Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm a Winner!

As I previously discussed, I entered an endurance race called the Tour de Fleece.  I joined a few teams, but the one I was true to was the HansenCrafts miniSpinner group.

They had several challenges:

1.  Poundage of pets in your lap
2.  Most hours spinning
3.  Longest thread of one ounce of fiber
4.  Craziest footwear
5.  Most unusual location
6.  The yarn that looks most like the person spinning it
7.  Most miniSpinners in one gathering
8.  Best excuse for not meeting your goal
9.  Your personal challenge

I entered challenges 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, and 9.  There was some serious competition out there and some of the results of the spinners just blew my mind.

I won a prize for challenges 1 and 4.  Here was my entry for pets in lap (mine was not technically in my lap but Bailey was so hilarious).
Also my goofy slippers won as the craziest footwear.
It was quite a fun adventure but I did learn some lessons about spinning.  I look forward to next year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summary of Tour de Fleece 2011

Well I started the Tour with the best intentions of spinning every day except for the rest days.  I can say I was somewhat successful but I sort of lost all steam the last week - I guess I just don't have the endurance to finish the race.

My goal was to see if I could commit to spinning every day but what I found was that it became a chore for me to do so.  I lost all enjoyment that I had for spinning because I was limited in the time I had to devote to my crafts.

I missed weaving and knitting and even sewing.  I would look over at my neglected crafts while I was pushing myself to spin each and every day.  In the last week, I ended up knitting, weaving, and doing some sewing to attain my balance again.

My conclusion is that I need the variety of all my crafts to keep my balance so everything is still fun and enjoyable.

Next year, I think I will be with the team in spirit but I will not be spinning daily unless I have a specific project in mind to finish.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

War of the WIPs 2011

I was perusing some blogs and happened upon this one which discussed WIPs - works in progress that have languished for what ever reason.

Since I have finished my formal commitment to the cold sheep - this might be a good thing to tackle next.  I confess that I have quite a few projects that are languishing - here is a listing:

Tilted Duster - started December 2008

Sweet Indulgence - started July 2008

Dazed and Confused ZigZag Scarf - started May 2008

Felted Slippers - started December 2007
Bikini - started January 2008 (I don't know what I was thinking!)
Linen Stitch Scarf - started July 2010 and frogged

Linen Stitch Faroese Shawl - started September 2009 and frogged

Teddy Bear Aran Sweater - started September 2009 on Alaskan cruise.
Basic Socks - started February 2009
Hey Teach Sweater - started October 2009
Evenstar - started January 2010
Hairpin Lace Hat - started February 2010
Featherweight Cardigan - started April 2010
Tea Leaves Cardigan - started June 2010
Flirty Lace Tank - started July 2010; restarted July 2011
Sunkist Cardi - started September 2010; restarted July 2011

Woodland Winter Mittens - started January 2011

In Dreams Shawl - started February 2011
Vonica - started May 2011

Felted Bear - started June 2011

Cashmere Dimma - started July 2011

Fondle This! July Project - started February 2011.  I finished the spinning of the fiber but have yet to start knitting the associated project.
At the end of this year, the War is suppose to be won but I don't think there is enough time left in the year to even make a serious dent in the WIPs.  I'm going to have to extend my deadline to at least the end of 2012 and re-evaluate at that time to see which side is winning the battle.

In addition to continuing my other crafts, I'm going to try very hard not to start any new projects before at least finishing some of these WIPs.  I don't know why I have such a mental block, but wish me luck in wrestling some of these projects down.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Adventures on the I-5

So I had to be in Los Angeles for a few days for work this week and I finally was able to leave on friday afternoon after spending all day in the courthouse.

It was a tedious drive home since the traffic was congested like nobody's business.  It took me 3.5 hours to get to Encinitas and along the way saw this in lane 1 when I was stopped.
This is a smart car with Hello Kitty.  I could not tell if she was on both doors or just the passenger side.  Here is another photo of it when it pulled ahead of me.
I test drove one of these cars in the convertible version when they first came out and I decided that for the money and the space (you can't do a decent CostCo run), it wasn't the car for me.  I'm not sure who was driving it, but I hope it was a young girl.

Then when I got to Crown Valley Parkway, I was driving about 35 mph in lane 1 in anticipation of the car pool lane ending when I felt a grating noise and a bump.  I looked around and saw a full size ram truck pulling to the left shoulder and the BMW that was in lane 2 next to me pull over so I followed them over to the shoulder.

The truck driver was young and pretty shaken up especially after I told him he hit my Government issued ride.  I had to call to get a police report and to have the patrols clear the lanes to move all of us to the right shoulder.  Granted traffic was heavily congested at that time of day so it took a little while for that to be accomplished.

After taking everyone's statements, we were released by the CHP and I was back in the traffic.  I think my car sustained the most damage and everything seems to run okay, but my light is busted and will need replacing.  Maybe it is time for my replacement vehicle....
I will have to wait until monday to start filing the paperwork on the accident.  It is a total inconvenience when I have so many other things to do....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Golden Kiwi

My mom gave me some golden kiwis when I visited.  It took a while for them to ripen but boy were they good.  They are larger than your average green kiwi
and this is what it looks like on the inside - a beautiful golden color!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stainless Steel Yarn?

When I took the knitting cruise to Alaska back in 2009, I purchased a scarf knit kit from Churchmouse Yarns and Tea on Bainbridge Island.

The kit was called Kushu Kushu from Habu Textiles which comes with two cones of yarn - one superfine merino and one silk stainless steel.

The scarf pattern is knit in stockinette stitch and has some decreases and multiple changes of needle size.  I started with US 8s, then went down to US 6, US 4, and US 3 successively.

For the first part of the scarf, I held both strands of yarn together and knit and then near the end, I only knit with the stainless steel yarn.  I was able to choose the colors of the yarn and I chose a pretty green and the stainless steel in black.

The yarn is really fine and it took me forever to knit as I only knit it at monday night knit group.

Here are the leftover yarn on the cones.
Here is the scarf before washing.  It was very long and almost as tall as me.
Here is the washed scarf.  It shrunk up by about half.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First Plumeria Bloom of the Year

I inherited a yellow plumeria shrub from the previous owner of the house and it has grown quite a bit even with dog mishaps.

I finally got my first bloom this season.  The smell is wonderful.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Second Order from Dinner A Go Go

With my second Living Social coupon, I picked up my sampler dinner order from Dinner A Go Go.  You can see what I got the last time here.

For this month's menu, I ordered:

Baked Ravioli
Bourbon Salmon with Roasted Vegetables
Buffalo Mac n Cheese
Beer Braised Green Chile Tacos with Chicken.  I had requested it with shrimp and rice, but I guess that wasn't an option.
Brats, Pirogies and Kraut

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Carding Experiment - Part 1

Recently my friend Jude directed me to a discussion about drum carding on the Yarn Harlot's blog.  After a class with Judith MacKenzie, she determined that there was certain way to blend a batt of fiber.

Judith recommended that one feed all the fiber on perpendicular to the drum card.  I decided to see what the difference was in the preparation.  I previously just fed the fiber in willy nilly and did not pay too much attention to the method.

I received the fiber sandwich fiber from here.  Since I had two clumps of fiber, I did an experiment on the carding technique.

Here is the first batt fed perpendicular to the drum.
First time through.
Second time through.

Here is the second batt fed parallel to the drum.
 First time through.
 Second time through.
It was easier to feed the fiber through parallel since I could fit more fiber on the drum the first time out.  I was able to distribute the fiber more evenly this way too.

However, the batts are fluffier (more volume) feeding the fiber perpendicular (method 1) as you can see here.
I'm thinking that one batt would be easier to spin woolen which is not my default technique.  I definitely am a worsted spinner.  Off to test my theory.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Day 15

I had spin day today with my buds and I was able to finish the second ounce of the merino/bamboo fiber.
I had a lot of help spinning today as you can plainly see.

Fiber Trade

I spun on my indian book charkha as discussed here during my spin group's cotton day.  After tuning it up and cleaning it off, I was able to spin cotton but it was with starts and stops.  Even though I am the puni queen, I couldn't not smoothly spin cotton on this charkha.  I have a box of punis in the closest where the charkha also went.

I saw an ad of Ravelry requesting a trade of fiber/yarn for a charkha.  I figured that maybe my charkha would like someone else better and perform better as well.  A bargain was struck and the charkha went off in the post and I went off the Black Sheep Gathering.

When I got home, this is what was in my mail box.
Merino/silk blends, merino/bamboo blends, and some BFL.  I can't wait to spin some of this stuff up.  The colors are great.  Theresa did a great job dyeing and if you are interested in acquiring some for yourself, you can shop here.