Monday, June 27, 2011

New Pelerine. And spinning cotton. And gourds.

It occurred to me as I sat in my pelerine by the fire outside, I need another one.  A more colorful one to wear in my "real" life.  So I started to search through the stash.  At first, I thought I would use some of my handspun and vary the colors between yellow, reds, purples, etc.  in the rows.  Then I saw some yarn I dyed last year.  I bought four skeins of undyed yarn from Powell Sheep Ranch in Ramona.  Loraine had it mill spun into a worsted weight yarn, and I dyed 3 of the four skeins.  I was not in love with the way they turned out, so I stuck them back in the stash to ferment.  Now, they seemed perfect for the pelerine. And when I turned them into balls and started knitting - just what I wanted!

I started with the most purple and will then go to the one with some purple and red, and end with the blue.  Below the started project are my written notes on the knitting, which I am amending constantly.

OK, what else did I do this weekend?  After FINALLY watching Stephenie Gaustad's video on Spinning Cotton, I pulled out my cotton sliver and tried it on flyer wheels.  The Elizabeth 2 was too grabby.  I went to the Matchless, put it on the smallest pulley, and reduced the brake to zero.  Stephenie recommends using a double drive set up but being lazy I did not.  After a couple of tries, I came up with an OK yarn.

The lumpy bits on the left are actually the fat leader yarn.  The right is what I was down to.  Definitely need more practice, but I am getting there!

What else?  Well I added a collar to my costume in honor of the Fourth of July in Old Town.

Festive.  I also hope to be wearing my new straw bonnet, courtesy of Carol Haven at JustTwoTailors.  What a nice lady!  I also ordered a hat for my spouse to wear.

What else?  Oh yes, I have my first gourd on the plant.  Future rattle.  Although I have grown plenty of gourds, none are the perfect rattle.  I am ever hopeful.  As I am of completing my monograph.

Enjoy the week, stay calm, and carry on.  Read the latest edition of American Scientist if you want some perspective on Life on Earth.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pelerine Done, Old Town San Diego SHP Spinning Day

I finished the pelerine in time to wear it to Old Town today.  June can be very cool near the coast, although today was warmer than I had expected.  I cast off last night, having finished the knitting while we were enjoying an outdoor fire in our firepit.  I blocked it this morning, and sewed on the buttons.

Looks a little like a Bertha collar!  I already have some ideas about a more colorful looking one from my dyed fibers.  Things seemed a bit slower in Old Town today.  Still plenty of tourists, but we did not get the huge mobs we have seen in past months.  One Sleeping Beauty question.

This was about the average crowd.  Frances has her beautiful quilt blocks on a felt board, at the back of the photo.  Rachel is spinning some of her hand-dyed fiber.  Nicole was there but she must have gone somewhere briefly; I think this is when she went to get her day cap and bonnet.  We are looking forward to spinning on the Fourth of July.  By the way, Nicole, I never got over to the Cosmo to look at the plaques.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dye Day

Sunday, I dyed.  I dyed all the extra white fiber that I received as a member of the spinning class.  Most importantly, I washed and dyed some fleece that Margaret gave a few of us on Wednesday.  On Saturday, I washed the fleece.  Then the fleece dried overnight.  I ended up with a laundry basket of clean fleece.

Nice.  A few dirty ends, and some short cuts, but nice.  I then ran the lot through my Patrick Green drum carder.  The result: three white batts.  In the meantime, I was dyeing some random pieces of top and one strip of roving, in the usual way.  Nothing to report.  But the batts: I had never dyed batts before.  I chose the turkey pan method, and applied color.

That's three normal sized batts, squooze down into the pan.  It sat in the sun for a while.  Then onto the hot plate for a cook.

Looking good.  But will it felt?  I let it cool of its own free will while I took care of the top and roving.  By mid afternoon, I had my batch out to dry in the shade.

I was pretty happy with the results.  The three batts looked interesting.  Some of the darker color pooled in the bottom of the pan.  But very little color ran out of the bath.  I chose blues for dyeing since it was good blue color weather: cool and overcast clearing late, but not too hot.  The fibers are not dry yet, but should be good to go by Wednesday.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Knit in Public

Today is the start of Worldwide Knit in Public Day.  I took the Pelerine to a coffee place in North Park and worked on it while discussing the events of the day with friends.  Normally I don't knit in public because I am very self conscious about it.  But no one stared!  I feel empowered. 

One friend brought some Lucky Bamboo plants.  I've never grown one of these before.  She also brought her somewhat-new baby, who is now 7 months old.  What a beautiful, happy child.  I think she was fascinated by the knitting and will turn out to be an expert, based on her deep interest in what I was doing.

In the bottom picture, you can almost see that there is a man sitting outside with a macaw on his shoulder.  You could tell they are best buddies, because the man had bird stuff all over his back.  

We went to the opening of the Modern Day Mummy exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Man last night.  It was very well attended and coincides with the Mummy Congress, which will be held next week at USD.  This is the first time the Mummy Congress has been in the US, so it is quite an honor for San Diego.  The exhibit features Mumab, a modern day mummy on loan to the Museum.  Mumab was created from the body of a 70-year-old man who donated his body to science.  Experts used traditional methods and materials to transform him into a mummy.  We watched a video of the process.  Note the fiber connection: mummies are wrapped in cloth that has been saturated with preservative oils.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Spring Color

A hike in our local Cuyamaca Rancho State Park has inspired me to consider color and how our senses  contribute to our feeling of place and time.  Hiking in the park last week, the ceanothus was in bloom; it is called California Lilac for a good reason, and for the several hours of the hike we were surrounded by the fragrant white flowers on both sides of the trail.

The petals of the white flowers were in our hats, clothes, and shoes.   This area burned 7 years ago and the ceanothus has come back vigorously.  You can see the burned trunks of pine trees in the photo.  But the oaks trees are coming back.

Fresh oak leaves are sprouting from new growth at the base of the burned trees.  Although the pine trees won't regrow, the oaks are made of sturdier stuff and root sprout.  Look at the gentle blending of color in these brand-new leaves.  White lilac flowers, rosy-purple new growth, fresh green, and tan to brown.  Great inspiration for a dye day.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mitts are Done, Pelerine Started

The Latvian mitts are done.  The second mitt knit up very quickly, lots of ends to weave in but it blocked out nicely.  In fact, I was wearing these a second ago since we are now in June Gloom here in SD.  I even remembered to make the same mistakes (Design Choices) on the second mitt!

I finally started the pelerine, or short cape, yesterday.  It took me a while to decide on the neck treatment.  I went with a single rolled neck.  I wanted a firm edge.  I am madly increasing every other row.  I just added the first button hole last night; I will include at least 2 buttons to hold the thing closed in front.

This is the Alpaca-Wool blend yarn from Yolo Wool Mill.  I have four 200 yard skeins in 4 natural colors (see previous blog for photo of skeins).