A place for me to share photos, trips and projects with my friends, mostly about knitting,kayaking, and quilting.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


After a dyeing and spinning class, what would you expect me to be doing???

Rolags from the piles of colored fleece. The carding is progressing, albeit slowly. But I want to finish all of the carding before beginning to spin, since I want to make "designer" yarn - haaaa haaaa! My camera didn't do a very nice job with these colors, but you get the idea.

I brought home some wool/nylon sock yarn, plain white. It wants to be the creamsicle socks, so I opted for quick and easy as my first venture. This is not a bowl of spaghetti, it's the last skein in it's Kool-Aid dyebath.

For the first skein, I used the suggested 1 pkg per ounce, therefore 4 pkgs. Then 2, then 1. Since my microwave oven is small, I had to use a small-ish bowl. I didn't want equal distribution and total saturation. I'm pleased with the results, but there's not a really obvious difference between skeins 1 and 2. Probably because I deliberately let some areas soak up more color than others with skein 2.

And for the spinning part, brown Corriedale. And I actually think I'm starting to get the hang of this process! Oh, I know there's much, much to learn. But I might acutally be making something I can use. I'm really excited about all this!

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Spin or Dye!

Spin or dye was Martha's final lesson for us after a week filled with fiber fun and more information than one can possibly imagine! I've never had a better week at the John C. Campbell Folk School. From room mates and class mates, to class content, to food, and most importantly, to Martha Owen, our instructor and fiber enabler!

We began with a mountain of raw wool, sheared from Martha's own sheep, which we washed and dried.

We dyed wool using natural dye stuffs like marigolds, madder root, black walnuts, cochineal, and indigo.

We visited the sheep and Angora rabbits at Martha's farm.

We learned to prepare fiber for spinning.

We had an amazing variety of spinning wheels available to us, and concurrent with our fiber play, we all began our efforts at spinning yarn. Here is Kate, spinning Angora from the rabbit in her lap.

We had a good time and learned much. Some of us are hooked and went home with something like this:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Out in the Snow

Brrrr.... more snow on the ground than I've seen this winter. And I'm headed out into the great white today for another fun-filled fibery week at the John C. Campbell Folk School for the "Sheep to Shawl" class.

While I'm away, there'll probably be big plans for The Yarn Harlot's big book launch in New York (to which I'm going - yaaaay!). And a huge thank you to New Yorker Liz for sending me information and volunteering to guide me to yarn shops and THE EVENT!

The amaryllis will probably grow a foot.

And the kitty children will miss me.

Yesterday I finished all the boot blocks for a new quilt so I'd be at a convenient stopping point. Sashing when I get back.

See y'all next week!

Monday, February 12, 2007

It's Magic

Pure and simple, blocking is magic!

The Babies and Bears Sweater for Grownups, before blocking first, then after blocking, for each view.

I didn't get the exact row gauge in the garter stitch portion that I was supposed to. It was close, and in retrospect (hind sight is always 20/20 they say) I would have chosen the #10 needle instead of the #9. But it's wool, and all was OK.

Come to think of it, wool is a bit magical, isn't it?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Clear the Deck!

Make way, make way, for the return of........

But first: this is what my "knitting area" typically looks like.

A couple of knitting books, a Denise needle set, Ott Lite, yarn, more yarn, knitting gizmo bag, plastic box with spindle and pencil roving (yeah I know plastic isn't good but it'll do for now), pile of magazines and patterns, some of which are for WIPs, old and new, pretty little yellow box that, because of kitten-ish happenings around here, contains these:
and can be closed when not in use.
So, the deck has been cleared (the rest of the stuff is David's - not my problem).
Because it's time for the return of .....

I need space when I'm working on something like this, with a chart and my notes and directions. Now I must figure out where I left off, but I remember that I'm close, very close to finishing the front and the back is done! That means I should be able to proceed with designing the arms and finishing it.

Do you think this sudden urge to finish it has anything to do with me taking another workshop with Beth Brown-Reinsel soon? This year it's a Nordic Mitten Tour at the Folk School. But I began my gansey as a result of the workshop I took with her last January on 19th Century Sweater Design. I'm pretty motivated to show up in her presence again wearing my gansey.

Yes, I know. Felted clogs.... socks for Scott.... socks for David.... socks for soldiers. But I can't work on just one project! And this was completed today!
Babies and Bears Sweater for Grownups by Cottage Creations. A very fun knit. Now that I've made one, I'm anxious to give it another try. That orange Peace Fleece in the first photo - next Babies and Bears for me!
Post publish PS - The Peace Fleece looks red in the picture. It's actually a very orangish red. And I found my place on the Gansey right away - because I MADE NOTES!! I have a tendency to let projects languish for long periods (it just happens), so I've learned to keep careful records and hope I can decipher them when the time comes.

Friday, February 09, 2007


I must interrupt my regularly scheduled knitting. I must felt again. As in make the wool mat together. Here's why - my boring, but oh-so-warm felted clogs:

In case the problem isn't obvious:

The new ones will be a bit more interesting, because I'll be making them from this:

And because my felted clogs are the warmest and most comfortable house slippers I've ever worn, I feel compelled to make the new ones soon. Besides, I want to see how this yarn looks all mushed and matted!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fun and No Fun

The No Fun first::

I'm actually pleased with how the apron turned out, but it's too big for me. I was going to make this one for myself, and then one to give David's mother next Christmas. But the miles and miles of binding were just tedious and annoying. So I'm not going to make this again (even in the smaller size), and this apron is going in the drawer as one of Joy's Christmas gifts next year.

And the fun: David suspended Terry's rattle filled sockie toy and she had lots of exercise trying to get it.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Washing Orchid

Orchid is a ewe. She's mostly Corriedale. She belongs to Martha Owens. She has lovely golden and gray fleece. I love Orchid's fleece.

We got to spin some of it in the grease over last weekend and I think most of us in the class thought it worked well. We prepared it using the Viking combs. Orchid's fleece was for our class, and we didn't use most of it there, so each class participant came home with her share.

I cruised around the internet and began to realize it would be a good thing not to keep unwashed fleece too long. So I washed it, and now I love it even more.

I prepared little net baggies to enclose the locks.

I submerged the baggie enclosed locks in hot water with Dawn detergent.

I hung them to dry in the vicinity of, but not too close to, the wall heater in the basement bathroom.

I stored the clean, soft wool in a muslin bag, to await further processing. Not sure what that will be.

I love Orchid's fleece. Wool is miraculous stuff!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Viking Spinner

That was the theme for our spinning weekend workshop at the John C. Campbell Folk School. And what a fun and informative weekend it was! Instructor extraordinaire Noel Thurner set about teaching a group of rank beginner to very novice spindle spinners the art of a top whorl spindle, stressing the actions to get into our "muscle memory."

Noel is high energy, highly experienced, and best of all adept at teaching; the right progression, the right amount of information, made learning fun and relaxed. In addition, she made the whole experience more fun by placing our tasks within the historical context of the Vikings as they traveled the globe with their hand spun, wool sails (yes they were!! - all 374 pounds of each one). We had the opportunity to try our hands at several different wool rovings, washing and combing wool (wow - those Viking combs could be lethal as weapons), and even spinning in the grease.

I'm hooked! Or maybe I should say spun?

Here's Noel helping Patricia prepare Wensleydale fleece for washing.

Missy and Kate making great yarn.

Karen, my roommate, at the end of the weekend having successfully spun the dog fur that prompted her to participate in the workshop.

So what did I actually DO over the weekend? I learned to use these tools and made all these little balls of yarn.

Various colored pencil roving back left, greasy Corriedale is the golden brown in the middle (I love the color), and various breeds' roving and top in front: Spelsau, Icelandic, Finn and Wensleydale.

Too much fun! I'll tell you tomorrow about washing my share of the Corriedale fleece that came home with me. It's from Orchid, a ewe owned by Martha Owens of The Yarn Circle (see side bar) and fiber artist in residence at the Folk School.