Author Archives: elcurran

Lost time = money?


Well due to low enrollment at a college I work at, I had to look for a full time job. I found one. It’s not the one that I was hoping for,¬† but it’s a job with benefits. With the new job and the part time schedule for one of the college positions I haven’t found any time to do a whole lot of fiber work. The college positions really have me spoiled. The college students’ homework is online, which means it’s graded automatically. I haven’t gotten myself down to a system or schedule with getting all of it graded without giving up either part or all of my weekend. I need to soon cuz it’s driving me insane that I can’t do all that I used to. Granted…with my college teaching, I was only working a few hrs a day and had tons of extra time off.

I have about half of my gifts done without some of the little details, but I guess that’s not technically “done.” Plus I miss my wheel. The only time I get to use it is when I’m at my study group every third Tuesday. I guess I could be spinning now, but after not looking at Ravelry’s new patterns for a week or two I thought I’d put up a post.

Nite all! On with watching my sister’s seasons of The Vampire Diaries and True Blood before tomorrow…of grading! Ugh!


TdF Day 12


Today has been a productive day. I have spun one of the three planned bobbins that I have planned for the fiber that I have combed out. Plus I have moved onto the second bobbin! I hope to have all three bobbins full and possibly plied by July 21st which is when I get together with all of my spinner friends to show off what I’ve been working on.

TdF Days 3-6


Well I’ve been busy. I started combing out my Bond fleece that I washed a couple of weeks ago. Tonite I finished what I had washed up, and my arms are tired! The problem now is that it’s too hot to wash more of the fleece.

On the nite of day 3, I finished spinning up both halves of my roving and started plying. I think by 1am the next day I finished plying. The next morning, I got it all wound up and the twist set. I decided that at one of my weekly knitting groups, I better get started on my combing. I had met with a friend the week before to get her expertise on whether or not I should brush or comb. I got more use of my fiber with less “pills” in the combed fiber.

Like I mentioned before, I finished combing up the washed fiber that I had, but I also used my drop spindle to make a swatch for my project. I think Reilly liked the drop spindle. This was the first time he’s seen me using it.

The project calls for a sport weight yarn, but I’m more used to spinning close to either fingering, DK, or worsted. Plus I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a 2 or 3-ply. I like the look of a 3-ply, but wasn’t sure how the fibers would lay. I did a 2 ply, and after setting the twist it fluffed up quite a bitThe picture below shows my first time knitting with my own handspun yarn. Pretty cool, huh? I have to admit, my gauge was right on! I can’t wait to get to spinning it all up and starting the project, but I just wish my arms weren’t so sore.

My other knitting group meets tomorrow and I’m still trying to decide what I want to bring to work on. I still have xmas knitting projects to finish. I guess I’ll decide tomorrow morning. I think I’ll head to bed early tonite. I’ve been going to bed about 1am or later for the past couple of nites. My 2 week break is coming to an end this weekend. ūüė¶


Fiber High!


I think since my last spinning group, I have been on a fiber high. My non-LYS has a spinning group that meets on every third Tuesday, so that was a couple of ¬†weeks ago. I got to show off the fiber that I got from the Estes Park Wool Festival, plus I was almost done with spinning up half of a project that I started last month…I think it was last month. I decided that since Pueblo got a break from the triple digit heat that it would be a good time to start washing some of my fiber that evening before the predicted heat was supposed to return. That nite I started my cold soaks for my one pound CVM X Wenslydale/Lincoln fleece. I have to say that I kinda missed washing fleeces…which for those that don’t do the raw fleeces might find weird. (I know I did when I first started spinning.)

Once I got my first project cleaned up, I started on my second fleece…the Bond….Australian Bond. Hehe This is the fleece that I bought to work on during the Tour de Fleece¬†on my big project. I didn’t wash all of it, but maybe a quarter to a fifth of the fleece. Ms. Gleason told me that I had to make sure to get the musky smell out to know that it was completely washed. I think I had it in my mind that I needed to do a few more washes then I did with the fleece before that. In the process, I think I partially felted some of it. ūüė¶ I didn’t use a lingerie bag like I knew I should have. I had thought about it, but wasn’t quite sure where it was. For the remaining fleece, I will for sure be using a bag.

In between washes I made sure to be productive. I worked on finishing the project I was currently spinning. I had bought 4 oz of a Merino/Silk blend (80/20) a couple of years ago, but hadn’t thought about what to ply it with or what to do with it period. While spending time with Peggy and all of her amazing pieces of work, I found hand-dyed roving that matching the¬†sherbet¬†orange Merino/Silk that I already had. It had shades of yellow and orange and thought it would be perfect! I’m really happy with how it turned out. I spent a good part of a day plying. It came up to a little over 535 yds.

While spinning I had two good things going for me. Pride and Prejudice and beef jerky, which Reilly, my kitty loves also…the jerky that is.

Happy Spinning!

Tour de Fleece 2012: Day 1 & 2


This will be the third year that I have participated in TdF. As I’ve posted in previous writings, I thought that I would be working on my Bond fleece. I was having complications on how I was going to prepare the fleece. I had tried both brushing using animal brushes and single row combs. I have finding what I know now as second cuts. I paid a pretty penny for this fleece, and have been told from two friends that I should let Gleason know about the second cuts she’s getting from her current shearer. I should not be getting second cuts from a fleece I paid $100 for. It’s making me wonder if the entire fleece will be like that and how bad. I want to make sure that I get enough out of this fleece in order to be able to make my project. I’d really hate to be short because I paid for second cuts.¬†So with that said, I had to go through my stash and decided what I wanted to start while I decide what I want to do. Plus I have to take some time out to prepare the fiber for spinning.

I found a braid that I bought back in March 2011 from a shop in San Diego that I had been recommended to me. It wasn’t the type of shop that I was expecting. About a quarter to a third of the shop was dedicated to fiber and the other was like a Cracker Barrel.¬†It had everything else. It’s a gorgeous braid. I for some reason thought that it had some green to it. One thing I bought from the yarn store that closed here in town was a dark green Mernio/Bamboo. Oh well…it’ll be used for something else. Since the braid was only 4 oz, I decided to spin this thin.

The first day I got a little under an ounce completed because I got a late start. I was having a new and much needed mattress delivered and I still needed to clean up the entry way and my bedroom. Today is….well since it’s after midnite, it’s officially day 3. As of now, I have completed about half of the braid. I plan to finish spinning the other half of it maybe more tomorrow and have the two bobbins plied either by later tonite or the day after.

In between all of that, I need to get to my combing. I still need to figure out if I want to do a 2 or 3 ply on this project. I think that if it were a Merino I might do a 3 ply, but with how it’s feeling right now I think I might do a 2 ply. If I don’t have all of that decided and I have my carding going, I do need to think about my next project. Other than starting my big project I also have to think what other projects I want to work with. I have two awesome batts that are just wait to be spun. I’m just not sure how I want to spin them up. I think I might try using some thread like my friend Peggy does with some of her projects. With my stash…the sky’s the limit.

Chocolate Moose Lodge 2012


Every year a group of scrapbooking friends¬†get together and rent a lodge for a four day weekend. It’s called the Chocolate Moose Lodge. It’s located near Fairplay, CO. It’s a location that we’ve been going to annually for over five years, with a one year break. It can accomidate 10 people max. The whole basement is set up with tables, chairs, lighting, TV, movies, and some supplies. The trip is from Thurs afternoon to Sun around noon. So in other words, tons of time to get lots done!

At first I wasn’t scheduled to go. Even though the price to go really is a steal, I wans’t able to pay everything up front to reserve a spot, but a friend of mine had to cancel. So she gave me her spot. I was able to get about a dozen pages worked on, which is definitely more than I can get done at a nite at an Archiver’s. We watched a ton of chich flicks due to the fact that some of the ladies we go with have a house full of guys. We also tried to catch up on our episodes of Glee. Last year I brought the first season and we got through all of the DVDs to leave the gang hanging. This year I brought the second season. We were only able to get through almost half of the episodes. ūüė¶ I think some of them got Gleeked out.

I was able to knit a little on the way and back, plus a little while there. I’m still working on my niece’s hoodie, but now I have a 1 yr old’s bday party to go to on Sat. I’m not really motivated to work on the project right now, but I probably should since tomorrow is Fri. It’s just that I have been spinning, and just last nite started to wash my smaller of the two fleeces. It washed out pretty easily. I just need to lay it out when I get home from work. I was worried about leaving my wet fiber lying out on the kitchen floor with my kitty all by his lonesome. Can you say major hairball!?!

Estes Park Wool Festival 2012


It had been four years since I had last been to Estes Park, CO for the annual wool festival. The first year I went, my friend and I didn’t make it there early Saturday morning like we should have. We instead had an appointment to view the Stanley Hotel. (It was the only opening we could find, so we took it.) I remember seeing fiber everywhere, along with people. I do not recommend going mid to late day at all. It was a pushing and shoving match to get to the next booth. It was not the best experience at a festival that I’ve had. Hence the reason I kind of quit going and started going to Taos, NM instead. My aunt originally wanted to go up with me to see the animals, but instead she left me for my mom and the bead show in Denver. It’s not like they don’t have one every¬†two months! Anyways…I decided that it was time to give Estes another chance.

The reason I was willing to give this festival another chance was a pattern I found in the recent Jane Austin Knits magazine. I found a pattern that I just had to have, but there was a problem. Our local shop was in the process of closing, and I couldn’t find enough yardage to complete it. I then decided that I was going to make it from the ground up. I have a couple of friends who have been parading around in their handspun and hand-knitted items long enough…that I wanted to join the group! I spin, but I have never knitted with any of my handspun yarn. So the plan was to get a full fleece, but I didn’t know what¬†kind. Since my aunt had cancelled on me for Estes, I almost thought about waiting for Taos, but that would have to be til October. I didn’t want to miss out on the available fleeces another three months. So that is what got me to change my mind about going to Estes Park. I have too much…well not too much, but enough Wenslydale and Teeswater, to last me a while. It wasn’t the right look I was wanting. Going through the fiber book with Peggy, I decided I wanted a Bond fleece. She had a gorgeous five-pound (or so) fleece that was a light/medium brown. I wanted it so bad! It was¬†a good find. So that’s what the plan was.

The drive to Estes Park was amazing…as usual! I had driven to my aunt and uncle’s place in Erie the night before so that the drive to Estes Park wouldn’t be that long. I again had to remind myself who was driving so that I didn’t wreck the car. Coming over the hill to see the town is mind-blowing. The market area didn’t open til 9am, but it was a great chance to look at all of the animals. Aren’t they cute!?!

While looking at the animals, I caught a glance at a very nice looking man. I had seen him for the first time a few years ago at the Taos Festival. He is a professional sheep shearer. He is awesome at what he does and he does so looking the way he does. Such a cutie! As I was leaving the festival, I introduced myself to him and told him how I knew him. (A friend of mine has a farm out in Rye, and he shears for them.) Much nicer looking in person and up front!

Once the doors were open I went and looked for Peggy’s booth. (I kind of¬†asked¬†her to find out where I could get the Bond fleece.) This is Peggy’s second or third time at Estes, but her first time by herself. Another friend, who raises alpacas, decided to get her own booth. The lighting for Peggy’s booth was awesome! Her hubby is so creative! He used buckets to hold the type of bulbs that he wanted to use because he couldn’t find anything that would work. It was so much easier shopping for roving or yarn indoors with the special lighting.

Peggy was able to help me find the woman who owned the Bond fleeces. Peggy hadn’t met her when she bought hers, because the woman only sent her fleeces for the Taos show…which is where she got hers. I didn’t find the same coloring as what Peggy got, but I got one that’s light grey. The ram must be big because his fleece had been divided up into two bags. I really wanted something closer to five pounds, but instead got 4.2 pounds. Why not get the other bag? I couldn’t afford both bags, even though I really wanted them. Each bag was $100!!! The reason? It’s an Australian sheep that isn’t too common. Yeah…oOo! Then I found out that she didn’t accept cards! I was all gung-ho on putting it on a card, but no. I had to do a check. It’s all good though. I’ll have to keep my eye open at Taos to see what she sends out for that festival.

Once the big item was crossed off my list, I was able to roam around without being pushed or shoved. It was nice. The getting there early totally paid off! I found a lot of gorgeous roving! What was even better was that I didn’t have to be pushed and shoved in order to look around. I’m not the type of shopper that has to go into every single booth to look at everything…unlike my mom and aunt. I did find an 8-year-old girl spinning on a wheel. I thought that it was amazing that at her age she had the treadling and drafting down! Doesn’t she look awesome!?! I have a 7 yr old niece that love crafts. I’m trying to decide if and when I should teach her how to knit and spin. I guess after seeing this, I have my answer…soon. The wheel that’s in the background with the open spokes…I totally wanted, but didn’t have the money to buy it. With all of the roving that I found, I did have to talk myself in and out of buying a new drop spindle. I had all of this fiber, but nothing to spin it with! I already have about four spindles, but we all know that doesn’t mean anything, right? ūüėČ I was at the festival for a couple hours and then I decided that if I stayed any longer I would run into the crowd that I was trying to avoid and I would spend more money than I already had. So the total was 5.2 pounds of fleece and about 2 pounds in dyed-roving. It’s all so pretty though!!!

Before I left I did take some pictures of the town, sorta. You can’t go into Estes Park and not visit or see the Stanley Hotel. It would be cool to be able to stay there on their off season to see if you could experience something spooky.

So even though I got what I wanted and I spent more than I expected, I probably will hit up the Taos Wool Festival. It’s the first weekend in October. My aunt said that she’s wanted to go down there for a while, but then she mentioned having my mom going. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I will be getting my own room if they do both come with. My aunt snores really bad, and my mom can sometimes snore/moan in her sleep. So maybe something either across the hall or down the hall or on the other side of the hotel might do. lol Although buying stuff around my mom might not be easy. I won’t need to buy too much with the stash I got this time around, right? I can’t spin all of that by October…hahaha.