Monday, April 28, 2008

Hitchhiker Tuneup

After fighting with the wheel for 6 months I took this with me to the CT Sheep and Wool Festival and had David Paul from the Merlin Tree give it a once over for me. I love this little wheel for the portability, but man the ability to use it has been pretty hampered as it was noisy, and seemed to have a wobble to it - which it did due to a broken wheel bearing... which David replaced at no charge. The gals at Stitch N Bitch will all be happier for the lack of obnoxious clacking.

It works beautiful now, due to the combined efforts of both my Father in Law and David, and betwixt the two I now can spin pretty much anywhere... infact as I type this, the wheel is in the trunk of my car and is going to be brought into the office with me tomorrow so when I get stressed out I can spin on lunch and relax again.

We have a wedding to go to over the weekend, and this little wheel will be coming with. Right now I have some Alpaca on the bobbin from Hunter Hill Alpaca's in part because a very dear friend finally lit a fire under me and said she realllllllllllly wanted some that I'd hand spun. ;-)

In my fiber chest I also happen to have some Cormo/Angora, Cormo, Romney, Bison, Bombyx Silk, Ramboullet, Mohair, Navajo Churro, Merino, Tussah Silk, and Tencil. I'm sure I've forgotten some - but in good time it will all end up either given as gifts to my knitter friends, or sold in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

CT Sheep and Wool Fest Day!

First of all - it was a very tiny little festival, but a lovely one.

I discovered a couple of things - first I have readers of this blog!!! Yay! I've not put in any sort of sitemeter here, just haven't figured it out for here, so it's not been put in... and so I don't know my traffic at all - for all I knew I was writing to my self.

So it's a treat to hear "Oh you're the Blogger at The WoolWytch!" Makes me have my own Sally Fields 'you like me, you really like me' moment. *grins*

Anyhow - I got a late start to the day, so I missed out on classes I'd hoped to take this morning, but did get my HitchHiker Mini tuned up. David Paul from the Merlin Tree was there, and looked at it. It needed new bearings, as well as some other minor work, but my S&B group will be very happy to have a bit more silence on Wednesday nights, vs the sound of a playing card in the spokes of a bicycle wheel.

She spins lovely and I got started on 4 ounces of hand painted Merino that I pre-drafted over the course of the week. It's a very pretty colorway of greens and purples, and I will be Navajo Plying it I think.

I spent time with my friend Claire and her family, bought more fiber that was new to me for spinning - finer grade, supposedly more difficult.

I thought I'd have video, as I took lots of footage, but I'm still not too bright on video editing, so the vids will have to follow.

For the mean time, I'm tired - it wasn't a large festival but I walked quite a bit today as well as got that spinning done, and I am now pooped. The HitchHiker is a different methodology for spinning and as such - I get a different work out than if I used my Kiwi...

anyhow. Thanks to those of you who read! And I'll try to get the pics/videos up sometime soon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

So today is my birthday, and I'm in a pretty good place for it. My boss is happy with my performance at work (although there are items that have room for improvement - which is fine, because who wants to be completly perfect, it would be darn boring) and at some point during my day I'm supposed to be getting flowers from my mom... there's a present waiting from my hubby that I know I'm getting at dinner time, and life is good. Especially as I got one of my pressies last night.
This weekend at the Sheep and Wool festival I get to learn all about the care and maintenance of an antique Great Wheel / Walking wheel.

Yep - last night after work my poor little mini van ate a fully functional great wheel. It needs a little tlc for the wood - but I'm going to be picking the brains of Dave from the Merlin Tree (Who made my Hitchhiker Mini and did my customization on my Ashford Kiwi - PC and Beaky respectively named) on what to use to treat the wood and what to use for a drive band.

She's so pretty though, and OMG HUGE.

This seals it - we need to clean out the sun room or the home office ASAP so we can put together a home "studio" and I think my home office is the winner on this one. :-) She's well over 200 years old, and has a makers mark of JB 1205 carved into the table. My daughter has decided already that this is HER wheel, and I've told her that it's a wheel that she might be able to spin on when she's older, but it's not hers for a very long long long time - as in after Tessa's hair is grey and her face is very wrinkley. *grins* As she's 3, thats not going to be any time soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Quiet day and a Wheel in the car

Ok - so the weather here in central CT is BEAUTIFUL today. So much that the fact I have my spinning wheel in my car is absolutely taunting me.

I took it last night to Stitch N Bitch up in Canton, where I enjoyed some wonderful company, and talked to one gal about cloth diapering while evidently kicking off another one's "ewwwwwwwwwww" meter, as she's a bit of a germaphobe. Something to do with the whole washing peed and pooped in diapers in the same machine you wash your clothing in. Urm - soiled clothing is soiled clothing and I for one am very glad for my washing machine's sanitize setting. Even if it does take three hours to wash a load of diapers using it. I need to go through my links on why cloth, and using wool, and all that other happy hoopla...

While there I finished spinning some really nastily balanced yarn I had been plying. It's a grape purple and Peanut butter tan color, and I'm going to have to see about re-spinning it to see if I can get it balanced properly before I skein it. Turns out the bobbin was coming unglued and that really affected the spin on it. I had high hopes for that one but it's turned out to be a bit of a dissapointment.

Fortunately I had another bobbin, and some other fiber I wanted to work with. I still have much more to ply in this combo, but didn't it turn out pretty? I think I'll be coming in early to work, taking lunch outside on nice days and spinnng during that time that I'm on lunch. It will be a twofold benefit to me - stress relief during my work day, and a chance to get my Etsy shop re-stocked with something other than commercially spun but hand dyed yarns. I had all these glorious plans last weekend, and very few of them came through, so I'm slowing down and starting over this weekend, and hopefully I'll get a fraction of them done. The good news is that I start my work from home Friday schedule tomorrow, so I'll take a TV Tray outside, and work from my porch with the laptop on it. Provided traffic isn't too much, I should be able to really get into things tomorrow and while on lunch again, get some more roving dyed. I think I really prefer dying the roving, vs the finished yarn. It's just a preferance thing for me.

The Parking lot has been empty. The ratio of open spaces to filled spaces is astonishing. Spring fever really seems to have hit, and with a bang. Convertables and SUV's/Jeeps fill the lot for the cars that are here.

Then there's the motorcycles that people have been riding in. Yes, that is a Ducati. Several of them can be found in our parking lot on a nice clear day.

What I got a giggle over today however was seeing someone else is realllly ready for the weekend too. See that yellow thing in the middle of the picture? Yep - it's a small boat on the roof of someones SUV. As the weather is in the 70's I can't blame them. Winter wasn't a record breaker but wasn't fun and we've all been ready to make a break for it - and I get the feeling the owner of that boat is going to have a three day weekend. Can't say as I blame him/her.

So as it's a Thurs and my last day of the week in the office I think I too have a bit of Cabin fever. I have a full day packed of meetings and work tomorrow but I'm going to be able to do that from home, and get in some spinning time while I'm at it. It all sounds like such glorious fun and I too can't wait to get out of here. So much creativity awaits, and Friday at 5PM can't come soon enough.

Monday, April 14, 2008

How I'm celebrating my birthday weekend after next!

Yep, I'll be at the Connecticut Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival a few days after my birthday!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rain or Shine

9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tolland Agricultural Center

Route 30, Vernon/Rockville, CT

More event information

Because darn it, I need more bobbins and a lazy Kate, as I think I have enough fleece right now to choke a horse.

Babbling and spinning and life is good

We got our refund this Saturday. It's already gone, but that's ok. We squared away some bills (which felt nice), got some gardening gear, had a couple of nice dinners out, and I went to Once Upon a Child to pick up some clothing for Garret (my one year old.) Brand new stuff - new with tags, all from a consignment shop. I'm very proud of my score there, and it makes me cringe when I think what I spent 6 months ago at the outlet in comparison. Gaelon (my hubby) ordered some new clothing for himself too, something that he rarely does, as he has the SAHD wardrobe (non stainable tshirts and jeans geared towards being home with kids) and we've got multiple events coming up this spring/summer.

I got a hair cut this weekend. It's a bit of a long shag, and I like it. I can wear it long and just undone or I can blow dry it and it ends up looking something like the mom's from Suite Life of Zach and Cody. Best point is the perm I got after Garret's birth is GONE. Unlike the one I got after Tessa's birth, it fried my hair. Perms post partum are always a crap shoot, and hey hair grows back.

Along with my direct deposited refund, I got a bill in on Saturday from the IRS - which makes me think I need to contact them and see if I can get it in writing that with my 2007 tax refund (I didn't get it all - they took a good hunk to pay off my back debt) that I am clear. I'll be doing that later this morning, the wrong thing to do is to try to call at 8am on a Monday morning - because everyone else and their uncle is doing just the same.

This is the beginning of my new work week schedule. In at 7:30 am, out at 3:30PM, with a phone call every day at 4PM in for a status check. I'm also going to try to get that 4PM meeting rescheduled as I'm not the only person who has trouble making the daily 4PM. We'll see.

I decided I'm going to keep my hitchhiker mini spinning wheel. My father in law fixed it this weekend, while managing to dent the scotch tensioning knob and somewhere recently the on board orifice hook dissapeared. yeah - this makes me very not happy. I can replace the hook, and sand down the dent on the scotch tensioning knob, but man this stinks.

No one likes to see their wheel dented up, but if it's that or not being able to use it, I'm all for being able to use it. It's all lubed up nice too and the clacking sound it was making when I spun is now completly gone.

We also picked up some Watco Danish Oil for both the wheels, as this winter being in a very dry (oil heated) house has definately taken a toll on them. I'll be finishing the drop spindles I have for sale on Etsy with the Watco Oil as well and taking new pics of them too. I'm loving this earlier in earlier out schedule for work as I can actually get time in the afternoons to do things now. I think that I may get a lot more done during the week, and potentially even get the kids on an earlier schedule as well if I can keep this schedule up.

My postal supplies still haven't come in - I'm not too worried at this moment as I don't have any sales pending. I'm going to raise the prices back to what they were before by the end of this week. I had a 'Garret is 1' sale that only one of a couple of buyers took advantage of, and outside of that it's been quiet. I think I need to add more rose shades though, as those seem to have flown out of my store like mad. Who'd have thought that a Victorian Rose shade would be a hot thing this year?

So I guess this is the cue to say to those who've been oggling my yarn, that if you want some at the lower prices that they are at right now, you probably wanna grab them soon, as my next free bit of time both shipping and the price of yarn goes up. :-)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Creative plans ahoy... here comes another crafty weekend.

So my Live Journal AAM Mentee (I'll just call her J) is looking for baby slings/carriers, at the same time that I'm thinking of what else I want to put in my Etsy shop. I have some baby related ideas, stuff to carry in the shop, and as I'll be sewing this weekend, I'll whip her up an ABC like the one I wore to my Dad's funeral. She was stunned and happy for that. It's the one thing she's been dragging her feet on that she really wants. I understand completely - if you aren't a size 6 or under it's hard to find things in the big name stores that are comfortable and appealing.

It's fully reversable (Brocade on one side and microsuede on the other,) and seems to be a big hit whenever I wear Garret in it, so I'm going to make her one, and then get started on a couple more for friends.

Depending on the input I get on those, they may get carried in my Etsy shop, and when I get about to making a website showcasing the wares with models, I'll have babies to show them off in. Can you believe he's 3 months old in the picture to the right.

Good Grief how they grow. At the bridal shower yesterday he got so many comments on how big he's gotten. Laura had a lot of people in her family who were well aware about her being there when he was born - so the kids have managed to get a bunch of adopted aunts and an adopted grandma who just loves them without having met them before Sunday. It was very sweet.

I'm really looking forward to this weekend coming up - not a lot scheduled but housekeeping and crafting. I have soaps that are waiting to be made up, and roving to be dyed... I have to organize my craft area first though. A must do if I'll be sewing/spinning/dyeing/soapmaking etc any this weekend.

Making J's MaiTai gets me out to my favorite fabric store too - I need to see if I can find some cute quilting squares, as they make up a perfect size panel for one side of the carrier. J wants Pinks and Browns in combination, and as Michelle (my friend in Salem) is planning on going straight from wedding planning to TTC, so I'm also going to work on a Mei Tai for her. She hopes to be pregnant by this time next year, and hopefully close to having the wee one. all I can say is "Oye..." Hers will be in deep reds and royal blues... she doesn't think she'll ever have a girl. I'll also have something in pink on standby too LOL!

I also plan on getting out my knitting machine... I found a lovely lovely shawl I want to make, and the knitting machine would make it in no time flat.

It's called a Heidentuch and it actually ties around back to be worn in this way:

the ties can be worn on the inside or outside of the garment... it's so pretty.... and I'm looking forward to having it to wear. It should be a snap to make as it's pretty much two triangles that have curved decreases at the ends. It's a traditional Danish shawl, and since I've been all into my ancestory lately I thought this would be nice. I have some Bison down that if spun up thin enough may make a very nice very light weight version of this too...

Speaking - or typing about knitting. I don't think that I'll be going back to the local group much, favoring the Wednesday night group instead. It's just a warmer group with much more in common and I feel much more welcome. The Tuesday group is nice - but I'm working on providing AARP services at work, not focusing on how to recieve them at home.

My postal supplies should be in tomorrow, and as I just re-listed a bunch of yarn over on my etsy shop yesterday, I'll have it ready to go for this weeks round of advertising... which I usually do on Fridays, but have slacked the last month... too many delays too many people up and dying on me, and too much keeping me from working on anything yarn related. I'm hoping I can suss out a pattern for longies on the knitting machine too, and I'll not only make Garret some longies, but might convert some of my Etsy yarn listings from yarn into diaper covers LOL. We'll see. I can definately say that the ball winder will be a big help in that instance.

I have come across a pretty cool technique for hand painting yarn involving first knitting it up as a long panel on the knitting machine, then hand painting it, and letting it dry out - we'll see how that works out.

I have one other thing I'm planning on carrying in the etsy shop, but don't want to really say anything about it as I'm not sure how it will go over, and I want to make sure I can actually do it before I go spouting off first. I am sure those of you who craft and sell on etsy can completely understand that...

Outside of crafting, we also have some gardening to get to this weekend. I have seeds to plant, and a front yard to get all cleaned up of last years left over leaves, and branches that fell this last week in the downpour and windstorm that we had. It will be a busy and healthy weekend. Of that I am certain.

Add This

Bookmark and Share