Friday, August 28, 2009

Phat Fiber Box -Take Me to the Fair!

My Phat Fiber Sampler Box came last weekend, but I am just now getting a few minutes to post about it. As excited as I am to get it, I should be WAY quicker to show off a little, but back-to-school can be a busy time here at the world headquarters of Smoky Mountain Fibers.

Just opening the box is always fun & Jessie always packages it so that you really feel like you are getting a lovely present. Note the coupon pack - a popcorn bag in keeping with the Take Me to the Fair theme.

I love seeing how different fiber artists interpret the theme. I admit that I think about color more than packaging, but the more creative types really do a fine job. The box was chock full of fiber and, yarn and patterns as well as a number of other goodies, so as I worked through each layer I was delighted, surprised and sometimes a bit puzzled!

The item that drew my eye first was the charming cone of pink Cotton Candy. From Spincerely Yours, it is a sweet mini-batt of superwash merino with tencel, inego (corn fiber) and a bit of nylon. Spincerely is a fine dyer - I admire her work very much.

The Black 'cupcake' is called Midway Magic, also superwash merino & bamboo, this time with angelina for a bit of sparkle. It's hard to see the teal & fuchsia in the photo, but its very exciting! It's from eXtreme Spinning - I've been hoping for her samples in earlier boxes, so I'm particularly excited to get this.

Another fair staple, the taffy is a bit blue and gold bamboo fiber, hand dyed by bananamigraine - more spinning fun for me! The purple supreme champion rosette is a two-tone purple blend of llama, alpaca, mohair & Border Leicester wool and perhaps a bit of angelina - It has a great sparkle! Clever packaging - Why didn't I think of that?

Tucked in its little brown bag, is a wool/silk blend from FromEweToYou - Just delightful!

Mmmm...Caramel Corn! but even better than that sticky treat (at least in the calorie count department) is caramel colored superwash merino hand dyed in yummy multi-dimensional colors by Jela's Fibers. In the interest of connecting this post to the picture, I'll proceed in a clockwise direction. The natural bag contains ginned cotton from Plum Crazy Llama Ranch.

It's a Colorful Life sent a black sparkly batt called Tarmac that's a blend of merino, alpaca, kid mohair, carbonized bamboo, rambouillet and angora. Can't wait to spin this one.

Gift wrapped in an organza bag is a wee pink batt of BFL from After the Sheep. At 6 o'clock you'll see another puff of deeper pink Border Leicester locks from FarmGirlChic,in her colorway, Pink Lemonade.

Rocket Yarn sent another black sparkly batt, this one called 'Black Hole', a blend of superwash merino, angelina, firestar. I am loving the black & pink rovings. These colors are really calling out to me. Not my usual choices, this is one of the reasons that I love the Phat Fiber box. It really challenges me to move out of my comfort zone and try approaches that I may not do on my own.

In the next picture you'll see a puff of honey colored fiber from Hands and Notions. In the colorway Jubilee, these are lamb locks - soft and lovely. Just 3 skeins of yarn this time.

As much as I love yarn, I much prefer getting fiber samples. Sock yarn samples will end up in socks, other yarns become stripes in hats or mittens. All in all, these are quite beautiful. The dark brown/green hand spun yarn is aptly named 'Mint Fudge' and comes all the way from Sheepshape Spinning the UK. Fabulous colors! The sweet variegated red sock yarn is called blue Ribbon Strawberry Pie from My8KidsMom and the dark green mini-skein of hand spun shetland is from Melissa's Kreations.

In the last group, you'll see patterns for a tinfoil hat (keeps the voices down!) & a corn dog puppet, a sweet apple stitch marker made of polymer clay, and a wee sample of bee balm from Clear Hill Honey.

The puzzling item is a zipper pull made of felt by Calizona Designs. But I can't tell what it is. Somebody? Anybody? Mr. Bueller?

I am looking forward to a weekend without travel, so I can card and spin and knit with my new fibers!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Autumn Colors are all the Rage!

My colorway 'Mars' roving was selected to be in a lovely Etsy Treasury this week. I'm wearing a very pretty shirt this morning in a deep coral shade, so I match it pretty well too. I love the red/orange colors - to dye, to wear, in flowers, in my home. paired with olive or forest green, they are among my favorite combos.

School is back in session and I am glad. I love to see the students back on campus, reconnecting with one another, smiling happily, mostly glad to be back. All my sections look good, challenging in a good way. I have changed my course significantly and the evening session (a short semester that starts and ends early) is rising to the challenge. I am impressed with the work that they are doing - creating blogs as they do their research - and most were somewhat reluctant to get started.

Looking forward to the weekend, after 2 weekends of contra dancing at camps, I'll be calling a dance in the Chapel Hill area. Sadly, my left knee is giving me a spot of trouble, so I have to be gentle with it. Vitamin I helps too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School, but Take Time to Dance!

The return of the academic year is taking a bit of a toll on my fiber work. I teach in a small college & run a professional development program for teachers, so back to school is a busy time in my life. I am teaching 3 sections of my Educational Technology class & developing new workshops for area in-service teachers. My evening class has already begun & day classes start next week. One of the toughest things about classroom technology integration is that it is a changing field and I have to keep up. I am adding some new elements to my course, including a blogging requirement.

In addition, it's a busy season in the traditional music and dance world. Last weekend I went to Mentone, Alabama to party and dance with the Red Mountain White Trash & Notorious. Okay Alabama and August - how do those 2 concepts work together? Easy - afternoons are spent on the river. Delightful. I did a number on my knee - possibly patella tendonitis - so I knit at the dance hall, just gave myself a couple of waltzes after the Saturday night break.

This weekend is Splash Dance, an all volunteer dance weekend hosted by our local dance community, the Old Farmer's Ball. I am in charge of T shirts, sounds like a pretty simple job, except that people will screen their own shirts. Our budget is very tight, but I managed to scrounge a LOT of inexpensive shirts in a variety of colors. I'm hoping for a feeding frenzy of folks looking for just the right color in their size. Dances at this event are mostly contras but with a healthy smattering of squares, English and waltzes. Variety - I like that!

I'm a busy woman, but managing to squeeze in a bit of knitting, much of it while in the car. I haven't dyed much in the past week or so - life has been too darn hectic! I'll be happy to spin and dye again soon!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Phat Fiber Sampler Box Coming this Weekend

I am again contributing to the PhatFiber Sampler Box. Since the August theme was 'Meet Me at the Fair,' I chose to send in some prize winning fruits - in roving at least. I dyed some very pretty Falklands and Merino roving in very pretty reds and golds. It's funny though...When I start pulling the roving into 1/3 ounce bonbons, they colors really change. Some are more yellow, some mostly red, others quite orange. They are all pretty though.

Boxes go on sale this weekend, Saturday, August 15th through the Etsy Shop.

Visit the Phat Fiber Blog today to take a chance on winning a 4 month fiber club giveaway from MoonWood Farm - an alpaca grower who dyes and blends fiber beautifully. I'm going to enter!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Circle of Friends

It's the first Thursday of each month - that's fiber night for my women friends. We were acquaintances when we started about a year and a half ago, but have morphed into a close circle. All of us are full-time working professionals who have come together over a love for fiber.

We have a potluck dinner, a glass of wine, lots of talk and then knit, spin, quilt, sew or not. The food is always very good and the companionship is wonderful. We have seen each other through difficult relationships, deaths of parents, health challenges and the interesting activities of grown children. Ocassionally we have a special guest or sweetie join us, but usually it's just us. In real life we are (mostly) teachers and therapists; in our group we teach and heal each other and ourselves.

August finds us a small group, with people on vacation or with family commitments. So we will be three or four meeting at the farm of one woman who is a therapist who works with people and horses. I'll be knitting a Windy City hat - nothing terribly exciting.

Tonight I am fixing a mess of kale from the garden. The greens, onion and jalapeno are from the garden, but that really doesn't matter. The woman who planned on bringing dessert had to cancel. It is likely we will just pick up ice cream.

I love this group. I find it comforting and strengthening. Seven women who came together over the love of making stuff - quilts, woven bags, crocheted scarves and afghans, handspun yarns, knitted socks and so much more, have woven ( or knitted or quilted) together a circle of friends.