January 23, 2010

Tonight: auction for Haiti!

I know I've been missing for a long time and I *will* be back eventually, but until then I just have a brief announcement.

Tonight some friends of mine are putting on a benefit auction and performance for the people of Haiti. I spun some yarn for the silent auction:

auction yarn 003

If you're in Charlottesville, like The Vildish Twist yarn, and want to help with a good cause, please come down and bid!
(I'll also be performing on my hardangerfiddle just around 5pm)

Here's the press release for the evening:
Love 4 Haiti: A spectacular night of art, music, and dance to raise funds for Haitians in need, January 23, 2010

(Charlottesville, VA, USA) - A team of Charlottesville's artists, musicians, and students, with the support of local food and book vendors, are coming together for an art/music benefit event to raise funds for the people of Haiti on Saturday January 23, 2010, at Random Row Books.

Love 4 Haiti will be an evening of music and art offerings from local artisans. A silent auction of art works, gift certificates, and dance lessons will begin at 5pm. A kaleidoscopic program of Charlottesville's performing talent follows, including: Fire in the Belly (bellydance), Dzian! (world surf rock), Jdavyd Williams and the Basement Bhaktis (kirtan), Natty Peeps (roots reggae), Shootin Moon (acoustic), Matt Jones (acoustic), Secretly Y'all (storytelling), Scintillation (artistic fire dance), Stolen Arms (indie pop), and Your Spirit Animal in the Unreal City (psych shoegaze), and many more. Delicious food options donated by local restaurants will also be available for purchase.

All the proceeds will be donated to organizations behind the earthquake relief efforts including Partners in Health (PIH), International Rescue Committee (IRC), UNICEF, and GHESKIO. This event is co-sponsored by Random Row Books, UVa's Global Development Organization, The Bridge PAI, HzCollective, and Carpe Donut.

Love 4 Haiti
Saturday January 23, 2010
5pm - midnight
Random Row Books
315 W. Main St (Main St and McIntire Rd)
Admission $5

November 27, 2009

The Ultimate WIP

It has been mighty quiet around here, hasn't it? Well, believe it or not I do have an explanation. I haven't been making much progress on my knitting WIPs, but there has been major growth with one very important project:
November 076

That's right - we're expecting a baby!! EDD 5/27/10
We're super, super thrilled and excited and nervous and everything else that goes along with this, but mostly excited and full of hope and wonder.

What I have not been full of, however, is food and knitting. I've been touch-and-go for the past few months and knitting acts as a nausea trigger. Terrible! So my knitting has been almost entirely packed away until the day when I wake up with itchy fingers and a settled tummy. Hopefully it won't be long.

Sorry for the long silence, but hopefully I'll make up for it in the future with lots of tiny adorable baby knits! And thanks for your patience in the meantime!

October 22, 2009

The Wheel Restored

Wheel restoration

This wheel has done its fair share of traveling. According to Dave (who restored it) it was probably originally made between 1780 and 1820. All I know is that a friend of my mother's found it in the 1970s and had it restored and gave it to her as a gift. After that, it came across the ocean with us, and last year it made the flight across the US and the drive up to NY. Hopefully it'll be settled down for a while now.

So! First things first.
Wheel restoration
You'll notice that there's no flyer/bobbin unit on the wheel. Well, as it turns out this is a quill wheel! Dave made an adorable tiny flyer bobbin that fits on the wheel, but I'm hoping I can learn to spin on the quill. You know how I love a new challenge.

The maidens (the things holding up the quill (that's the pointy thing)) are from another old wheel. The originals were damaged beyond repair and Dave did a wonderful job of finding these replacements and then painting them with the black stripes like the rest of the wheel has.

Wheel restoration
After a good cleaning, the old painting shows through beautifully.

Wheel restoration
Here you can see how people have futzed with the wheel over the years to keep it spinning. The deep, blackened groove is where the axle used to go, but now it sits higher up. Someone at some point put metal supports into the wood.

The wheel alignment is suuuuuper finicky, and I'm going to be fussing with it quite a lot over the coming weeks, but I'm hoping that pretty soon I'll be spinning up a storm on this old beautiful wheel!

Thanks to my Mom for letting me fix it up, and thanks to Dave at The Merlin Tree for doing such a fantastic job on the restoration! I love the wheel and feel so lucky to have it in the house.

October 20, 2009

Rhinebeck 2009!

Yes, we made the trek north again for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. And what a year it was! It was such a good time that I hardly took any pictures, but I have plenty of haul shots to share, not to worry.

It's always a big treat to get to wander among the sheep who grow all the wool for us. Thank you, sheepies! (and shepherds!!)
Big sheep!
(this photo doesn't begin to capture the enormity of this Rambouillet ram. He's HUGE!)

The Ravelry meetups are also a blast.
Ravelry meetup
(thanks for this photo, E!)

And it is was great to catch up (in the rain and frrrreezing cold) with Ysolda. (Her Vivian design from fall 2008 Twist Collective was a very popular sweater at this year's fest!)

And that's where my actual Rhinebeck shots end. Sad, no? Next year I'll try to take more pictures. The knitwear spotting was fabulous and I wish I had caught more (any??) of the beautiful sweaters in photos.

I came home with everything I wanted, and stuck well to the shopping plan. Hurray!!

Briar rose lace
Braving the early Saturday morning crowds in the Briar Rose tent rewarded me with this beautiful slate green merino/tencel laceweight.

Ruit farm yarn
And holy Coopworth. This pile of yarn comes from two farms in Maine that shared a booth at the festival, and both farms raise the longwool breed Coopworth. I wish you could feel this yarn! It counts as next-to-skin soft in my family!
The naturally dark brown yarn comes from Hatchtown Farm (4 skeins) and the natural silver/pewter comes from Ruit Farm North (10 skeins!). Lots and lots of 2 ply dk weight fun in my future!!

I decided that I was allowed to buy one really special fleece for myself, and so parked myself in line for the opening of the fleece sale. I knew it would be crowded, but I wasn't quite prepared for the Filene's Basement style of the opening moments of the sale.
Fleece sale
Phew! But everyone was courteous and even kind. People seemed genuinely happy for one another when they found what they wanted!
And boy did I ever find what I wanted.
Rhinebeck 2009 fleece
Check out that beauty. Four pounds of merino, dark dark dark brown (almost black in sections), cleanest fleece I've seen in a long time, and with an incredible staple that ranges from 2 to just over 3 inches! AMAZING. Not a hint of tipping or matting, almost zero VM, thoroughly skirted, and did I mention the staple length??
fleece staple
Swoon. And that isn't even one of the longer locks.
Sadly I forgot to write down the name of the farm before checking out, and they collect the tags with the farm names for the sale records, so I'll never know where this beauty came from. (Unless one of the ladies hovering behind me eyeing the fleece at the sale stumbles across the this post and happens to remember!)

The real highlight of the weekend for me was picking up the spinning wheel I dropped off for restoration at LAST year's Rhinebeck.
Wheel restoration
I am so thrilled and can't wait to tell the whole story of this wheel, but really - she deserves her own post. Check back for the saga of this late 18th century Norwegian wheel and her wonderful restorer, Dave of The Merlin Tree.

September 17, 2009

FO: Striped baby cardigan

Stripes cardigan
Tada! It turns out that I still knit, too!
Pattern: b14-27 Jacket from Drops

Yarn: Anny Blatt Baby Blatt
Needle: US2 addi circs
Mods: I added a color to the pattern so the stripes were alternating blue and purple. Since this caused ther eto be lots of floats across the edges I did a single crocheted edge.

This really is a clever pattern. I love the way that short rows are used to create the narrowing stripes, which also then creates the cardigan shaping.
Stripes cardigan
I am no not super pleased with how my crocheted edge turned out. It could be (and is fairly likely!) that I'm a crappy crocheter, but it looks messy and is way less elastic than I'd like it to be.

Stripes cardigan
But I'll deal.

I've had enough of garter stitch to last me a good three years or so, so don't expect this to be a repeat pattern! It took much longer than I anticipated and while the clever stripes were novel at first, by the end I was ready to stab my eyes out.

Out the door it goes! Let's see, that takes me down to (mumblemumble) WIPs. And my fingers are itching to cast on with my Silk Forest yarn so the number just might grow. Whatever happened to project monogamy?

September 16, 2009

Silken Forest

And she's done!

Silken Forest

I was aiming for a deep, deep, deep green with the subtle movement between a black green and a slightly warmer than forest green.

Silken Forest

Silken Forest

I'm delirious over these colors.
Silken Forest

So there she is. 410 yards of light fingering silk cashmere blend in a color I'd like to swim in for the rest of my life.
Pattern suggestions?

September 15, 2009

Silk step two

2 ply silk/cashmere

Plying this silk was so satisfying, and while it was hard to see all my mistakes as I learned to deal with this new fiber (especially in the first batch of singles) overall I'm pleased with the yarn. All 410 yards of it. It's between 15 and 19 wraps per inch and So! Freaking! Soft!!

Today: step three. Dyeing.