I’m finally ready to start blogging! I’ll probably be up all night! I have all sorts of stories, projects and things to share that I feel like I can’t type fast enough (which is a riot because I can’t pass a basic typing test to save my life!) and because real life keeps getting in the way of my knitting and spinning and weaving, I’m sure I’ll be including posts about what many people think is an unconventional way of living. My husband and I have been full time RVers for the past 4 years (we really only meant to do it for a year, 2 at the most), but we’re still at it and now we have a love, hate relationship with it. So…give your hands a knitting break and I hope you enjoy my ”about” page and my posts!
I FINALLY had the opportunity to attend The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend! I have been hoping to attend for years but because I lived “out west” it seemed there was always a reason I couldn’t get to it…I had to work (work always seems to get in the way of the more important stuff like knitting and spinning), the distance, etc..etc…but now that I live and hour or so away I firmly stated to anyone who would listen…”I don’t care if the President wants to come and visit me on May 5th and 6th…he will have to meet me at The Howard County Fairgrounds.” And attend I did…I was there both days from open to close and may I say IT WAS SPECTACULAR! It so completely exceeded any expectations I could have imagined. I have been to numerous arts and crafts shows, as well as state and county fairs over the years but this was the cream of the cream of the crop. I don’t know why I am so surprised though…in reading through the fair website before I went it does state that this festival is the premier festival of its kind in the world. For me it was the combination of all of the sheep and the many, many, many wool related vendors all in the same place. I recently purchased The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius and have been devouring the information on all of the breeds of sheep, goats, musk ox, bison and other furry creatures and it was such a treat to see some of the more rare breeds of sheep that I’ve been reading about. I also made some fun purchases. I’ve been wanting to try some different types of projects so I purchased a silk hankie (I really don’t know how to spin it yet but it will be fun researching and watching some you tube videos), some bamboo, wool and tencel roving which has beautiful pinks, blacks and greys (pictures to come), a flower kit with mohair and a boucle yarn, and some angora fiber from “Sharon” the angora bunny (who was at the show allowing her people mom to hold her and pluck some fiber for spinning demonstrations). I can’t wait to try out all this fun stuff and I will definitely be counting down the days until next years festival.
Tonight hubby and I were sitting in our now local Barnes and Noble cafe and there were 2 women sitting next to us who appeared to be knitting. I’m certain I was making them uncomfortable with my staring so I finally blurted out “it looked like you were knitting so I had to find out” (like I couldn’t have just politely asked them). Then someone else came over to the table and asked them about their projects and suddenly I heard the word ”alpaca.” Then I heard one of them ask “did you go to The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival?” When I heard no’s I immediately offered up “I did” (as if anyone was asking me). We then discovered the woman who had approached the table raised alpacas. Although we had only intended to stay at the bookstore for long enough to have coffee, of course now everything was out the window. We had an absolutely wonderful time chatting about her farm Nine Patch Alpacas, our farm, and everything other alpaca related subject you can imagine. Diane, the owner of the farm was so friendly and interesting to talk with and her daughter was a gem! We will definitely be planning a visit to their farm to chat again and get our alpaca fix!
Slowly but surely (and I think it’s more slowly) I am making some UFO progress. I’ve been trying to get the 2nd sock done in the Colinette yarn. This yarn is really wonderful and if you haven’t tried it you should. It has just the right amount of stretch for socks and is great to work with. I’m about to turn the heel and I’ve been trying to carve out a few uninterrupted minutes to do this. I know from past sock experience that if I put it down in mid-heel and lose my place I might as well never have started.
At the same time (you can never have too many projects going on at once!) I’m making great strides on a pair of fingerless gloves for hubby. These actually have fingers that will be open on the ends so I guess they aren’t technically fingerless gloves but you get the idea. This is the first time I’ve made gloves and although they’re not hard to make, I have to say thank you to all the you tube videos I’ve watched to get from one finger to the next. (What did we ever do before you tube?) I’m making these out of Expresso’s yarn and I’m using size 2 DPN’s and one strand of yarn. I found the pattern on Ravelry and it was archived so it took quite awhile to load…I got a number of rows done on the socks while I was waiting…felt proud of my multi-tasking skills!
Now that I’m living on the east coast my calendar has big stars, arrows, highlights, you name it on the weekend of May 5-6. I am SO looking forward to attending the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for the first time. Every year I would say…well maybe next year I can fly out there and go but this year I only live about an hour drive away so I will be thoroughly enjoying every second from the time the doors open until they kick me out! I’m sure I’ll be making some purchases as well! I feel like a kid at Christmas….I’m counting down the minutes!
WHEW! The Ivy Cap is finished and am I ever glad!! Even though it’s all one color and it’s knit in one piece I still found it to be one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever knitted. I learned a lot along the way so I’m glad I stuck it out. Trust me, there were a number of times when frogging it didn’t even come to mind. I wanted to just open the front door and chuck it out and hope someone would run over it!
Even though it’s midway through January, I want to comment that I did make some New Years Resolutions before the clock struck twelve on December 31st. Oh yes, there were plenty of things I could have put on the list such as the need to lose weight, learn a foreign language, become a movie star etc, but I decided I should get realistic about my resolutions so for once I could look back and feel that it was a really productive year in terms of my knitting, spinning and weaving. I drank a significant amount of espresso, then went through my stash and took pictures of all of my UFO’s which includes knitting projects, a couple of crochet projects and lots of roving to be spun. As I’ve been job hunting I have realized the need to make some significant progress on my lack of knowledge of Excel, so I decided to make a spreadsheet listing all of my projects to be completed. I’ve also got columns to update my progress as I go along and the estimated completion time. Hubby found it somewhat amusing because he has been after me to make up some spreadsheets so I can practice but I think what he had in mind was getting the bills organized, not my craft projects. (I have a system that works for the bills it’s just that he says he can’t figure it out!)
I’m thrilled that the first item I can put on my new spreadsheet is the Ivy Cap! Now that we’re living where there is a definite winter, hubby is thinking the original Watch Cap may still need to be on my list. It’s a pretty simple pattern (I think I may have said that about the Ivy Cap) but I still figure I can knit it up rather quickly and not disrupt my UFO flow.
Off to the first project on my list-the Colinette socks……..
I’ve been meaning to post since the 1st and have had everything I wanted to say swirling around in my head but is seems I haven’t been able to find a spare minute.. As usual, lots of changes and chaos going on in my life…..I’m not complaining though! We have recently left Southern Utah and relocated to Pennsylvania for hubbys job. I am HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY (have I mentioned HAPPY) because I am now close to my family for the first time in about 20 years. If I didn’t think I would hurt myself I would do some cartwheels! We were able to go visit my dad the weekend after we got moved, then went again for Christmas and I was able to stay the week after Christmas to visit. We had such a great week, the sisters going shopping at the after Christmas sales and visiting some local crafty type shops we’ve been wanting to check out. My dad was the happy chauffeur and drove us from place to place so we could all yak nonstop. As we were out and about I found I had a really hard time realizing I only live a few hours away and I can come back as often as I want. In past visits I’ve always felt the need to race from place to place to get it all in before I had to get on a plane and not be able to come back again for 6 months. I’m sure I was starting to annoy my family with my constantly stating what a relief it was to be able to throw eveything in the car vs having to carefully pack for security at the airport, pay an arm and a leg for 1 checked bag and hope I can get everything smashed into it. Read the rest of this page »
The Ivy Cap is definitely looking like a cap! It was really hard to get good pictures (as it always is in the RV) but I think this one shows some good progress from the last pictures. I’m hoping to be able to add it to my FO’s soon! (Hubby would like that too so he could finally wear the darn thing!)
I’ve also been able to make some progress on the magic loop socks from the Colinette yarn my sister sent me awile back. I have to say I am very very pleased with the pattern and how it came out. It fits perfectly and hubby commented that it looks professionally made! (Sweet!)
On to sock 2 and finishing the Ivy Cap!
I’ve actually been able to get some spinning done lately as well. I’ve been very happy with my progress into making thinner yarn. I like at least a 2 ply yarn so I’ll be anxious to see the result to see if I really can spin thinner. I bought this roving in Bozeman, MT at The Yarn Shop and Fiber Place while visiting my in-laws. I am always drawn to multi-colored roving (it’s that impressionist thing again I’m sure).
I’ve also been working some on what I call Moms Shawl. When my mom passed away 2 years ago my sister who knits and I went through her projects and split them up. My mom used to carry this around with her when she knew she would have extra time in a waiting room. As knitting usually does, people would always ask her what she was making and she always cracked me up because she would say “I’m making a shawl to wear whan I get old.” It took me awhile to figure out the pattern and where she left off. I’m not sure I started on the exact row but for me the point was and is that when I’m having a rough day it really helps to pull it out and work on it. I sit there knitting with it all bunched up in my lap and think about all the good times my mom and I had together.
I have always loved fall, I love the change of all of the seasons but there is something about that crisp feel in the air, the leaves changing into that impressionist look (I’ve always had a thing for impressionist art and that’s what a gathering of fall trees looks like to me), and most definitely pulling out my hand knit socks, scarves and mittens rejuvenates me and gets me moving. This year in particular after living in a really hot summer climate I am appreciating fall even more. I think I have said to my husband “isn’t this weather divine” until he is about to scream. My favorite month hands down is October with Halloween rating number one as the top holiday in my book. I know it will sound strange but October and Halloween have a slight edge for me above December and Christmas. When I’m fortunate enough to be in West Virginia during October, my sister and I barely have time to sleep. First there is my twin nephews birthday to plan for and enjoy but then things really take off. There’s the zombie walk on the main street downtown, visiting the halloween stores that have the appeal of choosing the ”brave souls” entrance over the scaredy-cat entrance (then spending quality time checking out all of the moving and groaning ghouls), the haunted hayride at the local park and then the highlight of The Fright Farm at Rich’s Truck Farm (almost better than Trick or Treat night!) It’s really nontop fun for my sister and I and I always cherish when we can share our love of all things scary together. I love creating custom pumpkins as well-here is a picture of one I did the last time I was there
This might be my nephews last year for Trick or Treat which will be a shame because they come up with some really good costumes but hopefully they will love Halloween as much as their mom and I do!
I am FINALLY getting somewhere on the Ivy Cap. What started out looking like a small lump of coal is beginning to develop into something that could actually become a hat!
I’ve finally finished swatching for the English Driving Cap I want to make for hubby. I was satisfied with the gauge of 4 sts = 4 inches in stockinette stitch and the drape of the swatch with size 3 needles and 2 strands of yarn held together. I’m using yarn made from one of my border leicester sheep-Espresso. I originally tried 1 strand with size 6 needles (what the pattern called for), then tried 5′s and 7′s before deciding that 2 strands together was probably more what I was looking for. As I was knitting up the 4′s I realized 3′s were going to do it and did. I was so happy to finally get the result I wanted and dove into the pattern but couldn’t get past row 3. I wanted to make the larger of the 2 sizes but couldn’t for the life of me figure out the pattern. I even had hubby look at it as he’s very mechanically minded and many times can decipher for me what the pattern “really” means. (My sister and I often laugh that sometimes I should just hand the needles over to him and have him call me when the project is finished). Eventually I emailed the pattern writer and got a great explanation back from her the next day. I was impressed and thrilled to get all of my dumb questions answered so kindly and completely. There’s not much to photograph yet as you start from the crown and move down so for now it looks like a small lump of wool. Given the complexity of getting good pictures in the RV I think I’ll wait up until there’s something to actually see.
To take a break occasionally from all the swatching I pulled out a pair of socks I’d started awhile ago. My sister was anxious for me to get a different perspective on sock making so she sent me some Colinette yarn and the magic loop pattern. I was hesitant because after making 5 pairs of socks using the same pattern I wasn’t sure I wanted to expand my horizons and learn a new way. I’ve read so many reviews on the magic loop method and of course now I’m not surprised at why people like it so much. It’s so much easier! I’m still partial to my old pattern but I have to admit this is moving along quickly and I’ve really been enjoying it.
The last few weeks have been stressful to say the least. When we were driving from Washington State to Southern Utah we had a bit of an incident. One of the rear wheels on our 5th wheel sheered off the trailer. Yes-you read that correctly-the wheel sheered off. I was following hubby in the car and saw the whole ordeal. I saw something fly off to the right (which we believe was something that was on the road that he hit and it flipped up under the trailer), then the trailer made a sharp drop and I saw sparks fly and then the wheel shot off to the shoulder of the freeway. We carry walkie talkies to more easily communicate and I’m sure my screaming ”YOU LOST A WHEEL, YOU LOST A WHEEL” repeatedly was almost as much of a jolt as actually losing the wheel itself. Luckily hubby is very experienced in towing trailers of all sizes and he was able to quickly get off to the shoulder. When you’re towing a 40 ft. trailer it’s a bit difficult to dodge something in the road when there are 4 other lanes of crazy drivers whipping and darting around you as if you’re driving a mini cooper. Luckily no one was hurt but it has been quite the
experience headache dealing with the insurance company and getting the repairs done. The wheel ripped off a fender on the side of the trailer and there was considerable damage as a result. After 2 months of the repair shop preparing for the fix we finally got the go ahead that they were ready for us. We decided to head to my in laws in Montana to wait out the repairs which we were told would be 5-7 days. As we expected, that turned into 2 + weeks. I envisioned relaxing and getting in some much needed knitting and blogging. Unfortunately the carrier for our mobile broadband card has zero service in all of Montana. I did get alot of knitting done but was frustrated at best with no internet service hence no blogging.
Worst of all was the hearbreaking passing of our beloved border collie
She came to us as a rescue and gave us nearly 10 years of absolute joy. She loved traveling in the RV with us and would get so excited at each new stop. We didn’t know how she would react to constantly having new surroundings but she actually adjusted to it all much better than we did! This is the first time in 18 years that we have been without a dog or animals of any kind and the sense of loss is really overwhelming. The trailer is finally fixed and after we got back to the RV park and got the trailer set up we kept finding ourselves starting to do all the routine things we normally do for Bo after we’ve set up-reaching for her food and water bowl, getting out her treat can. I know it will get easier with time but with all the unsettling things in our lives right now, this will really take some getting used to.