Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Help out a Fiber Person in Need...

Alyson had to have surgery done on her doggy Bitty, and is trying to raise some funds to help pay for it. Pick up some cool yarn/roving and help out a fellow knitty!

Friday, November 23, 2007


Where HAVE I been?!? (I know the Saturday gals have been asking that question for weeks now!) Well, there was the Pioneer Day event - I already showed you the pictures of that... Then there was my trip to Macon to visit my friends and their family. We had a wonderful weekend, went to see an amazing Archeological site, and spent lots of good time with friends. Oh, and I managed to hit 4 knitting stores that weekend...2 in Macon, 2 in Gainesville. I also cast on for those socks I've been talking about...knit both of them up and turned the heels that weekend!

Came home sick (courtesy of the 2yo), but got over that in time to go to Tampa with M this past weekend for my first Native American Powwow!! Had a fabulous time, loved all the dance competitions, the dancers in their native regalia, the drums, and the jewelry and things for sale. It might have convinced me to dig out my inkle loom and learn how to bead! Also can't wait to make it to the Family History Center to do more family research!! Too bad their hours are so limited.

I did get quite a bit of knitting done at the powwow...the beauty of straight knitting is that it didn't take a lot of concentration, so I could focus on the dancers! Oh, and I tried to take pictures, but it was really too dark in the arena, and the flash didn't carry sufficiently to get any good ones. I did have a lovely conversation with another attendee who sat in front of us, mentioned what a good idea I had to bring my knitting, then mentioned that she had been trying to learn continental, but kept twisting her stitches. Conveniently I was on the ribbing of the socks, so I just leaned over and slowed down the stitches for her a bit so she could see how to wrap them properly. I think she got it!

So, started casting off the socks Monday night, can't recall what I did on Tuesday, visited with an old friend Wednesday night, finished up a charity sweater Thursday night, and FINALLY cast off the remainder of the socks today. So, without further ado, here are my new hand-dyed, handspun, handknit socks for my Pioneer costume!!!

And yes, I ADORE the way the roving's all completely random, but there is definite color variegation!
Socks were knit toe up, short row heels, 1/1 rib at the top with a kitchener bind-off.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sock Updates

First, here is one of the pictures that Kelley took of me on Saturday. I like it because you can get a better view of the dress :) Oh, and it's not a bad view of that lovely wheel either! You CAN see the socks I was wearing...handknit and lovely, but not really the best choice for the outfit.

Here's what I spun Saturday. Spun the single, then Andean plyed it back. It's about 130 yards and is just under 2 oz. I'm thinking I'll spin the rest of this 4 oz of fiber on the wheel, then knit it into a pair of socks. Not really to wear, but for demo/display.

Here's the first single of the Merino/Tencel - finished both singles Sunday night and begun plying them.
Oh, and look! Here's the finished yarn! Sorry about the lighting in all of these. The demise of Daylight Savings Time is definitely going to make yarn photography more difficult. You can see the tweediness a bit here, between the two plys.

Oh, and here it is again, all wound up and ready to become socks. Will pack the needles with me for the weekend...should cast on tonight and get the toes done, but I don't think it's going to happen.
In not-so-fibery news, I finally got up the nerve (after spending the past THREE years trying to talk myself into it!) to call my grandmother the other day (it's a long story). Anyhow, called her and talked for an hour about family history, her parents, siblings, etc. I finally have some names to begin with in my search for that side of the family. She also reconfirmed the information my mother had told me years ago - that my great grandmother was a Native American. So, now I'm out researching trying to find her and her family online. Exciting stuff!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pioneer Day 2007

Today was another amazing day to spend outside! K, M, and I went to the Pioneer Day festival in Brooksville. This is a great event that takes place annually at Chinsegut Nature Center. The site is the original homestead of the Bishop family. Their chimney and cystern are both still present on the old home site.

This great event brings together artisans from around the area including Rope makers, Cider makers, musicians, chair caners, people making homemade butter and ice cream, growing vegetables, quilting, weaving, natural dyeing, and yes, spinning. This was my third year here, but the difference is that I made a new dress this year, and even better, a "new" wheel! Yes, this beautiful antique is mine!
Each year that I've come out, I've gotten a little better with the costume. This year I felt there was only one or two things still missing. Everything you see in the picture was made by me. Dress, apron, bonnet, shawl (handspun, handknit). My socks were also handknit, but not handspun. Now that I've learned to spin my own sock yarn, I want to spin and knit my own socks to go with the costume. But, what color should they be? Some people have said "oh, they should be grey"... The problem with grey is that it would be 100% natural wool - and probably somewhat coarse. Period correct-ness aside, I don't want coarse wool socks. So, I cheated just a bit - and purchased 50/50 Superwash Merino/Tencel roving. But, white? Nope, just not gonna work.

Did I mention that there were natural dyers at this event? So, I divided my 4 oz of roving in half, tied it into hanks, put it into two lingerie bags. I mordanted the fiber in a 10%Alum/5% Tartaric Acid solution last night, drained the extra liquid off, and put the bags of roving into plastic bags and in the refrigerator. This morning I took them down to the natural dyers and explained my request. They took care of the actual dyeing for me, leaving one bag in 30-90 minutes longer than the other.

We let them hang on the line for most of the excess liquid to drain off, then put them back in the bag to take them home. At home (after a LONG nap), I rinsed the rovings in water several times, a vinegar bath (to set the dye), a shampoo bath, and several more water rinses. And after all that? This is what I ended up with:

I LOVE the beautiful honey blonde color!! Can't wait to see how this spins up when it's dry! Stay tuned, I'll have more pictures as these "socks" progress.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Gossamer \GAH-suh-mer\

The Word of the Day for November 1 is:
gossamer \GAH-suh-mer\ adjective
: extremely light, delicate, or tenuous

Example sentence:
The early morning mists formed gossamer trails through the valley, their frail beauty a stark contrast to the dark, forbidding forest that loomed behind them.

Did you know?
In the days of Middle English, a period of mild weather in late autumn or early winter was sometimes called a "gossomer," literally "goose summer." People may have chosen that name for a late-season warm spell because October and November were the months when people felt that geese were at their best for eating. "Gossomer" was also used in Middle English as a word for filmy cobwebs floating through the air in calm clear weather, apparently because somebody thought the webs looked like the down of a goose. This sense eventually inspired the adjective "gossamer," which means "light, delicate, or tenuous" -- just like cobwebs or goose down.

To change your e-mail address or to subscribe to the html
version of Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day, featuring audio
pronunciations, please visit:
(c) 2007 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
Merriam-Webster, Inc.
47 Federal Street
P.O. Box 281
Springfield, MA 01102