Friday, April 29, 2011

FAF April 29, 2011

Well, I've had a busy week, how bout you?  There's been washing, picking and carding, spinning and knitting.

The first of the Olympic Medals socks is finished.
There is a growiing pile of Jacob rolags on my table...
and I have some quilt squares cut so I can start putting a baby quilt together for a friend.  It'll be reverse applique, the white will be on top with the color showing through the cut-outs.  Heart shaped flowers with tulip stems and leaves.  Should be fun!  I'll bet you can't guess it's for a little girl...

Took 1/2 day of vacation today as I'm heading off to White Cloud with Paula, Heather and Erica. There will be sheep shorn at about 3pm.  Making a short stop at Hillside Jacobs to see he has any more Jacob or Shetland fleece that we can't live without then on to Counting Sheep Farm.  Can't wait to get there and say hey to Rachael and hopefully Evelyn.

Gary at Hillside tells me he still has a few light weight fleeces that he'd like to sell.  He's very reasonable and the Jacob is soft and colorful.

LittleDog mentioned the other day that he hadn't had any blog time lately so I'll share his play time with you from the other night.  We could use a few laughs around here.
His toy is a sheep, hehehe.  His most favorite thing to do is sit on me while I'm knitting and watching tv...

I hope you and your families are all safe and dry with a roof over your head.  It's been pretty scary around the USA and I know that we've spent our fair share of time worrying about loved ones in the path of destruction in the south.  Our son spent some time huddled in a ballroom with hundreds of folks in a hotel in Atlanta while the storms passed in the middle of the night.  We have family in Mobile, Birmingham, Jasper and Cordova, Alabama.  So far, with what little communication we can get through down there almost everyone is accounted for.  One Uncle has not been heard from yet but I'm sure as soon as someone knows something about him they'll let us know.  Tense times for sure.  Be safe and enjoy some fiber this weekend.

You can visit other fibery and fun folks at Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

Friday, April 22, 2011

FAF April 22, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Fiber Arts Friday, be sure to check out the great fiber things that other folks are doing over at Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

I finished something this week!  The first of a pair of lace top anklets I'm calling Socks for Susan.  The reason for the name is that one of my knitting peeps wanted to make a pair of anklets.  She picked out this pattern that she liked and I didn't like the way it looked and voiced said opinion.  I offered to re-work the pattern so it would look better and be more wearable.  She is almost finished with her first one and I have finally Kitchenered the toe of the one I did as a test.  I used some yarn that I dyed myself and I think they turned out ok.  It really isn't the greatest thing to use multi-color yarn when knitting lace but, I don't care!  They're my socks so no biggie.

I've been playing with fiber this week too.  The Jacob is so very fine and such pretty colors.

and the Corriedale is going to be a big boxey sweater for me and some nice warm socks for The Saint someday...I love the color.
I did a test spin after combing a bit with my cheapo dog brush (I don't recommend the dog brush method, it is very frustrating as the bristles in a dog brush are not near strong enough to hold up to this kind of wool)
The test spin shows how beautiful they both are though...
I got exciting news from my Dad new-to-me Ashford Traditional is resting nicely at his house in Florida after a 1 1/2 hr journey from her former home.  Dad ever so nicely agreed to Pony Express her to me.  It was such a great deal I couldn't pass it up.  I've been wanting a Traditional to ply with...bigger wheel, less treadling.  After test driving Paula's Kromski Polonaise the other night I am so glad I'm getting the Traddy.
After a slightly sketchy start I was spinning some awesome lace weight yarn on her Polly.  I am envious!

I'll be spending a few hours studying videos of how to properly card wool.  I'm sure there's a technique that I'll have to master.  What do you suppose folks did 1000 years ago when they didn't have all these teaching tools available to them?  I must confess, sometimes I just make up my own way of doing things...shhhhh.

We had a Yarny Party at Heather's house and as always it was way too much fun.
we played with her new drum carder and had yummy snacks.  Hope you have a nice bunch of knitting/spinning peeps too!  Thanks so much for visiting my blog this week.  It's always nice to see you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Soaking fleece

This post is presented to you today as part of Fiber Arts Friday.  Hop over and see all the talented peeps on Wisdom Begins In Wonder.

I guess my first attempt wasn't all that successful so I soaked again, with different equipment.

Three piece cat litter box, new, of course.  Hot water goes in solid pan, fleece goes in pan with grate and easy-peasy, soaking fleece.  This is some of the Jacob I got on Sunday.  It's so pretty and soft.

Speaking of Sunday, I also hung out with my Spinning/Knitting peeps at Urban Mill in the afternoon.  It was fun as always and we even had a couple of new fiberistas join us.
 Heather helping Scott get his next project started
 Deb, Sarah and Susan hard at work
 Scott's Mom and our newest friend Theresa
This last pic is my Viv.  Isn't she pretty with her Mojave roving drape?

Believe it or not, I actually have done some knitting this week too.  I made good progress on The Big Ass Sweater and did a few more rows on the Olympic Stripes socks.  Mostly I've been spending my every waking hour thinking about getting all this fleece clean so I can spin it.  And now I have plans to go up to Counting Sheep Farm for a shearing on the 29th.  Even took half a day off work.  There will be Cormo and Finn and Jacob, oh my!  Wish me self restraint!  mwah-ha-ha-ha!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fun on a Sun-day

 Paula wearing her "camo" you can't see her for all the Jacobs, hehehe
 So many lambs that you couldn't catch them all with just one shot of the camera

 The majestic horns of a Jacob Ram

My spinning friend Paula rode along today for a visit to Hillside Jacob in Sparta, MI.  Set in the beautiful rolling hills north of Grand Rapids. It's a beautiful setting for the equally striking Jacobs. A breed with soft fleece in a combination of white/black or white/black/brown/grey combination.  We were escorted around the farm by Dixie, the enthusiastic dog of the farm.  The newborn lambs were too plentiful to count with a few that had just been born this morning, just getting their "sea legs".  There were also Shetland sheep in a smaller number along with a couple of Pot-bellied Pigs, a gaggle of geese, Banty hens and rabbits.  Gary Anderson was nicer than nice and had some beautiful fleece still available at an unbelievable price.  The Jacob fleece is light and soft and has less grease than the Corriedale that I picked up yesterday.  I'll certainly be keeping tabs on his flock of sheep and contemplating which fleece I'll be dreaming of for next year.

It was most amusing to me as I drove away from the parking lot on Plainfield Avenue after moving stuffed garbage bags from my car to Paula's then her handing me cash and then driving off in opposite directions  Fleece trafficing!  LOL  I have a feeling this will be happening again.

Must go clean my boots!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The sheep fumes are...

making me light-headed...this is a Corriedale named Java from Chickasaw Farm in Reed City...

 M & M and her new lamb (just a couple days old)

from Hillside Jacobs I got two Jacob fleece from sheep named Jennifer & Vanilla...

 and a sheep named Gus, I can't remember what breed he was though, I want to say he was a Ram lamb...
there will be much wool soaking and spinning around here in the next few months.  I'm planning on leaving the Jacob as variegated as possible to preserve the variety of color like the sheep themselves.
Jacob Ram

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bitten by the Fleece Bug

Remember this?

This is what it looks like after a few hours spinning...
 then after Navajo Plying...

 I may be heading down a dangerous path this weekend.  Tomorrow afternoon I'll be heading up to Reed City to a sheep shearing celebration...where they'll be selling the fleece that they sheared off the sheep in the morning.  They'll be reasonably priced and a great temptation.  Then on Sunday morning I have an appointment at a farm in Sparta to look at some Jacob fleeces.  One in particular I am very interested in because of its color.  I've never purchased a whole fleece before so it will be quite the adventure cleaning and combing and spinning and knitting the fiber...almost sheep to sweater.  It will be difficult to go backward from there I think.

Have any of you been down the same path?  If so, did you have a difficult time purchasing commercial yarn after you'd done it?  Was the item you produced something that you really loved?

I am very curious.  When I started knitting 5 years ago I really didn't understand why anyone would knit a pair of socks.  Seems like so much work when you can go to the local big box store and buy socks for $3 a pair.   Now, after having knit about 30 pair of socks, I can't imagine ever buying another pair of socks in a big box store.  Isn't it funny how things change?
4 oz Alpaca/Merino
 I'd like to thank all the wonderful peeps that participate in Fiber Arts Friday over on Andrea's blog.  They've given me so much inspiration and left so many nice comments over the past few months.  Be sure to check out their blogs, you'll see some great stuff.

Have a wonderful weekend hopefully doing something fibery.  Be sure and take pictures!

Friday, April 1, 2011

FAF 04 01 11

 Hey!  I'm glad you enjoyed that little trip to the 70s last week.  Welcome to another Fiber Arts Friday post.  Don't forget to visit all the fun, creative peeps that participate over on Andrea's blog

This week's progress on my test sock...

That's a anklet cuff, a heel and half a foot. The yarn is from my first adventure in yarn dying.  I'm happy with the way it's knitting up.  I'm also knitting the heel of a sock for Val (heels are not her favorite part of knitting) and making a bit of progress on my Olympic socks.  I feel like I'm spread a little thin this week, not really sure why.  I even had to take a little nap when I got home from work yesterday.  Something I never do.  Today is a new day, however, and I have a busy day ahead of me at work.   No time for napping today.

My thought for the week...there is no better way to celebrate fiber arts than gathering with friends.  
Click photos to biggie size them.

 Last Sunday afternoon we took over Urban Mill with our spinning and knitting.  I adore Paula's little wheel in the bottom photo.  Isn't she pretty?

Have a wonderful day and a fun weekend.  I'll be spinning with the Grand River Spinners on Sunday at Biggby on the Beltline.  I can't wait to see what Heather has made with her new drum carder.