Thursday, January 21, 2010

Because we have been having some gnarly rainstorms the past few days and I'm all cooped up, I thought it was time to communicate with the world. I haven't blogged in ages -- two months to be exact. But, sometimes there's a need to step away and treat yourself to a time out. So, I have been nurturing my creative spirit these past couple of months, just enjoying myself. I have finished projects, spun miles of yarn, done some dyeing, felting, and a lot of knitting and crocheting and spent time with friends. I used this time to experiment with things/ideas that would swirl around in my head as I was getting ready for shows last year. I finally put the finish on my Lendrum Saxony wheel, and it is a beauty. Love this wheel.
Another project I finally finished -- it's only taken me two years -- is the Lizard Ridge blanket, which was knit with Noro Kureyon. This blanket was supposed to be 24 squares big and after 16, I just had had enough. And I'm not sure I want to sew 16 squares together again, but . . . I do love the beautiful colors and it looks great draped across the back of my couch.
And no sooner did I get that dang blanket sewn together than I had to knit something else using that pattern. This time it is a shawl or maybe a poncho, but there will be little or no sewing. I just love the undulating pattern and the way the colors knit up. I am again using Kureyon, with one colorway as a main color and alternating with other colorways. I just knit one ball until I am done and then pick up another ball.
Another thing that completely drew me in was this shawl that I saw on Ravelry. As soon as I saw it, I thought OMG! my handpainted sock yarns would look amazing crocheted in this pattern. Of course, I only knew how to do granny squares. This shawl is crocheted lengthwise, and colors are changed as you run out of one ball and switch to another.
Literally within minutes of seeing this pattern, I jumped in the car and ran over to Barnes & Noble and purchased the book by Kathy Merrick -- of the "Babette" blanket from Vogue Knitting. I have to say this is one of my favorite crochet books. Kathy has done a wonderful job of creating fashionable updated pieces. I think this book is a must have for anyone who loves to crochet.
Well, since I had only done granny squares before, I decided to teach myself to crochet using Kathy Merrick's pattern. After about four unsuccessful starts, I all of a sudden had that AHAH! moment and I started to get it. Since this was my first attempt at something other than squares, I decided do to a smaller scarf, and I am liking the way it is turning out.
Felting has also been one of my interests and I have been tapping my creative side with some shawls and a scarf during my "time out". The thing I like about wet felting and needle felting is that you just start laying out fibers and then you let the project take you wherever you end up -- it's very fly by the seat of the pants. First shawl.
Here's a second shawl.
And a scarf.
So here are "some" of the things I have been spinning. Spinning is my favorite thing to do and I have been on overdrive and loving every minute of it. I have been doing some of my chunky novelty yarns using my "Pastiche" mixture. Here are a couple skeins:

Some "Pastiche" waiting to be spun -- maybe today, with the darkness and rain and wind pummeling my windows.
Having fun spinning coiled yarn -- inspired by Jacey Boggs' article from the Winter 2009 issue of Spin-Off.
And then I had some rovings I bought from Lisa Millman (Dicentra) last year at Madrona Fiber Retreat, and I have been wanting to spin these, so I did that the other day. These are merino/silk/angora. I plied her colorways "Periwinkle" and "Eowyn" -- just lovely. (430 yd., 3.6 oz.)
I also had some Dicentra "Edora", which I plied with my "Cranberries" colorway. This is superfine merino/tussah. Lisa's colors are brighter than mine and I love the way mine and hers ply together. (420 yd., 3.5 oz.)
For this skein, I spun a superfine merino in my colorway "Cowgirl Blues" and plied it with one of my random handpaints in a blend of alpaca/merino/silk. (566 yd., 4.9 oz.)
I wasn't kidding when I said I'd been spinning a lot. Here's a skein spun from two randomly handpainted rovings, one ply was baby camel/silk (50-50) and the other was merino/bombyx silk. (328 yd., 3.4 oz.)
And my most favorite of fiber to spin -- unbelievably soft pyrgora. I have two skeins and just can't make up my mind what to knit with it since it is more than special.
And I have planned some of my travels for 2010. I signed up for Golden Gate Fiber Institute's weeklong summer intensives. (Aug. 8th - 15th) I am taking Jacey Boggs' workshop on spinning novelty yarns and Abby Franquemont's workshop on spindle spinning. I hope to learn much more about both subjects. This will be my third summer at GGFI. It is adult fibery summer camp out on Point Bonita just north of San Francisco. I have had so much fun each summer that I just cannot pass up a chance to go again.

I also made my reservations at the Old Taos Guesthouse so I can attend the Taos Wool Festival, the first weekend of October. This is a fibery event that I absolutely love. I've gone the past two years and just love getting away to Northern New Mexico.

Guess I've rambled on enough, which is what happens when you haven't blogged for two months. I'm done for now.