fiber diva

This is the chronicle of one woman's forays into knitting, crocheting, spinning, embroidery, papercrafts, and whatever else catches my fancy at any given time. Oh, and I talk about my cats a lot, too.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wishing everyone a joyous holiday and New Year

Stopping to wish everyone a joyful holiday season and a very Happy New Year. The fiber diva is (temporarily and somewhat regretfully) trying to turn domestic diva for the Christmas holiday, since the whole diva clan is gathering at my house for Christmas dinner and presents. Which, of course, means a flurry of cleaning, shopping, cooking, and decorating for me in the next several days. Which also means that I must first move all the fiber out of the living room!

To give an example of what I mean, here are the pics of the fleece from the breed swap that I mentioned in the last post.
You can see the bag of unwashed fleece here. I did wash a bunch and send the 32 individual baggies of locks to the breedswap "mom." Which means I only have......about 2.5 pounds left to wash! Yeah, don't ask me why I thought I'd need a whole 3 pounds of fleece for 32 locks.

Of course, more fiber in the house is never a tragedy. The fleece is from a Coopworth white lamb. I don't think I'm terrible efficient at washing, but it is coming out a lovely off-white, definitely losing a lot of dirt from the raw fleece you see in the pictures, and pretty soft. I even managed to spin a little from the locks, though I think I'm either going to borrow or buy inexpensive cards to finish the rest of it. I say "inexpensive," because as much as I value having had the experience of processing fleece from it's raw form, I've decided that I don't really want to keep doing it. I'm happy working with processed roving. Speaking of which, this is roving that I used both for the roving and for spinning short lengths. And yes, I apparently thought I'd need 3 lbs of this to make 32 one-oz bags and 32 yards of spun yarn. I mean, I was plying it, so I guess it's reasonable that I'd need.....yeah, like 2.2 lbs. But I'm going to spin up the rest of the roving and try making felted slippers. I might even try dyeing the yarn once it's spun. But this is a nice silver-grey, so I think it will make nice slippers this way or combined with the white.

And finally, I'll leave you with a visual explanation of why the fleece has had to live in the car for a while. This is Emma...chewing on the plastic bag full of roving. Because the roving has been processed and so contains much less lanolin and what I call "sheep smell," Emma is more interested in the bag here. But the fleece? She loves the fleece, and I mean, loooooves the fleece. It's like the old joke---"with this much sheep smell, there's gotta be a lamb to play with in here somewhere," and she will dive head-first into the box of fleece if I turn my back on her for a moment. Worse, invariably when I pull her out of the box, she's still licking her lips and making (kitty) yummy sounds. "No, no, bad kitty, mustn't eat Mommy's sheep!"

And with that, I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and fiber-goodness--filled New Year!

Monday, December 18, 2006

The good, bad, and genuinely tragic (or where I've been for the past couple of weeks)

The last several weeks have been a mixture of good, bad (well, not so good, but otherwise it doesn’t pun on the old movie title), and the genuinely tragic.

I’m going to start with the last, and get it out of the way. At the beginning of last week (December 10), one of my colleagues was killed in a plane crash. He was a great guy, a down-to-earth physician who was invariably kind, thoughtful, and good-humored. Adding to the tragedy was the fact that he was a vibrant man, who seemed always hearty and full of life. All of us whose lives he touched (and we are many) have been just reeling from the loss.

Even recognizing that life goes on, it’s been a bit hard to get back into planning for the holiday season, even knowing that’s what he’d want for everyone.

Which brings me to the bad/not so good, which is how I’m feeling about the holidays so far. And I love Christmas, and don’t hate winter. I’m especially looking forward to the winter solstice (Dec 21), when days start getting longer….even if it is in increments.

I’m not even close to ready, though I’m pleased to say that I did get out a number of Christmas cards. And it’s before Christmas. Some people even have their cards now (they tell me), a full week before Christmas. Sure, sure, chuckle if you want, but I think that’s a record for me. To give you some perspective, last year I gave up completely and just sent New Year’s cards…the week of January 2nd.

And on to the good---I finally sent in my stuff for the breed swap I’m participating in. Considering the deadline was November 20, I was getting a bit nervous that the organizer would give up on me! Thank heavens 1) she’s patient, and 2) I’m not the only terribly late person!

The swap involved 32 of us each picking a different breed of sheep, researching it, and gathering physical materials for it. I did manage to e-mail the research in almost on time. The physical materials are 1) some washed locks, 2) 1 oz of roving, and 3) 1 yard of spun roving. The organizer will then sort it and compile binders with the research and packages of roving, locks, and yarn. Heaven bless her; although we each made a small financial contribution to defray her costs, we also keep telling her to let us know how much more it costs! I had a hard enough time just getting my own stuff together, let alone compiling for 32.

My breed is Coopworth, which I actually have no personal connection to. I just wanted to join, but decided kinda late. Coopworth was the first breed I encountered (when searching “sheep breeds”) that wasn’t on the list as already taken. But it seems a nice breed. The resulting yarn isn’t exactly next to the skin soft, but I enjoyed spinning it. I'll post pictures in a bit. Blogger is being difficult again.