Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Victorian Lace Today, Handspun Coopworth Scarf

"Scarf with the Clarence Border from Weldon's, 1886" from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby, the pattern is on page 82.

Verdict: love it!


I really love the way the subtle "mermaid" colors that I dyed the yarn play off each other in this pattern, with the slight striping horizontally (in the body) contrasting with the vertical striping (in the borders).


The pattern was easy to knit, and easy to follow. The page and design layout of the book is excellent, and I would recommend this pattern to someone who hasn't yet started to knit lace. The sections in the back explaining the lace techniques are also well done.


I think what I really like most about the book though is that there are patterns that use all yardages of yarn. From 400 yards to 1200 yds +, and several in each yardage range. This is going to make knitting patterns from it a real handspun stash buster for me!


In fact, I've spun enough single skeins of fingering-ish weight yarn that I'm planning a VLT-handspun stash knit summer (I already cast on for another one last night...).

AND! Save the best for last...my Spinning Secret Pal gift! I picked up the box yesterday, and love it.


My secret pal hit the nail on the head with that book. Because all those 1-2 skeins of handspun that aren't laceweight? Perfect!

The little red bag has samples of 3 different new fibers for me to try, and the little red box? A wonderful assortment of vintage buttons (!), a new tape measure (awesome), little sock point protectors, and handmade stitch markers (so pretty)! She also put a lovely bunch of dried herbs in the box that are already in my kitchen.

Thank you SP!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

As the Microfarm Grows

The llama and the goats have bonded, and are happy, happy to be out and about. The pasture gets hayed this week, so soon they'll be even happier.


Cat in the chicken house! Dory was very, very interested, so I had to let her check it out.


Remeber the last pictures of these guys? They look like real chickens now. Of course, we do have a rooster or two in there...as we recently found out. Wooo-oo-ooo-ah---wooooooo! He tried to crow the other morning.


And, Nate has been working hard on the chicken palace. It really is pretty much done now, and yep, the chickens are inside. Nest boxes, roosts, all that good stuff.


Ah. Now to work on the gardening more. Oh, and, we're driving up to pick up our sheepies this weekend! I'm so excited. Next week you get sheep pics.

Oh, and I did finish the Victorian Lace Today Scarf, I'll blog it tomorrow!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Baby Sockies

Little tiny baby socks for little tiny baby feet. Opal Feelings sock yarn, the same kind I used for the Spring Socks for me back in March-April.


First time I've knit socks smaller than my foot! How fun, they go so quick, and I have so many left over ends of sock yarn...I can see this becoming a new hobby, socks for me, socks for a baby, socks for me, socks for a baby.


Pretty quiet on the spinning front this week. I did start spinning some gorgeous "Humbug" Shetland roving that Pam sent me, but after the silk marathon, I've been laying low this week. I'll spin some more over the weekend so I can put up some nice spin next week.

BUT! I'm going to finish the knitting on the lace scarf tonight, and then block it. I can't wait to finish it...I'm itching to wear it! Then, I can cast on for another project...oooh, and another pair of socks too. Should be a good weekend! Oh, and gardening and finishing the chicken palace.

Happy Weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yarn Pirate Crocus Socks

Finished! Again, much thanks to the angel who sent me this lovely yarn, Valkyrie!

Basic, plain stockinette socks, with an Eye of Partridge heel flap.


I really love the way these turned out. Yarn Pirate does a great job dyeing. No pooling, and without even trying, the stripes on the heels matched, and the tip of the toes too.


I'm pretty sure this yarn would look great in a patterned sock too, unlike a lot of handpainted sock yarns.


I have another skein...what pattern shall it be! Well, the other skein isn't the same color, of course, so I might need to swatch and see how it knits first.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Silk Plied

Plied, tied, bathed, and given to Amy.

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(Pics are Flickr clickable for giant size....)

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The Mulberry Bombyx silk sliver that Angela painted and gave me in the last SP round.

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I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. One thing I'd do different is put a little more twist into the ply, I think it might be even better then.

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I got great yardage with this!

120 g.

910 yards plied! Laceweight!

No wonder it took so long to spin the singles. Oh, and I still have one bobbin about a quarter full so I need to spin more of it...I'm guessing I've only really spun between a quarter and third of the bag!

So, went down to Village Wools on Saturday, and had a great time taking Amy's No Sheep class, then hanging out and getting some food. So nice to finally meet her and chat for real! Enjoy the silk Amy, can't wait to see what you do with it!

Sunday, we worked more on the chicken palace, and the garden, and then back to work for the week. Worky work work. Busy this week!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Micro-farming is a lot of work...

Hence, the not as many posts as of late!

First, thank-you for the comments on the silk. I'm really enjoying spinning it, and tonight or tomorrow night I'll have enough to ply the first full skein! So, stay tuned for the finished silk post early next week.

Llama llama drama llama is doing well. He has bonded with the tiny baby goats now, and they're enjoying hanging out together, eating weeds, hay and clover.


He's also gotten to know us pretty well, and is pretty good about being handled.

Planting and growing seems to be a major activity around the place right now. Baby squash plants look good...


Building the Chicken Palace is also one of the main activities going on, here it is after a few days work from Nate and his Dad who was visiting last week. We're going to finish it up Sunday I hope.


Tiny baby goats are growing, and seem to be pretty happy in their new digs. I can't wait to let them out into the pasture soon! (But it has to be hayed first...if we let them out now, they'd disappear the grass is so tall).


The garden grows. Peppers, chiles, eggplants, tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, corn, potatoes, beans, peas, and all manner of good things to eat.



Cats at work too, guarding the wood piles, scouting out snakes, crickets, moths, and mice.



Running through the grass, tip of a tail all you can see. If....you watch closely.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Silk. Mulberry Sliver gets Spun.

It is very hard to get a good picture of silk singles on the bobbin. A picture that conveys how soft, yet strong, shiny and compact it is. I've been spinning the Mulberry silk top that Angela sent me. I love it. I think silk is going to compete with wool in the favorite fibers category...


I've never spun pure silk before, merino-silk blends, alpaca-silk, batts with bits of silk and other things. But, nothing quite like the pure silk. Oh, and I didn't love the soy silk before, but now, hearing that it is silk-like really makes me wonder what they were thinking...that soy silk was fluff-everywhere, short stapled, not strong, and fuzzy rather than super shiny. Completely different than real silk top.


I'm spinning a fine single, I want a laceweight 2-ply yarn when I'm done. It's taking me forever! What you see on this 4-5 oz. bobbin is 3-4 evenings of spinning, for one bobbin only two thirds full. I'm pretty sure that when I've spun 2 bobbins and plied them I'll have a lot of yardage. This fiber, unlike wool has little to no air trapped in the single and really winds on compactly.


Goal? Finish up 2 bobbins, ply and bring 2 skeins of finished silk to Village Wools with me on the 16th when I head down there to meet Amy and take a No Sheep For You class! One for me...one for...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lynx! (and Jacob yarn sampling)

On our mini-break to Ouray, Silverton and Telluride Tuesday and Wednesday, we happened to see one of the coolest wild animals I've ever seen. A Lynx. Very rare, and reintroduced in the San Juan Mountains. I got a few blurry pics, this is the best of them. I filled out the official sighting form too.


I've spent a lot of time outdoors in the mountains, deserts, remote areas for work and recreation and I've seen only 2 bobcats, and the back half of a mountain lion once in all that time. Big cats are elusive, so this was pretty cool.

Now, onto the spin!


Jacob wool, gray, dark gray and white, carded batts, a sample that Mary sent to me was used to make this small skein.

Now, I had spun a small sample of brown Jacob before that came as part of the Woodland Woolworks. That Jacob was fairly coarse, and it wouldn't have been my first choice for a fleece.


This Jacob, however has led me to think that there is quite a degree of variability in Jacob fleeces out there, and if I could find one like this, I'd be quite happy to spin it!


Soft, similar to Corriedale in crimp and sproinginess, I'd definitely wear a sweater made from this fleece! And, I love the different colors. The plain brown, not so much considering I have lovely moorit Shetland and CVM/Corridale cross wool that was so much softer.

But, this fleece! Oh, now I'll be on the look out for more Jacob at wool festivals in the future. Guess it just goes to show, you really need to touch and sample and see what you're buying first when it comes to fleeces if you're looking for the real deal and not just a good deal. Or...at least ask for samples to be sent to you!

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Workin'

Around the house, around the office, around the microfarm...

We've been pretty busy lately and I haven't worked enough on the knit and spin to post a lot. The scarf is at the stage now where I can work the second border and finish though.

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(Flickr pic)

Tomorrow we get a day off though, taking a mini-break with family to head to a hot springs in the mountains. mmm.

Maybe I'll finish that edging, or I'll finish a baby sock while I teach sock knitting, or the Yarn Pirate socks....

I started spinning the silk that I posted about last week over the weekend. I. Love. It. Sooooooo shiny. Soooooo soft. Soooooo fine and nice. I'm spinning laceweight, and I have a half a kilo, so this is A Project. I'm hoping to get it done by the 16th to take to the No Sheep class in ABQ.

The goats are good, we got the trees, grapes, and berries all planted, and are working on the garden still. Nate is building the real chicken coop with his dad right now, and the sheep are still on hiatus.

And now, back to work!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday! Friday! Friday!

I think its that last weekend was long and good, and that this week has been busy and full, but for some reason I'm more happy that today is a Friday than I have been about most Fridays in recent memory.

For your fiber-viewing pleasure, the Llanwenog wool batts that I dyed in the lock then drum carded have been finished.


Blues, lavenders, pinks and fuschia, they made a nice yarn. A 2-ply, all 5 batts made these 2 skeins. You can see the nepps and fuzzy-bits, part of the Way This Fiber Had to Be Spun.

I think we try to hard to fight against the fiber sometimes when we spin. I could have drum carded these batts about 5 more times each (and lost the color variation that I liked), I could have taken the time to pick the fuzzy nubs out of each arms length of single as I spun it (and not enjoyed the spinning), and I could have fought each bit and strained to draft the thick sections thin (and frustated myself in the process).


But, I didn't. I just spun the fiber how it was, let it be. And, it was fun to spin and I like the yarn. Sure, it isn't super duper even and smooth, but...I really am sure it will knit up just fine.

Super even and smooth? Well, you'll have to look at the yarn I entered in the Pagosa Fiber Festival skein competition last weekend. I took First Prize, Grand Prize, then Best in Show with a skein of alpaca! The other skeins, one got first in its category, and another took third. Best part though, the judge was Judy Ditmore of Interlacements! Definitely a highlight.


Oh, and Bezzie, yep, we eat tons of our own veggies and freeze/can them for the rest of the year, but if we have too many, we'll sell extras at my friend's farmers market booth!

Valkryie, you ask, you get! The Yarn Pirate Crocus sock in progress (I'm about ready to do the heel flap on sock #2 now pic is Flickr clickable).

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Pam, pam, pam...Ok. I'll do a meme but just for you.

Seven Weird Things About Me:

1) This is the first one of these I've ever done (and only cause I love you, you know that right?).

2) I hate centipedes. No other bug bugs me. I love digging in the dirt, playing in the dirt, but a centipede will creep me out. Especially those giant ones with the neon pink and blue stripes they had in Israel.

3) I had a dream about getting bit by a snake in the shoulder last night.

4) I don't think 5 cats is too many (or 2 dogs, a llama, a few sheep, goats and chickens).

5) One day, I'd love to go to Mongolia, buy a horse and travel around on horseback for a month or two. Even though I don't really have a thing for horses or know how to ride that well.

6) If I had to pick 3 foods to live off of, they would be cheese, bread, and tomatoes with wine on the side.

7) My "ring" toe on my left foot is currently broken.