Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday?

Doesn't seem right, because there is "white" stuff falling from my sky (grin)....I thought I would celebrate "black" Friday by knitting with some black wool today ;)

I don't do shopping (unless it is yarn shops or farmers markets), so to venture out today would have been silly. Plus Bill and I have the house to ourselves this day after Thanksgiving, and it is a cloudy and blustery day - what better thing to do than stay indoors with yarn? I pretty much cleaned everything up before bed last night so woke up to a semi-clean house (those of you who know my home, know that "clean" is a relative term!) I had considered driving west to Holland, Michigan, to take in the opening day of the Kerstmarkt. My online, fellow Michigan sheepbreeder friends Mike and Lona from Shady Side Farm will be there, plus other vendors, in what is called "an authentic, open-air, European Christmas market" - doesn't that sound neat? The way the weather is acting here this morning, though, I think it is good I decided to stay home. I am planning to go at least one day before it is finished (maybe tomorrow?)

Speaking of Shady Side Farm, I wanted to make this post about knitting and fibery stuff and I am sooooo excited to show you a project I have been working on that includes yarn from Shady Side, as well as yarn from my own sheep:

PATTERN: Fiddlehead Mittens by the amazing Adrian
YARN: Millspun from Shady Side Farm "Guns and Roses"(MC); millspun from Serenity Farms pink,rose and natural colored (grey) Corriedale lamb.

I started these with the Ravelry knit-a-long group the first of November (you can also find out more about them at Adrian's Hello Yarn Ravelry group). I love the pattern and love the colors and love the feel...these were going to be a gift, because pink isn't really my color, but they fit me so perfectly - LOL! I really enjoy making lined mittens and have done many pairs this way over the years. I especially like the technique because you can use a stronger, harder wearing (and often not-so-soft) wool for the outer mitten, and something soft and cozy for the liner. In this case, it also works to cover up the strands of the colorwork, even though mine are pretty neat (if I do say so myself). I had originally planned to use black as the third color, but when I started with it there was just to much contrast. Now as I look at them, I almost wish I would have used the rose (darker pink) in the center - the grey nearly gets lost, doesn't it? Oh well, I will keep on as it is. I would have them finished by now, that is how much I love knitting them, but I have a few other gift items to finish up and I don't need the Fiddleheads to be done till the first weekend of January. So much as I hate to, they have been sitting aside for the time being. Here is another shot, with maybe a bit better lighting:

I can't show you the other nearly finished projects (also mittens, and one pair of socks) because as I mentioned, they are gifts.

I can show you some dyeing projects, though. Last weekend, my blogless friend Mary (who is on Ravelry - find her there as clevasgirl) and I made the trip to Grand Rapids and City Knitting to take a dyeing workshop with wonderful Rita from Yarn Hollow.

Here is the mad-dyer, my friend Mary

and here is Rita (right), answering dyeing questions.

I dyed two different sock "blanks", just because I had never done them before. One I was quite happy with and is in the photo below on the left. It is kind of "Opal-esque", don't you think? I am planning for it to be another pair of Jaywalker socks. The other is very ugly in the blank, but I am sure it will be fine once I skein it up (and then I will show you a photo!) The yarn in the larger skein on the right is some of my own Corriedale, a natural smokey brown, that I overdyed. I LOVE how this one turned out and wish I would have done two skeins (of course I didn't) There is 500 yards here, enough for a nice scarf and that is probably what I will make with it.

If you ever have the opportunity to take a class with Rita, or to purchase yarn or fiber dyed by her, please don't hesitate to do so. She is an amazing, generous, talented and fun person to learn from...and I do mean generous! I came away with my head spinning from all that she shared with us. I am hoping to take another class from her after the first of the year. Oh, and I also really enjoyed seeing City Knitting for the first time (I know I will be going back when I have more time to shop!)

So there is my knitting and dyeing update. I haven't been doing much spinning, except for one batch of sock yarn that is being knitted up for a special friend. I need to get back to the wheel(s) one of these days!


Letters From Midlife said...

I'm not a knitter but I used to do loom weaving so I've enjoyed reading about the yarn dyeing. My daughter is quite the knitter though so I do enjoy reading about what others are working on.

I'm not a day after Thanksgiving shopper either. I avoid malls and busy stores in general but moreso on special shopping days like today.

Toni said...

Those mittens are simply fantastic! You are a knitting genius

KnitNana said...

Your mittens are beautiful!!!What great colors...and you did a fabulous job!

Donna B said...

Those mittens are just heart-meltingly wonderful....