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Pogona After One Week

Because it’s been a busy holiday week (hope your’s wasn’t too busy!), I am not as far along on my pogona as I would like.

pogona in progress

This cormo is blowing my mind. It’s gorgeous, and with the alpaca, it is just downright decadent.

pogona in progress 2

I am doing the white in Fibonacci stripes, separated by two-row stripes of gray. I think the color contrast just adds to the texture of the piece.

It might bee 100 degrees out now, but I can’t wait to try this shawl on. Knitting this out of my handspun has convinced me that it’s worth spending more time spinning so I can knit with handspun more often.

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Baby Knitting and Webcam Photos

The problem with trying to blog near the winter solstice and working an 8 to 5 is that there isn’t much time to take pictures. And these days, blogs need pictures, but since I don’t have currently have a personal life during daylight hours, tonight we’re having fun with webcam photos!

heatingpad
Yes, I’m even wearing a heating pad, because my neck has a couple of giant knots in it hurts like the dickens.

highshot
Here’s a shot with with better light, where I just look tired. Growing a person is hard work. Did I mention I’m pregnant? I can’t remember, but if not, I’m almost 21 weeks! To celebrate, let’s talk about knitting baby things.

garterstitchvice
This is a Garter Stitch Baby Kimono in progress, knit in Vice Yarns Plain Jane. Click the link, because my webcam is not doing the colors justice. This sweater is going to be bright. I’ll never lose my baby when he or she is wearing this sweater. We’ll all be so distracted by this sweater, we won’t be able to divert our eyes.

Not everything I’m knitting for the baby is quite so loud. I’m working on a blanket, which I feel is an obligatory project for a baby, even though I’m not really the biggest blanket-knitting fan. It’ll be cute and totally worth it once it’s finished, but I am certainly not going to be the kind of knitting mother than knits her child many or large blankets.

The only other thing I’ve knit for the baby is a cabled Sunnyside Cardigan out of cormo yarn that I spun. The roving was my Juniper Moon Farm Spinner’s Share that I spun way before there was any thought of a baby. (This picture is also form October, hence the absence of webcam-ness.)

sunnyside
The sweater is still in this state, ends not woven in, buttons in a ziplock back next to it in a drawer. I still have 4+ months to finish it, right?

I’m trying to add to my list of baby things to make. Since this little one is due midspring, I am thinking I’ll need some hats and booties for cold mornings and evenings, but nothing too heavy. Is there anything else I should plan on making? I have to confess I love making sweaters, especially wee ones, but I realize that an April baby only needs so many sweaters. What are your favorite baby knits?

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Undyed Stuff

My work tends to get the most attention when it’s bright and loud and saturated with color. I know in most cases, that’s what the Tiny Dino Studios brand is known for. I also happen to really love working with natural fibers and fibers from different breeds. Knowing there different fleece characteristics across different breeds and then actually exploring some of those differences for myself are two very different things.

I have my comfort zone wools for spinning, Falkland in any form, and Merino I like, but as long as it’s not top (because I am picky.) Alpaca is fun and different. And just generic American Wool is fun and durable and soft. This is what I spin most often because it’s what the people around me produce or sell, so it’s easy to come by. But I have been trying to branch out a bit.

I’ve been working through some Cormo, which is lovely to spin. It’s soft, but not so soft it doesn’t have any durability. It’s my favorite parts of Corriedale with the best parts of Merino thrown in. Then, I received my Tunis roving back from the mill. Tunis is a little coarser, and you can feel the difference between a mediumwool sheep and a finewool sheep when you hold a skein of Cormo in one hand and a skein of Tunis in the other. And yet, they are both soft. Perhaps it’s just the way I spun it (worsted, chain-plied, heavy fingering weight) but I can hold it up to my neck and it doesn’t prickle. And though it has less crimp than the Cormo, the Tunis feels distinctly springy–like it’s got the energy to paint the town red while the Cormo wants to eat bon-bons while reclining on a silk settee.

The color is vastly different as well. Tunis is known as a red sheep, and while the wool is not actually red, it has a peachy, kind of antiqued white color to it.

Tunis_Handspun_Yarn
It’s hard to see on it’s own. In this photo (which is too bright, I will give you) the skein just kind of looks to me like a skein of springy undyed wool.

But when you sit it next to the Cormo, you can really see the difference.
Tunis_next_to_cormo
The Tunis is on the left. The Cormo is on the right. Please study carefully, there will be an exam.

Then, I received this in the mail yesterday:
Rambouillet_Lock

That is a lock of Rambouillet. I purchased a 10 oz bag on Etsy last week and it is gorgeous. As you can tell from the veg matter in the photo, this lock is unwashed–unwashed! Look how gorgeously white and crimpy that is! I am very excited. This is possibly the softest lock I have held in my hand ever. And the locks were so beautiful, I couldn’t quite bring myself to break them up by throwing them in a big tub to soak.

washingwool
To keep the lock integrity as much as possible, I am using the Yarn Harlot’s method for stove top wool washing.

Updates when it’s clean!

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Cormo and Cormo and Spinning

I have a set of pictures that might look fairly deceiving.


A pile of cormo top for spinning.


Some cormo yarn in the process of being spun.


The body of a cormo sweater.

Oh what progress can a girl make in a day!

Except that these are two different projects. The sweater is already spun Cormo yarn came from a sale at Juniper Moon Farm, while stuff I am spinning was my 2011 spinners share from the same farm. It’s delightful to work with. These two are both my first cormo projects, and I am completely in love with the fiber. It makes me want fleeces.

Well, that’s not new, everything makes me want fleeces. The only reason I don’t have more fleeces is that I don’t have a drum carder, or the patience to use hand cards day in and day out. Otherwise, my apartment would need no furniture because we would just luxuriate on fleeces instead.

mmmm…Sheepy.

Seriuosly though, I just figured out why I don’t spin more. You see, I used to have my wheel set up by my desk. My desk chair was the perfect height for keeping good posture and still spinning for hours. Except I never sit at my desk after dinner unless I have a major deadline. (After dinner is when most of the fiber progress happens around here.) And if I am at my desk facing a deadline, it is not usually spinning related. (To be fair, I have never had a spinning deadline, but I am looking to change all that.) No, after dinner, on any normal night, I am on my seat on the sofa, watching something British on the TeeVee. I can’t spin on the sofa, it’s too low and cushy, which are great qualities, I feel, in a sofa, but not so much for a spinning perch.

So what did I do?

Wait for it….

………

I sat on a pillow. And it was perfect!

I don’t know why it took me two years to think of putting a throw pillow under my bum, but there you go. Now all I want to do after dinner is spin. Of course, I don’t have anything dyed the right color, and dyeing can take days, but I’ve had this cormo share for a year, and it hadn’t told me what color it wanted to be yet, so I hadn’t dyed it, and I have never spun natural white fiber. Saturday I was itching to spin something and I had been working on that oh so cushy sweater, so I grabbed it on a whim and gave it a whirl. It started to speak to me then. This cormo wants to be a thin, dk-ish weight, three ply yarn, but it hasn’t decided on a color yet. I thought I would get bored with spinning the undyed stuff, but it looks so nice on the bobbin, and splitting it into one ounce little chunks makes me feel like I am spinning waaaay faster than I am–and I am having a blast.

Something happens when I start really getting into what I am working on. I start thinking big–huge even. Like, I should start a regular line of handspun yarns. Not like the one I have now, where I hand paint 100g of fiber and then spin it up into a ooak 100g skein. I am talking buying a fleece and spinning that into a whole fleece’s worth of yarn. And then selling that, dyed in upon request. I mean, I’ve already wanted to start processing fleeces and selling hand processed spinning fiber to spinners, and I sell mill-spun yarn to knitters and crocheters, but why not start and line of handspun? From types of wool that aren’t merino? (Nothing wrong w/ merino, most of my mill-spun yarn is merino, it’s just so ubiquitous, and frankly, not my favorite to spin.) And better yet, why not buy from local (meaning midwest–since that’s the region of the country I am from) farmers? Cause then I could help advertise those farms as well?

Sweet.

Let’s do it.

Only problem?

Still don’t have a drum carder. But I’m working on it.

I am still working out the wheres and the whyfores, but this is the sort of business I saw my one-lady yarn dyeing company evolve into eventually–I just forgot about it a little bit over the last two years.

I have been doing a lot of business soul-searching lately–a lot of realizing that I need to put a whole lot more energy into this machine if it’s going to keep on rolling. I am excited to do it, but it’s going to take some time to work out. So don’t expect a bunch of different stuff up tomorrow, but just know, I’m working on it.

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A Little Taste of Shepherding Camp, In Pictures

I made it home from from Shepherding Camp at Juniper Moon Farm last night. I had the best time hanging out with Susan and Zac (Caroline was sick for most of the weekend, but is on the mend) and my fellow campers as we learned about taking care of sheep. I learned to trim hooves, worm, herd, separate flocks, and how to build a fence or two. The best part is, I get to go back in April for shepherding camp 102 when all the ewes we put in with Solomon, this year’s ram, should be in the midst of lambing. SO EXCITING.

Just as an intro, here are a few of the pictures I took while I was there.