Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peacock laceweight

I've finished spinning all of my Peacock Paint Box. I decided to do a two ply laceweight so I can make a Brandywine shawl. So far I've only plyed two of the three bobbins. I'll start knitting and then decide if I need the rest. If not, I'll n-ply it and use it on some colorwork mittens.

I'm very pleased with how this turned out. 440 yds 26wpi.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


While we were in Ottawa this summer, B and I had coffee together one afternoon and she tried an iced chocolate smoothie kind of thing. She decided I needed to try to copy it once we got home.

We had noticed that it had ice, milk, chocolate syrup and something that looked like hot chocolate mix all blended together in a blender.

So into my blender I put:

1 1/2 cups ice
1 1/8 cup skim milk (if you use higher fat milk, you could omit the cream)
1/8 cup cream
1/4 cup hot chocolate mix
1 tbsp cocoa (I was out of chocolate syrup)

Blend until all the ice is pulverized and you'll have a yummy cold chocolatey treat. Especially great for a girl who's been at figure skating camp all week and is tired and wanting something cold and creamy and sweet!

Friday, August 27, 2010


I've mentioned a few times how I like my Ashford Traditional, but wish it had more than one speed. When I want to make really fine singles, I need to spindle spin the singles and ply on the wheel. Since trying the Majacraft Suzie this summer (shhhh, don't tell my Traddy) I'd almost decided that when I save enough to buy a new wheel, the Suzie Pro will be it. While amassing the small fortune needed, I thought I'd look at buying a newer flyer for my circa 1975 Traddy. I showed a few to G, who suggested he ask around to see if anyone had a lathe and could retrofit my current flyer with a few new whorls.

So this morning, not without some trepidation on my part, my flyer took off to work with him. Apparently Speedy is the best way to describe the friend he found, because by lunchtime, I had this!

And I could spin 50 wpi singles with no effort!

And my Knotty Gloves progress?

I've almost finished the chart. I shortened the cuff by 2 cm and started the increases for the thumb gusset 4 rows early. This will effectively decrease the cuff length by 3 cm and move the cable motif a little higher on the back of the hand. I'm still a bit worried about having enough yarn, so this cuts out a bit and I like the placement of the motif a bit higher.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Borg Queen Yarn...

...your uniqueness shall be added to our own.

I have a 3 month club membership with Spindies. It's wonderful, lovely and such fun to open presents for me every month, even if I have to buy them myself!

My very first Spindies Paint Box was the Peacock inspired one. Each sample from bamboo, milk fiber, wool roving, and gorgeous blended batts were such fun to pet and play with. It really gives me a good idea of the product each of the contributors produces.

I struggled with how I should spin this lovely fluff up. I considered spinning each sample as it's own little yarn, but didn't know what I'd do with ten 0.5oz mini skeins of Peacock inspired yarn. I considered breaking each sample into little bits, and spinning a fat single with a bit of each sample in sequence, but didn't know what I'd make with the resulting yarn. In the end, I decided to go with what I know I will love, 3 thin singles, plyed into a fingering weight yarn.

I wish I had a blending hackle, but since I don't, I found another way to blend all the samples nicely. I stretched each sample out to a big rectangle (approx 15" x 20") - very easy with the batts. Not so much with the milk and bamboo rovings - those I lightly carded with my handcards. I stacked each stretched sample on top of eachother. Then I ripped the sample sandwich into eight strips. To keep things tidy, I twisted each strip into a little knot until I was ready to deal with it. Once I was ready to spin, I predrafted each knot and spun to my heart's content!

I feel a bit guilty for this approach, the wonderful uniqueness of each sample is lost this way, and I hope each of the fiber artists who contributed don't feel slighted by my melting pot approach.

I'm spindle spinning this so I can get the thinness I want from the singles, but I'll ply it on my wheel. I've got two thirds spun, and am working away on the final stretch. However, now that I'm at this point and have just found the Brandywine Shawl pattern (a Haiti relief project by Rosemary Hill) I'm considering a two-ply lace weight instead!

On the Knotty front, I've got 4cm of cuff!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Knotty Gloves

My poor sad, neglected blog...

I've been spinning this summer, but not so much knitting. But with the kids heading back to school, I start thinking about fall. And then thinking about winter and Christmas gifts and cold weather. And that almost always cures the knitting funk!

So today I cast on for Knotty. I'm using the East Friesian lamb I spun up this summer and I'm still just as in love with it as I was when it arrived in it's raw sheepy state. It is such a lovely smooshy yarn. I'm hoping the 80g I've got will be enough for these gloves. These will be a Christmas gift for someone who always appreciates handmade goods. The fact that these come from raw fleece to finished product will not be lost on this someone!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fiber Tourism - part II

On Saturday morning we headed out of Ottawa torward Toronto to take in a Blue Jays game before saying goodbye to my parents and heading north again. Enroute, G kindly allowed me to detour us to Port Hope to visit the Black Lamb.

I tried out a Majacraft Suzie Pro and a Little Gem. I really liked both of them. However, I liked the way the Suzie treadled better than the Gem. I would still like to try a few other wheels, but so far, I'd say the Suzie is my favorite of the ones I've tried.

The Black Lamb had big baskets of fiber tempting me in every corner.

I succumbed to some tencel roving. I've spun merino/tencel before, but never 100% tencel and I think this could be a fun challenge.

Sunday afternoon we watched the Jays play the Cleveland Indians. Although they lost 4-5, it was one of the highlights of the trip - my first ever major league ball game!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fiber Tourism!

My family met up with my parents in Ottawa last Monday for a week of sightseeing and fun! Of course, I couldn't leave any yarn shop unvisited and included a few in my travels. My goal was to try out a few wheels. Don't tell my Ashford Traditional, but I'm looking for a replacement.

On Monday night, we watched the Mosaika show. It was quite enjoyable: the show uses the parliament buildings as a screen. Tuesday, we toured the center block of the Parliament Buildings.

I enjoyed it much more than I expected. The architecture is really impressive and I hadn't known that the building was built to honor the soldiers who lost their lives in WW1. The library was really amazing, all the wood details were well worth a visit. Tuesday afternoon we visited the Aircraft museum.

Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, more museums, including the War Museum, the Museum of Civilization and the Nature Museum. And a bit of Shopping!

One of the shopping stops was Wabi Sabi, a fun fiber arts store in Ottawa. Both M and I found some merino/silk fiber that begged to be brought home with us (with really great prices, I might add).

M helped me pick out mine: it was a toss up for me between two teally greens and this one. M pointed out that this one was really more my color!

And of course he picked out the purple. He says this will be the first he spins on my wheel!

Wabi Sabi has a Louet S15 and a Babe in store that I got to try out. I can appreciate the price of the Babe and the double treadle, but really didn't like how it wobbled. Plus, I just can't get past the PVC. (my apologies to any die-hard Babe fans). The Louet I liked better, but found getting the bobbin off a bit fiddly, I'm sure I could get used to it and I like it's modern appearance and smooth treadling.

And since my parent knew I was looking for a new wheel, they brought me this:

Isn't that a cute little wheel? "Respect the Spindle" was brought along for reading material on our trip - highly enjoyable and informative!