Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Alex's Silk

Having got a lovely surprise of 45 gms of prepared silk fiber from Alex McLeod in Wexford, I couldn't wait to spin it.
I pre-drafted it and spun it short-backward draw on my Ashford Traveller wheel -

Spinning Silk On an Ashford Traveller wheel   on www.youtube.com

Then I plyed it S-wise:
Plying Silk Singles  on www.youtube.com

Most of it became a little lace-knit scarf:

 Blocked                                                          Awaiting finishing touches:

A small amount, plyed with a woolen single with galss beads, will become a wristlet:

Thank you Alex for letting me experiment with this lovely stuff!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Navy Blue Singles and Silk

I combed some ECX fleece and dyed the roving with commercial Eurolana dye. It came out navy blue.
Spinning it at 12;1 over 1" for singles to be plied with another white or cream (or maybe silk!) singles when all done.

And, here is the silk - send to me by Alex McLeod of Sage Farm in Wexford! He showed some he is spinning on Ravlery/Irish Spinners and he just sent me some - because he is a generous fiber man.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Synergies - a cat's tale

Rufus, our big soft red flat-faced Persian-style tom cat, showed up out-of-he-blue, in my garden around 2 years ago.
He is a laid-back, super-cool fellow, excellent mouser and all-round good guy ('though not terribly good at managing Hudson, the border collie, who lives here too  - with one gory result).
Some weeks after he adopted us, I was standing considering chicken wings in a supermarket in Athlone, when a fairly unremarkable 'though neat and practical-appearing woman came and stood beside me, also regarding the chicken wings. Ive fed raw meatly bones to my dogs for years, a practice I began while living in New York and having a dog with grain allergies (tinned dog food or kibble = scratch, scratch scratch in his case) but I was surprised when my companion volunteered that her daughter fed chicken wings to her dog. I revealed that I did the same! She went on to describe how her daughter had several animals - including a big red fluffy cat with a flat face, the like of which she had not see about the place (our hedge cats tend to be rather smooth and svelte) and it had shown up recently out of nowhere!! On further questioning it appeared to be exactly like Rufus! The woman was perplexed as she too inhabits a house largely surrounded by fields so no obvious source of the friendly intruder. I'm not sure if that woman really believed that we both had pretty much the same experience especially as I asserted that I too fed raw chicken wings to my dog (something she obviously thought was a rather weird practice on the part of her daughter). She moved on - I think a bit nervously.
Anyway, Rufus is well established here now and puts up with my cutting off matted noyles from his coat regularly.
Today, I attended a small knitting group in Ballymahon library. A talented and  interesting Swiss lady also attends and by chance showed me a phone-photo of her camper van which containg a larger red fluffy cat by the name of Murphy. And, guess what, he showed up in her field-encircled garden, out-of-the-blue two years ago! He is a dead ringer for Rufus - and of similar disposition. Her husband saw hin being hammered agains the garden hedge by her black cat and went to rescue Murphy - who sank into his arms, warm and snugly, matted coat and all.
Where are these benign red invaders coming from? It seems, they or someone else know how to pick a prospective home very very well.Perhaps they are aliens :)

Rambouillet FLEECE - DROOL


Festival Des Arts de la laine et Tonte Du Troupeau M
This video of the festival shows the unveiling of a lush fleece lying protected by an over coat, then it gets sheared - plus the background activities - but who cares about those, let's have the fleece!

The Rambouillet Sheep close up

La tonte du Merinos de Rambouillet by Bergerie_Nationale


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Shell shocked

For some mad reason, I decided to use some of my low-twist singles hand spun ECX yarn to knit a traditional Shetland Cockleshell stole.
The pattern doesn't seem too difficult until it gets to the "knit 13 stitches together" bit. Couple this with yarn that breaks if you sneeze near it, and it becomes pretty tedious.
But I shall soldier on - and do all the weaving-in of ends and intense blocking when it's done - it will not defeat me - yet anyway.
On 3.70 circulars
There are three shell rows now and I'm beginning to see that it might be nice when there are 11 shells and it's finished and blocked.
May as well put the pattern here:
C/O 348 sts on 3.75 needles (long circular was best for me)
K 3 rows.
K3, (pattern) 18 times, K3
Work 12 row pattern 11 times in all
Knit one further row.

12 row pattern:
1. k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k1

2. k1, kfb, k15, kfb, k1

3. k all

4. k all

5. k1, kfb, k1, ffb, k13, kfb, k1, kfb, k1

6. k1, kfb, k1, kfb, k13, kfb, k1, kfb, k1

7. k all

8. k all

9. k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, (yo, k1) 11 times, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k1

10. (k1, kfb) 3 times,  (sl1, drop yo stitch) 12 times, sl 1, k 13 slipped sts together, (kfb, k1) 3 times.

11. k all

12 k all

yo = yarn over

kfb - knit front and back of same stitch.


Friday, February 8, 2013

And then, an Angora head band

Angora head band:
Lovely free pattern from Ravelry: (will add name later).
I had to crochet around the edges to prevent it from stretching too much - Angora seems to stretch, well my hand spun version anyway. I've added a total of 4 buttons 2 more after the first photo. The pattern contains nice holes anyway so no need for additional button hole knitting.