Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This and that

I can't believe I'm actually managing to write a quick post on a Wednesday!  I have this theory that twice-weekly posting (Sundays and Wednesdays) would be nice, and keep me on track.  But lately (as I'm sure you've noticed) it's been a miracle to make my Sunday post.  However, I have gotten past three big deadlines this week (just hit "submit" on the third), not to mention scads of grading (including one of those twelve-hour piles - as in, it takes at least twelve actual hours of grading to get through it; I have to spread those out or I find myself getting bitter and failing people just because my butt hurts from sitting too long).  So I figure I can reward myself by thinking about fiber for a few minutes. 

I still don't have any shots of me actually wearing Poplar and Elm (although people have seen me wearing it, so it does exist).  With luck, that will happen this weekend, when Rick is around to take actual pictures.  Having Rick around is also a prerequisite to getting a picture of the first Blunnie Sock, which I have finished (no-one else's feet are even close to big enough to model his socks)(I should also say that I immediately cast on for the second sock in order to ward off the dreaded SSS).  Nevertheless, there are other interesting things to show off. 

I have been spinning, off and on.  Spinning makes me happy.  I got through this:
That is four ounces of Polwarth top, in the Misty Water colorway, handpainted by Erica (whose fiber I adore - every one I've tried has spun up like a dream, and the colors make me very happy).  I'm trying a little experiment here.  I spun that up woollen, fairly fine - Polwarth seems to cry out for woollen spinning, and this turned out light and lofty.
The experiment part comes next.  On her blog, Erica has occasionally shown braids of some of her colorways wound together (that temptress); she made the mistake of showing Misty Water with a braid of BFL in SeaGreen, and I snapped them both up.
The plan is to ply them together, which isn't so experimental.  But the plan is also to spin the BFL worsted, which is the kind of spinning that BFL seems to me to cry out for (all that lovely shine just gets maximized that way).  So the hope is that I'll end up with something that blends the traits of that warm, light, fuzzy Polwarth with the long, strong, shiny BFL.  Stay tuned.

The more I get to try different fibers, the more I'm intrigued by immense range of texture and function that the fiber world offers.  So when I saw that Ellen and Jan had each gotten a sampler of fiber from Woolgatherings, I jumped on the bandwagon (they are kind enough to not seem to mind).
And that's not the half of it!  There's a whole other layer in there - 24 total.

I made Rick stand and feel each one while I told him their names (he, too, is a patient person who humors me).  The names make me so unutterably happy I can't tell you - how can one not be excited about fiber like Shetland Humbug?  I mean, really.  The plan is to choose a couple of these each month to research and spin up, and to compare notes with Jan and Ellen.  I am really looking forward to it.  I'm teaching a class at my LYS on the 17th on getting to know one's fiber, both for making good yarn/project pairings (for knitters) and for spinners who want to think about the range of fiber possibilities available to them.  As an inspiration for me, Erica sent me a huge bag of all kinds of wonderful fibers I'd never seen or touched before, and I'll be showing those off to students (I need to get a picture of that, too).  So while I'm hoping I might inspire some local folks to take an interest in playing with me, I don't have a study group like that yet - I love that I have a long-distance one, with people who are as nuts weird interested in learning new things as I.

And speaking of ranges of possibilities and fabulous names, look at what I'm knitting right now.
That is Rams and Yowes, a lap blanket pattern by Kate Davies, she of the famous Sheepheid (which I also now have yarn to knit).  I love that she wrote both patterns to celebrate the immense diversity of colors of Shetland wool - the blanket has nine different colors.  And oh, the names!  We've got gaulmogot, and mooskit, shaela, and yuglet.  I (naturally) started poking around, looking for etymologies of the names, but only have been able to find information for two: sholmit and moorit (if anyone knows about any of the others, please, please let me know!).  Sholmit comes from a Gaelic word meaning "Having a white face, as of ox or cow"; and moorit comes from a root morand-r, meaning "brown mingled with black and red" - it is cognate with English murrey, and French moree, and comes from an older root mor-.

Wool and language all mixed together.  It just doesn't get much better than that.


Wanderingcatstudio said...

Love the the blanket - Mom dyed up a whole punch of our yarn to make Sheepheid - it's so cute!

lesmendl said...

I love wool and language! I love Kate Davies stuff too.

AlisonH said...

The moorit the better!

Kim said...

Oh Jocelyn, I love your new blanket! So cute! I bet it takes lots of patience. . . . . count me out. But I hope to see it soon!

Jane said...

Oh, I love that lap blanket, it's going to be a talking point for years

Nana Sadie said...

Oh, it's so delightful when you get into the language of wool. I can see your eyes sparkling from here!! *wink*
And you know how I feel about the Rams n Ewes ... I'm green that you're making the blanket, but have you noticed it hasn't made me cast on yet for the hat?
(it's beautiful,'re doing a fabulous job!)

Unknown said...

Shetland Sheep have almost as many interesting color names as Icelandic horses. Love the lap blanket!

Gina said...

Erica's colors are just exquisite! She has inspired me to try my hand at spinning. I'm taking a two-day class up in Humboldt County in a couple of weeks, which will keep me busy while my son is at work and give me a chance to see if spinning is for me. Just what I need - yet another kind of fiber obsession!

Just finished my Sheepheid hat and moving on to Rams and Yowes. It will be my first time steeking. I love those little sheep almost as much as the yarn names. I will confess that I did write the names on the yarn band to keep them straight when I first started.

Congrats on finishing up your projects in and out of the classroom.

Christine said...

I love Erica's rovings--I spun up some Finn she dyed and was nearly beside myself with how gorgeous it turned out. She and I used to be in a knitting group all the way over in Germany--small world!

twinsetellen said...

Hmmm, you have me thinking that blanket could be a great use for lots of short skeins of yarn. Perhaps for 24 short skeins of yarn?

Rachael said...

Oh how fun, I love the sheep, so very wonderful all the way around!

EGunn said...

I can't wait to see how your spinning comes out! I'm excited about these experiments. If I didn't already have waaay too much on my project list, I'd be jumping up and down to get in on your fiber study group. It sounds like sure to keep us posted!

Your sheep are adorable. =)

Hope your deadlines and your grading piles are looking a little more manageable's no fun to be slogging through everything at once.

RobinH said...

How fun! I'm probably no help on the etymology, but I'm ridiculously pleased to know that Yowes is Scots dialect (thanks to the lovely folk song, Broom of the Cowdenknowes).

Lynne said...

My DD was given some moorit - she made a few people jealous by turning up with it to her first spinning class!