Friday, June 28, 2013

Road Trip and Stash Enhancement

My husband and I took a road trip from southern California up to Vancouver, BC, Canada and back. That means driving time for him and knitting time for me. In Abbotsford, BC, I made a detour in the first of many yarn stores, Birkeland Bros. That is where I saw this 100 year old beauty. They'd just finished carding some fleeces and were in the process of some clean up.

This sweetie was one of the hand-raised sheep in the front yard at Imperial Yarn and Stock Ranch. The entire enterprise is run with an emphasis on sustainability, check their website.

Jeanne Carver, the owner with her husband, Dan, was gracious enough to give us a tour of some of the historic buildings. This old house is now the headquarters for the wonderful yarns and fibers. I spent some time lightening their inventory.  

In Salem, OR we found an old woolen mill.

I'd never been up close and personal to the industrialized production of fabric. We were given a key and sent to open doors and wander through.

I wish I could have seen this in motion. I can't imagine how it works.

Thanks to Imperial Yarn, my stash has been enhanced. I don't know what the wool fiber is going to be, but I already have patterns for the yarns.

And to round that out, a few other fibers, too. This should keep me busy for a while, don't you think?!
There was one other historic mill we stopped at in Eagle Point, OR. I came home with 10 lbs of bread flour, 5 lbs whole oats, and a few other dry goods. I just made this buttermilk, whole wheat bread. What a difference freshly milled flour makes!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fighting Inertia

As beautiful as the wildflowers in the back yard are, I've been trying to make myself go into the front yard to get some weeding done.

I've finished another pair of socks. My youngest son has claimed these. I think this is going to have to be it for a while. I only have two sock yarns left in my stash, but I just can't face them right now.

Instead, I've been making time for other things. A couple of months ago there was a yarn crawl here in L.A. I insisted I wasn't going to go. Does going to only four stores count as not going?              Anyway, in the last store, I met Donna Nelson . She's been working on making chinchilla fur into a spinnable fiber. Oh, my! or Yum! While we chatted I petted and squeezed and rubbed the luscious stuff. It's a combed blend of 70% cormo, 20% chinchilla and 10% bombyx. She sells it on ETSY. Buy some for yourself for a special treat! 

I used the stylus on my Majacraft to spin up lace weight singles. And here, I was plying it from both ends. I'll post a finished picture as soon as I can get back to it.

And the main reason I haven't touched my looms is this lovely stuff from my stash. It's from Ironstone Warehouse (does that company even still exist?) 78% mohair, 13% wool, 9% nylon and 100% pain in the butt. It's been on Sophie for Months. Just dressing her was WWIII. I couldn't wind the warp onto the warp beam with the lease sticks in, because it got so snarled. The plan was to make a few scarves out of it. Then, the plan was to give it One More Try. If I couldn't get it to unstick, I gave myself permission to toss it. And I NEVER toss anything! I finally got her dressed. Then, I was afraid to even try weaving. What if I couldn't get a clear shed? We've finally made our peace with each other, but next time I weave with a mohair, it'd better be either the  short hair or bald variety!