The Highlights Reel

While I was at The Knit and Crochet Show, more than one person commented to me that they couldn’t take classes the entire time because it was too much for them to absorb.  Wasn’t I totally overwhelmed?  Nope, not at all.  The entire event was an adrenaline rush and I enjoyed every moment.  A week after I got back, after reliving the entire event through writing the blog posts about it, I crashed.  This wasn’t all because of the show; August is break month for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup.  I push myself hard during the term, achieving feats of crafting that I otherwise wouldn’t attempt, and I appreciate break month!  Don’t get me wrong — I still crafted and had fun adventures in August and September to date.  Here’s the highlights.

August

S’s 5th Birthday Party

My cousin’s daughter turned 5 and had a birthday party at the zoo.  It was the largest kid’s birthday party I’ve ever attended — 28 kids and 30+ adults.  I made fondant cupcake toppers (I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that I’ve got mad cake skills?  I don’t make cakes as often as in the past).  Since I live 2+ hours from my cousin, she bought cupcakes locally and I put the toppers on when I arrived at the party.

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And I was the first person in line to get my face painted.  I got to the party early so I could get those cupcake toppers on the cupcakes and the few children already there showed no interest in getting their face painted.  I figured I’d beat the rush!

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I knit the birthday girl a Barbie dress.

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Sorting Yarn

A few months ago, my friend Nancy and I went to the home of a member of the weaver’s guild who had passed away (see my blog post).  She wanted her yarn to benefit the guild.  Nancy and I sorted it to pick out anything that was suitable for demos.  We always have a little takeaway for kids and are constantly on the look out for yarn for those.  We packed up any project kits or yarns suitable for weaving and brought those to the guild’s annual auction.  The money raised from the sale of those yarns is designated for demos and will be used to buy yarn for takeaways once we use up our current stash.

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Orlando Shakes Open House

From the Weavers Guild meeting, I went straight to the Orlando Shakespeare theater for their annual open house.  I’ve never made it to this event before and had a great time.  I went to all three panel discussions — one on lighting and sound production, one on building props, and one with the directors and educators about visioning and producing individual plays and the future of the troop.  They also had a small display of props and costumes from previous productions.  Here’s a small selection of the spectacular costumes, which are created in house, in conjunction with the theater department of a local university, and with the help of many volunteers.

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Akerworks

My order from Akerworks arrived!  I got 6 bobbins for my wheel (one in each style) and 3 drop spindles (one in each size).  I didn’t take pictures before they got pressed into service, but I’m sure you’ll see pictures in future blog posts.  I did take a picture of the lovely hand-written note Adan included in the box.

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Ravenclaw Staff

I accepted a position as blog mistress for The Ravenclaw Aerie, the blog for the Ravenclaw Tower in the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup.  This is a big part of the reason for the neglect of my own blog; planning and executing for that blog has taken the time I had for blogging.  Now that we’re on a schedule over there, I expect to be back to my own blog regularly!  Most of what’s on The Ravenclaw Aerie is probably only of interest to those in Ravenclaw Tower or the Cup, but one of the first posts is about something else I did in August.  Ravenclaw Porcupine Snuggles works at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  She and two of her colleagues drove from Baltimore to New Smyrna Beach, FL to release Cougar, a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.  I met them in New Smyrna Beach so I could witness the release, and Porcupine Snuggles and I wrote a blog post about it for the Aerie.

Disney with Beth

My friend Beth came on vacation for a week and we spent lots of time at Disney!  We ate at the Be Our Guest restaurant in the new part of Fantasy Land in the Magic Kingdom.  We did not expect to be able to get a reservation because this restaurant, the interior of which is a replica of the castle in Beauty and the Beast, is sold out 6 months in advance.  We checked anyway; someone must have cancelled because we got a 1:15 pm reservation!  The restaurant is stunning inside and out.

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On the day we went to EPCOT, it poured.  My mother, Beth, and I walked from The Land to Journey through the Imagination without seeing any one else walking around (everyone else was smarter than us — when we got to Journey through the Imagination, the ride was down because the building was struck by lightning!).  It was eerie, and made us think about what the park is like after it closes.  We waited for Journey through the Imagination to be back up, and after we got off the ride, the rain had settled down to a normal rain shower rather than a deluge.  We headed towards the World Showcase, wading through a calf-deep puddle on our way there.

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All the rain made for a beautiful sunset!

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Sick

A couple days after Disney, my husband got sick with a very bad cold.  I caught it from him and it turned into a sinus infection.  Yuck!  For the last week of August and the first week of September, we took turns feeling misearable.  Not much got accomplished around here.  I was coughing so much that fiber crafting wasn’t even viable 🙁

September

L’s Birthday

Fortunately, I felt better in time to fly to New York City for a long weekend celebrating my sister’s 40th birthday.  Before she arrived on Friday evening, her friends and I went to the Global Fashion Capitals exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum.  Here’s a couple of interesting pieces from that exhibit.

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We were trying to decide what to do next when I saw someone walk by with a Mood bag.  For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Mood is a fabric store and is the place contestants on Project Runway shop for the fabric used to make their creations.  We decided to go to Mood and since it was a lovely day we walked the 10 blocks to the shop.  I was totally overwhelmed by Mood.  On the ground floor, there’s a two-story section of upholstery and other home decoration fabrics.  To get to the main shop, you take this old elevator, operated by an elevator attendant, to the third floor.  Once there, you have another 3 stories of every fabric imaginable.  I have no idea how the contestants manage to shop for fabric in only 30 minutes!

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Yes, I did pet Swatch!
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One section of the leather department.

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One day, we went to the Tenement Museum (no pix allowed there).  Our grandfather grew up in the Depression-era tenements of the Bronx, so this was a poignant visit for us.  Afterwards, we wandered around SoHo and I bought my first ever pair of Fluevogs.

Later that evening, my sister and her friends went to a play.  They bought tickets before I committed to the trip, and I wasn’t able to get a ticket to the show.  Instead, I took a train out to Long Island to visit law school classmates and meet their 4-month-old baby.  It was good to see them!

The next day, my sister, her friends, and I went to the Cloisters Museum, and visited their famous room of unicorn tapestries.

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We ate fabulous food every day, including the best doughnuts I’ve ever eaten, from The Doughnut Plant.  The interior of the shop was adorable, with doughnut pillows on the wall, a doughnut tile backsplash, and donut chairs!

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The last night, my sister and I stayed in her friend’s apartment in Brooklyn.  The friend was out of town, but gave us a key.  The apartment came with bonus kitty, Billie.

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Billie was super sweet and reminded me of my Pepper, whom I still miss very much!

Although I lived in the Northeast for nearly 30 years, I had never spent more than an afternoon in New York City before this trip.  I had a wonderful time and hope I get to visit again!

Spamalot

For the fifth year in a row, Chris and I have season tickets for the Orlando Shakespeare theater.  The first show of the season was Spamalot!  It was absolutely spectacular.  If you have the opportunity, you should totally see this show.

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Orlando Maker Faire

Last weekend was the Orlando Maker Faire.  The Drunken Monkey Spinners and Weavers of Orlando shared a booth for the event.  Nancy and I spent the entire weekend in the booth; other members of the two groups spent one day or the other.

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This was the fourth year of the Orlando Maker Faire.  Last year, they expanded from the Science Center and included some exhibits in the park.  This year, they expanded further, with arts and crafts exhibits in the Orlando Museum of Art, which is located on the opposite side of the park from the Science Center.  The expected attendance at this event was 15,000; I didn’t hear an actual number after the event, but it is by far the highest attendance at any event where I’ve demoed.

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The Science Center was wall-to-wall people; the Art Museum, where we were located, was steady but manageable.  This was a fantastic event to demo.  The people coming to this events are makers themselves.  They like to know how things work and ask lots of questions!  I spun the 50/50 Camel Down / Silk that I bought from Red Fish Dyeworks at The Knit and Crochet Show.  I only got 1 ounce spun, out of 4, in the 17 hours I spent spinning!  This is partially because I talked to lots of people, but also because it is spinning very fine.

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Hey — there’s one of the Akerworks bobbins I got in August!

Florida Fiber In

This weekend is the Florida Fiber In.  I went last night, but won’t make it there the rest of the weekend.  I picked up some Black-Faced Valois locks and some Bombyx Silk fiber, and spent a couple hours spinning and chatting!

Fiber Crafting

The new HPKCHC term started on September 1 and I’ve been crafting like a mad woman.  I haven’t taken pix of anything yet, but I’m working on that today and tomorrow.  I’ll have a Year of Projects update post sometime tomorrow.

Ongoing

I have also been working on improving skills to benefit my blog.  I bought my first DSLR camera (a Canon 70D (affiliate link)) and a Pro-Am video camera (Canon XA-10 (affiliate link)).  I added Adobe Stock to my Adobe Cloud subscription.  I used my Lynda.com subscription to learn how to use Adobe Bridge, then used Bridge to move all my photos out of Apple’s Photos app and into their own folders on my external hard drive.  I’m still working on adding metadata and tags to the photos.  I had 19,000 photos and videos in Photos and have a very hard time actually finding anything when I’m looking for it!  It’s a lot of work to organize, but I believe it will be worth it in the end.  I’m just starting the Lynda.com courses on Adobe After Effects and Lightroom, to further improve my photography and videography skills.

So that’s the highlight reel of the last six weeks.  What’s your highlights?

 

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.

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

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

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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.

KCBW6, Day 7: Your Time, Your Place

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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