Friday, June 29, 2007

Peacock Delayed!

I've found another "new" project to consider. I've joined Mystery Stole 3. It's a knitalong where the pattern is given out a bit at a time. The first section was posted today.

The recommended yarn color is white (more or less) or black (more or less) in order to fit with the pattern theme (which is to be revealed later). Conveniently, I had purchased a very nice medium gray merino sweater at the GoodWill store for the sole purpose of unravelling it for its lace weight yarn. I have just finished unravelling the sweater and am soaking the yarn in hot water to release the kinks from it. I should be able to get the first skein wound into a ball and start in on the first chart by the end of the weekend.

So the Peacock Shawl goes back into storage for a later engagement.

Darning Pile
It's still there. With the expected rainy weather this weekend, I may have no choice but to actually work on the darning and other mending. I at least will have no excuse to not get it done.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Five are Done!

I have finally completely finished my five items for The Dulaan Project. And just in time too. They have to be received in Arizona by July 1st. If I get them mailed tomorrow I should just make the deadline. There are three newborn-sized hats, one toddler sized hat (the beret) and one teenager/adult sized hat. Next year, I think I'll try making Wallaby Sweaters. Well, at least one Wallaby and probably more hats.

Batt Pile
This is the short stack of four Coopworth batts I carded up last week. This is maybe 1/4 of a bin of pre-flicked, washed fleece. Once it was teased, it filled up a copy paper box. I have another bin of washed fleece, one bin of unwashed, flicked fleece and probably a bin to a bin and a half of unflicked, unwashed fleece. That ought to be enough for a sweater, right? :o)

I'm not sure that carding is the best prep for the Coopworth. I did find a couple of neps in the batts. It doesn't tolerate being carded too quickly and I really don't want neps and noils in this fiber. I will probably just comb the rest of it. I may try carding the combing waste.

"Washing" Fleece
Well, sort of. I had soaked one of the Fresian fleeces in cold water to get the dirt/mud out of them, then let it sit in my lawn chair to dry. I had left more of it laying in the backyard, waiting to be washed in a bin outdoors. Except that it rained the past three days. The "drying" fleece isn't getting much drying done. However, the previously unwashed fleece is getting washed a bit in the rain. It will still need to be soaked and rinsed thoroughly. A nice hot water wash would be good too, but most of the dirty work is done. The fleece itself is really dry and crunchy feeling. I don't know if that's a function of this particular fleece's characteristics or if the fiber is damaged from heat/storage. With any luck things will dry out a bit in the next week. There ought to be enough Fresian for a box full of hats and outerwear. I bet it would work well as weft in a rug too. Then I wouldn't have to worry about scratchiness so much.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Gaining Focus

Ok, here are a few goals for myself with regard to my fibery habits.....

First, I'm going to finish carding up the gray Coopworth fleece. I have two big bins of teased and washed fiber that will need to be re-teased, then carded. There is another bin of teased, unwashed fiber and probably an equal amount of unteased, unwashed fiber.

Second I'll start on the coarser light gray fleece that I've gotten five batts from already. I've discovered that my initial rather cursory washing job wasn't really good enough. It's really too greasy/sticky to card without a second washing. When I start in on the rest of the fleece, I'll have to flick it a bit before washing it so I don't end up washing everything twice.

Third, I need to decide what to do with the Fresian. It's going to be pretty coarse and have some veggie matter in it. It might be good for felting or outerwear. I'm trying to decide if it's worth my effort, given that I paid very little for it.

Goals on the Knitting Front:
Darn two socks per week until the mending basket is empty.
Finish red lace sock.
Start second blue multi sock.
Start second red/blue Mountain Colors sock

Organizing the Fiber Room
Ok, so the setting up of the table in the fiber room didn't happen. I need to get rid of some things first. I'd end up moving half my stash to the spare room (and thus clutter it to the point of being unusable), so things will stay as they are for now.

Philosophically, I am getting ever closer to decluttering and simplifying my possessions. I have yarn I will never knit. My tastes have changed. My knitting priorities have changed. I have managed to catalogue my yarn and fiber stash. Now it's time to decide objectively what I'll actually use from the stash, package it up with possible patterns and put the rest up on Ebay. I figure I can manage to accomplish that by the end of August. I guess that means I need to go through my pattern and magazine stash and decide what I'll make. Now all I need are some rainy days/evenings so I'm stuck inside.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Peacock is Out!

The pattern is sitting next to my knitting chair. The yarn is on the table. I'm far too tired to actually do anything with it today, but perhaps by the end of the weekend....

Picking on the Fleece
I've started flicking the Fresian that I soaked in cold water outside. Remarkably the vast majority of the dirt came out without soap and there is little grease. The veggie matter is coming out in the flicking. I can't tell if the tips are weak or not. I may just cut them off. I think this fleece might be a good candidate for dyeing, though I'm not sure I want to start with that yet.

Of course, I should probably just finish the silly Coopworth fleece and get it out of the way, but no....I have to start something new. I can't decide if I have an aversion to finishing things or if I just get distracted by new things. I certainly like it when I do finish things. It's just that sometimes I lose interest before the finishing part.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Decisions, Decisions!

I want to prepare a bunch of stuff all at the same time and I can't focus long enough to decide what to actually work on. I'm *very* ADHD this week.

I have started washing up some Friesian wool. This stuff has sat in my garage for a couple of years. It's got some veggie matter in it and it wasn't well skirted, but it's something to practice my carding skills upon. I have used the skirtings to mulch my garden. Surprisingly, the wool is washing up to be a bright white color. I think it might make a decent heavy worsted weight yarn and might be good for felting.

Must Darn Socks!
I wore handknit socks today since I was going to be on my feet all day long. Apparently my toenails needed a bit of a trim. I haven't worn a hole in the right sock, but it came close. Sigh. My darning pile is slowly growing. I really need to quit ignoring it. I also need to quit ignoring the pile of clothes needing folding and ironing, but that's a different story.

Speaking of Socks....
I started a new pair today. Yes, I know, I have one sock in progress and two second socks to finish. I needed something with a small ball of yarn to carry wtih me in the car. So I started the purple socks made with Marks and Katten "Clown". I made a pair of socks for a former professor friend of mine from this yarn, liked how well they turned out and bought more yarn for me. I like that the balls are small and compact.

Shawl Craving

I got a hankering today to start a shawl. I'm thinking about starting the Peacock Feathers Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting. I have a cone of Jaggerspun Zephyr in a lovely teal color just the shade of a peacock. I don't know that I need to start a new project given the existing knitting and carding/spinning works in progress, but I might just jump in anyway.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gone Batty!!

I've now got three batts of the gray coarse wool run through twice. There are three more which have only had one pass through the carder. I think they will end up making two finished batts. I wonder if this wool might spin up into a nice lace weight yarn for a shawl.

Organizing the Fiber Habit
I've decided that I need to put together the work table in the fiber room. Right now that room is crowded enough that I can't set up the table. I think I'll move some of the boxes into the spare room, so I can set up the table. That way I won't have to do all my fibery habits in the living room and contribute to the disorder and clutter in that area. The clutter of the public room in my house aggravates me. I like to be tidy. Right now there are two stacks of waste fiber, one bin of clean, but unpicked fiber to card and two stacks of carded batts. These items are on the floor, the sofa and on top of the stereo. I'd rather have them all in the fiber room, not really out of sight, but contained. I think I'll be more productive with things in the one room as well.

Perhaps this weekend I will put together the table and start the reorganization. I suspect some de-stashing may follow.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fibery Fun!

Nope, I didn't fall off the planet. I went out of town for a weekend and never got around to getting my laptop back into my usual blogging place (the comfy chair). I decided to fix that today since I'm developing a big backlog of pictures and I miss surfing the Internet while watching movies.

Carding myself silly
The drum carder is about the bestest present I've bought myself in a long time. I finished with the cream colored fleece and immediately jumped into a coarser light gray fleece. I don't think the coarse fleece will spin up into anything which can be worn next to the skin. Might make good mittens though. I also started in on the light gray coopworth fleece. I know I said I wanted to comb that fleece. I think I'm changing my mind. I have to be careful and tease the washed locks thoroughly before carding or I get neps. Already noticed that. I hadn't had any breakage issues with the previous two fleeces, but the Coopworth doesn't care for mishandling. I think it's worth the extra time and effort. I think I'll make myself a nice gansey with the final product.

Tag, I'm it!
So, I got tagged a while ago by sheila. I have waited long enough to respond that just about everybody has also been tagged. In any event, here are the seven random things about me:

1. I taught myself how to knit from a book in 1992. My paternal grandmother knit, but was unsuccessful in teaching me when I was little. I knit her a cardigan before she died.

2. I ride a motorcycle. I actually own two of them, one of which is for sale. If you know anybody interested in a 1977 Yamaha XS650, let me know.

3. My right ankle clicks when I walk, presumably due to the bone fragments in it. I apparently broke my ankle one of the myriad times I twisted it and kept going. Oopsies. I also have a rather high pain tolerance.

4. Everybody says I bake killer chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. My lemon bars have gotten good reviews too.

5. I'm entered in the Chicago Marathon again this year. My goal is to cut my previous best (and only) time from 7:45 to something under 4 hours.

6. I've lived in Australia.

7. I would like to publish some knitting designs in the next year or two. Mostly socks, but I'm starting to get interested in lace as well. Of course, I'll have to write up my Aran sweater pattern too.