Monday, October 31, 2016

Mid-Life Renaissance

A lovely friend of mine who also turned 40 this year coined a wonderful new term: Mid-Life Renaissance.
Her choice of Renaissance was to learn the cello. She had always wanted to do it, and now she is.
I so admire her for going out and doing something completely new and exciting.
I posted the other day about starting to spin yarn.
It occurred to me that this is my own Mid-Life Renaissance.
It's been in the back of my mind to learn about yarn production since I was 7 years old.
The process has fascinated me since we had a spinner visit our 3rd grade class.
Saturday night I finished up spinning the last of my practice fiber and Sunday I knitted this hat from my own handspun. The yarn is pretty inconsistent, as you can see, but it felt pretty awesome to be involved in (almost) every aspect of the production of a garment.
My mom has a friend who keeps sheep and I casually asked if she had any fleece hanging around. She gave me 6! and I have been studying the youtubes for information about how to actually do something with them.
One tutorial that inspired me was this one. The table with mesh to let the schmutz fall through seemed like something I could whip up using what I had on hand.
So I started with this IKEA table that we bought a few summers ago and is a little the worse for wear.
This table has leaves that you can add on the sides, and the supports slide in under the slats, so I cut away all but those.

I had this mesh in my stash from an aborted garden fencing project and it was exactly the dimension of the space in the table.
My mom is all in on the sheep situation, and she helped me staple the mesh over the large openings and we framed in the top to cover the cut edges, and also to contain the fleece somewhat.
There is a lot of literal and figurative sh*t on a farm-dwelling animal, so the gloves were a necessity
So far we have washed one fleece (relying heavily on this video and this one too) and skirted (pull off the poo parts) two more.
One video recommended that you add lavender to deter the critters, and I happened to have some in my garden patch right next to the table, so we threw some in for good measure.
I am truly excited about my Mid-Life Renaissance, and I can't wait to see where it takes me.
Next year I have to start a dyeing garden! Coreopsis! Marigolds! Hollyhock! Rhubarb! So exciting!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Knitting and Yarn

When I was in third grade a spinner visited our class at school. She brought carding combs and a spinning wheel and showed us how to process the fleece and how to spin.
I was fascinated, and my whole life I have been waiting for the time when I could afford my own wheel and learn to spin.
A couple of weeks ago I found what may have been a decorative spinning wheel at a yard sale,
though I think I may be able to make it work. I posted about it on the facebook and a delightful former co-worker was amazing enough to lend me a spinning wheel that actually works

and since then I have been working on my spinning technique. It's not too easy, but I am loving it.
She also let me raid her fiber stash and gave me almost a pound and a half of roving.
I love it so much, I think I will try to make a sweater from it. I have to keep practicing on something not so gorgeous as this Blue-faced Leister silk blend before I attempt it, so first I practiced on some fleece from my farmer friend (Lydia's Flock on instagram)

The yarn is pretty inconsistent,
but I was able to knit from it. In fact I made an ear warmer from a three ply bulky.
(Someday, in the future, I will learn to take not silly selfies...)
In other non-spinning and yet still knitting news, I have almost finished my first sleeve on my Twig and Willow sweater.
I finished up the body a few days ago and found some perfect buttons in my stash.
What's on your creative plate lately?
Joining Nicole for KCCO

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Snapshots on a Tuesday Night

Tea and cookies for Colbert-watching

Knitting away on a new sweater.

Great score at a garage sale this week.

After some small repairs I think it might actually spin some yarn.

These things are distracting me from the big project of the week: removing the old grubby carpet from our stairs.
It's been slow-going. Each stair takes about 30 minutes because I have no experience or skills.

Hopefully I will finish in the next few weeks.
Maybe I need to have a carpet-pulling-up bee.