Tea Tuesday: Lady Grey

When Bran started drinking tea he was all about Earl Grey. Why is that you might ask? Well we are nerds and he in particular is a star trek nerd. On the show Captain Jean Luc Picard is well known for ordering “Tea: Earl Grey, hot”. Personally while I might occasionally take a cup of Earl Grey the trademark bergamot is often a bit much for me and I’ll generally go for something mellower.

Enter the Lady Grey tea. This variation on the old classic was created by Twinnings in the 1990’s to appeal to a market who, like me, found bergamot to be stronger than they cared for. Like the classic Earl Grey, Lady Grey still features oil of bergamot but in lower concentrations. Plus it adds in the oil of lemon and orange.

I had gone through my own box of Lady Grey tea bags earlier this year. So when we were in Epcot and able to visit the delightful Twinnings Tea store.

The tea has an excellent strong smell. You get the distinct bergamot notes with their spicy scent plus the more familiar sharp invigorating citrus. From the smell it nearly seems that it could be overwhelming. The taste however isn’t too much at all. The bergamot, lemon and orange are certainly present but blended together with the tea it gives an overall strong pleasant taste. It’s also the type of tea that will stay with you and keep you going for a bit.

Lady Grey is a good tea. I wouldn’t go so far as to rank it among my favorites, but it does make an excellent morning cuppa.

Goodbye Summer

Today is the first day of Autumn. And before I look forward at all of the Autumnal crafting that I need or want to do I thought it would be fun to look back and see what I accomplished this summer. Particularly since I have fallen so far out of the habit of posting here. Prepare for MANY pictures.

Way back just after the Summer Equinox I kicked things off by whipping up a little Old Snake. He is a character from one of Bran's favorite video games. Quickly gifted to said boyfriend it was the best most awesome reaction I've ever gotten to something I made for him. It may have something to do with the fact he had been hinting about said item for at least three years now.



I attempted to make a Groundhog to be sold to all the Grundsau Lodge members at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage center. Alas when I surveyed my family over a holiday weekend the consensus was that he did not look so much like a Groundhog.



In July I spun up a storm during the TDF.



After the tour was over I felt a bit lost and started working on random small projects......

Everyone needs a knitted snail teapot cosy, right?



I tested out a random star ornament pattern.



Whipped up some little owl keychains.



I also became mildly obsessed with the adorable sheep ball knitted ornaments.



The knitted sheep ornaments led to some experimental knitted ornament testing.



I built a fully functional ridgid heddle loom using cardboard plus a few tools, yarn, and tape.



I did some testing on my new loom. It is indeed fully functional but I must confess not exactly the best performing.



The most excellent discovery of the summer was probably dying. I went all out playing with food coloring to dye up 60 samples. and then wove up some of the samples.



 

I've probably missed some things but all in all I'd say it was a good summer.

Sunday Status Report

I feel like I was starting and working on a ton of things this week. But putting this post together it all seems quite reasonable. Yay.

First up I finished this simple scarf. It is knit from a skein of my own handspun. I loved the colors and was at a loss for what to do with it since it wasn't much yardage. But this pattern worked well to stretch it out into a decent sized scarf.



Also on the finished items list was this Knitted Christmas Sheep Ball. The original pattern is named "Sheep Balls" which still amuses me. I've been adjusting some of the construction elements of this pattern however to make it extra awesome. Next week hopefully I'll have my own pattern.



In the land of works-in-progress I made lots of progress on this pair of socks. They were my go-to work lunch project. As this afternoon was taken up by family visiting a few inches have been added since this picture.



I didn't make a ton of progress on the simple alpaca scarf for Carolyn. But I suspect the way things are going it will be getting more attention this coming week. (Sidenote: my knitting, even with handspun, is really not that uneven but I was working with yarn that I knit up once before and didn't block straight again before re-knitting. It should tidy up with the final blocking.)



My brown lace shawl did not see much love at all this week. It still requires sitting and diligently knitting while following the pattern which just wasn't in the cards. I'm may also restart and use a different method of working the edges.



For quite a while now I've been meaning to dye up these last six bits of roving. In fact I think they've been "pre-soaking" in a water/vinegar bath for a few weeks now. I hope the fiber wasn't damaged in doing that. But anyways they are dyed now and will be spun up soonish to join the other bits from my summer spinning. Eventually they will all become something awesome.



And lastly I've been absolutely itching to knit up another sweater from bulky yarn lately. I had a few different stash options but eventually settled upon using this super weird Ramboullet-X woolen handspun by yours truly yarn with a pattern that I think should be perfect. The finished sweater is almost more jacket like and along with the rustic look it just seems like it is perfect for the upcoming season. Now I just need to knit faster.

I made a loom out of cardboard

I am supposed to be typing up all of the details from the TDF. But instead I made this loom from cardboard:



Well actually it's from cardboard, little popsicle sticks, two dowels, 4 screw things, 4 wingnuts, 8 washers, some yarn, and lots of tape. But it's more fun to just say it's a loom made of cardboard.

I kind of want to make a whole how-to post about it and become internet-craft-famous. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow...

TDF: Results

So I was too busy spinning to keep up with the daily posting for more than 2 days. But that's ok because the results are totally worth it!!!

By request (thanks Jenna!) before posting anything else I give you my TDF results:



Moving from left to right we start with a WIP that was finished in large part to clear up bobbins for more spinning. 62 yards in total I only kind of count it as TDF spinning.

Next up is 100% angora. Spun complete raw with no prep from the fold. I love this yarn so much and may start carrying it around to pet it all day. There is also some speculation that Bran may be allergic, hmmm. 142 yards from the 1.4 ounces.

The brown and white is Noah the alpaca. Prepped by hand from raw into roving. The two skeins have a total of 7.9 ounces and 366 yards.

Up next is the yarn I like to call Monet because of its colors. It's coopworth that I purchased dyed and prepared into roving at MDSW two years ago. The 4 ounces gave me 502 yards.

Next is the the uber-major-accomplishment of the tour. It's a 70/30 Merino/Tussah Top also purchased as roving from MDSW two years ago (it was a good year). There were many a moment when I wasn’t sure if I would survive this laceweight yarn. But ultimately I prevailed and came out with 1314 yards from the 4 ounces. I could barely believe it when I counted.

Next up was most fun project of the whole tour “taste the rainbow”. Having a different color to spin each day was such amazing motivation. And being able to spin my yellow on Sunday was perfect. All in all I started with 5.9 ounces of (hand prepared from raw Tunnis) fiber and got 401 yards of yarn. I’m already swatching for some kind of scarf or something fun.

And lastly is the crazy cloud art yarn (its a slub wool boucle from Sarah Andersen's The Spinners Book of Yarn Design, but I was mostly just trying to make it look like clouds). After a few failed attempts I wasn’t sure if I could do it but ultimately I am quite happy. The fiber used was the same as taste the rainbow. How amazing is it that those two projects are from the same supply. The product was more important than the yardage but for consistency sake I have 14 yards from .4 ounces.



In total I spun 1.475 pounds of fiber into 2801 yards or 1.59 miles of yarn.

If not for the fact that my hands/arms are tired and I've been pushing aside lots of other things that I enjoy doing I'd be pretty much ready for the next tour already.

Stay tuned to this space I would really like to do a few more things with this TDF crafting. I have progress pictures from just about every day. It's fun to see things change and progress. And then most all of these projects can be shared in more detail.

 

 

TDF: Stage 2

On stage two I once again needed to make a cherry pie and had plans to visit family. And then the boyfriend even wanted to spend time with me. But I am nothing if not persistent when it comes to my crafts so I still managed quite a bit of spinning:



I spun approximately 0.8 more ounces of Noah bringing me up to 1.1 ounces total. This is excellent progress, as was expected. Hooray.

The colorful mini-skein there is 20 yards/0.3 ounces of dyed Tunis. I have 20 different little colored strips of roving and I think I'll spread these out since they are so amazingly fun. Approximately one per day it shall be. Also I think I may call the project Taste the Rainbow because its fun.

And lastly we have Snapdragon on the trindle. As much as I love this project I think the laceweight may make me go crazy. I roughly timed how long it took me to spin through today's 0.15 ounces and found that it took me around 50 minutes of rather devoted spinning time. This seems pretty depressing at first but  when I do the math it is actually still do-able. Crazy, but doable.

Stage 3 will be my first TDF work day. Given how many other things seemed to 'get in the way' of spinning this weekend I'm actually thinking the regular routine of the day might be a boon to my spinning productivity.

TDF: Stage 1



TDF Stage 1:

I had decided not to set an alarm for Saturday morning but I woke up about an hour after tour coverage was scheduled to start. I went downstairs and when the streaming feed loaded up I was pleasantly suprised to find that I had tuned in just before the riders rolled off! Surely this was a good omen.

Rather than immediately beginning my spinning however I took care of a bunch of house keeping stuffs online and then taking my pre-tour fiber photos. Plus I also had to bake a pie.

Eventually I started spinning Noah (alpaca) to start. I know from past experience that alpaca that I have prepared this way really will just fly right through  my hands into yarn. It is wonderful and speedy. So I figured this would be a good way to start the TDF and rack up some fast yardage. Alas I didn't have much time with everything else that needed to be done that morning.
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At some point I switched over to winding a WIP single off of my favorite trindle in preparation for outside of the house spinning later in the day. Disaster struck when I managed to pop the hook of of my favorite trindle and almost lost it under the couch:
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But I figured I was prepared and could fix it:
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Except that all 4 tubes were old and dried out. Ooops. Luckily I tried just pushing the hook back in and it was still a tight enough fit that all seems to be ok. Disaster averted :-)

The pie came out well. Hooray!
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Later it was over to Bran's and then happily he drove his new fancy car and I got to do some car spinning!
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Plus my family puts up with my constant need to be working on projects when everyone is sitting around chatting. And then there was even more spinning on  the drive back home.



In total I spun approximately 0.3 ounces of Noah and .3 ounces of Snapdragon. It feels like a bit of a slow start but it was a busy day. And really that snapdragon is VERY thin so I'll still get lots of yardage out of the smaller amounts.

TDF

So apparently everyone has been missing my eloquent and fascinating posts.

And when I say "everyone" I mostly just mean Bran and my family. Because they are obviously not biased at all.

But anyways today I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart. The TDF.



TDF is most widely recognizable as The Tour de France. The epic 21 day cycling race around France. I am probably, at best, a casual follower of pro-cycling. When talking to average Americans who know nothing about cycling I sound quite knowledgeable. When talking to average cycling fans I probably sound like I know nothing. But I like watching the race quite a bit. It's fun.

But more importantly TDF also stands for the Tour de Fleece! The Tour de Fleece is an annual spin-along during the Tour de France. Every day that they spin on the bikes, we spin yarn. This year marks my 4th year of TDF participation. Over those years my spinning abilities have grown by leaps and bounds. And that growth is probably in large part due to the goals and challenges I make for myself with TDF spinning.

This year I have the following projects in mind:



8 ounces of alpaca prepped and ready to be spun into a dk weight yarn. All of the fiber came from Noah the alpaca who lives with my friend back home. I prepared it entirely on my own which is kinda crazy but awesome.



1.4 ounces of angora. I purchased this fiber 2 years ago I think from a local, but not close enough to visit regularly, yarn/fiber shop. It was my prize from myself to myself for a successful TDF. I was on the fence about blending it with another fiber or not but I have finally decided just to spin it using a trindle entirely on its own as a super lux wonderful amazing lace weight yarn.



4 ounces of "Snapdragon". This tussah silk/merino blend was purchased last year at MDSW. I love the muted mixed colors and the fiber itself is incredibly soft and amazing. I'm aiming for a very fine lace weight that I can use to knit myself a shawl.



8 ounces of this dyed Coopworth. Another MDSW purchase I think from last year. I love the colors of this fiber. They make me think of a Monet painting. I'm aiming for a lace weight and likely will only spin up half of the fiber during this TDF. But eventually I think I ought to be able to stretch the fiber out enough to knit up a sweater.



5.7 ounces of Tunis. Believe it or not you have seen this fiber before on my blog! From the Tunis fleece I purchased in May at MDSW I have washed, flicked, hackled, and then finally dyed with food coloring each of these little balls of roving. The whole project has been tons of fun as I learn lots about dying. I can't wait to see how each of the colors spins up!

I have one last "art yarn" project in my head but I need to prep more fiber first so if it happens more on that later.

Today was in fact Day1 of the 2014 TDF but I'll be reporting on my progress tomorrow after I am able to take pictures of my spun fiber in the daylight.

Here's hoping the daily nature of things will keep me blogging this time!

Tea Tuesday: Crime of Passion

When I sat down to review this tea today I was actually almost surprised just how much I liked this Crime of Passion tea. The name is admittedly a bit much but the tea is good.

Being a green tea I did have to be a bit more careful in its preparation. But after stopping my water a bit before it hit boil and leaving the tea to brew no more than three minutes I had a good cup of green tea.

After the past few flavored teas that I have reviewed one of the things that struck me the most about this blend was just how much 'tea' flavor I could taste. The green tea is still mild but it is definitely the base on which the rest of the flavors are built. It is grassy but sweet and delicious.

On top of the tea flavor are the wonderful fruity and floral flavors. They brighten up the tea and give it a bit of a zip. And just as importantly they give it a strong wonderful scent.



Purchased from theteatable.com
"Our Crime of Passion tea blend was inspired by and named after the sultry beaches of Rio de Janeiro where there are sun worshipers and lovers feeding each other freshly-cut pieces of papaya and passion fruit right on the sand. The sweet profiles of both fruits perfectly complement the heat, humidity, and goings on at the beach. The combination of heat, sand, water, and fresh fruit is so enticing, it should be a crime in itself. This refreshingly sweet Crime of Passion tea has a sinful citrus flavor you'll want to enjoy again and again. The natural sweetness of the Sencha-style green tea from Hunan Province in China makes it perfectly suited for blending with dried papaya pieces and natural passion fruit flavors. Enhanced with beautiful sunflower petals."

Problem solving

If everything went smoothly it wouldn’t be much fun now would it? That’s what I’m trying to tell myself now about my sweater.

As I mentioned on Sunday things were sailing right along and I had made it all the way down to the bottom and cast off the body. On Monday evening I picked up the waiting arm stitches and started on down the left sleeve so that I could work on it over lunch at work the next day.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="299"] The picture didn't capture the difference quite so well. But trust me its there.[/caption]

It was, as such things are want to be, a bit fiddly, but it was still going well. But as I progressed I started to notice that the new knitting seemed different. This really isn’t at all surprising as often my tension will have changed as I progress through the project. And the shoulder/upper body portion has been shoved into bags/toted around and generally experienced some “stress” just by the nature of being the first part knit of a larger project. So I kept going.

And then I figured it out. The coloring was different. Not that it was a different color but the way the dye was on the yarn created a mottled/space dyed look on the body and the sleeve was nearly solid. I kept going for a bit but later verified with a second set of eyes (Bran) that it was indeed different.

The yarn that I am using for the sweater inevitably has a story behind it. When I was still running the Box Office at the symphony I discovered that one of the longtime local violists was also a knitter/spinner/crafter. We struck up a bit of a camaraderie over this shared interest and often at concerts she would stop to chat about what we were up to. One weekend out of the blue she showed up with a bag of yarn for me. I didn’t question too intently but I gathered that she had dyed the lace weight alpaca yarn for someone but the recipient wasn’t happy with either of these two resulting colors. And so the skeins had been languishing in her stash.

The sweater yarn I am using was all one big honking skein (actually I’m almost questioning this now, maybe it was two skeins). To make it easier to work with I wound off multiple smaller cakes of yarn. Apparently I didn’t pay close enough attention to notice that the first three little cakes had a much larger variation in the color than the remaining yarn which I caked later (this variation makes a ton more sense if it was indeed 2 skeins).

If I had caught the difference before starting the sweater it could have been properly handled with planned use of the different cakes. Or the easiest method is to alternate skeins each row. But here I was now with the body haven used virtually all of the first 3 cakes. I had just a tiny bit of the third cake left, now rolled up into a little ball. As I considered my options I also realized that I had knit up three separate swatches all of the mottled yarn.

So I went ahead and unraveled the sleeve to start it over again. My plan is to alternate skeins for a while down the sleeve and eventually transition into the solid yarn. It will still look different but the aim is for the difference to be more subtle.

Fingers crossed.

Tea Tuesday: Youthberry & Wild Orange Blossom

This blend of two Teavana teas, Youthberry & Wild Orange Blossom, is the "free" ounce that I picked up from my visit to Teavana. It was the sample they had set out at the front of the store so I'm guessing it is quite popular.

Looking at the dry tea it is filled with big chunks of fruit. It actually look like there are barely any tea leaves in the mix. And the chunks make it a bit tricky to scoop. It also has the most amazing flavorful scent to it. It is so strong I almost think they must do something to bump up the flavor. But I love it and it makes me crave the tea which plays well into using the tea as a special treat.

I treated it like a white tea with slightly cooler water and a short brewing time and was a bit worried because herbal fruity teas generally need a longer brewing time. But there was nothing to fear as it imparted a wonderfully fragrant and lightly fruity flavor. I haven't tried a ton of white teas but believe this mildness to be fairly typical. It also brews up to a lovely pinkish color. Quite fun.

With so many flavors I think I'd be hard pressed to pick out many single notes. The tea as a whole is a giant burst of fruityness with more subtle floral undertones. The one flavor that I can unsurprisingly pick out is that of orange. Orange isn't a flavor that I would normally crave in my tea. But with all of the other flavors around it this particular blend is quite delicious.

All in all it makes for a perfect very summery bright flavored tea. Excellent for mornings or anytime really.




Teavana Youthberry & Wild Orange Blossom:

Youthberry White Tea: "Delicate white tea gets its youthful blush from red currants, a├žai berry, hibiscus and rose petals. Candied pineapple and mango pieces mingle with Fuji and golden delicious apples in this sweetly timeless elixir. Refreshing sweet pineapple and fruity acai berry infusion with subtle floral finish. "
Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea: "A tribute to the plentiful citrus groves along the Indian River, this bright favorite blends orange slices and pretty rose petals. Refreshing orange infusion with light floral undertones."

One word of caution however. I happened to have a particularly kind Teavana sales person who put together this one ounce sample for me. Normally I think they would only sell a minimum quantity of 4 ounces of this blend and it would get quite pricy.

Sunday Status Report

It's been kind of a crazy week. I got home from the beach. Then went away for work. Then went away to the lake house. So in most ways I feel like I accomplished very little. But actually I did have a good bit of car time that is perfect for powering through some of the less than exciting crafting that was needed.

The sweater has a full body now! Excuse the fact that I managed to block the bottom with my hand/arm. I promise there is a bound off edge there. Next up is sleeves and a collar:



I kept going with the trindles on the pink coopworth. I wound off the cops that were pictured last week so everything here is fresh. Still a good chunk to go:



Up on my relaxing weekend I finally finished spinning up all of this blue stuff. I can't believe how full the bobbin is! No wonder it took so long. Next up is spinning all of the green to match then plying:



And while I didn't wash any more fiber I did flick open more locks. But I'm too lazy to take a picture. Plus it looks exactly the same as last weeks.

Here's to a slightly more normal next week!

MDSW: An overdue recap (part 2)

As promised here is part 2 of my MDSW visit. Part 1 was posted yesterday.

When it came time for lunch we had a plan. One of the complaints that I have heard about MDSW is the variety of food available. Most of it is typical/junky (and I mean that in a loving way, I definitely have a place for fried food in my heart and stomach) carnival type food. Plus J is a vegetarian which limits the options. Last year however we found a super excellent spot that had a few cheese vendors. One of them even had a cheese and cracker plate which we happily feasted upon. The three of us were salivating just thinking about recreating the same this year. Not to be outwitted in case things had changed I even packed my own crackers, just in case. But sure and happily enough they were there again. Some of the leftover goat cheese came home with me along with a delicious second sheepy selection.

Once back to the shopping I found all of my final purchases in the big barn. As someone who is highly appreciative of some soft fiber and constantly on the lookout for a good bargain I was super excited to find these batts of baby llama and angora. They are sure to be a dream to spin and I’m already contemplating as to what type of project I can knit that will ensure maximum enjoyment of the soft.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="331"] If nothing else they sure do look pretty. It would actually be quite fun to make a project dyed with various "shades of tea"[/caption]

Rather surprisingly in amongst the other fiber and assorted handmade goods I found a vendor selling a variety of loose leaf teas. Given my recent growing tea obsession I couldn’t help but pick out a few. I went with one very typical me fruity black tea but then tried to broaden my horizons and try other types that had names I recognized as being a more basic variety. So far I’ve tried and enjoyed the Passion Peach. The green tea I think will take a bit more time to appreciate properly. Research indicates that the Lapsang Souchong is a type of smoked tea. I’m a bit worried that the smoky-ness seems to have permeated the other selections possibly even to the detriment of the green. I have them stored separately now and am waiting to see if things change with time.

Aside from the raw fiber one of my other primary targets for the day was a shawl pin. I have found the knitting of shawls to be quite the addiction and I am also quite fond of wearing them. But for these seemly small items to cost $30+ really just blew my mind. I never found any that I deemed worthy enough.

So having been somewhat restrained in my purchases I decided to loop back and treat myself to some fun reasonably priced and super soft amazing fiber. This is 100% alpaca. I have a bit over 5.5 ounces and I can’t wait to spin it up but so far I have no idea how to spin up the fiber, particularly as it relates to the colors, or what my end knitted item will be. Probably a shawl its kinda my default anymore :-)



And that in a, rather large, nutshell was my MDSW experience. Typing all of this up has me itching to keep playing with all of the wonderful goodies!

Tea Tuesday: The Teavana Experiance

As I think I mentioned on Sunday Bran and I were just down to the beach for a long weekend. When we make this particular trek (its a 4 hour drive each way) we've found it works well if we swing by the (ginormous) King of Prussia Mall on the way home.

I have seen Teavana on many of our previous trips and always walked by. But recently as I go deeper and deeper into the tea rabbit hole I've been hearing good things about their quality.

The first two times we walked by I resisted. I hate spending money. But then, after walking across the entire mall to find the Lego store where Bran found nothing he wanted, there was another Teavana right across the way. I walked over and tried a sample. It was delicious. I grabbed the little booklet that lists all their flavors and proceeded to read while traversing back across the mall. After determining that some of the prices weren't too bad I steeled my nerves to give the store a try.

A large part of my hesitation is surely the fact that I really hate sales experiences and dealing with strangers in unfamiliar situations. I had no idea how this whole tea buying thing was supposed to go. When questioned I mumbled something about being interested in flavored white or black teas and the staff person started pulling out big tins of tea. He would open each one and more or less blow the scent of it over in my direction. It was actually quite awesome, albeit still intimidating.

In an ideal world I could probably spend quite a lot of time standing there smelling and comparing the myriad of flavors. And of course working out how to get the best bang for my buck. But instead I went with 2 great smelling choices he offered up early in the experience. They were reasonably priced although rather higher than I would normally go. I added in some basic black English Breakfast to help me hit a $25 total which would grant me a "free" ounce.

Now suddenly presented with the need to choose a free ounce I fumbled around and asked about the tea that I had initially sampled. Well turns out that was actually a blend and so not available.... Except, well his boss stepped away so if I wanted he could do it....Umm...yes please?

So in the end I walked out with a delicious smelling bag and around 6 ounces of tea. My wallet was lighter than I'd prefer but as of now I'm thinking as an occasional indulgence it might be worth it. It is a quite good sign that as I struggled to get my head back into the regular work day I fixed upon the idea that I would be able to make myself a cup of that wonderful stuff when I got home. And it was indeed a very good idea and a delightful treat this evening.

I actually intended to review my first cup of tea from this purchase made at home. But I've already rambled on quite a bit so I think I'll just go with the description of my experience. I have another long weekend coming up methinks it calls for many good cups of tea, and perhaps some reviewing.

MDSW: An overdue recap (part 1)

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="448"] The final haul.[/caption]

My day began rather ungodly early. Earlier than my normal work day. But such is the price that I am willing to pay for awesome fiberness. I had made arrangements with two fiber friends to attend together and extra awesomely share the driving. And so I picked up my friend J who is a knitter/spinner/weaver. Together we proceeded down to K’s house, just a knitter but quite awesome and she may be starting to bend to our spinning persuasions. She was kind enough to drive us down the rest of the way. Car knitting time is always fantastic. Especially in a car with fellow knitters.

We arrived just after 10 o’clock. The weather was quite beautiful. Early spring can be so tricky to anticipate so I layered up for the day with jeans a t-shirt, thin fleece, and a shawl around my neck. With the sun shining and a breeze blowing I opted to leave the fleece in the car but felt it both fun and appropriate to continue wearing the handspun handknit shawl (the knitted object/people watching at such festivals is a-mazing). All in all I was at times a bit chilly but the wardrobe decisions worked. And my sunscreen even held up all day. Yay.

Now once we actually arrived J and I were all about the fiber sale. The fiber sale in its newly established digs of a small building all to itself was chaotic awesomeness. It had been open for about 30 minutes when we entered and according to the sign in the back 100 fleeces had already been sold. Luckily for us however there were still over 500 left. Yup, 500 raw fleeces sitting all layed/piled out across lots of tables sometimes in a slightly organized fashion. I failed at properly preparing myself for what I was looking for. But I felt, and J agrees, that I had learned from my fleece purchases last year and would be able to better choose this year. Fleece prices can range from as low as $15 to upwards of $300. So with just a budget in mind it was still a reasonable starting point.

My budget was very much on the low side of things but there were definitely still plenty of options. I happened across this beautiful looking Tunis fleece. Firstly the price caught my eye. Secondly the fact that the sheep was coated suggested that I should be looking at a rather cleaner/better fleece. The staple length was on the longer side which I prefer and the dense crimp suggests good things. I started carrying it around before anyone else could scoop it up.



[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="370"] Look at all the pretty colors in one fleece![/caption]

I tried to convince myself to stop there. After all 4.25 pounds of fresh fleece is no small undertaking. But as J continued to hunt for her treasures I of course continued to look around. And I couldn't resist the lure of the pretty colors found in this "little" ("only" 3 pounds) Jacob fleece. As I understand it Jacob's can be a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to the quality of the fleece. But from what I could tell things looked pretty good. And once again the price was right. I made my purchases and escaped before the siren song of anymore fleeces pulled me in.

After that and a quick trip back to the car to store our 10+ lbs of cumulative fleece we met up with a friend of K's and wandered through a few of the barns filled with vendors. I am not a fan of crowds so unless something catches my eye I tend to move pretty quickly.

 
I’ve already typed a full page here so I had better split things up so as not to keep you reading forever today. Stay tuned for more (for real this time, trust me I already typed the rest up).

Sunday Status Report x2

Life got the best of me and I've fallen behind. But I am of course still crafting. Here's what I've been up to...

Two weeks ago...

I finished up this batch of hedgehogs and was able to pass them along to father (to go on sale at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center) in person when my family came up to visit for some wine touring (yum):



I also whipped up 2 more bunnies and added in a 3rd that had been languishing around the office to send off for sale:



I finished working up the samples from my new MDSW fleece purchases. I prepped and spun up a worsted and woolen sample from the Jacob and the Tunnis fleeces:



I also spent some time starting to wash up each of the fleeces. I'm kinda crazy and pick apart the fleeces and wash them to preserve the lock structure. I really ought to find a more efficient system:



My sweater is starting to look somewhat sweater like:



And I had a super crazy idea to build myself a loom from cardboard and some basic supplies. At that point most everything was conceptual and a few small scale tests:



This week...

The sweater got longer. I need to start measuring and figuring out ribbing for the edge (and then knit some sleeves, and a collar):



I've been doing lots more fleece washing. I'm focusing on the Tunnis although one batch of Jacob did sneak in. At this point I have over a pound of washed Tunnis locks. I haven't measured the Jacob. I also went for a long weekend with Bran to the beach. I packed a bit over 4 ounces of Tunnis locks which I then combed/flicked open into this bag of fluffy awesomeness. I could spin these as they are but my favorite prep is to use my hackle and draw them out into long strips of roving:



I'm starting to think about spinning and particularly trindles again. I've had this pink coopworth fiber for 4 years now and my new goal is to finally finish spinning it all up before the next TDF (July):



Some simple/fun beach/car knitting gave me another rectangle to be mounted for wall art. I actually knit this twice as the first time I cast on too many stitches so given my limited amount of yarn it was much too long and rather short. I'm strangely in love with these colors which sadly don't photograph too well. Especially in the iffy light I was using quickly tonight:



And my crazy loom project continues. I have a more or less functional prototype together. But there are still quite a few tweaks I want to work out before putting together anything final:



Next week is looking like it will be extra crazy let us hope I survive.