Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

When I processed the Coopworth, I roughly divided it in half---half went in the Cranberry dye bath and half went in the Charcoal dye bath. I could tell the Cranberry one had a little more fiber in it. After I spun the Cranberry, I had 1 lb. 3 oz. The Charcoal-colored fleece was blended with some black merino top and after I spun that up I weighed it. 1 lb. 3 oz! Like the Cranberry, it's not quite a sweater's worth. Maybe a short-sleeved sweater or a sweater vest. For now I'm just going to stash it until inspiration hits.

I can't see too far in to the New Year, but here's a list of thing I want to do in the next few weeks: spin some purchased roving (started today), learn to use my new wool combs, work with Shetland fleece (should arrive in 2 days), knit with natural colored fleece, make a purple purse out of the last of my Cotswold (in the dye bath right now!) and learn to dye roving or batts.

Once spring has arrived, I want to start a dyer's garden.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Something Red and lots of TV

I've been knitting and watching TV for several hours each night for the last few nights. I watched Talk To Me, Brokeback Mountain, Hairspray (the new one) and Man Vs. Wild---the Siberian episode. I loved that episode---didn't know that you can get frost bite in your lungs once it gets down to negative 40 F. Good to know since that's actually possible around here! Maybe tomorrow night I'll put the knitting down and actually go out for a New Year's cocktail.
I just spent the last 1/2 hour trying to put a youtube video up on my blog but I couldn't figure it out. Put down your knitting and watch DRUNK HISTORY!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's nice that I finally have time to sit down and update my blog. I try to take the photos with daylight, but daylight has been scarce these days. At night, when I finally have time to get on the computer, it's too late to photograph my projects. Today I got an early start.

There were many presents exchanged in my household and everyone is thrilled with their gifts. I want to show off my fiber-related presents...

My husband gave me these little stitch markers. They are cute little wool and clay sheep! He got them on etsy from Wee Ones.
OMG! My husband, the best husband in the whole wide world, gave me these wool combs!!!
Here are my current projects:
Now that I've done sweater from raw wool to the end, big projects don't seem that intimidating. So with the next spinning project I decided to do a "sweater's worth" of yarn. I blended the charcoal colored Coopworth with some black merino top. I put all the batts on the couch so you can see what I think a "sweater's worth" is. OK, so it might be a small sweater.

Speaking of small sweaters, I started knitting the Something Red sweater by Wendy Bernard from Knit and Tonic. I hope I have enough yarn. It's a short sleeve cardigan so my 8 hanks of cranberry colored Coopworth should do.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

G'day Sweater

Well, It's finally done. It fits pretty good. Some of the color pooled in a way that I don't like, but nothing I can do about that now. Onward to the next project...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cold in the USA

Just finished the seams. I'm really close to the end. This is seriously going to be the world's warmest sweater. It's like a coat. It weighs several pounds.

I'd like to go on and on about how cold it is, but it's cold everywhere! Nothing special about Montana coldness. My obsession for looking at the 5-day forecast online and checking my digital thermometer is borderline creepy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do you have to be so negative?

The Cranberry Colored Coopworth is done being spun. It was a joy to spin after the hideous amount of Romney-Cotswold.
It looks like we won't even hit 0 for a while.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Technically it's still Fall

I've been taking pictures of this sweater project from the very beginning. When I was carding the wool, there were pumpkins in the back ground because it was October. Now it's December and my blocked sweater pieces are sitting under the Christmas tree. Seasons are passing and the sweater is taking shape little by little. Technically it's still fall. So it's the holidays that are passing. Today is my husband's birthday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh Snap!

We are having a serious cold snap here in Central Montana. It's -13 F right now and our high today was -8 F. So yesterday I bought a bunch of groceries and today we stayed inside almost all day. I carded all of the Cranberry Coopworth and began to spin it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My New Wool Coat

Today was my 40th birthday and my husband gave me this wool coat. I love the color and the cut. He got it in Calgary when we were up there and I actually picked it out. I had to wait 6 weeks before I could wear it.

All the main pieces of the sweater are done. Tomorrow I will start the button band.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


A while back I purchased a Coopworth fleece from Maplewood North. If you are looking for some raw fleece you should check them out. I finally started the process of washing and dyeing.

I used a dye that is new to me called Country Classics. I did half the fleece in Cranberry and half in Charcoal. I'm thinking about making the Something Red sweater by Wendy Bernard with the Cranberry fleece.

It's kind of out of character for me to put the cat in my blog, but my daughter took this photo and I like the colors. The cat kind of looks like the Charcoal color.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

This is going fast.

Here's a photo from the pattern booklet to show you what I'm shooting for.

This is going really fast. The back and the two front pieces are done. I'm going to cast on the sleeves tonight.

Friday, December 5, 2008

the knitting has begun...

I'm pleased with the striping pattern. That was a big concern of mine. And the irregularity of the yarn isn't a problem as I knit it up. So it's going fine. I'm using a thicker yarn---4 st. per inch. The pattern calls for 5 st. per inch. I have to compute out a size that does not exist...XXS. Someone at the knitting get together explained how to reduce the number of stitches at the same ratio as the other sizes to get a smaller size than is written. It's working so far.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sooo happy!

The only place the swift clamp will fit is my counter by the door. LOOK-- we had a high yesterday of 27 degrees. Today is colder.

I'm so happy the yarn is done and I can start knitting!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wacky Blue Batt

The wacky cool colored batt (from the night I went a little crazy) was mostly fine wool and I over blended it. When I spun it up, the colors all blended together into this blue.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Final Tally: 16 Skeins

I finished spinning the last of the sweater fiber. There are 16 skeins of various lengths in the final tally. I won't really know if it's the right amount until I knit a sample swatch and do some math. I'm going to set the twist first and then I'll start knitting.
I also spun up one of the crazy batts I made last night. This is the one where I picked the colors with my eyes closed. Hummmm...... I can't say much about it except that it was much easier to spin an uneven lumpy yarn with an uneven lumpy batt. That part was fun.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I went a little crazy tonight.

The new Spin-Off came in the mail today. Inspired by the article on wacky blended batts, I got out the drum carder and my nasty scraps and went crazy.

I carded a batt with the warm colors, then I made a batt with cool colors. I have a hard time mixing colors so I closed my eyes and picked random scraps for a third batt. Then I grabbed everything that was pink and carded four giant candy pink batts. There was pink cotswold, pink alpaca, and pink mixed breed wool that I blended. I'll have fun spinning these scrappy batts. First I have to finish my last skein for the sweater yarn I've been working on...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Store-bought Yarn

No pattern. Just fat sticks and fat yarn and two hours later a hat has appeared. This was totally fun and now I know what my next spinning project will be. I'm going to learn to make thick yarn (again). I know there's a way to make fat singles that are slightly felted that work as a thick yarn. But that's for the future. Now I have to get busy spinning the rest of the yarn for my big sweater project.

By the way, if anyone is not familiar with the way of tweens, the expression on my daughter's face means she likes the hat.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bad Bad Influences

I finally started using Ravelry. My name is FleeceLoveHappy---Happiness has too many letters. Traci was taken of course. Ravelry is just too darn huge. I'm sure the more I'm on it the smaller it will seem.

But this is not the bad influence I'm referring to. My general exposure to KNITTERS on the internet and in person are the bad bad influences. Before I listened to pod casts or read blogs it never occurred to me that a person could not finish something that they started knitting. It was just my nature to finish whatever I was working on before I began a new project. My grandmother knitted this way. It's all I knew.

With carding and spinning I HAVE TO start new things before I finish old things. This is because of my commitment to not hurting myself with repetitive movements. I had surgery on my wrist 2 1/2 years ago after damaging a tendon by using hand cards improperly and for too long. With my current project I usually card one day, spin the next, then take a day off and knit. I know that I'm suppose to card it all at once for consistency, but that's not how I roll these days.

I love listening to the Lime and Violet pod casts, but those girls just LAUGH about their unfinished projects! It's just a funny fact of life that they have multiple knitting project going. Ha-ha. But now I'm thinking...I could have several things going so that I can knit according to the situation. Can't do lace while watching TV...but I could cast on a simple hat. And I've been thinking about joining a charity knitting group...there would be lots of talking I'm sure, so nothing complex...maybe mittens...and I'll only work on them during that knitting group.

My monogamy days are over. I'm knitting an Oriel Lace Scarf...only when the kids are at school because it takes concentration and I don't want to be interrupted.

Here's a real sad confession form me: I bought yarn today. I haven't purchased yarn in years---duh, I'm a spinner first and foremost! I bought some chunky (can't spin thick any more) wool blended with Acrylic because my daughter wants a hat that matches her coat. I'm not about to dye and card and spin yarn for a hat that she needs tomorrow---it is freezing after all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pickin' in the PJs

I started picking right when I got up this morning. All the batts were done being carded by dark. It really felt like work. I'm trying be zen about it and I usually like carding, but I'd rather be spinning. I have some serious fear that I won't actually have enough skeins to make the g'day sweater. Oh, and while I'm complaining, this yarn is looking very home(ly) spun. Lumpy and and a bit dirty. Maybe I should switch patterns anyway to something that's suppose to look un-refined.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Seven Skeins Down and Two Berets

This week I spun a few skeins, making my total seven.
I also made two One Day Berets out of some handspun I had around. Each took two days to make.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I've started the long process of spinning the wool for my "g'day" sweater. I'll be carding again today, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Because I voted by mail I have time to respond to Dyeabolical Yarns and Roving meme...

Key: Has done, wants to do, no comment

Afghan,I-cord,Garter stitch,Knitting with metal wire,Shawl( I, too,love knitting them, never wear them),Stockinette stitch,Socks: top-down,Socks: toe-up ,yarnKnitting with camel ,Mittens: Cuff-up,Mittens: Tip-down,Hat,Knitting with silk,Moebius band knitting (I don’t know what this is),Participating in a KAL,Sweater,Drop stitch patterns
,Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
(I keep looking for the perfect old sweater to start with),Slip stitch patterns,Knitting with banana fiber yarn,Domino knitting,Twisted stitch patterns
,Knitting with bamboo yarn
,Two end knitting,Charity knitting
,Knitting with soy yarn
,Cardigan,Toy/doll clothing,Knitting with circular needles
,Knitting with your own handspun yarn,Slippers(waiting for a good pattern because most are u-g-l-y),Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street),Continental knitting
,Designing knitted garments,Cable stitch patterns 
,Lace patterns
,Publishing a knitting book
,Teaching a child to knit 
,American/English knitting,Knitting to make money
,Button holes
,Knitting with alpaca,Fair Isle knitting
,Norwegian knitting
,Dyeing with plant colors,Knitting items for a wedding,Household items,Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
,Olympic knitting ,Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
,Knitting with DPNs ,Holiday related knitting (maybe if I ever see anything that’s actually cool),Bobbles ,Knitting for a living (maybe fiber arts for a living),Knitting with cotton
,Dying yarn,Knitting art
,Fulling/felting,Knitting with wool
,Textured knitting
,Kitchener ,Purses/bags,Knitting with beads
,Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
,Stuffed toys
,Baby items
,Knitting with cashmere,Darning
(I must do this before I die),Jewelry
Knitting with synthetic yarn
 (why would I ever do this---gag!),Writing a pattern
,Gloves(I must do this soon),Intarsia
Knitting with linen
,Knitting for preemies
,Knitting in public

I had to google the meaning of meme--I think I got it right.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Semi Self-Striping Sample Skein

My sister Jane decided to add me to her you tube channel Gritty Arts, and this is what we came up with.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Batts

These are my Halloween Batts.

It's scary how much fleece I have to card. It took me about 9 hours to pick about 80% of it. Then today I carded about 20% of it which took about 4 hours. It still had lots of VM in it even after skirting, washing, dyeing, and carding. I did just enough today so I had something to spin this weekend. I can't wait to see how it spins up and I hope my self striping idea works out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Next Big Thing

This is my next project: I'm going to make this sweater out of a Romney-Cotswold cross that I bought on Ebay. I took the whole fleece and washed it and then spent the last two days dyeing it. I'm happy with the colors that came out. I used Acid-dyes. Now I'm going to let it dry, card it, and attempt to spin a semi-self-striping yarn. This is a frick-load (new made-up word)of yarn and it will take a long long time to spin. I reserve the right to change projects mid-way if the yarn does not suit the pattern in the end. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lazy Kate, I think you are great!

Everything happened so fast. I ordered a Lazy Kate from Paradise Fibers on Monday. I used standard shipping (4-10 days). It arrived at my house on Wednesday. It looked a lot like Ikea furniture at first, but 10 minutes later I had it assembled. Why did I wait so long to get one in the first place? Plying is so much better now.