Category: Blog

The Calm Before

Things are quiet and mild on the homestead this evening. But we are supposed to have a major storm blowing in by tomorrow am.

Wind advisory in effect from 8 am Sunday through Tuesday.

Cliff Mass seems pretty excited about it . Me, not so much.

I thought I’d go ahead and post early, as it’s fairly certain that we will lose power for a good part of the next couple of days. That’s just how this usually works out. (Thank goodness for the generator)

The last Alger Market (ironically, a makeup day for a bad weather cancellation a while back) is tomorrow. And I’m planning to attend, but we’ll just have to see how it goes. Maybe the storm will hit further north and the impact in these parts will not be so bad (fingers crossed).

Last call for all kinds of woolen goodies- including sweet little sheep puppets!

Also washed fleece, carded wool, lots of yarn. and farm-fresh free range eggs. So if the weather holds and we don’t get blown away, I’ll be hangin’ in my little booth, working on my Griff Twisted Stitches Vest, which is coming along very nicely.

Just a couple more rows before I start the armhole shaping. Finally decided on a v-neck, so that will start shaping up shortly as well. Have an idea I’m playing with about doing a fold-back collar on the v-neck, but there’s a lot of knitting yet to do before I start the finishing work, and the neck opening would be the same as a regular v-neck, so I can let that thought percolate for a while yet.

Oh, and I should tell you- I gave up on my lanolin extraction experiment. Too small a sample, I think. couldn’t figure a way to separate the tiny bit of lanolin from the water and olive oil. Might give it another try in the spring when I have more greasy fleece to play with.

Have a good week folks!

Adapt and Adjust

Been itching to get something substantial on the needles for a while.

I really thought it was going to be a Cali project, as I’d been really focused on spinning her fleece for a while now, and have almost 800 yards of 3 ply DK-ish weight yarn finished.

So I’d been hunting for a pattern. I have so many “favorites” saved on Ravelry, and checked through them for inspiration, but nothing was striking me quite the right way. After much browsing, I finally decided that I was in the mood to do a loose-fitting, solid color vest with a traveling, twisted stitch pattern- for a cable-y effect without as much bulk. And this seemed to fit the bill

There wasn’t much pattern info in Ravelry, but I bought it anyway, since I’d finally found a photo that looked like what I wanted to make. And upon downloading the PDF, I found that it is entirely written out line by line instructions. Not a chart in sight.

Ugh.

Not entirely unexpected. But Ugh.

I know there are people out there who prefer written out directions. But I guess I’m more of a visual learner. And since I knit backwards, conversion of these instructions to something that I can work from directly is a bit of a challenge.

At first, I thought that the answer was to make my own charts from the directions. But in order to do that, I had to try and think like a right-handed knitter. What does T2B or C2B mean to a person working from right to left, rather than left-to right? Made my brain tired, so I set it aside to let me unconscious mind work on it.

And once I stepped back from it a bit, it came into better focus.

I realized that, with the help of the photo, which thankfully shows all the different patterns in their entirety, after carefully casting on to the specified counts, placing markers and doing the first (set-up) row, I could ignore most of the written details, and use the photo for most of the cues about which way the twisted stitches are travelling, and where they are crossing.

I swatched with my Cali yarn, but it turned out that the yarn was a bit to light to get the desired gauge. But thankfully, I had just the thing in the stash, waiting to become a garment! Griff to the rescue!

Now that I’m through a couple of repeats of each pattern, I feel like I’m cruising. And I’m relived to have something on the needles that I can just pick up and work on.

So now I find my mind wandering to different types of necklines/collars. The crewneck isn’t bad, but would v-neck be better and most versatile? or even a shawl collar? Hmmm.

And an update on the lanolin experiment- Found info online about refining lanolin and applied it to my tiny sample

It did separate as they said it would- we’ve got olive oil on top, lanolin in the middle and dirty water below. But now my challenge is figuring out how to get the lanolin out of the middle layer without losing most of it. Haven’t been able to find any guidance on that step yet. My current thought is that perhaps if I freeze it it will be more manageable.

Have a good week-

Adventures in Lanolin

One question I get quite a bit when talking with folks about processing raw fleece is “do you do anything with the lanolin?”

And the answer has always been no. Because washing the wool has always been a bit of the process that I’ve always been happy to try and get through as quickly as possible. Never really felt like retaining the wash water for further use.

But roses really love fleece tea. So when I decided to wash up the last third of Cali’s fleece (rather than continue to spin it in the grease), I thought I’d save the leftovers for a couple bushes that could use a boost. Of course, the water needs to cool off before you let the roses imbibe, so I poured it off into a bucket to sit overnight.

And the next morning, it looked like this

That off-white stuff floating on the top of the fleece tea is lanolin. There isn’t a whole lot of it in this batch, as Cali’s fleece was a fairly low-grease, and this was maybe just a third of of the whole thing.

But when I saw it floating there, I thought- maybe I should skim it off and see if I can do something with it.

So here we are, skimmed

Don’t know what the next step is yet, but there has to be some info out there in the big wide interwebs about refining lanolin at home, right? Will keep you posted 😉

Harvest

Some highlights from this week’s harvest-

Delicata squash from the volunteer plant

My one Rouge de Temps pumpkin

compost!

and one fall fleece, from baby Fiona

Short clip of the girl showing off her back to school haircut 🙂

Have a good week folks-