A Simply Wonderful Wednesday

I started yesterday here…

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On our little balcony with my Jensen Tina 2, my new flyer & hi-speed bobbin, and a basket of Three Waters Farm “Flying Home”, the June Top of the Month Club fiber. If you look really close, you can get just a tiny glimpse of Moose — Mr. Knitting Sarah and coffee and all our wonderful yard birds (including a visit from the resident Cooper’s Hawk) were also present making the morning complete.

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The fiber is indeed a beauty — it’s 100% Corriedale, so I broke it up into little uneven nests — probably 1-5 grams each and will eventually chain ply them. If it winds up light enough, I will make it into socks when the time comes.

From our little slice of heaven, we took a little hike, as we often do on Mr. Knitting Sarah’s days off.

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We went to one of my favorite trails. It’s quiet and wide open and it always holds surprises. I didn’t take many photos, but I did find this little bumblebee…

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With his pockets full of pollen. He was very busy and could not hold still for a good picture. He had too much too do! We also had the joy of witnessing not one, but two American Bitterns fly in opposing circles around us and — after waiting a while to see if they’d take off again from the tall marsh grasses — we learned that like a Great Blue Heron, they do indeed make a noise when the take off. It is quiet and understated, as it should be for sure a quiet and understated bird.

With the sun starting to beat down on us and a flock of 40 or so White Pelicans circling on the thermals overhead, the Common Yellowthroats and Sedge Wrens (or Marsh Wrens, I’m not 100% sure) sung us back toward the car. There was a flock of Cedar Waxwings nibbling berries along the way that I stopped to admire. Mr. Knitting Sarah was hot, though and he forged ahead, about 10 feet in front of me. Just as we were almost to the gate near the parking area there was a sudden explosion almost directly under Mr. Knitting Sarah’s feet. He jumped, a little freaked out as I shouted, “Woodcock!!!!!” and sure enough, it was a pair of American Woodcock. The bouncing and dancing and fist bumps that ensued were to celebrate this experience because I’ve been trying to see a Woodcock for roughly 15 years and I’ve just never been in the right place at the right time. Until yesterday. That’s what we call a “life bird” in the birding world and when you’ve traveled a bit and you’ve been birding for 15 years, seeing something brand new is worthy of a lot of bouncing, dancing, and fist bumps. Trust me. And I won’t lie, the fact that it also made Mr. Knitting Sarah jump was kind of fun, too.

Elated from a wonderful morning on the trail, we headed home and grabbed the kiddos to go see the latest Jurassic World movie and then home again where I did a little spinning. The night before, I’d worked up another set of rolags from Bumblebee Acres

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And while I wasn’t in the mood to ply this project just yet, I’m still really into this whole “freestyle supported long draw” thing, so I grabbed a couple batts from my stash to experiment with the technique with batts. This is one of them…

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Which looks like this unrolled…

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It’s a little lighter than it’s sibling, but close enough to still work together. In any case, I’ve been pulling them apart into more manageable batt-lets according to color…

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And spinning from them with my fast and loose supported long draw…

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It’s really vibrant. Originally I had thought I’d spin them both lightly and then chain ply them, but now I’m thinking I may make a 2-ply and play a little more with the colors. We shall see.

For good measure, I also put a couple rows into my Rainbow Warrior…

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I believe I’m one row away from Section 7, about to start Row 130 out of 158. Not that I’m counting.

I don’t know about you, but being around all this excitement and action has tuckered Moose out.

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I suppose that’s what a simply wonderful Wednesday, full of all of my favorite things can do!

WIP Round-Up

After yesterday’s post, I had a few people interested in just getting re-acquainted with my WIP situation. I can certainly oblige and –let’s be real — it’ll certainly not hurt my own mental organization of the whole thing!  A quick run-down of what’s in-progress — ready, set, here we go!

First, I’m 90% sure I’ve shared this already, but my Three Waters Farm Merry Poppies singles are finished & waiting for plying!img_1392

This is a 40/40/20 Merino/Superwash Merino/Silk blend and it’s destined for a simple 2-ply. I can’t decide if I want to ply on my Jensen, too, or switch it up and ply on my other wheel. It’s making me wonder about a second AkerKate for the upstairs to give me less  excuse to put starting the plying off. I’m still considering. I do have my next spin lined up for this wheel, my June Top of the Month Club installment from Three Waters Farm so I really must just get plying one way or the other!

Oh, and last week I finally got my new Jensen flyer, bobbins, and scotch tension pegs finished. I don’t yet have they new scotch tension peg on, largely because I have it set up in double drive, but…

 

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Isn’t the flyer just lovely?! (The bobbins are, too, of course, you can see them below — they are the lighter ones.) The new pieces are not as red as the originals, but I knew that would be the case because the wheel is so incredibly red for cherry wood. When I spoke with Audrey Jensen on the phone, she said they sourced their cherry wood from many places across the country and sometimes a shipment or a location would just produce a more red hued wood. Add into that equation the 22-years the wheel had to mature in color (as cherry does) and there was just no way they’d be the same. In any case, it’s hard to tell from this photo, but the pieces actually blend better than I expected which is great.

You can also see from the stored bobbins that I bought a couple extra spare bobbin holders. They fit right in pre-drilled holes on the wheel and make for perfect on-board storage. Odds are I won’t spin with all 6 bobbins sitting on the wheel, but since the wheel is in a spot that I like to keep neat, tidy, and compact, this option lets me store everything in one place. I love that.

On my Schacht Reeves I’ve continued to play with variations on long draw. This is a long draw/supported long draw spin of some Bumblebee Acres rolags — you may recognize them as the ones I picked up at Shepherd’s Harvest.

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The rolags were a fun mix of fibers and thus my spinning is pretty uneven as I worked on spinning outside the comforts of the whole world of short forward and short backward draw. I’m interested to see how it comes out!

And then, when I should have started plying, instead I started spinning some Three Waters Farm Maybela’s Promise Shetland fauxlags I rolled a couple weeks ago.

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For these I am working with a supported long draw. I’ve found that however I’m rolling my fauxlags currently long draw is kind of a challenge. I really need to work on that technique. But in the mean time, it’s pretty manageable with a supported long draw, so I’ve been going with that. I’m amazed at how much more confident and comfortable I am with different options for how I draw my fibers since delving into long draw. It’s really made a world of difference. For this spin, I separated and rolled by color and breaking with all my norms, I am aiming to have a few mini skeins that are color specific. The thought is perhaps trying something with colorwork at some point, pairing these mini color specific skeins with a natural Shetland I have in my stash. Oh, such fun plans!

One friend here asked how my weaving is going. Well, this is what I’ve been looking at for a few weeks now…

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I ordered this Sett Checker from Liz Gipson aka Yarnworker as soon as I saw it. As a total weaving neophyte, I find it extremely helpful. When I mentioned that I was only as far as having the yarn wound, said friend replied, “Yarn wound for weaving means you are one step closer to weaving.” I LOVE this attitude! Sometimes it’s all about whatever baby steps you can make toward your goal! If the word “LOVE” above could shoot confetti and do kicks, it would be closer to how I feel than simply bold and italics! It is such a perfect sentiment for all our crafty endeavors!

Based on another suggestion (I read all those comments, I really do!), I have dug out and started on a project that was supposed to be part of our Friends of Knitting Sarah meeting last September, Rainbow Warrior. To be fair, I started it with everyone in September, but tried 2 different color combinations that I wound up not really being that into. But I had a hunch about another… that has sat, wound and ready to knit ever since. Upon reading my in-between-project-ness yesterday, I saw, “Hey Sarah, what about that Rainbow Warrior?” Oh yeah!!!! Perfect!

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I got started this morning and I’m hooked! I’m using the Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Silver I was using for it last fall, but this time for the contrast color I’m using KnitCircus Greatest of Ease gradient in the Lothlorien colorway. I actually got this yarn in the yarn exchange we did at our event in September and from the moment it crossed my mind after failed attempt #2, I just knew this yarn was meant for this project. I think it’s going to be simply spectacular with that gradient!

And last, but not least, two spindle projects!

First, my Reykjavik from Classy Squid Fiber Co

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This has been on-going for an embarrassingly long time. At some point, I really need to buckle down on this one… although probably not until after the Tour de Fleece. Clearly I don’t have much urgency here, but I do have a contrast blue to spin and ply with it whenever that time comes.

And then there’s my Giant Celosia from Three Waters Farm

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The singles of this one are all spun — I just need to wind the last Turkish spindle onto a bobbin and start plying!

And that, my friends, is what is in the works here! What are your current WIPs?!