Thursday, April 12, 2012

Warning -- wordy...wordy

Please note the title - this will probably be wordy and up to 18 photos if I get really froggy and show everything I took photos of this week.  Believe me I did delete some fuzzy, duplicate or just yucky photos.

 To start: Loopy Ewe made an offer I could not refuse about 2-3 weeks ago - it was if you bought a skein of Dream in Color Marvelous (50/50 silk/wool) that has 1100 yds (1005 m), you would receive for the asking the pattern Vostok, a beautiful shawl. This shawl has been in my drool, um favorites in Ravelry since I first saw it and I'd been almost holding my breath until 5/1/2012, when it would be available for purchase.  So guess what I did...
Yep, I did... The colorway is Brilliant. The colors are a bit more sea greenish but I think the silk shine is messing up the colors for the camera.

The lacy part I'm on is the part from the shoulder down in the pattern photo.  I'm doing the second of five repeats.  This is fun except the "purl three together through the back loop inserting the needle from left to right".  That stitch does cause me to mutter words under my breath that would make my mother take a bar of soap to my mouth.  The other solution would be to get into the car and drive across town in any of the compass directions about 20-25 miles to a yarn store and buy size 5 lace turbo needles by Addi.  Nope, can't do that right now.  I'll mutter and "vent my spleen" as the saying goes.

So that's my primary knitting, but there are at least 3 pairs of socks on the sidelines waiting their turns.  I have a sock in a colorway that makes slices of watermelon as it is knit; a pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder in a Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in a greenish blue - photos later; and another in Unwind Yarn Company's Dazzle in a purple.  Again, photos later.  I thought I had posted them to Ravelry, but guess I didn't.  There are two sweaters, Evenstar (lace shawl), and some scarves sitting in the time-out box too - but some may be frogged (NOT Evenstar) and started again now that I have figured out what I'm trying to do with them - or learned a better way.

Spinning - fun time...  I've been playing with cotton and trying to re-learn how to spin the stuff.  I have to admit, 32 years ago, things were not as nice, fiber-wise, as they are now.  And I was not told you could not hold on to the cotton, that it just had to lay in your hand until it was spun or else!  I purchased the beginning to spin cotton kit from Cotton Clouds in Arizona along with 1 lb ginned cotton and 2 lbs of cotton on the seed.  I also downloaded my purchase from Interweave Press of Stephanie Gaustad teaching how to spin cotton.  Then I started... What I've trashed as being cotton-disintegrating-as-you-watch yarn, was never photographed.  Let's just say cotton needs lots of twist - and there is almost no way to over spin cotton.  Well, there probably is, but I haven't found it yet.  I do know how to under spin cotton quite well.  The Takli and I didn't get along well at first but we're learning how to play together most of the time.
Oh, I forgot to add, cotton needs to be spun quite fine and plied to get the thickness needed.  My hand, and I wear a medium in gloves.  The brown is a natural color and was sliver (sly-ver) included in the kit.  There is also a green, tan and 2 whites (I think - operating off faulty memory here).

Then I went to the wheel and tried to spin from the seed.  That's fun and fairly easy to do.  There is a YouTube video that shows how this is done and it's quite good - that's exactly what I did - watched her video and did what she did.

Then I really got brave and made my own punis.  Punis are fun, basically you card the cotton then roll the carded cotton around a dowel or chopstick.  It's rolled to be fairly tight.  Push up on one end of the stick and off pops the puni.  I did not like spinning punis.  Lumpy, bumpy, thick and thin.  It was probably my preparation, but either way, didn't like it.

Next was carding some of the ginned cotton.  Giving a bit of a history lesson here, Eli Whitney's cotton gin was just for ginning hairy seeded cotton.  Slick seeded cotton can be put on a slab with a roller just squishing out the seeds. Hairy seeded cotton has longer fibers and is what was grown in the colonies.  Eli's gin basically pulled the fibers off the seeds.  Sometimes the seeds break apart.  Often the fibers break, making them even shorter then normal.  Some vegetable matter from the bolls gets through this process too.  So ginned cotton may not be the cleanest product available.  I carded the rolags (fancy name for the cotton carded and rolled loosely into a sausage shape) and spun from them.  Much better!

Now I have singles (1 ply of yarn).  Lumpy, bumpy, but a bit more even.  Next I tried 3-ply, but I used the chain ply or Navajo ply method.  I'm not going to explain it, but if you want to see it, search YouTube for Navajo ply yarn.  So now I have this:
The whiter parts are those I spun from the seed.  The other part is from ginned cotton and looked a bit lighter when I first spun it.  Next step with this is to cable ply it with some silk hankies I've spun.  Not going to explain this either, but will post photos when it's done and when I've swatched some knit pieces with it.  I'm hoping it will work for a tee-shirt I want to knit to wear during hot weather.  Next will be plying the silk then cabling it with the cotton.  A quick rinse and thwack then let dry.  

Bobbins for the wheel are at a premium and I have a lot of stash to spin.  Next comes Koi Pond, a Polwarth (sheep) wool dyed by AllSpunUp on Etsy.  This will also be Navajo-plied to keep the colors together.  Depending on yardage, this will be a scarf or afghan...

You can see it is mostly blues with orange/white spots.  Those are the koi.  This should finish to be a nice squishy sport weight yarn when I'm done with it.

Well, that ends my fiber stuff but not my talking writing about it.  The next 2 photos are of a hat I asked someone to crochet for me.  It's not mine, but going to my 2nd granddaughter, she-who-loves-birds.  The lady who did this did an awesome job and is so very, very fast!  She did what would take me 3-5 times the amount of time.  Sorry for just calling her she, but I've not asked her if I can use her name.  Besides, I'm having one of those "senior moments" and can't remember it.
 In my opinion, this is terrific and I love it.  If she-who-loves-birds doesn't love it, well I'll take it back and wear it.  Actually one of her three brothers will probably go after it, it has 2 of the boys' favorite colors in it.

I have a job interview tomorrow - the second one I've been able to have in the year I've been unemployed.  Hopefully this one will result in a job.  That's all I'm going to say until after I hear if I'm hired or not.

The remaining photos are just that, remaining photos.  I have relatives who live where winter usually takes its job seriously and the whoosh of spring is still just thinking about doing that. So without much further ado, here are clemantis and roses from our yard.  Can't show the tomato plants yet - they will get set out over the weekend.

The white rose above has the most wonderful fragrance - it's a David Austin rose Duchess of Edinburgh, I think.  Winchester Cathedral is the other one I have and it's covered with buds - will get photos when it blooms.  It's fragrant too.  The red/white one is called Double Delight and it was on sale for $5.00 so DH bought it.  It's blooming heavily - more so than last year!  The clemantis are growing on netting around our garbage cans - to hide them a bit.  Some of these started blooming in March!  They bloomed 4 times last year so don't have any idea what they will do this year when they started 2 months earlier.  The lavender is outside my front door.  It started blooming in March as well.  I hope to harvest and dry some to store with my wools to try to prevent critter infestation (insect type).

So this is my wordy entry.  Love to hear/see comments from anyone who stumbles across this.