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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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Drive By Update

1. I just did an impromptu giveaway on facebook. It was quick and fun, and I will definitely do it again. Winners will be announced tomorrow, and everyone that participated will get a 10% off coupon for the shop.

2. It has been a long and stressful few weeks as Brock tries to find a job. I am trying to hold it together, but just keep researching magic instead of working on Tiny Dino Studios, because one day I will actually write a young adult fantasy novel.

3. The first issue of ply magazine debuted and it is gorgeous. The first article on the first spinners made me want to go back to school and do the Textiles BFA at KU with a minor in History. Someday, I will do this.

4. Since Brock is unemployed, but brilliant, he is making a video game. I might be fantasizing about it having Minecraft-type success and becoming a full-time student/mom who couldn’t give a damn about money. In these fantasies, I am also, thinner, taller, blonde, and wearing a baby on my back as I work on the looms in the art building and walk around campus.

5. Despite the above despairing, I have been dyeing, and I have updated my shop accordingly.

6. I have also been spinning some really dreamy alpaca, pictured below. I don’t even hesitate to link you to Marcia’s shop because her stuff is so brilliant. (Most alpaca breeders go for density and then fineness. Marcia just breeds for fineness, and let me tell you what I am spinning is like buttah.)

Available for purchase here. Let Marcia know I sent you.

And here’s what just went up for sale in my shop, if you can pull yourself away from the Alpaca.

magic moss2

morning rainbow



sea glass tunis

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I am swatching for a belated birthday gifts. I just bought buttons for it this evening. The buttons are great, the buying buttons at Joanns was not a pleasant experience. It reinforced my dire longing to have a really good local yarn / craft shop so that I never have to ever enter Joanns again.

Alpaca yarn I finished spinning yesterday. 7 oz / 200g of blacker than black DK weight yarn. What should I do with it?

I finished my Ginny Weasley socks! I love them.

I have about 1000 projects I would like be working on, but these are my priorities right now. What are you working on?

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I finally stopped to take some photographs of all the fiber processing I’ve been doing.

Alpaca first, since I’ve been talking about it so long.

This stuff is so fine, it’s difficult to photograph it in focus!

While the alpaca was fun, the Romney has been enlightening. I have never carded a fiber with so long a staple length. The result is HUGE rolags and increased muscle definition in my arms.

I think they’re gorgeous, and I’m saving 2 oz. to spin myself. The rest, however, you can find for sale at the etsy shop if you need to have a bit for yourself as well.

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All I have been doing is spinning and processing fiber. So here’s a photograph of a half filled bobbin on my wheel. I have about 3 times this much spun and am about 2/3 way done.

I am *this* close to being done with carding the dark alpaca. I have about 6 oz. of rolags. (Which may or may not be for sale. . .I have decided yet. It’s very fine fiber, and has trapped some veg matter in there. Then again, could easily come out while spinning. I don’t mind it, but I know some folks get very antsy when they are reminded that their fiber used to live outside and get dirty. Anyone have an opinion?)

In other news, it has been cloudy and rainy here for three days now and I miss the sun. That’s not going to stop me from getting outside for at least an hour today, but just in case anyone who has control over that sort of thing is reading, a little sunshine wouldn’t hurt.

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Wednesdays are for Dyeing

This morning I am firing up the dye pots. I was nearly out of yarn to dye last week, and yesterday 5 kilos of yarn in all weights arrived, begging to be made all pretty. Worst of all, I was completely out of sock yarn to dye. I feel positively naked without any sock yarn to mess about with. And now I have 2 kilos of it!

To start with, I am tackling some a couple special orders that were placed over the weekend. One of them, I am excited to say, is to dye yarn so a local knitter can start her very own big d-mn pineapple! (I cannot wait to see this finished product, though not sure I am willing to tackle it myself.) The other is some more lace weight in my new favorite colorway.

I called it gunmetal originally, but in the right light there’s just a hint of green. With this color, I have enabled two of my local knitter friend to start their own lace shawls. Alas, mine have fallen by the wayside due to farmer’s market prep, but are not forgotten.

Speaking of which, there is a new fingerless mitt pattern in the works! However, my knitting mojo seems to have finally given way to desire to spin a little bit. I have a whole crate of fawn alpaca fluff which I carded yesterday, which I am hoping to spin today. Then perhaps I will get sucked into a spinning time-warp and have time to card the brown alpaca as well. It is a challenge to which I will gladly rise.

What are you looking forward to today?

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Processing Alpaca

I bought a few ounces of alpaca fleece from a local alpaca producer a few months ago. Marcia, of Alpacas at Orchard Hill Farm has really lovely fiber. It’s soft and strong, and very fine. I don’t know if Alpaca is classified like Mohair, where “kid mohair” is a grade of fine quality no matter how old the goat is, but if it is, I would say Marcia’s sells “baby Alpaca” (Even what she calls course our local spinning group agrees is not really so course as far as wool goes.)

It has taken me some time to pick (opens the locks and help dispense with veg matter) and wash the fleece, (easier than with sheep’s wool because of lack of lanolin) but yesterday, I finally finished washing it out.

I have just about 6 oz of a dark reddish brown.

and 3-4 oz of a nice fawn.

Since space is a huge issue in my house, I have been laying the locks out on towels as I clean them, that way, I can roll the towel up and throw it in the closet when I need my kitchen back. (Because the only place to put down the towels is on the kitchen floor–and if you’ve seen my kitchen, you know that one bath towel just about takes over.)

Since I needed my kitchen to cook dinner last night, I rolled the towels up together and tucked the alpaca roll in the bedroom (in front of a window). This morning, the alpaca was still just a little bit damp, so I set it out in front of the plant window to finish drying. If there weren’t nesting birds fluttering around my balcony, I would set it outside directly in the sun, but the finches and swallows are back for the spring, and if I set this fiber outside there would end up being a lot of really cozy nests and no fiber for me.

The plan for this afternoon is card as much of both colors as I can and then spin like mad. I have even been playing around blending the two colors together on my hackle, but haven’t decided yet. For now, I will just appreciate my alpaca pile.

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Hand-Spun FO

And finally, we have the fruits of this weekend’s labours. A soft, slightly slubby 2-ply, sport weight yarn. One ply is alapaca, silk, merino, and first which I blended on my hackle, and the other ply is alternating green and pink hand dyed silk.

It sparkly and shiny and drapey

And exactly what I had hoped for.


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Winter WoolFest 2012

Just thought I would nip in real quick and let everyone know that I will be one of the Vendors at Winter WoolFest 2012 in Wamego, KS. I will have everything you see listed in my shop, and hopefully a few extra special items that I will have time to make once the Christmas knitting is over.

I am also teaching the Cottage Knitting class, so if you want to learn more about lever knitting, I am your gal.

And, a sneak peak at what I have been up to with my silk.

There is a couple handfuls of the cocoons dyed to match some alpaca roving. This has since been blended on my hackle and spun. I will ply tomorrow and show off the finished product then. (You know, something to look forward to.)

I am off to nurse my silk blisters and work on my gifts. (The gift knitting will end someday, I promise.)

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Silk for Christmas

I received a very generous, very luxurious early Christmas present on Sunday.

A baggie full of silk! Pictured above is a stack of silk hankies (mawata). I haven’t weighted it, but I believe it’s about 40g or so–or a projects worth.

It’s all undyed. I haven’t quite figured out how I might like to dye it just yet. Probably because it’s so much fun to just look at and play with. I couldn’t keep myself from drafting a layer or two.

I now realize that undyed silk is difficult to photograph, but if nothing else, you can see the difference in texture between the the drafted hankie and the flattened one. If the sparkle isn’t hurting your eyes, that is.

Even better than the hankies though is the clump of cocoons.

Tiny bundles of miles and miles of silk, ready to be thrown in the dye pot by the handful.

Then blended wit some alpaca on my hackle.

Thank you C for the lovely gift!