I've discovered how to get through a snowy winter - keep at least two projects going in each of three creative modes! So, I've been busy; this'll be just a quick run-through.
I finished the cabled scarf Tilly from Lisa Lloyd's wonderful book A Fine Fleece. Knit from 4.5 skeins of Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool, this took me six weeks to knit, but oh, it's lovely. The yarn is a soft single, so it's a little splitty and a little pilly, but blocking made it bloom a tad and gave the whole scarf body. I love it!
While I was finishing up Tilly, worlds collided and I saw a lovely version of cosmicpluto's Simple Yet Effective Shawl on Ravelry at the same time my LYS had a 40% off sale on Noro sock yarn. Bingo! I restrained myself to buying only one ball (which is all the pattern takes), and now I'm fairly close to being done. You can't get a sense of scale from this photo, but it seems to me that this one ball of sock yarn is producing a lot of fabric - a lot more than would be needed for a pair of socks, even given that I'm knitting at a somewhat larger gauge than one would for socks. Interesting, at least to me.
The Louet S10 has been going like a banshee, producing a deliberately, ahem, slubby bulky-weight 2-ply from a beautiful Romney fleece I bought at Rhinebeck and sent to Friends Folly Farm for processing. I'm beginning to see the end of these 5.5 pounds of roving ...
I can spin on a spindle! Woo! Here are yards and yards and yards of Spunky Eclectic BFL is some forgotten colorway spun up on my little Greensleeves Connie's Mjolinar. I'm thinking I'll use this single as the weft in a floaty little scarf for me, hence the winding onto weaving bobbins.
I've been playing on the Canadian Production Wheel, just trying a little of this and a little of that, trying to get the hang of her. I finally figured out (with the help of Marcy - thank you!) that she needed a little corrosion taken off her flyer shaft; with that taken care of, I commenced real production. First off is a three-ply of Spunky Eclectic 100% wool in the Boogie colorway. I believe this went from unspun braid to spun/plied/washed in one day. A productive wheel, indeed.
And loving the result. There are two more big skeins drying downstairs, 2.5 more bobbins-full to ply, and maybe 8 ounces left to spin. I plan on dyeing this and knitting myself a heavy cardigan in a broken rib (but don't hold your breath waiting for it) and weaving a good-sized throw from all these riches of yarn.
Yesterday, I started a larger project - some gorgeous 80% merino/20% cashmere from Spirit Trail. This will be a 2-ply, for a weaving weft or knitting lace, depending on the final yardage and the whim of the moment. Oh, this is lovely fiber!
Well, I finished Laurie's warp-faced scarf, but I forgot to take a photo of it, so you'll just have to believe me. Now, I have an 8/2 Tencel warp partly onto the 4-harness loom; I'm planning to weave a semi-fancy twill scarf using Just Our Yarns Aziza as weft. I'm not sure I like the color combo so far, but I expect the multi-colored weft to tone things down. If it doesn't, I think I'll replace the blue in the warp with more deep fuchsia and try again. For me, weaving so much more experimental than knitting or spinning, and I like that.
On the 8-harness table loom, I finally - yay! - finished the table runner. Done, done, done! I've learned a few things from weaving this. First, I don't much care for using the hand levers common to most table looms. I'd much rather be moving the harnesses up and down with my feet on treadles; using my hands to move each lever one by one is too slow for my impatient mind. Second, you know how a cabled knitting fabric will draw in width-wise much more than a stiockinette fabric with the same number of stitches? Well, woven twills do the same thing compared to plain or tabby weave. For this table runner, I was following a pattern in Handwoven, which said to weave tabby for the hems on either end. I did, and learned that doing so made the ends flare. There's no real reason why the turned-under hem couldn't be twill rather than tabby, I think, and that would eliminate the flaring. I have enough warp left on the loom to weave a dishtowel, so I'm going to try using the twill pattern for the hems and see what happens. Third, this may not be evident in the photo, but my beat was off (equivalent to saying my gauge varied), so some of the motifs are square, as they should be, and some are rectangular. I suspect this came from neglecting this project all summer and fall, such that my hands weren't doing the same motions as when I started. All in all, though, this table runner is very usable and makes me happy!
See this? It's a medieval spindle whorl, from about 300 to 800 years ago, sent to me in a swap with Sarah of the UK. It's lead, remarkably heavy for its size - it's only a little over an inch wide, but it weighs 1.75 ounces. One of these days, I'm hoping I can make a shaft for it and try it as a bottom whorl spindle. It'll make a heavy yarn, for sure. Thank you, Sarah!
It may be winter still (and we're expecting another snowstorm this afternoon), but my fig tree, which has been dormant and leafless all winter, believes in the coming of spring - look at its little unfurling leaf! Oh, I can't wait - leaves and flowers and dragonflies...
I'm going to SPA in Maine next weekend; I hope I'll see some of you there!