Sunday, October 31, 2010

Catch up time

I apologize for my long absence. As you know, I went to SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair) last weekend.

Much earlier this year, way back in the spring, I decided that if I went to SAFF this year that I would take a class. I've been to SAFF two times previously, but as I only knitted at the time, I actually found it kind of boring. Yes, I said it. Boring. As in I finished seeing what I wanted to see in about 3 hours, and I was done. When Keith and I went back in 2007, we had just put Pixel to sleep several days earlier, and Brownie had died the previous month, so we checked out a day early and headed back home.

Fast forward back to the present. During the past 3 years I've increased my fibery knowledge, and much of that is due to hanging around with Gale. She does things like buy a fleece and process it herself. This means she takes the wool fresh from shearing, cleans it, dyes it, cards or combs it and then spins it. A gal's bound to learn a thing or two hanging around someone who does all that.

I've also started dyeing yarns. This has changed the way I look at other people's yarns and rovings. Part of this is also due to Gale. While she can sometimes exasperate me with all the follow up questions as to why I like a certain handpainted roving (sorry, Gale), her relentless questioning and search has caused me to look at yarns and ask myself the same question. Do I like the color, and is that all I like about it? Is the technique different? Is it something that I might want to try myself? Or is it so labor intensive that I will buy from the master? (There is a woman on etsy who does the most incredible handpainted self-striping yarns. My mind staggers at the work that goes into them. As I've taken classes and dyed yarns myself, I know that if she's asking $47 for her yarn, that she's put way more work than that into it. I want to give the Chicken Goddess a shout out for pointing her out to me.)

Sorry for the long digression. Back to the point is that I looked for a class and found one that I wanted to take. It was with Lynne Vogel, one of the Twisted Sisters. Hmm, famous author and teacher meant the class would fill quite quickly. I decided to become a member of SAFF and get the early sign-up.

SAFF is run by volunteers, so I soon thought that since I'd paid for both Keith and I to be members that we should work a volunteer shift. We'd done it once before, years ago, when I joined the Georgia Mineral Society. We'd had fun working the desk, and I knew we could have some fun at SAFF.

I'm going to admit that SAFF was a blast. I had a great time. Lynne is a fantastic teacher, and I encourage you to take a class from her if you have the opportunity. I consider myself at best an intermediate beginner spinner, and this class taught me some very interesting techniques to try.

As for manning the workshops desk, I have to say that Crystal and Nancie were a delight. They stayed cheerful, which is mostly easy to do as many fiber people are good natured, and when faced with a challenge, did so with ease. I would certainly volunteer again. However, I paid for a booth for SAFF 2011, so I won't be able to volunteer. Crystal has asked if she can still have Keith for a few hours, and I said that we'd give him a say. :)

Near the end of our time working, Nancie said the volunteer for the "How to pick a fleece class" was unable to work. Needless to say, I jumped on that. Robin, the teacher, ended up not using me much at all. I had to bounce a few people who wanted to sit in and hadn't paid, and I got to put my hands on some lovely fleeces. Yes, there was one that I didn't buy, and now I wish I had.

Some friends fared better than I did and purchased blue ribbon winning fleeces before the judging had occurred. I was with Steve when he saw his fleece had won. I can only imagine the rush you would feel when your choice is justified so fully by the judges. Gale had also purchased a fleece, and it too had won a blue ribbon.

That's probably enough about SAFF for one day. I do have some pictures, but my hands are slightly frozen. It got down to 60F in the house last night. I was just running the a/c two or three days ago, and I'm not ready to turn on the heat. Let's not forget that I live in The South, and by this afternoon temps will be back in the upper 70's. In the meantime, I suffer from cold fingers, so I'll end here and go sit in the sun for a few minutes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I haven't disappeared

I've been busy!

I'll update in the next day or two with tales of SAFF and some pictures of spinning and knitting.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The further misadventures of Lily

(or why I was cleaning pooped on linens late last night)

I know I've mentioned before that it's rare for both of us to be gone from the house during the day at the same time. It's even more rare for us to be gone for long periods of time at the same time. I'm usually at home or popping in and out when I run errands. Keith gets to do a lot of telecommuting, so our pets have gotten really used to someone being around.

Yesterday was one of those rare days when events conspire against our kitties. My schedule was rearranged (I had an appointment thrust upon me because Keith couldn't go), and my dye day turned into a run here and there with maybe a quick trip home to check the mail.

It's a little after noontime, and Keith is ironing his clothes for work. The linen closet door is standing open a cat's width, but no one had seemed too interested in it. It's stuffed pretty full, and quite honestly, there's not much space for a cat in it. Keith put the iron and ironing board up, shut the closet door and left. It was about 1:20 p.m.

I had to leave also, and I left about 1:30. I did run back home and was there for about 45 minutes before I left again to get some catfood and meet up with some friends for knitting. I didn't see Lily or Monster at the time, but I wasn't worried about either one of them. After all, cats like to find their hiding places and snooze, and I knew they were inside, which was my concern.

So, Keith left around 1:20, and I left about 3:30. Everything seemed calm and normal.

I didn't get back home until about 7:50. I came in and fed the critters. After all, my dinner can wait, but theirs can't. No sign of Lily, but that can be normal. She eats elevated from the others, and her plate had food when I left. I figured she just wasn't hungry.

About 8:15 when I'm walking down the hallway, I hear thumping from inside the linen closet. I open the door, and Lily is out like a shot! Then I notice the smell. Ugh! There's poop somewhere in there.

First things first. Lily needs dinner, and she needs it now. I'm still eating my dinner, so I just leave the closet door open. While I'm chasing Lily off the kitchen table time and time again, I notice she's got cling-ons. One thing about Lily. She is single-minded and determined. She will wear you down. I must have chased her off the kitchen table and countertops more times than I want to think about before she and I reached a compromise. OK, I caved and let her finally sit on a table that she wanted to be on.

Finally I'm ready to tackle the linen closet. I figured that poop wasn't going anywhere, and I could take the time to eat my dinner and digest it. I find that she had a kitty cave on a shelf, and she must have panic-pooped when she realized she couldn't get out of the closet. We've accidentally shut her in the closet before, but we've been home and could rescue her more quickly. I'll admit to always checking the closet, and Keith usually does too, but this time...

I washed one load last night, and I've got a few things that don't look like they have poop on them, but they were in the vicinity.

Did Lily learn her lesson after all this? Hell no! I was in my yarn closet looking for something, and I turn around when I hear rustling. There is Lily trying to get on top of all my yarn bins and behind the winter coats for a new hiding place! Needless to say, I pulled her out with a hearty "Lily Dammit!", put her into the hallway and shut the door to the room. After all, sheets can be washed with hot water and bleach, but wool yarns can't.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday pictures are running late this week

This is a side view, followed by a top view, of a hat I just finished. Next is the wrap sweater that I also just finished this week.

I've had a case of finishitis, so I also finished a stoma cover that was waiting for one strap and a fun fur scarf I was knitting to list on etsy.

I do have a couple of more photos, but blogger doesn't like them for some reason. I'll see if I can upload them later.