Tag Archives: bones

More progressions than halts…

I finished spinning the dirty Romney “Rhinebeck blues” roving (and I did in fact originally photograph it with the wrong Shetland sweater that matches it and will be frogged if I need to stretch out yardage).  I’m not sure what I’m going to make with this yet although I know it will be something more along the lines of outerwear since I doubt I’d want to wear this next to my skin.  This will be stored indefinitely at the moment while I work on some other projects this summer.  And silly me, I forgot to count the yardage before I skeined it for the photo…

rhinebeck-finished

During our woods weekend last month, I got out the old long-suffering UFO cotton blanket and came up with a plan of how to finish it.  I ripped out a green stripe/strip that was nearly finished just because I’d have to make another and I didn’t want to.  Instead it will have a couple of narrow white stripes and then a border of green…  I think.  I may take it with me to another upcoming woods trip to hopefully finish or at least complete the body.

cotton blanket

And I just finished a short-sleeved sweater that has yet to be mentioned in public because it was another very long-suffering UFO and I was considering tossing the whole thing in the frog pond.

chocolate top detail

chocolate top full

It is the the Chiton Pullover by Melissa Wehrle, and yes it was on the cover of the Winter/Spring 2011 issue of Knitscene.  It was the first time I got a magazine (hit newsstands in 2010) and got some yarn and started right away.  I don’t know why I didn’t get the recommended yarn (which is quite lovely) but I think I wanted a cotton blend, and I know I wanted dark brown, and what I got was very inexpensive.  But it ended up that I really didn’t like this yarn – Elann’s Luna – it is slick and splitty, had lots of knots and broken parts, and of course is without the elasticity and sheepiness of wool, so I found I didn’t feel like working on it very often.  I also fear the weight of the cotton will pull it downwards – the pattern is already long-torso friendly which I love, but things could get too long.  I originally wanted it to wear in my former overly air-conditioned office, which I no longer have.  And I also didn’t really consider the practicality of somewhat thick, but short-sleeved sweaters – indoors your torso is cozy but your arms goose-bumpy and then you go outside and your arms are comfy and torso is sweaty…  not to mention the added impracticality of having to wash the damn thing nearly every time it’s worn due to the odoriferous nuances of summer armpits.  But it’s done and I’ll keep it around for the time being.

And the latest spinning technique I’ve attempted is Navajo or chain plying.  And I suck at it.  But I found a good use for the redwood roving as my f*ck-it-up-all-I-want-because-I-don’t-care  practice fiber.  And I’m glad I used it because I would’ve destroyed some great new hand-painted roving instead, but now I need to make an old-fashioned three-ply out of it which I was hoping to avoid.

N-ply

Yarn only Roebling could love.

And I also discovered I’ve been spinning left-handed.  I’m ambidextrous in many things except writing and continental knitting (you’ve noticed I don’t do a lot of stranded color work, eh?).  But it was a little surprising that when I switched to right-handed, I sucked, so southpaw spinning is the way for me.

My other publicly proclaimed UFOs from months before?  The sweater quilt is packed away to discourage summer moths, I’m still picking at the shirt quilt, and the rug and a couple of others I’ve yet to mention…?  Well, let’s not go there just now… but at least there are fewer than before, right?  Do I get a cookie?

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Fiber travels in New Mexico, part II

I mentioned in my previous post that I visited Tierra Wools in tiny Los Ojos, New Mexico.  Rather than paraphrase, this is the beginning of the description of their wool Shangri-La on their website’s about page (go there and read more later):

“Tierra Wools is a spinning, hand dyeing, and hand weaving workshop and a retail store. We buy carry local wool, and weave the yarn into beautiful weavings which are sold from our workshop in Los Ojos, a small village in rural Rio Arriba County in northern New Mexico. The enterprise is operated by Los Ojos Handweavers, LLC, a limited liability company owned by the growers, spinners and hand weavers that produce its goods, as well as supporting investors.”

I visited them around a decade (or a little more) ago, and at the time, it was a full house of wooly weaving and dying frenzy.  Sadly, it seems to have slowed down a bit and the weavers now work on commission, though the shop still offers classes and workshops.  And on Saturday, April 27th, they are having their annual Spring Harvest Festival with sheep shearing demos and other treats.  I can only imagine if such a studio was plunked down in a heavy DIY urban area, they’d have to fight people off with loom parts.  But I suppose it also wouldn’t be the same – the location is what this wool is about.  Much of the wool comes from just a few miles away as well as the dyes.  The colors in the yarn are reflected in the landscape and the products share the same rugged beauty with the surroundings.  Not to mention it offers a source of income in a place where there are few people but I imagine, fewer jobs.

While there, I stocked up on some of the gorgeous Shepherd’s Lamb organic wool products.  The wool comes from Antonio & Molly Manzanares from nearby Tierra Amarilla, who also sell their wooly beasts in meat and pelt form.  The color range of their yarns and rovings is stunning and some of the yarn lines are dyed with natural dye plants indigenous to the area.

I had selected a few skeins of sturdy Navajo Churro rug wool, but decided to buy two bags of brown and grey-brown roving instead.  The stuff apparently felts/fulls like a dream as well, so it might be the first time I end up fulling my spinning – until now, I feel like handspun is somewhat spoiled by fulling unless you’re making fulled singles, but this has the feeling of becoming something truly practical and hard-wearing, like dense nearly impenetrable mittens, or a hat with some sort of brim, or maybe an outerwear vest if I can eek out enough, but my history with vests is a little troubled…

Churro roving  Churro roving-detail

On the softer side, I picked out some organic Rambouillet yarn in DK weight.  I got two skeins of yellow which was dyed with Indigo over Chamisa, and one skein of green dyed with Osage Orange over Indigo.  I love that Osage Orange was used – it was one of my favorite trees growing up and always seemed so out-of-place exotic, nearly tropical, and the fruit is nicknamed “monkey balls.”   Who doesn’t love a monkey?  Balls!  But apparently though the fruit is inedible, it wards off pests so people put them in basements and cupboards.  But I digress, I really wanted more yarn and I was out-of-characterly very attracted to some tealy blues and lavenders, but I resisted.  I don’t as yet have a plan for this, though I’m leaning toward something shawlette-ish.

Shepherd's Lamb

New Mexico yarn

That wasn’t the most flattering shot of Northern New Mexico, though I do love ruins and murky colors, so I’ll leave you with a few more.

Northern New Mexico

I love this road – it’s the perfect antidote to the crowded East (except you have to be careful of the occasional elk).  This is also fairly close* to Tierra Wools.  The landscape of the north is more conducive to grazing sheep and other livestock.

New Mexico boney pile

A pile of bones, but not a boney pile.

New Mexico litter

Litter is bad, but vintage litter is cool.

Plaza Blanco

Another good day of hiking amongst amazing rocks.

New Mexico rock tree

Is it a giant rock, or tiny tree?

New Mexico rest stop

And I love these rest stops with private landscape viewing boxes – you can picnic free of wind and sun while watching dust devils snake below the mesa – just watch out for rattlesnakes.

And oh, holy hell, when looking up some of the abundant links in this post, I just found that there is an established “Fiber Arts Trail” in New Mexico, including a route dedicated to the Northern area.  I am ashamed to say that though I am somewhat of a professional researcher, I utterly failed in looking up anything about this before I went… Next time, right???

*About 40 minutes away, which might as well be next door out there.

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Filed under hiking, knitting, spinning, travel, weaving