Archive

Monthly Archives: January 2015

IMG_9740

Fifteen years ago today, somewhere in the world, a wee border collie puppy was born.

He spent his young days on a farm in Ohio, where details of his early childhood is a long ago memory. He still remembers his time, I’m sure, when he answered to “Hot Fudge Sundae”.

IMG_5229

Thank goodness he can’t hear me utter that name anymore….either he is deaf, or he has incredibly selective hearing.

When he was three and a half, this dog’s life changed drastically. He went into “rescue”, and moved to Maryland. Where, a kind person changed his unfortunate name to “Finn”, a much more fitting name.

IMG_3484

Finn had no idea what was going to happen to him next.

Neither did I.

IMG_1032

Finn has now spent more than two-thirds of his life living in Greenwich Village. No, not a village in the countryside named Greenwich, but Greenwich Village, on the island of Manhattan. New York City.

If Finn were able to talk, I wonder what kind of stories he would tell:

  • “I used to live in a kennel outside. Now I ride the elevator into an apartment and while there are multiple places I’m supposed to sleep, I prefer the hardwood that reminds me of the concrete kennel floor.”
  • “When I was more active, I could eat all the Milk Bones in the world…now I get carrots for snacks.”
  • “I ran 10 miles every day, no problem. Whatever the weather. Now when it’s cold I prefer to wear my water resistant, fancy imported European coat.”

IMG_1230_2

I can imagine all kinds of stories. I do truly hope of of them is:

“When I was four, I met this crazy lady and I knew I was home.”

IMG_0749

Happy birthday to my best buddy. Happy 15th birthday, Finn!

 

Here is a very very specific intention.

2015 Intention #3: Process my Australian fiber into finished garments.

What does this mean? I was thinking about some of my fiber that I have on hand. And, I’ve come to realize that I may have a bit of a “thing” about Australian sheep and Australian dyers.

Here’s what I mean.

I recently had a chance to get my hands (well, and purchase) this.

image

Meet “Agitator”, a ram that lives in Tasmania with the Venters family, owners of the Liberton Correidale flock. Or rather, meet the Grand Champion Fleece from the 2014 National Agricultural International Livesotck Expo (NAILE) held in Kentucky in November. “Grand Champion Fleece” means that this fleece beat out every single fleece that was entered in the show. Not so shabby. It happens that this fleece came to the US via Geof Rueppert, of Rueppert’s Corriedales. Who I happen to know, and who happened to have gotten charged with selling the three fleeces entered into the NAILE show. Sensing a once in a lifetime-like opportunity, I jumped on it. This fleece needs to get spun. And knit. (…and spun and knit and spun and knit. There is A LOT of wool here.)

Combed, he looks like this:

image

And of course there’s this:

image

As you all know, I have a special place in my heart for cormo. I’ve spun beautiful cormo from a flock in Maryland, and I’ve spun beautiful cormo from a now disbanded flock in California. But cormo is from Australia. So, when I asked Kylie Gusset of ms.gusset/TON OF WOOL if she would dye some fiber for me and she agreed…I was very happy. First of all, not only is it cormo but it is CORMO from the Downie family in Tasmania. Combed top. Custom dyed. And it is dyed not some flat color, but a complex multi red (gasp, it’s not orange!?).  I know exactly what needs to happen to this fiber. I need to make squishy, round sweater yarn. And knit it.

And let’s not forget this:

image

I happened on Southern Cross Fibre because (don’t laugh) the logo was a border collie with a boomerang in his mouth. When I started bopping around the Internet and Ravelry to see if I could sample some of this fiber — because, I reasoned, who would have a logo like that and not be a killer dyer — I learned that David’s colors are one of the most sought after. Luckily, I have been able to buy some fiber through the monthly semi-solid updates, Ravelry destash (for non-Ravelry people — this is a person-to-person trade/sale of fibers and yarns through Ravelry, it is a great resource for some very specific yarns or hard to find items), and other avenues. I am most excited to try spinning David’s colors on Australian Bond — which is an Australian Merino/Lincoln cross which should be very similar to Corriedale.

Or this:

image

I met this ram, Martin, as a yearling ram at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in May 2014. The fleece on the hoof was absolutely gorgeous. Grey, springy, fine crimp. And when I asked Terry Mendenhall about him, she mentioned that she had his hogget fleece still for sale. Well? Can’t you imagine what happened? I bought it. You may be asking, “why is this an Aussie fiber”? This merino ram is a result of genetics imported from Australia. The Mendenhalls have imported the genetics because they like the characteristics of a particular merino flock in Australia — long staple length, excellent yield. And I thought, absolutely gorgeous. The fleece was pin drafted into lovely coils by Shari at Morro Fleeceworks.

So you see. I have some beautiful Australian fiber to play with this year!

I know a few knitters who do not have Work In Process (WIP) projects or UnFinished Objects (UFOs) lying around the house. And I know knitters who have WIPs and UFOs in dark corners of their closets.

I admit. I have more than my fair share of WIPs and UFOs. Some live in variety of states in their baskets and armchairs around places where I normally sit, some live in their relatively organized state of dormant-ness in cabinets. They have all been abandoned for one reason or another.

A few months ago, I did my latest round of culling these WIPs and UFOs. I think what I have now on my hands are projects that I want to finish. (Oh and yes, it felt so good to just throw away that Kaffe Fassett intarsia cardigan in fingering weight cotton.) Some are a bit daunting — one sleeve left to go on Alice Starmore’s Mary Tudor sweater that I abandoned in 1998, for example — and some are not so daunting.

Intention #2 for 2015: Along with all Crafters, world wide. Finish those WIPs and UFOs!!!

I bet this is a pretty popular intention at the start of the year. I have been trying to be at it so far this month though, and have made pretty good progress on several projects.

Like…My brother-in-law’s cashmere fisherman’s cardigan.

image

My BIL is not a big person. But you know what? He is still man-sized. Which is (thankfully) bigger than me by more than a couple of inches in every dimension, making this sweater infinitely larger than what I want to knit. On top of that, he was SO EXCITED for a hand knit sweater, running out to go get the yarn, and the buttons. To boot, his mother is a tailor, making him rather particular regarding details on his clothing. Which just increases the stress level for me. But this needs to be completed. I need it off my plate.

image

Or, this sweater. I’m almost finished, but it’s a turtleneck sweater in chain plied merino (um, shall we call it a single season sweater?). The yarn is beautiful….FAR by Woolfolk. (Read more about Woolfolk here — I think it’s a great story). And the pattern is frankensteined out of Adara by Michelle Wang (for the beautiful color work and the “feel” for the sweater) and Blank Canvas by Ysolda Teague (for the fit. This is a WONDERFUL pattern to have on hand for a great raglan/saddle shoulder worked in the round).

image

Or, remember this shawl? It’s the project that I said would be the “NEXT POST” back in…August and because I didn’t finish, made me go on a hiatus on this blog. Knit out of laceweight yarn that I handspun from a gorgeous Hedgehog Fibres batt.

image_medium2

Or this color work vest, Barrington Vest by Jared Flood, out of Brooklyn Tweed LOFT  which would be a welcome addition to my work wardrobe!

These are just a few examples. I would love these garments as finished objects, and I intend to finish them this year. This is one of the reasons why 2015 Intention #1 was accessories-centric — I have plenty of BIG projects already in progress. (And projects that I don’t….hate!)

Here’s to clearing off some of these works in process off my To Do list!

IMG_4387Do you set intentions for your crafting at the beginning of the year?

(I refuse to call them resolutions.)

I have three this year. One of them is very specific, one of them is grand, and one of them is pretty generic.

Intention #1: 2015 is the Year of Accessories!!

I like to knit garments. Large shawls, sweaters….something I can wear. I don’t do home goods, I’m not much of a sock knitter (or mitts knitter…you know, that second of a pair thing)..and I usually don’t knit hats unless I am cold, or in need of a quick gift.

This year, one of my intentions is to knit accessories — hats, shawls, cowls, mittens, fingerless mitts and socks. Relatively quick knits, easily gift-able, not much monkeying with fit. And most importantly, the knitting is easy to transport and easy to work on in small stretches of free time I may be able to eke out.

With that in mind, the first finished object(s) of the year is a hat and a pair of mittens. It was hard to resist the urge to cast on for a sweater — but these are for me, In delicious, oh-not-so-very-practical-for-a-dog-owner of beautiful clotted cream colored cormo. The yarn: Clara Yarn Cormo 1.0. “I’m cutting it too close” panic made me snatch up a few extra skeins on a Ravelry destash, and I am very glad for it. The hat pattern is the ever-classic Koolhaas by Jared Flood. I don’t think I will ever get sick of knitting this hat pattern. The mittens, not a perfect match but I think in the same family with twisted rib, is Grove, also by Jared Flood.

IMG_4382

You can bring on the snow now!