(Thanks to Tini for pointing this out for us. This particular picture has really made the rounds. I guess we really DO look happy [we were practically wallowing in fleece, how could we not be!])
(Thanks to Tini for pointing this out for us. This particular picture has really made the rounds. I guess we really DO look happy [we were practically wallowing in fleece, how could we not be!])
I am so stressed right now I can’t really write at all. So instead I will give you pictures to show what my life is like right now…
And still no sweaters….
Malin, Barbro and Tini all flew to London to join me in an adventure up to the Lakes District to attend Woolfest in June (BTW, there is a picture of the 4 of us in the photo gallery on the Woolfest site:-)). The day that everyone flew-in was pretty laid-back. Lots of knitting and a little bit of drum carding!
Thursday we left bright and early for “The North” (that’s what all the signs say when you are heading North here). The car was well packed and the journey took less time than expected due to lack of traffic. I kinda decided that the ladies needed to visit Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s home. A visit to the Lakes District isn’t really complete without it in my opinion because of all the work that she did in preserving the area and the famous Herdwick Sheep breed.
On the way to the cottage, we saw some of these lovely rare sheep doing their thing in a field with a handy parking area so we could stop and take some pictures.
I also caught a shot of the elusive Malin on holiday:-)
We then went to find our cottage, which was sort-of on the other side of the mountains. However, it was a great deal for the 4 of us so we weren’t in the mood to complain too much:-) When we got there, after a really lovely drive through the District, we found fresh scones with clotted cream and a bottle of wine in the fridge to greet us! The cottage had 2 bedrooms, a sitting room and kitchen and a bathroom. Really, it was just about perfect for the 4 of us for the weekend!
That night we went down the road to a local pub and got fish and chips for dinner then came back and knit around the fireplace until bed. The next morning we were all up bright and early in order to get into the festival first thing. We got there before it opened and waited in que with a lot of other lovely fiber folks from all over the country. One of them took a lovely photo of the 4 of us.
All of us were wearing the mini shawls that I had been knitting in the weeks prior. From left to right: Barbro in her Alyssum designed by Marleen knitted in Noro Kureyon Sock, Tini in her Peacock Shawlette by Kitman Figueroa in Wollmeise Twin (that ironically she had given me a few years prior!) Me in my Simple Things by Mary-Heather Cogar in Skein Queen Entwist and Malin in her Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes in Easyknits Twinkle.
Once we were inside, it was a mad rush to the fleece tables. Now really, how often do you read about a mad rush to fleece tables?? Oh how I love wool festivals! As you can imagine, there wasn’t a whole lot of picture-taking going on as the fleece area was decimated pretty quickly and we were all surrounded by 2-3′ bumpers of bags of raw wool:-) I got (ahem) rather a lot of fleeces and the ladies got a few too. I think that at one point we had 20 fleeces in the back of the car! Here is a picture of us on the 2nd day at one of the fleece sorting tables:
After we had done a thorough going through of all the fleeces we started taking in the actual event. Not a lot of pictures of this either as there was a lot of fondling of yarn and wool and oohing and ahhing over the different types and colors of yarns and equipment for sale. We met-up for lunch as we had brought sandwiches and fruit because I remembered how long the ques were at the food places years past. After lunch, we all moseyed off in our own directions again, meeting-up randomly throughout the venue. At the end of the day we all went to the Spin-in where we had dinner and met a lot of new folks.
That night we pretty much crashed at the cottage, admiring each others purchases and (trying) to pack all the fleeces into bags and such.
Saturday was a more leisurely morning as we didn’t feel the need to be at the grounds first thing. We drove in and stayed until a little after noon, meeting up with some friends and checking out some things that we may have missed the first day. That afternoon we went to the main Lakeland shop in Windermere for a late lunch and to do a little shopping. On our way back to the cottage, we found another perfect spot to take some photos of Herdys with a parking spot nearby.
When we got back to the cottage, Malin realized that she had dropped her Holden shawlette on the ground during our Herdy stop. So, into the car Malin and I went to rescue the shawl. However, we decided to take a different route back that I had vetoed the first time it was suggested by the GPS unit as it just looked kinda crazy. It was. Malin was taking pictures of it all and even did a video at one point to capture the full insanity of it. To say that it was some of the more interesting driving that I have ever done (and I have done some interesting driving in my life!) would be a gross understatement. There was a warning of a 30% incline and decline on this road before we even got to the fun parts:-) This road over 2 mountain passes was a single lane track for the vast majority of it with Herdwicks roaming on all sides and water flowing freely to boot. There were numerous times where I wasn’t sure where the road went because we were doing 30% up and a corkscrew at the same time. Oh, and since we were on top of the mountain was really, really foggy at some points! I didn’t take any photos (that would have been suicide [no rails between us and 100′ drops]) but Malin did and when she has a chance to sort through them and send me some, I will post them here…
Anyway, the rescue party made it over the mountains and found the shawl right where it was thought to be and took the much less exciting route back to the cottage again as it was starting to get dark.
The next day we got up fairly early as we needed to get Tini to her flight home and we still had a full car to pack! However, Malin and I are pros at packing my Toyota and we managed to get all 20+ fleeces plus baggage for 4 women into the car while still being able to see out the back window. There was yarn in every nook and cranny though! We drove back to the London area with plenty of time for Tini to make her flight out of Luton. The rest of us then went back to the Old Chapel and unpacked the car, much to the amusement of the hubby.
The next day we drove down to the University of Southampton’s Knitting Reference Library. This was seriously cool, as they have a large collection of knitting books and patterns from about as far back as written knitting patterns go. Barbro did an excellent blog post about it here but I also took some pictures.
There were lots of war-time patterns. Many of them showed how to best re-use wool from a worn-out sweater or dress. By the end of the war, these patterns were using fabric sewn in to make up for the lack of both yarn and fabric available. Malin has an excellent picture here showing how the magazines also had to get smaller over a very short period of time due to paper rationing.
The collection is pretty big and quite well-organized.
The next day the 3 of us went into London on the train. First we went to the Camden Markets, which I had never been to before. Then, in the afternoon we went to Jon of Easyknits house for some retail therapy and Pimm’s! I didn’t take any photos of all of this (sorry) but Barbro was a regular little Robert Capa so you should check out this blog post of her’s.
That night we came home on the train with many more goodies and very, very tired. The next day was sort-of a free day. Malin and Barbro’s flights left in the afternoon, so that left the morning for some kool-aid dyeing and fleece skirting in the courtyard and packing of course! That afternoon I dropped the ladies off at Heathrow for their flights home with full (though not overly heavy) bags and lots of pictures on their cameras.
Yesterday I got the word that it was time to go get some fleeces that I have been watching for the past two years (at very high speeds as I drove by!). I thought that they were Hebridean sheep but I found out that they were Black Welch Mountain sheep instead. I think I can be forgiven the mistake:-) Anyway, I get there and this is what I first see… Lots of freshly shorn Black Welch Mountain sheep grazing.
This is what I saw (and smelled) next. A jumbled pile of fleeces.
And a friendly horse keeping an eye on me.
Then I saw this, the back of my car filled with fleeces (and more fleeces in that bag!).
Then I came home and walked some dogs. Not just mine, but the next door neighbor’s and their neighbor’s as well. This meant 2 Golden Retrievers, a Lurcher and a Miniature Long-Haired Chihuahua (who doesn’t need her lead for this walk). There is a lot more dog power there than it looks like, and if they were all a little more well-trained, I would probably strap skates on and mush them around the neighborhood!
As I was walking over the stile to get into the field, I got a great shot of my new shoes that got their inaugural trip to a farm today! All you sock knitter take note, stiles are a great place to take pictures of your feet! Action shots! In the countryside!
Then I cut some roses. Normally I am a big fan of leaving the flowers on the plants naturally, but this particular rose bush tends to get beaten by the wind and eaten by the bugs terribly. So, I’ve been cutting some flowers…
And I made a sort of impromptu arrangement…
I put a bunch of roses in small glass vases (of which I am quite fond and have a fairly sizable collection) and lined them up across the mantlepiece of our fireplace.
It looks pretty and was super easy to do.
So that was my afternoon. How was yours?
I am trying to avoid housework. This has taken me to such a level that I decided to catalog all the different breeds of sheep fleece that I have currently, both processed and raw. It wasn’t as big of a list as I had thought it would be…
Blue Faced Leicester (colored)-Raw Fleece
Cheviot-Both raw and tops
Corriedale (black)- tops
Finnish Landrace (asst. colors)-Cleaned wool
Jacob (asst. colors)-Cleaned Wool
Leicester Longwool- Raw Fleece
Merino-Processed every way imaginable
Navajo Churro- Cleaned Wool
Shetland-Raw Wool and Tops
Remind me if you see me at Wonderwool Wales trying to get any of these breeds please:-)
(BTW, plan on washing the raw fleeces next week! Should be fun!)
I’m sure that some of you have noticed that I haven’t been on here in a while. That is because, my dear readers, I have been asleep or catching up on things that needed catching up on here in The Old Chapel. Mostly sleeping though to tell you the truth. I turned into sleeping beauty without the spinning wheel (or being a teenager for that matter!!!). The hubby had to leave for France the morning after I got home which was probably good for him in all reality as I was a very boring person to be around for the first few days back, I don’t even snore (I just always look a bit angry when I sleep for some reason [I think it’s really a look of concentration, I take sleeping very seriously!]).
Anyway, I realize that I haven’t posted about the tail-end of my trip so here it goes:
While in Florida still, I had sort-of a crazy last day getting to see everyone that I hadn’t seen up to that point. I was booked for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Wednesday. It was sort of insane but very fun to get to see everyone.
On Thursday I flew out from Orlando to White Plains on AirTran. Everything went well though I lost my sunglasses somewhere in transit (it was ok, the weather in New York was less than sunglass weather!). I met my roommate Malin at the White Plains train station after a few navigational delays and we headed North towards Rhinebeck. Once again I am super happy that I used Ravelry as a way to share room/rides as Malin and I hit it off amazingly well. Well, I guess that isn’t too big of a surprise since we both traveled thousands of miles to go to a sheep and wool festival (crazy likes crazy). The drive-up to the Hudson Valley was not as pretty as in years past as we had first rain, then sleet, then (I kid you not) snow. As I have not driven in falling snow with insane New York drivers passing me like I’m road kill in a while (read: ever) it was a sort of disturbing drive for parts of it. Also, because of the weather, the beautiful fall colors the area is known for were obscured. However, we made it to our hotel without incident and went shopping. Yes, you read that right, we went shopping. Malin had never been to a T.J. Maxx or Marshalls or any store like that before so we went to the Marshalls nearby and she liked it (a lot). I got a few things for home as well. We also went to Target where I checked-off a bunch of things on my very odd list of things to get in the US including 2 extra value sized bottles of Pepto (it’s really expensive here).
On Friday Malin and I both had workshops that went all day. It was nice to be there before the whole festival opened up as it gave both of us a chance to see just how really big the place is. We checked-in and went off to our individual workshops. This year they had fun goodie bags for all of the workshop participants with a pen and a button that featured Leicester Longwools, this year’s breed of sheep on it along with some candy bars and coupons for various booths. My classes were both with Annie Modesitt who is an awesome instructor. She’s a really fun teacher that I highly suggest that taking her classes is a must to anyone even if you think you already know everything!!! Annie battled the noise in the building all day long and mostly kept her temper about it (I would have been about 10 bajillion times more bitchy. I would have turned into a fire breathing knitting Godzilla of doom!!) Malin’s class was a little less, uh, good. The instructor for the class was ill (a very common thing I found as I traveled, the flu was early this year) so a replacement was found a half an hour prior to the class starting. Now, trying to set up a class on designing lace patterns on the fly cannot be easy. I’m hoping that the committee will refund the folks in that class their money like they discussed. Though, from what I gathered, the lady that stepped-in to teach it did as good of a job as possible on such short notice. Anyway, at the end of the day I bought two of Annie’s books and had them signed by her. If you haven’t already checked them out, I would totally suggest it. They are: Knit with Courage, Live with Hope and Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. They can both be purchased in the normal channels or via Annie’s Website. The first class of the day I also got a copy of one of her awesome flip books detailing how to do “Grandma” knit and purl increases.
Friday night we went out to eat with a bunch of the other Rodeway Inn Raveler’s at the restaurant that is right by the hotel. It was surprisingly nice with several birthday parties and, I think, a wedding reception going on. The group was super fun and the food was excellent. I got a calamari pizza that was surprisingly tasty, even cold the next day! We left the restaurant full and pleased and really ready for bed!
Saturday was the opening day of Rhinebeck. Malin and I got up early and got a great parking spot close to the 4-H gate. I can definitely say that this year wasn’t as busy as last year was. There was only really a couple of hours that you had to fight the crowds off whereas last year it was the majority of the day. I think that the fact that it was not the nicest weather this year had something to do with it all. It was overcast and cold and constantly feeling as though it was going to to break into a storm at any minute for most of the day. However, it was still the glorious insanity that is Rhinebeck and lots of goodies were bought and even more were fondled and oohed and ahhed over. A few really fun things that we both did were knitting on the big sock (they are trying for a Guinness World Record [it’s a FREAKING big sock]) and getting to meet and have her new book “The Knitter’s Book of Wool” signed by Clara Parkes.
By the end of the day, we were both pretty zonked so we stopped at the grocery store that is near the fairgrounds for some provisions and headed-out towards the Ravelry party in nearby Red Hook. We got mildly lost (didn’t bring the parking instructions) but it was ok as we were really early still. The parking lot at the nearby school was pretty empty when we got there and we were on the first bus. The party was great! With-out the parking hassles, everything went so much smoother this year compared to last. The food was yummy the goodie bags were, well, goodie and the company was fantastic. Malin and I were on the first bus in and the last bus out!!! Woot woot!! Party girls!!!! Major props to the Ravelry crew for putting together such an awesome event once again!
On Sunday we didn’t get up nearly as early nor were we out the door as fast. Since we were checking out of the hotel, we needed to make sure that we packed everything and had it all loaded in the car for that afternoon. Even with the later start, we got an even better parking spot on day two! It was significantly colder than it had been on Saturday. We kept hearing rumors about bad weather in the city which made us both nervous about getting home in a timely manner. Plus, we were both pretty exhausted. We went around to a few of the places that we weren’t able to get to easily on Saturday. It was so quiet that The Fold (home of Socks that Rock) didn’t have a line. At all. It was amazingly quiet. We got a few more things and watched some of the Sheep to Shawl competition and did some of the food tastings and left around 1pm.
The drive back down to White Plains was pretty uneventful. It was rainy and blowy but otherwise, no big surprises. I dropped Malin off at the train station and made my way back to the White Plains airport where I dropped my car off and struggled to get all three of my very large bags into the airport. I had just gotten into the door after a massive struggle when a very kind lady asked if I needed any help. She didn’t work there, she must have just seen the look of near desperation on my face. This kind stranger got me to the United check-in area where something even stranger faced me. A really nice United gate worker. He took one look at my face and had me just chill and breathe for a few minutes. (I must’ve really looked like hell is all that I can think!) He then checked me in for my flights and even helped me carry my bags over to security!!! Going through security was a breeze and I was left to chill in the airport as I was a couple of hours early.
However, as the time approached for my flight to start boarding, there was no notice anywhere. I went over to the United counter and there was a sign saying that my flight to DC was delayed an hour. This is seriously not good as I only had about a 50 minute transfer. Speaking with the girl behind the counter, it pretty quickly became apparent that I was going to be spending the night somewhere that was not in the air London bound. So, when the puddle jumper finally arrived, I got on it with a sense of resignation knowing that I either A.) would have to run like a bat out of hell for my gate or B.) would have a night in DC. It was the latter as I missed my flight by about 10 minutes. So, I walked over to the customer service area and amazingly my luck held as I got another very nice (though harassed) United employee who set me up for the night in a really nice resort hotel on the Potomac. Luckily, the pub in the hotel was open until midnight so I was able to get some excellent food before going to bed.
My flight left the next morning at 9:30am and since my luggage was still in the bowels of Dulles airport, checking in was a cinch. Everything left on time and we arrived at Heathrow a little bit early. Really, the whole thing wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the hubby hadn’t taken the day off to hang-out with me. I was more upset by that than anything else. As it ended-up, I got in at around 9pm and it takes a good hour plus to get home from that airport. The hubby had to leave for a business trip to Paris the next morning at 5am so we didn’t get a whole lot of time to spend together.
I then proceeded to sleep for the better part of the week while he was gone with at least 3 animals touching me at all times.
It’s good to be home.
So, I haven’t shown y’all a lot of what I’ve been doing of late and I think that it’s about time that I rectified that.
First off, I finished the cabled embrace scarf. It turned out nicely but I was just sooooo glad for it to be done already! It wasn’t difficult once you got the knack of the cables. I finished it one of the nights that Jiji was so sick and I was staying up with her.
I’m working on another scrapghan while sitting watching Buffy and Angel on DVD. Yes, it’s another biggin!
The grey sock gets worked on sporadically. It just feels like a good travel project of late (since everything else has gotten so big by comparison) and I haven’t been doing a whole lot of traveling.
The Feza scarf is still getting worked on but I feel as though it is at the point that the Cabled Embrace scarf was for some time. Basically, it seems as though the yarn ball isn’t getting any smaller no matter how much I work on it. It’s a pity that the black hole of yarn that this “extra” yarn is coming from isn’t in existence all the time! One ball of yarn for any project. then of course, yarn store owners would just charge a lot more for that one ball I suppose….
I quickly crocheted a strap in recycled sari silk to replace the the strap that came with our Nikon camera. Neither of us were comfortable with the length of it nor really the material. It’s turned out fine until I went to wash and block it a little bit. The water turned a bad shade of purple and smelled bad. So I washed it more properly with Soak and it still smelled bad and there was even more purple in the water. Now this yarn sort of smelled vaguely like straw when I got it. That’s ok. I like the smell of straw. The smell after it got wet was nasty chemical yuck. Between the idea of having a purple neck after sweating while having the camera on me and the thought that whatever made that nasty smell isn’t coming out of the yarn I am having to put this project on the backburner. I’m thinking about trying it again only in some Noro Silk Garden, I’ll let you know how this turns out..
Last but not least is the Cesar and Pam blanket. This one is still in sewing-up stage as I can only sew for about a half hour or so before I get a splitting headache. Time for bi-focals maybe? Anyway, it’s because of this that this blanket is moving so damn slowly. I’m not sure why I don’t get these headaches when I’m doing the other stuff but I suspect that it is because I don’t have to stare at them quite so much as I do when I am sewing. As lovely as this blanket is going to be I am going to be SO GLAD when it is done (which needs to be before I go back to Florida).
I have still been spinning the Romney/Rambouillet fleece. I am getting finer and finer to the point that some of the two-ply is pretty close to laceweight!
That’s about it for now.
(BTW Listen to episode #84 of Cast On with Brenda Dayne as both the hubby and I are both mentioned on it. How cool is that?!?!)