Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Trials...

The snow has finally arrived!  Oh,'s pretty.

 But why couldn't it just fall on the lawn and not the driveway?

Last week was a fun week of white-knuckle ice, then deep snow, frozen mounds of slush on the highway.  (Note to self:  if I'm worried about getting out of the driveway, I should perhaps stay home.)

Winter has arrived and, if history repeats itself, it will stay for 5 months.  I better get used to it.
It's time for me to look in the mirror and say "Suck it up, buttercup". 

Here's my latest handspun, handpainted, homegrown baby alpaca yarn on my umbrella swift.

The handpainting or handdying process makes a mess of the skein organization, so usually I will wind the skein from the swift to either a ball winder or a skein winder.  In this case, I needed to put the skein on the skein winder in order to measure the yarn.

I was lucky to buy this old skein winder off of a friend who salvages old fibre arts equipment, fixes it and resells.  Along with the swift, it's a valuable tool of my craft.  While my skein is on the skein winder, I can figure out how much yarn I have in my skein and from their determine how it compares to yarn standards in terms of yards per pound or meters per 100g skein. (yes, I have a metric to imperial conversion calculator!)  This is important to know if it will suit a weaving or knitting project, and whether I will have enough to complete the project.  

These are my two newest skeins. 

I can usually achieve a nice balanced handspun yarn.  This latest spinning project was a challenge.  I was using up some wonderfully soft cria fleece that unfortunately had a lot of second cuts from shearing and VM (vegetable matter like hay and twiggy things) in it.  I wouldn't sell that fleece because of that but the fibre itself was way too lovely to throw out (after all, my little cria spent a whole year growing it).  When you start with 'problem' fleece, even with careful preparation, it's hard to end up with rovings that just glide through your hands at the spinning wheel.  While spinning, I had to keep stopping to pick out clumps of crud.  Then, I decided to use my electric spinner, which I am still getting used to, to ply it.  I ended up with yarn that almost has the appearance of a boucle yarn...not what I planned but I think it will still create two shawls or large scarves for a couple of people that I love.  I'm excited to start those knitting projects.


Prudence Puddleduck said...

Now those are Christmas trees! In town it is Charlie Brown Christmas.
Those jewels you create are mezmerising to me....I hope do get over my "Im not worthy" syndrome and treat myself one day.
Very nice to have met you,
A Very Merry Christmas and all the Very Best in the coming year ♥Debi

Wooly Knits n Bits said...

Those skeins are just beautiful, great colour! I'm sure those shawls/scarves you knit with it will feel like a dream.

luckybunny said...

It's snowing here today but it's wet stuff. I agree, if snow avoided falling on driveways, pathways and anywhere near farm gates, it would sure help wouldn't it? The yarn is absolutely gorgeous and my favorite color!

Azure Islands Designs said...

Whoa...where do you live Norma??? :~)

We have a light dusting here and there this morning, but I can see the ground underneath, so really it will be gone by noon!

I love, love, love the color of your new yarns! Knitting has been calling my name for the last few weeks now...haven't done it since Dawn was in high school which is well over 20 yrs. so not sure why???

Lucky recipients of the shawls/scarfs!

Talk to you later "Buttercup".

Sam said...

ooh I love the colours!! very beautiful!