Category Archives: Before
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
Well, another Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (or as Mr. Penney likes to refer to it, “My Christmas”) has come and gone. I helped with the set up of the skein and garment competition again this year. It seems to be taking them longer and longer to get the judging done, which means setting up the show is starting later and later.
Mr. Penney went with me the first day. What was only supposed to be two hour turned out to be four hours, but Mr. Penney was a trooper and even carried my bag! I did get to see a lot of people that day, including Roseann!
Here is the first day’s loot.
Not too bad, huh? Well, I did go back Sunday to see the vendors that were just too busy on Saturday to even make it into their booths and also to get my entry from the skein and garment competition. Well, restraint kind of went out the door.
Yeah, I am kind of stocked for a while (like I wasn’t before).
BTW, my entry in the skein and garment competition got a first place. My class was handspun and handwoven blankets, afghans, shawls, and scarves. I didn’t get a good picture of it in the competition, but here it is resting comfortably in my chair.
Next time, I will got into how I made it and how the color interaction class that I took with Su Butler affected it.
Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com
The shawl hasn’t been the only thing that I have been on these last couple months. I have briefly stopped work on the vest to start a sweater from the same book
The pattern is Ansley from the Jane Ellison Queensland Collection. The yarn that I am using is Mas Acero from Brooks Farm that I got this past spring and MDSW. One thing that I did not pick up on with the yarn until now is that the shade changes from one end of the skein to the other. I am not so sure I like that. But I will keep going with it, doing the sleeves next, and if need be, ripping out the back and reknitting it so that the color progression matches the rest of the sweater.
And now that the bobbins are free from the shawl yarn, I can do some more spinning again.
I finally plied up the silk/camel in Titania from Dragonfly Fibers. I just have two more two ounce braids to spin up in the Bad Moon Rising colorway, and all of this silk and camel will be ready to go on the loom.
And as a little treat for both me and a friend, I spun up this.
This is Siren Song UNSPUN! in the Equinox colorway from Fiber Optic. Being a pencil roving, it spun up really fast. It was the first time spinning this particular roving from Kimber, and once fulled, it was extremely soft. I just gave it to a friend of mine last night as a gift. She has just learned to knit lace, so maybe this will find its way into a shawl or something.
Kimber is also having a gradient spin-along on Ravelry. This is the gradient that I am spinning.
It is the olive to slate gradient. I will let you how I am spinning it the next time. Warning, it may seem like crime what I have done with it….
Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com.
Woohoo! Socks are done.
The toe and the heel of these socks are from Charlene Schurch class I took back at the MDSW. For the toe, I used Becker’s magic cast on, rather than knitting a rectangle as the basis for the toe. I think I am going back to the rectangle method, as the magic cast on gives two little points on the toe when the sock is actually on the hoof. For the heel, it is a matter of increasing a number of stitches, than knitting a trapezoid for the bottom heel, followed by picking up stitches along the sides of the trapezoid and gradually knitting in the increased stitches into the back of the heel. That works pretty well, so I may be doing that again.
Not that I waited to be done the socks to start this, but last month I was spinning up July’s shipment from Spirit Trail Fiberworks‘ club.
It is superwash BFL that I spun up as a single at around 24 epi. When I saw a notice on ravelry that she had more of the roving available, I contacted her (during Irene, no less) and snapped up the rest of it. Once it arrived, I spun that up to match the initial shipment so that I had a total of 18.6 ounces of singles.
With that much of one yarn, a woven shawl sounded like a good idea, so the last 10.6 ounces spun got wound into a warp, and the warp is currently being put on the loom.
The yarn is kind of kinky right now, which is making it a bit of a pain sleying the reed, but it is not too big of a deal. I think I might add a dummy warp to the end of all of these warp ends so that I can use as much of the warp as possible.
Who am I weaving this shawl for? More about that later.
Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com
Color My World
While I loved working with the natural gray of the blanket, it was time for some color after completing it. Luckily, it was also time to finish up another project.
My YMCA socks are done. These socks are nice and comfortable and fit well. As an added bonus, the colors didn’t pool or form any noticeable pattern that I could distinguish. Cheers all around!
With YMCA done, I permitted myself to start a new pair of socks.
This is a slip stitch plait pattern that I got out of one of my stitch dictionaries. Part of the pattern is to drop the stitch that has been slipped for a couple rounds while working other stitches before picking it back up to knit it so that the whole pattern looks like a cabled pattern. It was felt odd to purposefully drop a stitch, but it all works out ok because the stitch originates a couple rounds below the round that is being work, so the dropped stitch does not get pulled or anything that would cause a run of dropped stitches. (I hope that all made sense, because I can’t think of another way to describe it.)
The yarn is Sanguine Gryphon’s Bugga that I got at MDSW. It is possibly the softest sock yarn that I have ever felt. No wonder people go on about it like they do.
While we are on green projects, I am trying to get myself back to weaving on my smaller loom.
This is Atropos from Spirit Trail Fiberworks that I got as MDSW a few years ago. I starting putting this warp on the loom a while ago, but let it drift off because warping this loom became a pain, literally. Now that I know that I can use the stepstool to sit on while threading heddles, I hope to get back to it this weekend, as this project has been mocking me every time that I go down into the basement. Just mock mock mock. We shall see who has the last laugh.
There has been spinning as well. Over Memorial day weekend, I did quite a bit of spinning.
The blue at the top is more of the merino/bamboo from Fiber Optic, while the bobbins below it are each two ounces of the BFL/silk in the Espresso-Crimson-Gold gradient that I got from Fiber Optic at MDSW. There will be a good bit of plying action that will be happening soon (mostly to free up bobbins for continued spinning).
On the future spinning front is this.
Back in April was the weaving guild’s auction, and I was lucky enough to get the day with the guild’s dyeing study group. The day was back in May, and I dyed this cashmere and silk blend that I had along with a yak and merino blend that is not seen here. I steamed the rovings the following weekend, and despite my best attempts to ruin everything (the plastic wrapped “burrito” actually fell into the water and boiled away for a while), it all came out great. There are places where I didn’t apply enough dye, but I figure those will work out somehow when I spin it all up.
So, is that enough color for you?
Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com
Ah yes. Another year, another Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. What a time. The day before the festival, I helped one of the vendors, Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks, set up her booth. She had an armada of helpers, most of whom I recognized from years past when visiting her booth. Myself and one other person were the new faces.
Set up only took a three hours, and we were done. She had things pretty well organized, as expected for doing this festival and a number of others for a few years now. As a thank you, I got a little something-something, which you will see later when I show my haul. Yes, this little piggy went to market!
Later that day, I went back to help set up the skein and garment competition after the judging. As a special bonus, Mr. Penney came along to help out. After seeing the goings on with the set up, I think Mr. Penney is really wanting to provide his organizational skills to the task. Either that, or never come back again. One or the other.
Finally came Saturday, the opening day of the festival, and I took a half day course with Charlene Schurch on new toe-up heels for socks.
This is what we made. Don’t worry, it is not supposed to fit anyone. And I would be worried if it did fit someone. The heel at the bottom is the reverse French heel and the heel towards the top is the unwrapped short row heel. It was a great class, and if you have the chance to take a class from Charlene, I would advise you to do it.
After class, I met up with my friend Bonnie and we grabbed a little lunch and went on our way, shopping. Oh, and did I shop. Look for me on an upcoming episode of Hoarders! I’ll just tell you which booth I purchased what you see below. If you really want to know what it is, I should have it up on my stash page on ravelry soon. Also, the name of the photos will give you a pretty good idea of what the yarn and/or fiber is.
First, Spirit Trail Fiberworks, some purchased, some being the thank you from Jennifer.
Next, Fiber Optic, which, to my and apparently their own surprise, had their own booth this year. Apparently, they were asked on Saturday morning if they could replace one of the vendors that dropped out at the last minute.
And, then came Sanguine Gryphon.
Next up, Cloverhill’s booth, which had Wullenstudio, Dragonfly Fibers, and many others.
I finally joined the club this year and made a purchase from Brooks Farm to knit a sweater. (Actually, I had made a purchase of mohair from them many years ago, of which I made my nieces scarves.)
And my regular purchase of Romney and mohair blend from the Barefoot Spinner.
What you don’t see here is the Romney x Corriedale fleece that I purchased at Triple R Farm because it immediately went to Zeilingers to be processed.
What happened to the Romney fleece that I purchased last year from Triple R Farm?
I went back to the festival Sunday afternoon to pick up my entry. More on that the next time.
Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com
I Know There’s Something Going On
Last time, I promised you that I would show what else I had going on besides the rugs; and true to my word (if a bit late), here it is. Let’s start with Benedict.
I am on my second of the six skeins of baby alpaca and am just about to start decreasing for the armholes, so I know that I should be good on the amount of yarn that I originally purchased. Woohoo! My calculations were correct!
Benedict isn’t a difficult knit, but it is a long knit due to all of the cabling. It is a six row pattern, and it takes me about an hour and a half to do one pattern repeat. Yeah, this may take a while, which is why it is nice to have something that goes a bit faster.
This is Wullenstudio‘s colorway “YMCA”. (I am the one that contributed the name. Thank you. Thank you very much.) I am doing one of my old standby’s, the basketweave rib. This stitch pattern seems to work well no matter what the yarn’s color patterning is because of the combination of garter and stockinette. As of this writing, the first sock is done, and I am about to start the second.
Now, knitting has not been the only things going on. There has also been spinning.
You have seen both of these before in their single state. Now they are plied and complete. Both are from Dragonfly Fibers. The first is silk and camel in the Bad Moon Rising colorway. It is four ounces, and I still have another four ounces of this colorway to spin, as well as another six ounces of silk and camel in the Titania colorway to go along with it. The other yarn is Sea Monster (silk, merino, and seacell) in the December Baby colorway. You are looking at a total of eight ounces that is pretty close to worsted weight. Both of these yarns will be used for weaving.
This is merino and bamboo that I got as part of Fiber Optic‘s “As the Whorl Turns” fiber club. Each month, Kimber makes three colorways using a country as inspiration, and as a member of the club, you get to select which one(s) you would like to purchase. What you see is the February selection, Jai Ting, from the inspiration country, China. I have this single Navajo plied, but I have to go back and fix it up some, as it is a bit overplied.
With that said, I have quite a bit of spinning in my future, as I have participated in several clubs, including Dragonfly Fiber’s winter mini club:
With what you see here being Admiral Benbow colorway in Bigfoot roving (BFL and silk), With a Cherry on Top in Sea Monster, and Winter Wood in Polwarth roving.
My March selection for the aforementioned Fiber Optic “As the Whorl Turns” club is this:
The inspiration country is Scotland and this colorway is called Thistle in BFL and silk.
Last but not least, I am also a member of Spirit Trail Fiberworks club, with the first two shipments being these:
The first one is February’s colorway in Polwarth. The second one is March’s colorway in merino and silk. April’s colorway just arrived today. It is a beautiful combination of deep blue and purple on silk and cashmere roving. Yum!
All of the dyer’s I just mentioned will be at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in some shape or form. Wullenstudio and Dragonfly Fiber can be found at the Cloverhill booth. Fiber Optic can be found at the Fold‘s booth. And Spirit Trail will have their own booth.
Speaking of the festival, if you need to find me, this is where I will be.
Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com
We Need a Little Christmas
Miss me? I have been busy, and the blog keeps sliding down the priority list. As an update, I am still working on the ribbed cable sock in Bad Moon Rising colorway of Dragonfly Djinni.
I moved over to doing these in Magic Loop, as the small 12″ circular needle becomes difficult to work cables in once I get to the leg of the sock.
Since we were having guests over for dinner earlier in the week, I had to do some cleaning up, and the easiest way for me to clean up roving that is “lying around” is to spin it! Yes, for me, spinning yarn counts as cleaning. Doesn’t it for everyone?
In any case, this is what I spun up.
Both bobbins contain four ounces of Dragonfly’s Sea Monster roving, which is 50% silk, 30% merino wool, and 20% Seacell (which is made from seaweed, thus Sea Monster.) The colorway in my had is Oberon and the one still on the wheel is Indian Corn. I picked them both up at the trunk show Kate had at Cloverhill back in November. The fiber spun up super fast. It was the easiest time I have had spinning something with silk in it. I am planning on using the singles together to weave a scarf, but that weaving is going to have to wait a while.
I have to admit, I wasn’t really in the Christmas spirit this year. To try and kick start that spirit, I started these:
This is a slip stitch pattern that I heavily modified to fit the stitch count of the sock. The yarn is Sheila’s Wullenstudio sock yarn in Green Tamborine and Witchy Woman. I was wondering whether the red was going to be too strong for the green, but now that I actually have things underway, I can relax because I think they are working out together just fine. And I can happily say that I am in the Christmas spirit.
Good thing, because I have a lot of work to do.
Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!
Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com
Return of the Mac(k)
Last time, I told you that I needed to get a new drive band for my wheel that I do my plying on, as the one that was on there was stretched out. Lucky me, I happened to have had one lying around, so I able to make the replacement and get back to plying and not have to wait for one to be shipped to me. Hurray!
Now, I have Bluefaced Leicester in blue and green ready to use.
As well as eight ounces of merino/angora/cashmere.
The bottom bobbin that you see above is the start of my plying and contains no knots. The one strand broke for some reason, and that is when I started the middle bobbin. When I ran out of yarn on one of the bobbins that held the singles, I wound the remainder of the singles on the other bobbin into a center pull ball and plied the strand against itself for the top bobbin pictured. It sounds like a lot, but it only took a couple hours. I have no idea of the yardage that I have there, but it should certainly be enough for a scarf.
Know what else is done? The Hark the Heraldic socks!
I am wearing these socks as I write this, and I can tell you right now that these socks are going to get a lot of use. The fit, the color, and the pattern are all working.
I am thinking of writing the pattern up. Yes, I like them that much that I might just write them up unprovoked!
With that pair of socks done, I started another pair of socks, this time from someone else’s pattern. From Think Outside the Sox, I chose the pattern Hexagons.
You may notice that the hexagon that I knitted is not closed up in the center. Why? Because, while it didn’t take me long at all to knit up that little bit, most of that time was spent doing the cast on, rather than knitting. It dawned on me that most of my time for making this sock was going to be spent casting on, rather than doing knit stitches. This spelt doom for this sock. While I don’t really hate casting on, I can’t say that I want to spend a good portion of my time doing it (or weaving all of the ends that will result.) So the hex is gone. Oh well, it all can’t be roses and sunshine.
Instead of Hexagons, I am thinking of doing the Drip Candles pattern from the same book. I think the gradient of colors will work out well in this pattern. and I can weave in the ends as I knit. Still thinking though. Always thinking.
Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com