Monday, November 21, 2005

Up to my Elbows in Fiber

It's been way too long since I posted last, so thought I'd better explain that I'm up to my elbows in fiber. It started at the annual wool producers' fleece sale in Burlington, WA, earlier this month. Just a few years back, I lived within 1/2 mile of this place. For fourteen years I drove back and forth on Peterson Road, past this farm, at least twice daily, schlepping kids to/from school and their various before & after school activities. Let's see, that's band, swimming, track, softball, ballet, karate, piano lessons, enrichment programs in French & marine biology, science vacation club & rocketry camp. I'm sure there are more but they've been deleted from my internal hard drive. You get the picture. So why did I wait to begin spinning wool until just three years ago? Well, reflecting back onto the aforementioned activities, I guess it makes sense. Anyway, I started spinning yarn three years ago, and at about that time, the annual Wool Producers' Sale began.

What a pity that this year, the sale coincided with the annual Spindrifters' retreat. I attended the sale armed with a shopping list for several of my fellow spinners who had chosen to attend the retreat instead (tough job, spending other peoples' money!), and truly could have used a small van to haul back all of our purchases. What a wonderful day! We even got to spend awhile visiting with the now naked sheep, and thanked them for their wonderful coats.

I've been washing fleece ever since, and I have the dishpan hands to prove it. Despite the fact that I have a "special" (and I mean "special" in the way that it doesn't do much other than soak and spin. . . agitating it doesn't do so well) washing machine for fleece, I still wind up with my hands in water a lot. Not complaining, though. I am very blessed. I've washed a 9 lb chocolate-colored, prize-winning Romney (split with a friend), a gorgeous, lustrous Lincoln in silver/gray, a silver/gray Border Leicester, and a lustrous charcoal Border Leicester. And I've done two washes on a 10 lb white mohair (see earlier post) that *still* refuses to give up its grease. I'm getting out the ammonia for that one. Anyway, I've been busy. :-)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Nicole's hat & mittens

While we were on our trip to Canada, I did a little spinning on my new Little Gem (Majacraft) wheel. It's very portable & surprisingly versatile. I had been working on some laceweight yarn using mystery batts, which I'd planned to knit into a Shetland-style shawl for myself. I had three bags of this stuff, and discovered, when I opened the second bag, that although the colors coordinated, the fiber itself was quite different - extraordinarily soft & fluffy. I immediately thought of my little niece & her upcoming birthday. So, here we have photos of the totally scrumptious mystery batt, from along with the bobbins of singles, the three-ply yarn, and the hat & mittens. And yes, I still have plenty of fiber for the shawl. :-)

I have to add that I have a new passion for making mittens. Since I finished Nicole's, I got out some Romney/pooch two ply that was living in my yarn stash & made myself a pair of fingerless mitts. So easy. So quick! And just in time for the change in weather.