Progress is beginning to actually look like something on this project. While I am not signed up for the Amazing Lace KAL, I guess I am shadowing or lurking on my own in lace. The right hand picture is of the center of the shawl. The color in the upper corners where it is bunched up is probably the closest representation of the actual colors, though still lighter than in reality. The lower photo on the left side is of one corner of the shawl border. The shells have a "Purl 13 slipped stitches together" row in them to accomplish the look.....
I have finished the shell border, and the separating section of bubbles between the shells on the lower border and the next band, which will have crabs and seahorses. Neither of these photos does the yarn justice, despite using an Ott lamp, with or without a flash. Somewhere between these two is reality.
Now back to work - the magic of knitting lace is partially in that each section lures one on to the next..... then the final piece of magic is in the blocking!
I went through withdrawal I think, after completing my DIL's wedding shawl. After initially thinking I would have UFO completion time, I broke down and started not one, but two lace projects.
The first is a lace scarf by Heart Strings Fiber Arts . It is knit sideways, and I am using Schaefer Yarns Anne (60 % merino superwash, 25% mohair, 15% nylon), in a handpainted unnamed colorway from my stash. It uses blues, teals, purples going almost into black. Very deep colors. Very rich. Doesn't compete with the lace.
The second project I cast on is Creatures of the Reef from Fiddlesticks . The bottom border is seashells, followed by crabs and seahorses. Borders of bubbles separate the bands of creatures. The next band is starfish, then two sorts of fish fish, followed by waves at the top. I am knitting this also from stash yarn, but this one is Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in "Pioneer" that I picked up at Patternworks last winter. The photo on the left is the one from the Fiddlesticks website. The one on the right is Teresa's version from last summer.
I will begin photographing my progress later today. I am most pleased that I was able to use stash yarn for these two projects!
Since I live in Maine, it is not "lobster", but "lobstah." We can get fresh, live Maine lobster for around $8/lb for a 1.25 to 1.5 lb lobster. Boil them in salt water, serve with melted butter, a baked potato, coleslaw and some corn on the cob, and one has a meal fit for a king, and killing a cardiologist!
Here in Maine the chain Red Lobster restaurants do not survive. Their policies are to serve their frozen seafood from the mother company. Here in Maine, frozen seafood won't sell, since we have such wonderful fresh seafood. Ergo, the Red Lobster restaurants die a painful death.....
So, after all the fun watching the fiber animals at the Frolic, I brought home a few things. First, Robyne and I went together and bought a couple of fiber-type birthday presents for some of the Kahuna Girls (which can't be shown now for obvious reasons). We also found some perfect Christmas ornaments for the Kahuna Girls to share!
I couldn't resist the cashmere roving from Black Locust, or the hand knit/hand spun medicine bag from them as well, made of cashmere. Unfortunately, my photo of it doesn't show well.... I'll try again later. It is sitting on top of the bag of cashmere roving next to the sheep I found and couldn't resist. I found some wonderful sheep, including a checkerboard one sporting a heart necklace, and a tall black faced sheep. The one on the far left is said to resemble the sheep in Ireland.
The booth where I did the most damage was atAmy's Spunky Eclectic and Adrian's Hello Yarn shared booth. Adrian had some beautiful braided rovings in her wonderful colors. I bought the red/orange/pink/brown one show on the left in the photograph. Amy had some to-die-for sock yarns which I bought in "Attack of the Killer Tomato" and "Dinah" colorways. The Dinah photos are doing her justice - there are lavenders, purple, grayed navy, pale yellow, lime, reds, oranges, teal and varying shades of blue in her - all very beautiful and fabulous knitting project bags. I also bought a thrummed mitten kit from Amy with a gorgeous browns/grays/charcoal colorway for the knitted portion, and black roving for the thrumming portion. The dyed yarn for that is in the smaller picture, the far lefthand yarn depicted. Here in Maine, we actually use such garments, and I can't wait to make these up! They had top whorl spindles and rovings in BFL, merino, silk blends, etc. And Adrian's beautiful antique spinning wheel was there with the snowman looking distaff that she has shown on her blog site.
The other booth where I did some damage was one I'd not heard of previously called The Sheep Shed at Mountain View Farm. They had spun samples of all their rovings so it was easy to see how the roving changes once spun and plied. It never ceases to amaze me how different a roving appears vs a single vs a plied yarn! It is magic! I found merino/Tencel rovings there in"Autumn" and "Fire" colorways (shown in front - the ones with some wave in the fiber), Corriedale in "Spring" and Alpaca (shown in balls of fiber) in "Seafoam" and "Jordan's Choice" colorways. Spinning is a good warm weather fiber activity, so I will be certain to not put these away too deeply, so I don't forget I have them! It will be a spinning, small project and lace summer for me! Since our temperatures tend towards too cooler end, and we heat with hot water baseboard heat here in Maine, the homes aren't air conditioned. By and large, fans are adequate except for a few days in July and August. But, large wool projects don't sound attractive during this season, so smaller fare and spinning it will be.
While at Fiber Frolic, there were booths with absolutely gorgeous nostepinnes, wonderful wooden swifts, black walnut knitting needles, and all sorts of fiber - wool/tencel, silk/wool, angora, cashgora, cashmere, mohair, llama, alpaca - all sorts of fiber animal fibers.
And there were many interesting booths with miscellany that supports us fiber folk - hand made glass buttons(Shipyard Point Glassworks - no website 207-565-2428), pottery buttons, sheep and llama pottery items, fiber animal puppets and marionettes, all sorts of bags with varying degrees of pockets to organize knitting tools or spinning items, hats, mittens, sweaters, spinning wheels, drop spindles, you name it.
There were creative folk who had finger puppet skunks knit from novelty yarn, itty bitty hedgehogs also utilizing novelty yarns. One gentleman who had French angora rabbits had a number of needle felted items, such as pumpkins, Santas and a needle felted mermaid of octagenarian era complete with boobies hanging down to the waist. This item totally mortified my DD, since she is sufficiently young as to be oblivious to the fact that gravity will win on her body, too! There were two renditions of rug hooking - one, Janet Conner Hand Hooked Rugs took used wool clothing items such as Pendleton wool shirts and cut strips of the fabric, then hooked rugs using the strips as the fiber. She has patterns and kits, and also sells completed items. She has a full catalog on her website that can be downloaded. The other woman , Rolling Knolls Farm (no website but phone 207-625-7198) used wool roving in finger breadth strips and hooked that in freestyle patterns as rugs. It was amazing to see what she came up with totally freelance, without predrafted patterns! Rolling Knolls had kits of fiber and rug hooking fabric, without any pre-stamped patterns. Both of these women did some beautiful work!
All of these photos should be able to pop up larger with the click of a mouse.
As I have enlarged my array of spinning tools to include a second wheel, a drum carder and much fiber, DD keeps swearing that she will never buy a wheel or spin on a wheel. However, since DD is probably about 16 years ahead of where I was at her age with knitting, it stands to reason she'll get hooked on spinning sooner as well.
So, when prowling around the vendor areas Saturday at the Fiber Frolic, our group came across some little tiny drop spindles. Four of our group bought these top whorl drop spindles and some fiber to get started. (I bonded quite well with my Joy and my Rose, but have never done very well with a drop spindle.) Sunday on the second trip to Fiber Frolic, DD and Robyne found larger, heavier drop spindles at Amy's Spunky Eclectic stand at the Fiber Frolic. Amy was there with Adrian sharing a booth, and showing their incredible wares. I found the perfect colorway to make the entrelac Christmas stocking I want to make my eldest. Amy is going to do some custom dye work for me for some worsted weight or bulky weight for that project. I found some great sock yarn. Robyne and I went together to buy one of the Kahuna Girls's birthday present. And Robyne and DD got the larger, heavier top whorl drop spindles. And of course, they came away with some beautiful BFL to learn on......
Robyne and DD were using their drop spindles all the way back to the Bangor area in the car. At one point, Robyne was asking me questions while I was driving. After that, we decided I wouldn't help them until we got home.
PS The spindles depicted were from a different booth, but too beautiful to not show.
I've never watched a sheep shearing in person prior to today. At the Maine Fiber Frolic this weekend, there was a demonstration while we were there in one of the animal barns. He was shearing a sheep (we didn't see either a llama or an alpaca being shorn) - who was sitting between the shearer's legs. The shearer was using some electric clippers with a long, wide guard on them.
I guess what surprised me most, perhaps because I hadn't really thought about it, was that at the same time, they trimmed the sheep's nails. Now I have big dogs (120 lbs +), and I trim their nails, and I trim my bunnies' nails, but the sheep's hooves were curling in. After some length was taken off, then they took the clippers and trimmed the portion curling inside and around the nail. Then he went and trimmed up the edges. They trim the back hooves first, because the trimming sharpens the hooves and if they start kicking the front legs, it can hurt the person doing the trimming.
With this particular demonstration, I didn't catch the skirting or the grading according to portion of the fleece..... I know that certain portions of the fleece are higher quality, and that color can vary considerably from say the shoulders to the back or the neck areas. The crimp can even vary in those areas on the same animal.
Before I buy another raw fleece, perhaps at Common Ground Fair this fall, I need to study up on that sort of stuff so I am a more knowledgeable buyer! I think they even fold it up in a certain order so that one can unfold it and know what is what on the fleece...
A friend and I, along with DD (who still claims we scare her) returned to Windsor, ME for the second day of the Fiber Frolic. Between us, we probably have shot over 300 photographs of animals, events, fibery things and people. I will be making installments as the week progresses.
Many bloggers I recognized websites were there - Adrian , Amy , Kim , & Chris were the ones I was aware of being there. There were probably others I either missed or haven't run across their blogs yet. It was good to put some faces to blogs....
The llamas seemed to have more attitude than the alpacas. The llamas clearly seem to have far more expressive ears however. One young male was trying to climb over the pen railings to go visiting.... when he was led back to his pen today, he was waving his ears at his friends who were already inside their pen. The llama owners indicated that the llamas don't like to sniff your hands to get to know you like a dog does. They just don't like hands. But they are okay about having their necks petted.
Then there were the growls of one llama who wasn't impressed with our efforts to photograph the him/her. The llamas were harder to photograph, perhaps because they don't like seeing hands, but also because of their height, the outdoor lighting overexposed most of my pictures! (Photoshop didn't help fix it, either) One alpaca had quite the set of teeth, which showed well. I think in this photo he was chewing some hay - his bite isn't off to the side!
And of course, one couldn't go to the Frolic without seeing at least one clown - this one a llama with multicolored clown wig on his head, and clown pants covering his behind....
Usually at the Fiber Frolic, the sheep dog demonstrations command quite a crowd. This year, it rained both days, so it seemed most people concentrated inside the barns. In the past when I've been to Fiber Frolic, I was not aware that there were vendors inside the animal barns as well, so I missed some very creative people with some wonderful items.