February 16, 2010

Spinning for Sanity

So my arm is still really hurting. I went to knitting last night and tried to take it easy. I came home early. We all wanted to watch some Olympics coverage but I could not cope with just sitting in front of the TV doing nothing. Honestly, how do non-knitters do that? So I had Wes help me bring my wheel upstairs and did some long-draw spinning. It didn't hurt my arm and I spun 7 oz of mystery wool/mohair/whatever from Dawn's Custom Carding. I had it all plied before bed.

I tried to follow Judith MacKenzie McCuin's advice for worsted--under-spin the singles and over-ply it. This yarn came out fairly dense though since I was spinning more for sanity than for style.

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February 15, 2010

Madrona 2010

Fair Isle Yoke Design with Janine Bajus

Nature's Palette with Jill Laski

The Pleasures of Spinning a Fleece: Down Breeds

Our booth

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October 14, 2009

I Missed You

Ever since Saturday's spin in I've been really excited about my spinning again. I finished spinning the singles of this 4 oz. camel/merino and plied it on Monday. I intentionally put a lot of extra twist in the plying. I think I went a little too far and may run it back through my wheel to take some twist back out.

I started spinning this wool (with just a smidge of silk) on Saturday. It's a 6 oz. batt from Dawn's Custom Carding. I spun it up really quickly using a long draw. Then I plied it really tightly. I love the fluffy but tightly twisted yarn it produced and the tweediness the bits of white silk add.

Since I was on a roll with plying I pulled out two bobbins of down fibers I had spun as class samples for two different classes with Judith Mackenzie-McCuin. One was a year or two ago at the Whidbey Weaver's Guild spin in and the other was from Sock Summit. I plied them together. The thickness of the singles is all over the place but I think it's a fun yarn. I also plied this one a bit too much and will most likely remove a bit of that ply twist. I still have a big bag of sample fibers from these classes to spin up. There's cashmere, yak, bison, camel and a variety of blends using those fibers in there.

And while I was emptying bobbins I made up these mini-skeins of leftover bits from classes and whatever is left on the bobbin when you're done plying.

I have so many empty bobbins! I already started spinning a bit of the Corriedale I dyed last week. Oh, spinning, I missed you.

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August 7, 2009

Sock Summit Half-Assed Update

So far this is fairly awesome.
  • Cool Socks with Lucy Neatby. Lucy, as I've said before, is an excellent teacher and you should absolutely take classes from her whenever possible.
  • Knitting celebrities are everywhere. Sat by Ann Budd in class and nearly blurted out at her, "You're Ann Budd!" Glad I didn't 'cause I think she already knows that.
  • The marketplace opened for students only at 4:30. These knitters take their shopping very seriously. I may have bought some yarn.
  • Great dinner with knitters at Pok Pok.

  • Half-day spinning class with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin. Lots of gorgeous luxury fibers.
  • Shopping, shopping, shopping. Famous knitting people at every turn.
  • Yummy tapas dinner at Toro Bravo. Dropped a cup of chocolate sauce in my lap and down my legs. Shoes now smell chocolate-y delcious.

Tomorrow: Sock design with Anne Hanson. More shopping. More famous knitting people.

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May 20, 2008

Catching Up

Let's see. Where was I?

On Sunday I got to have a free luncheon aboard the MS Westerdam. This was promotion for Craft Cruises. I have been thinking about doing an Alaskan cruise for a family trip. I've never been on a cruise ship before and was really curious. The lunch was really nice and it was very interesting to get a chance to see the range of accommodations. It was also hilarious to see how tacky the decor on the ship was. I created a Flickr set of all the gold-gilt kitschiness.

That evening Wes and I went to see Dr. No. I won tickets through the Seattlest blog. It was the first time I saw the whole movie. It's funny because there are so many iconic Bond moments in the film that I think we all recognize. There were also many laughable moments in the film with over the top acting, bad effects and other 60s silliness. I think the whole audience enjoyed the experience.

There are these sheep with arrows spray-painted all around Seattle Center. Does anyone know where they lead?

I woke up at 3 am on Sunday night when I suddenly remembered I had a class to attend the next morning in Port Gamble! I could not get back to sleep as my mind raced thinking about what I needed to do to prepare and worrying about what other important things I had forgotten. I finally fell back to sleep around 4:30 and got up at 6:30. Yuck. At least it was light out. I got myself to Port Gamble pretty quickly and easily.

The Artful Ewe is moving up the street from the old fire house to the old meat market. Heidi's new space is big and clean and bright and it was completely empty still so there was plenty of room for all of us to spread out. I don't know if I can say anything more about taking a class with Judith that I haven't before. She's knowledgeable, funny, immensely talented and born to teach. I left in the evening very sad that I wouldn't be joining everyone for the second day of class.

So, let's see...what else? The two Monica tops are done. They are for Wes's cousin's daughters in LA. I'm working on my Merino Lace socks. I'm thinking about pulling another project off my hibernating list. Maybe it's finally time to get back to Frost Flowers and Leaves? I'm also completely behind in my sewing. The Dear Jane quilt-along just keeps on moving. I'm behind several weeks and many blocks by now. Must make some time for hand sewing soon.

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April 6, 2008

Whidbey Weaver's Guild Spin In '08

Another great spin in. I headed north very early on Saturday morning and got in a full day of spinning. I spun and plied 4 oz. of Shetland roving from Sporfarm (no website) that I bought at Black Sheep two years ago. This fiber comes from a sheep named Gizmo. I love that.

After a dinner of an outstanding bacon blue cheese burger (thanks, Linda K!) there was lots of chatting and laughing while knitting at the hotel.

On Sunday I spun and plied my other 4 oz. of Shetland.

I don't know the yardage. I didn't bring my own niddy-noddy. I borrowed two different ones and don't know the length for either.

I had this much left after plying. This is also something I love.

Judith MacKenzie McCuin was the instructor this year. She gave a talk on bison very similar to the one she gave at Madrona earlier this year and taught a workshop on three wild downs (a class I took with her at Madrona last year). But it's always wonderful to have time with Judith. Unfortunately with 200 spinners and only one Judith she barely had time to make it around the room to speak with us in small groups.

I didn't buy anything. I don't need anything and I see most of these vendors at several events each year.

I really need some sleep but am dying to keep on spinning.

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February 25, 2008

Most of February in One Post

Madrona was great.

I took a handcoverings class with Nancy Bush and Judith MacKenzie McCuin. We made gloves from Shetland then spun a yarn to match.

We spun bison then got to knit a pair of mitts with Buffalo Gals Bison/Merino. My pair is done but I haven't had a chance to get a good photo.

Last September I blamed my lack of a decent photo of Stephanie on her height. This year she stood on a freaking chair and I still couldn't get a decent shot. Time for a new camera.

(She's trying to show everyone how she holds knits so quickly.)
She was wearing her Kauni.

So was Ruth Sorensen, Naomi, Melinda, Shelly, Karen and Ellen. I asked to take a group photo and everyone handed me their cameras. I managed to take about ten pictures without dropping anyone's camera.
I took Janine Bajus's Color in Fair Isle class. Her are my yarns to swatch and my inspiration photo.

Okay, I'll do my vacation in another post.

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June 24, 2007

Wool Fumes

What a great time. I learned so much about fleece on this trip to Black Sheep. Judith Mackenzie is a born teacher and a wool goddess. I can't say enough wonderful things about her. If you didn't already know, she has a new book
out about handspinning. It is excellent.

I remembered to take out my camera. On the first day I walked past a car in the parking lot and noticed something funny. It was a small four door sedan. With a picnic blanket in the backseat. And lots of hay.

I guess someone wanted to bring a sheep (or goat or alpaca???) with them to BSG and didn't have a truck. I guess it wasn't a goat since the seats are still there.

You'd think goat owners would know to keep yummy things like paper away from their animals.

But this show goat's owner didn't. I can't tell you anything about the goat because he ate his own sign. Last year I saw a goat that had eaten its own ribbon!
Good thing they're cute.

That's one sweet looking angora goat.

On Saturday I went to the fleece viewing after the judging ended. During the judging I fell passionately in love with a milk chocolate brown merino fleece. From 20 feet away I knew I loved it. It won third place in its class.

Drop dead gorgeous.
And the most expensive, yet smallest, merino fleece I saw in the entire show. A whopping $18/pound! Well worth it, I'm sure, but too rich for my blood nonetheless.

Folks start lining up early for the fleece sale.

These people mean business. I wasn't planning on buying a fleece so I let them have at it. About an hour later I went back and did buy a fleece. You'll need to wait until Tuesday to see a picture since Sarah was kind enough to schlep it home for me. (I was worried we wouldn't have room in our car).

This morning there was lots of sheep shearing going on. This Lincoln was not being all that cooperative.

But the fleece was so beautiful. I have a lot of admiration for the shearers.

And I'll leave you with one parting shot of a Shetland was really into his hay.

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June 23, 2007

Fleece Lessons

Day one of Black Sheep was amazing. We left Seattle at 6:30, stopped for a nice breakfast along the way and made it to the fairgrounds at 12:30. After a quick tour of the vendors (and seeing lots of familiar faces) I found out that Judith Mackenzie-McCuin was the fleece judge. I ran over to the fleece judging. Unlike last year's judge, who would look through the fleeces and rank them, Judith shared as much information as possible. She discussed class standards, what makes a healthy fleece, how certain fleeces should be prepared, what garments would best be made from them, etc. I stayed for several hours taking in all the great information. I fell in love with a few fleeces too.

I finally finished spinnign the merino top I got from The Artful Ewe last November. I attempted to Navajo-ply it. My samples skeins were horrible. One dreadfully over-plied. One pitifully under-plied. I also finished my first Welsh sock and got loads done on my sock yarn blanket.

I believe I have managed to take one photo.

More later.

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February 4, 2007

More on Madrona

This sheet of paper shows what we did in the morning session of Jill Laski's fiber blending class. We focused on color. As you may or may not be able to see in the photo there is a sample of a four-color monochromatic, analogous, complimentary and split complimentary blend as well as a multi blend (one color from all twelve spokes of the color wheel). Each sample was run through the carder once then twice, keeping a sample of each. I also spun up a tiny sample of each one. This was a great explanation of basic color theory for me. I pushed myself to pick colors I don't like to see if I could find ways to use them in blends that were appealing. So far no luck with that.

These are the samples from Color Progression in Plying. We were instructed to pick a three colors of combed merino top. Judith encouraged us to use at least one color we were a little scared of. I started with the taupe-sage, then added chocolate brown and finally picked the scary bright green. We spun it all as singles. Then we did a color progression in a 3-ply yarn. Three plies of the first color, then two of the first color with one of the second, etc. In this case the color I liked the most as a single, the taupe-sage, was horrid in the blends. The other colors just made it look dead. Judith suggested I go back and pick new colors to go with it until I find the ones that make it "sing." I selected colors but didn't have enough time in class to spin and ply it all. This class also reaffirmed my belief that 3-ply yarn rule. They look so round and relatively perfect compared to a 2-ply. Mental note: Make more 3-ply yarns.

My last class was Three Wild Downs. We learned lots about buffalo, yak and cashmere. We got many samples. The card shows (counterclockwise from the top right) 30/70 cashmere/merino blend, buffalo, black yak, grey yak, depigmented yak, a second depigmented yak, cashmere, baby Mongolian camel, a second cashmere and a third cashmere from China which was the highest quality of them all. Now can someone explain to me why I've been too scared to spin this, this or this but when Judith just hands me $30 of fiber I spun it up and didn't worry about the results?

All of my friends have been warned at this point that all of my sentences will start with the phrase, "Judith says..." for at least a few more weeks.

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January 29, 2007

Madrona in Pictures

From the wool combing class, fibers waiting to be combed.

We got to try a variety of combs--4 and 5 pitch English, single and double Viking, mini combs, Russian paddle combs--with many different fibers--Targhee, Merino, Wensleydale, Romney, Alpaca, Romeldale and more.

From the fiber blending class, one of my favorite batts, an analogous color blend.

We used Ashland Bay Merino Top (yum) and worked in the morning on color blending. We created a monochromatic blend, an analogous blend, a complimentary blend, a split complimentary and a blend which used one color from each of the twelve spokes of the color wheel. In the afternoon we experimenting with blending different fibers. I was having too much fun to stop for pictures.

From Dyeing for Socks, my primary color skein.

Magenta on one end, cyan on the other and polar yellow in the center. When I brought this home my son immediately asked him to knit the spider monkey from World of Knitted Toys from it for him. He had me wind the skein into a ball within minutes of walking in the door. It's going to be one searing bright monkey.

Here is Judith demonstrating random painting.

My only yarn purchase were mill ends of Mountain Colors Bearfoot being sold by the ounce. I picked up four ounces in dark purples just to play with. But that's it. I now have tons of fiber to spin and combs to process my Targhee I bought at Oregon Flock and Fiber. It should keep me pretty busy until the next festival or conference.

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