The Year in Fleece

As we launch out into a new year, I thought it might be fun to reflect on the wool acquisitions of last year, and what has become of them.

So here we go:

2008 opened with a gifted fleece,the 4H blue ribbon winning white Romney from a fellow wool-lover. This fleece contributed heavily to the Urban Aran cardigan-

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Late January: 1/2 of a dense, springy dark Romney fleece, purchased at a shearing demo. This fleece has since become my Oregon vest!

Romney Fleece 01-19-08Oregon Vest

Early April: Gershom, and emsket Shetland from Ferndale. Gershom has been involved in a few hats, and comprises the scarf that is at the heart of the “experimental sweater” project.

Ferndale shetland outside 04-08 Tilly close 09-01-08

Later in April: Small (2 lbs) variegated pearly gray Corriedale fleece from “Butterscotch”. Butterscotch’s wool I’ve mostly spun in the grease, and it has made it’s way into a couple of small projects (mostly hats).

Butterscotch fleeceCorriedale II

June: Visit to Little Country Acres, in Wilmington IL- came home with 3 shetland fleeces!

Gigi, very fine, soft and crimpy, silky milk chocolate color. (A skein of Gigi’s wool won a blue ribbon in the NW Washington fair this past august!)

LCA Gigi- outsideIMG_0167 (Medium)

Mariah, black, gray and white with light tips. A little bit double coated in places, but very soft. (Just love the colors in this one. Spins up into a beautiful tweedy yarn that is much softer than it looks!)

LCA Mariah- outsideMariah Sheland on Wheel 08-24-08

This little bit is from her white spot- upper left on the fleece photo. Neat, eh?

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And Ulla, beautiful peachy -golden-brown fleece of medium fineness that just spins up like a dream.

LCA Ulla- outsideUlla Shetland on Wheel 08-24-08

Haven’t done much in the way of projects with the Little Country wools yet, but Ulla and Gigi are represented in this hat (along with daisy and Moppetto):

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Got home to find that The Man got me an alpaca fleece (Moppetto) while I was away! Mopetto is a nice fluffy, silky white alpaca. I find that I don’t much enjoy spinning alpaca on it’s own (really slippery), so I’ve been blending it with wool – and that can be a lot of work on hand cards!

Mopeto blanket

July: I think this is when I went back up to Ferndale and got a white Shetland fleece (Daisy) from the same folks who own Gershom.

Daisy Fleece

Daisy is a nice, fairly long, soft white fleece. Has some VM, but that comes out just fine with combing. I’ve been mostly using Daisy as a “mixer”- blending her with Alpaca for silkiness, and various colored wools to try and get heathery effects.

November: black Border Leicester fleece from Jonasson’s sale in Burlington! Started spinning this in the grease, but then decided it would go faster washing and carding (a little too short to comb). It’s a wonderfully clean fleece to start with , so the washing has been so quick and easy. Love the luster and the depth of color. It’s been a lot of fun to work with, and I’m using quite a bit of it to finish the experimental sweater, since I had only a limited amount of the black and silver lincoln cross wool that I started the project with!

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So, according to my math (with Butterscotch only counting as a half), 2008’s count comes to 9 fleeces.

Wow. That seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

Of course, I’ve got quite a bit of carry-over,, but I am making pretty good progress in processing these guys.

Maybe I should try to limit my intake in the new year?

Nah. I figure, it’s a fairly harmless addiction, as far as additions go.

And there are definetely more pressing resolutions out there.

(Like putting tags on my blog posts.)

All the best in 2009!


Bits and Pieces

I’ve been a bit distracted of late. You’d think (or I’d think) that with all this stuck in the house time due to the snow and ice, I would have made tremendous progress on all my projects. Maybe even finishing one or two, right?

Well, we’re still in pieces-

The challenge sweater is now blue, and I’m experimenting with growing it in different directions in a beautiful golden brown courtesy of Ulla, from Little Country Acres.

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Not sure how I feel about that yet. So I’m letting it sit for now.

The experimental sweater is getting more voluptuous all the time:

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I still need a couple of inches in length on the back, and sleeves. Then I have to decide if it needs a border….

But I did get one thing done. I’ve repurposed a “bit” that’s been sitting in my office for quite a while:

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This guy was supposed to be part of a sleeve (the the seamless saddle shoulder disaster sweater) Turned out that he was too big, and I decided not to do the pattern on the sleeves in the end, so he and his twin brother sat in a basket for the last almost-two years.

Too big for a sleeve, and too small for a hat. He was in a bit of a bind.

And then it hit him. He could be a bag.

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I think he makes a really swell bag. Kinda punchy with the red accents, eh? Here’s how the top closes up:

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Denise out!

Sweater Seeks a Fresh Start

Here is the challenge. To make this little crocheted pink cardigan:

Challenge Sweater

Into something that some normal sized person might want to wear, or use.

It’s not that the poor thing is that heinous. But the buttons are, and the color is not especially appealing. And it’s really tiny.

I was given this sweater by a knitting friend as a crafting challenge. The goal is to creatively “repurpose” the item. That could mean dying, cutting, sewing, augmenting, etc. etc. Use your imagination.

The sweater does have some things going for it.

Challenge Sweater contents

The 25% angora makes it very soft.

The fact that’s it primarily cotton is inherently limiting, because it means it’s not feltable. So, I’ve resolved to leave it mostly intact so as to avoid any unraveling that I might not be able to control.

It has, so far been really easy to disassemble:

Challenge Sweater unseamed

I’ve only undone the arm and side seams. And that might be as far as I need to go. Right now, it looks like it might want to be a shawl. I’m thinking about filling in those empty wedges in the circle with knitted lace panels . I could even take it further and close the front, add a cowl neck and make it a poncho….

As for colors, I did a little bit of sampling on what used to be the little patch pockets :

Challenge Sweater dyed swatches

(the red doesn’t look that bright in person- must be my flash)

That’s cherry koolaid on the left, and lemon-lime on the right. I’m leaning towards the lemon-lime right now, but may try and experiment further with more subdued hues. Might have to sacrifice the collar for that.

What do you think this sweater wants to be in it’s next life?

Cold White Stuff

First snow of the season hit yesterday.

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And it is still here, as it has remained mighty cold (by PNW standards).

At least it provided a bit of a backdrop for this year’s holiday card photo:

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Aren’t they sweet boys? Bruno was kind of nervous about getting in the front loader, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have enough cookies on hand.

I’ve been busy spinning up the Border Leicester so I can keep my experimental project going,

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and trying to get some cookie baking done so I have goodies to share (sorry, no photos yet!).

As per usual, I’ve feeling terribly behind on Christmas stuff, but hopefully I can wrap up the remaining essential items on the to-do list tomorrow and proceed to have a fairly stress-free holiday season.

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That’s the plan anyway.

Wish me luck.