Saturday, January 8, 2011

Back to the Future?

I finished up my Gottland project but forgot to photograph all the finished projects before shipping them off for XMAS gifts, so I only have these 2 knitting accessory pouches for show & tell....I ended up using them as a canvas to play with some embroidery stitching and as good practice for putting in zippers....after knitting 4 of these, I think I could add zippers to knitted garments in my sleep! The only mittens I ended up knitting -so far- from the Gottland fleece was a pair of solid dark gray pop up paws for my brother Eric, who resides on the Outer Banks and spends lots of cold blustery winter days casting from shore with his fishing buddies.

The fleeces were lovely to work with....I really enjoyed the way they felt to spin and knit. The lanolin was quite nice for my dry fingertips. I still have quite a bit of the fleece left and will spin it up at a finer gauge later this month so I can knit up a couple pair of the Gotland mitten patterns for store models. I was disappointed that the patterns I had intended to knit for XMAS just didn't look great at the gauge of yarn I had spun you work with what you have and these accessory pouches were fun to make and will be well used.

In the meantime tho', I've taken a break from spinning the Gottland and returned to a felting project I've been working on "on and off" for the past couple of years....felting every breed of sheep I can get my hands on! It's been fun to seek out representative fleeces of the various breeds...some typical (Cormo, Shetland, Icelandic, Wenslydale, etc) and other more unusual breeds (California Red, CVM, Tunis, Polwarth, Teeswater, etc), to see how differently they felt and how different the fabrics rendered are.

In addition to felting a 30 gm 10x10 sample of each, I'd been making a finished product of each, but realized recently that I'd either gifted or sold many of the finished goods. So now I'm embarking this winter on the task of re-making either a hat or bag or pillow in each of the breeds that I didn't keep a "finished" representation of so that in the end I'll have a pretty comprehensive "library" of samples for teaching purposes.

One of the interesting samples I came across as I was sifting thru my documentation last week was of a California Red fleece. The fine red "kemp" in the fleece wasn't so obvious in the batt, but after felting, it is really what predominated in the sample....not sure my photograph tells the picture as much as it shows "live".... and the difference in the finished felt is quite remarkable!