Another Tangled Web

This web at first looked as if a giant spider had invaded our downstairs!

tangled string

tangled around every leg in sight

But on second look it was just Stanley and Sheldon learning to play “cat’s cradle” with some string they found 🙂

cats at play

Now this is the next move!

Lucky for all that it wasn’t my hand spun!

On My Wheel

On my wheel today I have some llama. I just retrieved it from the fiber mill on Monday, so when I saw it I had to quickly finish the pound of super wash merino that was almost done.

When I sent the llama fiber that I had washed it was a combination of greys and white that I had washed and stuck together in a bag, thinking that they would process it together and I would have a heathered light gray to spin. Imagine my surprise to open the bag and find this fluffy striped fiber awaiting me 🙂

llama roving

white and grey llama

This is the start of the bobbin, today it is almost full so tomorrow will start the second spool to ply with it. Anxious to see the blend of natural colors that will result, no dyeing necessary!

spinning

spinning llama

And here’s a picture of the first pound of garnet red that I finished, the second pound is drying to set the twist. I have different colors of super wash to spin yet and also a few pounds of alpaca that was also processed at the same mill.

hand spun merino

garnet super wash merino

January’s Fiber

Normally people might read ” January’s fiber” and think I had made drastic changes in my diet! But no! I’m referring to the wool that I’ve been getting ready for this summer’s craft shows.

The biggest part of my time was spent spinning some more super wash yarn. After a sale on HandmadeArtists I realized how low my inventory of super wash was so decided to get busy. I managed to finish spinning five pounds of the merino super wash top from my stash, and dug out another 5 pounds to see if I can do the same amount for February. One pound of larch green was plied with one pound of dark olive for a total of about 1200yds. The red pound is called lipstick (about 550yds). Then a pound of light blue (about 600yds). And pictured the first skein of the pound-a bulkier art yarn of maybe 250yds. The rest of it is finished but drying to set the twist. I still need to label the individual skeins before I will have an accurate yardage count.

hand spun yarn

superwash merino hand spun

Then I took a day off to play with colors. Five batches/ four colorways gave me a start on adding to my top inventory. I will have the fun of spinning some of the top that matches the yarn to knit into a hat. The rest will find homes with other spinners or felters.

hand dyed

dyed merino top and alpaca blend yarn

Then my supervisor (Sheldon the cat) was inspecting the progress of some dryer balls! I think he likes being in charge of quality control!

Dryer balls

Sheldon inspecting!

And I’ve a head start on February’s to do list, just finished the first pound of singles and ready to start plying.

Happy February all.

Snowy Days

Snowy days and days and days, with a little freezing rain thrown in to the south of us!

snowy view

But with the snow comes lots of time to stay inside and craft so I’ve been very busy this past week.

rainbow dyed

merino top and alpaca blend yarn, hand dyed

Last Friday I dyed some wool and top and yarn. While it was drying I finished spinning some green yarn, plied it and set the twist.

dyed in the wool.

warm and cool primary colors, plus pink+blue=purple

When it was dry I spread it on the table for pictures, but first I had to play peek-a-boo with Sheldon! After the game was done he still was tempted to take a closer look at the wool, but behaved and just looked 🙂

cat peek-a-boo

my eyes are closed…you can’t see me

cat peek-a-boo

can I fit?

Sheldon the cat

hi!

Then I teased some of the purplish wool to remove more of the VM (vegetable matter) that hadn’t come out in the washing.

cat

Can’t I help?

hand processing wool

teased wool and debris

After loading my hand cards with fiber, I found that Sheldon was still watching me!

hand wool processing

Dressing the cards

hand processing wool

carding wool with help

hand processing wool

carded wool

Here are some the rolags (rolls of carded wool) ready for spinning, but I have a lot more carding to do first.

hand processing wool

rolags ready to spin

As I mentioned before we have two black cats. The following pictures will show you how we tell them apart: Sheldon has the crooked ear from the injury he came to the shelter with. Stanley has half of a white whisker (the other half must of broken off during their wrestling matches).  While Stanley can usually be found be found on my husband’s lap and occasionally on mine, Sheldon has to see (closeup) whatever I am doing and shares his lap time with me and our son, while only occasionally my husband, maybe because that lap is already taken by his brother. Both take turns trying to help me spin or knit but are learning that yarn is NOT a chew toy.

cat

Sheldon

spinning yarn

Stanley helping me spin

The yarn that Stanley was helping me spin has now been plied and has formed skeins totaling over 500yds. Time to start spinning the next color/pound of superwash merino. Made more dryer balls today, so those are drying now. I’m thankful for the speed by which things dry during the winter months thanks to the even heat of our wood furnace. So winter does have its advantages!

spun yarn

singles of superwash merino

How do you enjoy winter days?  Anyone a fiberholic too?

Yesterday I Won

Yesterday I won. No not the Lottery which I never play. Something better! I won the raffle for a pattern written by Orange Smothie.

For a picture or the lovely cowl look here.

I chose my yarn, a red hand spun which happens to be the right gauge and amount:) Need to finish a couple of other things (like this post and finding the right needles) before I can cast on. But it did move to the front of my knitting line-up!

hand spun yarn

Red merino wool yarn.

Did finish plying the singles I’ve spun for 5 more skeins of yarn. They are now drying, setting their twist. I’ve been avoiding working on the shawl I have started, need to rip back a few rows and think the cats would be too much help at this time:) It may become a project to work on in the evenings at the craft shows (when the cats will be safely at home!)

What’s on your needles?

 

 

The Temp and The Horse

The Temp and the Horse is a Mallory Southwell novel written by Valerie Hibbard and available on Amazon.

Book by Valerie Hibbard

It was a pleasant surprise when I received it in the mail on Saturday, the last day of the old year! That ended it on a high note.

Recently I haven’t spent enough time on reading for pleasure, so I’m thankful that my friend Valerie sent me an autographed copy of her newly released book.

We met several years ago on line with a mutual interest in fiber. Managing to meet in person a couple of times, we continue growing our friendship with the help of the internet.

She is a woman of widely varying interests and experiences. Some of this knowledge I recognized in parts of her book, while other facts I know she thoroughly researched.

I have enjoyed reading the anecdotes and short stories that she published in her Plain and Practical newsletter years ago and highly recommend  The Temp and the Horse.

It is adult reading so I would like to quote some from Valerie’s

“Warning to the Easily Offended”

” …There is murder, there is espionage, there is lying and sneaking. There is sex…People con others out of money, burn down houses, perform surgery without permission, practice eugenics and…”

In spite of her warnings I started reading immediately and couldn’t put it down til the end. I found her book to be realistically compelling with an intriguing story-line. Could such things actually be happening?

It starts with Mallory’s unsuccessful search for a job after graduating college with a double major. Finally she feels forced to take jobs with a Temp agency. This turns into a fast paced adventure that leads her down unexpected roads!

There are two more novels planned to follow this one. Can hardly wait for their release.

Valerie’s style may vary in genre but it is delightful and her characters engaging. She also has another style of book on Amazon that I would like to read.

I have always enjoyed mysteries and espionage as well as westerns and some historical novels. What are your favorite genres? Leave a comment, let me know what you are reading?

 

Finally F. O.’s

Finally, now that Christmas presents have been opened, I can share some of my December knitting with you.

Santa sacks

snow flake and deer head

 

I discovered a blog that was publishing knitted Santa sack patterns for advent. Bekki did a great job posting a new one almost daily for the 24 days. Unfortunately I didn’t knit them as fast as she did so I only finished the number I needed for gifts.

Santa sacks

tree and gift

Santa sacks

bells and snowflake

Santa sack

Faire Isle

But she did inspire me, I knit seven from her patterns, then I made a grid and charted my own design for an angel (which I wanted for my daughter’s collection and Bekki hadn’t gotten to that day yet) And I’m looking forward to finishing the rest of the set that she published.

Santa sack

Angel sack before sewing

As we end this year, I realize that I haven’t shared as many finished objects with you as I had planned. Thanks to those who have continued to follow me in spite of my inconsistency and a welcome to those who may have just stumbled upon my blog. Stay tuned, a new year gives me another chance to improve my blogging habits 🙂

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!  May Health and Happiness be yours.

Kitties and Crafts

Kitties and crafts are an interesting combination! Before adopting, one was on my lap while I was knitting on a hat! He jumped down through the loop of the circular needles, ignoring the yarn, so I mistakenly assumed that his twin brother would act the same 🙂

They did come home with us with slight colds (along with the medicine to treat their sneezes) Sheldon has recovered and Stanley’s sneezes are getting less frequent!  But that means their curiosity is increasing! Sheldon has to see whatever it is we are doing. With Christmas fast approaching I have been trying to get some knitting finished. Sheldon thinks moving yarn is to be bitten, then he jumps on my lap for a closer taste! Makes for slow knitting!

cat with knitting.

That innocent look of “who me?”

After nearly a week I decided I wanted to see their reaction to my spinning wheel. I started spinning some short lengths of my hand dyed merino top. Within a minute Sheldon had put his paw on the moving treadle but soon figured out that it would get hit by the wheel as the treadle raised. He moved to the side and with his paw on my toe  “helped” me treadle for a while. Then he jumped to my lap, smelled the wool , but was mesmerized watching the flyer spin as if trying to figure out how it was working. Then he bit at the yarn! After the second bite and second NO he decided to get down but continued to watch from a short distance. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this since my hands were full protecting my yarn!

merino

hand dyed top

I spun two bobbins with somewhat even color changes, hoping they would line up with each other when plied.

single hand spun yarn

spools of singles

The colors overlapped some but came close to what I’d planned. The most I could fit on my bobbin was 220yds (seen below on the niddy noddy) but with the two smaller skeins totals just over 300yds. (enough to knit another shawl!)

plied yarn

Plied yarn on niddy-noddy and in smaller skeins.