Thursday, May 29, 2008

Making Yarn While the Sun Shines

There's nothing like a warm, sunny day to make me want to pile a heap of wool in my lap and treadle away! I have a lovely little spot out on the patio with cushy chairs and a big market umbrella to keep the sun out of my eyes. Add a little music and away I go.

My hard work chasing the creepy-crawlies off the crab apple tree payed off this week with a lovely bloom on the tree, which in turn has led to an increase in bee traffic through the yard. This, combined with a great deal of pondering upon the topic of what I will be teaching at Olds in less than a month (!!), led to this yarn on Tuesday...

...Beez! The yarn is 60 yards of sportweight, 16 wpi or so, with, well, bees. The bees were made by inserting patches of yellow into one singles, then plying as a cloud or knot yarn whenever I came up to one of those patches. The whole exercise amused me greatly, and I'm pretty happy with the yarn, though I tend to find most novelty yarns fairly useless for knitting. Still, it gave me lots of pretty pictures...
...and added to the bee population in the crab apple tree! And I foresee a hilarious hat in my future.

I've also gotten the self-striping yarn that I was working on. I started out by laying out merino top in a color pattern...
...then spun it to be a sock-weight three-ply. I Navajo plied the yarn to keep the colors distinct and got a pretty, pretty yarn!

It came out at about 260 yards at 20 wpi, soft but firm enough to hold up. My favorite kind of yarn.
I am thinking that, even though it would make great socks, the colors span 18-20 yards and would look odd in a sock. Some sort of scarf would probably be a better option for this yarn, or even a baby sweater.

This is actually the first of a series of yarns in the same colorway. The plan is to make four or five yarns, all the same grist but with different color distributions and plying techniques to demonstrate the range of color patterns that can be achieved simply by manipulating dyed tops and rovings.

On other fronts, the knitting continues on the grey Phoenix sweater and the ever-present sock. Oh, and there is also a full bobbin of cotton on one wheel, waiting patiently for it's two friends to join it in a nice little sportweight three-ply for a summer top--that will probably be finished by October! I really need to fatten up my spinning! Back to that instant gratification thing again! (Pluckyfluff has an amusing take on the same topic, from the point of view of a chunky spinner spinning fine!)

I also bit the bullet and ordered materials for the Master Spinner course in Olds. I seriously think it is time for Olds College to review the material fees, because supplies for 7 people for 5 days set me back $350 yesterday, and that is only half the list! I don't think $45 per person will repay the $600 or so that I will eventually spend, especially when my materials fees for a 2 day workshop average around $25-30. Of course, I may get to the end of the course and find myself with 3/4 if the stuff I bought left over, but I'd rather have that than run out halfway through. I guess we will find out in July!

Aaaaand, I'm going to be at the Knights of the Northern Realm's Tournament in Edmonton on July 5 demonstrating spindling! I will have beginner spindle kits for sale, and you can get a free spindling lesson if you drop on by and say hello!

The noisy, stinky lawn crew has moved on, and my patio beckons. Time to make yarn while the sun shines!

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