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April 2008

Handspun and Persephone


Putting a bit more twist on the 2 ply spindle spun yarn did the trick.  It still hung straight the way a balanced plied yarn should.  I rewashed it and hung it to dry.  The balance stayed put.  Onward with my plan!  Originally, I wanted to knit Mim's Persephone with it.  The cashmere and silk are very soft. Perfect scarf yarn.  My sister (you know Linda) agreed to knit Persephone, as it is offered in the kit, with my Arbori so that I could go ahead with my original plan.  I'm using the Arbori yarn in the same Purple Haze colorway for my Muir shawl.  The handspun and the Purple Haze are fairly similar in color and intensity.    I didn't need three projects on the needles in the same colors. 

Persephone is a very enjoyable knit.  I do need to pay attention.  Not so much that I can't watch a movie and knit, but I need to keep the chart close and refer to it each line.  ONe repeat down.   

spindling with a Ledbetter

second verse
same as the first..


I love this spindle. I showed it to you last October.  It is from Ken Ledbetter.   To break it in, I decided to spin something special, Foxfires' Cashmere Silk blend.  Last Friday evening, on a motel balcony somewhere in Delaware, the last bit was spun.  Wednesday, I got around to plying.

When I skeined this, I measured out 446 yards.  Impossible!  I have spindle spun two different fibers during the past year, on two different spindles and come out with the same yardage.  Yeah, both weigh in at approx. 3 oz.  I must be on a roll.  There were 6 cops of the cashmere / silk to ply.  Somewhere, there is another ounce of fiber or more little bundles waiting for me to find them.  I bought 4 ounces, not three. 


Thing is, I don't like it. Here is the problem.  As I spun them I worried that I was putting on too much twist.  The single felt hard.  But, as I wanted a solid feeling yarn, I kept at it.  I thought I'd plied it accordingly.  As I plied, I checked it, it twisted back on itself a little bit.  Not too much.  Maybe plying in daylight would have helped, because I really didn't see this coming.  It looks under plied.  The skein hung straight when I took it off the bobbin.


It was still straight and apparently balanced after a nice long soak in very warm water, hung over the line without weight and dried.  Here's a close-up.

P1050004a   It's going onto the swift to have a little more twist added. 



with a Hardy..

I finally decided to take the handful of cops I'd spun and make a 2 ply yarn from the llama / silk that I bought at Cummington last spring.  I started spinning this yarn the evening I bought it on my (also new that day) spindle from Bill Hardy.   When it was skeined, I measured 440 yards of lace wt. from the 3 ounces I plied.


It got a good bath, then was hung over the clothes line to blow dry.


While I waited for it to dry, this came in the mail.  Oh My! 

It used to be that knitting books were, umm.. knitting books.  A Fine Fleece from Lisa Lloyd is so much more.  It is a coffee table book, a reference and instruction manual, and the patterns... wow!   This book is a spinner's dream.  Every pattern has been written for use with handspun or a commercial yarn. 


50% llama  / 50% silk  from Barnswallow Farms
440 yards   3 oz.
Spindle: Bill Hardy, olive wood whirl

walk with me wednesday

It's a good thing that I think a rainy day is beautiful.  A very good thing.  It started to rain on the second day of our drive to the Outer Banks and didn't clear until the morning we left to drive north.  According to Weather Bug, the day time temperatures were the same in North Carolina as northern Vermont.  It was cold, foggy, windy, damp, rainy and beautiful!  The waves were enormous trashing monsters.  LOUD!  There is nothing like a storm at the beach.  Each day, I bundled up in fleece and rain gear and headed up the beach to the preserve.   A sweet neighbor loaned us his jeep one afternoon.  The rain had cleared and the fog settled heavily at the water's edge.  In the dunes, the was a bit of sun.  And, wild horses! 






Can you see him?   

No road trip is complete without some great bridges.  There is something about them... this one is in Delaware.  I go out of my way to cross a good bridge.


I wish I had a picture of the bald eagle... magnificent, and a rare sight for a New Englander.


Persephone version2

Today's post was going to be about spindle spun yarn, but...

Yesterday, Mim wrote to tell me that her Persephone pattern, using Ball and Skein's new yarn, Arbori, was ready to go.  I love this pattern.  It has a perfect blend of geometry and whimsy.  Last month, I wrote to Mim asking if I could purchase a copy of it.  She wrote back that it wasn't available for sale yet but that she was looking for a commercial yarn to use for it.  Serendipity?  I had a new yarn I wanted her to try, she had a pattern.  Sometimes, things just happen that way.  Orders for the kit go on sale today.


Go on over to Ball and Skein to order or click here.


gettin' me some spring

Oh1001 Oh1002

If my plans go well, I'll be walking here tomorrow.  It's time for some spring.  Mother Nature has her plans.  I've got mine.  Though I'm quite sure she knows what she's doing; this year, she's taken her time (10" inches this week on top of the now melting 3+ft).  While the north still has a white blanket, I've headed south.  I've seen robins and heard peepers, sure signs of spring.    Now for the long drive.  I want flowers.

In preparation, I went through my briefcase checking to see what was in my inventory of just in case patterns.  Shocking, I could go for years.   Here's the short list:

Maine Morning Mitts, Ice Queen, Gust, Oh! Canada, an Old Shale shawl, A Judy Pascal shawl,  That Little Scarf, Crest of the Wave, Chill Out Hybrid Shawl, Taconic V-Neck, a catnip mouse pattern, Dayflower Lace Scarf, Rainy Day scarf, Hypoteneuse Shawl, A Kim Hargreaves lace cardigan, Birch, .. it goes on.  I'm packing yarn and beads for Muir and the Ember socks, one extra skein of sock yarn (I don't know what I'm thinking, but I NEED to be prepared), two spindles and some really nice fiber.   That's it.  All those patterns... they get filed for the time being.  I need to lighten my load.

Anyone know a good yarn shop in the Outer Banks? 

Get your feeders out

A few weeks ago, Tamara wrote to tell me that the hummers were in her neck of the woods.  If mine are on their way, they better be wearing parkas.  Check out the migration map, they are moving up the east coast and through the middle of the country. 


So get your feeders out!  Get ready! The little buggers will need it after the long trip north!

The interesting thing about the migration maps, is that you can compare the progression from year to year.  This year they have remained further south for the central areas and are more northerly on the eastern coast than they were this time last year.  I hope the hummers know what they're doing, because around here, I'm still wearing a coat.  What are they thinking?

I wonder what happened to the little juevie that stayed so long last fall.. will he be the first to return?

Table Top Swift

round and round she goes..


  "Heavy Duty Table Top Swift"

I asked Chris to make me a heavy duty swift to use with my Electric Skein Winders.  I figured that reducing the drag on the winders would make re skeining much faster and save the motors from straining.  With that in mind, and that we already had terrific adjustable arm assemblies in production for the winders, I asked him to build a heavy base and fit it with ball bearings so that it would spin freely.  I asked for other things, like long, large diameter pegs for holding the yarn.  He did all of that and then some.  I wondered if there should be a clamp on it but he said he didn't think it was necessary, the base is pretty heavy.  After using it for the last 6 weeks, I think he's right.  I haven't needed one.  The other day I asked him to put a hook in the wall so that I could hang it up when I wasn't using it. That took some convincing.

walk with me wednesday.. small worlds

Even as a child, I was fascinated by what I saw as small worlds, miniature gardens.  Last month my niece came to visit.  As we walked down to the barn one morning during her stay, I noticed that the snow fleas * were out, in force.  It is a bit hard to pretend that they aren't there when the snow is literally peppered with them, jumping around.  If you aren't familiar with snow fleas, you might know them as "springtails".  As she reached down to grab a fistful of snow, probably to eat, I said, (not wanting to alarm her or gross her out too much) ooohhh... look, the springtails are here!  At this point I'm thinking that she'll never want to play in the snow after seeing all of those bugs.  But, a wonderful thing happened.  She said, 'It's like Horton Hears a Who.  There's a whole world in my hand.'  And that was the start of a wonderful conversation. 

On my last good snow shoe hike, I found these little gardens, worlds unto themselves.


When I see something like this, my imagination kicks in..


Someone should write a book.

* Achorutes nivicolus