Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Knitting Craze

The tides have turned, and after a month or so of obsessing over fiber and spinning, while almost completely abandoning my knitting, I have flip-flopped.
I find my needles and yarn calling me the instant they come into my sight, and my wheel and pile of fiber to be spun sitting jealously in the corner. I still visit the fiber every once and a while, but right now I am in the midst of a renewal with my knitting mind.
By the advice of Kelley Petkun's KnitPicks podcast, I went and got myself a subscription to For $22/month, you get to download ANY two audiobooks, regardless of the retail price. I've always adored reading, but abandoned my books when I discovered the world of knitting. Having a wonderful book on my ipod to listen to makes me want to do nothing but sit on my overstuffed couch, with my ipod and knitting all around me. Also per Kelley's advice, I started with a series of books by Diana Gabaldon. I just finished the first book this morning, Outlander, and I'm obsessed. I can only describe it as a mix of non-stop action, romance, and the rich culture and history of 18th century Scotland.

Anyway. Turning back towards knitting, I found myself noticing that I have very *little* yarn in my stash, especially nothing that would be enough for a larger project.
A few weeks ago, I went to my local craft store, where I found a huge yarn sale. Most of the yarns were fugly novelty, eyelash yarns, but there were a few colors of this silk/acrylic blend. I got 12 skeins of this brown, and 12 skeins of a light tan. These were $1/skein!
Because of the silk content, I wanted a possibly summer/spring garment that wasn't quite a sweater. I've been interested in the construction of the knitting pattern, Ester, ever since I first saw it. So, here it is. I've knit through the whole back section, and am now continuing it with the addition of the "sleeve" sections. This pattern is perfect for tv/movie knitting. Interesting enough to keep me entertained, but easy and repetitive enough that I could easily remember the pattern, and do not often have to refer to a chart.

I had a few blue, yellow, and green scraps of rather scratchy wool leftover from the pound of fiber that came with my carder. I carded these with some super soft white merino and some shiny blue/green firestar. It's being spun up on my joy, I'm thinking that it will remain sock weight singles, or be 2 plyed. I'm not sure yet, I'll see what mood hits me when I'm further along with the spinning.

I received this nice big box stuffed with 2 lbs of border leicester wool. It is well skirted, but still full of small debris and tons of natural oils. I've been slowly plucking the locks apart from each other in those small moments I find myself not wanting to knit or spin.
I had never washed raw fiber before this, and I found that its not nearly as tedious as it seemed from the sets of instructions I had read. After finding myself a small plastic shower basket at target with slots in the side, it was really easy. I stack some locks in the basket with the tips all facing the same way. I brew some hot water in my coffee pot, and fill a white tub with dishsoap and the hot water. Since the basket the fiber is in has slots, it can just be lowered into the hot water without agitation, avoiding frustrating felting. After the locks are washed, I press the water out of them with old towels, and set them aside to dry. I then card the dried, clean locks, and pull the batt gently into little nests of roving.

The clean wool is beautifully white in contrast to the dirty locks.
I'm still not sure what to do with all this fiber! It may ALL be prepared and dyed into tons of small amounts of different colors as filler wool in batts, or perhaps I will spin it undyed first, and hand paint the yarn.
I haven't decided. In either case, I'm sure I'll be working on this 2 lbs for a while.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It's been a while...

It's been forever since I've done anything etsy related, besides making items. Last week I got a brand new toy! A strautch petite drum carder. Here she is with my first test batch.

I've been carding up a storm since I got it, and have some very pretty fiber to add to the store that will hopefully start going up in the next few days.

Last weekend we had our nieces (Samantha, 6 months, and Katelin, 3 years) while sister and brother in law were at a dart tournament. The kids were perfect little angels like they usually are for uncle and auntie, but unfortunately Michele had gotten sick the last night of their trip, and proceeded to give it to Rick, Katelin, and I. So for the last 3 days I've been at home throwing up again. I'm so sick of the stupid flu, and the fact that every time we have a nice springy day, it SNOWS again! Its April. Quit it. I really need to take a bucket of disinfectant to the entire apartment and let it air out, but I'm sure as hell not going to do it when its cold and snowy yet.