Monday, April 22, 2013

Secret Gift Revealed

I wrote a while back that I was going to knit a gift for my Great Aunt Francis.  She survived ovarian cancer last year, and unfortunately due to chemo, lost her hair.  I wanted to knit a hat to help her stay warm in the chilly Spring.  

I finished it, sent it to her, and she's sent me pictures of her wearing her gift.  Allow me to show you "Berry Swirl" Slouchy Hat for Aunt Francis.  
My amazing Aunt at 89 years old.  

Pattern: Slouchy Hat with Picot Edge
Yarn:  Knit Picks Dishie Multi in Thistle

This pattern was a very easy knit.  I wasn't quite sure how the picot edges were going to turn out, but was very pleased with them in the end.  I would definitely knit this pattern again.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fiber Saturday

When I was in Fiberworks on Friday, the owner told me that there was a yarn market going on this weekend hosted by the Dayton Knitting Guild.  After some persuasion, I decided I would make a quick trip over on Saturday morning to see the goodies being sold.  Not wanting to go alone, I invited a new friend to go with me.  

The yarn market was much smaller than I was anticipating, but there were quite a few local and regional yarn shops there promoting their items.  My friend and I shopped around for about an hour, purchasing a few things from Fiberworks.  I had meant to buy some yarn that had copper in it...not the color of copper, but ACTUAL copper!  It was very different and quite beautiful.  I wish I could remember the name of the seller, but I don't.  Will have to find that out.  

Painted Desert yarn that I bought at the Yarn Market.
As my friend and I were walking out of the yarn market, two women stopped us and asked about my hat.  I was wearing my latest beret that I spun and knitted.  One of the ladies asked if she could show it off at one of the classes (the Dayton Knitting Guild was having their retreat there as well).  Not knowing what I was in for, I said sure, and we followed her down the hall.  We entered a classroom of maybe 50 or so women.  I thought she was just going to show off my hat to one or two people, but she actually stopped the class and had me go up in front of everyone to show it!  I'm sure my face was 20 shades of red.  :)  Quite unexpected.  

My friend told me of a new fiber store in Lebanon, OH and asked if I wanted to do a little road trip over there to check it out.  Of course!

Lebanon, OH is a quite little town.  Reminds me a little of Madison, IN in the way the storefronts are done, but no river.  Lebanon is about 40 minutes away from Beavercreek, OH.

We had lunch at the Golden Lamb Restaurant & Inn, which apparently is famous.  According to Wikipedia, it is the oldest hotel in Ohio, dating back to 1803.  Many famous people have visited this Inn...
Because of Lebanon's position on the highway between Cincinnati andColumbus, many notables have visited the inn. The Golden Lamb has been visited by twelve American Presidents: William Henry Harrison,Benjamin HarrisonJohn Quincy AdamsMartin Van BurenUlysses S. GrantRutherford B. HayesJames A. GarfieldWilliam McKinley,Warren G. HardingWilliam Howard TaftRonald Reagan, and George W. Bush.
Other famous guests to visit the Golden Lamb include Charles Dickens,Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Daniel Webster, Bill McIntire,Thomas Corwin, Clement Vallandigham, Cordell Hull (who went to school in Lebanon), Robert A. Taft, Dewitt Clinton, and Lord Stanley, who later became prime minister of the United Kingdom. Most recently on September 8, 2008 Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates senator John McCain and Alaska governor Sarah Palin dined and spoke at the Golden Lamb and on October 13, 2012 Mitt Romneyspoke at and toured the hotel.  ~Wikipedia entry on Golden Lamb Inn.
The restaurant was on the first floor.  The menu had a variety of brunch and lunch items to choose from.  My friend had the vanilla bean pancakes and I had the chicken salad sandwich. Our waiter told us of the free museum upstairs that we could visit along with some of the previous visitors to the Inn and even mentioned the two ghosts that reside there.  We didn't meet any ghosts on our visit there.

The rooms upstairs were dedicated to those who had visited in the past.  Here was the door to Ulysses S. Grant's room.

Here's a peek inside the room.  Forgive my blurry pics, as I was using my iPhone camera.

 Throughout the museum, we saw fun fiber items from the past.  This is an old skein winder.
 An ornament on a tree with a skein winder.
 Gorgeous walking spinning wheel in the hallway.
Yarn swift in one of the rooms.

 The rooms were gorgeous!  Here's a canopy bed with a crocheted canopy.  
 Beautiful headboard and foot board on this bed.

The fireplace in the main entry.  Wish this picture had turned out better.  

Our next stop was Stringtopia, a new fiber shop in Lebanon.  The owner is the author of "Respect the Spindle."  The store offers spinning classes, wheels and spindles galore (you can even take them for test drives), and fibers ranging from organic cotton to merino to camel.  I think my favorite thing there is the "Batt Bar."  You get a red tray, as seen in the photo below, and then you go through all kinds of fiber samples and leftovers from previous classes and workshops.  In the tubs, you can find silk, alpaca, merino, nylon, bamboo, and so much more!  Only a few things are labeled, so you basically just go for what colors and texture you like.  
Once you fill up your red tray with fiber lovelies, you hand it over to the ladies and they use their industrial drum carder to make a spinning batt for you.  Only $10 too!  
 While waiting for my batt to be made, I couldn't resist taking a picture of this lovely wheel.

I really enjoyed watching all the colors blend together on the drum carder.  I had no idea how my batt was going to turn out in the end!
Pulling my batt from the drum carder.

Abby (the author of Respect the Spindle) made this batt for me.  She ran half of it through the carder once, and the other half through twice.  That way both pieces would be a bit different when plied together.

 Here's the result!  The bottom one is 0.74 oz and the other is 0.84 oz.  I love how they are so different, yet made of the same fibers.  

 I also picked up some Camel down to spin, since I've never worked with it before.  
And this was a free sample I was given.  Not sure what it is, but it's SUPER soft.  0.14 oz.

It was a lovely Fiber Saturday with my friend!  Now to find some empty bobbins for my new fiber goodies!  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Our Trip to Carriage Hill Metropark

My husband and I took a little trip to the Carriage Hill Metropark here in Dayton this afternoon for the "From Sheep to Shawls" event.  Carriage Hill Metropark is a farm that dates back to the 1880's.  They have merino sheep, horses, chickens, mules, donkeys, pigs, and a goat (maybe more than 1 goat, I only saw the one today).  It reminds me of Spring Mill in Indiana with the little shops set up to demonstrate how things were done back then...such as blacksmithing and woodworking.  

Today, the farm was all about the merino sheep.  In the large, red barn, there was a man shearing sheep.  My husband and I had never seen sheep being sheared before, so it was very interesting.  The sheep was so relaxed, as though she was in a trance.  Once in awhile she would get a bit irritated with the shearer, but she was really well behaved for the most part.  We spoke with one of the farmers there, and he said that merino sheep are very docile when being sheared.  We asked what they do with the wool, and they let some of the volunteers spin it for demonstrations, and the rest they sell to a place in Columbus, OH.  He gave me a little bit of raw merino while he spoke with us.

The man shearing was using electric shears.  Though, in the 1880's, they would have used clippers.  It took so long using the electric shear, that I can't imagine how long it would have taken for just regular clippers!  And I would think that would have been harder on the sheep too.  Merino sheep have such wrinkly skin, that it's very easy to nick the skin as they are being sheared, but, we were told that they stop bleeding very quickly, so if they are nicked, they heal easily.  

Beautiful, raw merino wool.  

This was sheared off of one sheep.  GORGEOUS!

In line for shearing.

This barn cat was sitting off to the side while the sheep were getting sheared.  I bet it was glad it didn't have to be sheared.  :)

Inside the barn, we saw the most adorable lambs!  AWE!!! 

 This black lamb is the very first black lamb to appear on the farm.  So special.  

 Don't want to leave out pics of the other farm animals.  

Inside the house, we saw this lovely stove in the kitchen.  Imagine cooking food on and in this back then.  
 This quilt was slowly being seamed by hand.  

Spinning wheels!  :)  The one on the left may be an antique...the woman there wasn't sure, but the one on the left is a Kromski.  They also had spindles in this room and a shawl they were weaving, but unfortunately, we didn't get pictures because we were too busy talking to the women about yarn.  My history professor husband also gave a lesson to a couple on how felting was done in the Middle Ages.  I love that he can give a on the fly lecture about felting! We also didn't get pictures of the felting and dyeing exhibits, but I did get a nice list of items that would have been used to naturally dye wool in the 1880's.  

We enjoyed watching a man use a lathe to make two, wooden tops for the kids standing by watching.  It didn't take him 10 minutes to make them, and those little kids went home with unique, handmade wooden tops.  So cool!  I wouldn't mind having one of these to play with.  

Inside the Visitor Center, there was a little museum outlining the history of the family who owned the farm.  This walking spinning wheel came to Ohio with Catharine Harshbarger Arnold in 1830.  

It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.  
We look forward to going back again to do the hiking trails and to see the sheep again.