Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Anti Merino

I know, I know, everyone loves merino for it's next to the skin softness and it IS soft and dreamy to wear. I like knitting with it when it's mixed with other things. In the yarn petting zoo, it is always a favorite. But for spinning, it drives me crazy. There is a balance there between hard twisted little singles and singles that disintegrate back into roving. I have a hard time finding that narrow middle ground. So it was when I went into town Friday and picked up one more skein of wool for my Dad's sweater ( I think we're up to 14 but who's counting) and there was a lovely ball of pure Romney roving, grown and sheared in Ashland at Dona's farm. This fiber has umami!

Dona ( who owns the Webster's) sells this and yarn, Silver Cloud Farm, which is what went into the saddle blankets. The cost for the yarn is $8.00 for 210 yards and it's knit on a US 7-9 needle. Gene's cabled sweater will be made from a lovely dark moss green
version. The roving cost $2.00 per oz, cleaned and all ready to be spun and I am the happy spinner just waiting to finish this merino bobbin to get to it too! Why the recap? Appreciation. While I was in New England in January, I did get to poke around a couple of area yarn stores and in one was a Romney yarn from Maine. I don't remember the farm name but it was beautiful yarn, maybe a tad softer due to the spin. It was more open and it was hand dyed. It all makes a difference and the cost was $18.00 per 150+- yard skein. Now don't think it wasn't worth it, it was. American grown wool, processed and lovingly dyed local to New England. Next trip I may have to revisit it. But I also gained an enormous amount of respect and appreciation for my local flocks and the people who bring their goods to market for me in whatever form.

Whenever I work with a truly home grown fiber, I get a special boost knowing I could probably hunt that particular flock down and meet the sheep and certainly the shepherd or shepherdess.

Now, there has been some weaving going on and the blanket is making a nice start.

My feet remembered the treadle pattern all on their own. It interesting to note that every weaver likes a certain footfall pattern. I know many who like a walking motion. I don't. I split my treadles right down the middle and let the left foot do the left side and the right foot do the right side. I read my treadles like a book, left to right and I will rewrite a treadle pattern if it doesn't accommodate. If there is tabby, I give it to the left foot to deal with on treadles 1 & 2.
This treadle sequence has no tabby, it runs 1-3-5-6-4-2-1, the left foot does 1,2&3 the right 4,5, & 6. It works for me.

On farm news, I was woken up at two in the morning by distant caterwauling. MY cat caterwauling. Rodger didn't make it in for last call Friday night and there must have been a stranger around. I jumped out of bed and flew down the stairs, dogs barking in tow and lights flying on, all to rescue my kitty. He came to the front door, 3 times his normal size, a little dirty and certainly upset. I gave him the once over and noted no punctures or scratches. He had been clinging to a pine tree. His underside certainly smelled of pine and there was a spot or two of pitch, but otherwise untouched. After a good sit at the food bowl he spent the day curled up on one of the dog blankets. Close call! Because of this I am making a little sign by the front door, it will say "CAT IN" on one side and "CAT OUT" on the other, so whoever goes to bed last will know to call in the kitty or not. Should have done this long ago.


  1. That cat sign is a good idea!! Yesterday we couldn't find Bailey and it turned out he was outside. Now that it's warm, he loves to just hang out on the porch or the patio and watch the squirrels and chipmunks. He's figured out that if he's very still they'll come pretty close to him. (He actually almost caught a few chipmunks yesterday. I hope he remains unsuccessful.)

    The blanket is looking good!!!

    It took me the longest time to figure out that I could change which treadle goes where, and I still have to think about it sometimes.

    Depending on how regular the pattern is, I might change it up to do a walking motion (like for my huck towels). But sometimes I keep it as drafted. I'm weird though because I treadle with treadle 1 on the right. Gets very confusing for other people in round robin workshops.

    Speaking of Bailey, he's scratching at the door to come in at this moment. I really want to get him some kind of dog door!!


  2. I really wish I could just feel that looks incredible! It will spin into an amazing yarn. I have been guilty of leaving the dog outside (when I thought she was in!) She got really good at bumping the door to let me know!!!

  3. The roving looks great and the light grey color is absolutely lovely! I agree with you on merino - the merino sheep do not live in the north, and I like native wool with a lot of bounce and elasticity.

  4. You know out of all the Merino that comes out of New Zealand - I did not find any that was handspun. Nearly all the yearn that I bought - natural colors and handspun was Romney except for 1 skein of Gotland. I think there's a reason for that and it's likely the same as what you've found!

    The blanket is looking great - and glad to heat the cat made it in OK!

  5. What a great looking blanket! Your knitting is very nice, too!
    ....and your spinning, your sheep, your blog.
    I am so glad I stopped by!

  6. N.Marie, always glad to see a new face!

    Jennifer, really???No handspun merino in NZD! Maybe you've hit on something there.

    Charlotte, it is a pretty color, so wispy grey, reminds me of smoke. Yes, bouncy wool! And LA it feels marvelous should prove to be pretty soft, good for gloves maybe some boot socks.

    Sue, I bet it does get confusing in round robins, not so much with table looms but those floor looms set up in different ways must be challenging.
    Angel was our chipmunk/squirrel catcher, although Dennett caught a few in his younger ( much younger) days.

  7. Horrifying experience with Rodger. I've had outside cats and been there, especially my most favorite Kitty Carson. Charlie has *no* outside privileges because I'm sure there would be no inside Charlie.

    I have nothing on loom and it's not a good feeling. I have to do some loom repair and, well, haven't and so am jealous of you.

    I think of Romney as rug yarn. I have a bin of skeins that I've been spinning. I want to weave a rug, but first the loom repair.

  8. Mmm, that roving looks wonderful. Love the color.

    Interesting about your treadling. I like the idea of being able to walk the pattern, but somehow that just takes too much figuring out to actually tie up. (I.e. I'm too impatient to figure it out.) I usually end up doing like you.

    But gee. It's been so long since I've woven anything, I doubt either my feet or me will remember what to do. :)