Spinning to start the day

Purple Fleece’s Amaranth, on finn.

This will be a 2 ply 1:4 fractal, and I am nearly done with this bobbin, the 4 piece of that ratio.

I expect to wind up with a lovely variegated, barber pole yarn that will knit up into amazing stripes.

Common Ground Fair ~or~ No More Drought in Unity Maine

We went to the fair as planned.

It rained.

Not the tenth- to a quarter-inch that was predicted.  At least an inch.  Maybe more.

We waited for the train in the rain (I highly recommend the train – it saves so much traffic and parking aggravation, and loads of walking.) Mom was generally happier than she looks in this photo – she hates having photos taken, especially with phones and for no reason.  🙂

image

We watched the sheep dog demo in the misty drizzle.  (Love to watch border collies move animals with their eyes.)

sheep-dog-demo

We visited the fiber tents and Wednesday Spinner Tent in a steady rain.

image

We ate lunch in torrential rains.

We took refuge in the folk art tent and watched some fun contra dancing.  While I knit (duh) and Mom and niece B shivered from the cold and wet, we all watched niece E dance with abandon.  Sister C and her husband R were visiting the fair for the first time, and they spent most of the day tracking after E as she went on horse-drawn wagon rides, made a beaded bracelet, hand ground buckwheat into flour, explored all the animal barns, and generally had a blast, heedless of the rain.

I didn’t do as much shopping as I normally would, I am not sure I found all the fiber vendors, as we got so cold and wet that we decided to head out before the contra dancing was quite finished (2:30 or so).

But I did get a bit of fiber!  I wanted to learn more about different kinds of spinning, and so I chatted with a few farmers before making my selections.  If it hadn’t been raining, I would have gotten more from some of them, but I didn’t want to carry huge amount of wet fiber around.

I got this – an ounce of Finn from a woman who raises what look like the happiest of sheep. I plan to do a little dying with this and see how dying on a dark base impacts the color.

finn

And this – Angora/wool mix.  I chatted with the woman in this booth about my spinning skills, and asked her how hard Angora is to spin – it’s hard, apparently, and she recommended a blend with wool, so this is angora and merino.  SO SOFT!

ackers-acres

This I found in the Bartlett tent.  Bartlett has a million colors of yarn, all of which I want.

image

But then in a bin, I discovered these little batts of unidentified wool (Debbie at the Purple Fleece said it feels like Romney, which is why I need to keep learning.  Her fingers can tell her this?  I need a label written in English.)

bartlett

And that is it.  Everything I bought at the fair. I spent perhaps 50 dollars, including ticket and lunch.  Very unlike me. I blame the rain. The absolutely only good thing about the rain is that it keeps the crowds way down, it was wonderfully uncrowded.  Oh, and I guess it is good that we got the rain, since we are still exceedingly dry around here.

I made up for the lack of yarn spending  on Saturday, when I went to Whorls and Purls at the Purple Fleece.  My roving of the month was waiting for me – inspired by a mushroom!  It just feels like autumn to me.  Here are the front and back, looking a bit different from each other.  I love the little touches of purple.

She also had a whole new batch of gradients that I had not seen before,  I got a two skeins of one of them.  I am not completely sure what I will do with these, but I am thinking maybe a shawl, because I need another one, ROTFL!  But with over 800 yards, I have a lot of options.

aquamarine.jpg

So while it wasn’t what I expected to be showing you, I did manage to get a wide array of fiber-y goodness this weekend.

Not sure if I will go to the fair in the rain again…if it rains on Friday next year, I might give it a miss.   I love the fair, but not the cold September rain.

 

Sunday morning

Perfect Sunday morning.  🙂

It started with some porch spinning.  This is the fiber I dyed last week – it’s coming out more aqua than blue, which is a surprise, but not a bad one.  I am still learning how colors change as they are drafted, spun, plied, and knit. It’s all fun.

sunday-morning-for-web

Here’s Reyna, all finished and blocked.  I took her over to the shop yesterday, with mixed feelings.  If it doesn’t sell, I might keep it. 🙂

 

 

pine-star-reyna-for-web

This is the yarn I finished yesterday (it was a day of finishing things, I guess!)

It is 4 ounces of coopworth in the salpiglossis colorway from Purple Fleece.  It is a thick yarn, between an aran weight and bulky weight, I would guess.  Someday it will be a bright, warm hat.

salpiglossis-finished

Yesterday afternoon I also went to the Whorls and Purls gathering at the Purple Fleece, which was fun.  Lots of amazing things happening on needles and wheels over there.  I did 9of course) make a small purchase – because there simply isn’t enough blue, green and purple in my world.  And I got a bobbin, so now I can either work on more than one spin at a time OR do a traditional three play… Or even finish up a two ply without having to stop and skein the yarn to empty the bobbin.  Such a simple tool that will open up many possibilities for me.

image

Which reminds me, I don’t think I shared with you what happened Friday.

Don’t worry, it isn’t bad.  It’s about the mail.

The fiber I ordered from Three Waters Farm arrived, not even a week after I ordered it!

 

 

So instead of being almost out of fiber (which really was true!) I now have 4 beautiful braids tucked away, and still have three months of the Roving of the Month club at Purple Fleece coming my way.  And I still have about 6 ounces of undyed fiber to play with.

And some knitting to do.  Shawls are coming along, I cast on the 4th one, so there is plenty of variety for my fingers. 🙂

I’ll leave you with this phone picture I got in Bucksport yesterday – a gorgeous day!

image

Third and final spinning lesson

This week Debbie taught me to ply – two ply, actually – the singles on my bobbin.  That was an adventure, given that the first bobbin was DEFINITELY inconsistent in thickness, twist, everything.  And the resulting yarn was often too thick for the orifice of the wheel, so together we hand wound a lot of it onto the bobbin.

We got two skeins (small bobbins fill up fast with bulky yarn!), one 36 yards, one 22 yards.  I still had quite a bit of nice thin yardage on a single bobbin, more on that later.

skeins-freshly-plied

She taught me to wind onto a niddy noddy and calculate my yardage, and then she told me how to set my twist and finish the skeins at home (which I did as soon as I got home).

soup-comes-in-handy

Then she took my photo with my two skeins and declared I had graduated!  Here they are – all finished.

finished-product

The lesson ended with me spending the very last of my birthday money (in fact, I owe her 42 cents) on two braids of her hand dyed fibers.

This is You Red My Mind, 4 ounces of Corriedale.

you-red-my-mind

And this is Sea Breeze, 4 ounces of Merino Cashmere.  She said if I do it second, I will be fine.  Yikes! (Color is a bit washed out, it is a pretty saturated braid.)

seabreeze

Check out her offerings of yarn and fiber at www.purplefleece.com, if you are interested.  I was thrilled to finally find some real red!  Of course, now I have to spin it myself, before I can make anything with it, and likely it won’t be socks. I’ll keep searching for that yarn.  🙂 And I have already been reading blogs for how to prep braids for spinning – so many options!

Remember I mentioned that I had a lot of thin yarn on the second bobbin?  I also had about 4 rolags left, so tonight I added them to the yarn on the bobbin, went online and watched a video on how to chain ply.  I decided I could do it, and since there was only one bobbin I could keep track of it without a Lazy Kate.  So, having done that, I can now say that I don’t recommend it, especially with lumpy fuzzy yarn.  But I got through it, and filled a bobbin with real yarn!

Hmmm.  No niddy noddy.  But I do have a yarn swift, and surely that will work.

Yes, it did, and in a pinch, I could do that again, but it doesn’t wind as neatly and evenly as a niddy noddy does.

My third skein is washed and drying (tomato soup this time) and I think it is about 35 yards.  It is much more even yarn than the other two skeins, I’ll show it to you once it is dry.

I have no idea what I will do with all these short lumpy skeins, maybe frame them?

I definitely feel like a novice but I feel like a novice who can do this if I keep practicing.  I also determined that until I get more fiber money, I am going to have to make a Lazy Kate of some sort, and a niddy noddy. But after looking at some she had in her shop, I think I can create some that will work.  Because I would rather save my money for a pair of hand cards.  I think.  But maybe not, maybe some blue and green and purple fiber?

Spinning lesson

Keep the wheel going.  Don’t worry too much about how fast just yet.

Pinch

Draft

Slide

Feed

Draft

Slide

Feed

 

oops, keep the wheel going.

Draft

Slide

Feed

If your hands stop, your feet have to as well.

Draft

Slide

Feed

Don’t let the wheel tell you what to do.

Draft

Slide

Feed

Keep your hands moving

Draft

Slide

Feed

I think I will really like this spinning thing, although right now it is far from a relaxing process.

Draft

Slide

Feed

I have to practice for half an hour each day, and go back next week, when she will show me how to hand card.

Draft

Slide

Feed

By week three I will be plying, and will know how to wash fleece and will be a fabulous spinner.

Draft

Slide

Feed

She said I did very well for the first time.

Draft

Slide

Feed

It looks like a twisty lumpy mess. (I don’t have to worry about not getting enough spin in my yarn.)

Draft

Slide

Feed

Did you know there are right handed and left handed wheels?  I didn’t.  The one I am using is right handed.

Draft

Slide

Feed

I am left-handed.

Draft

Slide

Feed

I think I can get it anyway.

Draft

Slide

Feed

I want to go home now and practice.

Draft

Slide

Feed

Debbie at the Purple Fleece in Stockton Springs Maine has the patience of a saint.

Draft

Slide

Feed

The lesson was almost two hours long.

Draft

Slide

Feed

For most of an hour of that she patiently said

Draft

Slide

Feed

 

 

 

Lucky for you, it is cold and rainy today!

Why does that make you lucky?  Well, because it means I am inside, and have a few moments to write to you. 🙂

I sat down a week or so ago to write and never finished that post, which means it has been a few weeks since I posted.  Yikes!  This is what working for a living gets me.

It has been a busy few weeks around here – lots of comings and goings, and work and cleaning. And knitting – lots of that!

Last week, my aunt and uncle came to stay for a few days, while they worked in my cousin’s pizza booth, down in Castine, for the l’Hermione festivities.  Apparently it was HUGELY successful, he sold every scrap of food he had available, and had my aunt driving around the peninsula scavenging spinach, tomatoes, etc.  My aunt really enjoyed seeing the bits of the fun she could around the long lines of hungry people, I think my uncle enjoyed helping and talking to people, although they both came home absolutely exhausted each night.

A and I never got down there to see the boat, but the news coverage was good, so we got to see the videos. A lot easier than dealing with the crowds!

Thursday night I went into Ellsworth after work to meet Crimson Crow and see the St Andrews Maine Pipe and Drum Corps perform at the library.  It is a small group of enthusiastic pipers and drummers, and we enjoyed the show.  And of course, the ice cream afterwards!

This weekend was supposed to be all about storing three tons of pellets in the basement, digging out the last small section of pool area, and maybe even getting the area ready to set the pool up.  But two things happened to change that – the pellets were not delivered as scheduled on Friday, and it is raining, so no digging.

Instead, we had a damp cookout with sister-in-law L, and did the usual Saturday chores, (which used to be Friday chores!) like the PO and the dump.  A and I did the grocery shopping last night, so all that is left to do this weekend is the laundry, which A has made a good start at.  I get to get caught p on blogging and Ravelry and knitting.  I will try not to think about the very small area left to dig out that can’t get done until it dries out.  Sigh.

But the knitting/yarn is exciting.  Check it out!

This is the yarn I got when I went to the spinning lessons at the Purple Fleece. I plan to make a lace leaves shawl with it, but not for a few weeks.  Sorry the yarn itself is blurry, but doesn’t it match my few flowers beautifully?

blurry-yarn-2-for-web

blurry-yarn-1-for-web

Then, this is the yarn I got at Over the Rainbow last time I was there.  I might have mentioned the sweet deal I got on the Kid Seta Noir?  75% off.  Makes up for the much higher price on the teal yarn! I got 4 skeins of the Kid Seta, so will likely be making a few things with it.

teal-and-gold-for-web

I started my scarf with it – a variation of Morning Surf.  I am holding the two yarns together for all of the plain knit rows, and alternating them for the yarn over rows, and the subsequent dropping row, which I think shows off the colors well, and reduces the need to weave in ends – I can just carry the yarn up the side. This photo is from when I completed the first repeat – I have done several more since then.  It is such fine yarn that this will take a while, but it is interesting, so I think I won’t get bored with it as I usually do with scarves.

teal-and-gold-scarf-at-start-for-web

I finished the Monet Indian Feathers – here are some shots of it unblocked.  It is drying now, all pinned out, so I hope to have a finished photo of it for you next time. Here, though, you can see the beads (I wound up using one extra pair of beads on each feather), the texture I created with random purl stitches, and the whole shawl laid out.

monet-indian-feather-beads-for-web

textured-monet-indian-feathers-for-web

monet-indian-feathers-unblocked-for-web

The last thing on my list, but the one that gets all of my attention until finished is the store sample I am knitting for Over the Rainbow.  It is Jane Richmond’s Gemini, and I am knitting it in Knit One Crochet Two’s Batiste, which is a wool, linen, silk blend.  It is quite nice and soft, and TINY.  Thankfully, I am knitting it in a much smaller size than I would be making for myself.  I have often looked at Jane Richmond’s designs but never knit one before.  She lays everything out very plainly and clearly, which I like.  And the sweater design is very nice as well – it looks like a dropped stitch pattern, but isn’t – the lace is much more substantial than it appears, which is nice in a garment that will get a lot of wear.

otr-gemini-for-web

That’s it for knitting world around here – it seems like enough!

I’ll leave you with this shot of how I prune my shrubs, and who supervises said pruning.

pruning-for-web

This is my auto-pruner.  She doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything, she is quite close to the house.

pruning-supervisor-for-web

Allie keeps close track of the deer you can just see behind the shrub at the top of the photo.

This fellow was out sipping nectar while Allie and the deer did their thing.  It is through the screen, so a bit fuzzy, I am afraid.

butterfly-for-web

Have a good weekend!