Thursday, November 25, 2004

Fiber Festivals and Flings

This last weekend I was able to attend a fiber festival. Going to one of these is a joy. Even smalls one have much to offer. I came home with a French Angora buck that Himself named MoJo. Hopefully the name will be good luck and he will have a better time with the ladies than Deano. Deano has had several nights out and once again the due date passed with no babies. I think he missed sex ed at school.

Lets see I also came home with a drop spindle. I think it is the nicest one I own. Driftwood Spindles made by Gary Rebman. The wood is Black Locust and Jatoba. Not the prettiest available (I really liked the dark look of the black walnut and the zebra wood) but I thought it spun the best and is pretty enough. I believe I will spin up some wool/mohair/nylon blend I have dyed to be socks.

I also got an old metal ball winder. It has some problems but I think they can be fixed and the metal gears will last longer than the new plastic ones. They seem to strip after a few years of use. At the same table I got a seashell diz. The bright colored shells that look like peacocks. Much prettier then the horn diz I already own and it didn’t hurt that I was able to make a trade for it.

My last purchase was some old Spin Off magazines. I love reading them and all the ones I have are just worn out with use. It’s always exciting to get old ones and it is helping me fill out my collection. I doubt I will ever have a full set but I’m working on it. The same booth sold yarn. Makes sense since they are a yarn mill where you send you fiber in to be spun into yarn. So anyway there is this yarn, brown alpaca with little bits of green, purple, and orange through out. Wonderful yarn. I thought long and hard since my stash doesn’t contain the yarn for one Christmas present that must be made. However, it should be black yarn and this, as pretty as it was, wasn’t going to be right. So I was able to stay on my stash diet.

The two spinning wheels are busy. On one I have blue sock yarn. It will be a rather thick three ply. On the other wheel is the corn silk; you know the stuff that smells like corn syrup? After reading a few of the old Spin Offs I just bought I ran into two articles that really like spinning synthetic yarn for socks because of their wicking qualities. I may give this yarn a try. Or I will place it in the tote with my other thin yarns to be woven into clothes.

The loom is still empty and for the same reason as last time. I suspect it will stay empty until spring. But my needles are going strong. I’m serious about reducing my stash. Ok all the projects I am listing still need the ends worked in but they are off the needles. 2 hats. One is so ugly it’s cute, that’s according to Himself. It was just ugly until I added the pompoms and the bow. That really helped. I feel pretty sorry for it so I have worn it a few times on our evening walks. It has earflaps so it keeps my face warm. Good because last night’s walk was in frozen sleet. The weatherman called it snow but I know ice on my eyeballs when I feel it. Another hat is finished. This one is extra nice made out of very soft wool for a friend that doesn’t think she likes wool. I have also finished a pair of socks and well on my way to finishing another pair. Finally the child sweater is working its way down to the last cuff. A few more hats a few more pairs of scarves some boiled wool mittens and some fingerless gloves and Christmas will be done. Can I finish all of this in time? Who knows? Especially since the socks I have been working on are for me and the child’s sweater isn’t for anybody. It seems that they should be saved for after Christmas but I must listen to the project that cries the loudest. Also an abandoned project usually dies and all that can be done is reclaiming the yarn. It’s just too hard to pick up were it was left off. I really hope the four sweater bodies I set aside this year can be revived later this winter and finished.

I feel like I should list the yarn that each project is coming from. Like that super nice wool hat. That yarn was to be my first sweater. I had a perfect natural brown fleece. Perfect except all that hay. I bought some combs and combed it out really nice. I combed and combed and combed. I did this for hours. I had a huge basket full of bird nests of combed top. Perfect. Half an hour of spinning and 2 balls of yarn later the combed top was all used up. Hmmm well several more months of this and I would have a sweater. I put that yarn away. It seems that I don’t like combing all that much after all. 3 years later it is time to forget that sweater and the yarn is just the thing for a hat. I have enough that I think I can make a second one.

The socks where a pair I had worked on while ridding the train to Chicago to see Rembrandt exhibit last spring. Since I was on the train I couldn’t try them on for size. Booth needed the toes ripped out and reknitted to the right length before I could wear them. The socks in progress are from yarn that I got a gift exchange. They are a good brand of sock yarn but an unfortunate color. That’s how they ended up in the white elephant exchange in the fist place. I have tons of pretty sock yarn in my stash but felt that I should knit this one. The socks are turning out great but the color is still unfortunate. The main color is sweatshirt gray. That’s fine. However, it has dashes of hot pink. It looks like gym socks that had been washed with an ink pen that leaked or worse it reminds me of all the hunters that come in where I work wearing blood splattered sweat shirts. It seems they take off the camouflage jacket before moving the dear to the car. I guess blood on camouflage doesn’t look nice either. Finally that poor ugly cute hat. It was yarn that was sampling for a mixed fiber jacket. The jacket was to be the same wool plied with a different fiber for each strip. It was going to be stunning white on white all different textures and natural white color. However, that pattern is still in the publishing faze and by the time I can buy my very own autographed copy I will want to make new samples out of my new stash.

My stack of finished projects is mounting but my stash is hardly diminishing. However, my yarn stash diet is progressing nicely. I haven’t bought any yarn for months. Except for those 2 balls of my very favorite BFL wool made into yarn. I have never owned mill spun BFL wool yarn, and it was on a supper sale, and it fit easily into the spinning fiber I ordered. I just couldn’t resist, two balls that is only enough for one pair of socks so it will hardly take any room in the stash. I don’t remember putting myself on a spinning fiber diet so the 12 pounds of sock blend top, merino top, and coridale cross top I bought two weeks ago weren’t cheating. I was out of white fiber for dyeing. And after spending all day last Monday dyeing I worked my way through 8 of those 12 pounds so I am almost out again. Maybe I will need more fiber before the BFL yarn goes out of sock. It is such a nice yarn. I must get back to knitting. Maybe I’ll have time to dress the loom this weekend after all.

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