Category Archives: handcarded wool rolags

There have been some beautiful snowfalls coming down the past few days, while I’ve been recovering from a bout of bronchitus the past few days.  To keep myself occupied during endless bouts of coughing, I had three new books and two magazines to read or browse through.  I had ordered “Woven Shibori for Textural Effects” by Stacey Harvey-Brown and “So Warped: Warping a Loom for Weaving Tapestry” by Kathe Todd-Hooker with Pat Spark, and they arrived, giving me a way to keep fibers in my days, even if only in print.  But, DOING NOTHING was starting to make me crazy. 

I wasn’t feeling up to a couple more complicated knitting projects I have to finish, but thought carding wool was something I could do sitting there, ginger ale, meds, kleenix at hand, head feeling a bit “foggy,” and feel like I was accomplishing something.  I went through two bags of washed fleece, pulling out and carding the locks that had held nicely together. 

There are now 88 white rolags and 126 cream rolags waiting to be spun up into yarn.  I still have perhaps another half-day of handcarding the remaining white fleece.  Both colors came from the same box of fleece.  At the moment, I do not recall the breed, but it is medium+ in length, perhaps a Romney X.   

There are also two clear blue trash bags fairly full of more fleece that did not stay in such nice locks while being washed, waiting to be drum carded. First, though, the drum carder needs a thorough cleaning to remove bits of rather bright colors of Merino, having been loaned out to a family wanting to learn and do some wet-felting.  

Knowing it had been awhile since I had done any maintenance on my beautiful Michael Wilson cherry spinning wheel, I decided Sunday afternoon to dis-assemble it, oil the wood, treat the leathers, and oil the moving parts when re-assembled.  It’s a pleasant, meditative process, and nice to know I am taking good care of a beautiful spinning wheel.  This would also make for easier spinning and treadling as well. 

Now, I will enjoy turning these rolags into 2 ply yarn for knitting.  

As sometimes happens in life, things don’t go as planned, and this was certainly true for November.  I had finished staining the house, sheets were washed and ready to slice & dice, and I was feeling optimistic about getting a lot done over the next few weeks.  

On Nov. 14th, Mokey, 18, diabetic for 2-3 years, suddenly went downhill, in the morning could hardly stand, then began having seizures.  I called the vet to say I was bringing him in to finally have his life ended.  He had seemed fine four days beforehand, walking his “chickie” (a small chicken Beany Baby) around three times that day, meowing loudly, and having a great time.  Though I knew the end was coming, it was still a bit of a shock at the suddenness of his decline over less than 24 hours. 

Mokey was very special to me.  When he was younger, anytime I was working with paper, he’d come up and lay right in the middle of things.  If I was ill, he’d lay closer and closer until he was up against my side, until I was feeling better.  Now, another pet friend has moved on, and is missed daily.

I waited about a week and a half before visiting the animal shelter.  I was not looking for another Mokey, that cannot be done, but there are always more cats needing home, and I decided I could take in one more.  Now, it’s not like there are no other pets at home, Keesha, 10 is still with me, as are four other cats, Muffin, 18; Mitzi, 16; and Mycah and Moses, 5.  Explaining that I was looking for a cat that could easily live with a dog and four other cats, I was told which cats would be good, and which would not.  I watched the various cats and kittens, then left, having decided not to do this in a hurry. 

Though I was quite determined not to get another orange/white cat anytime soon, I noticed “Henry,” who, of course, was orange and white, and begging to be let out and petted.  Just then, a woman came in who was very interested in him, brought him out to hold him, and clearly he enjoys being held and petted.  I went back to observing the other cats.  Then for a little fun, I turned the seven kittens loose in the room, my goodness, all that energy!  Knowing I would not want to be quite so watchful 24/7 with a kitten getting into everything (fiber and otherwise), I put them away after enjoying their playful antics.  I spent a couple days considering another cat, but on a third visit, she had quite a different temperament from the previous visit which didn’t bode well for the cats at home. 

At that third visit, I noticed Henry (above) was still there, asked at the desk, and was told the woman who wanted him had chosen another cat.  Out came Henry, for some petting and cuddling.  Putting him down, I watched him go from door to door watching other cats, alert and curious, but not aggressive or even assertive.  Then he’d jump back into my lap for more cuddling and petting, then cruise around the room again.  Before leaving I filled out an application and said I was interested in Henry.  I was told the board would be looking at apps again Monday AM and they would call.  Early this afternoon I received the news that they were given a very positive report from the animal hospital, and could adopt any cat or kitten I would like.

Henry, now “Milo,” will be picked up early tomorrow afternoon and taken to the animal hospital to be tested for FIV/FIP, and if negative I’ll bring him home.  He is scheduled for front de-claw on Thursday AM, and come home for good on Friday morning.  I’m hopeful that with his bit more laid back temperament, he will fit in well here with the pet family I have.  I’m looking forward to getting to know another feline personality.  Now, back to my spinning!  

Keeping Fiber in My Life

Cowl, “in the snood,” in progress.

The urge to knit always seems to hit me in autumn, and this year has been no exception.  None have been large, complicated patterns, instead they are small, easily finished pieces.  I’m still busy staining my log home, and weather is about to turn against me.  I haven’t had the time or energy for weaving, though I will be back at that soon.  As a way to keep fibers in my life, I turned to knitting pieces easily picked up and put down

The photo above is a cowl in progress, “in the snood,”  pp. 88-89 in “Cowlgirls.”  It’s an easy pattern, repeating six rows on size 9 needles.  It can be worn as a cowl, or pulled up over your head.  I’ll be learning to knit I-Cord, a good excuse to pull the Elizabeth Zimmerman books off my shelves again.

Handspun wool, plied with a fine 2 ply wool.

I’m loving the idea of cowls since the older I get, the more I notice my neck seems cold!  I ran across this handspun I’d done awhile back, thinking I might try it in my sock machine some day when feeling brave.  Now, though, I’m hoping there will be enough yarn for a handspun, handknit cowl.  I have no idea how many yards there are here, or what size needles I’ll need, so sampling is in order.

Handspun, handknit pillow, nearing completion.

Awhile back on this blog there was a photo of this pillow, still in progress but nearing completion.  This is knit with handspun, and was created in the moment, random blocks of garter and stockinette stitch.  I had seen a photo of a pillow closed with buttons, so I extended the back enough to fold over, and crocheted front and back together.  Handmade, “textured” pottery buttons were ordered from an artist in Austrailia.  The pillow definitely needs blocking, and I’ve been considering trying to felt it just a bit.  Then I will somehow add the buttons and hopefully have a pillow form this will fit.  Otherwise, I’ll be making a muslin pillow for the inside.  I haven’t yet been terribly successful in getting a photo to show the texture and blocks, but will try again when it is finished.

Winter hat, nearing completion.

I’ll be spending more time outdoors this winter, hauling wood from the woodshed to the porch, for my woodburning range in the kitchen.  Naturally, I need a handknit hat to wear, and as my winter jacket is a chocolate brown, I picked up this slightly tweedy yarn and a basic hat pattern.  It’s ready to take off the needles and make a yarn pom-pom or some kind of finish.

Handcarded wool rolags, ready to spin.

Occasionally during the evening, while watching a movie or program, I’ll handcard more fleece that was washed this past summer.  I set these handcarded rolags high up on a shelf to keep the cats out of them, and have more on a shelf down in the weaving studio.  I am SO looking forward to spinning this up, but there is a lot more carding to do first.

Clearly, when the staining of my log home ends, because I am finished or forced to stop because of weather, I need to take a day or two and finish up these knitting projects.  There are at three sweaters, in various stages, awaiting my attention.  Good winter knitting!