Monday, July 27, 2009

Spinning wrap up from Tour de Fleace

I know I keep saying that I will get better about blogging about what I am working on, and that I need to update more than once a month or so, but once again, life got in the way. And spinning. I haven't knit much in the last month, but I have been spinning thanks to the Tour de Fleace

I have gotten in a large amount of practice on both my spindle and on the wheel, and feel like I am getting better, more consistent yarns on both, and I'm actually going to show ithem with you for once.

First up is a small project that I did using the purple merino I have had forever and a bit of a batt I picked up at Fiber Fest. The purple ply was wheel spun while the blue ply was spindle spun. It didn't turn out the way I was expecting it to, but I think I did come up with something that is usable. Second is the Rose Garden batt from ButterflyGirlDesigns that I picked up at Fiber Fest. Well, not the whole batt, this bit is only about a quarter of it. Spun on my smallest spindle, I'm getting more even and constant with this yarn. I worked on it while watching my friend Angela dance a few weeks ago, and she was fascinated that I could take fluff and turn it into yarn. This was my first time winding a plying ball, and I think it is so much easier to ply from a ball than to use my home made lazy kate. This was also the first time that I wound the finished yarn off on my PVC niddy noddie. Kaylee thought the finished yarn made a great pretty to wear.
And my first wheel spun! Way over twisted, this thing spins fast when it wants too with slow take up when the bobbins get full.
Ashland Bay Colonial Top, about 4 oz and maybe 175 yards. My MIL has claimed dibs on something made out of this.
Next up some more spindle spun yarn. "Midnight in the Meadows" from Chimera.Etsy. This is Falkland (drool, a new favorite yarn), and only 1/4 of what I have, about 150 yards, light fingerling to lace weight.
And last, what I neglected my family for this weekend to get it finished. More Falkland from Chimera in the "Crocus" colorway. 150 yards of a three ply. The singles were wheel spun, and I spindle plyed it to have one hank. Not as over spun as my first wheel spun yarn, but I do have my under spun bits in there. After a huge tangle less than 10 yards in, I did abandon the lazy kate for another plying ball (not pictured).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Wheel!

Here are the much promiced photos of my $0.99 plus shipping, wheel. It needs work (has had a little) but I'm already in love with it.

And just figured out how to do cool things with photos!
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tour de Fleace days 1-5

Look! Two posts in one day!

I'm participating in the Tour de Fleace for the first time ever this year, spinning for Team Spindle and Team Rookie.

Pardon the photos, I warned you my camera was being wonkey. Everything has developed a blueish cast.

The fist thing i'm working on for the TDF is some of the ButterflyGirl Designs batt I picked up at DFW Fiberfest in April, in the blend Rose Gardens. I've actually been working on this batt since the start of June, but have been working on the spindle above since Sunday morning on the drive to my parents.

Second up is another ButterflyGirl batt, a sample from the mixed bag I picked up, being spun on my ButterflyGirl Designs spindle. I don't have much of this fiber, but to spread out what I do have, I'm planning on plying it with the purple merino (wheel spun) on the straw.

I've also been playing with my wheel a bit this tour, trying to get used to it. I know i haven't done a big post on the wheel yet, I'm planning on it. This is the Ashland Bay Merino in English Gardens that I also picked up at Fiberfest. Going from spindle to old wheel that still needs a little bit of work does have a bit of a learning curve, but I'm getting used to it. When I was spinning the purple fiber, more than half of what I spun wound up in the trash pile, due to being over and or under spun.

Once again, its been over a month

But what a month it has been.

The kids and I went on our first vacation in, well ever, with my parents. We drove from Texas to our family reunion in Idaho in the middle of June. I did bring my camera with me, but the camera decided to crap out on me at the start of the trip, so no photos (but your used to that from me by now)
We started our trip on Saturday June 6th, meeting up at the halfway point between our house and their house for me and the kids to get loaded in their RV, and grab a quick breakfast at McDonalds with Steve before we all got on the road.
The first leg of the trip was uneventful, and nothing new to us, since it was the route we drive to get to my MIL's house in the panhandle at least two times a year. We are used to stopping every 90 minutes or so so the kids can get out, stretch their legs, potty, and burn off some energy. My dad isn't. His theory is, he's in an RV so he doesn't have to stop for potty breaks. We were halfway to Amarillo before we convinced him to stop and let the kids out to play at a rest area with a playground. After a 30 minute break where the kids and dogs got to stretch their legs and potty, and a diaper change for Kaylee, it was back in the RV. We pulled into Amarillo around 2 pm for lunch at the Big Texan. Even though I have been driving to the panhandle/Amarillo area for 15 years, this was my first trip to the Big Texan, home of the famous 72 oz steak eating challenge. The kids ate Mac n Cheese while the three adults munched on Buffalo burgers and fries. Then it was a bit of walking around the gift shop and back in the car for a few more hours. My dad thought he would make it to Pueblo, CO that first night, but in the end we decided to stop for the night in Trinidad, CO, just past the NM/CO border on highway 25.

Ah Colorado. Even though I haven't lived there in close to 25 years, its still the state that I think of as home. The smell of the mountain air was refreshing, and the mountains, oh the mountains were so beautiful! The kids and I walked around the RV park while my dad set up camp and my mom cooked a quick dinner.

Sleeping arrangements could have been better. The kids and I wound up sharing the tiny (between a twin and a full sized) bed, and I was crowded and didn't sleep well at all on the trip. One night I was able to move Corwin to the couch to sleep, and another night Kaylee slept with my parents in their queen, but for most of the trip, it was the three of us, and my two kids are both bed hogs.

Day two of the trip had us driving north along I25 through Colorado, with a few more leg stops for the kids. On one stip, in Colorado Springs, Corwin and I ran across the parking lot to Starbucks (my one addiction) while Kaylee stayed in the RV playing with my mom. We stopped for lunch north of Denver at the Lafayette exit (close to where we used to live many, many years ago) and had Famous Dave's BBQ. It was a rainy afternoon, and we noticed a large crowd from the resturant was looking out the window at something. I got up to check it out, and it was a tornado!

(pic taken with my blackberry, and grabbed from my twitter site)

Now, I have lived in a part of the country called Tornado Alley for over 20 years, but this was the first tornado that I have actually seen since we moved out of Colorado in the mid 80's. Crazy, right? After lunch, it was back in the RV, and off to Wyoming. We had another pit stop in Cheyenne then got headed west on I80 to Rollings WY for the night. We decided to try to stop earlier in the night, to give the kids a break, and actualy picked a campground with a play area, but it decided to start raining outside of town, and kept raining the rest of the evening.

Monday started with a quick breakfast at a truck stop, gas and back gain on the highway, this time heading north west towards Yellowstone national park. The original plan was to try to get a camp ground just outside or inside of Teaton National Park or to try our luck in Yellowstone, but by late morning my parents decided the kids (and dogs) had been cooped up long enough, and we were going to stop around lunch time for an afternoon of running around and playing. We stopped in Dubois, WY, and driving through town, I saw a knitting and spinning store. I knew where I was going to try to take a walk too :). We all walked into town from the camp grown at lunch and explored town a little, but to my disappointment, the yarn store was closed on Mondays. *Sigh*
After lunch we walked around the camp ground, and let the kids and dogs run around the park, play in the outside play ground (which still had some snow on it from the night before), and play in the indoor game room a bit. We also got firewood and S'more makings and made some after dinner.
Tuesday morning we loaded up, had a quick breakfast in town and headed along the road to Teaton and Yellowstone.

Our view of the Teatons was cloudy, but they were still pretty.
Teatons and Jackson Lake.jpg | TweetPhoto

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I had been looking froward to taking my kids to Yellowstone since the first month I was pregnant with Corwin, and I was excited to finally be able to do that. It was early enough in the season that there was still snow on the ground as we drove in from the south entrance. Corwin my mom and I kept looking for wildlife out the windows while my dad drove. I don't remember seeing much wildlife while we were driving that first leg, but we did see plenty while we were there.
Corwin loved seeing the geysers, and I think Old Faithful and the other geyser basins were his favorite from the first day. He got excited every time he saw steam or water shoot up into the air. Kaylee was still too young to know, understand, enjoy much of anything that was going on. on our drive around the park we saw tons of Buffalo and Elk, even having one brave Elk dart in front of our RV as we rounded a curve. We spent the night in Canyon in a cabin with two Queen sized beds, and it was nice not to be cramped in that tiny bed with the kids, but both still slept on me. We picked up some suvies; shirts for me and the kids, a cap for Corwin, post cards and went on our way again, seeing Tower falls, and dad, Corwin and I hiking down to the base of the falls. On the drive to Mammoth Hot springs we saw lots of wild life, tons of elk, and even a buffalo right where we got out for a quick walk and potty break for the dogs.
The only thing about Yellowstone that disappointed me was Mammoth Hot Springs. I had been there only once before, in 2000 when Steve and i went with my brother Scott and his late wife Cindy. I remember it being a long hike to see the sites, but it was still beautiful. Well, time and changes in the geothermic activity of the park have hit Mammoth Hot Springs, and the springs that we were able to access with Corwin's short legs had dried up, except for the ones on the very top of the climb, or on the much long loop.
After Mammoth Hot springs, it was time to leave Yellowstone, and head to Rigby, ID and my aunts house, which was another two hours down the road. We arrived Wednesday afternoon, and my cousin Gregory greeted us all with tall stiff drinks, and my aunt had balls and water bottles for the kids. The family reunion was fun, but I don't really have much that I want to talk about with it right now.

And I promise more knitting/spinning/fitness content soon. I just realized how long this post was.