Saturday, October 20, 2012

Festival Fun
by Caroline and Kathleen

It's time to hit the road for the annual trip to VA for a fiber festival and visit to Kathleen! (Yo Caroliiiine!) Scheduling changes mean a new fiber festival for us, the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. Also, for the first time in ages, I needed to make the trip down in one day (same for the return trip). Weather forecasts had the weekend as a rainy weekend so I had packed accordingly: rain ponchos, no camp chairs, jeans, and long sleeves. I loaded up the car w/ a multitude of knitting projects, a drop spindle, my spinning wheel, some fiber, my suitcase and an iPod loaded w/ podcasts and set off. It ranged from a drizzle to a downpour for at least half the trip but slowly the sun started staying out longer and longer.

Friday night was spent catching up and getting color advice on a project from Kathleen (thank you) (you're welcome) and we went to bed, almost hopeful about the weather. My friend Mary was due to meet up w/ us at the festival in the morning. Saturday arrived and brought sunshine w/ it! Cool temps, a little breezy, but wow - sunshine! We were very lucky... just a few days earlier the forecast had been rain all weekend. But the long range forecasts turned out to be wrong!

What a group we made: Kathy w/ her bad back; me w/ my bad foot; and Mary w/ her bad knee. (So a quick explanation... A few days before the festival I noticed my back was feeling very tight and I couldn't find a comfortable way to sit. By the next day I could barely move. Just getting up from a chair was extremely difficult and reaching over a table would put me in immediate spasming pain. I saw a doctor on Thursday and went on an anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers. This helped... a LOT... but I was really worried how I'd cope with walking around the fairgrounds) But Shenandoah is a small festival on fairgrounds so we had paved paths and didn't have to dodge huge crowds. Benches scattered around the grounds were very handy (VERY! Thanks festival planners! ) and we moved at a comfortable stroll. Shenandoah is a lovely festival, I got a chance to talk to people doing demos such as the woman dying yarn w/ natural dyes (sorry, no pictures),  found some new vendors, as well as caught up w/ some old favorites (hey there, Dianne from Creatively Dyed!).

Mary inspired me to start some of my Christmas shopping! I've never been this early, I'll just have to delay the non-knitting shopping to make up for my early start. I can't take credit for all of what you don't see here. Some of it is Mary's that I am taking back w/ me for wrapping and delivery.

There were the usual suspects:

the goats are cute and curly but the sheep look suspiciously innocent (If I recall correctly one of the specialties of the festival is that there was a goat breed judging. Interesting being at a festival focusing attention on goats rather than the more common sheep.)
these guys are so happy to be here
As well as new ones:

saw him out for a walk later in the day - quite a sight!
And I'm not sure what he was doing here:

he was not happy to be here or maybe it was sharing a pen w/ sheep
 Mary stayed w/ us Saturday night and we all slept in (except Mary). After an early lunch, Mary returned home and Kathleen and I returned to the festival. I'll be visiting Mary in a couple days.

No sheep dog trials but they do have sheep dog demos and Sunday, Kathleen and I watched the team of Tom and Pete (Pete is the dog). We've seen them work at Montpelier in the past. This time we watched Pete manage 6 sheep instead of 3 and his control was amazing! Umm, right up until the end when he finally got a little impatient and snapped at a sheep (in the trials this would have been a disqualification). (In my opinion that sheep deserved it. That was a very obstreperous sheep. If Pete could have kicked him in the rear he would have, but snapping was his way of giving that warning.)

Also, Sunday I was introduced to an amazing treat: deep fried white chocolate Reese's Cup and all I can say is O. M. G.! I'm not actually a fan of deep fried whatevers (Oreos, Twinkies etc.) but this was truly incredible and I'm lucky it was a sample and not actually on the menu. (I thought there was some decent fair food there. Not great food by any means, but there was some variety which is nice... and boy scouts making fresh cobbler served with ice cream.)

I spent the next couple days w/ Kathy and her DH, Jeff. I always enjoy my visits with them (the feeling is mutual), evenings are peaceful and I am inspired to get a lot of spinning done. This year the big bonus was my total acceptance by cat, Bodie! Bodie is a bit shy (For a cat Bodie does a good impersonation of a female dog.) and in the past has taken most of the week to warm up to my presence, only sleeping on my mattress because big ol' guard cat, Simon was already there. This year, she let me pet her the first night and slept w/ me every night. She made it hard to get up in the morning because I didn't want to disturb her.

you would have to be heartless to make her move and I want to be a cat in my next life!

I will close with a few photos of the loot. Remember... the first photo is a mixture of THREE people's impulse purchasing! And those hotel beds are a lot smaller than you'd think! And the camera adds ten pounds to your fiber haul!

And Caroline would like to point out that a large(ish) portion of hers included gifts...

Oh boy... bet you can't wait for Christmas...

And so, as the sun sets on another fun visit we say farewell......... It was a great visit and a fun festival, and I hope we can make a repeat next year!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And now...

For something completely different.


Well... sort of.

I made pillows.

Pretty huh?

The red ones are slightly different. I used opposite sides of the fabric. Subtle...

I did an overlapped back with no closures. Easy peasy.

And keeping with the knitting theme, I also made pillows from felted thrift store sweaters. I've got a rather obvious seam on the gray one, but I'm thinking of adding a line of embroidery stitches... if you can't hide it, make it a design decision!
This weekend I'm going to a very small, new to me, sort of local fiber festival. Caroline  is coming down for it too so I'm very excited! Even the forecast thunderstorms can't damp my enthusiasm!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Well, enough with the sturm and drang of ungrateful sock yarn and linen. We leave these poor ragged creatures and move on to...

 More Socks!!!!!

A pattern from Charlotte Schurch's first book, in a Plymouth Yarn Noro-lookalike.

A simple feather and fan variation, in Shaeffer Yarn's Nicole (lovely heavier weight sock yarn... feels a lot like Socks that Rock in its skooshiness).

Plain ol' stockinette, in FibraNatura's Yummy.

Opus 400, in Wisdom Yarns Marathon.

Another feather and fan variation, in Hand Painted Yarn's Donegal Sock yarn (brought back for me from Sock Summit by Caroline)

A pattern of my own  with a lattice cable and a feather and fan variation, in a sock yarn that I dyed myself (shown in progress, this sock is now finished).

So many socks! Just count them... 6!!! 6 socks!!!
Yes. That's right...6. NOT 6 pair. Just 6.
And why would someone knit 6 single socks (someone who's never before shown signs of the dreaded second sock syndrome)?
Maybe because their other foot was wearing this...
This year's lovely AirCast Pneumatic Walking Boot; sublime in a tonal variation of greys; perfect for every occasion involving foot surgery and more!
Certainly minimizes the need for two socks.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Is it me?

Both of my Noro socks.

My favorite linen blouse!

Perhaps I have a secretly abrasive personality? Or do I  just rub inanimate items the wrong way? Clearly I need to be kinder to my textiles. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oh, the sockmanity!

If you have a hard time with wool violence turn your eyes away now...

Yes. There is a large gaping hole in my sock. Need a more graphic close-up view?...

Oh the horror!

These were the first socks I ever knit. Of Claudia Handpaint's Poppy colorway in a feather and fan pattern (I think it was Wendy Johnson's free pattern), and the only toe up still. I never liked the way the short row heel fit me, but I didn't mean for it to come to this!
I haven't decided what to do about it. It's possible I could pick up around it and reknit a heel... rather like an afterthought heel. I hate to get rid of them... I love the color and... well, it was my first sock.

Something must be done.

This blog has been pretty neglected lately. Been kind of a rough year in some ways; many health and employment stresses for both my husband and me. But I hope to get back into posting now and then. And if Caroline can ever tear herself away from the two new great nieces maybe she will too.
Or maybe not.
But... there will be sock knitting at any rate. And some photos. Occasionally.