Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy 2005

If wishes could be more effective than prayer, I wish for you a happy and healthy new year.

Holiday/Vacation Almost Over
I can't believe how quickly 2 weeks flew by, and now I'm looking at heading back up to Albany on Monday. How depresssing.

The two weeks were wonderful. Thaddeus had off all this past week as well, and we sat around like lumps and ate like pigs and slept like bears in hibernation. It was wonderful...I can't wait for retirement.

I mentioned that I would give an update of my current project in this blog entry. But I warned you, I haven't been doing a lot of work on anything lately.

I've completed about five inches on the back so far and have another five to go. Evidently, it won't be ready to give as a gift at today's final holiday party with friend Nora. Fortunately, I have other very suitable gifts to give here.

I also decided I needed to swatch up some of the wool cone yarn I got at WEBS. I kept admiring the color of the yarn, so I knew I needed to do something with it soon.

Marilyn would be so proud of me. Not only did I swatch, but I also washed the finish swatch to see if it would bloom more after washing.

First of all, I LOVE the color and the feel of the yarn. It's going to make a beautiful sweater.

I'm glad I did swatch, because I initially thought this yarn was a worsted weight or light worsted weight yarn. I made the swatch using US8 needles (5mm) and while the fabric looks great, I think I would prefer a stiffer fabric. I may even drop down to a US6 needle and work this as if it was a DK weight yarn.

I'm also not sure if I will design something myself, or use some version of an existing pattern. I'm thinking about looking through all the Jamieson Shetland books for something that I can just follow directions on.

I did finally finish spinning the deep green merino and even wound the resulting singles of both the green and the orange merino onto toilet paper rolls.

I also started spinning the plum color. It's giving me a little more trouble than the other two. I think it's a little more brittle for some reason. I'm going to try humidifying it a little before continuing to spin to see if that helps at all.

Readers' Comments Questions
I wanted to thank Elizabeth for her useful instructions on grafting crochet together. She addresses exactly what I was concerned about with crocheting pieces together, and I think her method will work perfectly. I'll let you know if I ever get there.

Mariellen wants to know what kind of spinning wheel I use.

While the answer to this is easy to find, it also takes me no effort, so I answer. It's a Louet S51 wheel.

Michelene asks if the Brown Sheep worsted makes a sturdier sole on the felted clog slippers.

I've used three different yarns (Cascade 220, Lamb's Pride Worsted and BaaBaJoe's Woolpak) and all seem to do an equal job for the felted sole of the slipper. The Lamb's Pride is a little smoother because of the mohair content I think.

Kathy asks if she can have the lovely green tweed wool.

Since it appears that I bought over 5 pounds of the stuff...she may just get her wish at our next get-together.

I never heard what Lisa said about chewing the host filling the church with Jesus' blood, but I love the visual.

I knew you weren't supposed to, and it always annoyed the hell out of me when idiots did it anyway. I was always a VERY good Catholic.

Carol S. asks if the KFI Cashmereno is pretty much the same as the Debbie Bliss version.

From what I understand, it's exactly the same. Debbie just picked out a select set of colors and put her label on it. At least, that's what I've been told. I've used both, and they both certainly seem the same to me.

Geraldine mentions that I can play with the carders using any of my already prepared wool and asks if I've mastered woolen spinning.

I did play with the handcarders using some of my leftover fibers. It was enjoyable, but I long for the day when I can take a washed lock of sheared wool and fluff it into prepared fiber.

As for woolen spinning, I have to admit I don't know. When I first read about woolen and worsted spinning techniques, my understanding was that it was dictated by both the fiber preparation (carding vs. combing) and how you drafted the prepared wool. At my recent workshop, they seem to contradict that some. I've honestly never seen anyone spin like I spin. I take the top or roving and treadle very fast and let the fiber draft itself into a thread and it flies onto the bobbin. I just squeeze and release my thumb and forefinger around the newly formed thread enough to balance twist and pull. Hard to describe and it was hard to learn the balance, but now it comes naturally. Spinning occurs very quickly as a result.

In other words, I use a semi-worsted's that?

Finally, Ann mentions that she hopes I have the Hoppin John and greens ready for today's meal.

I'm assuming that's black-eyed peas? We used to do black-eyed peas and greens and rice every year, but this year we didn't. I'll let you know how it turns out for us.