Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Great and Powerful Oz

My friend emailed me today with a cautious inquiry as to my health...apparently I've been a little too silent.

Definitely the blog has suffered, the last few months, from a lack of action on my part. Especially the crafty stuff - it's not that I haven't been doing it, I just haven't been telling you about it.

My feet have been cold lately, so I finished a pair of "Grown-up Booties" from Ysolda's book "Whimsical Little Knits". Well, I've finished one, and the second one is half done. I am going to be about 5 grams short of yarn, so I'll pick up some more from the Farmer's Market on Sunday.

The yarn is from a flock of Border Cheviot, locally grown for wool and meat. They are raised about 25 minutes from here, and processed in a cool little mill in Alberta. The colour is natural - no bleaching or dyeing. It's a heavy aran weight.

I've finished the first skein of Shetland yarn from Aiden's flock. My long-term goal for this wool is to create a fair-isle palette of natural colours, blending the wool on the carders to make the various shades. I started with the natural grey, which started out as a three-colour fleece - the tips are warm, light brown, the middle of the lock is cool grey, and there is white next to the skin. Sadly, of course, the colour gradations are lost in the carding, but in the skein all three colours are present, giving the finished yarn depth and complexity that a single colour wouldn't have.

This is my first long-draw skein. Things get a little uneven in places but I love the overall effect - not to mention the incredibly fast process. The skein is a heavy-fingering/sport-weight 2-ply - I haven't done the wraps per inch nor the yardage yet.

I had a half-bobbin of singles left over -with this much raw fleece, I am not worried about making the singles ply out evenly. I just fill two bobbins more or less, and ply away. The process is interesting. I've developed a contemplative, long-range view for this project, due to the sheer size of it. You can't expect to have all the fleece washed in one day, and you can only spin as much as you've carded, and you can only ply as much as you've got bobbin-space for...I like it. It's impossible to hurry. I've done as much plying as I have singles, and I've spun all the rolags I've carded, so now it's time to card again.

This week is for carding, then, and next week I'll be able to spin some more singles. Once I've got another 100 grams or so of the natural grey, I'll start carding some white and grey together for blended rolags to spin an intermediate shade.

I took some garden pictures to show you, but a baffling 'internal error' has stymied me. Blogger is vague as to whether the error is internal to them, or internal to me. Perhaps next time.


Anonymous said...

it's obviously internal to them. for me on the other hand, not so obvious. but i cannot wait for conclusive results. (i just never get any anyway.)
nice socks.
<3 <3 <3

kate said...

Nice booties, baby.

Geek Knitter said...

Ooo, your spinning is lovely!

I'd go with the internal error being on internal to blogger too.

Ames said...

Right, Kate. Nice booty, Shan.

I'm loving the au naturel home-spun yarn. Please send all of it to me, ASAP.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Hmmm, so this is what people mean by "booty call" all this time I thought it meant something much more sticky.

karen said...

Stupendous! Amazing! Fabulous!
I personally have had the pleasure of seeing, holding and petting this wonderful skein.
The process from Sheep's back to spun yarn is a tribute to the human race and their(our) amazing ability and skill at surviving and thriving. A truely magnificent work of art Shan. I am so pleased and happy for this amazing step forward acknowledging all that has gone before.You totally rock !

lizbon said...

Love the booties, and am loving in general the whole concept of knitting in natural-colored yarns. Reminds me that I bought myself some half alpaca/half wool from a natural spinnery deux Rhinebecks ago that I still haven't knitted up.