Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back to the Basics--Well, Almost

Several more inches of snow last night on top of this weeks inches of blowing snow! And then at least four hours without electricity! What a great time to go back to the "almost" basics--sitting in front of the fire and spinning!
Of course, it was a wood stove, and I had some beautiful dark brown alpaca (from Leroy!) to spin--the pioneers would not have had alpaca -- although the alpaca supposedly originated in North America before they migrated to South America. And South America is where all the current North American alpacas have come from. Ending a sentence a preposition with! But I had no real coffee! I usually start the day with a fresh pot or heat up a cup or two from the previous day in the microwave. But the pot was empty. Instant--boo!
But the warmth of the wood fire made me think food, so I started a pot of lentil curry soup. Warmth and a good smell! [I could light my gas stove with a match!] Usually when I'm spinning, I'm listening to a book on tape, but that wasn't possible today. And I had no one to read to me from Pilgrim's Progress or other such enlightening literature! But the crackling fire was great background. And then, so was the plow outside, as a friend came to clear my long, winding, snowbound driveway!
I never did knit anything for my granddaughter Ellie from Leroy's fiber for Christmas (my intentions whe I wrote about Leroy last October). My first skein of Leroy, only my second skein of yarn, was too "beginner-ish." I may make myself a hat for next winter. But I've become a much better spinner and I think this yarn will be "IT." Second spool finished in front of the fire today--I think the plying will make all the difference. A friend lent me a video, "The Gentle Art of Plying," which I'm going to study before I ply these spools. I have a little more Leroy roving to make more yarn if I need it.
This afternoon, the electricity came on and the sun came out! It was beautiful with some blue showing in the sky. I went out for a walk and to say hello to the alpacas. Fed them a little grain as a treat--this is BMCA Desire, who snuffled down into the snow for the last bits of grain that fell.
The alpacas have tracks from their shelter to the hay, to the water, and back again! They don't really mind the snow except when its windy--the wind blows their fiber up (they are suris without the "sheep-like" fluffy coats). The chickens were out and running about and it was very pleasant, with great views on all sides! What a lovely place to live.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Playing with Entrelac

Yes, it's wool! But it's going to be felted, so I can't use my suri alpaca! This is the Hobo Bag from Gwen Bortner's Entree to Entrelac book. I'm going to be teaching a class on entrelac at the Yarn Underground, so I thought I'd get a couple of projects done. I still have to complete the strap and felt the thing. I can't believe I ended up with another orange and brown project! Those were my high school colors soooo many years ago. But I wish I had picked up a blue to use, now that it's almost finished. When done, it will join my other items on sale at the Milk House Fiber Studio at the Artisan Barn in Uniontown.

I'm going to do a scarf with my black and white alpaca, using some lace stitches on the white "blocks" and then add some black beads I picked up in Posts Falls a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, I'll be giving some tips on knitting lace at the Woolgatherer's meeting. One of my tips might be to be careful of your lace knitting when you're drinking tea! I had my shawlette with me when I was knitting a couple of Sundays ago at the Yarn Underground and alas! part of it ended up in my cup of tea. I didn't notice right away, and even though I tried to get the tea out with some cold water, it did't work. So now I have the entire shawlette sitting in some weak tea, hoping that I can get the effect that you get when you put fabric in tea--just a light "antique" look that won't detract too much from the nice blues in the Starry yarn.

I'm looking out the window at two inches of fresh snow--everything looks so clean--and there's even some blue in the sky today and very little wind. Hard to believe that just a week ago, it was approaching the high 40s and everyone was thinking "spring"!!

So, back to my hobo bag!!! Cheers!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yarn Ahoy!!

When the Yarn Underground opened in Moscow, I took some of my alpaca yarn to add to their inventory. Not that I needed any yarn, but I and spied this yarn--Starry sock weight with silver from Dream in Color--98% superfine merino! It called out to me, and I wondered how it would work for a shawlette pattern I had downloaded recently from Ravely. It really knit up fast and I was pleased with the results!

One skein had 450 yards, so I probably have enough left over to use in a pair of fingerless mitts!
And speaking of finished project, I also finished the alpaca jacket/sweater I started knitting for myself more than four years ago! Disappointment! It's too big; it's too heavy. Although I blocked the individual parts (fronts, back, sleeves) before joining, I may block again just to see how it changes. I don't even remember what size I chose to knit from the pattern--but I know I never measured a sweater that fits me to compare (this is something that I've learned in the intervening years I should have done). Since it's the first sweater I ever knit (except for baby sweaters), I'm going to use it as an object lesson! I'll probably frog the whole thing and use the yarn for something else . . . . eventually.
I've been considering joining the ongoing KAL on the Knitting Daily--even purchased some yarn for it--but for some reason, I keep backing off from starting. The Seaweed Cardigan is not a "full" cardigan--the two fronts are considerably smaller than the back--the modeled picture uses a belt to "close" it--I'm not sure it's meant for my body size (In the manner of Alexander McCall Smith, I'm a "traditionally built" woman!) I might just knit it for my studio at the Artisan Barn--it's a lovely lace pattern, and I do love to knit lace.
I'll be giving some lace instruction at the next Woolgatherers meeting here on the Palouse--talking about reading lace patterns, what all the stitches are, using a lifeline, etc. It should be fun. And I'm scheduled to do an entrelac class in two sessions at the LYS (Yarn Underground in Moscow, ID) in March.
AND, my alpaca yarn has been leaving the shelves at the Yarn Underground in leaps and bounds! I've been selling it at a pretty low cost, since it's part of the stash I inherited when I inherited the alpaca farm. But I'm getting ready to send off some more fiber to get more yarn made, which I will have to price at a more "fair"--to me price.
I put new yarn on my needles two nights ago--scarf with beads now in progress!