19 June 2009

One less thing

In the past 365 days, I have done quite a few things. I have moved across country. I have had 3 different jobs. I have gotten engaged. I have lost 15-20 pounds. I have learned to crochet and also how to make my own yarn. But there's one thing, one oh so small, yet massively huge thing that I have not done. I have not smoked a cigarette. And I have many people to thank for that. Sarah, my family, my friends.... I could not have done it without every single one of you. You nagged, you poked, you facebooked, you texted, you supported, and you loved... and I can't begin to express how much that meant and still means to me. So, thanks. Thanks for making sure I have one less thing on my list.

10 June 2009

One step closer to living in a cave


I'm the type of person who, when it comes to a new hobby or interest, can't leave well enough alone. A friend of mine starts me drinking coffee, so now I roast, grind and brew my own beans. If I thought I could supply my habit with a backyard coffee tree, I'd be doing that too. So when I decided I wanted to learn to crochet, I knew I was in for trouble. I could imagine stacks of yarn in corners, drawers full of the newest and latest in hook design, and possibly some sort of homemade, Mcguyver-ed up sort of automatic crocheting machine. What I did not envision was this:



That's right, kids. Home spinning. Turns out my boss is into it, I expressed an interest, and all of a sudden I'm going home with brushes, a spindle,a whole lot of instructions, and wool from 7 or so different animals. So I washed, carefully sudsing the raw wool in extremely hot water to remove any vegetable matter and all of the lanolin, being sure not to overagitate (I wasn't making felt after all)



I carded after the wool had dried, straightening out the fibers, removing snarls and any sticks that had made it through the wash.





I spun (after making a drop spindle of my own), lining up the fibers and twisting them together to form a cohesive thread.





I washed again, this time agitating a bit more to "lock" the fibers together






I dried, blocked and set the spin, using a rack to stretch the fibers and take out any extra twist the yarn had picked up during the spinning process.







And finally, after 2 or so days of work, I had 3.5 ounces of prime handspun yarn:











Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Keith's alpaca/shetland/merino (maybe a few more) hat.