One of the things that I have really wanted to focus on this winter is learning and hopefully mastering a few new methods of felting.
This weekend, I was called upon as a spinning demonstrator at a small wool day program in Moultonboro, NH. The program was geared more towards introducing people to rug hooking, but a few of us who utilize wool in other methods were asked to attend as well. I can't tell you how much I really didn't want to go. I don't know why..........I just wasn't feeling very well, and really had to push myself out the door. I have to admit, that I am very glad that I did, as I learned some new things as well.
One of the ladies demonstrating, specializes in needle felting. I have dabbled a little bit here and there with needle felting, but not very much......so I sat down to a little private pumpkin session and look what I came up with! I have a few folk art ideas for the house floating around in my mind.....
Another thing I have dabbled a bit with is Nuno felting. A very good friend of mine, Sue Hoople, was demonstrating nuno felting this weekend. Sue is an incredibly talented and whimsical fiber artist.
As the afternoon quieted down a bit, I sat down for a session of nuno felting. Sue uses silk hankies which felts up very quickly. Sandwiched in between the silk is my favorite fiber........angora blended with merino.
In addition to the above scarf that I felted, Sue sent me home with this book on felting. What an incredible book! It discusses the historical uses of felted wool in various European countries and follows that up with detailed instructions on different types of felting, covering things such as clothing, shoes, quilts, hats, mittens and rugs. This is one of those books that I know I will read from cover to cover!
Sue also sent me home with a bunch of fiber to play with. So today, I set about to do just that.....play.
I used the madder and indigo dyed silk and wool to start with. Let me tell you, if you have rough hands........these silk hankies can be a challenge. Because I have been doing some custom dyeing and cleaning out garden beds, my hands were in rough shape. Thank goodness I had some of my spinner's cream(blatant plug) kicking about !
As I laid the fiber out, I was concerned that there was not enough wool to go along with the silk, but being the impatient person that I can be, I just plugged along anyways to see what I would get......after all, I WAS playing and one can't be striving for perfection when they are playing, right? (Sounds good to me)
These pictures were taken while the scarf was still wet. There are things that I like about it and other things that I know I need to improve on.
I like the light weightiness of the scarf, but unfortunately, I was right to be worried about the lack of wool to be sandwiched in the silk layers. As you can see there are some holes. I will take a picture of it tomorrow when it has dried. I can tell people when I am wearing it, that it is art..........hehe~
Sue being the generous soul that she is.......and truly she is one of the most generous fiber people that I know, sent me home with enough hankies, both dyed and undyed for me to play with. I can't wait to dye up some wool and mohair locks to play with these beauties. Margene......there is that blue that I was challenged to use....let's see what I can come up with ;-)
So.....my day that I dreaded, turned out to be such an inspiring one!
BTW..........that lovely little puppy was bred by a friend of mine and she most likely will be coming to live with us in a few weeks. She is nameless to me yet, as.I like to study their little personalities a bit and see what name suits them. Isn't she a cutie? I soooo love puppies and she really is a cute one!
Don't be afraid to explore; Without exploration there are no discoveries. Don't be afraid of partial solutions; Without the tentative there is no accomplishment. Deng~Ming Dao
A while back someone wrote about our obsession with perfection, which frequently will prevent us from finishing things. In my little Tao devotional book, it discusses this as well. I love the line "Wanting everything in life to be perfect before you take action is like wanting to reach a destination without travel." Typically, I am not a perfectionist, in fact sometimes it frustrates me that I am willing to let as many things slide as I do. Remember the BWA vest (Mar.8 entry) with cables going in the wrong direction here and there? Did I pull it out and fix it.........nope.
This sock though that I am working on however, has been a different story. In Nancy's book she mentions doing the double cable cast on, over 2 needles. Now barely being able to hold the yarn properly to do this cast on, I knew I would not have the dexterity to hold 2 needles...LOL. I chose to use a larger sized needle to cast on instead. I didn't like how floppy the cast on edge looked, but I kept going on anyways. By the time I got to the point that is pictured, I was just not happy with the sock altogether. The texture of the yarn is just not right for this sock. Even on size 0 needles, the sock was loose and sloppy looking. You all know what came next.............
Back into my pile of sock yarn, I found a few skeins of Koigu, which is what the New England sock was knit with in the book. WHAT a difference!! I skipped the 2 needle cast on and just did the cast on, over one size 0 needle and I like the edging much better. Every time I use Koigu, I quickly remember why everyone likes it so. It is so soft, yet it gives such nice definition to lace patterns. I am much much happier with this result.
Sometimes we have to not accept mediocre too. I knew that sock done up in the Twinkletoes yarn would always bother me left the way that it was. I know when I am finished with the New England sock now, it will be a pair that I will LOVE now.
As I mentioned the other day, I am in full (well as full as I can get) flylady mode. Now housework is one area where I am soooooooo not a perfectionist..hehe.
I am determined, though, to have a relaxing holiday season, with a sparkling clean house. We will see................
Opal silk......I can not say enough good things about this yarn! I first spotted these socks on Tracy's website and just fell in love with the colors and the pattern. The pattern comes from the book, Socks, socks, socks and is an easy, comfortable wearing sock to knit. I LOVE them.
You may ask....."What's with the tea?" Well, now that the pressure from the autumn fairs have passed, I thought that I would try to stretch myself a bit as a knitter. With the Opal socks finished, I searched patterns not only for new socks, but for mittens and gloves and in doing so, I wanted to try and learn new things along the way as well. The Calming tea from "Yogi teas" will be a welcome aide. This organic tea has yummy things such as licorice root and chamomile, along with other nerve settling ingredients. I enjoy sipping a cuppa in the evening when I am knitting.
What I have chosen for my new sock pattern is "New England" from Nancy Bush's book," Knitting on the Road". It appealed to me for 2 reasons.....the first being that it is a beautiful lace sock and second it is a design from the Shaker Village in Enfield, NH, which is not too far from me.
The yarn is Twinkletoes yarn, that I purchased last year. As I dug thru the sock yarn in my stash, I just loved the Halloweenish look to the colors in this yarn, very appropriate, don't you think?
In looking at the pattern, a 2 stranded double cast-on was suggested for this pattern. I will admit that my knitting knowledge extends only to what I have learned from others.....no formal knitting classes. I can do a continental cast-on, but the way I learned is not the traditional method. So I sat for 1/2 hour, looking at the diagrams in the book and muttering under my breath......"geez.....I must be dense!" I just could NOT get it!! Then, I got a brain flash......I remembered, Knittinghelp.com. Some people learn better from books, but I have always learned best when watching someone. The wonderful thing about this website is the little video clips showing you how to do something. After hearing, " For Double Cast On.....yada, yada, about 25 times, it finally clicked!! Of course my cast on (please excuse the work weary fingers.......I am in my flylady mode), is probably not as neat as it should be, but I was pleased that I learned something new today :-) I am worried a weebit though that they are looking a bit wide.......how can that happen on size "0" needles......yikes??
Now that the sock pattern is chosen, the next search was for a mitten pattern that would challenge me a bit. Last year, I mentioned that I wanted to get a better grasp on 2 stranded knitting. So with that thought in the back of my mind last winter, I bid on an auction for a bunch of Digit fingering weight yarn, and I purchased the book Knitting Marvelous Mittens, on sale this summer for 6.99, at Patternworks. The book is a group of Russian ethnic designs and I am finding the instructions very challenging...........now where did I put that tea??
What a wildly strange autumn it has been here in the mountains. It is not unusual to see snow on the mountain at this time of the year......but it is incredibly unusual to have peak foliage so late in the season, with that snow.....our trees are usually nekid at this time of year. The warm temps have delayed our foliage and we all thought it would be a dull display this year......but nature has fooled us again. The colors are brilliant and against the snow, just breath taking. I am so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place as this
Is it possible?? Rhinebeck overload??
Ok......I don't know about you all, but I am on Rhinebeck overload. The stories, the pictures, the fiber.... My brain is working overtime and my thoughts are scattered. Do I play with the new fiber...do I do some of the felting I have been waiting to do......do I start the Warm Hand Mittens KAL, or the Peaceful Palm KAL....acckkk!!!
Deep breath.......aahhh......breathe........in with the good......out with the confusion...aaahhhh......better now.
Waiting for me to get home with the ability to concentrate again was sweet "River." Have I told you lately how much I love Kid Silk Haze.....cuz I do!
Lacking the ability, however, to be completely monogomus as some of us are "trying" to be, I did cast on the Merino Laceweight Cardigan for those moments when I just can not concentrate. Nothing like a little stockinette when waiting for a traffic light, or sitting at a soccer game, or visiting and chatting with friends.......
Oh.......and have I told you lately how much I adore Merino Lace yarn......everyone should knit with at least once in their lifetime....wonderful stuff!
What a glorious day Sunday was! The weather was absolutely perfect for shopping. Cool, sunny and a bit windy. My traveling companions had a leg up on me in the shopping department having been at the festival all day Saturday. Sooooo.........I left them standing in the dust when we arrived......I was off and running.....LOL!
Now, I have this lovely new Sony digital camera that takes fabulous pictures and did I take pictures.......Nooooo (ggrrrrr). Something comes over me at this festival. It is like being a child in a toy store, so much to look at, so much to touch........so many temptations and wonderful friendly vendors.
My first stop was at the Spinners Hill booth, but I had no illusions of much fiber left, and I was right. Thankfully I had picked up some roving from her at the NH Sheep and Wool festival. I was semi~relieved that there was nothing there that I felt I just "had" to have.........goodness knows I don't need any roving............
So what you may ask is this?? As I was strolling thru one of the barns, I came upon Kid Hollow, another vendor I have purchased lovely rovings from in the past. Of course that green had Kim written all over it......and the other was roving from last year and marked at half price......so can you blame me??
No.........I didn't buy a new wheel.......fooled ya didn't I? This is a picture of the lovely Robin wheel that I purchased a number of years ago from my friend Gil Gonsalves. Over the years, he and his wife have become very good friends of mine. (trust me......this is going somewhere) When I stopped by Gil's booth, he asked if I would come back at noon and watch his booth, so he could get lunch.
Imagine his surprise when he came back to a completely filled booth of women happily chatting away and spinning on his wheels...LOL! Julia, Nathania, Vanessa, Cara, Sharon, Laurie and Theresa came to visit.....How fun!!. Theresa was a natural behind that wheel. Julia and I stood by watching, completely amazed at how quickly she picked it up! Only one of the girls succumbed to temptation however, and she fell hard.........but I'll never tell.......<grin>.......I will let her tell you all. ;-)
Knowing that my time at the festival was quickly drawing to an end, as our journey home was a long one, I quickly skipped down to the big building. I was sorely tempted by the Blue Moon Socks that Rock, but when my conscience reminded me of all the sock yarn I had at home, I decided I should use up what I had.
As I stopped by to say hello to Linda Diak, she pointed me in the direction of Mary Pratt's lovely fleeces......I chuckled to myself, knowing that I would not be tempted........until............I saw this blue ribbon fleece and wouldn't you know, my blogging friend Juno was stroking that very same fleece. Where I wouldn't have walked away with an entire fleece........splitting it was just too tempting to pass it by. The staple on this romney is a good 6 inches and just incredible!! Thanks Juno it will be fun to see what you do with your half :-)!
Most anyone that knows me, knows that I am a complete sucker for nicely finished wood. Many years ago, I used to restore antiques and to this day, the smell of Danish oil and spirit of turps, stirs the same feelings that a raw fleece does. Every year I sit behind a Golding wheel just to give that Mercedes of all wheels a spin, never really being tempted as the price is a reality check........however...... as I was talking with the wheel maker and looking at all of the various pictures that he has of his wheels, this one picture caught my attention. Could that be the head of a bunny?? Nah.....silly woman.......that is part of a flower, but if you look very close, it looks like little bunny paws and a bunny nose, doesn't it??
Of course the wheel maker seized the moment to capitalize on my weakness...........even though it isn't a bunny, it could become one. EviL evil man......now that thought is in my head and one can not deny how wonderful this wheel is to spin.......stay tuned~
As I close this post about the wonderful day I was allowed to have in Rhinebeck....I want to say that even more important than any of the fibery things are the friends I have made along my journey. My blogging friends and my home fiber girls all shared some wonderful times this weekend.
As I said hello......nice to meet you and good~bye all at the same time to the infamous Claudia, gave hugs good~bye to Judy, Cindy and Julia, I realized how fortunate we are. In this great big world that we live in, all from different parts, we have a bond of friendship that is simply amazing and I feel privileged to call you all my friends~
Pure light is all colors. Therefore, it has no hue. Only when singleness is scattered Does color appear. Deng Ming~Dao
Thank you, again, for all of your kind words and well wishes. As you know it was a very difficult weekend for us. As we traveled from Pennsylvania to New Jersey for my FIL's burial, we were greeted with this lovely rainbow. It helped to remind me of beauty that exists within the "Circle of Life". There is much pain and sorrow.......but then there is joy and happiness.......yin and yang.
Because our day ran much longer than we expected on Saturday, we did not roll into Rhinebeck until 5:00pm. The original plan was that Ken was going to drop me off at the B&B that I was scheduled to stay in and then head home. We arrived to a deserted and dirty Inn. We waited for close to 45 minutes before the wicked witch Inn keeper arrived. Because it was getting late and Ken really was very overwhelmed by sadness, I felt that it was best for him not to travel the 6 hours home with our younger daughters. I explained to the wench Innkeeper, because it was so late that we would need to find other accommodations that would fit our family. The evil compassionate person that she was, charged me for the night (160.00), even though she could have sold the room later, I was told by my friends who were staying there.
I am not one to speak ill of anyone, nor complain, but the horrors of the Bittersweet Bed and Breakfast were beyond believable for the prices that we paid. Dirty, dusty, wet and moldy rooms and a very unscrupulous innkeeper. Anyone reading this...........tuck this note away as one Inn to avoid, when in Rhinebeck!!
Alas.........there was silver lining in my day, however. I contacted the girls I was to travel home with to find that they were heading to Morehouse Merino, my favorite stop in all of Rhinebeck (Redhook). Morehouse was hosting their second annual wine and cheese open house. I can't say enough good things about this company. Last year, I told you about my wonderful customer service dealings with them and this year when I got there and the wine bottle was empty, the hospitality hostess, came over to me and told me she was getting a new bottle......I guess she could spot a "needy" customer...LOL. When I spoke with her at the fair the next day, we laughed about it. My experiences with Morehouse have been wonderful..........they go above and beyond what is expected for their customers. What a contrast to my B&B experience.......again.........yin and yang.
Tomorrow it will be all good when I talk of my time at the festival :-) Until then.......ciao~
You may be capable of great things, But life consists of small things. Den Ming~Dao
Thank you for all of your kind words and wishes......and a special thank~you to my 2 oldest children who have insisted on helping out with the animals, so that I could attend my FIL's funeral. It means a lot to me to be able to lend my support to Ken and his family.
And... an extra special thank you to Ken who has offered to drive me to Rhinebeck late Saturday afternoon as the funeral is being held in New Jersey, a few hours south of the wool festival.
I am looking forward to meeting some of my blog friends in person.