Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blossoms and Bark Phat Fiber Box

Yes, I know it's nearly the end of the month, but my Phat Fiber contributor box was delivered while I was traveling, so I really just explored it last evening.  As always it was full of goodies.  I blogged about my samples a few weeks ago and I'm happy to see that my work stands up well.  Not as glittery as some, but high quality dye work and fiber.
I'll start with the yarns.  There are a number of very pretty yarns this time.  Beginning at the upper right, I'll just go around the circle. Absolutely beautiful hand dyed & handspun merino in about a sport weight from ByRebekahWithLove. Also in the pink family is Wildwood Flower by Moonlight and Laughter. Next is a variegated purple sock yarn from Little Bit of Heaven Fibers.  From Jag's Funky Fibers, I received a small unmarked skein in an Iris shade.  Cotton? a silk blend?  A sweet multi-blue sock yarn from Neurotic Knitterz with a great name: Happy Hydrandeas! The last yarn in this group is a bright sock yarn - Poppy - and cute glass bead from Color Bug Yarns.

Lastly, in its own picture is a sweet sampler from Brown Hare - I love this little folder.  She really puts a lot of care into creating these sets - each of the fibers on the right are identified and described.  The large sample in the center doesn't seem to be labeled.  Feels like cotton.

Let's start on the spinning fiber - Always my favorite part.  When I first opened my box, I thought Nice bark!  Where are the blossoms?  But as I later explored it, I really began to like the shades of brown.  They are all subtly beautiful and all different.

Starting at the upper right again this is Moss Covered Bark from It's a Colorful Life - a soft blend of red/brown and green with a bit of bronze colored glitter.  I want to spin this NOW!  The soft green and white roving in the lower right is from Lampyridae  - I'm guessing alpaca, wool, firestar, bamboo.  Next, another goodie from Moonlight and Laughter - this time a wool blend batt called Adirondack Hemlock. And to finish the circle, the bright & glittery green batt is from Hippie Penguin Fibers.  They are all great fun!

The next  picture includes a sample of adult alpaca fiber from Wonders Mohair, some brilliantly hand dyed mohair locks from Blue Mountain Handcrafts.  The artist used the Greener Shades dyes on these locks and I want to try them - very clear colors.  The next roving is from Fiber Fancy - a pretty pinky brown called Pistachio Rose in wool with Mohair, llama, alpaca and silk - soft and lovely!  The last roving is a batt from Bohemian Knitter Chic.  It's an interesting blend of merino and soy with flax.

But wait!  There's more...

The extra goodies include 3 patterns, a particularly charming stitch marker from winemakerssister and a number of very sweet gift tags.  In keeping with the Blossoms and bark theme, Amy Klimt developed a sweet hat pattern that takes advantage of hand dyed sock yarn.  Kira K gives us a simple, yet attractive crocheted hat pattern that lends itself to all kinds of yarn fun - I can see this in a hand dyed yarn as well.  From Katherine VAughn, there is a pattern for a StarFlower hair ornament or maybe a pin.  In the 'why didn't I think of that?' department, lovely gift tags for knitters, weavers, quilters, crocheters and spinners.  I'm glad that did!  

And in her charming way, Jessie's finishing touch was to wrap the business cards and stitch markers in paper embedded with wildflower seeds! So although it was more bark than blossoms, The blossoms are hiding - in the seeds, in the stichmarker and in the earth waiting to come out.  So much like my real garden in May.  Still plenty of dirt, lots of bright green leaves and the blossoms are just getting started!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Break Time

I took a wee break from my day job.  At the end of the regular semester, before the summer workshop season kicks in, I usually need a bit of a break.  It's also my work anniversary, and I usually have vacation days to burn before they vanish into thin air.  I wanted a vacation that was relaxing - no big cities, no plane rides, no fancy clothes.  Reading, knitting, spinning, perhaps a bit of dancing - - essentially chilling out.  The obvious choice is the beach, but my skin isn't made for bright sunshine.

So it was off for a dutiful family visit to my boyfriend's family in Columbus, Ohio, which is a big city, but in a good way.  We drove up, mostly on 4 lane, non-interstate roads.  We ate, we talked, I knit, we took old people to the doctor and we visited a couple of museums.  The Columbus Museum of Art is under the cloud of renovation, so only the Chihuly Glass exhibit was open, but it was fabulous.  I've seen his work before, but the 'baskets' don't travel very often, so this was a real treat.   The Wexner Center for the Arts featured a show by LA artist Mark Bradford.  I won't try to decribe his remarkable work.  Check it out here instead.  Way cool.

When we started planning this trip, I suggested that perhaps there might be a Wright Brothers Museum over in Dayton. Maybe an old plane or 2. I like the Wright Brothers.  They were inventive, creative Ohio guys who changed the world!  Because they went to Kitty Hawk to play with their great big gliders, North Carolina stole them.  North Carolina likes to 'borrow' famous people and claim them - Carl Sandburg, for instance.  I recently heard that Steve Martin bought a house near Brevard.  Better banjo playing round these parts. 

Ummm, how about the Air Force Museum - with lots of planes, including some of Orville and Wilbur's fine work.  A bit heavy on war (after all, it is the US Air Force!), but it was fascinating.  Perhaps my favorite part was the collection of Presidential Planes.  You take a bus over to a hangar on Wright-Patterson AFB to see the cool experimental aircraft and you can go aboard a couple of  Air Force One.  The one that brought tears to my eyes was the one used by several presidents.  This was the plane that carried John F. Kennedy's body back from Texas.  The famous picture of  Lyndon Johnson taking the oath of office, with Jackie Kennedy as a witness, hangs in the plane where the event took place. 

I knit like crazy too.  I knit about10 hats.  No socks, because I couldn't concentrate enough to follow a pattern and I needed a break from socks. I even ran out of yarn (well, sort of...) and had to go to a yarn shop.  But I'll save that for another day.  I may even take a picture or 2!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Phat Fiber Time - Zinnias

It's Phat Fiber time again and I am a contributor to the May box.  The theme this month is 'Blossoms and Bark.' Since I'm in the throes of gardening, how could I resist.  But I must admit I didn't do spring flowers, I jumped ahead to the hot sunny season when the zinnias are in bloom.  I love their bright colors and simple shapes.  I have a hot and sunny bed by the street, so I give the walkers something to brighten their day.  Here is my interpretation of zinnias, as told by a squishy soft merino wool.

This is a full size roving, with more in the dyepot.  I also sampled a blue/purple/green colorway that I call 'Delphiniums' (delphinia?).  More of that is yet to be dyed.  I've been quite busy as the school year ended and I seem to have stopped dyeing. I had a good bit on hand, and I wasn't spinning it up myself,  sock-maniac that I've been lately.  But this week is something of a stay-cation and I'm getting caught up on things around the house - getting the garden in, painting and other home repairs.  Since this is the traditionally slow time for fiber, I like to get everything else done.

Ummmm, did I mention I started another pair of socks?  But they might be too small, so I think I may pull them out and re-knit them.  They have been a quick knit, and I think I'll like them better a bit bigger.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Tuesday

It's been a while since I posted.  The semester has been a long time ending, but we've put it to bed.  Good night!

The garden is mostly in - and looking great.  Peas are happy and climbing their fence.  The radishes are yummy and everything else is small but sturdy.  We are having a touch of 'Blackberry Winter right now - a cold and rainy spell that hits when the blackberries are in bloom.  A good day for chili.

I made chili for dinner.

Sockapalooza continues.  I finished the Happy Waffle Socks (all but the toes) and begun and nearly finished a pair of Slippin' Stiping' Socks [Rav Link] in a colorway I can only call Carrots and Broccoli - an orange variegated yarn striped with a forest green.  If you like the colors of 1970's appliances, you'll love these socks.  And since I'm knitting from stash yarns, I hae reversed the colorway a bit so that one sock has green toes & heel and the other orange.  It's a bit off-putting, so I think I need to keep them.  In my shoes, no one really expects things to be too normal.

A couple of days in Washington, DC last month found me visiting the National Gallery of Art.  Great shows - I was particularly charmed by the paintings of Hendrick Avercamp.  The exhibition features paintings done in the 'Little Ice Age' of the late 18th and early 19th centuries when the rivers in Holland regularly froze - and life went on.  This delightful group of paintings forced me to spend a bit of time in the galleries that show the Netherland's school.  Quite a change from the contemporary work that usually draws me in. 

I've been dyeing and carding, but not spinning too much.  When I get around to it, I'll have plenty to spin. The local yarn shops have been selling my yarn, so I think it's time to spin again.  Enough with the socks already!  Get to spinning!