A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Snowed In!

Aren't those words just music to your ears? Well, maybe not for you, but I have always treasured those rare days where the weather holds the reins and determines that the smartest, safest thing to do is to just stay put, right where you are, and enjoy the snow falling. At the rate of about an inch an hour early this morning. I willingly stayed home; there are projects coming up this spring that will have me putting in extra hours so I wasn't too worried... I spent a bit longer than usual trekking through foot-deep snow to feed donkeys, and even gave them extra at lunchtime to make up for the cold and the damp. We both spent time knocking snow from the roof eaves, so that it wouldn't pile up too deeply in the valleys (troughs where the various slopes meet each other). That was enough outside time to burn more than breakfast up, so I stayed in to defrost.

I decided it was the ideal time to put up a few Ebay auctions; I am offering some vintage pattern books, some cotton/rayon yarn and some sock yarn that are leftovers and would be better off sitting around in someone else's stash..our auction ID is "slaterange" so go and check them out.

I also got to take some indoor photos for you:

Can you believe that this...

... will turn out looking like this? If it weren't for all the felting I have done in the past year, I wouldn't either! This felted sample shows the texture when I am done with a long stretch of "plain" knitting to create the Felted Vest from Felted Knits, by Beverly Galeskas. You can see Eunny's version here (that Eunny, she can do ANYTHING; check out the lace tutorial she is running now, as well as her steeking encyclopedia). It will be fabulous, and this brief bit is what I have been able to accomplish at Spinning Saturday, and last night at Linda's Monday Night Knitting (Linda is a fellow quilt guild member, who informed me at our retreat last week that she has been hosting knitting nights weekly and I should come; who knew?!).

Felting is magic!

I also got to have some email conversation with my dear friend Sallee, about a subject dear to her heart, and now to mine too....

What is this mess o' yarns from my stash? It may not be readily apparent that there is a method to my madness here, but I am in the process of sorting through to select yarns for the ruana pattern in Folk Shawls (Cheryl Oberle). I have been a fan of ruanas for a few decades, dating back to when they first started appearing here, imported from Peru. They are like a cape, only two long rectangles that are joined in the back and open as they drape over your shoulders, allowing you to pin them in front, wrap one over a shoulder, use the ruana as a blankie for a wee one, or to keep your lap warm in a chilly airplane, or even to serve as a comforter if you are stuck overnight on a friend's couch (are you hearing the voice of experience speaking here?)

Ruanas have been popular with weavers, as they don't need to cut into that hard- earned length of cloth to shape the garment. Cheryl created a knitted version, with advice about duplicating the fabric variations, usually subtle, narrow stripes, in the woven ones. Plus, this pattern calls for carefully, but randomly mixing a variety of stash yarns, approximately 2500 yards in all, to get the woven textural effect of the Peruvian original. What could be better for a knitter on a stash diet?

Sallee has been setting aside yarns for the past year, but I am more gluttonous, and discovered that I had a lot to draw upon stored in my chest of drawers upstairs. Since I get to mix textures, I settled on lavenders (you can see this is a heavy favorite of mine) and neutrals ranging into browns. I managed to have a lot of leftovers in these colors... and the eyelash yarns are holdovers from items I made as felted purse orders in 2005. I also turned up several gifts that could be put to use, including the alpaca and hand spun wools my Better Pal Beth sent me recently. Then, there's the large cone of Sally Fox's organic, colorgrown brown cotton at the top of the photo, and another cone of brushed wool/mohair that has been languishing for years, since it was part of an afghan project for DH. In the plastic bag at the bottom left is an interesting find I have not been able to put to use in several years - a nice boucle DK weight cream with gold metallic... will add a sparkly surprise, don't you think?

Anyway, I started off sorting into two piles, one for each side of the ruana, then realized that I would need to divide many of these into halves, and set up a basket for each, and since I have a few projects in line ahead of starting this "mindless" knitting, decided that my little table could serve as an "objet d' art", or fiber sculpture, for the next few weeks till DH's vest is done.... what a lovely site a pile of fiber is to us fiberholics! My own touchy-feely yarn shop at home will help keep me on my stash diet.

Today is dear Margene's birthday, and when I left a shout, was the 92nd person to do so; if you haven't yet, go by and leave felititations of the day (don't you just love that 19th century terminology?) so that she gets at least 100 good wishes! You will also love the cake photo...


Blogger margene said...

You Ruanna is going to be so fun. You'll be playing with yarn, color and texture. Nothing better. I saw all that snow in CA and wondered if you were indeed snowed in! I wish we would be just once this year!

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have that book too. I think your Ruanna is going to be gorgeous! Perhaps That is what I should do with my handspun. I can't wait to see it all done. Please show progress pictures too!

Beth (big geek)

5:29 AM  
Blogger Lynette said...

The yarns and colors you've set aside for the Ruanna are beauties. I've only seen one Ruanna pattern (in the Knit Stitch) so it will be interesting to see what an authentic one looks like. Keep us posted.

7:52 AM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

Ah, Birdsong...I'm so glad I started this for you! :)
Just gorgeous yarns!!! Your Ruana will be stunning I know, and showcase the gold in your hair, too!
Now to start planning the day when we can get together for a photo of the two of us in our completed shawls...what do you think? (I'll come there, your place is so much nicer than where I am! Besides I have to meet the burros)

6:31 AM  

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