Thursday, March 24, 2011

Extreme Home Improvement Makeover

Squirrel Edition

We have a big back yard with lots of trees. Right outside our breakfast room window is a big maple tree. A few days ago I noticed some twigs and branches in the fork of the tree trunk.

A pair of squirrels was trying to build a nest there. As with most young parents, they don't exactly know what they are doing. The next morning most of their work ended up on the ground.

They brought the twigs and leaves back up again only to have them back on the ground. This went on for three days. At that rate they weren't going to have their nest any time soon.

Schauer/Vercio to the rescue!

I found information on how to build a squirrel nesting box on the web, and Carl set out to work:

Building the box wasn't so hard. It was getting it up there.



..and three!


You'd better move in now, Scampers!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Fabulous Fiber Market

Fiber Frolics!

This past Saturday my local yanr store Uniquities held its semi-annual Fiber's Farmer Market at the Vienna Community Center in Vienna, Virginia.

It was their fourth fiber fest, the biggest to date. And it was big. Loads of fleece, yarn and roving from local farms and dyers such as Wild Hare Fiber Studio from Front Royal and Spirit Trail Fiber Works, to name a few.

Lawrie's Laine had a table where you can custom order your project bags and needle holders.

Uniquities showcased their latest fibers and yarns:

There was a table for bake sale goodies where all the proceeds went to support one of Uniquities' employee who will be participating the the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk this fall. Check out the "Sheep Pops."

Or the "yarny" cup cakes.

But the highlight of the afternoon was the "From Sheep to Scarf" demonstration. Six spinners and a weaver sat down and carded raw Romney fleece, donated by Solitude Wool, and weaved a scarf, all in just over two hours!

Jasmine donated the fleece:

We carded and spun.

Robin weaved.

Two and a half hours later:

Go Team Uniquities!

Hey we might not be up to entering in the Maryland Sheep and Wool competition yet, we we're mighty proud!

Friday, March 04, 2011


Vacation pix -- about time to wrap it up!

I got sidetracked and have not had a chance to wrap up my pictorial post of our vacation in Thailand. Finally, here it is.

You really cannot go to Bangkok without visiting the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace. The temple itself is the most important Buddhist structure in Thailand and the Grand Palace is where the Kings of Thailand used to live. Even though there are no resident monks at the temple and the king has his residence eleswhere and the two places basically are for ceremonial functions, they still command a awesome presence in Bangkok.

They definitely are a showcase of traditional Thai architecture.

I particularly like the giants that stand guard throughout the compound.

These guys are characters from the Thai classical tale "Ramakien" which is a Thai version of the Indian epic Mahabharata which you can say is the Oriental version of the Iliad.

Now who do you think is better-looking?

Plenty of gold, colored glasses and tiles.

Adjacent to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is the Grand Palace. Built in 1782 by Rama I, the founder of Bangkok and the present ruling royal House of Chakri, the palace had been resident of Thai kings until the death of Rama VIII (the present king's elder brother) in 1946.

Today it is primarily used for ceremonial functions.

Buckingham Palace it is not, but there is the changing of the guards:

Not far from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Wat Pho, better known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

A close-up of the face. I love how serene he looks.

Wat Pho is also the birthplace of the famous traditional Thai massage. In fact there is a shool there that attracts students from all over the world.

Well, I think that about wraps up our visit to Thailand. It was a wonderful visit. It seals our relationship, our commitment to each other. My mom cried when Carl told her and my dad, in Thai, that he loved me very much.

I am not alone anymore.

And I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A totally experimental sweater

And a totally, totally satisfying experience!

I wanted to do more with my handspun than knit more scarves or hats. I wanted a sweater. I figured it was time to start.
Here is a braid of Blue Faced Leicester/silk roving from Bee Mice Elf (pronounced Be Myself) in the colorway "Old School."

I have five braids but did not want to make a whole sweater out of it. I splitted up a braid and spun it onto two bobbins.

The resulting yarn was a very nice, two-plied light worsted weight (12 wpi) with a wonderful sheen of silk.

I kept searching for a perfect pattern for my sweater, wanting something very simple yet classic. I wanted to show off my handspun and wanted to do a little bit of Fair Isle, stranded knitting.

I chose to pair the handspun with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn -- a wonderful, beautiful 2-ply woolen spun Targhee/Columbia yarn from Vermont. The two-ply, woolen spun worked so well with my handspun.


In the end I threw out all the patterns and devised my own. I followed the guidelines on a bottom-up, in-the-round raglad sweater from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns book.

The corrugated ribbing worked out so well.

Across the chest, just before joining the sleeves and starting the raglan decrease I added the Baltic Braids -- a technique I learned at my LYS Uniquities.

The raglan decrease started with 12 rows of the Shelter, two rows of handspun, six rows of Shelter, two rows of handspun and so forth.

Just to make it a little dressy I decided to add the corrugated rib collar.

The finished product, is a totally experimental sweater.

Totally my own. And I totally love it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

That was a good knitting month

A couple of firsts for me.

February was really a very good knitting/spinning month.

I finished three sweaters!

The first one was, of course, the hoodie for Khun Nittaya, mentioned in the last post. I like it so much I am planning one for myself.

I believe you can't call yourself a knitter until you have knitted at least one Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern.

I am proud to say I have finally reached that milestone.

Presenting my first Baby Surprise Jacket:

Yep. Exactly as she said in the book, The Opinionated Knitter, it looked nothing like a garment when you finished it. It was blind faith in EZ. But you folded it, sewed up the two shoulder seams and on the buttons and Hey, Presto!

Baby Suprise Jacket!