Monday, September 29, 2008

Black Sheep: the movie

Movie Review

Last weekend I watched Black Sheep, a film from New Zealand. This horror/comedy is about a fellow that goes back to his family farm to find that his brother has genetically mutated sheep that eat people. I haven't watched a horror movie in about 20 years and have little appreciation for the gore. However, the comedy part won me over. The animal right activists that show up have all the best comedic lines. The heroine's alternative medicine/healing approach to everything is so funny. She asks her companion if he wants some "Rescue Remedy" after being attacked by a sheep. When the heroine finds her boyfriend has turned into a giant sheep-human-monster with blood dripping out of his mouth, she gasps and asks, "Grant, have you been eating meat?" This is a totally weird film and you have any interests in horror movies as a genre, I'd say watch it.

My Husband's "Movie Review"

"It's like knitting an seems like a good idea when you start, but you loose interest and don't want to finish it." Note: My husband fell asleep during the movie and he has never knitted an afghan. He was just trying to be funny. And he was, I suppose.


Making progress on the laptop bag. I had to block this piece on a card board box. I'm excited to sew it all together and get the lining in.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What I'm knitting now.

When you spin you have a lot of time to think about what you want to make with the yarn. Even if you had a plan for it when you started, by the end you may have been enlightened to a new and improved use. As I was spinning the orange Cotswold I was day-dreaming about taking a road trip. I thought it would be cool to visits some farms and buy some fleece from people along the way. I would take my camera and laptop to record the journey. Having photos of the actual animals that produced the fiber would be so great.

Then I started worrying about my laptop getting dirty and cold and jostled around on this imaginary trip. Ah-ha! I would knit my laptop a bag to protect it. The fiber I was spinning was of no use for an actual garment that would adorn an actual person. It is soooo scratchy. But it's tough. It would be great to use for the bag.

I searched the Internet for a knitted laptop bag and didn't find anything that I liked. Most laptop bags made of yarn are felted it seemed. So I decided to make up my own pattern. And that's what I'm knitting now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Over-dyeing the Cotswold worked well. I added more madder root to the dye bath and it really darkened up the skeins. I used low heat for about 2 hours then kept the yarn in over night. By morning I had the color I wanted in the first place: a nice autumn orange. Technically it's not autumn yet but now I can start knitting my next project as the weather cools down.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mother Hildegard's Cotswolds

Oh ya, here she is! I got the Summer 2008 issue of Wild Fibers and they had an article about the nuns living at Our Lady of the Rock on Shaw Island. I borrowed this photo, taken by Linda Cortright. So the project I'm working on right now started as fleece from this nun's sheep!

This week-end I flick carded and spun up all the not-quite-pumpkin colored Cotswold. I think I'm suppose to use combs on these long locks, but I don't own any. The flick-carding went well. Now I have a sample in a dye bath to see if it's worth it to try to over-dye the skeins.

For those of you who are not familiar with fiber animals, the critter that Mother Hildegard is holding a finger up to is NOT a Cotswold sheep.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I guess you can take it with you.

This is a post for my friend Kelsey. The mummy you see here is from Peru and her name is Tejida. She was a weaver and when she died she was buried clutching her skeins of yarn. Apparently some grave robbers took her legs but even in her condition (dead) she still has her stash. Now you're going to tell me you have TOO MUCH yarn? Oh no. No such thing. You really should take up spinning. I know you would love it.

This photo was borrowed from the magazine Wild Fibers Issue: Fall 2007. The article is A Life Unraveled After Five Hundred Years. Story and photos by CJ Schexnayder.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nature is Unpredictable

What color should we call this? Post a comment to vote: a)pumpkin-peach hybrid, b) cantaloupe pie, c) creamsicle vomit, or d) just make up your own. Be honest now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


After I scoured the Cotswold I put it in a tin mordant bath. That was two days ago. This whole thing is going really slow. I use my kitchen for dyeing. (I know, I know...but I have no other water and sink source.) So this little project has been smellin' up the place for a while. I wanted to do a pumpkin, fall inspired color. I had some madder around for dye stuff and I have never tried it. I used a tin mordant so I'll be more likely to get orange. I soaked the madder root over night. Then I added the fleece to the dye bath. I'm not happy with how light it turned out. Of course I know why----not enough dye stuff. I'm going to give it a little longer on some low heat and see if it darkens up. I'll probably end up over-dyeing it because I don't like pastel color at all.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Washing Fleece

The new Spin-off magazine (Fall 2008) came to my mailbox today. What a great issue! Judith MacKenzie McCuin's article On Washing Fleece had some new information for me. Something you may have not known about me: my favorite part of spinning is the prep work. I love picking, washing, and carding the fleece. When you think about it, the education material about washing wool is weak. It's not like spinners get classes about washing wool when they attend conferences or workshops. And you don't see too many articles about this topic. I've just pieced together my knowledge about washing fiber, as most spinner's do, and I'm sure there's better ways of doing things than how I do them.
The article gave me a much better understanding of SUINT. This is the water soluble detergent- like substance that comes from something like a sweat gland. I have to say I stopped taking the step to remove the suint before I scourer the fleece. Now that Ms. MacKenzie McCuin spelled it out--how and why--I will go back to doing a cold soak before the hot washing process.

Motivated to try out a long cold soak again, I went to my "unwashed fiber" stash. I found some Cotswold that I got almost 2 years ago when I lived in Seattle. The Cotswold came from Our Lady of the Rock Monastery on Shaw Island in the San Juan's. The Nuns that live there are mostly self-sufficient and have a variety of fiber producing animals. Mother Hildegard George left her calling card in the bag of fleece so I assume she was the one that sheared it. From the reciept in the bag it looks like I paid $45.00 for 8 1/2 lbs of fiber. I used most of it when I first got it. I didn't like carding it very much so maybe I'll try a new way this time.

I put a few big hand fulls into the sink tonight...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sewing Woven Wool part 2

Yesterday I finished the vest. I ended up using really plain black buttons and doing the button holes on the sewing maching. I think I'll actually wear this piece. We'll see...

Monday, September 1, 2008

It Snowed Last Night

Yes, it's true. It snowed up on Mount Helena and you can see the snow line on the higher elevation. I haven't picked up this project since the last snow...I think it was April. There was snow in Helena on June 10th but we were in Mexico so we missed it. Anyway, this project was/is mittens. I made up the pattern and the first one fits my hand perfectly. Now I have to count stitches and make the next one just like the first. Of course I didn't write anything down. I started this so long ago I don't remember what the wool was or how I dyed it. Whatever.