UFO became FO

About 14 years ago I started to knit a blanket from left over yarns. Like other badly planned projects, also this one came to a halt when I got out of red yarn in that particular shade and weight. So I put it away and thought I’d buy more one day. And forgot all about it.

I found the blanket when I moved my spinning, knitting, crochet etc into my new room some years ago. And I still didn’t have that red yarn, so I put it on a shelf to wait for better times. It took a while for me to realise I do have more of that yarn! I had bought it for a crochet project, but had forgotten all about the afghan. One day this January, while waiting for the cold to leave my head and let me think again, I saw it! And I finished the blanket. It’s big enough for hubby’s afternoon nap.

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The technique is domino knitting the way Vivian Høxbro teaches it. Here’s a link to her Danish site, where you can change to English. But do look at the photos in the Danish version first! She doesn’t teach very much anymore, but if she happens to come somewhere near you, don’t hesitate! She’s a strong Nordic woman with much integrity, a big laugh, colourful clothing, and great knowledge about colours and design. Domino knitting is one of my favourite techniques. It’s perfect for left over yarns. It’s also perfect for many big projects, as you knit one small square at a time, then attach it by knitting the next one onto it like a Domino play. You don’t have to hold the whole heavy project in your hands, only that small square. Good for your hands, good for your mind as you can knit a square within half an hour, and feel as if you’ve finished something.

Now I wonder where the rest of my UFOs are…

At last! Spinning again!

An odd thing happened when I was sick with the cold (or flu, whatever it was). Spinning made me cough!  Weird.

But now I can spin again. Here’s what I’ve done the last few days:

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Dog hair yarns! I also spun the red roving I showed in an earlier post. And the 3-ply barber pole is a yarn I don’t like very much, but I know it’ll be good in a weaving project. It’s unfinished in the photo.

The chiengora is my first dog hair yarn for many years. I used to earn part of my living by spinning chiengora for customers for some 15 years. I was so fed up with it for a long time, but now I wanted to see how my new drum carder would blend wool, Keeshond hair, and silk. It did it very well. Here I’m starting to blend opened (teased on the carder in one pass) Kainuu Grey wool with the dog hair + silk that has also gone through the carder once:

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I used coloured silk in some of the batts, and spun three different yarns. Two skeins with thicker yarn, one thin with leftovers from a bobbin with merino (I think), and two skeins with my default yarn. I like them all!

There was pretty much debris in the wool and the dog hair! Some of the silk fell through, but that’s not a problem: shake it, and the debris falls out and you can use it.

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After the successful carding of the rather long Keeshond hair, I wanted to try something I’ve been thinking of ever since Kasper came to live with us more than ten years ago. I’d like to spin his very short undercoat. So here we go: the 1,5-2,5 cm long Kasper hair on top, and some Kainuu Grey lamb locks underneath. I also added a little silk. Silk is magical in chiengora yarns. It binds the shorter fibers, and adds lustre to the yarn. I’m not afraid to use my scissors – I often cut silk tops into shorter lengths to make the blending and spinning short, tricky fibers easier.

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Here’s a Kasper batt ready to be doffed off:

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I haven’t spun the batts yet. As you can see, I haven’t blended the different shades of the Kainuu Grey thoroughly, as I like the heathered look very much. If I’d like an even colour, I’d card the wool separately in 2-3 passes before adding the evenly coloured Kasper hair. The undercoat from dogs is very fine and delicate, and it can’t be carded in more than 2-3 passes on the 72 tpi card cloth before it starts breaking and making pills.

So now I’m working through my not so small fiber stash. I’m opening fleeces in one pass. I’ll use most of those rovings for blending both for colour and structure later. It’s so much more fun to just start blending and not being forced to open the fleeces first! Here’s some light yellow Finn x Texel ready for blending or further carding as it is:

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Flu knocked me down

I have been ill, an angry winter flu knocked me down for two weeks. I’m slowly recovering, so soon I will have something to show. A good thing is that we finally have a little snow after a snowless autumn. Kasper too likes snow, but he doesn’t want to be outdoors for long when it’s as cold as today, -20 C (-4 F). He suffers from cold cramp in his legs and paws now when he’s old.

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Here he tries to warm his paw by licking it, but the only result was cramp in his hind leg. Poor little friend.

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He was also a bit upset by not being able to find his loo immediately the first morning with snow. Putting his head under the snow and finding his way by sniffing solved the problem! I have to tell him about the red rag the forest company has tied to his favourite tree.

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Awesome present from hubby!

Yesterday my Christmas present from hubby arrived:

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It’s a standard Classic Carder! 72 wpi, with options for replaceable drums of 48 and 120 if I’d need them one day. I started carding by blending short pinkish-red Norwegian Kvit Sau x Suffolk and long shrieking red Finn x Texel to see how fast the carder can blend them = very fast! I was happy to diz off a soft pencil roving in warm red after only a few passes. So satisfied! Love my husband :) I also bought a porcupine quill for cleaning the drums. It works much better than I expected. It catches the fibers between the tines and lifts them up better than any other tool I’ve tried. My old electric Louet drum carder will soon move to a dear friend in Sweden. It’s served me well ever since the late 90s, but isn’t what I need now when I don’t spin for customers anymore.

This is my gift to myself: a beautiful spindle I found when browsing Etsy for a Turkish around 25 grams. It’s from Natural Knot Wood, a shop with many fine spindles. The arms are Chakte Viga, a new wood to me, and the shaft is Walnut. It spins fast, and as it fills up with yarn it also spins long, so it’s good for both spinning and plying. I continued the Corriedale project on this newcomer in my spindle stash. Yes, I do have a Turkish period!

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A year has almost ended, once more. I’ve seen quite a lot of new years by now. This year has been so full of catastrophes and misery in many parts of the world (if not for me, my year has been extremely good), may the next be better! Here’s a window to 2016 from me to you:

Gott nytt år

New hair

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New hair from Finnish landrace wool! She needed it badly. Someone had glued white synthetic hair on her head, I couldn’t stand looking at it. I’ll give her a nice hair pin to keep the hair away from her eyes, and a sweater for cold days.

Orange

For many years I disliked orange, I don’t know why. Now I like it! It’s such a happy colour. Warm like the sun, full of life. I dyed some Corriedale a couple of years ago, and last week I used my biggest Turkish spindle from IST to spin a yarn for tapestry crochet.

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Singles.

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Plying.

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Ball of yarn!

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Skeined.

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Skein beside water mole hole. I wish all the water moles would move somewhere else and stop undermining our lawn and making it impossible to grow vegetables. Walking on the lawn in the summer is hazardous.

We had frost this morning! The summer neighbour’s old barn was glittering in the sun.

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Kasper was bored with me today. I often have the camera with me when we take a walk, and he hates waiting for me. He was so happy when we came home and he saw hubby putting on his walking gear! Now they’re on a long walk in the woods. He’ll be a tired, happy old dog when they come home!

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Independence Day 2015

There’s usually snow and ice on the ground this time of the year. The meteorologists say this could be the warmest Independence Day since they started to keep statistics officially. I was out taking photos in my sandals and only a vest, no sweater or jacket! It’s been raining instead of snowing, so a lot of water is coming down from the woods behind our house. They cut down some of the trees last summer. New trees will be planted next year.

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I don’t know what that foam is. There are no houses up in the woods, so I think (hope) it’s something natural.

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Here the water comes out from under our road! There’s much humus in it, hence the colour. It sounds like a small rapid, which makes a coast person like me happy here in the farm lands with no sea to be seen.

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And out to the sea it goes! The Gulf of Bothnia is a few kilometers to the left. When the ground isn’t frozen some of the fertilisers wash out, which isn’t good at all.

 

 

 

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The mint plants in the garden think it’s spring. The thyme, chive, and persil are also green, but there’s not much flavour in them now.

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Not much is happening on the textile line. I’m knitting Christmas presents.