June 30, 2011

fleece project, part 2

I said I would talk about carding the washed wool so I will, but I should stress the fact that I'm totally new to this. In fact, this is the first time I've used my carders since they arrived a few weeks ago because I've always been uneasy about carding and bought combed top instead. All because I showed a complete ineptitude for it at a learn to spin class several years ago. Anyway, I'm over it now and this is a lot of fun.

my resulting little rolags...

I'm starting a single sport-ish weight but am thinking about a 2 ply.
I'm trying to practice long draw for this woolen situation, but it's really halfway to worsted. I'm guessing the wool is shetland, though the staple length is a bit shorter than I've seen before. If I'm a goof for trying woolen with shetland, feel free to say it, but it's looking nice.

and zoom out to show the ever-present dog nose...

Sophie can't resist the wool. It still has so much of its lovely sheepiness.

Happy Canada Day!!

June 26, 2011

fleece project, part 1

So, last night I got home after having a wonderful day at Wolseley Wool and I decided to finally take the plunge and try washing my first fleece. Some friends of mine own a sheep farm in Scotland, so they spend part of their year here and part of their year there. A few weeks ago they asked if I was interested in having a fleece from one of their dear sheep. It came to me wrapped in plastic:

Which, when unwrapped...

looked like this...

full of lanolin and straw and fabulous sheepy goodness. So I re-read the notes I'd taken from several sources on how to do it, and then I prepared my stuff: rubber gloves, nylon laundry bags (like you wash delicates in. people other than me, at least. I have no 'delicates'), clear dish detergent (you can't use 'soap'. it will make it felt), and my laundry room sink. I'm grateful, yet again, for having a double laundry room sink. But you could do it in your tub. It's pretty messy, though.

I weighed the fleece before unwrapping it and it was about 5 lbs, 10 oz. I divided it into 5 roughly equal portions and then put the first one into a laundry bag. I filled the sink with the hottest water I could, then added about 1/2 cup of detergent. I put on the gloves and swished the water just enough to mix it without making a lot of bubbles. Then I added the fleece bag and gently lowered it so it was covered. I was careful not to agitate, swish, etc, as this would cause felting. I left it there for about 15 minutes until it had soaked through but the water hadn't had time to cool. You don't want that.

The water was pretty dark brown after the 1st wash. I lifted the bag, let it drain, put it in the adjacent sink, and then emptied and re-filled the 1st sink with hot water and detergent. Another 15 minute soak which took most of the brown out. Then I did 2 similar soaks in water without detergent. Then I put the bag of fleece in my washing machine and just put it through the spin cycle, which took 90% of the water out of it without agitating it. Then I took it out of the bag and laid it over whatever I could find in my laundry room to dry.

I repeated with the other 4 bags, this time doing 2 together at a time, since the first bag's process took over an hour. (My children and dog were at the lake, so I had some time. Keeping the dog away from the wool this morning has been a challenge.)

After washing it all, it is now fluffy and sweet smelling and gorgeous:

Next segment: carding wool.

Hope you're having a great weekend. :)

June 23, 2011


Pattern: Coneflower (mine)
Yarn: Viking of Norway Bjork in #568 'Mauve', #567 'Lilac' and #537 'Pea Green'

Finished Chest Size: 22” (23”, 25”, 27”, 29”, 30.5”, 32”)

Size: approx. 1 (2, 4, 6, 8, 10,12) yrs.

Here is the pattern for a child's stranded cardigan I've been working on. I tried to make it as accessible as possible to someone fairly new to stranded work. The pattern repeat is short and easily memorized, the floats are never too long, there's not a lot of shaping, and it only uses two colours throughout most of it.

The body and sleeves are knit in the round from the bottom up and join under the arms. Then you work the raglan yoke to the collar. There's a steek on the centre front, but this is not to be feared. I'm here for you.

I enjoyed working with this yarn and it's a great weight and content (90% cotton/10% merino) for milder temperature days. This was a store sample, but I plan to make another one soon for the girl.

Happy Friday!

June 18, 2011

Of course I could buy something that isn't teal, but why?

(new summer top:)

(I'm thinking I'll spin this merino/mohair blend into something resembling this.)

There has also been knitting. And pattern writing. And general insanity that is the month of June when you have 2 kids and a construction-oriented day job.

And if you live in Winnipeg and are in town next Saturday, I'll be at Wolseley Wool with my patterns and stuff, so come say hi! I'm looking forward to talking knitting and yarn for a whole day.

Have a good weekend!

June 6, 2011


Pattern: Dogwoods (mine)
Yarn: 1 ball each Sandnesgarn Sisu (80% wool, 20% nylon) in 3 colours: MC: I755 ‘Dark Teal’, CC1: W001 ‘White’ and CC2: I733 ‘Turquoise’

A few months ago one of my fabulous LYS's, Ram Wools, challenged people to come up with a sock design and I really like a challenge, especially a knitting one, so I charted and knit until I made these. There was some trial and error, but I'm really happy with how they turned out and I really, really like this yarn for colourwork.

They have deciduous trees in profile on top of the foot and on the leg, and in plan on the bottom of the foot (yah. I'm a landscape architect). They're knit from the toe up, with short row toes and heels. I would recommend having some sock knitting and colourwork experience before trying these, but I'm certainly not going to fence you in if you're keen.

They're a free download from Ram's website (see above and sidebar for link). They're also crazy comfy and I'm wishing it was still warm sock-wearing weather. However, it is perfect warm sock knitting weather, so there you go.