Sunday, February 24, 2013

Textural Patterned Scarf

Here is a fun and easy pattern! I have worked it up as a scarf, using commercial worsted weight yarn in an olive color way. This will go great with the new Liz Claiborne hooded wool coat I purchased on clearance this past month! It is a creamy white color, with a tie belt and patch pockets. Hmmm, think I will pull the look together with my olive colored cashmere and wool blend cabled mitts! This scarf was made up using 2 skeins (100grams or 3.5oz) of wool yarn. Simply knit in pattern until you have about 40" left, then bind off with this. Scarf is about 9 or 10 inches wide, and as long as you choose to knit it. Mine ended up about 4 and a half feet long.

Cast on with size 7 needles: 43 sts. Gauge not critical.
Knit as follows:

Row 1-k3 (p1, k3) repeat parentheses to the end
Row 2-k1 (p1, k3) repeat parentheses to end, ending with p1, k1. Following the instructions below, repeat these 2 rows in the order listed.

Row 3 repeat row 1 above
Row 4 repeat row 2 above
Row 5 1
Row 6. 2
Row 7. 2
Row 8. 1
Row 9. 2
Row 10. 1
Row 11. 2
Row 12. 1

Once you have completed all 12 rows, simply repeat them to the desired length of your scarf, and then bind off. This would be beautiful in handspun. A crisp but soft yarn, something with good stitch definition to show off the pattern. I'm thinking about a polwarth and silk blend.....perhaps I will try that next!


Jack, one of our Pygora goats, came down with mange. This comes from mites, which may have been in a bale of hay we had. These goats are relatively easy keepers, but given the infestation, decided to strip out the goat shed completely to remove whatever may be left. We will be spraying the shed with Sevin, on a nice day, since we will need to shoo the goats outside for the day while the shed dries out. We stripped out 20 loads of hay and manure, which took two days to complete, given the cold windy snowy conditions, and my 53 year old energy level! Which, I do consider to be generally pretty high, but lots of heaving, and pushing the wheel barrow through the snow is definitely a good workout. Since mange is very much species specific, not all of the goats are bound to get mange from Jack, and although the sensitivity tends to run in bloodlines, his brother Mack may not get it. And the two Nigerians are showing no signs of it either. Our veterinarian gave Jack Ivermectin, subcutaneously, as well as vitamin D among other things. In addition, they all have lice, so we are treating them for that as well. The vet recommended Bug Block, a spray for horses, which we will be using on them as well. Jack is getting Frontline spray on his legs as well to aid in the arrest of the mites that are causing mange. The goat shed is cleaned out, and all interior surfaces have been swept down. We will attempt to spray the shed as soon as we have a warm enough day. I have decided to purchase 2 Amish made goat coats for Jack and Mack. Jacks fleece has been compromised, more so from the lice than mange. I cannot treat the lice effectively with the fleece on, so I will shear him when the coats arrive, and he will be warm until the weather is better, at least.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tunis Continued!!

In the first photo, there are samples of the Tunis fleece in the grease, and washed, followed by a knitting sample. My task was to spin up a sample of the fleece at DK weight (3 on the Craft Council "Yarn Standards Chart"). Wraps per inch on the chart called for 12-13 for DK size yarn, and my sample came in at 12. Perfect! I measured wraps per inch as I spun on my Ashford Joy wheel, pulling a sample and letting it double back on itself. I checked the size every so often as I spun, to insure consistency. I hard finished the sample in soapy warm water, snapped the skein a few times and let it dry. It fulled beautifully, and bloomed well. The knit sample shown in photo 2 shows 5 stitches to the inch on size 6 needles at the bottom of the sample, and 5 and a half stitches to the inch on size 5 needles at the top of the sample. Since I will be knitting a neck warmer, I will go with the tighter gauge on the size 5 needles, perfect for this yarn weight. The wheel shows the bobbins in progress. As I spin this Tunis, I can see how important it is to select a fleece with minimal second cuts. I did not realize how poorly this fleece was shorn when I purchased it. Many many second cuts (those little tiny clippings of wool, where the shearer went over a section of the sheep more than once with the clippers) throughout this fleece. I tried to remove as many as I could as I went through the processing phase, picking them out as I found them, and even as I carded, I picked out more. And, as I am spinning, they are ever present. I have resigned myself to allow those that are left to be part of the textural makeup of the cloth, but would have preferred not to have any! I will be ever vigilant in the future when examining fleeces at the festivals, to check the fleece carefully for the quality of the shearing. Experience is a wonderful thing. As Billy Joel once said, your mistakes are the only things you can truly call your own. Learn well from them! Never the less, this prime Tunis wool is lovely, soft and springy with plenty of elasticity, perfect for the intended end use! And a little unplanned textural element, which may be quite nice once knitted up! Lets go with it----sometimes the best things in life can be unplanned! I will post pictures of the neck warmer as soon as it is finished...til then, stay warm!

Blizzard of 2013

February 8 and 9 respectively, here are before and after images of the blizzard of 2013 here in Connecticut. 27" of snow, and some places upwards of 40". We have been snug and warm here in our antique house, and as the snow blew in, I was forced to spend time in the studio! Below is an experiment in art quilting. The base fabric was a piece from some fabric marbling I had done in the fall. As I looked at it, covered with swirls in green and blue, I was not sure what to do with it. Once I free motion quilted it, with a metallic copper thread, it reminded me of water. Then, the first thing that came to mind was a kayak trip my friend Kris and I made last summer on a hot July morning, to a quiet backwater on Sebago Lake in Maine. The lake was like glass, and the sun shown down through the water to the aquatic flora and fauna below. It was intensely colored, and the sunlight rippled off the bottom of the lake, illuminating everything beneath the surface. So, that became the inspiration for the piece! Sinuous lily pad stalks, tiny fish, and lots of sparkles. This piece measures 4 by 5 inches. The quilt is painted with Jacquard textile paints, and hand stitched with French knots and beads. The edge is satin stitched with Sulky metallic thread in a variegated color way.