Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

It's been a good holiday weekend for me - Saturday was the Middle TN Fiber Festival in Dickson, TN and my friend Nichol drove us both over there for the day. I watched shearing:

And tried new wheels:

And bought fiber (sorry, no pics of that yet)

Then today I continued on the wash the wool program after spinning up a lovely bobbin of it this morning:

The washing is gross, people. The water is gross, the slimy feeling is gross and I'm damn glad to have it to do regardless, this wool is BEAUTIFUL!

I'm fortunate that my other friend Mary has lent me her hand carders for the weekend so here's my little bundles of wool, ready to spin.

I'd like to be ambitious and say I want to get a sweater out of this fleece but the reality is that I'll probably get a great purse/tote and some other smaller items. I'm not spinning well enough yet to produce sweater yarn, I don't think.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Social Networking

Is Everywhere! I swear, I spend so much time social networking that I never socially network for real it seems! By the time I get pictures onto Flickr, or Ravelry or Facebook (a new one for me) I forget I need to blog and post here!

It's been busy around here. I spent yesterday in the first step of processing that fleece which meant laying it out on a sheet so that all cut sides were down and tip ends up. This took a bit since it'd been compacted into a box from Colorado to be shipped here. Next, I gathered pieces into 12x15 zippered mesh bags, the kind you get at Dollar Tree 3 for a buck. I bought 12 and filled them all; this accounted for about a quarter of my fleece.

Next I put it into water in containers in my backyard where it's soaking until tomorrow to get the first round of goop out. My friend Mary says this is an exceptionally clean fleece and it might take only 1 soaking before we wash.

Last Saturday I went to a Dye Class that Mary taught for the Spinners on the River Guild. It was very cool in that each of the 10 folks there chose a different color to recreate then followed the recipe out of Mary's master book and to get the shade. Each of us got a card from one another with the recipe written out, including any variances we found that day that affected the final colors. It was amazing. I chose shades of green (go figure) and set about making my dye. I ended up with this amazing Big Bird screaming yellow. THEN, I put it into an indigo bath for 5 minutes. The interesting thing about indigo is that it requires oxygen to complete the color change. You can imagine what people inside the University of Memphis thought to see a bunch of adult women out on the lawn spinning lengths of yard madly to get the oxygen into them. It was a sight to put it mildly. The end result was almost exactly the same as the master book. My variances were 90 minutes cooking instead of 60 and 1 indigo dip instead of 2. I'm very happy with the results and wish I had a bunch of undyed yarn and the materials to recreate this colorway at home.

Sunday was Spinning Guild and our program was on short fibers. We had samples of yak, cashmere, cotton, denim, New Zealand opossum with gorgeous merino to blend it all with. I brought home little samples of everything and spun a few inches of opossum and merino while there on my drop spindle. Short fibers aren't my favorite yet. I mostly spun a batt of some blue roving that came with my wheel. It has a sister batt in a ruby shade of the same fiber blend; I'll probably ply the two to get more yardage. I still have no clue how many yards I will get out of anything I try to spin.

Finally, I spun some raw alpaca and got 7 good yards (don't laugh, I really struggle with raw locks still!) to send into the Spin Off thing by June 1st.

In between all this I am knitting the now never ending sweater, a market bag for Mary, a gift for an upcoming shower and the nefarious second sock. Obligatory knitting content inserted.

Serene Cat Photo

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Wool!

There's new wool all around here on the home front or will be! I will have new 'wool' tomorrow after I go and get my hair put into dreds, something I've wanted to do forever! I'm getting tiny ones and hopefully it won't make my hair so short I look umm...strange. We'll see.

I had new wool going on in the sweater I'm knitting, Nadine from French Girl Knits. It's a llama/cotton blend that is delightful to work with. I'm a little worried about drape though, I did a hat out of it with a lacey sort of pattern and it is softened and lost in the translation. At any rate, I have the 2 side panels done, they double as shoulder straps and more boring sweater parts I don't think I've ever knitted. They made reverse stockinette exciting when I started the connecting center panel. Truly.

I belong to this Thrifty Knitters n Spinners group on Ravelry cuz I'm often broke and looking for ways to get more bang (or fiber) for my buck. One morning I was reading along as I had coffee and behold! Right there in the "Cheap or free fiber" thread was a lady in CO who Had Enough Wool. Really. She had All She Needed. (this is an alien concept to me but ok). As a result, she had 3 fleeces to offer, either half or whole for little more than the cost of shipping. I danced, screamed, waved my hands and sent off a PM hoping to snag the gray one. It arrived today, all in it's smelly, skirted glory. I've put it aside until next week when my friend Mary can help me lay it out into a sheep but of course I had to grab a few handfuls to wash.

I'm not sure the camera does the smoky, silvery gray justice but this thing is to die for. I spun it out in the washer and it should be dry enough to spin in the morning. Oh fiber goddess, you are truly divine...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Really old. I mean, this sock has grown gray hair and a beard. I have dragged this poor sock on it's size 2 needles up and down the red line when I lived at Lawrence and Pulaski. Then to the end of the line when I moved to East Rogers Park. I bought the yarn in the old Loopy location when I had a fixation for sock yarn and yarn in particular that had aloe and jojoba in it even though $22 for a sock yarn was outside of my budget. I bought the yarn after taking Vicki's sock class, knitting several pair and giving away every damn pair. These were for me. It's been napped on after I zoned out at the beach. It's travelled to DC on vacation and survived a switch from Clover to Crystal Palace needles after Krista talked me into them at the new Loopy location.

Do you think I can knit a second?

All mourn the never ending sock - it ended. (I actually WON a ball of yarn at a guild meeting for having the oldest project there) I told my friend Kirsten I finished and she said "the one you had at the Yarn Harlot appearance?" Embarrassing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

3 Ply Attempts

So, this is my attempt at 3 ply yarn. It was going to be for a Wooly Wormhead hat but then I found out their (UK) bulky was really an Aran or something crazy to me so now it's just another pretty yarn. Tragic.