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I am Rich in Wool

Yes, indeed.

Today was knitting day at work (we meet at lunch), and we had quite a crowd show up after two weeks off over the holidays. Was neat to see what all people have been up to over that time.

And would you believe, I was gifted with another fleece!

Yep. I am becoming a wool magnet.

What’s especially cool about this one is that it still has it’s 4H blue ribbon with it. It’s a very nice bunch of wool- soft, crimpy, no veg, and pretty darn clean (compared to some things I’ve worked with). It’s been sitting in a basement for about a year or so now, so it’s got a bit of an orange-y cast from the lanolin, but I expect that it will wash right out.

And so, without further ado, here ’tis- the underside, and the outside, respectively.

Kitsap Romney Unwashed-undersideKitsap Romney Unwashed

Isn’t that a nice little fleece?

I’ll be washing about half of it up tonight so I can pass some of it off to another spinning friend. Gotta spread good wool (good will?) around.

­čÖé

New Pair-O-Dimes

Do you love hand knit socks?

Do you wish you had more than two feet so you could show off more than one style at a time?

I started another pair of nice, heavy wool socks a while back, and as I settled into the comfortable rhythm of my standard, 2×2 rib for the first 5 inches or so, I had a lot of time to contemplate what I like about knitting socks.

One Sock

I like deciding what the sock will be- for whom, what colors, what type of heel, what type of toe, etc. I don’t generally do fancy socks. I do boot socks. Probably because I like wearing boots. And having toasty feet.

The problem with socks is that it’s really two projects in one.

Traditionally, starting a sock carries with it the implied commitment to finish not only that one, but also another just like it. And it’s the “just like it” part that sometimes gets tricky. Especially if you’re like me and just making it up as you go along most of the time.

But you know what is neat about knitting? (well there are a lot of things that are neat about knitting, but we’ll get to them one at a time)

You can pretty much do whatever you want. If it works for you, keep doing it. There are no knitting police. If someone comes up to you and presents him or herself as a knitting police, ask to see their badge.

I’ve found that it is very liberating to throw out a deeply ingrained assumption-for instance, that socks must come in matched pairs.

And I’ve decided that each sock needs to be recognized as an individual object.

Therefore, I am happily working away at a sock that will never be a “matcher”. It might have friends that share a certain color or striping pattern, but it won’t ever have to deal with being identical.

And I won’t have to make another one just like it. Heh!

Instant Gratification

I was the lucky recipient of a gift certificate to NW Handspun Yarns for this Christmas, and while I’ve been attempting to exercise restraint and save it for when I have a little more project-focus, I gave in a little bit on Friday and treated myself to some Instant Gratification fiber.

Merino-Silk Eye Candy

Isn’t that just scrumptious? It’s a merino-silk blend. I just love the colors and the sheen.

I don’t really have the means of blending fibers like that with my current tools- so I figure, this time, I’ll let someone else do the prep work. I’m not quite sure what I want to do with it yet, so I just spun and plied up a little sample:

Merino-Silk SkeinletMerino_Silk Sample2

Isn’t it adorable? It’s navajo-plied, and so soft and bouncy.

A little spendy at $3.50 an ounce, but nice for a special treat. I think I’ll try to match it with something else in the stash and use it as a “specimen yarn” much like you’d use a fancy variety of plant as a focal point in a gardening project. That way the almost-6 ounces will go a bit further.

I’m still awaiting the arrival of my Indigo Hound Viking Combs.

As soon as they arrive, I’ll be making some serious headway into some newly washed Lincoln wool that’s been sitting around for some time, and some newly acquired Romney that has some veggie issues. Stay tuned!

Welcome to 2008

I hope to develop this blog over the next few months to chronicle my adventures in wool.

We live on a couple of acres in north-west Washington State in a really old (circa 1895) house. We bought the place a couple of years ago and are continually engaged in home and property improvement. It’s come a long way over the last few years, and hopefully within the next couple of summers we’ll get our fencing fixed and some sort of animal shelter set up to permit us to acquire a small flock of Shetland sheep.

I am an avid knitter and spinner, and I especially love processing fleece from start to finish.

As I do not yet have my own source of wool on the premises, I have spent quite a bit of time over the last year or so getting to know people in the area who raise fiber animals and purchasing wool and other fiber from them. And I found, once I started looking around, that there are really quite a lot of sheep and alpaca people right here in my immediate area.

So, I’ve gotten a bit of experience working with different types of fiber in the raw (right off the animal) state, as well as information relating to keeping animals (why people choose certain breeds, housing and fencing requirements, predator issues, etc, etc)

I think that Shetlands would be a good fit for our small-acreage situation because they are small, hardy, have lovely fleece, and come in all kinds of beautiful colors. I am a big fan of naturally-colored wool, and find it the most interesting to work with.