Thursday, March 5, 2015
In my spare time--HaHa!--I've been raiding my handspun stash and knitting hats while I binge-watch British TV series. As an aside, watching these shows is awful if you're a knitter because I want All. The. Sweaters!
These are the wool/silk/alpaca/whatever beanies:
Wool pillbox hats:
And three hats that can be worn as slouchy hats or turn up the brim and wear as a tossle cap:
There's still a TON of handspun yarn in the studio, so I'm sure more hats are in my future as long as the British costume dramas continue. Season 5 of Downton Abbey just arrived in my mailbox <squee>.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
The first was from a gradient batt I had lying around. I just wanted to see what it would look like woven up.
Then I got into the bags of striped rolags I'd made on my blending board. There was enough of some colors to do two scarves, so I spun up enough matching colors blended with Angelina glitter to weave two scarves--same but different.
Then there was this really nice dyed top from Blue Moon Fiber's Rockin' Whorl Club, a nice Polwarth that only Tina can work such magic on. While winding the warp, I glanced into a corner of my studio and spotted a small pile of mohair knitting yarn (lots of corners, lots of little piles of things). One of them was a perfect match to the warp yarn. I had enough of the warp left to weave one scarf, so sat down and spun a matching mulberry for the second scarf.
This has been such a fun adventure. I've got a few more scarves in the works, one with beads! I can't wait to see how that one works up. Now if I could just find the time to do something creative with those fringes......
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Feeding the first Merino top into the drumcarder
Adding the Firestar
Carding the second layer of Merino top
Adding silk noil
Carding the final layer of Merino top
Splitting the batt
Attenuating the four strips from the split batt
|You can see the blobs of silk noil in this strip.|
Re-carding the batt onto the large drum
|Yes, I have a howling wolf on my studio wall!|
Thursday, January 29, 2015
As some of you may know (gee, I hope more than some!) I've been writing occasional articles for Yarnmaker magazine. This is a wonderful little magazine published quarterly and it is always full of interesting tidbits from the UK and around the world. This is my first article for them, published back in 2012. Some spelling/terminology is British English. I just hope I can find the correct photos to include.....
Blending Fibers on a Drumcarder
Step Two is fiber preparation. The more prepared your fiber is, the less work for the operator and the less wear on your equipment. Raw wool needs to be clean; any lanolin left in the fleece will adhere to the card cloth and become sticky, attracting dirt and fiber which is difficult to remove. Clean dry fleece (wool, alpaca, llama, chiengora, etc.) will need to be picked apart and fluffed, removing vegetable matter (VM) and nepps/second cuts in the process.
Part 2 coming soon!
Monday, December 22, 2014
And it hit me this morning, after a long conversation with my brother last night. I have always wanted to be part of a Father-Knows-Best, Waltons-on-the-mountain kind of family, but we all know those families are mostly screenwriters imaginings. Real families have warts, sometimes more warts than beauty marks. Mine is one of those, and my brother and I were discussing all the warts and cancers (literal and figurative) in our large family. You see, he has tried all his life to remain neutral in family squabbles because, let's face it, no one normal really enjoys angry confrontation. But in his attempt to remain neutral, he missed out on all the good stuff. Yep, he stayed out of the fight between Brother #1, myself and Brother #3. He stayed out of the fight to the extent that he wouldn't talk to any of us about subjects outside of the weather and how our kids were doing--he didn't want any details at all. And he missed our kids' graduations, Eagle Scout celebrations, the celebration of the last cancer treatments of a SIL and myself, the going away party for our son, the details of our sons' treks up Machu Picchu, a nieces long haul to graduation and certification, the wonderful details of Brothers #2 and #3 lives (he was at their funerals but he totally missed being part of their lives). In short, by trying to pretend there were no bad parts of our family, he missed all the good parts.
I realized over coffee this morning (isn't caffeine wonderful?) that although I haven't lived the ideal life I wanted, with 4 kids, a picket fence and worshipful husband and no family confrontations or squabbles, I HAVE had:
- 2 kids who challenge me and puzzle me and make me laugh and do silly things.
- a husband who screws up on a semi-regular basis but worships me (while I am of course perfect and never screw up)
- a beautiful 103-year old house that I adore
- a nice patch of garden where I can get my hands dirty, work hard and enjoy the magic of eating something that was a seed in my hand last year
- a yard full of wildlife that I love to watch (now that I've fenced and electrified everything that I don't want them to eat)
- the wherewithal to buy food, good food, for ourselves and the wildlife and to share the garden overage with ...
- good neighbors who watch out for each other and notice when ambulances are summoned or children are walking the new puppy
Have a wonder holiday, whichever one you celebrate, and enjoy the fact that after today the light is coming back to our lives.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I am finally on the last hour of work on an afghan I started in......1998! It was meant to be a wedding gift for a couple who split up soon after the wedding, so it was never given to them. It's been around long enough that the colors match our living room and so I decided to finish it and use it. The knitting is done and I'm now weaving in all those ends. Yes, there are over 100 ends to be hidden in the back of the work and it's pure drudgery. But it will be finished by this weekend, as I have house guests and just don't want a half-finished afghan lying around.
And then there's the little issue of my having bought way too much yarn for this afghan project. We have scraped our old bed, bought a new one and--yet again--the yarn colors are a great match for the bedroom. So I'm working on a bed runner to tie the curtains, duvet and rug together in a somewhat harmonious room. Which is not something I lie awake nights worrying about, but if it accidentally comes together I consider it good karma. I am NOT a Good Housekeeping type of person but it's nice to fall asleep and wake up in colorful peaceful surroundings.
And lastly, the reason for my missed post. We're having the walkways and driveway redone. The walks were poured concrete done by my brothers back in......1962? I think? They'd pour 1-2 squares each evening after work, then decide the next evening if their mix of gravel to cement was correct. Often it wasn't and the pavement was crumbling a decade ago. I was amazed at what they'd thrown under the concrete as leveling stone--old fieldstone pavers, a line of bricks (who thought THAT was a good idea?), pottery pieces, slag, whatever they found on the property seems to have been fair game. What can I say? That's not unusual for the DIY 60s.
The driveway was more recent, having been paved back in the late 70s and not recently kept up. As in, my brother seems to have given up on all maintenance on this house 20 years ago. Asphalt was never a good idea on a driveway lined with mature black walnut trees, as the roots pushed up the pavement over the years. And he never sealed it after the first 5-6 years so it crumbled, sunk and was overgrown on the edges for at least 12" each side.
Next week: Pix, I hope, of the new cardigan I'm working on. I spun the yarn (see below) while in Charlotte last month and am trying to finish up so I can wear it to our wedding vow renewal on Saturday. Till then, I'm off to find a cup of coffee and the knitting.....