Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A close up of assisted twist short longdraw

OH available so got him to vid the fingers while I tried to spin the assisted twist.
A bit better than the youtube one I made when that I tried to video myself.
The ratio is 12:1 over 1/2 inch - so 24 twists per ince.

This single turned out at 36 wraps per inch. It's pretty robust but still fairly soft. If it works out well as a 2-plied lace yarn (for knitting) I might prefere it to the other ways I;ve tried for that type of yarn.
Snow all melted away Sunday night with the rain. Now all is mostly green again and the sheep are lying about ruminating.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Frozen December


The cold has taken hold at last. House cold despite heating on and a frozen water pipe.
Time to wear woolens indoors as well as outdoors

It's got to the fleece and spinning tools too.
Have to put the current washed fleece in the hot press and the metal combs on the radiator to try to warm them. Combing or spinning with cold materials not a nice experience - the fiber just stays stuck together and then suddenly releases itself in a clump. No good at all!
Wish I could light a decent fire like OH. Mostly my efforts result in dwindling flame that then goes out having used up a the fire- lighters. In fact, the only ting I seem to burn is the fire-lighter so better to wait for OH to come and warm the place up. Plenty of warm drinks though and fleece lined boots. Typing this is fingerless mittens of course.

Oh wait - the sun is out - looks beautiful - must go out!

front door xmas 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Assisted twist short long-draw.

Just a note-to-self on how I'm spinning some of my sheep's longer fibers after combing them.
I want to make thinner singles and then ply for lace knitting.
I find that rather than drafting the fibers out as usual for short-draw where you pinch off the draft until the amount required is presented for twisting, opening them to the twist while my drafting hand twists them clockwise (for Z spin) gives me a smoother and rounder thin single. "Short long-draw" because obviously I'm drafting only about 1/2 inch at a time but it's long-draw in character as the twist gets to it between drafts. "Assisted" as I'm twisting the fibers out in the direction they will be spun
Oh, and the other hand spreads the fibers into a triangle so they wrap round each other easily but not tightly.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cold but not hungry!

Decided to use some scraps of yarn in white, red and green to make little festive jumpers - pot wraps - for three small patio roses. These are the remains of an patio rose I bought in the autumn - fully knowing it wouldn't last forever - but it flowered for a month. Not bad. When I found it was made of three smaller plants, I potted them up and stood them in the porch - more in hope than expectation. The porch has been like a refrigerator and indeed is functioning as one with food stored out there.
They actually put out fresh leaves despite the conditions and I felt they deserved a reward for bravery.
three little pot jumpers
After I made the first one, I found Rufus, the feline red devil, eating their leaves!
Rufus eats rose leaves
Get off them you rotten, ungrateful, thieving, soft, affectionate, smart, brave, mouser supreme... ah heck what's a few leaves anyway?

A windfall!
A poor young pheasant must have mistaken the white gable end of our house for the snowy sky and knocked himself out against it. They don't usually come this close to our house but perhaps the cold drove him to try and steal from the hens nearby. He may have left in haste as the white hen is no pushover (recall that she scalped the red one when it first arrived) and Huddie (canine red devil) often hides in the hedge and would roust any bird.
Here he is lying in a pear trtee - not a partridge but probably what a partridge would look like in ta pesr tree on the first day of Christmas:(the faint hearted may avert):
Pheasant in a pear tree 5
He was hung inside a pilliwcase, head up in the garage for 2 weeks (very cold so I guessed he'd need that long)
He did not go to waste (I come from a long line of omnivores) :
After plucking by me, he weighed just under 2 lbs:
Plucked pheasant1
After roasting (170 C in fan oven for an hour an 10 minutes, chest covered in foil for an hour, buttered thighs and basted, tray under rack to catch juices):
cooked pheasant 2
A tsp of cornflour made into a paste with red win, cooked and more rd wine added then strained juices.A really rich gravy.
Really great! Thank you pheasant!

A little knitted Christmas Bunting:
knitted bunting

Friday, December 3, 2010

Time for the full mitt. !

Too cold for fingerless gloves - except in the house:
flip top and thumb 3
This one has a flip top and flip thumb but still not enough,
Time for the full mittins knit with yarn spun from the longer, thicker fleece - fluffy and airy-fairy won't hack it now.
Helix pattern:
helix mittins 1

The Alpaca and doggie-down scarf is no longer an ornament - it's a working scarf for sure now.

The hens are confined to their house now as they can't deal with the snow.
They had taken to sleeping in the branches aove their house all summer and autumn:
hens in the tree 2
When they awoke on Tuesday to 8 inches of snow beneath them, they refused to come down, despite coaxing with food. Had to get the ladder to dislodge them.
The sheep need feeding twice a day as their forage is covered up - they seem OK but I worry about the youngest ones as the older ones, especially the young ram, Yobo, push them away from the feed.
The dogs - well they just love it. Makes me shiver to see Huddie lying about in the snow. Comes from having a mad metabolism.


Friday, November 19, 2010

A bit of a tangle - spinning lace weight wool

Lace weight yarn - more than 18 wraps/inch perhaps. That's just a few strands of my woolie cross fleece - maybe 60 - per draft (if my wobbely maths is right). Anyway, tried to maintain that with 1 1/3 ounces of the combed fleece, spinning it at 12 twists per inch. All seemed reasonably well and the the resultant single was wound on the skein winder.
I thought I was being very fastidious, tying it off at intervals every 50 turns in one spot on the skein and just doing 3 figure-of-eights elsewhere. The overly curly mass got a wash and rinse and put back on the skein winder to stretch and dry overnight.
It did this - bone dry next day.
Then the fun started - winding it onto the ball winder! Grrr.
lace wool on winder
Not fastidious enough by a long shot!. The slender little threads seemed to have migrated east and west every chance they got.
I don't mind a few breaks at this point (better now than when using the yarn) but ended up with 2 balls and 6 knots in each.
A charming but malevolent pair, about 570 yards of 27-ish wpi yarn:
lace wool in a ball 1.4 oz 27 wpi
Mysteriously, the combed top weighed 1.3 oz, yet the spun yarn weighed 1.4 oz , despite some thinner bits being removed.
Seems one hour of cursing and swearing weighs 0.1 oz?


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November blows in

The Trellis and Rose stole dried to my liking:
trellis and rose dry 2
Now another lace knit is "on the rack":
strawberry moose blocked
Sure looks like it's i a torture chamber stretched out with all those pegs!

The indigo with red after wash over-dye is spinning up fairly well - I'm alternating the purplish parts with the more shocking pink so it is striped. Might ply it with a dark green single.
salmon indigo spun
Bad photo - but might remind me later how the yarn came about . There's quite a few mysterious balls and hanks lying about now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rose and Trellis stole and more fleece dyed

Attracted by a pattern for a Rose and Trellis pattern stole/shawl in "Lavish Lace", I knit something similar - with some variation as I'm using my hand processed and spun yarn and added a lace border each end. I used the yarn in it's natural color and dyed it red when finished. It's just stretched out now, still a bit damp, pinned to a towel on a sweater rack in the porch on this cold wet day. Can't complain though as had some of the most gorgeous weather recently but the warm red wollie is nice to see on such a dull day as this anyway.
However did manage to corral Owen, the ram, to investigate the blood streak on his forehead, put there by his not-so-loving son - well it is tup time and they don't get their jollies until November first. He seems fit and well despite the scars. Phew!

Rose and Trellis stole trellis and edging

Rpse and trellis stole center

My latest attempt at dying with Japanese Indigo was a flop - big harvest of leaves, seemed to have lots of dye in the pot but the fleece didn't take it up and only partly dyed. So tossed it into the after wash left in the pot after dying the stole/scarf/shawl - (must look up definitions of these things) - and it came out quite interesting:
Looking forward to seeing how it looks after combing - and spinning of course.
dyed fleece salmon Gum over indogo 2

Hope to have a dry stole/scarf/wrap.... to try on tomorrow.

Definitions from Merriam-Webster Dictionary
: a long loose garment : robe .... MAW!
: an ecclesiastical vestment consisting of a long usually silk band worn traditionally around the neck by bishops and priests and over the left shoulder by deacons ,,,,,,,,,,YIKES!
: a long wide scarf or similar covering worn by women usually across the shoulders
Origin of STOLE

Middle English, from Old English, from Latin stola, from Greek stolē equipment, robe, from stellein to set up, make ready
First Known Use: before 12th century"
1scarf noun \ˈskärf\

Definition of SCARF

: either of the chamfered or cutaway ends that fit together to form a scarf joint...NAW??
: an in-line joint made by chamfering, halving, or notching two pieces to correspond and lapping them
Illustration of SCARF...WHAAA??

Origin of SCARF
Middle English skarf, probably from Old Norse skarfr butt end of a plank
First Known Use: 15th century

Definition of SHAWL

: a square or oblong usually fabric garment or wrapper used especially as a covering for the head or shoulders
Origin of SHAWL

Persian shāl

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Busy, busy... yawn

Engaged in spinning a large quantity of black Merino roving.
Bought this because I wanted a softer yarn for around the edges of a blanket I may someday put together (lots of squares, crochet and knit) and also because I wanted a good dense black - and my attempts at black dying on my own fleece have be a bit scrappy with grey bits scattered throughout.
spinning black merino roving
Thing is, there is a lot of it and it lies there - dead. No fight-back as with my own ornery sheep's fleece, no neps, no tangles, no slubs - just plain, straightforward worsted style spinning. It's just what a perfectionist or production spinner wants. Seems I'm not one of those - Is it possible to fall asleep at the wheel?

Anyway - Red dying cheers a person up when it's cold outside.
KoolAid Strawberry came out nicer than I thought it would when I tried one ounce of this years Easy CareXWoolie cross first shear and one packet in the microwave: - it's on the left.red dyed roving
The Landscape Salmon Gum worried me when I tried it inn the microwave - 2.5 tsp for 1 oz - there was a lot of unused dye left even though it appeared well reddened (which cold just it mean it needed less dye powder) and it got about 10 mins high and 15 mins at 30% yet it just kept gently bleeding a very faint red every time I rinsed it - never got completely clear water after rinsing it so i was suspicious it would either fade or bleed later in life. So, back to the pot and stove with it and then I got a clear rinse. It's a deep red like I want for some Christmassey stuff. (middle and right of photo).
Wonder do other have success with microwave and Landscape dyes? Perhpas a query to the dye group on ravely would tell but if it's going to take just as long - well might as well use the stove.
More Buddlia yellow roving being combed (can't really say "Top" as I can't assert all the fibers are aligned just right):
buddlia roving
About dogs:
Got an email that one of Oiisn's buddies from NY had passed - Curley, a big black dog - one of the "Blackdogs" that live in Upstate NY with my friend Penny. Curley was of an age with Oisin (he's 12 years old) and they both ran around dog agility courses in all sorts of rural places up there. Both got bad backs as did their owners. Does make for sadness but shear self-indulgence not allowed! Oisin still with us 'though on heart tablets. As long as he's happy I'll continue to sneak in the pills in his grub.
Huddie, aged nine - well as the song said "Still crazy after all these years".

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

September/october catch up

Annoying the way life gets in the way of yarn projects! However lots of wool and knit stuff went on regardless - perhaps a little guiltily.
Got some photos to remind me of some of the end of summer and early autumn projects and plonked them here.
The garden has been pretty busy this year too so plonked some photos of that below too.
Surprised cat crochet bag:

Surprised cat sized

Neck warmer - my hand spun yarn dyed with Japanese Indigo leaves. The light orange bit is dyed with the Canadian version of Kool Aid
neck warmerSized

More J. Indigo leaf dyed hand spun:

700 plus yards of lace weight hand spun dyed with Kool Aid Grape; Hoping to knit a lacy scarf from "Victorian Lace Today" by Jane Sowerby on loan from Lindy.
Japanese indigo dyed hand spunSized

The second self-striping sock got finished - good thing too as the boiler broke down;
Self striping socks sized

The hand spun stash is gretting out of control. A little of it:
Some stash 2 Sized, Some stash 3Sized, Some stash 1 etc...

But more on the way -
some Buddlia dyed 2 ply hand spun :
Spinning yellow nests sized

A little weaving:
Woven table cloth and yellow nestsSized

Lace knitting based on a pattern in "Luscious lace":
Trellis and rose lace knitting 1 sized
Trellios and rose lace knitting 2 Sized

Plan to dye this red (using Landscape dye "Salmon") when and if completed

When it gets cold and dark and frosty, these photos may remind me that it all grows back again:
The roadside hedge in berry and leaf:
window view sept 2010
road side hedge sept 2010
Gigantic mushroom in the field:
humungous mushroom
A few spuds:
spuds 5

The trees graced us with a few apples this year:
first apples

Can't show the rhubarb as it all went down the red land:
rhubarb tart
A few goosegobs still in the freezer and quite a lotof blackcurrents too
Blackburrents July 2010

The hens continue to be very productive and have sorted their differences:
They've taken to sleeping side by side among the branches of a tree above their hen house. The hen house roof has become a manure heap.
Huddie says "So what - can't get a tooth on either of them"
wet huddie

Enough, enough!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

This summer 2010

Nearly September - must review the things that went on during this summer. It was quite a good one really.
There was the spinning, dying and knitting of a jumper - Aline - which I'm quite happy with.
Raising and trying woad and Japanese indigo - growing the plants went fine but I have not cracked the dying yet. Gotta keep trying - good thing these are cut-and-come-again plants!
A visit to Wales had to be canceled as a family member - and then one of the dogs - became ill - both better now I'm pleased to say. Maybe next year for woolfest there.
A finished a hat and mittens set - Choppy Waters - in shades of blue then added a pair of plain blue fingerless gloves.
Wove a strip of fabric - supposed to be a runner but I needed a letter holder, - it's now a letter holder.
A visit to Scotland - first to the Ravelry weekend at Stirling then to Inverness and round about was really lovely - especially as the weather was gorgeous.
Recently, following the info given in Spin Off magazine on making self-striping socks and knitting socks to any size, I had a great time making excessively colorful sock yarn and have knitted one so far. If the next winter turns out like the last one, these socks will get lots of wear.
A visit to Galway this weekend (28th) was great too - Mairead gave an excellent account of the production of clothing mainly from wool on the Aran island - mainly Inis Mean I think - in Galway museum as part of heritage week. I then went on to Leenane to the Sheep and Wool center and was delighted to see a Great Wheel put to work.
There's been good eating from the garden - gooseberries, black currents, rhubarb, spuds, salad, herbs, eggs, lamb...
Well that's some of it and I think each bit needs it's own space or this will be a big long sausage of a page with photos.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Self-striping socks

A system based on Paula Egbert's "Dying for Socks"and "Socks at Any Size and Any Gauge" in Spin Off magazine's "Spin Your Socks".

Sock warping board ..1

Sock warping board..5

Painted stripes on warping baord

Painted stripes hank..5

first self-stripingsock  with HSHD