Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Birthday Presents

My Chinese New Year Dinner went well even though it was a lot of work. I don't cook Chinese Food that much and now I remember why. There is so much prep work involved before the food could be cooked. My mom gave me recipes over the phone and like most Chinese recipes past down, there is no measurents or quantities. Luckily, that is my style of cooking anyways.

Want to see what I got for my birthday? I got to open my gifts from my sister early because she was here for Melody's birthday party. She got me a set of cute Ice Cream Sandwich Makers which I will have to give it a try soon. And a Domo Kun calendar because I started collecting Domo Kun stuff when they were available at Target during Halloween. And for the knitting related part of her gifts, this book.I can't wait to make something from this book.
My good friend made me these socks! She is the one that I stay with when I go to NYS Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. The yarn is from Shelridge Farm, called Soft Touch Heather in the color, Leaf. I picked out the yarn while we were in Rhinebeck last year and she promised to knit me some socks. I told her that she could pick the pattern and she chose Monkey by Cookie A.I love them! My first pair of hand knit socks. Sadly, I have yet to knit a pair for myself.And she also gave me FIBER! Fiber Optic Yarns, 50% Superwash Merino & 50% Tencel. The colorway is called Limehouse Blues. Which segways perfectly into my next topic.
My first spinning wheel. This is a combined Christmas and Birthday Gift from DH. I spent a lot of time researching and bothering Julie and Micki through emails. Orginally, I thought I was going to buy a Louet Victoria because DH and I saw someone spinning on one at a local fair over the Summer. I liked that is was small and can fold up. And then I entertained the idea of a Ashford Joy which is also portable, folds and is small. Ever since, I gave up the second bedroom to Melody, there isn't much space in the house for my hobbies anymore, so I thought something small would be good.In the end, I decided on the Rose by Majacraft. Small is good, but the small portable ones all had limitations. And if I know myself, I will probably out grow it. I only intend to own one wheel and I didn't want to have to upgrade late on. With the Rose, I will never have to upgrade. I am not sorry I bought it. It's beautiful and spins like a dream.Surprisingly, this is not a hobby that I thought I would try. After seeing someone at the local fair, DH, asked if I would want one and offered to buy me one. Boy, was he sorry when I checked the prices on the Internet as soon as we got home. My only attempt at spinning was with a Drop Spindle many years ago and I was horrible at it. I was really worried about making such a large purchase and not knowing if I will like it. I thought that I might take some classes, but Rhinbeck arrived before I even got to sign up. So, I got to play with the spinning wheels at Rhinebeck. I got mini lessons from the Vendors at Rhinebeck, but I still was pretty horrible at it. One of the women that I was shopping with (a friend of a friend) was good at spinning and she was very patient in explaining things to me. She said that I had the treadling part right and just needed work on the drafting and twist thing. I had a tendency to keep treadling without releasing the yarn and it would get all twisted. Spinning takes a lot of coordination with your hands and feet.The wheel came with one free pound of Louet Wool Fiber. So, as soon as I assembled it (which was really hard for me), I was able to practice on the free fiber. The brown one is the free wool and on the right, Julie generously sent me some of her wool. The fleece came from a sheep named Tarragon. Julie bought the sheep's fleece and had it processed at a mill. She also sent along some hand lotions that she makes. It's a good idea to keep your hands smooth and supple while spinning.Everyone kept telling me at Rhinebeck that if I keep practicing, I will have an "Ahah!" moment and everything will makes sense. It's true. While I did horribly at Rhinebeck (granted it was my first time ever), I got the hang out it on my own wheel at home. I had a great time spinning with the fiber that Julie gave me. I spun up two bobbins worth.Then I plied both the yarns together and I got YARN! My first handspun yarn. Lots of mistakes were made, but I am pretty proud of it.I ended up with 346 yards of handspun yarn. It is thick and thin in some areas, but I would say that it is mostly Sport weight to Worsted weight. A huge Thank You to Micki for virtually helping me spin my first yarn. I think I emailed her a thousand times while I was doing it and she patiently answered all my questions.

28 comments:

Muddling Through said...

Well, aren't you smart! Congratulations. I know you are so proud, and you should be. It is beautiful.

Salihan said...

Happy Birthday and Happy Chinese New Year to you!

I envy all the beautiful gifts you have received! First pair of socks and spinning your first yarn too. Congratulations!

What gorgeous thing are you going to knit up with your handspun?

Rima said...

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday! I am sure you had a wonderful day....with all those lovely gifts.

oiyi DH said...

I was definitely sorry when oiyi told me what a wheel cost. Yikes. :p

Rebekah said...

Happy birthday! It looks like you received a lot of fun gifts : ) I love your spinning wheel...it's so pretty and your yarn looks great too. Oh, and those socks are so pretty. They look so soft and warm. Enjoy your loot :)

CynCyn said...

the wheel, and the yarn, is gorgeous!! I am very sad that there are no pics of Chinese New Year dinner, but since it was your b-day, Happy B-day!

Hannah said...

How cool, I can't wait to see what yarns you spin.

Happy birthday!

sue said...

Happy Birthday to you. You received some very wonderful presents too. I think your yarn looks lovely, and well done on doing such a great job on it too.

LadyTr0uble said...

Happy belated Birthday!
...and Happy Chinese New Year!

Melody was SO adorable at her bday party. The cake the cupcakes looked so yuumy... Between you and your sister, you two can start your own bakery!

I was checking out "Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders" at Border the other day; a lot of the projects are drool-worthy. I can't wait to see your versions.

PS-Pooh is my all-time fav. too :)

Jennie said...

Happy Birthday!

Lovely presents that you got, I really like the spinning wheel, so pretty.
I'd like to buy one when we finally get a house, just because they are so pretty.

Ulla V. said...

Happy birthday - I hope you had a wonderful day with your family :0)

Oh, such wonderful gifts you got!! And lucky, lucky you for being able to spin your very own yarn!! That must be so fantastic :0)

Julie said...

Happy Birthday, Happy New Year and wow, what a nice job you did with the yarn! It looks fantastic.

Micki said...

Happy Birthday! I'm so happy to see some photographic evidence of your spinning. That's your first yarn? It's awesome! Clearly you were born to spin.

flanthrower said...

Happy Birthday! What a great gift. I'd say that's an impressive first showing for spinning. I think it looks great. I've always wanted to try my hand at spinning but I'll have to live vicariously through you since I absolutely positively have no more time or space for another craft hobby.

Agnes said...

I am horribly behind with my blog readings ... so I missed your birthday! Happy Belated Birthday to you! Wish you and yours a wonderful Year of the Ox.
My husband doesn't like Chinese food (Asian food to be exact), so I don't make Chinese dishes at all. And it is so true that there are thousands of chopping and prepping before the real cooking ... tedious! And thousands of sauces too ... no kitchen space for the bottles!
I am not a spinning person ... I tried. But your first handspun sure looks great.

Lynn said...

Happy Birthday and Happy New Year! Your yarn looks FABULOUS. Can't wait to see what else you spin!

littlebirdbigcity said...

Congratulations, the wheel is sooo beautiful! And the yarn you spun looks wonderful! I wish I was still there so I could watch and learn from you. By the way, my birthday is in August, if you want to send me some handspun yarn!! Haha, just kidding. Have fun, I look forward to seeing what you make!

Michelle said...

I'm so jealous! Both the wheel and yarn are gorgeous!!!!!!! Sounds like you had a great birthday:)

Stephanie said...

Happy birthay and chinese new year! what a lovely bunch of gifts! And your yarn? Really fantastic!

Alice said...

Happy Birthday! I can see you are a natural at spinning--can't wait to see all the beautiful yarns you make!

Sam said...

Happy Birthday! What a great set of gifts. How wonderful that a friend made you some handknit socks. As for the spinning wheel - it is lovely. And your handspun is gorgeous!

Jamisyn said...

Absolutely wonderful!! It looks so great!

Jelly Wares said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!
I love the spinning wheel... I have an ashford wheel that I bought at a clearing sale for next to nothing a few years ago, I just have to learn how to use it now... LOL!!! I love your first attempt at yarn it looks gorgeous... Can't wait to see what your fibre optic fibre looks like all spun up..

Take Care
Jodie :)

amandajean said...

happy birthday! what a fabulous gift. you should be so proud of your first yarn...it looks fabulous. i think it was wise to buy one wheel rather than to have to upgrade later. (i struggle with those types of decisions all. the. time.)

Corrie said...

happy birthday and wow....I'm too scared to go near a wheel in case I want one. My nana used to have one but it was given away boo hoo

can't wait to see what else you create

Corrie;)

sUsAn said...

Wow. I don't know where to start...first happy birthday! What wonderful presents you were given. Congrats on your handspun yarn. It is really pretty! Looking forward to seeing what you will make with it.

Natalie said...

Have been a long time fan of your blog. I had to delurk and comment because I just love your wheel and handspun! I'm just starting on spinning myself! Your work is really inspirational and your daughter is just TOO cute!

Judy said...

Oh my! I loved reading this post! So many nice gifts,and congrats on your first handspun yarn! The spinning wheel is beautiful. Happy belated birthay to you!