Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Celtic Festival Survivors

Andie and I and a few of her friends spent part of Saturday at the Sedalia Celtic Festival. It was our first Celtic event. There were several jewelry vendors and they had some amazing pieces for sale. Another interesting feature was the clothing; we couldn't help but gawk at the period costumes and "Xena Warrior Princess" apparel. One vendor said, explaining the Xena-wear, "What's England without a few Vikings?" At the end of our visit, we were pummeled by both rain and hail and came home soaked to the skin, but we did have a good time.

When we returned to the house, it was hot showers, warm clothing and a "survivor photo."

P.S. The kids say that they are not Emo. They just like "different." On the knitting front, I'm on my last skein of my sister's Feather & Fan. As soon as it's done, I'll post a photo.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Young American Teens

As a public service, I am publishing the following instruction manual for my forty-something peers. I hope you enjoy today's lessons.

Lesson No. 1: Emo (pronounced /ˈiːmoʊ/) is a style of rock music which describes several independent variations of music with common stylistic roots. As such, use of the term has been the subject of much debate. In the mid-1980s, the term emo described a subgenre of hardcore punk which originated in the Washington, D.C. music scene. Starting in the mid-1990s, the term emo began to refer to the indie scene that followed the influences of Fugazi, which itself was an offshoot of the first wave of emo. (Many thanks for Wikipedia for the definition).

Lesson No. 2: Yes, all of your son & daughter's friends look like this (and so does your child).

Lesson No. 3: Yes, they have changed their appearances since becoming teens.

Our son looked liked this several years ago:

Now he's striving to look like this photo.

Lesson No. 4: Remember that you are not alone and more importantly...

Lesson No. 5: Remember your own past. ;^)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mad Science Saturday

This weekend, I decided to experiment with some of the alpaca fleece that was given to me by JoAnn of Fishwood Farm Alpacas. Having never worked with pure alpaca before, I wanted to see how difficult it was to clean, how quickly it felted and so forth.

I grabbed handfuls of fleece (white, rust and black) and washed them twice with a bit of Dawn detergent (as illustrated by Lara on her blog).

I then "carded" the fleece with purse-sized hairbrushes. :) Yes, I'm lame, but I wanted to see how it worked out before I invested in a pair of actual carding combs. [I'm shopping for them now/LOL.] I then rolled sections of the fleece into balls and packed them into one leg of a pair of pantyhose and tied it off as shown below.

Hairy balls anyone? ;)

I then felted the balls and removed the pantyhose. Note: Don't felt with pantyhose. The fiber ended up "bleeding through" pantyhose and I had to shave off parts the pantyhose with a disposable razor.

And voila! Fat, thick pincushions

They're actually prettier in person. You can see the color whorls in the felting and they're surprisingly heavy; the alpaca is very dense.

And every family has its "odd duck." I call this one the punk rock pincushion.

I also finished Aicha's Karaoke scarf.
Now that I've played and sampled, it's my hope to 1) get carding combs, 2) wet felt a lot of the fleece into 'dreadlocks' and then create felted drink coasters or maybe a braided rug. We shall see.... Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Crochet Lesson No. 1

aka "the not-so-young Jedi knitter goes
temporarily over to the Dark Side of fiber"

My apologies to the crocheters out there...I couldn't resist the joke. My first foray into any type of fiber was my seventh grade Home Economics class (circa 1979). Mrs. Bailey taught us how to make crochet bookworms like the one pictured below.

Last night, I had my first formal crochet lesson. I met up with Jan at Yarn Theory and I learned to chain, single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc) and several other stitches. I've heard from numerous people, including Jan, that crocheting is faster than knitting. Based on my struggles last night (how many times can Dana drop the hook? LOTS), I'll believe it when I can do it, but I don't doubt what they're saying. :)

I hope to make my way up to a granny square and beyond that, those amazing arigumi animals that can be found on Ravelry. While browsing there one morning, I found this little girl and I'm dying to make her. The pattern is called "Lavender Bunny."

Bookworm to Bunny...that should take me another twenty years....

Happy knitting/spinning and now, crocheting y'all.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Yesterday, the word, "shame" popped up in two separate and unrelated e-mails. Both e-mails were from friends and knitters. One wrote, "Until I actually start spinning... (as she holds her head down in shame)" and the other said, "hanging my head in shame..." [she hadn't completed a project]. I admire and like these women enormously. They inspire me on a regular basis, so I was so surprised by what they wrote.

In thinking about their e-mails, I realized that the three of us - - and probably more of us - - are in a similar boat. Specifically, we're trying to overachieve and when we can't do it all in a nominal amount of time, we feel badly about it. When did knitting become a "destination point" instead of a "journey"?

In all honesty, the last six to eight projects I've completed are a blur because I was so focused on "get it done" that I really don't remember (and more importantly, didn't enjoy) the actual process of knitting. Well, I've decided that there will be no more of that. My goals now are as follows:
  1. I will enjoy knitting first and foremost;
  2. I will not press myself to complete the project;
  3. I will not apologize when my life supercedes my knitting time a.k.a. "if it takes me twelve months to finish, that's perfectly fine;" and
  4. I will commit to no more than I can reasonably accomplish.

As for the "shameful knitters," well, they have nothing to be ashamed of. Both have busy lives and take care of numerous people in one respect or another. They've both had an incredibly eventful year (and not all of it fun or pleasant). So ladies... you know who you are...repeat after me... "I am NOT ashamed!" ;)

P.S. Here's the last example of my overkill. I knitted the Lopi tote in a day and felted it the next morning.

I've also been plugging away at the Karaoke scarf for my niece in France and now, I'm going to slow it down and enjoy the feel of the New Tweed.

Finally, and on a much lighter note, the kittens send their regards.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Alpaca Weekend

Hi everyone!

I had a fun and intesting weekend. On Saturday morning, I went to Fishwood Farm and met JoAnn Wood and her alpacas. JoAnn was a font of information and I really enjoyed spending time with her. The alpacas, themselves, were sweet natured, curious and lovely. It was really something to see them up close.

Photographed below is Pintura, a mother alpaca with very nice fur. Lara is now spinning some of her fleece.

The caramel colored alpaca (Rory) and the brown & white alpaca are being weaned. The chocolate brown and the white/black alpaca are yearlings.

And fleece...lots of fleece. JoAnn sent me home with five bags of fleece. There's a half bag of Suri, a bag of "seconds" (which I've earmarked for Linda) and three bags of "thirds" which are great for wet felting. Does anyone want some? Please say "yes" - - there's so much! Let me know and I'll mail it to you or if you're local, I'll bring a sack into work & meet up with you in town.

JoAnn also extended a broad invitation. If anyone wants to visit the farm and meet the alpaca, they're welcome to come. Just give her a call and set up a date and time.