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What’s New? Spring Cleaning….Fleece!

Good morning!

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It’s been so long….

Spring is here and I’ve been busy 🙂 Seems spring always makes one want to DO more – and some of us have a different take on spring cleaning! I’ve had several fleeces sitting for a while — some since last summer! I don’t know if I posted about it last fall but I have some absolutely beautiful long staple alpaca…dusty dusty stuff with some burr issues as well. It’s got a staple of about 8 inches as it was a long time between shearings and it is SUPER soft – lovely lovely lovely. Irreplaceable really. Fortunately, lol, I started out with about 14 pounds and there is no end in sight yet.

Unwashed…
alpaca - prewashing

Combed out for debris, but not yet washed…
raw alpaca lock 8 - 9 inches

Final product – rovings are clean and pulled from my combs…
alpaca -- combed

There is also the ‘meat’ sheep wool which I was given last year – in black and white – waiting to get a good soak and a wash. The wool comes out nice but the dirt is incredible – sometimes free looks like an excellent price. There is a large bin full of that waiting for me on the porch.

Oh yes, and a basset hound too…
Tired Basset

Mr. Man

My baby grandson has had his first birthday – still the cutest baby in the world with the BEST smile 🙂

Happy Birthday Baby

His other grandma has sheep and lambs and has very generously given me three bags of wool (I jokingly asked for ‘three bags full’ lol) – the first is lamb (three fleeces I think), the second is yearling (two to three fleeces) and the third bag is adult (haven’t counted them but I believe it holds two fleeces).

Grandma wool - three bags full

The lamb, unwashed…
Lovely lamb

The yearling, unwashed (or possibly the adult)…MUCH dirtier than the lamb. I plan to soak this in a cold soak for a few days before washing it…
yearling?

These fleeces MUST be a mixed breed but are sooooo soft I’m pleasantly surprised! I’ve washed some of the lamb, so far, and it’s coming out lovely. Very short fibers but lovely AND it helped motivate me to learn how to spin short fibers. Happy to say that after two days of utter failure…. I CAN DO IT! 🙂

The lamb…clean…
washed lamb

Here’s some blended short fibers that I’ve successfully spun…YAY!…it’s camel, yak, silk and lambswool blended on carders and then spun for a two ply thick and thin yarn….(it truly is soft as butter)
short fiber mix - camel etc.

I’ve sold one of my spinning wheels – the Bordua that I bought last fall – to a really nice Ravelry member who will truly appreciate her. I’ve also begun selling some handspun wool yarn and some spinning fiber (the above mentioned alpaca) through my local kijiji. I definitely spin more than I knit and the wool is piling up!

Some recently spun yarns…
handspun yarn
(Left to right…lambswool, spun from the lock very finely for a four ply fingering weight yarn; alpaca, spun from combed fiber, two ply; grammalamb spun two ply; the soft as butter blended camel 2ply; a skein of laceweight, handdyed silk two ply approx 800 metres.)

Oh – Almost forgot! There IS news on the knitting front….

lamb, silk, alpaca mix for socks - three ply

I’ve spun 900 metres of silk/lambswool/alpaca (in approximate thirds, blended on carders and then spun fine for a three ply lace weight) to make a really beautiful pair of lace knitted stockings. So pretty, so impractical. Of course I had to have them 🙂 I’ve only just begun the knitting but it’s coming along well…

socks!

Lace Stockings - heel detail

As if that isn’t enough, I’ve also been working on some orifice hooks…
orifice hook - loves red

Flowers on a spiral

I am also working on the spinning wheel at the beginning of this post – she needed a few things and a bit of a facelift. I should have pictures to share very soon 🙂 I believe she is a german parlor wheel but who knows for sure…

And just because…I’ve decided it’s time to make a quilt. A really special quilt I’ve had a picture for for ages…known to me and those that know me as “THE ONE”. It begins something like this….

Tammys Quilt

My Hands Hurt!

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But….it’s well worth it!

I’m almost done the quilt. It’s turning into a masterpiece of beads and buttons and my daughter is already worried about washing it!

Secrets are hard to keep if you want to work on a project for 10 hours a day, lol.

I must get to it – Christmas is only 8 days away! (yes, I know, technically nine but we’re having our celebration with the family on Christmas Eve this year so I only get eight…)

We’ve got ourselves (and two kids at home), our daughter with her boyfriend, another daughter (with boyfriend possibly), my cousin and her family, my brother and step father. If the list stays as is; 16 people total for Christmas Eve dinner.

I haven’t even done the proper menu yet. I think turkey (of course) and a nice spiral cut ham, homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato carrot cassarole, roasted onions, turnip (nice and sweet with brown sugar), mashed potato/OR potato balls (these are awesome!), brussel sprouts, peas, corn, fresh bread and rolls, gravy and maybe the white chocolate cranberry cake for desert. I’m going to need to find a nice diabetic desert as well – something to look into yet. Ah yes, and I have to buy a mountain of pickles, especially those little pickled onions (love those!).

It’s going to be a lovely feast and visit! 🙂

Have a great day 🙂

Must Catch Up…

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Wow. I’ve been really really busy lately! I feel like I’ve been neglecting the blog, lol…

The puppy is doing fabulous. He’s learning so much, so fast!! Really amazing. And he’s settled in nicely with the other two – has even learned some manners 🙂

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I’ve been asked to knit chain maille helmets for a theatre production which is coming up later in the year. Rehearsals start in July though so I have to get them all done by then…

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I was pretty happy — I made the pattern up and it worked out the first time! It was a happy, happy day 🙂 Now hopefully the rest of them knit up fast, and I’m praying to the wool gods that the wool stretches impossibly far.

I also have to knit sets of 3/4 length chain maille sleeves, for each.

AND!! I’ve been asked to appear in a play as a spinner, with my wheel. Coolness, I thought. It should be fun! I’m not clear on the details of when and where yet. Later this year, I understand.

I’m planning to post the pattern for the helmet, when I have a bit of time.

I’ve been working on quilting the baby ‘fishie’ quilt. That is nearing real deadlines too – the reletive it’s for should be visiting in July. I’d say I’m about 1/3 done the hand quilting and then there’s the binding to be sewn on by hand as well. I’m pretty sure I’m on track.

I was given some canadian unspun yarn – the kind they make the cowichan sweater out of and decided to use it to experiment with dying roving. The sweater needs to be frogged to claim all the yarn so I just started with half a ball of the natural/white mix.

I skeined it…
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Placed it in a pot with near boiling water mixed with almost a cup of vinegar and some wiltons ‘violet’ icing colour (dissolved in boiling water first and stirred). I didn’t soak the roving first. I want to accentuate the ‘breaking’ of the colour and allow the roving to soak the colour at an uneven rate for interesting variation in the colours.

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I soaked the roving in the dyepot, simmering without agitation, for about 20 to 25 minutes, until all the dye was exhausted and absorbed.

After cooling a little, a soak in hot, hot water with a drop or two of dishsoap, a hot rinse…

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It looked fantastic! Check out the colours! I think I maybe should have used a little more dye – see how the centre didn’t really lose the beige/natural tone. On the other hand, when spun up it might look really good so I’m reserving judgement 🙂

It’s drying and I expect the colours may fade a little.

I made my daughter a pair of ‘sockettes’ for her birthday last month and forgot to post them here…here are a few pictures. The pattern is improvised, toe up, using the free white fleece I got a little while back.

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She likes her socks low on her ankle. The best part of hand knit is the perfect fit factor 🙂

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Oh yes…almost forgot…I’ve also been knitting the grotto wrap from interweave knits with my handspun rambouillet lace yarn…I’ll post pictures when it’s done…it’s turning out soft and really nice (I think it’s my best handspun yarn ever).

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I have two skeins of sock yarn which I spun from the free white and black sheep – my son and I’ll work on dying those tomorrow….

Working On The Quilt

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I’m quilting this freely, deciding exactly how as I go. I don’t know if you can see in the pictures but I’m changing embroidery floss colour each time I add a new thread – it’s interesting I think, to the eye.

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I’m going to decide what to do with the background and add more beads and buttons on a second go, once I finish quilting the applique pieces. I think otherwise the beads and such will get in the way of the hoop too much.

Should have more pictures later on… 🙂