Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Pictures! Lots of them. Better late than never, I have a report from the Michigan Fiber Festival.

I stopped by, family in tow, on the way home from Chicago last Sunday (Aug. 22). Some of you may know, or remember from my earlier postings, that the MFF was the same four days this year as Stitches Midwest, held about three hours away in St. Charles, Illinois. The impact of this scheduling was very obvious -- I would estimate that MFF lost about half its vendors to Stitches. From my untrained perspective, it appeared that MFF snagged the mostly-spinning vendors and Stitches got most of the yarn shops.

The yarn at MFF was great stuff, though. I came away with a little:

The two skeins on the left are merino sock yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. On the right is a cormo/silk blend from Foxhill Farm. That was the second most expensive skein of yarn I've ever purchased. I love the color, which is "seaside." Now I have to decide what to do with it.

That's the only yarn I bought. I restocked my spinning fiber, just in case I ever finish spinning that Romney I bought there last year. Take a look, first at some alpaca roving:

and some beautifully-dyed merino:

and finally, a cashmere/silk blend on the left and an alpaca/merino blend on the right:

With all of that gorgeous stuff waiting for me to spin it, I'm eager to finish the Romney. I still have a lot of that. Here's a skein in 3-ply:

I haven't finished knitting anything this summer, but I'm close on two projects. I am an elbow-to-cuff shy of finishing Donegal and I have a couple of inches left on the second of the self-patterning socks. I am determined not to start anything else until those are done. I'm also still crocheting the afghan with the Tierra Wools yarn, and that's a long story involving running out of yarn and not being able to get the same colors and ripping back almost to the beginning to blend in another color, but I won't go into that now.

My sister's best friend had a Norwegian grandmother who knitted a sweater for her as a Christmas gift every year until she died. My sister's friend has all of these sweaters lovingly stored; I hope to see them sometime when I'm visiting in North Carolina. Ever since I heard about this, I have had a goal to knit my own children sweaters at Christmas. Last year my daughter got the Starmore dragon cardigan, and the year before that my son got a Dale sweater to match one I had knitted previously for his dad. This year I want to knit sweaters for both of them. I've decided on a fair-isle cat motif sweater (from Norsk Strikkedesign) for my daughter, and I will probably knit a gansey for my son. I haven't started either, so I really need to finish this Donegal and get with it. I've also promised my daughter I will knit a dress for her doll to match the blue Scandinavian dress ("Midnight Sun") I knit for her last winter.

There's also the variegated cashmere, which I suppose will become a hat and mittens, and the yarn I've collected for several sweaters. And I want to do a beaded something from the latest Lily Chin book.

I guess I figure if I put all of these ideas in writing and then publish them on the Internet in my blog(!) I will be forced to actually do them!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

It's not that I haven't had anything to say for a month, it's just that... well, it's summer, you know. Here at the 45th parallel in Snow Belt country, we spend far too many gray and cold days dreaming of July and August, when it will be 75F and sunny with nice lake breezes that don't bring lake-effect snow. It would be a crime to spend beautiful summer days at the computer.

So why am I here now? It's a chilly, cloudy day with reports that this may continue all week. What's up with that? This is summer, not April!

Not much knitting has been happening at this house lately. I made one toe-up sock in a self-patterning yarn (no pictures today; maybe next entry) and I've started the match. Other than that, my knitting has been strictly a little Donegal at night, although not every night. I'm on the last sleeve.

Next weekend is the Michigan Fiber Festival. As I've mentioned previously, it also coincides with Stitches Midwest. I've never been to a Stitches event and thought this might be the time to try it, so I planned a trip to Chicago for the weekend, stopping first at Stitches and picking up the Fiber Festival on the way back. It's my husband's birthday and seemed like a great way to celebrate it (he he he!) He had no complaints since I suggested we go to a baseball game or two on the trip. But I looked at the schedule of classes still available at Stitches and nothing appealed to me for the days I could be there, so I decided to skip it and just go to the Fiber Festival. If I went to Stitches, the only thing for me to do would be go to the market and buy more yarn, and who am I kidding? I have enough yarn to last the rest of my life. Uh, yeah, yarn shopping is the main activity at the Fiber Festival, too. But there's lots of animals and my kids will enjoy that, and I may eventually finish spinning the fleece I bought there last year, so I probably ought to get another to avoid running out of spinning material (like that would ever happen either).

For my daughter, the Chicago excursion is all about a visit to the American Girl doll store. I've never been there, but from what I can detect on the website, it appears to be a plot to deprive parents of their money. A friend whose in-laws live in Chicago confirms this is the case. She said it violates everything I stand for. Well, I never said I wasn't a hypocrite. I don't feel comfortable talking about my daughter's issues in public, but suffice it to say, if a visit to the doll store will bring her joy, then I can suck it up for an hour or two and, yes, even get her the expensive doll she wants. Her birthday is coming up after all.

And this entire entry was the opposite of voluntary simplicity. C'est la vie.