Sunday, May 3, 2009

Shell shocke

I've been waiting months for MD Sheep & Wool. I successfully made it through my yarn diet period so I could splurge without guilt. However, I also made a pact with myself that I would only buy stuff I actually liked & wanted, and not just go crazy because I could.

Unfortunately, this weekend was overshadowed by the events of the week. A coworker of mine, who just turned 35 and who has a wife and three little girls, died unexpectedly of a heart attack. It was a great shock to all of us that worked with him, and it made for a long, hard, sad week. The office took up donations to help support his wife and daughters, and I spent Wednesday night making a card to put them in.


I knew I wanted to do a black and white card and I wanted to use vellum, but I didn't know that I had any images appropriate, so I went to Angela's Happy Stamper and wandered around. They were very gracious even though I walked in right at closing. I saw the dandelion image and immediately picked it up. I found the sentiment soon after.

The dandelion is stamped with onyx staz-on on vellum, over white cardstock, matted on metallic silver. I fastened it with some black brads I had in my embellishment box. The sentiment was harder; I wanted to put it on vellum too because the white cardstock was too bright uncovered, but I couldn't figure out how to stick the pieces together without the adhesive showing through. As an experiment I picked up the white cardstock piece on which I had already stamped the image and I folded vellum around it and glued it on the back. It worked, but the vellum sort of bowed out a little. I thought it would still work though, and I stamped the sentiment on top just to see how I liked it. I had expected to throw the whole thing away if I liked it and redo a fresh one, but the sentiment on the vellum was just slightly offset from the sentiment on the cardstock and it made this nifty shadow effect, so I ended up using that piece and I was pretty happy with the way it looked.


For the inside image, I used a brayer and a Kaleidacolor pad (colorway was Fruitcake, I think) and then stamped black butterflies on the color. Then I stamped the three flowers on vellum and put it over top. I hadn't planned on this originally, but the colored butterfly thingy was a remnant from an earlier idea I had tried and discarded, and when I saw the three little puff flowers I thought of his three daughters, and so I kind of think of it as a little message of hope. We all grieve in different ways. I guess I deal by making crap. We ended up collecting so much money that we had trouble fitting it in the card, but I hope it made the gift even a little bit more meaningful.

His memorial service was Friday and after work a bunch of us went out to have dinner and just hang out. I didn't get home as early as I wanted and I was already tired to begin with (though it was a good and necessary uplift after a sad and difficult week). Needless to say, I started Saturday out a little subdued and already running on empty.

But, after my experience last year, I spent some time stalking the Ravelry board and taking notes on recommendations. I didn't want to go to the show and end up buying stuff I could just get online. This was well done because when I got there it was totally overwhelming. I kept wanting to veer off and look at things but I was dead determined to go to my chosen vendors first before looking at anything out. I wanted to go to:

--Journey Wheels (I was actually after some Franquemont Fibers batts, but I didn't see any and had too much to do to
--Jenny the Potter
--Carolina Homespun
--The Barefoot Spinner
--Kid Hollow Farm
--SpirtTrail Fiberworks
--Cloverhill Yarn Shops (they carry a number of indie dyers)

I think there were a couple of others but I think my rain-stained notes are still in the pocket of my jeans. As I said, I was looking for something unique. Fiberwise, my goal was to try some wool types that I have not tried before (not hard, considering that I have only been spinning for four months or so). If I was going to buy yarn, I wanted to buy yarn from independent dyers, or see if I could get a good deal on some exotic fibers. However, the only yarn I bought was from Kid Hollow Farm. I was really tempted by some laceweight cashmere in my budget, but it was only available in white and I decided to pass. I'm way too much of a klutz for a white lace cashmere shawl. I may take up dying sometime but if I do, I won't want to experiment on something like cashmere!

The haul includes:


3 skeins Mohair laceweight from Kid Hollow Farms, colorway persimmon. KHF does have a website but they don't advertise the laceweight. Also, they are a local Virginia farm. The label says fingering weight but it is definitely lace, and the bin it was in was labeled lace.


4 oz Hog Island Wool dyed slate grey from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. This is an endangered breed, as I understand, so I wanted to get some while I had a chance. It's also a native breed to Virginia and is currently kept on one of the local plantations here as a historical breed.


4 oz natural grey Jacob Wool from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I bought this at the suggestion of a lady at the booth, who told me over the course of our conversation that these particular sheep are extremely pampered by their owner.


8 oz white Wensleydale cross from Little Barn. They weren't local but they did have some nice things and I had plenty of budget left.


8 oz natural light brown CVM. The label informs me that there are fewer than 1000 of these sheep worldwide.

I did visit Jennie the Potter's booth (kgd, I tried to convince your son to buy you one of the smaller yarn bowls she had that were less expensive than the large ones on the website, but alas, he was unmoved - he bought you this instead) and had a nice chat with a lady whose voice seemed familiar. She recognized my rav name on my button, and I totally plotzed when she introduced herself as Heather from CraftLit. I was nearing the end of my steam by this point and I don't even know what I said. I hope I wasn't too silly. She did ask me if I was going to the ravelry meetup and at the time I was thinking that I would, but I only got through a few more shops before I crashed so hard it was all I could do to get back in the car. I dozed all the way home and spend the rest of the day on the couch. I got up and went to church this morning, had lunch and came home and I've been on the couch ever since. I'm still so tired!

But, now I get to plot and plan and surf possibilities for the yarn I bought, and I'm looking forward to getting some of my fiber score on the wheel to see how it spins up. Today, though, I'm working as hard as I can on my sweater - I am really close to being done. I might have finished tonight if I hadn't spent so much time surfing the internet for patterns, and working on this blog post. Oops.

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