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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Plying

I finished spinning the last bobbin of my handdyed GCNI/Mohair yesterday, so last night I started plying it. When you ply a standard yarn (novelty yarns are a whole different set of rules), you want the singles to twist together at the same rate, under the same tension. You don't want one single too loose or it wraps around the other one(s) instead of twisting together like it should. Obviously, it's easier to control only two singles and make a two ply than it is three or more singles. I've never been particularly happy with my three plied yarn because I have trouble keeping all three singles at the same tension. Well, that was before I took my spinning class with the Amazing Judith MacKenzie McCuin! (The woman should probably wear a cape at all times - maybe with a little sheep on it - but the cape would get in her way and of course we all learned the danger of capes in The Incredibles and I wouldn't want her to get sucked into a jet turbine because her cape got tangled up, but she should have something to indicate her superhero status, don't you think? I digress.) OK, so in the spinning class she showed us how to hold our hands when we plied and using her technique you can control the tension on up to 5 singles at once (she wasn't lying, she had us do it in class, it really works) and you don't even need a tensioned lazy kate! (Her plying technique is probably in her book, I didn't check, but I can't imagine writing a book about spinning and not covering plying.) So last night I sat down to ply my three bobbins of singles together and it still worked! (We've all had things that worked in class, but when you get home they just don't seem to work - not this, baby!) I really love the way this three ply is looking and I am so excited how it's coming all together and twisting at even tension and turning into a lovely, round yarn, and that's not even talking about the way the colors are mixing and blending. I just couldn't stop plying and so I kept going and going and marveling at the way the finished yarn is looking - and then the brake band broke on my wheel.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Stash Enhancement and a Sockapalooza 4 Plan!

I got my order from The Loopy Ewe yesterday! This was the first time I had ordered from them and I have to give them a shoutout for such fast service and the way everything was so nicely packaged. I'll definitely be ordering from them again. Starting at the top left are two skeins of Claudia's Handpaints Sock Yarns in Country Kitchen, three skeins of Louet fingering weight in Soft Coral, and a new set of Crystal Palace 6 inch DPN's in size 1. (I knit all my socks on Crystal Palace DPN's - they're the slickest bamboo I've found, and because they're bamboo, they're warm in your hands too. I also live in fear of breaking a needle and having to wait until I can get to the LYS to pick up more. Obviously, I need backup needles.) Beside the needles is a little set of needle inventory cards - for DPN's, circs, and Single Points. This was my free gift for my first order from The Loopy Ewe. They give you free gifts on the first 5 orders and then you become a Loopy Groupie - you get even more stuff then! At the bottom are a pair of sock blockers - probably more for blog modeling than sock blocking, but we'll see. Finally, the little notebook there is Knit Notes For Socks - a little freebie for being a Sockapalooza-er. Its the cutest little notebook with places to make notes about different yarns, favorite sock patterns, foot sizes for all my intended victims, listings for sock yarn shops and all kinds of things! For convenience, I've added them to my "Got Fiber?" section in the sidebar. Like I said, I'll be going back!
OK, as promised, I also have a plan for my Sockapalooza Pal! One of the colors she listed in her preferences was Teal and I found this gorgeous yarn with all shades of teal (it photographed a bit darker than it really is). (Yes, I got it from The Loopy Ewe, too!) For a pattern, I decided to use the New England sock from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. I think that since the lace design is so bold in this sock pattern, it should work well with this yarn, even with the tonal color shifts. The yarn is Scarlet Fleece's sock yarn in Pacific. I feel so much better now that I have a plan for my sock pal's socks! I can't wait to get started on them, but first I have to figure out the fancy cast on the pattern calls for - I've never done that kind of cast on before!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Socks Go On

I started a new pair of socks over the weekend. The pattern is the stitch pattern for the Blueberry Waffle Socks. I'm using my hand painted, hand spun GCNI/Mohair yarn (not the stuff I showed on the bobbin last week). This is a two ply yarn and I think when I get what I'm spinning on now, finished (it's a three ply), I might just knit the same sock pattern to see what it looks like in a three ply. I have heard from numerous, very knowledgeable sources that two ply yarns spread outwards in a knit stitch (making two plys great for lace work), while three or more plys will fluff inwards, filling out the stitch. I'm one of those people who has to figure things out for herself though instead of just taking everyone's word for something and I've never sampled this with my handspun. I could just knit a swatch and see, but I figure socks aren't too much bigger than swatches and they are so much more useful. I am loving the way the colors blend from one to another and then get all mixed up together. There is no way this pair of socks will be identical twins - they will definitely be sock brothers instead.

I did figure out what I'm going to do for my Sockapalooza pal, but I'll wait until the yarn gets here and show you then.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

A Bowl of Blue Batts!

I finished carding up the Romney/Merino/Angelina batts. Unfortunately, the Angelina didn't photograph, so you can't see it here. I ended up with 6 1/4 ounces of fiber which will be plenty for a pair of socks. (For non knitters, a pair of women's socks usually takes 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of fingering weight yarn.) This will probably be spun up pretty soon - I can't wait to see how it spins!

Here in the US, today is Memorial Day and I just want to say Thank You to all the men and women who are serving and have served previously in the armed forces. I hope you all have a great Memorial Day!

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Carding in Progress

Since you guys said you didn't mind seeing carding I thought I'd show some in progress shots from the second half of the Romney/Merino blend, AKA My Socks. (The first half was officially titled Mom's Socks and while we're doing full disclosure here, it was only like 2 or 3 of you that said you didn't mind seeing the carding, so now the rest of you have to suffer through it.) Above are a couple of batts: the top one is the Romney and the bottom one is Merino. The Romney began as raw fleece from a sheep named Shenandoah who lives in Baltimore (or maybe just outside Baltimore - it's hard to tell). The batt looks shorter than the Merino because the Romney wool is very bouncy and when it came off the carder it bounced back to a shorter length. The Merino batt (which was raw fleece at one point, but I never saw it like that, it was purchased as top and then dyed to match the Romney), because it started as top, doesn't have as much bounce. Before the fibers can be blended they have to be carded by themselves. Since the Romney was loose fleece it took two passes through the drumcarder to get to this point, but the Merino only took one pass since it started out as top. From this point, I will tear each batt into half and blend half a batt of Romney and half a batt of Merino. I do this by dividing each half into 4 more sections, spreading them out the full width of the drum and feeding them in in layers, alternating the types of wool. When I pull that off the carder I can actually see the layers of the two wools, so I divide that batt into fourths and recard it. This is what the batts look like after a second blending pass. They are getting close, but if I look I can still see stripes of the two different wools, they just don't look quite as stripey as they did after the first blending pass. When I did Mom's Socks, I figured out that a third blending pass made very well blended batts so these two have one more pass to go through the drum carder before they're ready to spin. You might have noticed a small bag of something sitting on top of the Merino batt in the first picture. That little bag is Angelina, which is a sparkly fiber used for blending. It's a very fine fiber, so if you use it carefully (a little sparkle goes a long way- I won't use much of that bag in this project) it won't change the hand of your yarn. This is the Opal color and I'll add some of it when I do the final pass through the carder.

Just in case anyone is wondering, Deb Menz' Color in Spinning is a great book for carding directions as well as step by step pictures of what happens when you blend. These batts could just as easily be different colors rather than different wools and the techniques I'd use to blend them would be the same. Also, if there are more experienced carders out there who see something I'm doing wrong, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

One of the Stealth Projects - Revealed!

I've decided to let one of my Stealth Projects see the light of day. This will make it easier for me to work on it. Otherwise, I'd have to work on it and work on blog fodder and I wouldn't get much done at all on either one. This is a pattern I'm working up for beginning lace knitters and will include a tutorial on basic lace techniques and reading charts. I'm knitting it in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkmo in the LunaSea colorway. This yarn has a slightly heavier core than Kid Silk Haze, but it's still a laceweight kid mohair. Being a fluffy yarn, it can be knit on US size 8's and will work up pretty quickly. Another option, for those who don't want or don't want to deal with the fluff factor would be to knit it in a fingering weight yarn. My own first lace knitting was the infamous Birch, knit in Kid Silk Haze in the wonderful but now discontinued color Poison.
Obviously it could have used with a bit more "hang time" before I took this picture, but you can see it in all it's Birch-y glory here.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Something blue

OK, so all I have to do is mention MS3, something that doesn't even exist yet, no pictures, nothing, and all you lurkers come out to comment? You guys crack me up! Wait until you see the lace Stormtrooper I've got worked up for that pattern. OOoops! I hope I didn't just give away the whole pattern. Bwah ha ha!

I finished spinning the first bobbin of singles of the GCNI/Mohair that I dyed a while back and I've got a decent bit done on the second bobbin. Here is the first bobbin below. I love all the different shades of blues that are in this yarn. The second bobbin has the same colors, but because that roving was in a different place in the plastic wrap as it was dyeing, it's lighter than this bobbin.
I'm going to spin this into a 3 ply. So I took a bit of the singles from the first bobbin while I was spinning and plied it back on itself, and when I had gotten some done on the second bobbin, I did the same thing. The blue at the top is from the first bobbin and the purple at the bottom is from the second bobbin. So far, things look pretty consistent.
While we're discussing socks and while you lurkers are commenting, let me bounce something off of you for my Sockapalooza Pal. In listing her color preferences, they mostly fall into the pastel/bright pastel types of colors. What I'm thinking though is that we filled out the color information back in April, when Spring had only barely begun for many parts of the country. My color tastes change a bit as the seasons change and while I love pastels and brights for the Spring and Summer, by the time August rolls around, I'm starting to think in terms of Fall colors. The socks are supposed to arrive at our Pal's address pretty close to August 2 so I've been thinking about finding some yarn that hints at the pastel color families, but is maybe a bit richer, a bit warmer, a bit more "Fall Like" than a pure pastel/bright pastel type of color. What do you guys think? Am I the only one who changes color tastes with the seasons? Should I quit overthinking it, knit the socks already and get on with Mystery Stormtrooper 3? Or should I take a chance and find something with pastels but a little more Autumney? Just to clarify, this is the type of thing she's requested and this is the type of thing I'm thinking about using.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Odds and Ends (knowing me, the emphasis should be on "Odds")


No, don't worry, I'm not going to spend the entire week showing you what comes off the drum carder. I just wanted a picture of something for a bit of eye candy for you. This is what the Romney and Merino look like all blended up. I have just over 6 ounces of it ready to ship to my mom. Of course, I have another 6 ounces of Romney and Merino that hasn't been blended for myself, but I'll do it over the weekend or after I've worked on some blog fodder so you don't have see each excruciating detail of blending.


I have been trying to figure out what to do for my Sockapalooza pal and I've got some ideas now, I just need to narrow them down and get going on one. Since I won't reveal who my Sockapalooza pal is, I can knit those on the blog.


I mentioned that I've got some Stealth Projects going and I was working on one of those Saturday night. Let me just take a minute to say that Dawn of the Dead is not a great movie to knit even a simple pattern to. I've got the chart memorized and it's not that intricate, but when the zombies jump out, the stitches jump off the needles. By the way, while we're discussing zombies and such, if you've never seen Shaun of the Dead you should. It's by the same guys who did Hot Fuzz so that should give you a clue for what you're in for. I think of the two zombie movies, I prefer the zombies in Shaun of the Dead to those in Dawn of the Dead - they move slower. And if you are concerned about the level of zombie preparedness that exists in the USA today, take a look at this article that my brother so thoughtfully sent me. Caleb already knows that to stop a zombie you must destroy the brain. We're making sure he has a well rounded education.


Naturally, when I mentioned Stealth Projects, your thoughts turned to Mystery Stole 3. At the moment, it's not one of my ongoing Stealth Projects, but on Saturday inspiration struck and there is a definite theme and direction for this stole. I need to ask a question about how you wear stoles to make sure I get the design right side up though. If you could just answer in the comments that would be great. The question is, if you wear a stole and take one end across your front, throwing it over the opposite shoulder, which shoulder is it that the end gets thrown over? And (yeah, it's a two part question), are you left handed or right handed?


No dates for MS3 at this point, but I'll update you as soon as I have something figured out.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Look what the new scarey thing with teeth can do!

There has been a bit of carding going on here. Remember the periwinkle dragon from the other day? The batt at the bottom came from that. Two passes through the drum carder made a very nice, consistent batt from the Romney. The top batt is one pass through with some Merino top we dyed to match the Romney because we only had 6+ ounces of the Romney (we both wanted socks out of this and socks take around 4 ounces of fiber each). Once I get all the Merino carded, I'll be blending it with the Romney (it will be a 50/50 blend) on the carder. I feel like I'm getting a feel for the carder and it's really fun! I can't wait to see how the two wools blend together. It's exciting to turn your very own batts into cute little muffin rolls of carded fiber! They feel so soft and fluffy, I can't wait to see how they spin up!

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Something New - With Teeth!

Well, I promised something new and interesting and while you might not privately think this is interesting, I'll bet you'll pretend it is since it has teeth! Yep, I got a drum carder! It's a Strauch Petite with the Brush Attachment. I bought it from Janet at The Wheel Thing and while I've only done a little bit with it, it seems really great! After sending some "junk" wool through to clean up any grinding dust like the directions said (OK, I only made it through the first page of directions before I started messing with it, but I'll go back and read every single word today - I promise), I got out the periwinkle Romney wool and started carding it. (That's a bit of what you see on the main drum.) Caleb got very excited about this new fierce thing with all the teeth and after a discussion about how close his fingers can go and how he can't turn the crank (I don't think wool likes to be carded at 6 year old speeds), he sat down and pulled small bits of fleece out and opened them up for me. He said it was more fun than Play Station! We'll have to see how long the novelty lasts. I'm going to see what I can do on it today and get the rest of the Romney carded. Tomorrow - Batts!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Nothing to see here, move along...

We have a bit of a problem today. See, I was working on my Vine Lace Cardi, which I finished. I was working on my Twisted Flower Socks, which I finished (thanks for all the comments yesterday). I am still working on my Green Moss Shawl in the Frostrosen handspun, but I haven't done anything with that since the last time you saw it. (If I was a really sick person, I could show it to you again, hee hee.) It's not that my needles are empty, but I have 3 stealth projects going on that cannot be mentioned here yet for various reasons. So, what you have to do today is imagine a picture above this post of a spectacularly gorgeous knit item (it's my blog, I can dream) and that's what I'm working on. What do you think so far?

I'll come up with something non stealth for Thursday (I'm taking Mom to the airport tomorrow morning).

Monday, May 14, 2007

A New Pair of Pink Socks, Because There is No Such Thing as Too Many Pink Socks!

I finished the second sock from the Twisted Flower Sock Pattern over the weekend and here they are in there damp, blocking glory. All the details: Cookie A's Twisted Flower Sock Pattern knit on US 1's in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Nearly Solid Pale Pink.

I modified the heel for a standard heel stitch heel flap instead of continuing the lace down the heel flap as the pattern is written for. This also modified the stitch count for the heel flap, heel turn, gusset and foot section of the sock because I have narrow feet. Other than that, I pretty much followed the pattern. It is a well written pattern and the charts are clear and easy to read. The one thing that isn't noted in the pattern (and to be fair, I've never seen it noted in any pattern), is that when you make a YO after a purl stitch, you should wrap the YO backwards or it will be very small. Then when you work the following row and come to the YO, you'll need to change the stitch mount before you work the stitch or you'll twist the YO and make it small again. It sounds like a lot to remember, but it's not hard and a backwards wrapped YO looks funny enough on the needle that you'll automatically slow down when you come to it.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Periwinkle!

OK, does anyone else think this pile of wool resembles a flying dragon or is it just me? This is part of the fleece we got from Maryland. I realized that if we weren't too scientific about it, we could go ahead and dye the wool right after we got it washed and then only have to wait for it to dry once. (Technically, we should have washed it, let it dry, weighed it, then dyed it, washed it again, and dried it again.) So with a guesstimate on weight (which I think is high but I am really bad at ballparking the weight on anything - this weighed less than Ramius who weighs 11 pounds, but since the whole fleece only weighed 8 pounds, I was pretty sure that this part of the fleece would weigh less than Ramius. See? The dyeing of the wool, it is not an exact science at Casa Pink Lemon.

I did take really good notes and will weigh the fiber after it's all dry so that if at some point I want to reproduce this color, I can. We were shooting for a periwinkle and as you can see, we hit it! The color has a touch more purple in reality than it photographed, but you can get a pretty close idea of how it looks here.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Spinning Since THE CLASS

I started spinning on the last batch of GCNI/Mohair that I dyed a while back. This is the one that I poured drops of all of the colors I used, but there was more blue, so while there are some purpley places and some slightly blue green places, it's really just a bunch of different blues. This preparation was in roving form (carded, which means all the fibers were going different directions instead of being aligned in the same direction as combed top would be), but since this is for socks, I decided to use a worsted draw in the spinning, so I think (if anything sunk in last week during the class), I'm getting a semi -worsted yarn. I'm going to make the yarn into a 3 ply just because I really need to do more 3 plys.

Also yesterday, Mom and I skirted a Romney fleece we got at MD. I forgot to get pictures of it, so you'll just have to imagine an 8 pound white Romney fleece. Some of the wool was a shorter staple length than the rest and it was very crimpy and bouncy. When Judith was showing us raw fleece last week, she showed us belly wool which looked a lot like the wool I was just describing. Judith said it was great for socks, so Mom and I separated it out from the rest and we'll wash and process that ourselves. The rest of the fleece, we'll send out for processing.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

More Spinning Class

I thought I'd show you a few pictures I got in the class and a neat trick Judith showed us. This is Judith's hand as she makes a 5 ply. The way she taught us to hold the singles, you can control up to 5 of them - beyond that, you kind of need more fingers.
Judith has been working with Bison fibers a lot and she brought some yarns, both dyed and undyed, a piece of bison felt, and some knitted items from bison. They were wonderfully soft and surprisingly bouncy. I will have to do something out of bison at some point. It will be a small something because bison is not cheap, but it's a wonderful fiber.
In this picture, Judith is showing us what to look for in a fleece. These were Tunis fleeces that one of the class members brought from her flock. She was going to have them processed into comforter batting because she didn't think they were very good quality, but Judith said they weren't bad fleeces at all. Tunis is a meat breed so the fleeces are not necessarily a consistent type from sheep to sheep.
This was a really great diameter control exercise that Judith had us do and quite frankly, if this had been all she taught us, it would have been worth the price of admission alone. Spinners out there will agree that we all have our default yarn. Each fiber is slightly different, but each of us has a yarn that we can spin without thinking about it too much. By just making adjustments to our wheel, we can change our default yarn! In order to make the yarn bigger, Judith had us tighten the brake band a bit causing the wind on to be stronger. After a couple of treadles, you automatically draft more fiber into your singles to compensate for this. You can keep going up in tension until the wheel is yanking the fiber out of your hands, in which case you need to go to a bigger whorl (slower ratio). On the flip side, if you loosen the brake band, causing the bobbin to wind on slower, you will automatically draft less fiber into your singles and the length of your drafting zone will shorten to make up for the increased twist that's going into your singles. You don't change your treadling speed, or your drafting speed, and the change in the amount of fiber per draft and the length of the draw will be intuitive. You can see above the different yarns I got during this exercise. As two plys, they range from fine laceweight all the way to somewhere above Aran weight. I'm going to be doing this exercise with all new fibers when I sit down to spin, so the yarn can match what I have in mind for it, rather than trying to find a project to fit whatever yarn I made.


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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Some of What We Did In The Class

OK, first of all, if you ever have a chance to take this class (or any class) from Judith MacKenzie McCuin, do it immediately. Don't think, just sign up. She is a wonderful teacher, extremely knowledgeable about all kinds of things spinning, weaving, fibery, sheepy and just really knows practically everything you'd ever want to know about anything (I think, I didn't ask her about physics, but you get the idea - the lady knows her stuff.) Also, she is totally approachable, and not at all intimidating. If you can't take her class, you should get her book (I'm not getting a kickback for this, FYI), it's also great. I took the class and got the book. I understand there's a DVD out there, but I don't have that yet. Yet, being the operative word - oh, the ability to play and replay to my heart's content!

We learned Worsted Spinning (inchworm), semi worsted spinning, woolen spinning (long draw, semi woolen spinning, and an attenuated long draw for cotton. She taught us some color techniques (marling) and some multi colored cables. She taught us some novelty yarns: spiral, knots, boucle, and mohair wrapped. She filled our brains with things we had never thought about and then kept going. She showed us how to select a fleece, how to wash it for combing, versus washing it for carding. She showed us combing and carding. She spoke about the history of spinning, the history of sheep. She taught us exotic fibers like bombyx silk, silk caps, yak, cashmere, camel, and one of the most frightening fibers to many spinner's out there - cotton.

About 30 minutes into the first class, my mind was reeling from all the information it had already absorbed- and this was a 3 day class! I took pages of notes, and we spun many tiny skeins. I'm in the middle of reorganizing the notes now so that when I look at them next week, I'll be able to understand what I wrote (or meant to write).

Here is some of the spinning we did:

From the top: A marled 2 ply of merino top, a marled cable yarn of the same merino top, a 3 ply of Merino/Yak, spun semi woolen, a 2 ply of Yak down (a loose puff of fiber) spun woolen, a white cotton 2 ply spun with attenuated long draw, a brown Fox Fiber cotton 2 ply spun with attenuated long draw, a dyed puni from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks spun as a 2 ply with attenuated long draw (the puni was definitely the easiest preparation to spin cotton), and a semi woolen cashmere 2 ply spun from top. According to Judith, if you can spin cotton you can spin cashmere (...if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball...)
Another thing she showed us is plying. Most of us take plying for granted and don't put too much thought into it. She showed us how to hold our hands, control the tension of the singles, and how to make the plying consistent. Then she had us wind our bobbins with some singles she had had spun from her organic Ramboulliet fleeces and try some plying ourselves. From the top of the picture above: 2 ply, 3 ply, 4 ply, 5 ply!, and cabled yarns.

I'll show more tomorrow!

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Back Home With Just a Few Additions to the Stash!

Maryland was amazing and wonderful as usual. The weather could not have been better and the sheep were just about the cutest things ever. There was quite a bit of stash enhancement on my part and the color of the day was apparently a raspberry pink (as you'll see below). Above you can see the shawl pin I got from Moving Mud, a kingwood orifice hook I got from The Woodchuck and a little polymer clay sheep pin that I got from a booth whose name I don't remember. This is a pound of Merino/Yak top that I got from Toni at The Fold. We spun up some of this blend in grey in the class (I'll show what we learned in the class in another blog entry or two - it was great!). Yak is an amazingly soft and beautiful fiber and we all agreed in the class that Yak pillow cases wouldn't be a bad idea. It's also a much better price than Cashmere and Bison and some of the other ubersoft fibers (around $5-6 an ounce for pure yak).

I got these from Ohio Valley Natural Fibers. From left to right, they are a pound of white merino top, a pound of ice blue merino top, and a pound of raspberry merino roving. Either the blue or the white or both will be used to practice and experiment with some of the techniques we learned in class. Did I mention the class was amazing?
This is a pound and a half of batts from Spinner's Hill. I got the fiber for the Vine Lace Cardi from Spinner's Hill two years ago at MDS&W. As you can see, raspberry was on my mind as I shopped.

This is most of the yarn I got. There is one skein that's for a stealth project that isn't pictured. From the top, two skeins of raspberry Silk and Ivory (silk and merino - yum) from Tess Yarns, sock yarn from Tess Yarns, and Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Moose Creek - (it's not actually black, it has black, browns, plums and other wonderful colors in it, it just doesn't photograph well.)
This is 4 ounces of a dark raspberry and blue Border Leiscester roving from a youth program. I don't have any definite plans for this, I just thought it was pretty.
I did find Kid Hollow Farm this year and I got 8 ounces of Costa Rica roving (Border Leiscester lamb's wool and mohair). I also enabled my mother a bit at this booth.
Finally, in addition to the shopping, Maryland is great for meeting people. Thanks to all of you who said hello, it was great putting faces to some of the commenters as well as knowing who's lurking out there! I did get to finally meet Carrie, who has been reading and commenting on my blog for over a year now. This was her first MDS&W and she made me these adorable Pink Lemon stitch markers! She sells them at her Etsy store, here - go check them out! I hope everyone who went to the show had a great time and was able to get all their purchases into the car when they left. Tomorrow I'll show you some of what happened in the class!

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Off to Maryland!

First of all, I have to say THANK YOU for all the wonderful comments about my Vine Lace Cardi. I can't wait to wear it, but I think it will make its debut at Maryland on Saturday (it's supposed to be in the low 70's for a high).

Several of you asked about a possible pattern and I hate to tell you this, but no, I'm not writing it as a pattern. The main reason I'm not doing it as a pattern is because I knit it in my handspun. If you remember back when I started knitting it, I realized that I had 3 skeins of around 500 yards each that weighed 5 ounces. Well, the problem was, the diameters of the yarn in each skein were different, so I set aside the most obviously different skein, and worked from the two more similar skeins- 2 rows of one, 2 rows of the other. I was getting a stitch gauge of 5.2 spi and a row gauge of 5.8 rpi, and while I could have probably reproduced this in commercial yarn, the weight would have been a factor. Remember how freakishly light this sweater is? Using commercial yarn would have at least doubled the weight of the sweater, which would have changed the drape, the feel, and the fit of the sweater - essentially making it a completely different sweater altogether. I just feel that due to all of these issues, if I were to attempt to write a pattern for this, the finished sweaters by the pattern would fall short of what I got with my handspun because I worked with my handspun and didn't try to use it as a commercial yarn substitute. When I write patterns that I will sell, I feel very strongly about using yarn that's commercially available. I know many of us substitute yarn in patterns all the time, but I at least want to have the option available to anyone who wants to use the exact yarn I used. This is probably way more information than you wanted (most of you probably had your eyes glaze over half an hour ago and wandered off muttering about how a-simple-no-the-pattern-will-not-be-written would have been sufficient), but I wanted to explain my stance on this. Thanks again for all the complements!For those of you who are still here, this will be my last blog post for the week. As you know, I am taking the Comprehensive Spinning Class (WOoHooo!) which starts tomorrow so I won't be back to blog until next Monday. I have cleared out the memory stick on the camera and am charging the battery, now I just have to remember to take it, and even more importantly, use it. If you're going to MDS&W on Saturday, keep your eye out for me! I'll be the one with the long brunette ponytail carrying this bag. Depending on the weather, I might have on the Vine Lace Cardi and unless it's muddy (which it's not supposed to be) I'll be wearing my dandelion yellow Crocs.* Be sure to say hello even if you're a lurker! I love meeting people from the blog!

*I figure if I'm going to wear shoes that make my feet look like a duck's, then I'm going to wear shoes that make my feet look like a duck's. Also, since I don't wear yellow, it won't clash with anything in my closet.