Friday, May 26, 2006

All Quiet on the Eastern Front.....

On my end of things, anyway.

No knitting, although I have been thinking about it.

No spinning, although the wheel does call to me sometimes. However, since Anne has got the knack back, and has almost filled two bobbins, I think I will go ahead and order that second set of bobbins before I think about using the wheel. It looks like she will need all 4 of the ones we have! By the way, she only showed one bobbin on her blog, but she also totally filled another one too. The singles look great and she can be very proud of herself! She is doing great work!

No quilting, although I have been thinking really really hard about that. Sad to say, the Pooh Bear items for Michelle still aren't done yet. I really would like to get them finished and off to her soon after they have possession of the house. No sense in sending it before, since they are in temp quarters, but once they are moved in and have their things, it would be a good time to have the little wall hangings and quilt for Mitchie's room! So, I think it is more than past time to get the sewing machine oiled and cleaned up a bit (just easy stuff I can do), and get the binding sewed onto the items that are already set for that (2 of them!) and get the quilting done on the last little hanging. It won't take long, it is just getting set to do it. (Well, of course, I still have to cut the strips for the binding too, and sew them together, and press them, etc, before I can sew them on..... oh well.)

Anne has been busy dying wool again. She really has the bug. She is a much more energetic crafter than I am. She always has several (more than several?) projects on needles at one time, and often will work on two or three of them during a given day. She has been playing around with different dying methods for days now. And she has been spinning.

As much as I enjoy knitting and quilting, I obviously have a different crafting personality. I really prefer one knitting project at a time, although I can stand having two or three going. I do have several quilting projects in various stages of completion and that doesn't bother me a bit. Go figure? But, although I do find it all relaxing, etc, I really don't like to do any of it if there are a lot of other things going on. I guess I need peace and quiet to get started. A shame, as it makes it much harder to get started on new things, or even to work on already started things. Oh well. I guess we all have to accept our own way of doing things?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Knitting Hiatus

Just for a bit, of course!

I finished the body of the shawl I have been knitting, finished it days ago. It is waiting to be blocked, before having its edging knit on. That means it is waiting on Anne. She knows how to put in string so we don't have to use a bazillion pins. She has not been greatly motivated to do that right now. She has been busy spinning on occasion (trying to recapture her spinning mojo--it is easier when you have a master spinner sitting right next to you. She is doing well though!) and knitting, and dying yarn, and all the other things she likes to do to occupy her time. But, it will get done! I think today might be the day!!!

Then I have the fun of picking up all those stitches and knitting the ruffled edging. I sure hope it doesn't take me as long as Jo's edging is taking! Heavens! I think there are only a few rows to knit on this edging, so it should be a relatively fast project. Photos later, once it is all done.

No socks. I took them to VA and MD, and never touched a needle while I was gone. I thought about it, but there was so much to see and do, that I didn't. They will get done eventually.....

I have to think about the stockings, the Christmas stockings, that really will get done this year! That will be the next project.......

Friday, May 12, 2006

Festival, Sunday

Okay, time to move my brain back into the past and see what I can remember of the day, now that so much time has passed us by.

First off, the weather was clear but very chilly. I was outside first and grabbed my sweater from the car. Brrrr! I think it was in the 40's. But it was pretty clear and sunny, good news for festival going!

We were on the road and at the fairgrounds before 9 a.m. The parking area was not nearly as full as it had been on Saturday, and we got a spot right on the first row. I don't even pretend to understand how they decided to direct people to parking rows, but it worked out great for us! I guess looking back on it, a spot closer to the activities would have been even better, but this spot was easy to find again, and had super easy access out of the area, so it was great.

There were a lot fewer people there, so that made it much easier to see things, and get around in general. We stopped by and watched part of the Sheep to Shawl contest. I think there were 5 teams competing. The sheep had already been shorn, and the spinners and weavers were already at work. Each team had a shearer (who only sheared the sheep, and wasn't allowed to do anything else), 3 spinners, who also carded their wool, and one weaver. I did notice that the spinners didn't fuss about their yarn---some of the spinning was rather rough. There is a 3 hour limit for the whole contest though, so no time to be fussy. The wool was spun, and transfered from the spinning bobbin to the shuttle bobbin. It looked like the weavers already had a good foot or more of shawl woven already. We never did get a chance to check back again. When we got home, I check and found that the group from Mount Vernon (yes, in VA!) won the contest. Here are some pictures of them in action!

There were points given for costuming, and I am sure this group got the max on that. Some of the groups didn't seem to be in any special kind of dress or costume at all, and there was one group that was all dressed in red, white and black. It was very striking, and the wool they were working with was white and black.

We went through all the barns, I think. Some just had sheep and goats, although mostly sheep! Others, of course, were full of vendors, selling yarn, rovings, fleeces, and there were even vendors selling pottery, plants, photos of sheep, etc.! We saw some very interesting things, I must say!

Here is a woman trimming the fleece on the legs of a sheep. She was using hand shears. I wish they had come out better in the picture. I never noticed any electric shears the whole time we were there.

Here is a sheep in his coat. A good number of sheep were in coats, but many more weren't. Some people like to keep their sheep in coats, as it protects the wool, and also helps keep it cleaner and free of vegetable matter. They can often get a higher price for their fleece.

Here is a sheep, I don't remember what kind, but I can find out if anyone wants to know, as it is in the catalog. Notice that it has 5--yes, count them, five, horns. All his friends and family had 4, or two, and we might have seen one who had 3? But this guy had 5.

We think this woman was cleaning her sheep for a competition. We came out of a barn to hear and see the sight. The hose she is holding shoots out air, like a vacuum cleaner with the flow reversed. She was giving this critter a good going over, and happened to be on the rear section! You probably can't quite imagine just how funny it was. The sheep was pretty tolerant, but not really happy about it all, it seemed!

I have more photos, but really too many to show. If you want to see more later, let me know!

We finally went back to the big barn, the sight of so many spinning wheels, and off to the booth of the Yarn Barn people. Jim was not busy at all, and spent a lot of time with Anne. She is much more immediately hands on than I am, I prefer to watch a lot first. First she tried out the Ashford Traditional, which is a very nice looking wheel, I really like the looks of it. It was a double drive wheel. Jim told us a lot, and gave Anne lots and lots of practice time. He loves the double drive, but as he says, it isn't for everyone. You have to be able to go at its speed, and some people can't get in sync with it. Anne didn't find it as comfortable as the Lendrum she had tried on Saturday. Next she tried an Ashford Traveller. It was a single drive, double treadle--you use both feet to turn the wheel. This was a much better fit! Anne made real progress after the switch, and really liked it a lot. A good number of people stopped by and watched, and a number thought she was an experienced spinner, thanks to the great instruction she had from Jim! We learned a lot, probably at least as much as we would have learned from one or two spinning classes, and maybe more! As you already know, if you looked at the other blog and saw the saga of putting the wheel together----we got the Traveller. It is a nice little wheel, easy to move and transport, and looks pretty too! Can't ask for much more than that, right? And it doesn't take up a lot of space. Even better! Here is a picture of Anne and Jim, during part of the lesson.

We got the wheel bought, and headed for the car. It was only about 11.20 by the time we left the barn, but we had seen and done plenty and were ready to go. We liked getting a good early start for home. There were a lot of things we had hoped to be and didn't, but we saw more than enough to keep us happy! And we came home with a wheel, so what more could we ask for?!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Assembling the Wheel

See Sally's Stuff, link in side bar, for photos and description!

Check back here tomorrow for Sunday at the festival!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


We arrived at the festival just a tick after 12 noon. Traffic wasn't badly backed up, but there was a bit of a line of cars going in. We turned onto Fairgrounds Road, which is absolutely "right there" and saw a huge sea of cars parked in the fields. Our thoughts at the time included, "wow!" and "how will we ever find our car again?" However, luck was on our side, and we got a spot right at one end, and had no trouble finding it when we were ready to go. Hurrah!

The fairgrounds are pretty spacious, with a good number of buildings, and a lot of vendor tents too. It was very overwhelming. As we first walked in, I really did think at that point that this might be a nice, "one-time deal" kind of thing. I got over it! There was so much to see, and of course, there was no hope of seeing all of it, by any means. So, we just relaxed and saw what we could.

So much yarn, so many beautiful colors, so many different kinds of yarn.

Some randoms shots of yarn! Anne is holding ---- hummm, looks like her cone of lace-weight yarn, and the bag of unprocessed wool she chose. Just a little one! It will be fun to play with, without the worry of having a whole fleece to deal with. The colors are interesting---I am sure she will blog about it later!

By the way, as you might be able to tell from the photos, the weather was lovely. It was sunny and comfortable. Not hot, but warm enough not to need a jacket.

There were spinning wheels, often masses of them in close quarters, at some of the various vendor booths!

Alpacas and llamas


and even angora bunnies!

We had a great time on Saturday. I quickly decided that I could see making future visits to the festival. People were really nice---they would often suggest another shop that had a better price listed for something you were looking at. The vendors were very helpful too! The colors were amazing. There really wasn't much smell at all, which we found amazing considering the number of animals there.

Anne had a chance to spin on a Lendrum Traveler, which she really liked. Some other festival visitor was spinning on it when we came up, but she had just goobered up the spinning, and had to go as her bus was about to leave. She turned it over to Anne. The man at the booth was busy, so she was trying to get it going on her own. A woman stopped by and offered assistance and advice. I saw she was wearing a name tag, and got a good look at it---it was Amy Clark Moore, the Editor of Spin-Off, the spinning magazine. She was extremely helpful! She also said this vendor was great---she knows the people and they have a great shop in Kansas. By the way, the vendor/shop is Yarn Barn

At the end of this very long barn that we were in, there was a spinning area set up, with a number of wheels and ladies spinning. They were happy to let people watch, and try spinning. I tried out two wheels. One I had trouble with, as the wheel had gotten unbalanced, and the winder kept going in reverse--mostly my fault, as I was having trouble getting the treadle going. They switched me to another wheel, which was a little bit better, although I still had the winder-in-reverse problem some of the time. The big thing was getting a chance to try out some wheels, and finding that I could actually spin pretty well on them, when I could get the winder going in the right direction!

I didn't buy much, leaving it to Anne to do most of the shopping. Mike had already brought up the subject of buying a wheel, and I didn't want to go overboard. I picked up some business cards and also made notes on the list of vendors, of places that had things I especially liked---there is always the opportunity to buy online later. There will be photos of the stash additions in another post!

We called it a day by 5 and had no trouble finding the car. We had no trouble getting out of the area either. Traffic control was well handled, with police directing traffic at the important intersections, and when coming into the parking area, Boy Scouts directing the cars. Really worked out well.

I guess this is more than long enough. I will leave Sunday's activities for tomorrow's blogging!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Tons of sheep!
Tons of knitters!
Tons of yarn!
Tons of roving!
Tons of spinning wheels!
Tons of spinners!
Too much fun!
Finally home!
Too much to do!
Too much to tell!
More tomorrow!

Monday, May 01, 2006


It looks like we will be able to go! Yes, to Maryland, to the sheep and wool festival!!! We have heard so much talk about it, and I know we will have a great time. Anne is really looking forward to it, even more than I am. We will be the slow-moving, often sitting ones! Can't get her worn out too badly, while she is still trying to recover from the mono. If it weren't for the amount that we can learn there, and that we can take our time and go slow---we will be so overwhelmed, and already know we won't be able to see it all---AND being able to combine the trip with a visit to sister-in-law (more like a sister though!!!!) Jo, I don't know that we would have bothered going. Anne really needs a break from things right now though, and she has been wanting to go for ages now. So, we will go.

Meanwhile, the lace progresses. I think I have about 26 inches of the required 30, so it is really coming along! Anne and I stopped at Joann's today and got more pins, just in case we need them for blocking. Anne feels confident about running a string through to block (for both her scarf she needs to block, and the shawl)and using few pins. We figured, extra pins never hurt--I use this kind of pin in quilting too, so always good to have more. I will let you know how it goes! I have faith in Anne, she will tame the unruly lace!

Pictures soon, once there are more finished things to photograph, or when we get back from Maryland! Hurrah, Maryland!