Best. Weekend. EVER!!!

Ok, I say that every year, this weekend.

Why? Because it was Montpelier Fiber Fest!!!! Every year I go with one of my favorite people in the whole world…she’s my mentor, my trainer and basically who I want to become when I grow up. I get to spend the whole weekend with her and her family, some other friends, AND we go to a fiber fest, AND get awesome food (because her mom is an amazing cook) AND I get to run one of my favorite routes, AND I get my flu shot!!! YES!!!

I’m not kidding, this weekend even makes me excited about flu shots.

I love this weekend so much. Only 363 more days until I get to do it again!!!

Friday night we got in late. I basically went right to bed so that the next day we could get up and go to the festival!!!

Photo Oct 05, 10 35 49 AM

I love this festival so much. Awesome vendors, great selection, but not over-crowded. I can look around, then go back around again and get what I wanted. No pressure. It’s fantastic. More on the purchases later. I promise.

So after the festival we headed home for dinner…and these awesome ladies gave me the most amazing card…and I lost it. Cried at dinner. They also got me a little gift to wish me well for the following weekend (this coming weekend) when I will complete my first-ever marathon. The full 26.2. The big dance.

*falls over*

So…I’m as prepared as I can be. More on that…next week.

Oh holy God I’m actually doing this, aren’t I? Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.



So. Stash that got acquired….

Photo Oct 06, 7 33 55 PM


From leftish to rightish: 1) Spinning gift bag from friend’s mom. Included a new lap pad for spinning WITH POCKETS!! What??!? Yes. 2) Alpaca fleece from friend’s mom is under that. AWESOMESAUCE. I almost bought one and was regretting it. She had some to spare. SO COOL. 3) Spindle and 3oz fiber for a gift for a friend that worked all weekend at the yarn store for me so I could go play!!! 4) 6 oz each of merino in slate and burgundy. Goal is to spin for the Tempest sweater. 5) White merino for dying. 6) So…I had a dream the night before the show. I dreamed I was knitting the Rocky Coast Cardigan….and I was wearing it in my engagement photos. So I bought yarn to make it. Why not. I feel like if something comes to you in a dream and it’s reasonable…you should follow that notion. 7) Random 3.5oz of cormo that was purchased to go with hard to see 8) which is my new supported spindle!!!! IS SO PRETTY!!! Better pictures later. 9) Spinners Book of Yarn Designs. *drool* Had wanted for awhile. Friends mom had it and I spent all weekend lusting over it. So I bought one. Then 10/11) is the gifty from the amazing friends and the card.

Fantastic weekend.

Well…3 days until Baltimore. I better get packed!!!


Social Filter Smackdown

Let’s start off with a small discussion on social filters.

So, I was sitting somewhere that it is socially acceptable to have a spinning wheel in public…and spinning on my Schacht Matchless. Spinning away. Loving every second.

And then…this woman comes in to the general vicinity of myself. She watches me for a few minutes. And then promptly states “I just hate double treadle machines”. To which I politely told her that that was fine, and mine was a single treadle.

(My wheel looks like this…..)

She stood there for a few more seconds and then said “Well but you’re using two feet”. I calmly explained to her that I was choosing to do that, but I could also treadle with one foot. I have a SINGLE treadle. ONE. ONE PIECE OF WOOD THERE. (I didn’t get shouty. Be impressed.) So she stood there some more, walked around me and finally said “Well, I have a CLASSIC single treadle, single foot machine.”

Good. For. You.

Did I ASK you if you liked my wheel? NO. Did I ASK you if you WANTED my wheel? NOOO. Do I CARE if you hate my wheel?? NO I DO NOT!!! Are you rude in walking up to someone and telling them you hate something they clearly at least like enough to borrow or own? YES!!! For the love of all things wooly, social filters, people! Social filters!!! Let me tell you, there was a LONG list of very rude things I thought about telling her that I “hated” but due to my upbringing and SOCIAL FREAKING FILTER, I maintained my good manners and didn’t tell her my thoughts.

She had a friend with her…and personally if one of my friends had have said something like that out loud to another human, I would have physically hit them. Or another option, the one I currently utilize, is to not be friends with rude people. I mean, turning to your friend out of earshot and expressing your loathing of jeggings is one thing…but walking up to a stranger and telling them about their fashion faux pas is not in your job description unless you are Stacy and Clinton. For seriously, people. SOCIAL FILTERS. Use them and encourage others to do so as well.

Social. Filters.

Moving on. And not beating anyone with sticks.

Knitting News

I fell down a rabbit hole today. I just discovered VeryBusyMonkey. Oh. Em. GEE. Have you SEEN her patterns?!!!? MUST HAVE ALL THE PATTERNS. Usually, I’m a free pattern knitter. I’m broke, in grad school, and value my free patterns. Yeah, I buy books and magazines, but I’m getting more than just a pattern or four with that. It is RARE for me to buy a pattern. Not because I don’t value the designers work, but mostly because I prefer to buy a whole book or magazine for some reason. I don’t know. It’s just me. I’m odd. Also, it’s rare that I like ALL of someone’s something (yarn, fiber, patterns, whatever). The only other designer I’m hardcore in love with is Wooly Wormhead. So now I’ve found another favorite, which is awesome.  I bought her Shawl Pattern #4 collection. I want every single one. The good news is that I’m getting one of these for Christmas. I’m gifting the patterns to a friend for a swap. I knit her socks, she knits me a shawl. SO EXCITED. I don’t know which shawl I shall get, but it will be AWESOMETASTIC.

I’ve also been working on mittens for KP’s mom. One done and size-tested on everyone’s hand I could find, since I do not know the exact size of KP’s mom’s hand…but I assume it to be larger than my tiny ones. If I was a good blogger I would have pictures. But I slacked. So sorry.

I did manage to get some spinning done though!!!

Spinning Stuff

DONE!!!! My first TIBH spin is all done!!!! Not sure on yardage yet, it’s resting on the bobbin right now. I’m also not sure what it’s going to be…. The colorway is Olivander’s Wand Shop. Mostly greens which isn’t something I wear a lot of…so I’m not sure what it will become just yet. But it was super-fun to spin. Love me some TIBH.

Photo Sep 21, 12 59 17 PM

Single ply…

Photo Sep 22, 7 05 39 PM

2 ply with some chain at the end because….I fail at spinning evenly.

More pictures once it’s skeined and set!

Craft-tastic Crap

Well as you know both DF and I are major University of Tennessee fans…and thanks to pinterest I have been stalking some super-cute UT wreaths. Then at the flea market I found wooden wreaths for $3. So why not make one???

I got some ribbon and wooden letters, painted them up, wove in the ribbon, and…..

Photo Sep 09, 8 25 40 AM

Super cute, yes?!?!

Well, that’s it for now. I’m going to go do some meal planning, school work, and remember to use my social filter!!! ❤

Contacts For Mom, Fireworks For Dad

How’s it going guys?!?! It’s been an up and down week here…and this weekend looks to get a lot more hectic, so let’s get down to business, shall we?

Knitting News

This week there has not been a lot of knitting. I’m blaming the Tour. I worked a little on the cowl for JoJo…and a wee bit on my socks. Other than that…no knitting.

JoJo’s Cowl

Neon Socks

See? Not much. Mostly it’s been….

Spinning Stuff

On to the TOUR DE FLEECE!!!! Clearly all of my effort has been here. You’ve seen Day’s 1 and 2 which included my proudest accomplishment thusfar:

Mohair/Wool/Angelina. Bought at Montpelier Fiber Fest in 2010. FINALLY DONE!

Day 3 I worked on a little of the silk/merino and some drop spindling.

Day 4 was mostly the silk/merino, not a lot though.

Then Day 5 was the 4th of July which was also my dad’s birthday. I did some drop spindling at the cookout…then…didn’t feel so hot later that day and didn’t mange to do pictures. But I DID spin!!!

Day 6 I finished up 50g of the Silk/Merino and today I worked on that some more.

Tomorrow I’m doing a spinning demonstration at a museum, so I’ve got around 3 solid hours of non-stop spinning!!! Yay!!!! My spinning teacher/mentor invited me to do it with her. I’m also bringing my drop spindle my dad made so any kids that want to try, can. I don’t let other people touch my wheel for the most part…especially kids. Do you share your wheel with others?? I can’t bear to…

Wants and needs

I. Want. Rainbows!!!!

Everyone on Rav/TDF has such AMAZINGLY colored fibers!!!!! I want to spin something rainbow-y.

Perhaps some FatCatKnits

Or Far Alaska from SpunRightRound

Then WoolGatherings has some camel…I’ve not spun camel……

I need to stop. My etsy cart is protesting and the DB isn’t home to smack the credit card out of my hand….*deep breaths*

Workout World

Well I’ve been mildly frustrated this week because I had to take two sick days off. NOT FUN. But before the illness I did manage to complete the 1000 squat challenge! That’s 1000 squats in ONE WEEK!!! The first two days hurt the most, after that it wasn’t too bad.

Last week I did 5 as a long run…this week (meaning tomorrow) I’m hoping to hit 4. It will be my first run since…gosh Tuesday!!? ACK!!! I’ve got to get back out there if I want to stay on a race training schedule. Sheesh.

General Chatter

So for those of you unaware…my corner of the world had some ridiculous storms last Friday night. There’s a good chance I was hiding in my bathroom for awhile…but that’s another story.

Basically I went outside last Friday night to walk my dog and saw this…

This was the leading edge of the derecho wind storm over my house.

I basically turned around and ran back inside without letting the poor dog go pee. We survived that day with power intact, but lost it the next day due to a strong thunderstorm. SO glad that is all over and done with. There were SO many trees down it was crazy.

Then the 4th was my dear dad’s birthday. He knows how to party.

He’s so special. As is my mother. She called me today. She was excited because she got her new contacts out by herself and I didn’t have to drive over and do it for her. (Not kidding…she’s made me do that twice this week) Then she asked if contacts come out when you cry. I told her no, they would not. Then she said she has “another good question” and asked what do you do if you’re wearing contacts and you get a bug in your eye. I told her to wear glasses and hung up before any more “good questions” arose.

And finally today I got to give my very best friend her one year anniversary gift. I was honored to stand beside her in her wedding last year. She’s been my best friend for over half my life. I am so happy for her. After her wedding last year I ended up with her vows and the box the rings came in. So I kept them…because I’m sneaky.

Today I gave her this.

Beth’s Shadow Box.

It has her vows, her husbands, and their ring box. She almost cried. I adore her.

Awesome Award

Speaking of weddings…

This week’s Awesome Award is for my friend Amanda Hanna who got married on June 31st!!! 30th!!! I clearly wasn’t looking at the calendar. I just knew it was the day before the 1st. Shut it Erika. She found her prince charming and had a beautiful wedding in Jamaica last weekend. I’m so proud to know Amanda who I met through our mutual friend, JoJo. Amanda is living her dream of being an author. Her books are available for download on to the Kindle nearest you!!!


Proud Mary (Also Known as Sheep to Yarn in Pictures)

Here’s a quick and dirty explanation of how your yarn gets from a sheep to a knitted garment. Enjoy!!

This is the story of Mary. She was my cousins backyard pet. I don’t know if my cousin will read this or not…I’m kind of hoping she won’t because this is her surprise for next Christmas.

So, lets meet Mary, shall we?

Mary! She's about 11 years old in this picture.

Mary! She's about 11 years old in this picture.

Mary is a Dorset sheep. Typically this breed is more of a meat-sheep, but she was my cousin’s 4-H project, I think. Mary has lived with my cousin on their farm since 2000.

I got Mary’s fleece a little over a year ago. I didn’t have much time to process it, so that’s why we are just now getting to the end, but it went a little something like this….

Mary's fleece started here. Around 5lbs.

Mary's fleece started here. Around 5lbs.

Mary's fleece was...ahem...DIRTY. This was the skirting process.

Mary's fleece was...ahem...DIRTY. This was the skirting process.

Skirting is the process of pulling off the bad/too dirty/unable to use bits of wool. For Mary…this ended up being….a lot. I could really only salvage the top of the fleece (The part along the line of her back where she didn’t lay in dirt, didn’t roll too much, sit in stick-bushes and didn’t….well…poo. So much poo…*cries*)

Then we started the washing process.

Then we started the washing process.

Washing Mary’s fleece honestly has taken me the better part of a year. I have used every detergent known to man, every wool wash, super scour formula, anything and everything to strip out dirt, grease, stink, and ick. Mary had a LOT of lanolin which is the oil/grease that sheep secrete. Lanolin is great in some ways…it makes your hands super-soft and the wool as well…however Mary’s variety is…sticky. I washed this fleece just under 20 times in the last year. Not even kidding, guys. This is about an hour long process each time which involves boiling water, adding detergent, pouring the water over the fleece that is bagged to prevent it from felting, then draining out the soapy, dirty water, then rinsing it with more hot water and laying it outside to dry, sometimes for days until it’s totally dry.

Moving on.

This is the Picker. It's the only reason I could finish processing this fleece.

This is the Picker. It's the only reason I could finish processing this fleece.

Huge, huge, huge thanks to Natasha at Unplanned Peacock Studios for letting me come over and borrow her picker and drum carder. If she hadn’t have been around to help me out on this bit…I really think I would have quit. Drum carders are WORTH the investment.

Piles of batts fresh off the drum carder.

Piles of batts fresh off the drum carder.

So Natasha’s amazing drum carder made Mary’s fleece in to easy to manage batts. I also added a little merino in to the batts for added softness. As I mentioned, Dorset is typically a meat sheep and Mary…was coarse. Merino will help to soften things up. Also, let’s all take a minute to admire just how clean I got that fleece. Ooooo…..ahhhh…..

I stretched (or pre-drafted) the carded batts out in to roving.

I stretched (or pre-drafted) the carded batts out in to roving.

I pulled the batts apart, and stretched them. This stretching is known as drafting or pre-drafting because I did it all before the spinning process. Most spinners will draft as they spin, but because this fleece was still SO sticky and because my goal was a thicker yarn, pre-drafting was needed here. I also picked out a lot of twigs, burrs, straw, and other vegetable matter (VM) as I pre-drafted. This was probably the most time consuming process other than the washing.

This is some of Mary’s fleece being spun in to yarn on my wheel. This goes pretty fast as I was aiming for thick yarn.

On to the spinning process!

On to the spinning process!

Here’s what the yarn looked like as singles or one-ply bits of yarn.

Spinning Mary's fleece in to singles.

Spinning Mary's fleece in to singles.

This is one of the singles from Mary.

This is one of the singles from Mary.

You can kind of tell that there are a lot of little fibers that come off and go different directions on this yarn. This does tend to make the yarn a little more itchy. Again, this is partially because of the breed that Mary is.

Next I plyed the yarn.

Mary's Fleece is now plyed on to the bobbin.

Mary's Fleece is now plyed on to the bobbin.

Plying is the process of taking the singles and spinning them together to form a doubled up or thicker yarn. My final product here was around worsted to aran weight yarn. Because it’s handspun it does have a fair amount of variation. I wanted that in this yarn to add visual interest in the final product.

Once this was plyed, I then set the twist by taking the yarn and soaking it in very hot water. The hot water causes the fibers to felt a little and stick together. This allows the twist to stay in the yarn and not come undone when you dangle a piece or knit with it. After the twist was set, it was time to dye!!

All plyed and dyed!!

All plyed and dyed!!

I dyed it with two different colors of blue dye. I use a kettle dying or immersion dying technique. My cousin’s favorite color is blue, so that’s what I went with.

Hanging up to dry.

Hanging up to dry.

As I type this, the yarn is still hanging up to dry. Once it’s done I will knit it up in to *something* for my cousin. I know what the something is…but just in case she reads this I won’t reveal it just yet. She honestly has no idea this process has been happening. I hope she will be happy when she does read this and I hope she will understand how much I love her.

You see, Mary passed away this summer. She really was my cousin’s best friend. My cousin is 19 and had had Mary for 11 years. She had been a part of my cousin’s world for over half of her life. So that’s part of what motivated me to finish this project and write this post. Mary was an amazing sheep and I’m glad I got one of her last shearings so I could process it for my cousin so that she can have her sheep with her always.

Much love for Mary.

Much love for Mary.

One Week

Holy merino, it’s fall.

How…HOW is there only ONE week until Montpelier?!? One week!! ONE!!! I have ONE WEEK to prepare!!!

Yes, fiber festivals do require preparation. Especially that of the monetary variety. I have to find money!! I need to take my jar’o’change to the Coinstar machine and cash it in for shopping money. Also, this will require me to pillage my purse and the couch cushions for any extra coinage that I can come up with. Every little bit helps!

Oh…I should check the car too.

And behind the desk.

And my work bag…

And drawers.

I need cash.

Anyway, once the financial front is all clear (which…it so totally isn’t realistically…what with my big dumb dog eating PLASTIC and having to go to the vet last week…dummy.) then I will have to plan my shopping strategy. I know that I want a new drop spindle because I collect them for no good reason other than that they are pretty and I started spinning on them and got addicted. Then I want needles of some sort…because that’s another thing I like to collect for no good reason.

Other than that…I’m not sure what I want in the way of fiber. Probably something that starts with “S” and ends with “ock”…I don’t have an addiction. I don’t have a problem. I CAN QUIT WHEN I WANT!!!

So once I’ve planned and plotted I need to PACK! I’ll be leaving right after work…one week from RIGHT NOW and hopping in my good friend’s car to drive to her mom’s house. It’s around a 3 hour drive so I’ll also need to pack car appropriate projects…

But before I plan…and pillage…and pack…I kind of made this really dumb promise to myself.

I promised to spin.

A lot.

Spin the fiber I got LAST year at Montpelier…granted I didn’t promise to spin ALL of it because that would get in to some serious poundage…but anyway…there’s this 8oz of pretty, pretty fiber I said I’d spin.

Seafoam! Isn't it preeeetty?

Aaaaaand I’m only about halfway through.

And there’s ONE week left. And um…I work full time. Oh and I’m training for a half marathon.

So…WHEN do I have time to sit down and spin?? Gee I don’t know…never? PLUS it’s Christmas Knitting season and don’t EVEN get me started about that.

But yeah. ONE WEEK.