Thursday, July 15, 2010

Last place I thought I would learn...

about a world championship shearer!

I was innocently walking through the airport looking for the gate that would begin my trek home. I turn a corner, and I can't stop myself from going into spasms of joy...

I am thinking, would they notice if I just took a little bit with me! I could stuff some in my carry on. There is so much of it, surely no one would notice. Then I thought, if I can't take any with me, can I at least jump in and roll around in it. But I did manage to take hold of myself - and did not take any fleece home with me or jump in. I did touch it and pet it some though. And then took a picture so that I could forever remember the experience.

This large display of sheared Merino is truly a fitting display for the Purely Merino storefront of the Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport in Australia.

I decided to Google this person and discovered this person truly has a passion for shearing:

Shannon Warnest SkillsOne Video

He has won the title of World Championship Shearer twice:

It is wonderful to see people rewarded for living their passion!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Projects that worked!

Back in October 2009, with my Taking Old and New Out of Hibernation post, I updated you on some projects that took some time in the making. With this post, I will try to catch up with projects that I have completed in 2008 and 2009 that worked on the first attempt. One of the most exciting thing that I have finished... my MBA. I completed my last course for it on September 8th, 2009 and attended graduation on October 24th, 2009. Now for my completed stitching projects...

Back in June of 2008, Tanya and I decided to do a crocheted Market Bag KAL (just the two of us) using a pattern we purchased at London Wul. This was crocheted using Euroflax Linen. I had never crocheted before, so this was a learning experience for me. I finally finished the bag in September 2008 and just love it!

My husband has pestered me for a while to knit him a Tuque. He is 6'4" and has problems finding hats in the stores that are big enough for him. He asked that I knit him a hat that would keep him warm while shoveling and snow blowing. I chose the Thorpe pattern, but had to modify it (by enlarging it two sizes bigger than the biggest size) in order for it to fit him. I knit this project over one weekend in October 2008. I used two strands of Kuryen Noro. My husband is really happy with the end result.

And finally, I was looking for an easy project to bring along with me to the 8th Annual Maritime Spinner's Retreat
(Oct 2008). I decided to knit myself a pair of Fetching fingerless gloves using Rowan Tapestry yarn I had purchased at the Tangled Skein in Halifax back in the summer of 2007. I started the gloves the weekend of the retreat, and finished them on Halloween weekend. So, from start to finish it took me approximately a week. I just love the way the color turned out on these. And they are so much fun to knit.

I also have a few additional projects that I completed in 2008/2009 for which I still need to take pictures... I will post about these as soon as I get some pictures taken of them. One is a blur and the other waves...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2nd Annual Maritime Fibre Arts Retreat

What a wonderful time! I expected a wonderful weekend - and often end up disappointed when I have built my expectations up too high. This was not the case with this weekend - despite having exceedingly high expectations the retreat managed to exceed them by a mile. I met many wonderful people and had the opportunity to learn more about some fiber arts that I have only had fleeting glimpses at previously.

Tanya, Catherine, Steph and I decided to take the Friday off to start our event a day early. We took a bit ;-) of a detour to stop at Gaspereau Valley Fibres and it was well worth the extra driving. We started with a bit of a visit with animal friends.

We then entered a heavenly shop. It was difficult to decide what to pay attention to first. But barely 3 feet into the shop, my attention was captivated by the only purchase I made in this wonderful little shop - some Handmaiden Lace Silk:

That does not mean this shop did not have many other temptations!

Prior to this stop, we met with Steph's friend Liz and had a delicious lunch at Wolfville's Port Pub. I highly recommend this place for anyone looking for wonderful lunching experience.

We then continued on our way to Oak Island Resort in Mahone Bay which is where the retreat was being held.

We spent the evening spinning, knitting and meeting new people in the common area of the retreat. We also had a peek at the door prizes that were being closely guarded.

After breakfast on Saturday morning, our team of 4 ventured on another expedition to downtown Mahone Bay - where we found many wonderful shops. Our first and longest stop was at Have a Yarn. And did we ever! None of us left this place empty handed. Our biggest problem was resisting the temptation to buy everything in sight. My most favorite find (amongst many others that I brought home with me) is the Fleece Artist MO and Curly Locks that were just meant to be togheter.

We also stopped at Encompassing Designs Rug Hooking shop and Suttles and Seawinds. We celebrated our many purchases by having lunch at The Cheesecake "Cheesecack" Gallery and Bistro. Wonderful food, cheesecake and eye candy (art pieces). Sitting near the fireplace helped us warm up from the gusty winds that had chilled us while walking from shop to shop.

I came home with lots of new items for my stash.

One of my most favorite finds at the retreat itself is the 100% Cotton Two Scarf Warp kit from The Weaver's Palette the which I warped onto my loom on Monday evening (the day after getting back from the retreat). I have not yet had a chance to actually start weaving, but am looking forward to soon. This kit makes warping a fun experience. The painful parts have all been done for you. Janet Dawson of The Weaver's Palette gave very clear instructions on how to use the kit. I really enjoyed meeting her and sharing conversations about our pastimes.

I am looking forward to attending next years retreat which is scheduled to occur on April 1st, 2nd and 3rd at Oak Island Resort!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Knitting in Las Vegas

Since I travel so much for business, I decided it was time I tried incorporating my knitting hobby into my travel plans. I am currently in Las Vegas (January 31st to February 13th) and had a perfect opportunity on the Saturday to hunt out knitting shops. I did a Google Search and found Gail Knits - an amazing shop in west Las Vegas. So I dropped by on Saturday and made a few purchases. These are to make some 2010 Christmas presents:

The above is Prism Wild Stuff in Peacock colorway.

And this is Cascade Yarns Eco Alpaca in 1527 Colorway.

They invited me to stay and knit with the a group that gathers there to knit every Saturday afternoon, but unfortunately I had left my knitting back at the hotel - which was over a half hour drive away. But they told me they were open on Thursday evenings and usually got a group together then.

So on Thursday evening, after my day of work, I headed out to the knitting shop and joined an amazing group of knitters for the evening. So now I have some knitting friends in Las Vegas - people I can share my passion with when I am away from home.

I look forward to the opportunity to knit with this group again next time I am in Las Vegas!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Taking "the old and the new" out of hibernation

Back in my "The old and the new" post from Jan 2008, I told you about some projects that I was working on - Wisteria socks for my mother, Heat Wave socks for my sister and Felted Bag KAL.

Well, the reason it has taken me this long to blog again about these projects is because they seem to have been reluctant to reach completion.

I continued working on the Burgundy Wisteria socks to discover in April 2008 that I did not have enough yarn to finish the toes on the second sock. This caused me to put these socks into hibernation until I could get up the courage to frog them back and make them one size smaller. In August 2008, I took them out of hibernation and finally finished them. Luckily, despite making them smaller, they still fit my mother.

Now, the Heat Wave socks for my sister are still not done. As mentioned in my "The old and the new" post, I had originally knit this yarn into Monkey socks. But after discovering that the socks would be too big and figuring out that the yarn did not really like the Monkey pattern, I frogged them back and started knitting the Heat Wave pattern. Well, back in April 2008, I ran out of yarn for these socks as well. However, I am short so much yarn (as can be seen in the picture below) that no frogging back will allow me to finish with this pattern. So, this got put into a long hibernation...

It has now finally come out of hibernation. A few weeks ago I frogged them back and casted on to reknit this yarn as toe up socks using a pattern from the New Pathways for Sock Knitters book by Cat Bordhi. I am knitting the Spiraling Coriolis sock pattern.

And as far as the Felted Bag KAL goes, once I felted the knitted project, it felted to much smaller than I was originally anticipating. So the bag that I had originally envisioned would no longer be possible. So, this got put into hibernation until I could think of another bag project. Finally, in September 2009, I took it out of hibernation. I decided to Needle Felt some Japanese symbols indicating "Life Energy" onto the bag, I purchased some leather handles, and finally put the bag together.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Travel is more than the seeing of sights...

it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. - Miriam Beard

The reason I have not blogged over the last several months can best be explained by saying that I made Aeroplan Elite Status in the first two months of 2009 - Elite status requires 35000 miles of travel. Since the beginning of January, I have been to Las Vegas twice, to the Carribean (on a cruise), to Macau China, to Amsterdam The Netherlands, and I am currently in Sydney Australia. When I am home, I would rather spend the little bit of free time I have with my family or actually doing one of my hobbies - not blog about it.

I have started a few projects over the last two months. I have joined the London Wul February Lady's sweater KAL and am knitting this project using Alpaca. I don't have any pictures available since this project is at home and I am not.

I also decided I would learn how to do two socks at a time using the Magic Loop method, and while I was at it, decided learning how to do toe up would be cool too. I purchased some of Heidi's (from London Wul's) beautifully dyed sock yarn. The picture below shows how far along I am. I am currently working on the gusset decrease - the heel has already been turned. This project I brought along on my trip since it is quite compact to carry...

On my first day here in Sydney, Australia, I walked to a nearby knitting store and spoiled myself with several purchases. I seem to have had a consistent color scheme happening - but I'll let you judge for yourself...

This first skein of sock yarn comes from Chile and is hand dyed. It is 75% wool and 25% polyamide. It is from Araucania Yarns.

The following three skeins are designed by Jo Sharp an Australian yarn designer. It is 85% wool, 10% silk and 5%Cashmere. It is called Silkroad Aran Tweed and it the most amazing tweed yarn I have ever seen. They had it available in over 10 colors but the two you see below are the ones that really caught my eye.

And lastly I got some more Jo Sharp yarn. This one is called Rare Comfort Infusion Kid Mohair. It is basically 80% kid mohair, 5% wool and 15% Polyamide.

I also decided to buy some tapestry yarn since the I have been inspired by the guys attending the Sunday afternoon knitting group to use some of these in one of my future sock projects.

Now I need to figure out what projects I am going to make with these new purchases! On that thought I leave with a few pictures of beautiful Sydney Harbour.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spinning - must make one dizzy!

I thought it was high time that I updated you all on what I have been doing with that spinning wheel I got back in late February / early March.

I have had some fun getting acquainted with my wheel. The first thing I spun was some beige colored fleece (not sure what it is) that I received with my wheel. I plied this as a two ply yarn.

I then decided to spin some Polwarth that I had won during the 7th Annual Maritime Spinner's Retreat. Since I loved the various colors in this and wanted the colors to stay together, I decided I would try my hand at navajo plying. Since I had never done this before, I decided to search on the internet for instructions on how to navajo ply. A YouTube video entitled "How to Navajo Ply - Demystified and Unraveled" taught me the basics, and away I went. You can see the results below:

I discovered that spinning finger roving is lots of fun. Especially when it is in my beloved fall colors. I had purchased this Fleece Artist Sea Wool finger roving from Gaspereau Valley Fibers during the 7th Annual Maritime Spinner's Retreat. And since my first attempt at Navajo plying had gone so well, I navajo plied this one as well.

I have not knit anything with any of these handspun skeins yet. I really will need to find some projects for these skeins. However, I have started spinning some very colorful wool/soy silk blend which is intended for a project. Once I have finished spinning all 6 of the 1/4 lb bags of fiber, it will be turned into mittens, a scarf and a hat for my daughter. I have just over half of this spun so far. I actually spun most of this while I was at the 8th Annual Maritime Spinner's Retreat a few weekends back.

During the retreat, I also started spinning some Polwarth that I had purchased at London Wul's a few weeks prior to the retreat. I really enjoy spinning Polwarth. I find it is very easy to draft and makes it easy for a new spinner to learn how to draft while spinning.

Spinning must make one dizzy and therefore unable to think clearly. As you can probably determine from all of the fleece I purchased during the 8th Annual Maritime Spinner's Retreat, I will not run out of stuff to spin anytime soon. However, what you don't know, is that about a month ago, I purchased approximately 5 lbs of Alpaca and 5 lbs of Llama - unwashed raw fleece from the beautiful animals you can see in the pictures below. Tanya also purchased some Llama and some Alpaca. We purchased these from a local hobby farm who was looking for a good home for the fleeces. We decided we would share each of our purchases so that we would end up with each 4 different colors of fleece as opposed to only two each. So I am going to be really busy getting this stuff cleaned and spun. I blame the dizziness for this out of control fleece purchasing!!!

In an attempt to get ahead on all of this raw fleece, I decided to wash the Romney/Lincoln that I purchased during the 8th Annual Maritime Spinner's retreat. I had to wash it 3 times, and rinse it as many times to get all of the oils out. You can see a picture of it drying below. I just love the colors and can't wait to start spinning it.