Saturday, August 21, 2010

Spinner's Progress, vol 1

I've been spinning away lately and am making some progress on some projects.  First of all let me introduce you to my Llama:
This has been one of the funnest, most luscious things I've spun in a while (although I probably say that every other week) and it went very quickly indeed.  I found it really different to spin than alpaca and wool and I found that it had a more hair-like texture to it.  It's beautifully prepared from a local Llama farm, K&T Llamas.  They have llamas of a variety of colors of fleece and it's gorgeous.  I got this particular fiber from them during a Knit in Public Day visit to Sticks and Stones Innovations in Jacksonville, IL.  They had several of the yummy creatures there in the fleece.

I bought 8 and 8.5 ozs of the different colors but I haven't spun it all yet.  I did, however, get more than 200 yards of the medium brown and about 150 yards of the blond color.  I think what I'm going to do with it is make a sort of a shrug.  It's forming!  I also got some chocolate brown but it had lots of vm in it (she did tell me up front and sold it at half price) and I wasn't able to spin that very well.  I may have another go with it before I start knitting.  That's one thing about llama - it's quite heavy so I'm not sure I would want a whole sweater out of it but I think the shrug will be just right.
This was spun with z-spun singles, s-plied at a 2-ply dk weight.  I did a sample of it with 3 plies but I really didn't like the look at all so I went with the 2 plies.  I spun the whole bobbin with the singles, then I wrapped half of it back onto an old bobbin.  I'm getting pretty good at estimating half way although I do andean ply the last little bit so I can use all the singles.  Actually, what I need to do is get a few more bobbins for this wheel.

You probably noticed the other little sample hanging between these hanks and, if you thought that it doesn't look like llama, you're right!  Karen got some new fibers in last week and this is one of them - carbonized bamboo, spun fine on the smallest of the Ashford drop spindles.  Interesting.  It has a very different handle than other fibers, even from regular bamboo - it's more a matte finish. 

To be continued...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

That time again

I just got hold of the new catalogue for Lincoln Land Community College and I've got 3 new classes listed:

  • Knitting Socks - an intro to sock knitting - Friday, October 1, 6-9pm
  • Knitting Jewelry with Beads and Jewelry Wire - October 15, 6-9pm
  • Introduction to the (Nearly Lost) Art of Tatting - an introduction to shuttle tatting - October 22, 6-9pm
They managed to spell my name correctly 2 out of 3 times so I guess I'm good!

If you want to sign up for any of these classes, they're only $24 for each class and you can contact the Community Education Office at 217-786-2432 or jennifer.lewis(at) or send in the registration form from the catalogue.

We thought we'd try the Friday night time slot to see if people would be more willing to do that than give up a Saturday morning.  We'll see, right?!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's comin' up cotton


I've had reports from my Mom this week that our precious little cotton plants are in the pink.  Two of the bolls have opened up and she's proceeding accordingly.  More updates as they happen.

I also found an article today that said cotton prices are at an 15-year high.  Evidently 3 of the major cotton producers - China, Pakistan and Russia - have had major disasters that have all but ruined their crops.  Not good news at all. But for American farmers (and the Indians who are also major cotton producers) with their bumper American crops, you get $85 a bale or whatever it is they pay $85 for.  I told my Mom that she should think about getting a plot and start growing these things seriously.  It's like the ads in those old magazines: "Make money at home in your spare time."  It was usually selling Burpee seeds or doing some sort of craft and selling them but maybe it could apply to cotton growing, too!  Boutique cotton?