The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home

Ring the Alarm…

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… another summer is dying!  Wyoy, yea!  [With apologies to Tenor Saw & dancehall fans everywhere].

I made haste this weekend true to my word.  It was all about prepping the wool.  A good armful of the raw stuff hit the compost bin… yucky I can deal with but mildew?  The last of the summer wool (out on my 3rd world drying racks):

L-R: bamboo shoerack, baby crib springs on pails, & dog crate

Hey, it may be an eyesore but it’s a functional eyesore.

When not washing the wool, I sat in the sun like a real hippie and flick carded the wool into submission.  I should note that I didn’t leap into the handwashing/ drying rack operation out of sheer enthusiasm.  Many people just use top-load washing machines & driers.  I actually had no choice thanks to our front-load beauties.  Not entirely a bad thing.  I had the time, and:

  • Like working with my hands (obviously) & with step-by-step systems;
  • The weather co-operated for once;
  • The 1st – 2nd wash is/are pretty groady – the sheep eats, prays & yes, loves in his fleece for real; and
  • Better to pick out all the hay, seeds, and other stuff gradually as the wool dries.

The last point dawned on me as I sat & carded the wool that Joyja had washed in her machine.  It’s v. soft but there’s so much of the hay, etc. worked in deep.  In my set-up, I can tease the seed pods out without bursting them.  Well, the wash/ dry cycle sets the little pesky seeds free & all the brushing in the world won’t make them budge!  Easy does it with raw fleece, IMHO.

Naturally, I was preoccupied & wasn’t cooking.  DH isn’t one to miss meals… His famous Veggiegetti:

Saturday Lunch

Pretend that it also has mushrooms & onion… He was in a bit of a rush to get back to the gaming.  Food was delicious though!

I realize the wool prep really looks like a ridiculous mess.  It kind-of is.  The end product is worth it.  Maggie Casey’s book really helped me here:  wind the single yarn over balls (tennis & spare sock yarn, respectively):

Singles - getting thinner as I learn

Singles - getting thinner as I learn

It’s all there – from the wonky first efforts to my current thin & (almost) consistent singles.  I wound them together & got this rustic badge of pride!

The new thought is that maybe some of this wool wants to tame the silk sari yarn:  it needs some balancing & softness.  Just an idea…  It’s great to have the spinning facet to my knitting now!

The next project is going back to Sierra’s gifts.  I am working out a design idea.  I have yarn & am at the proverbial drawing board.  The up-take on the Per Contra Handtowel has been very encouraging.  Over 11 Ravelers have favourited the design & some have queued it!  I can’t wait to see some FOs!

This is a special baby.  Just in case an original design doesn’t work out so well, I need the time to knit up a book pattern for her.  Wish me luck!

Author: iriegemini

Lara lives in the Greater Toronto Area with N, their young son, T, and Melly cat. Starting with knitting as a newcomer from Kingston, Jamaica, Lara learned to spin, prepare fibre, dye & weave. A spindle is usually close to hand.

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