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 πŸ™‚

cats at play

Now this is the next move!

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

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 πŸ™‚

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).Β  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?Β  Anyone a fiberholic too?

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 πŸ™‚

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!Β  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 toeΒ  “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.

New Additions!

After almost a year of a pet-less home we took a trip to our local animal shelter. We were looking for 2 cats so they would keep each other company on any day we might be gone.We didn’t expect to bring any home, just window-shopping.

new cats

First afternoon home.

We were lucky, not too many choices but they had 2 brothers who had been turned in as strays. They were so friendly, purring loudly with happiness when we took them out of their cage. I did bring in some knitting, in a craft house I had to see how much of a danger they would be to my yarn. As I sat with my partially knitted hat, one climbed on my lap, sniffed the wool and proceeded to walk through my circular needles (with a tail of yarn falling across his forehead) to jump off my lap πŸ™‚

About nine months old, they are past the kitten stage but playful and smart. They have been exploring the house and testing their limits, as any adolescent would. They like to spend time together but voluntarily separated last night, one following our son to bed, the other joining my husband and me.

Following us around, curious about what we are doing but not too intrusive. They even let me work with wool today, watching as I made dryer balls but not running away with the long piece of roving.

Sheldon the cat

Helping with wool.

Main problem is they are identical twins. One might be a few ounces heavier than the other but not that noticeable. The one that we named Sheldon (because of his choice of his seat on the couch) does have a small scab on one ear, but once that heals completely it’s going to be iffy! The other one (named Stanley after a character in Gravity Falls) does have one white whisker, but those sometimes shed and who knows if the next one will be the same color.? Meanwhile we are learning their characteristics and hoping they are learning their names.Collars would be a solution but I don’t like them on cats, too easy for them to get hung up if they should sneak outside. .

I am realizing how hard it is to photograph black cats and have them show up πŸ™‚

cats on chair.

Stanley’s eyes aren’t really that gold.