Friday, July 29, 2011

Three Stop Shop Hop: Episode One

I like things in sets of three, so three knitting shops in one day is just right. I spent a lovely day recently with my friend Rosy on a three stop shop hop.  First was Mew Mew's Yarn Shop.  
Mew Mew's carries Blacker British Breed Specific Yarns, one of my current obsessions and rather hard to find.

Sue's got yarn
Mew Mew, my dear!
Rosy was waiting for me there, knitting at the central table used for classes and all things fiber.  It felt like coming into an inviting and welcoming home to sit down at the family table.  I was greeted by both Sue and the shop's namesake, Mew Mew herself, who had not yet retired to her favorite sleeping spot under one of the knitting chairs.

Mew Mew, is that you under that chair?
Mew Mew's displays a well-chosen variety of beautiful yarns.  Sue mentioned she likes traditional yarns and knitting, a preference that is reflected in the yarns she stocks. Her fabulous purple walls and the latest issue of Rowan magazine on the table lend Mew Mew's an up to the minute vibe in the midst of warm tradition.
        The shop's community support was displayed on the clothesline filled with beautiful knitting and crochet projects donated by some very talented crafts folk /customers.  And Sue's knitting A La Carte  class is a great way to expand your knitting knowledge with personalized instruction.
 I must confess that I did add a wee bit to my yarn collection.  Sue put it in a great recycled newspaper bag from a good cause co-op in India.  Trend and tradition; the best of both knitting worlds.
Yes, that's more Blacker Yarn and some beautiful Dream in Color worsted.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spinner's Tale

My spinning wheel time the last few weeks has been spent exploring the joys of Romney, a lovely long wool fiber that nearly spins itself. Yesterday morning found the bobbin full of 2 ply ready to be turned into a skein. 

Too little coffee and a newbie spinner's version of buck fever resulted in a niddy noddy session gone wrong.  Note to self: there must be four, not three, wraps on the nid.

Three hours of nonstop de-tangling later (I am a de-tangling pro), the skein was saved with the help of some reliable tools.  In the end I lost only a couple of inches of yarn and added just one join to the formerly unbroken skein.  That's a small price to pay for such a very impressive lesson.

Now the twist is set and this 250 yards / 3.5 oz skein of Romney is  ready to knit.  There will be others.  The bobbin on the wheel is already half full.  
Knitted lace.  A new shawl with a tale to tell.  Yes, I think that's it. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Why do they call them hanks?"

 Asked a young lady named Ailene as she patiently waited for her mother to by some roving at my Sew Expo booth last weekend.  I am rarely at a loss for words but I didn't have an answer for that one.  I think I have one now, though.

The English work hank comes from an ancient Norse word, hǫnk, that means coil.   Traceable to Middle English, hank was used in those times to indicate a definite measurement of fiber;  a hank of worsted weight wool was defined as having 560 yards.

And there's your interesting fiber fact for the day.

Thank you, Ailene.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Everywhere, I tell you!

A happy little basket of freshly dyed, easy and gorgeous to spin, 100% wool.  Raised in the Rocky Mountain region and dyed right here in the Studio. Now that's local!

To market to market....
Hope to see you at the Sew Expo
For you Breed Specific Fans and spinners who just have to know ( I'm one!) this is a versatile domestic wool blend top roving from Columbia/ Rambouillet/ black face sheepies, milled by the ever amazing Brown Sheep Company

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fiber Fiber Everywhere

June has been a very fluffy month in the Studio. Getting ready for my  booth this week (July 7-9) at the Rocky Mountain Sew Expo  (Yes! and there's knitting too!) has kept me very close to the dye pots.
The view through one cocoon
For years I've had a love of Mawata silk hankies.  Some of you might remember the Knitaway in Taos when we spent the entire session exploring the history and possibilites of this fiber source.  Being silk, they dye like a dream.  This week I got into my  precious stash and dyed some for the booth.  It amazes me that each  "hanky" is actually a stack of individual silk cocoons which can be pulled off, drafted and knit directly or spun on spindle or wheel.  Lots of possibilities in surface design and papermaking as well.   Clever little silk worms... please accept our deep gratitude for your beautiful fiber. 
I'll have a spindle going at the booth if you'd like to see for yourself.  Please come by Booth #16 and say hello.  
Mawata drying on the line. A different kind of prayer flag