I was wishing for white fleece. I got white fleece. Oh. My. Did I ever.
Last Saturday, we went to the Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild‘s fiber fair in Oregon City. Our first fiber fair, we started with a small one – but even this one had my head spinning with possibilities:
We walked around, met people – including the lovely Janet, who is the current Vice President and incoming President of the guild – and ogled wheels, fiber, and yarns in progress. Additionally, I stopped at the Jenkins Yarn Tools table and visited with Ed Jenkins about his gorgeous handmade Turkish spindles. I don’t do much spindle spinning these days, but if I did, I would’ve scooped up (at least) a Kuchulu – I tried one out and loved it! At around $50, they aren’t as expensive as a Bosworth, but they are wonderful, well-balanced, and worth every penny.
One of the ladies I talked with tipped me off that over in the corner of the hall I could find a really good deal on raw white Romney fleeces, so we went over and checked it out. I hemmed and hawed, walked away, talked with a few other people, picked up some 4 oz. bags of Romney Lamb and a couple of 50% Romney and Polypay, and came back to the boxes of raw fleece and looked again. I didn’t jump at it because I just didn’t know whether I should spend that much ($19 for one, $48 for the other). They were gorgeous – the smaller was a 3.75 lb. Romney lamb fleece and the other was an 8 lb. adult Romney fleece. Neither one had much VM and the staple length!! Glorious – an average of about 6 inches. But I walked away from them both.
Since then, though, I not only scarfed up the last two 4 oz. bags of the Romney/Polypay, I bought 16 oz. of alpaca (mostly light brown, with about 3 oz. of black) from the guild. My new friend Janet (of the guild) sent me these and tossed an armload of miscellaneous colored fiber scraps to card in to make tweed or whatever else I can think of. Fun stuff! Probably the best $30 I’ve spent in months.
But the big deal is that yesterday, I drove out to Oregon City and bought those two fleeces from the shepherdess that was selling them at the fair. Handwashing nearly 12 pounds of fleece will be a lot of work, but I’m dreaming of lots of lovely yarn – and dyeing a goodly amount of it.
Meanwhile, I’ve finished a pair of socks:
The Afterthought Everything socks use an interesting construction method. You knit a tube with ribbing on both ends, placing the heels with knitting in a half-round of waste yarn at the appropriate location for the heel. Then you put the live heel stitches on needles and knit the heels. You then find the center point between the base of the heels and steek to free up the live stitches for the toes. Pick up the toe stitches, knit the toes & you’re done. Pretty darned easy and they fit really well.
I knit these using Knitpicks’ Hawthorne Fingering in the Ladd’s Addition colorway for the main color and their Stroll Tonal in red for the toes and heels. Hawthorne Fingering is a fairly high-twist sock superwash merino with nylon and is really nice to knit up. B liked these so much that I’ve ordered more Ladd’s Addition for a pair for him! (I’ll knit his longer in the leg, though – these are short socks for me.)
What else? WIPs: more work on the ongoing scarf, and more work on the mitered square throw. I’m working on the third block panel now and am waiting for the arrival of some special yarn for the bridge panels and border – I’ve ordered KnitPicks Gloss in the Blackberry colorway for this part of the throw, because the lace panels and border will work up beautifully in this:
This yarn is 70% merino – 30% silk and shows stitch definition really well. The blackberry color is especially meaningful for this project, as this throw is really a sampler of yarns (both purchased and handspun), stitches and techniques, and incorporates handspun dyed with plants gathered here on the homestead. I spend a lot of time every summer foraging for berries – blackberries are one of our favorites. I’m working on charting the mitered blocks and lace panels, and one day hope to have a finished pattern for this project.