Monday, September 28, 2009

Husband fixes computer... FAIL

Ok, that's not what happened, but I might as well have a kitty in my computer!

So lately our *relatively new* computer has been shutting itself off randomly, and we figured it was getting too hot. Moving it away from the wall didn't help, so DH decided to remove the cover and get all the dust out. Great plan, since there was quite a bit and that was probably causing the problem. Unfortunately, he failed to turn off and unplug. There was a spark, some cursing...

So sadly my last two installments of the Wool Gathering posts will have to be delayed until I can somehow retrieve the photos off the ..uh... flux.. capacitor.. hypergenerator.. warp.. drive...? Hard drive? Meh.

I do have a gargantuan list of exciting blog posts to write, but all the links, photos, etc, are [hopefully still] saved on the "smoking" computer.
But don't worry! My life is full of excitement! Like what you say?
Well... like baby poop on the living room carpet! Everyone loves to read about that, right??!!
ehm.... ok.

*Runs off to beg Dad to fix computer*

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Wool Gathering- The Vendors

The Vendors. AKA the suppliers of our habit.

Guilford, Indiana

Ahh, one of the most gorgeous shops of the whole festival. You just want to climb in that display rack and wrap yourself up in the stuff.

(Again, sorry about the photos. Seriously, why did the tent company decide blazing red was a good color for a gargantuan tent??)
Here's some alpaca laceweight in "Twilight" that I bought from them last year. Now, this has to be some powerfully pretty stuff because I swore I'd never knit lace. I dread knitting anything that takes smaller than size 15 needles. And I cannot follow directions to save my life. Reeeally bad combination for a lace shawl. But it was soooo pretty I couldn't help it. Plus, I liked the feeling of prancing around a fiber festival with a skein of string. You know, like a big girl knitter.
Exhibit A:
And that's pretty much how it looks a year later. I would really like that alpaca shawl. *sigh*

Now I'm kicking myself for not writing down what this loveliness is. Whatever it is, it's new and very shiny and silky. I think it had bamboo. Or seacell. Er... better check the website.

And I had to include these photos for non-knitters. Seriously, camel? Yak? First, who knew camels even had enough hair to spin? And yak(s)- weren't they extinct like a zillion years ago? Wait, maybe that's wooly mammoths... but same thing, right??
Anyway it's unbelievably soft stuff.

I can't help but giggle at the thought of myself knitting something with this. (Assuming any project of mine lighter than worsted weight ever saw the light of day,) I'm imagining a luxurious lacey thing around my shoulders, and telling everyone it's my yak shawl.

Mom bought a giant woven tea towel kit. For her giant loom.
Aren't those colors super pretty??

Raeford, North Carolina

Everyone was raving about the gigantic knitting needles. Er... sticks. They're a size 50!
(Oh yeah, and that's me.)

Here's an example of what you could make with size 50 needles:

And I'm so mad I didn't get a better (bigger) picture of this shawl. It's made of banana silk, and it looks just like the recycled silk sari yarn. Since it's so heavy, you usually only see it made into something small like a hat. But it hangs soooo beautifully as a shawl.

Ali Strebel Designs
Kettering, Ohio

Here we have my worst case of non-buyers remorse of the whole weekend.
I hate that the photos are so dark, really this jewelry is phenomenally gorgeous. And what an ingenious idea! I love fiber jewelry, but this is something completely new and different. I can't wait till she gets her online shop up and running!

Marlene's Felting Madness
Scottown, Ohio

Now here's some really amazing stuff. The colors of this silk are soooo beautiful, this one little display was drawing quite a crowd of admirers!

Sardinia, Ohio

Here's Mom showing some poor unsuspecting victim how to spin silk:

"Oh, it's so easy!" she's saying. "You'll have your own spiderweb-weight thread in no time!" snicker

Little does this woman know, she's entered the inescapable spinning realm of SILK. No turning back now.

And here's Mom growing tired of being followed by a [beautiful cowgirl] loon with a camera:

But don't let that scare you. Like I said, I plan on posting a nice little tutorial about spinning silk. And I expect you all, loyal followers, to read and enjoy. Ahem.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Wool Gathering

It's that time again- Festivals and craft shows! Mom and I have been to A Wool Gathering for the last few years, and we always have a fantastic time. It's actually a fiber festival, (not the cereal-supplement-poopy kind of fiber, I mean the kind that makes yarn!) And it's not only wool, there are vendors selling silk, dyes, handspun and commercial yarn, spindles, spinning wheels, weaving supplies, animals.... and the list goes on.

So you can imagine I have plenty of pictures to share! Therefore I'll be splitting this post up into several sections. Next I'll show a few specific vendors who have some really cool stuff. Then I've got an interview with an author of a new spinning book, and of course lots of pics of my little munchkin playing on the dairy farm!

(I have to apologize in advance for some of the really bad photos- most of the vendors were under red and yellow plastic tents, so not only was there very low light, but everything has an orange-y color. Sorry!)

A Wool Gathering is held every year in September at Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Yellow Springs is quite a little attraction itself, with all kids of cool artisan shops and cafes. The Dairy has the best ice cream I've ever had, and that's saying a lot, cuz I eat a lot of ice cream!

Right inside the entrance there was an excellent weaving and spinning demonstration. Two women were spinning the yarn, and a third was weaving it into yardage. Just when you think you have enough hobbies...

I just love this little tent for the kids. There are all kinds of instruments for them to play with, like a fiddle, dulcimer, and banjo! So cute!

And we have the annual "fiberface" photo. I think the vendor is beginning to recognize us.

What's the best part of any fiber show? The alpacas, of course! Aren't they gorgeous?

I love those big eyes and long eyelashes. They were "on sale" for only $400! I'm sure my landlord wouldn't mind, only farm animals are not allowed in our village. Pfft. Maybe if I taught her to bark like a dog...

Here's me squishing a ball of Crystal Palace's Mochi Plus. Gahh it's gorgeous stuff! I love singles, and the colors are fabulous. (I'm the one with the glasses. Ehehe...)

Here's Mom visiting Ohio Valley Natural Fibers for, like, the zillionth time that weekend. (The word on the street is that she struck a great deal and will be passing on the fiber-liciousness in her Etsy shop as quick as her little fingers can dye!)

If you're not a knitter or spinner but want to learn more, stay tuned- after I get through the photos I'll be posting a tutorial about making your own yarn from silk hankies, which are little square sheets of raw silk straight from the cocoon. It's a really inexpensive and easy way to get started spinning. All you need are your fingers!
If you already share the fiber obsession and just can't wait for my next post (haha) you can browse our highly entertaining adventures from last year's Wool Gathering and the previous year's little fiber roadtrip to Greencastle, Indiana.

P.S. The next Wool Gathering will be September 18 & 19, 2010!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Please enjoy this intermission...

...While I process the fantasticness that was the fiber festival!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

She's a Maaaaniac, Maaaaniac....

...on the floor; and she's dancin' like she's neeeva danced before!

Actually, we can't get the kid to stop dancing! Sure, that's a great thing. Except when she insists on always having a dance partner! Her version of dancing consists of running around in a circle as fast as her little legs can go. Over. and over. and over again.

Awww look, they're having such a great time...

....Until she escapes, and her dance partner must hunt her down:

I think that's toddler-ese for "Thanks for the dance!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trinkets and Treasures

So it's a little early for "Favorites Friday," but I'm dying to introduce you to another very talented person I found on Etsy. (And let's face it, I fell off the cutesy Name/Day/Feature posting train a long time ago. Hey, I'm a creative person who can't be reigned in by rituals, ok?)

Anyway, allow me to introduce you to Sue, the talent behind TheThirdWish. I've always admired artists who create amazingly detailed jewelry with teensy-tinesy seed beads, especially when they're stitched into beautiful patterns. Sue takes it a step further with her lovely beaded boxes.

"Shining Pebbles" Box

"The Frog Prince" Box

Her jewelry is just as stunning:

"True Blue" Pendant Necklace

Want to get to know Sue better? She was nice enough to answer a few questions for us!

M: Where do you live, and what's it like to create there?
S: I live in El Cerrito, CA, close to Berkeley. I love the weather- it never snows. And many people here share my religious and political views.
I have two teenage daughters who talked me into opening up my Etsy shop. They have been doing all of the Etsy work- the shop setup, the photos, and descriptions.
M: They're doing a great job! How did you become interested in beading, and what inspires your work?
S: I have always enjoyed crafts. I have never considered myself very artistic, but I have always liked to give handmade gifts. I have taken a class or two and borrowed many crafting books from the library. I also subscribe to Beading Daily. Beading is very relaxing. I can come home from work and still have room for beading.
I think I am inspired by the beads themselves. I love that I can have a zillion different colors, sizes, and textures. I can set lots of different beads out together on a table and see how they look.
M: It comes through in your work- there's a calm, relaxing flow in your patterns! What do you like the best out of all your pieces?
S: I'm especially fond of my "Frog Prince" box.
M: I love those colors! Do you have any other crafts or hobbies? What else would you like to try?
S: I try to learn new beading stitches and techniques all the time. I'm also toying with mixed media mosaics, which will incorporate beads and beadwork.
I also make all of my own greeting cards, but only for personal use.
Sue will also be adding earrings to her shop soon!