Goodbye 2011 and hello 2012

Hard to believe that 2011 is almost gone. It's not been a bad year, rather decent actually. Even though I was laid off a year ago November, we had thankfully saved enough and gotten our debt down to a manageable amount that I was able to stay at home and relax for a bit. I did alot of knitting, bought an e-spinner and spun a lot, spent wonderful Thursdays afternoons with my DF Christina, did quite a bit of de-cluttering and spent a lot of relaxing evenings with my DH. In July I took a contract job at a law firm and then around the first week of December I accepted a permanent position with a bank working with a start-up group financing some very exciting things. (airplanes, tractor-trailer rigs, restaurant equipment, etc) I'm extremely excited.

So, on to my list of Intentions from 2010 that I blogged about here. Let's recap how I did on those intentions. 1) good. I get on that bike 3 mornings a week, pretty religiously. 2) ok. Lost about 11 pounds, need to do better. 3) I'm hoping that the new job that starts in 2012 will be the one I love. 4) Yes, I have been. 5) yes, several lap blankets made and donated to Alive Hospice along with some preemie blankets. 6) haven't made much time for this one. 7) haven't done well on this one either 8) done well 9) doing better on this one too. 10) I did pretty good on this one until I started working at the law firm.

So, all in all, I think I did great on the important ones. It might seem lazy but I think I'll keep the same ones for 2012 and just hit them a little harder.

I welcome the new year with open arms. I think it's going to bring some good things to my family. I wish all the best to you and hope that 2012 proves to be a fruitful year.

Stash Busting

First, I hope everyone had a very happy holiday. My DH had to work all through the weekend, so I had a very quiet, but happily knitting and spinning weekend.

I have been working on some charity lap blankets and that has helped get through some of my Caron Simply Soft stash that I purchased years ago. That stuff makes really nice lap blankets. It's soft, durable and most importantly, washable. Threads of Kindness is a little group of knitters and crocheters and we make preemie blankets and hats and adult size lap blankets. Most of our donations go to Alive Hospice but we also donate to Vandy NICU. Christina is very charitable with her time and organizes all of this, even in delivering the items. We do get lots of donated yarn but it's good to stash bust yourself. I found the Simply Soft doubled and then crocheted with that huge crochet hook about the size of your thumb goes quite fast and makes a cushy blanket. The lap size blankets are about 30"x 30". I've donated a couple already but I didn't take pictures, except in my head.

Other things I've been working on......I finished knitting the Summer Flies Shawl in the Asland Trends alpaca. I still need to block it. I also knit the first of a small triangle is some purplish Koigu, modeled after something I saw on display at a LYS. I think the sample was made on a large Triangle Loom, but I think I can mimic it somewhat. I had purchased this Koigu to make a twirly scarf, it was supposed to take only one skein. Near the end of the skein, I realized the pattern was wrong and it couldn't be done in one skein, so I purchased another. Near the end of the second skein, realization hit that it wouldn't be enough, so I purchased the 3rd. After finishing the scarf, I realized I didn't like it. So I frogged the whole thing and now I had 3 skeins of purplish Koigu. So I am making use of it. Pictures to come later.

Although I've done a good job in oganizing the hobby closet, I still have way too much stash. I'm working through on what to do with it all. Lists are being made, no timelines though, that would just add unneeded stress. My LYS is having a huge 50% off sale that I'm telling myself to stay away from, mainly because I have nowhere to stash it.

I've managed to clean the area around my sewing machine, so I will be working on some tops, generally for work. They are basic tops that I can accessorize with my shawlettes.

That's it for now. I'll be posting again at the end of the year.

A new Job

As some of you may know, I was laid off in November 2010 and while I enjoyed some glorious 8 months off, I needed to get back to work. So, I took a contract job in July. While that has been great fun (aka hard work) I was still keeping my eye open for a permanent gig so that I could get benefits, 401k, paid sick days, vacation etc. I had a couple of interviews here and there, gotta keep those interview skills honed even though you may not be interested in the job. I had one in September/October that I really liked, 2nd interview happened rather quickly then I was told that they had to put the position on hold until after the first of the year. Totally understanding that, I told them that if I was still available when they were ready to hire, I would be interested.

Well they called 2 weeks ago and offered the position. I start Jan 3rd with very good benefits. So after Tuesday, I will have 2 weeks off to get some things done, relax during the holidays and get that ever desirous over-50 required colonoscopy over with. I've got some sewing to do, some knitting, spinning, etc. so I'm excited.

What have I been working on this past month........
1. Lap blankets and preemie blankets for Hospice. (no pictures)
2. Another Summer Flies Shawl, this time using Aslan Trends Alpaca Melange in an aqua blue. (gorgeous) I'm over half-way through.
3. Pie-Wedge Shawl in Lorna's Laces lace (purple) - I've made a mistake on this one but I'm forging ahead, mistake be damned.
3. Pie-Wedge Shawlette. I cast on fewer stitches for this one so it would be more of a shawlette size. This is in Suri Alpaca in aqua blue.
4. Raggi socks. I've finished 2 pair and making a 3rd.
5. Spinning. haven't had as much time to spin lately, but I'll be changing that very soon.
6. Fingerless mitts out of some leftover alpaca. I made them in 3x3 ribbing and extra long. Love them!

That's about it for now.
Happy Holidays to all of you.

An update with no photos

Seriously, I have been knitting and spinning, I just don't have any photos at the moment to prove it.
I just finished teaching the Baby Surprise Jacket at Enchanted Yarn in Clarksville. It's a lovely store with an even more lovely store owner, so if you haven't been, check it out. While teaching the class, I had to get some class samples ready so that took time away from my other knitting. But the class is over, I will get both BSJ's done and put away and get back to the regular scheduled programming. :-)
I will be binding off on sock #2 of my 2nd pair of Raggi socks tonight. Yippeeee, these are wonderful house socks and totally machine-washable. They are a little thick for my "business" shoes but great for my houseshoes. I will need to start another pair of business socks soon though.
I'm also working on a pair of fingerless gloves in ribbing with some leftover alpaca, so soft and warm. Finished one preemie blanket for Hospice and have started another. The aqua shell got put aside while I was working on the BSJ's but I'll get back to it shortly.
As for spinning, yep still going at it. I finished spinning one single in a bright multi-colorway, now I'm doing a single in a solid ecru and will ply them together.

As for movies, watched The Rum Diary this weekend with Johnny Depp. Good movie, he always does a good job. Also watched Crazy, Stupid Love on PPV. funny and cute love story.

DH and I started watching the Ken Burns Prohibition show. It just continues to amaze me that people (even still today) think that if you pass a nationwide law that everyone will obey that law and all of the country's problems will go away. Prohibition should prove to everyone that that theory just doesn't hold up. Laws ONLY keep the honest people honest. There are lawbreakers everywhere and they will break the law no matter what. Which brings me to this Anti-Gun matter that everyone is so hot about. Seriously folks, do you really think that if guns are outlawed that all the guns go away? No, because remember the statement above, laws will be broken by bad people and do you really only want the bad people to have the guns in our country? Right now, the bad people don't know who of the "honest" group has guns. They rarely attack people in their own home because they don't know that you might not have a gun to shoot them when they come in through the door. If they outlaw guns and the honest people turn in their guns (cause that's what honest people do, we follow the law) well guess the bad dishonest people who don't follow the law will have the guns and can attack anyone, anywhere. your home, a bar, a restaurant, etc. Think about it folks. Feel free to discuss and leave comments. :-)

OK, I'll get off my soapbox.

That's it for now, will post pics when I get a chance.

Sock Knitting

Hard to believe it's been a month since I last posted. Time just keeps flying away. I'm still deep in a de-cluttering mode, I've gotten donated some bags that I'll never use and a trash bag size of mostly acrylic yarn that I bought years ago. I kept the Caron Simply Soft to make some lapghans for Hospice and I still have more yarn to go through as well. I'm trying to use a bag for awhile to see if I still like it, and if I don't it goes into the donate pile. It's been very helpful. People probably look at me funny and wonder why I change bags every 2-3 weeks, but that's the only way to find out if you still like the bag, right? Bags are so often bought on impulse.

Anyway, in addition to the de-cluttering, I've gotten some sock knitting done. These are worsted weight socks, perfect for wearing in the fall and winter, with boots or houseshoes. They are toe-up short row heel socks, very easy pattern. Christina was nice enough to write up her pattern and she's posted it here. These are knit with Jarbo Raggi. typically you would probabky use a size 5 needle, but I worked these on size 6. Love them! I'm not going to bother to block them, I'm just going to start wearing them. Obviously with size 6 needles, they went very fast.
I've got another pair almost done as well in a different colorway.

Fall is here and I'm loving the weather. 70 degrees for the high, breezy and low humidity. Yesterday, 10-11 of us got together at Christina's to celebrate Jan's birthday. It was a wonderful day, we sat outside, snacked on some delicious cheese and crackers, drank some white wine, red wine, white sangria, coffee, whatever the beverage of choice was, we spun and knit and then around 6:30 we sat down to a glorious dinner of Cassoulet and salad. For dessert we had a pumpkin cheesecake and a delicious blackberry cobbler, ended with a cup of french press coffee and a small glass of Encore. It was a fabulous day and evening. Thank you Christina for being such a great cook and a fabulous hostess.

As for spinning, this is 4 oz of Falkland Fiber purchased on etsy. It's wonderfully soft and will turn itself into a gift.
Interesting the way it spun up.

The Help, thank you, spinning and knitting

First I would like to say thank you to all of you who wished me well with my bad knees. They are something I have to live with and usually do ok, but sometimes one or both get angry and inflamed and force me to slow down. (not a bad thing sometimes, right?)

Last year, one of my most favorite books that I listened to was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It was a fabulous listen, the voices were different for each character and the accents and inflections were superb. When I love a book so much, I hesitate to see the movie because it seems I get disappointed with the results. I was told by several friends who also loved the book that the movie was great. So, I did it. I went to see it with Christina who also loved the book. The movie was fabulous. The actresses who portrayed the "help" as well as the ones who played the "southern bitches" all did a fabulous job. I see some Oscars coming.

On to some spinning and knitting updates:

This fiber was purchased at the Dickson Fiber Festival in May 2011. Yep, I actually spun something I bought this year. It is a merino/seacell fiber from Frabjous Fibers. This was not a fun spin, it was packed too tightly which made it very hard to draft. I love the end result though so I guess it was worth it. I ended up with a little over 200 yards on a 4 oz skein so I'm thinking maybe a cowl or neckerchief, I haven't decided yet. I tried to spin this one a little thicker from what I normally spin. I think I achieved the result I wanted.

This was spun on the Hansen MiniSpinner and plied as a 2 ply.

This one is a Merino/Tencel combo from Daily Fibers. I love her stuff, spins like butter. Again, a little over 200 yards.

It was Navajo plied.

As for knitting, I have 3 1/2 inches done on the Arianna shell. I just love the diagonal look that's achieved with slipping 3 stitches with yarn in front. I'm enjoying the pattern and I think it's going to look pretty cool.

This little guy (Hoodie) is done and he's blocking. I need to add buttons and it'll be good to go. This is knit with Plymouth Coffee Beenz, a good soft washable arylic, perfect for a toddler.


Sometimes the really bad knee flares up to the point that I can't walk. That happened this weekend, Saturday to be exact. It's a good thing I bought a walker several years back because the cane alone just wouldn't work. The knee was so inflamed I couldn't straighten it or bend it, just too painful. Today is marginally better, I can at least get around a little with the cane. It feels best when lying down and elevated. I'm not sure what caused the flare up but I'm working through it.

I did get a little knitting done on the Arianna tank, which will be worn under a blouse or cardigan. It's in a light teal which is one of my favorite colors. It's interesting the way it's knit. The slipped stitches are what makes it look diagonal, very cool. The pattern calls for Berroco Glace but I'm using Kollage Delicious. Both are tape yarns and I think will show a good stitch definition. I've had this yarn in my stash for a little while and have already frogged 2 or 3 of the projects it tried to be, so we'll see how the life expectancy is on this one. My plan at the moment is to make the back in stockinette and the front with the diagonal pattern.

I finished Nola's slippers. these are very comfy and I'm waiting for cold weather. It's still up in the high 80's, albeit cooler than it was in August, it's still hot. These were fun to knit and an easy (and free) pattern to follow. Easily modifiable to fit the size foot you need. I used some stash yarn, maybe Lion Brand Wool? Gotta find that label......

That's all for now, gotta go elevate.

Getting through the stash and some spinning

I'm such a sucker for shop models and this cute little baby hat was one quite a while back. I purchased the ball of Be Sweet Bambino Taffy (rav link) and the pattern for this little hat is on the ball band. The only mods I did was I knit it on size 7's rather than 6 and I made a short icord top rather than 2 long ones that you would then tie into a ribbon. The interesting parts to this hat is the provisional cast on picot edge, the heart motif, and the bobbles. It's cute.

The hat wasn't a stash buster but it was a ball of yarn that had been in my stash for a little while. I haven't purchased yarn since Stitches other than the 2 balls of yarn to make the yellow Shapely Shawlette. It's not a forced yarn diet, but I do have stash that I need to get through, at least some of it.

This gem is the Summer Flies Shawl (Rav link) knit with my handspun. I absolutely adore this pattern. I wore it to work on Friday over a white blouse and it looked really nice.

I've been spinning with some Polwarth. It's nice and soft, I like it! This is a hand-painted roving called Arcade that I purchased from Greenwood Fiberworks on Etsy. This was supposed to be my Tour de Fleece, but I was waylaid by the new job. The only time I really have left to spin now is on the weekend. :-( I finally finished plying it and you can see that the big Hansen wooly winder bobbin holds 8 ounces.

I am totally in love with the colorway. I'm trying to branch out from my normal blues and this colorway could be called Rainbow rather than Arcade, it's just full of colors. I ended up with 523 yards so it'll make a nice size project.

Speaking of the job. It's going great! I am kept extremely busy which makes the day just fly as you can imagine. I'm making time to knit at lunch and have even started to teach a few co-workers how to knit. Yep, I'm enabling.

More finished projects

Yesterday was a pretty good knitting day and a great day to finish little things on projects. The morning was spent getting my tires rotated, balanced and aligned so I toted some little projects that needed buttons and necklines finished.

The Patches Baby Sweater was done, it just needed buttons.

The Angel Sweater needed buttons and the neckline finished.

I dropped off the finally finished Angel Sweater to Enchanted for them to use as a shop model. It's such an adorable little sweater, it was hard to let it go.

I also brought along my Summer Flies Shawl to knit-on after the buttons were done on the other projects. After the tires were done, I had to head another 30 miles to get my oil changed. They said it was a 2 hour wait so more prime knitting time. They got it done in under an hour but that's a whole 'nother story.

On the Summer Flies Shawl, I am to the Picot Cast off. Then all it needs is blocking. I made it in a fingering/DK weight rather than the Worsted the pattern calls for, so it will be more of a neck decoration like a shawlette, the best part is it's knit in my own handspun. It has been a truly enjoyable knit, lots of activity and different stitch patterns.

The Pie Wedge will come along faster since I'm done with these. I'm almost done with 2 wedges and there are supposed to be 6 total.

Cadel Evans wins the Tour de France

I am ecstatic!!!!

The man from Australia, Cadel Evans, who I have been watching for years, has always been the bridesmaid, never the bride. This year, he did it and I am thrilled. He won the Tour and he deserved it. He worked so very hard and I am so proud of him. The below images are compliments of AP.

As for the Tour de Fleece, I didn't do well after the first week. Part of it is I'm now working again. So not only is my time more limited, my body is also getting used to getting up at 5 again and hitting that long commute. However, I have been getting some spinning done, lots of knitting and still quite a bit of reading done.

I have been enmeshed in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I have just finished the 4th book and getting ready to read the 5th and 6th. These tomes are not for the faint of heart as they are EACH about 600-800 pages. I have to tell you that I am thankful everyday for my Sony eReader. I have 2 of those tomes, in addition to other books and knitting patterns, on my eReader at one time, and it still only weighs less than 1 pound, it fits neatly in my purse and I can hold the book with one hand (you cannot do that with an 800 page book). So, if you haven't jumped on the digital reader bandwagon yet, I strongly recommend it.

The Pie Wedge shawl is coming along slowly but surely. The Summer Flies shawl with my handspun is glorious to knit and is also coming along nicely. Pictures will come later.

Blogging slacker

OK, I started a new job last Monday and as you can imagine it has interrupted my flow of things to do. I have not been spinning every day now and so my Tour de Fleece goal is waning. I think I'll still get the Polwarth Arcade 8 oz spun, but I can't spin every day. I will get some spun today, but I don't have much time during the weekday evening.

Yesterday was a fabulous day spent with the knitsibs. We had a most delicious brunch at Vicky's & Michelle's. I'll have to say Michelle is a great cook. We had french toast casserole with some strawberries ladled on top (yummy), some dates filled with a goat cheese mixture then baked, some yummy swiss cheese balls, fresh fruit, chocolate truffles, grand mimosas and a little goodie bag which will also serve as a project bag. Then we had some knitting time, we watched a gazillion hummingbirds on the back porch and just laughed and had fun. It was a good day.

On the knitting front, the Pie Wedge is coming along. I am almost done with the first wedge. The pattern calls for 6 wedges, but several Rav members did 7 and 8 because of all the yarn leftover in the Lorna's Laces ball. We'll see how I feel about it when I get to the 6th wedge. My Summer Flies shawl in my handspun is also coming along nicely. There is something special about knitting with your own handspun that I never realized before. It's very cool! I wore my new socks to work on Thursday, very comfy, I love them. I completed another lap blanket for Hospice and gave it to Christina yesterday at brunch. It was fun to knit as I knit it like the back of the Patches Baby Sweater. I did the columns with 45 stitches.

Other things accomplished: DH & I have hung up one set of curtains in the office. This is a big accomplishment and we are very pleased with the results. It's keeping the office cooler already. The bushhogging is nearly done and the hay bales still look peaceful.

New knitting projects and a finished one

I bought this Pagewood Farms Yukon sock yarn back in 2008. They are just plain cuff down stockinette with a Band Heel. I finished the first one rather quickly and the second one was started and mostly done as well. Then......I made an error in the toe decrease and it bound my foot too tight. So I frogged the 2nd sock back to the start of the decrease and put the socks in time out. I would open the bag from time to time and say "nope, not today". Well, I finally decided to finish them so I took them with me to knit night on Thursday, got them all the way to kitchener time. I did the kitchener on Friday morning, then washed and blocked, now they are ready to wear. Why did I take so long? who knows!

As for new knitting projects, I will be doing a Shawl-a-long with my knitsib Christina. We will be doing the Pie Wedge Shawl from Lorna's Laces. (Rav Link) I'm using the Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace yarn and it's so lightweight it's going to be fabulous. This is what I'll be using for the Pie Wedge.

I will also be casting on for the Summer Flies Shawl using my own handspun.

As for the Tour de Fleece, my first braid of 4 oz is almost done. I am spinning a little everyday as is required and I'm spinning the single a little thicker from what I normally spin. Maybe I'll end up with a worsted weight rather than my usual fingering to sport weight. This is a sample of the first bobbin and all the different color variations this single fiber has. I love it.

That's it for now. I'm off to cast-on.

a Great day for a Bath

It was a hot and sunny day. I had several spun skeins that needed a bath and thought it was a perfect day for it. So I brought out the dryer rack, took it to the deck, washed the skeins and laid them out to dry. They dried in no time and they are so nice and fluffy. On the Tour de Fleece front, I have been spinning daily which was one of my goals and I will knock out at minimum the 8 oz fiber that I posted about earlier. I would like to get some others done too so we'll see.

DH and I have been watching the Tour de France of course and yesterday's win by Cadel Evans was awesome. It was a photo finish and he just barely won. I would love it if he would win this year, he deserves it. He has come in at 2nd so many times and so close too that I just want him to win one.

On the job front, I had an interview last week with a legal headhunter and they are sending my resume to a client for a contract paralegal job. Not sure how long the contract will last but it could turn into something permanent. We'll see if I like it. :-) It's really going to cut into my knitting and spinning time though. This has been a very enjoyable time at home, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Have I missed the additional income? Sure I have. But I can't ignore the time at home as being wonderful because it has truly been wonderful.
They started mowing the farm last weekend and now I am gazing on hay bales. I love the look of hay bales in the field, so serene and peaceful. They won't stay long because they have to get them into the dry, so I'm gazing at them now while I can.

Off to spin!

a simple french Plum Tart

In honor of the Tour de France beginning yesterday, I made a Plum Tart that my mother used to make. It's considered a country peasant type dessert, as it's very simple, no custard in this one.
So I'll share with you this delicious and simple dessert. It's best eaten warm (not hot) so bake it when you start dinner.

What you'll need:
~First, don't buy the pre-made pie crust in a tin pie shell, buy the pre-made unroll and fill Pillsbury pie crust usually found in the dairy section.
~11-14 ripe red plums (this will depend on the size of your baking dish)
~granulated sugar

Yep, that's it.
Unroll and place in a large quiche dish. I used both of the pie crusts in the box as my quiche dish is quite large. I placed one of the pie crusts on the bottom and then I cut outer circles on the second one and placed them around the sides of the dish and melded the crust together at the bottom. (hope that makes sense) I forgot to take a picture of that.
Then, poke some fork holes on the bottom so that the pie crust stays flat when it bakes. (I did about 6-8 pokes with the fork) Sprinkle the crust with granulated sugar. Pre-bake the crust at 450 deg F for 10 minutes. (this will keep the crust from getting soggy) Do this in advance so it has time to cool. I did it in the morning.
Then cut your plums in half and take out the pit. You should have two nice halves. (Do not peel the plums)
Place them in the pre-baked pie shell dome up as seen here.
Sprinkle liberally with the sugar. Remember plums are tart.

Since the crust was pre-baked, I cut some foil and covered the edge of the crust before baking the pie as I didn't want to burn the crust edge.

Bake in a 375 deg F oven for about an hour. The plums should have oozed a little and their juices will be bubbling. The plums should be soft but not mushy. Their skin will be wrinkled. I didn't get a picture before we dug into it but you can see it here. It was delicious.

Let me know if you have any questions and I'll help make it a success for you too.

Produce stands

First off, yep my internet is back on as of last night. yippeeeeeeee

OK, so in my adventures out on Wednesday to get some free wi-fi, I decided that I needed to find a produce stand so that I can start getting my fill of tomatoes and those delicious little pickling cucumbers that I love to eat.

I bought several pounds from one that I used to go to a lot on my way home from work. It's a little outta my way at the moment since I'm still not working, but their produce is consistently good so I headed their way.

On the way home I decided to drive around closer to home to see if there were any nearby. I found one that is a little closer and their produce looked ok, what I loved was this sign.
I've never seen zucchini spelled that way and fell in love with it so I had to go back to the car to get my camera, luckily I always carry it with me for moments such as this. I then proceeded to have a unique and confusing conversation with the vendor which I will try to re-cap here.

Me: Where do the tomatoes come from?

Vendor: Arkansas and Florida. Now you know we're closing on July 2nd, right?

Me: Closing, yeah. You're just closing early for the Holiday weekend right?

Vendor: No, we're closing.

Me: Closing? as in for the rest of the summer?

Vendor: Yep.

Me: ummmmmm, aren't local vegetables just now beginning to ripen and ready to sell?

Vendor: uh huh

Me: Soooooo, you're thinking that people won't need to come to the produce stand because they have their own vegetables to eat?

Vendor: Yep! that and we're tired. We've been open 7 days a week since Easter.

Me: OK, I understand about the 7 days a week thing, but not everyone grows their own vegetables and now would be the time I would seek out a produce stand, not in March or April. (what are they thinking?)

Vendor: Yep, well, we're closing.

Me: hmph.

Anyway, I only bought a few tomatoes from him and I definitely didn't buy any "zukennie". Even though I live on acreage, I have never been one to like to play in the dirt. I don't have a garden and I love fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Now is when I truly look forward to going to produce stands. Am I the only one?

As for knitting, I have been working on a shop model for the shop in Clarksville. It's the Angel Sweater Vest and I'm knitting this in Bebe Cotsoy. This is a wonderfully soft yarn.

Lightning did it again!!

Yep, last Tuesday, June 21st, we had another bad lightning and thunderstorm. It knocked out my phone and internet once again. I am sitting at Dunkin Donuts enjoying a delicious cup of java and using their free wi-fi. I did finally get my home phone back yesterday but still waiting on the internet. It's a good thing I didn't have a 911 emergency as I would not have been able to call since we don't have cell service out there either.
Anyway, I have taken the opportunity to work on some knitted projects. Two of which the knitting is complete but now need to do some seaming and some blocking.
Also still spinning on the polwarth, I love that stuff. I need to finish this one before Saturday so that I can start the Tour de Fleece on Saturday with fresh empty bobbins!
I'll hopefully have internet back by the 4th so I can post some updates to the Tour de Fleece.
Until later!

Tour de Fleece and the annual Tour de France

DH & I have been preparing for the Tour de France by watching the Criterium de Dauphine as well as most of the Tour de Suisse, both shown on Versus. The Tour de Suisse had an exciting end this year. At the beginning of yesterday's final stage (a time trial), American Levi Leipheimer was in 4th place overall and 1 minute, 59 seconds behind the leader. He rode such a great time trial that he ended up winning the Tour de Suisse with 4 seconds lead over the 2nd place winner, Damiano Cunego, who had worn yellow for many days. It was awesome!!!Since I have been spinning more in 2011, I have decided to participate in the annual Tour de Fleece spin-along that occurs during the Tour de France. The concept is simple..... they spin, we spin. A real spinning themed spin-along.

The Guidelines (not rules) for participation as shown in the TdF Ravelry group:

1. Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 2nd through Sunday July 24th. Days of rest: Monday July 11th, Monday July 18st. (Just like the actual tour)

2. Spin something challenging Friday July 22nd. (The Tour’s toughest mountain stage over the Col du Galibier for the second time, and finishing up on Alpe d’Huez.)

3. Wear yellow on Sunday July 24th to announce victory.

The personal challenge I have selected is to spin this glorious 8 ounces of Polwarth that I purchased from Greenwood Farms on Etsy. The colorway is called Arcade. My other challenge is to practice spinning with Batts. These are mini-batts weighing in at 1 oz a piece. I have 4 of them and they are gloriously soft!

This is going to be a fun challenge. Not only is this part of the Tour de Fleece challenge but I am also a member of the Team Footloose 2011, which is the Hansen MiniSpinner TdF group. They have their own mini-challenges with prizes.

Updates will be posted during the Tour.

Playing with color

A welcome sight.........some dark clouds which gave us a pretty good shower. My grass was thirsty. :-) One of the first batts I spun was purchased from Adair Fiber at the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival. I didn't find it nearly as soft as say a BFL or a merino. I only had 2 oz of it so I didn't really want to Navajo ply it, so I thought I would ply it with some cream colored alpaca I also bought at the festival. Then I thought it would be fun to add in some YLI Pearly Crown Rayon for some added color. I had miscalculated how many yards of single I would have in my 2 oz batt, so my 200 yards of Magenta colored YLI Pearly Crown didn't go as far as planned. So...........I thought it would be fun to play with a different color of YLI to see what kind of effect it would give.

The first skein I did was with the Magenta colored YLI Rayon. I ended up with about 180 yards.

The second skein was plied with a teal color in the YLI Rayon. You can see the differences pretty easily and it's fun to see what adding different colored fibers will do to a finished skein.

Google - Check it out

Seriously, you have to go to Google home page TODAY! Instead of the Google name, they have a guitar that you can play and record your tune. Awesomeness!

More spun fiber

This past Saturday was spent taking a Fiber Prep class. It was fabulous fun and we were able to play with all kinds of fiber tools. Such as: carding combs (flat and curved), pet brushes, hair combs, detangle combs, hackle combs, hackle, a diz and two different carders. All of that packed into 5 hours. One word......fabulous!!!

I 've also been busy spinning on the Hansen. Both of these were from braids that I purchased at Stitches in April 2011. Both are chain-plied.

This one was purchased from Creatively Dyed Yarn. She has beautiful work, both in hand dyed yarn as well as fiber. This is from a 4 oz braid of 20% cashmere, 20% silk and 60% merino. Total of 380 yards.
This next one was purchased from Jazz Turtle Creations. This 4 oz braid is a combination of alpaca, merino and mulberry silk. The precentages of each were not on the tag. Total yardage came to a little over 400 yards.

A long term project that I am involved in is the mini mitred square sock yarn blanket. This is a project that I keep in my purse at all times. It's done on small dpn's, maybe 4-5 inch long, size 3, so they don't take up much room and anytime I'm stuck somewhere, they are easy to pull out of my purse and work on. They don't take much brain power and I always have leftover sock yarn. Some of my knitsibs have even given some leftover sock yarn to me. I did an inventory today of what I had completed and I have 50 small squares done. I'm not even a quarter of the way there, but that's ok, I'm in it for the long run. Showing my squares so far: