Cate suggested I get an Icelandic lamb fleece at Rhinebeck, and directed me to Barb Webb of Jager Farm. The fleece arrived about a week before Christmas. Yes: it took a while to get here –- long story -- but I think the wait was worth it.
Remarkably, I managed to convince my camera to get a picture that captures the colour. The longer outer coat (the tog) is this remarkable rusty caramel colour, and the short undercoat (the thel) is a mixed grey, and is quite short throughout the fleece. Of course now I have no idea what to do with it all. Cate? Anybody? (I was going to whinge that perhaps a dual-coated fleece was not the best choice for a spinner’s first fleece, but then I realised that the Icelandic spinners have always dealt with a dual-coated fleece as their first, so I should just shut up and deal with it, right?)
Over Christmas I started spinning some Blue Faced Leicester, dyed by Danuta Kamocki of Alchemy Fibre Designs. (Colour is a bit washed out in this photo. Oh well.)
It’s been in my stash for a couple of years (I think); earlier this year I tagged it for a project. The fiber had felted a bit, and needed some work to get it opened up, which also allowed me to pick out nepps and snags. This will be knitted into a scarf, which I’ll write about later. It’s amazing how fast it’s filling the bobbin, compared to all that lace weight I spun. I should spin thicker yarns more often, I think.
Good mindless knitting during the Christmas family gatherings. The ribbing pattern is taken from Nancy Bush’s “Knitting Vintage Socks”.
In Other News
I survived the family gatherings. Christmas dinner was very good (cauliflower ended up with cheese sauce; thanks Judith). At this point, I’m looking forward to much simpler food.
I went 2 rounds with the recipe from deliciousdays.com for quarkstollen that I wanted to try. Not having fresh yeast, I asked Peter Reinhart for the equivalent in plain ole active dry, and he generously provided the information. (His book “Brother Juniper’s Bread Book” is very good for home bakers, BTW.)
Well. The result of Round 1 could best be described as a brick, so I rethought things for Round 2. I made a sponge with the liquid, yeast and part of the flour and let that sit overnight. Next day I added everything else and gave it 2 rises. Better: still a very tight crumb, didn’t look as open and lovely as the one pictured at deliciousdays. The sponge gave a nice tang to the flavour, though, and the family voted “thumbs up”. I have some quark remaining in the fridge, so I might give the recipe a 3rd round this weekend.
One of the memorable events this Christmas is that I gave my Dad a pair of socks. (No, that’s not what’s memorable. I’m setting up the story.) They are lovely socks (Alpaca Copper Crew), which I got at Rhinebeck from David at Red Maple Sportwear. Dad put them on and said they were nice, but what he’d really hoped for was a pair of handknitted socks, because he knew I could make them to fit his foot. I was so stunned I nearly stabbed myself with a needle. This is the first time that my Dad has ever acknowledged my knitting. I offered him the socks I was making, but he felt the colours were too bright for him (!). So perhaps I will find some nice “manly colours”.
Back to the socks.