Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival

This morning I picked up Ivy and we headed north to Ames for the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival. I ogled sheep. I contemplated buying an expensive coffee mug. I considered becoming the type of person who owns a darning egg. I lost all resolve to buy yarn in moderation.

From L to R I bought: Garden Wool & Dye Co. Local Wool worsted dyed with black oak & titanium, 2 skeins of Garden Wool & Dye Co. DK New Merino dyed with indigo and Osage orange, Quirky Fiber Werks BFL in Razzle Berry, Yarn Geek Fibers Galvanizer in Dr. Nancy Grace Roman (Mother of Hubble), Leading Men Fiber Arts Showstopper Mini Skein in Mother Earth, Blue Bird Aplaca Ranch Cormo/Tencel Sport weight yarn, and Blue Bird Alpaca Ranch Fingering Cormo/Mohair/Tencel in pink.

I went crazy with yarn buying. I am now 44 g in the hole on my yarn diet.

I also went overboard with Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival products. I bought a package that included a project bag, sticker, enamel pin, and t shirt. I totally broke my make/thrift/mend resolution by buying a shirt, but it is the only time I’ll break that rule this year.

I’m now going to wind some yarn and look on Ravelry for project ideas, as I have a lot of knitting to do. Do you every go overboard at fiber festivals?

BINGO!

I love BINGO. I love spending time with friends. I love slushy boozy punch. Yesterday all of those things converged at the best party I’ve been to in years.

I played BINGO. I drank punch. I ate the most delicious monster cookies I’ve ever had. I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in months.

John was one of the first winners and picked the Miss Babs yarn pictured above (Yummy 2-ply in the Mad Hatter Colorway) as his prize. I was not subtle about how important it was for him to pick that prize if he were to win a BINGO before me. He’s a good husband.

I won a small travel coffee mug, which is the perfect size for the limited amount of coffee I can drink in a day (no caffeine after 10 am, no more than 2 cups or I can’t sleep).

My friend says she is going to throw another BINGO party this fall. I can’t wait.

What is the best party you have ever been to?

Fiberpalooza

Today is one of the best days of the year. It’s Fiberpalooza in Winterset, Iowa. Every year Ivy and I head over to browse the yarn market, wander around the little town square, and eat fried pickles.

The market moved this year to the gym at the middle school from the gym at the elementary school. There was more space, which meant more vendors. In the end, even though there were more vendors, I ended up buying from the same people I usually buy from. Ivy did too, actually. We are old and set in our ways.

I went over board on yarn purchases. I’m now 187 g in the hole for my yarn diet. I need to get knitting on my WIPs so I get back in the black soon. 20190316_1436285070698841640051620.jpgThe yarn on the left is from Fiber Cuiro and Sundries LLC. It’s a Romeldale/Suri Alpaca blend. It’s lace weight, but I’m going to pretend it is fingering and make a wrap out of it. Probably. Or I’m going to put it in my wine cabinet/yarn storage cabinet and look at how pretty it is for years. Only time will tell.

The rest of the yarn is from Yarn Geek. I love her yarn. I already have a skein of it in my stash, and I made socks for John from her yarn last year. I went into her booth and all self-control was lost. It started when I picked up two mini skeins for my sock yarn blanket. Then I saw the Rainbow Dashing (just left of the mini skeins) and knew I needed to take it home with me. I was trying to convince Ivy to buy more mini skeins when I saw the sparkly yarn (it is much more sparkly in real life than in this photo). I said “SHUT UP!” like a loud passionate teenager and grabbed the yarn. I may have said that while the dyer was having a conversation with Ivy about the mini skein options. After I reached over, clutched the yarn in my hungry grasp, and held it close to me, I explained to Ivy and Sarah (the dyer) that I was overcome with yarn love and was not yelling shut up at them. Being yarn nerds, they were understanding.

After the fiber festival we headed to the town square. They have a wonderful cafe that we eat at every year. We always start with fried pickles. Two years ago they switched from pickle chips to pickle spears. We still haven’t recovered from that shock. This cafe is where Clint Eastwood and Kathleen Kennedy ate in The Bridges of Madison County.  If you are a mid 1990s film buff that tidbit might be exciting to you. Personally, I care more about the pickles. 20190316_1145361661947229707001221.jpg

After our lunch we walked around the square checking out the shops. The old county jail is now a shop carrying hand-made goods. The last time I was there I found a kitchen towel that featured knitting. This time I found one for my other love – reading. I don’t really need another towel, but this is a really absorbent and soft towel, so I felt justified bringing my 1000th tea towel into our house.20190316_1437268362933261523165712.jpg

At Heartland Fiber Co. I wasn’t tempted by much. The store was crowded with knitters in for the festival, so it was hard to wander around. I was going to walk away without anything when I discovered a basket on the floor filled with random bits of yarn. They sell yarn leftovers for $0.10-$3.00 depending on the size. I splurged on 3 balls and spent $3.25. I loved being able to pick up a few yarns for the blanket for less than a mini skein. I’ll be searching for fingering weight in the basket every time I visit their store.20190316_1435452839623490959629519.jpg

We ended the day at Ben Franklin, a store where I always find random things that need to come home with me. Today it was a googly eye chip clip. How could I possibly say no to that? I also picked up some fat quarters to make some project bags or stuff in my drawer and forget I bought until I find them next year and make Kathleen take them. 20190316_1435235529541052004340250.jpg

It was a wonderful day in Winterset. I now need to go knit furiously until my yarn diet is in the black. I would grab some pretzels to snack on, but the bag is giving me a dirty look.

Yarn Box

Yesterday I headed up to Ankeny to enjoy some family craft time. One of my cousins from NW Iowa was in town visiting another cousin, so my sister and I joined them for an afternoon of fiber art. We drank tea, ate freezer bars (a treat so delicious I have had the recipe for years but have never trusted myself to make, as I would eat the entire pan), and watched Zac Efron musicals (totally appropriate for a group of women in their 40s, right?).

Before heading down to Ankeny, my cousin Annie asked if I would be interested in any of the fingering weight yarn her friend gave her. After confirming that it was wool, not acrylic, I said I would take any she would be willing to part with. I said this because yarn that is given to me doesn’t count in my yarn diet, I knit a lot of socks, I can always use yarn for my scrap blanket, and I’m so incredibly cheap I’ll never say no to free yarn (unless it’s acrylic, because that’s not my jam).

What awaited me when I arrived was not a few skeins of sock yarn. It was a giant box of yarn.

In the box there was 600g of Plymouth Select worsted weight yarn. There is enough to make Elliot the Gus Sweater in the 12 year size or a large shawl for me. I don’t love the color, so this might sit in my stash for years. I’m OK with that, as it will eventually leave.20190119_1904598127369503156186429.jpg

The box also included 160 g of red fingering weight yarn. I really like the color and the yarn. I’m thinking this could be a shawl.

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There was 375 g of tweed fingering weight yarn. This yarn is beautiful, and I’m looking forward to working with it. I’m thinking maybe a shawl or a cardigan for Audrey.20190119_1904211221221516684806810.jpg

The final surprise was 1320 g of super bulky yarn. If my calculations are correct I have enough to make myself a cardigan. I’m thinking Shawl Collar Cardigan #6501. I plan on skipping the texture and going for stockinette on the body instead. This color might be awful on me, and if it is it will give me the chance to experiment with dying a completed garment.20190119_1901281574724219833076623.jpg

Do you get excited about free yarn too? Do you have any suggestions for what to make with the red and tweed yarn?

 

 

Garden Wool & Dye Advent Calendar

Now that we are a week into January it feels like a suitable time to tell you about the advent calendar I splurged on this year. This year Anastasia from Garden Wool & Dye put together an advent calendar. It was remarkably affordable – under $100. I jumped at the chance to celebrate the season with yarn.

It arrived just after Thanksgiving. It was difficult not to open it all at once. I love how it was packaged. All of the materials were  compostable, even the sparkly twine. I love how her dedication to being environmentally sustainable carries over to every detail.

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I loved having so many mini skeins to add to my blanket. On Christmas I opened a gorgeous skein of yarn in colors I would normally not pick for myself. It’s funny how sometimes what I would never pick out is exactly what I need. 20190107_1435445035523394922255786.jpg

I’m not sure what the yarn will become. I’m open to any suggestions you have.

I’ll be doing the advent calendar again next year. The price will be going up, but it will still be manageable.

Do you do yarn advent calendars? Are you mini skein obsessed too?

Date Day

Today John and I dropped the kids of at his parents and headed out of town. We spent the day in Winterset, about 45 minutes out of town. Winterset is a cute little down with shops on the square surrounding the courthouse. We spent the day getting a shocking amount of Christmas shopping done in the little shops. 

We picked up a few things for our nephew.


I picked up some candy cigarettes too. I’m not sure who they are for yet. I just feel that when you see candy cigarettes, you should buy them. 

The primary purpose of our trip was a visit to Heartland Fiber Co.  This cute shop, which also puts on fiberpalooza, is one of my favorite yarn shops. They have a hypoallergenic shop cat. I’m allergic to cats, so petting a cat is normally out of the question. I had no reaction to the cat and now I want one which is something I never thought I would say.

For our anniversary this year John gave me a trip to a yarn shop (7 years is the wool anniversary. Why can’t it be every year?).  I settled on three skeins for my gift. 

The first yarn I picked was some self striping sock yarn. I have been wanting a pair of Christmas socks. The red and white reminds me of a candy cane.

I also picked up some Biscotte Yarns self striping sock yarn. I love self striping yarn. This colorway reminds me of Wonder Woman. John thinks I’m crazy and says it looks more like a circus. 

I also picked out yarn for a hat for Elliot. Elliot loves camels. His favorite stuffed animal is a camel. He likes to visit the camels at the zoo. I picked up some camel yarn (78% camel fiber, 22% nylon). I plan to make him a hat with the yarn. I think I’ll do a simple ribbed brim and a stockinette hat. I should be able to chart a simple camel outline and stitch it into the hat. The yarn is very soft; I am looking forward to kitting it up.

It was nice to spend a day with John away from the kids. 

The big question: Do I put my Elliot socks even further to the side so I can make a pair of peppermint socks before Christmas?