Tuesday, October 19, 2004

New Project Begun

I had some Finn that I had spun sport-weight a few weeks back; being me, I'd spun waaay too much for the project! I was thinking about what to do with the left-overs, which led to what I still need to do for Christmas gifts.

I have a gift exchange each year with a group that loves handmade gifts. So I decided to make a scarf for that exchange, using the Finn. This fiber is a beautiful shiny white which takes dye beautifully, but I decided to stick with the natural color of the fiber and use a lace knitting stitch. After some tinkering, I decided on a simple cellular stitch with 4-stitch borders on either side. This is a 3-stitch repeat. After swatching on size 7 needles, I moved up to size 10.5 - the 7's made much too heavy a fabric! The borders and 11 pattern repeats makes a lovely 12-inch wide scarf fabric - and it is knitting up beautifully.

This is the perfect "mindless" project to go with the Shetland scarf, which requires lots of concentration! I've been doing at least one inch of each scarf each day, which should get both finished before Christmas!

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Welcome to FiberLife!

I'm a fiberholic. There, I've admitted it. If it's hair or fur sheared from an animal or plant fuzz of any type, I'm interested. I'll spin the fluff, knit, weave, tat or crochet the resulting yarn into a fabric, and have a great deal of fun in the process. My Christmas gifts for family and friends are always hand-made, not homemade. My socks are hand-knit, my sweaters one-of-a-kind from sheep I've met personally, and my laces unique.

If the paragraph above sounds like I'm nuts, feel free to continue exploring. On the other hand, if you're either a fellow fiberholic, or if the basic information sounds intriguing, drop in from time to time. I'll be adding various information about my current fiber projects, and welcome comments and discussion.

Current projects

Current projects include a pair of lace socks. I bought some 54's superwash from Little Barn just before last fall's "natural dye-in" for a local guild. There was a pot with cochineal and a touch of Queen Anne's lace - an absolutely fantastic scarlet! I dyed about 6 ounces, with no real plan for using it at that time.

Then I put major holes into my socks with the steel-toed shoes I must wear part of the time at work. New socks became a necessity before the winter winds begin! And I've been wanting to do a feather-and-fan version of socks for awhile. Since I prefer well-wearing socks, I starting spinning singles at about 45 wraps per inch. The cabled 4-ply I finally finished is rather ropy-feeling at the yarn stage, but the knitted sample fluffs up into a lovely, soft fabric after machine washing and drying. The superwash will tolerate that with only 5 percent shrinkage! While I'll almost certainly not machine dry these as a normal thing (even superwash has its limits), it's a valuable step in this fabric's finishing.

While one sock is complete, the other may have to wait awhile for finishing - my other project has a deadline!

I made a rectangular shawl/scarf for my mother-in-law last Christmas. Chose a basic Orenburg edging, and a Shetland center in the candle flame pattern, and decided to knit the Shetland wool two-ply handspun in Orenburg fashion. It's spectacular, and she loves it. What I didn't expect was that my mother would get jealous! So now I've started another for her for this year's holiday from the remainder of the Shetland. I wanted one for myself...oh, well, it's a excuse to buy more fiber!

I started spinning gossamer-weight singles of 60 wpi, two-plyed them into a 48 wpi yarn, and am knitting on size 4 circulars to get a very light, lacy fabric. I chose a Leaf Lace Pattern for the center, a faggotted border, and a simple Doris edging. Again, I chose to work in Orenburg fashion, since I truly dislike "finishing" a project and then having to go all the way back around and join an edging in order to truly complete it.

The spinning is still going on, although I've done the first 400 of the 800 yards it will likely take to finish. The knitting is going slowly, but it IS going. I've completed the lower edging and border, turned the corners and done three repeats of the full width now. Only 24 more to go before I start the upper border and edging!

The knitting and necessary spinning are cutting into my "wanna do" project, though. I'd like to get back to spinning the sari silk waste for a sweater - but it will have to wait until the Christmas gifts are done!