Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tour de Fleece - June 30th - July 14th Update

I had a bit of a slow start for Tour de Fleece. For a recap here is all that I was planning on spinning for the Tour de Fleece.

1&2 - All Spun Up BFL/Silk Roving 13 oz
3&4 - All Spun Up Superwash Merino Roving 10.4 oz
5&6 - Woolgatherings Fancy Pants Club April 2012 50% Merino/20% Angora/30% Silk 7.3 oz
7 - Woolgatherings Fancy Pants Club June 2012 85% Mixed BFL/15% Tussah Silk 4oz
8 - Woolgatherings Fancy Pants Club May 2012 Silver 70% Alpaca/30% Tussah Silk 4 oz
9&10 - Woolgatherings Suri Alpaca 8oz
11 - Ms Gusset Optim Wool 8oz

I also purchased these three right before I left. Polworth/Tussah Silk (85/15) dyed by Woolgatherings

 Day 1: The first day June 30th I was spending at my Grandparents for Grandpa's big 80th Birthday. Had a great time with all my family most of which I hadn't seen in over a year, some a year plus. I had brought with me all the fiber I was planning on spinning on my Jenkins Turkish Delight and I thought I'd start off with the Suri Alpaca which ended up being the most difficult fiber I've ever spun with. Now that I look back on it I'm glad I picked it but I sure struggled along the way. The biggest trouble I had was I can't draft a long portion of it.. only a few inches which expands to 5-7 inches. The predrafted bit loves to fly around and stick to everything. Also while spinning I had to find the fine line between over spinning just enough to keep it together but not too much that it started to feel like wire.

Here's my photos on the way to Kokomo.

This is the fiber before spinning



Spinning on the way back from Kokomo.


Day 2: We planned a trip up to the Butterfly House in Whitehouse Ohio so I didn't get too much spinning done. I did however get a photo of a butterfly with my spindle. With the difficulties I've been having spinning this I'm a bit concerned about how well Navajo plying is going to go.


Day 3: Getting on much better terms with the Suri Alpaca and making quite a bit of progress. At this point I had spun .36 oz out of the 1 oz I was planning on spinning. This was my first day back to work so my progress is slowing some down.


Day 4: Was only able to spin .07 oz this day. it seems like such a miniscule amoutn when I think about it. Spun a total of .43 oz up to this point almost half way there to a total ounce.


Day 5: Spun a total of .57 oz up to this point. I'm loving the slow gradual color transitions and can't wait to see how it looks once it's Navajo plied.



Day 6: I got a lot of spinning done while over at Leslie's. Spun a total of .21 oz on this day for a total of .78 oz so far. The small bit of fiber left is all I need to spin in order to hit a complete ounce.


Day 7: Hit .93 oz only have .07 to go before I hit a full ounce and get to start Navajo plying. I wasn't anticipating getting much done the next day as it was the day before I was flying out. Knitted item it's sitting on is my Weekend Shawl.


Day 8: Finished the whole ounce with time to spare to start Navajo plying. I've noticed I'm having some problems making sure my turtle of singles behaves itself. I had to unwrap the top layer and wrap it around to make sure it didn't unravel and a mess of things.

1 full ounce completed (ended up actually being .95 oz)
 
unraveling turtle

Day 9: Managed to ply quite a bit while I was on the flight back home. I'm extremely pleased with how things are going so far at this point and I love how super soft and squishy the singles ball is. The plied yarn feels really nice and makes me feel so much better after all the trouble I had in the beginning with this fiber. I finished plying this later the same day.



Day 10: Finished plying this the night before but couldn't skein it until Day 11. I asked Leslie for recommendations on what to spin next for my first Aura TdF project and she recommended the Optim Merino dyed by Ms. Gusset. I've had this January of 2010 and had been to nervous to spin it hearing that it was difficult to spin plus liked to be spin really thin. I was hesitant at first but I'm so happy Leslie suggested it as it's been a breeze to spin. I think with all the fine spinning I've been doing on my Delight and the difficulties I had with the Suri is making this Optim so much easier to spin. I have a total of 8.5 oz to spin of this beautiful Copper and Blue beautifulness. So far I've spun .65 oz and it feels great to be spinning on my Aura.


Optim Merino dyed by Ms. Gusset. Copper and Blue
Day 11: I was able to skein up my gorgeous Suri Alpaca. I ended up with .95 oz 77 yards. This small skein of Suri Alpaca is absolutely irresistible. I can't help but pick it up and give it a gentle squish whenever I see it. I should have approximately 640 yards total with the complete 8 ounces spun. Not sure what I'll knit it into. All I know is it's going to be lacy and gorgeous!! At this point I've spun a little over an ounce of the Optim. It amazes me how versatile the Aura is. I hadn't imagined being able to spin this thin on my Aura before I purchased her. I had never been able to spin this thin prior to having this wheel. I had come close with my Wee Peggy but spinning on the Aura is such a breeze.




Day 12: Spun .35 oz of Optim Merino. I also started spinning more Suri Alpaca but not a whole lot on there to be photo worthy. I'm loving the copper tones on this Optim... it's so shiny and brilliant just like actual copper.



Day 13: Spun half an ounce of Optim Merino and working on some more Suri Alpaca. I've found the most difficult part of spinning the Suri Alpaca is starting it. Once the spindle gets some weight on it, it seems to be a lot easier.


Day 14: So far I've spun a total of 2.6 oz of Optim Merino so far and will spun another 1.65 before I start on the next bobbin.



That's all for now. Will update more soon. :)

EWM

Catching up from my Vacation (HUGE UPDATE)

Just last Sunday I got back from a two week trip to visit family and friends back in Indiana. I can't say it wasn't exciting that's for sure!!! My first full day(Monday June 25th) I headed over to Sherri's for an absolutely wonderful massage. I'm still trying to find the right massage therapist back home. Having a massage once a month is one of the most wonderful things in the world. Afterwards Mom and I did some shopping and then we made 10 dozen snickerdoodles. Oh my goodness were they delicious! You might say wow that sure is a lot of cookies how are you going to eat them all before they go stale. The secret is they freeze extremely well. Though they were pretty much all gone by the end of the week. :)


On Tuesday we went to see my favorite lions at the Potawatomi Zoo Mr Onyo and Tango. They are hands down the most handsome lions I've ever met. Such beautiful flowing manes.

Onyo Photo by Evanita W Montalvo
On Wednesday later in the evening I got to catch up with Claire. Had a nice time got to meet her two little bundles of joy Bruce and Theo.

On Thursday we had the most unbelievably hot day ever.. It hit 108F the highest temp recorded for the city in the record books. We should have known something was going to follow in it's wake the next day....

Friday since Leslie had the day off I headed over to her place so we could hang out. Had a great time we did a lot of spinning.. yes yes LESLIE got to spin.. it's been awhile since she last spun. It's about time! I was spinning "Water Lilies" Merino/Tencel 50/50 by All Spun Up and Leslie was spinning New Zealand Corriedale that she dyed herself.

My spinning on the left and Leslie's on the right. Photo by Leslie.
Here's Java very intrigued by the spindle. Photo by Leslie.
Afterwards Leslie and I went to a Chinese Buffet and then we were off to go see BRAVE....unaware of the disaster that would follow suit. As we approached the theater we see super nasty darkness approaching fast... and I mean really fast. As soon as we got all our stuff out of the car Leslie yelled run and we both high tailed it for the nearest building for safety. The winds came rushing in sending all of the mulch and dirt in our faces.. NOT PLEASANT.. to say the least. We finally made it to the theater but it looked pretty darn scary. My parents were supposed to meet us there but I had to call them to tell them to not leave the house. The winds were just way too high and it looked like a tornado could spawn at any moment. We couldn't even see out into the plaza from the front doors of the theater.. that's just how windy it was and the rain was coming down horizontally. The storm did blow through fairly quickly. We found out later the storm was a Derecho and reached winds of up to 91 MPH. My dad made it to the theater to watch the movie which luckily the power hadn't gone out. The movie was great!! We really enjoyed it.

After the movie was over I went over to Leslie's as I left some stuff over there and wanted to help out with some of the clean up. I had never seen so much damage... everywhere huge trees and limbs down causing power lines to be down.. smooshed cars etc. Many people were without power until Wednesday the following week some not until the following weekend. Not a fun time when several days we were approaching or exceeding 100F.

This is the Mulberry Tree in my Mom's backyard. Photo by Mom
Here's two videos of the storm(not mine). They really show just how strong and damaging this storm was.




Saturday we headed down to Kokomo to visit my Grandparents for my Grandpa's 80th Birthday celebration. It was wonderful to get to see all of the family.

Here's Grandma with the shawl I made her
Saturday also marked the first day of the Tour de Fleece. I decided to start with the Suri Alpaca I purchased from Woolgatherings. It is by far the most difficult fiber I've ever had the opportunity to work with. I will say I've definitely learned some tricks on how to manage it better but boy... talk about frustrating! I'll save my Tour de Fleece photos and stories for a separate post. :)

Sunday we went to the Whitehouse Ohio Butterfly House. One of my favorite places to take photos. Unfortunately the selection of butterflies was rather limited than usual so I had some difficulties getting some good photos.On our way back we passed by another gusty storm that had some pretty awesome but creepy clouds. They are called Mammatus clouds and are frequently seen during potentially tornadic thunderstorms. Needless to say we didn't pull over for pictures.


Monday marked my first day back to work after my one week off. It had been quite some time since I last took a full week off of work. Lots of catching up to do was had!! While I was working Miko spent the majority of the time sitting next to me wanting pets and if I didn't pet her this is the face I'd see. I sure did miss my pupperoos. They are by far the best doggies I've ever had.


I think I was missed what do you think?
Tuckered out from all the heat
Later that evening we made Oreo truffles a recipe I learned how to make from Linhart's Mom. This was Mom's first time making them. We managed to get all the way to the point we rolled the little oreo balls but by the time they would be ready for dipping it was just way too late.

On Tuesday we dipped all 47 truffles we made. Boy were they delicious they sure didn't last very long. I gave a baggie to both Leslie and Sherri on the 4th... Lets just say the next day only ONE remained hahah.


For dinner Mom, Papi, and I went to Flat Top Grill one of my absolute favorite places to eat. You are able to pick out all the ingredients you want for your stir fry as much as you can fit in your bowl, pick out your sauces, select the types of meat you'd like, and then they cook it up for you. We try to pile our bowls as much as possible for delicious left overs. Now my dad... he has this whole pile your bowl to the max thing down to an art. You can see below that he uses snow peas to provide a fencing around the edge of the bowl. He also uses noodles last to provide a webbing to keep all the ingredients in the bowl.
Papi's bowl prior to adding rice and noodles
Here's Papi looking proud of his extremely large amount of food he's piled up
This is my bowl up front and Mom's in the back
Papi's finished delicious food
My finished stir fry along with my spindle
Mom's finished stir fry
Tuesday night Peter and Katie came over to play games. Boy to I miss those two back in high school/college we used to go bowling on Fridays and stay up late at Steak and Shake and play card games till 1-3 am. Good times good times. Peter of course was dying to play Alley a board game that my Grandparents taught us how to play. Grandpa even made the board itself. He was also looking forward to having some of my Mom's Salsa. After a game of Alley we taught my parents and brother Pete how to play a Vietnamese card game called 13 or Tien Len. It's a bit hard to grasp at first which is why I was never able to teach them how to play. It's always best to leave the professional to explain the rules hehe. After a few games everyone was pretty comfortable with the rules and we were having an extremely great time. We ended up playing games until almost 2 am!

Wednesday started out pretty slow... was all we could do to wake up in the morning. We tried to go to the Botanical Conservatory but it was just too darn hot. Later that day we went over to Leslie's to watch the Fireworks. Was so much nicer than going to where they actually set them off and then dealing with all the traffic. I was really surprised that we even had a Fireworks display as there had been a burn ban over the past two weeks due to the drought.

Thursday after work I went to go hang out with Leslie.. and what do you know another wind storm blew through. This one was definitely not as bad as the first one however it still caused a lot of damage as a side affect of the storm that hit the Friday before. From that point forth it was determined that bad storms happen when Leslie and I are hanging out...

Mom found a beautiful Gray Tree Frog(or Cope's Gray Tree Frog we aren't able to determine the species) on the way to pick me up from Leslie's. I had never seen one before in town so she had to catch it so I could see it. More than likely it was knocked out of the trees by all the wind from the storm. Poor little froggie.

Photo by Mom http://tazzy-.deviantart.com/
I didn't do much on Friday however Mom made another big batch of cookies with the majority going back home with me for Linhart. Which he was extremely happy about. There is only 10 left it's now going on the 14th.

Saturday was my last day in town lots to do so little time. We ended up watching the new Spider-Man movie on IMAX which was AMAZING!! I'm so glad we got to watch it. I was worried that with the heat and so many being out of power that it would result in an increase of people going to the movies just to stay cool.

Sunday early morning I headed back out to Washington. Had a rather uneventful flight though my layover was too short and my checked luggage didn't make it on the plane. Luckily it made it safe and sound to our place Monday night.

Over all it was a wonderful two week trip. I loved being able to see so much of my family and getting to spend time with my best friends Leslie and Peter. Hopefully I didn't miss anything. It was a busy two weeks. Next update will be about my first 2 weeks of Tour de Fleece. :)

EWM