Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Radio Silence

First, I have to apologize. I knew I needed to write a good comprehensive post regarding the first two fibers from the fleece study.

Ok, I guess I'm going to attempt to give you the same format for each type of fleece so far. Up until now, I have used the same scouring method for each fleece. I'm actually washing each sample (each about an ounce) inside the basket from my salad spinner. That keeps too much fiber from going down the drain in the sink, plus I can just drop it into the spinner, spin as much water out as possible, and they're dry in a flash.

First I kind of pull the wool apart because in my head (a scary place) soaking it if its a little bit clumpy, the soap and water don't get to the center of the clumps. When I scour, I use the hottest water I can get from the tap (and ours is pretty hot since we don't have wee ones going into bathtubs who can't adjust their own water temp), I pour in a big fat dose of original Dawn hand dishwashing detergent, then when the sink is full, I set the basket in the water and sometimes I gently just press it below the water line, sometimes I let it sink in on its own. I soak for about 30 minutes (sometimes little more, sometimes a little less, you know how it is) and I repeat this process one or two MORE times. A lot depends on how dirty the water is after each soak. I DO NOT AGITATE EVER. Here's the thing, wool has little bitty scales on it, and the heat opens them up, so when the fiber gets cold fast, those little scaley bits close up on others and they hold the fibers together. If you remember that, you can remember that also, agitating them will make the hang up on eachother and grab when they cool off. When you're washing a fleece, this is usually a bad thing.

Ok, then when I'm satisfied that the water is coming pretty much clean, I go ahead and fill the sink again with hot water that has no soap in it, lower the basket and let it soak again, but usually only for 10 minutes or so. Then I spin, pull apart again and lay out on a towel to dry.

So, on to the spinning part!

Black Welsh Mountain

Prep: Scoured
Staple Length: 2" approx
Combing/Carding: Ashford fine drum carder - I considered spinning it from the lock, but wussed out and made one pass through the drum carder. I wouldn't recommend that as it left a lot of fibers in it because it's so coarse.
Drafting Style: Short Draw
Type of prep: Woollen (batts rolled into rolags)
Plying: Navajo
% of weight lost from washing/short cuts etc: forgot to weigh before duh

End result: 20 yards of bulky three ply
Very coarse, but lofty
almost sparkly from shiny, coarse fibers.
I would compare it to Corriedale, but coarser and no neps that i noticed.

Final: Wouldn't spin again. In my mind only good for a rug or something of that type.

While drying
After spinning.

California Red

Prep: Scoured
Staple Length: 3" approx
Combing/Carding: Ashford fine drum carder. Run through three times in an attempt to line up the fibers for worsted spinning
Drafting Style: Short Draw
Type of prep: Worsted
Plying: S plied
% of weight lost from washing/short cuts etc: forgot to weigh before duh

End result: 58 yards of DK weight
Softness compares to Shetland I have spun in the past
some reddish guard hairs that aren't very coarse that i kept in.

Final: I enjoyed spinning it. Not soft enough for next to skin, but cardigan/outerwear.
Post-Wash (Drying)
All spun up!

Now, if you don't listen to the Podcast, you probably won't know what the heck this is about.

One of our listeners saw me post on a board that I would like The Fleece Study for Christmas, and she had one marinating in her stash for about seven months. She sent me a Private message, and offered to send it to me if I would talk about what I learned on the podcast (and we are using this blog as a place for me to post my huge long posts regarding the Fleece Study. I'll be doing two fibers at a time, and I have two more all done, but not gonna post here until we have a chance to record about them.

Thank you SOOOOOOOOO much to ToadyJoe who graciously donated this Fleece Study. I hope it helps a lot of people learn more about processing their own fibers. I have something in the works to send to her as a thank you too ;)

Oh, and if anyone is worried, the info is not copywritten in the workbook you get, and I contacted the developer of the Fleece Study, Jackie Bland for her "OK' for us to discuss it on the podcast. She gave it the green light and gave us some tips on selecting a fleece. I'll share 'em later!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Christmas Story

The good is that we are done shopping, planning, wrapping, cooking (well except for brunch tomorrow), shoveling, salting the driveway, eating Christmas Eve feast.

The bad is that my sister from Chicago hasn't made it here yet due to weather. It won't be a mimosa Christmas brunch without her.

The Christmas Story: This is a story which is probably funnier if you know the parties involved. I will say that it is mostly concurrent with my recollection, except that I actually do remember getting the word "no" out right before my ex BIL opened the bathroom door, but unfortunately, nothing more. The word "no" was not sufficient to stop said opening of the bathroom door, and no description in the world can possibly convey the absolute hilarity of my Grandma trying to get up, then sitting back down over and over while we all just kind of gaped impossibly with nothing constructive to do. Did I mention that my family has an evil streak a mile wide? Oh, I didn't have to? Cool.

In fact, said sister called me today nd the following conversation ensued:

Sister: I have a Christmas present for you (giggling)

Me: What now on the phone?

Sister: Yes, I left it on my blog and it's just for you.

Me: oh ok I'll go there now, hang on.

Then she kept talking while I paid the minorest amount of attention I could get away with and read at the same time. When I got to the second to the last paragraph, I just busted out laughing so hard. We were both crying with laughter on the phone and sometimes roaring with it too.

Oh, the humanity.

Thanks, dear sister. I hope your drive here tomorrow is very uneventful. And I'll have the mimosas ready.

P.S. I know I owe a post about my first two fleece study fibers and never fear, it IS coming. I have just been super busy with the holiday and carding BFL and knitting and having a good time.

P.P.S. The fibers for next week are Clun Forest and Columbia.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not very Christmasy

Tomorrow I'm going to do my first post on the Fleece Study. Come on back and see for some spinning love. For today:

Which creature of the night are you?
Your Result: Ghost

Life has beat you into a mere shadow, and you have little to gain or lose in the world. Quiet and introspective until roused, when you become a scarier, poltergeistier thing.

Cthulu Spawn
Which creature of the night are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to taunt your sister. . .

Happy Christmas. We had our big baking day on Sunday. I was worn out, but we are now buried in cookies. Tonight we have a Christmas choir concert for number 4, but tomorrow night we'll bring some cookies to neighbors.

Last night was our knitting group holiday party. It was Great! We had an ornament exchange too. I'll have a picture of my ornament soon!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Better Late. . .

Than never. Friday, when number five came home from school, I asked him if he would mind modeling something for me. Then i reminded him of last winter when he modeled the same item, in a different colorway, for me. He was fine with it. That kid is game to help out and he is a ham!

He put it on and said he was going to try to be serious to counteract the girliness of the item.


Mission accomplished I'd say. He had a terrible time keeping a straight face.

That was my last Christmas knitting so it is very nice to have it all done and ready to go!

My dad is dong well. An MRI showed a stroke last week, and he will definitely be undergoing either angioplasty or a bypass in two to three weeks. He has recovered from the stroke enough (and made such a fuss) that they let him go to the hospital. I saw him yesterday. He seemed pretty normal. i guess time will tell how this plays out, but the two branches of his carotid are 90% and 40% blocked, so they can't wait too long to fix that.

Thanks again for the well wishes and messages of support. They mean a lot!

Friday, December 12, 2008

WTF Friday returns

I belong to our local Freecycle chapter. You can google Freecycle if you don't know what it is.

I posted a plant stand this morning. The Chief's brother sent a beautiful refinished walnut one home with him, so I replaced one that I already had. Anyway, I posted this:

Offer: Plant Stand on the Northside

This pine plant stand also has a lower shelf and is rustic style.

Fairly straightforward right? Well I got this reply:

Does it hold a plant on the top of it. I have a Christmas Catcus that needs a stand. Thanks


Ummmmmmmmmmmm WTF? What else would a plant stand do? They don't do a soft shoe or sing Christmas Carold for pete's sake. I'm giving it to someone else just because I'm not sure she is smart enough to take care of a Christmas Cactus, and believe me, it's not hard. I have a whole bunch.

Happy Friday! Oh and I forgot to get the kid to wear the ice queen for a photo, so maybe tomorrow or even tonight. Sorry!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hello, I am a knitting fool

My first colorwork project has magically (well not magically, but unexplainedly) gotten a big whole in it, so I knit a new hat for the boy. It's the Lion Brand Cashmere blend yarn. Oh yeah, my kid wears Koigu socks and cashmere hats LOL. He is the coolest though.
Yeah, he's photogehnic, that's right, baby.

I also finished the Ice Queen, but i don't have a photo yet.

But the biggest news of alllllllllllll!!!!!

I finished the sleeves on Basic Black. I didnt pin it for real, but just sort of making sure it was going to fit into the hole. I'll probably have to redo the button band because it's rolling on the neck, but we'll see. That means I'm nearly done! (and can start planning the next sweater which is funnnnnn)

I also cast on for Abby from fall Knitty. I'm using handspun merino that I blended with firestar. How fun is that? I'm finally getting a cowl!


Yeah a little heavy on the firestar maybe. I like the sparklies!

Photo of Ice Queen and Snowdrop lace socks tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

As promised


I'm doing the second bind-off for this Ice Queen. This is my third Ice Queen, and I still don't have one of my very own. Is that wrong or what? and that bind off, people, THAT BIND OFF! What a pain in my butt. (In the photo, that's my little applesauce container thing that i use to hold my beads and beading wire while I'm working on a project.


I also have been working on the SOTSIII again. You know how they look like Ramen noodles until you block.


Well SOTSIII is no exception to that rule.

I've also been spinninggggggggggggggggggggggg yay. I'm working on that creepy alpaca that looked like Barbarella's grody hair fall. I'l have a photo in a day or two. I did take one, but it really just looked like poop, literally.

See yas!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Poley's Story

Colin (who's blog I read quite regularly) asked if Poley is a Pom or a German Spitz. The short answer is "I wish I knew". Find the long answer below:

Just over four years ago, the dog I had before Poley needed to be put down. She had liver problems and had been on pulse therapy with a steroid to try to help her keep her weight up, but finally she just gave out. It was really awful for me. She had been with me for years, through the birth of my son, my divorce, and so much more.

About 8 or 9 months later, I started to feel the absence of a little buddy and started to look for a dog. I had decided on either a Japanese Chin, or a Pomeranian, and was looking around for the right guy or girl.

At the company I worked for, they had a very large cyber bulletin board, and someone on it was looking for a home for her "pomeranian". She said she felt it didn't get enough attention, so she was looking for the right home. I knew I wasn't going to be breeding, just a companion for me and number 5, so i wasn't terribly stressed about pedigree. I was a lot more interested in personality, training, etc. She lived quite near The Chief's work, so I arranged with his old owner to have an overnight visit to see if he would work for us. After one night, i called her to tell her that I wanted one more night to make up my mind. It's hard to tell because they spend some time exploring and he did hike several times, but I thought it was just Lily's old scent bothering him.

My son was pretty much in love and wanted to keep him, and I called her to get the papers she claimed to have and his vet records, but she never answered another call from me. Good thing I was keeping him, or what would I have done? She claimed he was a pure breed pom, with regular vet visits etc, but I do doubt her a bit now. He was very poorly socialized, didn't stop hiking without retraining and a wee neuter and was extremely aggressive. The Chief and i hypothesize that he was rarely out of his kennel. We've had to work with him very hard to teach him to be the nice boy he is now (well, the chief worked hard). We named him Napolean because he was so aggressive, and has that fluffy butt that reminds me a little bit of those white jodhpurish pants worn back then. He really is a very good boy now, but occasionally does go back and try to reassert himself as the boss of the house.

I'm not convinced he's a full breed pom, as he is quite a bit bigger than the standard, his muzzle seems quite a bit longer and his nose and eyeliner is not as black as it should be, so I dunno!

Also, to answer Donna, I have never spun his fur, but his undercoat is like angora.

Oh yeah, and he has a wee buddy that John had before we were married who is a papered pom, who was a stud before we got him (the breeders were good friends of ours, but they had a bad accident and stopped breeding). Prince wears diapers because he has an anxiety tinkle problem. I make his diapers out of hand towels that get lined with papers. Somebody has to take care of these two hot messes! (it's me)

Poley sleeping.
Princey looking really afraid of the bobbin of singles I put next to him.
Poley trying to camouflage himself into the couch
Prince's face and Poley's butt
Poley playing computer games with Daddy.

Hey I'll have some actual knitting photos tomorrow. I'm working on some Christmas knitting.

Update on my dad too: He quite suddenly stopped being able to speak and is wobbling (not exactly shaking). He is still bleeding internally, though as of yet, they haven't found where, he will be undergoing angioplasty as soon as they can get his blood counts up, which is tough since they still don't know where the other bleeding is (obviously). The Chief saw him yesterday on his way home from Ohio and said it rattled him a bit. He is very frustrated with the speech problem. He has had two Cat Scans that show not damage in his brain, no stroke or aneurism, so we are hopeful that the restoration of full blood flow to his brain will take care of this, but it's pretty upsetting and scary. If you pray, please say a word for him, if you don't, please keep a good thought. Thanks for the very kind thoughts and words. They really are appreciated and I know that "the blog" doesn't produce them, people who come and visit do, so thank you so much.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Big Ego Much?

Poley thinks he's the gift of the century.

He is a good dog though now. It sure did take a lot of training.

We're having our knitting group holiday party tomorrow. I've been cleaning a bit. I hadn't caught up with the house from Thanksgiving weekend yet, so I'm getting as much done as I can. We're having snacks, an ornament exchange and watching the holiday movie Love, Actually while knitting or spinning.

My dad went into the hospital this morning. I don't know a lot more than that yet. I don't think I've processed that yet. Sometimes I can be slow to process.

The lace train has pulled into the station. I am back working on SOTSIII. Come back and see a photo tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dear Blog,

You are fricken awesome. Sometimes I wish you were anonymous so I could vent even more things (I know. Hard to believe there's more huh?), but all-in-all, you are pretty sweet.

It's cool how when i am feeling like crap about Santa being dead, you magically offer comments from people that cheer me up. Keep up the good work on that. It reminds me to comment more on the blogs I visit. I guess I am a lurker a lot of the time.

Sorry about the cursing. I thought about giving it up earlier this week, then I remembered that my mom teaches some of her patients to curse to help them release some of their inside angst. I'm going with that excuse for not giving it up.

I think the coolest part about you is that I've gotten to know people from other countries even. Sometimes I wish they were my neighbors so I could stop over and have a cup of coffee in the morning and talk to the about knitting. As it is, my neighbors are useless on this level. Can you believe that? It's not cool.

Love you!

Trish aka Bams

Oh and i finished some stuff.

BIL, Tom's hunting socks.
Socks for mom. They're knit from Cascade Handpainted sockyarn. The pattern is the no-fuss toe-up Fleegle socks.
Finished one of the fingerless gloves with the skull/crossbones. I can't tell you how much I absolutely hate knitting fingers. I seem to hate it more the more I do instead of less. Weird huh?

See yas later!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Taps for Santa

My son doesn't believe in Santa anymore. Last year his stepmother bought a gift for his stepsister in front of him and then put a Santa tag on it and he figured it out.

I've tried so hard to preserve Santa and true to his heritage, he stayed partially in denial up until now. Every time the subject came up, I played up on my ineptness and said "seriously do you think I could do all that by myself? Don't be crazy" and he bought it.

I'm really sad about it this year. I know it was a miracle he made it so long, but there are no more kids who believe in Santa and I'll never get to have more kids so it's over.