Monday, April 21, 2014

Getting Stuff Done

Rob and I had a nice day Saturday just running around doing a few errands and having lunch.  I needed to go to a fabric store in Southern Pines to see if they had something appropriate to make a table runner for the baby shower my mother & I are throwing for my sister, and I wanted to go to WalMart to look for a couple of picture frames to put some stuff up in my craft room.  So Rob went with me and we had lunch at Mellow Mushroom and also stopped a couple of places he wanted to go.  He bought a new circular saw at Lowe's and I found the frames I wanted at Michael's finally.

I bought a print at Carolina Fiber Fest a couple of weekends ago of a painting by Ken McNeill.  He's a local artist, and his artwork was chosen to be the cover for this year's Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. He was extremely nice and was more than happy to take a picture with me and my two friends Michiele and Peggy, who also bought the same print (no wonder we get along so well).

One of the frames I bought Saturday was for that print, so it's finally up on the wall above my desk.

It's called "B-ewe-tiful Family".

Yeah, I know it's not perfectly centered, but I can live with it.
I love to do swaps on Ravelry, and one of my favorite every year is the birthday swap. One of the requirements of the swap is that you include something handmade in your partner's birthday package.  A couple of years ago my partner was from Estonia, which is well known for its knitted lace, so I asked her to knit me a small piece of traditional Estonian lace in the "traditional" yarn and she did.  I can knit Estonian lace, and I have, but it's just cool to me to have some knit by an actual Estonian.  I'm geeking that way.

Anyway, I had it stored away because I couldn't figure out how to actually display it, when it dawned on me I could just frame it.  So that's the second frame I bought Saturday, and I really like the result.  I also needed a place for Swatch, Rosie, and Bobbin to sit, so I put up a little shelf that had been just sitting in a corner of our bedroom and put the framed lace on that as well instead of actually hanging it.
I like it, although if I end up with more sock monkeys at some point, I will probably actually hang the lace piece a little higher so it can still be seen.

Sunday was a day of finishing.  I finished my niece's first communion veil late last week, so it needed to be blocked so I can drop it by their house this week because the first communion is this coming Saturday.  (No, I didn't cut it close, whatever do you mean?)  You'll have to wait until after the event for pictures though.

I sewed buttons on the little tunic/dress I just finished for my granddaughter.  It was supposed to for Easter, but I just got around to buying the buttons last week, so she'll be getting her Easter basket a little late.  Hopefully I'll get it and the other Easter items I have shipped to Texas sometime this week.
Cute little button
I killed a pair of socks today.  I'm wash my hand knit socks in the washing machine with other clothes and then hang them to dry.  That's the whole purpose of superwash in my mind, and I'm just lazy that way.  For some reason I decided today that if I washed my lovely stranded elephant socks inside out, then the outside part wouldn't get as fuzzy.
Aren't they lovely?  This is what they looked like going into the wash.
What I didn't think about was how turning them inside out would expose all those lovely yarn floats to snag onto anything and everything else in the wash with them.  I'm guessing that's what happened, as there were a couple of items with small zippers in the same load.  This was the result.....
Insert sobbing here
I am so sad.  It's all my fault, and I can't even face fixing them.  This is the worst part, but I found a similar smaller place on the other sock.  I'm thinking at this point that I'm not going to try to fix them, but just knit a new pair.  I actually have more of these exact yarns in enough yardage to make an identical pair, so that's what I'll do....when I can face it.  Looking on the good side, when I wore them the other day I was thinking that I'd made the cuff a little too lose, so now I can make it better right?

In an effort to end this post on a happy note...I finished the pair of socks I've been knitting recently tonight.  I made these a lot taller than I usually wear my socks because I wanted to get to all the colors on this yarn.  We'll see if they actually stay up when I wear them, but at least I have a new pair to add to the drawer.

Taming the Stash

Friday was a holiday for me, but Rob had to work, so I decided to tackle organizing and sorting my yarn and fiber closet.  The yarn stash has gotten rather large and was falling out of the bins & the addition of fiber for spinning wasn't helping, so it was time to add another set of cubes.

This was the closet shortly after I began.  I didn't think to take a pic until I had started taking a few things out, but you get the idea.
Yarn falling out of bins

Stuff all over the floor
I got it all out into my craft room, which was really a much bigger looking mess.

I've been trying to not buy a lot of yarn this year.  "Oh pretty" is often the reason I buy yarn, with only the vaguest idea of what I plan to do with it.  I've been pretty good so far, and have only bought yarn and fiber at a couple of planned events.  But if I needed any more proof that I really don't need to buy a lot of yarn, I got it Friday.
This is all my lace weight yarn
This is all of my fingering weight yarn
 Those are the two weights of yarn that I have the most of in my stash.  I didn't take a picture of the heavier yarn because I don't really have all that much of that.

The other good thing about pulling out all of the stash is it reminded me of some of the great yarn I do have, and I've already planned a couple of projects using yarn from my stash.  Plus....isn't it all so pretty?  It sort of makes me feel like Gollum and I just want to pet it and croon "my preeeciousssss".

So anyway, after 8 hours I finally had the new cube built and in the closet and all of the yarn and fiber stored nice and neatly.
This is all the lace weight, and the drawer tower has all my baby yarn and dishcloth cotton plus a few odds and ends

The two left bins are sweater quantities, the bottom right bin is the rest of my worsted/DK, and the top 3 bins are fingering weight.

This is the new 9 cube bin and it holds the rest of my fingering weight with my needle case sitting on top. That drawer tower on the right has some work horse worsted weight, my few skeins of handspun, and some odds and ends like buttons, beads, and dye.

The bottom left bin is some acrylic yarn and the other 3 bins are all my spinning fiber.

This is a shot from the door.  See...nothing on the floor!
Quite a productive day off, now if I can only keep it that way.  I've got more to ramble about regarding knitting and my craft room, but this post is probably long enough already, so I'll save that for tomorrow.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Carolina Fiber Frolic

Photo heavy post ahead....
I spent the past few days in the mountains of NC with 40 or so people who are as fascinated and obsessed as I am with fiber, yarn, spinning, knitting and just about anything else you can do with string.  My friend Michiele and I drove up on Thursday, but our friend Roxie who normally goes with us couldn't make it, so Rosie the Sock Monkey was her stand in for the weekend and she had a lot of fun!
Here's Rosie hanging out in my bag of stuff the night before because she's ready to go!

Rosie got an early start Thursday morning because she had to make a couple of stops along the way.

Rosie had a quick visit with Mom & Dad in Greensboro.

Rosie also saw Carey Statesville,and got to check out the barn where she's getting married in October.

Rosie, Michiele and I took a selfie when we arrived at our destination.

Rosie relaxed with a glass of wine at dinner Thursday night.

After a long day on the road, Rosie was ready for bed.

Rosie started off the morning hanging with her friend Peggy.

We were in a class on making rolags, and these were my first few pitiful attempts using hand carders.  Rosie was too ashamed of these to be in the picture.
Our wonderful instructor Kristen showing us how to do it, while "princess" Ann looks on.
Eventually I produced some rolags that Rosie wasn't ashamed to be seen with.

This was a spinning wheel someone had for display.  Made by a custom motorcycle guy.  A little too fancy for me and Rosie, but pretty cool looking anyway.

Rosie met Mel from Singlehandedknits who was quite a hoot!  Rosie will definitely be listening to her podcasts in the future.

Rosie is hanging with the yarn and fiber dyed in my afternoon dyeing class.  There was too much dye flying around for pictures during class, but she's very proud of my pretty blue yarn!

The knitting contest Friday night was a lot of fun.  Sarah, Priscilla, Burgl, Renata, Sharon & Sharon are concentrating hard. We all loooooved knitting with Homespun on size 19 needles.

All the spinners competing to spin the longest strand in a limited time.

Kathy, Anne, Sharon & Fran are flying. There were some really fast spinners, but Rosie and I are pretty new, so we just watched this part.

After all the competitions, Rosie gave her friend Blue a little hug before heading to bed.


Rosie must have snuck out of the room Friday night, because somewhere she found a new boyfriend. I believe he hitched a ride up from Myrtle Beach with Peggy, she's always picking up strange men. Meet Swatch, the sock bunny.  I found them hanging out by the fireplace Saturday morning.  It was rainy and dreary outside, so I didn't blame them.

Inside, Barton was flying a kite. 

Out in the lobby Michiele was spinning, while Nora looked on.
Saturday night dinner was tasty, and rather well endowed, although it was modest enough to wear a bay leaf.  No my mind is not in the gutter, what ever do you mean?

After a long day, Rosie and Swatch hit the bed.  Yes, they're living in sin, I'm so ashamed.  I think they saw too many carrots at dinner.

Everyone was looking happy in Mel's sweater class.  Too bad they hadn't finished those sweaters yet, because it was a little cold!

Janis, Mel, and Kathy smile for the camera.  Peggy is concentrating on her knitting.

Nora, Leslie, and Karen were getting ready to make magic happen in Vicki's Nuno felting class.
Just before leaving, Rosie & Swatch took a quick swim in all the gorgeous yarn from The Copper Corgi that I wouldn't let them bring home.  Can you believe the restraint I showed?
It was a wonderful long weekend, and I can't wait to go back next year!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday - Got You Covered

This week's Twisted Mix Tape theme is cover songs.  I had to do a little googling to fill out my list for this one, mainly because I don't always know when something is a cover.

So here, in no particular order are some of my favorite songs that are covers...

Blinded by the Light - Manfred Mann's Earth Band

I had no idea until Google told me that this song was originally written and sung by Bruce Springsteen.  I like Bruce Springsteen, but this version is definitely better in my opinion.

I Love Rock and Roll - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Another one that I never realized was a cover.  This was apparently originally done by a British band called Arrows.  Their version isn't bad, but it isn't Joan Jett.

Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin

I think somewhere in the back of my mind I knew Kris Kristofferson had done this song first, but Google reminded me.  I love a lot of things Kris has done, but Janis just does this better.

Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker

This song, originally done by Old Crow Medicine Show, has been covered by several artists, but Darius Rucker's voice just adds something to it that makes this the best version in my opinion.  I think I've used this one before, but it's one of the first songs that comes to my mind when I think cover song.

Hurt - Johnny Cash

I never cared much for Nine Inch Nails, but I kind of liked this song.  However, in my opinion, the original of this song is lacking something. Johnny Cash's deeper voice adds a richness that makes it so much better.

No Journey song this week, but that's because I don't think they've ever done a cover.  If I'm wrong, please let me know. 


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday - It's My Life

So I'm back with another Twisted Mix Tape, and this week's theme is the soundtrack of your life.

I think this can be interpreted two can mean songs whose titles and words describe your life & it's events, feelings, etc., or it can just be songs that were significant at some point in your life.

I decided to take the easier route on this and just pick songs that stand out from various points in my life, and because I tend to define the first half of my life in terms of what educational level I was in, I've narrowed it even further to those.  And to make it even easier on myself, rather than try to figure out if a song "defined" that part of my life, I've just picked the first song (or in some instances band) that popped to mind for that period of my life.

So here goes....

Delta Dawn - Tanya Tucker

The only reason I can think of that this was the first song to come to mind when I think of my elementary school years is that we used to sing this song on long car rides, so I have memories of singing this with my whole family.  It's one of the few songs (besides "Found a Peanut") I can remember my father ever singing.

Mountain Music - Alabama

I'm not sure if I was in 7th or 8th grade when this album came out, but my best friend and I loved this song in particular and played it over and over.

Troubled Child - Journey

Of course any mix tape of mine has to contain a Journey song, and this is the album that came out during my high school years.  As is common for me, my favorite song on an album is often not one that is regularly played on the radio, and this is one of my favorites from this one.  The entire album of course was played until the cassette tape (yes we still used those then) was stretched.

Only the Good Die Young - Billy Joel

This was pretty much the theme song for my college years.  We thought we were wild and crazy and breaking all the rules...we weren't...but it felt like it right?  I can't hear this song without thinking of my college roommate and some great memories.

Let Her Cry - Hootie and the Blowfish

Back when I was in law school, Hootie and the Blowfish was still a bar band.  My boyfriend at the time lived in Columbia, SC and was friends with the band, so we traveled all over North and South Carolina, and sometimes Virginia and Georgia too, on weekends following them from bar to bar.  We never had to pay a cover charge because we were always on the guest list, and often crashed wherever they did for the night.  Maybe I'll tell some of my more humorous (and a few embarrassing) Hootie stories someday....or maybe not.

So there you have it...the soundtrack of my life, at least until age 24 or so.