Category: Blog

Comb, Sweet Comb

While I am about 5 skeins into the knitting of the Urban Aran (got some quality time in on Saturday while participating in Knitting in Public Day), I am still working on making sure I have enough yarn spun up to finish the project.

Sure, the smart and cautious thing to do would be to spin up the whole lot before picking up the needles- but I was awfully anxious to get started once I figured out what I wanted to do.

So, this weekend I washed up another couple batches of white Romney, and today I went back to the combs for another round of fiber prep.

This is where I started-The Raw Wool:
Unwashed bargain romney fleece

Now, mind you, this is not a primo fleece. But then I didn’t pay all that much for it, either. I knew going in that I would have to do some work. But under all that veg and dirt, there is some quite nice, soft, crimpy wool.

First I washed. That brings us to this:

washed romney bargain fleece

Lots whiter, but still quite a bit of crud. (More than you would want to try and flick out.) And some weak tips. But it’s got enough length that losing the tips wont be a big deal.
nice wool, but icky ends

This wool is a perfect candidate for combing! Here we go-

wool lashed on comb (from the side)

First pass, left to right-

the first pass

Second pass, top to bottom-

the second pass

There is sometimes quite a bit of waste- but then, you don’t want to be spinning the crud anyway!

combed fiber and waste

And finally, the diz ( you might notice that mine used to be a spork)

dizzing off the comb

And we are left with a beautiful lofty strip of combed top-

combed wool top

Which I like to wind up into a tidy bun.

combed wool muffin

Wow. A miraculous transformation.

Unwashed bargain romney fleece to combed wool muffin

in more-than-a-few easy steps.

Yes Sir, Yes Sir- Three Bobbins Full

In an effort stay on track with the Urban Aran project, I’ve gone into production mode on white Romney this week. The plan is to stay two or three skeins ahead so I don’t stall out on the knitting.

3 bobbins full

While it is product-focused spinning, I rather enjoy it. The combed fiber spins up so fast and easy- it’s relaxing and rewarding at the same time. I really like the romney, with its long staple, and its luster- spun up softly so that light filters through, it almost glows.

And the resulting squooshy three-ply is nice to knit with, too. Easy on the hands. Here is the project so far-

Urban Aran 06-08-08

Was down in Seattle today, returning Sam to his folks and had a chance to stop by Weaving Works in the University district. If you’re ever there (or anywhere near) I highly recommend a visit. It’s a great shop, and they have lots of good stuff. (Nice that they are open Sundays, too.) I scored a bitty-bag-o’-Mohair, but otherwise kept my fiber-hoarding tendencies in check.

Public Service Message: Next Saturday, June 14 is national Knitting In Public day. Hope to see y’all out and about!

Sweater progress and other Fibery Goodness

Urban Aran modified Sleeve

I do have two sleeves, at last. And I have moved on to the sweater body (no photo- not much to see yet). But now that I have that cast on, I feel ok about the prospect of airline travel. My flight back to the heartland isn’t for a couple of weeks, but I think that this section should keep me busy for a while- especially if I spend most of my at-home fiber time spinning.

Am I the only one who finds the idea of flying without a knitting project troubling? Although I will only be away from home for 5 days, and I have not given hardly a thought to what clothes I might pack (or a present for the wedding couple) the knitting has been carefully planned. I have got the sweater body cast on, so – no worries (it’s on bamboo circulars which will hopefully not even be noticed as I sent my bag through the x-ray).

I’m taking the trip primarily to attend a family wedding- but no travel would be complete without a wool tie-in, right?

So, one day I’m there I’m planing on going a bit south to visit Gram, who will not be able to attend the festivities. And, as luck would have it, Little Country Acres is just a hop, skip and jump away from Gram’s present location. So, I’m going to visit! Yea!

And here is this weeks spinning:
This weeks Spinning 06-01-08

From left to right; brown-gray Romney navajo plied, my Lincoln, mohair & Romney experiment, and Romney plied with Shetland.

Still not sure how I feel about the one in the middle (but it’s still damp from the wash, so I guess I should give it some time, eh?) It’s really different from what I usually spin, but I wanted to try my hand with some mohair I had sitting around. What I really want to learn how to do is a fine, brushed mohair yarn. Something good and fuzzy.

There’s No Place like Home

This was the closing act on Saturday night. I just stood there and marveled. We didn’t even get the rain. Just the rainbow.

rainbow 5-25-08

It has been an amazingly beautiful weekend- and a three-dayer to boot! We got a lot done around the homestead, but as you can imagine, we’re pretty pooped.

I kind of hoped that I was going to getting some swatching done for the zipper edge of the Denisee-ized Urban Aran, but that has not come to pass. I even have a friend’s zip-front cardigan on loan to examine in detail and use for inspiration. But it hasn’t even made it out of it’s bag yet. And I have approximately 1.5 hours of my waking weekend left. Dag.

I also failed to complete my second sleeve on time (had set today as my goal), but I suppose it’s not a tragedy, as I probably won’t have need to wear this Very Toasty sweater until maybe October or November.

My one fiber-y accomplishment for this past week is another skein of Gershom the Ferndale shetland. Such a handsome boy.

Gershom Shetland 05-08

And there is another reason I’ve had less fiber time this week. We’ve got a visiting pup.

Sam is the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel of our friends who are off getting the royal treatment in Frankfurt, Germany. Now Sam is not any trouble at all. He gets on fine with Syd and Bruno, seems to have adjusted to rural life pretty easily, and is as cute as can be, but it does mean I have 50% more tummy to rub on a regular basis. So I’ve been a little tied up making sure all the boys get the attention they require.