Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
And finally the pictures from last weeks spinning class. The topic for the class was spinning cotton. I had a couple of "aha!" moments where all of a sudden the cotton started to spin properly, but they were few and far between. My sister Susan was having better luck with spinning cotton on her wheel with the lace flyer and bobbin attached.
Shannon, on her brand new Babe wheel.
Our class instructor, Deborah, showed us how to use a charka.
From left to right: Carol, Deborah, Shannon and Amy (who was a natural at spinning cotton on a wheel). As you can see, Golden Willow is a wonderful place to just drop by to sit and knit for awhile.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
I don't have my own combs yet, but I will borrow my sister Susan's. She has spun with her sheltie undercoat and it turns out beautifully. A skein of cormo/sheltie that she entered in the "I Made It On My Schacht" contest is in the finals.
I actually finished a pair of socks. They are made out of Panda Cotton, colourway 2301 Rosewater. I used the Spiral Galaxy pattern from the book Sock a la Carte for the body of them. I think that they are actually prettier in person and even better when they are on. I love the feel of the cotton/bamboo.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
With the earlier sunsets, though, it does mean that I am back inside and in my knitting chair more often. I have decided that I actually like spinning more than knitting, which is starting to cause some problems. My stock piles of hand dyed, hand spun fibre are starting to mount up.
I knit up these socks awhile ago, but over the summer had forgetten about them. They are my second attempt at spinning sock yarn with my hand dyed fibre. They turned out better than the first try in that the finished yarn is slightly finer. They are made from Navajo plied BFL.
The next spun yarn is also BFL. I have discovered that if you add any amount of purple when dyeing, the finished yarn's predominant colour will be purple. Which is just fine if you are trying to create a purple yarn. However, this fibre was supposed to end up more blue with just a touch of pink and purple. The photo actually makes it look more blue than it is. It is a 2-ply light sport weight. So I took another bunch of BFL (there is only a little bit of it in the picture) and dyed it a light ice blue. I am currently spinning it up the same of the other with the intention of knitting something like a hat, scarf or mittens with 2 strands - one of each yarn.
I have started to knit some socks out of the purple/grey (again) BFL. So far, so good. They look like they will be a nice weight. The yarn didn't lend itself to any kind of fancy pattern so I am doing a simple Andalusian stitch just to add a bit more visual interest.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I am starting to experiment with different fibres. This was my first try with Wensleydale. I was at my LYS bemoaning the fact that even though I didn't think it was possible for me to spin any finer without my singles disintegrating my finished 3 ply yarn was still coming out a bit heavier than I would like for socks. So Wensleydale was suggested. It has such a long length that it is literally possible to spin strong singles with only 3 strands of fibre. Unfortunately, I ended up felting this fibre a bit when dyeing so I had to rip it apart to draft it. It is still very fine and very strong. I Navaho plied it.
This is a Corriedale-Rambouillet-Merino roving that I purchased from Wooly Wool of the West on Etsy. It is nice and soft and sproingy and should spin up beautifully. (Mikki had to get her nose in to see what I was doing. The dogs tend to like the sheepy smell of undyed fibre. Not too keen on the vinegar smell after dyeing, though)
BFL again (I keep coming back to it!). It should self stripe nicely if Navaho plied.
And finally.... more good things in the mail. I got these notions from KaratStix on Etsy. Made of bamboo they are very light and should prove to be very handy. The wraps-per-inch tool is hanging on my spinning wheel. The Kitchener stitch tag is sitting next to my knitting chair. And the needle gauge (notice how she includes really small needle sizes) is attached to my knitting bag for when I am on the go.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
" As a fine wool with roots in France and Spain, Rambouillets seem to exude a cosmopolitan air, yet stay grounded and easygoing with others in the flock. With big hearts and a spring in their step, these finewools' lively attitudes make them approachable and always ready with a warm smile and a hug."
The quiz did its job, though, as I eventually looked at the book it was promoting. The Knitter's Book of Wool comes out this October and it looks like it could be one to get
Friday, August 14, 2009
It has just been one of those summers. It started in June (it actually started well before that, but it didn't get incredibly nasty until about the 1st week of June). My son had been having the year from hell in school. In June we found out that it had been even far worse than we knew. So I spent the last 3 weeks of school pretty much living there.
It was at the same time that DH Dallas broke his arm. It was either fall off his bike or get hit by a car so at least he choose the lesser of two evils. "Broke" would be an understatement, though. He took the 2 bones in his lower left arm and made them into 7 pieces. So 3 metal plates, how knows how many screws and 56 stitches later he is sorta starting to heal. He got the cast off a couple of days ago and got some more great news. One of the pieces isn't healing properly and they may have to do a bone graft if it doesn't start to smarten up and start mending itself back together.
His scars, though, are making him the envy of all the neighbourhood kids.
So for a couple of months I didn't really do too much in the way of knitting or spinning. Being emotionally exhausted makes you quite content to just sit there and stare into space. I didn't feel the need to keep my hands busy. And I had even less energy to care enough to take pictures of things and post them.
Slowly I am getting back into routine again. The "Oops" yarn is now knit up into a hat for Katie. I used the One Day Beret recipe. The pattern needed to be very simple since the yarn is so busy and colourful. Katie loves it and has even been wearing it now in the middle of summer. Even though our summer weather this year has been leaving much to be desired it is still much to warm for a wool hat.
I also finished up the Crusoe socks that I had started sooooo long ago. This yarn was from my very first attempt at dyeing. I believe it started out as a KnitPicks undyed yarn, but it was so long ago that I can't say for sure anymore. I did 2 rows of plain stockinette stitch between the slipped rows instead of the 3 the pattern calls for. I didn't do it on purpose, but it turned out just fine.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I have also been experimenting with dyeing roving. After one small disaster the next couple of tries turned out much better. This lavender and mauve one was supposed to have grey in it, but it just got lost with the purple shades. So I just dyed up some grey separately that I am incorporating into the single plies. This is the roving that I am currently spinning and while I haven't gotten very far on it (it has been too nice outside to be spending time inside spinning) so far I am pleased with the results.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
On a sadder note, my sister Susan suddenly lost one of her shelties on Friday. Harrison was a very sweet dog who loved to sit in the sun and watch the birds.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
But as you see I did finally break down and bring Elizabeth home for a visit. My sister knows me too well. She knows that once it is here it won't be going anyplace else. I have to be careful about bringing puppies into my house for the same reason.
I think Susan figures that I should buy it just so that she retains visiting privileges.
This morning Katie was telling me that now the Elizabeth is here that I should give her my Pioneer since it is little like her. I told her no, but that her auntie and I were hoping that she would take up the knitting and spinning so that we have someone to leave all our stash and equipment to when we die. Her response was "Yipee!" Ummmm... I hope she isn't hoping for it all any time soon.
BTW - the brightly coloured fibre that I am spinning with here is some superwash that Susan dyed that turned out way too bright. She thought she was safe trying to get some of the colour out of it because it is superwash. Who knew - superwash WILL felt eventually. So I got her rejects since it is a little hard to draft out in places and I will make a hat and mittens for Katie out of it without worrying about it being spun evenly.
Here is my second try at spinning sock yarn from BFL...
The one turned out much nicer than the first try. I got it spun finer with a lot less breakage as I was Navajo plying it. It is knitting up nice and soft. So I think I am ready to start spinning sock yarn from nicer (read more expensive) fibre.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
We went to the show on Monday evening and are we ever glad we did. It was fantastic.
Before the show started we loaded up with drinks and popcorn, but once it started the kids forgot all about eating and drinking (and to be honest, so did Dallas and I) and were completely engrossed in the production. This was a history lesson unlike any we had experienced before!
Monday, April 20, 2009
I am not sure which I am more excited about, though - great handspun or new Birks! The mailperson brought these this morning only 2 1/2 weeks after I ordered them from Germany. I really NEEDED some new ones after last spring's episode between my shoes and Kai the brat.