Archive for January, 2013

Thanks Santa!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Santa gave me wool combs this year to add to my collection of wool processing implements.  Combs are different from carders because they keep the fibers aligned and the roving is smoother and I find it much easier to spin it consistently.  Combs are also weapons!  Be careful not to hurt yourself on them.  When you use them, pay attention to where your hands are, where your lap is, and who is near you.

wool combsMy combs are from Paradise Fibers.  I had a lesson a while back from Teira, and more recently I had been checking out youtube videos about wool combing.  I have convinced myself that my spinning would be so much nicer if I combed my fleece rather than carding it with my rather rugged drum carder.  I’m sure my spinning would also be a lot more consistent (and my stash of fleece would be decreasing nicely) if I sat down at my wheel more often and worked on improving my skills.

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This is fleece that I got from Topsy Farms on their shearing day a few years ago.  It has been washed (to get rid of sheep waste and foliage) and dried, and now the clean locks are ready to be separated.  The locks are like hair that is on its way to becoming dreads–its tangled and a bit knotted together, but with a little bit of work the tangles can be brushed out.

I loaded one comb with locks, and then used the other comb (perpendicularly to the first) to comb through the locks.  The combed locks will then be transferred to the second comb.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe small amount of fleece remaining on the first comb gets discarded because it is mostly the short pieces and felted bits that will not spin smoothly anyway.  Sometimes it takes a few passed through the combs to get the fleece tangle free.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next step is to turn the combed fleece into roving.  I don’t have a diz (a small object with a hole in it meant for turning fleece into roving), but I do have a button that works just as well.  I carefully pulled the combed fleece through a button hole to create soft fluffy roving.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wound up the roving into balls, ready to spin.  I did all that combing over the span of 2 or 3 evenings!  I look forward to spinning it into yarn.  Right now it’s not about the finished project.  It’s all about the process, the learning, and the experimenting.

The Fastest Pair Of Socks…EVER!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Welcome to 2013!!

owen

Owen, my brother and sister in law’s cat, ringing in the new year in style!

Some projects seem to just fly off the needles, as if the yarn has been sitting and waiting to be turned into something useful.  This pair of socks that I’ve just finished is one such project.  I started the first sock 2 days ago while waiting for my freshly dyed fleece to dry.  Craving the variagation and uniqueness of handspun yarn, I knitted up some of my stash handspun with Kroy yarn.  I was feeling rather smart when I divided up the handspun into two equal portions before I started.  It worked out really well!  I really like how the stripes break up the handspun’s long and unpredictable colour changes.  The blue also join the pair nicely together by virtue of the contrast presented.new socksFor me, socks, and particularly striped socks hold a particular memory for when and where they were knit.  I will be able to recall with each change of colour what was going on at the time, who I was with, and those memories stay lovingly locked away in those stitches.

These particular socks have wrapped up the last moments of 2012, and the first of 2013.  They knit together moments spent with friends and family; moments spent listening, and helping, celebrating and being together.  These moments of connection will be cherished as I wear these cheery socks through the cold winter days.

new sock

Here’s my recipe (as much for my own reference as for anyone else)

These are toe up socks, Toe: I started with a figure of 8 cast on 20 stitches in blue, increase on alternating rows to 60 sts.

Foot: 7 rows handspun, 4 rows blue.  I did not do any heel gusset increases.

My feet are pretty big, so I worked 6 stripes of handspun before the heel.

Heel Placement: knit 2 rows of blue (of the 4 rows expected), knit 30 sts in waste yarn for an afterthought heel, knit remaining 2 rows of blue.

Leg: I continued the striped pattern until my handspun ran out, the socks are a bit shorter than I’d like, but that’s ok.  I worked 2.5 inches of K2P2 ribbing and cast off loosely.

Afterthought Heel: Carefully take out the waste yarn, keeping the 60 sts on 3 needles.  Knit a toe (decrease 4 sts every 2 rounds to a total of 20 sts, graft with kitchener st)