Monday, December 20, 2010

Two Spins and A Knit

Two spins and a knit - what does that mean?  Well, those are the three fiber projects that I've completed in December so far.  

For the past few weeks I've been concentrating on finishing up a few works-in-progress before the end of the year.  The yarn below is a 2 ply blend of merino wool and tencel.  It had  been in my spinning project basket for over a year.  Mostly I carried the fiber and a spindle around with me and spun it on the go.  It's been lovely to spin but I decided "Enough is enough."  It was time to wrap up this project.  So it's plied, tied, and washed.  Very soft with some sheen from the tencel.  I think I'll probably weave with it.

Next came 8 oz. of lustrous tussah silk.  Tussah silk is derived from wild silkworms and is usually a soft honey or tan color.  (White silk comes from the bombyx silkworms who are raised in captivity.)  Again this was a delightful fiber to spin but I only worked on it now and then.  Happy to say, it also is all spun up!  Two skeins of soft, luxurious goodness.  I can see it as warp for an elegant woven scarf, using a bombyx silk yarn as weft.

Finally, one knitting project came off the needles over the weekend.  These mittens are worked in Knit Picks Telemark yarn on US 3 double point needles.  I've had the yarn for several years and wanted to move it out of the stash bin.  The color and feel said "Aran" to me, so I selected a few cable patterns from The Harmony Guide to Aran and Fair Isle Knitting, and tried my hand at designing a mitten.  It was definitely a learning experience.   With several balls of Telemark still in my stash and a few ideas for fine-tuning my pattern, I know there is another pair in my future.  These mittens will be donated to Access Arts for fundraising.

So there are my two spins and a knit, all finished up before December 31st.  I have one other spinning project in progress that I'd like to complete before then - one pound of some creamy Blue Faced Leicester combed top.  It spins so effortlessly - a fine soft single. I'm over halfway through it.  In fact, I think it's time for me to head on over to the wheel and get busy.

Anyone else trying to finish a few things before 2011 rolls in?  Have fun with your fiber projects and enjoy the holidays!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Frost Flowers

Winter has arrived all at once - blustery gusting wind, swirling billows of snow, and icy temperatures that made me run right back inside for a thicker coat and woolly gloves.  It could have been oh-so easy to complain and moan about the miserable weather.  But look at the gift winter has left on the window of our front door!  Peering at the world through those frost flowers changed my view of the day and of the season.  What other surprises are in store?  Will I have my eyes and heart open to see and receive them?

Here are several haiku by the poet Basho to celebrate winter's arrival as we approach the longest nights of the year.  

Awakened at midnight
by the sound of the water jar
cracking from the ice.

Borrowing sleep
from the scarecrow's sleeves
midnight frost.

Hello!  Light the fire!
I'll bring inside
a lovely bright ball of snow.

Winter solitude -
in a world of one color 
the sound of wind.

Winter has the upper hand now, so brew yourself a cup of tea.  Get snug under an afghan and enjoy a good book or a bit of knitting.  Make the most of the season!