Thursday, November 29, 2007

... and spinning ...

or spinning-to-come. This is a beautiful black fleece, breed unknown, that I bought at my local farmer's market! Actually I fell in love with it at a small fiber fest but managed to resist it. Truth be told, while I was saying "No, no" at the fiber festival I was already planning to buy it at the farmer's market. The very patient vendor was Wayne Jesko. It's a medium wool in a lovely deep black to which this picture does not do justice.

Here's some wool spun from his wool & mohair roving. I used two slightly different shades to get a heathered look, although the pictures are a little washed out. I think this will be socks, one of these days.

Here is a superwash merino roving that I painted, and some singles spun from it. I really hadn't expected it to be this green, and I tried to persuade myself that the yarn wouldn't end up green.

Obviously, I was wrong. I was planning to spin a three ply sock yarn from this roving, but as I spun I started worrying about the durability of a merino sock. And I just wasn't happy about that green.

So I decided to dye some silk a coppery brown, and spin a third ply from that. I used sabraset dyes for the first time, and came up with this:

Not very lovely, is it? The dye penetrated unevenly, and the top got stiff and icky. Here's a close up:

Just calls out to you and makes you want to spin, doesn't it?

Here's an end fluffed up. It really wasn't horrible to spin, and it looks nice finished. But I've got to work on my silk dyeing technique.

Here are two coordinated yarns, from Abby Franquemont's August batts. I spun them with the idea of weaving a scarf with weft stripes, but I've been too chicken to actually weave it. Also I'm not quite sure what I'll use for a warp. I'd like to weave several scarves for Christmas presents -- so I had better get a move on, hadn't I?

Should I show it to you from another angle? Can you tell I love this yarn? or at least the fiber -- the yarn could be better. But it'll do.

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to spin next. I have too many wonderful possibilities calling to me. Also I have just a little of the green top left -- two small partial bobbins. I could spin up some silk to finish it off, but I don't want to. But if I don't do that, what will I do with the wool singles? Fortunately I don't have enough bobbins for my woolee winder to be paralyzed for long.

Thanks for the suggestions for sister-in-law socks. I am waiting for something to grab me. If nothing strikes my fancy soon I'll just pick one at random. Hey! Maybe Ravelry could have a random pattern picker! So you could just say, "pick a sock pattern for me" and it would send you to someone's project page.

Of course, I would cheat if I didn't like the one it picked.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still knitting ...

just not blogging about it. My computer woes have abated but blogging is still very pesky. Knitting and spinning, however, are not, so I've been doing lots of that. With luck I can add some photographic evidence of same.

Socks (1): I continue to knit the tweed socks from handspun last seen two posts and four weeks ago,
I love the yarn, the short row heel with gussets is wonderful, and they are going to be a good length for the chillier weather we are having. But whaddya know, longer socks take more time to knit.

As the earlier picture shows, I started with a provisional cast on because I didn't know what kind of heel I was going to do or even whether I was knitting toe up or top down. Once I figured out the heel, I knit until I had almost finished half the yarn. Then I decided that I had better finish off the toe and knit the second sock. I split the yarn in half by weight but since it's handspun that doesn't mean the yardage or the resulting socks will be the same. I'd rather have the length match visually so I'm going to get them both almost done and then figure out what to do.

So I picked up my provisional cast on, using the purple end of the second ball of yarn. I really wish I had taken pictures when I was trying it on for length since I had needles and yarn attached to both ends of the sock. I didn't, though, so you'll just have to imagine it. I finished off with a star toe just for something different. I decreased on every round because otherwise it would have been too long, so it went very quickly.

As I knit the toe I tried to figure out how I would knit the second sock. I really wanted the shape of the two socks to match, and I tried to figure out how I could do that toe up. Maybe if I had been decreasing every other row, I would have had time. But I failed. So for the second sock, I cast on provisionally and knit the star toe. Then I picked up the provisional cast on and knit in the other direction. I'm adding gusset stitches now and should reach the heel soon.

Socks (2): while I was futzing with the heel on the handspun socks, I needed some park knitting. So I cast on a plain old top down ribbed pair. I am not at the heel of the first sock but I keep thinking I am. More measuring than knitting is taking place.

Socks (3): My sister-in-law has asked for handknit socks for Christmas. In fact, she asked right after last Christmas and has reminded me of it several times. However, in the meantime she has knit herself a pair of socks (her first). They came out great and she loves them, but she is sure (she says) that my socks will be much more wonderful. Now I feel pressured to make wonderful socks. What counts as wonderful? Her first socks were of Regia, but now she's making some out of Lorna's Laces. Do I need to do colorwork? Fancy stitches? Do I need to top her? Can't I just make a pair of pretty park-knitting socks?

I need to make a decision on this pretty soon.

Sideways vest: I am not feeling the love. But maybe if I just keep knitting it will get wonderful again. I sure would like to finish a garment for my torso sometime in this century; I haven't yet and all my favorite sweaters (handknit and store bought) are starting to fall apart.

Oops, gotta run. There's a birthday cake that needs to go in the oven.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I hate time changes. It's just not natural -- and in fact the only positive thing I can see about them is that it certainly helps me explain the artificial nature of "clock time" to the kids.

The fall one is supposed to be the "easy" one, because you get to sleep an hour later. But what if you can't do it?

For the first few days of the new time, we all slept in just fine -- even my early bird. I don't know why he was suddenly able to sleep an extra hour or more. Perhaps it was suddenly staying up an hour later that tired him out. Whatever the cause, he was more than willing to sleep until six fifteen (new time) which would have been seven fifteen last week. And where he goes, my perennially overtired husband and daughter were more than willing to follow.

And so was I -- for a few days. But by Tuesday night my body was tired of all this foolishness of staying up late and sleeping late. For the past two nights I've been so tired my eyes were watering by about 9:30 (new time). So I've gone to bed, and woken up refreshed at 5 a.m. (new time).

Guess who usually goes to bed at 10:30 and gets up at 6?

Unfortunately, I can't just stick with my old schedule until next spring. (And how ironic is it that we now spend more time saving daylight than we do on "standard time"?) So how to adjust to the new time? I think I've got to stay up late somehow. Sitting on the couch knitting isn't doing it. Perhaps a gripping movie?

What a pain in the neck.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I am so proud of myself! What you are seeing here is two needlepunched Halloween creatures -- one started last year and finihshed a few weeks ago, the other dreamed up the next day and already on the wall!

This is so unlike me. Far more typical is the way I did the witch -- buy the materials, start immediately and with great enthusiasm, then miss my deadline and let the project languish for months or years. But George was so pleased when I asked him to draw the Frankenstein that I really wanted to finish it. I was afraid that if I waited until next year he would think his drawing was too childish, and he wouldn't be thrilled to have it on the wall.

Here's a closeup. Isn't it sweet? I used a 6-strand needle so it went really fast. This guy is 3" x 5" and took between 5-6 hours to punch. I'd like to try using a 3-strand needle for details, like the teeth. Next year I plan on asking George for a mummy, which might need some detailed lines.

And Caroline, you are a genius! The gusseted short row heel is just what I needed. Thanks so much.

Here's a closup. Must go knit more now.