Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ribbons, I got Ribbons!

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I was entering some things in the local Ag Expo, Washington County's equivalent of a county fair. Thursday before last I took my Icarus shawl by Miriam Felton, a pair of socks based on Wendy's Toe-Up pattern with a feather and fan leg, and a pysanki (Ukrainian) egg down to the Agricultural Education Center and somewhat reluctantly handed them over to strangers.

Friday evening I went back down to pick them up. I really expected the egg to be broken but to my surprise it appears unharmed and it has a blue ribbon (first prize) taped to the stand! The socks had a red second prize ribbon pinned to them. And Icarus? Another first prize! I'm so thrilled. It was my first lace project and it wasn't perfect by any means but it was good enough for FIRST PRIZE!!!

There wasn't a category for shawls so I entered it under scarves. There wasn't a category for socks either. I entered them under "knitted: other". Most of the other entries were gone when I got there so I don't know what I was competing against but I'm sure there were other great knits there. Next year I'll have to go during the week and see the other entries. This year I just didn't have the time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lily of the Valley Smoke Ring

This is my current focus right now. I'm on the fifth chart repeat. It's hard to photograph a tubular lace project that's still on the needles. I stretched it out as best I could with a sheet of paper in between the layers. I think it's absolutely lovely and I want to thank Susan Pierce Lawrence and Wooly Wonka Fibers for making it available. I think I'll get a lot of use out of this come winter to ward of the drafts here in my office. I can almost feel it's soft folds around my neck.

It's a fun and portable project. I have the chart memorized so I can whip the project out where ever I happen to be and just knit away. This is my first experience with nupps (knit five together through the back loop) and I've heard horror stories about them but I find that if I keep it loose my Knitpicks 16" US#5 circs are quite pointy enough to get the job done. They don't make 16" Addi Turbo Lace circs. I even worked on it while standing in line Friday night waiting to get my Harry Potter book. When this is done, more socks.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm off to the Ball

The Grand Hallows Ball, that is! My boss let me take some vacation time to go stand in line at Borders this morning to get my wrist band for tonight's party. I waited until 45 minutes after they started handing them out and I still had to stand in line outside the store for about an hour. Fortunately the weather has taken a delightful turn here and except for the a sunburn on the back of my neck I faired very well. Any other day this week would have made this task torture since the heat and humidity were unbearable.

I took a side in the Great Snape Debate as well. I trust Snape. If Dumbledore trusted him who am I to argue?

So tonight, after KnitFlix, Doug and I will be at Borders partying with the Potter fans. I hope you have fun at your Grand Hallows Ball, too!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Janis and Marge

The social knitting groups from Y2Knit got together and went on a field trip Monday. We piled into cars and vans and headed south to Virginia. Janis and Marge rode with Doug and I in the Outback and we knitted and talked the whole way to Staunton, Virginia.

Our driver: my husband Doug (the only male in the entire group)

First stop: Chester Farms, home of Cestari Yarns. Mr. Chester (below) took half the group on a wagon tour of the farm while the other half toured the mill. Only a part of the operation is at this location. Most of the sheep are on another nearby farm. He talked about his sheep, Merino and Columbia, and it was clear that he really loves raising the sheep and improving the bloodlines and the wool. He was very enthusiastic about the whole process.

We got to meet Reggie, a partially shorn cat (matted hair removed) and some of the rams.

The whole yarn making process was fascinating. The machines used are all from a mill in Maine and were made in the 1940's. I saw a date of 1947 on one of them.

They send the wool to Pennsylvania to be dyed and it comes back in 700lb. bales.

They spread them out and feed them into a machine that mixes and fluffs them. Then they go into a huge machine that cards and combs to wool. It comes out the other end a pencil roving on long rolls.

The rolls are then taken to another machine that spins the roving onto spindles. The spindles are taken to another machine that plies them onto other spindles. Those spindles are taken to another machine that winds them onto really big spindles. The big spindles go to the last machine that winds them into center-pull skeins. I think. I could be wrong about any of those steps.

I took lots of video of the machine running. I hope to upload it to YouTube soon. Stay tuned for more later...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Casting On, Casting Off

I'm in a slight slump. I have cast on and started Monkey and Cornucopia, in two different yarns and just didn't feel right about any of them. I frogged everything.

I just started the Lucy Socks by Wendy. I think that these will be the ones that break the slump. I needed a pattern that will work on a dark colorway and still be a little interesting, not just stockingette.

The yarn is All Things Heather but I'm not sure of the colorway at the moment, it might be Champlain Sunset. I got it from The Loopy Ewe. It's rich and dark; it suits my mood at the present. I guess I'm still a little sore from the recent death of my FIL. It was a mighty blow to all of us and we're still learning how to cope.

And to add to my woes, the finish is coming off my Knitpicks us#0 dpns. In the photo above you can see a tiny spot of silver in the center (click on the photo to enlarge). That's the finish that's flaking off. I love these needles so much - sob. I guess I'll have to order another set soon.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The family gathers to celebrate a life...

My father-in-law died on Tuesday, June 26th. We're all still a little stunned because he died suddenly, unexpectedly. He was literally gone in an instant. There was no time for goodbyes but also no time for pain and suffering.

We're still trying to wrap our minds around how this could happen to someone that we loved so much. He was 74 and we were planning to have a huge surprise party for his 75th birthday in December. My mother-in-law had already booked the hall and the caterers and was busy finalizing the plans. But instead of a party we had a visitation, attended by around 400 family and friends and a memorial service, attended by about 130. He touched many lives in his 74 years.

He was a great father-in-law to me and I'm already missing him terribly. I saw him practically every day since Doug and I married in 1996 even if only to wave as I went up the driveway. Our house is built behind theirs and he mowed our lawn along with his because he loved to mow. He was a dairy farmer by birth and by choice, milking twice a day every day of his life from the time he was old enough until they sold the herd and retired in the mid 1990's. Mowing gave him an opportunity to be outside in the fresh air without putting too much stress on his tired old knees, which he had worn completely out.

I'll post some pictures later. For now, we're just trying to adapt to this new life with him.