Monday, January 14, 2008

The first age of my Tolkien yarn

Here's my first handspun from my Tolkien project.
The white is a 2 ply with one ply alpaca and one play romney. The blue/grey is different shades of dyed and undyed grey Cotswold.

Here's another shot of the alpaca/Romney. I wanted something like a twilight moonshine for this yarn.

The yarn all started like this:

Just as reminder, here's Tolkien's description of the elvish cloaks that were gifted to the fellowhip in Lord of the Rings that serves as one of my inspirations for this yarn project:
"...of the light but warm silken stuff that Galadhrim wove. It was hard to say of what colour they were: grey with the hue of twilight under the trees they seemed to be; and yet if they moved, or set in another light, they were green as shadowed leaves, or brown as fallow fields by night, dusk silver as water under the stars....Leaf and branch, water and stone: they have the hue and beauty of all these things under twilight of Lorien that we love; for we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make...they are light to wear, and warm enough or cool enough at need."

-p481, Lord of the Rings, Farwell to Lórien

So to achieve a 'Twilight' colourway, I threw three shades of grey Cotswold, some of the white Romney and a bit of the black Icelandic into a pot with some Gunmetal (jacquard dye) at half strength. I then topped it with half strength of Purple (jacquard dye) and brought it all up to a simmer. Towards the end, I dumped in another handful of light Cotwold to take on just a touch of colour. In total, about I ended up dyeing up about 1 1/2 lbs of fleece.
Here's what came out:

I took some of the lighter gunmetal and some undyed grey Cotswold and spun this:

I'm madly in love with how the gunmetal and purple danced and mingled together. It looks like nebula in all that fluffed up fleece.

Here are some of the lighter Cotswold that I dumped in at the end.

Batts ready for more blending and spinning.

That's it for now. I've got a lot more carding, blending and spinning to do!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Mysterious Wisdom of Yarn

I just finished this baby last night while cuddling with DH and watching "300".

It's made with local fleece and leftover yarn from my stash, including this handspun:

Here's a couple more shots:

It was an unplanned project. In fact I wasn't even aware I was making a Healing Shawl until these last few days. This yarn just kept beckoning me and so over the holidays I began working a round shawl. At first I had planned to make a round shawl cardigan but the universe knew better and thwarted me at every turn. Eventually it dawned on me that these colours aren't really my colours and when I thought I had finished it, it didn't agree with me so I continued knitting more. Then a few nights ago, it revealed itself to me. It's meant to be a Healing Shawl for my cousin who's in dire need of some of the universe's healing powers. Once it was apparent to me what it was, it was obvious. Duh! It's a good thing my yarn is smarter than me :P

I've now decided on the wools for my Tolkien Projects:

The grey/silver fleeces are from 3 different Cotswold sheep including the locks off of this little streaker:

I opted for Cotswold as my main wool because it has quite a bit of lustre in it and is hard wearing. For much of history, it's been used for outerwear and upholstery making it a sturdy candidate for my cape. I chose three different values of grey to provide depth in the colour. All these fleeces were from Margaret Thomson at Windrush Farm on Saltspring Island

The black fleece is Fjola, an Icelandic sheep, also from Margaret's farm. Margaret and all her lovely sheep can be reached at Windrush Farm on 1432 North Beach Road in Saltspring Island, 250-537-4669.
Another great place on Saltspring Island for fleece is at the Bullock Lake Farm.

Icelandic fleece is warm and soft and her graceful and fine nature will help balance out the harder wearing Cotswold.

The puffy white stuff in the centre is Romney fleece from Elaine Duncan in Errington. Romney is the finest of all the longwool breeds. It will not only lend a bit of loft and lightness but also lustre to the yarn. Elaine and her sheep can be found at the Weaver's Rose Cottage in Errington, BC, 250-248-1270. During the summer she sell at the Errington Farmer's Market, one of the coolest farmer's markets on the island.

The creamy white roving on the bottom right hand corner is alpaca from my guild sister, Kathy McDonald in Cedar. It's from her Fiber Boys:

Aren't they they cutest things?
Alpaca is super warm, soft and silky. It will lend a touch of luxury to my Tolkien Yarn.
Alpacas can be found all over this island and at farmer's markets.

So now that I have my fleeces picked I guess I should figure out the design for my Tolkien capelet.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Gallery of Favorites

My wonderful MIL has requested a gallery of my knitting. So here are some of favorites from these last couple of years:
Healing Shawl:

Jewel & Wine Socks

Carved Jade Socks

DH's foot cozies.

Photo of the "Gaston" mountaineering socks for DH. The next in the knitting queue.

My handspun local yarn for the Gaston Socks.

Arachne capelet made with local alpaca.

Broken Brocade Sweater

Midsummer Night's Dream sweater

The back

The sleeve cuff

Patricia's hooded scarf

T's fingerless mitts

A shawl from my Flight of Fuschia Series

Blossom Cape

Fiddlehead Jacket

The Kimonoette

The Honeymoon Sweater.

The back.

Fire & Ice Sweater made with my own local hand-dyed, handspun yarn

The back

MIL Cabled Sweater

Pat's Capelet made with my own handspun local alpaca

The back detail.

For more information, just check out the "Labels" on the left panel. Some of the pieces are also on my other blog, Crave.
I also have most of these in my Ravelry Projects page. My Ravelry name is AlphaMango.
I hope you enjoy the gallery.