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Minnesota, United States

30.5.13

FO!

The Silken Straw Sweater is finished.  The I-cord edging was not as fiddly as I heard.  It is just a matter of carefully picking up all the threads.  I did not use the I-cord instructions in the pattern because having to pull the slipped stitch over was not as easy as knitting the slipped stitch and the edge stitch together through the back loop--and with larger needles.  The silk has no give and it is far too easy to make the edging tight.  I blocked it Blue Sky style--beating it with a ruler when damp, shaping and pinning to size, and leaving it to air dry.
There was a slight setback with Jane's Tunic...I used the larger needle for the body...luckily I reread the pattern!  I am back on track and it will be a quick project compared to the silk sweater.

The Silken Straw Sweater turned out just beautiful.  

Taking a break at Caribou and knitting.

17.5.13

Sampling

Lately I have been making samples for my upcoming classes.  I found a couple of great patterns, one in Texas and one at Shepherd's Harvest.  As I am working on the Silken Straw (finally at the yoke!) today I cast on for a tunic in Shibui Linen.  It is much easier to work with than the silk and the project is going to be ready quickly.
Jane's Tunic.  This is a quick knit so far!  

Silken Straw Sweater.  This is a not-so-quick knit, but at least I am on the sleeve/yoke!

This is going to be the Fair Isle cardigan from
The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters.
The Pine Bough Cowl.  The yarn is soft and gets even softer
after it is washed!
Looking ahead to an upcoming class, "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns," by Ann Budd is a great resource for plain garments that can be changed to suit the wearer.
I will have to check the stash...maybe I have enough handspun cotton...

Yesterday I was at the shop and sat downstairs knitting and visiting with Angel between customers and her re-stocking the shelves with yarn.  We had a bite of lunch and when I did my usual walk about the shop, some color caught my eye...

Post Apocalypse by Vice 

 ...resistance is futile...

I loved the browns and grays amongst the vibrant colors--cashmere and silk
blended with merino is a nice touch, also.

14.5.13

Shepherd's Harvest 2013

For months I thought that our last Wood Badge Development before course in August was going to be the full weekend through Mother's Day.  We ended up coming back on Saturday evening, which meant Shepherd's Harvest  was a go for Kathy and me.  We were texting back and forth late in the evening making our plan.  It was a very fun day!  Lots of vendors, only a few sheep left on Sunday, but lots of llamas and alpacas.  We ran into lots of friends and made some new ones.  When I got  home from the festival I opened up the box of goodies I received from Fancy Fibers Farm containing the mohair locks, denim noil and sari silk.  I am excited to use the add-ins for colorful spinning.                                                                    
                                                                     
See the llama be the llama

Psst...you have something in your teeth.

Multicolor llama.  The llamas seemed to love being photographed.

CVM lambs were not as easy to photograph.
We stopped at Dunn Bros for something warm to drink and goodies.  I am working
on the Hitchhiker

Kathy is working on her Mullet Socks--business in the front, party in the back.

This is really nice roving from Handspun by Stefania.  I have 15.5 ounces.  The sample was really nice.  I know it looks like a German flag and I like that.  Fun and so soft!

Two ounces of hemp from Susan's Fiber Shop.  I spun a small sample and may use it carded with something else in the stash.

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A really pretty top to make with handspun.

Too pretty for feet!

Mmmm...for spinning:  denim noil, sari silk, and mohair locks from
Fancy Fibers Farm in Texas.


7.5.13

Millefiori

I think that is an appropriate name for the yarn.  It was fun to spin batt #2 into a single.  I went to Joanne, ETC in search of plying thread or yarn.  It is like choosing buttons for a garment, which takes time to find the perfect color and shape.  The silk noil bits, dyed mohair locks, and silk add texture and sheen.  I found some 40 wt Coats machine embroidery thread in neon colors.  The neon salmon attracted my eyes right away, but I also liked the neon green.  I purchased both.  The salmon popped out and looked great, however, the green enhanced the yarn--green was the choice!
Measuring 3 ounces of wool, silk, and color bits.  It is a bit like picking the best ingredients for a favorite dessert recipe.  Some of this, a pinch, smidgeon, and a dash of that...
The wool and bits were blended in two rounds through the drum carder.
The wool is spun into singles (the silk noil bits are sticking out).
Plying the single with machine embroidery thread.  I hold the thread in my right hand while keeping it straight toward my body and the single is in the left hand at an angle with my index finger guiding it while it feeds onto the thread, and then I feed the length through the orifice.
The yarn plied perfectly balanced!!!!
With all the color, it reminds me of Millefiori.
Now to set the twist and add this to something wonderful...
Yum...eye candy!

3.5.13

Gone Batty

I have been a busy bee.  The past weekend I went down to Texas to visit my dear friend, Joanne.  She is one of the original members of the Texas Twisters (spinning group), and a talented fiber artist.  The weather was perfect--not too hot--and the fiber was plentiful!  We had fun creating art batts and spinning.  I always learn so much by watching Joanne spin her magic on the wheel.  We went to the Woolie Ewe  in Plano and then to Madtosh.  I was very happy to find Madtosh mini skeins of yarn for the Peerie Flooers and Sheep Heid hats by Kate Davies.  At the Woolie Ewe I found a lovely skein of hand-dyed yarn in the colorway called Last Light--it looks like a winter sunset, a Spud & Chloë pattern box, and some colorful circular needles.  We also squeezed in a visit to Hobby Lobby where I found some more fun swirl needles, sparkle cable needles, and tapestry needles.
Highlights from the trip:

Although it was warm, we had lovely weather with a nice breeze.
Planes in the neighborhood!
First stop--The Woolie Ewe in Plano!  Joanne is in the window.
We fit in a visit to Madtosh Crafts.
It is a lovely shop with lots of yarn and the other half is fabric.
We were happy with our purchases.  When the gal at the shop took our
photo, she had us say, "Mad-tosh!"
Jeff took us out to supper--yum yum!
Land O Lakes--a Minnesota connection...
The fun begins in Joanne's studio.
These were my base colors for batt #1.
Joanne's batt was in lovely pale colors, which reminded me of a faded quilt.
A close up of the batt off the carder.
We sat on the deck for the afternoon spinning away, drinking iced
tea, and chatting. 
The next day (we stayed up late plying) it was time to wet the
hanks and set the twist. 
By using quilting thread (Joanne) and lace-weight yarn
for plying we each have over 200 yards of yarn.
My fiber choices for batt #2.  Pull a bit from here and there and then add it to the bowl on the scale.
At home again with the snow!
I sent batt #2 through the carder a second time to make sure the white silk was blended.  This
will be fun to spin.  I need to find the perfect plying thread or yarn for plying.
The colors are lovely.  I was not sure of the cotton yarn snips, but they will add some nice texture to the knitted surface.
Projects in progress:
Lace bag, by Sarah Hatton.
First Möbius, by Kat Bordhi on the needle.
The Hitchhiker in Starry Night.
Countess mitts--I lost my project bag for this project :^( and found this lovely gray yarn in my stash.
First Möbius off the needles.  The I-cord finished edge is easy and looks nice.
Here is the washed wool I bought from Woolen Meadow Farm.  Mmmmm...fluffy.