Sunday, August 31, 2008

New mystery quilt.....

.......from is up and running strong. The Quiltville mystery list has been incredibly busy with all the chatter from everyone who is busy sewing, sewing, sewing. As for me.....well, I won't be participating in this mystery. It has come at a not-so-convenient time......fair time. Opening day for our local fair is this Friday.......which wouldn't be a huge factor if I were not incredibly involved in the fair itself. As luck would have it, I was able to land a superintendent position at my local fair (wool department) so things start up early for me. While the fair runs 10 days......I'm there for at least 14 days. Between all the prep work, set-up, and tear-down......well, it makes for some very long days. Which means very little time for pretty much anything else. Of course I thoroughly enjoy the fair itself and my days do by rather quickly. Looks like we will have wonderful weather for it, too.....which is always a good thing. :)

Looks like the summer temps have pretty much left us for this year and we have moved right into Indian Summer. Lots of lovely sunny days that aren't overly hot. Thankfully I was able to finish washing up all the fleeces I needed to before the weather cooled down. This summer I washed 13 Shetland fleeces, 2 Karakul, and one Llama fleece (from my guard llama). I look forward to spending the winter months playing with all of this wonderful fiber.

See Ewe at the Fair!!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quilt Show Weekend

It was quilt show weekend here. Yea!! I look forward to this show every year. I'm talking about the Buggy Barn's annual outdoor quilt show. This was its 12th year. I've attended every year....with the exception of the first year. I've had quilts in it every year except for two. Now this isn't a show for those who like to have their quilts judged.....or expect ribbons. This is one of those shows where the quilts are there simply for people to enjoy. There is no ribbons. Just lots of very pretty quilts hung in a very rustic the middle of wheat fields.

While the show was amazing as always, there wasn't near as many quilts this year. And there weren't near as many people in attendance either. Could have been due to the rather wet weather we have had lately. Yesterday was beautiful! Nice warm temperatures......lots of sun......and the usual breeze. There was just enough breeze to make the quilts flutter prettily.....but not enough to where there wasn't some "still" time for picture taking. The folk art/antique vendors had some very pretty things for sale....although there weren't as many present as there were last year. Of course this could have been due to the weather as well. Or the wild fires. All in all it was still a wonderful day. I did some shopping and came home with a new pattern by Jan Patek ......"Pomengranates & Berries". Also bought a new book by Black Bird Designs......"In Full Bloom". I simply love their designs.

The pictures above are of the quilts that I have in the show. I took tons of pictures. To see more from the Buggy Barn's quilt show, simply visit my webshots albums. Look for the album labeled "2008 Buggy Barn show".

Friday, August 8, 2008

Newest Yarns

I decided it's time to start sharing pictures of some of the yarn that I spin. I spent the past week plying, plying, and plying some more. Here is the end product from all that spinning. :)

The top picture features the following yarns: the light colored skein (looks white, but is really a creamy white) is Cheviot. The one under it, the one that appears to be light tan in color (which it actually is), is North Ronaldsay. The two gray skeins are Gotland. All are wool.....just different breeds of sheep, that's all. I purchased the roving (washed locks in the case of the Gotland) from a supplier in England. Was not disappointed at all either. I thoroughly enjoyed spinning each type of wool. They all made some very lovely yarn. Now to find the perfect projects for all of them.

The bottom picture is of hand-painted Polypay/Romanov X yarn. It was hand-painted last summer and spun up into a very lovely sport weight yarn. I have the perfect lace shawl pattern for this yarn. Just need to finish my Heather sweater first. I would rather not have more than one knitting project going at a time......although it can be rather tempting!! Especially when I finish spinning a lovely yarn.

Wonderful story behind the Polypay/Romanov yarn. About 3 years ago I saw an ad in a local paper for raw wool. It had the shearing date and price per fleece. I think they were asking something like $10 per fleece. Keep in mind that raw fleece (straight off the sheep) is usually sold per pound. So to be able to pay per fleece was an incredible deal. So I called ahead and had them put four fleeces aside for me. Told them that I was a spinner and was looking for "spinning fleeces". Went up on shearing day to pick up my fleeces. What an amazing sight!! There was something like 200 sheep being sheared that day. The pile of fleeces was simply astounding! Thankfully there was someone there who was familiar with spinning and had been kind enough to hand pick my fleeces herself. I was more than happy to hand over my $40 and take my new acquisitions home. I had originally planned on having these fleeces blended with the fiber from the latest shearing of my angora goats at the local fiber mill. For reasons I can't remember now, the mohair ended up being given away ( I think there was something like 9 pounds of it). The Polypay/Romanov fleeces were taken to the mill and processed by themselves. Turns out the fleeces were large ones and I ended up with about 20 pounds of sliver roving when it was all said and done.d That's a lot of roving!! At first I did try to sell some of it.....but there wasn't any interest. So I've been slowly making my way through it over the years. I think I have about 2 pounds or so of it left. It has been tons of fun to dye and hand-paint. Plus it spins up beautifully. Drafts very nicely (and very evenly). Knits up wonderfully and felts very easily. The funny thing is that while I will be very happy once it is finally all spun up....a small part of me will miss having it around. It's just been here for such a long time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fiber Fun!!

It's hard to believe that it's been over a week since my last post. Life has sure been keeping me busy lately. Although.....I did find some time to play. Pictured above is the results from my day of fiber fun. This is all from my one sheep, Tristan. He has some very beautiful fiber that is so incredibly soft to the touch. It goes from a light gray (almost white) to areas where it is appears to be almost black in color. So this variation lends to some beautifully dyed fiber with lots of wonderful shades. Usually I just keep this fun stuff for my own personal use and will sell the raw fleece (right off the sheep). This year I'm doing something a bit different. This year I'm actually offering up my beautifully dyed fiber for sale....along with washed natural colored fiber. I get so many positive comments on projects made from my dyed fiber that I decided it's time to finally make it available to others. Besides it might actually put a bit more into the sheeps' feed fund....which can't hurt any.....especially with the rising cost of hay these days. My fiber can be found on my etsy site - plesase visit and take a look.....and share with a friend.

Dyeing fiber isn't the only thing I've been playing with. My spinning wheel has been getting quite the workout lately too. Not only did I finish spinning up the hand-painted Polypay, but I am slowly making my way through balls of singles that have been waiting to be plyed. So far I have all of the North Ronaldsay finished and ready to be used in a future knitting project. The last ball of Gotland singles is now on the spinning wheel being plyed. The rest of the Gotland is just waiting for the twist to be set....then it, too, will be ready for knitting. After the Gotland is all plyed I have one ball of Cheviot singles and then two balls of the hand-painted Polypay singles that will need to be plyed before playing with something new.

I have also been washing fleeces. So far I have washed 3 fleeces (out of 15). My new outdoor sink has just been set up and is now ready for use. I can't wait to give it a try! I've been using my bathtub to wash fleeces least this year anyway. It's been working wonderfully, but I'm a bit concerned about clogging the pipes. You just can't always catch all those stray little pieces of wool that then end up going down the drain. So it will be nice being able to wash my fleeces outside and simply let the water drain into a flower bed. It has been fun washing fleeces though. They have been washing up beautifully and it just makes me want to spin even more. I think this is the best group of fleeces I've gotten off of my sheep to date.

Of course all this fiber fun means that my quilting has been languishing a bit. Haven't sewn a single stitch all week long. I did start on two new embroidered denim pillows though. Although all I've managed to get done so far is the embroidery. Haven't even started on putting the pillows together. While I may not have done any quilting lately, I have picked up my knitting needles. Although not quite as often as I would like. I have started on the right front panel of my lace sweater. I have about 30 rows done so far. This isn't one of the quickest projects I have done, but, then again, I haven't been getting in as much knitting time either. I'm still enjoying it and that is all that really counts. :)