Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday Spinning

The stage is set. A big pile of freshly carded batts and Netflix. It's going to be a good Sunday.

While organizing my storage, I came across 2 unwashed and UNLABELED whole fleeces. I washed, dried, picked, and carded this white one. I have no idea what type of fleece either are. Usually I leave the receipt in the bag so I know where and when I purchased it plus what type, of course. I failed with this one so I'll never know. Don't make my mistake. Label all your wool!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Mini Movie Review - Harvesting Liberty

A veteran growing hemp and processing it with old-timey methods. A woman spinning, dying, then weaving an American flag. Taking it all to Washington DC. Five stars!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

This is the one and only post for 2016. It was a great year but I didn't blog about it.  My fleece hobby was completely over-shadowed by my new love of rock climbing. I did knit a little during the year but most of my time was spent climbing fake-rock walls in a gym and vertical rock outside. It's funny how I spent my 30's spinning and knitting and then I took up rock climbing at age 47. Ha! I think I got this all backwards.

Happy New Year! Wishing Fleece Love and Happiness to all!

Monday, December 28, 2015

The future's so bright...

The year is ending and I wanted to make a blog post before it did. Although I did a lot of knitting this year, I didn't blog about much of it. There were the little knitting and spinning projects that I took on my hikes that were documented in a few photos. I made two Icelandic sweaters, one for my student midwife.  I gobbled up 7 pounds of hand spun to make a blanket.  I made a few hats and pairs of mittens that were never photographed or mentioned after they were done.  There was very little spinning in 2015.

2015 was all about WORK. We bought our short-sale fixer-upper and moved in at the beginning of 2015. Everything functions at home now, but it still has a bit of a gutted-out look. No trim around windows, no baseboards, and no tile in the kitchen.  It's quite a project but we love our new home.

I also attended 64 births. This doesn't include all of the people I took care of who transferred to the hospital in early labor.  Regarding babies, it's the busiest year I've had in the last decade.

I don't do resolutions but I know some general things that I want to do in 2016. I just joined the Seattle Mountaineers and I plan to do some non-technical mountain climbing. I joined a gym called the Seattle Bouldering Project and I plan on getting a stronger body. As for knitting, I think my next thing will be stranded work. I hadn't really done much of that and I just learned how to pick and throw at the same time, alternating colors (see Latvian hat above).
2016, I'm ready for you!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Art of Randomness

Being strategically random is an art, not a science. Years ago I heard a radio show about randomness and I recently came across it again: My two current projects engage the concept of randomness.  I wanted to "eat up" a bunch of hand spun yarn (to make space for more of course) so I started knitting a blanket with blue tones. The other project is a woven piece using some random yarns.

In the Radiolab show they talk about an experiment in which there are two groups. One is going to flip a coin 100 times and write down whether they got heads or tails. The other group generates a random list of heads or tails. Then the scientist looks at the two list and immediately knows which list is real randomness. She knows because there are 7 tails in a row in the coin flip group.  The other group had chosen to not make such a long string of the same outcome thinking they were being random.  Apparently there will always be 7 of the same side of the coin in a row for any given 100 flips.

How does this relate to my project? If you were trying to make pleasant looking random stripes and you put 7 strands in a row it would stand out as odd.  So my randomness is not random.  As I'm knitting the blue tone blanket, if I haven't had a white strand in a while I'll add one in---but I'm definitely not counting and putting in the white at regular intervals.  Every now and then I step back from this blanket and ask myself "What color have I not used in a while?" or "Am I using too much of the same color?" I'm starting to run out of certain colors and that is limiting my options.  Will that mess with my perceived randomness?

It's been a long time since I have sat at the loom. This project was a reintroduction to some of the basics of weaving. For example, after I set the warp I couldn't remember how to start. I kept starting the weaving part, but it looked super sloppy. Then I finally remembered to use a header.  I broke a few wefts along the way and had to re-learn how to deal with that, too.

The design involved random wefts and a solid color for the weave.  I wove about 2 yards, took it off the loom, and cut the fringe. I'm not sure what I'll do with it; it's more of a practice piece.

If you are searching for something to listen to while doing your fiber crafts I highly recommend this episode of Radiolab. If you are a compulsive gambler it's a MUST HEAR!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Icelandic Sweater for a Student Midwife

She will wake in the middle of the night, pull herself from her own bed, and drive to you. She will greet you with a smile. She will rub your back and her hands will take away some of the pain. She will encourage you. She will make it safe for you. She will place your baby on your chest and cover you both with warm blankets. She will hug you when she says "good bye".

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Icelandic Sweaters

Before Weaving Works moved to their new location a while back they had a sale in which for $50 you could stuff as much yarn into a bag that would fit.  That is how I got all of this Alafosslopi.  The abundance of Icelandic wool allowed me to explore Icelandic patterns.  First I made a rather large Afmaeli sweater. Using the same pattern but making LOTS of modification I made this grey one. This time I took some of the lighter yarn and over-dyed it, getting these dark purple and forest green colors. 
When it comes to Icelandic patters, there's a lot of weaving in of the yarns to finish the project. I have discovered a little tool to make in go 100 times faster. It's a curved yarn needle---brilliant!  The sweater was suppose to be for me but alas, it's too small. I needed to find someone smaller than me, who appreciates wool, and is not afraid of wearing something that weighs 4 lbs. The perfect receiver: my current student midwife. She's always cold and she doesn't wear store-bought clothes. My only deal with her was that she'd have to let me photograph her wearing it. She agreed.  Now the sweater is blocked and drying. Soon we will take the photos. 

Since I still would like an Icelandic sweater for myself, I made some adjustments with my calculations and tried again. This time I'm going with a button up design. I'm still using the Afmaeli pattern and again I'm making a lot of modifications. Knitting the body is quite boring but I'm just to the part when I can attach the sleeves and start the pattern work. My favorite part! I'm not totally set on colors but the skeins below are what I have to work with.