Sunday, June 28, 2009

Slip Stitch neck warmer done

The neck warmer is done - not that I need it right now.From Spin-off Summer09

Added a tag that Jen gave me Christmas 08.
. It's a neat little thing.

So, next .... Leave the 09 fleece alone, there's a doggie down scarf to finish


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Slip-stitch neck warmer

A single ball of BFL spun worsted and dyed with dye from avocado stones (thanks Lindy) lay about until I got my (first) copy of Spin-off (09 summer edition). The requirements for a slip-stitch neck warmer fit this little lot (5 sts and 7 rows = 1") and luckily, there is just enough to make the length suggested (about 82 gms).
The pattern seems to suit the slightly strange pearly-pink yarn and I have 3 dark brown buttons to attach when it's ready. Feels nice too.
Almost finished my weird doggy/alpaca multi-colored scarf - just need to rob a little more doggie down - up on the table there Oisin!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Missed WWKIP

Missed World Wide Knit in Public in Dublin :(.
One of my girls was limping so I had to inspect them all.
After round up, I felt I should give them all their shots etc so by then the morning was gone.
Joined them im spirit by knitting some cabled alpaca later.
It's an add-on to the doggie-down scarf - and I found that the combinatiOn of cabled alpaca and basket stitch gave a soft fabric which does not curl at the edges which is good to know.
Doggies are being brushed to the skin to get more down for spinning and dyeing!
However, they seem to have become competitive about it, one pushing in front of the other
for brushing even though they tolerated it only in martyred silence before.

Hope to add photos when the scarf is finished.

Trying my hand at core spinning - this is really fun!

Meanwhile, ball-making continues.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Spring hedgerow almost done

Don't pick the balls Stella!

These got the ball winder treatment too.

A 6 X 6" swatch on 4 mm needles.
21 sts and 26 rows over 4" in ss.
Just a bit more to go.
Not allowd to try spinning any of the new fleece until it and several other things are done - but it's really tempting to start spinning Jumper's fleece. Jumper is a big ewe with a down type fleece. She's called Jumper due to her superior ability to clear hurdles - even now when she has a full bag. But she is a good natured lady and has nice twins every year. Anyway, I kept and washed about 800 gms of her fleece which should be enough for a ........ jumper of course :).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ravelry in Coventry

Went to Birmingham for the Ravelry wool fest there. Nice hall - a Methodist church hall/ Contianed a very nice cafe and very reasonably priced food (must mention that important thing first of course). Bad weather - rained most of the day. Didn't bother me 'though spoiled it for the outdoor stalls - and the two Alpaca who munched on hay outside.

Went to Spinning for Beginners - with Diane Mulholland for a 2 hour class. Very interested to see how an expert who grew up on a sheep farm in Australia and now gives classes at all levels might handle beginners. I was very gratified that her approach confirmed much of my own instinct about how to broach the topic and proceed - from the finger-tip manipulation of roving to shoe the properties of the fibers, to the use of CD home-made spindles, through the use of part-and-spin on long fibers for the class with a demonstration of using long-draw on short fibers for woolen and plying off the hand. This latter would have been taught in a second session. She chose leicester wool too as the ideal for beginners as I have done.

She showed us how she slips the yarn off the spindle shaft an onto a lorge plastic (McDonalds) drinking straw for later plying. Through her discussion ( and reverse engineering sone of the yarns on display) it appears 3 ply is indeed the best to produce a nice round handspun yarn. I think I'll aim for this in my next project as I now, finally, understand what is meant by a round yarn - one with little or no gaps between the plyed singles over the circumference.

Than I attended Meg Swensen's talk in the main hall. She is on tour , partly a book tour. She is carrying on her mother's (Elizabeth Zimmernann's) business . She readfrom her mother's diaries. This was intitially a little shock for the audience, some of whnom, no doubt, expected knitting needles working on a large screen. However, I do believe she won them over as the content of her readings was very absorbing and hymerous and she was very expert answering knitting-related questions. I think she must have been very inspirational for the knitters there. I as a rang amateur knitter found it fascinating thinking about how the design of knitting patterns comes about.

I attended a class on naturel dyeing which showed many powdered plant extracts and how they are applied. These dyes have a charm about them - the colors ahev a softness to them on wool and cotton. I was pretty wrecked by the time I took this class as it ran from 4 - 6 pm - the last item and I knew I had to hang about an airport until the plane took us back at 11 pm.
It turned out fine though as we had a meal in a reasonable diner in the airport and planty of space to lie about there. I took out my new small spindle and spun away. It didn't seem to bother security - a Japanese man took a photo of this bizzarre activity so I will be held accountable at some later date perhaps.

The dogs, left alone for over 24 hours, were extactic to see us - but had exacted their revenge in the sitting room and little study. Out with the disinfectant.
Of course I got goodies. These are int he form of a small spindle for spinnig short loose fiber (such as doggie down), a Peruvial plying tool to save my fingers fom gangrene, and a wool wonder to go with ---the greatest of all made by my OH just before we left for the show -- a DIY swift! Oh! what an indulgence!! It's like a big treat at the end of the whole process of shearing, washing, spinning, setting twist - to be able to wind the yarn with such ease into nice even center-pull balls!


Swift and ball winder and a ball of February sky.
Nice little top whorl spindle and Peruvial plyer.