Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Comings and Goings

This is a posting I started a while back.  I have written several that never got posted.  I will be posting them now.  Hopefully I will be better at blogging this year.

Late September and October have become very busy with all things fiber. I ended September by going to a retreat held by The Unique Sheep in Andrews, NC. It was two days of knitting, dyeing, spinning and all thing fiber. Laura and Kelly held the retreat at the Hawksdene House. It was situated in what appeared to be a regular neighborhood. The house had quite a bit of acreage around it so that once you were on the property, you felt quite isolated from the other houses. There were four cottages and the main house which we occupied. The cottages all had fireplaces and screened in porches. We had dinner on a covered patio which had an outdoor kitchen and a massive fireplace. There was a second area with a fire pit where we made s’mores. The two innkeepers provided us with wonderful meals, comfortable places to mingle and mix and a very relaxing atmosphere. There were several dogs and cats around along with llamas and a donkey. I wanted to take both dogs home with me and Laura wanted the donkey.

I took classes on spinning, dyeing and mosaic knitting. Laura taught the dyeing class. I had a lot of fun dyeing up several hanks of lace weight alpaca and wool. The things we did with red, blue, yellow fuchsia, brown and black was amazing. Here are some photos from my class.

Laura’s mother, Jan, taught needle felting and spinning. I had never attempted spinning before. And since I have lousy hand-eye coordination, I really didn’t think I would do well at this. But Jan got us started with a top whorl drop spindle and I got a feel for it using pencil roving. Then she taught us how to draft and park the spindle. I was able to do that and came away with some art yarn. I had never gotten the hang of drafting before. I had tried doing it to knit a mobius scarf using roving quite some time ago. I just couldn’t get the staple length right so I was always breaking the roving or having really thick areas. That made knitting quite impossible. This time, I got drafting and could actually do it without breaking the roving. Okay, I did break it once but I got it back together so I could keep on spinning. We then plied the single yarn we made. We discussed how to ply to keep long color runs in our yarn by Navajo plying. We had single color roving so we plied it by letting it spin back on itself. It was fun and I made some yarn. Yippee!

Susan Pandolf taught mosaic knitting. Some of us made eyeglass cases or small envelope purses while others worked on swatches to learn the technique. The more ambitious ones started on the Bag’s End Bag that Susan has designed as part of her Lord of the Rings series. The bag was just released for purchase on her website/blog, A Few Stitches Short, Laura and Kelly have worked up some kits for the bag as well. You can find them on their website,  You'll see some eye candy for knitters at both sites.  There has been a buzz on Ravelry on Susan's Even Star shawl.  You can see the finished product and get the pattern on her site.  And Laura and Kelly  colorways are gorgeous.  Their gradient colorways are so much fun to work with.  They gave a class on working with gradient yarns which I did not take.  I figured that since I've done a pair of socks and the Moon Fleet shawl with their gradient yarns and I had to choose only three classes, I could skip that one.  Plus, I really wanted to try the three techniques I chose.

I'll give you a preview of the next few postings continuing the season of fiber.  New York City held their second annual  yarn crawl over Columbus Day weekend which I attended. The Duchess County Sheep and Wool, better known as Rhinebeck (after the town where it's held), is the weekend of Oct 16.  Stitches East is at the end of the month in Hartford , CT.  That all for now. Bye.

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