November 20, 2014

Why Finish A WIP

When it's so much fun to start a new one?

I was looking for a little spinning project, something to work on whilst sitting with my spinning pals. Something that wasn't a huge project commitment.  So I grabbed a nearby roving. I don't even have a picture of that hank, or remember who dyed it up so nice and pretty.  It's mostly wool, with some sparkly stuff. Firestar, maybe. Here's a picture of the beginning.
 It started off purple, and then went into blue. (Maybe there is some silk in there too? I think I still have the label someplace.) After blue came green, and then silvery gray and then kind of mauve at the end. The color runs are long.  My plan was to ply this with a different colorway, one that isn't made up into batts yet, just sitting in color chunks of roving. But, I'm thinking of heading in a different direction now. I have this lovely, silvery gray roving, wool and tencel, and I think the two would look amazing together. So I started spinning that.

But then, for some reason I went back to the stash, looking for something else completely, and found another colorway that I like. So now I'm thinking about these together. Then I added some black alpaca. Here's what I'm talking about.

 All together, that's 19oz of fiber. To make... I don't know yet.

November 18, 2014

Random Tuesday

For the last eleven years or so, I've been a regular volunteer with Birch Aquarium at Scripps. I love the ocean, I love scuba diving, I love science, and I love sharing some of this with other people. What better place than an aquarium? Another cool thing? I'm pretty sure I learn at least one new thing every time I'm there. Usually more than one thing, actually. Today, from a couple of college students I learned about how swordfish super-oxygenate themselves before hunting, by speeding from the ocean depths toward the surface. Another thing I learned is that coral comes in this color;
actually the true color is even more vivid than this. A cellphone camera can only capture so much.

November 10, 2014

The Promised Pictures

Gosh, still only okay pictures of this sweater, but better than the last one.
pardon my loose ends..

Things I love about this knit; button bands and edgings are knit right in, and the stitch pattern next to the button bands keeps everything looking tidy. The only finishing is grafting the underarms, weaving in any ends and adding the buttons. I used a cable cast on for the sleeves and bottom edge and think that worked out very nicely. With fancier buttons, this little cardi could go Hollywood.

(btw, this little sweater grew considerably in length when I wet blocked it. That surprised me)

October 31, 2014

Crafting Cuteness

Last September, my cousin's daughter Saige (does that make her my first cousin once removed?) celebrated her first birthday. As I gift, I offered to knit a sweater. According to my cousin, Saige wanted a black or dark grey cardigan with cables. The specifics were left up to me. Cool.

I picked the yarn first, a dark grey DK weight superwash from Plymouth Yarns. Grey because I think cables get lost in black, plus it will be more flattering to Saige, and DK because, well, it means fewer stitches than working in fingering. Superwash because, well, its a sweater for a little girl.

Once I had the yarn, it was time to select the pattern.

Oh Bother! Or oh Blogger! I had a post all finished and waiting, and for some reason it wouldn't save or publish and now I have to refinish this post. Pooh.

Pattern picking. Ravelry. Search by size and yarn weight and wanting a cardigan with cables for a little girl. Ran this search a few different times, on different days to see what stuck with me. There were a few that came close. I almost settled. Then I must have changed one attribute and a previously unseen pattern appeared. Silverfox. I had an AH-HA moment. This is the pattern I'm looking for. Those really cute little baby models, nope, they didn't sway me one bit.

I'm almost done with the sweater. Below is a rather poor cell phone photo. The yarn and the sweater look much better in person.
 Love the pattern, I think its very well written. The sleeves are knit first and set aside, and then the body worked from the bottom up and then joined to the sleeves and on up to the yoke. Looks like very little finishing for this one. Weave in some ends, block and add the buttons. Soooo close.

Hopefully, blogger doesn't eat this post.

October 26, 2014

Sudsy Sunday

Washing fleece today. Did some yesterday too. I feel a little bit guilty about the water use. I'm hoping to make up for some of it by turning the landscape irrigation down. And maybe I'll skip a shower. The humidity is up and the temps are down a bit so I'm hopeful things can finally go to a Fall irrigation schedule. The drought. So many areas of my landscape that, over the various drought years, have been allowed to die off. This winter I'm thinking about revamping much of the remaining irrigation to save more water. However, I'm worried that it will be money down the drain, so to speak, if the drought continues and harsher restrictions are implemented. Likewise replacing dead/disappeared plants with more drought tolerant ones. They all need water to get established.

Well, that went off on a tangent.

Okay. Washing. Wool. Yesterday I washed the CVM fleece I picked up at OFFF last month. I like the quality of the fleece, and would definitely buy from Cedar Glen Sheep Farm again, if I was fleece shopping. I wasn't really fleece shopping at OFFF, but gosh, I didn't have any CVM in my stash. Heh. This fleece is very well skirted, very clean and every bit looks usable. Spinner's dream. Here is a pre-wash photo.
The sheep's name is Butterfly. At lower left is a bag containing a washed sample. Very thoughtful. The fleece looks tan or oatmeal in this photo, but washes up to a soft grey.

Today I'm washing Navajo-Churro. White from Dovey and brown from Kayla, both ewes at Morgan River Ranch. Navajo-Churro sheep maybe aren't the best fit for Oregon weather, and some of both fleeces cotted near the skin. But there is still plenty of usable fiber. Dovey's fleece is very long and strong and should make some good rug yarn. Kayla's fleece has a softer hand, and might make a nice throw or blanket. Her lamb fleece is almost next-to-skin soft.

I have so much wonderful fiber to spin. I am very lucky.

October 24, 2014

Catching up - Last Part of the trip

The last part of my road trip I drove from Idaho to Oregon. I'd decided ahead of time to skip most of the interstate and take the secondary highways. It was a great decision. From Idaho Falls I headed to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.  I needed to push on to Bend and so didn't make time for a stop, but I will some day. What an amazing landscape. Huge, undulating swells of lava, frozen in time and place. As I drove on, I realized my entire drive was all about geology. Volcanic remants, red stained bluffs, wide open spaces. Driving the road less traveled was a real treat with the combination of scenery, tranquility and traveling at just a tad slower pace.

I stopped in Bend, Oregon for the night, and here two pictures of the room I stayed in;
Not exactly a cookie cutter motel room, I really got a kick out of this.

In the morning I headed out for my destination, continuing to make use of the road less traveled. Thanks to some earlier input from my friend Dusty, I chose the old McKenzie Pass road and made a stop at the Dee Wright Observatory. I didn't know what to expect when I got there, only that it would be inspiring, and it was. More incredible lava-scapes, a nice interpretive trail and sweeping scenic vistas. I have a few pictures to share, but before I do, I feel I should warn you about hwy 242 (McKenzie Pass). It is very beautiful and has an incredible range of scenery and it is narrow and twisty as all get out in some places. Not especially trailer friendly. Not good for those who suffer from motion sickness. But wicked fun if you like some spirited driving.

A panorama shot from observatory top
I'm a sucker for scenery.

A few hours later I arrived at Morgan River Ranch and settled in for a good visit. Some beautiful mornings.
A little bit of wine tasting.
Some gardening.
Taking care of animals.
Visiting with friends at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Where I did not take any pictures. Thankfully, my friends did. I did buy one fleece. A lovely CVM from Cedar Glen Sheep Farm. More on that later.

The long road home was a familiar one, no adventures along the by-ways. But at least one more volcano.
I had a terrific trip and made wonderful memories and am happy to be home.

October 16, 2014

Catching Up - Part 5

The last of the Idaho/Wyoming pics. Honest.
We did a little hiking around.
going golden
And we went rafting on the Snake River through Grand Teton National Park. More a float trip, really. We started about mid-day, and the threat of rain lifted and we had a beautiful start.

One place we pulled up to the bank and found animal tracks! Elk, moose and wolf! We could smell what Mike said was an elk smell. It smelled a little bit like sheep.
The clouds started drifting back in.
We stopped for lunch.
And uh. yeah. That cloud kept a'coming and it started to rain. And then hail. But not too big. After the rain we continued our trip. Our seats were all wet. So were our pants.
 We didn't see any large terrestrial animals, but we did see a pair of Bald Eagles.

We hit our take-out spot just as the air started getting chilly. It was a great trip, and I was very happy to hop into a warm car and head back to the house.