Friday, August 22, 2014

Found it Friday - Why Wool is Special

Why is wool special? Because it's damn fun to spin. Need a better reason? This post friends shared on Facebook sums it up rather nicely.

http://www.woolrevolution.com/virtues.html

sooooo many awesome reasons!  The question that now begs to be answered, is why not wool??

~Kara

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rant.

I hesitated saying this for a long time. But really... It's about time it was said.

I'm getting deep enough into my spinning training to really develop a great dislike for the words "it looks handspun". It's mostly because it's generally said of yarn that is slubby and bumpy, and generally, beginner yarns that will not wear well. We've all been at that point, but some people stay there thinking that's how it's supposed to look. It doesn't have to. Think about it. How long have machines been spinning yarn? 250 years. Yup. That's all.  It all started to be mechanized in 1764 with the invention of the Spinning Jenny.  And that still required human power.  The next invention was the Spinning Mule, which attached a water wheel to the Jenny, and of course required modifications, but still. That's 1779.  This information was found on wikipedia.
Now, how long have humans been spinning by hand for? Oh, around 20000 years. Yeah. That's right. 20000 years.  Nearly every single garment was handspun, and hand woven or hand knit, or otherwise. The few exceptions being things made of hide or felt. And even those were done by hand with no machines involved. And think of the garments they wore in the early 1700s, and even before that. Here, let me provide you examples.

Clothing circa 1700's  (google image search)

Clothing circa 1600's  (google image search)

Clothing circa 1500's (google image search)

And just to be sure, one more link, showing actual fabric from the mid 1400's. Undies, no less.

Do you see what I'm getting at? There is no way that the yarns spun for these garments were slubby, bumpy, or uneven. Think about how fine they had to be spun to drape that way, to fold that way. Look at the ruff's on the women in the 1600's.  That is lace. Handspun, hand made lace. And a lot of it. Look at the voluminous skirts. I'm sure they draped and moved like our finest man made materials, made with chemicals on fully mechanized spinning set ups. Only they were made with hand spun yarn, made of natural materials that went through a more natural and time consuming process of preparation.

  It's high time that handspun yarns get rid of the beginner yarn stigma and people start to realize that it doesn't have to be like that, and that from very early on in civilization yarn was spun for perfection and evenness.  Goodness knows that the women who would have to slave away at the wheel and spindle wouldn't have gotten away with spinning slubby yarn.

I'm not claiming perfection myself.  I'm far from spinning yarns to the standards of the 1700's and earlier.  But I know I'm no longer spinning slubby, rough and pilling yarn.  And I'll take the "it looks machine spun" as a complement, as it's intended, because people are still of the mindset that machine can do a better job then humans.  One skein at a time, I'll knock down the stigma of handspun.


/steps off soapbox

~Kara

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Decisions, decisions

 Isn't that always the life of a knitter? This yarn or that yarn? This colour or that colour? What about fibre? which needle size is best for the project, do I want a tighter knit or a looser one? Which pattern should I choose?
 These questions are compounded by the way Leethal does her Adventure Knits. Not only do you not know what exactly it is you're making, but you also can't really be sure you're choosing *just* the right yarn for the mystery project.  Does this in anyway stop me from really really really wanting needing to knit these patterns? Not.one.bit.  If anything it makes me more excited. Truly, there have been 4 PDF's already in this summers KaL. We have shapes, you see, that we can choose from.  Some of them were obvious, and others were not so obvious at all.  The last one outlined what the choices could turn into, and the multitude of end possibilities is rather staggering.  How do I choose the right one?!  What about the crazy construction and patterns that will undoubtedly show up in these finished shapes?  It's rather exciting and daunting all at once.  But, to narrow it all down, I've gone and pulled 2 yarns from my stash.


Yarn stuffs August 9 2014

First (top) is from my trip to Vancouver Island last May.  It's 100% wool, aran weight. But I've only got 2 balls. And the second (bottom) is some Knitpicks Brava in Bulky.  So it's acrylic, and very yellow, but bulky.  I'm very tempted to start with the yellow, and see what comes of the pattern I choose.

No doubt, I'll love the process of this type of KaL as much as I'll love the finished project.  Leethals patterns are really unique, and so very fun to knit.

Don't forget to sign up before the 14th!  The price does go up then!

~Kara

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Adventure knits!

Last summer I did Leethals first adventure knit along, and she's running a new one this year!  I'm totally hoping on board, even though I really don't have time to do it! I had so much fun, and I always learn so much from knitting her patterns.  It's on sale right now, and the price goes up as the sections are release, so hope on the bandwagon while the going is good!!  Come play with us!


~Kara

Friday, August 1, 2014

What a spinner does while camping

After I got home from a visit with the family, my husband said "Let's go camping!"  and my first thought was, of course, "But my spinning... I need to get my spin on... No time for camping..." But we went anyway.  And of course I packed my Russian spindle, and spindle dish, and some fibre.  Cashmere, of course. Just because you're roughing it doesn't mean you can't take along some luxury.

What does a spinner do while camping?

We took the boat along, and went for swims in the middle of the lake, and did some fishing, and spent a little time just exploring our campsite.  We found something really interesting.  At first I thought the dragonflies were makin' babies, but it was a little different then normal, because they were on the ground. On closer inspection, and with the curiosity of my 6 year old, he flipped them over and the one was eating the other!!! Dragonflies are cannibals, say whaaaaat???  A rather weak internet search resulted in finding out that this does rarely happen and possibly only when two male dragonflies don't like each other.  It's  not a mating ritual.  It's a take out the competition move. Crazyness!!


What does a spinner do while camping?

With all that fascinating and entertaining stuff going on, did I get time to spin? Of course I did!! There, on the ground, in front of the camper, while The Zoo and Miss J were digging in the sand behind me, and The Duck rode his bike, and the Hubs made a fire for cooking supper.


What a spinner does while camping

Yup, that's me, in my camping glory, on a hot 30 above day, (Celsius, of course) spinning cashmere.

Good times were had.

~Kara

Friday, July 25, 2014

Found it Friday - Sheepish Building

Hey, happy Friday!  Isn't this just a fun building?

The sheep building, Tirau, Waikato, New Zealand, 3 April 2008
Image credit: Philip Capper, you can find him on flickr


Apparently it houses wool and craft shop, called The Big Sheep Wool Gallery. Go figure. It's in a small town in New Zealand, on the the North island, called Tirau. I just might have to stop in and buy some wool when we finally go on that trip we've got planned...

For more info about the building, check out wikipedia, and The Grumpy Old Limey.


~Kara

Friday, July 18, 2014

found it friday - Spider Moths

Spider Moth, Spider Moth, does whatever a Spider Moth does. Spin a cocoon, just his size.  Makes flame retardant underpants, for the good guys. Spider Moth, Spider Moth, look out! here come's the Spider Moth....

Anyway..... So. This one's interesting.  Apparently there is a laboratory in Michigan - the Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, to be exact- that is genetically modifying moth DNA at the egg and sperm stage so that the resultant moths will make spider silk, instead of moth silk. They've named them Monster Moths.

Now moth silk, as we know it is pretty awesome.  Light weight, cool, but warm, moisture wicking and it does have it's own level of flame retardance.  But spider silk is all that and more.  It's incredibly  more strong, for one, and really hard to harvest for another.  Stronger silk equals tougher clothing, clothing they think will have military purposes, as well as civilian purposes. Monster Moth silk ties, anyone?  To match your military issue Monster Moth silk under pants?  So, I suppose that's why these amazing scientists are making GMO moths. It's all for the money! But what isn't all for the money these day's?

Now, I'm not a really big fan of the whole GMO thing, but I found this pretty cool.

Please check out the site I originally found this on! There's more info there. And a picture. They have pinkish red little eyes and 4 wings...

~Kara