Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Happy Solstice!Well, here we are! I, of course, didn't get the Rogue finished but I did whip up some mittens and a Calorimetry (though a heavily amended version of the pattern) as my little IOU. Foolish me, I thought I'd be back to finishing up my red silk sweater just after the holidays but I don't mind, really. The Rogue is a pretty fun knit.

Knitting the mitts and headband really brought home to me, though, how much I prefer to make and wear my things out of handspun. There's the texture of a good handspun - all alive and spongey that makes you just feel warmer upon initial contact. But, and this is just my backyard science at work so don't quote me in the paper or anything, it seems to BE warmer as well. Add to that the pleasure of knitting it, please! The pumpkin orange was a single that I spun from my dear old ewe, #2. #2, as you know, is quite the people person. Remember? She's the one who greets the hubster at the fence in the morning demanding a good pettin' before she'll go eat. Her fleece is not as soft as some of my other ewes, but is very spongey and warm. Spun in a single, it really enhanced the softness of it and the memories of a summer of barbeque pits and roots and weeds and a natural dyeing bonanza were flooding through my mind with every stitch. The root responsible for this lovely pumpkin was Madder.

I trimmed both things in some handspun of the 'sari' batts I had in the shop. I just wanted to disprove my own notions of becoming a handspun yarn snob. I mean, this stuff was not raised here on the farm and is, in fact, superwash merino. Surely, my nature-loving mind deduced - it will lack in quality. And, while it doesn't seem as warm and alive as the Costwold - it sure is soft and squishy and way more pleasurable to knit and wear than a standard superwash machine produced yarn. So, throw me a bone - I'm in the dungeon serving out my time for being a handspun yarn snob!

So, it's back to work on the Rogue which,sadly, is not made with handspun. I am seriously thinking of adopting a 'policy' about sweaters and handspun. So far, I've knit about 8 sweaters in my lifetime so it obviously hasn't been a big issue up to now. But, now, after having the pleasure of WEARING said sweaters (only 2 of which were made for me and those only in the last year, the policy seems more important. Many people have cautioned me against using singles to knit a sweater. It will pill, they said. It will break under pressure, they said. It can't be done, they said. So, you know me, I did it. I've worn both sweaters about the same amount of times and I have this to say - phewy! The single spun sweater didn't pill any more than the machine spun 3 ply yarn on sweater #2 did. The single didn't break. Sweater #2 did but that was my fault because I clipped it on the fence and, in a moment of utter stupidity, tugged hard. Lessons that make you cry sure are easy to recall, aren't they now? So, a policy that seems utterly ridiculous - make your sweaters out of handspun. That is ridiculous because that means you have to have enough handspun to knit a sweater and who can hang onto the stuff that long before they give in and knit a shrug or a scarf or something that offers instant gratification. I'll have to change my ways....urgh!

So, I'm spinning enough of at least one color a month to make a sweater. Honest! Don't know how I'll do it with owning my own fiber shop (which is really like letting a sugar addict run an ice cream parlor) which gives me and my invisible attention span far too many options to play with - but I will try. Go ahead and get rough with me and demand progress if you need to. Sadly, I respond well to pressure.

This is where I'm supposed to end well and wish you all a happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Joyous holiday of your choice - which I really do. I hope all of you are warm, loved, and if any of that fails - up to your eyeballs in the fiber you love. But, I regretfully have some sadness to report. Firstly, another Santa showed up and this only further substantiated my claim of Santa girls because, well, she is one. She gifted me a Vogue Knitting subscription and I am confounded to determine how and why I am blessed to know so many kind people. The bad news? One of my Santas from the last post has had a terrible twist in her beautiful life. The day her package arrived, her house burned to the ground and she was barely able to get out with kid, purse, and may the being of your choice bless her, a current sock in progress. Hugs to you, L, and to your family. Such a strong woman and loving mother I feel fortunate to know. I, of course, have a personal mission to re-stash L's sock yarn and handspun stock. I assumed spinning fiber might be more painful than helpful as her wheel burned in the fire and it looks sketchy as to how much will be replaced. We who burn wood are generally urinated on by insurance companies at every turn. Just a little stab, though, at those who do the spraying - the fire was not started by the woodstove - but by an electric space heater in the bathroom - a new one - on a 'fireproof' base. Wood burners are notoriously careful and aware of the delicate dance that we perform with fire. Why must you stick it to us? If you have a nice fiber item in your possession that says, 'gimme to THAT lady' and you want me to include it in my package, just leave a comment here and I'll email you the details.

Now, cheer, beer, gingerbread or whatever gets your motor running - HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!