a pound, but I wanted to try spinning the real thing before I tried the scale-less.

And finally, to try and make the yarn I'm looking for instead of whatever comes off the wheel, my 2 technical purchases.

The Mabel Ross book is out of print, but this copy is in beautiful, never used condition. Well worth what I got it for. Wallis' eagle eyes picked it out! Later I also looked at complete fleeces. I went in adamantly denying I would get one and came out saying "Maybe next year.....".

We spent the rest of the day watching the dogs herd the sheep in the field and checking out the sheep and goats. I wish I had pics of them. Again - next year. Now that I have this blog I need to carry my camera everywhere.

Sunday I watched more dogs - all shapes and sizes at the Chesapeake Humane Society's annual Bark in the Park. Every month I go to Petsmart with the Humane Society to try to get cats adopted from the city shelter (others work with the dogs). But the first Sunday in October I work the big Bark in the Park. As usual yesterday I was selling raffle tickets - this year was for a gas card. Its a time to see all kinds of dogs, meet up with friends, and pass out treats all around.

From here on out weekends calm down some. The crowds will be smaller, at least. Time for more knitting and spinning!

Friday, September 26, 2008

September's Almost Over!

Earlier this month I joined the September Spin Along on the Spinner Central group on Ravelry. When I was reading the thread I realized the Leicester Longwool locks I scored in Yorktown were local and natural colored.

I fell in love with the fiber (and was petting it the whole time we walked around Yorktown!)
Well, I realized yesterday that the end of September was approaching and I hadn't done much spinning on Lester's Long Wool Locks. So I got out my comb and the bag of wool and went at it.

Not bad for
a few hours since I have to prep AND spin. Click to enlarge the pic - I love the way the yarn is coming out many different shades. I hope to get enough worsted weight yarn for a vest eventually.

Off to spin some more!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Heritage Days

I spent 2 days at the Chesapeake Heritage Days celebration this weekend. Our knitting Guild (TKGV) had a booth and provided a table for members to sell our stuff if we wished. I had yarn, house socks for adults and kids, felted bags and some earrings and stitch markers.

As usual nothing sold! I may just stop with the shows - they aren't worth the effort!

The good news is that I got a lot of spinning and knitting done. I've started an Elizabet Zimmermann Rib Warmer out of some Foliage in my stash.
Then I spun up some Mountain Colors Targhee in the Lodgegrass colorway

with my little Golding Lace weight spindle. Love the fiber and the spindle!

Although the spindle is slow, I couldn't take the wheel out there too!

In the evening I continued work on Clue 1 of the Mystery Stole 4. This one is really pretty, so I'm plugging away at the beads and lace! Pictures another time.

Off to clean the house so I can mess with more fibery stuff!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Starting Out

I kind of hate it when pushed beyond my comfort zone. This blog is definitely beyond that place.

I developed a web page for a client and when she wanted to do her own updates I followed in the steps of far more savvy web designers and suggested she begin a blog for the updates she wanted. Worked like a charm, but then she started asking questions I couldn't answer, since I didn't have a blog.

So here I am!

I've been toying with the idea of a blog (as if the blog-o-shpere needs another knitting/spinning blog), and this was the incentive. I know I am no Panopticon or Yarn Harlot, but I've certainly got yarn and fiber and the urge to use it all NOW! So if you keep coming back you will see what I am working on, finishing and starting in my fuzzy, fibery world! As well as all those daily things that get in the way of the fun...