Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spinning Hope & Coming Home

My husband is coming home today from Hospitalization #5 this year. He started a new treatment called photopheresis, which I can only described as a sort of dialysis with UV light. It is aimed to kill the cancer cells in the blood and return it back to his body. He is feeling better in general but he is looking forward to coming home. A week and a half in the hospital is a little too much.

With much time on my hands watching him recuperate, I have been able to work on my Elizabeth Zimmerman Yoke sweater. I am now putting together the sleeves and body and working toward the yoke where I will be doing a Fair Isle pattern close to the neck. I am planning to use some of my Handspun yarn for the color. I really need to find ways to use this yarn, as it seems to be accumulating quite fast.

When I tire and get bored with the sweater, I have been making some toe up socks with a rainbow colored Trekking XX sock yarn. I am using a pattern in the new August issue of Cast On, a Knitting Magazine. This issue is amazing, with lots of instruction and wonderful patterns. I was so impressed by this issue, I drafted a comment for the editor…..

Dear Editor of Cast On,

I don’t often send comments about knitting magazines, as many only seem to be fashion shows of designs made for the fashion model types.. However, your new August-October issue of Cast-On is something to behold from cover to cover.

I love everything about this issue. The sock lessons and designs, and the variety of techniques described in easy to understand detail, are so great. I want to knit all of the sock patterns listed. I’m usually not a sock knitter, but this issue has definitely motivated me to pick up the Size 2’s again and find a beautiful yarn to create the wonderful sock patterns in Cast-On. I love how you included additional patterns to extend the learning techniques of the socks. I absolutely love the Christmas stocking and the left-over mitten patterns, reminding us it is never too early to get a head start on Christmas knitting.

I like very much the focus on “instruction” in this issue. After all, TKGA, is an organization that promotes the education of knitting. I think you have hit a winning strategy in this issue, with something to teach everyone. It is likely to become a favorite knitting resource, one that knitters come back to time again.. Congratulations on a well designed issue. Keep them coming.

Happy Knitting!

Diana Hilton
Duarte, CA

In spinning I have been working on the Corriedale fleece I purchased at Black Sheep Gathering in July. The fleece is beautifully clean and fluffy. I has a little lanolin ( a greasy feel) to it, so I washed it with one soak with Dawn dishwashing liquid and rinsed it once. I pulled off locks and lined them up side by side in laudry bags. I also tried to use tulle netting closed with safety pin and this worked well too. Normally, I have to soak it 2-3 times to get all the dirt out. However, with so little dirt, once was enough. I soaked the locks and used a ShamWOW or towel to absorb the water, and laid them out to air dry.

When dried, they looked like this……

Once spun into a single ply yarn it looked this on the bobbin. See how white and clean it looked.

It was so easy to spin.
It made a lovely two-ply yarn…
I still haven’t dyed my newly spun Corriedale. I keep thinking I should accumulate enough yarn for a sweater, but I’m not sure I have enough. A four-ounce bobbin only gets me about 70-80 yard skeins per bobbin. One adult sweater takes from 1000 to 1500 yds. I have perhaps enough for a child’s sweater, but I fear making a wool sweater and giving it to someone who will not take the time to wash it properly, will resulting in a felted shrunken mess when naively washing in warm water with agitation. The thought is just horrifying to the long hard work I will put in it. It is better to make it for someone who know how to care for wool.

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