Friday, February 10, 2006

Three Bags Full

Actually, I think it's going to be more like four and a half, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

See, today is the day when we're all about to cast on for the Knitting Olympics (fuck, I forgot to get rabbit ears for the tv!), and I'm stuck at work. To add insult to injury, it's *still* freakin' gorgeous outside. After nearly 12" of rain last month, and the greygreygrey skies the PNW is known for, having a week of mostly sunshine is like a gift from the gods.

And here I am, at work. Inside the cubicle farm, alternately staring out the window at the fabulousness, and gazing thoughtfully at the lime green skein of Regia on the desk in front of me. My boss, after all, is in a meeting....

Rather than answer questions about why I'm playing with yarn instead of doing my work, I can at least post here and still look like I'm working on something. So I thought I'd share a pretty big recent accomplishment.

This? Is Georgia, circa 2005. Georgia weighed a whopping 10.5 lbs when she came to me last spring. She lives at Skylines Farm in Harvard, Idaho under the incredible care of shepherdess Melissa Lines. I waited a full year before I saved enough money to buy one of Melissa's fleeces, and it was worth it. This is one hell of an amazing Romney ewe fleece! Melissa uses organic methods to raise her sheep, and the difference in the fleece is amazing to me. Granted, I hardly know what I'm talking about, but I like supporting organic farming in the region, and her fiber is worth every single penny. It costs a bit more, but boy is it worth it.

For reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, I never had the opportunity to work with, or hell, even wash the fleece before I moved at the end of last year. Living in an apartment, I also didn't have access to a washer that didn't take quarters and run the full cycle, so nearly every last lock has been washed by hand. I say nearly because I saved a handful of her in the grease for posterity.

Here you see the last bit of the fleece, washed and rinsed last night, and lounging about on a couple of sweater racks I bought at Linens 'N Things. This is actually a double decker, and would be a triple stack but the third rack has Issues.

It took about forever and a day to handwash a fleece that weighed 10.5 pounds when it got to me, but oh, look at the wonder. The magic. Just looking at these pics make me want to plunge my hands in and get to spinning.

I'm still a novice spinner, and for some insane reason I have this need to start from the beginning, the roots of the process when I learn a new skill. Upon reflection, I realize that this is definitely one of those times when living in an apartment is a good thing. Otherwise, I'd probably have half a dozen sheep, a few alapaca, and a whole herd of rabbits. So while I have a fair *coughcough* amount of processed roving and top, I feel the need to begin with the raw materials.

I have a pair of handcards, and a pair of double row mini combs, and may look into the possibility of borrowing some five-pitch combs to more efficiently process this into spinnable form. But for now, Georgia is probably going to live in a corner of the room, breathing a bit in these paper bags, looking lush and tempting and quite come-hither. You see three bags in this shot, but the fourth was in the other room, and the locks currently drying will likely take up another half a bag or so.

Not the smartest thing I've ever done, having all that temptation lying around prior to taking on a big knitting event, but I'm glad to finally have her washed.

Fleece also ties into my Knitting Olympics plan, because Georgia is but one of eight? a few fleeces that I have waiting to be washed. If I don't plan breaks between knitting bouts, I will definitely end up hurting my hands. So, this morning, I put half of Asta, a white Icelandic ewe fleece in for the pre-soak. But more on that later.

Good luck to those who are casting on today for the Knitting Olympics! I can't believe there are over 4000 of us participating in this project. It's incredible. Amazing. Awe inspiring. And other words that are stuck in my head because my coffee hasn't kicked in yet.

Let the Games begin! *cue Olympic theme*