Thursday, September 30, 2004

knitting as art

Finally a finished project and my first knitting as Art too. It’s a pair of Hand Sweaters my own version of fingerless gloves. They are to go into a care box for a dear friend. The yarn is my own handspun in a combination of wool, alpaca, mohair, silk, and angora. I choose every color and every fiber to portray the person receiving this gift. I still have to write up the letter that will explain and complete the project. I’m actually scared to mail them since it seems almost too intimate of a gift sending an abstract useful portrait to someone I have never met in person. However, go they must, so they will start their trip to Canada tomorrow.

The weaving is stalled. I have not progressed past threading the first few inches. I shall blame Himself because he ran off with my weaving chair. It seems it is the only chair suited to hold his exercise weights. However, the pink yarn is coarser than I like so that may be the real reason.

I haven’t knitted much either since I have a nasty case of poison Ivy. I spend every available moment in the bathtub since that is the only place I feel relief. I keep getting re infected from Joey and would love to give him a bath. However he had a run in with a wild animal and I don’t want to get him wet until his stitches are removed. However at the last small guild meeting we had a program on how to use up our left over bits of yarn. I’m using that technique to make a fun tam. I like the look so much I may make a vest to go with it.

Sunday was the large guild meeting and besides good fun, food, and some nice shopping. I was able to get a substantial amount of very fine weaving yarn spun. I also picked up the black angora and have started spinning that to finish my poncho. Alas the angora sticks to my poison ivy rash so spinning it right now isn’t much fun.

I’m up in the air about the WooLee Winder. It winds my yarn evenly onto the bobbin. That part is great. However, it’s a touch loud and the drive band keeps slipping on the smallest whorl. I will buy a stretch drive band and I thin all my problems will be solved. I should order it tonight but have been putting it off. After all if I get the drive band I should get the niddy noddy too and the…and… and… and… I get scared by the money it would take to buy this $3 drive band so I keep putting it off.

Monday, September 20, 2004

WooLee Winder

I had a dentist appointment today so I left work early. When I got home my WooLee Winder was waiting for me! I haven’t used it yet but came here first to post about it. I want to post before Himself gets home from work and needs the computer. I will play with it all the rest of the afternoon. I have some Angora in the freezer right now that will be the first thing I spin.

I didn’t finish anything this week. Too much going on one of which was getting a tiny kitten to hunt mice in the rabbit shed. He is so sweet. Right now he is a dark brown black. I hope he stays that color but I think he will get blacker once he loses his baby fuzz. I named him Snowball II after the cat in the Simpson’s. All the other names I considered seemed too scary for a black cat. I was planning on calling him Dragon after the cat in the Rats of NIMH but I just couldn’t do that to a black cat. I’m pretty sure Dragon was an orange cat anyway.

While I didn’t finish anything, I did start something. A friend of mine is going through tough times and a care package is being sent to her. I was hoping to make her a pair of red fingerless gloves and a ski band. However, to make it into the big box I must have it mailed by Wednesday. I don’t know if I can make the deadline. I did spin the yarn Saturday night. But now I’m having difficulties deciding which gauge is best for this yarn. I still need to spin the angora to line the ski band. That brings me back to the WooLee Winder and the frozen fiber.

I want to line the ski band in white angora but I only have tan on hand. It tan is fine but white will make the red pop. Then serendipity stepped in – maybe. While cleaning out the garage before friends came over for a barbeque I found a Wal-Mart bag of white fiber. I have no memory of tossing a bag of angora in the garage corner and decided it must still be there from when we moved 2 years ago. I checked and no M@&^$. I started spinning and I came upon some caterpillars. Now baby M@&^$ should look like caterpillars but they look like maggots. I’ve had them in my stash before. These looked like cute caterpillars. However, since I am concerned that they might just be cute but still vicious M@&^$ I put the whole bag in the freezer. If I find more than the 4 caterpillars I will toss it. If I don’t I may just bake the finished yarn in the oven a bit. I don’t know if that will help but I don’t want to send an unsuspecting friend a contaminated object. I should just use the tan angora instead.

So that is my spinning and knitting. I haven’t done any weaving lately. I did get the Yarn Barn catalogue this week so I was able to spend several hours dreaming of weaving at work on Saturday. There are several new project that I would like to buy the yarn for but I absolutely CAN NOT buy any more yarn until I use some of what I already have. I am donating yarn to the guild project tomorrow. That will help a little.

Monday, September 13, 2004


After sewing up the seams neatly to join the 3 panels into a single blanket I took a good hard look at it. The seams make the blanket even more rustic and now I’m stratified with it. I feel that to add anything at this point would distract from the whole. The seams give it some visual interest so the I-cord would be too much.

All that is left is one more washing and to even up the fringe. I’m surprised at how dense the blanket turned out. To me it feels more of the weight of a bed blanket rather than the afghan it is. The whole time I spun I thought light and lofty thoughts so the yarn wasn’t dense. I then chose my weaving set but a lack of yarn forced me to open it up more. I’m glad I did. Now that the blanket is almost finished I think I should have set it even looser.

This morning I threaded a few inches of the pink poncho through their heddles. It’s a really easy pattern -plain weave- but at 4 inches I noticed I made a few mistakes. After taking it out and fixing them I stopped for the day since it seems my mind isn’t on it.

The Christmas Socks were set down for a while to knit a gray alpaca poncho. One day I was looking at my knitting and how much I had left to finish anything that I snapped. I needed to finish something so bad I started a new project. The planning stage was fun as always. I chose to knit from the top down a la Barbara Walker and seed stitch on large needles made the thin yarn knit up into a thick fabric with lots of drape. It showed off the hand spun alpaca and silk yarn to perfection.

All was going well and it looked like I would have a finished poncho by the end of the week when I ran out of yarn. It had always been my plan to bind off when the yarn was gone but the poncho is much too short and I don’t like large neck hole as much as I thought I would.

Ok so time to redesign. Instead of the indoor sophisticated poncho I had imagined. I will add a big fluffy boarder of angora and turn it into a fun and flirty outdoor cover-up. A hood will solve the too big next opening too. I put in an order for the angora fiber from my favorite breeder and started taking yarn from the bottom of the poncho for the hood. I’m now waiting for the angora and with the hood finished I can go no farther until it gets here. So yet again I have another unfinished project waiting on the needles. The good thing is I picked up the Christmas socks again at work Saturday.

What am I spinning now? On the Polonaise I have more teal wool and silk for the scarf that will be next on the loom. On the Lendrum I’m spinning Lyocell, cotton, flax blend. It was supposed to become part of the handspun pants. However, the yarn is weak. After some comments on the spin list I decided that it could be from the Lycocell a type of tencel. However, not all is lost. I have some commercial cotton linen yarn to use as warp and this can be weft for a simple shirt. I do need to learn more about sewing before tackling pants and this might be the project to do it on. I’m thinking the Egyptian shirt by Folkwear or if not that the Riverboat shirt by the same.
More on spinning- I ordered a WooLee Winder! Too exciting! I will tell more about that when I get it.