Category: Blog

Finishes and Start-ups

Would you believe, I finally finished my handspun, designed-on-the-fly sweater vest!

And I have pictures-

sweater vest front 0408 resized
sweatervest side view 0408

Yes, indeed. Actually, I had 99.5% of the knitting a couple of weeks ago, but it was the finishing that held me up in calling it “done”.

I’m really happy with how it turned out, especially considering that I didn’t have a very clear plan when I started out. The only snag I encountered was finishing the cable trim around the back of the neck; I had to do more short-row shaping than I expected to make it lay down correctly. Here is a shot of the back of the neck:
sweater vest back neck detail 0408

Also, I put the finishing touches on socks I knit while conferencing in Anaheim:
sungard summit socks 0408

Yes, they are fraternal, though some of the differences are subtle (cable directions and such). I might never do identical socks again! This is a great way to use up odd partial-skeins.

And this is what I’ve been spinning –

new spins 0408

Shetland, Corriedale and Romney, in a beautiful range of natural colors to add to the stash.

And so, now the question is- what’s next?

Hats for next Christmas? Another sweater for The Man? a boatload of socks? Whatcha think?

I’m thinking I might soon offer some of my handspun on Etsy.com , as I am spinning faster than I am knitting these days. The plan is that yarn proceeds would go into Denise’s Sheep Fund, to help support the work necessary to make our homestead “sheep-ready”.

So maybe that is the next big project- getting myself organized.

Stay tuned.

Doin’ the Puyallup

The weather didn’t actually seem that bad when we set out at 8am.

The forecasters were talkin’ up a crazy weather pattern that was dropping snow and freezing rain all over the rest of Western Washington- but I was not to be deterred. We were going to the fair, and the Shepherd’s Extravaganza contained therein.

Denise at SE

And it was great. Was nice to be amongst fiber people, visiting with sheep and examining show fleeces.

Eileen Hordyk of Sand Hill Sheep & Wool was there (behind me in the photo above) doing her “Shearing sheep on a Stand” workshop (same one I saw in Stanwood back in January), and had Some of her Romney’s there to show as well. Here are some sheep I met:

First, some sound effects to make you feel like you’re right there in the barn-

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Alce5qhHNiE&hl=en]

Then we’ve got pretty white Romney girls-
Denise w Romney ewe- SE

This guy is a Lincoln (pretty short fleece- he must have been shorn earlier this spring)
Denise w Colored Lincoln- SE

And then a Gotland cross. Gotlands are pretty rare in the US, but Franna Pitt at EverRanch Farm is breeding them (using AI). Nice fleece!
Denise w Gotland Cross-SE

And this is a colored Romney ewe. Love that chocolate-y color!
Colored Romney-SE

I spent quite a bit of time checking out the fleeces entered for judging:
Denise at Fleece show- SE

I really enjoyed reading the judge’s comments on each, and being able to compare many fleeces of different types. There was a lot of really great wool for sale, but I managed to keep my head and depart without any purchases (I can’t hardly believe it myself!)- but I did get photos of some especially tasty treats:
award winning targhee fleece-SE

award wining merino-romeldale fleece-SE

another jacob fleece -SE

Moorit Shetland Fleece- SE

multi-colored

Now, is that mouthwatering stuff, or what?

I didn’t catch any workshops, but I did talk to a woman doing a spinning demo:
In Samoyed's Clothing- SE

Yes, indeed. She is spinning (and wearing) Samoyed. Her friend’s name is Topper, and he’s a rescue pup.

Very neato.

Sheep-free Zone

I’m in Anaheim right at the moment. And it’s a good thing I brought some wool with me, because so far as yarn shops go, this place is a total bust.

Lots of talking mice (the Disney type) and such, but no wool, and definitely no sheep. (There’s not even a zoo in the area. I checked.)

What a bummer.

Good thing I get to go to the Puyallup Spring Fair when I get home! The Shepherd’s Extravaganza awaits!

The Truth Comes Out

I confess that I have been harboring a fugitive.

In the garage is a sweet little Corriedale fleece that came home with me from the spin in I attended last weekend (at 2 lbs, truly, it hardly counts as a whole fleece, right?) . From the moment I saw it, I knew I needed to have it- and spin it just the way it was.

So, today we are talking about “Spinning in the Grease”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wOtpVHjve8&hl=en]
What I forget to mention at the end of the video is that, when you’re done spinning and plying, that’s when the magic happens. You wash the oily yarn (that will likely be kind of rope-y and much heavier than your usual result right off the bobbin), it brightens and fluffs and plumps and is suddenly a whole different animal!

I love that part.

Well, I guess I pretty much like all the parts. Even swatching. So here are a couple of my first little results from the not-so-secret-now fleece:
whidbey corriedale sampler-cropped

I’ve been walking around with the swatches in my pocket, and they are slightly felted from all the fondling, but both are holding up nicely. They’ve got a nice “bloom”. One is knit up on size 6 needles, and the other on 3s. Seems like it would be suitable for either sweaters or socks.

Possibilities abound!