Friday, December 29, 2006

Etsy Store Now Open For Business!

Well, it looks like I have completed one of my 2007 resolutions before the year has even begun! I have just opened my Etsy store. My store location is: I will be adding more in the days and weeks ahead, but am very excited that I was able to take this step!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Where does the time go?

All of a sudden, Christmas is over and New Year's is just around the corner. It always seems that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas moves in the blink of an eye.

I have been extremely busy the last month, finishing Christmas presents and spinning yarn on my new wheel. I participated in the annual craft fair at my office and sold my first skein of hand-spun yarn!

Unfortunately, all my fiber-related creative work has come to a grinding halt this past week. The day of Glenn's concert, I fell and popped my left thumb. I was able to put it back, but the damage was done. I had my friend Tonya bring me to the ER, and after waiting about five hours, I found out I had "soft tissue damage" needed to follow up with an osteo specialist. It looks like I have some tendon damage and am now in a soft brace. Sadly, I haven't been able to spin or crochet since my fall.

I am, however, working on other "creative" projects for 2007, including a self-published crochet pattern book and an Etsy shop. I am also toying with the idea of doing a podcast series.

So, I wish that 2007 be a positive, creative time for all with plenty of time to crochet and spin!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sheep to Shawl

Yesterday I had a chance to head down to Faith & Begorra in Denville, NJ for their annual Sheep to Shawl day. What a great time I had! A lovely lady named Betty was giving spinning demonstrations and let me try her Louet wheel with the Woolee Winder on it. What a great option! There were also three sheep there, a lovely ram named Bo and two ewes. Bo was quite friendly to everyone. Someone was also giving knitting demonstrations. Sadly, my digital camera decided to go on strike, so I wasn't able to take photos.

It was a great, inspiring day!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

One busy lady...

For the last week, I have been crocheting like a woman possessed. I don't know if it is due to my inspiring trip to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival, but I have been doing a lot of crocheting. I finished up several coin purses and eyeglass cases for a craft show in Cape May. I shipped them off to a friend who will be at the booth, selling them for donations to Casting For Recovery. I have also been working on pieces for the craft fair at our office in December.

There is something magical and meditative about the fiber arts to me. I have crocheted for several years, have started spinning in the last year, and just purchased a lap loom at Rhinebeck. The connection I feel to fiber arts is almost indescribable, and I consider myself lucky to have found it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My First Trip to Rhinebeck

Last Sunday I attended the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival for the first time and I can say without a doubt that this was the BEST fiber show I have ever attended!

I booked a spot on a bus trip that left from Jilldeal Inc. yarn shop in Milford, PA. Alisa from the NJ Fiber Fanatics, a Yahoo discussion group and I made a plan to drive up to Milford together.

Well, we had a great time! We trekked all over the entire show, desperate to make sure we saw everything! I made some much needed purchases, including a pair of hand carders, a ball winder and a lap loom. What a day! I also bought a pair of Alpaca gloves and some fiber.

From what I heard, Saturday was VERY busy, so I am glad we went on Sunday. I don't mind people, but extreme crowds can be a little tough.

I can't tell you what a great feeling of positive energy I received from attending Rhinebeck! It made it tough to go back to the "real world" job on Monday. Note to self, take Monday off next year.

I really wanted to bring home a bunny, but there's that whole condo thing again. They were just adorable! Alisa and I even got to bunny sit for a little while!

It was just a wonderful day from start to finish. I can't wait until next year!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tapestry Crochet

I am quite late in posting, but I attended a wonderful class this past Sunday with Carol Ventura. She taught several classes on Tapestry Crochet at Nonna's Yarn Cafe in Denville, NJ. I took the flat tapestry class and it was VERY interesting! I truly enjoyed it and picked up her second book, "More Tapestry Crochet." If anyone is curious to try this technique, I highly recommend it!

This weekend I will be attending the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY. I can't wait and will be sure to report on my trip!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Breed Swap: First Lesson Learned

So last night I cleaned my first raw fiber...Ever. I was very happy that I was successful and didn't create felt. I did however learn that it can be a little tough to clean, dry and card raw fiber in a one bedroom condo. So, my first lesson learned is that it is probably best to send out any raw fiber I purchase to be processed professionally. I am sending out the rest of my Icelandic on Monday to The Wooly Knob Fiber Mill. I used them in the past and they do a great job and do not require a minimum amount of fiber.

So, I am sure this will not be the last lesson I learn during this breed swap!

Friday, October 13, 2006

A New Project

I have the pleasure of taking part in a great group on Yahoo called the Spindlers. We are working on a new educational swap, which I think is going to be a long of fun a a great learning experience!

Thirty-two of us each have selected a breed of animal that is fiber producing. Each member will provide a background of the breed, one yard of two-ply spun fiber and a lock for each person participating. All that will be mailed to one wonderful person who will assemble "study notebooks" for each person and ship them to us!

This will be a true learning experience for me because I purchased all of the fiber as raw, so this will be the first time I will be scouring fiber, as well as my first attempt at plying!

I must say I was VERY nervous about scouring the fiber. I have heard so many horror stories of creating felt, that I must have read directions from more than 10 different sources.

Here is a photo of some of the fiber as I received it. Overall, it looked pretty good to me. I purchased from a lovely woman on Ebay who was very patient in helping me understand how to handle, clean and work with my selection, Icelandic wool.

So, I took a deep breath and filled my first tub of hot water and Dawn liquid. I added some fiber and let it sit. I then rinsed it, and rinsed it and rinsed it again. I then did a "final" rinse using some Euclean and...yay! I didn't felt it!

Here is my "clean" result. As I did each batch, I felt my confidence grew. I realized I didn't need to add quite so much Dawn and I didn't need to do as many rinses.

I have about two pounds of fiber and a small bag of locks. I did one pound tonight and will do the other pound tomorrow and the locks on Sunday. I will be sure to keep you all posted on my progress.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A wonderful weekend!

Glenn and I headed to Riverton, CT with our friends, Mickey and Mary Goshen, for a weekend of fun and fly fishing on the Farmington River. The weather was off and on, which made fishing even tougher than usual. It was still a wonderful weekend!

We did make one "fiber-related" stop to The Wool Connection in Avon, CT. The ladies who worked there were just lovely and helped us make great choices, including some fiber for spinning from Ashford!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Received My Wheelbag!

When I got home tonight, I havd a pleasant surprise waiting for wheel bag from The Bag Lady! She did a lovely job and I am very happy with my decision to go with denim, rather than a tapestry. It is very much my style. The bag is completely padded and fits the bag in its upright position. I will definitely feel much better when I travel with my wheel now that it will be protected.

The Rose Comes to the Office

Well, yesterday was a special Stitch and Bitch at work. Our "bitch emeritus" came for a visit, and I promised her I would bring in Miss Rose. I haven't received my bag yet, but I was very careful transporting her by wrapping her in a fleece blanket and strapping her into the front seat.

Everyone just loved it and I had so much fun showing her off! As I improve on how to spin, I can TOTALLY see myself doing demonstrations. Such fun!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Shameless Promotion

I am pleased to announce that a new book is out called Hooked: A Crocheter's Stash of Wit and Wisdom. The reason I am telling you all about this is because I have an essay published in this book. I am very excited about this! It tells the story of how I started crocheting and it is really in honor and memory of my gradmother. If you happen to pick it up and read my essay, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Today's Lesson

So today I had my first formal lesson on my Rose from my instructor, Susan Dunne-Lederhaas of North Country Spinners. She spent quite a bit of time going over all the different options on the wheel and how best to utilize them. There are certainly a lot of different ways to use this wheel! We also talked about how to use hand carders properly and how to ply. I am just amazed how many ways you can use this wheel. This is certainly a wonderful piece of equipment I will be able to grow with for a long time to come.

My next investment will be in a pair of hand carders and a ball winder. Yay! More toys to buy!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My First Skein

Well, I finally finished my first skein in my new Majacraft Rose! I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out. My big worry was setting the twist. I followed the directions exactly from Spin It: Making Yarn From Scratch and I didn't felt it!

The big question I am getting from everyone is "what are you going to make with it?" I was telling everyone that it hadn't told me yet! But, last night I started thinking about a keyhole scarf. I have a few projects to make first and then I'll get started on a project for this special yarn!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Taking time to never forget

As I got ready for work this morning, as usual, I made coffee and turned on Fox News. I immediately became transfixed as they replayed parts of the broadcast from five years ago. I evenaully had to pull myself away 15 minutes before I was due to arrive at work. I hadn't seen the telecast live that morning, but it was as if it was a live broadcast today.

I was already on my way to work the morning the world changed. I didn't see the news live, but listened to the radio at the office to the news reports. It made me think an odd though, wondering if this is what Americans did as the events of World War I and II took place? I left the office and headed to an elementary school to check on my friend's mother, as her husband worked for the Secret Service at the time at the World Trade Center. She eventually heard from him that day; he was safe.

I grew up in North Jersey and there is a spot in Belleville, where you have a beautiful view of the NYC skyline. After that day, I couldn't go look from that spot for a long time. Even when I had to drive by that area, I drove as if I was in a tunnel, not wanting to look. I remember that smell of the fire and the smoke that came across the Hudson River.

I just wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on this day and hope to remind everyone to never forget on the day the world changed. May God Bless The United States Of America.

Friday, September 08, 2006

When all else fails...RTFM

Success! I have something that actually looks like yarn!

I started out again tonight attempting to spin on my new toy, my Majacraft Rose. I predrafted some fiber and began to treadle, the fiber began to spin and once again, I couldn't get it to go onto the bobbin. I finally pulled out the manual and began to read. What a concept! I found the "troubleshooting" section and saw that there was a section about just this issue. I made a minor adjustment to the spring tension and it goes! My heart skipped a beat! It felt like the first time I was able to double-haul on my flyrod. I proceed to continue to spin a half a batt of fiber for just about two hours when my husband finally said it was time to settle down for the night. Settle down?? But I HAVE it! I knew it was time, but I was finally getting it. I playing iwth spinning thick and think, putting bumps in the yarn and just generally play.

So it just goes to show you, when all else fails, RTFM. ;-)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Using fiber for the first time

Well, there she is. The Majacraft Rose in my new little spinning corner of the living room. I have been practicing just treadling for the last few days and I just couldn't wait anymore...I added fiber to the mix. I pulled out some batts from Linda Diak at Grafton Fibers and took a deep breath. I started out working the fiber, attempting to mimic what Betty demonstrated to me when I made my purchase. Well, I have successfully made...rope! I seem to be able to spin it OK, but I can't get it to feed onto the spool. My husband Glenn has been very supportive, reminding me that it just takes practice, like everything else and it will come in time. Like most of my "analog" interests (crochet, fly fishing, fly tying and now spinning), the skill came in time.

Stay tuned...

Monday, September 04, 2006

My first post!

Well, after many people telling me I should start a blog, I finally did! As the summer ends I am embarking on a new fiber journey...spinning on a wheel! I have been playing with spindles for a while now and decided to make the jump to a wheel. I have been doing a LOT of research and finally settled on The Rose from Majacraft. It is just beautiful! I made an appointment at The Spinnery in Frenchtown with owner Betty and spent two hours in her shop yesterday getting to know the wheel. Well, I fell absolutely in love! It also has a special meaning to me because my grandmother's name was Rose. Now I will always think of her as I am spinning or crocheting.

Well, that's it for now. I hope you will check back often on my fiberous journey!