Apr 22, 2010

Springtime In Texas

Well, it's been two months since my first post. Guess I don't quite have this blogging thing down yet. It's been a busy two months indeed. It's springtime here in Texas, and there are wildflowers everywhere. This is one of the best times to be here. Everything is green... and blue, and orange, and red, and yellow, and purple, etc. The weather is great for getting off the couch and doing things. Here's what I've been up to since my last update...


My parents spent the winter down here, and one of things Daddy and I worked on was a rocking horse I had started this past fall. She's being made out of 3" thick walnut with curly maple accents for the mane and tail. She's turning out beautiful.

We also cranked out some drop spindles. Daddy took a turn at turning the shafts while I worked on the whorls. We made about 10 spindles of various types. Five of them have already been sold at the local yarn shop (LYS), and there are about 10 more to finish up. Susan at Yarnorama gets her first pick, then I'll post the rest for sale on Etsy.

I'm now officially in love with small Turkish style spindles. Daddy and I experimented with making some, and I now have almost an ounce of BFL spun up on one made of Desert Ironwood - one of my favorite woods. This fiber is so soft, and beautifully dyed by my friend Kennedy. I've also got some ruby red Merino that I'm spinning on my walnut top whorl. That fiber is destined to be a shawl. I also tried out one of my new tiny turks made from a bamboo cuttingo board. At 1.25 ounces, it's quite a bit lighter than my Desert Ironwood spindle, which weighs 2 oz. Before I knew it, I had a good start on one of the first rovings I ever bought - a beautiful light blue mix of alpaca, merino, and silk and splashes of charcoal. It's spinning up a lot easier than I remembered it. I'm able to get nice even singles now, whereas before, I got a thick, ugly mess. Guess I've come a long way in my spinning ability... either that, or it's the exceptional spindles I'm using made by yours truly.

This is where I've been the most busy. Sock Madness is in full swing, and round 3 just finished early this morning. I'm quite surprised that I'm still in it. I'm on the "Anne of Green Cables" team, and as of this morning, we're down to 20 knitters on each team - there are four teams in all. The first rounds was a sideways sock. Instead of being knit from cuff to toe or vice versa, it's knit flat from side to side and then grafted down the length of the sock. It looks pretty cool, but because stockinette has very little vertical stretch to it and the rules of Sock Madness at the time wouldn't allow me to increase the number of rows, it was knit to an 8" foot circumference. Mine is 9" with a high instep. So, these beautiful socks have absolutely no chance of fitting a normal Brock foot - nor that of any of my friends. Unfortunately, they're destined to be frogged.
Round 2 was colorwork - a beautiful pattern from YarnYenta (Heatherly Walker) called Cool Beans. I haven't done colorwork since I made a cardigan in college. And back then, I did the stranding too tight. Guess what? Not much has changed in 20 years. Sock 1 was too small, so I said I would give the socks to my sister. I guess I got the hang of it, though, because sock 2 worked out perfectly and fit me. The good news is that I slipped into the next to last position on my team for that round, but I've got two orphans that look similar, but fit two different people. I'm either destined to make two more of these or frog one and knit one more - probably the latter. Care to guess who gets them? Sorry, Linda.
Round 3 just ended, and I was one of the early finishers. Finally, a nice, stretchy lace pattern called GAMs from TheDrollEclectic (Taya Schram). I used a hank of sock yarn I got at Christmas time in Michigan from Threadbear Fiber Arts. This yarn is hand-dyed by the shop ownder, Rob Matyska, and it's gorgeous. Nice, very short repeats so that there's no discernible pooling or, God forbid, striping. Love it! My favorite sock so far in this madness.
Other than socks, I'm doing the SheKnits (Sharon Dreifuss) Mystery Knit-A-Long #3. It's a beaded, lace shawl. The pattern is sent out in six clues. The fun is that you don't know what it will look like until you knit the clue. Not knowing ahead of time what I'll get is a huge learning curve for me. It's good for a lot of knitters, though. If you show them a beaded shawl and say "knit this", they might say "I can't do that. I'm not good enough yet." But, if you give them a clue and say "knit this" and it's only a series of knits, purls, yarnovers, knit two together, etc., they just do it. And before they know it, they've done lace. And for the advanced techniques like making a bobble or beading, Sharon creates these videos that show you exactly how to do them. I highly recommend her KALs. They're fun, and the designs, whether they end up being a felted bag or a shawl, are always beautiful.
I've participated in two registered trapshoots since my last blog update. Let's just pretend that I did well, which I didn't, and that I'm still qualified for A class, which I'm not. Taking four months off from competing was hard, but financially required. However, starting back up is even harder. May will be a busy month for me in my shooting life. I'm sure there will be many wonderful things to write about next month.
That's it for now. Make it a great day!