Saturday, July 19, 2008

Half A Fleece Is Better Than None / Blocking The International Shawl




















When my sister humored me in the 80's and we learned how to spin, our instructor had us spinning "in the grease". I swore then I would not ever spin with unprocessed fiber again and have been happy buying clean and lovely batts, roving, sliver. At least I was happy until I went to Lambtown for the first time in 2007. I was conservative, bought only a precious few ounces of baby alpaca which was very clean and still waiting for a special project to be spun. Then the devil dressed up as Lisa Souza walked up to my sister and me at Lambtown 2008 holding half a Cormo fleece with a staple length that had my jaw dropping. She was there as a civilian, just shopping for the best fiber she could find to feed her own addiction. "Where did you buy that!" I cried, lust in my heart. She pointed to "Cormo Sheep & Wool Farm's" booth where Sue Reuser (I think it was Sue) had beautiful fleeces stacked up so they could be seen, felt, coveted. She remarked how surprised she was that exposure on Ravelry had resulted in so many more people coming to the booth to look and to buy from her. If she only knew! I fondled the fleeces and picked up 3.52 lbs (half a fleece) of a Cormo Ewe with the unfortunate name of "Ho". "I just sold the other half of that fleece." she mentioned, writing up my receipt. "Did you sell it to Lisa Souza?" I asked. "Why yes!" she exclaimed. I should have known. Some of the fiber has a little dirt but I took a lock and washed it and the dirt came right out. I will spin this when I have a few days off in a row. I know just the project for it too :-) As usual, we had to stop at "Carolina Homespun" first where I picked up the yellow merino along with the merino/silk roving so I can ply. I also picked up a braid of chasing rainbow dyeworks "Morning Glory" colorway in a 80/20 merino cashmere and the companion silk in the same colorway to ply with. I also picked up an extra fat core bobbin for the Rose as well as a pretty Rosewood crochet hook. Even though I really don't crochet, I could not help myself. It's handmade and has a beautiful finish. I'm sure I can figure out something to do with it. I then made it over to A Verb for Keeping Warm and bought 6 ounces of Polworth locks that had been dyed in a colorway called"Butterfly Wings". Pretty pastels that I will flick card and spin up, more Indigo dyed BFL and two skeins of alpaca lace weight yarn (1,000 yards each) in "Vermillion" colorway. The tote bag was a bonus if you spent more than $50 at the booth. Not a problem. All told, Lambtown was fun even though there was not much lamb at the food concessions. It's a small show with volunteers trying to put it all together so I'm very grateful for all that effort they put into it. It's worth going as long as you keep your expectations reasonable.
Lastly, I have finally finished the International Shawl and here are the blocking shots. I used superfine alpaca lace to make this so I did not try to put it on the shawl frame since I think this yarn is not strong enough for that type of a blocking. I think it's pretty and will get shots to you all when it's dry. The woman who is getting this has already retired but I showed her the pictures of the shawl in progress. She is a gardener so she was really happy with the flowers, leaves etc. in the shawl.

30 comments:

Laritza said...

The shawl is lovely! congrats! also on the loot wonderful colors.

fleegle said...

Oh, Jane--the shawl is just glorious! I am astounded at your virtuosity. It's just perfect in every way!

Love your rovings too. Yeah, Lisa Souza is kinda evil, or at least my credit card thinks so.

Stephanie said...

Gorgeous haul for the both of you - one of these years I should visit Lambtown!

and that shawl - is absolutely jaw droppingly gorgeous.

Soo said...

The International Shawl is absolutely beautiful. You are so talented.

I'm in awe.

Agneta said...

Your shawl is gourgeous.

z's momma said...

I love your International shawl. It's absolutely gorgeous. And your wonderful fibers from Lambtown--thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Your heart and work shows wonderfully w. the shawl! It's beautiful plus everything already said again. Looks like it wasn't hard at all to buy enough A Verb to get the bag :) I could easily do that too. Must try some of the alpaca lace too. Your post always brings a chuckle and a smile to me - I mean, you have to I guess when you want the fleece named, "Ho" :) Terry

Lankakomero said...

How beautiful shawl! I love the edging!

Judith said...

hi jane -

Sue Reuser grows the *most* beautiful fleeces, but this looks even longer than the one I got some years back - you'll love working with it. And the international shawl is pure loveliness, thanks for the great close-up shots! Quite an inspiration, kudos to you for an excellent job!

BadCatDesigns said...

The International shawl is GORGEOUS!!!!!

LittleBerry said...

the shawl is stunning... all the aptterns works so well together :o))) Your stash enhancement is nice and despite my affliction for not liking pink.. I would gladly relieve you of those 2 hanks of Alpaca laceweight....

Opal said...

Oh the eye candy! It's a good thing I wear my bib when I visit your site. I can see why you gave into the temptation of that which is the Fleece!

Love love love the shawl. Beautiful work as always, Jane.

Vtknitboy said...

i'm a little confused. Are you going to spin that in the grease? you referenced it early in the post. i'd caution against it, as cormo is heavily greasy, and will lose 30-50% of the weight. it's my experience that the finer the wool fiber, the higher the grease, and spinning it lace weight in the grease may result in air pockets when washed (resulting from the grease being washed out).

anywho, i have tons of cormo i bought years ago, and i love it! brilliantly white when washed, super fine and a dream to spin!

nice haul!

Vtknitboy said...

i totally forgot, AMAZING shawl!!

Jane said...

Dear Laritiza,

Thank you! I love this teal color and it's perfect for the person who will receive this shawl. I have one more skein left for myself. I did get lots of loot (not that I lack for much)and I'm spinning a little every day in order to make my way through some of my fiber stash.

Jane said...

Dear fleegle,

I'm so happy you like how it came out :-) I'm pleased that all those lace patterns went so well with each other. I think the center for your version of the shawl is really pretty as well. As for Lisa Souza, I have to say she really is a temptress. Now I have to either clean that fleece or send it out to somewhere like Morro Fleece Works. Thank goodness I have a washing machine!

Jane said...

Dear Stephanie,

I must say it's fun to buy products from local vendors. I hope I can do justice to all that wonderful fiber and yarn. Lambtown is a small fiber event but we always manage to buy a few things LOL!

Jane said...

Dear Soo,

Thank you :-) I'm in awe of your knitting as well. So many of your projects are stunning and you even color knit which I never do.

Jane said...

Dear Agneta,

Thank you! Easy to make a pretty shawl with such great lace patterns to pick from. How can you lose with 4 lace knitters all putting in their two cents?

Jane said...

Dear Z's momma,

So happy you like the shawl! I love showing off all the yarn and fiber as well as my sisters spinning tools on the blog since I know eye-candy is always apprciated :-)

Jane said...

Dear Terry,

Glad to give you a laugh or two. I never have any problem finding something to buy at A Verb for Keeping Warm but my tote bag collection is getting almost as large as my fibe stash LOL. I got the alpaca lace from Verb because the International Shawl is made of alpaca lace and it was really nice to work with and blocked great. Now to find the right pattern for this pink yarn.

Jane said...

Dear lankakomero,

Thank you. I loved the edging until I actually had to knit it. I forgot that the stitches increase substantially to make the leaves. It felt like an eternity just to knit one round! Still, it really is pretty now it's blocked.

Jane said...

Dear Judith,

I must say that it's been forever since I was so tempted by a fleece. I can usually just walk on by them since it's such work to clean them. But Susan's fleece was just too wonderful to pass up. I'm happy you like how the shawl turned out. I have a terrible time trying to photography my knitting but what I lack in skill I make up for in quantity!

Jane said...

Dear badcatdesigns

Thank you! It took me a long time to get it done but I'm very pleased with how it came out and will not be ashamed to give it as a gift :-)

Jane said...

Dear littleberry,

Thank you. I'm sure you understand just how hard my sister and I work at stash "enhancement" LOL. I call it "Fiber Greed" myself. I'm not always in love with pink either, but it does make for pretty lace.

Jane said...

Dear Opal,

Eye candy is the least I can do for you since I've been drooling myself over all the yarn you have been spinning for Tour de Fleece! Glad to bring the pretty with the shawl :-)

Jane said...

Dear vtknitboy,

Never fear! I hate spinning "in the grease" and the stuff never would wash out of the yarn fully. Thank you for the warning since I've never had a Cormo fleece before. I have not decided if I will be the one to prep this fiber or if I wills sent it out. Maybe I could just wash half of it (the cleaner half) and spin from the locks. I think that would be fun and since I usually spin lace weight, I can just card small amounts as I go along.

Jane said...

Dear vtknitboy,

Thank you! I think the Niebling Center really should take the credit though.

Vtknitboy said...

i took a spinning lace and superfine fibers class with margaret stove when she came to the vermont sheep and wool festival about 12 (?) years ago. i learned a lot from her (i already had her "spinning superfine wools" book, and use the basics from the book and class to spin laceweight, and using merino/cormo and other superfines.

if you want to do laceweight you should wash it yourself and flick the locks. spinning off the corner/end of the lock is really fun! you can literally count the fibers as they are going into the twist! one problem with sending off cormo is neps! 1 place i send mine to nepped it (their machines weren't fine enough), the other was fine.

good luck! xo chris

Jane said...

Dear Chris,

How terrific that you were able to take a class from her! I have some dyed polworth locks from A Verb for Keeing Warm. I'm going to practice spinning from them and see how it turns out. If I like it, I will go on and bite the bullet and clean my own fleece. I love this fleece way too much to want to end up with nepps.