Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nerd Wars T4R1 - Technical Challenge

My final challenge for this round of Nerd Wars is complete.  6 of 6 challenges were completed plus I have been progressing on my dissertation.  For this challenge, we were supposed to make something using our specialty.

Your challenge this month is to craft an item using a technique that you feel is one of your strengths. Do you love lace? Have you conquered cables? Are you a garter stitch champ? Are you the fastest n-plyer in the west? Are amigurimi your pride and joy? This is your opportunity to show us your mad skillz! (For the purposes of this challenge, a technique is a method within a particular craft. For instance, knitting is a craft, but knitting garter stitch or stockinette stitch is a technique.)

Rav Handle: wonderwhygal
Team: Team Precious
A photo of the completed project
Nerdwars TeamPrecious T4R1 Technical.jpg
What craft was used?
Spinning
A written description of how your project answers the challenge:
My specialty is to spin yarn from Pasture to Product. Almost anyone can spin yarn but not everyone can or has the means to raise the fiber producing animals on a farm and take their fleece from the pasture to final product. I raise Alpacas, both Suri and Huacaya. I have a breeding program here on the farm where I pick my herdsire and dams based on many characteristics including their fiber. My aim with each cria born on the farm is to create a fiber producing Alpaca that has a consistent length, color and grade. I can spin my yarn anywhere from fingering to bulky weight. This skein of yarn is one of my specialties. It’s a 2ply fingering weight yarn. 70% Suri Alpaca and 30% dyed Merino to create this gorgeous yarn. 14 WPI, 382 yards 7.2oz
pass.jpg
Team Tie In:
This yarn color was inspired by Gandalf, the most Awesome™ of wizards in the Lord of the Rings. While the Fellowship of the Ring are running to escape the Balrog, a demon from Middle Earth, Gandalf stops to save his companions. “ You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. You shall not pass!” Gandalf the Gray facing the Red demon is the reason for the color of my yarn.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday - Spinning

Fiber Arts Friday is here!  Whew!  I didn't think today would ever get here.  Holiday work weeks always throw me off.  I spent the better part of last weekend spinning and have ignored all of my weaving projects along with knitting in the evenings to work on my spinning.  It started last Saturday when I met my weaving and spinning group for an day of fun.  I had dyed 8oz of Panda Top (Merino/Bamboo/Nylon) in this lovely Spring color. 

I ended up with 254 yards of this 2 ply loveliness. I was also super ambitious and took advantage of the beautiful un-February like weather here in Michigan to take photos of my yarns. I have been busy getting my handspun loaded in to my Etsy Shop of Wonder.  All weights, colors and lengths are going in.  Whew!  It is so much work.  I am also a Yarnie on Ravelry so if you have purchased my yarn, make sure to add it to your stash with the link...it now works.

I then decided that after being on a worsted kick, I needed to spin something finer, so every evening I've been working on this Alpaca which should end up being a Fingering weight but...we'll just have to wait until plying to see.  I have about 7oz of this so it's been taking awhile to spin the singles. My goal is to ply this weekend. What adventures in Fiber Arts have you had this week?

Fiber Arts Friday ! 

To participate:
  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
 Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  1. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nerd Wars T4R1 - Scientific Challenge

Ah, the Scientific Challenge
Life, like everything in the universe, can be very complex. It can also be very, very simple.
One cell is already enough to make a simple living organism. These creatures are called unicellular organisms. Examples are bacteria, amoebas and some species of algae.
Your challenge this month is to copy the simplicity of nature and craft an item inspired by the simplicity of unicellular organisms by:
Option 1: Crafting a project made in one piece. (Examples: scarves, hats, dishcloths, granny squares…)

Rav Handle: wonderwhygal
Team: Team Precious
 
Photo of Completed Project:
Nerdwars TeamPrecious T4R1 Scientific.jpg
 
What Craft was used? Weaving

How your project meets the challenge: For this challenge, I created a woven cowl that is in one connected piece, not by sewing but as one complete piece that was woven together. I used plain weaving technique on my Cricket Loom. I warped on various yarns of different textures to create a striped pattern then when I wove the fabric, I used a rust colored yarn as my base weft. Every eight inches I would use a different color from the warp in the weft to create blocks of colors which would allow the striping of the warp to really show through. In the final end of this project, you can see where my warp is then woven on itself which creates the singular piece of fabric. This creates a nice striping effect which really pops the color and design. I used a variety of millspun and handspun yarns in my stash. This is primarily Alpaca and Wool.

For my team tie in, I used autumn colors that are inspired by the forest behind my farm. Unfortunately my woods aren’t in Middle Earth but when walking through the trees, you can be reminded of Forests of Lothl√≥rien. In the Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring the fellowship stay with the Elves of Lothl√≥rien. There Galadriel, the Lady of the Woods, gave the Fellowship each an Elven cloak which helped hide them from unfriendly eyes. The cloaks were personally woven by Galadriel and her maidens. I liken myself more to being a Hobbit than an Elf BUT I did personally weave this cowl with the intention of attracting friendly eyes.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nerd Wars T4R1 - Nerd Culture, Technology

Here is my latest submission for Nerd Wars.  It met the Technology challenge requirement:
Your challenge for this month is to create something inspired by technology and human (or non-human, I suppose) ingenuity. Anything designed to make your (or a character’s) life better will be considered, from siege engines to pocket watches to moisture vaporators, and everything in between.


Rav Handle: wonderwhygal
Team: Team Precious
Photo of Completed Project:
Nerdwars TeamPrecious T4R1 Nerd Culture.jpg
What Craft was used? Spinning
How your project meets the challenge: I spun this textured yarn with the inspiration of light as in a flashlight. The technology like portable light would sure have come in handy in a dark spider infested cave. In the Lord of the Rings, Return of the King our hero, Frodo, is lured into the cave of Shelob, an awfully huge spider. He uses the Phial of Galadriel to fend off the spider. He drops it in his haste to leave and Samwise Gamgee, finds it and uses it as part of his defense to finally kill Shelob. Sam uses it again later in the story. The light acts like a flashlight…a portable light bulb.

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Light bulbs have coils. My textured yarn is using the core spinning coil technique. I used Alpaca, Angelina and Milk Fiber that I blended on my drum carder and core spun it around a cotton thread which acted as the core. I used white and fawn fibers that reminded me of the Phial of Galadriel that was given to Frodo by the Elves. The finished yarn was 70 yards using about 3.5oz of fiber. Wraps per inch were difficult to determine since the coils skewed my wraps. I am calling this a bulky art yarn and intend to use large knitting needles for the intended project.

In summary, the gift of light given to Frodo by the Elves in Middle Earth was the closest tie to the technology that Edison created in our present day. My coiled yarn represents the coils in Edison’s light bulbs and inspired by the Elvin light given to Frodo.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday - Lunch time knitting

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  Another week where I have managed to knit, spin and weave.  How do I find the time?  I do work full time, take care of the farm (with help from my family) and have tons of fun and do all the motherly things I do with my kids but I always find time to enjoy my Fiber Arts.  I have to!  Part of keeping myself cool, calm and collected is the therapy I get from the crafts I love.  I find that spinning before bed time, allows my mind to calm down and "wash away" the thoughts of the day and I purposely get up about an hour earlier than I really need to so that I can enjoy my time on Ravelry PLUS work on my knitting or weaving.    Yes, if I was this diligent about my exercise I would be a rock star at races but it's Fiber Arts that create this drive.  I only say all of this because I get many wonderful compliments every week asking how I accomplish so much and I wanted to explain how.   You can work full time and still be this creative.

"All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them" - Walt Disney

Well, my spin (get it, I love to spin) on it is that if you really want it, you will make it happen.  I want my Fiber Arts business to succeed.  I want my farm to be productive.  I want to improve on my knitting, spinning, weaving, felting and crochet...and I can only do all of that if I make it happen.  So..., I will share with you what I have created during my lunch hours at work.  I rarely go out to eat at lunch because it costs too much plus it takes away from valuable knitting time.  Right now my Nerd Wars projects are on the complicated side, so I always have a hat going.  This is another Journey Hat using 100% of my handspun yarn.  The pattern calls for a bulky weight or two stranded knitting on larger needles, I fudged the pattern a bit and used one skein of worsted weight yarn instead of two.  It worked out perfectly!  I ended up with a sassy hat to match my fingerless mitts I made a few months ago.  I've used up the last of the yarn from the sassy striped roving I purchased from Kelly at Felting Sunshine plus the lovely Orange dyed Merino from Macintosh Yarns. This hat will totally be mine to keep.

I've been posting my Nerd Wars submissions throughout the week so make sure you check out those posts too.  Now...share your adventures in Fiber Arts.  What drives you?  Where can you carve out a few extra "me" minutes to enjoy the craft you love?
Fiber Arts Friday ! 
To participate:
  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
 Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  1. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nerd Wars T4R1 - Giving Geek

Happy Valentine's Day!  My gift on this holiday of love is to the greater good via my sassy knitting skills.  Oh yeah!  I submitted yet another project for Nerd Wars and this time it's for charity.  For this challenge I wanted to make something out of quality yarn and not "charity" yarn that  would help others and I hope I succeed.  I will have to wait and find out in May.

Rav handle wonderwhygal
Team Name Team Precious
A photo of the completed project
Nerdwars TeamPrecious T4R1 GivingGeek.jpg
What craft was used? (Knitting, Crochet, Spinning, Weaving)
Knitting
A written description of how your project answers the challenge
I knitted the All Keyed Up hat for The CAN Council. Calhoun Child Abuse/Neglect Prevention Council. Every May the Council hosts a Blue Tie Auction to raise money and I am donating this hat to help with the efforts. My manager is on the Board of Directors. She asked if I would make a couple of projects using Alpaca from my farm for this benefit/auction and this will be one of them. Since the auction isn’t until May, I do not have photos of me giving the project but I have provided a link to the CAN website.
The team tie in is based off of the Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Rings. If only the fellowship had a key, then they would not have struggled trying to find a way to get in the door at the Mines of Moria. The pattern for the All Keyed Up hat reminded me of the Elvish writing on the door that Gandolf is trying to open.

As he looks up at the black night sky, the moon appears. The silver lines grow bright, outlining a door formed of two columns beneath an arch, with a star in the center.
Gandalf: “It reads ‘The Doors of Durin — Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter.’”
Merry: “What do you suppose that means?”
Gandalf: “Oh, it’s quite simple. If you are a friend, you speak the password, and the doors will open.”
Gandalf: “Annon Edhellen, edro hi ammen!” (Gate of the Elves, open now for me!)
The Doors remain closed.
Time passes. The rest of the Fellowship is seated around the doors near the lake.
Frodo stands up and looks at the writing on the gateway.
Frodo: “It’s a riddle.”
Frodo: “Speak ‘friend’ and enter. What’s the Elvish word for friend?”
Gandalf: “Mellon…”
The stone doors slowly swing open, rumbling deeply. The Fellowship enters Moria.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nerd Wars T4R1 Intellectual Challenge

For this challenge we needed to craft something using a mnemonic tool.  It was a fun challenge with the hardest part decided which memory tool to use.  It's been a lot of fun looking at what other people have been submitting.  I went with a weather tool.

Rav handle wonderwhygal
Team Name Team Precious
What craft was used? Spinning
A photo of the completed project
Nerdwars TeamPrecious T4R1 Intellectual.jpg
A written description of how your project answers the challenge
This 2 ply 6.5oz 216 yrd 100% BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) yarn was created with inspiration from this mnemonic. I dyed the yarn to reflect the shades of the sky that can be found when a red sunset or sunrise appears.
Red sky at night: shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning: shepherd’s warning.
Being an Alpaca farmer, I thought this was a cool. This phrase is also known for being used with sailors but I don’t sail, so this farmer liked the phrase using a shepherd. It refers to weather. The origins are unclear but it appears it was used mostly in England since the weather there comes from the West. If we see red clouds in the evening they will be in the east and have already passed us by, giving a good chance of clear skies and fine weather ahead but red skies in the morning mean a storm or bad weather is ahead. Now, for a team tie in, Legolas, says in the Lord of the Rings, Two Towers , “A red sun rises, blood has been spilled this night. “ Again, red in the morning sky is not good.
This project also is my Team Unity. Team Precious has chosen Dragons of Middle Earth as our unity project. I picked Smaug, the most Awesome of Awesome Dragons who can be found in The Hobbit. As seen in following photo, I dyed my roving to reflect the colors of Smaug using reds, oranges, burgundy and hints of gold and yellow which are his scales, his flames and all of his treasures.
Nerdwars TeamPrecious T4R1 TeamUnity.jpg

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday - Fantastic February

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday! What is a week without knitting, spinning, weaving?  Please don't ever let me find out.  This week I was a busy hobbit working on my projects for Nerd Wars.  I've already submitted one entry and within the next few days will be submitting two, possibly three.

I am blocking my All Keyed Up hat today.  It will be the submission for my charity challenge.  Once it is all set, I'll post finished photos and the write up.  I am using one skein of handspun yarn that was gifted to me by Melissa last Spring in a colorway she called Lake Michigan and paired it with a skein of Ella Rae Kamelsoft.  This will be part of a charity auction to raise money so I was able to use my nice yarn.

I am finished with my textured yarn that I will be submitting for my Technical Challenge.  Photos are taken so now I just need to write everything up and submit it.  I already have plans for this yarn which I won't share until the knitting portion begins.  I have been working my way through the Jacey Boggs Spin Art book at using some of her techniques.  It's interesting how the Textured yarns will very depending on the technique and the fiber that you use.

I am plugging away on my Tuck Shawl.  It's going pretty good and so far the pattern has been easy for me to follow.  I didn't even realize I was knitting mock cables until I had knitted a few inches of them. 

I am also working on another one of my woven cowls for a customer that I hope can be turned in to a challenge submission too.  I can't believe that it's only the first half of February and I already have most of my challenges figured out or completed. 

Seriously, being a part of Team Precious has really motivated me.  I know that Fiber Shows will be coming up before we know it so creating more projects and yarns to sell is a major motivator and having a Lord of the Rings and Hobbit theme for these projects just make it all super awesome.  Now...share your Fiber Arts Adventures.

Fiber Arts Friday ! 
To participate:
  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
 Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  1. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nerd Wars T4R1 - Geek Pride

Your challenge, should you chose to accept it...and I did:

Challenge (Geek Pride): 

WOVE. TWUE WOVE.

This month’s challenge is to craft an item that symbolizes a past, present, or possible relationship within your nerddom. Whether that relationship is established as canon (Miss Piggy+Kermit), suggested by fans (Castle+Beckett), or merely a character that you love and would happily marry is up to you. Since relationships can get pretty complex, for the purpose of this challenge the word “love” is encompassed in all its forms: from strictly friendly, sisterly/brotherly, crush flirtatious, passing/one-night, passionate, abiding, long-term, all the way up to and including the ever allusive “Twue Wove”.


Rav handle wonderwhygal
Team Name Team Precious
A photo of the completed project
Nerdwars TeamPrecious T4R1 GeekPride.jpg
What craft was used? (Knitting, Crochet, Spinning, Weaving)
Spinning
A written description of how your project answers the challenge
This 262 yard 2ply yarn was created on my Lendrum Spinning wheel using 4.5oz of 100% Polyworth wool. I wanted to use this yarn because of the color which was inspired by the love.  Samwise Gamgee, a character in the Lord of the Rings, is a Hobbit and the gardener to Frodo Baggins in lives in the Shire at Bag End. Sam joins Frodo in the Fellowship of the Ring and journeys through the lands of Middle Earth to destroy the evil ring called Precious. While he is on his journey, he vows that if he ever returns back to the Shire that he will ask Rosie Cotton, a bar maid (in the movie, daughter to Farm Cotton in the books), to marry him. They do get married and eventually have 13 children together ending up living at Bag End. I’ve included a photo of Sam and Rosie from their wedding where Rosie is wearing pretty purple flowers. I’ve also included a photo of the front door of Bag End where purple flowers are growing that have been tended to by Sam. I chose to spin a 2-ply yarn to show the unity between Sam and Rosie.

 ---------------------------------------------------------------------
I currently am working on three more challenges besides my dissertation.  When do I do it?  Lunch time at work, early in the morning before my family wakes up and after the bears go to sleep at night.  Fiber Arts truly is the way that I am learning to be cool, calm and collective.  I'm just fortunate that so much Awesome is created from my Fiber Arts therapy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday - What on Earth? Middle Earth

Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday!  How have you spent your Fiber Arts Week?  Me?  Knitting, Spinning and Dyeing were part of the fun and weaving will wrap it up.  On Wednesday, Tournament 4 began for Nerd Wars.  I didn't stay up until Midnight to see what the challenges would be because I was deep in my beauty sleep.  I was, however, up at five in the morning to get ready to work and enjoy reading through all of the challenges. 

Challenge (Intellectual): MEMORIA TECHNICA
Challenge: Craft something inspired by a mnemonic or memory tool.

Challenge (Scientific): ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

Your challenge this month is to copy the simplicity of nature and craft an item inspired by the simplicity of unicellular organisms by:
Option 1: Crafting a project made in one piece. (Examples: scarves, hats, dishcloths, granny squares…)
Option 2: Crafting a project from only one skein of yarn.
Option 3: Spinning a skein of singles.

Challenge (Technical): WHAT’S YOUR SPECIALTY?

Your challenge this month is to craft an item using a technique that you feel is one of your strengths. Do you love lace? Have you conquered cables? Are you a garter stitch champ? Are you the fastest n-plyer in the west? Are amigurimi your pride and joy? This is your opportunity to show us your mad skillz! (For the purposes of this challenge, a technique is a method within a particular craft. For instance, knitting is a craft, but knitting garter stitch or stockinette stitch is a technique.)

Challenge (Nerd Culture): I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW MANMADE OVERLORDS

Your challenge for this month is to create something inspired by technology and human (or non-human, I suppose) ingenuity. Anything designed to make your (or a character’s) life better will be considered, from siege engines to pocket watches to moisture vaporators, and everything in between.

Challenge (Geek Pride): WOVE. TWUE WOVE.

his month’s challenge is to craft an item that symbolizes a past, present, or possible relationship within your nerddom. Whether that relationship is established as canon (Miss Piggy+Kermit), suggested by fans (Castle+Beckett), or merely a character that you love and would happily marry is up to you. Since relationships can get pretty complex, for the purpose of this challenge the word “love” is encompassed in all its forms: from strictly friendly, sisterly/brotherly, crush flirtatious, passing/one-night, passionate, abiding, long-term, all the way up to and including the ever allusive “Twue Wove”.

Challenge (Giving Geeks): HATS OFF TO GIVING!

This month we’re challenging you to help get hats into the hands of people who can really appreciate them, whether for their aesthetic or utilitarian qualities… or both! Chemo caps, preemie hats, headgear for the homeless, and helmet liners for military troops all qualify as do donations of time, money, or supplies to charities that supply these head protectors to the people who need them most.


I had written up my dissertation for the Tuck Shawl I will be knitting.  This will be a project that will take the full three months of the tournament.  Here is what I submitted...before I submit the final shawl, I will tweak the write up and make it better but this should suffice with the powers to be.
_____________________________________________
Name WonderWhyGal
Team Team Precious
Craft Knitting
Summary and Pattern A knitted Shawl written by Sharon Dreifuss of She-Knits called Tuck
Yarn 2 skeins of Sunshine of Wonder by Wonder Why Alpaca Farm, LLC 220 yds each Suri Alpaca and Merino and 1 skein Happy Fuzzy Yarn 330 yrds Superwash Merino
T4 Dissertation
Swatch
image title
Category and Team Spirit Tie In
Geek Pride
In the Hobbit, Smaug the dragon makes an important appearance. This pattern has lace on the out edges and cables through the body. As seen in this photo of Smaug, you can see the lacelike webbing in Smaugs’s wings.
I am SMAUG! I kill when I wish! I am strong, strong, STRONG! My armor is like tenfold shields! My teeth like swords! My claws, spears! The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath, death! --The Hobbit
image title
Time Justification
This will be an Epic project for me using my new skills with cable knitting PLUS lace which really freaks me out. There are a bunch of techniques that I have not used before which means that I need to take my time, not talk and be super duper careful.


 ______________________________________________

I am also working on a handspun submission (hmmm, me spin?) for one of the challenges.  I haven't figured out which category it will go in but I have been meaning to spin this Polyworth dyed by Briar Rose for ages.  I am actually going to leave it 100% wool too.  Yes, no Alpaca added.

I have decided not to kill myself completing every challenge is round this tournament especially since I am working on a dissertation project.  My hands will be full but they will also be productive and that is the beauty of Nerd Wars.  So many amazing projects are created while enjoying my favorite nerddom with kindred spirits.  Now...share your adventures in Fiber Arts.

Fiber Arts Friday ! 
To participate:
  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
 Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  1. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these wonderful blogs