The Knit Knack's Blog

Better living through fibre


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A little bit warmer

Cold, drab February days inspired more all-over Staghorn cable knitting.  Now, a whole year of on & off knitting has paid off!

The design is the Beach House Pullover by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, Interweave Knits Summer 2010.  The size is 38¼” bust circumference, which gave me a 2″ +ve ease.

Not surprisingly, the Cascade 220 worsted yarn was a trouble-free choice.  So was this pattern – I was able to just follow it to the word.

Suitable for wearing with the stretch jeans

Thanks entirely to this lesson in cable knitting, saddle shoulders and a shawl collar, I am looking forward to the late-February snow forecast with some glee.

Believe it or not, this is a sweater-in-progress.  It started life as raw CVM wool from the Spinning Loft, and I love it.  It’s a *flick & card 2 rolags per spindle, spinning, and repeat from * end deal.

A good, relaxed tortoise’s pace. I shall keep you posted.

Why leave Martha idle when I could have some fun?  Last night I dug deep into the fibre stash & got this Miss Babs Polwarth dyed top out.  I have 8oz, and am tempted to spin a 4-ply yarn.

It is driving out some discontent.  As anything that looks this much like the Caribbean sky on a sunny day is bound to do for me.

Lace in its crumpled infancy.  Starting this Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole ate a chunk out of my Saturday.  The blue yarn is TechKnitter’s Belly Button technique for starting a centre-out piece.  Sanity saved!

Knitting my spindle-spun Bronzed Chai yarn is just so interesting!  I love how Sivia Harding has designed the beading, and this is my first counter-pane pattern.

Housekeeping 

Thank you to everyone who sent wishes for Toby.  His eye healed in a few days.  Apart from needing eye-drops x6 per day, he is much better now.

There’s no concern about any neurological damage.  It took him a bit to drop the act but his walking is back too.  All it took was the doorbell to be rung at night, and he flew up the basement stairs in a flash.

This spring is going to be for learning!  The 2013 Spring String Thing is Friday, April 26, 2013, through Sunday, April 29, 2013 in Lebanon, Ohio.  I’m very excited about my classes, staying at the Golden Lamb again, and getting a tour of the Stringtopia studio.

Right after that, I am also going to Sarah Swett’s Weekend with Wool presented by the Spinning Loft.  It’s Friday, May 17, 2013 to Sunday, May 19, 2013 in Brighton, Michigan.


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Been there, Spun that

… got the coffee cup

Have you been waiting for this year’s Stringtopia class line-up to drop?  It’s now called the Spring String Thing and is set for April 26 – 29, 2013.

I’m not sure whether a hat-trick will be possible for me but each of the announcements has my Full Attention!

It’s no secret that I have fallen in love with Peruvian pushka spindles.  This North American cousin is made in Dayton, Ohio and is sold by Abby & Shelly as the “Andina.”

Andina’s maple shaft is just slightly shorter than the Andean pushka.  I do love the angles of a pushka’s shaft but the Andina is very responsive.  The overall weight is a pleasure – even with a pretty cherry-wood whorl.

All told, this spindle is just right for spinning Lulu’s llama locks.  Says she who is too on a spindle diet!

Fruit of the Wheel

Remember last week’s Yarn Hollow spin?  It’s finished!

I came out with approximately 656 yds from 4.6 oz.  It is more of a light fingering than lace.  The colours really even each other out, and it’s far less bright than I expected when spinning the fibre.

Off the Combs

This Sunday, I watched Robin Russo’s Combing Fiber video.  And did a fair bit of wool combing at the same time.  As one does.

I have been itching to work with these Shetland locks that Mom brought back from her trip to the UK this past summer.  My earlier Knit Knack post with the story is here:

Right: washed Sheltand locks from Garthenor in Wales

Project discipline is grand.  However, as a rule hand-combed top trumps everything else in the queue.

So, I have already spun the work of my Forsyth Fine (4-pitch) combs on  this lovely Shetland.

Left: Bosworth mini (purpleheart); Right: Spanish Peacock (flame box elder)

The spindles are closely matched in weight terms: mini Bossie = 0.74 oz or 21 g; and Spanish Peacock = 0.78 oz or 22 g.

They also both hail from 2010, and were bought new.  It was a heady time – I had yet to touch a wheel.  Herein lies a lesson:  they were both under-utilized.  The Bossie instantly became a standard travel spindle.  It was easier that way.  For its part the Spanish Peacock was used but mostly not.  The why is simple – adjusting for the notchless round whorl & some wobble was hard.

I have learned that spindles will wait for you.  Just acquire merit, and remember that the fault may lie with you not them.  Never blame the spindle for your hair-brained plans either.

Spare a thought

Please spare a thought for our Toby.  He`s having trouble after a tumble down the staircase last month.  He lost a canine tooth straight after the fall – root and all.  We watched but no infection developed.

He`s now had related muscle loss in his face, and left side.  Blood & other tests are normal.  It looks like he just has trouble holding his head up, blinking the left eye, and with his balance on that side.  We are relieved it`s not worse but the poor little guy could truly use everyone`s good thoughts.


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Helping hands

Last night, while plying lace yarn on my Watson Martha wheel, I thought about how solitary a practice spinning sometimes is for me.

Of course, 4.6 oz of lace can do that for you.

This is Yarn Hollow hand-dyed 80% merino/ 20% silk that is spun on Martha’s small whorl in Scotch tension.  The plying is now at the green (last-spun) portion of the braid.

Singles spinning time was January 19 – 21.  Including, happy spin-in hours at the Fibre Garden in Jordan.

On Monday morning, I had the wrong sort of help.  Toby tore through my re-winding job.  In hot pursuit of the cat, Melvin.  Both singles snapped cleanly.

Two quiet Elves

Onion skins for dyeing

Isabelle floored me last week with a PM that basically said, “I have onion skins for you.”  Quietly collected over a year – such an act of kind thoughtfulness!

I will use them with my own years’ long collection to dye fibre.  You need ½ to full weight of skins to fibre for golds, rusts, or browns.  No rush, folks.  No rush at all!

This skein was made possible by Sandi‘s gift of a batt that she carded herself.  I would love to show off said batt because it was a thing of beauty.  Except someone had camnesia.

This already-spun bombyx silk single served as my second ply for the Sandi Skein.  The spindle is a 20 g Pau Amarillo speed demon made by Houndesign.

Left: Plied Sandi Batt spin

My 12 g Greensleeves Ethan Jakob was perfect for Sandi’s fibre.  What none of the pics shows is the glint of angelina that she included in the blending.

Of Long Leases 

My spinning friend, Margaret, has generously loaned me her charkha.

This book-sized driven spindle wheel is just the thing.  No space sacrifice, and I can continue exploring cotton.  That far spindle is Margaret’s work – I”m still all thumbs!

Jamaican annatto awaiting my yarn dyeing pleasure

Many thanks to those of you who lend a hand, get in touch, and quietly read along.  It does sometimes take late nights at the wheel but that’s not the whole story.

Also, you guys are awesome.