What I Got


Another Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival has come and gone. This year, the weather could not have been more perfect. It was just cool enough for those that wanted to wear the sweaters and shawls that they had knit could do so without dying from heatstroke, and it was sunny the entire weekend. People thought I was a little underdressed (I was in t-shirt and shorts), but I work in a freezer-like environment, so my personal thermostat is a bit off at this point.

While I still got plenty of fiber this year, it is nowhere near the amount that I have purchased in past years. This is mainly due to not having gotten to working with what I have purchased in past years, and I didn’t see a point in just adding to the queue if I didn’t already have a project in mind for it, or if I already had something extremely similar waiting for me at home. So I did not get a fleece this year, nor did I get any large bumps of Romney and mohair.

That is not to say that I came home empty handed.


On Saturday, my first purchases was at Kimber’s Fiber Optic booth. She has started applying her gradients to yarn as Paintbox Gradients, and she had those that she has already released at the booth. I picked up Bitter Lime to Rose and Copper to Verdigris on Kashmir sock yarn. Each little skein is 30 yards, for a total of 450 yards for each colorway.


I then stopped by Jennifer’s Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth for yarn to make a cardigan. As I already mentioned, I work in a freezer-like environment, so I have decided that I am going to make myself a cardigan to wear at work. This yarn is Brigantia, a DK weight that is 85% Polwarth wool and 15% silk. The skeins are arranged as shown because I am planning on a stripe across the chest. I am going to be using one of Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Book of Handy… patterns for the cardigan, though I have not entirely decided which one.


On Sunday, I went back to Fiber Optic to pick up Bitter Lime to Rose in the merino/silk to spin. For some reason, I always miss this on the pre-orders, so I picked it up at the festival, since it has all of my favorite colors in one place!


I also picked up a bullseye bump from Loop. The colorway is Sand Dollar, and the fiber is merino, tussah silk, and bamboo. I have seen these around for awhile and always wanted to try one. I currently have it on the wheel, and will give you a report on it later.

Finally, on Sunday, I picked up my entries.


The shawl got a first place, though it was moved from shawl to scarf, which is fine by me.


And my blanket, that has been a poorly kept secret, also got a first in its category: blankets made with at least 50% wool. I will tell you more about this next time.

Copyright 2013 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

Yesterday’s Songs


I was starting to put this entry together and was thinking about what I was going to say about the final product, when I realized that I have really gotten behind on showing things here and never showed the yarn that I used for it.


This is yarn that I spun a little over a year ago from two different colorways of BFL from Dragonfly Fibers. I got them when Kate had a trunk show at Cloverhill. The colorways are Cherry on Top and Ode to Sock Summit. I spun up each colorway and plied the two together. I figured that there was enough common between the two colorways that it would all work out.

I originally spun this yarn to make something for someone else. But we always think we have more time for things than we actually have, and I only got as far as the yarn.

Lately, I have been on a kick to use my handspun, so, with a year passing, I figured it was time to make something with this yarn to see how it all work together. I decided to make a small, simple shawl, which is what I had originally planned because with all of the color going on in the yarn, any kind of fancy stitch pattern or tricky design would fight with the yarn.


I really like how it all came out. The colors worked out well together. While working this shawl, I really enjoyed seeing the color combinations go by.


I gave this shawl to a friend of mine that just finished up her chemo treatments. She was surprised to say the least, and very thankful.

Copyright 2013 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.

Wave on Wave


You may remember this handspun from a while ago.


The fiber is superwash merino and bamboo from Fiber Optic. When I saw it, it reminded me of water, which made me think of my sister, as she and her family like going “downy oshun”. (No, they do not talk like that.)

With that in mind, I went looking for a shawl or shawlette pattern that work with the yarn. I found the Sally Rand pattern on Twist Collective. Feather and fan is one of my favorite patterns for variegated yarn because curves made by the stitch pattern gives such movement to the colors. It all made me think waves crashing on the beach. I thought it would make a good birthday gift for my sister.


I didn’t do the full shawl because I didn’t have enough yarn for that, but it should be good as a shawlette. The bamboo in the yarn gives it a nice drape. I am pretty happy with how it came out.

Copyright 2013 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.

Wrap Her Up


Well, the temperatures have dropped here; and I have finished Mr. Penney’s Christmas present just in time for him to use it! Now, don’t get too excited. It’s his Christmas present from last year. (In my defense, he was given the option of a scarf from yarn that was already spun, or from fiber that had yet to be spun. He chose the fiber that had yet to be spun.)


I have been working on this for quite a while. So long, in fact, that members of the knitting group that I go to would go, “You are still working on that?” when I would pull my knitting out. My initial intention when spinning was for a yarn that was a sport weight, but I wound up spinning a light fingering weight. This meant a long time spinning and a long time knitting; but it all turned out well, so it was worth it.


The yarn is spun from a 80% merino/20% cashmere blend from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, and is a chain-ply. I used about 7 of the 8 ounces that I spun for this scarf. The stitch pattern is the pennant stitch, and it gives kind of an accordian effect long the width of the scarf, forming natural pleats. Now, Mr. Penney can be warm and toasty.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

It’s Time


So this summer, I spun up some superwash merino/bamboo roving that I purchased from Kimber of Fiber Optic Yarns at this year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

And earlier this month, I teased you with the start of what it was to become.

Well, it is done. And it could be yours. Mr. Penney was gracious enough to model it for photos.

How can it be yours? For every $5 in sponsorship of me in the Race for the Cure, you get a ticket in the raffle for this shawl. The race is October 21, and the drawing for the shawl will be October 28 at 8PM Eastern time.

But the shawl isn’t the only thing up for grabs. A one-hour massage from New Horizons Massage will also be raffled off. How great is that!

This year’s race is very special to me. Thank you in advance for your support.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

Pretty in Pink


Well, my niece, Colleen, is expecting a little girl (really soon!)

I don’t think anyone ever doubted that I would make her something. Because, well, really, must I explain?

The pattern for this matinee jacket is from a Hayfield pattern book from years ago. I am pretty sure that the pattern book is not available new anymore. The yarn is Kate’s Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock in the Conch Shell colorway. It knit up pretty quickly.

Of course, when I order something that is pink (or any light color), people that I normally purchase fiber from know that something is up. Go ahead, look back at my projects. I’ll wait.

See, I normally pick darker colors. So, yeah, when you see me making something in a color like pink you know it’s not something I am making for myself.

Yes, it’s about that time.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

Where Have You Been


Well, I didn’t post for the whole month of July. Wish that I had a good excuse for that, but I don’t. True, there are things that I am working on that I can’t show to the world just yet, (and to those of you who know what they are: Hush! Don’t spoil the surprise.) but I still have plenty that I can share with you.

I have been busy with spinning. Kimber had a spin-along on Ravelry to get through your stash. I finished my spinning for that a month after the spin-along was over. Oh well. The fiber is her merino/silk pencil roving in the Black Coffee colorway.

If you’ll notice, one of the skeins looks a little “funkier” than the others. That is the skein I tried to ply before MDSW. But in my haste, I plied the entire thing IN THE WRONG FREAKIN’ DIRECTION! Yeah, that’s not good. So I had to undo that and ply it in the correct direction. Fortunately, that only happened with the one skein. Here is what the big, good skein looks like close-up.

I figure I will weave a scarf with it, in time. I was surprised at how thin I managed to spin it, so I got good yardage. That big skein that I did right is over 600 yards, alone.

At MDSW, I got a couple things from Kimber that I am working. One is a drop spindle.

This occasionally happens to me. I see the pretty woods of all of the drop spindles and think, “Why don’t I drop spindle that often? It is so portable and those spindles are so beautiful.” Well, I will tell you why I don’t drop spindle that often. I am painfully slow at it. The fiber that I am spinning here is Kimber’s merino/silk/yak roving in Jolly Old Elf colorway that I got last Christmas. I am not sure how much longer this project will stay on the spindle. Fortunately, no one is waiting on it, unlike this one.

I recently finished Navajo plying that yarn for Mr. Penney’s scarf, and this knitting that you see is my trying to find the right needle size for knitting the scarf. The fiber is from Spirit Trail Fiberworks fiber club from last year. It is 80% merino and 20% cashmere, so it is plenty soft and is great for a next-to-the-skin garment like this. Hopefully, I will have it finished before winter comes so that he can use it!

Finally, it is getting to be that time again.

I just finished plying this fiber that I got this year at MDSW from Kimber. It is superwash merino and bamboo in her Raspberry to Cream gradient colorway. I separated the colors in the colorway so that I have distinct yarns to weave a shawl with. Now to figure out the weave and color order for the shawl.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.

I Can See Clearly Now


As you know, back at the end of March, beginning of April, I took the Color Interaction for Handweavers workshop by Su Butler. I have to say, for me, it is the best workshop that I have ever taken. Or could have taken.

I have always felt that my use of color was the weakest part of my weaving, and the problem was that I didn’t know what to do to make it any better. I read through countless books on color theory with no luck. It was all, “Yeah, I know what the color wheel is and what the complementary colors are and the like, but how is that helping me?” Well, in this class, I was forced to sit down and work through exercises and think of color in terms of value rather than hue. (You will have to read up on color theory to see what I am talking about. Or take Su’s class!)

I think one of the big things that made everything start to come together for me is that I was using yarn for most of the exercises. In further reading that I have been doing since the workshop (Betty Edwards’ Color), I have learned that using the medium that I work in, yarn and fiber, rather than color chips and the like, may have been what pushed me over the edge in figuring out what’s what with color.

Now, why do I bring all of this up to talk about the scarf? Well, I was about to start winding the warp for the scarf when taking the workshop, with these two yarns that I spun a couple years ago from Fiber Optic’s faux batiks.

With the workshop, we got a red piece of plexiglass that we used to determine the values of colors. When I used it to get the values of these yarns, I found out that they were virtually the same value! This was going to be a problem, as the weave structure that I was planning on using would mean that the two colors were going to blend together into a single combination that was not what I was going for. Since I wanted to use these yarns to make the scarf and didn’t have time to spin a new yarn, I had to change the weave structure to something that would not have the colors blend as much. So, this is the weave structure that I changed to.

One thing about this weave structure is that it is also used for collapsed weave, and with fulling of the scarf, that is exactly what happened. I was doing a good bit of pulling with the scarf still wet, otherwise the scarf would have been only about two inches wide, rather than just over six inches. And once dry, I did a fair bit of steaming of the scarf to flatten it out a bit more. All of this resulted in what you see below.

As much as I like the “front” side,

I like the other side better, because it shows off the change in value of the green yarn.

Soon, I will start a project that uses all that I learned in that workshop, but just with what I was able to do with this scarf, I am extremely happy with what I got from the workshop.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.