Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Taming the Unknown

Would that it was last weekend again! Saturday I went to the 2nd Annual RI Wool and Fiber Festival in Bristol with my friend Katie. It was my first fiber festival, and boy, was it different than I expected. First of all, there were live animals. You would think the fact that it was at a farm would have tipped me off to the myriad of lovely beasties that would be wandering to and fro. But it didn't. Because I'm from the city! Look at this silly little sheep posing for the camera:

'I'm the cutest sheep here, and I know it!'

In addition to the animals, there were the friendliest people around to teach Katie and me to spin! One drop spindle in my hand, and it was like I was back at Roman Day at Silchester! Here's me writing the wrong name on numerous checks...I swear it was all those animal fumes! Luckily I was clear-headed enough in the morning to pack my check book. I don't think anyone took debit cards!

'Can you spell your name for me...I'm a little slow'

After several rounds of instruction, I decided to buy a ton of fiber and a drop spindle! Here's the haul...Most of it is Merino/Tencel blend and Alpaca. I do have about 4 oz of plain wool from the farmer's market to learn on (it has hay and beetles in it, though), and I bought about 6 oz of twig/bug-free fiber from the festival that I will move onto when I can't bear to use the farmer's market stuff anymore. The alpaca is heavenly, and sometime in the future, I hope to spin it and knit it into a nice brioche neck warmer...A girl can dream, anyway.

Hand-dyed Merino Tencel, a Louet bottom-whorl drop spindle, and plain roving


Last Friday, in a fit of insanity and much needed stress relief via shopping, I bought a sewing machine! It's a cheapy. Only $70 at Wal-Mart, but considering I haven't really touched a sewing machine since I was in middle school, the recommended $400-$600 on a "decent" machine was really unwarranted.

'Oh Brother, where art thou?'

So far I have sewn three things- a mini box bag, a regular size box bag, and a purse lining. As to be expected, I am having trouble sewing straight lines at times, and I just figured out the whole seam allowance and presser foot-as-gauge thing. That's making things a bit easier. I hope I will be able to master this soon. I also need help measuring and cutting. A bigger mat might help. The little bag I made using this tutorial. It isn't written for a novice, but I was able to get pretty far using it. The side corners, however, were quite uneven. I googled box bags, and found this tutorial, which simplifies the corners and makes a much more even bag. Here's a blurry-ish view of the box bag without handles because 1) I used scrap and didn't have enough of the exterior color to make one, and 2) when I realized I could use the interior color, I sewed the corners before adding the strap! Ugh! I guess I will finally get this bag right on the proverbial third try. Sew far (hehehehe) I love sewing!

A bit wonky, but functional

A peek at the bag's underwear...Blush...


I had my first dissertation committee meeting on Monday, and I think it went fairly well. We were able to discuss my project and narrow down quite a few things. Unfortunately one of those things was time frame. I have a chapter due on June 20th! That seems a bit soon, but I am not going to stress about it. I will work on it, and get to where I get. The plan is to finish in 5 years when my funding runs out (next spring), but I would rather find money and take an extra year. We'll see how things go... This, of course, means less crafting, although I can't give it up completely because it's what keeps me sane! If my baron is lurking waiting for the right moment to introduce himself and sweep me off my feet, now would be a good time...

Until next time...


bySarah said...

Woo hoo on good meetings and narrowing stuff down - you will definitely get everything done by your deadline!

I love the newest bag, SO CUTE, I cant wait to meet it in person!!

laura (knittinkitties) said...

i's a city girl too! two people at my snb are from the country in ny and they were talking about deer bugs or flies or something. i dunno. i looked at them like "whuuuuuuuuuut" (mind you this was in DC...dupont circle...few blocks from the hilton where regan got shot....and they looked at me funny and i said "I WAS BORNED DOWN THE STREET!!!" HEHEHE

juicyknits said...

Oh, the little sheep was just looking at the two silly girls with the cameras. ;-)