Sunday, April 29, 2007

SP's, SP's, everywhere!!

Another GREAT knitting weekend! K and I had planned to go to Jacksonville on Saturday for the Fiber History Social. Due to the long drive, she invited me to spend the night Friday. Friday afternoon she reminded me that it was the last meeting of the Altamonte knitting group, which is sadly being disbanded. So, I was very happy that we got to go to that meeting! Kind of ironic really - their last meeting was also their best attended, with 5 people dropping by!
Saturday morning K and I were up bright and early. With only minor GPS issues, we arrived at the event location at 9:45ish. The location was Camp Milton, which has a lovely building that somewhat resembles an old farm house. Inside is a beautiful presentation room, but outside is a wide, deep, shaded porch. Since we all brought chairs, sitting out on the porch was convenient. The shade and breeze kept the temperature just right.
Many of the people that we met are involved in Historical Re-enactments from the Civil War era. We shared some techniques and knowledge, learning and teaching throughout the day. We also met Carol and Liz - and remarkably, Carol lives about 10 minutes down the road from me! She taught us the basics of needle tatting. I made a tiny little sample - enough to prove that I had a clue...I think that will be another skill like crochet - that I'll pull out once in a blue moon for a specific SMALL project, but not to become a regular part of my fiber endeavors.
After we left the event, K and I just couldn't resist dropping by one of the LYS's, KnitWitz. They had a nice selection of Fleece Artist rovings in LOVELY colors. Here's the one I picked up for me...I got one for my Spring Fling pal too, but I'm not going to show you that picture just yet.
After KnitWitz, I was still intrigued by the other LYS, A Stitch in Time. We met one of their employees at the event. She recommended the store highly (of course!), and had shown us some of the Aloe/Jojoba sock yarn - well, she showed us the sock. So, we ran over there and looked around. They had a nice selection of items in their sale bin, and after a little deliberation, I had to go to the car and bring in the Crayon Box box. As it turned out, one of the yarns that was put in the sale bin THAT DAY was just perfect! I also picked out another that was full price, and three balls of a lovely soft blend that I can see making a scarf or stole or something with...
Overall, some great purchases! K also found some yarns and rovings at both locations that she was happy to pick up.
While we at the event earlier in the day, one of the ladies did mention that Joann's had all of their Simplicity patterns on sale - for $1.99 each! So, on the way home last night, after we finished dinner, K and I ran in (at 8:45pm!) to raid their patterns. Here are the ones I picked out.
Three are gown/dress possibilities, and the fourth has several quilted bags. I've often ogled the Vera Bradley bags and other similar quilted bags...ok, I'll admit it, I'm an absolute sucker for anything resembling a knitting bag. So, if I can find some appropriate fabric, maybe I'll try making one myself...
Spent the night at K's again last night, since it was rather late by the time we got home. This morning we all slept in a bit. When I finally got out of bed, I worked on the CTH jacket some more. It was the focus of the weekend, and I have some news... THE BACK OF THE JACKET IS DONE!!
We all went out for breakfast, then to Target for a bit of retail therapy. I did pick up a couple of things for me, but MOST of what I got was for my two downstream SP's. Also stopped by the autoparts store to pick up some replacement bulbs for my brake lights. Came home, dropped by the neighbor's house, who let me borrow his star screwdriver. I was very proud of myself for changing out my bulb ALMOST all by myself. Yes, A insisted on helping by looking at the lit lights to see whether the one to replace was top or bottom. But, all of the physical "labor" of the swap was all me! Ok, so it took about 5 minutes INCLUDING researching which bulb was which. Glad to do it myself for a total cost of less than $5 than to pay someone else two or three times that much for their "labor" to change it out.
So, made it home today finally, only to find a BOX in my mailbox!! And a pretty good sized box at that! So, here's the contents:

It started with the YUMMY dark chocolate. From there it moved to a ball of TOFUtsies! Yum! I still can't wait to try knitting with some of this! There are so many things on my knitting agenda, and right now CTH is still dominating the list. If I have any prayer of finishing on time, there IS no time for anything else. Anyhow, back to the package. Lots more lovely yarns, kitty treats & toys, yummy tea. There's a great knitting book...where do you guys keep finding these great knitting journals?? This is number two, and just as wonderful as the first one! Oh, and the CARD! Did you make it SP? The dragonfly on the front is BEAUTIFUL! What a great package! So, CPURL, did you forget that I know your address? And I know you're at least reading my blog....which leads me to wonder why A) You would send me a package with your own return address, or B) You would agree to send a package for my SP, knowing that I DO know your address... It's a bit perplexing, but I'm putting you on notice, you're my #1 suspect at the moment :)

After perusing my lovely package, munching a couple of chocolates, as well as some of those Butterscotch Crisps from Ann the other day, I hauled out all of the stuff that *I* have for SP packages... It was pretty scary to see my entire counter FULL of various package stuffers! Some for SP8, some for Spring Fling for now, some for Spring Fling for later...and some for future unknown SP's! Put together two packages that will go out tomorrow. The Spring Fling one will remain a mystery, but the other, for SP8, will be mailed to Zimmie tomorrow. Ok, so here's where I need your help...if you are NOT Zimmie, don't tell her you read this...and if you ARE? Well, you found me!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Holy Themed Packages Batman!!!

ANN!! OMG! I've been transported! (But then of course the irony of that is not lost - been reading synopses).

If you're not Ann, some background... I got home today to find this GIANT HEAVY box waiting for me... I put it down for a moment, turned around, and find a very interested kitty sitting on top of it. Hhmmm...cute, but a little strange. Timothy is such a sweet baby I just had to take a picture of him.
Fast forward 30 seconds. I've shooed Timothy away and shut off the camera. Picking up box to take to the livingroom for unveiling... But wait...there's Smokey, and HE seems awfully interested in this box too! Does it contain catnip toys??

Finally the furballs back off a bit, and I got it into the livingroom. Opened it up, and... Holy Cow that's a lot of tartan! Each item was wrapped in tartan cloth, and even the ribbon was cloth tartan ribbon! To take it a step further, Ann even used the extra pieces of fabric as additional packing material. It's a viscious plot you see...she knows that if she dangles a little fiber in front of my face, I'll be compelled to do something with it... This huge pile of lovely tartan is fairly screaming for me to make a quilt with it... We'll see... no promises.

But why tartan I asked? Oh my...the ENTIRE package is Scottish themed. Yes, I REALLY mean the WHOLE thing.

Here you can see the Anne yarn along with the lovely pattern for the Scotch Thistle Lace Stole. Next to that is a skein of STR - in the Scottish Highlands colorway.

There are several tasty morsels included...and all are MADE IN SCOTLAND!! Ok, this part really does perplex there a strong Scottish presence in your part of the world, such that there are Scottish only stores?? There are Butterscotch Crisps...oohhh...a little bit sinful I think, a small package of shortbreads, Scottish Breakfast tea - smells like a lovely strong breakfast tea, and Pinhead Oatmeal! I haven't opened the oatmeal package yet, but I'm guessing this is a type of Steel Cut oats? I LOVE SC Oatmeal!!

And finally, the inspiration for this amazing themed transportation to Scotland: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager, by Diana Gabaldon. This series is about a 20th Century woman who is magically transported back to 18th Century Scotland! It looks fascinating, and I'm told it's excellent. These are also HUGE books with relatively small combining these three books with the 5 previous books that Ann has sent me (I've read about 1 1/2 at this point! - and those are the small size novels...) I think I have enough reading material to keep me busy for the next year!

Thank you SOOOOO much Ann, this package was totally over the top!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Still knitting...

...on the Cherry Tree Hill project. I am trying to do at least 2-3 color blocks per day...which was easy when they were 30 stitches long...but now they are 130 stitches long!! The back is coming along well...then to do the fronts and sleeves...ARGH!

So, busy knitting on that... Saturday is the Central Florida Fair - we'll be there from 12-6 demo-ing. Still have to decide if I'll be knitting or spinning. Am thinking I might knit in the morning at B&N, then spin for a while at the Fair, then maybe knit a little more...

Flat Stanley should be winging his way here very soon...which will mean a bit of traveling to show him around....

Next weekend there is a Fiber History Social in Jacksonville (Apr 28th). K and I will be going up to hang out, visit, meet some new people, and knit and spin some more :)

May 5th is our Knit & Spin Because We Can day. (See below).

By mid May? MAYBE I'll have a weekend or two to myself!! Of course, Cherry Tree Hill will continue to be #1 on my agenda until it's complete. Due in NE by June 1st!

Sorry no pics... I WILL post a pic of CTH when it's complete...which should be right around when it's due...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Knit / Spin In Announcement

You may have already seen this, but if not...

The Knit or Knot Guild of Orlando invites you to
Our Second Annual
Knit and Spin Because We Can Day
Saturday, May 5, 2007
10am to 4pm
First Baptist Church of Oviedo
45 West Broadway Street
Oviedo, FL 32765

Come join us for a great day of fun, knitting, spinning, sharing and learning! Bring a sack lunch and a reusable mug, snacks and drinks will be provided!
Agenda for the day:

Show ‘n Share
Knitting/Spinning Instruction
(Drop spindle kits available for a nominal fee – learn to spin TODAY!)
Trade Table
(Yarn or other supplies that you don’t want but want to find a good home? Bring them along!)
For Sale Table
(Label items with your name and sale price)
Yankee Swap
(A few balls of a special yarn, a pattern book or two, some roving… Think something YOU would love to receive – Wrap it up (a paper bag works just fine – nothing see through) and we’ll do an exchange! Tons of fun, go home with something new to inspire you!)

For Questions, Additional Information, or to RSVP, contact Jody
I had a seed of an idea planted yesterday... My apt complex is in the process of building a "town center" area. It's actually very nice, and there will be quite a few shops there. Walked over last night to have dinner at Quizno's, our very first tenant to open. While I was there, I walked around the remaining area to see the "Coming Soon" signs that had been put up in many of the windows. There will be a bakery, a wedding planning store, a shoe store, three sit down restaurants (Indian, Ricky Rito's Latin, and Gator's Dockside Sports bar), a 24 hour Gym, a Tea Room, and a Library!!
The last two are the most exciting to me, because they open up a possibility. As many of you know, I am an active member of at least 5 different knitting groups. The closest groups are 30 minutes away, some of the others 45. The "stretch" meetings that I could attend would be up to an hour or hour and a half away! I've had conversations with various people over the years about how I should start a group closer to my area. The problem is finding a location - compounded by the fact that the majority of my area is predominantly tourist. So, I'm thinking that the Tea Shop might be a nice place to meet once in a while...and if we outgrow that, there is a BEAUTIFUL two story, GIANT library that will be opening up 1500 feet from there.
So, right now it's just a seed of an idea...neither establishment is open yet...the tea room is an empty shell and the library isn't even finished being built.
I'll keep you in the loop!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Classes and Demos

Wow, what a week!

As I mentioned last, I attended Chris Bylsma's Crayon Box Jacket class on Sunday last week. It was an AWESOME class! It was held at Sip and Knit and we had a great time. It definitely is a class where you need to have the entire yarn store at your disposal while you plan out your sweater! I actually did pretty well and didn't completely break the bank, so was happy with that. After 8 hours in class, this is what I came away with:

Another week's worth of knitting, and I'm at this point:

Yep, that's one sleeve complete and the other one only one square short!! With that said, I really need to put this down now! Am taking it to knitting with me tonight - will finish the last square, then work on some ends. Cherry Tree Hill is calling however, and time is short.

Did I work on CTH this weekend? No, of course not. Actually, the Textile Arts Guild of St. Augustine was holding their annual Spin/Hook-In on Saturday, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to go out and spin for the day! The venue was beautiful - we were in the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center, which looks like it's been recently rehabbed. I do think that because it was a free venue, and closer to the Spanish Quarter, as well as the first stop for information when hitting St. Augustine, that it had an AWESOME turnout! I LOVE any time I can talk about spinning and there are SOO many people that you can barely see through them. Even better, there were many times throughout the day that people were having to be dragged away - they were so interested they just didn't want to walk away!

I was very bad about pictures for the day, but I did get someone to take this one. The fiber I was spinning was from an Etsy purchase - the Artichoke colorway of Superwash Merino from Yarn Hollow. It did give us the opportunity to talk about dyeing, and what types of dyes would have been used in earlier times. Anyhow, this fiber has become a lightweight two ply yarn for SOCKS! It's actually going to be for my SP8 downstream...(Hope she's not reading...)

I got a special treat on Saturday as well... The operator of the lovely traditional wheel to my left above was the very fortunate recipient of an amazing find. She recently found a BEAUTIFUL Great Wheel at a great price. She was kind enough to bring it with her on Saturday, both to get some assistance in learning to spin it, and to show. Once the expert (one of the other spinners) got it running, I got to take a lesson!! I wish I'd gotten pictures of that, but sadly did not. It was a very spiritual cosmic experience for me...

Three and a half years ago, when several of us took a field trip to Asheville, NC, we went to Bovidae Farms outside of Mars Hill as part of our explorations. While others were shopping, I started examining all of the beautiful wheels. Began talking to the owner, and soon he brought an Ashford Traditional down and plopped it in front of me, showed me how to draft while he spun the wheel for me. That was my first ever attempt at Spinning. Once I finished, he took me upstairs and demonstrated his great wheel for me! So now, three and a half years later, I've gotten to spin on one myself!

I truly wanted to spend the evening in St. Augustine, but had another commitment, so I had to head out.

So, all of my new friends in St. Augustine agreed that they wanted to see what that lovely artichoke looked like once finished! It was 4.4 ounces, and I spun the first bobbin full on Saturday, and made a good dent in the second bobbin. Yesterday at KnitWits, I continued on the second bobbin, completing all but one small piece of roving (about another 30-45 minutes worth). Came home and finished up the 4.4 ounces, then promptly switched it out for a plying bobbin. Plyed while watching TV, then finished that and wrapped it up on the Niddy Noddy! The verdict? At 11:15 last night, I finally had THIS:

The 4.4 ounces translated into about 320 yards of yarn! My goal all along has been that this would be a ball of sock yarn...I think they'll be shorter socks, but I do think that socks are still a possibility for this yarn.

Poll Question: My original plan was that I would spin AND knit this into socks for my SP8 DS. Time is tight, and I'm debating whether I should knit it up for her, or just send it and let HER knit it... So, what do you think? Knit or send as is? Comments appreciated!