Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December: The Month of More, Part 2

December also features a couple of notable fiber-oriented gatherings for me.

First is Christmas On The Farm - a cozy group of vendors who kick off the holiday craft festival season at Stone Edge Fibers in Phelps, NY.  Fibergoddess Amy (and DH Fred) clear their garage to make a lovely venue for herself and five other vendors to offer goods to early Christmas shoppers. 

I made up more beginner drop spindle kits and packaged some yummy alpaca/silk, camel/silk and dyed waste silk roving.

Besides Amy's and my fiber and yarn (and Andy's fiber tools and 'gift items' like cutting boards), there are vendors with amazing soap and lotions, jewelry, turned wooden bowls, holiday decorations and jams.


Don't you love this sweater? I asked the lady if she had made it.  She did not, but I think it could be done reasonably simply by embroidering those flowers on a plain sweater with yarn.  Done by someone... probably not me.  Sigh.

Also at this event was a Guiding Eyes pup in training and an information booth about the organization which was selling baked goods and hot cider as a fundraiser. 

This is Vanguard.  He's actually a 'loner' pup from another family as a female pup in his household was coming into heat and the policy is to remove males from that distraction until it passes.  He was a very good boy and worked very hard at ignoring people and tempting items on the floor during his lessons and concentrated only on his handler.

But don't worry, he eventually went off duty and we all got to pet him and he had a good nap too.

The other fun gathering was my spinning guild's December meeting.  It features Christmas cookies and a 'secret Santa' style fiber gift exchange.  Participation is not mandatory but many people choose to join in. 

The cookie table (more came in later, too).

Look at these!  Almost too cute to eat!  (Almost).

And the table of gifts was full to overflowing.  Anne Marie presided over the drawing of names and gift choosing.

My name came up second!  I took one look at the box with this little guy on top and grabbed him up.  It's Dominic the Donkey!!

Alas, I didn't get to keep him very long as 'stealing' was allowed during the course of the gift game and he changed hands many times.

It's been such a busy month I didn't get a chance to give the crazy guild challenge roving much thought but I figured I better jump in and decide how to handle it.  I laid it out and stewed on the colors a while.  I could make them harmonize fairly well except for that white - it stuck out like a sore thumb to me.  I finally settled on laying them out in a dark/light/dark/light sequence and hoped it was random enough that the white would be spread out and quieted down when the finished yarn was eventually plied back on itself.

I started from the left, rolling the roving like a cinnamon bun and adding each length of roving in turn as I had laid it out.  I also sprinkled some Forest Blaze angelina on the roving as I rolled it up.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  It ended up looking rather appealing and I was eager to spin it.

I had to spin it a little chunkier than I had wanted.  Since the fiber came from lots of different sources the preparation varied a lot.  Some colors spun easily, some seemed to have been around the block a few times and were almost felted and didn't draft well.  All in all, it didn't turn out too badly.

Next was plying.  And measuring.  The plying went well in that the colors blended quite nicely and the only color that matched up to itself in one place was the white.  Wouldn't you know.  Happily it was only a few yards.  Then I measured it.  Ninety-nine yards.  In the immortal words of Scooby Doo... "Ruuh-rooh!"  The pattern we're to use calls for a minimum of over 200 yards.  It's adjustable in that you can make it shorter or narrower but I have a sneaking suspicion that to avoid looking like a choker I'm going to need more yarn.  At this point I turn to the vast stash of handspun samples I have from roving colors that are long gone.  I'm thinking I can alternate a few rows of the challenge yarn with something from the stash to stretch the total yardage.

I hemmed and hawed and held everything to the light of day and finally decided on using the mocha (moorit) in the middle.  At least, that's the thought right now.  I know I don't have time to get started until after Christmas so I'll look at it again then with fresh eyes.  So it's decided......kinda.


  1. Thanks for sharing this great read!! Love the Pop Up garage sale, then gift exchanges and your dyeing and spinning traditions.

  2. I love the spindle kits! Love them! It looks like a wonderful time was had in both venues. So much yarn, so much fiber!

  3. Perfect choice on the yardage stretcher color! and your exchange spinning looks wonderful! We do have the MOST fun group!!!! Merry Christmas, Robin and Andy!

  4. Love reading your blogs I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

  5. What a sweet and hardworking puppy! I bet the fiber fest was great fun. I like what you did and are planning with your fibery odds and ends too.

  6. The vendor gathering looks so festive, and I LOVE it that the dog was there for fund-raising. With that array of colors you could do a lot of things and they'll all be beautiful. Enjoy the project!