Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Scarf, finished

Yay!  I finished another holiday item. Done from one of my early spinning efforts.  

When I attended my second class on spinning at JCC Folkschool several years ago, I bought a lovely BFL roving from Gale, who was also at the course. I took it home and spun it up and plied it. I didn’t know at the time that there were different ways to manage the different colors in a multicolored roving (not that I’ve tried any of them since…), so I spun as the colors as they came up and plied it. I tried a few projects with the yarn and it just looked like mud so it just sat in the stash.
I realized when I saw this pattern called Morning Surf Scarf that with its dropped stitches, and not too many stitches on the needle at one time, that it would highlight what was good about my multicolored yarn.

Of course, during the course we learned how to add beads while spinning, so naturally one must add some beads.

About a year ago I spied something at youtube that was really interesting;  a BBC documentary called "Victorian Farm."  I searched around for it recently and located it at a nice site, The gist is...three historian types recreating life on a Victorian Era farm for a FULL year.  I don't believe they actually lived there, but nonetheless...they did all the work to sustain themselves.

E1 Victorian Farm by zodiacza

Episode 2 has some particularly sheepy goodness.  They raised Shropshire sheep at this farm, and there is some nice viewing of this breed and how they were raised. This breed originated in the 1840's when locals bred native sheep from Shropshire and Staffordshire Bred from wild sheep in the 1840's. In 1859 they were declared a distinct breed by the Royal Agricultural Society.  They were (and probably are still) excellent for meat and wool.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Knitting Yowes

Having completed almost all of my holiday knitting, I am feeling free to pursue a couple of new projects. I was captivated by Kate Davies' Rams and Yowes. (Thank you Kate!)  So glad to know that I was misspelling "ewe" at least by Scottish standards!

I'm only several inches into it but here is a sample couple of rows.

I have Maddie and Steeleye Span to thank for my understanding of how to pronounce "yowe" (we call it a "ewe" on this side of the pond)...

The simple repeats of the rams and the yowes remind me of stranded stuff I did in the 80's...and also of Princess Diana's sheep sweater...

(Apparently this pattern was published in McCall's in 1984).

ANYWAY I am  knitting this mostly from handspun.  A couple of years ago I purchased a whole navaho-churro sheep's worth of creamy white roving from Cassie and Kurt at Little Creek Plantation here in South Carolina.  It's a LOT of roving and I wasn't sure what to do with it, especially given that it's a bit itchy next to the skin.

I have found that if I ponder my stash and think about and search for patterns, I can come up with a great combination and this is one of those. (There needs to be a name for this process of matching other than "creativity.")  My gauge is larger than called for but heck, it's a blanket, why not make it big??

Speaking of Scotland, I came upon this fabulous video at youtube.

This an an old video of croft life and sheep on Eriskay, in the Hebrides.  This provoked me to learn a little more about the Highland Clearances which despite having been to Scotland I did not learn about.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dia de los Muertos...a bit late (and a holiday FO)

 The Day of the Dead (Dia de lost Muertos) was Nov 1st.  This is a day to honor one's deceased ancestors, which is a traditional holiday in Mexico and most Spanish speaking countries including Spain. The holiday is a synthesis of Catholic tradition and ancient Aztec tradition. 

Being not Spanish speaking, Mexican, or Catholic, of course I had to I light my Catrina candle (purchased on a trip to Mexico). My Catrina wears the traditional marigolds.

(Ironically, I had unwittingly purchased some autumn blooming French marigolds for the pots in the front of my house on the 1st!!).

Evidently the first Catrina was La Calavera Catrina (calavera meaning skull) done in an etching by Jose Guadalupe Posada.  This image has been incorporated into the Dia de los Muertos celebration in many ways.

And of course this image was used in Diego Rivera's famous Dreaming of a Sunday in Alameda Park, his huge mural in which he painted Catrina, himself, and of course wife Frida Rivera. Alameda was Mexico City's first park, built on a former Aztec ruin. I was lucky to see this mural during my trip, it is HUGE and located in its own building.

Here is a link to a detail from some nice photographer at flickr showing Diego's interpretation of himself, Friday, and Catrina 

I did finish something on or around November 1st...this cute little sweater for my niece, a holiday gift.

The pattern is Fabled Cardigan by Terri Kruse.