Wednesday, May 26, 2004

nest building

This beautiful bird is quite endearing to watch. She has been building her nest for the past three days, and I have been helping her. At first I just put a few strands of leftover yarn out on the railing, which she readily accepted. When she used all of that, I dug around and found some more scraps. She used all of that too. I remembered reading that Baltimore Orioles like white string, so that was what I was supplying. But then I started to wonder about if she could tell the difference, and that was what started my experiment. I proceeded to place different types of fiber lined up on the railing. Some were cotton, some were flax, some wool, some angora, some llama, in short, I placed little strands of past fibers that I have spun. I had adorned the deck railing with many colors and textures of yarns for her to choose from. Now I just had to wait. When she flew down to the railing she seemed hesitant, chittering that warning call they make. Then she took a stroll..hopping from one yarn to the next...picking some up in her beak, then dropping it. It was really very funny. She reminded me of the way I feel when I shop for yarn! Very choosy, picking up one, then the other, then back to the first. I was very happy when she picked up some of the navy blue flax (ah ha! she went with a color instead of the white!) I spent way to much time watching her, but the experiment proved that she would eventually accept each and every piece of fiber I put out there! Now if I can only find the nest..but she flies way out of view into the tree tops, and down the river. She did not come for more fiber today, as the pieces I put out this morning are still on the railing, so I imagine the building is finished and she will start laying soon.

I am still working on the lace socks. I have turned the heel (had to have complete silence and full concentration for that one) and it has formed a very unusual gusset, unlike any other sock I have made before. At this point, I have memorized the 7 rows of pattern, so the next sock should be easier because I will not have to keep checking the book to see what comes next. This afternoon I went to spinning group and finished spinning all of the Targhee. Grace was there and mentioned that Fred has made some more spinning wheel threading hooks for the antique wheels out of the exotic woods. He does beautiful work, and this time they are selling them on the house cleaning pages. The library is gearing up for a big book sale this weekend, so I had to buy a few more goodies for my shelf at home...including a great wildflower id book.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


(lacy socks) This project is from Nancy Bush's "Folk Socks", The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear. I am making them out of Targhee that I spun last month. The Targhee roving was a gift, so I do not know who to give credit to, but it is by far, the cleanest and prettiest roving I have ever had the pleasure to spin. This is "first time Targhee" for me, and I discovered that the that the staple is relatively short (maybe 3 inches) but soft and fine with a tight crimp. I read that most people would spin Targhee with a great deal of twist, and ply it. I broke the rule, and spun it with just enough twist to hold a fine single with about 20 wraps per inch. I had also read that Targhee is excellent for constructing anything that will be worn next to the skin (including babywear!)...and so it was my choice to use it for the lace socks.
The pattern for the lace socks can be found on page 83 of "Folk Socks", and it looks much harder to knit than it really is. I must admit that knitting these socks is both inspirational and motivational. The original sock, made of linen, can be found in the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington DC. There is no information available about who designed it, or the date etc., and so I find my imagination wondering about these things as I knit. And I will have much time to wonder, as these socks are knit on 4 size#000 double points. The pattern is worked on 102 stitches over 7 rounds.
One more thing about the targhee...I had knit a swatch to check my gauge, and when I finished, I unraveled it and cut it into 6-8 inch lengths and draped them in the Quince bush and on the fence railing. I have been delighted to watch the Baltimore orioles, Common Yellow Throat, Catbird, and Northern Parula all collecting these bits of handspun to incorporate into the nest. They used up all the targee, and I dug into my felting basket and came up with some cotton I had spun years ago. They have been using that as well. The Yellow Warbler is the snob, preferring only bits of Angora that it collects from the rabbit hutches.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Jack in a basket

Jack's Hair

Jack got a haircut because the weather is getting so warm! Now, I have my work "cut" out for me. I have started to spin a bit to test it out, and I love working with it. I am very happy with the staple length, and the color. I think I will continue spinning it without blending it with anything else. This is his "baby" hair, and so it is very downy and fuzzy. I think he is much cooler now.

Monday, May 10, 2004


Blogger offering commments testing to see if successful...

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Almost finished


with this latest weaving. I still need to take it off the loom, but at this time I am still undecided as to the edging that I want to use around the neckline. This shimmery wool is a combination of the merino/mohair roving that I purchased at Countrywool this past February, plied with the fireflash roving that I purchased at Misty Mountain Fiber Workshop last month. I must admit that I didn't really get a thrill while spinning the fireflash. It was a bit like spinning Saran wrap or something plasticky, however, it has it place when you would like to add a bit of shimmer or glitz to a project. Another added plus was the way it made it easy to weave on the loom. Usually, while weaving with a mohair, it has a tendency to stick to itself, and require the use of a shed stick or something else to clear the shed with. Not sure how it happened, but I did not have any trouble with it this time, and the only thing I can think of that I did differently, was to use the fireflash.
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