kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
As if I didn't already have enough on needles (you don't want to know!) I'm seriously considering knitting these lovely socks from Knotions, even though Ravelry users say the pattern is awful and full of mistakes. (I feel sure I can figure it out.)

So... I have narrowed the wool choice down to these four.

Which one do you like best? :D

Wool To Choose From:
Wool To Choose From:
1. A nice blue Opal Sock Wool. 2. Bright Green Cariad Sock Wool. 3. Bright Blue Cherry Tree Hill Sock Wool 4. Greeny-Browny-Sparkly Dream In Color Stardust

kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)
I should really just back away from Colourmart.

Right. Now.
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
I picked up this lovely wool on Wednesday at I Knit London, and now I'm thinking I may get a second ball of it if they still have it on Saturday.

Zauberball translates to 'magic ball', and I think that even in the ball it live up to its name. It's just alive with possibilities, isn't it? The wool comes in an astounding array of colours, not all of them this bright, I promise!

Photos and pattern photo links below cut tag )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting patterns)
Harry Potter Sock Yarn From Opal!

Hm, I know what some people are getting for, er, stocking stuffers!
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (romneysheep)
This morning, [ profile] filceolaire and I went to the Handweavers Studio so I could pick up a couple of carders, some drop spindles, and some commercially prepared fleece for spinning so I could get an idea of what it felt like. Nancy, the lady who owns Handweavers Studio, spoke to me for a few minutes, explained drop spindles to me, and absolutely advocated not washing this wool. She said we should just start carding, and if it was dirty, we should soak the dirty bits in water, just like standing in the rain.

Well, that was all well and good, but the fact was that the wool is sticky, and it's hard to get out all the straw, dirt, leaves, whatever, because everything sticks to everything else. PB and I hand-cleaned a bunch of the stuff, measured the fibre length and kinkiness and found it Good, tried to card a small bit to see if that would get rid of the rest of the dirt and impurities (it didn't), and so then we decided to experiment. We took everything we did for the first hour or so, which amounted to about 50g of wool, and took it through the washing process I'd found on the internet. We filled the sink with very hot water and added some mild liquid soap, then immersed the small amount of fleece and soaked for 45 minutes. Then we put it in the spin cycle on the washer, took it out, and rinsed it twice, the second time with vinegar, spinning in between each rinse cycle and afterwards. After that, I took it out and put it on the porch to dry. It is amazingly white and fluffy, although it still looks too dirty before carding. After carding, it seems to be doing a bit better.

I did despair a little bit, because I wanted very much to follow Nancy's advice and not wash the lanolin out of the fleece. Then, I came upon this article about spinning in the grease and preparing grease fleeces. So I have another hank of fleece in to soak overnight in cold water, just to see what might happen. I also have another hand-cleaned batch, which I'll flick card and play with a bit on the drop spindle.

Of course, you want pictures. [ profile] stevieannie, I'm afraid I didn't take any pictures at the Studio; the only meaningful memory I have of it other than Nancy being an awful lot like Kathy Mar in mannerism, is the parking ticket. :-/

Pictures and some more details below. )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (romneysheep)
This morning, G and I went to Surrey Quays to pick up a jacket for him, as his old one is getting a bit ratty. We were successful! Then, we headed to Canada Water station to meet my friend A, who is in London for six weeks. After that, we got on a bus and headed up to Oxleas Wood.

We tromped from the Castle up to the cafe, and then down the east side of the wood, which just happens to be right across from Woodlands Farm. There, we met Janet, who is a volunteer at the farm. B had told her all about me, so she led me to the barn where my fifty-five fleeces are stored. The sheep were just sheared last week, and the wool is 18 months growth, because the old farm manager wanted to shear the sheep before Christmas, and when he left, they decided not to shear until the late spring the way most farms do, so they skipped the Christmas shearing and sheared in May.

Inside the barn, there was a huge farm cart full of big builder's bag, all full of newly-shorn fleeces. Wow! Some of course were dirtier than others. I told them I'd like to take one fleece away today, and Janet got me a bin liner to put my fleece in. I chose one from the extra builder's bag on the floor of the barn, because it was easier to get to. I picked the one with the longest, curliest fleece I could see, G helped with the bag, and then A, G, and I got on the bus for home.

Tomorrow, I'll head to the handweaver's studio in east London first thing in the morning, where I'll pick up carders and a drop spindle, just to see how it all feels. Then, [ profile] pola_bear and possibly [ profile] mokatiki will come over to enjoy(?!) the experience of washing a fleece for the first time. As some internet pages have suggested, I may soak the fleece overnight and see how much cleaner it looks in the morning.

The photos below the cut tag are of the fleeces in the barn, plus one photo of the one I brought home.

Pictures below )
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
I love my work!

This morning, my coworker JG said, "Remind me I have something for you when you have a minute." When I had a minute, it was into the afternoon and I had just finished my lunch. And JG, bless her, bless her, bless her, produced a bag of nineteen 50-gram skeins of Falkland Islands Wool in the classic cream aran colour. I nearly fainted.

She'd bought the stuff years ago at a Knitting and Stitching show at the Ally Pally (the same one [ profile] aunty_marion took me to in October of 2004 but was kind enough not to take me back to this year), said she hadn't knitted in ages, and figured the wool was just waiting for the proper sort of knitter to appreciate it. She even lent two books of patterns from the company that produced the wool, in case there were any vagueries of tension.

Whoa. :)

I don't know if the stuff is even sold anymore; a Google search yielded several hits to places that produce wool in the Falklands, one of which was even called Falkland Islands Wool, but I didn't see any photos of labels, so I can't be sure. It's from The Falkland Islands Agency in Somerset. Anyway, it's 100% wool, aran/worsted weight, and it looks round and lofty and delicious. And it's coming home with me! Me, me, me! Now I just have to work out who might need a jumper of such delicious wool. The cream colour is quite traditional for an aran, but this wool could definitely be dyed; it looks to be naturally finished (I haven't touched it yet; it's behind its little plastic curtain)


kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)

April 2011

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