Sunday, September 21, 2014

fallout finish

The rest of the weekend was as great as the beginning!

All day Saturday, I took a class with Jane Woodhouse on natural dyeing. After an exhausting, burn-the-candles-at-both-ends schedule last week, it was the perfect antidote. We had fun experimenting with the different concentrations and effects that could be achieved, but there was enough down time waiting for the dyes to set that I could sneak away for a quick nap. I don't think I was missed.

The end results were nothing short of spectacular. We made five different stock solutions, the colors that can be see all the way to the left, using madder, cutch, logwood, fustic and cochineal. We then used them in different concentrations to produce those colors. We were all taken how well the colors harmonized together. Mother nature really does know what she's doing.

Another fun spinning contest Saturday night, this time wearing giant workmen's gloves... The wonderful Amy Tyler, pictured on the right, won. If you ever have a chance to take a class with her, jump on it. She is incredibly knowledgeable and funny and warm and patient all at the same time. One of my all-time favorite instructors.

This morning my mom and I had just enough time to seek out the labyrinth (after a few wrong turns) and walk it. Turns out we were too busy talking and not paying attention to the woods around us—we missed the bear that the people right behind us nearly ran into!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend with my mom and other lovely, talented people. I did get a little bit of the creative recharge I was hoping for. Now if I can just get a little rest, I should be ready to put it into action in the coming week.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

fibre fallout

It's late September in an even year, so that means it's time for the Fibre Fallout, there bi-annual retreat organized by the North Country Spinners Guild.

My mom came with me to our first one four years ago, but had to miss the last one due to a work commitment. I was thrilled that she could come again this time around.

Yesterday we took an excellent class in spinning using the long draw technique from Amy Tyler. She loves Coopworth, and we spent quite a bit of time with it, so that was a bonus! Today I will be learning how to use natural dyes, while my mom has more spinning, this time with Robin Russo, a class I took last time and which also heavily features Coopworth. Coopworth is such a rare breed in US that it was fun finding out which breeder had produced the roving they were using.

In addition to the spinning and dyeing and other sorts of creating, there is fun of the sort that only fiber types can enjoy. Last night Robin participated in the "see how much yarn you can spin in five minutes while blindfolded" contest. She didn't win; one picture couldn't capture the other six people competing. We are all eagerly awaiting tonight's mystery contest.

There is catching up with old friends, and making new friends. Just as enjoyable are the beautiful surroundings of this retreat set in the mountains. I hope to make it to the labyrinth today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

unofficial downton abbey knits 2014

The 2014 edition of Interweave's "Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits" is almost here!

And take a look at the preview page!!

Not one, but two of my patterns are featured! The green scarf and the pink beret are both mine, and my article about the "Costuming Downton Abbey" exhibit at Winterthur also got a shout out.

Stay tuned for more... I am working on a guest blog post for the issue roll-out. I'll let you know when it goes up.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

postmodern jukebox

Instead of writing a blog post as planned, I spent the vast majority of this evening watching youtube videos published by Postmodern Jukebox. (The remainder was spent with my husband and Terzo at the movies watching "Guardians of the Galaxy," and the less said about that, the better.)

Back to Postmodern Jukebox: the group is kind of hard to explain, but they are very talented musicians and singers who reset (mostly) current hits to music styles of a different era.

Take their Great Gatsby rendition of "Fancy" as an example.

It's not just 1920s. They cross multiple genre lines, including klezmer ("Talk Dirty") and mariachi ("Wake Me Up"). I cannot get enough of this interpretation of "Blurred Lines."

Or their equally fantastic doo-wop version of "Timber." I could listen to those voices all day.

Their clever classical take on "All About that Bass" was released a week ago, and got me started on my musical appreciation evening.

At one point, Secondo came in from the other room, asking what I was listening to. After showing him a few examples (which he had to agree were pretty good, the equivalent of an enthusiastic review from a teenage boy), he said, "Geez Mom, you're obsessed!"

Which I pretty much am, and which also goes a long way in explaining this blog post—as well as my current thinking that I simply must get to one of their concerts.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

five hundred hats

Do you remember Bartholomew Cubbins? He of the 500 hats?

Very much how I am feeling these days.

Yesterday's hats were:
  1. Medical biller, from 6 am to 8 am;
  2. Shepherd (ballcap from MDS&W of course), while we caught Marigold and sent her off to her new home at Val's;
  3. Paralegal (no hats allowed in a law office) from 10 am to 1 pm;
  4. Mom, my favorite hat of the day, while I spent a precious hour eating ice cream and catching up with my newly-minted college freshman;
  5. Entrepeneur, as I hunted down supplies for my new knitting classes (more on that in a day or two);
  6. Teacher, as I taught five new knitters how to read a basic pattern, cast on, and do the knit stitch (second favorite part of the day);
  7. Volunteer, as I attended a church vestry meeting.

Phew. Today's hats are slightly less numerous and luckily do not require me to leave the house, because it requires a little attention. I haven't even unpacked the truck after the weekend's show, so that is on the list.

Plus I want to get a hat design out of my brain and on the needles. Maybe that will be the last and greatest hat?

Monday, September 8, 2014

best festival surprise

Two years ago, Coopworth was the featured breed at Rhinebeck. A person I knew only through Ravelry, username Spindlecat (she has amazing things on Etsy), contacted me to purchase some Coopworth roving. She told me later that not one, but two of her entries won first place.

Yesterday, I had the nicest surprise when she stopped by our booth to meet me in person and show me the skeins. They were gorgeous, as you might expect for skeins that won first place at Rhinebeck, always a place of excessively stiff competition. One was a grey fingering weight, and the other was a white lace weight.

Then she did the most amazing and generous thing.

She gifted me the skein of white lace weight.

I may have started referring to it as "my precious" and carrying it around the house with me. I wish I had a better picture to show off its gorgeousness. My best guesstimation is about 330 yards, and it is whispering "Estonian lace scarf" to me. What do you hear?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

fun fiber fest day

Where to start?

Well, with the beginning I suppose, when Secondo and I sorted out the breed display and got in back in order. We had to shorten the sign a bit due to the leftover wind, but it worked. The girls were much more content with the cooler weather.

When we got back to the booth, we found Robin had removed the protective sheeting—this is how we left it last night, after the storm—and had it all back in order!

That gave her enough time to take a spin with an angora bunny. Literally. It's hard to tell but that is a very cooperative bunny on her lap, that I was sure was going home with her. (She resisted.)

Robin also organized Kevyn's participation in the Shepherd's Lead contest, with a friend of hers (Robin, that is, not Kevyn, though I am sure Kevyn found her to be perfectly pleasant). Kevyn wasn't too thrilled about her outfit, but I have no idea why. She looked fabulous, with her matching halter!

At the end of the day, she and Kali were thrilled to be done with the whole thing. They practically sprinted back to the trailer and hopped on board.

And once we arrived home, no halters were necessary to move them back to their flock. They were as happy to be back in familiar pastures as we were.