I try to update the blog every week. Or two weeks. I think I'm over that by several days now. I don't know where the time went.
Since I've been gone, spring has arrived in Vermont (if you can ignore today's flurries). The trout in our pond are jumping. We heard the peepers one evening last week. The daffodils are up, if not in bloom. Things will turn green soon enough.
I've been a little down lately, what with looming poverty and all, so I was especially flattered that Pepper Stitches, who blogs from Australia, gave my blog a Lemonade Award, for showing a positive attitude or gratitude. (This just shows the power of the blog and editing, because I'm running low on both lately!)
Pepper Stitches has a lovely blog and she gets her points across a lot more efficiently than I do, which is always refreshing. I am supposed to nominate 10 other bloggers but I might not have time today.
However, the making-lemonade-from-lemons theme is a perfect segue into my newest adventure: recycling yarn. I wanted enough cotton yarn for a spring cardigan, and I just can't justify the purchase of new yarn at the moment. So I found this for $3 at the thrift shop:
And with a pair of tiny scissors and a ball winder, I turned it into 1,000 yards of this:
Then I realized it was too fine for anything I'd want to knit right now, so I went to a different thrift shop and found this for $8:
Not a bad sweater in its own right, but too big and not quite my style. Unfortunately, this one, from GAP, was very well made, the pieces were backstitched together by hand, and each cable crossing was secured with a small string. Not easy to undo. It took me three or four nights to unravel, all the while enduring the comments from my husband who suggested I might have been better off just to spring for some decent yarn. But I ended up with about seven balls of this:
I started Zephyrstyle's Juliet sweater (top down, one piece, yeah) but didn't get gauge the first time. So I started over:
Working with unraveled cotton yarn is a bit challenging, as the plies are not really twisted. You have to watch for splitting. But I like to do things the hard way and it's quite satisfying to feel like you got a deal and gave an old sweater new life.
If you are interested in giving this a try, there are a few tricks, mainly making sure that your sweater is "fully fashioned" so you can unravel each section in pretty much one long strand of yarn. Some sweaters are cut out of large pieces of knit fabric and serged together at the seams, meaning each row is a separate piece of yarn. Not good. My Virtual Sanity has a good tutorial and there are many others online.
I haven't been doing much spinning this week or last, but I will get back to that. I think I'm on my sixth (seventh?) skein, bringing me up over 700 yards. Getting close to sweater quantity....
My darling husband, though not so supportive about recycling sweaters, has been working for me in his wood shop. He took some apple wood pruned from our very own trees
and turned this:
For you non-spinners, this is a nostepinne (or nostepinde), used to wind center-pull balls of yarn by hand.
At my request, he included a yarn gauge, used to determine wraps per inch, a handy measure for handspun yarn:
The prototype I had him design was too long for my preference, however. The length of the shaft got in the way of the ball winding. And the handle, it turns out, doesn't really get used because you need your gripping hand closer to the yarn as you are winding it. So I sent him back out to the shop and he returned with a few of these:
Much shorter, but still with the yarn gauge. These are only just over six inches, which seems short for a nostepinne. But I like the way they tuck right into the palm:
These are turned down on his lathe, are made of real Vermont apple wood from 100 yards away, and are hand-rubbed with beeswax. And they will be for sale...
He's working on a spindle now.
No overdue blog post would be complete without some Milo, right? The other night my daughter and I were sitting at the table doing homework and spinning, respectively, when out of nowhere Milo ran in, jumped from either a chair or the table right up to the top of the half-assed bookcase in the dining room. Here he is, batting at the ever-present cobwebs:
He quickly grew bored and decided to look for trouble.
To test gravity, he knocked three paperbacks to the floor and looked on with satisfaction.
He confirmed the quality of his work:
And then disappeared as quickly as he had come, to wreak destruction on some other part of the house:
So, that's about all there is around here. I leave you with a snapshot of a typical evening for three members of this family (that's Sophie the poodle in the middle there):
And a typical daytime shot of our front porch.
I hope the next time I post a picture looking outside, it contains greenery. Cross your fingers.