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Yes Sir, Yes Sir

Three Bags Full!!

scottish-3-bags-fullWashed, picked, and ready to be carded.

From a fleece I brought home from our last visit to Scotland.  I won’t say how long ago, because I know now it is not a good thing to store a dirty fleece.  At the time I knew quite a bit less than I do now about choosing a raw fleece to hand spin, but none the less, I had it so I had to work with what I had.

And it was work let me tell you.

scottish-fleece

This is how it started, pretty much a big pile of stuff in a bag.  I just loved the creamy tan and  the soft brown color blend.  I don’t  even remember what type of sheep it came from.  I am so bad at this kind of stuff, but I have made a promise to myself to get better at recording the details before jumping in head first and going off all willy-nilly in my new fiber/project stupor.

scottish-fleece-in-the-tub1

Remember I said it was dirty??  Well after skirting off some nasty bits, I separated it into 3  smaller piles.  Then each batch, as it were, got washed in the tub several times, until I was satisfied it was clean.  I used your basic Dawn dish washing detergent because I felt I needed to get out as much of the grease (& dirt) as possible.  So after 3 or 4 soakings in hot water & soap, the bath water ran clear.  Each batch was then soaked again in hot water with some white vinegar.  Then one last time in just hot water to get the vinegar smell out.  So about 6 soakings each for 3 batches = about 18 soakings  roughly 20 minutes each – so yeah – all day….

scottish-fleece-drying-4

It was then off to the garage and onto the rack we usually use to start seedings on each spring. This was a true moment of genius, because when you have so much of this damp -  soft – fluffy -  yummy – cuddly -wet dog smelling stuff,  I mean that it in good way, you have to have enough space to spread it out in, with air getting at it all around, so it will dry quickly, and so that you can get on with your willy-nilly new fiber/project stupor.  Anyway, this worked great, out in the garage, out of the way, lots of fresh air, and away from any dog or cat in the house trying to see if it was still alive and maybe someone new to play with.

scottish

I took a small batch, because I just couldn’t wait, carded it on my mini Strauch cader, of course without taking pictures of this part of the process.  You know that whole willy-nilly thing took over again.

I then spun it up on my Ashford Joy, which I truly adore .  Plied the  bobbins that I spun into a DK weight,  really nice soft brown almost what used to be called “worsted” weight.

Promise to self – take pics of the carding process with the 3 bags full….

scottish-washedscottish-drying

It was then washed once more.  This time in Eucalan, and hung to dry  down in our nice warm, dry basement.

scottish-closeupscottish-romney-chocolate-vanillaSo here it is up-close & personal.. I know not such a great picture, it is not focused & too bright, so it doesn’t show the true color.  This is another skill I need to work on.

But then, here it is on the top left, all dry and skeined.  It is pictured with some Romney spun at Christmas time.  I just like the whole chocolate and vanilla theme going on here.  It is a nice chocolaty soft brown & I can’t wait to go all willy-nilly on the rest of it!

Before & After

Getting back to this after much procrastination, so I have quite a bit to add.  I have been thinking about what to add and have a nice list but, needed the time to get it done.  So first on my list is my before and after spinning/knitting show & tell:

This blue handspun                                              became  these Maine Morning Mitts  for Kerri. blue2

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Great for texting and keeping up with the world on fb during this crazy cold winter. 

Thisgreen-handspun-2 green/orange handspun blend                       became  this cowl scarf for Kristin.

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Great for going on hikes up in the mountains. 

Thisashford-joy-013  pink/grey blend                                                 became  this cute beret for Katie.

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To match her coat, and wear about town. 

This60-40-border-lieceser-angora-001  natural blend                                                                 became  this lace scarf for Cass.

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For dressing up or just for everyday neck warming .

And lastly this006-3  100% pure merino                                   became  this sport 2-ply  for Marianne.

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For her to knit into whatever her little heart desires. 

I have been working on more handspun/knitting & hopefully will be able to get to post more regularly about what is on the needles and goings on in my knitting life, but for now this is a good start.  Joyous Knitting everyone :)

“Practice” Spinning

During the last few months I have been trying to really practice at my spinning.  So the results of practicing since about July ending up like this:

green-handspun-1 Green/Orange Blend – I really have to take some more serious notes on what type of fiber, but as I was just “practicing”, I was spinning with whatever I had or could get my hands on, not thinking that I would actually use it for anything because I was just “practicing”.  Well this blend of light green/dark/green/orange spun up into a fairly thick 2 -ply, which I knitted into a cowl neck scarf for my daughter for Christmas.

blue1

Blue Blend – This was spun on weekends up in the Catskills, also a 2-ply mid weight.  It was knitted into a pair of Maine Morning Mitts for my daughter-in-law also for Christmas.

60-40-border-lieceser-angora-0021 60/40 Border Leicester/Angora – This blend was spun into a lighter 2-ply about sport weight & then knitted into a scarf for my niece’s dearest friend.

I will post pictures of the finished objects as soon as I can get out to my other computer where I have these pictures stored.  It has turned into a frozen tundra around here this weekend and I would have to blast the heater in my studio if I dared to venture out into the cold, brrrr…..

Catching up

I have quite a bit to catch up on!  This holiday season really caught me by storm, not that any other holiday season is not a whirlwind, but this one really wiped me out.  So I guess I’ll start with an easy post about the LIKCG Charity Teddy Bears.

Anyone who wanted took home  bear to “dress” in any way you wanted.  The bears were then collected and judged, and I have to say that I took my pictures way too early because the tables were full of all different kinds of teddy bears.  The creativity was really amazing to see how different and interesting the bears turned out.

bears-2 bearsimg00106-20091209-2100So you can already guess which bear I dressed.

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I wanted my bear to be a for a girl, so I took a bunch of yarn in baby colors & made them into granny squares, and then using the bear as a model, just sewed them together so they would fit.  I alternated the squares in two rows for the back & fronts. Two squares sewn together became the tubes for sleeves. The edging was 1 row of sc, and then one row of ch3, sc around.  It was finished with a one button closure and the neck edges were tacked down to stay in place.  My goal was to end up with something cheerful.

Congrats to the winners of the contest, and to all who participated. All the bears were collected and they will be donated to a charity for children.

Spinning

handspun-light It seems that I may have found a way to relieve some of my holiday stress.

I have been learning to spin on & off over the course of this year seriously. I have a beautiful saxony wheel that my husband bought me as an anniversary gift some years ago, but I wasn’t really hitting it off with spinning until I got my Ashford Joy this past summer.

I really wanted to learn how to spin and have taken only one “real” beginners class last January, but have been reading a lot on my own and practicing almost every week.

I even took my wheels with me up to our campsite in the Catskills this summer for some uninterrupted quiet spinning & learning. I have found that I really love doing this.  It is so relaxing, once I took the advice of my friend, Delia, who told me to “just let it go” and not to put so much thought into it, and stop holding on to the fiber with the grip of an alligator.

I know I still have quite a bit to learn but here are some pics of my recently spun yarn:

The grey is 60/40 Border Leicester Angora Blend & the blue is unknown fiber content from spinning class samples.

60-40-border-lieceser-angora-002007

My Knitting Nirvana

So I guess I have to start somewhere and for me the best place to be at any time of the day is in my knitting studio, my knitting nirvana.

my-studio

I have been knitting as long as I can remember and during all those years have accumulated a nice size stash.  I say nice size because one can never have too much stash, there will always be the need for more.

Then if there is always the need for more, there will always be the need to have the space to store it in.  Makes sense, no?

Well in my entire life I have never had what you might call or refer to as a room of my own.  I am the second child of five, so I grew up always sharing a room with my sisters.  Then moved on to be married and have shared a room with my love for going on 34 years now. Scary isn’t it….

my-stash

Until last year when my husband and I cleared out half of our two car garage and converted it into my knitting studio. I think it may have been out of desperation as we had moved to a much smaller house since the kids had all grown up and moved out.  But all my stuff came with me from the big house in Queens to the small house in East Meadow.

I still haven’t got it all organized quite the way I want it. I guess if you keep acquiring more stash, there will always be the need to organize more.  Which only makes me happier because then I get to spend more time in my favorite place, my knitting nirvana.

Geez, what took me so long

Finally about to emerge on the blogging world with what is happening in my knitting nirvana adventures.