Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Finally, I have begun the process of picking through two very special Tunis fleeces!  Last Sunday was sunny and beautiful, so I set them out on a tarp in the driveway and let the wind blow through them and the sun shine on them.  Of course, I had a couple of loyal helpers:

By Tuesday, my sweet man had built the perfect table for the process:

The top is a wooden frame with chicken wire stretched over it.  This way it's off the ground and more ventilated, and the debris can easily fall through.  Perfect. 

It's nice to get the fleeces out and begin the process of cleaning them!

Big Charcoal Cowl

I finished this cowl last November, and it has been a permanent fixture around my neck and shoulders since.  The pattern, "Keep it Casual Cowl," comes from the book Creative Knitting Presents, Fall 2014: Wraps Capelets & Cowls.  My sweet man brought the book home to me when I was grieving the passing of a dear friend in California.  The simplicity of the pattern was just what I needed, and knitting it soothed my spirit and gently coaxed my mind from grief and sorrow.
I used some yarn I had on hand, Cascade Yarns Rustic, a singles blend of wool and linen, which is very similar to what the pattern calls for.  The lower edge is cast on, and then the cowl grows upward from there.  I found the cast on too tight, making it difficult to pull down over my shoulders.  After wearing it for a few weeks, I performed a tedious surgery to fix this problem.  I snipped a single stitch a few rows above the cast on edge, unraveled an entire row, re-knit the bottom edge, and then finished with a very loose bind off. The result is perfect.  If I make this again (likely), I will do a provisional cast on, then come back at the end and do a loose bind off. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Farmhouse Shawl

Apparently I have an addiction for making (and wearing) shawls, and if there exists a cure for this affliction I want nothing to do with it!  Shawls are the perfect layering piece for all seasons and especially the transition of seasons. They can be worn many ways, and with almost any outfit.  Therefore, as I see it, the only reasonable thing to do is to keep making more of them.  

The most recent addition to my collection is the lovely Farmhouse Shawl, by cabinfour.  Made with exactly 3 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca (50% wool, 50% alpaca), it's a bit luxurious for what I intend to use it for.  It will most likely be worn at home, in the mornings while walking through the garden, and for cool mornings and evenings sitting on the porch with my sweet love.  If we had chickens, I would wear this while gathering the eggs.  I'll do chores wearing this shawl.  You get the idea... when not on my shoulders, this shawl will likely be found right by the back door, ready to grab and throw on.  The yarn for this shawl was originally purchased to make a complicated cabled sweater (Ondawa from the Brooklyn Tweed Fall 14 collection), but I needed a mindless, easy project and this was just what I had in mind.  The cabled sweater is still on my wish list, but it'll have to wait.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

February Spinning.

Here are the fruits of my spinning labor in February.  This isn't all of it, but most (there are still a few singles waiting on bobbins to be plied).  And I don't plan on slowing down any time soon.  My goal is to spin the rest of the wool I brought from California before Spring.  This wool came from my coastal community, from the sheep of Stillwater Cove Ranch).  The sheep are a mix of Romney and California Red, and the wool has been lovely to work with, and provided a great opportunity to practice and hone my skills as a spinner.

The skeins on the left are natural, un-dyed.  On the right are my experiments of dyeing with Black Walnut.  The lighter shade in the middle was dyed as roving, and the darker shade on the right was dyed as a spun singles which I later plied.  What a difference, as the spun singles took much more of the dye and turned a much deeper shade of brown.  The marled one in the middle was a fun experiment of plying one strand of the natural un-dyed with one strand of the Walnut-dyed singles.    

The spinning resumes today, as I am still (happily) snowed in...     

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter Citron

This is my latest shawl, Citron.  I used almost all of one skein of Meadow, by The Fibre Co., a lace-weight blend of 40% Merino Wool, 25% Baby Llama, 20% Silk, 15% Linen, in the Cornflower colorway.  It was a fun and easy knit, started on a 14 hour road trip to Florida, and finished while watching a House of Cards marathon.  This will be a great shawl to have around my shoulders this Spring, but for now it's not getting much wear as we're buried beneath 7-8" of snow.  It is definately still winter here in the Midwest!

The husky is clearly in her element, and loving her first Midwestern winter.

A Cold Winter Day's Spin.

I have been spinning and spinning.... These last few weeks of winter have had me wanting to do nothing but stay inside, drink tea, listen to podcasts, and spin to my heart's content.  And so I've done little else.  I went for a whole week without even knitting anything.  Only spinning, and thinking about spinning, and plotting what I will spin when the weather warms enough to wash the fleeces I have waiting to be spun.   
I've learned a lot, and my skills are greatly improving.  Here is a two-ply on the bobbin.  It is fairly even, balanced, and uniform.  The end result is still somewhere between a worsted and bulky weight.
This basket is filled with the results of hours and hours of spinning bliss.  What will I make with it all?  I'll ponder the answer to that while I go spin some more.....