Friday, July 27, 2007


FO and UFO update

So I finally finished Dad's socks. I began the saga here with a first attempt at a space dye. I personally love them but after speaking to both the BF and my Mom they are worried that they are a little too loud for my Dad. I ended up rinsing the finished socks in a weak brown dye and it muted them down a little. I hope he likes them!

Next up is a prize!! I participate in the Sunday Spin Along and for tutorial #3 I was the lucky winner!! For my Turkish Knot yarn. Diane sent along this lovely package of goodies. There is some handspun silk/merino, a couple of very pretty stitch markers, and some Wensydale locks that look like they will be fun to play with. Thanks Diane!

Beside the alpaca fleece you can see a silk scarf I am making from some silk nolis yarn I got at Knit-Knackers. It was undyed so I promptly dunked it in some sky blue wiltons. I love the colour. The pattern is from Victorian Lace Today (page 80). It is a very easy scarf - almost too easy - and the silk is great.

These two are just for my pleasure. When I finished the Tour de Fleece I realized I didn't have quite enough yardage for what I had in mind (a super warm, wooly vest). So on my last Knit-Knackers pligramage I picked up a pound of merino fleece for the whopping price of $6. It is now washed and dyed and I managed to felt it just a little. The carding is taking care of it but looking now at the beautiful crimp I regret that I didn't treat it more gently. I know I won't finish this in the tour deadline but I will finish it by Septmeber and hopefully I will have started the vest.

All is progressing. I'm having a blast on Ravelry (I'm sner - feel free to add me as a friend) and I'm only slowly starting to get bored of this whole summer vacation thing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Down on the ALPACA farm!!

So two weeks ago I accompanied the DBF to his parents place in Havelock ON. It was a great chance to hang out with his Nona (who I adore - she has great stories about spinning yarn straight off the fleece to make socks for her family when they were still in Italy). We spent all night Saturday at Casino Rama so DBF and his father could check out a boxing match (SOOOOOO not my thing). I did a lot of knitting once I was done with the slot machines. I've been working on the socks for my Dad out of the yarn I dyed here. I got a tonne of great comments from some of the older gamers.
The next morning (Sunday) I decided to see if there were any farms around that I wanted to check out for fibre and as luck had it there was an alpaca/llama farm literally down the road. I went with DBF's Mom while he slept in. I didn't have my camera with me but what a great time.
The farm is Elmlea Farms. The two owners (Elmer and Lea) were there to show us around. I almost left with as many fleeces as we could fit into Mom's SUV but I ended up only taking two
fleeces home.
The only one I have pictures of right now is the alpaca (a llama fleece also followed me home - pictures to come). It is a lovely mottled gray with light and dark streaks. It's also pretty dirty. This alpaca loved the mud. Luckily we had a couple of great sunny days in Ottawa so I got is all washed out. I used the much described method of laundry bags in buckets of hot and slightly soapy water.
Once I had a decent chunk washed and drying on my patio table I carded up just a fraction of the fleece and spun it on my bottom whirl drop spindle.
It's only thirteen yards but it is amazingly soft. I love the touch of it. I think this will spin quite fine so it may turn out to be lace - there's probably enough (just under two pounds) to make a shawl and maybe a super lacy sweater.
This is the last thing that followed me home (actually I'm lying Lea gave me a small bag of prepared black alpaca roving with a little nylon). This is a hank of black alpaca sock yarn. I think it may be for DBF's father for xmas. He may get very warm alpaca socks from animals in his own back yard.
ElmLea Farm also had angora goats (two had just been born and were adorable). I was tempted to take some of that home with me but it was just so full of lanolin I was worried I'd never get it clean. I loved being able to buy from someone so local. I will absolutely be going back.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I've Finished the Tour!!

Woo Hoo - the tour is finished (with the possibility of an extension - details to follow). I finished up the spinning last night. Three of the four final bobbins on the left. I plied two bobbins worth last night and the rest this morning. I am very pleased!

In the end I have just a little over 600 yards of Bulky weight Tunis (about 10 wraps per inch). I didn't really pay attention to the colours of the rolags as I spun. I just went for the box and spun whatever came to hand. I have mostly purples and greens and blues here but a little white I through in for fun.

I knit up a little swatch with size 9 needles and I'm pretty happy with the fabric. My carding needs a little work - I had a lot of little neps that I pulled out as I spun.

I don't think I have enough for the vest I had imagined. What I think I will do is go to Knit-Knackers and grab some fleece. I know they have Ramboulette and Merino. I already have some Ramboulette in the mix here but I think I'd like to try the Merino. I will dye it solid blue and spin it up to create the bottom ribbing and the neck and arm ribbings. It will be very warm and very cozy. I can't wait!

To come very soon - my visit to an alpaca farm and what followed me home. . . .

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Who knew I was such a joiner?

I've signed myself up for two "alongs" this summer. The Tour De Fleece and Mystery Stole 3
I've been having a lot of fun with both. I don't have any pictures of the mystery stole yet but I'm using Elann's new laceweight which is an Alpaca Merino and is very nice. I've finished clue one and should start clue two tonight. This is by far the most difficult lace I've ever worked on. I need to keep track of every single row. I have one of the big red "clicker" row counters and I rarely use it. The boyfriend picked it up this weekend and randomly clicked away on it (after having watched me using it for the last half hour). I almost fainted - he appologized and normally it wouldn't have been a big deal but it just about killed me. He did all the make up work (he counted stitches and matched it to the row on the chart) so I can't fault him too much.

I did finish one lace project recently. This is a Spring Things shawl. I made it with a fingering weight mohair that I got on sale a year ago. The idea was to have a huge wrap to take outside in the morning if I wanted to have a coffee on the patio - now that I'm a lady of leasure for the summer. I did four more repeats of the first chart and in the end the shawl measures 80" across the top and almost 40" top to bottom. I'm thrilled with it and as long as I remember to make time to have coffee it should see alot of use.

For the Tour de Fleece I'm working at spinning up12.5 oz of Tunis Fleece I got from a great etsy seller. I've already carded it all and added two ounces of fleece I got from Knit-Knackers just to up the yardage.

Left to right we have the fleece as it arrived at my door (Walmart bag and all). Centre is about one third of the rolags. The bright green in the middle is the added fleece. I've devided about ten rolags of green amonst three bags of tunis rolags. I'm hoping by having a shot of green in each bobbin I will get more continuity in the finished yarn. In reality I'm not going to care but I thought it would be interesting to try. On the right is the first finished bobbin. I'm learning that I really need to work on my carding. Some rolags were a real pleasure and then some were just torture. I'm not sure I'll have it done in time but it certainly has inspired me to spin every single day.
This is the other thing I've finished. It's a second pair of Roza's socks. The first pair went to my sister but these are all for me!!
I used Fleece Artist Merino and as always it was a pleasure to use. I have one skein of Sea Wool that I scored at Wool N Things that I've been saving so I think it may be next.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


So this is what teachers do when they go on vacation!

I have been spinning my hands off and loving every free minute I have now. I'm not completely off the hook - I'm doing an online course of a Special Education speacialist which is pretty intense.

This is the resulting yarn from a huge batt I got at last November's Ottawa Spinner and Weavers Guild Show (original here). It is a super bulky. There are 13oz and 496 yards give or take. I'm very proud of myself for finishing all of this!

This is a first attempt at Turkish Knot yarn for the Sunday Spin Along. It was really interesting to try.

The roving was a Fleece Artist Wensleydale. It was only 50grams and in the end I had 88 yards of very unique yarn.

Detail shot of above.

The only thing I decided to try was space dyeing. Dad's B-Day is comming up and I know he will want new socks. I'm tired to death of knitting him plain brown socks (Mom's answer - Knit black sock - blah). I had some Knit Picks bare that needed to have something done to it so here we go.

I used Wilton's Dark Copper, Moss Green, and Brown and the techniques I'm learning from Dyeing to Knit.

Here is the final product after re-skeining.

I'm really really happy with it! It will be an adventure to knit it up. I don't know if it will be Dad"ish" enough but I'm going to give it a try.

There's been some FO's as well but I'll save those for tomorrow.

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