Thursday, December 06, 2007

Footlet Socks for a wide foot

I bought this lovely yarn in Las Cruces, NM, visiting my dear friend Jeanne. I loved the shop, Unravel Yarn Shop & Gallery . The very helpful shop owner was happy to point me to yarn manufactured in the region and probably hard to find in the East. There was plenty in the skein for at least a 6" leg at the width knitted, 8" for a narrower leg and ankle. There's enough left over for booties.

Materials: 1 skein LoneSome Stone's Mountain Feat in "Shades of Lavender" 100% superwash Merino in the company's "Premier Color Collection." 400 yards. (no weight on yarn band)
Needles: Addi Turbo #1 because they are at the top range of the #1 size, probably closer to #1.5
Gauge 7 st / 1"
Ease: 12% or 1.42"
Ankle circumference: 12"

I need socks that will fit wide feet and swollen ankles so I designed my own pattern. Next time I'll try Lucy Neatby's double knitting to the method I used, just in case it's easier. My method resulted in a very tidy cuff but was a little painstaking.

Cast on 66 + 1 stitch to allow for the round jog. You may use a provisional cast-on if you like.
Folded-over cuff: knit in k1p1 (using whatever needles or method you like) for 1" or 14 rounds. Purl next round, knit another 14 rounds in p1k1 ribbing. On next round fold over the cuff and pick up one stitch from the live stitches and 1 from cast-on edge. Knit 2 rounds. Next round, increase 6 sts evenly (*knit 10 sts, inc 1 in next stitch* six times). Continue on 72 sts until 3/4" from bottom of cuff.
Heel: used traditional heel with heel stitch ribbing.
Gusset: continue on until 60 sts. Knit until 6" (or desired length -- my food is short).
Toe: decrease 2 sts. at each half of round (4 sts) every other row. When there are 8 sts left, graft sts with kitchener st.

Finished: early November 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Third Scarf for the Women's Auxiliary Charity Project

Judy B. is once again my model for a lovely (if I say so myself) dropped stitch scarf, about 6' long, made from Manetto Hill Yarnery's "Awaken", 60 yards / 50g; 100% nylon. I cast on 16 stitches and used #11 needles and 2 1/2 balls The colors on this are hard to see in the photo, which is slightly blurred. It's lovely space dyed ribbon yarn, mainly fuschias to purples. The pattern was to have 2 or 3 garter bumps on each side before a dropped stitch row.

Luckily, the wonderful, generous Phyllis H. who organized the charity project fell in love with the scarf. Phyllis' close friend has bought it for her birthday as a surprise. That's good because Manetto Hill Yarnery seems to be out of business. Oh well.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Spinning Guild Paper Bag Project for 2007

Last spring each North Country Spinners Guild member received a bag with 4 colors of Romney roving, 2 dyed and 2 natural. When I opened my bag I almost cried; one of my colors was school bus yellow . Luckily a very sweet guild member traded me for either the blue or the green - I can't remember now which one.

First I carded each into into about 17 combinations, trying to get as many colors as possible. I didn't photograph the rolags with all their variations. I did get very involved n making sure that each of the four colors was combined with each, sometimes 4 colors altogether.

For the spinning I carefully, albeit totally intuitively, arranged the rolags so that they would alternate dark to medium to light and then spun it woolen.

I began with 4 unmixed colors which you can see in the center of the upside-down bowl. To maintain the colors' distinctiveness I Navajo plied the single and ended up with about 34 yds.

My D.B. loves containers in various places for loose change and sundries. I decided to knit a bowl, using 4 wooden #13 dp's, beginning from the center. I fulled the finished bowl in the washing machine.

Originally I had not looked forward to this project and tried to finish it as soon as possible. These photos were taken on August 3. In the end, however, I really enjoyed the color blending. The little bowl reminds me of the North American Indian baskets which lined the walls of our Anthropology lab at Bryn Mawr. A small version, that is. The subtle differences in color add to the interest, along with the big, thick stitches which look like basketry. And, the D.B. loves it, which is what matters.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More Mats for the Cats or....Whatever

2007 was definitely the Year of the Mat, floor and other. My D.B. has been delighted by the myriad mats. Not being as categorically compulsive as I, she uses them how and wherever she needs them. Unlike me, she is constrained one iota by whether this or that mat was knit for a cat to sit on, humans to stand on while washing dishes or for a kitty placemat.

Materials: the last of the Sugar 'n' Creme by Lily in
Method: Mason Dixon Knitting log cabin technique. 2 strands of worsted weight on #9 needles. Finished 2007 .

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rhinebeck, My Daughter Learns to Spin and I Give Myself a Present

My New Golding Spindle -- "Vintage Sterling Silver" Ring Spindle bought directly from the artist himself. Wow! It's 1.21 oz and works like a dream. It was my present to myself for my 60th birthday. A work of art -- and an indulgence.

Top: Caroline waits in line at Toni's The Fold for Socks That Rock Yarn.
Bottom: Caroline learns to spin on a spinning wheel -- in about 5 minutes she had it down. The vendor, of The Wool Room, Brewster, NY, was a very good teacher and very patient. And, she's off and running! I mean, spinning.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mermaid for Maria

My friend Maria is a glittery kind of girl (yes, she's a woman and proud of it but it just isn't alliterative, is it?)

For some reason Blogger hasn't uploaded the photos I have in this message. Click on the title to see the mermaid kit and completed project.

About 4 years ago -- maybe longer, our friends from Australia, Joan and Di, gave me this great little kit by a well-known woman artist from New Zealand , Jennifer Pudney. I just couldn't leave well enough alone, could I? So, I removed the gentleman from the lighthouse, fixed the architecture somewhat and added glitz to the mermaid with beads and glittery embroidery yarn. I'd never worked with the shiny embroidery thread I used for the hair and fishtail and will not use it again. It split, ravelled and was awful to use but feasible for a small project. And, it turned out just as I wanted, which is the important thing.

Now I just have to sign it where the signature will be seen when Maria frames it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cotton and Hemp -- a discontinued yarn

In the summer of 2006 I bought some lovely sale yarn from Yarn Forward -- their house brand of Cotton-Hemp Chunky. It's a fabulous yarn but has, alas, been discontinued.

Top: First I put two Mason-Dixon Knitting log cabin squares together, intending to use this as a small mat. However, it's so elegant that it's now a table runner. Also, because on washing it shrank together nicely -- I don't think "fulling" or "felting" apply to vegetable fibers but that's what it looks like. I went on a hunt for more but could only find it from a company that took 6 weeks to send a similar yarn.

Middle: a place mat -- small, luncheon-sized place mat.

Bottom: with the left over I made a dish or washcloth. Who knows how the D.B. will want to use it! It works for either purpose but she avers that it's too pretty for a dish cloth. Perhaps it can be hot pad?

My hope is that with the popularity of household knitting, this yarn will be re-issued. It isn't a bargain by any means, however.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Modular knitting conquered

A washcloth and a bathmat -- more household knitting from this past summer, this time from Modular Knits: New Techniques for Today's Knitters by Iris Schreier. Her directions are much more logical, not to mention simpler than a technique I used previously. The edges come out very neatly, too.

Click on the title of this blog to see my previous attempt.

Yarn: Peaches 'n' Cream worsted in yellow and two multis (I ran out of one).


Friday, October 12, 2007

Crossing the Mason-Dixon Line

This past summer was the summer of mats, rugs and household knitting. I am in love with Mason-Dixon Knitting, especially the triple-stranded Elmore-Pisgah Peaches & Creme mats and rugs. On the recommended #15 needles they come out thick and bouncy, very nice underfoot. Top: Mountain Colors and bottom, Red. I'm now finishing the second red rug. They're about 24"x18" I'm planning at least two more for winter weather's slush. Another good thing -- they're very fast to knit up.

The yellow mat (one of two) is made from two strands of regular worsted Sugar 'n' Cream by Lily on #10 needles. It's very tight -- perfect where you need a small, thick mat.

Using the log cabin technique really prevents cotton's inclination to warp out of shape.

Note: the thicker the mats and rugs needs at least one extra spinning cycle in the washing machine to get out all the extra water. And, they may take VERY long to dry in the dryer. Taking them out just before they're all dry and patting them smooth allows them to lie flat when dried.

I couldn't resist trying the round rug pattern in this multi ombre worsted-weight Sugar 'n' Cream by Lily. Two strands with #9 needles. It's about 24" in diameter

And, these are the Mason-Dixon ball band dishcloths, using one strand of the yellow and multi. Lots of fun

Potholder presents

My infatuation with Elmore-Pisgah's Peaches & Creme continues. I ordered a bunch of double worsted single balls in various colors to experiment with, hoping to find colors and combinations for more rugs. For swatches I made potholders. The colors are 1. Potholders left to right: Pink Lemonade and Winterberry; 2. The yarn samples top to bottom are Fiesta Ombre and Mardi Gras. There are no photos of the potholders made from Mardi Gras and Fiesta Ombre as I gave them away before photographing them. The Pink Lemonade and Winterberry potholders now live with Morgan and Sue. Fiesta Ombre & Mardi Gras live with Adelaide and Jack.

Each ball contains 50 yards and makes a thick, usable potholder. I cast on 24 stitches and knit plain garter stitch on #7's for the thickness. The edges are in chain edge stitch.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dye Pot Day North Country Spinners, September 7, 2007

These are the skeins I dyed at Dye Pot Day, an eagerly anticipated annual event at North Country Spinners, my spinning guild. Here are the skeins hung up to drip and dry at home. Please pardon the funny white splotches on the photograph -- I believe it's water spots from the skeins.
My osage orange pot produced the deep golden skeins, to the right of the trunk. The four skeins are lace weight, unidentified wool, 1 oz/c.1400 yards. I soaked 4 oz of osage orange chips overnight in a recycled stocking and brewed it for about an hour. It went a very long way, successfully dyeing a huge skein of cotton and many skeins and scarves. The dye was not even exhausted by the end of the dyeing session.

Jean brewed up goldenrod which makes a beautiful yellow, especially on my skeins mordanted in alum the night before. (I mean the 3 skeins towards the middle and left of the tree trunk.) The middle one of these skeins is a greenish yellow, as it had been in the pot with Greta's skein, inadvertently mordanted in her iron-rich tap water. It's always fun and a wonderful experience dyeing with Jean. She' s a genius with dye and colors.

The guild provided the indigo vat and the cochineal dye pot, along with an alum mordanting pot, with Jenny in charge. Each member also received a silk scarf. It took some time for Jenny to prepare guild's pots and vat as the indigo turned out to be trickier than expected. But as three of us had brought dye pots to share the delay wasn't wasted time. I wish I'd been able to get to May McCay's osage orange which was dyeing a deep, almost olive green.

I used the cochineal pot for the magenta skein, which came out a pale, almost pastel shade. The problem was that it wasn't allowed to stay in the pot long enough to attain the richer shade that my silk scarf had. (no photo of the scarf yet.)

The indigo was fun, as usual, as it seems like magic turning wool from green to blue, merely by waving it in air. Two of my skeins were Norwegian yarn I'd originally dyed at Peter's Valley. They'd had some logwood blotches which looked like spilled grape jam on the pale blue. Now, the indigo has made the purple richer and the blue a good dark medium -- sort like Copenhagen blue. Now I can seriously plan a sweater.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Knitting for the Women's Auxiliary

This scarf was knit last March for a charity project chaired by one of my favorite people at my place of employ, Phyllis H. Yarn: Gedifra Teco Hair; 50 g / 90 m; 100% nylon. I used about 3 balls. The scarf will be sold at Ronald McDonald House in November. This is a corkscrew scarf. The model is Judy, my lunch buddy. Thank you, Judy.

I'd agreed to knit three scarves. altogether. However, the second scarf was a total disaster and very surprisingly so. I'd used a wide rayon ribbon yarn, space dyed and frayed at the sides Gedifra Costa Rica; 50 g. / 31 m.; 100% nylon. Using my hairpin lace loom and working at a great pace, I'd used two balls of the yarn before I took it off the loom. Unfortunately only the bottom fourth had worked. The rest was useless, giant loops. And with that kind of yarn you can't tink it because you'd end up having to iron 100+ yards of the stuff to get the kinks out. Oh well. But, the good news is that the third scarf, also knit with novelty ribbon yarn, is going to be a great success. Thank goodness.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Beer Cozies for Sam

Well, I finally finished two ribbed beer cozies my son asked for. Click on the title of the blog to see the ones I gave him last January. Sam insisted -- and emphatically -- that the cozies sport his name. After needle felting one cozy and fulling the other in the washing machine, I painstakingly cross-stitched his name with gold novelty yarn. The inside isn't so tidy (which is why I didn't photograph it). I gave them to Sam on Rosh Hashanah and he was delighted. Apparently he really did want the cozies monogrammed. I used yarn I'd spun from some naturally dark brown merino (?) my sister gave me which she'd bought for felting. It was one of my early attempts, spun as a raw newbie on my trusty Louet. Sam wants the toasty cozies to take to ball games in the fall or early spring, to keep his hands warm as he drinks the cold beer. Would you believe that?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

PICC Sleeves

May 11, 2007 (Yes, this is even before my last post in June!)

Fellow spinners from North Country Spinners (my spinning guild in Blairstown, NJ).are modelling 4 of the 8 PICC sleeves I've knitted for the Guild's 2007 chairty project.

I hope to keep catching up. It's been a busy summer with not much leftover time or energy.

Yarns used:
Schoeller + Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Color -- great for this project as it gets softer with washing.
Cascade Yarns Fixation -- a yarn with elastic -- made a very tight sleeve
Scheepjes Donna 50% wool and 50% acrylic

All the yarns are machine washable.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Immortality Achieved

If you click on the title to this post, you'll see my photo on The Yarn Harlot post about BEA / BookExpo America. Not much more to say right now.

Knit on!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Yarn Harlot Comes to New York...again

Today was my Yarn Harlot Day; I was privileged to see Stephanie Pearl McPhee three times at three different events. The last event included other knitting glitterati: Debbie Stoller, Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne. This morning I arrived at BookExpo America at 8:50. Anyone who knows me understands what kind of a miracle it is for me to have gotten to the Javits Center that early. What motivated me? It should have been my job. Sadly, my goal was to get in line early for Stephanie Pearl McPhee's autographing free copies of her newest book -- Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting. Happily, I was third in line with most congenial fellow knitters. Strangely, only two of us were knitting -- the first person in line and me. Well, we were all standing.

Celebrities don't usually impress me. For one, I'm a jaded New Yorker. My first job after college was at The William Morris Agency where famous people of all sorts were everywhere. I used to see John Lennon and Yoko Ono in my "hood" and once even studiously avoided making eye contact with them in an elevator at Saks -- even though I was only one of two non-Lennons in that elevator. New Yorkers give famous people lots of private space in the public arena. Meeting The Yarn Harlot was different. It mattered personally and, unlike most celebrities, she actually seemed to wish to speak with us. I was happy to get her new book. And, this is a Big Secret ... Stephanie (if I may call her that!) also autographed a copy for my daughter, Caroline. No one will be surprised that I found Stephanie as sweet, witty and personable as everyone has reported her to be.
All those on line were invited to come to Highbridge Audio's booth at 1 pm to get autographed copies of the audiobook edition of At Knit's End. Again I was third in line and in the company of delightful fellow knitters. We shared goodies -- like the tee shirt and the fact that at Storey Publishing's booth, just next door, they were giving away the most adorable boxed skeins of yarn to promote Judith Durant's One Skein Wonders. One generous stranger, when I admired her "Knitting Rules Button" (no longer available), gave me her duplicate. Aren't knitters lovely people. I'm looking forward to listening to At Knit's End on my ipod. I do hope Stephanie's knitting hand isn't too cramped by all that book signing today. In between these two autographing sessions, I actually did accomplish a lot for my job. After all, they did make all this possible.

There was one more knitting extravaganza in store. After meeting My Dearly Beloved and sharing lunch, I headed for the panel discussion about marketing knitting and crafts books in retail bookstores. In addition to Stephanie, the panel included: Debbie Stoller of Stitch 'n Bitch fame; Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne, authors of Mason-Dixon Knitting; the president of the Craft Yarn Council of America, Mary Colucci and Rene Martin (sorry, I can't make the accent work) of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC The panel was ably chaired by David Didrikson of Willow Books and Cafe in Acton, MA.

Stephanie, Kay and Ann joined most of us in the audience who were knitting by working on their own projects.

Although the panel was meant to educate booksellers about marketing craft-related books, particularly knitting books, the majority of the audience was knitters. However, it is hoped that the conclusions reached by the panel will be received by retailers. Stephanie, who says her life recently has been one long book tour (Go, Stephanie!) explained how time and again bookstores vastly underestimate the number of attendees to expect at her appearances. Debbie Stoller, an avid feminist (yay feminism!) explained how she originally found herself defending her love of knitting to those who
thought it was, paradoxically, "only" women's work. She feels her Stitch 'n Bitch series has fueled the current revival of the craft. Ann and Kay described wonderful and successful appearances in small town bookstores, despite smaller turnouts than one might expect in urban locations. Mary related how her work with the Craft Yarn Council of America works to educate the various segments of the industry, consumers, manufacturers, publishers, about trends and needs.

Not surprisingly, everyone agreed that the national bookstore chains haven't a clue about the importance of knitting or other crafts --- and that they are missing the boat in a big way.
David and Rene, on the other hand, each have had great success with knitting events. They've listened to knitters, knitting authors and worked with local yarn stores. The panelists reported that book store owners and managers always underestimate the audience size for knitting book authors. Their appearances inevitably draw a larger audience than appearances by novelists, nonfiction writers or poets. Partnering with local libraries and using school auditoriums has been a successful strategy for larger venues.

Various suggestions were made, some from the audience. Because knitters tend to be "loyal as dogs," (Stephanie's phrase), if bookstores have the right titles, they'll win a following. Knitters will know at a glance whether the bookstore is serious about serving their needs so the panelists suggested making sure that hard-to-find classics, like Elizabeth Zimmerman, were kept in stock. The audience confirmed that they must resort ... gasp... to Amazon for a lot of the classic knitting books. My own suggestion is that book store owners ask local reference librarians or craft guilds to provide extensive bibliographies. David and Rene agreed that knitters make great audiences and tend to be quite tidy, apparently important to some booksellers. Stephanie assured the panel that all they need to keep knitters happy is enough cake. She also pointed out that knitters buy books -- lots of books because a book seems so cheap in comparison to the cost of yarn to make a sweater. It was also suggested that knitters ought to be invited to purely literary events as a way of insuring an audience. The popularity of knitlit or craftlit events was noted. Let's hope retailers get the message.

It was a truly fascinating discussion. I find it interesting that libraries have outstripped book retailers in this area, at least at our libraries in New York and Sussex County. I'm always surprised by how poorly the national chains deal with subject specialities. On the knitting and spinning list serves, the local libraries' excellent collections in the crafts are often noted.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tagged by Caroline

Havng been tagged in a game I didn't know I was playing, I'll join the fun. Apparently the rules are that you must tell 8 random things about yourself. And, you have to tag others. The thing is, I don't know any other bloggers besides Caroline and Spinning Spider Jenny but she's busy enough without getting tagged.
1. On May 6 Marsha, my beloved partner of 10 years, and I were civilated (NJ's legislature wouldn't give us marriage tho' the NJ supreme court mandated that we be given every privilege of marriage). I made up this word to point out the adsurdity of it all.
2. I was born in Spain in 1947 and have lived in the U.S., France, and Germany.
3. I have two wonderful children, Sam and Caroline and a great new child, our newish son-in-law, Scott.
4. My parents christened me in the Episcopal Church in Madrid when I was born. Two years later the whole family converted to Catholicism at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In November, 1966 I became an ex-Catholic. By the end of college I was an atheist. When I married my children's father I converted to Judaism because, as an anthropology major, a fan of The Book of Ruth and someone who had lived in Germany, it seemed the right thing to do. It turned out to be a great decision.
5. My profession is Judaica librarianship. I love it and am very happy in my place of employ and really like the people I work with. Maybe even love a couple of them like family, would you believe? How lucky is that????
6. Besides knitting, which I learned over 50 years ago, the other fiber arts in which I dabble or have dabbled are: crocheting, embroideries of various kinds, needlepoint, dyeing, macrame, sewing, quilting, spinning, weaving (in my youth but I want to take it up again soon). I also have a number of non-fiber interests.
7. We have 3 cats, one in New York, the other two in the country. We'd have many more, and dogs, and angora bunnies, and .... if we only had the time and room.
8. I have been surprised by the gifts middle age brings. Despite inevitable health issues, it is a very liberating time of life. I'm happier than ever before. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have had the advantages and happenstance experiences that have made up my life. You never know!
9. Like many librarians I'm a confirmed dilettante. No, it's not self-deprecation. It's just that I don't want more than a cursory knowledge of a wide variety of subjects and to concentrate on the few I wish to delve into more deeply.
10. When I was approaching 30 I was disappointed that I hadn't yet learned everything I needed to know. As I approach 60 this October, I'm delighted that there's still so much to discover.

It turns out I couldn't stop at 8. Oh well.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Shetland Fleeces No.1

Last fall in the monthly newsletter from North Country Spinners I spotted a notice from a shepherd in Garrison, NY, offering Shetland fleeces for sale. Having grown up in Garrison, I was intrigued and decided to call. Cynthia, the shepherd, answered. She was very friendly and lots of fun to speak with. We discovered several coincidences. Not only did we have Garrison in common but we'd both attended the same college. And, Cynthia's husband is a distinguished author of dictionaries, essential in every library (and I'm a librarian). Over the course of several conversations and e-mail exchanges I ended up with my first fleeces. Yes, fleeces, not fleece. I couldn't help it -- they sounded so yummy.

When the fleeces arrived in early November in my small city apartment, I was somewhat taken aback. They were much dirtier and smellier than I expected. Properly so, it turns out. The cats were just fascinated by the strong aromas of the farm animals they've never seen. I did some research and discovered that Shetlands tend to get awfully mucky. Although I'd handled raw fleece before in workshops and such I was unprepared for the real thing.

Molly's fleece, a light gray mix, seemed the right one to start with. I was wrong. It was probably the dirtiest and had the most sunburned tips, most of which I pulled off as I teased the fleece. It took a couple of hours just to pull the tips off and tease.
Did I mention that I didn't begin this process until about 9 pm in the middle of a busy work week? It took about 4 hours and still there's plenty of grease and grit in the fleece. The first water of each scouring turned as deeply brown as a good cup of coffee. And, the fleece, in my airless apartment, took days and days to dry. On top of that, it looks as though I may have felted it slightly. I hope not!

After posting inquiries on Spindler's and my knit list, I got the names of some reliable wool processors. The person who answered the phone at the Zeilinger Wool Company laughed in the kindest, most supportive way when I described my apartment-dwellers's predicament. She reassured me that she processes the fleeces belonging to many urban spinners reluctant to clog their buildings' pipes. And, additionally, she told me that if I waited until January I'd get a 25% discount. Who could resist such a wonderful company.

Again I called the nice lady at Zeilinger who explained just how to pack up and label the fleeces. She explained that Shetland was not fine but medium to coarse fiber. And, she seems awfully intent on saving me money, for which I'm very grateful. All four fleeces are squished into one carton. Off they'll go to the post office tomorrow morning.
I'm posting photos of two of the fleeces' skin sides because the colors are are not compromised by the sunburned tips that the processing will mostly remove.)

When the roving comes back -- the lovely lady also told me I didn't want pencil roving -- I'll post the pictures. Can't wait.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Beer Can Cozies for Sam

Call it a mother's paranoia but I really thought the reason Sam wanted me to knit him beer can cozies was so that he could make fun of his old mother. It is a little far out and verges on kitsch, don't you think? Well, I finally made them for him and he's delighted with them. He's placed an order for more cozies with his name or monogram knitted into them.

For the brown cozy I used some of my earliest spun yarn -- extremely funky -- which I'd plied with a ladder yarn at an NCS workshop.

It turns out that Sam really wished he'd had one of the cozies with him at a particularly chilly end-of-season Mets game this year. Photograph taken as we were about to set the table Rosh Hashanah dinner (note the lovely Madeira cloth on the table). 9/22/06

Monday, January 29, 2007

Plying with Caroline

What a lovely afternoon of spinning we had yesterday. Caroline learned to ply so very quickly. As Caroline noted in her blog, we improvised a pretty cool substitute for the upturned flowerpots Jenny Bakriges recommends,instead using two book boxes weighted with hefty tomes. Caroline didn't have felt-cover pebbles for winding the singles around so I suggested tennis balls. They really worked well.

The green fiber was used as packing material in a carton from Grafton Fibers. Thank you, Linda Diak! The black fiber was in a little sample in a registration bag from MAFA or SOAR (??). It's Black Welsh Mountain Sheep, spindled in the grease and the roughest, uckiest fiber I've ever spun. It'd make a great rope because it seems awfully strong. Or, perfect for medieval hair shirts?

As you can see above, we have here a definite case of the student surpassing her teacher. As I was plying Caroline could tell that I wasn't plying tightly enough. It's my consistent issue, actually. The yarn strand running horizontally across the skein is the model I'd made from the fresh yarn and meant to reacreate while I was plying. After washing the skein last night, I could see that I'm going to have to add a little more twist.

I'm really enjoying sharing spinning with my daughter whose innate mechanical skills were again apparant as she understood what I told her almost immediately. I decided, too, to pass on two of my way-too-many spindles, a Golding ring spindle "(3" maple) and a Greensleeves barebones. She's also "borrowing" my mid-sized niddy-noddy. Oh well, one does need all the proper supplies.

Sarah Bradberry's "Stoke-on-Trent Tote" #1

Litmus's tote, pre-felting. Note the little paw prints left by Phoebe Rose who is looking longlingly on this lovely wooly object she's thinking of making her sleeping bag.

Materials: Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride worsted weight: 2 1/2 skeins of Victorian Pink and almost 2 skeins of Brown Heather. #8 needles.

I'm a little worried about the handle -- will it felt tightly enough to be strong enough?

Post felting photo to follow. (Couldn't resist the alliteration.)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

North Country Spinners Blankie Project

My spinning guild's 2006 project was afghans. Originally they were to be donated to the Salvation Army and / or the Red Cross. As I support neither group, I didn't participate except to donate a partially completed afghan and yarn found on our recycle table in New York. Instead, I worked on the Sanctuary Blanket Project at work. Sorry for the blurriness. This year we'll be knitting PICC sleeves for cancer patients at Hackettstown Hospital.
(Sorry for the blurriness; as my cataracts ripen I'm less and less capable of focusing, it seems.) 1/5/07

Ed's Christmas Scarf

Ed chose this wonderful alpaca and wool blend and the garter stitch pattern early last summer after I bought the yarn at Sparta's Yarn Loft at their summer sale. It's about 6.5' long. We gave it to him for Christmas and he seems to love it. The DB and I have an arrangement -- she's the fiber enabler par excellence and I make our presents. Lucky me.

Ice Tea Cozies; The Genteel Version

Here are two ice tea cozies in cotton. They were originally knit for Sam who'd asked for them. But, they turned out a little too femme. Instead I gave them as a present to Elaine who remembers an aunt having these. I love the little faux lace cable stitch! Photograph 10/1/06