Tag Archives: Romney

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…


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.


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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Rhinebeck blues

The color blue, not a sad state or form of American music.  I went to Rhinebeck, also known as The Duchess County Sheep and Wool Festival, also known as New York State Sheep and Wool Festival last year.  I did not knit my fingers bloody trying to finish a “Rhinebeck sweater,” I did not have a checklist of kniterati to meet or booths to visit, and I did not have butterflies in my stomach as we drove up.  I grew up in a rural place and I love farm animals, but every summer involved 4-H fairs with long lines, hot humid smelly fly infested stalls, and greasy carnival foods served by even greasier characters.  In the autumn, my small town hosted a gianormous craft festival where I had to spend countless hours in booths selling various odoriferous foods in scorching or freezing weather for charities, or man my mother’s own craft booth.  So I could take or leave most fairs and festivals.  I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival a few years ago, and it was hot and humid, the food was mediocre at best, and it was way too crowded.  I bought a whole fleece there that I’m still carding by hand (and it was before I learned about skirting) and I doubt I’ll ever finish it.  So with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, we headed north.  First promising sign was there was a decent variety of local foods, including fresh hot cider:

blue not in food

And of course there were lots of sheep, goats, camelids, and other furries, though not as many or as many varieties as in Maryland, but that was ok.  I really want some of these one day.

blue white sheepblue black sheep

And N was happy to schlep some of my stuff while wearing one of my early handspun hats.  And do you notice that the weather is beautiful and mild, not too warm, and there’s nary a person in sight?  Oh but there were hordes, and by mid-day it was too crowded to shop, but the layout of the fairgrounds was good – lots of breathing room and benches and grassy fields to get away from everyone.

blue n

And see all of the blue?  Blue is yet another color for which I’ve got  a complicated relationship.  I like it in theory – I like blue and white porcelain, blue glass, and all of the instances of blue in nature, but it is a color I don’t normally wear, and don’t usually like on my walls.  So, in hindsight, I think the blue sky and sheep pens influenced my purchase of this smoky blue roving tinged with a tomatoey red.

blue roving

It’s Romney from Shepherd’s Mill Wool Processing in Elmer New Jersey.  And I love the smoky murky colors, but good god, it’s a dirty batch of wool.

blue dirt

My spinning finger turns brown with gunk after a few minutes, and let’s not speak of the vegetable matter that I’m ignoring while spinning but will later regret as it pokes and scratches me in a garment.  But I will finish it up shortly and I hope I have enough for a sweater of some sort – I know I should have two pounds of the stuff (the lanolin and dirt is contributing to the weight) for a comfortably large sweater, but it might just be enough.  I’m spinning an aran-ish weight.

blue detail

I can’t wait to see how this will knit up – I’m going to wait to swatch after I’ve finished spinning… I also have a holey Shetland sweater ready to be frogged that compliments it, so I could add in a stripe or two or collar if need be (this might not be the right sweater, I think I have another that is more pinkish, but this one will do too).

blue with cuff

And I think we’ll go back to Rhinebeck again this fall… though don’t expect me to wearing something made from this, unless I come down with the seemingly contagious Rhinebeck fever (or fervor).

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