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.

Happy Sister at Lambtown 2008 (Different strokes for different folks)

I have a sister who taught me to knit. Her name is May. She can knit lace but does not really enjoy it. She can spin on a wheel but prefers spindles most of the time. She likes nice tools and a Happy Sister is a good thing if you live together and are both menopausal. We both went to Lambtown this weekend and made ourselves very very happy! Please see above yarn my sister bought there. The orange skein on the far left is 100% superwas merino from "A Verb for Keeping Warm" and is called "Sticky Monkey Flower". This is to be a baby sweater for one of our nieces who is expecting. The other two skeins are 60% linen and 40% SW merino in Hollyhock and Jade, also from Verb. She is thinking of making market bags. Clearly, no lace involved here but great projects none the less. Below the yarn you have a Kate made by Will Taylor May got at Carolina Homespun. We have a few Lazy Kate's but this one has clean lines, is compact and really appealed to her. Next are three spindles that my sister picked up, again at Carolina Homespun. She has a "thing" for Ken Ledbetter spindles and the first one has a Wengi finial Bubinga whorl, Maple shaft and a vintage button in the center. The second has a Purple heart finial, Maple Whorl, Purple Heart shaft , Mother of Pearl inlay and a vintage button center. Just below those is a Jenkins Turkish spindle of unknown wood type (no tag). What of the last two spindles you ask? These were not obtained at Lambtown. A few years ago my sister bought a Majacraft Rose wheel at the same time I bought a Lendrum. We have discovered over time that I prefer her Rose and she prefers my Lendrum. She swapped wheels with me and I decided to buy her a few spindles as a "Thank You" as her Rose was more costly than the Lendrum. Breaking away from the "Ken Ledbetter Obsession" my sister has, I picked up two Tom Forrester Spindles for her. The one with the trees is referred to as a "Pyro" because he burns the designs into it and is called "Orchard". The Whorl is Black Walnut and the shaft is Santa Maria. The second is a "Dervish" and I can't remember the wood. Both spin great and will keep my sister busy for a long time to come. I will get my own stuff in order and post my haul later :-)