Sunday, May 09, 2010

sniffle ends

You may have been wondering what I've been up to. (I have been, too...mostly, I think I'm staring into space.) After I wrote that last post, the professor and I came down with a doozy of a cold. We're both snuffling through, but the last few days have felt like being underwater. It's no wonder, really, we were exposed to so many people on our trip. Also, we couldn't afford to feel sick on our travels, so our immune systems patiently waited until we came home.

I promised some photos of what I bought on our journey. All and all, it doesn't look that interesting from the photos. To me, though, it's great stuff. I ordered 15 lbs of Brown Sheep Mill Ends that were delivered to my parents' house. This is the tail ends of wool rovings used to make yarns, and while it's not useful for the yarn company's big industrial spinning machines, it is great for weaving, spinning and felting by hand. It's all washed and ready to go, and so far, I'm overjoyed with the purchase. Here's what the bag looks like, and here is the rug I'm working on, complete with interspersed dreadlocks of wool. I'll likely dye some of this soon so all my rugs won't be white, brown or black.

However, in order to make some darker colored rugs, I found these fabulous mill ends from
Old Mill Yarn at Maryland Sheep & Wool festival. It's hard to shoot photos of this, but here is over 2lbs of mercerized brown cotton "floss" at 2,200 yards per lb for warp...for $6 a lb! I also bought two bags (each bag weighs a pound) of very thick 100% wool rug yarn in brown and black for weaving. They cost $10 a bag. I couldn't believe my luck!

I also spent some quality time visiting with sheep while at the festival. Here's a very warm Lincoln Longwool that smiled for the camera... and this brings me to my wool acquisition. Right before leaving for my trip, a friend in Winnipeg let me know that her cousin kept sheep. I got in touch with him, and as if by magic, he happened to be shearing just a week or two ago.

Although the farm is 70 kilometers from town, I was again surprised to discover his lovely daughter, who showed up on my doorstep to "deliver" 3 fleeces. It's my first local Canadian wool and likely Rideau Arcott, or some fine wool cross with that breed. The wool itself is gorgeous, but sadly parts of the fleeces are like pelts--joined together with burrs which are in the outer parts of the fleece. I spent a couple hours cutting off burrs yesterday and washed up some of it as a sample. When I'm done posting this, I'll go downstairs to see whether I can comb out the rest of the vegetable matter that remains. The wool itself is nice--the burrs are not!

My knitting is sort of stalled, aside from a plain old sock project. I have been working on and off on a dress sweater. I bought this rich purple Filatura di Crosa Zara Merino yarn years ago, on a vacation in Vancouver, British Columbia. I used the odd ball for a hat a few years ago. Then, I started this project last fall, with what looked like plenty of yarn. (Uh Oh...)

When the yarn started to run short, I got nervous. Then I discovered an odd ball of yarn carefully lodged under my bed. (good thing I cleaned there!) No idea how it got there, although maybe my dogs thought it was interesting and hid it? Anyway, I kept knitting. On my trip, I neared the end of the second sleeve. I'd done everything but the shoulder cap and the neckband when I saw that the yarn left was just not enough.

I put out a plea to some friends. Amazingly, one ball of this very color yarn happened to be in a friend's stash---in Tokyo. She and her children walked it to the post office, and it's winging its way to Winnipeg. This will be one well traveled sweater, long before I even wear it.

Finally, you may remember my Fingerprinting post back in February. Well, along with the cold we got this week, we also got back our information from the FBI. The professor's said "no criminal record" and he can go right ahead to continue his application for permanent residency in Canada. Mine said "your finger prints weren't high enough quality for us to tell." (gee thanks) So, it was back to the police department this week for me to get my second set of Winnipeg fingerprints done. That's because our applications have to be sent at the same time, and now my lousy fingerprints are holding things up!

This is the second time recently when my hands were noticed in a negative way. The jeweler recently noted that I am wearing out the prongs that hold onto the stone in my engagement ring rather quickly, so it keeps having to be repointed. It also turns out that people who work with their hands often don't fingerprint well. I was gently chastised by the clerk that I should be taking better care of my digits. Lots of moisturizing lotion! Less handwashing!

I took the hint. When I spent two hours yesterday sorting wool and burrs, I took off my rings first. I expect this is why sheep (or shearers?) don't wear wedding rings. :)

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Blogger simply_complicated said...

ooh... mill ends.... i might just have to buy some! that looks like a pretty good deal! Say, how big is fifteen pounds of wool anyway? i have to guess that it's pretty massive! hopefully you feel 100% better soon :)

May 10, 2010 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger evergreenknits said...

I recently went through similar troubles with my wedding rings, too. I'd banged my hand hard on a door and actually chipped the diamond ... so I sent it back to my jeweler to have her check it out. To my astonishment, she said they found all kinds of small chips on the diamond and flanking sapphires. They also said that I was wearing down the platinum bars between the stones. And by the way, we've only been married three years!! She told me that I wear my rings too "aggressively." It's kind of sad, but now I only wear my rings for special occasions. I bought a simple, artisanal silver band on Etsy to wear the rest of the time.

May 11, 2010 at 12:54 AM  
Blogger Willow said...

I've been the recipient of that kind of fleece. Usually it's still worth it to pick through the detritus.

Welcome home :)

May 11, 2010 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I am hard on my wedding ring too. In fact, a couple of month's ago while at work, I was absentmindedly fiddling with my ring in a meeting and noticed it was very 'pokey'. I looked down and saw that my setting points had somehow totally sheared off and my diamond was gone. :-(

I guess they don't make wedding rings to last 25 years anymore. lol. (just kidding, I had had the points repaired a few years ago)

Joanne, would it be possible to show how you put the locks in your weaving?

May 16, 2010 at 10:14 AM  

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