Hi everybody! I've been quiet on my blog this year. Not intentionally, really. Mostly because I've been pretty busy with kids. Trying to knit more. I actually have a tiny little not-very-important pattern I'm designing with the hopes of submitting it to Knitty for the Fall '07 Issue. They probably won't want it. (trying hard not to think too positive so if they say "are you kidding?" I won't be too disappointed) So I've been gabbing less and thinking more. And reading. It's really tuff to keep up with so many blogs and feel like I'm the kind of friend I want to be by reading and commenting. I'm generally not very brief when I leave comments (surely to the distaste of some), so it takes a lot of my time.
I'm really trying hard to do my very best to keep up with my wish to do as much charity knitting as much as I can during 40 Days For Others. A few posts ago I showed several skeins (total of 100g) of brownish yarn that I had spun with the intent of using it for a Dulaan project of some kind. Well I decided to make an Avalanche Vest with it. But it wasn't thick enough to produce the kind of dense fabric called for in the pattern. I was afraid I would run out if I just doubled it, so I started adding yarn to carry along with the homespun. Just scrap stuff from here and there. Unraveling swatches. Using up bits of left overs from projects, adding in some of the recycled cashmere sweater, etc.
This morning I finished up the button band. It's the first time I've knit on a button band so this was a learning experience and I wasn't about to go forward without giving it a wash. It's true that blocking covers a multitude of sins because it was looking pretty bad after I cast off. I still need to do the ribbing around the armholes and then I'll wash it again.
The dark brown stripe in the middle of the vest is an interesting fiber that I spun - it's Buffalo! Back when I received the stroller and package of luxury spinning fibers from a friend, there was.... lemme see... I think 16oz of buffalo fiber in there too. I thought I'd save this for a special project but then again... when I started examining my fiber stash I thought maybe I would spin it for a Dulaan hat or something. Well people - this is not really the type of fiber we're used to. heh First off, it's dark brown. A lovely dark chocolate brown with slight variations in color. Second, there is a variety of fiber types within this batch of buffalo fiber. A label on the outside of the package says "felting fiber". That would be as opposed to spinning fiber, I guess. It has pretty much no odor, but doesn't really seem to be clean. I don't know anything about it or how it was handled or processed before I got it and I know nothing of how they collect this fiber. There is a lot of just loose dirt in the fiber, and some amount of VM (vegetable matter = leaves, twigs, grass, etc). I've read on Cassie's blog about how Icelandic wool has different types of hair, like guard hairs, etc. This seems to be the same way. There are some very long thick straightish (no crimp) hairs combined with fuzzy stuff. When I started spinning I thought "I'm not going to take a lot of time trying to make this *nice*... it's just for a Dulaan hat - rustic is just fine." It didn't take me long to get out the carders and try carding through these lumps of fuzzy stuff. You can't spin clumpy fuzz. My family has gotten very accustomed to seeing me spinning at virtually any time and in pretty much any place throughout the house - generally kitchen or living room. I am often seen up stairs or setting the dining table or fixing dinner with a spindle under my arm and a length of wool thrown over my shoulder. I was carding clumps of this fiber at the kitchen table making quite a mess with the dirt that was falling out - it's not matted clumps of dirt - just like loose sandy stuff that's somehow mixed into the fiber and falls out easily. So I'm in the kitchen spinning this buffalo fiber and trying to get my husband to care that I'm spinning something like freagin BUFFALO fiber. In our kitchen. I don't know why my fascination about this does not impress my husband and children. Jeff passes through the kitchen and I remark that this is very difficult to spin. He doesn't really seem to care. Thank Heaven for the knit blogging and spinning community that will express some kind of interest in the spinning and knitting that I do! heh The longer non-crimpy hairs are like SPRINGS. You can put a hard spin on the spindle and that stuff wants to stay pretty straight and gives you a back twist that you don't expect!! The single never did break due to back twist but still... it's something quite remarkable to me. Overall, I would have to say the combined fibers make it really difficult to spin. Imagine the hair from your shower drain (dark brown hair) mixed with taupe colored dryer lint. Yes. That's what this fiber is like. Once I drew this conclusion I was somewhat nauseated about continuing to spin. I decided to stop and let the fiber sit on the spindle for a few days so it might be easier to ply. I had put my face to the spindle and felt the prickle of those springy straight hairs and thought "felting fiber is right... I don't know if I could torture a frozen child in Mongolia with this stuff." I was ready to begin the Avalanche Vest and thought I could use the buffalo yarn as a stripe around the middle so I plied it. Hm. Sure did ply nicely. And I washed it. Amazing how there was *no dirt* in the wash water. I guess it all fell out when I carded?? And then it was done. Dried. And... amazingly soft. AMAZINGLY SOFT.
The brown stripe of buffalo fiber is softer than the entire rest of the whole sweater. It's really amazing. And I love that it's included in this vest. And I have no pictures of the fiber after I spun it into yarn because I thought it would be so awful. But of course now I have to overcome the nausea and just spin it because it's crazy soft. Then I'll take pictures - 'kay?
On to other things I love.... like my children. Specifically today, my daughter Katie. Today's brag is about Katie. My dear daughter recently entered the science fair in our county and out of 75 kids won first place for her project. First. With a cool big blue brag-worthy ribbon! Two actually! I thought it was pretty cool after yelling at her for leaving her experiment mess all over the bathroom and poster making mess all over the living room and dining room. *sigh* First place project still doesn't mean that she doesn't have to clean up after herself! I felt a little bad when I found out that she got first place ... but still ... I've gotta be the mom.
In other news:
- Spring is coming - or at least we think it is. Some bulbs are coming up... let's hope Mother Nature isn't faking us out.
- Babies are cute - and growing.
- I really am coming forth with dyed fiber and yarn soon - it's soaking - I'm just crazy busy with the kids. Spring Break is in a few weeks and they'll be at their dad's... and I'll probably be clean out of yarn by then. Guess I'll have to knit, huh? heh
- Current sock project is nearly 50% finished (STR in Fire on the Mountain - Wendy's F&F toe-up pattern). The STR skein I received from Carole claims that it's STR Medium. So does that mean that Light is laceweight?? I thought their medium was sport weight. This is not - it's definitely fingering weight. The skein is/was 155g. Okay, I know all the blah blah about how the old put-up wasn't enough yardage, but OMG, these are going to be long socks and I've just barely used 55g for the first sock. Anyway, still loving the yarn even though I'm having to get used to the colors every time I get it out. Emeline called it clown yarn or something like that. heh The colorway reminds me of when we did experiments in 8th grade science, burning different minerals to see what color the flames were.
Everybody have a GREAT WEEK! I hope your weather is pleasant.... and if it's not (like you poor frozen New York and New England people), I'm sending warm thoughts your way. xoxox