Thursday, June 28, 2012

Debie, the well-traveled fleece is finished!

 For those of you who are listeners to my podcast, you've already heard about Debie a lot. And no, that's not a typo, that's how the sheep's name was spelled on the tag. Debie, not Debbie. For those of you who don't listen to the podcast, let me fill you in a little.

I went to Retslaff spinning day (which I probably spelled wrong AGAIN) a few years ago and purchased Debie's fleece. Debie has a lovely silvery grey fleece and she was one of 2 grey fleeces I purchased that day. I was in a grey place. In fact, I think I may have purchased 2 additional silver fleeces that I said, I was in a grey place.

At any rate, I can't remember when I begun spinning her, but this is what she looked like when I started spinning her, a little angry cloud. I had literally POUNDS of her to spin.  But if I got her a couple years ago and was actively spinning her, why did it take so long? Well, 2 very good reasons. The first is that I don't generally spin anything  but "cheerful" fibre in winter. I get mopey if my spinning is grey while it's grey outside, so I primarily spin brightly colored items.  The second reason is that Debie turned into the Well-Traveled Fleece.

I bought Debie 3 years ago. I dropped the dirty fleece with my favorite processor, Morrow Fleece Works, and then promptly forgot about it. Afterall, when you drop off a fleece with them, it's like preparing yourself a surprise gift. Since they do so much processing - and since they tend to do all one color at a time, you can have a fleece sit with them for a couple months before you get it back. This fleece didn't show up, but I got an invoice. I paid it, but no fleece came. Then the truth came out - the only address I'd given for the shipping was my job - that I had left months ago. Whoops!

So, Debie was sent to my old work. But my old company had more or less closed it's doors by then, and forwarded the fleece to PA. I eventually had it sent back to the original workplace. Then I got to go pick it up. Debie was definitely worth waiting for. Look how silvery she is!

By the way, I apologize for the pics, I am HORRIBLE at taking pictures, even though I have had some very patient people try to teach me.

 Look at that! BUTTER! Grey Butter?  This is the - look at my surprisingly even spinning even though I did this over the course of a year off and on. Seriously. I'm impressed as I just spun it without thinking too much about what weight I wanted at the end or what the singles should look like. This was an endurance project, not a perfection project. My goal here was just to spin an entire fleece and, thereby, hopefully get better at spinning by spending the time practicing well....spinning. So the overall good uniformity is a pleasant surprise.

Here's a little bit of it knit up. I was trying to see about what it would look like on a few different sizes. Afterall, with more than a couple of lbs, this will likely become a sweater for me or for my husbean. I think he wants one, but I doubt he wants grey.
And here is a bunch of it piled up in my window seat. I believe I have something like 7 or 8 big fat skiens of this to knit. My handspun bin is getting very full. I'm going t need to start knitting more and spinning less (and I don't mean knitting more sock yarn!)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Charity Knitting in Summer

First off, let me say how much I miss blogging! I really did try this year, but even my usual updates at the end of the month just to give my "selfish" knitting index were too much for me. There's been a lot going on in my life, but nothing big. I guess you could say I'm adjusting to being a wife, but really it 's more that I'm still trying to be better at everything - from canning to knitting and spinning, to cooking, to caring for my home. It takes a long time to do things from scratch, but I feel like it's a worthwhile pursuit.

Speaking of worthwhile pursuits.....this is the time of year when the Big Employer I work for gives us all time to do charity projects. In the past I've painted and cleaned shelters (and shelter kitchens, ick!), but for the past two years I've joined the project that the knitters on campus have signed up for - knitting hats for chemo patients. Now, wasnt 100% crazy about the charity they chose, Knots of Love, until I read the website. While I don't think I'd knit for them without the group I'm with setting it up, that's more about the fact that I don't want to deal with having an approved yarn list that doesn't include anything in my stash. Part of my goals are reduce/reuse Green goals, even in charity projects, so it was a little against the grain for me to have to go purchase yarn to make a project when I have perfectly good yarn at home which could have been used if it was on the approved yarn list. Before you send me a comment that I need to understand about the needs of chemo patients, please let me assure you - I do. I've knit for people in my life going through this as well....and it has shown me that everyone is different. I respect that this charity has to do the best it can for all people it serves and that the easiest way to do that is to be conservative about their yarn choices. To respect them, I went out and dutifully purchased 7 skiens of yarn, which I shared with my employee that I also convinced to join this project. To the right, you can see the 6 hats that I knitted. Although I have until 6/29, I think 6 is my limit - and besides, we're out of the yarn I bought. This is where being able to stash-dive would have helped. But, after looking at the website, I'm really happy to know for sure that my work will go to a good cause and keep people warm and happy!

I guess should just re-label June to be charity knitting month. Aside from 4 pairs of booties I did for my friend's baby shower, charity knitting is all I've been up to! Seriously. In fact, see to the right here and you'll see how I'm doing on my 50 pairs of preemie booties project that I started a year or two ago (I honestly can't remember). What you can see is that I finally made it to 50 pairs of booties - and I think I did at least 10 pairs this past month. Here are all 50 pairs laid out in rows of ten.

And here are the additional I had also done but which were beyond the original 50. I thought I would still be behind, but here are a bunch of completed pairs and a bunch of singles needing mates. Whoops! Guess I'll be passing up the 50 pairs mark. While I'm tempted to get to 100 pairs, I think that may be beyond me. And I really really do want to start on a project which will also use the same sock scraps that I use for these booties, the beekeeper's Quilt (Ravelry link) published in Tiny Owl Knits. I read about a similar project on Franklin Habit's page (I think) and it really sparked my interest. I like the idea as well as the green aspect. It makes me think of a future with little ones, like those my friends are constantly having. I know I could find it  a good home.

And besides, it seems like every time I turn around, I find more finished preemie booties that I'd forgotten I knit. Like the pair featured at the right. I found them in this cute bag I was using a couple months ago and re-found now that my fiboreum clean-up is underway. Another Whoops!

Lastly, I'll end with this fun picture of a gift that really did keep on giving. Jasmin (of the Knitmore Girls podcast - you should listen if you don't already), gave me two clear paint cans a couple Christmases ago. She and her mother had painstakingly and loving collected their sock left-overs and wound them into neat mini yarn-cakes. She made a sign for one paint can that said "PROTO BEHBEH SOCKS" and placed all the sock leftovers in that can. Then she created a sign for the other that said "FINISHED BEHBEH SOCKS." As you can guess, I've already finished way more booties than the finished can can hold, and I've managed to somehow amass more leftovers than the other can can hold - so both cans hold future booties and blanket hexagons. I have to say, just looking at them gets me excited and reminds me that I'm doing what I wanted to - using left-overs to make new things instead of trashing them, and donating my time and effort to other people.

So long live June, Charity Knitting month!