Tour de Fleece 2015, Rest Day 1

During the Tour de Fleece, spinners rest on the days racers in the Tour de France rest.  July 13 was the first rest day for the Tour de France, so most spinners rested today.  I am not resting on the official rest days as I won’t be able to spin for the last week of the Tour since I’ll be in San Diego for the TKGA Annual Conference.

Since I finished plying the cormo yesterday, today was the day to start something new!  The next fiber in my spinning queue was 3 Feet of Sheep.  This is 8 ounces of Blue-faced Leicester hand-dyed by Frabjous Fibers.  The colorway I have is “Colors of the Capital.”  It is 10 bumps of fiber, each a different color and each weighing 20 to 21 grams.  The fiber comes packaged in a long tube:

IMG_5640

I toyed with the idea of fractal spinning this fiber, but decided to spin end to end so that when I knit it I’ll have a gradient.  I plan to Navajo ply to maintain the color sequence.  I didn’t do any pre-drafting, but I am splitting each color into multiple strips and spinning from those.  The colors aren’t solid; they are tonal and look like they are probably space-dyed, with concentrated dye applied in certain sections and then wicking out into the rest of the fiber from there.  The result is subtle striping within each color.  I spun each strip starting from the same end so that this subtle striping happens multiple times throughout that color.

My goal is to spin 1 color per day until I’ve spun all the fiber.  I’m spinning this fiber about twice as fast as I spun the cormo, so I had time this evening to spin up two colors.  Here’s how my bobbin looked when I stopped for the night.

image

 

Looks like I’ll be spinning yellow tomorrow 🙂

Tour de Fleece, Stage 7

Today I continued plying the cormo.  While plying is faster than spinning, it still takes a long time when your singles are like thread!  I finished the first bobbin and barely started on the second bobbin.

image

I haven’t mentioned this before, but I a towel under my spinning wheel to protect our hardwood floors.  The small movements the wheel makes while I’m spinning scratched my floor the first couple times I used the wheel.  I usually pick the towel up at night to keep it away from the cats.  I forgot to pick up the towel last night and someone puked on it during the night, so I put a different towel on the floor today.  Fortunately, the guilty feline missed my wheel and my bobbins of spun yarn.  I would not have been happy to find dried up cat puke ruining my beautiful singles!

Tour de Fleece 2015, Day 1

Saturday, July 4, 2015 is the first day of the Tour de France.  This means it is also the first day of the Tour de Fleece.  The latter is a (yarn) spinning event that takes place each year on the same days as the famous bicycle race.  The bicycle race is obviously a challenging event, full of world-class athletes.  In that spirit, participants in the Tour de Fleece set their own challenging goals.

The Tour de France starts on July 4 and ends on July 26 this year.  There’s two rest day during which the racers do not ride.  This year, those dates are July 13 and July 21.  There’s also one day that is particularly challenging.  This year, that day is July 23.  On that day, the racers will climb 5 mountains.  The Tour de Fleece encourages participants to follow a similar schedule.  Spinners don’t spin on the Tour de France rest days, and set a particularly difficult personal goal for the most challenging day of the Tour de France.

This is my first year participating in the Tour de Fleece.  I only started spinning in late April 2014, six weeks before the Tour de Fleece started.  I knew about the Tour de Fleece because I have friends who take part every year, but I didn’t feel ready to participate last year.  I’m excited about this year!

Goals

My personal Tour de Fleece will be cut short this year.  July 21 to 26 I will be in San Diego for The Knitting Guild Association Conference.  I’m not bringing a spinning wheel with me, so won’t be able to spin while I am away.  Since I’ll miss those dates, I’m not going to take any rest days for the rest of the tour.  I’ll also miss the challenge day.  I’m not worried about that though.  I think it’s apparent to anyone reading this blog that I tend to challenge myself every day 🙂

My Tour de Fleece goal is to spin at least 30 minutes each day from July 4 through July 20.  I hoped to finish the cormo before the Tour started, but I did not.  I’ll work on the cormo until I finish it and then I’ll start on 3 Feet of Sheep in Colors of the Capital.  I also plan to ride my bike at least 3 miles a day for each day from July 4 through July 20.

Today’s Progress

Since today is the first Saturday of the month, it was the regular meeting day of my local spinning group.  I started the day by spinning with them.

image

imageThen I came home and spun some more.  At the beginning of the day, my bobbin of cormo looked like this:

image

When I finished spinning for the day, my bobbin looked like this:

image

I spun for about 7 or 8 hours today, far exceeding my 30 minute goal! I also rode my bike for 3.12 miles this afternoon.  Since it’s the summer in Florida, we had our usual afternoon rain showers.  Chris and I managed to sneak a bike ride in between two separate storms.  Despite the ominous hue of the clouds, we made it through the entire ride ahead of the second wave of storms!

I’m spinning the cormo very fine — it’ll definitely be lace weight 2-ply — which means it takes a long time to spin.  In fact, it’s taking 2 hours to spin 0.5 ounces.  I have about 0.75 ounces left, and I’m hoping to finish spinning it tomorrow so I can ply on Monday.  I can’t wait to see just home much yardage I get.  I think it’s going to be ridiculously high!  On Tuesday, I’ll start on Three Feet of Sheep.

A Year of Projects: Introduction and Week 24

come-blog_0

I just stumbled across the Year of Projects group on Ravelry.  This is a blog-along group.  Participants make a list of crafting goals for the year and post weekly updates on their progress.  The Year of Projects runs from July 1 through June 30, so we are almost at the end of the year.  Some participants run on an annual schedule, however.  I decided that I will participate on an annual schedule.  I already made a list for 2015, but I haven’t been reviewing it or updating it.  Now you’ll get an update post every Sunday.  Since I already post a WIP Wednesday post, I think the Sunday post will probably just be a list with completed items crossed off, but that may change!

Previous Posts

Since it’s been awhile since I’ve written about my goals — and I haven’t really reviewed them myself since I wrote them — I thought I’d link to the posts I wrote back in January.

2015 Goals and Plans

UFO Inventory

Breed Specific Fiber Inventory & Breed Specific Fiber Inventory, Updated

Apparently, I never wrote a post about my Stashdown plans.  I thought I had!

Current Status

Stashdown

I set the goal of knitting from stash.  I would not buy new yarn, except for weaving yarn.  Uh, yeah.  turns pink  That hasn’t happened.  There’s been much acquisition of stash, and not all of it is for weaving.

UFOs

Here’s the list again.  If I’ve finished or frogged the project, it’s linked to the relevant blog post.  If it’s not linked, I haven’t finished it.

After I made this list, I found another project.  I need to stuff and assemble a Baby Blue Monster.

2015 Goals and Plans

Knitting

  • Knit myself a sweater
  • Improve my finishing techniques

I haven’t done a sweater yet, but I never intended to make one until the fall, so that’s okay.  In July, I’m attending The Knitting Guild Association meeting in San Diego, and I’m taking a two-day Finishing class with Arenda Holladay!

Crocheting

  • Learn to read crochet patterns
  • Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
  • Make at least one non-granny square crochet project

Yeah, I’ve done none of this.

Spinning

The Cotton Candy Corriedale was a breed-specific fiber, but I haven’t been thinking of it as part of that project and I did not write a separate blog post about it. The Cormo that I’m currently spinning is the first fiber that I’m counting as part of the breed specific spinning project.  The updated Breed Specific Inventory is no longer correct.  I never received the fiber from Little Barn.  I ended up filing a complaint with PayPal to get my money back.  I’ve also bought some fiber from other sources since.  I’m no longer sure that I want to process the Mystery Fleece.  I’ve brought it to demos and it’s nice to have an unprocessed fleece for that purpose.

Weaving

  • Continue playing with color and weave drafts
  • Learn pick up stick drafts

I finished the Ravenclaw and Slytherin Houndstooth Scarves this year, which goes to the color and weave goal.  My OWL proposal for the current term of HPKCHC was to weave 8 scarves using 8 different color and weave patterns.  I haven’t started that yet, but plan to start this week.  If I complete the 8 scarves, that will pretty much fulfill the color and weave goal.  I have not started on pick up stick drafts.

Dyeing

  • Finish dyeing the MAPLE LEAF Shawls
  • pH / water source experiment

None of this has happened.

Projects

I only had a few project goals for this year.

Other Finished Projects

This is a list of all the projects I’ve finished so far this year.  I’m omitting anything already listed above.  These projects don’t necessarily fit into any of the goals I wrote in January.  I was surprised that there’s so few!  I guess I’ve been more on target than I realized 🙂

IMG_8960

IMG_8959

Updated List of Goals

I’m collating the above list into one so that I can more easily post on Sundays.  I’m also adding some goals.  I’ve taken on additional projects and I’ve acquired a floor loom!  I’m not including a stash-related goal.  I don’t plan to acquire more yarn this year, but who do I think I’m kidding?

Knitting

  • Knit myself a sweater
  • Improve my finishing techniques
  • Finish MHK Level 1
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Tribbles
    • Leaves
  • Charity Knits
  • Do some test knits
    • Sand Tracks Scarf (in progress)
    • Raindrops on Roses Shawlette (in progress)
  • Finish or frog all UFOs
    • Traveling Scarf
    • Bigger on the Inside Hat
    • Evenstar
    • Quinn Bag
    • Baby Blue Monster
  • Socks
  • Other Projects
    • Liquid Silver (remaking from scratch, since I frogged it!)
    • Fountain Pen Shawl
  • Design at least one project from scratch

Crochet

  • Learn to read crochet patterns
  • Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
  • Make at least one non-granny square crochet project
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
  • Learn to spin on a drop spindle

Weaving

  • Continue playing with color and weave drafts
  • Learn pick up stick drafts
  • Learn Inkle Weaving
  • Learn Kumihimo braiding
  • Explore Twill weaves on the floor loom
  • Make items for the Guild Sale
    • Slytherin Houndstooth Scarf

Dyeing

  • Finish dyeing the MAPLE LEAF Shawls
  • pH / water source experiment
  • Return to dye triangles project

Goals for the Week of June 14 – 20, 2015

  • Finish the Sand Tracks Scarf.
  • Finish the Raindrops on Roses Shawlette.
  • Finish half of the questions and swatches for MHK1.
  • Finish at least one color and weave scarf on the rigid heddle loom.
  • Cast on the Liquid Silver Shawl.
  • Knit the Grisou Scarf (another test knit).

Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2015

On Saturday, June 6, Stacy and I attended the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival (website) in Franklin, Indiana.  This is a two-day festival, held on Friday and Saturday, but we were only able to make it for the Saturday since we were at Greencastle, Indiana’s First Fridays program on Friday afternoon and evening.  We had a wonderful time at the Fiber Festival, and had plenty of time to visit all the vendors.  We did not have enough time to take any of the classes at the festival; if we were able to go both days, we would have taken at least one class.

Animals

I love going to fiber events held at county fairgrounds or similar outdoor venues because animals are always present at these events.  Hoosier Hills is such an event.  When we drove through the gate of the fairgrounds, we saw the alpaca and llama pen on our left.  It was the first place we visited.  This area was organized by a local 4H chapter.  They set up the lawn area as an obstacle course and at three times during the day, the 4H members led their alpaca or llama through the course.  My favorite obstacle was the hula hoop.  The child held the hoop up and the alpaca jumped through it!

The 4H was raising money by taking pictures of Festival attendees with an alpaca.

image

Of course, Stacy and I had our picture taken with an alpaca!  This one is named Hapi (pronounced happy).  He’s about a year old and a rescue.  When his owner rescued him, he was quite nervous around people but now he’s super friendly.  If you look closely, you might be able to see the little piece of straw sticking out of his mouth.

image

Hapi’s owner told us he gives kisses.  I’m sad this picture is out of focus, but it is still funny!

image

On the opposite side of the lawn area was a pen containing a one-week-old kid and his mama.  This little goat was hilarious.  He came running over any time I bent down to take a picture, but didn’t want to be petted.  He needed to check out everything in the pen and he was the boss of everything.  When a llama in an adjacent pen stuck its head through the bars and started eating the straw in the goat pen, the baby ran over and jumped on top of the bale, like he was the king of the pen!

image

image

image

image

image

Food

I didn’t get any pictures of the food, but did want to comment on the available food.  I only saw two food trucks: ice cream and kettle corn.  This is the kind of food I expect at events like this, and assumed we would have to leave the fairgrounds to find a restaurant in town for lunch.  But then we went into one of the vendor buildings and discovered that the 4H was selling food.  They had burgers, hot dogs, chips, and bottled drinks.  And they had vegan vegetable soup.  I was so thrilled!  I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian and fairs tend to be hard re: food.  I expect to eat snack food like kettle corn at worst and unhealthy food like greasy pizza at best.  Every once in a while, I’ll stumble on to something really worth eating like grilled corn or the various offerings of the Artichoke booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool.  I’ve never found vegan vegetable soup at a fair before!  It was delicious.  It looked like it was homemade, and was full of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, lima beans, peas, and more, all for only $2 for a cup!

Vendors and Shopping

Just over 50 vendors attended this festival.  Perhaps 1/3 of these vendors also attend The Fiber Event in Greencastle, which takes place two weeks before Hoosier Hills.  The rest were vendors we hadn’t seen before.  I had three goals for shopping at this event: Good for Ewe Mirrorball yarn (this is a yarn manufactured in Indiana, which I bought from Nomad Yarns (website, Ravelry group) at last year’s Fiber Event) so I can reknit the Begonia Swirl Shawl that got felted, yarn to knit a shawl for Stacy, and maybe some breed-specific spinning fiber if I happened across any I don’t already have.  I did purchase these things and then some!

Yarn

I picked up twelve 1/2 pound (800 yard) cones of Maysville carpet warp (Affiliate link to The Woolery) from Couch’s Little Workshop.

image

I only bought three other skeins of yarn.  The blue skein on the left is the Good for Ewe Mirrorball I needed for my replacement Begonia Swirl Shawl, which I purchased from The Clay Purl booth.  The blue skein in the middle is from Knitted to a T.  It is laceweight Opulent (70/20/10 Baby Alpaca / Silk / Cashmere) in the Sapphire colorway.  At 1312 yards for 104 grams, it’s a very fine weight of lace yarn!  This is the yarn for Stacy’s shawl.  The brown skein on the right is from Ballyhoo Farm in Kentucky.  It is undyed Shetland wool from “Cake.”  I love yarn where you know the name of the sheep who grew the wool!

The fourth skein, the pink one, was a door prize.  It is a skein of Bartlett Yarn, provided by Copper Centaur Studios (website, Facebook).  I rarely win anything, so was excited to get a door prize!  I didn’t know until I was writing this blog post that Bartlett Yarns is a family-owned mill in Maine that’s been around since 1821.  That’s pretty cool!

image

Tools, etc.

I got these notecards from Ballyhoo Farms.  All the photos are from their farm.  I got to sort through a stack of cards to pick 10 for my set, and it was truly hard to pick!  The one on top is Cake, the producer of the wool that became my skein of yarn.

image

I was about to order some more Knit Picks cables, so was glad to run into a booth selling them.  Now I won’t convince myself to spend $50 at Knit Picks, so that I can get the free shipping. I got the Wacky Woollies umbrella and the two buttons at the same booth as the cables. I bought the two shawl pins at The Clay Purl booth when I bought the Mirrorball yarn.  They are handmade by Lisa Thyr of Wool’s End.  Her business card doesn’t have a website and I couldn’t find her on Google Search, Etsy, Ravelry, or Facebook.  Her work is beautiful and I had a hard time picking just one or two shawl pins!

image

The three remaining items on the right hand side of the photo — the Christmas ornament, pen, and earrings — are all from Bur Oak Studio (website, Facebook, Etsy).  The artist is Jennifer.  She makes all kinds of beautiful items from metal knitting needles.  She has signs for identifying plants, bracelets, necklaces, magnets, bookmarks, and more.  Stacy bought me the pen as a gift; I bought her a Christmas ornament as a gift.

image

I’ve seen some knitting needle jewelry before, but Jennifer had some unique items and an eye for putting everything together.  Even her containers of pieces and tools were pretty to me.  (I took these pictures with permission of the artist!)

image

image

At The Fiber Event last year, I bought 4 hand-turned crochet hooks from Sistermaide.  This year, I bought 5 more.  I love these hooks.  They are well made and pointy, which I find helpful since I still crochet very tightly.

image

Fiber

I bought 7 new-to-me breed-specific fibers from Dyed in the Wool.  Sandy and Benita (host of The Fiber Pusher Podcast (website, YouTube, Ravelry Group)) are incredibly organized.  They had many different kinds of fiber (at least 50), and the best way to buy it that I’ve ever seen.  I wish I’d taken a picture of the set up.  They had a couple of poster boards with rectangles drawn on them with a sharpie.  Each space on the board was for a different kind of fiber.  The name and inventory number of the fiber was at the top of the space.  The price per ounce was on the bottom of the square.  In the middle of the box, they attached two samples of each fiber, one unspun and one spun.  When they sold out of a fiber, they taped a piece of paper marked “out of stock” over the space.  Inside the booth, the big bags of roving and top were arranged by inventory number.  I took some time looking at the board, then read off all 7 inventory numbers for the fiber I wanted.  Benita went into the booth and weighed out the 4 ounces of each fiber, as I specified.  Each fiber went into its own grocery-style bag and Benita wrote the fiber name and weight on the outside of the bag.  She wrote all the bags first, before she started weighing, and passed the list of fiber to Sandy so I could pay while Benita was weighing.

Stacy and I were joking that it looked like I was carrying around a miniature flock of sheep, so I took this picture of the flock out in the grass.  I had to leave them in the bags, though.  It’s summer in Central Florida, which means it rains for an hour or two every afternoon.  It seems as though the grass is never dry!  A few of the fibers I bought were single-animal.  The name in quotes after a breed name is the name of the sheep!

image
Back, l to r: Baby doll Southdown, Fresian “Poppy,” Dorset. Front, l to r: Romeldale, Suffolk “Gavroche,” Polypay, LincolnFolk “Marshmallow Jr.”

LincolnFolk is a breed I hadn’t heard of before.  It is in development by Richert Ranch, crossing their Suffolk x Hampshires with Lincoln.  On her blog, Benita has a post about visiting the farm to buy fleeces.  That blog post includes a picture of raw fleeces from Marshmallow Jr., Poppy, and Gavroche.  Marshmallow Jr is the second raw fleece you’ll see as you scroll down the post.  Poppy is in the middle, the last of the black fleeces pictured.  The very last fleece pictured on the blog post is Gavroche.  I don’t know if any of the pictured fleeces are the source of the fiber I purchased, but it’s fun to see raw fleeces from the same sheep!

I recently finished spinning Cotton Candy Corriedale dyed by Sassy Bee Fibers (website, Facebook).  I bought that fiber at The Fiber Event last year; this year, I bought three fibers from Sassy Bee.

image
from top to bottom: Corriedale, Nylon, Tencel blend in Poseidon (3.8 ounces); Merino, Inego silk, Mohair lock blend in Aquaman (4.0 ounces); Corriedale, Bombyx Silk, and Nylon blend in Lotus (4.3 ounces).

We thought we were done shopping for the day.  On our way out of the fair, we stopped back at the competition table to see who won the various prizes.  Many of the fleece entries were gone, either sold or picked up by whoever entered them.  One of the remaining fleeces was a beautiful, black Alpaca.  The woman at the competition booth told us the fleece was so stunning that the judge wanted to buy it!  The person who entered the fleece did not plan to come back to pick it up.  Her son was in a car accident; she dropped the fleece off at the festival and went straight to the hospital.  As a result, we weren’t able to get much information about the fleece.  Neither Stacy nor I wanted an entire Alpaca fleece, so we decided to split it.  We bought the fleece, and I carried it over to the Ohio Valley Natural Fibers booth and dropped it off for processing.  Before I dropped it off, I took a quick picture, but this really doesn’t do the fleece justice!  I can’t wait to get the roving back from the mill, but it will take a while.  Their current processing time is about 3 months.

image

 

 

 

Greencastle, Indiana: June 2015

Last year, I attended The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana.  I planned to attend this year also, but then Chris and I got to go to India.  The trip to India was at the same time as The Fiber Event 2015.

My primary reason for going to Greencastle is to visit my good friend Stacy, who moved there a couple of years ago.  We put our heads together to come up with a new date, and discovered the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival (a separate blog post is in progress; I’ve got to take pictures of my purchases), held about an hour from Greencastle on the first Friday and Saturday of June.  I changed my tickets from April to this past weekend.  I arrived in Indiana on Thursday afternoon and flew home Sunday evening.

At Work

Stacy was working on Thursday and Friday.  I spent most of my time, hanging out in her office, knitting.  She has these adorable sheep sculptures in her office.

image image

I especially love their happy little faces.

image

Weaving

Stacy did attend The Fiber Event 2015.  Her mother bought her an early birthday present: a 10″ wide rigid heddle loom from Couch’s Little Workshop, an Indiana-based family business of handmade looms.  Stacy had not warped the loom yet and wanted to do so before we went to the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  Couch’s Little Workshop was going to be at that Festival also, and she wanted to ask them questions or resolve any problems she might have with the loom.  On Thursday night, I taught her how to warp the loom and how to weave.

image

Stacy took a three-hour rigid heddle weaving class two years ago, at The Fiber Event, but she hasn’t woven anything since then.  Her selvages are spectacular!

image

First Fridays

During the spring, summer, and fall, Greencastle has a “First Fridays” program.  The downtown business group, of which Stacy is President, helps to organize First Fridays.  The town closes off a road next to the courthouse.  Vendors sell their wares and there’s music on the steps of the Courthouse.

image

image

image

This month, a vintage car club came for the event.

image

image

Several local clubs and civic groups attended this month also, including the Putnam County Spinners Guild, of which Stacy is a member.  I helped set up and take down the tables and chairs for the Guild.  The original plan was that I would finish spinning the Cormo and bring the bobbins with me so I could ply them on one of Stacy’s wheels during the event.  I didn’t get the spinning done, so I knit instead.

image
The fiber in the box is llama that Stacy recently got back from processing. The fiber in the white bag on the right is unprocessed llama. The yarns on the table are all handspun. The full-size hanks are Stacy’s handspun and I believe they are all Nerd Girl Yarns fibers. The smaller samples were handspun and dyed by another Guild member.
image
Guild members Sarah (spinning with a Turkish Spindle), Joy (spinning with an e-spinner) and Mary (spinning on an Ashford Joy wheel).
image
Stacy chatting with a visitor to the Guild’s space.
image
The girl in the middle of the picture came back to the Guild space several times during the event. She went to each spinner and asked questions about the method each was using.

The weather was perfect for this First Fridays event, though the sun was so bright that we had a hard time looking at people while we talked to them.  Stacy’s boyfriend, Lance, came to our rescue with Florida Gators baseball caps!  The vendors and tables part of First Fridays was from 5 to 7 pm.  We were going to stay for longer, but we had to move out of the way for the Antique Cars to leave, so packed up shortly after 7 pm.  The music continued until late, so after packing up we stayed and listened to music, and I got to meet several of Stacy’s friends.  It was a wonderful evening!

WPHS 9th Grade Center Shakespeare Festival 2015

Winter Park High School’s 9th Grade Center holds an annual Shakespeare Festival.  For several years, the Weavers of Orlando have participated in the Festival, doing spinning and weaving demos.  This year, the Festival took place on May 28.  It was my first year participating in the demos.  We were required to wear a period costume!

image
Bev, Nancy, and I at the WPHS 9th Grade Center.

The English Department organizes the Festival.  In past years, the entire event took place in the gymnasium.  This year, they tried something new.  The event took place in the English Building and the auditorium.  In the English Building, different classrooms had different themes.  The Weavers of Orlando, for example, was in a room with a pottery booth and a face-painting booth, for an artisan theme.

The school provided the banner for our table.
The school provided the banner for our table.

The students had their usual class schedule for the day.  During their English period, they came to the Festival.  They started by meeting with their English teacher, who gave them a passport.  In order to receive credit for the class period, students had to get 8 stamps in their passport.  The students obtained stamps by participating in the various activities.

An English  teacher (on the left, in the knight costume) explaining the passports to a class.
An English teacher (on the left, in the knight costume) explaining the passports to a class.

In our room, a student could potentially get 3 stamps: one for getting their face painting, one for signing the large pot on the pottery table, and one for either listening to us explain the process of getting from raw fleece to finish fabric or for weaving on the floor loom.  Other rooms had games, palm reading, and much more.  During their Geography period, students went to the auditorium to see the performances.  Some study skills teachers also allowed students to come to the Festival instead of their usual study skills period.

In order to participate in the event, students were required to wear a costume.  This requirement was loosely interpreted.  Some students rented or purchased costumes.  Some made the costumes as part of a class prior to the event.  Others used their ingenuity and their existing wardrobe to create a character.  I overheard more than one student ask another about their character.  I extrapolated from this that the students had studied Renaissance social roles and were to pick a particular role for their costume.

image
I was rather amused by the backpacks with the period costumes!

Since I was demonstrating, I didn’t get a chance to walk around and see the other rooms.  When I first arrived (at 6:30 am!), someone was setting up games outside, including archery.  I was amused to see the fake sheep used as rests for the bows and “arrows.”

image

imageOne room was the King’s Court.  Students could fence with Nerf swords, for the King’s amusement and approval.

image

At lunch, I ran into the royal family.  The King and Queen are a real-life husband and wife.  The girl in the Beefeater costume is their daughter.  She was a 9th grader in this school last year, and the parents volunteered as King and Queen.  The family reprised their roles for this year’s festival.

image

I loved this Blackbird Pie sculpture on the lunch table.

imageI’m not sure how many students we had come through our booth.  We weren’t doing the Kumihimo disks or any other takeaway at this demo, and that’s usually how we know the number of students.  We had a steady stream of students throughout the day, without ever being inundated.  We were at the event from 6:30 am to 2:30ish pm, including the set up and take down time.  I spun about an ounce of Cormo during the event!

image

I expected to be exhausted after this event.  I was up far earlier than usual and it’s a lot of talking.  I was tired, but not as tired as I expected, and I had a lot of fun.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to do it again next year!

image

 

 

KCBW6, Day 7: Your Time, Your Place

image

Today’s prompt is to write about my crafting time and space.  I realized that every time I attend a special fiber-related event, I write an entire post on this blog.  Sometimes I mention going to my regular spinning or knitting group, but I’ve never written posts about the various groups I attend or my day-to-day crafting experience!

Crafting at Home

When I craft at home, it is almost always in my living room, while watching tv.  If I’m knitting or crocheting, I sit on the couch, and there’s almost always a cat in my lap.

IMG_8055 IMG_8058

If I am spinning or weaving, I can’t sit on the couch because it is too low and I can’t sit all the way back.  Instead, I grab a “kitchen” chair and sit in that while I spin or weave.  “Kitchen” is in quotes because these chairs are part of a table & chairs set that I bought for maybe $60 many years ago (at least 20), but they are no longer used in the kitchen.  The table is an extension of my desk and the chairs are totally beat up because of the cats.  The chairs float around the house, pressed into service as cat beds, cat stair steps (so poor arthritic Pepper can get to her favorite sleep spots), step stools for me, etc.

IMG_8065 IMG_8067

Travel Knitting

Since I’ve traveled so much the last few years, travel knitting is a regular part of my crafting time.  If I’m on a plane, I am almost always knitting.  If I’m a passenger in a car, and we are traveling a distance, I’m knitting.

I took this picture on my recent flight to Hartford, CT.  I often put my ball of yarn in the cup holder on the tray to keep it from getting away from me.
I took this picture on my recent flight to Hartford, CT. I often put my ball of yarn in the cup holder on the tray to keep it from getting away from me.

Crafting Groups

I regularly attend 3 groups that meet monthly as well as one weekly group.  I’m thinking of adding a fourth monthly group; they used to meet on Wednesdays, conflicting with my regular weekly group, but they moved their meetings to the second Saturday of the month.  I haven’t been home on the second Saturday since they changed the meeting.  I’m planning to attend that group in June and see if I can make it a regular part of my schedule.

Wednesday Knit Nights

The weekly group meets from whenever people arrive until 8 pm at my local yarn store (LYS), Knit!, located 3 miles from my house.  I’ve lived close to Knit! for 12 years, and ever since I picked up my knitting in 2006 after a hiatus of several years, it’s been my LYS.  Marney’s had knitting nights before, usually during the fall and winter, but I’ve never attended because of my schedule.  Last fall, she started up knit nights again and I plan to go every week, though of course I don’t always make it.  Most Wednesdays, there’s at least 6 or 8 people there.  On busy evenings, there’s been as many as 20 and no room to walk in the shop.  On the occasional slow night, there’s 3 people there.  I am excited that Marney decided to continue the knit nights through the summer this year!

l to r: Susan, me, Dawn, and Lisa.  We're all regulars on Wednesday night.
l to r: Susan, me, Dawn, and Lisa. We’re all regulars on Wednesday night.

Drunken Monkey Spinners

Drunken Monkey is a coffee shop in Orlando.  The spinning group meets on the first Saturday of the month from 8 am to 11ish am.  Most months, we have at least 8 people in attendance.  The most we’ve had is about 12, counting the 5-year old son of the group’s finder and the non-fiber-crafting husband of one member.  I joined this group in June last year, a few weeks after I got my spinning wheel.  I always bring my wheel because I can’t spindle spin!  Other members bring wheels or spindles or knitting or crocheting and we spend a lovely morning chatting over fiber.  Other coffee-house guests often stop and ask what we are doing, and we explain to them a little about how spinning works.  If you are ever in Orlando on the first Saturday of the month, you are welcome to join us!

image

image

 

image

Weavers of Orlando

The Weavers of Orlando guild meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month in Winter Park, Florida from 10 am until noonish.  Sometimes there’s also presentations in the early afternoon.  The Weavers of Orlando has about 100 members and most meetings have 40 to 50 people in attendance.  Visitors are always welcome at these meetings, if you find yourself in the Orlando area on the 3rd Saturday of the month.

We have a number of members who live in Florida for the winter and elsewhere for the summer.  This is the lowest attendance I've seen since I started attending the Guild last fall, probably because some of the snow birds have flown off to their winter homes.
We have a number of members who live in Florida for the winter and elsewhere for the summer. This is the lowest attendance I’ve seen since I started attending the Guild last fall, probably because some of the snow birds have flown off to their winter homes.

Wekiva Knitters

The area I live in is called Wekiva, after the nearby river.  One of the librarians at the local branch organizes Wekiva Knitters; the group meets at that branch on the 3rd Saturday of the month, 1 pm to 3 pm.  Since the library is a polling station, including for early voting, during elections the group is cancelled or rescheduled.  The attendance varies dramatically from one month to the next.  Sometimes there’s only one or two people there.  The largest group I’ve ever personally seen is about 10.  My own attendance at this group is erratic.  I first went in August of 2012, then didn’t make it there again until June 2013 due to travel and other obligations.  I really enjoy this group, though, and try to get there as often as I can.  It’s only a mile from my house (shorter, as the crow flies), so if I’m home there’s no excuse for missing it! image

KCBW6, Day 6: Polls Apart

image

On this blog, I write about knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, and dyeing.  It’s obvious just from the count of posts in each category that I spend more time on knitting than I do on the others, even though I know how to do them all.  I want to learn to sew, tat, and make bobbin lace.  But what about you?  Which fiber crafts do you already know and what do you want to learn?  I’d love to know — it’ll help me write blog posts that meet your interests!

NOTE: The poll is an embedded Survey Monkey poll.  I discovered when I was previewing the post that the poll did not show up when the page loaded, but it did when I refreshed the page.  Also, if you are reading on a mobile device, the poll may not display.  The poll consists of 3 questions. You may need to scroll down in the embedded box to see the third question and the submit button! If you prefer, you can follow this link to Survey Monkey and take the poll there.

 

KCBW6, Day 5: Something Different

Today’s prompt is to publish something different than you usually publish.  The ways in which this particular post is different for me has more to do with process than content.  I always write posts from my desktop at home.  If I’m not home, I don’t write.  I no longer carry a laptop with me and my iPad can be a bit annoying to use for blogging.

Despite this usual practice, I am writing this post on my iPad, while sitting in the West Hartford, CT library, 1500+ miles from my home in Florida.  I wanted to share my past week with you!  Last Friday, May 8, I left Florida and flew to Hartford, then drove up to Burlington, Vermont.  I’ve wandered around New England, visiting family, friends, and yarn stores.  I’ve limited myself to one picture for each day of the trip — also a departure from my usual wordy posts.  Don’t worry, there will be more posts on the yarny portions of the trip!

After I arrived in Vermont, I had to cut the ends off the Dr. Who Scarf.
On Saturday, I attended my cousin's college graduation.
On Saturday, I attended my cousin’s college graduation.
On Sunday, I visited a dairy farm and a cow tried to eat me. Seriously! She wasn’t just licking — she wrapped her tongue around my wrist and tried to drag my hand into her mouth.
On Monday, I check out the Burlington, Vermont area.  This included a tour of the Ben & Jerry's factory.
On Monday, I checked out the Burlington, Vermont area. This included a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory.
On Tuesday, I yarn crawled my way from Burlington, Vermont to Northampton, Massachusetts.
On Wednesday, I visited WEBS!! (For the uninitiated, that’s the largest yarn store in the U.S.) I had them ship my yarn because cones don’t compress well in luggage.
On Thursday, I visited The Book Barn.  This is my favorite used bookstore and it is located in Niantic and East Lyme, Connecticut.
On Thursday, I visited The Book Barn. This is my favorite used bookstore and it is located in Niantic and East Lyme, Connecticut.

Today, I’m flying home.  I have so much yarny wonderfulness to share with you from this week.  I can’t wait to get home and start writing!