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Friday, October 23, 2009

Bad bad girl

Yes, it has been a while since I've blogged. It's not that I haven't been busy with crafty stuff, because I have. I just pulled off some cotton chenille bath mats off the Weavebird last weekend. I discovered that I made a grievous error on one of them and I'm a little disgusted with myself at the moment. I'll post pictures later.

I also dyed some lovely alpaca/polwarth professionally processed handspun. I dyed it a beautiful deep pink color for a new baby girl. I will knit up some extremely soft booties, hat and mittens with it. It is Jacquard dye from Dharma Trading and is called just 'pink'. I suspect that if you used the dye lightly, it would be a light pink but I wanted a deep color. I 3 plied it because they live in a rather harsh climate. Pictures later.

I'm knitting mittens for the U.K. grandkids and have finished one pair for an 8 year old boy in natural gray, one pair in baby blue for an 11 year old girl and I'm working on a pair for a five year old girl in red. This last pair is made from my handspun from the alpaca/polwarth. It is such a pleasure to knit with - feels like buttah in my hands. I could almost eat it, it feels so good.

I'm also continuing to spin the polwarth alpaca. Oh, I'm also spinning some Scottish mule fleece. I'm not sure where I got this lady's name - maybe on Ravelry. I was a bit dismayed at first because there was quite a bit of scurf in it (in layman's terms: dandruff). Ewwww! No one on Ravelry (or on the Yahoo Groups lists) had much help for me on how to get rid of it. I carded it a few times a much of it seemed to come out. However, the area around the carded was littered with loose flakes. Yuk. There was a Spin-Off Magazine article on Scottish Mule fleece in the mid-year magazine. It was an interesting article where the lady who reviewed it spun the fleece in at least 3 different ways, and knitted samples from each one to do a really good comparison on the final product. I just spun it kind of semi-worsted. It's rather hairy, probably because I didn't take care when carding it to make sure all the tips faced in the same direction. I also put the fleece into the carder sideways as Judith MacKenzie-McCuin recommends to get a nice woolen product. It's coming out very white and looks and feels a bit coarse and might be very good for socks if they aren't too hairy.

I also recently sent for some beautiful brown alpaca from two girls I met at the Dixon Lambtown fiber fair. My friend Phyllis Karsten was doing sheep dog trials but I couldn't wait for her turn. It was a bit hot with no shade, even in October in the full sun. Anyway, there was an alpaca show also there that day and a couple of young women had just started raising alpacas the year before. They had never sold any as yet. They sent me a packet in the mail with samples and I sent for one of the fleeces. It seems to be quite lovely stuff. It will need to be mixed with wool so that the resulting product will have some bounce. I don't think I have anything to mix with it at the moment that will go with the grown. I don't know what will happen if I mix white wool with the brown. I think I'll do a little experimenting this weekend.

The boles on my cotton plants are beginning to open. Two of the couple of dozen bolls are open. I'm quite unreasonably excited about that and go out there most days to see if any more have opened. October seems to be the month that they open, from what I've heard. If they don't open by the first frost, I'll put them in a food dehydrator to open them. But I hope it won't come to that.

That's it for now. I'll try to remember to take some pictures this weekend. Chow!

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