Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Latvian mitten

Today's post will be very short--need to do lots of reading tonight. But here's a picture of what I was working on last week. It's one mitten from Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis.

The yarn comes from the Merino x Corriedale: Rambouillet x Border Leicester (50:50) wool I posted on March 11.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

CVM fleece

I've been busy processing this really nice California Variegated Mutant (CVM) fleece.

CVM is a color pattern of Romeldale sheep, which in turn is a breed that originated from crossing Romneys and Rambouillet. The CVM coloration is quite rare and there are not many places that sell these romeldale fleeces. The fleece itself is quite soft and fine with tiny crimp. After I opened up the fleece, I neatly packed my four mesh laundry bags with the wool locks.

This process took probably over two hours to go through! But it was well worth it. And here's a snapshot of the washed locks. The fleece had basically three main colors: light grey, medium grey, and moorit-grey.

Most of my spare time this week was spent combing this batch of clean CVM wool. And this is what I have so far:

which is just over one pound! (Yes, that is a cat at the top of the photo, his name is Cayman and he likes to sleep ALL day) I really liked the variegation in the fleece, so I tried to carry that over to the combed top and the spun yarn. Below is a sample skein of the CVM wool. I really like the variegated pattern in it. This wool is going to be used for a sweater, so I am spinning worsted for worsted-weight yarn.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ene is done!

I finished Ene yesterday and blocked it last night. I couldn't find any pins, so I used the only thing I had plenty of around the house, paper clips. Yes, you read correctly, paper clips make fine substitutes for pins when there are none to be found. The only small annoyance is that they are blunt and harder to stick down into the towel I was using to block it.
Here are a couple of pictures that I took this morning before leaving for school of the scarf all stretched out. The beach towel is the biggest one I have and still I ran out of room.

I tried to take some pictures of the finished scarf this night, but the lighting right now is awful and I could not get any descent image... so maybe tomorrow I will post some photos of the freed scarf.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ene's scarf

I am working on the Ene's scarf by Nancy Bush (SCARF STYLE, Interweave Press) for my mother's birthday.
I am almost done with the last repeat of Chart 3. This scarf is nice in that it starts at its widest part and progressively narrows down to 18 stitches. So knitting each row is pretty quick now. Here's a snapshot of the scarf so far.

I need to finish it soon too, because her birthday is this weekend!

On another note, this is what I was spinning last night.

I am denying myself the pleasures of both combing wool and spinning top... even reading papers on mitochondrial genomes... in order to finish Ene...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Dyed fleece

I thought I'd post some pictures of wool that I dyed in the past few weeks. I have only used Wash Fast acid dyes so far, but I really like the vibrant colors they produce.
Below are two images taken from two separate dye jobs of a Rambouillet x Border Leicester fleece. The colors look similar, but the one on the left is a much darker blue (almost ultramarine) while the one on the right is more of a sky blue.

And here are some pictures of various combed tops from a 50:50 mix of Merino x Corriedale/Rambouillet x Border Leicester fleeces (except for the right-most frame, which is natural color Merino x Corriedale). I added the R x BL for extra shine and strength because these little balls are going to become little Latvian mittens for me!

And for completeness, here's a series of photographs of some sample skeins I spun up.

The two skeins at the bottom right derive their color from a mix between two colored fleeces, and below is a picture showing the mixing.

The darker skein was a 50:25:25 mix of orange : light blue : dark blue fleeces. I placed the solid color combed tops in the picture above only for reference. Unfortunately I did not photograph the mixed color combed tops before I spun them...
I think, for my mittens, I'm going to use the dark red and blue. I am currently working on a gold mix that looks just about the right color to go along with the other two. I will eventually post the beginnings of the mittens.
I the mean time, if you're in the North East coast, enjoy the mild weather: go outside!
Good night!

Friday, March 10, 2006

American Textile History Museum and some other random stuff

Here's another posting about a museum.
This one is pretty nifty. It's the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA and a real treat to visit. The first thing I noticed when I came in was of how clean and sharp it looks. There are motion activated lights everywhere and a lot, and I mean A LOT, of spinning wheels and looms! I won't try to describe what I saw, instead, I'm posting some pictures we took, which should give you a taste of the place and hopefully you too will visit this wonderful museum.

... and some other random stuff...

Jaywalker socks!
Yes, everyone has to make at least a few of these wonderfully comfortable socks.

The pair on the left I made for my Ma and the little bitty pair on the right is for me. I used US0 needles instead of US1 and handpainted merino yarn. I changed the pattern a little so that the socks would fit snuggly around my feet.
Oh, and here's a picture of a baby hat I made with the leftover yarn from my socks. I made it very thick and cozy.

... random skeins ...

These are made of various different wools I've collected and gathered here for some reason which I cannot remember now, but I liked the color progression. In case you're interested, from left to right they are: merino x corriedale, cormo x targhee (3), shetland/mohair, shetland/icelandic, merino, merino/silk, border leicester x rambouillet, merino x corriedale, and polypay. Wew! All skeins shown here, except for the shetland mixes, I processed from raw fleece. I dyed the shetland/icelandic with Wash Fast acid dyes and the shetland/mohair was dyed with tea by a nice lady, but all the rest are natural.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Some weeks ago my husband and I took a trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum. It was a really rainy day, so it was perfect for a museum trip. What I did not expect was to find these on display!

A whale bone basket and knitting needles.

And various really neat swifts.

There is also a rather large model ship on display and the mounted bones of a 48 ft sperm whale that washed ashore in Nantucket in 2002. Some nice paintings depicting the very dangerous profession of whaling really makes one admire and respect the fishermen who faced, daily, such a demanding and life-threatening job. I am however, relieved that whales are protected from such industry, though the petroleum, coal, and gas industries of today pose environmental and human hazards competitive to or even greater than whaling posed in 1800s.