Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tour de Fleece 2015

It's the 3rd week of July and that means lots of spinning time with the Tour de France, better known to Ravelers as the Tour de Fleece, spinning every day the Tour de France rides, resting on the rest days and participating in challenges on challenge days.  It's a grueling 3 weeks of fiber immersion for spinners everywhere.  This year it kicked off on July 4, when we were at our favorite local getaway with a group of friends who originate from France, Germany and here in the US:

(we decorated)

There was paella for 40:

(no one went hungry)

and enough crabbing, kite flying, swimming, boating, laughter and me, spinning through it all:

It's now day 18 of the Tour and I've since completed 3 spins using 3 wheels and spun on most of my tools.  

I have spindled, traveled to the East Coast and back and will end the Tour out-of-town.  This year's TDF will be remembered for the places I was able to spin at and the people I visited with at the same time.

A couple short video clips and sunset from the beach until my next post:


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer is coming!!

Greetings to all!

June has sprung and we are in the last push in school, boys baseball, summer trip planning and gearing-up for various fibery pursuits.

School for my tribe ends in exactly 2 weeks and it feels like it.  The sunny days outnumber the cloudy ones now and there are field trips, sports tournaments and thankfully longer, warmer days.

I love baseball but I don't love adults who make it joyless for kids.  My youngest's baseball team suffered 2 losses yesterday and is now eliminated from further playoff action...there was a huge controversy with the first game two days earlier that ended in suspended play, in the bottom of the last inning, and then a very late ruling by the league that the teams needed to play a continuation 2 days later and right before my son's 2nd game.  My son's team (last in the regular team play standings) was winning by 3 over the 4th placed team and could taste victory.  In the end, Goliath won this game but my son's team played with honor and heart.  I consoled my 9 year old boy as only a mom can do after a few late night tears were shed and a brave, smiling face greeted me this morning.  It helps that today is a class field trip to the pool! The team will be back stronger and better than ever next year.

I had hoped that I could attend Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon this year, but instead will be traveling to visit friends across the country that I only get to see virtually (thank you facebook!) and maybe once every 5 years or so.  I am looking forward to seeing them and having some me/girl time.

To keep my fiber-thirst quenched I have signed up for several Tour de Fleece, not to be confused with the Tour de France, teams on Ravelry.  Join Ravelry here to see the linked pages in this blog post.  I am spinning for wild card teams: Team Southern Cross Fibres, Team Bosworth, Team Jenkins, Team Schacht, Team Ashford and will likely add one or two more.  The goal is to spin fiber every day the Tour de France rides, this year from July 4 through July 26.  There are standard teams like Peleton, Rookies and Lanterne Rouge.  Come join me!

I am also participating in Stash Dash, hosted by The Knit Girllls.  I'm going for the 3K but there are 5K and 10K options.  The goal is to reduce your stash by using it.

This month I am going to put a plan in place to organize my house.  I've let things go and it's starting to wear on me and the family.  My fiber stuff is now taking up prominent space in more of the common rooms than ever before.  I think a mid-summer destash and yard sale will be in order.

I've been busy spinning and finished an 8 ounce progression spin with a semi solid and a variegated braid of fiber from Southern Cross Fibre. It's VERY hard to catch an update from this shop, the best way to get SCF fiber is to get it through a destash on Ravelry - it's worth it.  Get on the wait list for the SCF Club.  Now . Go!
You can see more progress pics of this spin on my project page here

I am knitting slowwwwwly on my Meilenweit stripey socks and today I will experiment with a new tool I picked up during the LYS Tour at Tolt Yarn and Wool:

It's the Stash Buster Loom, a small hand held, all wood loom made by Purl & Loop in Texas.  Find it here.  Tolt Yarn and Wool carries just the loom; Purl & Loop carries them in a kit form with a nice carry bag and yarn snips.

I often have leftover singles after spinning a project and I have taken to chain plying them to clear my bobbing.  I get small skeins of worsted or dk weight yarn.  This loom is the perfect way to use those bits up and perhaps make a bag or scarf with all the woven squares:

One more reminder that summer is just about here, fresh from the garden this morning:

Happy Sunny Days to you.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Little Knitting and a Lot of Lacrosse...

Memorial Day weekend just ended and was a good busy one for our family.  The holiday is always on a Monday and it's a day to honor those who have given their lives to maintain our freedom.  It also marks the beginning of the summer season for most here in the States and celebrated with parades, parties, gatherings, etc.

This year, instead of sleeping in, visiting a local military cemetery, relaxing around the house and barbecuing on Memorial Day, we were in Lake Oswego, OR for The Battle of Lake Oswego lacrosse tournament (BOLO) with these fine young men and their families:

The team played 7 games in 3 days and had the most exciting, nail biting finishes!  They ended up in the pursuit for 3rd in the Championship, losing the chance to go for 1st or 2nd in a tied game causing double overtime. The first overtime is sudden death: whichever team scores during an extra 4 minutes of play, wins.  If it's still tied after that, then they go Braveheart. 3 players from each team are on the field trying to be the first to score - kind of mano-a-mano. Such a rush for all spectators!

The team finished 3rd in their bracket, a great accomplishment.  It was the 7th and last game that really tested their abilities and hunger for the win.  Two players were out with injuries but the team played their hardest in that game and won by just one goal with under 2 minutes left to play!

It was cold while we were there so I got some yarn and needles to make a Man Hat for my husband who has taken to practically shaving his head these days.  I started it on Friday and he was wearing it on Sunday morning:
Malabrigo Chunky on size 8 dpns

I did some knitting on a sock:
Meilenweit Merino on 1.5 dpns

And some more on the Blossom Poncho:

Week 3 of Paleo eating continues and I made paleo banana bread and it is YUMMY!
Almond meal, honey, eggs, water, baking soda (not paleo but only 1 teaspoon so I don't think it's a show stopper), cinnamon, bananas, vanilla and almond extract - no fats needed except to spray the pan with some coconut oil.  I may eat the whole thing before the kids get home!

Next up is chia seed chocolate pudding...

I hope your holiday was spent doing whatever moved you; freedom comes at a cost and I am forever grateful to the men and women and their families who paid for mine.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Starting something new...

Today is the start of my 3rd week of taking care of myself.  My first 2 weeks were consumed with a long list of to do's.  My LIST was how I always operated but that LIST continued to grow and began to devour this precious time I need to regain health and inner strength.  I have decided that the LIST must go...and I am submitting myself instead to a less formal daily routine that includes a good dose of exercise, meal preparation (I've gone Paleo), mediation (really just quiet time with my own thoughts) and much needed rest/sleep.

This new routine is not an easy one for me to embrace.  I am used to producing, solving numerous problems, managing projects, working through lunch and needed bathroom breaks and, in general, I don't feel that I've done a good job until I fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day with cross-outs on my LIST.  The LIST days are gone and I am undergoing what I call "reprogramming" to ensure I don't completely burn out and leave my family & friends high and dry.

Part of what I have realized is I have not experienced true joy for a very long time.  I have an incredible family, full of funny, sensitive, sometimes annoying but always loving and supportive people.  I should be taking joy in their accomplishments, laughing with them much more and in general sharing the love they share with me.  I get so caught up in the LIST, that I forget the reason behind the LIST and start moving through things just to get them done.

So, I vowed to start enjoying things more each day...and fortunately our local LYS Tour (Local Yarn Shop Tour) was celebrating 10 years this past week.  I visited some new and some favorite shops over 3 days and truly enjoyed being immersed in these creative environments with other creative folks.  I took long drives in the country, a ferry boat to an island and in general disconnected for a several hours each day.  I really needed this to get my mind off the LIST.  Here's a shot of all that was acquired and while it seems like a lot, each item represents time I spent with my creative thoughts about what these would eventually become.  I can't wait to get started!

Exercise has always been elusive, but under Dr's orders (and because I know I need it) I am working it in every day by walking my youngest to and from school as much as possible.  I am finding that he's a keen observer of all things. Questions come up that spark conversations I would never have had and that keep me smiling all day long.  He let me know today that there are always earthquakes happening but we are just not sensitive enough to feel them all - could he have been channeling my own struggle or did he just see this on a PBS Kids episode?  I don't know, but it sure did resonate with me.  He also knows that you can't have a huddle on the baseball mound with more than 3 players (I didn't know this, did you?)  Earthquakes and obscure baseball rules...I can't wait to see what comes up on our walk home from school.  We may take a slightly longer route...

My bigger challenge is connecting with my teenager...I haven't figured that one out yet. So far I am pretty sure that I need to learn a new language called "texting" because that seems to be the only way I can talk with him.  I'm pretty sure that it's a language where brevity is king.  Why type "OK" when "k" will do? Sometimes I get a "Ya" in response to a question and then I feel like we've really connected.

The longest text so far is the one I got last week letting me know he hit his head in the school yard and would I come get him because he didn't feel so good.  That one was ACTUAL full WORDS! If I hadn't been so frantic about his hitting his head I would have realized he was fine because he was able to type coherent sentences!

I am off to get some provisions for tonight's meal from this book:
Thanks to the awesome staff at my LYS who recommended this to me when I mentioned I am going paleo and having a tough time missing my pasta and bread...We'll see what can be done with cauliflower as a rice substitute...

I'll leave you with these shots from some of my favorite shops and wish you happy knitting and days of joy:
Tolt Yarn and Wool, Carnation, WA

 Churchmouse Yarns and Tea, Bainbridge Island, WA

Acorn Street Yarns, The Fiber Gallery and Bad Woman Yarn, Seattle, WA

Friday, May 8, 2015

Back at it again...

After a very long break, I am back to revive this blog....I had to figure out how to sign in first...

So much has happened in the last 2 years.  Spinning takes up more of my time, I think I am obsessed with it, in a good way.  I have fiber all over the house and I see colors in a more pronounced way and think "how can this be captured in fiber?"

And so it goes....

Some pictures of my recent spinning:

I have acquired tools for spinning which, much like yarn stash, takes on a life of it's own.
My go-to wheel is a Schacht Matchless: 
I was fortunate enough to find this used wheel in great condition from a local spinner who sold it to me for a fair price.  It was LOVE at first treadle!  I sold my first wheel to make room and help offset the cost of the Matchless.  That first wheel (I purchased used off of ebay) was an Ashford Traditional, which was a good wheel, but the Matchless is simply Awesome! 

My travel wheel is an Ashford Joy (I/older one):
It took us some time to build a good working relationship and at one point I was going to break up with it, but I learned it's ways and now we work pretty well together.  It's super portable and great for when we go on car trips, camping or if I go to spin-ins/festivals.  I don't think I'd take it on a plane since I'm not sure it would fit in the overhead.

I have some spindles as well which are great portable spinning tools at weekend lacrosse and baseball tournaments where there's lots of standing around...clockwise from upper left: Jenkins turkish drop spindle (Aegean), and top whorl spindles by Bosworth, including a moosie (made from cast off moose antler), Spindlewood, love the square whorls and Tracy Eichheim's Woolly Designs with cutouts have found their way into my home and spinning toolbox:

I have more to share but mom duty bus is running 120 minutes late so Mom-bus has been called.

Happy creating! knitting, spinning, crocheting, felting, crafting, sewing...whatever floats your boat

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fiber Fiber Everywhere

This past weekend I attended Fiber Fusion Northwest in Monroe, WA the second year of this festival.  It was a low-key, yet content rich event for fiber and fiber-animal lovers.  There was spinning, weaving, felting and a good sized market with something for everyone.  There were representative alpacas, pygora goats, sheep and llamas from local farms and knowledgable farmers.  There was alpaca fleece judging, daily fleece sales and end of day equipment & fleece auctions to round out the day.

I purchased this 4.5 pound fleece within 5 minutes of walking in from Reflection Farm:

It's from a Romeldale lamb and is mostly white with gray and dark gray/brown spots.  I will separate the colors and process in small batches.  Someday it will be a great natural colored sweater...a cozy raglan pullover or cardigan...No veg. matter and although it's greasy, it's very clean.

Here's a close up of the crimp and staple, 3 to 3.5 inches:

This will keep me busy for a long time.

I did a little damage at woolgatherings, Greenwood Fiberworks and One of a Kind Buttons
And althought I missed out on going to OFFF this year, Fiber Fusion was a good substitute only about 40 minutes away.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Catch UP!

Busy is an understatement...summer came (finally) and went just a couple weeks ago thanks to a mild start to fall.  We had camping and cabining trips and long days of sun.  Kids are back in school and I am welcoming some semblance of a routine.  The weather is now good for knitting and spinning and I am trying to complete a few projects:

Some Suffolk fleece I received from friends who have meat sheep.  Lots of dirt, vm and grease but after washing and carding (blended with some mystery wool I dyed) it's a nice fluffy batt.

Some socks I am trying to finish by end of October:
And I started knitting the Creature Comfort Cardigan from Madelinetosh in Vintage, Firewood.  A super yarn to knit with.

We had our annual dyeing day in early September:

And finally, I will be heading to Monroe, WA Oct 20-21 for Fiber Fusion and looking for a sweater's worth of fiber to spin then knit.  I think I'll be busy this winter...especially playing with this:

Here's hoping your fall and winter are full and fulfilling too!