Saturday, January 17, 2009


In and between caring for sheep and dogs, hauling hay, straw and other feed, reading others blogs, planning agility trials and dog shows, eating and sleeping and other mundane household things, I actually got some fiber time in.

Starting with the first "started" (by no means the longest standing UFO in my stash....)


DH chose this yarn at the Puyallup Fair in 2007. I offered to knit him a pair of socks to wear with his sandals, and he wanted bright green. After looking several places, he found this lime green variegated gem in the Artist In Action booth. It took me a while to get going on them.

I chose the Spiraling Coriolis pattern in Cat Bordhi's New Pathways book. I added some ribbing in the back and along the sides to help snug up the socks, and put a 1x1 rib band at the top. I also used Elizabeth Zimmerman's woven cast off, and, indeed!, it is very stretchy.

And they're very handsome with sandals.

The next project began last year with the Black Sheep Creamery Auction. One of my donated items was a custom knit hat or pair of mittens. The winner wanted a hat made from her own alpacas. So, the alpacas were shorn in late spring, and our friend Jill spun yarn from three different fleeces, and I got them in October.

Oh, so nice, she spun "Z" and plied "S", which is ideal for knitting. I fight with yarns spun "S" and plied "Z", as they untwist and then separate and sometimes one ply gets dropped and makes an ugly loop on the work. bleah. Well, the "Z" then "S" gets more twisted and is lovely in a knit fabric.

I got to pick the pattern, so I designed one to show off the three colors. I call it the "SqueezeBox" hat. It is a top down design, with increases at 8 intervals around the hat.

The lightest color is from a cria fleece, and the other two are adults. This is the SqueezeBox "closed".

And here is the SqueezeBox "open". Closed, the hat sits high on the forehead, and open it comes down over the eyebrows.

That's TWO Finished Objects!

Between knitting and to give my hands a break, I started spinning this yarn. I bought a whole pound of the roving at the Black Sheep Gathering last year - like I needed more roving.... I stopped into the Rowan Tree Woolery booth to thank Linda for her support in the Black Sheep Creamery auctions and this roving just kept calling to me.

...and calling me back.

...until I rescued it and brought it home with me. I've got half of it spun, using my first wheel, an Ashford Traveler fitted with a Wooley Winder. Fun!

It has a lot of subtle color in the yarn - much red, some black and some white in the base grey/brown. It also has scattered funny coarse hairs, some white and some black, that are easily pulled out. The rest of it is medium fine and will make a nice blanket... maybe.

I also spun some of our Gotland fiber. This is from a Gotland/Shetland ram lamb (Vince), that I carded with some blue/purple mohair and some teal Shetland roving. As a fleece, I didn't really like the fiber, but as I started spinning, it really grew on me. (Photo shows above mentioned Traveler with the WW)

As yarn, Vince's fleece is silky, soft and supple. It has wonderful luster and is really enhanced by the blues.

The yarn on the right came from another ram lamb, Cloudy, who is half Shetland, one quarter Gotland and one quarter BlueFaced Leicester/Border Leicester. It is lightly blended with some red/pink mohair. It, too, makes a nicer yarn than I expected from the fleece.

Both of these skeins are samples from the boys fleeces. Last spring we traded 5 ram lambs for 5 piglets, and I got the fleeces in the fall. The "Pig Lady's" request was to get a sweater from Vince and Cloudy's fleeces. So, the rest of their fleeces - sans mohair - has been processed into roving and is being spun by Sharon at Bel Tine farm. I'm not sure yet how the sweater will get knitted. Maybe there is another trade coming. :-)

- Franna

PS. Ten points to whomever finds the "helpers" in the above photos. ...actually, I think the same one got caught "helping" twice.


Mim said...

I thought it was a dog in the sock picture and a cat in the spinning picture. I was going to ask why the one foot was not modeling a sock too! All your projects are wonderful! Love the hat idea and the sock pattern.

Christy said...

Everything is so beautiful! The spun yarn is amazing looking and I love those socks. I'm going to learn to crochet socks. I really want to learn to spin, it is on my list of things to do this year.

Christy said...

And it did look like a dog in the first animal picture and a cat in the second.

Michelle said...

Well, that's definitely a dog foot and I was going to guess Thomas or Villa from the sock photo, but in the spinning photo it looks like a white foot which would mean - oh, what's his name - Clifford? (the springer) If I'm right, I think I deserve more than 10 points! hee

Dave said...

Keep guessing ladies, no one has them all correct yet, except me, but I don't get the ten points :)

Franna said...

...and Michelle is the closest :-)

We're house-cat-less at the present :-(

Note that Welsh Springers (unless religiously trimmed) have very fuzzy feet.

Oh, Mim. I should have given "the paw" a sock, too. I actually didn't know it was in the photos until I was cropping.

Christy - spinning is such an addiction! Let me know when you find a neat crocheted sock pattern.

- Franna

Michelle said...

Well, if anyone would keep her Welsh Springer's feet clipped religiously, it would be you! :-)

Dave said...

Nope, Clifford looks like he has white waterfalls on his feet unless Franna gets determined to clean them up :)

Franna said...

Oh, I am SO busted....
I let his ear hair get long so I can harvest it for spinning. No such excuse for his "slipper" feet.
- Franna

Tina said...

The sock and hat patterns are great. All I know is the extra "feet" were not any of mine. :)

Dave said...

Hmmm, I guess that Franna felt guilty enough that she "neatened" up Clifford's feet yesterday :)