Thursday, April 30, 2009

Crossing the Mississippi

It's impossible to look cute in a rainsuit and helmet!

Early Bird

You'd think I could sleep in after a day like yesterday, but nope, I was wide awake at 3:30 a.m. but managed to force myself back to sleep until 5:30. Good thing I brought my pacifier/knitting to keep me from losing my mind until everyone gets up. BTW: Knitting in the tub can be pretty enjoyable. I tend to get pretty hyped up on vacation and just want to GO!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Girls Trip 2009

Nashville - HERE WE COME. Karen, Melanie and I left this morning on our bikes in the rain. And it rained on us all day long. My rainsuit did a good job in keeping me dry and my new heated grips and seat worked fabulously but it still sucked riding on treacherous wet roads and a fear of flash flooding. We put in close to 500 miles today and have checked into a Holiday Inn in Poplar Bluff, MO. The forecast for the next five days is calling for rain but I truly believe any day riding is a good day.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spinning Class: Session IV

Our topic for today's class was cotton and it's preparation for spinning. In a way I was pick'n cotton - actually just removing the seeds and hull pieces then rolling them into rolags - what I called little cinnamon rolls ready to be spun. It's amazing to me that a person can pick cotton in a field and turn it into something useful. I really like working with this fiber but unfortunately, I'm not aware of any cotton fields close by.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Best Client Call

I was having lunch with a client, Sister Judith from Dominican Sisters in Great Bend, KS and she was telling me about the farm they have 13 miles west of town. Can you imagine my delight when she said there were 15 alpacas on the farm and several of the sisters who live there spin. So, we drove out there and she introduced us to Sister Mary Ellen who took us on the tour of Heartland Farms. What an awesome place with alpacas, fruit trees, gardens and Sister Mary Ellen even has a studio where she provides therapeutic massage. I came away with a skein of handspun, homemade soap and a longing to come back and spend more time with these wonderful women.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Fever

The mid-80 temperatures this week has kicked my spring fever into full gear. With that comes road trips right around the corner. In fact, I got together with my riding buds, Melanie and Karen, to plan the itinerary details of our first (girls only) bike trip of the season. We leave next week for a destination 750 miles away.

DESTINATION HINT: Tickets to the Grand Ole Opry!! YEEHAW!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The very idea of spinning dog hair into yarn just creeps me out. I've heard about it and seen it, but never thought I'd go there. Well, that was one of our spinning assignments that I just wrapped up. I can't say that I especially like dog hair yarn and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it now, but for the love of fiber I gave it a go and plied it with a stand of merino. In case you're wondering, there's a Sheltie somewhere out there missing it's coat.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Golf is ON

Finally, after 6 months of not swinging a club, I'm back on the greens for weekly games with our women's golf league. I've come back with a stronger swing and some new bad habits to correct. Well, that's just G-O-L-F! It's such a love/hate activity but it's all good. My golf/knitting buds, Laurie and Patty had some pretty good shots and as always, we are the loudest ones on the course laughing and having a grand time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Handspun Lace Capelet

This capelet knitted up fast and will be perfect to wear as a wispy cover up over tanks on cool summer nights -- or as a cowl in cooler months. The natural alpaca fleece was from last weeks class that I hand carded and spun into a 2-ply sport weight yarn. Its a color that seems to change from grey to off-brown depending upon the lighting.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spinning Class: Session III

Today in class we covered scouring wool fleece and the dyeing process. There are many chemical properties involved and we learned about mordants that allow the dye to adhere to the fiber. Easter egg dyes and Kool Aid are popular and inexpensive alternatives to commercial dyes. We used orange Kool Aid packets and let the wool sit in the hot water until the wool abosorbed all the color and the water was clear. It was like watching magic.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Partie Pebble

I'm knitting socks and I can't stop! Just on my 3rd pair of Pebble Rib socks to wear with my boots. This happy colorway is Partie by Regia. Such a cheerful color that will match my many indian bead bracelets and necklaces.

Handspun Felicity

This is my first completed handspun project. After I hand carded the dyed mohair, I spun then knit into this cool hat, Felicity.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spinning Class: Session II

Today we learned to card woolen rolags from dyed mohair fleece. It can be quite a messy, smelly ordeal and yet enjoyable at the same time to think you are preparing and combing raw fiber for spinning. Nancy didn't disappoint in the homework area. She sent us home with a set of carders and an assortment of different types of fibers I'm excited to reveal but will wait to post throughout the week as I complete them.

Friday, April 10, 2009


My homework is complete for Saturday's class leaving four skeins of yarn ready for the dye pot. Making a two-ply yarn takes some work in getting a balanced twist. The singles are spun clock-wise and then you ply them together with a counter clock-wise spin. I had an ah-ha moment when everything clicked and I could pull the yarn back from the spindle and it hung gently instead of twisting back onto itself. That's a balanced twist. Another test is if the yarn hangs straight. I should get an "A" on both.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Spinning Class: Session I

Several of us signed up for spinning classes at City Arts. Today was the first day with our instructor, Nancy Squire. Judy, Jan, Maxine, Pat and I will be learning to prepare fiber, card, dye and spin yarn on a variety of different wheels. We

learned the basics of setting up a wheel and working with roving. I've had some time to get familiar with my Ashford Joy but found during class I had too much tension on the brake band and the belt broke.

But no worries, Nancy rigged me up with a new drive belt from twine and I was back in business. Nancy sent us home with three bundles of roving to practice with until next Saturday so I've got some work to do -- and a new replacement belt to order.