I seem to have totally missed April. I’m still working on my two sweaters a month challenge and am nearly done with my sweaters for April. The photo of the sweater above is the hand spun sweater from March. The fleece is Dorset fleece from Clark Farm in Carlisle. The design is a reknit of the first sweater I attempted on the knitting machine that came out too small generally and with some other sizing issues. I liked the design so I decided to reknit the sweater in another batch of hand spun yarn. The blue was dyed with acid dyes. This was the hand spun sweater for March. I hope to post about the sweater from commercial yarns from March and the hand spun and commercial yarn sweaters from April soon.
This is my hand spun sweater from February. The grey is a Romney merino cross that I purchased at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival a few years ago. The white is a Montadale fleece I purchased a while ago. I had never spun Montadale before and enjoyed spinning it quite a bit. The pattern is mine with the yoke being knit by hand while on my travels in February to visit my brother in Napa Valley and my sister on the big Island in Hawaii and the body and sleeve knit on the machine. The resulting sweater is very comfortable and lovely to wear.
Happy Leap Day. I spent most of February traveling to visit my brother in California and then my sister in Hawaii on the big island. I brought my knitting with me. I completed or nearly completed two yokes that I’m still working on the bodies and sleeves for. One is hand spun and one is from commercial yarn and destined to become a pattern, I hope. The photo above is neither of these but a design that was finished before I left for my travels. The pattern is currently being test knit. With so many sweaters on the drawing board and under construction I’m hoping to post one each week in March.
Happy new year! I’ve been spending time converting some of our accessory patterns to commercial yarn so we are able to offer yarn that goes with out patterns. At the same time I’m still spinning. The photo above is my most recent handspun sweater. I purchased the fleece at the Fiber Festival of New England. The fleece is from the Northampton Smith vocational and agricultural school. It came with a note letting me know that the ewe’s name is Pumpkin and her lamb is Pie. Pumpkin is a Romney ewe with a pretty consistent grey fleece. I’m a sucker for a grey fleece but often the color has many shades making if difficult to spin an evenly colored yarn. Pumpkin it turns out it a pretty even grey. She’s also a pretty dark grey. I originally had planned to knit a sweater that was grey and over dyed grey with mustard but the over dyed grey with mustard didn’t create enough contrast. Even the navy over the grey is still fairly muted but I was pleased with the level of contrast with this pattern which is fairly busy. The photo shows the fleece to finished object with the washed fleece to the left, the carded fleece at the top, the handspun yarn to the right and the finished sweater. With my designing focused on commercial yarns I’ve decided I will try and spin and knit a handspun sweater a month to make use of the yarn I’m still spinning. We’ll have to see how this goes, especially when you add new design work and re-knitting. Always good to have a goal though!
Flax has been harvested!
I pulled all the flax from the flax patch yesterday. I’m kind of winging this whole flax thing. My flax patch was kind of weedy. There were a wide variety of heights of flax but I do thing I’ll have enough to process and hopefully get enough to spin. The flax is drying on my dining room table right now. And then it will be on to retting, the tricky part.
The flax is up! My little 5 foot by 5 foot plot of flax has sprouted. Yes there are some weeds and I didn’t do a very good job of broadcast seeding but there are flax plants growing!
If you’re in the area of metro-west Boston and want to participate in our community flax to linen project stop in to the Carlisle Artisans in Carlisle, MA and pick up your free seed available for planting now. Participants will grow and harvest and dry their flax. In late summer we’ll come back together at the Carlisle Historical Society’s Heald House. During several of their open houses we’ll process the dried flax. This will include retting, braking, scutching, spinning and weaving. All are welcome.
I have been working on a sweater in exchange for the fleeces I got from the 2018 shearing at Clark Farm a local organic farm in Carlisle. The sweater is made of handspun Horned Dorset yarn from Clark Farm. I dyed the yarn with natural dyed from my yard. The grey blue is buckthorn berry skins. The yellow is buckthorn leaves and the pinky purple is pokeweed berries in a cold acetic acid dye bath that should prevent them from fading. The pattern is a highly modified version of Jen Steingass’s Telja. It doesn’t get anymore local than this. Everything from the fleece from the sheep to the dyes and the labor to create the garment came from Carlisle.
Production Knitting. After playing all summer with buckthorn and natural dyeing I’m back to work making finished goods for sale a the fiber festivals and shops we’re a part of. The mittens are handspun shetland fleeces. The dark grey and white are the natural colors of the fleece and the blue is acid dyed. The body of the mittens are knit on our “hacked” brother 910. The thumbs are knit on “sticks”.
Below is a photo of a Clark Farm Hat and cowl that I made in exchange for fleeces from the 2017 sheep shearing at Clark Farm. The wool is from the 2016 shearing. The colors from from the buckthorn dyeing I did this past summer and the designs are mine.
I have been making socks on the circular sock machine. The light grey is single ply hand spun Romney and the red heels and toes is two ply Tunis that I dyed for some sampling for a weaving of a jacket. Socks are a great way to use up small bits and pieces.
Albert and the antique spinning wheel. Albert turned one just after Christmas. He’s full of personality and quite a ham. I purchased the antique spinning wheel years ago after I just started spinning. It sat until just recently as and ornament and not functional with the leathers on the treadle broken off. Krysten repaired her and got her running about a month ago. She’s quite fun to spin on and I was very surprised! Krysten thinks she may have come from germany originally. I purchased her on Cape Cod.