Friday, July 31, 2009

another pair...

Just showing off another pair of patchwork socks i just finished. I already listed them in the shop.

I love to make these even though the sewing in of all the loose ends is really a pain.

I'm slowly running out of leftover yarn though ,so i probably will be able to make maybe one or two more pair and then I'll be out. I really don't know how to get more leftover yarn in bigger quantities in a hurry.Most of the yarn I've been using has been collected over the past three years. Any ideas anyone?
I'm washing fleece right now ,a big bag of rather dirty merino i bought last year and had forgot about.Run across it this morning looking for something else. So i hauled it in the house and washing it in little laundry bags by the hand full. It cleans up rather nice though and is sooo soft and... no vm at all,just dirt!!
Must be about two pounds or so.I think I'll mix it with the Cormo i have to make a really soft,lofty spinning fiber,they have the same staple length,about 4 inches. That would make a great bobble yarn, all squishy and soft.I just wish i could get around to put a little motor on my carder,that would speed up the whole process considerably (and save my poor arm!).
I also found some BL lamb locks i bought several month ago.They are already washed and i think I'll dye them the way they are. The locks are just gorgeous and soft.These i will also put in the store.
I've carried my loom out into the 'studio/hold all' building.I'm going to start weaving again soon, just right now i want to work with the fleece/fiber and spin.I also haven't found a low table yet to set the loom on and it's really killing my back when i have to stand to weave.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

spinning,doctors and such..

I managed to ply some of the singles
last night into this 14wpi two ply.

The colors are vibrant but on the muted side.

The Yarn felt a little stiff until i rinsed it in softener and whacked it against the bathtub a couple of times. This skein measures 246 yards with about that much more to spin.
well, i got the rest plied and got 223 more yards so there are 469 yards in all.

On another note:
I had one of my regular three month Dr.visits with my personal physician yesterday. Of course they took copious amounts of blood (like they do every time),at least they are excellent stickers and i hardly feel a thing.
They also did an annual EKG and an Chest x-ray.EKG is good, x-ray don't know yet but am not really worried.Then we discussed my arthritis problems (if that what it is..).
For several month now my joints, (especially my hands and feet) are really acting up. Very stiff fingers,to the point where i can't even close a fist, and the joints in my feet are stiff and painful especially after sitting for awhile(which i do a lot) and then getting up and trying to walk. Feels like I'm walking on hot knifes for the first five or six steps.but the rest of my joints are not far behind,i got a real problem with stairs getting up or sitting down etc.I've been taking meds for that but i might as well eat m+m's , they do that much good.(If it was possible i'd live on my horse , because that is really the only time i feel good, no pain,creakiness or weakness, just free!)
I was told that this might be the aftereffects of the chemo four years ago,shit! and my age,what does she mean my age? I'm 48 ,not 88!for crying out loud!! i ended up getting a steroid shot,Aow! and a six day steroid pack,which should get rid of the problem for awhile. I was told though that i might have to do this every six month or so,Shit! She also is running a autoimmune test making sure this is not something else. shit! but.. just a few hours after the shot i already felt a difference, a lot more limber.Yay! and this morning i wasn't groaning trying to get out of bed ,double yay!
So i better get cracking while the going is good.
Oh, something else ,I've talked to our only local brick and mortar yarn store(well, its not all yarn but a catalog merchandise return store).But the owner has turned a big part of her building over to quite an impressive amount of quality yarns(hobby lobby eat your heart out!!) and is expanding .Every time i go there there is more yarn.So, anyways she might be interested in putting some of my hand spun and hand dyed in her shop.Yay!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Well,i finally did get to dye some fiber friday.
about 60 gr of merino in shades of red(fruit punch,burgundy,tulip red,flamingo pink):

and about 100gr. in any color i layed my hands on:

i've spun two bobbins, about half of the fiber,i will ply them tonight and post pic of the yarn later.
I love the plying part, especially with colored never know how the colors match up. so pretty...

Friday, July 24, 2009

diamond in the rough

I'm down to my last 4oz of Cotswold. I left this part of the fleece for last because it was really dirty.lots and lots of vm.

after three hours of fluffing and picking i was left with this bag full of soft fibers.

thankfully this fleece picked and shook out pretty easy,its just so time consuming.
this is whats left over. i hate to throw anything out but this is just too dirty.

now back to carding some more.hopefully on Monday i'll have time to dye some of this up and get back to spinning.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I've been Carding like crazy.So far i've got 1.2 lb carded into eight 2oz batts.
It's amazing what you get out of something gnarly looking as this:

and thats after washing it several times,the tips will just not come clean.
into something soft and fluffy as this:

i still have about another half pound of this mix to go .i mixed the x-bred (soft and fluffy) with the corriedale (soft ,shine,fluffy) and think thats going to be a pleasure to spin.staple lenght is about 5 inches.But first the dyeing part.
After i run out of corriedale i'll have at least three more pounds of x-bred fleece left.
more carding,but the resulting fiber is worth all the efford,at least its all washed now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hunting for a local source

Hubster came home yesterday with the news that one of our neighbors had bought a bunch of sheep."Oh goodie" i yelled, clapping my hands. maybe he'll sell me some fleeces!!
told hubster to ask what kind they where and if he'd be willing to let me have some of the fleeces next time he'd run into him.false alarm, they are some kind of meat sheep with very short hair.
well, back to the drawing board. i think I'm going to contact the local FFA and 4 -H chapters and see if they can help me find someone with sheep, llama or alpacas. i also have some connections to professional AKC dog breeders, i might find someone with a long haired breed who might let me have theyre combings . I'm also going to put an add in the paper that I'm looking for fleeces.
something close by ,maybe a 30 mile radius. that will be efficient enough not using too much gas picking it up. frankly the postage on shipped fleeces (or anything else )is just killing me. I find a great deal on e-bay or other sites and by the time postage is added its not a good deal at all anymore.local, local is the ticket, pick it up in person.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A little sore but HAPPY...

FINALLY!!! After 5 years hiatus (since my introduction to 'The Cancer'), we finally got to go to an overnight trail ride.The occasion was our annual St.Jude Benefit Ride.Last time we attended that was 3 years ago for just a few hours in the morning, since i could not handle our usual July heat which brings me to the fortunate circumstance that we could actually go this year and stay.
At this time of year we usually boil with temps around the upper 90's or even triple digits with very high humidity which makes it feel even worse.This year we got a lucky break.forecast since last week was unseasonably cool temperatures,so we decided to risk it. It took us most of the week to load everything on the bus , get the tack sorted out and cleaned up .we didn't get to put shoes on our horses but that was OK, the trails are mainly in the woods or sandy.
At the last minute the bus had some kind of air conditioner trouble and we almost didn't get to go,but hubster fixed it.
Well, Thursday afternoon we had a line of thunderstorms run through and after that the temps really started to come down.We got out there early Friday morning and secured a very nice camp site.

After setting up camp i just could not wait any longer, my stepdaughter and i saddled up our horses and rode around the 60 acres campsite and adjacent farm grounds (trails didn't open till next morning).

(F)Red (the mule), Vandal, Charley

As soon as i slid my butt into the saddle i felt like a new person. My,do i miss my riding!!
Early saturday morning we saddled up our horses (hubster rides the mule) and off we went.
We ended up wayyyy on top of the mountain at Davis's Farm.When you get there they have hand squeezed lemonade( as much as you want) and home made cookies(as many as you want) and a view for miles around.

The trails where beautiful and the weather perfect:low 80's ,low humidity, light breeze,little white clouds here and there, just perfect.

Brandie on Charley and John on Fred

After a couple hours lunch break at the camp we where off again.
The trail we took was one of the most beautiful rides i had in a long ,long time. All in the woods , big old trees, along and partially in a super clear creek.Unfortunately the camera was sitting forgotten and lonely at the camp, bugger!!
If i could do this on a regular basis i would not need to take that stupid depression medication.
We got back late that afternoon, build a nice camp fire and cooked us some really good cowboy stew, sat by the fire for awhile and went to bed .
We decided next morning not to go out again but give our sore behinds and the horses a break. We cooked us up a nice breakfast,broke camp and went home.All in all it was a great weekend(the best time I've had in a looong time).We weren't as sore as we thought we would be and I made hubster promise that we'll do this again soon.

As soon as i get the bus unloaded, washed clothes,put everything back where it belongs I'll be getting back to spinning again.I've got some polwarth/merino-corriedale carded up that i need to dye.Probably first thing tomorrow morning, i'll post pics of the outcome.There are several 2 oz batts.I'll spin some and offer some in the shop.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spinning fool...

HELP!!! I caught the spinning bug!!All i want to do right now is spin, no knitting,no weaving, I WANT TO SPIN!!!
First,here is some more hand spun i finally got of my Kromski Prelude last night.It's been there half done for awhile:

This pic was taken with a flash so it looks grey, reflecting the light.

It really is jet black
Dave, I'm catching up!!
Not hardly. I've got to add up all the yardage but it probably isn't even half a mile.But I'm making a small dent in my fiber stash.Plus I'm getting a lot more confident ,sure and relaxed with my spinning. I finally start to understand the workings of the wheel better (adjusting tension etc.)

This is a super wash merino with a lot of short bits of recycled sari silk mixed in while carding.
two ply
11 wpi / worsted
very soft and drapey.
Next i got several pounds! of a merino-polworth x bred/ corriedale 50/50 mix fiber to work with.I've got most of the raw fleeces washed and dried and started to card them together.
Boy i wish my carder was motorized! I'll get hubster to take a look , maybe he can hook something up. It sure would make the whole process a lot faster and easier.
I wont get to dye it until next week since we are preparing for our annual St. Jude Benefit Trail Ride coming up this weekend. It's amazing how much work and preparation goes into 2 days of camping, especially with horses.
Maybe i can find some already prepared, ready to spin fiber in the stash .
Before i get lost in all that fiber i need to show you something. I'm almost ashamed to because it really is a mess.My studio is one of those ready assembled sheds you've probably seen sitting in peoples yards everywhere.This one is a generous 12x24.
We are renting to own , we've got 10 more month until its ours.Since we don't own it yet outright hubster didn't want to do anything to it until then (just in case we have to give it back).
That means there is no insulation, no water, no permanent electric.
That means no heat in winter ,no air conditioning in summer.So the time i can spend in there actually working is very limited.Also its not in the spot i want it to be yet either. All this is going to be remedied as soon as its paid off.Until then its used more as a storage building than a 'working in studio'.And this is what it looks like inside as of right now:

what a mess!!

But my yarns,fibers,equipment is save and dry and.. out of the house.
(goes off to find something spinnable...)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

more hand spun

And here is some more hand spun i finished yesterday.

151 yards of "oh,so soft",squishy,yummy BFL.

It's a worsted /bulky weight with 7 wpi.Thick and thin but not extreme.

I love the colors,they are intense but muted;fall colors.

I don't usually knit with thick yarns like that so i will be offering
this at my shop.If i don't sell it i might use it for weaving a scarf or knitting a cowl.If i do weave with it i will use the thinner green yarn from the prvious post as warp.I dyed the two to color compliment each other.

Monday, July 13, 2009

handspun stash is growing

I've been spinning the last few days (no socks to knit at the moment) and so my spinning challenge stash is growing.
I spun up the green BFL batt i dyed a couple of weeks ago.I used my new fast whorl i got from "The Woolery". Setup was 14:1 for very thin singles and then plied with each other at the same sett up.It came out really nice , except for the first 20 yards or so.
for some odd reason the ply was very loose but got better after several yards even though i didn't adjust a thing.
compare the left strings to the right ones. what happened?

i got 380 yards of fingering weight yarn, 16 wpi. the yarn is so very soft.I think i will spin the other batt thicker,this fiber is so soft and fluffy it lends itself to thicker yarn with its long staple.
this is the real color of the yarn:
my goodness, i finally got this post done! it took me two days of trying,pictures would not load

Thursday, July 9, 2009

two more for Canada

A recent customer loved her socks so much that she ordered two more pair.Repeat orders give me a great sense of accomplishment and pleasure,tells me I'm doing something right.

I've been working on them since last week (that's why i didn't post anything in a few days,I'm busy! )that and there is just nothing going on right now (summer blah's).
The heat is so bad at this time of year that I'm practically housebound.It never used to affect me much but i think the chemo has made me very intolerant towards humid heat(cold has bothered me all my life,65F and under and I'm freezing,so that's the same).dry heat, not so much ,which would be OK if we lived in I've got until about 9 am and then I'm stuck inside(wal -mart is very empty at 6:30 am!!).
I'll try to get back to spinning tomorrow. i ordered a fast flyer set up for my ashford last week and had no chance to use it yet.Better get these socks ready for shipping,Canada,here they come!!