31 July, 2010

fourteenth hat

The fourteenth hat I've made is rather plain Jane. I used two skeins of my early handspun, which was thick and knit up quickly.

30 July, 2010

This is a Test. This is Not a Sock.

This is a test. This is not a sock.

I have not yet knit a sock, and don't promise to do so any time soon, either.

This is a test swatch for knitting up my Long Time No Sea yarn and its companion ecru yarn into a bucket hat.

This swatch has told me that this yarn will never be a bucket hat. To create a firm fabric for the brim, the needle size needed is a U.S. size zero. There is no way.

Lace. I will knit my first lace project instead. I've had my eye on the Feather and Fan stitch, otherwise known as Old Shale.

29 July, 2010

The French Shore Tapestry

Have a look at the French Shore Tapestry, 222 feet of work embroidered in Conche, Newfoundland and Labrador to depict the area's history. There is a segment on this CBC News clip around the thirty minute mark, and there's a description and partial image at the French Shore Historical Society website.

Makes you want to do big things.

28 July, 2010

sixty-eighth skein

Here is my sixty-eighth skein, an ounce of ecru Blue Face Leicester spun to match the Long Time No Sea BFL skeins. I thought that this skein looked underspun and underplied and I was not sure how that happened since I spun in the usual way.

I was ready to quote Thomas Aquinas, that I am changeable by my very nature, when I laid the skein next to the others and discovers it matches rather well. Have decided that it is my opinion that is changeable.

Having said that, I'm going to change my opinion again. My spinning does change when I'm not looking. Well, I was looking but I didn't notice. I knit some blue merino handspun into the K2P2 scarf and created an aggravating line of demarkation where the last skein stops, ending a stretch of thin and strangely hard knitting fabric, and the next skein begins, starting a soft, thicker section.

27 July, 2010

sixty-seventh skein

Here is my sixty-seventh skein, spun of Ashland Bay merino in their colour peacock for the K2P2 scarf.

Yesterday I tossed the turquoise-dyed wool in the bin. It had developed a musty smell. The rinse water still had dye leaching into it. Who knows if the wool would ever have come clear. I neglected to change the water the day before, a day when the temperature hit 41 C (105 F) outside, and that was probably what did it in. I feel bad and I hate to disappoint those at the dye workshop who encouraged me and were looking forward to seeing the wool spun up. I was looking forward to the spinning part too.

26 July, 2010

sixty-sixth skein

Behold, my sixty-sixth skein. It's a bit puny.

My digital scale is lying to me. I bought 4 ounces of Blue Face Leicester in the colour Long Time No Sea. I weighed it: 4 ounces. I weighed out an ounce and spun it, getting 102 yards. I weighed out another ounce and spun it into 128 yards. I began to suspect. I weighted out another ounce and spun 114 yards. I went to get the last ounce and somehow it only weighed a little over half an ounce. I spun 70 yards out of that.

I put some undyed BFL on the capricious scale and hit the metric/Imperial button. 28 grams. I took the fibre off and placed it back on the scale. 30 grams, for the same amount of fibre. This is not right.

Honest scales and balances are from the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making. Proverbs 16:11, NIV
A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. Proverbs 11:1 KJV

24 July, 2010

That Bleeding Dye

The Blue Face Leicester wool is still bleeding turquoise synthetic dye into its rinse water a week after the dye workshop. Looks like a bowl of entrails to me, which is charming, just charming.

23 July, 2010

sixty-fifth skein

Here is the sixty-fifth skein I've spun, and it looks much like the last two. 114 yards, one ounce of Blue Face Leicester in the colour Long Time No Sea dyed by gwen.erin [natural fibers] who you can find on Etsy.

22 July, 2010

thirteenth hat

I knit this hat out of some of my early handspun. I added a Nicky Epstein rose, the size and placement of which unintentionally made the hat verge on a bit of a Star Wars shape.

The solution was not to take the rose off, but to add more.

While I had this hat in progress, I took it along to a cookout where I discovered I am incapable of simultaneously keeping track of decreases and carrying on a conversation.

21 July, 2010

sixty-fourth skein

You'll remember from yesterday's post that I had produced an underplied skein. Did I fix the skein? No. I spun another out of the same roving and plied it with what seemed like much too much twist. The resulting angle of twist looked better than the last skein's had.

Sucess! The skein hangs without twisting.

Here is a glamour shot of the sixty-fourth skein that ever I spun:

I got about 128 yards out of this ounce of Blue Face Leicester.

20 July, 2010

Washing out the Dye

Went to a dye workshop, dyed some Blue Face Leicester with the one colour the workshop presenters said would leach colour when washing afterward, and now have a large bowl on the kitchen floor in the way taunting me for having chosen a difficult dye.

The wool has been in successive changes of water for days now and is still leaching turquoise dye.

19 July, 2010

sixty-third skein

Here is the sixty-third skein that ever I spun. On the niddy-noddy, the ply didn't look tight enough. When I took the skein off, my suspicions were confirmed. I'll have to ply this more tightly.

17 July, 2010

Vintage Packet of Moth Repellent

The monarchist and Anglophile in me thought that this vintage packet of moth repellent was pretty cute.

16 July, 2010

Same Method, Different Results

The singles on these two spindles are spun at the same wpi (40) and weigh the same (1 oz). The blue-green singles are Blue Face Leicester, the bright blue singles are merino. I assume the greater volume of the merino singles is due to the greater amount of crimp in the fibre.

15 July, 2010

Spinning While on Public Display

The other weekend I spun at a farmers' market, right beside a friend's booth, Ripping It Down. She finds that customers see me, come over, and then shop her jewellery and paper goods.

My friend remarked how curious it was that the official market video camera, bent on capturing the market sights, presumably for publicity reasons, had been trained on us for quite a while. Mmm. Handspinning as local colour?

Some market customers showed interest in the wool and drop spindle and they asked questions, which I always enjoy. There were also some endearing confidences from a couple of people about how they and children had tried spinning for educational reasons, from the fleece up, or with cotton grown in a garden.

I hear backyard cotton-raising is illegal in this state. Also, I consider teaching a child to spin using raw wool or cotton to be about as prudent as teaching a child to write using a quill and fluid ink from inkwells. That said, it's wonderful the adults cared to teach the kids spinning.

14 July, 2010

sixty-second skein

This is the sixty-second skein that ever I spun, which will become part of the K2P2 scarf.

13 July, 2010

sixtieth and sixty-first skeins

These are the sixtieth and sixty-first skeins that ever I spun. Actually, I spun them earlier, but got the sequence out of order a bit, so we will put them here. They are spun out of an Icelandic fleece that I washed myself, separated (imperfectly), and combed.

They are the reason I have passed up all ensuing opportunities to acquire free, unwashed fleeces (and there have been at least a couple of Gulf Coast Native and a Liecester Longwool on offer).

12 July, 2010

Camel Saddles

These are camel saddles I saw at a flea market and a resale shop. Would come in handy for you handspinners once you get your complete fibre flock in place, eh?

I actually don't know if these saddles fit the type of camel that produces fiber suitable for spinning, which if memory serves is the Bactrian.

10 July, 2010

PVC Spinning Wheel

I had an opportunity to see a spindle-driven Babe's Fiber Garden Big River Spinner in person. Very eye-catching it is, too.

09 July, 2010

Repaired Spinning Wheel

I may have gotten unpleasantly emphatic and insistent while talking with an antique shop owner, regarding my opinion that the spinning wheel on display does not need repair but rather needs replacement parts. (I look back with regret on my breach of Canadian reticence and good manners.)

Whoever the original spinning wheel owner was, he or she was faced with a broken bit that accepts the threaded adjustment knob. He or she glued the mother of all in place.

Glue the mother of all in place, and tension cannot be adjusted. I spin on a spindle and therefore don't fiddle with tension myself, but doesn't such a repair render the wheel pretty much unusable?

08 July, 2010

Imitation Spinning Wheel

I suspect that this object started life as a potted plant stand and never was a spinning wheel.

07 July, 2010

Lovely Spinning Wheel

I saw a lovely spinning wheel the other day at Gates Antiques. If you can go see it, I encourage you to do so. Will do your heart good to know someone spun on such a wheel.

The wood was in gorgeous condition. There was a delicate cage-shaped distaff that charmed me. The spinning wheel was quite tall, with a castle orientation to the whole thing where the wheel sat above the bobbin.

They had some other spinning wheels in various stages of disassembly at the very back of one of the outbuildings, in case you are in the mood to entertain thoughts of rescue and restoration.

06 July, 2010

twelfth hat

Here is the twelfth hat I've made, using the yarn I made thick by cabling twice. The fabric feels a bit stiff and the hat needs to be pulled tightly over the head so the decreases don't stick out. This was a factor of the thick cabled yarn and the needles, which despite being the largest I own were a little too small.

There is a subtle gradation of colour from top to bottom, a result of accidentally getting one dyelot, spinning most of it, and getting a much lighter dyelot later.

Now that I have tried cabling yarn and cabling it again, I probably won't do so to future yarn. As I said, the yarn produced stiff fabric. I regret a little that I didn't make a hat with this yarn at two ply. But then, if I had, then I wouldn't know I don't care so much for this twice-cabled technique.

05 July, 2010

fifty-eighth and fifty-ninth skeins

Here are the fifty-eighth and fifty-ninth skeins that ever I spun. The colour in the photos is not at all reflective of what this purple-hued yarn looks like in person.

The Frabjous Fibers BFL in stained glass is spun, then plied, then cabled, then cabled again.

03 July, 2010

Sheep Escape

While visiting the Frontier Culture museum's Wool Days, I saw these Cotswold sheep escape their shearing pen to get back to their lambs. Notice the byplay with a goose in the left corner.

02 July, 2010

A Royal Escape

I followed the young Charles Stuart on the run, as it were, when I read Georgette Heyer's Royal Escape. He has to disguise himself in a noggin shirt, which I take to be a very rough sort of flax-based fabric, and he is very relieved to switch over later to a fine flaxen shirt.

01 July, 2010

Merchant of Venice

Happy Canada Day!

While spinning yarn and listening to a BBC production, I noticed that sheep showed up three times in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.

First, the allusions to Jason and the Golden Fleece, to underscore the concept of desirability, prompting a quest.

Second, the Biblical story of Jacob and his wages of piebald sheep, which comes up during the argument between Shylock and Antonio over how a man ought to earn his living.

Third, the "tainted wether of the flock/ Meetest for death," a metaphor for Antonio's doomed position in the court. How, I wonder, not being a shepherd myself, does a wether get tainted and why?