Friday, May 27, 2011

Many Bags Full

I have fleece to report.  I visited a friend today and her farmlette.  She has lovely spot in the country and shares her land with chickens, turkey, dogs, goats, an alpaca and sheep.  I was so happy to be there and just adored everything I saw.  Her house is my dream house.

I was given many fleeces to play with and I'm just smitten with them all.  I plan on cloning myself and my wheel so that I can spin them all RIGHT now.  Ready for fleece porn?
Cheviot, Corrie, BL and Dorset Fiber - quite a cross breed, and WOW!!!!  Look at the crimp!

Washed locks - They are brighter white than shown.  Some stain on the tips.

Navajo-Churro Lamb Fleece
 I'm very curious about the Churro fleece.  Lamb fleece is the softest the sheep will ever grow.  This fleece is soft, squishy and not at all the course stuff of the famed Navajo rugs.

Alpaca Fiber

Babydoll Southdown



So now it seems I have a lot of fiber.  I'll be washing all weekend and should have a full report and update on Tuesday.  I just can't tell you, dearest reader, how very lovely each and every fiber is.  The Mohair for example has a glowing shine to it.  I can't wait to see how the fiber changes as it is washed, prepped, spun, and made into things.  I'll have quite a journey to be sure.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sheepish Days

Rambouillet Ram
Saturday was a whirl of action and adventure.  I spent the day on a local farm for shearing day.  I took home some fleece to experiment with it.  Unfortunately, I'm not confident that the fleece is processable.  Perhaps if I could send it to a commercial operation, but it is rough quality fleece.

The farm isn't raising sheep for the handspinners' market, but rather for meat.  I won't gross out some of my more delicate readers, but I did get to witness a lamb being processed and the experience was quite moving.  The men did their work with care and respect.  The meat looked beautiful and the sheep was happily and carefully raised.
Navajo-Churro Ram
Spinning News

I have skeined up my blue lace yarn and the yardage totaled and impressive 430 yards!  The skein has a graduate gradient color shift that I just love.  I'm so glad I stuck with this fiber - it is very impressive!  I still have about 4 oz left to spin.

Other News

We are celebrating; I have accepted an offer for a new job!  Waaahoo!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Right Kerfuffle!

Mister and I have been watching the series, Little Britian, on Netflix and really enjoying it.   On of the characters uses the phrase a right kerfuffle which just cracks us up.  I haven't heard the word kerfuffle in ages and now it seems to have become the word of the week.

The show is little snippets of various characters doing their thing.  Most of the characters are return each show and I've developed  my favorites.  It is comedy series, sometimes raunchy and they really don't hold a lot back.  Now I should warn you, this series is not for the faint of heart or those easily offended.  The first season was nice, but by the second the creators really went for it.  There times where I was laughing and saying I couldn't believe that they said that, or did that.  By the end when a familiar character would appear I would look over at Mister and say - "Uh oh..."  Think Monty Python, SNL, and multiple it by 100.

Unfortunately for us only seasons 1-2 are available on instant play.  We received season three disc one in the mail yesterday.  We cheerfully sat down to watch but were quite amused when our DVD player informed us that the disk was dirty.  We attempted to clean it, but had to report the problem to Netflix.  Perhaps the DVD was just trying to shield our eyes from whatever season three has in store.

I've finished a few things this past week.  My citron shawl is FINALLY finished.

Mister has one birthday sock finished.  The second is currently in progress.

Garden News

Strawberries are ripening by the day.  I've begun the race to pick them before the chipmunks get to them.  There have been a few scores on their part, but our count is going up each time I go out back.  I'm tucking them into the freezer for storage until I have enough for a pie or jam.  I'm also beginning to think that I need a garden basket.  I guess I'll be making another basket again.  hmm

Spinning News

About a month ago, someone gave me a bag of fiber and a HUGE drop spindle.  They had purchased it with the intention of learning, but never had the time.  The fiber was two large bumps of blue and turquoise fiber. I was a bit concerned about the fiber at first.  It had been stored for a bit of time which can result in compressed fiber that can even felt.  Still I was up for a challenge.

I began spinning the blue a few weeks ago.   Monday, I began to ply.  At first I thought I'd ply for fingering with a three ply.  I did a sample and didn't like the look.  So I sampled for two ply lace weight and it looked right.  I just finished plying as of this morning and it is resting on the bobbin.  Tomorrow, I'll skein it up, wash it and let it dry.  This weekend I'll re-skein it to measure yardage.  What I know at this point is we have lace, it is lovely, and I'm very pleasantly surprised.

Mystery On the Needles

I've ventured into a new adventure.  Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits is having a Summer Mystery Shawlette Knit Along.  I casted on yesterday and I'm currently knitting through the first chart.  It is a little scary committing to knit something I don't know what it looks like.  But I love Wendy's lace shawls, so I'm trusting her.  Wendy, don't let me down!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Little Hyper-Focused

Yesterday Bloggers seemed to take a sick day, so here is Thursday's post.

I have a little endearing personality quirk (Mister do NOT smirk while reading this) where sometimes I get my mind set on doing something.  If I'm interrupted by oh say - work, life, having to go to the bathroom, eat, sneeze or anything that could possibly drag me away, I can get a little flappy.

I have been working on my Citron Shawl again ever since finishing Mister's first birthday sock.  Yesterday, I had eleven rows to go and I was feeling so done with the shawl.  I mean, I love knitting, I love shawls, I love the yarn, but I'm just ready for this project to be done.  So I had a vicious round of finish-it-up-itis and hyper focus.  Today (Friday), I have two rows left and then the bind off row.  I have read from others online that the binding off is a little brutal with 540 stitches to deal with.  I've mentally prepared myself and I'm ready to go heads down again and finish up the shawl.

Right now it looks a bit like limp ramen noodles.  Hopefully by Tuesday's post it will spread itself into a magnificent shawl.  I'm in the homestretch and I'm going in to finish.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In Praise of Sheep, part II

A Case for Baskets

So I have made three baskets in the last few weeks.  Funny thing is each basket that I make I swear will be the last one.  I don't really enjoy making them, but yet I make them.  I don't get it.  Perhaps it is the fact that I'm weaving and I do really enjoy it.  The baskets that I've made have been made with a functional bend in mind.  I'm using them for spinning storage and use.  Somehow it just seems to make more sense and feel better to store fiber and tools in handmade items.  So I make them.  I have thought for a long time that I wanted something to hang on my wheel to store things.  Scissors, oil, orifice hook, perhaps a phone, etc.  

So I made it.

It isn't perfect - not quite even, a little higher on one side than the other, but really it is perfect for my wheel.  It doesn't detract from the look and is so functional that I'm giving myself a gold star.  I wish I had it ready for use yesterday morning.

Spinning Demo

Yesterday, I found myself spinning in the lovely great hall of the Missouri History Museum.  The Weavers' Guild of St. Louis was invited to demonstrate for area school children and members set up to weave and spin.  I haven't yet joined the guild, but after the lovely time yesterday it is high on my list.  The members were so giving and generous.  Children were given bits of wool to play with, some were plunked down in front of a wheel, tried their hand at carding wool, others got to try weaving and their earnest questions answered. One little girl "found" my sheep on my wheel and was very eager to find the other animal.  She was so excited when I showed her my ladybug that she showed her mom and brother as well.

It was an enchanting morning and I'm so glad that I was invited to go. The museum staff were so appreciative and inquisitive of our crafts.  There was one gentleman that kept being drawn over with wonder in his eyes.  I think there were some children and quite a few adults that will have spinning and weaving injected in their blood now.

Sheep Fleece Update - I need a name for this project.

I have been spinning up my fleece and from the bobbin you can see some of the color.  I'm just smitten with it.  The color ranges from light silver to charcoal.  I can't wait to see what it will look like plied and knitted up.  It will take time, which is fine.  I love the process.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mister: The Birthday Edition

It's Mister's birthday today.  This year's theme is "the gift of time."   In keeping with my theme, I decided to show Mister how much I love him by spending my time.  We have talked about taking a tour of the Scott Joplin House here in St. Louis.  Now I'm putting it on our calendar.  The above song is the Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin.  This ragtime piece was one of the first songs Mister ever played for me on the piano.  

Mister is also received his second pair of  hand knit socks (still in progress - oops), handmade card and a handmade book. All this followed up dinner with his father.  

I made Mister's favorite, cannelloni, and finished with an adapted version of Julia Child's Bombe aux Trois Chocolats (below).  Mister's mom traditionally made this for him for his birthday, and now I'm picking up the tradition   Three chocolates: dense brownie cake, mousse and chocolate sauce.  It take a bit of time to make, but is heavenly.  My version nixes the fussy cutting and modeling of the chocolate cake and tastes exactly the same.  

Happy Birthday to my husband and best friend! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

To all things...untangled

I spent the good part of the day yesterday untangling my yarn.  Yep, it took hours.  What yarn you ask, well it was one skein of Miss Crabtree and it involved  398 yards of beautiful handspun yarn.  What happened was a combined effort of a swift, skeinwinder and human error.  Oops.  Anyway, it is untangled, reskeined and all is apparently well.  I'm going to wind it into a cake soon and begin my Japanese Garden Shawl.  I think I deserve that much after all the work.

 I think I'm a bit in love with the color!

No much spinning has taken place since the Miss Crabtree incident.  I did begin to sample from my fleece and I've begun spinning up a potential commission.  Nothing to report of that front yet.  I'm still processing fleece and enjoying it immensely.

The biggest effort right now is what is on the needles.  I've put aside my projects to focus on my socks.  These are my May socks, but are even more special.  They are for Mister as his birthday is Sunday. So far he is destined to have perhaps one completed sock by birthday time.

I've been working on other projects which have taken up some time.  I'm in progress of building my own website, renaming my company and relaunching my line of fiber, jewelry, etc.  Mister and I have been taking care of some home front projects as well.  It is amazing how much time that takes!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spinner Interrupted

This blog has been interrupted by 420 yards of tangled handspun yarn.  Blood has not been spilled yet and tears may yet come.