Sunday, September 17, 2006

This 'n that

If certain people don't stop talking about all those lucious yarns, I'm going to have a breakdown. I want them all, one of each at the very least.

In the interests of maintaining control, I decided to visit my stash so I could fall in love again with all my lucious fibers and stop wanting more. So I checked it out. All of it. Attic. Closets. The trunk in the bedroom. The baskets scattered here and there throughout the house. It was a glorious afternoon.

I'd been thinking of spinning a sock yarn for our Sock Hop in October, a blend I've been contemplating for a while. And that, of course, required a search of the stash for the (very big) bag of washed Cotswold fleece.

I found the Cotswold and had a lovely time petting it, combing out a lock, finger spinning it in consideration of the possibilities...and I found the bag of sock yarn I thought would make a good backup in case my spinning experiment doesn't work out. I started to inventory the stash, but it just got embarassing. Especially when I realized I still want, want, want.

A few years ago I was at a fiber festival, drooling over a display of shetland fleeces in a booth manned by a couple of gentlemen I recognized as the spouses of two avid spinners. I exclaimed over the quality and beauty of the fleeces, but added that 'I shouldn't, I have so much already stuffed in every closet.'

The response? 'Haven't you heard? She who dies with the most wool wins.'


Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

I can't imagine anything cooler (in a knitterly way) than actually knowing the sheep who donated the fleece that was spun into the yarn I was about to knit into socks. We're so far removed from the beginnings of things in this world that the pleasure of being part of the entire process must be intense indeed.

Do you mostly keep your wools in their natural colors, Laura, or do you dye them as well? Natural dyes or commercial? (I just don't see you as a Kool-Aid type!)

7:32 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

And a PS: Laura, what are all the goodies in the basket? Esp. the piece of knitting draped over the front. I'm madly in love w/it and need specifics!

7:55 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

I'm with Barbara: I just want to cuddle that piece of knitting against my cheek. It looks so warm and fuzzy and soft.

Spinning your own wool is an unbelievably cool thing to do. Can you tell us a little bit about how you do it? Maybe in another blog because I'm sure other folks would like to read about it too?

10:46 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Barbara - I don't always know the sheep personally, but I nearly always know the breed and often the name and other details about the donor sheep. It's a farmer/spinner thing - I love knowing the history of the wool in my hands. And I'm fascinated by the differences between types and what each breed can bring to the fiber quality of a good crossbreed. I've been on a naturally colored wool kick the last few years. Love those brown sheep, caramel colored llamas, red-gold rabbits, etc. I have plenty of white roving in my stash, too, and would love to play with dyes. My next obsession perhaps.

In the basket: the knitting draped over the edge is an wide, somewhat short angora scarf knit in pebble stitch from sale yarn I picked out of a 'end lots' bin several years ago. Can't remember the yarn name - Tiber? Maybe, maybe not. I sized it to drape nicely around my neck and across my shoulders while I'm at the computer, without the bulk around the arms that you get with a shawl. I was halfway through the knitting of it when I found the perfect pewter Celtic penannular brooch to pin it in place. Heaven!

The big cone of yarn in the basket is an ecru cotton chenille. Years ago I made lots of face cloths with this and sold them with my handmade soap at festivals. The brown skeins are 2-ply handspun from purchased Manx Loughton roving. The white skein in the basket is a 2-ply handspun from purchased merino roving and my own Angora rabbit fiber. The ball of yarn beside the basket is the same, and the turquoise cone barely showing is a purchased fingering weight wool that I'll do something with someday.

10:47 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Nancy - the short version is I spin singles on a reproduction wheel, and then ply the strands together. I'll blog with details and pictures later this month as I get started on that sock yarn experiment. Sometimes I work from wool that's been commercially cleaned and carded. Sometimes I buy a raw fleece (unwashed) and do the cleaning, carding or combing, etc. Sometimes I work from my own little fiber flock.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Looks like a fun stash! Mine takes a lot less time to visit. Probably because I'm in the habit of shoping my stash before the yarn store, and so I keep my own stock low. I'll have to work on that. I could certainly use more yarn.

I'm looking forward to your post about spinning. I have a wheel of my own, and have a lot of fun with it, but always enjoye hearing other spinners' techniques.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Laura - I love your description of your stash and all those lovely, natural, sheepy colors. I'm a color person myself but I love the idea of knitting in pure and natural colors. Have you seen the ads for Brown Sheep Yarns with the brightly colored sheep scattered across a meadow? Now that would be my idea of a perfect stash on the hoof!

Spinning fascinates me. Someone - I won't say who but her initials might be BB - gave me a wonderful beginning spinner's kit for Christmas last year. I spent a couple of hours mangling the lovely, soft roving and then set it aside. Periodically, I get it out just to fondle the fiber and pet the spindle but I haven't attempted to actually spin anything yet. I'd love to learn but there's the time issue. If I'm spinning, I can't be knitting and right now, I'm obsessed with knitting.

Still, spinning looks so interesting that I know I'm going to have to learn how to do it one of these days.

3:27 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Nichole - My stash grew mostly because of the lot-end bins at yarn shops and those once/yr fiber festivals where it's a case of buying it now or forever losing the opportunity. So you know what happens. I'm weak!

Don't get me started on Brown Sheep yarns - they have the best earth tones, gorgeous greens, and such a nice handle. I love them. Plus, there's a website for the mill-end unspun tempting, and thus far I'm resisting. Barely.

Dallas - I played with a hand spindle for a year before I tried a spinning wheel. I still spin really lumpy yarn on the hand spindles, too.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Aren't Brown Sheep yarns wonderful. I've been agog over Manos for several years now--felted a wonderful couple of purses with it, the Four Seasons afghan (that kept me warm and cozy all weekend while I tried to shake off a cold) and a sweater that is waiting to be blocked and sewn together. And given the chill outside and the way the leaves are starting to turn--time to do that! As for the stash--oooh, isn't that a fun way to spend a few hours renewing those friendships!

As for spinning--oh, I don't dare. The yarn habit is bad enough...

7:14 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Okay, you guys are scaring me! Next you're going to be out shearing the sheep in the fields. I like to get my yarn off the attractively arranged shelves of a clean, well-lighted yarn store where nothing baas at me and I can ask peole who know a lot more than I do about knitting what the heck "M1" means.

Obviously, I am a yarn wimp.

8:25 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Nancy - Yours is the more efficient method. I suspect you accomplish a lot more knitting than I do.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Elizabeth - My local yarn shop has a sweater made out of Manos on display. It's a simple pattern, just stockinette with purl diamonds down the front and sleeves - nothing fancy at all but the wonderful tonal variation in the yarn makes it really wonderful. I was so tempted to buy some Manos but I just stocked up on Araucania which is - or was - on sale at WEBS and I think it should knit up into a similar fabric.

And yes, Brown Sheep yarns are wonderful. I love plain old Lamb's Pride. It's reasonably priced and the colors are fabulous. Last spring, I bought enough Lamb's Pride in Kiwi to make a fancy, cabled sweater. With the weather getting colder, I ought to dig it out and actually knit something out of it.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Laura, I don't think I get much more knitting done but at least I don't have to deal with the "stash" problem. :-) I never know how much yarn to buy to make anything so I buy on a project by project basis which tends to reduce yarn volume.

To be honest, I'm fascinated by the idea of spinning your own yarn but I would never dream of attempting to do it myself. That's WAY beyond my capabilities!

11:20 AM  

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