Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's beginning to look like a reef

I'm getting there.

I got two more little corals done over the weekend. Both are crocheted with Noro Kureyon from stash.

The project is shaping up very nicely. So far I am using all the yarn from stash. And all the patterns were made up as I crocheted. All one-of-a-kind. All fun. And fast.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bill's Reef Update

Slowly but surely.

I was engrossed in the Tour de Fleece spinning that I hardly worked on the coral reef project.

I did felt the base coral which turned out really well and is now a manageable size and crocheted another small coral. This one is an elongate one pane hyperbolic shape crocheted with two strands of fingering-weight yarn and one strand of mohair from Mountain Colors.

The project is taking shape.

Moving right along. I got another coral done too but haven't taken a picture yet.

In the meantime I came home yesterday from the Tour de Fleece victory party at Uniquities with a new toy:

Meet the Majacraft Aura, my new spinning wheel. The latest creation from Majacraft, the Aura is designed first for the new "art yarn." But it can do anything from poofy, thing, embellished art yarn to lace yarn without changing the whorl. And that's the beauty of it. I sat down at it for about five minutes at the Uniquities spinning day and was hooked. It can do a lot of things my Majacraft Rose can do, and more. We are getting to know each other. I am spinning on the Rose still, though. She is my first wheel and my first love. She won't be sitting gathering dust for sure.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tour de Fleece update

I have been spinning, but not posting.

This is the last week of the tour already, yet I have not been posting my progress as much as I had hope. Oh well, here is a pictorial recap:

Fiber one was All Spun Up Blue Face Leicester/silk two ply. Then I plied it with a single from color two -- Pigeonroof Studio Crocodile Tears, which is also a BFL/sil blend. The third section was two ply Pigeonroof solid.

Then I had the PRS and a merino/silk roving from Squoosh Fiber Arts:

And a section of solid Squoosh.

Looking good.

Next up was a Squoosh single plied with a merino single from Artemis fiber from New Zeland:

That's how far I got with knitting. I spun up two more fibers, though, ready for the next two sections.
The next one is two Artemis singles plied together:

Then the last fiber -- merino from Spunky Eclectric Fiber.

I only have one last fiber to spin and that is the two Spunky singles plied together.

The Tour de France ends this Sunday, so will the Tour de Fleece. There is a victory party at Uniquities Sunday. Think I'll make it?

I think I will!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Instant gratification

With a little violence thrown in.

I am working on a spin/crochet along scarf with the Snobby Spinners group on Ravelry.

It is fun, and fast! And a great learning experience.

I started with this merino/silk roving.

First off the batt this is totally NOT my colors! But the pattern we are doing is Queen Anne's lace so I wanted something pretty in pink. It is also not a pattern I would pick for myself.

Then I decided to try spinning from the fold. Another first. It is a combination worsted/woolen spinning in a sense that you use short forward draw (worsted) but you introduce the twists into the fiber before you let the yarn into the bobbin (woolen draw).

And it was fast.

I wanted a worsted weight single for this project. Therein lied the problem. Despited using the largest whorl of the wheel and threadling very slowly, I still got a very overtwisted yarn. On the bobbin it didn't look too bad:

But once I wound it off I could see we had a little problem here:

Yarn spaghetti!

It's time to teach the yarn who's boss. And not in a gentle way. I washed the yarn first in very hot water, then very cold. After wringing out most of the water I beat the living daylight out of it. Yep, just whacked the poor thing on the kitchen counter top.

The transformation is amazing:

Now we were talking. It was slightly overtwisted still, so I ran it back on the wheel in the reversed direction that I spun the fiber to take out some more twist and got the yarn I wanted.

400 yards of beautiful singles, 11 wraps per inch. It is working up fast too!

I like it.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Bill's coral reef

Memories are made of this.

Yesterday marked the third anniversary of Bill's passing. I could hardly believe it. He had been gone three years. The first two years were so hard, but through the support of friends and families and through counseling I have come to live with the grief and have turned the grief into positive memories and have been able to find joy in life again.

And the past year has been just that. Joy.

And the memories of Bill have changed. They are now wonderful, happy memories. The wonderful memories of 17 happy years we had together.

And I am crocheting those memories into a coral reef for him.

The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC is putting on an exhibit later this year called the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Exhibit and they are calling crocheters around the area to contribute. The idea started in Australia as a campaign to raise awareness of the danger to the fragile coral reef and it took off in countries around the world. And now it has come to the nation's capital.

I am making a reef in Bill's memory.

Actually, Bill I a reef now. He is part of the Eternal Reef. Bill was an avid diver. We went to the Great Barrier Reef for our honeymoon. What a fitting tribute.

This is what I got so far. Here is the base:

And I started on one little one:

The base is made with Cascade Pastaza. This little coral head is crocheted with sock yarn, two strands held together. I dyed the yarn with Wilton food coloring! It was a dyeing experiment. This is free-form crochet. No pattern. Crochet as you go. Fun.

Tour de Fleece days 1-3

Let the wheel begin.

Just a quickie post. I have something more important to talk about in a post to follow.

I went to Uniquities to launch the Tour. Here is a progress achieved over the weekend.

I am trying to knit up some right now just to see how the transition color will work out. I don't think I will get the shawl done during the tour but that will be okay. I am not planning on it anyway. There are so many things going on right now and I just take on another translation assignment which mean spinning/knitting time will be pushed aside somewhat.

More importantly, I am making Bill's coral reef.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Tour de Fleece

Spinning my way into glory.

Or so I hope.

As cyclists around the world are gearing up for the Tour de France which starts tomorrow, we spinners are also gathering our fiber and oiling our wheels and gearing up for our Tour de Fleece.

I am going over the my LYS, Uniquities, tomorrow to participate in the launch. This will be my first year in the tour and I am ready.

I am spinning these five fibers:

Two-ply, fingering weight. They will be knitted to make the Charlotte's web shawl.

21 days. I knitted a sweater for the Ravelympics in 17 days. Over-achiever again aren't we?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I am happy and it shows

Let the pictures do the talking.

The house is happy.

The flowers are blooming everywhere.

The garden is growing.

And we share it with the backyard creatures.

And particularly this guy: Scampers!

The house is home once again. And I am happy, happy, happy!