Sunday, October 29, 2006

what i brought home

ok, here's my haul: fiber (upper left) and yarn (lower right) are from steam valley. i gave really close-up pics to show you the delicate intricacies of color, especially in that merino yarn! i always like multi-colored yarns over solids because they keep me excited as i crochet; one solid color can get so boring after hours and hours... at the festival i was in a total color rut for the first few hours; everything i bought was in the colors of the sweater i was wearing-- pinks and oranges with hints of light green-- so when i arrived at the sheep shed i took advantage of their diverse color assortment and low prices and bought 7 bundles of roving from them. i ran into the patron saint of young knitters/crocheters, debbie stoller in front of a booth i had never paid much attention to before, the bronze cat, but she told me it's one of her favorites and now it's one of mine too; they carry antique spinning wheels, books and sewing notions and that's where i acquired the vintage 70's spinning book and strawberry pincushion. the goodies in the lower left pic include some gorgeous batts of wool/angora/silk/viscose from crosspatch creations and merino/silk roving from carolina homespun. can't wait to spin all this stuff but first i have to use up all my fiber from last year...!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

i call it heaven...

others call it the 34th Annual NYS Sheep & Wool Festival, and it might just be my favorite weekend of the year. it is held in Rhinebeck, New York, about 2 hours north of the city. colleen, siri and i spent the weekend at colleen's house in hudson and attended the festival on saturday, which was a glorious, crisp, perfectly autumn-y day...

this is where i buy most of my fiber to spin into yarn, because i only know of one place in nyc to buy fiber, the Yarn Tree (right here in williamsburg) and though they have an excellent selection, nothing can compare to the variety on display at rhinebeck! i especially like hand-painted rovings like the giant balls you see below, and interesting blends, especially if they contain angora. i will show pics of what i brought back tomorrow...

you will find just about every fiber-producing animal at the festival, including llamas, alpacas, angora bunnies (they produce angora fiber), angora goats (they make mohair), cashmere goats (not actually a breed; a few different types of goats yield cashmere) and of course infinite breeds of sheep. then there are the more exotic fibers, like yak, vicuna, camel, and silk, and the elusive possum, which i was hunting for but didn't find.

here i am with phylleri of Steam Valley Fiber Farm, where i apprenticed for 3 weeks in 2003 and learned how to spin. it was great to see her and briefly catch up; i will post more about my apprenticeship soon, i promise.

can you see the look of bliss on my face? thanks colleen for capturing it!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

garden of eve

sunday i went with 30-odd fellow members of my CSA to the farm our vegetables come from, garden of eve. it is such a beautiful place, and makes me feel so good about supporting a small organic family-run farm. above are farmers chris, eve and their son forrest.

this is what free range should look like!

there is nothing quite like standing in a field, plucking vegetables from the earth, and popping them in your mouth. i only wish i could do it every day...

have you ever seen such beautiful bok choy? and those mustard greens are hotter than wasabi!

the 'room' below is where they wash and pack the veggies before bringing them to the market. and that washer in the far corner is where they spin the salad greens dry!

Friday, October 06, 2006

crochet incorporated

i love crochet. and i love sewing. so for this fall i am trying to combine the two... utilising the advantages of both. crochet is so labor-intensive (and therefore expensive) so allover crochet garments are pretty much out of the question for selling. but little bits of crochet on a sewn piece lend a hand-wrought, one of a kind quality that hodge podge is all about. i'm working on my fall collection, and am totally behind schedule as usual (how does it happen every season?) but i hope to deliver new stuff to the stores in the next 2 weeks. the pink, blue, and sleeveless ivory shirts above are ones i did last spring when i first started experimenting with the idea, and the long-sleeved fleecy ivory one is the inspiration for fall. the yarn on that one is some of my handspun, which i have barely ever used because it seems so 'precious'... a sentiment i really must get over!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

blessing of the beasts

i don't go to church. normally. there is, however, one day a year when the idea compels me, but almost every year i forget until about a week later that the first sunday in october is the celebration of the Feast of St. Francis, a.k.a. the Blessing of the Beasts. and since i do love the beasts, this spectacle and celebration of our animal friends, especially at the palatial Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which i do believe is about the coolest church i know of (remind me to tell you what they do for halloween!) was enough to lure me out of bed and up to 110th street before ten on a sunday morning...

my pics of the animal procession are blurry because flashes would scare the critters, but the camel and reindeer above give you the idea. in addition there were goats, alpacas, a giant tortoise, a porcupine, a baby possum, a calf, a pony, a lamb, baby falcon, monkey, eagle, piglet, duck and even more. every time the choir sang, all the dogs started howling...

...and the best part is, everyone brings their pets to church to get blessed. gertie got blessed twice because the photo didn't come out the first time!

here's gertie hangin' with the alpacas...