Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spinning for Knitting

While on spring break last week, I dyed lots of fiber for my Etsy shop and for my own spinning. I spin for the Brick and Mortar shops as well as for my own knitting. I'll be spending a bit of time in the car and in hotel rooms and just hanging around, so this weekend I'll be doing a bit of knitting.

I love to spin color change yarns, kind of Noro-like, but 2 ply, slightly bulky and of my own color choices (or a friend's choices if such friend is nearby and willing). Then I have fun knitting hats that may or may not knit happily into striped patterns. I'm playing with yarns to build stock for next winter as I work out my line for the coming season, creating hats, patterns and yarns.

I carded black fibers into some of the fiber that I dyed, so a couple of the yarns are heathered, which I like very much. A couple are clearer colors, but all are green to blue to purple and some go on to red. I can't wait to knit these up.

This weekend I'll be traveling to the Nashville, TN for a different kind of country music that Nashville is known for. I'll be dancing at the 28th annual Playford Ball to the music of Bare Necessities, a premier English Country dance band. I'll try to take pictures.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break

Spring break has been great and I accomplished quite a bit; though not all that I intended. We'll start with the positives.

1. Dyed fiber - lots and lots of fiber! Roving for my Etsy shop, Bronze Green roving for the PhatFiber April box, fiber for my own spinning, sock yarn in blue and rose.

2. Delivered work to the B&M accounts, particularly Asheville Home Crafts, who have been selling handspun natural yarn, sock yarn and roving.

3. Knitted 7 hats - off season, I know, but it's time to build stock for next year. Two are new designs with my color change yarns.

4. Updated the SAFF website - or at least tried to. Since most of my work requires input from others, at least I think I know what I need to do.

5. Worked in the garden, cutting back perrennials, pruning and weeding the roses (mostly pulled the evil Bermuda grass), cutting the grass. I also monitored the progress of the sugar snap peas, onions, and kale as wellas the rhubarb, coming back strong.

6. Went to the Sun Assembly's English Dance Weekend, with was lovely. Robin Hayden was the leader while Atossa Kramer played piano and clarinet with the house band, Gollard Greene (is that a great name or what?!).

7. Called the Advanced Dance at River Falls with Curious George - excellent music, workable program, fine dancing. I called some tricky dances and lots of no-walk-thru contras with a very nice medley.

8. Graded projects & tests; posted grades for the ACCESS class.

9. Exercised - Walking daily including a lovely walk in the Botanical Gardens.

What I didn't get done...
1. My Taxes - not due yet, though I did sort the paperwork, so I'm ready.
2. Blog every day - oh well, too busy doing that writing about it.
3. Post hat pattern to Ravelry.
3. Clean the studio - though it's hard to clean when you are using it.

Coming up - Back to work - ready to finish out the semester; gotta get started on my summer vacation.

Next weekend - Playford Ball in Nasheville, TN!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hot Colors!

I admit it. Red is my favorite color. But not just simple red - tomato, russet, fuchsia, purple, orange, pink - really just about any shade on the red side of the color wheel. So my first round of dyeing the mohair locks I recently 'inherited' are on the red side of life.

When Wilma went out of business, I purchased a bag of fiber that she bought a few years ago, but never did much with. Along with several bags of dyed Romney fleece, she had a few pounds of mohair locks. These are fine, adult mohair locks from Sandy Melton's goats who live quite happily in Madison County, NC at Nowhere Branch farm. Although they have been in a paper grocery bags for a few years, they cleaned up very nicely, took the dye like only mohair can and the first batch are in my Etsy shop. I am working on Blues now.

The yarn I've been spinning came out lovely, so I'll be able to take it to Durham with me for wall flower and hotel knitting. The hats in my head might just get out. Here goes!

Another nice note on the Etsy front, I am in a lovely treasury right now with my Pink Petunias roving. The whole treasury is Pretty in Pink and I'm happy to be among the featured artists.

Just a couple more days until Spring Break, then I am off to play with fiber, dance, hike and have all kinds of fun. I will have papers to grade, but that is a small price to pay for the ability to sleep in, work in the garden, ruminate about my kitchen and live a life of leisure!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spinning away!

I've been spinning a lot lately - natural colors, hand dyed roving, and some fun blends that I've been carding up. In the last year or so, I've been spinning and knitting hats with a color change yarn on the brim and a solid crown. Lately I've been thinking about a finer, color change yarn that I can knit into a hat with the same lines as the 'boyfriend hat'. So that is the yarn I've been spinning - at least I hope co.

I did a purple-blue-green yarn that I like but it came out a bit short - 60 yards or so. Last evening I plied the orange-pink-purple singles into a yarn that I hope is long enough, but I won't really know until I take it off the bobbin and give it a wee bath. Keep your fingers crossed!

The 'subtle shades' sock yarns are looking good and starting to sell nicely at the Grove Arcade yarn shop, so I delivered another 1/2 dozen along with natural handspun yarns, which have been blowing out the doors!

After last week's snow, this past weekend was in the 70's - our fairly typical North Carolina spring. Today is another beautiful day, but we are on a cooling trend. Better for the trees and flowers to wake up slowly, The garden is getting started with peas, kale, onions, chard and radishes in already. J tucked in the blueberries bushes, but it looks as though some of the plants did not survive the winter in pots. I also planted a border of pansies, their sweet purple faces smiled at me this morning.

Spring break is just around the corner! Love the academic calendar, even if it will be filled with grading papers, taxes, housework, and basement cleaning (again!). There will also be time for gardening, hiking, dyeing, carding, maybe even a trip to the beach! First a trip to Durham for the Sun Assembly ECD spring weekend event of workshops and dances.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Planets in my Personal Solar System

I've continued om my dyeing journey through the solar system, as I name colors after the planets - I call the series, Andromeda Shades. It's a very interesting way to interpret knowledge and concepts as colors. Today I posted Neptune in my Etsy shop - It's a watery turquoise blue and bright green that makes me think of King Neptune with his trident and big fishy tail rising from the deep. Only in this case it is wool roving.

No picture yet, but I am currently spinning yarn from Uranus. I love this roving. It's SmokyMountainFibers Fawn as a base, overdyed with rust and gold, I love the way the colors are beep and rich; plus this roving spins like a dream. I spun about 3 ounces last evening. I'll ply it this evening and have it ready to photograph very soon.

Last night was my last evening Ed Tech class. It was a fine group of 14 diverse learners. The evaluations were very positive. One guy asked for less snow(!), most everyone liked the PowerPoint project in which they had to research and report on a different technology. Nothing left but the grading now.

Monday, March 2, 2009

In Like a Lion

Like much of the Eastern part of the country, Western North Carolina has socked by a delightful snow yesterday. We had a rainy weekend, then about noon on Sunday it began to snow big, fat flakes. My almost downtown neighborhood got about 2 inches; the higher elevations got 6 inches or so. Up here in Mars Hill, where I took this picture, there is almost nothing left in the sunshine. Chilly temperatures are keeping the shady spots icy.

The English Dance happened as planned, but with only a few dancers, we took it as an opportunity to dance 3 couple dances in a workshop-like setting. We still had live music (recorder, fiddle and occasional guitar) and Bob brought CDs and every dance he had on a card, in addition to the couple hundred that live in his head. The stalwarts danced some simple dances and some tricky ones. One couple, fairly new to ECD, had a chance to ask all the questions that they had been wanting to ask. I called Gary Roodman's 'Our Cheers' while I was dancing. Big fun!

I also spent a good bit of my weekend carding wool and spinning. The Grove Arcade shop needs natural color yarn and Locally Grown needs dyed yarn. Funny how they sell different things!

I also dyed more of my Andromeda Shades rovings, adding Neptune and Uranus. I really like Uranus. I dyed fawn colored roving in rust and gold. I can't wait to spin it. I think I should spin up each color and photograph the skeins for my Etsy store. Even with slow sales, I am continuing to build stock as I experiment with colors both in roving and yarn. New sock yarns this week too as I dyed a very pretty blue green and rose-gold.