Icelandic chocolate fleece and more
It's not you.
It's me. (really!)
I've been having a busy work week. When I wasn't busy, I wasn't breathing all that well, because I have asthma and am allergic to fall. Well, I'm allergic to leaf mold, I think. So, with the help of all my medicine and some caffeine (opens up those lungs) and a few attacks, I'm making it through..it's just been a rough season for me. I'm probably the only person in Winnipeg who wishes the unusual warm weather would end with a nice long frosty period to get rid of that mold!
Anyhow, first, there's the fleece. Here's a knitted swatch of roughly what I'm aiming for...my mom wants yarn between 4-5 sts. This is what I'm aiming for. Since that color doesn't shine there, here is what it looks like on a bobbin--For those who are spinners, I'm spinning this differently than my "usual." The usual part? I take a lock of the fleece out of the pillow case, tease it a bit, taking care not to separate the thel and tog (the hairy part and the soft undercoat of a primitive dual coat fleece like Icelandic) and spin it. The unusual part is that I'm spinning this to make a very firm (even hard) yarn. My dad wears the heck out of his sweaters (just like me, I inherited that!) and I want this to wear well.
While spinning the first bobbin, I've found quite a few short bits of fiber. For some fleeces, this would indicate that the shearer made a lot of second cuts, which isn't a good thing. (while shearing, she'd miss a bit and go back to cut it off the sheep in a second pass.) However, some Icelandic sheep still "roo", which means there is a natural break in their fleece. This is leftover from long, long ago--hundreds, if not thousands of years ago-- when people didn't shear sheep but rather plucked fleece from the sheep (and from bushes) as the sheep shed its fleece. While sheep have now been bred for a long time to avoid this, some primitive breeds still roo, and a good shearer has to shear the sheep right above that break point. That's an interesting part of the fleece and I wish I had a class to show it to!
These bits are not something I want to include, they will automatically pill, so I just pull them out as I'm teasing and spinning the fleece. This might make good stuffing, but otherwise, it's not useful for much else.
When the bobbin is mostly full, I like to use a ball winder to make a center pull ball. I tuck a bit of stiff paper or cardboard around the inside strand of yarn. When I'm ready to ply this (this will be a 2 ply yarn), I will push out the paper, pop my thumb inside the ball, and ply from both ends of the ball. This is my preferred way to ply, and I like to pile up the balls of singles so I ply a whole lot of yarn at once.
I also just dyed a handknitted sweater--more on that later.
OK, now, that was my planned blog post. Then I found out:
Guido over at It's a purl, man has posted our interview. Please check out his podcast if you're interested!
Also, today there was a little promotional email that went out about Knit Green. Then, next thing I knew, I looked over at the book's listing on Amazon and it said:
#2>Books>Home & Garden>Crafts & Hobbies>Knitting
That means, for this brief period of time, Knit Green is the second best selling knitting book on Amazon. Whoa.
Good thing I was sitting down.
So, over all, a very nice day. I'm off to cook some lamb for dinner. Oh, did I mention we got our freezer lamb from Seine River Shepherds this week? Like I said...busy week...
A spinning and knitting friend is coming for a visit starting tomorrow. I'll try to get back over here after her visit. Whew! big times around here!