Today has been a productive day. I have spun one of the three planned bobbins that I have planned for the fiber that I have combed out. Plus I have moved onto the second bobbin! I hope to have all three bobbins full and possibly plied by July 21st which is when I get together with all of my spinner friends to show off what I’ve been working on.
Well I’ve been busy. I started combing out my Bond fleece that I washed a couple of weeks ago. Tonite I finished what I had washed up, and my arms are tired! The problem now is that it’s too hot to wash more of the fleece.
On the nite of day 3, I finished spinning up both halves of my roving and started plying. I think by 1am the next day I finished plying. The next morning, I got it all wound up and the twist set. I decided that at one of my weekly knitting groups, I better get started on my combing. I had met with a friend the week before to get her expertise on whether or not I should brush or comb. I got more use of my fiber with less “pills” in the combed fiber.
Like I mentioned before, I finished combing up the washed fiber that I had, but I also used my drop spindle to make a swatch for my project. I think Reilly liked the drop spindle. This was the first time he’s seen me using it.
The project calls for a sport weight yarn, but I’m more used to spinning close to either fingering, DK, or worsted. Plus I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a 2 or 3-ply. I like the look of a 3-ply, but wasn’t sure how the fibers would lay. I did a 2 ply, and after setting the twist it fluffed up quite a bitThe picture below shows my first time knitting with my own handspun yarn. Pretty cool, huh? I have to admit, my gauge was right on! I can’t wait to get to spinning it all up and starting the project, but I just wish my arms weren’t so sore.
My other knitting group meets tomorrow and I’m still trying to decide what I want to bring to work on. I still have xmas knitting projects to finish. I guess I’ll decide tomorrow morning. I think I’ll head to bed early tonite. I’ve been going to bed about 1am or later for the past couple of nites. My 2 week break is coming to an end this weekend. 😦
I think since my last spinning group, I have been on a fiber high. My non-LYS has a spinning group that meets on every third Tuesday, so that was a couple of weeks ago. I got to show off the fiber that I got from the Estes Park Wool Festival, plus I was almost done with spinning up half of a project that I started last month…I think it was last month. I decided that since Pueblo got a break from the triple digit heat that it would be a good time to start washing some of my fiber that evening before the predicted heat was supposed to return. That nite I started my cold soaks for my one pound CVM X Wenslydale/Lincoln fleece. I have to say that I kinda missed washing fleeces…which for those that don’t do the raw fleeces might find weird. (I know I did when I first started spinning.)
Once I got my first project cleaned up, I started on my second fleece…the Bond….Australian Bond. Hehe This is the fleece that I bought to work on during the Tour de Fleece on my big project. I didn’t wash all of it, but maybe a quarter to a fifth of the fleece. Ms. Gleason told me that I had to make sure to get the musky smell out to know that it was completely washed. I think I had it in my mind that I needed to do a few more washes then I did with the fleece before that. In the process, I think I partially felted some of it. 😦 I didn’t use a lingerie bag like I knew I should have. I had thought about it, but wasn’t quite sure where it was. For the remaining fleece, I will for sure be using a bag.
In between washes I made sure to be productive. I worked on finishing the project I was currently spinning. I had bought 4 oz of a Merino/Silk blend (80/20) a couple of years ago, but hadn’t thought about what to ply it with or what to do with it period. While spending time with Peggy and all of her amazing pieces of work, I found hand-dyed roving that matching the sherbet orange Merino/Silk that I already had. It had shades of yellow and orange and thought it would be perfect! I’m really happy with how it turned out. I spent a good part of a day plying. It came up to a little over 535 yds.
While spinning I had two good things going for me. Pride and Prejudice and beef jerky, which Reilly, my kitty loves also…the jerky that is.
This will be the third year that I have participated in TdF. As I’ve posted in previous writings, I thought that I would be working on my Bond fleece. I was having complications on how I was going to prepare the fleece. I had tried both brushing using animal brushes and single row combs. I have finding what I know now as second cuts. I paid a pretty penny for this fleece, and have been told from two friends that I should let Gleason know about the second cuts she’s getting from her current shearer. I should not be getting second cuts from a fleece I paid $100 for. It’s making me wonder if the entire fleece will be like that and how bad. I want to make sure that I get enough out of this fleece in order to be able to make my project. I’d really hate to be short because I paid for second cuts. So with that said, I had to go through my stash and decided what I wanted to start while I decide what I want to do. Plus I have to take some time out to prepare the fiber for spinning.
I found a braid that I bought back in March 2011 from a shop in San Diego that I had been recommended to me. It wasn’t the type of shop that I was expecting. About a quarter to a third of the shop was dedicated to fiber and the other was like a Cracker Barrel. It had everything else. It’s a gorgeous braid. I for some reason thought that it had some green to it. One thing I bought from the yarn store that closed here in town was a dark green Mernio/Bamboo. Oh well…it’ll be used for something else. Since the braid was only 4 oz, I decided to spin this thin.
The first day I got a little under an ounce completed because I got a late start. I was having a new and much needed mattress delivered and I still needed to clean up the entry way and my bedroom. Today is….well since it’s after midnite, it’s officially day 3. As of now, I have completed about half of the braid. I plan to finish spinning the other half of it maybe more tomorrow and have the two bobbins plied either by later tonite or the day after.
In between all of that, I need to get to my combing. I still need to figure out if I want to do a 2 or 3 ply on this project. I think that if it were a Merino I might do a 3 ply, but with how it’s feeling right now I think I might do a 2 ply. If I don’t have all of that decided and I have my carding going, I do need to think about my next project. Other than starting my big project I also have to think what other projects I want to work with. I have two awesome batts that are just wait to be spun. I’m just not sure how I want to spin them up. I think I might try using some thread like my friend Peggy does with some of her projects. With my stash…the sky’s the limit.
It had been four years since I had last been to Estes Park, CO for the annual wool festival. The first year I went, my friend and I didn’t make it there early Saturday morning like we should have. We instead had an appointment to view the Stanley Hotel. (It was the only opening we could find, so we took it.) I remember seeing fiber everywhere, along with people. I do not recommend going mid to late day at all. It was a pushing and shoving match to get to the next booth. It was not the best experience at a festival that I’ve had. Hence the reason I kind of quit going and started going to Taos, NM instead. My aunt originally wanted to go up with me to see the animals, but instead she left me for my mom and the bead show in Denver. It’s not like they don’t have one every two months! Anyways…I decided that it was time to give Estes another chance.
The reason I was willing to give this festival another chance was a pattern I found in the recent Jane Austin Knits magazine. I found a pattern that I just had to have, but there was a problem. Our local shop was in the process of closing, and I couldn’t find enough yardage to complete it. I then decided that I was going to make it from the ground up. I have a couple of friends who have been parading around in their handspun and hand-knitted items long enough…that I wanted to join the group! I spin, but I have never knitted with any of my handspun yarn. So the plan was to get a full fleece, but I didn’t know what kind. Since my aunt had cancelled on me for Estes, I almost thought about waiting for Taos, but that would have to be til October. I didn’t want to miss out on the available fleeces another three months. So that is what got me to change my mind about going to Estes Park. I have too much…well not too much, but enough Wenslydale and Teeswater, to last me a while. It wasn’t the right look I was wanting. Going through the fiber book with Peggy, I decided I wanted a Bond fleece. She had a gorgeous five-pound (or so) fleece that was a light/medium brown. I wanted it so bad! It was a good find. So that’s what the plan was.
The drive to Estes Park was amazing…as usual! I had driven to my aunt and uncle’s place in Erie the night before so that the drive to Estes Park wouldn’t be that long. I again had to remind myself who was driving so that I didn’t wreck the car. Coming over the hill to see the town is mind-blowing. The market area didn’t open til 9am, but it was a great chance to look at all of the animals. Aren’t they cute!?!
While looking at the animals, I caught a glance at a very nice looking man. I had seen him for the first time a few years ago at the Taos Festival. He is a professional sheep shearer. He is awesome at what he does and he does so looking the way he does. Such a cutie! As I was leaving the festival, I introduced myself to him and told him how I knew him. (A friend of mine has a farm out in Rye, and he shears for them.) Much nicer looking in person and up front!
Once the doors were open I went and looked for Peggy’s booth. (I kind of asked her to find out where I could get the Bond fleece.) This is Peggy’s second or third time at Estes, but her first time by herself. Another friend, who raises alpacas, decided to get her own booth. The lighting for Peggy’s booth was awesome! Her hubby is so creative! He used buckets to hold the type of bulbs that he wanted to use because he couldn’t find anything that would work. It was so much easier shopping for roving or yarn indoors with the special lighting.
Peggy was able to help me find the woman who owned the Bond fleeces. Peggy hadn’t met her when she bought hers, because the woman only sent her fleeces for the Taos show…which is where she got hers. I didn’t find the same coloring as what Peggy got, but I got one that’s light grey. The ram must be big because his fleece had been divided up into two bags. I really wanted something closer to five pounds, but instead got 4.2 pounds. Why not get the other bag? I couldn’t afford both bags, even though I really wanted them. Each bag was $100!!! The reason? It’s an Australian sheep that isn’t too common. Yeah…oOo! Then I found out that she didn’t accept cards! I was all gung-ho on putting it on a card, but no. I had to do a check. It’s all good though. I’ll have to keep my eye open at Taos to see what she sends out for that festival.
Once the big item was crossed off my list, I was able to roam around without being pushed or shoved. It was nice. The getting there early totally paid off! I found a lot of gorgeous roving! What was even better was that I didn’t have to be pushed and shoved in order to look around. I’m not the type of shopper that has to go into every single booth to look at everything…unlike my mom and aunt. I did find an 8-year-old girl spinning on a wheel. I thought that it was amazing that at her age she had the treadling and drafting down! Doesn’t she look awesome!?! I have a 7 yr old niece that love crafts. I’m trying to decide if and when I should teach her how to knit and spin. I guess after seeing this, I have my answer…soon. The wheel that’s in the background with the open spokes…I totally wanted, but didn’t have the money to buy it. With all of the roving that I found, I did have to talk myself in and out of buying a new drop spindle. I had all of this fiber, but nothing to spin it with! I already have about four spindles, but we all know that doesn’t mean anything, right? 😉 I was at the festival for a couple hours and then I decided that if I stayed any longer I would run into the crowd that I was trying to avoid and I would spend more money than I already had. So the total was 5.2 pounds of fleece and about 2 pounds in dyed-roving. It’s all so pretty though!!!
Before I left I did take some pictures of the town, sorta. You can’t go into Estes Park and not visit or see the Stanley Hotel. It would be cool to be able to stay there on their off season to see if you could experience something spooky.
So even though I got what I wanted and I spent more than I expected, I probably will hit up the Taos Wool Festival. It’s the first weekend in October. My aunt said that she’s wanted to go down there for a while, but then she mentioned having my mom going. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I will be getting my own room if they do both come with. My aunt snores really bad, and my mom can sometimes snore/moan in her sleep. So maybe something either across the hall or down the hall or on the other side of the hotel might do. lol Although buying stuff around my mom might not be easy. I won’t need to buy too much with the stash I got this time around, right? I can’t spin all of that by October…hahaha.
I really thought that by downloading the WordPress app to both my smartphone and tablet I would be keeping up with my blog, but I guess I’ve been lazy? Maybe lazy isn’t the word. I think “preoccupied” is better. I have been working more on my fiber projects lately since I don’t have to worry about completing projects and assignments for my masters that I finished in Dec 2011.
Starting in Jan, I was teaching part-time here in Pueblo and Colo Springs, which wasn’t new for me, but the 6 hr break between classes in Springs was new. It’s difficult trying to find places to go when you’re in a town that is more than 40 miles away from home. You can’t go home to nap or work on a project. Well…you could, but that would be a waste of gas with the way today’s economy is going. On Tuesdays I would go to the Yarn Outlet for their morning knitting session and then to Green Valley Weavers and Knitters until I had to be back at work for tutoring before teaching my early evening class. On Thursdays I would go to a friend’s house to spin. She hand dyes her own fiber and yarn, but also spins herself. Peggy is amazing when it comes to color and spinning. I’d have to say she’s definitely an inspiration when it comes to my spinning. Her business is called The 100th Sheep. You should check her out some time…if anyone’s reading. As a warning, there might be some drooling over her stuff. 😉 By visiting her once a week from Jan to May, I was able to get a lot of spinning done. More than I was getting done probably in the whole year of 2011.
Back in Jan of this year I got some of Peggy’s hand-dyed roving. I was able to get some of it spun up. These are my final products for two of the four colors I bought. The first is a thick and thin plied with a grape purple merino bamboo. It came out so nice! The second is bright pink combination. The coloring is a little off due to the fact my camera’s coloring is off. I think I’d like to make something for my niece. Even though I don’t like her always wearing pink, this is a fun, bright pink.
I also had a few projects that I had on bobbins for a while and needed to finish. The first was a CVM that I got at our location shop and I decided to ply it with a Rose Grey Alpaca roving that I had gotten at the Taos Fiber Festival a few years ago. The combination was perfect! The second is a roving that I got from a friend, Heidi. She does her own hand-dying also. This was a merino, alpaca, silk blend (variegated), and I plied it with two different shades of merino/bamboo. I love it turned out!
Also at Green Valley, I joined a Xmas group…yes…Xmas. It’s to help get your Xmas list together of all of the projects that you want to have done before Xmas. So far I’ve done ok. I haven’t gotten as much done as I’ve wanted. I have finished a couple of things. I wanted to make a sweater for a friend of mine’s son. She was my childhood friend back in Ada, OK. I swear I have a completed picture, but I guess this will have to work for right now. I’m also working a hoodie for my 7 yr old niece. I can’t wait til I’m done. I have from the bottom to the armpits, and 1.75 arms done. I just need to complete the second arm and connect it to the body to continue the rest. This is the first time I have done a bottom up sweater while attaching the sleeves this way. Then I have plans on working on mini somethings for the close friends and family.
I also was able to finish the following square for an afghan that was auctioned off in town. It was a nice combination of work for women that knitted at the shop. While talking to a friend from middle school on FB, I found out that she had been diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer and was going through chemo. I offered to make her a hat that she could wear since she had decided to go ahead and shave her head. She told me that since she lived in Texas that a lot of the hats she was previously wearing were too hot and tightly knit. I offered to make her one using a cotton blend and a somewhat lace pattern. I didn’t want it to be too open. It turned out to be perfect for her. She really likes it and I did too….so I made one for me also. I might make one for my sister too. The grey is for my friend and the pink is for me. The pattern is called the Lotus Hat, and I found through a blog through Ravelry. I even have a few friends in the knit group wanting to make one too. I did have to alter it since it called for worsted, and I used DK.
Every year, except for last year due to finishing my masters, I’ve made mini ornaments for the holidays. I’ve done mini sweaters, santa stockings, beaded cozies that go over a glass ornament, and I think that’s it. Last year I got into the hexipuffs and putting together my own Beekeeper’s Quilt. I’m a math teacher so it just made sense to make my ornaments a hexipuff, but I wanted to add something different this year. I wanted to spin the yarn I was going to knit for these ornaments. I wanted a non-traditional look. I’m not into the standard red, green, and white. The yarn on the left is my first attempt. I found an amazing gold bamboo at Green Valley and wanted to use it for this project. It’s gorgeous, but a little too Mardi Gras (Two merino singles & bamboo). The second (middle) attempt is still pretty. I replaced the gold bamboo with an off white/grey merino. The last attempt is my favorite. It’s a cranberry red with the green merino and gold bamboo from the first skein. I might use them all, but I plan on spinning up more from the last color combination. I’ll definitely have to post more once I have more finished projects.