Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ten On Tuesday-10 Of My Favorite Things Right Now

...does that remind you of

When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad


I admit I am not a huge fan of musicals- unless it was "Tommy" which was a rock opera.

1. I am loving winter.
2. I have a boatload of fiber to spin:
3. There are some wonderful shows on. If you're watching the Shetland series, the 6th is in 6 parts, and Jimmy Perez has a love interest, ooooooooh!
4. Vera is fantastic- and I'm up to date on those too.
My Paperwhite Narcissus- smells gorgeous.
6. My knitting mojo is here, and I'm loving it.
7. FC makes me a yogurt smoothie every morning. Whatta guy!
8. I am making my way through a stack of great books.
9. Everyone on my radar is happy and healthy-
10. My fridge is nice and clean.

We went and got our fleeces from Wellington Fibres.

It is amazing to me that you drop off a sheep fleece and come out with a bag of heaven (not instantly- it takes time). I realized that I would never get through combing or processing those fleeces for spinning, and now I have wonderful Dorset Down roving to spin and just enjoy. They are absolutely the nicest people at Wellington, and I am thrilled.
This is what a Dorset Down looks like. Not easy to find here, there are smaller Baby Doll Dorsets. "Down" refers to the area it came from,  but I think they are the cutest of sheep. Mine is grey, an odd mutation.
This is a CVM (aka Romeldale) and a handspinners dream.

These are my 2 CVM (California Variegated Mutant) fleeces- Buddy and Slocum.
This weeks cat picture is brought to you by Miss Mew, who has this lovely foster baby at home now. My guys seem to be missing in action.

(Really) fleecin' out.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

First-World Gansey

Old Man Winter certainly has a few tricks up his sleeve (or wherever he keeps them) because it's colder than a witches you-know-what out there. I have been checking the windows and there is no condensation or water on the sills, so I guess that was money well spent.

I am up early as Mr. Clawed was whirring in my face. Not exactly a meow, but a sound he makes in his throat. He even wakes himself up doing it, and usually I find it cute and charming. FC discovered a cache of mousies under the tv room sofa, and Howard was doing his war cry with one in his mouth in the pitch dark. I was looking for my 5th DPN under there, which was behind my ear. We also found a Glossette raisin.

My Whitby Gansey is done. This is a proud moment in a knitters life. The last (and only) other gansey I have completed, Eriskay,  was done in 1999, according to my Ravelry notebook. It was, and is, a completely patterned and challenging project as the chest pattern is all different and a bit of a pain to keep track of. Also done on 3mm needles, in Navy.

In comparison, this one was a walk in the park. The pattern was easy to memorize and I really enjoyed working with the yarn, although I will say that in comparison, I prefer the Frangipani over the Wendy Guernsey, as there were knots and quite a bit of chaff in it. Odd. But the Atlantic blue is a nice colour and I used 8 balls, so just shy of 2000 yds.
The shoulder detail: I cast off the shoulders on the right side after doing the ridge and furrow (rig and fur, it's meant to represent a plowed field, as many fishermen were also crofters). I special ordered the nacre buttons from Italy, and am fairly pleased with how the rope cables merged with the collar pick up. Love the flags too.

You can see the flags and the back part of the rig and fur. I had thought that I would mirror-image the cables, but I read that Sailors are superstitious of mirror-imaging, so it's not traditional.  I guess if I was in a boat on the North Sea, or maybe a smaller vessel loaded with men in dark water, I wouldn't want to tempt fate in any way.
So it blocked out nicely, no gathering at the patterning edge (cables can pull-in) and I am really pleased. So much so, I am planning another one. This time in Falmouth Navy.
I finished my Whoville socks that I began in December. Despite having a enough yarn and fiber to sink a boat (see what I did there?) I always go through the ritual (torture)of deciding what I will do next. My fleeces that I sent to the mill are ready too- so my buddy and I will make a trip to get them.

This would definitely be classed as a First-world problem.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Winter That Isn't

Ten on Tuesday this week was 10 moments or days you would want to relive. Hmmm.  Besides the obvious, like wedding day (uh, no) or birth of children (please, no) then I can't expand on that.

Happy Groundhog Day. Punxutawney Phil did not see his shadow, so there will be an early Spring.  Maybe it's here already because they are forcasting 11 C this week.  Winnipeg Willy passed away, so no information there.  But aren't groundhogs just a little bit cute? So fat and furry.

In knitting news, I have completed half a sleeve on my Whitby gansey.
What you don't see is that the back is completed and the collar. There will be two buttons to the left of the collar. I had to McGyver the pattern a bit, as I realized that the sleeve chart needs to be worked upside down as well as the cables reversed i.e. K6Back instead of front.

I have been doing some reading about Ganseys, which are fascinating bits of history and folklore. Alot of myths as well.

A historic photo of a felon, wearing a lizard patterned gansey. Hubba hubba!

-Known as Guernseys, sometimes Jerseys, or Knit-frocks. Basically, gansey means a sweater or jumper.
- the buttons on the collar are preferred to be on the left, as a sailor got his rope caught on the right side in his buttons and fell into the sea and drowned.
- a sailor perishing at sea could be identified by his gansey, as certain patterns could be associated with the area he was from. Myth. Unless the initials were on his garment, patterns were not exclusive to his village.
- the garment is worked in the round, split after the half underarm gusset, fronts and backs worked back and forth, then the shoulder was done and collar.  Sleeves are picked up and worked from shoulder to cuff. This makes it easier to replace a worn out sleeve. Alot of the time you will only see patterning on the upper chests and sleeves. This was because the men wore high trousers,and the patterning would not be seen. It  was thought the patterning kept the chest and upper arms warmer.
-they were not just worn by fishermen, but also canal and boat workers.
-gauges ranged from12 spi all the way down to 7 spi. They were worked on long needles (14") or several shorter ones.
-the cast on is done with the yarn doubled, as well as the cast off.
-Mother-of-pearl or Nacre buttons are traditional. Not all have buttons.
-they are not waterproof, but rather repelled water due to the firmness of the fabric.  The 5ply that we use today is smooth (worsted spun), and not very soft.
-Traditional colour is Navy, however a cream one would often be worn as Sunday Best or even for his wedding.
-they last a long time, and can withstand alot of wear and tear.
-patterns represent everyday life -steps, marriage lines, ropes, anchors, stars, tree of life, etc.

Hopefully, I will have this done in a few weeks. I am actually thinking about doing another- my last one was completed over 10 years ago. Crazy.

Clawed is schmutzing. Kitten Chow used to do this alot, and I had to buy those Mr. Clean Magic Clean things to get it off.

Fleece out.