Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spun dog hair mittens - Jen

I took a commission from a friend of a friend to make a pair of mittens from hair collected from their dog, a husky. At first it started out as a family joke, as the dog is notorious for shedding, but as they researched the idea, they got more and more excited about pursuing the mittens.

The hair was about 1” long, not long enough for my skill level to spin on its own, so I blended the hair with about 30% wool, but still the batts were just like big balls of fluff. I am still hacking up hairballs!

Spinning was a challenge, I am used to the long fibers of Shetland which spin up nice and consistent and smooth. The hair tended to draft out of the batt in clumps, so the yarn ended up looking like a bulky novelty yarn. Not a bad thing, just not what I’m used to.

Knitting was awesome, since it was a commission, I had the excuse to knit all day on that stormy Friday. Probably will end up being one of my favorite Christmas memories of 2008. Guilt free daytime knitting, catching up on Charlie Rose episodes, watching the snow storm through the window, wearing sweat pants, slugging down hot tea and cookies, catnapping every so often from the exhaustion of non stop knitting…oooh, nirvana!
So here they are, and they were picked up last night. I started spinning on Wednesday, and wove in the final strand on Sunday afternoon. I hope the giftee is happy with them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kiraz morning surf scarf - Jen

I made this scarf from a pattern in Spin off - morning surf. It was really nice to knit, required a little counting, but it went pretty fast. I used Kiraz's wool, and her highlights really stand out with this pattern.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Needlefelted North Pole - Jen

This was inspired by a really cool shop I found on etsy, this lady makes needlefelted playmats and little elves and stuff. Anyways, it started out as just a snowman, but then it got away from me. The squirrel, crow, bunny (in the log) and mouse are loose and can be played with. I think I still want to add a skunk. Most of the wool came from a local farmer that has a dorset cross - lots of mediocre wool, so I cleaned it and carded it, dyed it with cushing dyes for the bright colors. The mouse and crow are from Dahlia who now lives in New Jersey. The squirrel (behind the pole) is from Jasmine, who is in NYC!
I was hoping to post this on etsy, but the boys won't let me, they want to keep it.

I will probably make more of the same idea. Its fun, and reminds me of making paper dolls when I was a kid.
Sorry about the el crapola photo. I need a new camera or something.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wintertime, and its time for fiber - Jen

We are coming to the end of breeding season, the sheep are all healthy, the rams are getting along well, pens are clean, the barn is full of hay and straw. Its winter, and that means its time t0 shift most of my attention to playing with fiber. To that end, I opened an etsy shop, which has been really fun and a nice outlet for my handspun stuff. I recently managed to secure a variety of raw fleeces including more shetland, border leicester, lincoln and corriedale. So will have fun processing those. I've started dyeing a little more, and also experimenting with needlefelting. I have a million ideas for new things to do, am bored with current projects, and am actually happy with a couple of finished items. For example, here is a yarn I just posted on etsy.
I've named the color, "Stepped on a caterpillar". I think the color looks like the goo that comes out of a caterpillar, all swirly and mixed together. The wool was provided by Lilly, this is the last I have of her wool, since she is now thriving with a nice family near Syracuse.

The color mix was arrived at very unintentionally. The story is I was messing around with handpainting, unsuccessfuly attempting a variety of methods I won't bore you with, but never was happy with the results. After about 5 frustrating dye sessions, I decided I am not a handpainter. So I took the whole blob of dyed wool, drum carded it together and produced this lovely hodgepodge of color.

Its a two ply, lighter weight, 13 wpi (that is if I'm measuring correctly) and I ended up with 2 skeins at a total of 320 yards. Easily enough for a hat, or some cozy socks.
For this week I hope to complete some wool I dyed turquoise, scarlet and orchid which I'll be blending and spinning up, a natural lace scarf and some natural shetland roving. I LOVE winter!!!