Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mittens for Mittens

My new truck Mittens needed a personal touch so I made her some mittens to hang from the rear-view mirror. I knitted them larger, then fulled them down and needle-felted a pattern on each. The purple is handspun merino-mohair blend and the white embellishment is a tiny bit of cormo-corrie cross wool.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fragrant Harvest

Summer is finally over in Reno and a storm is on the horizon. Although cooler temperatures and a bit of rain are definitely welcome, the prediction meant I needed to harvest my lavender right away. I spent all yesterday evening harvesting the flower stalks, then tying them up in bundles to hang to dry. I had to give up at midnight, with one more bucket to go. This is the first time I have had my own harvest of, well, pretty much anything. It is amazingly satisfying. (Ignore the fact that I went to bed with my house looking and smelling like an explosion in a potpourri factory. There is always the weekend to clean up and air out.)

The string I used was something I call "Battalion String". Back when I worked at Texas A&M University the student newspaper was delivered in bundles with huge amounts of cotton string wrapped around them. Being of an environmental mindset, I was outraged at the overpackaging and took to collecting it for future use. I have been carrying around that big box of string for 16 years and have used it for all kinds of things. Eventually I hope to incorporate it into a rug. Meanwhile, I can feel smugly 'green' as I harvest my organically-grown, low-water-use lavender and tie it up with recycled string.

Someone is bound to ask what I plan to do with all that lavender. Some goes to my Dad for the making of herbes d'provence, some will go into sachets to discourage moths in my wool stash, and the rest will go to Sharon for incorporation into her fabulous hand-made soap.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Tow Vehicle

Despite the recent low-cost repairs, it was time for my little Nissan truck to go. Here is her replacement. Isn't she beautiful! Her name is Mittens.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dye Results (Lucky Me!)

Here are pretty pictures of the results of Saturday's dyeing.

Merino for funky-stripy socks:

More merino for more funky socks (less like road kill in person):

And here is the blended huacaya - suri alpaca. The picture does not do it justice. In person it is greener, has a silken sheen that is amazing, and it is oh-so-soft. The colors remind me of the desert around here, so I call it my Great Basin Colorway. I have 16 oz of it. Lucky, lucky me!

Monday, September 10, 2007

CSSW Retreat at Davis Creek

The Carson Sierra Spinners and Weavers held their annual Retreat September 7-9. Davis Creek County Park is a beautiful, piney site along the western side of Washoe Valley, between Reno and Carson City. Every year the Guild rents the group camp site for a weekend in September. Sometimes it is extremely hot and sometimes it snows. This year we had pretty much perfect weather - highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s. At first I was only going to attend the Saturday meeting, but at the last minute I changed my mind and hooked up the little trailer. I went down Friday after work and stayed until Sunday morning. There were only three of us who stayed the nights, but many folks joined us on Saturday.

Linda brought her dyepots, burners, and lots of dye so we spent all afternoon dyeing fiber using the cling-wrap/steaming method. I rainbow dyed a couple of balls of merino roving for eventual sock production. Plus I bought some alpaca roving that is a blend of huacaya and suri, and dyed it a woodsy combination of greens and yellows over tan. Huacaya alpaca produce very soft downy fiber, while suri alpaca produce coarser, drapy fiber. It will be interesting to see how it works up!

As for the camping, my little trailer proved again to be quit cozy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Nevada State Fair (a bit late)

Life has gotten in the way of my blogging lately, but I do want to tell you a little bit about the NV State Fair. It was tons of fun despite being REALLY hot. We demonstrated spinning and weaving and carding and other fiberish stuff to crowds of interested adults and children. We had a name-the-sheep contest for kids - I believe the winning name was "Grendel". Must have been an exceptionally literate kid! For the already-fiberish we had open judging, a spinning contest, and a fleece auction. Keeping to my resolve to work through my existing stash, I did not acquire a fleece. I did, however, win a lovely EarthHues dye kit in the spinning contest. Apparently all that lace spinning is paying off!

Here are a few pictures: