Monday, July 28, 2008

Suffolk-cross/nylon Handspun Socks, Started

Started the socks with the yarn from the last post. How is it? Stripedy! Sock-y!


Soft? Nope! Just like I was hoping, this yarn feels like "real" wool. Like a nice medium Shetland, or a bit like a Lopi or something. Strong, not soft!


My feet aren't picky, but they sure can wear through that merino soft stuff. Or maybe I'm hard on socks. Sure I walk around without shoes, even outside on the deck, back yard...oh, to the car, maybe to take out the trash.


So, I like it. Like the yarn, the socks. Now, I'll have to test my wear theory. I suppose I could wash em 2x a week and wear em every day for a month or so this winter and get a years worth of wear in a month. Any other ideas on how to test the wear part of my theory fast?

Oh, no baby yet, but I'm hoping soon!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Muted Brights Handspun Sock Yarn

Spun from the fleeces I had processed at Spinderella's! Spun from this fiber, which I blogged about on The House of Wool Repute already.


The light wasn't perfect this morning, the yarn appears a lot more mellow that in actually is. But, it really did mellow out a lot when I plied the singles together


Dyed with four packets of grape KoolAid and six packets of lemon KoolAid. I did a normal 2-ply, adding a bit more twist into both the singles and the plying than I would if I was spinning a yarn for knitting baby clothes or lace.


I finished a pair of socks last night, so tonight I'll wind these skeins into cakes and cast on for a pair with this yarn. I'm curious to see how my super-slapdash dye job ends up looking knitted. Plus, I need a new pair of socks for distraction and taking in the car, labor...all that :).


Specs: The bump pre-dyeing was about 150g. I didn't weight the finished yarn this morning because it was still damp from last nights bath.

Approximately 350 m/380 yds of a fingering weight sock yarn total.

Have an excellent weekend everyone! No big plans here, unless baby decides its time :).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fiber Overload!

When you have sheep, alpacas, a llama, a spinning obsession, and loads of fluff hanging around, you eventually get to the point where you realize that you really aren't going to be hand processing all that fiber yourself. That's when you decide to send a bunch of fleeces off to be processed at a fiber mill, then eagerly await (like a kid before Christmas) the Return of the Fluff.


Yesterday, my first fluff came back. I had sent three of my ewe fleeces, a Clun Forest fleece, and two down wool fleeces to Spinderella's in Utah and three other fleeces to Morro Fleece Works in California. All of the fiber from Spinderella's and one of the fleeces from Morro came back yesterday.

Click here for a Flickr pic link with notes on it about each bag of fiber in the pic above.


Morro sent back two bags of lovely pin-drafted roving from Margie (my favorite ewe), it really is wonderful, I can't wait to get the other two back as well!


And this? This is what I had done with the down wool fleeces I picked up at Pagosa Fiber Festival this year. I just posted a detailed post on the House of Wool Repute about it.

A total of 20 lbs, 9 oz of fiber so far. I'm definitely going to be getting things together and opening an Etsy shop soon. So, if you're interested, stay tuned! I need to make up cute little tags with pictures of the sheep and all that first.

On the baby front, all is well, I think we're pretty ready now. Car seat, check. baby room, check. Bassinet and bedroom cleaned up and organized for baby, check. Bag packed, check. Baby stuff and diapers washed, check. So! Anytime little one.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Things to Finish.

So. In an attempt to get the house more organized before the baby is here, I spent a good portion of last Sunday organizing and cleaning out the fiber room. I accounted for my long lingering projects, listed some yarn on ebay, and decided I'd try to finish some things before starting new projects.


First up, the Bird in Hand Mittens. I started these back in December and almost finished the first mitten. Picked them up again, finished the knitting part on the first mitten, and last night, cast on for the second!


Next, the pile of Things To Do on top of the fleece cabinet. A pile of socks that need attention, the Aran Knitting swatches with one that is about halfway done in that little wooden box in the middle, and on the right there, a completely knit cardigan that I even blocked, but for some reason never seamed. If I seam it, I'll have a sweater.


The sock pile. Three pairs of handknit socks, all knit with 100% merino wool, the top two pairs from handspun yarn, the bottom, from Koigu. All with holes that need repairing/darning. This is why I stick to the Regia, Trekking, Opal these days. Weak sock yarn deserves no place in my sock drawer! Of course, this is also why I should be getting a huge pile of wool back from the mill on Monday that I had blended with nylon to actually spin strong sock yarn from. Naturally superwash down wool (a Suffolk cross) blended with 25% nylon. This should be perfect for handspinning strong sock yarn, I really can't wait to try it out.


Oh yeah, the Urban Aran zip up vest. Since this pic was taken, I finished knitting the back up to about the arm holes. This is one I'd really like to wear this winter, so I think I will finish it.


But for now, I think I'll finish these mittens. I can see myself wearing them often this winter, in the mornings, out feeding sheep in the frost. Frost. Snow. It seems impossible right now, in the warm, green, summer that it will be here in just a few months.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fastest Yarn Ever

So, last week, over on House of Wool Repute, I blogged about the yarn that took me Forever To Spin. In contrast to that, this yarn was the fastest 8 oz. of wool I've ever spun.


The fiber was approximately 8 oz (225 g) of Falkland wool, handyed by Adrian of Hello Yarn from the April installment of the fiber club.


I spun the first 4 oz watching 2 DVRed episodes of Anthony Bourdain on Sunday, so about 80-90 minutes I'm guessing, the second 4 oz watching the first part of I'm Not There last night, and then plied during the first part of Into the Wild last night. So, a total of 4-5 hours of spinning the singles, plying, washing, etc. is my guess.


And, no, it isn't super crazy fat yarn either. Plied and washed, I have about 290 yds (265 m) of Aran weight yarn. I'm going with Aran weight since it falls between the bulky and the worsted in terms of yardage per oz.


I intentionally spun this yarn light and fluffy. I kept in mind Paula Simmon's methods from "Spinning for Softness and Speed", using a long draw and treadling slower than normal to get a bit less twist and increase the soft factor.


End result? A fluffy yarn. Fast to spin. Perfectly even? No. You sacrifice a bit of that even-ness in spinning this way. Do I mind? Not a bit. In fact, I'm guessing you'll hardly notice when its knit up.

I'm going to be spinning a lot more this style I think in the future I think. But now I got that out of my system, I think the 3 and 5/8 oz of paco-vicuna clouds from the Pagosa Fiber Festival are calling to me next...alas, more laceweight (but not 6 oz at least!).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Alpacs and Llama, Clipped for the Summer.

We got the last "big" Spring/Summer animal chore done last night, the shearing of our two alpacas and llama. Again, our friend Grant came up to help (9 months pregnant isn't really a good time to wrangle Camelids...) and we got them done.


Ben on the right, Jerry on the left, these guys got the "poodle clip", we left fuzzy feet, heads, and tails on them. For our amusement, and because they look most like cute muppets this way.


Drama llama got a full clip, since last year we pretty much only got the blanket off of him. His white was SO white underneath!


I had JUST finished skirting the fleeces from the sheep too, now I have these ones to skirt, clean up, and send in. I think I need to read up on skirting alpaca fleeces a bit first though. I definitely bagged the blanket portion of the fleece separate from the other parts, which I know is key.


The blanket fleece from Ben, nice and rich brown, and pretty clean, surprisingly, alpacas LOVE to roll in the dust!


A lock sample from Ben's fleece. Nice staple length, soft too. As far as alpaca fiber goes, this isn't top notch prize winning alpaca, but its nice. Average fiber pet alpaca is still nice stuff to have around.


37 weeks! Happy weekend everyone.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Art Fibers Alfabeto Scarf

Last year, Tania gave me a skein of Art Fibers Alfabeto yarn. Lovely Fall colors, and 76% silk, 14% mohair, 250 yds. Shiny AND fuzzy!


The skein hung around on my yarn table with the handspun for a while, until I grabbed it and packed it for the last trip to Michigan in case I needed another project. I had already packed Victorian Lace Today so I could finish Lisa's wedding shawl on the plane.


After finishing the shawl, a pair of baby socks, starting a pair of socks for Nate, and knitting the baby dress and bolero, I cast on for this scarf during the last few days of the trip.


I browsed through VLT, deciding on using the edging from this (yes its a Ravelry link) pattern for the scarf. I simply used the diamond edging, adding a scalloped edge to the side on the scarf that was designed to be flat in the center of the original scarf so it would match the other edge.


The scarf was a quick knit, I worked on it once in a while over the last few weeks. The pattern was pretty intuitive once I had worked a few repeats and made for pleasant knitting.


I'm happy with the end result, I think it will be a nice Fall accessory. Right now its getting stashed in the closet until a little chill in the air arrives.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Baby Room!

We finally decided that with this being the official "full term" week of pregnancy, we should finish up the baby room. A fresh coat of light green paint, a new light fixture, cleaning, and new blinds. All the baby things organized.

A nice cozy nook with a twin bed...I see endless possibilities for napping, playing, resting, hanging out here.

Of course all the pets had to check it out. Lucy thinks the changing pad is really a cozy cat bed. Wilco thinks the stuffed animals are dog toys. Our kids are destined to have blankets rather than stuffed animals as their comfort items at this rate...

A lovely handmade quilt (thanks AnnaMae!) in bright colors matches the posters we decided to put on the wall. Posters from...the Pagosa Springs Wool Festival. Hee. Every year we've been they have a gorgeous colorful poster, signed and numbered. So, sheep, angora goats, and alpacas in bright colors, perfect for the baby, right?

We still need to buy a few things, but mostly we're set. I have a bag with things in it to take all ready too. Seems like this has gone so fast, but also, so slow. A time warp of sorts.

I think we're ready to meet the baby. Our daughter. Exciting, scary, new, fun, so many things. I can't wait.