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Common Ground Fair 2007


It took us just about 3 hours to get to the fairgrounds in Unity, Maine, which is about midway between Augusta and Bangor. It was sunny and hot and we were glad that Friday was not the only day we'd have. There was a very nice breeze, but it just wasn't enough with that hot sun beating down on you. That's the funny thing about the weather up there in late September - one year there will be frost on the grass until midmorning, the next year it will be 85 degrees F. Saturday was fortunately much cooler and quite breezy - perfect autumnal fair weather.

We did our serious shopping on Friday so that we wouldn't have to fight the Saturday crowd too much. Also, if you know what you want, you should get in there and get it first thing - people do run out of things, and quickly.

So day one we did the lion's share of our roving and yarn shopping. I bought about 24 oz of this roving (two balls are for me, one to be spun up for a friend):


Of course I immediately put it on my new Ashford spindle (which I love, btw). Here is a close up of it as a single, and as a 2ply





It's in a colorway called "Apple Butter" and it's 60% Romney and 40% Mohair. Now I'm not a big fan of mohair, but I thought the color was so unusual and pretty that I'd go for it. It spins up pretty fuzzy, although that could just be me. But at less than $2/oz, I'm no expecting miracles here. A rustic yarn will be just fine. I'll save the really good stuff for next year when my spinning has improved! ;-)

I got one other little batch of odd roving for which I have no explanation except it was just so unusual I couldn't resist it:



Isn't that interesting? It's from CrowsRise Farm (sorry, no website) in Anson, Maine and the content is wool, llama and angora. I got 4 oz for $10, so again, not expensive. It's brown and grey with white bunny and a streak of bright turquoise running through it. I just thought it was so different that I had to try it. It's not your usual angora blend - it's tough and rugged (do you suppose that's from the llama or the generic wool?) but I bet this will be incredibly warm as a hat. We shall see...

My last fibre-related purchase is a really beautiful shawl pin I bought to go with the yellow cardigan I just finished. It's from Harvey Brook Farm of Pownal, Maine and it's made of Cherry and Walnut:



Awesome!

Even the Mister made a fibre-related purchase!



it's a little sample baggie of angora bunny fur. He carried it in his pocket all day doing a wonderful imitation of Lenny from Of Mice and Men...

I am constantly amazed by the variety of fiber available, and all raised in Maine. There were bunnies, alpacas and llamas, mohair and cashmere goats, loads of varieties of sheep (I saw Romney, Corriedale, Shetland, Finn, and Jacob, just to name a few), and a little critter I had never met before. They are called Pygora Goats and they are a cross between Pygmy and Angora goats. They're tiny, they're adorable and their fleece is just to die for. You can get all the details at Tyler Farm's website.

Besides all the fiber related goodness, they also have an enormous craft/artisans area with everything from blown glass to wrought iron, Maine made goodies like honey and maple syrup, Avena and other herbal remedies, and a gigantic farmer's market where we bought three different varietals of garlic. Who knew there was more than "regular" and "elephant"? There is also a fabulous area where you can find out all about solar energy, composting toilets, grease cars, low impact building techniques and the like. The amount of information available, nevermind the classes that are free and going on constantly throughout the day, is mind boggling. There is just no way to take it all in, not even if you attend all three days.

Now, for those who are interested in such things, random shots from the Fair:

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SP11 Package #1 received!


Rushed home from work this afternoon - need to pack everything for our big trip to Common Ground Fair tomorrow morning, and make it to spinning circle for 6(ish) - and there, on my porch rocker... a package!!!

Opened it in a fit of squealing. Too bad no one was home but the cat, and the neighbors chose that moment to walk by my open window to pick up their mail. *blush*

Here is what I found:


A Hydrangea note card (one of my favorite flowers!) and FIVE pretty packages! What could they BE?!?!?



A big fat book - "Sweater Design in Plain English". My pal knows I've been challenged by redesigning a sweater recently.
Addi Turbos for Lace (size 5, 32")
Beautiful amber glass bead stitch markers
JR Watkins All Natural (again, my pal pays attention! *grins*) hand and cuticle salve in Citrus (and again - a favorite scent!)

Hmmm.... Addi turbos for knitting lace, beautiful glass bead stitchmarkers, and salve.... it's starting to feel like there's something tying these things together.... Ah! Maybe it's on the CD....

BEE FIELDS SHAWL!!!!!! SQUEEEE!!!!

How madly in lust am I with with pattern? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

I have a PILE of mindless knitting in my WIP basket... I think a little challenging lace knitting will be just the thing to break up all that tedium! O thank you thank you thank you Secret Pal! Truly you are made of awesome! :-)

I think those stitch markers deserve a closer look.


Everyone together now... Ooooo! Aaaaah!

Alright, I have packing, cleaning, laundry and spinning to do (and miles to go before I sleep? heh). Have a nice weekend, all, and I'll be back on Sunday with plenty of photos and plenty (i'm sure) to add to my stash on Ravelry! lol!!

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random thoughts


Fair Season

Fair season is in full swing and I am just spinning in circles with glee. Our first trip will be to Common Ground next weekend and the Mister has indeed gotten Friday off from work - Hooray! Now he and I and Katherine can head up early Friday morning and spend Friday afternoon and Saturday all day at the fair. JOY! I've gotten the ok to drop my fleece off with Friend's Folly Farm at their booth, which was very kind of them considering the hectic pace of working a fair. Once that's dropped off, the shopping can begin in earnest. There are several items that must be purchased every single year without fail, so they usually get done first - beeswax candles and honey, soaps from various crafters, one blown glass tumbler (we get one every year from the same couple), herbs and tea from Avena, seeds and bulbs from Johnny's and Fedco, and the most delicious beef jerky every created. Then we'll sit down over a nice snack and look through the list of classes available. They run all day long, all three days, and they are almost all FREE. Incredible.

Knitting

I am always surprised when muggles take an interest in something I've knit. It's a constant source of amazement to me that the most boring, simple thing to knit will bring admiration and awe from the uninitiated, while something I've cried and labored over from months will be overlooked (possibly, I'd like to think, because they can't imagine it's handmade). In this instance, it is felted bags. I have several, and one was spotted by an art-gallery-owning friend of my husband's about a month ago. At that time, she asked me to knit a few for her for a Christmas display she had in mind, and I agreed. Then I proceeded to totally forgot about it.
Now it's the middle of September and she's called, fresh from a buying trip, excited for the Christmas buying season and all atwitter about the purse display and how many have I got done and when can she have them all and can she see them soon........ I spent last night placing frantic yarn order online. I can see where the rest of my free time for the next 4 weeks will be spent. *sigh*

Cooking

I was never much of a cook until I met my husband. He inspires me. To be a better person, a better wife, a better friend. And so, I now cook. I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that I make one bad ass roast chicken. I can also make a fabulous soup or stew out of almost any ingredients o the fly with no recipe. But this afternoon, we had some Garden Drama. Every damn tomato in the garden has gone red in the last two days! GAH! So tonight, I am embarking on a new adventure. I am making spaghetti sauce from scratch. I have never, ever made a spaghetti sauce. Sure, I can whip you up a little pan sauce out of cherry tomatoes and garlic, but an actual, slow cooked, authentic tomato sauce... never. I just wanted to say what a miracle it is that fresh tomatoes, upon emerging from a bath of boiling hot water, will obligingly shed their skins when dunked in cold water. Complete magic. And I am a complete weirdo for squealing about this with unfettered delight with only the cat to hear.

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Everyone needs a cheerleader


Knitting circle tonight was awesome. We had the nicest lady join us this evening! Apparently she's only able to come a few times a year, but I'm going to save up all my FOs and bring them on those nights. She was so excited about everyone's projects, sure that every FO was remarkable, and every yarn choice inspired. I found myself grinning uncontrollably as she made her way around the room, admiring everyone's work and complimenting them on how amazing it all was. It was such an enormous boost! Whoever she is, I want to clone her and rent her out to knitting groups around the country. :-) Thank you so very much Knitting Cheerleader Lady!

Also this evening, Kelly took time out from kitting to give me so much great spinning information! I have websites, I have contacts, I have shopping lists! Two things in particular that bear special mention - www.themerlintree.com and the book "In Sheep's Clothing : A Hanspinner's Guide to Wool". The website has a wonderful, reasonably priced spinning wheel called The Hitchhiker (which I have forwarded to my Mister as a, well, subtle Christmas gift hint), and the book contains information on the fleeces of different breeds of sheep. What could be more wonderful for a spinner to have? I'm so excited about this year's Common Ground Fair because now I'm attending as an Educated Shopper - aware of so much more in the Fiber World than I have been before. I'm particularly looking forward to selecting roving from a number of different breeds of sheep so I can try them out for myself. I also am hoping to pick up a lighter spindle so I can try spinning silk handkerchiefs. I ran across information about those while wandering around ETSY, and I am just desperate to give spinning these delightful things a try!

On a somewhat unrelated topic:

Alot of conversation has been had lately between myself and my Mister and our Katherine about The Future. I've decided that, hell, I'm 41, and it's time to seriously think about What To Do With My Life. I've always dreamed of having, well, a sort of commune. Or, maybe more precisely, a place where people of like mind can feel comfortable and supported. Southern Maine seems to be the logical location to purchase a small farm, and beyond the (what I think of as obvious) sheep and chickens and horses and organic gardens, some other fascinating options have been added. Say, 4-6 little cabins, with large, comfortable porches, composting toilets, and maybe solar panels on the roofs for electricity. Ideally, could you just imagine coming out to the farm and staying in one of these? They could be rented out to artists/writers/whoever as a safe space to explore their art in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. They could help out around the farm, or not; have their meals in the Main House, or not; join us for conversation in the evenings, or not. It could also be a location where we could hold spinning/knitting/fiber related events. Do some work through MOFGA. Hell, who knows where it could go?

Anyways...that's my little dream.

Whoopsie! Forgot the cat pictures!


Now, for his blog debut, I give you my familiar and dearest love, BOOGER!



Aka Boober, Mister Booger, Boo, Stompy McPawpads, Harfy, Damn Cat, etc. He's been my beloved companion through thick and thin for almost his entire 13 years. Yep, the big guy is getting up there. I keep thinking he's just a baby, what with his running around like a kitten getting into everything, but it's just not true. We are, indeed, getting old. Boo! :-(

A little known fact: He was at one point in his life literally held captive by an ex (I couldn't make this shit up) and had to be rescued by his Uncle Dougie with threats and stealth!

Here he is helping me with my knitting. Note to self - always wind center pull balls from now on...

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Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?


I've been all over the place and I'm flippin' exhausted! ;-)

The last week or so has been very busy, so I haven't had alot of time to post. That does not, however, mean I have not kept up on my knitting.

I finished the Emerald and I just love it. I didn't put any buttons on it because I never button my cardigans, but I think it looks quite nice anyways, don't you?

emerald blocking

Under there are the new blocking boards I bought at Lowe's. They're for holding gym equipment - $16 for 5 enormous interlocking blocks! Squeee!

And here it is being modeled by moi...
emerald on

I just love it - it's the warm and comforting sweater I was hoping for. I'm so glad I looked up the pattern on Ravelry - the images on Knitty were not very complimentary. I made it straight from the pattern, only leaving off the button holes. And I may have kept knitting past the recommended sleeve length, because I hate too-short sleeves. They are the bane of my existence.

I cast on for my Mystical Creations Yarn raglan as well...
mcy raglan
It's a straightforward neck-down raglan which I've made before. Not very exciting knitting, but with handpainted yarn, I didn't want to drown out a pattern, so I figured I'd just let the yarn speak for itself. I love the feel and the sheen of MCY wool/silk, but the colors are just not what I wanted. I've bitched about this before, but it bears repeating - the description was for a hyacinth purple, old rose, and hydrangea blue. Nice antique-y colors that would suite me to a "t". What I have is, as you can see, rust, purple and purple. My hope is that the colors will fade a bit when I block, as this yarn is notorious for bleeding. For once, this is a Good Thing.

I attended spinning circle last Wednesday night, held this month at my beloved A Loom with a View in downtown Newburyport. I started the handpainted superwash wool by Sereknity. I have not spun handpainted roving (well, this is only my third spinning experience!) and I am completely and utterly in awe of the transformation from spotty roving to amazing yummy yarn. Here is my progress so far on Yarn Baby #3. First, an artistic shot...



and a close up:


This is going to make ALOT of yarn! Such lovely varying shades of purple and green. Just awesome. Nice job Heather!

I think I need to cast on for something a little more challenging than my cheery little raglan. It's ideal for working on while watching tv or chatting, but it's going to bore the crap out of me in no time. I have so many other things I want to knit, but I think first I need to get my son's fingerless gloves done. He's just gone off to Goucher College for his sophmore year (le sigh! freshman year he was right close by at the community college!) and has been concerned about how cold it's going to get down in Maryland. So I did some swapping and came up with two skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in manly shades of green (heh) - he loved the Fetching I had knit for his ex, but the pattern is just not going to cut it for him. I'm sure he'll be using them while jamming with all his new band buddies down there, so they have to be handsome, yet rugged; sexy (for picking up the babes, doncha know!), yet very masculine. I have Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, and I'm considering a horseshoe or staghorn cable running up the back of a simple 4x2 ribbed fingerless glove with a short, simple cuff. Any other suggestions?

Yarn baby #2


I finished up my second skein of yarn Tuesday night, rushing to get it balled up before knitting circle so I could take it there and show it off! Proud mom! lol! I skeined it last night and gave it a bath, then hung it on the porch this morning to dry in the open air. I think it did it a world of good...

Before:


After:


Ooooo! Aaaaaah!

I ended up with roughly 128 yards, which feels pretty good to me. I can actually make something with that, so I'm very pleased. All in all, I think it came out nicely. Better than Yarn Baby #1, but still a little rough. I'm improving!

Congratulated myself by taking a yarn shopping trip down to my LYS, A Loom with a View.  I got two skeins of Mirasol Miski in lilac. If you haven't fondled this yarn yet... get thee to a yarn shop! It is just luscious. It's 100% baby llama, and with a generous 82 yd. skein, the price is very very reasonable. It's a nice aran weight, I'd say, at 18st/10cm on US8s. I'm going to make a pair of fingerless gloves for a friend.

I also got a bunch of yarn for felting. I've promised a friend who owns an art gallery several felted bags in time for Christmas. She has a specific display she'd like to do and, upon seeing my little multi-colored scrap bag, she fell in love. So I bought 3 skeins of various purples in Lamb's Pride Bulky (I think I should have gotten worsted... ) to start with. I also have an idea for a particular bag, based on a cottage tea cosy I felted and ribbon-embroidered for a friend:



I am so damned proud of this thing. Just look at that ribbon embroidery!



so cool!

So I thought I might adapt the idea into a handbag. I got a skein of Ella rae classic in a nice sagey green for the house, and a skein of SWTC Karaoke in a variegated brown for the roof. Betsy had a sample of the karaoke felted up, and I was completely sold. It is going to be so cute! Now I just have to design the thing. lol! I'm not worried about the basics of it - a house is a pretty obvious rectangle. And I think I'll overstitch the door and shutters to make it easier on myself. The handles are what has me stumped so far. I need to think of a way to attach them that won't distract from the cottage design.

I'm looking forward to a very relaxing long weekend with my Mister. I was stressing out about Things We Have To Do, until the Mister said "let's not do anything this weekend. I just want us to spend time together enjoying each other." Awwww! Isn't he delightful! So our big holiday weekend plans are pretty sedate: cooking (tomatoes and eggplants are taking over the veg garden), walks, painting, knitting, maybe a movie, dinner out one night, maybe a drive up to Kittery, ME to pick up some lobsters, wine tasting on Saturday at a local wine store... Oh! And a Fireman's Chili Cookoff in downtown Amesbury on Saturday! Fun! We've tried to make this event two years in a row and something always came up. The first year we heard about it too late, and last year I think it poured and we assumed they'd use the rain date. They did not. So we missed it again. But this year for sure!

If you don't hear from me until Tuesday, have a fun and safe weekend all!

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just for fun


I just want to say that crazykimmiestarted it.





What type of Fae are you?

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I'm baaack...with WIPs and Nelson's Ride


I took last week off from getting on the computer at night. Work was... difficult, shall we say... and by the time I got in I was frankly too mentally exhausted to do anything. I even skipped knitting circle, much to Haydenmuma's dismay! Sorry about that! :-)

This past weekend was HOT here in the Northeast, so Saturday was spent running errands. Very boring, but kept us in air conditioning all day.

Sunday we had to get up and get going as Nelson's Ride was going to be passing right in front of our house at 12:15. I haven't seen a rally since the last one I was personally in, about 18 years ago, so this was a real treat. I had NO IDEA what a big deal this Ride is until checking out the website. What an amazing group, and what a great cause. I don't know what the final tally was, but bikes went by, non stop, usually 2 abreast, for 30 minutes. I kid you not. The upstairs neighbors set up chairs at the end of the driveway with us and we had a grand old time watching the bikes, waving, and feeling that wonderful thunder as they passed. I miss my bike so much!

These photos don't do it justice, because we're located right at a bend in the road, but it will give you an idea. The road in both directions looked like this for the whole 30 min.






Awesome.


In knitting news I've made good progress on the Emerald I started awhile back:



I've finished the body up to the armpits, and both sleeves. Now I'm just waiting for my KnitPicks order to come in with the 40" cables I ordered so I can put it all together and continue. Speaking of trying to go buy something specific... is it just me, or does random yarn jump into everyone's shopping basket, both live and virtual? Odd, that...

Also, another Lizard Ridge square has come into existence:



Besides that, it's been mostly spinning up that wonderful Countrywool Bunnywool roving that I swapped for at the WOOL Retreat (thank you Tina!!). The stuff is truly awesome, and I despair that I can do it justice. It's very light and fluffy, which has made it a joy to spin outside - the slightest breeze sets it flowing so beautifully, although I do have to be aware of which way the wind is blowing so I don't end up with a big monster cluster fuck on my spindle... lol! I'm about 95% done with it, then I just have to commune with it and find out if it wants to remain single ply, or if it would prefer to be mated with another...