Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beware! Ranting may follow

Let's just get this out in the open right away.

Pick your term.  I am crabby, cranky, bitchy, out of sorts, tired, pissy, irritable.  Whatever you call it.....I don't like being in this state.  And I don't have a good reason for it.  It just is!

Everything is going well in my life right now.  So what could possible be causing this.  Maybe a list will help???

1.  It's HOT.  Heat indices have been over 100 degrees for maybe 8-10 days.  It kind of wears a person down after a while.  You step outside & it smacks you up side the head, takes your breath away.  Just listen to people...they walk out of a nice air-conditioned building and everyone says "UGH".  Seriously, its a phenomenon researched

2.  I am not sleeping well.  Can't be the heat causing it because I am in an air-conditioned room.  I always have periods of insomnia & usually embrace them as a time to get extra work done, or read a good book, catch up on blog reading, etc.  But if it goes on a bit too long, I take 2 Advil & a Benadryl and sleep great.  The problem is, as I am waiting on a call from Daughter2 that Grandbaby2 has decided to appear & she needs me to come get Grandbaby1, I am afraid to medicate to sleep.  No way am I missing that call & I need to be alert to drive.

3.  Aforementioned Grandson is a bit reluctant to make his way into the world.  My daughter has reached that  stage of  " I am a week overdue, miserable and just want this pregnancy over".  She is tired, swollen, hot and also a bit crabby.  I think she has a pretty good excuse.  But she is still my baby & although there is absolutely nothing I can do for her......A momma worries.

4. Sock Summit Envy.  Sock Summit 2011 starts tomorrow and I want to be there.  Now I have known for quite a while that I wouldn't be there.  I have a grandbaby due.  It's in Portland, OR.  I can't afford or justify it right now.  But that does not lessen the fact that I really wish I was there.  All I can say is.....there better be one in 2013.  It doesn't help that I keep checking Twitter for #socksummit tweets.  I can't wait till the pictures and blog posts about it start appearing.

5. It's hot.  Did I mention that before?  This heat tends to affect my brain a bit.

6.  I haven't seen Daughter1 since April.  She lives 2000 miles away and due to final work on her PhD, she hasn't been able to make it home for her annual summer visit. I am needed here now so it will probably be mid fall before I see her in person.  Now don't get me wrong.  I talk to her nearly everyday, we share tidbits online & on the phone.  But I miss the physical connection.

7.  I have been so obsessed with creating lace objects that my other crafts are suffering.  There are just not enough hours in the day for everything I want to create.  When fiber creations run around in my head too long without an outlet, they get a bit stir crazy.  Right now there is a minor skirmish going on between a handwoven tartan baby blanket, a couple pair of socks, at least 2 lace shawls and a set of needle-felted bowls.  Since all my crafting time is being occupied with pattern writing & swatching the others have to wait and they are not real happy about it.

8.  There is an extreme heatwave going on here y'all!

9.  There is a world conspiracy against me.  Well perhaps that is a wee bit of exaggeration.  But did you ever have one of those times where life just doesn't flow?  Of course you have, we all have.  It happens all the time.  My Dr. relocated to the East Coast.  It's hard to research new Drs and find ones you have a good rapport with.  I have been having to deal with insurance a lot lately.  That is about as fun as beating your head on a brick wall. Several of my favorite products were mysteriously discontinued.  What is up with that?  I have a sneaking suspicion that a couple of my major appliances are thinking about going on strike.  Negotiations to keep them working will take money that I wish to spend elsewhere ( on a new grandson, on fiber art supplies, airplane tickets, fiber conventions, a new gadget).  Just too many such happenings for it to be a coincidence.

10.  Maybe I am just crabby.  No reason or excuse needed.  Just one of those (hopefully short) periods of time when a person a bit off.

Okay, no more whining.  Let's go with reason ten and call it a night.  After all, tomorrow is a brand new day with all new possibilities!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Fiber Festival #2 - Greencastle

Since the heat is still beating down on us here in the Midwest and I have no new grandbaby's back to festival reviews.

My second festival of the summer was The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana held April 15 & 16, 2011. There was a wide range of workshops in weaving, spinning, dyeing, felting, knitting and basket-making.  If you couldn't find a class you weren't trying.

The Fiber Event is definitely a rain or shine event.  I knew this going in and yet I was not prepared for the cold rain & wind.  But thanks to Sally of Brown County Weavery, I stayed toasty with my new handwoven, hooded cape.  It was a life saver.

It was good to see so many of my vendor friends there: Robin Edmundson, Jill of Star Struck CatSusan McFarland who did wonderful demonstrations in wool carding, Susan Markle of The Trading Post for Fiber Art, Barb from The Weaver's Loft, and I must not forget to mention that Geno's Kettle Corn was there.  They are always a hit.

There was a new vendor there whose work I absolutely fell in love with....Fiber Optic Yarns.  Kimber Baldwin is from Ohio. She dyes the most fantastic fiber.  It is incredibly bright & vibrant. Even the names she gives her colorways are the coolest.  I bought some of the most incredible sock yarn in purple called "Weapon Grade".

 I hope you get a chance to see Kimber's fibers in person.  Computer monitors just do not do it justice.  As you can tell, I am a huge fan.  I have in mind a huge circular lace piece and I truly believe it is begging to be made from Fiber Optic Yarn.

The only thing lacking at this years festival was food.  There was only one food vendor there and they just could not keep up.  If you know of a good vendor or two, maybe you could point them toward Greencastle next spring.  Since the food was a bit scarce, Sharon H. & I decided to visit the much talked about Almost Home Tea Room.  What a wonderful place.  You really need to stop by if you are in the area.  Fantastic food and atmosphere!

I did some crafting demonstrations again at The Fiber Closet booth.  This time I concentrated on Tunisian Crochet and clasp-weft weaving on the rigid heddle loom.

That wraps up my thoughts on The Fiber Event of Greencastle.  Hope you will join me next time when I plan to fill you in on my wonderful time at Hoosier Hills Fiber Art Festival as I work my way up to TNNA............or my on-going lace obsession.......or my extreme Sock Summit envy........or maybe a new baby!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Shawl Blocking Magic

Blocking is something every knitter knows they should do but many are reluctant to attempt.  However, if you want your finished objects to have that neat, professional look then you really need to take the time to block.

As an example, I recently made the Wendy Johnson Summer Mystery Shawlette in Cascade Yarns Heritage sock weight.  I was so in love with this pattern that as soon as I finished the first one, I immediately cast on for another slightly larger one.  Wendy's patterns are so unique.  Her charts and explanations are neat & concise.  Here are pictures comparing the unblocked vs. blocked versions.
Unblocked -- 21" x 36"

Blocked -- 36" x 72"

Now this is perfectly lovely knitting.   But.............

This is spectacular. See how the lace is opened up and shows off all its' magnificent yarn overs. The increase in size is significant.  Keep this in mind when planning your projects.

My first shawlette
Shawlette done in Kraemer Silk & Silver
 fit perfectly on a blocking board  but the larger one had to blocked on the floor to have enough room to really stretch it.

Part of the blocking magic is that after you pin your item out, let it dry and give it a nice shot of steam, it retains the shape you blocked it to.  It can be tossed carelessly into your bag ( not that I would ever do that) and when you pull it out. Voila!  Still looks nice & neat.  This comes in very handy for a person who doesn't pack well or is just generally less "put together".

Thank you for attending my mini rant tutorial on the joys of blocking.  As you can tell, I am a believer!

Hope you will come back next time when perhaps I will get back to talking about summer festivals.  That is providing that my mind doesn't wander off in a totally different fibery direction.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This is one of those times that personal life got in the way of fiber art blogging.  I had a minor car issue yesterday and needed to travel 1.5 hours from home (each way) to my mechanic today.  I decided to be efficient and combine lots of other errands into the trip so I only lost one full day.

Naturally, I had to do this on the hottest day of the year so far.

Check out the picture below.  This is why I am wiped out and intend to spend the rest of my evening sitting in front of a fan sipping a frozen strawberry adult beverage and perhaps doing just a bit of knitting.
Yes indeed.  The temperature was 104 @ 5 pm!!

And for those concerned about my safe driving habits....I was stopped @ a long, long red light.

However, just so you don't think my day was a complete bust.  I was able to include this little adventure.

Took my grand-daughter to "test-drive" some cars at her favorite store.
We did not buy today....Nana had sticker shock!!
Princess wave

This is the one Nana!

Shortly after this she decided she needed a doughnut & chocolate milk. Much more in my price range.

So I am pretty much done for the day.  Tomorrow is group day at The Fiber Closet.  I hope to spend the entire day with Cheryl working on so many fun projects.  We usually do a bit of social media and event planning (sometimes just dreaming). Later there is lunch, weaving group from 1-3 pm and knitting group from 3-6 pm.

With a little luck I will be back to fibery musings tomorrow.

PS.  The shawl is blocked and photographed.  Turned out great.  I'll fill you in soon.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Festival #1 - Jay County Fiber Fest

The first summer fiber event for me this year was the Jay County Fiber Fest in Portland, IN. March 11 & 12.  I guess that is really still spring but it was the kick-off show.  I met Mike & Cheryl Moreo of The Fiber Closet there & hung out with them between classes.

I took two very interesting classes there.  A "needle-felt an alpaca hat" class with Carol Houghton and a "locker-hooking" class with Kendra Habegger.  I have had such fun with the hat I made in class.  I have changed the shape of it several times.  This is the current rendition.  Trust me....It will change again. 
I unfortunately have no pictures of the locker hooking.   I haven't touched it since March.  It was fun but I don't think I will be doing a lot of it.

I did some demonstrations in rigid heddle weaving on a Schacht Cricket loom.  The Jay County show is a pretty laid-back festival but a great way to ease into the show schedule.  Lots of nice activities for kids on Friday with hands-on demos/classes on everything from felting & beading to sheep shearing.  And of course great shopping from all the vendors.  A good time was had by all.

Well that's it for today.  This is my first Monday in ages without my 2 yr old grand-daughter here to "help" me work.  Since I can't use her for an excuse.......I really should try to get something accomplished.  ;)

But before I go, here is a picture of my latest knitting project.  I have been absolutely obsessed with lace this summer.  This is my second Wendy Johnson Shawl.  She has inspired me to write my own pattern for a lace shawl.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  If you haven't seen blocking work its' magic...check back tomorrow (hopefully).  The shawl is currently 21" x 36" just off the needles.
Waiting on the blocking fairies to appear!

See you next time when I review The Fiber Event @ Greencastle.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Welcome to Regina's Fiber Art Blog!!

Welcome to Regina's Fiber Art Blog!

First a bit of background info.  I am a fiber artist specializing in weaving, knitting and needle-felting.  Living in a very rural area, the internet is a true blessing for me.  It has opened up the entire world of fiber art to me.  If I could only take my inspiration from my immediate work would all be the color of corn fields, just spring/summer greens & fall/winter browns as far as the eye can see.  While brown & green are perfectly fine colors, I naturally prefer lots of bright bursts of color.

My field of dreams!

I have an Etsy store, Cozy Hearth Creations with my daughter Emily where we sell bits & pieces of our current craft obsessions ( and occasionally home made candy when my fudge making frenzy strikes).  By the way, you really should check out Emily's blog: The Narrations of A Neuro Knitter.  Her writing is so entertaining, even if I am her mother ; )

I also maintain a vendor booth at Neva's Antiques & Hand-Crafted Gallery in Rockville, Indiana ( Home of the world famous Parke County Covered Bridge Festival).  I share a booth with Cheryl Moreo, owner of The Fiber Closet also in Rockville.  Cheryl & I met through her shop but developed our wonderful friendship through our love of all crafts, fibers, techniques, traveling to shows together, and our wonderful geekiness when it comes to new gadgets.

Creative Friends Booth @ Neva's

I walk a very fine line between spending too much time on the internet and my creating of fiber works.  To heck with housework.  It is just always there....lurking, chastising, trying to creep in my mind.  But so far, I do a great job of ignoring it.

I hope you enjoy my blog posts.  I plan to post often about my adventures in fiber art with occasional tidbits from my personal life (As an example, I am anxiously awaiting the birth of my second grandchild, Liam, who is due next week).  Comments are always welcome but please be nice.  I am the sensitive type, you know?

See you next time when I plan to start filling you in on my summer fiber adventures...........unless something else hijacks my mind.