Monday, October 13, 2008

Raw fleece...Thanksgiving dinner wild kingdom...and, ooh...shiny!

Massive picture-heavy post!


Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians today - I hope your day is full of turkey and family (for some) and sleep and rest (for the others). I personally spent last night sleeping at the hospital wired up to within an inch of my life for a sleep study to see if I've inherited the family apnea. So I slept terribly, was home by 6:30 a.m. and crashed for another three hours in my own (delightfully comfortable I will never complain about my mattress again promise) bed. After I got most of the cement out of my hair.


I shouldn't complain though - I've had two great dinners - one here at home with my parents, kids and niece and the other at a friends who is a gourmet cook...more on this in a moment...


First - I owe you a bit of old stuff promised earlier, starting with my trip to Toronto at the end of August.


I went down to visit Wanna-Baa of the comments, but stopped on the way to visit a farm in Port Hope - probably one of the few, if only, shepherds locally with Blue-Faced Leicesters. I have no pictures for you, but the farm was just amazing - there were turkeys wandering around my car in all different colours, a guard goat and the ugliest duck I have ever seen who thinks he is a person and insisted on following us to visit the sheep. Sara had brought out bags of fleece from her spring shearing and I ended up with two BFL fleeces - one is a first year and the other is a third year.


Both fleeces were relatively clean and so far the processing has been dirty but not horrifyingly so...



Raw fleece in the bag - aromatic!!!



Staple length of the three year old.



After 24 hours in a bucket of cold water it went into the hot water. This is the first washing.


And here is the second hot water wash - much better!



After 2 runs through the water. The bags took five days to dry out in the sun on my balcony.

So - not entirely clean but free of grease which means I can store it away for winter without worrying it will go rancid. There is still plenty of vegetable matter in there so hand picking will be a must. I still haven't decided if I will send it out for processing or card it myself next year. I guess I have some time to decide.

That same weekend, W-B, her kids Ava and Luke and her mom Ginger and I all visited a local alpaca farm. Luke was WAY more interested in the tractor...



...than the very adorable alpaca...





There was also a baby donkey and the most amazing dogs - Lori raises Leonbergers - enormous but incredibly gentle. It was a whole lotta dog let me tell you.


Luke, his grammy and a REALLY BIG DOG.

So that's it for the history although I should shout out a huge thank you to Chriss and Elizabeth for helping me skirt the fleeces and for their advice on how to get them clean.

And while I'm on the topic of fibre...


I seem to have acquired some more...


I participated in a fiber swap on Ravelry. Basically we were split into groups of four and each member of the group sent fiber to another member each month. This month I got a lovely 4 oz present from Lapoli...isn't it nice???





I've also made an early 2009 resolution - I think this will be the year I knit for me. I have been considering simplifying my wardrobe pretty significantly and would love to focus on having most blacks and neutral bases that I can cover with my own knitted sweaters, cardigans, shawls and jackets...


I was so taken with this idea that I promptly cast on some things a bit early...



February Lady Sweater in Mirasol Tupa.

Drops Cardigan in Manos Del Uruguay Classic Wool in Autumn.




Mystery Stole 4 in Misti Alpaca and size 8.0 beads - okay not part of the resolution but still...how pretty is that???

And work on the Susie Hoodie from More Big Girl Knits also continues. I am just about done with the bust increases and will be onto the arms soon which I am really looking forward too...shorter rounds!


Getting organimized...

Something had to be done. I couldn't pull out a project without having fourteen others fall out of the cupboard. So - big canvas bins for fiber - the white has fiber to be dyed and the blue contains fiber that is up on etsy right now...

And some nice wicker baskets for yarn from current and upcoming projects to show off themselves...

Is it a bad sign when your house and stash start to look more and more like a yarn store?

(Oh and just to revisit an earlier post...all this clean up meant that I took some stuff off the needles...which means I managed to find all those needles I was lamenting about losing...

...not that this stopped me from putting in a knitpicks order...no siree!)

Now last of all...

Wild encounters OR how I pissed off a mother cat and paid the piper for it

Warning - includes photos of my legs that do not include handknit socks.

So I'm at my friend's place for Thanksgiving and she has a formerly feral cat that arrived on her doorstep looking for handouts, got adopted and turned out to have gotten herself knocked up before they had a chance to spay her.

The kittens were born about 5 weeks ago - four adorable little ones - two black and two tabbies. Like all kittens they have sweet faces and short stubby tails and when they run it seems like their back ends go faster than their fronts.

I am helpless in the face of kittens.

So I am walking towards the kitchen behind a kitten and reach down to pick it up but clearly she doesn't want interference and takes off ahead of me. I keep going into the kitchen but as I hit the doorway I hear this horrible hissing and feel pain in my leg. I look down and its like a scene from Wild Kingdom. You know the one where the pride of lions is taking down a full sized elephant by coming up behind and attaching itself to its back, claws fully embedded in the skin?

And that's just one side and the picture is a lot prettier than my leg which is also pretty bruised and there is more on the other side. I WAS wearing pants by the way...

So a few bandaids and some peroxide later I go down to get some dessert. I walk towards the kitchen again and as I hit the door Phoebe attacks the OTHER leg (no kittens were around by the way). Talk about determined overprotective mother!

Those would be puncture marks from her teeth! For the rest of the evening she kept a close eye on me and everytime I moved my hosts had to step in to move her out of the room.

I am certainly none the worse for wear but certainly learned my lesson when it comes to mother cats!

Have a terrific week everyone - I am off for a workshop with Brandon Mably and an evening lecture by Kaffe Fassett at WoolNthings...I should pack my camera NOW so I don't forget it!!

5 comments:

moi in vancouver said...

Yikes, nasty looking scratches but the wool looks very pretty. Have a happy turkey day and I hope you don't have sleep apnea but it would explain a lot! love ya either way.

Chriss said...

Nasty scratches!

Glad you had a great Thanksgiving otherwise.

Marie said...

I haven't washed my wool fleece yet. Thanks to your pics, I'll know not to panic when the water turns brown - or worse.

I love all your knitting projects, but the hoodie is my favorite. Those cables are gorgeous.

Carmen said...

My GOD Lisa, you were chatty! I love it! And all those neat projects!!!! Yesterday was fun! Thx!

frapilu said...

Wow, a lot of info!! That's great! Overprotective mommy cat!! Please say you're up to date on your tetanus shots?

How can you have so many projects going on at once?! I guess I'm new at this; I'm stressed having two things going on!

Hope you don't have sleep apnea. It's such a hassle sleeping with a cpap!