Tag Archives: merino

Randomly, near the end of another year

I’ve been trying to feed a few thoughts to bulk them up for a bit more substance – so I can chew on them for a bit, but all of the social and political static and noise has been throwing off my appetite.

And so it begins… #snow #backyard #greyday #monochrome #december

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The house has been up to its unpleasant hijinx again as well – the boiler finally shat the bed, and gave us a couple of cold weeks followed by a couple of long days with the plumber followed by a much thinner wallet. And then my docile old car got a whiff of the spirits and acted out unexpectedly, but at least not too extremely…

Wool thief. #ohtherocco #wooldog #iwastryingtosellthat #sweater #dogsweater

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But the silver lining that really isn’t, is that I was already in the middle of another round of selling off shit online. I’m now unburdened of a few more pounds of old art supplies and bulky thrift sweaters that would have made lovely yarn once unraveled, but that were still in perfectly good wearable shape. And I feel better about that too – yes, I feel better about getting a few extra dollars when I need them, but I sometimes feel guilty about unraveling perfectly good sweaters and usually just try do it to ones that are already damaged or misshapen. I’ll miss a few of these – more accurately, I’ll miss the cardigans and bulky pullovers that they would have been re-knit into and became my favorites, but only existed in my brain and likely would have never come close to fruition – so I can’t really miss something that never was and would likely never be, right?

Old sweater = new shawl/scarf #knitting #thriftstoresweateryarn

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But I still have plenty in the rougue’s gallery of moth-eaten and slightly felted/fulled – all are of varying degrees of unpleasant to unravel, but all will be more truly “rescued” and recycled. I started a new gradient shawl out of a striped Shetland sweater and a few others in greys and purples (it’s not really yellowy-beige as seen above) and it’s a fun little sheepy finger journey right now.

(Other things on the needles have been on them for a bit and have already shown themselves here.)

A good amount of mending has been going on in these parts too – old wool socks that refuse to give up the ghost, outdoor wear that seeks out every thorn, and our beloved wool underthings that wear like iron until they pop an inexplicable hole.

And disappointingly, one of my top wool underthings companies is going under itself. Most of my most worn t-shirts are wool – the non-sport cuts are nice enough to wear where I work and then they can do double-duty under sweaters in the winter or on the trail – I could get by with a minimalist wardrobe with them if I was in to that kind of thing (but when traveling I do). And I pretty much need a layer of sheep’s clothing over most of my body surface once it drops below 75F. And the clothes were largely made in the USA, and pretty much the only things I bought (or received) new (on sale) once a year or so. I really like another company’s wool shirts that are 100% USA wool and manufactured, but their selection is more limited and I’ve sadly had two shrink to crop tops. I am too long-trunked for crop tops.

So ’tis the season for being a little more bummed out (and broke) than usual, but at least the solstice is soon and the ho ho hoing bullshit will go away soon too…

 

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March madness…

The last of the recent short series of hats is now off the needles and on a head.

turn a square on n

You can see the “seam” created by the jogless stripe technique outlined in the Turn a Square pattern – it’s barely noticeable when making more than three rows per color, but at two, it looks like one fat stitch, which is basically what it is…

Still, I think I mind it less than a jog, though I want N to wear it in the back of the hat or it will drive me bats…

turn a square in basket

His basket of handknits is also looking a bit drab – perhaps a more colorful scarf is needed…

And I’ll beat that dead horse about crazy weather – I’m sweating in the first week of March with temps in the low 80s and the yard is breaking out in blossoms nearly a month too soon…

But the weather feels like July when I first started spinning this superwash merino from Pigeonroof Studios for the 2015 Tour de Fleece…

PRS tree scum 3-ply

And it turned into a massive wipe-out, or rather detour, and I was in the wrong country, or another continent when I reached the finish line.

I’ve been wanting to spin for a specific purpose – start with a puff of wool and say I want it to become socks, and then I spin, and knit, and have a pair of socks.

I’ve sort of done that in the sense that I’ve managed to spin enough yarn at approximately the same weight to make something of it in the end, but I’ve failed on the last few sock attempts –  the last one was a bit too thick and not enough yards and this one is waaaaaay too thin and overspun.

I started spinning it slowly and somewhat gingerly, nursing some self-diagnosed tendonitis, and playing with my hand placement so I could switch it up if need be (that part I got down fairly well). Then the last few months of summer were too hot and humid to spin and I didn’t start back up again until a month or two ago, again only spinning for about 30 minutes per session to keep my meat and bones and sinew happy. And I spun, and I spun, and I spun faster, and faster, and harder and harder… And finally four ounces became nearly 600 yards of 3 ply near laceweight… It’s so smooth and tight it feels like silk, but it isn’t even remotely what I wanted for socks.

The last bit left on one of the bobbins – the last one spun most likely since it was nearly 100 more yards than the others, became a 2 ply from a center-pull ball. Since one of the plys is unspun a bit from the ball as it plys, the resulting yarn has a softer, fluffier hand and is thicker than the 3 ply.

PRS tree scum 2ply

Lesson learned.

In theory.

Since I’ve already “learned” this lesson too many times…

Since I don’t want to knit socks on tiny needles, this won’t be socks unless held doubled on the leg parts with commercial yarn feet. Instead it might be yet another neck thing – perhaps joined with that mossy green mohair

Next spinning project is going back to the basics and bulky, maybe super bulky…

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Summer craft

We’re unpacking boxes again. Some of mine haven’t been unpacked since a very sudden move in 2008, and a few from my childhood home decades ago that were only opened to toss more things in rather than weed and remove.

I found a whiskey box with a great wad of crafty jewelry that dated c. 1980-1991. It was a time of equal-opportunity counter culture decor for me – vintage hippie beads, new age crystals, punk rock chains and pins, beads representing bleeding-heart worldliness from Africa and South America, and crafty bits from midwestern 4-H camp.

camp-wad

I remember making most of these things in the summertime – embroidery floss taped to my knee while I sat in the hammock or under a tree – or else they were worn more in the summer with their nautical vibe (and my winter clothes tended more goth and grunge and gender-bending…)

camp-bracelets

I made possibly hundreds of these things and gave away many.  This was also before the overpopulation of Jesusfish due to global warming melting out the rightwingedchristiandom crazies, so some of these are patterned with fish just for fishsake…

camp-friendshipbracelets

And I remember trading these beaded safety pins in elementary school – the bead colors meant something, but I’ve since forgotten (and this was before gay rainbows too, but yay for gay rainbows)!

camp-safetypinbeads

I had a bead loom – up until recently, I think – I think I gave it to one of my siblings before the last few moves…

camp-beadloom

And I’d like to think I was one of the “cool” camp counselors, evidenced by these gifts from my campers. Plaid Maggot was the secret real name of our two-year award winning (of the camp talent show) jugband whose real name was something gentle and new age and asinine like Lunar Rhythms or Earthstrokes…

(I think another counselor reported me for my non-censoring leatherwork class, but secreting these quickly away and playing dumb actually worked out for all involved that time…)

camp-leatherwork

I feel like I didn’t take full advantage of summertime crafting this year. I most like sitting outside to unravel sweaters or card wool so the sneezy bits fall on the ground rather than the rug.

unwinding-outside

But I only got in a couple of unwinding sessions so far…

unwinding-cicadas

But there are still a few months to go before the nasty white fluffy stuff comes back, right…?

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Jadeite

I used to collect vintage dishes.

I use the past tense because I haven’t bought a whole set since the late 1990s, but an occasional cup and saucer will still come home with me.

I still have most of the dishes, though I’m too scared and sick to unpack them since the Great Box Avalanche in our late apartment.

I’m also paranoid to use them now because I learned that some might have lead – yes, even restaurantware can have some – and I’ve probably caused myself mild brain death from the years I used them.  I bought a lead testing kit, but misplaced it in the move.

We used to have easy access to Fiestaware seconds and so we’ve got a rather large dinner party worth of the stuff and I don’t use anything else these days, nor do I expect I’ll ever want anything else (except for a piece or two in a new colorway or to replace the occasional broken piece).

Fiesta-forever

I used to tell myself that buying vintage dishware was an investment, because for a tiny period of time it was – Ebay was just getting rolling and things like Fireking’s Jadeite went for unreasonable amounts of cash.  My books for grad school and some bulk rice and beans were paid with my Ebay earnings…

Until a year, or maybe even just a few months later, when the market was flooded…

Today, my old crap isn’t worth too much more than what I paid for it at the pricier thrift stores, and isn’t really worth the bother of packing and shipping to sell online (or even to unpack it for some proper photos).

But I still really love the stuff – I love the colors, and the sturdy materials, and most of all, I love the size – modern plates are too damn big.  And I drink espresso, so the coffee cups might be a little small for today’s average American Joe, but they’re perfect for a double shot.

So I’m thinking about dishware because I finally finished spinning my “Jadeite” wool.

PRS-Jadeite3

The last in a trilogy of Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino roving that I bought last year and intended to knit together in the same project.  I’m still pretty sure I’ll make a shawl/scarf or perhaps a sweater yoke of all of them, but maybe I should make a tablecloth instead….?

Nah.

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Fried that squash blossom

Good god, this was a long suffering spin.

PRS-zucchini&blossom

And I blathered on so much about it…

Last year, I was thrilled to buy the wool – Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino in “zucchini blossom.”

Pigeon zucchini

I started to spin it.

PRS zucchini

I fantasized about pairing it with other yarn from my stash to become some sturdy socks.

PRS-squashblossom

I realized I spun the first bobbin backwards, so I got irritated and put it away.

I started spinning it again during last year’s Tour de Fleece.

I cut my thumb.

TdF-Wipeout

I blamed the wool and put it away.

I got it out to finally finish for this year’s Tour de Fleece.

PRS-zucchini-TdF2014

I made a three-ply and thought all was fine.

PRS-zucchini-3ply

I ran out of one of my three plies.

PRS-zucchini-not3ply

I am now done.

PRS-zucchiniwashed

I have 258 yards of a heavy fingering/light sport wonky 3ply, and 114 yards of a light fingering/fingering wonky 2ply.

PRS-zucchinitangle

(And we won’t speak of this).

And I’ll shut up about now until I have a finished item from it…

if I ever have one at all…

(Incidentally, I did fry up those blossoms and it was a mushy miserable failure, as are most of my neglected zucchini plants which are lousy with stupid male blooms).

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Mid-August progress…

We spent last weekend in the Adirondacks.

It was the last of the summer hiking trips for us.

ADK-pond hike

Our cottage was decorated in “Wal-Mart for cabin.”

ADK-bear

I actually miss the tacky painted saw blades, crude whittlings, and sh*t made out of driftwood and antlers of mountain/country crafts of yesteryear (or just a few years ago really).

Now it is plastic sh*t from China (often copied from domestic crafters).

ADK-racoon

But I managed to finally finish basting all of those damn letters.

Letters-done

The pile looks smaller than it really is.

I will never be so wordy on a quilt again.

Our CSA has been offering loads of lovely flowers.

It is a nice thing to have fresh flowers, but not in place of food – they really need to step it up in the veg department.  And as vinyl village apartment dwellers, we can’t compost, so I don’t like to have too many fresh flowers.

Quilt-shirt fabric

The letters are ready to mingle with the as yet unmade quilt blocks.

In Review

I’m also getting wordy with a fair isle scarf.

I don’t love stranded knitting.

I don’t hate it though.

PRS-lettuce on machine

My Tour de Fleece spinning goals fell short.

PRS-lettuce skein

But I finished plying my Pigeonroof Studios “lettuce” and have one braid left to finish spinning for a particular project.

I spun this one a little too thin and it came out lighter and softer in color, so it might have to become a different project.

Or the original project will be scrapped altogether.

That will have to wait.

I also started a major embroidery piece.

It will take some time.

It is pink.

I don’t love pink.

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