Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday already!?

Saturday started early... like leaving the house at 6:30am early. I know that is not a time most people would consider leaving on a Saturday, and usually, I would agree, but this was a special occasion. The second annual Midwest Folk & Fiber Fair was the ultimate destination, and we all know, fiber is worth it.

So, we got up and left and got to Jen's just after 7am, picked up Jen and her lovely daughters and headed up to Nan's. At the house of Nan, we had some really yummy sticky buns made by her husband, met Carla and headed over to the fair around 9am.

Now, last year, the fair was held outside at a park. There were three big tents and one small tent with all the vendors. It opened on Friday morning. I guess there was stuff going on inside a park building, but I didn't go to that part. This year, it was held on McHenry County College campus, so it was only open Friday from 6-9pm because the school had classes during the day. This year the vendors were not in one location, but all over, from a gym, to the hallways, to an area outside. I preferred the feel and the set up of the previous year, I also liked being able to go during the day Friday. However, I did have a nice time with my friends... we got to eat lunch with Dee and Kimberly, and saw a lot of other friends, some of whom I met through Ravelry! And, the one bonus, this year they had alpacas, but I forgot my camera, so go to Dee's blog to see pictures. They sounded just like M when she babbles, and when she heard them "talking" she "talked" back!

But, what did I get? I'll tell you this upfront, I got no yarn. I went the fiber route and only got stuff to spin, and earrings. And I took pictures of that! On the right here we have the earring. The woman who made them is super nice, and she makes some really cool jewelry using old knitting needles. Nan got a lovely bracelet. You can find her on Etsy here. I figure I can wear these earrings in a year or two, whenever M stops playing with my ears.

In the same booth, Gale Evans of Gale's Art was selling her fiber. I got three 4oz ... skeins? bundles? whatever of her fiber. She had her normal colorways, and then potluck colors, which are dyed with the leftovers from the regulars. Up first, my two potluck grabs:

Both the potlucks are Corridale Cross rovings. I just think they are so pretty.

I also got this:
This is Black Bluefaced Leicester wool dyed in the Deep Blue Sea Colorway.The colors just look so deep on black wool. Jen got the same colorway over white wool and it's a completely different look... much more like my second potluck "skein".

When we got to the fair, my plan was to look at everything first, then go back to buy my goodies after seeing it all... after all, I had a budget and was trying to be good. Here is what broke that plan:It is 4 oz of a 50/50 silk/wool blend by Creatively Dyed Yarn. The dyer is on Ravelry, but I can't remember her name or anything. I do remember she was really really nice and had lots of really pretty stuff. I just couldn't let anyone else get this while I was still checking out other things.

My last fiber purchase was a Blue Face Leicester top at Miss Babs Hand-dyed Fiber Goods. She had all sorts of beautiful yarns, but when I saw this top, I knew it must be mine. It looks like an iris and is so soft!

The only other thing I got was a Wraps Per Inch gauge at the Weaver's Loft. If I'm going to be spinning all this stuff, I need to know a bit about the finished product, right?

I can't start spinning any of it until I finish up what is on the wheel... it could be a while.

In other news, did I mention the inkle loom my mom sent me? Well, I finally got it out and got a book at the library, and last night, I warped it with EL Cotton Patine. I started weaving, but haven't gotten far and will take out what I've done and start over. I'm going to use my WPI gauge as a beater. I think I'll use it as a bag strap on an as yet to be made bag. It's fun stuff. I've wanted to do this for at least a decade.

Yesterday we had Jen and her great girls over for a tea party. I got out the teacups from my grandmothers and baked scones and cookies. Um, diet? Where did you go? Come back now. Anyway, Jen helped me get started on the head of the doll for M. That's the head stuffing in one of the teacups. It's now at the required 10.5 inches, so, I guess another tea party is in order to work on the rest of the body! I'd better abstain from eating this time. Now, Jen has made many of these Waldorf-style dolls, so her wool heads are firm just with wrapping the wool around. Mine, not so much, so I used needle felting to help achieve proper firmness. You don't want the head to get squished... that's just disturbing.

I know, long post, and where's M?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In which we visit My Eclectic Mess

I won! A couple posts down I mentioned that Working Mom Knits was having a drawing ... well, I won! I never win things, so this was most exciting! What did I win? Thank you for asking:
This lovely little package came in the mail:and it contained:
Isn't that cute? And it has all sorts of 3-D elements, like the flowers and rocks by the front door, etc. It is fun and bright and I'm going to put it up in M's room.

Tuesday was M's 8 month birthday! And Monday, her first tooth popped through the gum! It's funny to watch her move her tongue around feeling this new thing in her mouth. She hasn't stopped chewing things, but seems to be less intense about it for the moment.

So, our house (or at the very least family room and kitchen) have become gate central. We put a gate up across the front of the family room, and because she can crawl up the stairs, a gate in each kitchen exit (without its own door). She loves following me into the kitchen, and although she made it down the stairs twice in one day, she hasn't attempted it since. She will instead "pace" like a caged tiger in front of the step. She loves having new territory to explore. Luckily, we haven't had to do too much baby proofing to the kitchen, there were two little boys who lived here before, and their parents had done most of it and left it. All I've had to do is keep the floor clean.

She seems to have figured out the eating thing. She swallows most of what she puts in her mouth now, and it is so fun to watch her eat. Today she tried cherries and grapes for the first time. D actually asked if I had removed the pits. Silly, of course I did. And I didn't give her whole grapes, either. I'm giving her chunks of food, but I'm not trying to choke her or anything. She really liked the cherries. I got them at the new Whole Foods near us; went today to have samples for lunch!

Oh, and speaking of going to new places, if you are in the Chicago-land area, you must visit My Eclectic Mess. Beth has a great shop in a cute old house. It has all sorts of fun goodies from fabric and patterns, to unusual scrapbooking supplies to needle felting kits. She has classes there, as well. M enjoyed crawling around there and hanging with Beth and her adorable daughter E, and I enjoyed myself immensely, as well. Seriously, get your tush over there.

This weekend we're going to the Midwest Folk and Fiber Fair. I was hoping to go Friday like I did last year, but this year they open Friday at 6pm, so instead, we are getting up at dawn to head up there with Jen and her lovely daughters. I hope it's as fun as last year!

Almost forgot, thanks to Jen, I was inspired to make a Waldorf-type doll for M, so I got a kit and have been hand-sewing the pieces of the body. It's not perfect stitching, but it's been nice, and I think M will enjoy it (she seemed to like the one Jen was working on).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

House rattling thunder

M. and I have been enjoying our outings with the Meetup group of moms we joined. Today we headed to a park in downtown Naperville. It was overcast and warm and humid, but M. had fun in the swings and we had a nice time. I'm just glad it was a morning thing, because now ... we've got major thunder and rain. We need the rain, though. It got a little dry last week, D. didn't even need to mow the lawn over the weekend. And my new bushes could use the help. I just wish rain would wash away mosquitoes.

I've been working on knitting. I didn't finish the front of the Na Craga for my dad, but I started the back, in the next size up. My gauge wasn't the same as called for in the pattern (and never would be with the yarn I'm using), and my dad wouldn't wear a sweater as baggy as the picture, so I chose the smallest size to start. However, after working on it, I think the next size up might be better, after all, he wouldn't wear a muscle sweater, either. But, before ripping the smaller front, we're trying out the next size with another piece. I like to think of it as working a really large gauge swatch.

Oh, and if you look at my buttons to the right, you will see that I joined the Ravelry Olympics for Team Rubbernecker. Awesome group of (mostly) ladies. My event is the WIP Wrestling in which I will be wrestling Na Craga into (with luck) submission.

Anyway, I don't have pictures of the Na Craga because there isn't anything really picture-worthy going on. But, I do have pictures of some little ducks/chicks I've made for M. It's a cute pattern by MarjorieCrochets on Craftster. On the right is the first one I did, in a bulky leftover baby-melting acrylic. I did the beak as suggested, and it is more duck-like. I did french knots for the eyes because I didn't want to mess with even safety eyes for M. Also, I crocheted it so tightly that I wouldn't be able to fit the posts of the eyes in through the fabric. I stuffed it with plastic bags so it would make noise when she squished it ... it only makes a little itty-bitty bit of noise. The one on the left is made with various small amounts of yarn from a yarn tasting we did at Dee's last retreat. I modified the beak to be more chick-like, but kept the french knot eyes. There wasn't as much light when I took that picture, hence the "You caught me red-handed" look of the whole thing.

Oh, and I hope all my American readers had a really lovely Fourth (and I hope my international ones did, as well, even though you weren't celebrating). We had a great time with D.'s family. His brother came in from Seattle and we all watched M. crawl around. We all walked to the park in their neighborhood and watched her swing, which she loved. Best of all, none of the fireworks in our neighborhood woke her up! So I leave you with a picture of her enjoying the day in her patriotic (and it must be said), cute little dress. Too bad you can't see the little red and blue heart on it in this picture.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Walking to stop Breast Cancer

In a previous post I mentioned Homesteadmom (Ravelry) is walking in the Philidelphia 3-Day to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I would like to mention another wonderful lady, the vicious chicken who is walking the Bristol SunWalk for Walk the Walk: Uniting Against Breast Cancer. Give to one, give to both, please, give what you can so we can stop losing wonderful people. I thank you, and M. thanks you:

And if that isn't enough... Homesteadmom is raffling yarn prizes (1 entry for every $5 donated) and Working Mom Knits is giving away prizes, as well.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Crawling --> Climbing --> ?

So, last week she started to crawl. I could tell from the beginning that this was not enough for her. She kept putting one foot on the ground in a first sort of attempt to stand. It made her a little off balance when she crawled along, but this did not deter her. On Sunday, she decided she needed to actually stand. She decided that the baby piano would be the perfect thing to use to pull up on. It is not very heavy and not built for it at all, but she did it anyway. As a reward for her hard work, she found something new to chew on. Then, Sunday, as D and I watched (and I hovered behind to make sure she didn't fall backwards) she crawled up the two steps from the family room to the kitchen. It was so exciting to watch her figure out that she needed to get her knee up. "It's like watching evolution!" said D. The next step is to keep the floors of the kitchen immaculate and get gates for the doorways out of the kitchen. I just wish we could replace the tile floors in the kitchen with cork floors.

In knitting news, I'm almost done with a test knit and I finished Odessa. I think my head form is in the basement, so Harold did the modeling duties. I did not add the beads because this is a chemo cap for Sue's SIL. It is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, so it should be nice and soft. I purchased a second skein as insurance, and as I did not need it, that will become another Odessa chemo cap, this time for one of my mom's friends. Some day I will make an Odessa with beads, it is a lovely hat and works up quite quickly and easily.

I will leave you with a happy note: