Mostly Yarn Porn

Hi! I went to A Wool Gathering with my friend Mystic Llama Shop (Sara) and brought home some new yarn. This llama loved having his photo taken and would pose like this for you when you raised your phone. He really needs a bow tie.

I found this gorgeous locally hand spun merino in my favorite color. It is a deep blue with specks of violet. I’ve already cast on for Purl Soho’s Sweatshirt Sweater.

Another local yarn, this gorgeous red Targhee is for a Carbeth. I may go ahead cast on for that too. I love starting new projects!

And this linen and cotton is for a simple shift top. I’ll wait until spring for this one.

I recently saw a post on Instagram about being a monogamous knitter. I thought, that’s nice. I wish I could do that. And gleefully cast on my second sweater.

What about you? Are you a monogamous knitter?

Wool Painting

I finished phase one of my artwork for This Inspired That at Open Door Art Studio. I find fiber arts are often a mystery to people so I took a time lapse video of the wet felting process.

This still needs some work – at least a little needle felting to secure some of the rosettes, maybe some stitching (I haven’t decided), and then a hanging system of some kind. But I’m pleased overall with how this is coming out.

Still Knitting!

My hat is still coming along. I had a stroke of genius on how to fix the top. (Just move the decrease over one stitch, duh!) I’m not crazy about the second bird section where they are left facing. Can you see them? Let’s just say they are high up in the trees and flying in the sky so they are harder to see. The rest of the motifs after bird and tree rows are diamonds and crosses that make me think of snow.

I’m getting ready to go out of town for work. I feel like I should bring some knitting but I’m not sure what. Something small and mindless, but I never did start those socks.

What’s your favorite travel knitting project?

New Sock Yarn!

I decided to embrace being an “over the pond” knitter and buy my sock yarn from over the pond. This blog post explains why long fiber, tightly spun wool makes the best 100% wool sock yarn, so I went for it. Plus it’s such a pretty blue!

I’m still working on my WHW club hat. I’m almost to the crown. I may need to redesign it so the pattern works with the decreases. I may not be able to enter the contest, but that’s ok. It’s been a good exercise.

I signed up to participate in an art show. It’s the first since 2015. I’m planning a felted piece. I’ll blog about that later.

Valentine’s Day Field Trip!

This field trip had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, other than I wanted to go, and Bob came with me. He’s a real trooper and a keeper. ❤ Are you ready for a treat? We went to Ohio Valley Natural Fibers!

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I have a Coopworth fleece I bought at Great Lakes Fiber Show many years ago. It is still dirty, stewing in its lanolin in a box.

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I think it’s pretty, though.

I did hand wash, card, spin, dye, and knit a small amount of it (just to say I did it). I kind of lost interest after that. It’s a big job! A job for professionals. So we took a little day trip about two hours south to Sardinia, Ohio.

The rooms were filled with gorgeous old equipment. It was like a step back in time.

The picker is from the 1880s, and the carding machines are from around 1916. The belts are made from buffalo hide! When they need parts, they ask the local Amish to make them, because everything on these machines is irreplaceable. I know they look like antiques, and they are, but Richard, the gentleman who gave us the tour, fired one up for us!

Here is the web, which is divided into what looks like yarn, but is actually tiny rovings, which are then plied.

This yarn is 3ply, as you can see if you look carefully. The machine is from post WWII, and was also used for plying parachute cord for the Vietnam War.

After plying, it can be wound onto cones. This machine is from the 1960s.

The yarn can also be put up into hanks. They don’t have a date on this machine, but Richard thinks it may be from the 18th century!

Here he is telling us how it works.

So we left my fleece and in 8-12 weeks I will have some nice clean batts ready to spin! I don’t have enough fiber for a yarn order. And, unfortunately, I sold my spinning wheel during the great studio purge. I am thinking about getting a new drop spindle. I was never very good at it, and it might be time to pick it up again. (Honestly, I was never very good at the spinning wheel, either, but I did make some beautiful thick and thin yarn.)

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Here is Diane, the owner and a local sheep farmer, with two hanks of yarn from her own Icelandic sheep. I bought these two, and they might be perfect to make the new West Highland Way design! Talk about synchronicity! I will swatch it and see how it knits up. Now I wish I had bought another hank, but I could order it and ask them to pop it in the mail to me.

We had such a wonderful time, and want to thank Richard, Diane, Sean, and Renicia for showing us around and starting up machines for us. I particularly enjoyed Sean showing us all the different kinds of fiber people asked them to process, like husky, cat, and elk!

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After the tour, Bob and I had a nice lunch at La Cascada and a little hike at Rocky Fork State Park, which was beautiful.

I hope you have a nice Valentine’s Day, if you celebrate! If not, Happy Wednesday!

Swatching Shetland for Christmas

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If the week between Christmas and New Year’s is a sign of things to come for 2018, I’ll be working on a lot of new projects next year!

I was very excited to get my hands on some J&S Jumper Weight yarn. I’ll admit it. I became fascinated with the idea of knitting with shetland wool yarn after binge watching Shetland on Netflix. I couldn’t order it directly, or find it online, until Ravelry pointed me in the direction of Lost City Knits. The fact that she is in Oklahoma City (I’m a displaced Okie) sealed the deal for me. I only ordered enough to swatch, though.

My first idea was to knit a simple navy blue pullover for myself. That is the type of thing I enjoy wearing: basic and neutral. It’s a gorgeous yarn, a little smaller gauge than I normally like to work with, but the fabric is perfect.

Now I have more ideas, and this swatch will hopefully help me flesh some of them out. I ordered an additional color to experiment with, and will probably introduce some cabling as well as 2-strand color knitting. Hopefully I’ll be able to work on both sweaters in the coming year. The big question is, of course, funding for yarn.

I see some bingeswatching Shetland in my immediate future.

We had a nice, low-key Christmas with mostly-grown kids coming and going. My Christmas cactus bloomed again because I locked it in the root cellar for a month. It is beautiful but it bothers me that I have to deprive it of sunlight to bloom. Why is it that some of us only perform under pressure? I’m hoping to change that for myself in the coming year and become the kind of person who can succeed without trying too hard.

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Swatching plus a Gratuitous Kitty Pic

I am swatching and researching stitches for a gansey-inspired bed cover. This is a tiny home retirement hope chest project. I imagine I will blog each square when it is complete, and share information on the stitches and what they represent, and why I chose them. Maybe I’ll include some charts and sketches?

This is my progress so far. A swatch! I love this Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool!

I pulled out my old gansey books and laid them out to photograph. Of course JoJo had to get in on the action.

Work and the holidays are keeping me very busy, but as you can see, I am still finding the time to dream and design and knit! 6 more days! Ho Ho Ho!