Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snow Again

So what else is new?? It's snowing again today. More plans ruined.
This weekend is apparently a make up weekend for all the basketball games that were cancelled because of snow. I was all set to head down the hill for a 2:30 game this afternoon. Instead I sit here watching more snow come down. Yes, I could chance it, and go to the game. Problem is, it's not possible to predict what the hills will be like later on. For sure, because I choose to stay home, the storm will be a washout.
Here I sit, spinning mostly. I'm working my way through filling the third bobbin for the 3 ply for the Hiro sweater.  Talk about a long term project.  Once this bobbin is filled, I have just the last of the three colors to spin for the colorwork.  Then there is the knitting. Hopefully I won't get bored and will finish this sweater for next fall. 
I'm dreaming as I spin. Spring shearing is coming up and I want a white Cotswold and one other white fleece. The cotswold will be for woven rugs,  and the other for dyeing and as yet to be imagined knitting.
I have 2.8# of gray cotswold to process. I'll be interested to see how much weight it looses in the washing. It's heavy with lanolin and it seems like the last batch lost at least 1/3, perhaps 4/10ths of its weight.  I want the white to go with this for rug weaving.
I'm going to try to insert a photo of Tigger Who was asking permission to get in my lap this morning.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spinning for weaving

Tonight I finished cable plying 296 yards of Polworth. Have it in a real hot bath, with a splash of pine tree oil in the rinse.  I will be for a weaving project.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Fluff all over the place, and a fabric rediscovery

I think that I've finally washed every bit of fleece and alpaca that I own.  I think!

Washing dirty/sandy alpaca is perhaps more time consuming than washing a greasy fleece.
One must be much more careful with the alpaca that it does not felt in the handling.  This white blanket from Aja the alpaca was especially sandy.  It took maybe five times through hot water and as many rinses before I felt it was clean.  On the other hand, I had a small bit of a lovely light brown from Grantt, that I first put through the picker to fluff the sand out, and it only took two washes to come clean.  Maybe that is the way to go in that I don't have a tumbler.

After my experience of using Wiltons food dye on a small bit of Aja I decided to try a larger chunk' and used a green with a touch of black.  The black, as expected, broke and actually gave me a lavender.  It's all carded now, and in punis for spinning.

That's my slave +Gina Assetta who came to spend the day on Thursday to help me get caught up and then play with the picker and the carder.  She brought some various colors of roving and top that she was not in love with, and some real curly fleece from long ago.

Blue cloud of fleece

The beginnings of Rainbow in the Clouds

Rainbow in the Clouds

She mixed the blue with some lavender and some pink and added some plum angelina

This was a combination of what she had left, its called The Bottom of the Dye Pot

When Gina does a dye run she sops up the remainder of the dye with small batts of fleece.  Great idea, and similar to what we used to do when we dyed wool cloth for hooking.  We would put everything in one pot and you got what you got.

It was a fun day spent with a good friend.  A good way to spend a wet and rainy afternoon as it turned out.

Now, about the fabric.  Well, there is fabric, mostly quilters cotton stashed in my 'craft' room.  I have been back in the Granbee quilt group for a couple of years now, and am getting my mojo back.  I think that I should look to see what there is that needs finishing, and what I can do with all of the fabric.  One of my first plans is to use the fat quarters that I won at the Granbees last holiday.  I think it will become a Scrappy Trip Around the World.  There is no particular rhyme of reason to the fabric.  Some old, some new, no real theme, so a scrappy quilt will work well.  Looks like I need to cut lots of 2.5" strips.  I'll keep you posted.

One last picture.  Our lab Daisy is very respectful of our cat Tigger.  

And that is why

Daisy is also afraid of the ceiling fans and the camera.  Last night was difficult for her, poor pup.  First the Howard turned the fan off, then the cat decided he wanted to sleep on the chair [her bed as he gets thrown off our bed by the cat] and then I got the camera out.  Poor Daisy, the last straw was when we turned the fan back on.  She may need help.

 At least she got to sleep on the bed all night.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Socks, carding and labs who don't swim

Do you ever find yourself in the mood to start lots of projects?  That seems to have been the case with me and socks lately.
There are these, my coffee shop socks
and these, something wrong with the heel.

and these, which are a MUCH brighter green

and lastly, these

And then there is the pair I frogged because I just didn't like them.    Didn't like the fabric I was getting with my 2.25mm needles.  That yarn has been tried in several projects and lost each time, so it's on its way out the door.

To top this off, I got some yarn at Jo-Ann Fabric the other day for socks for him.  It is Patons sock which I really like for men's socks.  It's fulls a bit and makes a nice cushy sock for olde soles.  Pun intended.

I've been carding the alpaca with the corriedale from Serenity Farms.  I am not being careful enough of the mix, but I figure it will all even out in the end.  I also carded the alpaca that I dyed with Wiltons food dye.
The color 'broke' when I dyed it, so instead of a solid I got a multi color.  Lavender and bright blue.  It is striking, I want to spin it NOW, but remember that Cormo, well, it is still on the wheel, taunting me.
This picture captures the blue better
This picture shows the lavender, but the blue is too light

Now, about the Lab.  Daisy, as I may have mentioned, is a Texas rescue dog.  Her first year here she was a bit timid about the water, but caught on soon enough.  Last summer, when the lake levels were way down she was a swimming and ball chasing fool.  She was tethered to us with a very long clothsline rope that just kinda followed along behind her.  Because the lake was low last year, she didn't land in water when she jumped off the wall, she landed on sand then then into the water.
This year, began with the lake low and everything was fine.  And then.
The rains came, and the lake almost topped the wall and well, she was jumping into water almost deep enough to swim in.  That and we removed her tether.  Maybe she feels unsafe???  To add insult to injury she was attacked by a large mouth bass several times.  So was I...............  Mama bass seemed to an issue with us being near her nest I guess.
The outcome, Daisy no longer swims.  She wanders along the shore, stepping on the large boulder type rocks, getting wet up to her elbows and knees. [at least she gets her feet clean]  Once in a while she will get her belly wet, but not on purpose.

Eighty-eight.eight-degrees now, time to head down to the water.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Whoosh and a month is gone.  Where?  Who knows.
But, it's been hot, and we've been doing a lot of this.

Napping under the fan

I've even been swimming.  The lake temperature quickly rose to 88-degrees and I find that acceptable for swimming.  Well, I don't really do what you could call swimming anymore, but I do a lot of moving around in the water.  It's great that my body has always wanted to float to the top.

Seems like in June I was talking about some roving that I had that was a mix of corriedale and alpaca.  Cary and I are doing a spin in/knit in.  I think I was supposed to wait for her before I started on the knit in part of the deal.  Well, I thought I should make a gauge swatch and before I knew it I had a sock. OPSS!

Coffee Shop socks, pattern by
Cary Smith, Serenity Farms
Alma, MI

These socks are just screaming cold, snowy winter walk.  They are heavy; boot socks for sure.  The yarn is so nice and soft and has a great sheen too.  Now, I seem to recall how we were [not me] all complaining about winter, so I won't wish for summer to fade just yet.  But I assure you, first cold nite these are going on my feet.

I spun up some of my mystery fiber last week.  I didn't overprocess this fiber so the finished yarn is rather rustic.  I plan to make the lined beanie.  And maybe some gloves too.  I have lots more fleece from this batch, but next time will run it through the carder [at least] once more.  I have about 8 3/4 oz which I think is only around 300 yards.  I keep doing the math again and again, but can't get more yardage::-(
Mystery fleece turned into rustic yarn

Next up on the wheel is some Cormo that I picked up from someone on Ravelry.  It is a roving, so that is a plus, but it is full of straw bits.  I am trying to make myself spin it thicker than I normally spin.  It's so funny that when I first learned to spin I was getting a ultra bulky two ply.  Now I seem to automatically spin so much thinner.  There is lots of this fiber, more that I will spin at this sitting for sure.  It is a nice clean white, so the yarn will lend itself to dying.
Cormo roving
 I promised the owner of School House Alpaca in Granby, CT that I would demonstrate spinning at Granby Open Farms Days in September.  So, naturally I needed some alpaca.  I now have a white blanket.  I'm slowing washing it and preparing it for carding.  I've sampled some mixed in with white corriedale at a 70/30 mix and it spun well.  I also spun some 100%.  I haven't plied them yet, but am sure they will make lovely yarn.

There is more I could talk about, like the CSA we joined, and more I won't talk about, like what is going on at the Board here in our community.  BUT, it's time to get moving along.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Keeping it in Circulation

Money that is.  I just purchased a Patrick Green triple picker.  Now you say, what in the heck is that.  Some of you know..........................
It is a potential killing machine.  It waits for that moment when one forgets what they are doing and grabs digits and won't let go.  It also picks fleece that is all ascramble from washing.  Gets it ready for carding.
Under that top part are a gazillion sharp nails

Nice soft cloud of fleece, ready for carding

On another note, THE SUN CAME OUT TODAY, if only for a moment here and there, but I did recognize it from the last time it came around.  The animals, in a rare moment of tolerance, not only shared a sunbeam, but also let me take a photo of them.  Miracles


Sunday, June 09, 2013

Sunday, a beautiful sun day

It's so nice to wake up to a sunny day and know that there is nothing on my calendar for the whole day.  A do what I want day, a do it when I want day.  We started out with coffee and the Foot Guard Dog Show on TV.  Enjoyed by someone more than the rest of us me thinks.
Although it does not look it, she was very intent on
watching the herding dog trials
Then it was on to OJ, bacon and eggs.  Now more coffee, and the smell of the corn chowder that is on the stove already.

Perhaps today will be the day that I fire up our new "fire pit" down on the dock.  Maybe my friend Sue will come over for a swim and she can warm up afterwards by the fire. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.
Waters is getting a bit high, but after last summer with the lake 
way low all summer, this will be a treat