I took this picture, facing north-west-ish, off my apartment balcony at about 10:10pm last night (June 22). Not quite the longest day of the year, but in any case I was surprised that there was that much light in the sky at that hour of the night. You can also see how the outdoor lighting illuminates the parking lot at my apartment building.
Releasing Your Inner Drag Queen
(It’s Gay Pride weekend, after all.)
I don’t do drag –-and, come to think of it, I don’t know anyone who does-- so I’m probably the last person who should be advising about the art form. But were I to do drag, I’m sure that Miss RuBarb would be wanting me to make Herself a sweater from this yarn.
“Um…Miss Ru…Miss Barb…um, Ted,” you say. “So what?”
Now put it in full sunlight.
See? Glitter. Sparkle. If you held the skein in your hand, you'd be amazed: the picture doesn't capture half the pizzazz in the skein. What drag queen wouldn’t want a sweater made from that?
This is a skein of yarn I received about 10 years ago from Erica Heftman: it surfaced while I was hunting in my stash this morning. “How propitious for Pride Weekend,” I thought.
Erica and I corresponded for a couple of years in the late ‘90s. Unfortunately I have no idea where she is now, or even if she is alive. She is (was?) one of the most skilled fibre-workers I have ever met. She had a questioning mind, and a detailed and systematic approach to experimenting with fibres. She kept meticulous notes of all her experiments. Erica worked with all kinds of synthetic fibres --she would buy bales of waste fibres and mill ends from manufacturers-- and had mastered working with holographic fibres before most of us even knew what the word “holographic” meant. This particular yarn is a blend of black superwash merino, trilobal nylon hand-dyed (by her) in a dozen colours, and holographic fibre. She spun this and knitted a sweater from it, and told me that when she wore it, people would ask where she kept the batteries.
Miss RuBarb would approve, I think. In fact, if anyone with a drum carder would like a 2-pound (1 kilo) challenge, Herself would like to speak with you. (So do I. Even I’d wear a sweater like that.)
Yesterday I washed fleece. Well, I washed some fleece. (If I’d written this post yesterday I would have titled it “Shut Up, I’m Rinsing Fleece.”) The weather is very humid this weekend. Today the damp fleece is distributed throughout my apartment to dry. I hope.
I’m sure that there are apartment dwellers out there who buy and wash fleeces, and I’m curious what arrangements you’ve got for doing that? Do you use the bathtub and the single kitchen sink? Do you have old window frames tucked away somewhere that you lay over the furniture, to put the fleece on to dry?
The Columbia is washing up nicely, I think. I also think I needed to pick it over better and open the tips of the locks before washing. I’m guessing that would get the tips cleaner and encourage more debris to fall out in the washing. Wouldn’t it?
I am spinning. There is a triangular shawl in the planning; rather, there will be a triangular shawl in the planning when I get the yarn finished. The shawl will be vaguely Icelandic lacey, and to be honest, there are so many versions of what I have in mind out there already that I’m likely reinventing the wheel. But there are a couple of lace patterns that I want to use together, and there will be a little bit of further dyeing involved.
Right now I’m ploughing through the singles.
Fibre is 8-ish ounces of Falkland top (Louet) in colour teal. There should be lots of yarn left over from the project, and it might get given to somebody. There’s been a lot of teal spun this year, and after I finish this lot, I think I’ll spin purple. Or there may be a break from spinning, though, because I’m having low back, hip and neck pain after I spin for about a half hour. I think need some spinning lessons to change my technique. That or get a single treadle wheel. (Or both.) How people like Jenny, and Sara, and Abby, and June, and Dan produce the miles of yarn they do is a mystery to me. How anybody spins long draw or has a make of longer than 12 inches and not end up with pain is a mystery.
The top, if anyone is interested, was dyed in the slow cooker. I weighed out the top, and calculated the amount of dyestock required for a 0.75% depth of shade. Since I really find working with solid colours boring, I wanted to dye the top somewhat unevenly, thinking that I’ll get a more interesting yarn when it’s all plied. Half the dye went into the pot with the fleece (and the required water for the dyeing process); the remaining half was injected in to the fibre at random locations. During the heating process the dyed further redistributed. The finished top is not as unevenly coloured as I wanted, but the changes are there: I think you can just see the variations in these pictures. I also think, though I’m not certain, that the dye broke in a few areas that are more blue. If so, it’s very subtle. Should make pretty yarn, at least.
I broke the length of top into roughly 1 ounce lengths, and tore each length into 8 strips. One strip from each length went into a plastic bag (8 bags), and I’ve just been spinning my way through the bags.
Speaking of Icelandic shawls, a couple of people have asked what I’m doing with Hyrna Herborgar. It’s gone to Barb at Wild Geese Fibres, for her to wear, use as a display piece when she’s out selling her wares, and so on. And I think it’s a good idea for yarn designers to see how their creation is performing and holding up in use.
A little more on the Retreat. I admit I’m hesitant to say much, because I’m still looking at the costs. However, the date is set for September 28-30 – that’s Friday night to noon-ish on Sunday. This idea is get a group of fibreworkers together for sharing, learning, laughter, inspiration, help with a project, whatever, in a decent venue, and at a cost that won’t leave bank accounts groaning. No having to worry about planning / shopping for / cooking / cleaning up after meals. Knitters, spinners, crocheters, etc all welcome: I expect we may have a bobbin lacer in the group. I hope there’ll be a vendor’s market, and participants are welcome to bring fibre-related items for sale. (Chocolate counts as a fibre-related item.) If anyone wants to teach a short class on something, let me know.
Two things I’m still looking for. One is a good name for the event. I’ve been calling it “Fibrefest North”, because that’s been easy for me, but there are other events called “Fibrefest”. (Well, “Fiberfest” actually.) So I’m looking for suggestions for names. I’m also looking for a designer to do a logo; Franklin has declined the job, citing overwork. If you know of anyone to do a simple logo, please contact me.
And if you’re interested in attending Fibrefest North, drop me an email -- knitterguy at yahoo dot ca -- or leave a comment. When things are firmed up, I’ll send out emails or put up a webpage or something with registration information. (Those of you who’ve already expressed interest don’t need to re-contact me. Thanks.)
Oops ! Almost forgot to ask. Has anyone knitted the "Mercury" messenger bag from the KnitKit folks? I'm wanting a messenger-style bag to carry around a small piece of knitting, or a spindle and some fibre, and am wondering about "Mercury". Or can anyone suggest a better bag? (also, paying for the Mercury pattern will perhaps be a challenge.)