Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving and a Finished Object

Handspun, handknit scarf from River Oaks Lucy's lamb fleece and a big ball of handspun alpaca laceweight.
 I had a great Thanksgiving.  Stan had to work, so I went down to my mom's with homemade pumpkin pie and fruit salad in hand. Our two boys came separately since they live in the cities.

Most of the family was there except for Dad and my youngest brother.  My sister had chopped off her hair earlier in the week so she wore a secondhand store wig to cover it up. The wig didn't stay on real well and it became the object of much laughter and photo taking as the men had a blast trying it on and feeling 25 years younger with a full head of hair again.

I was glad I didn't have to hurry home to close up the chickens or feed the sheep. We worked on a puzzle  and went to check out my brother's rental space that he's making into an art studio and gallery.

The space used to be the hardware store in our small town. Going back in there brought back so many memories!  My earliest memory of that store was of the time I was about four or five years old, my younger brother was three or four. We were there with dad who was busy talking when we found some really cool cowboy hats. We just went back out to the station wagon (there were 8 kids in our family) and dad didn't even notice the cowboy hats when he came out.  But Mom sure did when we got home!  Back we went to return the hats and appologize to Mr. Fortin. That was 50 years ago.

Back to Thanksgiving, my younger brother of the cowboy hat caper was in Peru this past year and brought back 11 ounces of handspun lace weight alpaca singles and the wooden spindle in the photo above.  I find it curious that there is no hook on the spindle, don't they need a hook on their spindles in Peru?  It's got a nice weight to it, but I am all thumbs when it comes to spindle spinning even with the luxury of a hook attached.
Just imagine how big of a pi shawl I can make with 11 ounces of laceweight alpaca! I would say there's at least 1200 yards there.

My Black Friday shopping consisted of buying stamps while shipping out a hat and then heading to the "One More Time" store in search of a wig for my mannequin head. Seeing no wigs on display I asked the ladies at the counter and out came a box full of wigs and hair extensions. Low and behold, there was a Daniel Boone style fake fur raccoonskin hat I had made for my son when he was little!  I made it the year that John Lennon was killed.  I remember I was in the midst of sewing all kinds of clothes for Christmas that year when I heard the awful news.  Anyway, I donated that hat years ago, and it was fun to see it again - maybe I should have bought it back.  But I didn't, I bought two wigs for my mannequin instead.  It really makes a difference now that she has hair -- I think my hats look more elegant on her without the hair...

The scarf in the photo above was finished yesterday morning. It's made from River Oaks Lucy's lamb fleece.  Lucy is a grey katmoget (some would say black katmoget because she's not Ag grey).  She lives with Garret now. Anyway, I handcombed some drumcarded batts of her lamb fleece and spun up about 1 3/4 ounces of it into a springy super soft yarn years ago. I've been waiting for the right project to use it on and I think I found it in this Easy Leaves Scarf pattern from .  There was enough yarn to make this scarf about 45" long after blocking.  I like all the variations in color that came from all the hand processing and the fact that Lucy retained a lot of color in her fleece. I'm glad to finally have a new handknit handspun scarf to replace the one I lost last winter.


  1. Oh Becky! This post needs more photos! I loved reading about your Thanksgiving and I want to SEE your brothers trying on the wig and your sister with it on lopsided.

    You sure have been busy dying and felting! I'm thinking of having a couple of fleeces made into felted sheets.

    Stay warm!

  2. Thanks Nancy, I would have loved to include more photos but my camera is giving me lots of trouble. I need a new one for Christmas.
    Having your fleeces made into sheets of pre-felt really saves time when it comes to felt something. I've used my wool batts to make several pre-felt yardages in the rolling machine. They start out at 39" x 80", but they are about 33" x 64" at the pre-felt stage and then they shrink down even further when fully felted. I'm experimenting with different wool types and recording the shrinkage rates so eventually I can make myself a seamless jacket. It seems pretty daunting to me at this point. So far I've wimped out and fulled it down completely then I just cut and sew the felt.

  3. You don't really need a hook on a spindle; a half-hitch will do - although a little lip or something does help (aka Jenkins' Turkish spindles). Lovely scarf, and I know you'll make something equally wonderful with the alpaca!

  4. Thanks for the information on the spindle Michelle. My brother said the women were spinning constantly on those spindles. I can only imagine how long it took to spin up that big ball. I'll knit up a little swatch and wash it to see how soft it is before I decide how to use it.

  5. My favorite spindles don't have hooks! :) lol Hooks always get in my way and snag things. Half-hitch is one of the things my fingers do without thinking.

    I just bought a book "Respect the spindle" and the author spent her childhood in Peru. Her account of how girls there live their lives with a spindle in hand is really neat.

    I love your post. Yes! more pictures. :)
    I just love that scarf and Lucy's color. You always do such fine work!

  6. Actually, you just spin off the tip of the spindle, which is supported in a small bowl. You use your thigh to roll it on, and then support the spindle in a circle made by your thumb and forefinger. It's very much like a large takli spindle, which is used for cotton spinning in the mid-east. I'm sure there's a you-tube video out there somewhere!!

    The options for that much yarn are limitless - have fun with it!

  7. Beautiful scarf and the spindle and yarn as well. Very nice.

  8. Thanks, I just want to say that I have total respect for all spindle spinners! For some reason I have a complete blockage when it comes to spinning on a spindle and I've never been able to master it.

  9. Have you tried recently? Nothing to urge, but I came to spindling AFTER wheel spinning, and to Turkish spindles after top whorl spindles, and it makes sense now. I don't think it would have early on....

  10. I love the scarf Becky, what beautiful work.

  11. Ditto on the scarf, Becky. Totally gorgeous.


New Orchid blooms, Farmers market, and Felting with Paper

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