Sunday, February 26, 2012

A whole lot of misc going on

Since I didn't have a mindless project, I started one. This is the Shetland top that I spun. I started a Fenna shawl from Myrna Stahman's Shawls and scarves book. I've done all the tough part - the shoulder shaping. Now I just have to knit and knit and knit till I'm done with the 3 balls of yarn I have. They will be knit in order from right to left and I hope the shawl will get slowly darker as I go down. It won't be completely dark but just the overall look will be darker.

I bought some beads yesterday. This is the one I love. The yarn is something that I plied together and I want to knit in a gold strand with it. The beads pick up the colors of the yarn perfectly.
The colors are truer in this picture.
I gave away my Spring Stripe Study shawl to a friend as it was more her style than mine. In return I got this lovely skein of Skinny Bugga. I got beads that perfectly match the colors too!
On to fleece washing. I am done with all the locks except a small bit that isn't separating into locks very easily.
There are some differences in the amount of VM in the locks. The ones above are quite clean.
Contrast that with these. I wonder what I'm going to be left with after I remove the VM from these?
The part above is the really dirty part of the fleece. The part that resulted in the dirty locks above. I wonder if this came from the legs of the sheep.
This was the clean part. See how nice and orderly the locks are? And how much less VM there is?
Here they are - all laid out to dry. On to flicking and carding next.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Washing locks

I started washing the fleece I got last week. I decided that I wanted to get to know the process in detail and what better way to get to know the various steps than to do them a lock at a time. Margaret Stove describes a way to wash locks in her video on Spinning for Lace. I decided to use that method.
Here is a lock as I received it. It is probably typical of the locks in the part of the fleece I got. Some are cleaner and some are dirtier.
This is my washing set up. I boiled water in the stainless steel Dutch oven and scooped out half of it with the measuring cup. I added a little cold water from the tap. You can see that in the sink. On the left, on the striped towel are the washed locks that have not yet been rinsed. They've been swished in water, rubbed on soap and then swished in the water again before being squeezed dry and laid out on the towel.
Here is a closer look at them. You can see the soap in this shot also.After I washed about a third of them, I rinsed them in clean hot water using the same method. Swish, squeeze, swish, squeeze. Lay out on towel.

Here is the complete set from about an hour of work last night. That included boiling two lots of water in the Dutch oven. I filled it to about 1" from the top and it seemed to take forever to boil. I think it has a 6 qt capacity.

You can see that the lock at the top left has a lot of vegetal matter left. I opened it up this morning with a hair pick and got a lot of it out. I think I have to do more to clean it up. Most of the rest of the locks are quite clean.

I plan to card them and spin from rolags although I might just spin from the locks directly. I haven't decided and keep waffling between the two.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another shawl done

Yes, it is starting to become ho-hum for me too. But I am using up my sock yarn stash and it is going a lot faster than socks. So I am happy. Also, shawls make great gifts, especially sock yarn shawls, because they are machine washable and quite durable.

This one is another Stripe Study shawl. I made one for my niece last year and enjoyed knitting the pattern. I thought it would break up the stripes and make it more interesting. And I was right. The navy is actually two colors. The top and all the stripes are a lighter navy and then there is a band of darker navy across the bottom. I had two partial skeins of navy and decided to use them up.
I am very excited about my next spinning project. I signed up for a Fleece of the Quarter club at my spinning guild. I got my first fleece on Friday. We get to wash, card/comb, spin and make something from it - keeping detailed records/samples in a journal. Then we meet and discuss our experiences and compare the results.

I think it will help me understand how to process a fleece without having to deal with a whole one. Also, I will get to understand differences in technique and differences in the actual wool of various breeds.

Here is the wool I got from a sheep called Mint. She is a Dorset-Hampshire cross.
This is a closer look at the locks with a 3x5" index card by the side for reference. I will be documenting my experiences here so you will all get to journey along with me.
I have started working on my Swedish Heart-warmer shawl again. It is slow going as I am weaving in the floats as I go. This means that I have to learn to weave in on the purl side and that is something new. My fingers are slowly learning the process. It will get faster as I progress on the shawl.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Color for a drab February

I am in the mood for color. I think it is because of the drab grey and brown landscape outside. So let's start with the brights. This is the color combination I have picked out for a Color Affection shawl. I love this designer's patterns. You'll see...I had a couple of skeins of Tosh Light Merino but decided I would rather put them towards this shawl. So I traded in Antique White for the two colors of Ella Rae on the left side. The right blue yarn is Lorna's Laces.

Next up is the current project. I had some self-striping sock yarn and combined it with some dark navy to make a Stripe Study shawl. This is by the same designer as the Color Affection Shawl. I am quite pleased with the way this is turning out. I am almost out of the self-striping yarn so it will be all blue from this point on.
Lastly, I have an FO to report. I finished this shawl - a Maluka shawl - that I made out of handspun BFL/silk (the darker red on top) and a Claudia's Handpaints in Paprika for the lace section. The handspun was from Corgi Hill, called Poppy.
The handspun was easy to knit. It was a 3 ply, spun worsted. I was pleased with how even it was. I was worried about it being thick and thin but there were only a few spots like that. Given that I am coming up on my first anniversary of spinning seriously, I can't complain.