Friday, January 25, 2008

First Snowflake

Have you entered the treasury of snow,
Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
For the day of battle and war?

By what way is light diffused,
Or the east wind scattered over the earth?....
From whose womb comes the ice?
And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?

Job 38:23,24,29

Spunky Eclectic Club Fiber, Colorado colorway.

It wanted to be snowflakes.
We see them as white, but they are crystals of ice, reflecting all the colors of light back to us.

This colorway captures the iciness of them.

But my handiwork cannot match their beauty and detail. Don't worry. I'll keep trying.

A melding of knitting and crochet with handspun merino- tencel.

Check out the snowflake books by Kenneth Libbrecht and Patricia Rasmussen. Especially if you are tired of shoveling the stuff.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Exploring the Down Wools: British Suffolk

The down wools fascinate me. No one talks about them much. And yet, here are wools that are

1. relatively soft
2. long-wearing
3. extremely elastic
4. resistant to felting
5. inexpensive

Am I wrong, or isn't this just perfect for sock yarn? Sure, merino is softer, but that's about its only advantage over the down wools. And feet truly don't have enough nerve endings to appreciate the softness of merino, anyway. Hands have more. (Lips have more yet. That is why I always touch a yarn with a soft hand to my lips....sometimes it still feels soft, sometimes it doesn't.)

Well, I haven't actually made socks with any down wools yet. But I am on a mission to hunt out as many of these traditional sock fibers as I can, try them out, and let you know what I like best.

I am starting with some "British Suffolk" wool from Homestead Wool and Gift Farm.
Eight ounces of raw wool for $2.5o. Not bad! Easy to process. I am carding it and spinning from the rolags. It drafts easily, so spinning an even single is no problem, and I find myself tending toward a long draw. The singles are around 40 wpi. I chain-plied a sample, to give an idea of what the finished 3 ply would be like. Very elastic (downright sproingy!) , around 15 wpi. And soft to the hand (though not to the lips.)

I draw information from this post from the excellent book, In Sheep's Clothing, by the Fourniers. They state that down wools are not called downs because they are downy (not at all!) but because they originate in the down counties of England.

Two Big Thank Yous and my Spinning of the Week

First, a huge thank you to all of you who left a comment or wrote me about choosing a wheel. I have decided not to get a Babe; to be patient and wait for the Right Wheel to come along. I am good at this, having done it with a husband, and I must say that I think I will have a lot more fun waiting for the Right Wheel than I did waiting for the Right Man. Because not only do I have the Right Man to keep me company meanwhile, I also have a nice collection of spindles.

Also, a big thank you to Theresa who nominated me for a blog award..... "You Make My Day". This is my first award, and I am so pleased and touched by it. I am having a little trouble coming up with 10 blogs to pass it on to... mostly cause my brain is wired so strangely. It is the same trouble I have with inviting people to my house. Maybe they do not want to come? Maybe they will wish I hadn't? So if I find the gumption, I will be passing it along to those of you who make my day with your blogs.

The first weaving on my (new!!) triangle loom echoes the colors of the winter sky in the picture above, and some pastel greens to dream of spring. I have been spinning up madly for it this week. Baby llama roving from Susan's Spinning Bunny, some cormo-kid mohair that I blended myself, and delaine merino-tencel blend from Crosspatch Creations. All lusciously soft. I am so glad that I got the fine sett loom (3/8 inch) as I am having trouble enough spinning thickly for it. These yarns could be a bit thicker, but I think it will be okay once they are off the loom. I haven't finished them yet, and after a bit of fulling, they should plump up nicely.

....and here is the spot where my Lincoln cops are piling up, waiting to be plied into a three stranded rug yarn.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


There is a lot of spinning going on around here. I have more yarn that I want to spin than....than... than I can shake a spindle at.

Here, Spunky Eclectic Goblin Eyes colorway, Romney fiber.

This superwash merino tencel is easily my favorite yarn that I have ever spun. Not perfectly spun, but fairly consistent (for me) and I love the colors. I overdyed a green/brown/yellow/white roving that just wasn't speaking to me with red, and I love it. Just the sort of subtle colorway I enjoy, and one of my very favorite colors to boot.

Carissa asks if I like merino-tencel. I do. Of course, I have never met a fiber that I haven't liked, so maybe that doesn't mean much. But soft, shiny, and strong can't go far wrong. I have more merino-tencel in a different colorway on the spindles now, for a project I'm planning.
All this spinning that I want to do, makes me want a wheel. And Theresa asks, What wheel do I want? I don't know. I want a good wheel, versatile, relatively inexpensive, preferably sturdy, (remember, the little ones....) and not ultra modern looking. I want something that I can grow into, as far as ratios go. I want to be able to spin 3 ply sock yarn and laceweight. In my weak and impatient moments I cast my eyes on a Babe. But I am afraid that I wouldn't be happy with a Babe, I am such a stinker for aesthetics. But maybe, with all the gorgeous yarn I'd be I wouldn't care. What are your thoughts on such things?

And yet....despite my seeming impatience to spin a world of fiber, I rather relish the pace. I relish the spinning with a simple tool rather than a machine. Some days I wonder if I ever need go to a wheel, if as my skill grows I will find all the speed and consistency I want with these hand made bits of spinning, whirling wood.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

First Birthday

I am feeling extra celebratory about this one. We made it!

Happy birthday to my munchkins! But every day is happy to them.


With rain.
With color.
Merino-tencel superwash that I am now in the process of plying.

The first socks that I've ever knit for me! Love that Monkey sock pattern. It flew off my needles.

The yarn was luscious Bearfoot Mountain Colors in Bitterroot Rainbow colorway that I had bartered for on Ravelry. Hurrah for barters! My feet are happy now!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Colorway Inspiration for the Weekend---Winter

Don't let them tell you that winter is dull and colorless......
Look for the gold and the blue, the russet and the glitter

This tree trunk is all done up in exquisite cable-work. I take as many pictures of bark in the winter as I do leaves in the fall.

Velvet Drab,

red and brown, and never underestimate the drama of GREY

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Wishing You a Fibery New Year!

They say January is National Spin More Month, and that is good, because there is a ton of spinning that I want to do.

I'll probably have a little dye day next week, and cast on for a pair of socks or two to keep me busy til my spinning is ready to be knit up.

I'll be ripping out my Unfinished Objects that have lost my love on this New Years Day. Then I can start the new year with a clean and happy knitting slate. (Thanks to the She-knits Knitting Circle for this lovely idea)

What am I working toward this year, fiber-wise?

* I'd like to feel comfortable with sock knitting to the point of being almost automatic. So that means practice. I'll aim for a pair a month, and at least half of them need to be simple so I can zip through them, concentrating on the construction of the sock instead of stitch patterns.

* I want to learn how to weave on a triangle loom.

* I want to knit lacy scarves for two friends. I'd like to make that a tradition, and maybe by the time I die I'll have given one to every friend that means much to me.

When I dream, I dream that I will be able to make enough money this year, selling something fibery, to buy a spinning wheel. It could happen.

This past year has brought new skills and new many of you. I am so thankful.

A Different Kind of Regifting

This scarf was way oh way too short when I gave it to my husband for Christmas two years ago. I was a novice to say the least. This year I decided to add more length to make it useable. I had fun playing with the cables. The cables in the center of the scarf look uncannily like leaping frogs. (And now that I've drawn your attention to them, you are sure to notice the mistake one, splayed out as if ready to undergo dissection)

The yarn is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed. Soft and entertaining to knit.

The husband is handsome and obliging.