Sunday, July 31, 2011

July Recap

Spinning ...

Tour de Fleece - Recap by Project Pictures

Knitting ...

Slip Shod

Weaving ...

Simple Woven Wrap

We're on track!

Sock Summit 2011

Sock Summit 2011 by Project Pictures
Sock Summit 2011, a photo by Project Pictures on Flickr.
I'm not so great at photoblogging or taking lots of pictures. I usually bring my camera and forget to use it. I did try this time to get some fun images from this year's Sock Summit.

I only went for a day (and a night). Things were pretty busy at home, but I'd planned on this trip for quite a while, and we'd worked out that staying all day was okay along with one overnight and driving back the next morning. So when Saturday rolled around I got the house all ready and drove up to Portland.

I arrived about 10am and met up with Ba (seen above in the wonderfully geeky Sockgate). She was also kind enough to pose for me (in her lovely Muir shawl) when we got to Awbrey's booth. And here's Awbrey, too. She makes the most wonderful-smelling soap. You could almost try and take a bite of some of those bars! And Everything Balm, and the wonderful Wood Beams. All fabulous stuff.

Sock Summit 2011 Sock Summit 2011

Ba and I hit the market and then when lunchtime rolled around we took the MAX down to Galleria and bought brats for everyone (YUM). I had to seriously high-tail it back for a fantastic class with Judith MacKenzie... in which I took absolutely no pictures. DOH. Seriously, tho. I was way too busy spinning and learning to remember my camera. Plus we were spinning cashmere and silk and enjoying it far too much.

Sock Summit 2011
Class wrapped up and slowly the group managed to gather (it was like herding cats to get this many people going in the same direction at the same time). And while waiting for the MAX again, Sandi started cooking up some nefarious plans. Okay, not really. But she does look like it, doesn't she?

The MAX back down to Galleria was packed and crazy. Lots of people going to do lots of fun things, I'd imagine. We, of course, had to educated a few about knitting. And that in fact all of us in the group were excellent knitters...

Sock Summit 2011 Sock Summit 2011

Sock Summit 2011
And yes, there's the crowded MAX behind us as we all bolted for freedom.. freedom!!!

Unfortunately most of those fun food carts that were available at lunch apparently aren't open for dinner. Doh! It was good luck that Sandi wanted Mexican, and I'd seen a Mexican place on the way back to the MAX after grabbing lunch so we headed that way. A couple split off for more veggie-friendly fare, but most of us ended up eating Mexican food. And it was pretty good.

We really had fun... We also really had fun with Sandi's food... (Mexican for the Watchmen)

Sock Summit 2011 Sock Summit 2011

We went back to one of the rooms and chatted a bit more, but everyone was pretty worn out. So off to respective hotels everyone went and I was fortunate enough to secure a small amount of bed-space for myself (THANK YOU ROSEMARY AND BA!!!).

I did need to get home Sunday morning, but I wanted to stay around long enough to see the start of the Fleece to Foot contest. It was pretty amazing that the Sock Summit team managed to secure permission to bring not one, not two, but THREE sheep into the Convention Center and have them sheared on the premises. I took lots of movies.

Here are the adorable sheep:

Sock Summit 2011

And here is Clara Parks sampling their wool:

Sock Summit 2011

Sadly, I could not stay any longer than that. I'm sure the outcome was really interesting and there will be others that blog that part. I can't wait to hunt down some sock pictures!

For me, it was a really wonderful day and I can't say enough good things about the people I got to meet and hang with, and about my family who were able to manage without me for an entire day.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Slip Shod

This pretty skein is spun from Textiles A Mano fiber in a Merino/silk/bamboo blend that is just wonderful to spin.

It is also available this weekend at Sock Summit in perfect-for-sock-spinning packages of 3-1.5 ounce batts! That's a whole 4.5 ounces of spinning pleasure.

And once you have sock yarn, you need to have socks.

Slip Shod
Introducing: Slip Shod!

Cover your feet in these great slip-stitch socks, knit from the toe-up to make the most of your handspun yarn. Of course they'd look fantastic in variegated yarn, too.

The Slip Shod pattern is now available for sale on Ravelry. You know you want a pair of your own! ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Knocked another one down

Blue Kid Mohair by Project Pictures
Blue Kid Mohair, a photo by Project Pictures on Flickr.
I chewed over how to deal with my blue mohair single quite a bit, but couldn't come up with a better plan than simply plying with itself. So when I found a moment I split the single in two and wound a plying-ball.

I love plying balls because they are so portable. All this busy week I toted my spindle and plying-ball with me wherever I went and worked a little on getting the project done. It was a perfect distraction in several places where I had extended waits.

I also love the magic of plying. A lot of people agonize over how to get a balanced yarn. I would, except that I ran into a great article over at HSJ Studio. Scroll down to the section "How to easily tell your plying is balanced - while you ply" and check out the picture there. You'll see that the fibers become aligned with your yarn when you are balanced. I never trust the ply-back test (my singles are rarely spun recently enough that it is a reliable method to check twist). But the way fibers line up in the yarn never lies. I check every once in a while while I'm plying to make sure I'm still getting everything lined up correctly.

Then, when I take my skein off the niddy-noddy and it twists up, I don't get in a twist along with it. I know that as soon as that skein hits my hot-water-bath, it's going to behave. And sure enough, even the most twisty skeins breathe a sigh of relief when they get dunked in the water and everything is quite happy after.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Recap

Here we are with a brief moment to breathe and a quick recap of what was finished for this year's Tour de Fleece.

From bottom left and clockwise:
  • 4 oz Blue Moon Fiber Arts 50/50 Merino/silk (still on the bobbin)
  • 1 oz undyed camel/silk (TP tube)
  • 4 oz overdyed green camel/silk from A Verb for Keeping Warm
  • 4 oz "Just Peachy" Merino/silk/bamboo from Textiles A Mano (and a half-knit sock)
  • 3 oz blue Kid Mohair from Dyelots
  • 8 oz woven shawl (Harrisville Designs Shetland warp, Noro Kureyon Sock weft)

Clearly not all of it was spun, and really anything that is still a single is not done. I need blue to ply the BMFA, and I think the tan camel/silk and bright blue mohair will end up plied with themselves.

The fact that they're not done makes me feel like this was an unproductive Tour. But really, I got a lot done! That's a pound of spun fiber (not all that much less than I spun last year and a fair sight thinner, too). And some other lovely work as well.

I guess I'll just have to be happy about it!

P.S. After reviewing last year's Tour, I got a chuckle out of the fact that the bobbin of BMFA (Puck's Mischief) is the fiber that totally threw me for a loop last year. Here it is, done, and I'm still waffling as to chain-ply or ply it with light blue...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 23 - Samples!

Day 23 - Samples! by Project Pictures
Day 23 - Samples!, a photo by Project Pictures on Flickr.

Here we are on the last day of the Tour. I didn't get to spin much today. I did work on knitting handspun (from the Tour) yarn.

And I organized these lovely samples. The batt is from Laura at Textiles A Mano and will be available at Sock Summit. The samples will be there in her booth for viewing, just so you can see how wonderfully the batts spin up at different weights!

Day 23 - Samples!
I spun eight samples from four different weights of singles. Each single was made into 2-ply and 3-ply yarn and put on a notecard. I'm really happy with all of them and think they'd be great fun to knit!

It was a busy day with church, lunch, and then this afternoon we went swimming at an outdoor pool and had a lovely time. After that we did grocery shopping, dinner and sprinkler-play and everyone was really worn out so now they're off to bed!

Crash after Swimming Crash after Swimming

I know I said Tour highlights today, but I think I'll get those photos put together and up tomorrow, or perhaps Wednesday. A couple of big deadlines have come up and I have things that must get done!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 22 - Time Out

Today I took the day off. Oh, I spun. It's Saturday, so of course I spun. But I worked hard on both "rest" days and today I decided to take things easy.

My big effort was getting everyone to-and-from their morning activities, and then heading off to Textiles A Mano to spin samples of Laura's lovely batts.

The camera stayed in the bag.

Tomorrow we'll wrap up with the finale and highlights of this Tour!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 21 - 600 yards of Single

Well, at least I know now why it felt like it was taking forever... There are 600 yards here! That's a lot of very fine singles!

And the kids got snuggle time with Daddy.
Happy Day Home!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 20 - More blue mohair

Yep. There's more. I'd really like to finish this soon!

After all that fun yesterday, everyone was plum tuckered out. People were grumpy and out of sorts all day. We finally crashed and everyone went to sleep quickly and quietly (except me).
All tuckered out All tuckered out

There was only one blip. My daughter promised to read me a book every day this summer. We skipped yesterday (too tired) so she knew she had to read two today. And she wouldn't go to sleep until it was done. Good for her!
All tuckered out

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 19 - Blue Mohair

Day 19 - blue mohair by Project Pictures
Day 19 - blue mohair, a photo by Project Pictures on Flickr.
When you're on the move, spindles are the best!

Plus, I finished the camel/silk and didn't start anything else on the wheel today. We were too dang busy.

Last night I put the camel/silk yarn in a water bath in the oven with a little Jacquard Emerald dye and a slosh of vinegar and baked it for an hour at 250. I let that sit overnight and checked on it this morning. I think the results are a vastly improved color of yarn (although I feel a wee bit guilty for using commercial acid dyes on naturally-dyed-fiber--but not all that guilty since I really didn't like the color in the first place).
Day 18 - Finished Yarn! Day 19 - Overdyed yarn

As for the kids, I have massive pic-spam for you all today. We spent two hours driving to Newport to go to the Aquarium there, about two hours there, another bit of time at McDonald's recovering from the Aquarium, a little shopping at a kite shop and then the Myrtlewood place in Philomath on the way home (another two hours or so there). It has been a very busy day.
Newport Aquarium! Newport Aquarium!

Newport Aquarium! Newport Aquarium!

Newport Aquarium! Newport Aquarium!

Newport Aquarium! Newport Aquarium!

And because I can't resist cute little frogs:
Newport Aquarium!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 18 - Finished Yarn!

Yep. It's done!

It's also still "not me" in color. So it's getting tweaked with green dye. We'll see if I improve, or ruin it!

Here is a slightly Photoshopped image of my darling kiddos "reading" together (I couldn't get them both facing me at the same time, so I snagged half of two pictures to make one good one).
Reading together

And a little showing-off of our favorite things (Star Wars toys, and painted toenails).
Favorite Toys Pretty toes!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 17 - Two Bobbins!!

Hurrah! The camel/silk is done!

Well, it's not done done. I still have to ply it. But there is no more camel/silk fiber sitting in my bag. It's all on the bobbins and ready to go. Hurrah!

And because of my slip-up yesterday, we have a double-dose of cuteness today!
TV Dinner TV Dinner

Nighttime Play Nighttime Play

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 16 - Augh! Failure!

I spun today, as you can see. However, it rained all day. We did lots of indoor activities, sleeping, and went to an indoor swimming pool ... and none of the venues were conducive to picture-taking. So sadly, I have no kiddie pics today.

We shall hopefully resume tomorrow, when there will be sun.

Or, at least, there had better be! (Unfortunately, the forecast doesn't look good.)