Archives

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

Advertisements

Update Time!

I finished the handspun sweater I’ve been working on…

100_4354.jpg

It’s the 97-18 Tailored Cardigan by Drops Design – a free pattern which I modified only slightly in my version. I worked without seams and used a three needle bind off for the shoulders. Also, I used small size but medium length throughout. I think in the body I could have gone a little longer still.

100_4353.jpg

I ended up with a little more yarn than I needed, even!

100_4298.jpg

The grandbaby isn’t here yet but should be here any day now. I’m so excited! I’ve made a little blanket – probably the last in the ‘baby collection’ for now.

It uses the ‘curve of pursuit’ idea though not the pattern (since I don’t have it). I like it very much….

100_4337.jpg

I am now working in spinning some beautiful GREENS – again, superwash merino from The Black Lamb in Port Hope.

100_4357.jpg

100_4356.jpg

I was mixing up the colours in a certain-yet-random-way and NOW I’ve run out of some of them. So, I’m working on making a coordinating yarn to go with the 770 metres, or so, of the first yarn. There is a tunic I want to crochet. Badly.

100_4368.jpg

We’ll have to see how it goes….

Spring!

Today, I’m dying my handspun, hand prepped, rambouillet lace – just over 2000 yards. I admit, I was afraid!

100_3036

The good news? It turned out beautiful! It makes me think of spring flowers, perfect for today since it’s pouring rain outside. 🙂

The second batch is ‘cooking’ in the pot on the stove as I type. I’m quite certain it’s going to be a perfect match for the first.

My recipe?

1/4 teaspoon of delphinium blue wiltons icing colour, dissolved in one cup of boiling water

Just a bit more than 3/4 cup of vinegar mixed with boiling water on the stove in my dye pot and stirred

–add the dye solution to the pot and IMMEDIATELY add the dry, loosely skeined yarn. Push down with a wooden spoon, keeping agitation to a minimum.

–allow pot to simmer for 20 minutes, remove from stove, cool to a comfortable temperature and place in rinse water (same temp as yarn) again without agitating.

–roll in towel to remove excess moisture and lay flat or hang to dry.

–admire the beautiful yarn you made yourself 🙂

I repeated this exactly for the second skein, in order to minimize differences in the two skeins. I suppose I could have done both together in a larger pot – we’ll see 🙂

I really like this 🙂

Still Playing With Colour :)

100_1401

A little nicer looking when it’s laying down flat!

I’m still working on this, and will be for a few days at least 🙂

My tooth (teeth?) is acting up again…the advil and the antibiotic isn’t totally helping anymore…ugh! I really really really hate the whole situation. I guess I shall have to have it dealt with very soon.

Plans for the weekend are pretty much all about the knitting…the husband has to work all weekend and it’s me and my son as the girls have all gone away. I’ll have to get him to work on his needle punching so he doesn’t feel left out OR end up literally glued to that video game system of his!

Cotton Stashbuster…

aka another distraction! 🙂

I’ve started another great stashbuster! It’s to use up a lot of cotton yarn I have and was inspired by the ballband dishcloth which I made the other day…

100_1398

100_1399

It’s about 28 to 30 inches wide and I’m thinking it should be about 40 to 48 inches long…I’m thinking it will make a great kitchen/front door (NOT for shoes)/bath mat. OR, lol, it would make an excellent towel though my daughter says that’s not a good idea. She says people won’t see it enough if it’s a towel…she says it’s too nice to be a towel. Love that girl 🙂

I’m switching between a few different mixed colour yarns, trying to go for a woven fabric look. It’s taking a lot of knitting, lol, but it’s very satisfying watching it grow 🙂

The son’s sweater is still on hold…but still on the go! He mentions it every couple of days, lol, I think he may be getting a little worried. The ‘childs socks’ are also just on hold and I hope to finish them up soon.

I haven’t spun for DAYS…a little shocking to me as well…

In fact, I didn’t even knit a stitch yesterday…instead I read a book, a totally strange day but I just wasn’t in the fibre-y mood at all. We got a fantastic cot for our porch (free, at the side of the road, on that day when people around here trade useful objects) and I laid on that and just relaxed. It was awesome, actually.

Ah, and the kids and I transplanted our little veggie garden – a patio garden because I’m not interested in amending the gardens around this house since we’re only renting and they are in horrible shape, more forest than garden. We have peppers, tomatoes, peas and more peas. We love peas and fresh peas are near impossible to buy. I think as long as we fertilize often we should be fine…

The sun is finally shining here so today says ‘laundry’ to me…because we always use the line to dry it’s a dance with the weather on a constant basis….and the weather gets to lead, lol.

Enjoy your day!

3 Months Spinning…

I’ve been spinning for exactly three months today. On the wheel, that is…I spent about a month or so with a spindle, learning the basics of twist – getting addicted to spinning and whatnot!

I’m thinking I’d like to create a ‘spinning page’ where I can keep track, with pictures – in one place – of all of the yarns I’ve spun. It’ll help me see my progress as well as helping me remember what I”ve done!

I was an avid hand quilter for a long time when my kids were little. I made many, many quilts – so many I’ve lost track. My biggest mistake was not keeping a record of everything I did, with pictures. Now most of the quilts are gone and my memory, as it turns out, SUCKS LOL.

Here’s a picture of my Rose Garden Handspun, plied, on the bobbin — It turned out really lovely…or at least I love it!

100_1365

I made this yarn randomly – didn’t measure sections of roving for uniformity or place them in an even, organized pattern – but was thinking, before I made it, of the beautiful hand painted rovings out there. Thinking WHY CANT I DO THE SAME WITH COLOURED ROVINGS? So this was my attempt to mimic the effect of handpainted rovings with a much more affordable substitute! Guessing that this will weigh in at about 4 oz…the savings is significant — I paid about $1.25 for the rovings I used as opposed to the rates of $14+ that I’ve seen (and paid in the past) for a similar amount of roving. Now that is a BIG difference!

The picture is a little dark, I know…here’s one taken this morning outside…on the board…

100_1370

I ended up with about 400 yards of light to heavy fingering weight yarn…depending on the section…I always have thick/thin sections 🙂

Today it’ll have a little bath and then be dried and weighed later on…

Spinning To Order…

Yes, I’m working on the yarn for my son…the black and grey superwash.

100_1264

A light worsted/dk weight is my goal though I’m never sure what I’m getting exactly with the hand spinning. I don’t know if you get to the point where you know for sure that the singles are ‘perfect’ in size or if it’s always a bit of a guessing game. I kind of go for a sock weight single so the two will end up as a worsted when plied. And then there’s the thick/thin factor. I don’t know if other spinners get past this but there are definitely ALWAYS thick/thin places in my singles. Not a lot of them, but they’re there.

100_1266

I’m also working on a knitted top for myself. Yosemite worked in Shire Silk that I’ve been saving since I bought it last year. It has GOT to be the most expensive yarn I’ve ever ordered. Not because the yarn wasn’t on sale but because of the method of shipping to Canada from Webs. I’ve learned different sellers ship different ways and there are some that I will buy from now and some I will not. I do my best to stay away from the USPS! Unless I love having a whole lot of ‘surprise’ charges to pay COD at the post office on pick up, LOL, it seems the way to go. So this is the one and only thing I will ever/have ever bought at Webs, did I mention EVER? On the other hand, I had previously bough some beautiful yarn, including some Shire Silk, at fabulousyarn.com and they shipped the civilised way and there were NO surprises at the post office on that order. With the discounts, the yarn prices were quite similar anyways. Live and learn!

My goal this year is to knit the stash. I will excuse myself this rule when it comes to buying rovings, of course! 🙂 Must. Feed. The. Spinning. Habit. Other than handspun though, I hope to use the yarn I’ve been hoarding — there is a LOT of it too, LOL.

Since I’m a SAHM, I like to find ways to contribute – read ‘save money’ – so I’m planting a patio garden this year. I have beans, three kinds of peas (two with edible pods, one without), three different kinds of tomato plants (heirloom, cherry and normal), red, green and heirloom peppers, green onions. Right now the babies are growing in little pots on all my window sills and eventually they will be repotted for the decks. We have gardens around the house as well but I’m not too interested in feeding the local bunny population. Bunnies are adorable and all but this is OUR food! 🙂 I’m planting at least six of each plant and I really hope I get enough food to help out and make a difference.

I’ve also been baking our bread every day and it makes a difference I’m sure. Bread here now is about three dollars a loaf for the CRAP. Very expensive! I make two loaves at a time, sometimes every day, sometimes every other. It only takes me about half an hour to make, save rising time. The kids love it and when I bake, they eat far better, way more. A store bought loaf of CRAP lasts us about three days…two home made loaves last us a day or a a day and a half. I like it when they enjoy the food!!! Makes me feel like a million when I know I’m contributing to that.

I’ve started getting really creative with our leftovers and with recipes in general. I’m getting better at going by the rough outline of a recipe and using all the things we like instead of the things they call for that I don’t have! The kids are even enjoying the results!