Time flies when you're having fun, right?
Eh. Time just flies.
I have been having fun, but have also been more than a tad crazed and stressed out (mainly self-induced stress, which I'm really good at, but stress nonetheless).
Rhinebeck was awesome. Thanks so much to everyone who came by the booth, braved the crowds and lines, and helped support my fiber addiction by purchasing yarns and fibers from me. You're the reason I can keep doing this :-D.
SOAR was fabulous. I took the 3-day Natural Dyes of the Mexican Highlands retreat session. The teacher, Demetrio Bautista Lazo, is a Zapotec from Mexico who creates the most phenomenal woven rugs. All the yarns for the rugs are dyed with natural dye stuffs; he does most of the dyeing and now has 35 people weaving with / for him.
Here is Demetrio with one of his weavings, based on a painting created by a friend of his and using all natural dyes (indigo, cochineal, Mexican chamomile and other dyestuffs he finds in the mountainsm, on wool and silk):
And here is another of his phenomenal weavings. The curves in this just blow my mind. Not to mention the colors:
And here is Demetrio at the indigo dyepot:
Demetrio was a very relaxed teacher, which I enjoyed very much. The best thing I learned in this workshop was that all of these colors are created with very safe mordants ~ alum, baking soda, lime juice. wood ash. That's basically all he uses. We got a TON of colors. This was an eye opener for me, because all the natural dye books I have (and I have many) talk about nasty mordants that I just don't want a) in my house and b) to have to deal with.
So, I came home with cochineal, indigo and chamomile, and alot of anticipation about the possibilities. I doubt I'll start using natural dyes for "work" dyeing (although who knows, there may be some naturally dyed roving now and then). But for personal exploration and experimentation, the possibilities are endless and exciting. I now have all the equipment and materials I need ... just need to find the time to do something with it.
After SOAR came the Knitter's Review Retreat which was, as always, an awesome weekend. I took no photos, or classes since I was vending. But that was actually okay, because I had time to set up my booth less frantically and visit with friends.
After the Retreat, I actually took a little time off to relax and rejuvenate. I don't think I took enough time, but am planning / hoping that December will be a quietish month with just some special order dyeing and website updating. Then January comes along with 2011 Club openings, and then MDSW is just a skip away (not thinking about that right now, though!).
Since August, I've also finished 2 sweaters and am well on my way to finishing a third (which makes 4 for the year so far, but who's counting ;-D ). I have steadily been getting sick of my old sweaters and not knitting any new ones (I think I was waiting til I lost some weight, and not that I've given up on that but I needed some new sweaters more than I could wait anymore) ... sorry these photos are not actually on my body; I can't take photos of myself with any kind of success at all.
The first is a top down pullover, one of those sweaters I designed as I went along that I think I've already posted about. Knitted with a DK weight California Variegated Mutant / Angora blend yarn from a local friend's farm, it's my current favorite go-to sweater (as evidenced by the fact that the angora is already badly pilling out of it, alas). It's totally soft enough to wear next-to-the-skin, which is how I usually wear it because it's pretty warm with the angora, and is also totally reversible, which is great:
A rather fuzzy close up of the sleeve detail, which is knitted with some leftover Birte yarn I had laying around:
Second up is a sweater I knitted from the yarn I spun this past summer during the Tour de Fleece, a three ply aran weight. The pattern is Mr. Greenjeans, but I added buttons all the way down (I'm not a one-button kind of gal). This was a quick, easy pattern. I started it October 22 and finished it November 15.
So, two plies are from Bluefaced Leicester batts I drumcarded back in late 2009 / early 2010, from some BFL top I had dyed in autumny shades several years ago, which although they looked sort of plum-colored in the fiber ended up being sort of rust-colored once spun, and a third ply of light gray Jacob. I also added a crocheted edging of light gray Jacob. Love this sweater (haven't blocked it yet, so don't look TOO closely):
And a close up of the neckline:
And lastly, still on the needles but making quick progress (I started it on November 20), is an Allegan Cardigan from The Knitter's Book of Wool.
This is knit in a worsted weight cashmere I just happened to have in my stash (dyed by me a couple of years ago in a brownish-plum sort of color, not as variegated as it looks in the photos; I don't remember where the yarn actually came from other than that I purchased it white):
And a close up ...
This is another great, easy-knit pattern. It's wonderfully scrunchy from the stitch pattern, whcih creates a totally reversible rib pattern (I'm envisioning a scarf to match in the event I have any yarn leftover). I'm also planning to put a zipper in this sweater rather than the buttons called for, because it's more form-fitting and I think a zipper will work nicely (and reduce the possibility of the sweater bulging where I may not want it to).
In between all this sweater knitting, I also knitted a Christmas stocking for my new niece, who will be a year old in early December (no photo though; gave it to my brother already). And a couple of other smaller items. Yeah, I've been knitting alot these days. It's been nice.
After Allegan is finished, I'm not sure what I'll start next. I have quite a bit of fiber I'd like to spin for another sweater, so I may start one of those bags (one of which is white cormo/silk from Barbara Parry at Foxfire, and destined for an indigo pot once it's spun).
For now, I'm gearing up to update my website within the next week or so. I have quite alot of yarns and fibers to get loaded up, which will be nice once it's all done. And I'm thinking of having a Holiday sale in early-mid December, as a thank you to everyone for such a great year.
And then the 2011 Club opens January 1 ... still finalizing yarns and fibers.
So stay tuned for more info on a December sale, and Club openings.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Time flies when you're having fun, right?