Posts Tagged ‘romney’

One behind, another ahead

May 2, 2013

The 2013 festival season is officially open with the 104th Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend kicking things off.

And what adorable faces KnittingKittens, Patshere and I found as we

Nellie was a little lamb ...

Nellie was a little lamb …

wandered through!  This was, it seemed, the year of the nursery.  Kids (the kind with hooves), bunnies, and of course, lambs like little Nellie, here.  She is a Romney; by unscientific observation Romney was one of the most visible breeds of this show.

We were pleased to see one of the

Olympia Farm Romney yarns

Olympia Farm Romney yarns

newer farms in Connecticut bringing lovely Romney fiber and yarn to market.  Anne McIntyre-Lahner and Mark Lahner’s Olympia Farm of Guilford first appeared on my radar a couple of years ago.  This year, their booth was well-stocked with natural-colored Romney in cream and grays at various weights and extremely reasonable prices.   The lighter shade you see here comes from Maggie, Bonnie, Coco and Cookie.

Sadly, in spite of victories like that, overall there appeared to be fewer vendors than in previous years.  Some of our favorites were not to be found in the barns and tents, perhaps reflecting just how hard it is to keep a small

Slinky Mink ... an understatement

Slinky Mink … an understatement

independent business afloat.  However, others, like Still River Mill, continue to work at distinguishing themselves with their own unique yarns.  Take, for example, Slinky Mink, pointed out by Clara at Rhinebeck last fall.  It was heavenly to touch.  Find it.  Knit it.  Love it.  Repeat.

As a non-lamb-eater, I did appreciate that the lamb stew and other lamb entrees were not on the menu ~ or infusing an entire indoor area.  I always found it a little jarring (if not downright creepy) to have lamb served up a mere twenty yards from barns with live sheep.

Making knots with a purpose: tatting

Making knots with a purpose: tatting

Every year festival organizers bring great demonstrations to this show.  It is easy to be mesmerized by the bobbin lace makers. I found the tatting equally hypnotic.  It’s kind of like macrame using cobwebs that ultimately produces its own special lace. All those teensy knots and they were just flying by.  It was something to behold.

Since I have been

Fripperies so beautifully displayed ...

Fripperies so beautifully displayed …

somewhat preoccupied planning my new knitting space, I confess to being completely taken by everything about this display from Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods.  It had more trims than I would ever begin to know what to do with … and everything in the booth was just pretty.  (I am ignoring the fact that everything here requires use of a sewing needle and thread, where I

How many owls can YOU spot?

How many owls can YOU spot?

possess no talent whatsoever and generally provoke sympathy from those who see my infantile attempts … )  Then again, maybe if I amassed enough antique spools with enough different ribbons like these, I might be motivated to change that.

Nahhhh.  They’re better just to look at and enjoy.

Now that “the season” is underway, if you are heading out to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, I hope to see you there.  I will be reprising my role as a Booth Babe at Spirit Trail Fiberworks ~ that’s at A30 of the Main Exhibition Hall.  Do come by to see what Jennifer has been cooking up in her dyepots and give me a hoot!


Ciao 2011!

December 31, 2011

Putting up a new calendar will be something I truly relish.  2011 brought one significant and wonderful change to my household, but also some major life difficulties.  We made it through.  I mostly made it because of the friends who held me up when I didn’t think I could tread water anymore.  I am endlessly grateful.

With all of that unwanted drama, my knitting output declined significantly.  (So did my yarn purchasing.  I know you don’ t believe that, but it’s true.)  Still, I’m really proud of some of the things I did this year.  A complex

"Craft Activism"

There's my sweater! I knitted that!

sweater executed on tight deadline in 2010 is featured in Craft Activism.   I’ve never had my knitting published before.  Even better: Some very kind designers have seen my interpretations of their patterns online and took the time to say some terribly nice things.  That amazes me.  Good fodder for bad days.  Or for when I look at the numbers and feel like I may have underachieved compared to last year.  But each year is different from its predecessors.

Yarn used in 2011: 7619 yards = 1.4 miles

Finished objects:  17  ~ 2 hats, 2 sweaters, 2 cowls, 2 pair of mittens, 1 Christmas stocking and 8 shawls

One-skein projects: 10

Fibers first used this year: Romney and Finn   The former is pretty common in this neck of the woods, and I enjoyed getting to know it on the needles.  The Finn I used was actually a Finn/angora blend.  While I liked it, for purposes of the monthly Knitter’s Book of Wool wool-along, I learned that I prefer to use the straight stuff so as to have a real feel for the actual wool without the additional fiber that changes its characteristics.

WIPs /UFOs remaining: 14  shudder  Okay, to be fair: two of these are waiting to be blocked, a third needs some pictures taken, and a pair of mittens needs thumbs and a good simmer in vinegar to set the dye.   I have two (ancient) sweaters with identical yarn shortage issue that arose on the sleeves.  These need to have sleeves knitted in from the top down so they are of equal length.  I can do this – it will just take a little time.  And I will pick up another skill.  That will cut into the number.  I did frog a project, too.  That felt REALLY good.  I highly recommend it.

Designers I enjoyed:  Sivia Harding, SusannaIC, Gudrun Johnston, Ysolda Teague, Jared Flood

Favorite yarns I worked with this year:  Spirit Trail Fiberworks Nona, Sunna, Holda, Birte, Verdande.   Berocco Blackstone Tweed.  BrooklynTweed Loft ~ which I haven’t gotten on the needles yet, but know I will enjoy.  Interestingly, without a LYS to call my own, my yarn acquisition was almost exclusively a yarn club, travel/souvenir purchases and yarn/fiber festivals.

Priorities I had for the year:

  • Geodesic Cardigan – stalled temporarily
  • Grove mittens – check!
  • Holland cowl – check!
  • Woodruff mittens – More Jared Flood mittens coming soon in Shelter when I can decide on a colorway.  Yeah, I’m ummm, deciding on a colorway.  Because somehow there are more colorways at my house than there used to be.  (See favorite yarns above.)
  • Bristol’s Cowl – I’ll get there.  Really.  If nothing else, because more people have read my posts about Quince & Co. Chickadee than anything I’ve ever written here.  I can only imagine what happens when I write about Puffin.

Priority from 2010, finally achieved: I knitted a sweater for myself.  And I love it.  Still need some pictures and I’ll show you here soon, but it is done.  All it took was a major power outage and hours of knitting by candlelight.

Other things I’d like to do in 2012:

  • Play with beads:  I’ve started to mess with them in my lace.  They are fun.  Doubtless, they slow me down some, but a little can go a long way in making a piece into a show-stopper.
  • To frog or to finish:  Attack some of those very old WIPs.  We’ll see how that goes.  I have turned from owl to magpie when it comes to shiny new objects (read patterns/yarns) and my attention span may be devastated.

If I seem uninterested in goal-setting, it’s because I sometimes have to remind myself this really is my Zen thing.  My knitting is my own journey and I find it far more interesting to let it lead me wherever it wants to go, than to stick to a prescribed path on the map.  Because at the end of the year, I think it’s kind of fun to look at what I wrote and where I went instead.  It’s all about the trip.

Salut 2012!

Fenced in

February 18, 2011

Living in New England means snow.  We’ve had more than ample proof of that, with a healthy over-under pool going on when it might all be gone.  (At this point, I’m in for Easter – bearing in mind that it’s the latest Easter can be …)  I have a lot of hair, and one of the few things I hate about it is when it gets snowy wet.

Fenced In, in Romney

That won’t be a problem now that I have Fenced In.  I chose this terrific one-skein pattern by Tracey Kay for my bulky Romney yarn for this month’s wool-along in the Knitter’s Book of Wool group on Ravelry.  I was looking for a project with enough texture to show off the properties of this very smooth wool, and the reverse stockinette background was just the right canvas.  I also wanted something simple enough where the tonal variations in the colorway did not detract from the finished product.

In addition, I’ve been enjoying the many variations of cabling without a cable needle.  This project gave me more good practice.

Standing out in sharp relief

It was a wicked fast knit — just four days from cast-on to bind-off.  That is, after all, one of the benefits of working with bulky yarn ~ something I rarely do these days.  I used all but 2 yards of my 90-yard skein from Foxhill Farm in Lee, Mass., to make the small adult size with no modifications.

Project marriage score: 9.5  (Yes, this is something new.  I may as well start scoring the matches.)

Probably the most interesting observation from the month’s exercise was how unwilling the yarn was to become saturated with water.  It just didn’t want to get really wet, and took a good soak.   I blocked it over an inverted vase with a couple of plastic grocery bags on the top to provide some height/ventilation and prevent creasing.

I can’t decide which is better:

  1. having a really warm hat that will keep my hair dry
  2. actually completing our wool-along project on time two months in a row

Before you start applauding … if you’re keeping score at home, you know that I am still working on last February’s project … which, in all fairness, I did not start until months later … but still.


September 20, 2010

A touch of coolness is back in the air, making it perfect for the first taste of fall fiber festivals in New England.  After a lovely drive featuring the first hints of fall color, we joined hundreds of other knitters, weavers and fiber fans at the Coventry Farmers’ Market Fiber Twist.

Romney love

Not surprisingly, Darling Bebe was found with her clever little hands buried in Romney.  Literally.

This lady’s fleece was so thick and spongy, Owl’s fingers got lost trying to find where her body was.  No doubt she will be much smaller after shearing.  We should all be so fortunate …

The Painted Sheep

Accompanied by KnittingKittens, I happily visited our pal Kris’ booth, The Painted Sheep.  If you haven’t visited her thriving shop on etsy, you might really enjoy it.  I’m just saying … Shop will reopen as soon as she’s inventoried what little was left at the end of the day.

There were at least six alpacas there in a variety of colorways, as well as the produce, food and music that draw thousands each year to this venue.  You would be seeing more photos but for the fact of the “secret” status of this little outpost.

I especially enjoyed running into so many former knitting students, many of whom I have not seen in person since I was displaced.

Palmer Family Farm CVM/angora

This find made my little knitting heart go pitter-patter.  This is 80% CVM/20% angora from Palmer Family Farm of Tolland, CT.  The yarn is spun at my oft-mentioned Still River Mill, making it a totally Connecticut affair.

Mix some bunny into just about anything and you’ll have me at, “Go.”

At the end of the day

At the end of the day, I felt pretty darn virtuous.  One yarn purchase and not one, but two shawls completed this week.  A third is within 90 mins of completion.  The blocking runway is getting a little crowded with the wrangled WIPs.  Pix forthcoming.

Nothing not to love about this change of season.

Well-bred yarn

April 26, 2010

Saturday could not have provided more glorious weather for the 101st Connecticut Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival.  A sunny, breezy 70-degree day to squeeze and sniff to one’s heart’s content.  That’s right – I belong to the tribe of wool-sniffers, who derive great pleasure from the way yarn smells as well as how it feels.

KnittingKittens and I were joined by our KRR pal Hipparchia, who left her too-busy life behind for a day with us, and our extended gang o’ knitting pals.  Or, as Darling Bebe refers to them, “The Ladies.”  Once a week, we “go to the diner with The Ladies,” which is how DB describes our SnB nights.

Since I don’t get the chance to talk about Hipparchia much, let me say that I’m often in awe of her – well, her boldness, or her self-assuredness – about life and knitting.  She was thinking about finding a knitting trip.  Where does she go – by herself – the first time?  Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp.  Talk about hardcore!  Yikes!  Lest I fail to mention it, she is a kick-a** knitter who has mastered flawless fitting.

We return you now to our regularly scheduled festival programming:

Mohair in your eyes?

Goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas and bunnies all made their seasonal debut, many left shivering after shearing.  One of my favorite things about this festival is that many of the vendors are from local farms that do not participate in other larger festivals. This is their chance to put their micro-batches in front of hundreds of knitters and spinners.

Fox Hill Farm Romney

These batches were decidedly different this year: for the most part, the labels saying “100% wool” were replaced by actual breed information.  While spinners have always experienced better disclosure of the breed of the fiber for sale, this was not the case for knitters, with

Long Ridge Farm CVM/bombyx

the exception of Navajo Churro has always been well-represented at this event.  But for 2010, we saw beloved BFL, Cormo, Coopworth, CVM, Jacob, Romney and more.  Sellers marked the breed of their sheep on their labels far more prominently than they ever have before.  Some made mention of the Knitter’s Book of Wool as one of the reasons.  In a couple of cases, we were asked if we knew what the next month’s breed for the wool-along would be.  (Alas, we were of no help – that’s strictly up to Clara.)  Be that as it may, there were some just-in-case advance purchases in anticipation of a month dedicated to ____(fill in the blank)____.

Oh – and stay tuned for Thursday’s post.  It involves prizes.

One of my favorite things about the day was seeing a bobbin lace demonstration in person.

Bobbin lace

This stuff is not for the faint of heart.  Having recently read The Lace Reader, I really wanted to see the physics of this.  It is rather extraordinary.  See the dots on the blue paper?  Pins are moved into position in those positions, then the bobbins are wound around one another in a sequence that resembles sleight of hand.  I’m still not altogether sure I understand how it all holds together.

I’m sure given more time, I would think of some sort of parallel construction involving lives being intertwined or something.  Let’s just skip that part and be glad for a lovely day.

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