Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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I finished knitting the second Gatsby sleeve! Torture by twisty yarn. Trying to decide what to do about all that lanolin. Wash and block? Or just block and keep the lanolin? No photo because it looks just like the first. At least, I hope it does.

Started spinning up the Northern Mist roving from Belfast Mini Mills. It's 1/3 each of quiviut, alpaca, merino. I was saving it for when I'm a little more experienced, but I figured the alpaca and merino would give it a longer staple and make it easier. It did.

17: Northern Mist (quiviut/alpaca/merino)

It spins up pretty easily, feels nice in the hands, and the yarn on the spindle is so pettable. I spun with enough twist to make a 2-ply and maybe a nice (small) lace scarf will come out of it.


In the comments, Jane says:
Gorgeous blog! And, you have a real eye for colour. The scene on your opening page looks so much like the Annapolis Valley near my home in Nova Scotia. Where are you other than virtually?

Thanks so much! I've always thought of myself as color impaired. Only in the last year or so have I gone boldly where I have been too chicken to go before: mixing colors and yarns in unspecified ways, letting my instinct guide me. My first steps were to buy handdyed yarns that I love - colors are already there, just have to make something with it. I slowly started mixing yarns and colors here and there. I have a ways to go before I'm truly comfortable with it, but it is exciting. Unlike you! You're VERY comfortable with colors and playing. It's inspirational.

The photo was taken on Prince Edward Island on our honeymoon. We didn't make it to the Annapolis Valley this run but hope to take another trip out that way soon. We LOVED PEI. Love love LOVED it. This photo though, we were driving from Charlottetown to the Belfast Mini Mills, and stopped to check the air. Behind the gas stand was that gorgeous view. When I was putting together my blog, I thought of the colors I love. Whenever I see handdyed yarns (or any yarns, for that matter) I always go for the reds and the blues. Always. Then I thought of this photo. Perfect.

Hubby and I live in Holliston, MA, about an hour's drive to Boston (durned traffic). Nice and quiet, lots of trees and breathing room.

Finally took some photos of the yarn I bought honeymooning in Atlantic Canada. I was pretty reserved buying yarn since I spent most of my money on fiber. And in case you don't believe me, I'll have to admit that the Fleece Artist silk boucle was actually a gift from Scott out of his vacation budget. Bad bad Monica...

Souvenirs from Atlantic Canada

The first (top) is singles wool from Cottage Craft in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick. They had tons of handmade sweaters there, beautiful cabling and colorwork. It's a cottage industry (hence the name?) - the sweaters are made by dozens of knitters in (mostly?) New Brunswick that work out of their homes. Cottage Craft also sells their yarn; it reminds me of Briggs & Little, and not the kind of yarn I knit with much these days, so I only bought one skein to try out. Hmm, I didn't get a solo shot. It's a nice rich brown; I plan to make a scarf.

There was another yarn shop in St. Andrews by-the-Sea: Cricket Cove (I think that's the website; it says they're in Black's Harbor so I was a bit confused - but pleased - when I found them in St. Andrews by-the-Sea). A lovely shop, lots of Fleece Artist. It was my first yarn shop so I decided to wait before spending all my money. I ended up going broke before I made it back.

Next stop: London-Wul, where Heidi taught me to spin

Thank you, Heidi!

I bought a spindle and fiber, and then picked up some more fiber the next day before heading to PEI. On the way home I stopped by again to show Heidi what I had spun, and to buy some Fleece Artist sock yarn for Gram (Scott's grandmother). Forgot to take a picture of it, though... There were a few ladies happily spinning and knitting. After I showed them my yarn:

Heidi: Why aren't you spinning? Go get your spindle!

Me: Uh... okay!

I was soooo nervous and excited. My first time spinning in public! In front of experienced spinners! What would they think? Would I be too nervous to spin well? Would I be all two left spindles??

My palms did sweat a bit and I could only half-listen to the conversation for the first 10-20 minutes and I think my hands were a little shaky. But no one laughed, or stared, or shook their head in disbelief. So I relaxed, and started to enjoy it. Of course, my state of shock precluded remembering any names, but they were a friendly lot and the lady spinning from dyed silk hanky gave me some to try out. I left wishing I lived closer to London-Wul!

Next stop, PEI. The Fleece Artist silk boucle was purchased at Great Northern Knitters in Charlottetown, PEI and is luscious luscious luscious and the colors rich and loverly! I don't think the attached V-neck pattern will flatter me so I'll have to hunt around for another. They had a good selection of Fleece Artist that was hard to resist.

Fleece Artist silk boucle

The next three skeins are from Belfast Mini Mill in Belfast, PEI. I purchased a good bit of luxury fiber there as well. They give tours of their mini mill, where you get to see how their yarns are made! Since I had just learned to spin, it was especially cool.

This is their quiviut/merino a 2 ply sport weight, and my first quiviut! It will become my warm snuggly scarf:

Mini Mills Quiviut / Merino

and their "Northern Mist" quiviut/alpaca/merino blend, a 3-ply worsted:

Mini Mills

and their cashmere/merino blend, a 3-ply bulky worsted:

Mini Mills Cashmere / Merino

Hmm, they all look alike. So much so that I couldn't tell from the pictures which one was the Northern Mist, and which one was the cashmere/merino. I had already wound the skeins into balls. I can tell by touch... I think I got it right.

What I said about the silk boucle -- times three. Well, the "luscious" part. Yummers! But I wish the colors were a little more... non-beige.

On to Nova Scotia. Visited Lismore Sheep Farm but the owners were out and it was raining so I didn't get a tour or learn about the sheep. The woman in the shop (Jeanine?) was very friendly and we talked about spinning. Their yarns are like the Briggs & Little so I didn't get any (see reason above), but I bought a braid of Fleece Artist blue faced leicester.

Last is a small ball of Fleece Artist sock yarn I bought at LK Yarns in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Fleece Artist sock yarn

Woah, lots of yarn. They had a basket of Fleece Artist sock yarn mill ends and I wanted to buy it all. I restrained myself and picked out one (sob) but also grabbed a couple of Fleece Artist blue faced leicester "braids" (here's one of them spun up).

And that was it.

Sigh. Good times, good times.

NB: In case you think I'm obsessive... I have wanted to see Fleece Artist yarns up close in person ever since I found their website earlier this year. When we decided to honeymoon in Canada, I checked the Fleece Artist website and made a list of all the shops near our proposed route. (Doesn't everyone plan yarn shop stops into their vacations?) This was a biased Fleece Artist trip. :)