I have been getting a little crafting done. I’ve been focusing on getting non-crafting projects done, so I haven’t had as much time to play with fiber as I’d like. But I have made progress on several projects!
MAPLE LEAF the Ninth
I’m just about finished with this shawl. I’m on the very last corner, and will probably finish knitting it tonight!
I finished knitting the scarf that I started when I needed something to knit during a midnight visit to the emergency vet with Pepper. I just need to weave in the ends.
This shawl was the oldest UFO that I found when I did the UFO Inventory in January. It’s been an UFO since Fall 2010. I was shocked to find that I still had the pattern in my Knit Picks magnetic pattern holder, and the magnet was still on the right row! I’ve started working on it again, and have done 1.5 pattern repeats. This is the project that I’ve been bringing to Wednesday night knitting group for the last couple weeks. The pattern isn’t as difficult as it looks, and I’m less likely to have beads spill all over the place at the yarn shop than at home, where I have 3 furry hazards.
When we first moved to Florida in May 2002, I joined the Confectionary Artists Guild of Orlando (CAGO). I started learning cake decorating as a scout badge when I was 12 and by the time I moved to Florida, I had professional-level skills. CAGO does cake demos at the Central Florida Fair every year. They usually have an entire weekend afternoon of demos from the stage in the Creative Arts building. CAGO members do back-to-back 1/2 hour demos on a variety of cake-related skills. I did a demo every year for three or four years. When the Fair was looking for people to do cooking demos, they asked CAGO if any of our members wanted to do that. I volunteered, and did vegetarian cooking demos for a couple years in addition to the cake demos. Then I started law school in fall 2007 and life got pretty crazy. I hadn’t been to the Fair since. Until yesterday, when I spent the morning at the fair, doing spinning demos in the Weavers Guild of Orlando booth.
The Central Florida Fair is only open in the evening on most weekdays. On the first Friday morning of the fair, they host a Kids’ Day for school groups, homeschool groups, and families. Each group gets a guide from the fair in addition to the chaperones from the school. The guide brings the group through the open sections of the fairgrounds (the midway isn’t open, but creative arts and the barns were; not sure about other buildings). In the creative arts building, most of the guild and club booths had a person in them to do a demo. Some had make and takes or a hands on activity. In our booth, we gave a brief talk about how clothes are made. Bev talked about the difference between knitted and woven fabrics, pointing out examples from the clothes kids were wearing. Then I pointed out the $5 Mystery Fleece, fluffed out on the table behind me and the bag of seeded Pima cotton (in a bag just behind my right shoulder in the picture above). I explained that these were in raw form, that they were then cleaned and formed into a continuous tube of fiber, and that in order to make yarn those tubes of fiber have to be thinner and that’s what a spinner does.
After we did our short explanation, kids got a chance to weave on the floor loom and to make Kumihimo braids with guidance from my friend V. (That’s V.’s foot in the right-hand edge of the picture above; she asked me not to post her picture). V. is not a fiber-crafter (yet!) but she’s staying with me and she tagged along to the fair to help wrangle kids. At the beginning of the day, Bev showed V. how to do Kumihimo braids. She picked it up quickly and did a great job teaching kids how to do it too.
One of the bobbins in the bucket (on the shuttle in the picture above) was loaded with VCR tape. Bev had several small woven pieces and a finished bag that included VCR-tape weft. I was surprised by how pretty it was. The tape tends to take on the colors of the warp or other surrounding fibers, adds a pretty sheen to the fabric, and the draft pattern stands out beautifully against it. Bev also brought some samples woven with plastic grocery bags or Cheesecake Factory to-go bags. All the pieces were beautiful, and I wouldn’t have guessed the material. I obviously need to expand my thoughts on appropriate materials for weaving! There’s a lot more than just yarn.
I started a new fiber at the fair — Cormo for my first of the Breed-Specific Spinning Project. For the first few groups of kids, I just spun and answered questions. No one touched my wheel. One of the kids in the fourth group asked if she could try it out, so I sat her down at the wheel. I’ve only been spinning for 10 months now, and have only spun about 3 pounds of fiber. I’m nowhere near an expert and haven’t taught anyone else to spin. I discovered that I don’t have a good vocabulary for explaining what is happening when you spin or for verbally communicating the process to a student. After that first kid, I didn’t let anyone else sit and try all the steps at once. I mostly let kids (even as young as 4) hang onto the roving and pull on it a bit, while I treadled and kept my left hand pinched firmly around the point of the twist. The resulting fiber was over twisted, thick and thin, and broke a couple of times. But so what? Kids got to touch fiber and were pretty excited about it. I learned that I have a lot to learn before I can effectively teach spinning and that the technical details of spinning are not firm enough in my own mind. If they were, I’d be able to explain them!
More Fair for Me?
The Central Florida Fair runs February 26 – March 8 this year. During the week, they are open evenings 4 pm or 5 pm until 10 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, they are open 10 am to 10 pm. The Weavers of Orlando are staffing our booth on weekends, but may not be there on weekdays. I can’t be there again this weekend, but might be there next weekend. If you are at the Fair, stop by and say hi to the weavers! Anyone can try out the floor loom; it’s not just for kids!
I started this week working on some UFOs, but later in the week cast on a couple of new projects!
MAPLE LEAF the Ninth!
Yes, really! It’s been sitting around since December, and I finally picked it up again. I was sick over the weekend and spent two days sitting on the couch watching tv, so I got quite a bit done. I’ve finished the first of the five corners, and should be totally done with knitting this shawl before next Wednesday. I’m not sure if I’ll get it blocked or not. My new-to-me floor loom is currently sitting in the dining room, in front of the table I use for blocking. I’m not sure if I have enough leaves in the table to block a MAPLE LEAF shawl or not. If I don’t, blocking will have to wait until I can move the floor loom into my home office.
Sassy Bee Cotton Candy Corriedale
I finished plying this fiber while at spinning group the first Saturday in February. I have it wound onto the niddy noddy. I just need to tie it and wash it to set the twist, and it will be done.
This is the first new project of the week. This is part of a narwhal-along in Ravenclaw Tower. I cast on last Saturday, and expected to finish it that day. Instead, I went to buy a floor loom. I still have to sew on the flippers. I’m also going to find something different for eyes because I think the beads I used are too small.
On Monday evening, our cat Pepper did not look well. She was straining to use the litter box, but nothing was coming out. She would get out of the litter box, rest for a while, then try again. She also tried squatting in inappropriate places, like the cat’s toy basket. I realized I was probably going to have to bring her to the emergency vet, and that I didn’t have any knitting that was mindless enough to work on during a midnight wait at the vet. I quickly cast on this scarf, knit one pattern repeat, and bundled Pepper off for an enema at the vet. I got about 4″ knit while I waited. I knit a little more while waiting for dinner to finish yesterday.
I finished the star-rating index three weeks ago, but haven’t looked at this project since. This week, I started looking at the 90 one-star patterns, contemplating the order in which I want to crochet them. I made three separate lists: one of patterns that use a solid color, one of patterns that use multiple colors, and one of patterns that the author’s note identifies as a “good beginner square.” Along the way, I made notes on the patterns, identifying stitches used or techniques, and contemplating the end uses of these 365 squares. Some of the squares will definitely be dishcloths. Some of the squares might be afghans or scarves. I need to have some ideas so that I can pick out appropriate yarns. My head was spinning a bit after looking at all the information, but it was a good start at determining the best approach, given my modest crochet skills. I hope to make the final project list this week.
The Warped Weavers group on Ravelry has a thread called “OLAD strikes again!” OLAD stands for Obsessive Loom Acquisition Disorder; this is the thread where people share pictures of their newly acquired looms. This weekend, I was struck with OLAD and acquired two new-to-me looms.
For the past week, I’ve been focusing on getting these socks finished. Last Sunday, they came with me to Kennedy Space Center, and I worked on the legs while we waited for Space X to launch a rocket. They scrubbed 2 minutes before launch (an idiot at the local power company managed to accidentally cut power to the range radar), but I got an inch of knitting done. I finished the leg by Wednesday, and brought the socks to knitting night at my LYS so I could pick up for the afterthought heels. And I finished knitting the heels and weaving in the ends on Valentine’s Day, because I spent that entire day lumping on the couch, wiped out with a head cold. At least the knitting got done 🙂