27 May 2008

Mohair Madness

Just a little Tuesday fiber pr0n.

Mohair from Diane Kelly of Firesong Fibers. I washed a small batch of raw mohair fleece in near-boiling water. Hmm, I think I'll update this post later with some good verbiage. But for now, enjoy.

There. That kinda takes the sting out of having to go back to work, doesn't it?

24 May 2008

Blue, Pink, Blue, Green


Moody Blues, 50/50 wool/silk, singles

Moody Blues, 50/50 wool/silk, 2-ply


Short Row Ring Wrap, in Tango (70/30 wool/mohair)
by Dancing Leaf Farm, colorway, "Briar Patch"



South Hill and Pond, afternoon, before the storm.
this and all following photographs are completely unaltered.

barn under cloud cover

21 May 2008


Ever since I learned to ply, I've been obsessive about plying my singles.

Srsly, why would I leave a single? Plying makes EVERYTHING better.

a little blurry, but color-correct

But after plying up my Northern Lights singles, I wasn't so sure. This could be because my first bobbin was pretty uneven -- not exactly thick-and-thin, more like thin-and-cobweb-and-sometimes-it-breaks, while the second bobbin is a fairly consistent 1-1.5mm thickness.

2nd bobbin (L) and 1st bobbin (R)

By the second bobbin, I had hit my stride and my fingers knew exactly how to draw out what I wanted. I started getting aggravated when I tried plying the two together. It seems a bit of a waste, plying my "OMG I'm so proud of it!!!" 2nd bobbin with the "I only pretend to know what I'm doing" 1st bobbin, because the end result is an uneven yarn. I'm giving it a bit of overtwist because I'm thinking about using it for socks (and for socks you want a tight twist so it's hard-wearing).

After I had filled a bobbin with the 2-ply, I sat back and evaluated it. I like it... at the same time, I'm not sure that plying brings out the best in the fiber and colorway. I think I prefer it in singles... and since I have about 3-3.5 oz top left, am tempted to spin the remainder as such. Then I'd just wind it all up (along with the already-spun, unplied singles) on my niddy-noddy, set the twist and call it a day.

RECOMMENDED READING: this article (pdf link, the article is free) from Spin Off Magazine on the effect of twist in plying.

19 May 2008

Maryland Sheep and Wool 2008 Wrap-Up

In my hurry to get to MD Sheep & Wool, I forgot my camera. I kicked myself a few times and then got on with the day.

Well, I went on Saturday with the intention of just buying some sheep's milk cheese from the folks at Menhennett Farm. Damnit, I forgot the name of the man who makes it. But he said that this was probably their last year at MD S&W, which made me sad. We had a lovely chat about cheesemaking (did I mention I love Tiffany Aching?), and he walked me through the process, which I thoroughly appreciated. For those interested, Menhennett Farm cheeses are also for sale from Bill Houder at the Town Clock Cheese Shoppe in Gap, PA (717.442.9090).

Cheese transaction completed, I decided that while I was there, it wouldn't hurt to maybe take a stroll through one of the barns. Just to look. I wouldn't seriously be tempted; just observing.

Walky, walky, walky... no temptations... ok, we're good. Hey, I can see the other end of the barn and I still haven't bought anything! Woohoo! GO ME!

Hey... what's that? I made it about 3/4 of the way through when I noticed a familiar stack of Corridale roving crates. I saw the back wall displaying a series of Ashford wheels. The barn I walked into was the one where Stony Mountain Fibers had their booth. I love Stony Mountain Fibers.

So I thought, well, a couple braids of roving wouldn't be bad. After all, roving isn't yarn, and I told myself I wasn't going to buy yarn. And ooh, that's a pretty color... Oh, and I like that one, too. Hey, here's one that's undyed; I could maybe try my hand at that! And then I saw something fluffy and chocolately brown in the corner... BUFFALO DOWN! I had been pondering this ever since I saw their ads on Ravelry. I felt the sample skein. I had to have it. So I bought an ounce of that.

100% dehaired American bison down from Buffalo Gold

Last year, I went on a blue-buying spree. This year was brown (okay, and a little blue).

50/50 wool/silk roving from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks

Colonial Wool top, "Northern Lights" colorway, from Stony Mountain Fibers

70/30 Alpaca/Tussah from Stony Mountain Fibers

100% bamboo top, "Expresso" (sic) colorway

100% superfine Merino wool

Alpaca/Merino/Tussah, undyed

silk hankies, "Mendocino Hedges" colorway

All told, I had a couple braids of 50/50 wool/silk, a couple braids of Colonial wool, some undyed Tussah/merino/alpaca, some superfine merino, about a pound of 70/30 alpaca/Tussah, 4.35 oz of espresso-brown bamboo top and a 1-oz stack of hand-dyed silk hankies.

And cheese.

And a lamb sandwich in mah bellay.

On my way out, I yelled at lickmysticks (Ravelry link). I did not demand earrings, though. I felt that startling a pregnant woman well into her third trimester -- who likely has the knowing of some obscure fighting skills with knitting needles that she learned during a stint in Needleworth Jail -- was probably enough.

Afterwards, I sat for a little bit with the Western Maryland Ravelers (Ravelry link) tailgate party and waved maniacally at passing buses. Casey, Jess, Mary-Heather and the rest of Team Rav stopped by our tailgate! They had enough grace to not look visibly disturbed at our bubbly over-enthusiasm and cheers of "WOOOO! RAVELRY!!! YEAH!!!"

And just when I thought it was over...

I went back in.

I made a beeline for Tess' yarns. I really wanted to buy seven skeins of silky wool to make the sweater from Pattern #74 that they had displayed as a model.... but I had enough cash left in my wallet for two skeins of sock yarn (you know, now that I'm a sock knitter and everything).

Then I gathered up my purchases, slung 'em into the car, had a wild and bumpy ride going a leeetle too fast over the rutted field of the HoCo Fairgrounds parking, drove to Eleganza and rented a wheel. It was a good day.

Yep, I rented a wheel. You know what that means...

17 May 2008

New Post Soon

With pictures of MD Sheep and Wool acquisitions!

12 May 2008

I have a well-dressed nephew.



dressing the model

Project Specs:
Pattern: Sirdar 1731
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo
Colorway: 139
Skeins: 5
Size: 1-2 yrs.
see also Ravelry project page.

The pattern
was, for the most part, easy to follow. The only difficult part was when I ran into a section that said, "Patt 2tog," and "patt to end." Pattern 2 together? WTF? It took me a while to figure out that they meant, "Do this to whatever stitch presents itself at that time in the pattern." If you're looking at k st, then k2tog. If you're looking at purls, p2tog.

Notes on the yarn:
Baby Bamboo is wonderfully soft. It is splitty. At times it is like knitting with giant embroidery floss. Ends left hanging loose will fray; I knotted some of them until I was ready to sew them in (then I just cut off the knot and threaded my needle). Once you accept that it is splitty, it is not difficult to work with.

Other notes: I did all cables without a cable needle, since it was only ever cabling in sets of 2 sts. It takes a little more getting used to when working with a splitty yarn like bamboo. Project is worked in 5 pieces, then sewn together. Placket and collar picked up and knitted after seaming shoulders; before setting sleeves. I did a crochet cast-off to add some rigidity to the back of the neck.

09 May 2008

Morning's at Seven, Breakfast's at Seven-Thirty; Hill-sides Dew-Pearled, Necks Pearl-Dewed.

It rained:

Crest of South Hill

Springtime came to Knit Goddingdom:

The Imperial Pond, looking South

I put on my new gardening shoes:

Royal Horticulture Society Clogs in "Peaches" by Hunter Boots

And I built a compost bin out of palettes, steel L-brackets and some screws.

I also bought steel strap hinges; door to be added.
I love me some power tools.

Sunset on the North Hill:

I finished my Nutkins, and here's proof:

And, riding that wave of accomplishment and desire for a new challenge, I picked up this:

100% merino, 440 yds, colorway, "Blockhead," hand-dyed by Handspun and Dyed Too, on etsy.

And with help from my LYS and Melissa Morgan-Oakes, began knitting two socks at once on a ridiculously long Addi Turbo.

Some ancestor of mine on my mother's side made this table.
There's a story/history that goes along with it.
I don't remember what it is, but I could probably make up a pretty good substitute.

Next time:
  • MD Sheep and Wool Pillaging Purchases Revealed!
  • Roving before and after pictures! Silk and wool like you've never probably not often seen before!
  • And much, much more!

04 May 2008

So I went on vacation

and forgot to post about it. Knitting happened.

I also went to MD S&W. I forgot my camera, but never fear.

Keep your fingers crossed and do a rain/post dance, and I'll have some new stuff up soon.