Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cormo Mug Shots

I am so tickled by this stuff I can't stand it.

I am more than amazed I pulled it off.

It's not perfect, but if you could have seen the stuff I had to spin it from you would be as surprised as I am that it turned out to be yarn.

Thank you itty-bitty Golding spindle. I couldn't have done it without you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Know It All

See all those stitches? 200 times about 30 rows equals a GIANT headache. I have to rip them all out. I am going to do it right now.

Why? Because I thought I was smarter than the designer and changed her hem to a knitted in one that CURLS UP like a giant #*$%&$##*$!!!! Please insert all the bad words you know here. I assure you that there isn't one I haven't used.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Crazy Cormo Hat

It had one trip to the frog pond but now that the wool and I have come to an understanding, it will be smooth sailing to the finish. Cormo is lovely knitted up. The softest thing I have felt excluding the tiny bag of angora in the cupboard.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ladybug, Ladybug Part 2

One half of my official first Ladybug project is done. It would have been so much cuter if I had dyed enough black to continue those spots on down the sock but it is what it is.
I've got my fingers crossed I have enough black to get down the leg of the second sock or else I am going to have yet another pair of mismatched homespun socks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It Should have Been Christmas in August

I saw these kits for making English Paper Pieced pin cushions on clearance at Connecting Threads for about $4 and couldn't resist. I know a few quilters who may like a kit for Christmas. Of course, I also got a one for myself.

Wow. These are some tiny pieces. I may have to rethink these as gifts as the production of them may cause serious bodily harm.

I neglected to get a picture from the website of the actual pin cushion before they yanked them off. This is not THE actual pin cushion but what I thought they may look like. Boy, was I wrong- but I had good intentions.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Crossing the Finish Line

I was singing the praises of my lace weight Cormo the other day but I had forgotten that this lumpy bumpy Cormo batt project actually beat it to the TDF finish line. I chain plied it a week ago and have actually began to knit it into a hat. It got put on the back burner when I decided I wanted more of a specific color to add a stripe so I put it down to wait for that to happen. Then I decided that a fair isle pattern would be better than a stripe but that looked awful so it went off to the frog pond for a while. Now it's back to square one but it will certainly be a hat sooner than the lace weight will be a scarf.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Turkish Delight

After a rocky start, I am starting to like this crazy little Knit Picks spindle.

I've finally got some decent looking singles going on.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Better Late Than Never

One of my 2010 Tour de Fleece projects is finally starting to get somewhere.

After trying everything I could to turn my giant bag of Cormo into something knit-able, I FINALLY have something to show for it. My little Golding spindle turned out this tiny skein of lace weight which is not too shabby considering the condition of the wool after I nearly ruined it.

The Ashford Traditional wheel still has the Cormo that is being spun into a DK weight, but I am still a half a bobbin shy of being able to ply. Flicking and spinning from each and every lock is very slow going.

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Fresh Figs

The results of yesterday's adventures in dyeing are a big improvement from my usual psychedelic mish mash. Miss Ladybug has been waiting patiently for a new project so now let's see how this Peruvian wool spins.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dye Verse

I took my title from one of my favorite blogs. It just seemed to fit.

My plan was to take some advice from an expert to fine tune my over exuberant and totally undesciplined dyeing skills.

I tied up my new Knit Picks Peruvian wool into quarters. I never do that.

I used some inspiration for picking my colors. I was thinking about a bowl of freshly picked figs.

I put the roving on a thick layer of newspaper to soak up the extra dye and used a paint brush to apply it to both sides. The string allowed me to move the wool around without disturbing the dye pattern.

Using the four quadrants I was able to end up with a fairly uniform pattern. I can't wait to see how this dries. I can already see that not over saturating the wool has allowed more subtle areas of color mingling to emerge. I like that.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

At Last

Finally. Something plied from all that Cormo I have spent the summer fretting over. All other projects are going on hold while I knit this into something. I need reassurance that there is hope for all this fleece yet to spin.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just For Fun

After cranking out some Cormo using the drum carder, I have been having fun spinning it rather willy-nilly. It's thick. It's thin. It has neps and I don't even care. When you have 9 lbs of fleece on your hands you need a reason to want to keep playing with it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Little More Progress

I have a stash of cheap acrylic yarn in giant skeins leftover from an Aunt who liked to make plastic canvas tissue box covers. This totally fun afghan pattern is perfect for using it up. Muumi and I have the only two Continued Strip Afghans over on Ravelry and her finished one is magnificent. Go look at it. Seriously. Your jaw will drop. She contacted me to cheer me on a few weeks ago and I was completely flabbergasted that she had noticed my humble beginnings. I would be cranking this out like crazy if I didn't have a gazillion other projects in the works because it is just that fun. I have managed to get the second strip and third picked up and halfway knitted. The next step is to keep doing the same to the sides until you get something the size of a bedspread. Really. I am not sure if I will live long enough to get this done but I will certainly have enough yarn. Thank you Aunt Esther and for your sake and mine, I hope there is some kind of yarn crafting up in heaven.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In a Jam

My fig tree has been very kind to me this year. It must like all this hot weather. I don't.

This is my third batch of jam. The first batch was my simple jam that is just figs and sugar that is cooked down to mush. I keep it in the fridge and use it fresh. The second batch was from a recipe I found on the web. It calls for lemons and pectin. I'm not too crazy about it. I want to taste figs, not lemons. The third batch is with pectin and NO lemons.

I decided to use my ancient canning skills to actually "put up" the last two batches rather than just stick it in the fridge. I knew I couldn't eat that much in the recommended month's time so I bought some jelly jars and processed it. It's been years since I have done this and it was easier than I thought although I totally freaked out when I discovered that my jams were cooling down into the consistency of rubber. I have never used pectin before and I feared I had used too much, although I followed the directions on the box carefully. After opening a jar this morning, I am happy to report that the consistency is just fine. I now how have a dozen little jars of fig jam and the tree is still full. Now I'm going to have learn how to dry them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

For Me?

My kids know me well. When shopping for souvenirs, they head right to the nearest yarn shop. On a recent trip to St Louis Daughter managed to find a couple of things that I was very happy to receive. The Zauerball is going right in my bag for a pair of mindless on-the-go socks and that Knit Kit thing seems very handy and now lives in my purse.
And all I had to do to deserve all this was to babysit her adorable kitties for a week. Anytime!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Wasn't Kidding....

....about that Nora Batty thing. I intend to make myself a wardrobe of aprons to sweep the front stoop in. My first attempt at sewing anything in 20 years will be a psychedelic version perfect for my summer puttering. I plan on making a fall version if this turns out well enough.

Of course I had to go out and buy a sewing machine too. I liked this one immediately because it is simple to operate. It says so right on the box. There are numbers printed on the machine itself to show you how to thread the thing. I love that. It's like a big kid's toy sewing machine. I've had some pretty bad experiences with sewing machines in the past so I am hoping that the simple machine and I will get along long enough to crank out an apron or two.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ready for a Change

I found these on my morning walk. I know it is only mid-August but the trees seem know something we don't.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Not Bad

Keeping everything in place means no salad spinner, so the locks are taking FOREVER to dry.

This is one that escaped its net cocoon so I pulled it apart a bit to see how things are going. It is not dry enough to spin so it's still hard to tell but it looks promising. The others still in the netting are very wet so I am going to have to try very hard to resist all temptation to go poke at them. Where is that sun when you need it?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Washing Locks

You would have thought I would have figured this out a long time ago. I have seen people do this, but the light bulb did not come on for me until a little late in the game.

Washing fine fleece is a tricky proposition. It turns into a tangled, broken mat with very little encouragement. It is necessary to keep everything in order during the washing process.

I netted the locks up and then gave them a cold water soak overnight. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this turns out to be the secret for finally getting some Cormo that can actually be spun without spending most of my time picking out lumps.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ah Ha!

I have just come to realize that I have been washing my Cormo COMPLETELY WRONG. That mass of wool in the dish drainer has been tortured almost beyond repair. Thanks once again to You Tube and this Knitty article, I have finally figured out how to do it right.

Let's start with how I am going to fix the mess I have already made. I'll have the "correct way to wash fine fleece" photos later but now I have to try to save what I can of the already washed fleece that has dried into nasty lumps surrounded by a cotton candy tangle.

Although I own a flick carder, I never had any idea what they were for until I saw a video of someone flicking some locks.

Wow. It all opens up without tearing the fine wool into short pieces that knot up when you try to spin it. I can now spin right from the lock. I am amazed. I had been working so hard trying to comb it all out and getting nowhere. Who knew it was actually so easy?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beginner's Luck

I wish I could put a video here of my first hilarious attempts at spinning on my new Knit Picks Turkish spindle. I didn't have a clue. Luckily, they have a tutorial because everything I already know about spinning just didn't work here.

After I got the hang of it, I managed a few pitiful strands of singles.

I used some rejected fiber from my first attempts at batt making, which was probably a mistake. It was not as strong as a commercially processed fiber so it drifted apart during drafting too often adding to my beginner's frustration.

The main issue for me was just getting used to the slowness of the spindle. I am used to my tiny Golding's and my featherweight Bosworth which spin very fast for a very long time. The Turkish spindle is heavier and much slower so you have to add extra twist and wrap more often than you would have to on a more traditional drop spindle. The bottom pieces also rattled a bit at first, until it got some wraps on it which was hard to get used to and added to my frustration.

All in all it was a bit fiddly but still fun in a different spinning experience kind of way. I am not sure I would recommend it for your first spinning experience but if it delivers on making its own center pull ball then I will be certainly be glad to have it in my collection.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Special Delivery

That was fast. Knit Picks got this stuff out to me in record time. I was hoping that it wouldn't show up until The Mister was at work. Even though it was totally in my budget, I still get "the look" when boxes show up.

I couldn't wait to get my hands on the new Turkish spindle. They say although it is not finished it is ready to spin right out of the pack.

Mine certainly wasn't. It was very rough around the edges and covered in sawdust.

The roving was lovely. The Peruvian wool, the cheapest, was predictably scratchy, but scratchy wool has its uses. The Merino blends feel lovely. I can't wait to dye them.

To get my total up to free shipping and to use up my $50 gift certificate, I added 2 skeins of Bare lace weight and some Gloss in black.

Although initially I had wished The Mister wasn't home for the delivery, it turned out it was a good thing he was there. He saw the spindle and went to work getting it ready by sanding it and giving it a few coats of sealer to smooth it out. Tomorrow it should be ready for a trial spin. I can't wait!