Catching up

The Tour de France starts today so I’ll be busy watching it for the next 3 weeks. I always, always look forward to this race and I love watching it. Both DH and I love it. I will be picking a project today to work on during the Tour. Update on this later.

Catching up.....I’m a little behind in posting so I’ve got a few things to catch up. First off, the prize winner from June 15th. I used a highly effective random number generator. Since there were only 5 comments, I placed nicely folder paper pieces (with numbers hidden on the inside) into a bowl and had my DH draw a number. The winner is # 1 ……Carol, so if you can send me an email with your address, I will get the prize shipped to you.

Second….the reason I’m behind in posting. As usual, we were having internet problems. As I’ve complained many times on this blog, because I live in the country, there are very few alternatives to pick from for internet service. DSL, Cable, UVerse, Broadband….none of those are available here. So, my alternatives are dial-up, ISDN, satellite or a very expensive T1 line. We’ve been using ISDN which transmits at 128k. We have opted to move to HughesNet satellite internet and now our download speed will be at 1.5MB. Quite a bit of difference over 128k and this way DH and I can surf at the same time, rather than taking turns. Of course, this doesn’t even begin to compare with cable internet where the download speed is 30MB. 1.5MB compared to 30MB, HUGE DIFFERENCE. But it’ll be better than what we had, so hopefully no more complaints. So far, so good.

Third….some finished projects. I am thrilled in that I have finished the Pie-Wedge Shawl. It’s knit with Cherry Tree Hill Suri Lace Alpaca. It took almost all of 2 skeins. I shortened the pattern by 20 sts so it would be a little shorter. So, rather than casting on 102 sts I cast on 82. I started this project in January and finally finished it in June. It’s hard to describe how light and airy this is and it’s very warm. It feels as if you have nothing on your shoulders and then all of sudden you realize how warm you are. It’s wonderful. It was hard to stay monogamous to this project but I did for the most part. I would longingly look at other patterns and say ooooh, I could cast on for that project with this yarn and then I’d say, nope focus on the pie-wedge. Yep, glad I did.
The next finished project is the Knit Flat Bear. I first read about this bear on Wise Hilda Knits blog. He was super-easy and knit in one piece, so you don’t have to attach all these little pieces and have the ears all whomper-jawed. (look it up) From top of head to the bottom of the feet, he stands a little over 6 inches. He is knit with Berroco Chincilla on size 4’s and he’s very soft and cuddly. Lightly filled with craft fiberfill. I finished this in one night and added the eyes and nose the next day.
The Summer Flies Shawl in Aslan Trends Alpaca. Soooo soft and yummy. I finished this a couple of months ago but just hadn’t taken any pictures. So, here they are.
Next, the Wingspan. This was a very fun pattern. I will probably do another one. I’ll decide after I’ve worn it a couple of times to see how it’s going to lay around my neck.

Upcoming projects: I bought some delicious Lana Grossa Lace Lux in creamy white. I’ve stalked surfed Ravelry to see what I wanted to make with it. I've decided on the Lace Wingspan and I'm going to make it my Tour de France project. 
Spinning. I finally did some spinning last weekend. I sure do enjoy it. It’s hard to put my finger on why I enjoy it, especially compared to where my mind was with spinning 3 years ago. There’s just an overwhelming calm (mind and body) while you’re spinning, in comparison to knitting, it’s a different calm. I spun some Daily Fibers Mixed BFL/Tussah silk in a colorway called Candy Corn and Licorice. I had originally planned to ply it with purple, but I was given a gorgeous lace weight fuschia at knit night this past Thursday and I think I’ll try that. Finished pics later.

Spinning Retreat

All I can say is that if you ever get a chance to attend a spinning retreat, GO!!!! There were 18 of us in attendance at the DuBose Conference Center in lovely Monteagle. The weather couldn't have been more perfect as Saturday was in the 70's and Sunday was in the low 80's. 
Most all attendees had the traditional spinning wheels, from Kromski, Louet and Ashford to interesting travel wheels.

I had the only Hansen Mini-Spinner and a couple of spinners tried it. I think they liked it, if nothing else, they understood the way it worked a little better. We had fun learning about blending colors, mixing colors, re-arranging the way you pull the fiber apart on a multi-colored braid so that you spin the colors you want in the order you want them in. Lynne showed us how to take a braid apart so that the colors don't get muddy. She also demonstrated how to spin with locks (I still need more practice), planning a project and several other things. But all in all, we were there to spin. We didn't have to worry about breakfast, lunch or dinner as that was being prepared for us and all we had to do was go to the dining room. It couldn't have been more perfect. We concentrated on spinning and learning from each other. My neighbor to my right came all the way from northern NY state and the neighbor to my left drove from Pennsylvania. We had others from Alabama, Indianapolis, and Marietta and of course, the Nashville area.

 I was given this lovely fiber by Meg. She had dyed it back when she had her own retail shop. I fell in love with it. I have to tell you when I started drafting the fiber, it seemed more white than I had expected. It spun up completely different than I had imagined and I love it! I should have gotten a pic of it when it was still in the braid, but I was so excited I just plainly forgot.
I also experimented in making rolags (this was fun) using fiber I wasn't too particularly excited about which has made their way into my stash over the past year. It was a good way to play with different color blending. I'll be doing this again.