Thursday, March 28, 2013

Getting My Goat!

I am really hitting my goal to do something fiber related every day. Sure, I still miss an occasional day, but mostly this dream of mine is turning into a super, super reality. I mentioned in my last post that I was heading out to hang out with my friend Lisa, who has a herd of Angora goats. Lisa is AMAZING. She hand shears, she solar dyes, she spins, she weaves. She is living the life. We went out for a dyeing day and I got to hang out with some super knowledgable folks who nudged me along in my quest to learn as much as I can about fiber and dyeing and spinning. This from someone who started out on acrylic yarn and aluminum needles. Let's not call me a snob now, let's just say I am grateful to be learning so much about The Source of Great Fiber. As you can see above, I would be content to sit in a goat pen all day long. Below is a picture of the goat locks I dyed. Lisa really encouraged us to go crazy with the colors. I had no trouble following that suggestion.

This week, I had yet another joyful moment when I received a package from Cottage Craft in St. Stephens, New Brunswick, Canada. That is where Cottage Craft is, a super super excellent yarn and hand-knits shop I discovered on my trip to the Great White North last summer. I love their wool so much and the price is right, so I ordered some to add to my stash. Below, Ori re-enacts my feelings upon receiving the yarn:

In the near future we must discuss our friends, family and partners and the many ways they humor our knitting lifestyle.

Happy Spring Y'all,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Redefining Sheepdog

Hey Y'all,
Happy Almost Spring! Today I just wanted to share with you the above picture. That's my Boston Terrier, Rebound, sporting a wig made of the amazing Canadian yarn I was talking about recently. I ordered it special to make a Cowichan sweater. I'm making great progress on the sweater, which involves charts. Charts are not my specialty, but I did learn enough about how to read them one year on  a Monhegan retreat, where I also learned the benefits of blowing up the pattern really big and using highlighter tape to keep track of where I'm at. It is seriously amazing how very many skills I've picked up on the trips-- this from a knitter who for the first four years of knitting refused to learn to purl. (I was afraid I'd get sucked into the world of complicated patterns. I have, to an extent, but it turns out that's not so bad at all.)

The Canadian yarn is barely spun. I'm surprised it didn't come still attached to the sheep. The dogs are also surprised. In fact, the reason Rebound has that wig is because I foolishly left the yarn in a place the dogs could get at it. They got a whiff of the lanolin and started plowing through the balls, probably looking for a leg of lamb for lunch. Truth is, I doubt Rebound did the most unraveling. I believe Tatum-- half Australian shepherd, half Blue Heeler-- gets that distinction. Tatum LOVES wool-- she's in the habit of "herding" my wool rug, bunching it up and laying on top of it, keeping the wolves and coyotes at bay (happily we don't get many wolves and coyotes in the house so her job is pretty easy).

Fortunately, they only destroyed two balls. More fortunately, I've been able to salvage some of it to use on the sweater. And still more fortunately, since I spin now, I can take the rest and incorporate it into some more yarn for some other purpose. (Don't you love how the list of projects just grows and grows?) So all is not lost. Hardly any is lost.

This week I'm heading to an angora goat farm-- the little kids have arrived, I'll be getting some roving and taking a dye class. Better than Easter Eggs-- fresh dyed curly locks. I'm sure they'll look great on Rebound's head. I'll take a lot of pictures.