Thanks to Instagram, I am now documenting everything down to the last insignificant moment of my day. I baked muffins? Photo! New shoes? Photo! Cute kitty pose? Photo! Project in the house? Photo! Spinning yarn? Photo! It may get a little dull sometimes, but the up side is that when I am in the midst of a knitting project, there are many more process shots.
I finally finished the Age of Brass & Steam Kerchief using approximately 250 yards of handspun Shetland wool and size 8 needles. For each section I used a different color of yarn. The pattern was so easy and quick. Although my measurements didn’t come out quite as the pattern suggested, it’s much wider than any other shawl/kerchief I’ve made. I didn’t make any adjustments, just followed the instructions as is.
I’ve been sitting on this yarn for at least two years. No wait, I got the fiber on our first visit to Rhinebeck in 2008. Good heavens!
It was all spun using my drop spindle. Initially I thought it would be perfect for a shawl. However, at the time I had never made one and perhaps felt intimidated or that I wouldn’t wear it? Now I’ve made two, so I think I can handle it (and I know I like triangle over half-circle). There should be around 6 ounces all together, though I’m not sure on the yardage. I went through my Ravelry queue to see what patterns I had saved the last time I got shawl fever. I came across the Age of Brass & Steam Kerchief. It has three sections, so I thought that would work well. Now I just need to get it on the ball winder! And then cast on, of course. It’s time to do some stash busting!
I am so pleased to share a series of photos from a friend and customer of mine, Amber. She purchased my stock of chunky grey alpaca on Thursday and has already created a stunning crocheted cowl. It has suddenly gotten chilly here in Ohio, so she was pleased to wear it this morning.
Amber is a keeper of bees and maker of body products. You can find her luscious goods online at the Square Market and in her Etsy shop. Buy them live at the B&O Night Market every Thursday through September. Find out more about her by reading her blog or browsing her Instagram photos.
So… what’s been happening lately? I had to go through my inventory. After Woolfest, I knew that I’d have a lot of purchasing to do before the fall festival season started. The most important item I needed to restock was my fiber. I’ve only got a few bags of dyed locks left and not many batts. But the starting place for that is the raw fiber itself. I put in an order with Ashland Bay and ended up with three 22 pound bumps. One is Falkland, one is Blue-faced Leicester, and the other is their “Colonial” which is a Corriedale-type wool. The last I planned on using primarily for batt base wool. I started dyeing some of it this week.
Oddly enough, just after I received the combed top from Ashland Bay, I also got word from the two processing mills where I had fleeces. First Ohio Valley Natural Fibers sent me an invoice. Two days later I got a call from Zeilinger’s that I had two fleeces ready for shipment from them. OVNF sent theirs Priority, so it showed up yesterday.
I’ve also got a new event on the schedule for next month. After being invited for several years and never having that weekend available, I am finally participating in the Grey to Green Festival at Wick Park in Youngstown, Ohio. If you are in the area on September 21, come by for a visit.
Today seemed like a good day to do a bit of spring cleaning, which basically consisted of “washing” all the windows. I put the blinds up on the front window, something I haven’t done for months, looked out, and saw a bird’s nest on top of the pillar under the porch roof. It surprised me! It shouldn’t have though, since I hear birds out there all the time. The best part is that they used some of the wool I stuck in the bushes. I left it there for them, so I’m glad they put it to use.
Last fall I went to Stramba Alpaca Farm in Wampum, PA to have some fleeces processed. I had collected the fleeces over the course of a few years and they were sitting in my stash with no future. When I heard about a processor that was only 40 minutes from me, I was very excited to take a road trip. They gave me a tour of the mill and spent a lot of time with me. Then we looked through my fleeces and decided to turn them into big, fluffy batts.
This weekend Terri Stramba was at the Knit & Crochet Festival and she had my batts! They are beautiful and clean and I can’t wait to get spinning. My plan is to create a series of bulky and lofty yarns in lovely natural colors just like the skeins I spun for Irene in September (below).
In total I had five fleeces processed and I purposely kept each color separate. There were three shades of brown, one grey, and one black. Each finished bag weighs around 23-26 ounces, but the black is about 36 ounces. That one came from Ross Alpaca Ranch and I’ve had it two and a half years. The grey and two browns were from Black Walnut Alpacas. And the other brown was from an alpaca named Gwen (had to buy it!), but now I can’t remember which one it is. If I have to spin alpaca, this is my most preferred preparation — fluff!
Happy first day of October everyone! Is it really here already?
On Saturday Ross Alpaca Ranch had an open house for the National Alpaca Farm Days. I spent the day spinning and talking to the visitors. I got pictures of my sample table, but when I went out to get pictures of the animals, my camera died. Immediately. So I have nothing else to show. No photos of the angora goats, the ducks, the alpacas, or the llamas. Nothing.
Today I picked up three bushel baskets from Hobby Lobby. In the spirit of going “natural”, I will soon be offering undyed locks to go along with the undyed yarn. I decided that instead of bagging it for you, I’ll put the whole fleece in a big basket and you can buy as much of it as you want. For $2/ounce. I tossed this Romney lamb fleece in one basket to see how it worked. Seems to work fine, wouldn’t you say?
Spinning more alpaca.
And this time it’s super bulky.
Three monster skeins totaling about 26 ounces.
It’s kind of funny when I think about how many things I use and make but do not sell. For instance, undyed yarn and fiber. I love spinning the natural colors and I use the yarn quite regularly. In fact, many of my mittens consist of a dyed yarn combined with a natural colored yarn, so I’ve got lots of it around. However, I never thought that anyone else might want it. I’ve only sold brightly colored yarns, but maybe someone out there might really love a chocolate brown or a silver grey. Why not? I’ve literally got bags of the stuff waiting to be spun. And it would be one less step for me, not having to dye it.
I think I will start with these two skeins I found in my personal stash. The one in the upper left corner is new from this summer. It’s a Romney/Coopworth X singles. In the lower right corner is a 2-ply BFL/Border Leicester X with silk noils. That one has been hanging around since 2007. Maybe it’s time to find it a new home.