Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Time

I washed some fleece this weekend. 

It all started at knit night, when Isa brought it some Shetland fleece she'd got for free. Another spinner in the group and myself each took a bit home. I've never washed fleece before, so I figured that this was a risk free opportunity.

Man, that thing was gamey! I'm told that the sheep's owner just dumped the fleece in a garbage bag and had just pulled out a hunk. I have no idea what part of the sheep it came from, or if it had even been skirted. It had dirt in it and hay and other bits that I didn't want to inspect too closely, so I just washed the whole dang thing as it was.

I did 3 super hot washes with detergent and two hot rinses. It was fascinating to watch the lanolin just ooze off the wool in the first hot wash. It's the brown goo on the left side of the picture.

I left the wool in the mesh bag to dry, hanging off a fence post. The day was warm, with a slight breeze and it didn't take long for the little bit of fiber to dry out. As I picked over it, I could still see dung, and hay, and brown round things that I suspect are either insect eggs, or seeds. There was also still clumps of grease in it. I don't think it was my fault. I used super hot water, supplementing the tap water with a kettleful of boiling water from the stove. I also used a ton of detergent.

I found a bit that was as clean as possible, combed it and spun it. It wasn't too bad.

I might want to try this again. But if I do, I'll want to start off with a fleece that I know more about.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Failing Gracefully

A graceful fail is what you want your software to do. For example, instead of giving me the blue screen of death, when an application on my iPad fails, it just closes and the device remains in a working condition. I've been failing recently, and I'm trying to muster the grace to do it right.

I knit a Daybreak, but amended the pattern to use someone else's handspun. It sat around waiting for a cast off for a while because I ran out of yarn. Of course. Because it's handspun and not even my own. What did I expect.

Still, I like the finished project and it hugs the shoulders very nicely. It's just not in my colors so I'll hang on to it until it tells me who it belongs too.

This week, I also finished a pair of stranded color work socks. The pattern, Bird Foot by Robyn Gallimore, is a lot of fun to work, and not so terribly difficult, but... I managed to fail.

I finished the first sock, but it was a bit small. I worked the second sock to the same number of pattern repeats as the first, then added extra rows of plain grey before starting the toe shaping. I tried them on when done and discovered that they were the same size as the first pair. My mind boggled and at this point, I had no grace. I chucked them across the room. 

The next night, I tried them both on and sure enough, the were both just a wee bit too small for about the same amount. I still can't quite figure how I did that, but then I noticed a big goof on the top of the foot. See it?

At that point, I decided it was time for some grace. I meekly darned in the ends and called them done. Now I won't look at them until next winter, because my god! the weather suddenly flipped into spring. We've been enjoying weather like we usually don't see until May. I've cast aside my Kauni wool sweater project along with my winter boots and cast on a silky, summery stole that I knit on the patio today wearing my flip flops. 

Gorgeous! And the name of the pattern is Echo Beach. How appropriate!

Monday, March 05, 2012

On the Mend

This has been the most stubborn, dastardly cold I've had in quite some time. Each time I thought I was feeling better, I would do a bit of stuff, like clean up a winter's accumulation of dog leavings before they thaw, and whomp! I'd be reduced to an exhausted puddle again. Today I feel like I've finally turned the corner. As well I might considering that I took to my bed for the entire weekend (figuratively, I was actually on the couch).

My constant companion through this awful time has been Spectra. It required little mental effort, yet provided entertainment and fun. I hope it will warm the neck of my youngest son, the Renaissance man I call him. He has expressed interest, and even declared it cool. So maybe some good will come of my being sick.