Cherry Bomb Baby

I live in a pile of bricks with a fire puter-outer, a Halloween enthusiast and a pretend lemur, who sometimes admits to being my second son. I have a kitchen for flowers. I know all the lyrics to the Spiderman theme song and (am forced to) sing it everyday. I cook with color. This was a blog mostly about yarn spinning and natural dyeing. Now, it is fair to say, it lacks direction entirely.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christmas at Ardenwood

Every chance I get, I jump to go to Ardenwood Historic Farm. I love it, the grounds, the house, the docents and the full days we spend there. My camera's battery died near the end of the visit and so I didn't get pictures of the blacksmith, holiday puppet show, yule log hunt or the new pheasant I discovered. Truely, there was something for everyone there. And anything that can get my 2 very young boys enthusiastically crafting is tops in my book:

There was herb sachet making, mistletoe and cranberry/popcorn garland stringing among many other activities but this is what mine like to do most of all:

There is lots of time for kid stuff at the water pump.

There is mom stuff. (I am grateful to not have to do some things by hand.)

There is fantasy in the trees just above you. Seriously. Right above you. I almost walked into this guy.

Below you isn't so bad either. (Romney I think-squeal!)

And Suffolks. Those ears are seriously cute.

Here is the version that came home with us:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

An ongoing Love Affair

Dirty sheep and I have a thing. Or maybe its just me that has a thing for them, its totally unfair how unreciprocated this relationship is. I've enjoyed most of the raw fleece I've worked with on some level but long wools make me lose my mind a little and I tend to end up with 10lb amounts at a time. This has happened to me quite a few times with romney fleeces, its a common breed in the states as well as New Zeland and Australia and I suppose its common for a reason because romney wool is just this fabulous stuff! There is a lot of variance within the breed and I have a fair amount of bouncy, fairly fine Romney wool. I also just got around to washing this 4 oz sample of a typical but beautiful romney fleece, long, lustorous locks. It was my gift from the wonderful natchwoolie for trading an insane amount of dollars for an equally insane amount of wool. This was a totally fair trade and I feel like I made out like a bandit but I'm, um, running out of space and money for this sort of thing. But since I haven't bought new clothes for myself since 2 babies ago I tend to overlook this type of indulgence. The staple length on this wool has to be at least 6 inches. Here it is dirty, greasy and golden with lanolin:

My wool washing method is the typical, arranging of locks in the same direction in a lingere bag. I give a soak in 140 degree canning pot of water and a big squirt of dish soap, and then as many rinses as it takes to run clean.
I washed the 4oz of white romney along with some coated black coopworth. Coopworth is a new breed for me to work with and I got 4 oz from a wool and dairy farmer via Homestead. This wool has a tighter, less distinct crimp. Its wonderfully free of vegetable matter and pretty coarse, who knows what this will be, I'll have to pet it a while first.

And here are my lovlies all clean and shiny and begging to be spun straight from the lock. I think the white romney is begging to be a sock, it would wear so well. The crimp is pretty open so I'm not sure the fabric will have great memory but it seems like it would wear so well. And be so shiny! We'll see what we can do about it post Christmas, shall we?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Christmas Update

Slow progress is being made on Lochness Monster #1. She's got 3 out of 4 fins as of last night. I guess I forgot to knit a few wraps while knitting her back and for some reason her neck wants to bend backwards on itself (and I'm not quite sure what I did to create this effect), but in the spirit of 11th hour Christmas crafting-oh well!

And remember those 10 months I had to knit this? Here it is, left on exactly the same stitch as it was when I posted. Oh man. My only defense is that I can't find one of the needles and that I've moved my crafting space a couple of times and we moved our household itself once this year. I'd still like to finish this, ideally for advent(!) but there are more urgent holiday knits at this point. I think M will be ok to wait another year for his stocking.