Monday, September 28, 2009

I've Crossed Over to the Dark Side

I took advantage of the above average temperatures last week to groom Kai the Brat outdoors. I prefer to dry the dogs outside. If I dry the shelties indoors in my grooming room the forced air dryer that I use will deposit dog hair all over my house no matter how much I try and contain it. One clean, much more naked dog later I took a look around my yard. I am normally very glad to leave the blown out undercoat for the birds and squirrels (it is amazing how much a squirrel can fit into its mouth) and not have to vacuum it up from every corner of the house for the next 2 weeks. This time, however, my reaction was different. All I saw was beautiful, clean, fluffy fibre that was just begging to be combed and spun. So I gathered up as much of it as I could before it got mixed in with leaves and twigs. I got a good 3/4 of a grocery bag full.

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

More New Spinning Stuff

This has been the strangest year weatherwise. Winter was brutally cold with no reprieves, spring never wanted to arrive, then summer was cool, but now that fall is here it has been absolutely beautiful. It has actually been very confusing. Cooler weather and threats of frost generally mean that school is starting, it is time to start harvesting all my garden produce, and generally get back into the routine of the school year. With our not just nice, but HOT weather I find myself being taken by surprise when the sun starts to set before 9 PM and the kid's activities are starting up again. I am spending all my time during the day working outside on the patio, trying to squeeze every last drop of summer that I can.

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.