Archives

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….

046

I blended the fibres with hand cards and, voila!

052

054

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

018

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

014

042

The kids have been enjoying march break!

057

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…
003

012

020

022

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 🙂

What A Beautiful Day!

Absolutely LOVING the gardens this year…(and they are loving me right back)
beautiful yard 004

Our veggies are planted and yesterday we added a strawberry garden too…
beautiful yard 003

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.
beautiful yard 002

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… 🙂
005

Have a fabulous day!

What’s New? Spring Cleaning….Fleece!

Good morning!

008

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!

100_2188

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.

100_2187

100_2191

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…

100_1422

100_1425

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…

100_1335

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….

100_1333

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….

100_1312

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

100_1313

100_1320

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

100_1315

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

Beautiful Sun!

100_1287

The sun is shining and the rain is gone…for now 🙂 I love a sunny day…it revives me.

I’m going to do a ton of laundry, I love hanging it out to dry. It began because I don’t have my dryer yet – still in ‘storage’ – I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever see it again! – but I really like it. I know I’m not wasting power and I like the way the laundry feels and smells 🙂 Even the jeans and towels!

Baked some beautiful muffins yesterday…raspberry lemon…

100_1281

They are fantastic…the recipe was originally for a cranberry muffin but I had frozen raspberries and I thought the lemon and raspberry would go well together, which they DID! The icing is just a glaze of icing sugar and lemon juice.

I’m almost done spinning the yarn for my son…I am so pleased too! I am sure I’ll get at least another 350 metres out of this last bit, maybe even 400 🙂 That should give me enough to make him a nice cabled sweater…

100_1283

100_1286

I’m hoping to finish spinning it while the kids are at school today. I’d like to clean up our deck and get outside for a while. It’s definitely a spin-friendly deck – covered concrete front porch that spans the front of the house, actually. An excellent place to shelter the baby plants now that I’ve moved them outside. I forgot about them last night!!! Thank goodness there wasn’t frost here like they said might happen.

My husband is broken…well, slightly damaged – we’re going with that – he tore his main muscle in his right arm (is a construction foreman in the concrete business) and now can hardly move his arm at all. He’s gotten a sling to wear and spent yesterday sleeping because he got so little rest the night before. They say he needs to keep from using the arm for about a week…he’s going to have to actually supervise instead of jumping in and doing the work for a while.

The dogs spent yesterday comforting him 🙂 They like to keep him company…

100_1280

Have an excellent day!

Project Spin-For-A-Sweater

Ok, a hexacomb cardigan, actually…

100_1137

This is my first bobbin of singles. I’m going for a 2ply, dk weight/light worsted, approximately 600 metres (should be more than enough-pattern calls for 500). I’m using the superwash merino in lavender that I just bought at the black lamb on the weekend. The pattern is in the Spring 08 IK magazine.

It’s harder trying to spin a specific weight than I thought and since this is the first bit, it may not be the right weight. I’m totally prepared to put aside the first ball if I have to!

Lace Weight Singles :)

I’ve decided to keep my first two ounces of the SW Merino as a lace weight singles yarn…here is a picture of it wrapped on the board….

100_1084

It is about 24+ wpi and I ended up with 377 metres. I haven’t got a final weight (I’m estimating the 2 ounces) yet and I still have to set the twist. Tomorrow maybe 🙂 Very Spring-like colours I think!

My One Month Spin-aversary!

So tomorrow is the one month anniversary of my wheel spinning career. The lady at the shop was SO surprised when I didn’t want to try the wheel or anything LOL but I’ve always been a ‘teach myself’ girl and I enjoy doing my bumbling in private! 🙂

Here’s my progress on the lace weight I’m working on…the singles seem to be about 40 wpi and I really hope they don’t ‘fluff up’ much when I ply them. I’ll be sadly dissapointed if this doesn’t work out! I only have about 2 oz to work with (I went ahead and spun the first two ounces without planning on this contest so I’m keeping that as a singles yarn, I think) and I hope to get enough yardage for the project idea I have in mind. Wish me luck!

100_1066

100_1070

I’ve Been Busy :)

I was reading a post (here) on how to dye roving with easter egg dyes and since I had 100 grams of lincoln lamb roving which I bought when we picked up my spinning wheel…..I HAD to try it!

Excellent, Easy, with Awesome results!

100_1060

Lincoln Lamb - Easter Egg Dyed

I love it.  Can’t wait to spin it!

I’ve been spinning the second ply for my SW Merino from SakinaNeedles and I’m aiming for a very thin yarn…wondering if maybe I can enter the spinalong for April after all…

SakinaNeedles Dusty Cornflower SW Merino

Either way…this is going to make some beautiful light weight yarn!  Another thing I cant wait to see finished 🙂

Jeanie is coming along nicely…I finished a couple repeats today.  It’s an easy project to pick up and put down because the pattern is pretty simple once you get used to it.  I always mark my rows, with pencil, in the margin, mind you…

Happy Easter…Yay Spring!

Good Morning!  Happy Easter 🙂

I’ve been working on turning this…(superwash merino in ‘dusty cornflower’ from Sakina Needles)

100_1036

into THIS 🙂

100_1035

I’m planning to make it into a two ply and hope to have about 300 or so yards. 

I’m still knitting jeanie….

100_1039

Yes, turning out very beautiful…what an interesting looking pattern…making me want to design a drop stitch sweater along these same lines!  In the movie ‘premonition’, Sandra Bullock has on a beautiful white sweater which I *think* is a drop stitch pattern.  LOL…I may have to freeze frame it to check it out sometime!

Have a fantastic day!

Puppy News Or Lack Thereof!

Ok, here is our girl…stubbornly looking more and more pregnant.  This has gone on FOREVER.  Really though…doesn’t this picture read ‘PREGNANT’???

100_0973

I spun on the new spinning wheel yesterday and made a nice little skein of yarn with some of the mystery roving.  I didn’t mix it like I had in the drop spindle yarn, just used the heathery green/blue without the royal.  It’s about 65 metres.

100_0977

This gave me some nerve to try spinning the beautiful roving I got for my birthday so I started with the BFL. 

It’s so soft and slippery, apparently NOT what they recommend to learn with but I love going against them……..

100_0980

Isn’t it just too pretty roving!  I’m really enjoying it after all the blue/green I’ve seen lately.

 Oh, and I think I know why spinners sell their yarn – because they can’t tear themselves away from spinning long enough to knit it!

Here’s a picture of the beautiful flowers/planter my kids gave me for my birthday…my middle daughter made sure she went out without me to surprise me with it 🙂

100_0972

Well, well, well…

100_0950

Um hmm…we’re still waiting!

She even seems tired of it…

100_0951

I spun last night and finished up the second single.  I started plying it and it’s a nice thin weight!  I may be able to use it in something 🙂  I’m thinking it would look awesome in the Selbuvotter stuff.

Here’s a picture (I promised) of my ‘homemade kate’.   I used a basket, some 5.5 mm knitting needles and two point protectors to keep the ‘bobbins’ (knitting needles) from slipping out.  I was able to slide the singles directly from the spindle onto the knitting needles.

100_0948

Works well and when I want a break I can just place the spindle inside and close it up and put it on a shelf.  I realize it’s probably not like a ‘real’ kate but I think it’s an awesome solution!  LOL, plus I had all this stuff on hand!

Have a great day 🙂