April 17, 2010

I have been noticing lately that I been having a hard time … uh… give me a minute… focusing, yeah that’s it.  This condition has affected my fiber pursuits.

I was again the victim of  an enabler Jeanne, so I ordered and very quickly received some Madelinetosh Prairie (lace weight merino) in Blackcurrent.  I choose  the shawl, La Cumparsita by Marnie MacLean.

A niece who is also my god child is expecting her first, a girl late this May.   Ooh.. I get to do baby knitting.   An outfit for an American doll and some booties long ago are the only knitting I have done for wee ones.  I made some batts with purples, some pink and white merino and will spin a 2 ply dk to knit EZ’s Baby Surprise Jacket.

EZ writes the pattern as if she is having a conversation with you which is very charming, but I do better with charts and more precise directions.  I found this YouTube video very helpful.

I decided to knit one in another yarn first so I could get to know the pattern.

I am using Bluemoon’s Socks That Rock Medium Weight in Jade.

I am really loving the colour right now, since mother nature around here hasn’t figured out that it is SPRING.  It’s snowed a total of a foot this past week!

Now where was I?….

Spinning… I am working on a project for next year’s challenge for my guild.

The fiber is a merino/bombyx blend, 50/50, colour is Iris (I can’t get enough of this colour, it’s gorgeous!) by Chasing Rainbow and I’ll be spinning a 2 ply lace to knit Aeolian.  I haven’t picked the beads out yet.

Have to have some socks on needles.  It’s my own pattern that I’m calling Pinstripe Socks.

Weaving… on my third dishtowel and have one to go before I take them off the loom.

My loom does not have much of a shed (the gap in the warp when a harness is lifted), I think that’s what it’s called.  So I got another shuttle, a thinner one.  The shuttle is beautifully handmade from Bluster Bay Woodworks, it is a Swedish style shuttle made from Bloodwood.  This shuttle travels a lot more smoothly and faster than my previous one.  I also like how the ends are shaped to be easy held and gripped.

I did finish something, well almost…  it just needs blocking.

Triinu Scarf by Nancy Bush
Zephyr by Jaggerspun White 1 skein
#4 Addi Lace Needles

The scarf is a Confirmation gift for #2.

Gotta go … I have a package containing  Baby Ull to open.


Spinning with Celia

March 27, 2010

A couple of weekends ago I participated in a “Comprehensive Spinning Workshop” taught by Celia Quinn. I had a fabulous fiberlous time!  I received over 82 different samples of fibers to work with.

Some cottons…

Cashmeres and Camels…

And some Silks…

Including the worm/bug!   (Celia has a sense of humor, I think she is a fan of  Tundra,  an Alaskan Comic Strip, very funny!)

There were lots of fibers that I like spinning, Combed Baby Camel Down, Combed Cashmere and Combed Buffalo were my favorites.  The Yak was pretty good too.

My least favorite was the Shorn German Rabbit, the fibers had a mind of their own and so hard to control.  Spraying/misting them with water didn’t help much.

I really liked spinning Targhee for the first time, the fiber has a lot of bounce and rather delightful.

Celia would hand the samples out in groups, for example bag # 4 containing Luster Wools with samples of scoured locks of Romney, carded Coopworth and combed Blue Faced Leicester.  She would then give a short lecture on the type of samples including different approaches on how to spin them.  We would save part of the sample and taped it to an index card, and then spin the remaining sample.  To save time during the workshop, we would spin some brightly coloured waste fiber in between the samples so we could easy distinguish them.  We didn’t stop to ply, most of us did it later at home.

When finished, each index card had a sample of the fiber, a spun single sample and a plied (2) sample along with any notes.  I then put the index cards into a 3″ three ring binder to use as a future reference.

This is the second workshop I have taken with Celia as the instructor.  She is great!  Celia is very knowledgeable about her craft but what I think makes her a good instructor is that she makes you feel very comfortable in her class.  She is very eager to help and answer any question.

Here, Celia is demonstrating how to spin cotton on a charkha, she also demonstrated how to use a takli supported spindle.  We all got a try, my first time for both devices.  My guild has a charkha and I think I might be renting it in the near future, it was rather fun.  The key thing I learned about spinning short fibers like cotton, is to spin/treadle  faster!

I had a really good time at the workshop and would highly recommend it.

I leave you with a picture of our guild’s president, I call it “Spinning with Muskox”.

Cashmere to the Rescue

March 16, 2010

My Knitting Olympics’ project did not go the way I planned.   The pattern (Icarus), especially the main part of the shawl was a very straight forward, yet I kept on making mistakes.  I frogged at least two more times and was getting very frustrated, I was starting to doubt my knitting skills.   Looking back I now realize that trying to knit faster isn’t the best approach fir me.  I seem to do better if I ignore my speed and focus on the “flow” of knitting a project, then my speed naturally increases.  Also I believe my selection wasn’t the best yarn for the project, it seemed to be fighting me… if that makes any sense.  So I came to the conclusion that this project with this yarn was not to be, so I officially dropped out.

Still wanting to knit while watching the olympics, I picked up a project I had started during chemo but put aside because of problems concentrating.

Shetland Triangle Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark
Cashmere Silk Blend 2-ply
US #6 Addi Turbo Lace Circular Needles

Oh what a difference… the cashmere/silk was such dream, “it was like buttah”, my confidence was restored.

The shawl was finished about 10 minutes before the flame was put out,

and it block beautifully.

I would like to give some recognition to some Alaskans who have a very good olympics.

Kikkan Randall who did the best ever US women’s finish (10th) in Ladies’ Individual Sprint Classic.

Kerry Weiland who won a silver medal as part of the US Women’s Hockey Team.

and Holly Brooks who did a great showing for someone who was a part time athlete and didn’t have benefit of training full time.  Her coach is a local and not part of the US team.

My next post will be “Knitting with Celia”, lots of fun and fibers!