Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trying Something New

No, this is not an epic failure of a batch of homemade meatballs, nor is it a strange and frightening incarnation of tofu.

Hurricane Irene left me with a plethora of fallen black walnuts, which my daughter kindly gathered and put in one of those big Homer buckets from the Home Depot.

These are pretty damn big buckets, folks. The thing was 3/4 of the way full of walnuts with bright green husks. Where to stow them until I was ready to deal with them? Why, the garage, of course, where they were promptly forgotten until this morning.

The top layer of nuts was pretty well dried out, but underneath -- oh, joy! A whole lot of nasty, soggy, dark brown husks just oozing their almost-black juice (and a few maggots, but those will be strained out later).

I have two 12 quart kettles full simmering on the stove now, one of which you can see in the picture.

I figure I'll let the kettles stew for a couple of hours, then set them on the back step to cool. Tomorrow I will strain and filter the liquid, and we shall see what we shall see. Allegedly, I do not need a mordant to dye yarn with this stuff. It will be interesting to see what color I end up with. It will be brown for sure, but -- dark? Light? Somewhere in between?

It will be an adventure, for sure.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Earth & Sky Shawls in Maine

Earth & Sky # 2, size large, in Mad Angel Creations
Kettle Dyed DK weight yarn.
Colors are: Rory's Blues, Olivine, and Wild Grapes
 Earth & Sky # 1, size large, in 2 ply New Zealand Sport weight yarn.
Colors: Juniper, Mocha Java, and Terra Cotta
 And here they are, side by each, on the deck
outside the room we stayed in at the
Inn on the Harbor in Stonington, Maine.

I have spent many happy hours knitting at the Inn on the Harbor, and have gotten a lot of inspiration for my own designs while staying there and exploring the general area. It is one of my favorite places on earth -- a place where I can really and truly relax and forget all about anything that troubles me.


Long time no blog, I know. I've been a little preoccupied with the yarn and fiber biz, and in fact there are two dye kettles on my stove as I type, filled with silk noil top. I'm no fool. Christmas is coming, and the dyed silk noil top is one of my best sellers. Today's run will yield purple and teal. I'll bundle it in 1 ounce packages when it's dry, then take pictures and make more listings.

For fun, I've been playing around with some new spindles. Anyone at all who likes to spindle and reads this blog, you can find these absolutely terrific and beautiful Turkish spindles at Threads Thru Time on Etsy.

I always liked the idea of Turkish spindles, but never really met one I enjoyed using until I discovered these.

The listing said "tiny," and they weren't kidding!
 This is my hand holding the spindle, and I do not have large hands.
My favorite colors in the wood, too -- 
purple and green -- what's not to love?
This is the yarn I made from the sample
included with my spindle.
Exactly 1/4 ounce of wool yielded 51 yards!
 Using an Amercian quarter as my "scale model."
Can't quite believe how fine-gauge the yarn is!
Now, this is the "medium" spindle. Significantly larger than the "tiny" one, and I'm spinning one of my own hand dyed and blended wool batts. "Magus" did not sell after 6 months in my shop, and I was wanting to keep it, anyway, as the colorway reminds me of a friend who passed away in June. I have four ounces to do, and then I will find exactly the right thing to make from the yarn. Something really nice that will always remind me of my friend.
I've spun 0.7 ounces so far, and plied it into a heavy fingering weight 2 ply yarn. I got 86 yards done so far! 

I'll post pictures of the yarn when I have more of it done. So far, I am REALLY pleased with how it's coming out!

Oops -- timer's going off -- that means my silk is done!