Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Keep on scrolling

I just posted five (yep five) blog entries today. So scroll on down to be sure you see them all.

Carry on...

A yarn dyeing commission

Even a fiber vendor like myself has their secret fiber obsessions and mine happens to be the vendor Natural Obsessions. There's many reasons, her range of fibers available, her great eye for color, her dyeing skills and most of all, her love of a challenge.

So I sent a challenge her way. I wanted enough hand dyed lace weight yarn in fall colors for a shawl. We discussed the options of different yarn fibers and I finally decided on bamboo. I have four shawls already in wool/silk and thought it was time to add something new to the wardrobe (er I mean knitting stash).

Drum roll please....the resulting yarn is stunning:

It's so hard to capture the true colors when the day is cloudy. I put the skein on the window sill in the daylight for a closeup and more accurate photo of the wide range of colors:

I had a pattern in mind when I commissioned the yarn, however I plan to do a large swatch first to see if that pattern is the perfect shawl for this multicolored yarn. It's such a special yarn, I want to find a pattern to do it justice.

Fiber fair purchases

Back in Oct I went to a fiber fair in Corydon Ind. Of course I bought stuff, what a silly question!

The wonderful white fiber is a blend of merino top and mulberry silk, it's going to be amazing to spin. The small material bag was sewn by a local artist and is for storing your DPN. I loved the fabric but what I loved even more was the magnetic closure she used, no chance of a stray needle migrating out and getting lost.

This is a braid of dyed BFL wool:

And the vendor right next to that was selling the BFL wool sock yarn:

Both are super soft fiber.

I also purchased a raw fleece and you can see a photo of that if you go on down to a previous post (YST episode 38 and 39).

Cleaning out the spinning basket

My spinning basket is probably much too large for my own good, and it seems to accumulate odds and ends of fibers that won't spin into enough yarn for projects. Last month I decided it needed a good turning out, and that I would spin up those odds and ends. Since there was a very wide range of fiber types, I did not try to combine them into the same yarns. I just spun each fiber and got whatever yardage of 2 ply I could from each of them.

Wide variety of yarns on niddy noddy:

The cormo and silk will go in my spinning stash, I am sure I can combine them with something in a project sometime. The white spaelsau will go into my spinning supplies to be used as leader yarn on my bobbins as I need it. The brown alpaca had the most yardage (170 yards) and is a good start for something so into the stash it goes. The final thick black spaelsau is an interesting yarn, not for clothing for sure, but I love how dark this natural color yarn turned out. However I have no idea what I will use it for.

Such fun, cleaning out the spinning basket!

YST Episodes 38 and 39

I've published two podcasts since last posting. Both are on this website or on Itunes at Yarnspinners Tales.

Episode 38 is about what to look for when you are shopping and purchasing a raw wool fleece. You can know so much ahead of time by just studying the different characteristics of the sheep's breed, and by having a general idea of what project you would like to use the resulting wool yarn. In this case I didn't really have any photos to post for the podcast.

Episode 39 continues the discussion, with non wool fibers. The second half of the podcast handles the question, OK now I have all this fiber, how do I store it?!

In between the recording of these two episodes I did have the chance to go to a local fiber fair, and purchase a raw romney fleece. So I used that as one example for storing your fiber. Here's a few photos to go along with that.
Whole fleece:

Lock Closeup

For those that wonder just how much is lost when I take out what I don't like in a fleece:

Final temporary storage until washed:

A Bit of non fibery goodness

First, I realize I haven't blogged in forever. Life is like that for me. I spend an equal amount of time at the computer every day, but what I do on the computer during that time varies extensively. Now and then I realize I have neglected some areas and have to play catch up.

Although knitting and spinning are a major part of my life, I do have lots of other interests, hobbies, loves and commitments. I thought I would share one of those today, my love of gardening.

I love gardening for many reasons, but this fall I got to experience one of those reasons that rarely happen. Things finally fell into place for me to try a fall planting of some greens. And although I will have to harvest the last of them today before the first hard frost hits over this weekend, and although they are still by many standards tiny, they are a chance to experience greens unlike those one can grow in the spring.

Here's a plate of the tender dainties just before I put my chicken salad on top of them:

There are two types of leaf lettuce, green and red as well as baby spinach and chard leaves in that mix. They taste like that perfect spring lettuce.

The thing about spring lettuce is one can get those tender non bitter leaves for only two weeks at least in my gardening zone. The frequent rain and rapidly increasing heat of spring sends the leaves into a frenzy of growth and they are soon bitter and trying to form seeds. Well, who can blame them, that's their job!

However, the drier fall weather as well as a more stable and cooler temps in the fall meant they grew very slowly, staying small and mild.

Why is this amazing? Well, it's all about luck, true luck. The seeds had to have enough moisture to sprout (often the fall is too dry) we had to have enough non frost days to let them even get this big. I could try to do this again every year from now on, and not get this type of success. And that's why I love to garden!

The lettuce just before picking:

Spinach and radishes( did not do as well)

Two thirds of the harvest (I left some in the garden as an experiment on just how long it will survive the cold)