The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home

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Woodstock Love

The 3rd Annual Woodstock Fleece Festival was this past Saturday in Woodstock, Ontario.  It was bigger, and a lot of fun!  Last year there were no raw fleeces but Willow Farm brought last week’s clip!

Josslyn Richardson helped me to pick Phoebe’s fleece out from the rest.  This was after she explained about the mark-up in the Royal Winter Fair’s fleece auction.  To wit, $19.00+/lb more than her Woodstock prices.  Sold!

The fleece weighs 3lb, 5 oz unwashed.  I love the light greys and the crimp.

Josslyn & Norm also sell their Romney and Icelandic in lovely roving.  I give their Icelandic tog & thel roving 2 thumbs up.  I have a 2-ply fingering yarn in production from last year’s Woodstock haul and love it.

The crowd seemed bigger to me this year, with more knitters curious about this thing called spinning.


Reed’s restored wheels were seriously crowd-pleasing.  This fuzzy pic is the best I could get for all the jostling – Reed’s the man on the right.  You can’t really see but he was having a blast.

What’s a fibre festival without animal exhibits and equipment for sale?


Back in the main show room, I was also busy shopping for the fibre needs (and wants).

L → R:  Pachuko organic cotton in ‘vicuña’; carbonized bamboo fibre; alpaca roving & hand-dyed bombyx silk top.

My LYS haunts would never carry these 2 finds so I sprung for them – Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock & Fleece Artist Saldanha Two – from Feather Your Nest.  The pattern is Barb’s Koigu Ruffle Scarf from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas.  I wanted to ditch the pattern but am glad I didn’t – 320 yards is perfect for using my hand-spun yarns.

Last but not least were these 3 books on clearance from The Yarn Source, and a lignum vitae Tabachek diz (not shown).

Again L → R:  New Twists on Twined Knitting by Laura Farson; Spinning Designer Yarns by Diane Varney (!); and How to be Owned by an Antique Spinning Wheel – A Practical Guide by Peter H. Fowler.

This is why friends let friends shop on their own at a fibre festival… Shelley surprised us all with buttons!

Mine was already joyously pinned on my Leaflet Cardi:

Yah, I shall show you Leaflet properly in another post.  Shelley braved strange looks in getting the buttons since she also got a few for herself…

And lastly, the obligatory closing animal pic!


Woodstock bound

Tomorrow is the Woodstock Fleece Festival!  I had a blast last year – sans camera – and have been counting down the days.  It’s the best local event for spinners, and in year 3 is growing from strength to strength.

I am rushing to make an appointment this evening but want to show Pippi off to you.  Her first blooming in 2 years!

She definitely approves of her re-potting this summer.  A second spike!

I promise you some pictures of Woodstock – the smaller camera’s battery is charged!  I may even be honest about the haul.

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The Waiting Room

Over the past month life slowed right down.  I had a health scare that slowly made itself known.  For almost 2 weeks I knitted, spun with spindles, and did as much as I could muster energy for.  I went into the ER at the right time.  After hours of waiting for test results, we slowly got the diagnosis.  What does a spinner do while waiting?  She spins.  I had my Jenkins Delight:

I fielded the usual questions:  “What are you doing?”  “Is that wool?”  A little boy with a stomach ache was the most interested but nurses also asked.

The diagnosis itself wasn’t easy – a technician left me to the doctors with a hug.  It was happy to finally get some answers but there will be more to come in the days ahead.  Once decisions were made for an operation there was no time for fright or even speaking with family.  I was prepped, and sent in.  My recovery has gone well.  Luckily MIL came to visit exactly when we needed her moral support, and treats from home are always nice.

So, these are projects I had in this long waiting room.  Much more has happened since but I wanted to start here.

This is my bright version of Judy Alexander‘s Pinked Socks from Knits magazine, Winter 2010.  The yarns are – MC:  Sweet Georgia Tough Love in River; & – CC:  Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Red Rover.  It’s the 7¾” size, and I got gauge with 2.25 mm needles.  It’s my first stranded sock but is much easier than it looks.  The Zigzag pattern is just 5 stitches wide.

This first sock fits better than any I have knit in a long time.  The instep rocks!

I’ve never knit a garter tab on the heel flap, and now love this to distraction.

Not only is this sock pretty cool in its own right but it came with me to my first knitting night at Lettuce Knit in Toronto.  That was my last outing while unwell.  Which is to say that the Rest-up-and-Go plan had its flaws.  I was fortified with chai tea but you know, only days away from the ER visit…  It was the biggest knit night group I’ve ever been in, and lots of interesting people with interesting knitting.  I want to try it again when I’m not pushing a health crisis forward.

The 2nd sock is now at the foot.  I love this pattern so much that DH is promised a pair.  Yes, at size 10½ feet.

I do have another pair off the needles.  The pattern is Cookie A.’s Lindsay from her Sock Innovation book.  I didn’t check for these corrections but should have.  My yarn is Cherry Tree Hill’s Sockittome in ‘Indian Summer.’  As the 1st sock was back in August (after a slow start in mid-May):

The project bag is from Jessa Lu, and is perfect – I mean perfect – for small projects.  A better blogger would have shown you this beauty brand-new when she got it in February…

I was and am completely excited to have another bag stitched by Jess.  They just make me happy.  While I digress, let me introduce the new needles.

They are DyakCraft 5″ double points here in special-order hazelnut.  Every rave review of these DPNs is spot-on.  Tom & Linda gave good service by email, and I love the sharp points, and harder-than-bamboo material.  I also love that I could keep the contrast of a lighter stain against my yarn when knitting.

The needles are what helped me get these socks done.  One pattern row with a series of K4tog and I was very happy for the sharper points.  They were all done by September 3rd, and are now known as my Orange Crush Socks.

So named because Jack Layton passed away while I was knitting them.  I enjoyed knitting these because the pattern was easy to remember & I got to knit garter short-row heels and toes for the 1st time.  They aren’t my favourite socks though:

  • The garter-stitch cuffs are saggy.  I could add elastic since mine are 2″ long but am not inspired really.
  • At the recommended gauge they are too thick for my fall shoes.
  • The heels and toes are super-comfy but gap all the way out of my shoes.  Stuffing socks in is no fun.
  • I messed up sock No. 1’s toe grafting.  Not enough yarn or patience.  Since that happens under the foot it’s not good for lots of walking, really.

My verdict = inside socks.

Luckily, I finished the singles spinning for my big spindle project before the health scare.  Here they are all together before plying:

I’ve also changed my plying routine for this project.  While I was still recovering this new-t0-me Katherine’s Cup spindle by Greensleeves came.  It’s lighter than my Golding at 1.68 oz., and working well for the lace-weight so far.  The last sneak peek: