Friday, August 18, 2006

Sample skein and a swatch

Call me corny but I just thought it would be so cute to make a baby cardigan that matches my husband's Irish Moss sweater by Alice Starmore. Whenever I saw pictures of whole families wearing the same hand knitted sweaters on the pages of pattern books, I cringed. But I think this is a little different. For starters, the baby garment will be a cardigan, not a closed sweater, and the colors will be completely different (my husband's is brown), never mind that no one looks at the parents when they see the cute plump baby.

Anyway, here's a close up of the sample skein I spun up 3-ply of that clown-wig color combo. See, it's not too bright at all. In fact, it's a very mossy green.

I made a little swatch using US size 4 needles to see how the cabled patterns would look like with this yarn. I like 3-ply yarn better than 2-ply for cable knitting because it really shows off the stitches, especially on patterns that rely heavily on twisted stitches.

I noticed the colors on the two pictures above look a little different from each other. The best match to the actual yarn I'm looking at next to my computer is a mix of those two.

The yarn is SO incredibly soft. I can't stop petting the swatch. I decided that I like this color combination, so now I just have to comb the rest of the dyed locks (some 300 grams) together in the same color ratios.

Hope yall have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Big update - Cormo fleeces!!!

Warning: this post is very dense on pictures.

My apologies for not posting anything here for over two weeks! Today I am going to make up for it in a big way.

A couple of weeks ago I received two beautiful Cormo fleeces from Sue Reuser at Cormo Sheep & Wool Farm in California. They arrived in this box, which looked pretty small for two fleeces weighing a total of ~8lbs.

notice the cute little white paw on the right

Anyway, after I opened the box, the mystery was solved. They were vacuumed packed! Very cool.

I bought these two fleeces because they have great length and crimp and because one of them is named Ho!

I am first going to show you Ho's fleece and then the other, which is a hogget fleece (the first shearing for that sheep).

So here are some pictures of Ho's entire fleece and close ups.

and I learned from Sue that scanned locks come out sharper and with more detail. So here're Ho's locks close up. I tried to take representative samples of the entire fleece. Look at the perty crimp!

the two locks on the right have been washed and the one at the bottom was flicked with a dog comb, notice how white it turned

In the time since I last posted here, I've really gotten into 3-ply yarn. Ho's wool is amazing to comb, so soft! And spinning it is wonderful too!

3-ply super soft Ho yarn

As an aside, last year, during the NY Sheep & Wool Festival, I got this book:

and finally last week, I decided to put it to good use. I happen to have a huge stash of dry porcini mushrooms and I used about 5 grams (that's a tiny amount for those of you who love Boletus edulis and think it's a sin to use it in the dye pot) of it to dye Ho yarn with Alum mordant. And here's how it came out:

It's a lovely nutty beige shade, kind of like the inside of a chestnut. The skinny skein on top is undyed Ho yarn.

Ok, now on to the hogget.

It has a very peculiar look to it at first glance. Sue told me she washes the lambs before putting jackets on them. But the fleece was overall very clean. There were more seed heads and grass bits than in Ho's fleece, but not too bad. Doesn't it look so comfy to sleep on?

And here are the scanned locks:

locks to the right have been washed and the bottom one was flicked with a dog comb

the neat thing about this hogget fleece is that after washing it, it felt so incredibly soft. It was already soft to begin with, but now it's like nothing. What I mean by that is that when you pet the combed top, you really can't tell when your hand actually touches the wool! It's that soft!

and here's 3-ply of hogget yarn:

I thought this hogget wool would be perfect for baby/children's clothes. So I am saving it all for that purpose. I want to make a little green Aran cabled sweater with some of it. I really like the Jamieson's shetland yarns for their depth in color. There are these specks of contrasting colors amidst a more subdued color. The only problem with that yarn is that it is itchy! No good for baby clothes. So I decided to dye my own version.

Now I know these colors look scary, all bold and clashy, like a clown's puffy wig.

But once you comb them together you get a much subdued range of colors.

And for those of you who know how shy Spooky is, here's a picture of him literally resting his head on the combed top and sleeping.

That's it for now! I still have to spin that sample top and once I do, I'll post it here. I am really happy with the fleeces I got at Cormo Sheep & Wool Farm and you should go check out their website some time. Cormo is a beautiful and wonderful breed. It's my favorite breed!