"we're fools whether we knit or not, so we may's well knit"

- old southern saying

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

peach m e l b a, anyone?


The latest Dove's Roost Yarn is off the spindle. Dyed with Virginia Creeper, this is 50g/106 yd of 11 wpi handspun longwool - with a little pokeberry dyed Border Leicester thrown in. Softy lofty luscious. It's up for sale in the ol' Etsy store, Dove's Roost, but I feel a hankering to make a pair of mitts...Hm...

Interestingly, this roving has darkened over the year. No fadin' here! Peachy peach peach.

Yummy, neh?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Esther Bear


This is my version of Calorimetry worn as a collar. I shot this on Thelonius, because he is much more photogenic than I. I haven't seen anyone wear this "headscarf" in this way, but it works for me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

les bon temps keep roulezing along

Lawdy. (long whistle). Time is hard to come by. Drove some 2000 miles this last week. Pulling a cargo trailer full of my husband's big machines. Didn't get a lot of knitting in, though the smitty sox are purt near complet.

Here, though...

Coreopsis, goldenrod, berrya
tropical s u n r i s e

Isn't that pretty? It's a skein of spindlespun. Got rained out today, so I spun a couple skeins of longwool. I don't know the breed. The orange (dyed with coreopsis) was in a bag of rovings that I'd dyed this summer. The yellow and red flecks are border leicester locks (goldenrod and pokeberry respectively.) Yummy stuff. 90 yd in 1 1/4oz.

And look...

Cream worsted wt.jpga
nake d

Here's a wonderful lofty natural yarn. Airy and soft. 115 yd in 1 1/2 oz. Spindle spun. I might spin up a lot of this.

No, I have had time, but Ravelry is sucking it up. Those of you who have been there beta testing know that it will eat your brain. What a great concept! Designers, Yarnies, Knitters and Crocheters all uploading their projects, their stashes, their designs, and their yarns. Cross referencing galore. I am a Yarnie...a yarn designer. Nice to have a place I can declare my yarns for sale without being offensive. Like on so many online knitters lists. The Ravelry Groups are lovely, too. It's great to have visibility into the folks you've "known" on the fiber lists...and literally see what they are doing.

The whole thing has reinspired me to put my etsy store to better use. So, Dove's Roost is being stocked as we speak.

All spare time is devoted to food. Daring Bakers has taken me in. I am floured and sugared and in the company of many fabulous bakers from all over the world. We wait patiently for the first of the month, when a recipe is posted, a challenging - use all your skill and every bit of your artistry - baking assignment. The DBers make the same recipe the same way and post their work on the same day. It's all secret as can be, so you can't just check out the blog. Oh nosiree. If you want in, you have to do some homework.

So, between waiting for the buds to open on the Brandywines and the Rosa Biancas, and measuring Jimmy Nardello's Sweets on a daily basis, between cooking amazing pastries and sauces and spinning lofty yarns, I'm reading The Book Thief and designing a knitting project for this book. What are you up to?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

One skein wonder


Hel-lo happy needles. Knitting on size 8's was like using telephone poles. I swear. But, as DH drove 300 miles, I knit. Polished off Calorimetry in no time flat.

True enough, I've been neglecting this page since Ravelry allowed me entrance through its golden doors. Cripes, that place sure can suck up yer time. It's also a maximizer of all things wooly! Fabulous. If you, dear reader, are not yet a member, promise to sign up!

Back to the project...I wanted to post my version of Calorimetry...knit of that lovely GCNI dyed with the Florida state flower - coreopsis, and with marigold and marjoram (yellow and green respectively). The button is a hunk of coral. It's lovely.

Tom says that a sweater knit "like that" (meaning with a lofty yarn on large needles) would "tear itself to pieces," but I beg to differ. This yarn is good and strong, it's loft is due to the fact that it's a singles yarn spun woolen on a handspindle.

I can't wait for a chilly wind.

Friday, September 28, 2007



Here's a little 1 oz skein of new handspun. Coreopsis and marigold flowers provided the color. The wool is Gulf Coast Native Sheep. This is a 1oz skein. I'll be putting up quite a bit more on the ol' Etsy page. And, it's up on Ravelry, too.

s m i tty so c k s are well on their way to being done. Just a bit more to go on sock #2. My 1st 2 ounces of coreopsigold yarn will become calorimetry.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

f i r s t look at s m i tty

b e g i n s m i tty

This morning I was out shooting pictures of eggplants, tomatoes and peppers, and figured...o alright, a bit premature, but I'll share the cuff and stitch. Actually, this doesn't even show a complete round of the pattern. Looks nice on my raincoat, though, doesn't it?

Friday, September 21, 2007

strip i n g yarn goes zig g y

No photo yet. This evening, had the great good fortune of another driver taking the wheel for 4 and a half hours. I'd been driving for a day and a half. NoFla to CentralFla to NoFla to SoFla and back. I was relieved on much of the "back."

I had a skein of OnLine Supersocke Sierra Color along for the ride, just in case - greys and browns and black. Fiddled around with a pattern...chose 66 stitches and size 0's. It has zigzags and bands of garter stitch. Not quite the same as the chevron or welt of SKS, but has characteristics of the same. I'm calling them smittysox, because this yarn has the same colors as my blue heeler whose name happens to be...s m i t t y.

Cuff is 1x1, 1 1/2 inches. Pattern is 11 stitches x 18 rows. It's tasty. A no-brainer. But that yarn is, well, dry. I hope it softens up after washing. There's a new heel I want to try. But, first, I need to sleep.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

s w e a t e r s i p

naturally dyed sweater
s w e a t e r o n e

This u f o was begun...oh...you don't want to know how long ago. I have some of the same wool! After all these . . . years. I spun and dyed this wool more or less as I knit. I made a coat for my Mom over a two week period in 1990. (Told ya.) It was my Christmas vacation. I lived alone. I spun and dyed and knit and lost 10 pounds in the process. Anyway, after the coat, I still had yarn. And I was on a roll.

I saved this sample, because i could always imagine the finished product. And me in it.

s w e a t e r t w o

This u f o is like the coat. I don't have all the colors left, nor do I have the myriad fibers and yarns that went into this. Maybe somehow I can use this. A pillow cover perhaps? A wall hanging? I don't know.

The next project on the agenda is the sweater for Tom. Lots of brown wool to spin. I'm just getting my fill of color before I dive into Amber's fleece.

socka m a n i a socks complete

n o u g h t s n c r o s s e s

Nice to have these socks off the needles. The merino I used is quite heavy, and I used pretty small needles...so my wrist really started to feel SORE as hell. The fair isle pattern is somewhat obscured with the use of the fun fur. The "fur" has been trimmed both inside and out.

The original pattern used another repeat of the pattern, but I didn't have that much of the handpainted merino. I finished with about 2 yards to spare. Also, the pattern featured a contrast cuff, heel and toe, but I really didn't want fur flying all over. These are very cozy socks that will be great this winter with my "too big" Birky clogs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

o o o o o o o

fuzzy blue hole

What the? This is the interior of a sock leg. Insert toes into blue hole. Just finished sock 1 of the noughts & crosses for this month's Sockamania k a l. I'll not post more of the sock til sock 2 is complete. Worth the wait. Yep.

Pattern: Noughts & Crosses
Yarn 1: Dove's Roost Yarns Handpainted Superwash Merino
Yarn 2: Lion Brand Fun Fur - Indigo
Needles: Susan Bates silvalume 2.0mm (size 0)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

e c r s in a n n e marching along the elephant trail

e c r s

Ta daaaa! Here they are...Completed ribbed socks in Schaefer Anne. I made my DH try them on...oh they looked great. "Too Girly." Cripes. Well, I think it's amazing that they fit the both of us. And they surely aren't too girly for this old lady.

Two nights in a row now, the temp has gone below 70 degrees F. THAT means, one of these days, I'll be able to actually WEAR a pair of these new socks that I've knit this summer. WHOO HOO!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

e c r for k t c & s k s k a l progress

Progress ecr sock

e c r progress showing nice pooling

After a strong start knitting the leg in an evening, night before last, I picked up this little beauty yesterday afternoon looking forward to turning the heel. However, I found that I had dropped 4 stitches. An entire rib. In my night blindness, I managed to lose a couple of YOs. Well the slidey schaefer anne didn't exactly lend itself to unknitting. My booboo was 3/4 of an inch up the leg. After a good deal of cussing, I ended up frogging the sock back to the cuff. Cripes.

So, last night, determined to regain my footing, I reknit the leg, turned the heel, and got through the gusset. This is going to be one yummy sock. Next time I knit with Anne, though, I think I'll make the heel flap a bit shorter or go with smaller needles. My 36 row slip stitch heel flap fit the formula, but my gauge is off enough to screw up the mezh.

So...after the barn dance tonight, I'll be finishing off sock no. 1. Feeling very good about this yarn. Almost as nice as mine! Whoo Hoo!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

schaefer anne o t n


elongated corded rib in schaefer anne

Just started. No elongated corded ribs yet...just 2x2 cuff ribbing. However...I'd like to report that this handpainted yarn is marvy. 60% merino wool superwash, 25% mohair, 15% nylon; 560 yds/4 oz. Schaefer Anne is sold in a big fat hank. It's just impossible for me to figure out what a yarn will look like until I make a pull ball and start to knit.

Soooooo, I was a little bit surprised when this yarn showed itself to make a simple striped pattern. The shades of rust and peach and brown, indigo and slate...are so wonderfully subtle, I imagined that the pattern would be a little more freeform. Then again, this seems to have been painted on a small warp board. When I paint a hank, I spread it out over a greater length...still end up with stripes of a fashion, but much less defined.

I'll be using a Sensational Knitted Socks "idear" (thank you Charlene Schurch) - a 4 stitch rib, in this case, the elongated corded rib, an 8 row repeat. The sample I knit featured nice definition, and good openwork when stretched. Cast on was 144 stitches (to equal 72 st after k2 k2 p2 p2 first row - I really like a stretchy cuff) using size 1 dpns.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

ganseys complete

Ellen's shetland ILGs
shetland handspun ilgs

Thoroughly entertaining to knit, these socks were easy in the late night, quick, and very economical. They fit great. And if it hadn't been 108 degrees in the middle of the day, I just might have been wearing them today. This pattern came from the six sox kal. Progress and final pics were posted on that site.

Next up: Shaefer Anne rusts and blues in a SKS elongated corded rib. Mmmmm.

Monday, August 13, 2007

20 grams of handspun shetland

ilg 20g crop
gansey sock in progress

This is how far 20g of handspun singles goes. After getting this far, I spun another spindlefull of shetland...yep, another 20 grams. That should take me well into the second sock. Once the leg is knit, the foot flies...only two skinny cables and some seed stitch to think about. I can tell that these are going to be favorite cold weather gig socks.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Handspun Shetland Gansey Sock

I love gansey

This is the current sock pattern for the Six Sox KAL - I Love Gansey. I'm using my handspun singles - Shetland wool (roving) I won in last year's Tour de Fleece.

I love the softnesss and the economy of this yarn. The little ball shown was only 20g, and I'm into the heel! With quite a bit of yarn to spare! I can tell that these are going to be comfort socks. Mmmm.

Pattern: I Love Gansey - Six Sox K A L Aug/Sept 2007
Yarn: Dove's Roost Handspun Shetland Singles - natural silver grey
Needles: susan bates silvalume dpns size 1 (2.25mm)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Embossed Leaves Complete

completed embossed leaves

embossed leaves

Here they are. I just can't get a good picture. Regia bamboo picks up the light, bounces it around, and just doesn't want to be photogenic. In person, you have to trust me, these socks are lovely. And Mona Schmidt's pattern shows. Yummily so.

These were the perfect socks for late night bleary eyed knitting. Easy pattern. Easy to work with fiber. What can I say about the pattern? It seems made for me. I love a 64 stitch pattern. I had my doubts about the toe, but you know, it's neat and easy. I'm a kitchenerer. I admit it. I like grafting. My father taught me to graft when I was about 5. I just don't know why people are intimidated. It's E A S Y. And so is this toe. And this toe fits like a...like a...glove? Nah...like a sock.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wildfell Coin Cozy

Here's my completed project for this month's Knit the Classics challenge. The book: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.

Here's to the garden, the gardens, the flowers, the hedges...all that nature that pulses off the page. This little purse, little coin cozy if you will, was knit from longwool handspun, from sheep like those who might have grazed right there, and dyed with flowers, leaves, and twigs that could have been picked in the gardens. Darkness banished when carried. A gift from Gilbert perhaps?

tenant purse
wildfell coin cozy

Yarn: handspun from border leicester, shetland, and mohair
Dyes: natural dyes including black tea - tan, marjoram - green, marigold - yellow, pokeberry - red, coreopsis - orange
Pattern: my own
Needles: susan bates silvalume dpns size 5

Thursday, August 2, 2007

embossed leaves half done

One foot down, the other on the needles. This pattern is terrific. Exactly exactly fits my foot. Course, my foot is not in the picture below. I've yet to figure out how to get a good shot of my foot in a sock. Ah well. This is just a progress shot.

embossed leaves 1 complete
embossed leaves foot no. 1

Next up? Well, I'm spindling right now. Not Right Now, but...in my spare moments. Spinning some silver grey Shetland that I won in last year's Tour de Fleece. You see, the Six Sox KAL posted the August/September sock yesterday, and it's a beauty. Called I Love Gansey, it just screams for soft definition. I think this Shetland is just the ticket.

With all the rain we've been having this week, I'm getting some serious fiber time!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bamboo Embossed Leaves

I had concerns about this yarn. After knitting the Tiger Monkeys in that strettttccchhy bouunnnnncy yarn, knitting with the Regia Bamboo was - well, different. Its "dead" feeling worried me that a lace pattern would be slack, dumpy, saggy...you know the happy words. So, I asked Socknitters, and sure enough, Suna in Texas had used this yarn for a lacy sock. And she loves 'em. Even though "someone" threw them in the washer with some bleedful jeans and saddened them. So, I put on my confident hat, and pushed on through the cuff and started the pattern. I love it! Lovely lovely lovely. The yarn is really nice to work with. Slides through the fingers. It's very very soft. And the resulting fabric (at this stage of the game) is very silky with bounce.

falling leaves start
embossed leaves

Pattern: "Embossed Leaves" by Mona Schmidt (Interweave Knits Winter 2005)
Yarn: Regia "Bamboo" in Jamaica from Patternworks
Needles: susanbates silvalume size 1 (2.25mm)

Tiger Monkeys Stalking the Wild Passion Fruit

As soon as those Tiger Monkeys were off the needles, they leapt off to stalk their prey. I caught up with them at the border. They were, apparently, climbing over the fence...managed to get themselves all tangled up in the passion fruit vines.

In the first picture, you see them frozen like deer in the headlights. Notice the tiger pattern...completely unplanned and unprovoked. I knit one sock after the next with utter disregard for symmetry. In the second pic, they seem to be making a run for it.

monkey tigers in passion 2
stalking their prey

monkey tigers in the passion fruit
making a break for it

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tiger Monkeys

tiger monkeys

Cookie A writes a mean pattern, doesn't she? These socks practically knit themselves. Now, this yarn, ahem...here's the deal. I was shopping for sock yarn, handpainted stuff, handspun stuff, and I ran into a neat site - littleknits. Well, there was a sale goin on...and this yarn, skacel "Trampoline - stretch" was $3.50 a ball. What the heck, right? It's wool/nylon and a little bit of polyester. I looked at it and thought, "O well. I got a deal, that's for sure."

Well, I tell ya, this is some of the most pleasant knitting I've done in awhile. The yarn is totally stretchy and bouncy, but for me...a loose knitter, it's just GREAT. The tiger design of the yarn doesn't make the Monkey pattern pop, but, when stretched over a foot, the design is definitely cool.

Pattern: "Monkey" - by Cookie A (knitty - Winter '06)
Yarn: Skacel "Trampoline - Stretch" in Tiger
Needles: susan bates silvalume "0" (2mm)
Mood: giddy

Coreopsis and Gulf Coast Native Sheep

pot of coreopsis

fleece soaking in dyepot

Not wanting to lose the opportunity to dye more luscious orange wool, I cooked a half-pot of chopped up coreopsis and a half-pound or so of Gulf Coast fleece. The fleece had an alum/COT mordant. This time, the dye seemed yellower, so I left it overnight. The result? Really bright orange! Great stuff!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend. And, an orange dyepot.

What a great weekend! Spent a festive afternoon at a farm down the road on Saturday, then came home a started knitting a Monkey out of skacel Tiger. This morning, Tom wanted to mow, so I picked about 15 or 20 coreopsis stems that were volunteers in the grass. These are wildflowers, the seeds of which were snitched from the side of the road last year. Someone, the county, I guess, plants wildflowers along the sides of the county roads. Phlox in spring. These little yellow flowers in the summer. If I had known what color I would get...I'd have picked an acre's worth!

little old coreopsis

I chopped the handful of flowers and stems, and covered them with water. We're talking about 2 inches of water in a pot. When I saw that the liquid in the dyepot was dark orange, I dug through my stash to find some mordanted roving or locks. I found a couple little pieces of alum mordanted roving. Didn't seem like a substantial offering to the dyepot. So, I washed a big gob of Gulf Coast fleece - about 6 oz, threw it into a pot with some alum, and soaked that for awhile while I simmered the mordanted rovings. The roving grabbed that dye but good. When I pulled it out for a rinse, I threw the Gulf Coast into the pot. I thought the dye solution was pretty well spent, but I got a nice apricot.

just dyed oranges
wet alum mordanted rovings and fleece dyed with coreopsis

dry alum mordanted rovings and fleece

My husband, who is so used to seeing me pull yellow fiber out of the dyepot, couldn't believe his eyes. He actually offered to go for a drive to see if we could find a field of these flowers. I took him up on that offer. Within 10 minutes, we filled a 5 gallon bucket!

I plan on overdyeing that apricot fleece, and mordanting some more. I'm lucky, I guess, that I love orange. Even my KA mixer and blender are orange. We're in gator territory here...and orange is one of those "appropriate" colors!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

ah geez - obsessed

Well, that ole Pandora's Box was opened when I started poking through my bags of fleece yesterday. Last night, after the fleece dried, I started carding. I've taken a couple of pictures to show how fine and springy Gulf Coast fleece can be. The first picture is a handcard loaded with crimpy locks. The second shows the handcards in position to begin carding. It was just too darn hard to take more pictures of the process. I really need that extra arm, sometimes.

loaded handcardddddddddddd


Picking through the fluff to get rid of any second cuts (which were few and far between...just the occasional little blob), and aligning the locks makes for nice rolags. In carding, the fibers are aligned, and rolled into a tube of fluff. It's important that this roll of fiber be consistent, so that the spinner (that would be me) can draw out fiber smoothly from which a thread can be spun.

Here you can see a few rolags. They're consistent, and the fiber will be easy to draw.


Finally, the end product...8 1/2 ounces of rolags. Doesn't look like socks, does it? But, this is at least a couple pairs.


All morning, I make X's and O's and -'s on a piece of graph paper. Drove my husband nuts, I tell ya. I'm working out a sock pattern just for this wool. I'm inclined to leave this batch natural, and just create a design that will show off both yarn and fabric pattern. What good stuff! Thanks to Margrett at Running Moon Farm for this fleece!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Scouring Day

A couple of days ago, the University of Florida dispersed their flock of Gulf Coast Native Sheep (GCNI). Fortunately, a few farms got the word, and purchased them. These sheep are "heritage" sheep. Brought to this continent by the Spanish in the 1700's and let go wild, the breed became acclimatized to the Southeast. These sheep are famous for their resistance to parasites, pleasant diposition, and conformation. It's fortunate that the farms who picked up the UF flock are passionate about preserving the breed. One of these days, we would like to care for a small flock. Until then, I'll be working with Gulf Coast fleece from farms down the road apiece.

I haven't spun any sock weight GCNI yet. So, I dug through the studio, and there - AH! A box of Adelina (cream colored) from Running Moon Farm. AND a bit of Amber (wonderful dark grey/brown). Dirty. Ready to jump in the tub. And here we have a day with no rain. 100 degrees. Higher in the sun. Alrighty!

So, I grabbed enough of Adelina for a couple pairs of socks. Here's a picture of unscoured (dirty) fleece:

Dirty GCNI

This washed up GREAT! Now, I have 8 1/2 ounces of lovely creamy fluff. Margrett from Running Moon Farm confirms that her husband loves his Gulf Coast socks. So...now, to dye or not to dye? This is clean Adelina:


Back to the dirty fleece...I had that bag of Amber all over the bed, and up jumped Artie to check out the doin's. At first, she wanted nothing to do with the stuff, but then...then she got a whiff. Here's a pic of my 13 year old Artie with her new mom, Amber:

dirty gcni and artie kneading 2

And just for comparison...here's some dirty Border Leicester. This is my standard sock making wool. But, not this week. It's a longwool breed, nice gloss, silky but spins up with a nice halo. I made a pair of Baudelaires au naturel last year. I've never received as many compliments as I do when I wear those socks.

dirty border leicester

Tonight, what's it gonna be? Carding and spinning? Or knitting with some "storebought" yarn? Hm. We shall see.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Puncheon Floor

Sheep. Fleece. Combs and cards. Needles - alright, pointy sticks. And socks. And sweaters. Light dancing across a naturally dyed skein. Fabrics knitted of twisted wooly fibers. That's what this blog is all about.

The heat of summer is stifling. A/C, however, is making the summer doldrums tolerable. Projects that were neglected in the late spring, when the windows were still open, letting warm humid air fill our space, are being picked up again. Those skeins of wool, of sock yarn, especially, bought in those "can-not possibly spin" days, are smiling up at me every time I walk through the studio. I'm joining KAL's. On top of designing my own socks and yarns. It's time to get knitting, and spinning, again.

This coming Saturday, Miss Pat from down the road apiece, is coming to a potluck at a local CSA, and bringing 6 fleeces - Gulf Coast Natives at that. I'm up to my ears in fleece, around here. So, I will, with all the self-control I can muster, be petting and passing up the temptation. I'll be giving a spinning lesson to the hostess, who won one of my spindles at a chili cookoff a couple weeks ago.

Yarns are what I spin. And I use natural dyes, from my gardens, from my fields, to dip and paint them. Socks, are my favorite little things to make. It's an odd day that I buy "other peoples' yarns." But, a month or so ago, I went el-kabong and bought a sweet little assortment. They are really wonderful. What an understatement.

anne2 Low

Schaefer - Anne in two unbelievable colorways. I want to eat these, for Pete's sake. When I saw these obese skeins, I thought...ooooh, enough for husband socks. Now, though...oh man...my selfish side wants 'em both for me.

earth tones2 - low

And this pile of delicious stuff! Clockwise, from left: Dove's Roost Border Leicester with Merino slubs in a Chocolate Chip dyed with sumac, skacel Trampoline Stretch in Tiger, Dove's Roost Border Leicester 2-ply in Cantaloupe from annatto seeds (not as pale as the photo), and a fat singles dyed a warm Gold with onion skins, and finally OnLine Sierra - a forest green, cocoa, and grey yarn. Not all socks, but darn yummy!

HA2 & Navajo Low

Here it's Henry's Attic merino space dyed with KA and a soft blue acid dye, and more Dove's Roost, navajo plied corriedale.

FA2 Low

Finally, lookit lookit lookit! This is over the top, don't you think? Fleece Artist merino in Rainforest. Too gorgeous for its own good.

So, that's it. First post. Baseline. Bottom line. Tip of the iceberg. Solid footing. Welcome to the puncheon floor.