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The Beautiful Birthday Wool And Other Fun Stuff

Good Morning!

Yes, again, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted 🙂 It feels like spring – a beautiful beautiful day in Ontario. Time to sort, clean and catch up…

A couple of weeks ago I had another birthday and wanted to treat myself to something special. I decided to make some pretty yarn inspired by amethyst…a little bit of sparkle (silk from india), a little bit of shine and bold bright colour (handdyed longwool) and a fair share of beautiful, bouncy softness (gorgeous handdyed cormo/merino cross recently purchased from mmfwool on ebay – I *highly* recommend it).

In the dye pot – the wools and some wilton’s violet icing colour….

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I blended the fibres with hand cards and, voila!

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The plan is to knit ‘Sabbatical’ by Connie Chang Chinchio…it should be awesome!

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The wool from mmfwool is absolutely wonderful to work with…nice crimp, beautiful feel, lovely length….

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The kids have been enjoying march break!

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I’ve been working on some other wools as well…

black/brown suffolk mix – this is a three ply worsted/dk weight which will eventually become a sweater…
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Finished pictures coming soon for this and some lovely wool/silk mix yarn which I’m just in the middle of finishing up! Have a fantastic day 🙂

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What A Beautiful Day!

Absolutely LOVING the gardens this year…(and they are loving me right back)
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Our veggies are planted and yesterday we added a strawberry garden too…
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I’ll have to get a picture of it since it’s tucked away in the corner there, by the grape vines 🙂

The fruit trees are starting to blossom! We have pear and apple, I believe 🙂 New houses are always fun when no-one leaves you a garden map. I feel like an explorer, finding new things every day in the garden.
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I’ve decided to take a chance that the frosts are done for the year and get everything in now – I may be sorry but I’m doubting that. LOL – my way is to plant it and give it to nature – I help nature out by using my fleece soak water as liquid fertilizer and by weeding a little 🙂 If it works out it’s fabulous – if not we’ll plant a few more things in a couple weeks 🙂 I have some pepper plants and some cherry tomatoes that I’ve started in the house which are yet to be placed in the garden. Other than that we’ve got parsnips, carrots, lettuce (leaf and romaine), brocolli, corn, turnip, tomaotes, parsley, pumpkins, watermelons, cucumbers, radishes, peas. I’m thinking of adding a blueberry garden in the centre circle which currently houses some rose bushes. Roses are nice but blueberries are better 🙂 I can always move the roses to a spot along the fence! I’ve also found some rosemarey (my favorite herb) and something that I’m SURE is an herb and smells like lemon – I assume herb because it’s in the garden itself and the prior owners of this house were dedicated gardeners!

After a week of rain, I’m so happy that the sun is out 🙂 I managed to wash most of the mystery fleece that I was working on in the last post…it came out nice and clean!
drying the wool

There were parts of the fleece I gave up on and left too long in the soak water – they will now be going to live in the back of the yard, near the pine trees, as mulch. Since the fleeces were free and unskirted I feel just fine about that – the hardest part will be lugging it back there 🙂 I still have about half of the total three bags to process and will take a bit more time to skirt these!

I’ve been spinning some icelandic that I washed last year. I thought it was felted but was pleasantly surprised to find it cards up just beautifully and wasn’t really felted at all!
felted icelandic?

icelandic singles - not felted after all :)

Today I really should get back to knitting the socks BUT I have a feeling I just may end up spinning on the deck… 🙂
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Have a fabulous day!

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

Spinning Again!

Now that I’m finished the lovely knee socks, I felt like working on my spinning for a couple of days…it’s a nice break and I’ve been dying to get to it since I got all that beautiful (superwash merino) fibre at The Black Lamb for Christmas!

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I’m mixing these two colours (shell pink and a pink blend) by plying them together. I’m purposefully making the shell ply a little thinner than the blend – a little experiment.

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My finished product – the first skein – is approximately fingering to dk (by looks) and is about 14 wpi – probably 12 wpi in the thicker sections. I’m going to spin it all in a row to help ensure that the yarn is pretty much well matched. I know, I know….yes, I SHOULD just spin all the singles, wind them onto toilet paper rolls and then mix them to make the weights similar later.

Pfffffft…I don’t swatch either, ever. Don’t tell the knitting police!

I have a project in mind as I spin but it’s definitely a little into the future!! I’m thinking of designing an open knit sweater – done on larger than suitable needles – that is bottom up, as one piece as possible, with a simple seam finish and a v or some such neckline. It’ll be perfect for over a camisole. With this in mind, I chose the pinks because they are as delicate as the intended project.

I’m pretty excited about all of it 🙂

Trying Something New…

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I want to make a cabled sock yarn 🙂 It’s something I haven’t tried yet! I’d really like it if I get enough yardage to make something more than socks, like a little shrug or something. That’s why I’m spinning on full bobbins EVEN THOUGH it means winding the first plied ply into a centre pull ball.

I need to figure out what the colours in the next two plies will be. I’m not sure if I should lighten it up by leaning on the pinks/lavendars or if I should go darker with some navy/black/red. I could always even it out with one dark ply and one light. I also have shades of grey which might go very nicely with the pinks.

Choosing colours is the hardest part!

One really cool bit of news! I may be getting a weaving loom 🙂 Long story but as I understand it the lady who has it got it from Seneca College when they discontinued their weaving program and it’s on the condition that it MUST be passed on to someone who will use it. I’ll update on this later when I know whats what…hopefully when I have the lovely thing 🙂 I’m already excited and I don’t know for sure I’ll be getting it, lol.

Have a great day!

I Can’t Believe It!

I have MISPLACED (I refuse to use the word LOST) so many of my magazines and books and I’ve got no idea how or where or anything!

It all became apparent yesterday when I was looking for a magazine (IK I think?) that had a beautiful sock ‘recipe’ for all sizes, guages, etc…for toe up socks…that I often use when trying to design a new sock pattern…

Thank goodness that I’ve written it out in the past when I wrote the other sock patterns…I didn’t write out the guage charts (sure wish I had!) but at least I could recover the basics of the short row heel that I like to use.

Then my daughter asked for a book, for school, that I haven’t seen in quite a while and had almost forgotten about…leading me to consider all the other books that are missing. If there is any hope of finding them they may be in the basement in one of the unpacked boxes. LOL, at this point I’m wondering how we decided to put thoses boxes down there in the first place or if we were just tired the night we were moving in! Looking through all of them is NOT something I’m looking forward to but I really like knowing where my things are!

I managed to figure out my sock pattern anyways…it’s the Candy Stripe Socks pattern listed in the pages. They use, of course, the Candy Stripe Yarn that I spun from the superwash merino from the black lamb. I’m almost done the first sock…

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I thought the twists in this pattern were reminiscent of the twists of candy cane sticks 🙂

I’ve also taken a picture of the spinning I’m working on…the first ply for the four ply….

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Enjoy your day 🙂

Making Do :)

So…

I’m trying to spin a three ply with only three bobbins and wanted to come up with a way to make it work without having to wind any of the singles into a ball before plying. Patience isn’t my strong suit, lol, so I didn’t want to wait for a chance to buy a fourth bobbin.

Ta Da….

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I spun it on the first three hooks and built a little separator out of a scrap of cardboard — and duckie stickers of course! 🙂

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I’ve done half a bobbin of the dark orange on it’s own bobbin (I was still thinking about the problem, lol)

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So far, so good! I’m pretty happy with this idea…I’ll let you know how the plying goes 🙂