Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lambtown USA 2008

Lambtown Weekend

Walter and I made our yearly trek from So. California to Lambtown USA in Dixon, CA near Sacramento. Lambtown is a Country Fair festival that celebrates everything having to do with sheep. I really wanted this to be a great trip but we had a few set-backs. The car rental I had reserved two weeks prior online was not in the lot. Neither was any other car and we had to wait ½ hour to get a car we weren’t crazy about. The GPS navigation system we requested was not available, but they did give us the autoclub discount which helped a little. That GPS system would have been handy when we were coming home from the movies in the dark and somehow got turned around trying to find the freeway on a dark rural highway. After about 30 minutes of wrong turns, we retraced our steps and found the onramp, which was quite hidden. Our trip was very bumpy. By this I mean we felt every little road bump in our compact Hyundai Accent. I couldn’t even drink my canned soda without spilling some on me when we came to the next bump in the road.

We did get to our hotel without any other incident. It was a nice drive and we listened to an audiobook on the way. I started on the 2nd sock of the pink stripes Knit Picks Felici yarn on Size 1 needles. It was nice to be able to knit non-stop, except for rest and stretch. Unfortunately, on the way home I lost the 1st sock somewhere at a rest stop or restaurant. Having my knitting in my handbag, it must have fallen out when I got out of the car. I am heartbroken, because it took me about two weeks to finish that sock and now I don’t think I have enough yarn to make another. I’ve been thinking perhaps I should just make some footlets or short socks. Or should I just rip it out and give up?

On the positive side, Lambtown was marvelous. Even though there were less food booths, there were more of a Variety of Fiber vendors. New this year were Angora Rabbits. These lovely puffs of fur with eyes and noses peeking out were so adorable. I had a hard time not bringing one home. I did, however, buy some 4 oz of Angora fiber to play with. I had to force myself to stay away from the Fiber Fair building, because everytime I went in, I came out with less money. I purchased some nifty dpn tubes that hold your project and needles together in a tube. Yea! No more dropped stitches from dpns pulling out in my purse. I could not resist a small Bosworth spindle and 8 oz of some lovely handpainted roving in blue colors: Ocean colors and 4oz of baby blue superwash merino in honor of my grandson, soon to be born. I had intended to buy some sock yarn and there was Opal yarn in abundance, but I changed my mind and decided to use up my stash first, which is still plentiful. Actually, when I think about it, I don’t think I spent that much. My focus was taking it easy and enjoying the day without rushing to see everything. We even had some time to sit and listen to the Bluegrass and Dixeland Band at the stage.

I was able to take a Needlefelting class and made a very cute needle felted sheep in 2 hrs. This class taught by Allen Messick, who was also judging the Angora bunnies and selling mohair fiber from his mohair farm was a wonderful teacher. He was friendly and helpful and gave, all two of us, his undivided attention. I would love to take another class from him in the future.

Although we missed the Sheep Shearing and Sheep dog herding competitions, we did catch the Sheep to Shawl and National Spinning Competition which was fun to watch. At the end there was a small fashion show and announcements of the winners of the Fiber competitions. I am so glad the events are back at the Mayfair grounds. The weather was so perfect this year, about the high 80’s, which made the day very busy and enjoyable for us.
To see more pictures of Lambtown, go to here

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Knitting

What’s on My Needles……

My camera’s battery has died and I can’t find my battery charger so I afraid this is going to have to be narrative……until I get my battery charged.

I’ve been on a learning quest: one new knitting skill this summer. That skill was to attempt toe-up socks. I used Judy Becker’s cast on which seemed to work well. I am using Knit Picks Felici Self Striping yarn in Mixed Berries, which is a pink shades yarn. I am using Size 1 needles. For the pattern I am using, the sock is going to be a little snug but it fits. If doing them again, I would use Size 2 needles.

My stalled Flag sweater project will be progressing as I just received the yarn I order to finish it.

I’ve been reading several blogs about the Tour de Fleece spinning project. I’ve been spinning but it is from some yarn I won on ebay recently. I won three pounds of combed superwash merino dark grey color. I want to make some sock yarn, so I am spinning it as fine as I can get with high twist so that it stays strong. The first skein came out very nice. After plying it, it came out a little over twisted but it retained its softness and I think it will work out well as sock yarn.

Lambtown USA

My husband and I will be going to Dixon, CA this year for the Lambtown festival. It is back at the Mayfair Fairgrounds with all the usual events: Sheep to Shawl, Mutton Bustin, National Spinning Competition, Sheep shearing and Sheep Dog Competitions. The only thing is I’m not sure they will have any vendors as they have not been posted online this year. We are looking forward to a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The 4th of July

The 4th of July is a special day at our house. Not only is it the birthday of America, it’s my husband’s birthday too. How fortunate was he to be born on a day every American celebrates.

I enjoyed seeing my granddaughter again. She has been away from El Salvador for a month with her other grandmother. She will be 2 years old in a few weeks. It is so amazing to see how she is learning to speak both English and Spanish. She is more understandable now. It is lovely to hear her call me “Gamma”. I am seeing wonderful things in my eldest son’s parenting skills. It so lovely to see him and his daughter interact. It warms my heart to see the bond they have developed. He truly loves and cares for her. Even “Abuelita”, the other grandma, calls for his intervention when C. does not cooperate.. The word “No” is clearly in her vocabulary. When dad intervenes she pays attention and easily defers to him and his opinion. When her daddy says no, she knows he means it and is deeply affected to have disappointed him. How can one resist but to love her and comfort her which her dad doesn’t hesitate to do to reassure her of his love regardless of her disobedience or refusals to do something. This is so gratifying to witness this in my son. It makes all of my trials, worth every blood, sweat, tear and heartbreak ever experienced raising him. It leaves me with a sense of peace that he will be OK, being a father and raising his children.

Actually, I am at a point in my life that all my children have achieved some sort of independence and maturity to carry on when I am gone. I still pray for their wisdom and good judgment. However, I am feeling my life being fulfilled in them.

June 6, 2008
Reflecting on the weekend.

I finished sewing up the Monkey Socks and the quick Charity hat this weekend. Yea! I finished something.

I wanted to learn a new skill this weekend. I researched some direction for toe-up socks using July Becker’s cast on. There were many false starts. I must have restarted about 4 or 5 times. On size one needles it was quite a challenge to increase. I possibly should have used a thinker yarn and bigger needle but I’ve been wanting to use the Knit Picks Felicini yarn I ordered and this was as good an excuse as any. The self striping yarns seems to be easy to knit in stockinette.

Summer makes me think of taking inventory of my fiber. I thought I’d start with my UFO’s. I created a database and after much trial and error, I figured out how to add pictures of the projects. I am getting the itch to attempt to finish some of them. Perhaps I can work on some of these this summer. I probably should rip out the ones that will no longer fit. I am clearly a process knitter. I enjoy learn how to do something. Once I learn it, finishing it is not very important. This is the issue with socks and bigger projects like sweater. I hope someday to settle down and knit straight through a sweater that fits well. I have yet to find the perfect pattern.