Archive for the ‘Fiber’ Category

This weekend was the annual tent sale at Webs. I think they have a very clever racket going on, which is that they offer huge discounts and have big events all the time, and every time I panic just a little that it’s my only chance to get yarn on the cheap, and I end up spending more money than I planned. Ok, it’s not exactly a “racket,” it’s more of a standard “sale,” but I blame them anyway.

The cool think about this particular tent sale is that local fiber farmers are invited in to set up booths and sell their products directly to customers. I talked to Diane Roeder of Sojourner Design in Northampton, who said that it’s always a good sale day and a good opportunity for her. Obviously it’s a good advertising move for Webs too, but if it’s good for the farmers that’s cool by me. So! Want to see what I got?

Here is some beautiful sock yarn from Diane’s sheep. She dyed it, too. I’ve never made socks, but I’m really excited about the thought, and I suspect that this yarn will offer inspiration as I struggle through the heel.

More yarn after the jump…



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Here is yet another update on the same old sweater. Yes, it is old news by now. I haven’t been spending as much time on it as I’d hoped, but my hours have been filled with other happy distractions, so it’s cool. When I do work on it, the knitting just zips right along, because it’s all stockinette. As you can see in the extremely modern graphic to the left, I’m most of the way through the body. If I’m feeling macho, I might leave it sleeveless. Ew, that would be tragic.

For a while, I was worried that the sweater was looking very tiny, and all I could think about was how disappointing it would be to have to give it to some miniature friend of mine. Now I’m thinking that it looks kind of wide, and I recently learned about negative and positive ease, something that no knitter had ever bothered to mention in my presence before. Negative ease is when something is smaller than your actual measurements, so if you’re 34 inches around at the bust and a sweater is 32 inches around, it’s got a 2-inch negative ease. I  usually wear things with a negative ease, because of the patriarchy. This sweater I’m making is going to have a two-inch positive ease, so I may be making my Very First Purple Sack with Sleeves! Or, right, no sleeves if I’m feeling macho.

I wonder if I could purposely make the sweater extra-long and then shrink it a little in the dryer? Very, very carefully, of course? Someone on Ravelry should be able to answer this question. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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 I created this extremely helpful… graphic… to illustrate how far I’ve gotten on my Very First Sweater. All right, I cut a little arrow out of the top of a post-it and stuck it on the pattern and then took a picture. Well? It works, right? And I can totally use that post-it arrow again and again.

Anyway, as you can see, I’m just past the arm holes, so it’s basically just endless stockinette from here on out with a small amount of shaping around the waist. To pass the time, I’ll tell you about the pattern and the yarn.

The pattern is by Knitting Pure and Simple, and it definitely is both (or all three, actually) of those things. It’s the Split Neck T Shirt for Women, #257, and it’s super easy, clearly written, and if all goes according to plan the end result is going to be very appealing.

The yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca, which is a 50/50 wool and alpaca blend. It’s super soft, the color is lovely and grows on me every day, AND it was on sale! The thing I like about the color is that it’s a little bit heathered or something- it’s not a true lavender, so that works very nicely for such a simple sweater design. Ok, this is what it looks like right now:

It does look a little saucy at this stage, doesn’t it? It looks like something Mariah Carey would have worn in the mid-90s.

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I got really sick of making hats and scarves and other tiny things, and I decided it was time to just bite the bullet and get over my fear of tackling something larger. So I went to Webs, asked for help picking out an easy first sweater pattern, and then spent about 40 minutes sitting on the floor holding onto this purple alpaca-wool blend and wondering if I would like a sweater that color, both throughout the process of making it and after it was done. This decision was complicated by the presence of a perfectly lovely grey yarn that was a more obvious choice for me. After asking several kindly ladies for their thoughts, I went with the purple and felt very very brave about it, and thus far I think it’s lovely. We’ll see how it looks when it’s all knitted up. I haven’t gotten very far with the knitting yet, but it seems pretty straightforward. Time will tell!

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There’s nothing too notable about this hat, although it is pretty cute. The only interesting thing about it is that, like all my other hats, I knit it way too big, but this one I managed to fix! I have no idea why all my hats are so huge, since I obediently check gauge and follow directions and whatnot. Anyway, this hat was too big even for my large head, and for a while I wandered around in public with it on anyway, even though it basically looked like I was wearing some sort of a wool bucket on my head.

Then I admitted to myself that, even with my extremely low standards for street-appropriate garb, I just could not prance about in this absurd thing any longer. Once I realized that, I was able to work up the nerve to felt the thing and shrink it down to size. So I dunked it in the sink, brought it down to the laundromat and stuck it in the dryer. I stayed nearby and checked it every few minutes to make sure I didn’t end up with a rock-hard miniature doll hat. I also had to keep pulling it into the shape I wanted because knit items apparently shrink more top to bottom than they do side to side. I’ll bet there’s some sort of insidery term for that. In the end, it was in the dryer on hot for about 20 minutes, and it turned out juuuuust right. Perfect!

Also, in case you’re wondering, I used a ball of wool roving as my hat model in this picture. It was exactly the right size. I realize that it looks like I maybe had an old bag of dreadlocks under my bed that I dragged out for the photo, but I assure you that I do not and that I did not.

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I went to a sheep-shearing party at Winterberry Farm over the weekend, where I got to feast my eyes and hands on a whole lot of fiber. You only get to feast your eyes, sorry.

This is a sheep being shorn. It’s kind of hard to tell what’s going on in the picture, but it was really cool to watch it happen. The shearer worked really fast, and the wool just fell away from the sheep- in the end it looked like he had extracted this skinny little animal from a big wool blanket or something. It kind of reminded me of a snake shedding its skin, actually.


Bags of wool. Each one contains the coat of one animal that had just been shorn.



Here’s some of the wool they had for sale. This has been washed and dyed. I spent a while staring at it, because it was beautiful.


Don’t you want to stick your face in it or dunk a baby in it or something?

Oh, the roving. This is wool that’s been washed and dyed and carded and then rolled up into these light, soft balls. ……


This is what I brought home with me, along with some goose eggs I’ll tell you all about sometime. In detail.


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