Saturday, July 25, 2009

In which the Rabbit blogs from the road, about washcloths

The Rabbit has been knitting up a washcloth storm, thinking that handknit washcloths knit from organic cotton would be perfect host(ess) gifts for the friends with whom she is staying on her travels. These, photographed in situ in their bathroom, went to Jonathan and Meli:

These are for Peter and Annie, with whom the Rabbit is staying on Monday.

You will note that Peter and Annie get soap. Soap for my friend Meli would be coals to Newcastle. She is the bath supply queen of the century.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

In which the Rabbit finishes the Shibori Cravat

Here it is! The Rabbit is delighted with how it turned out. Here are some detail shots of the baubles, which were made by bunching up one-inch squares of the fabric and securing them with pony-tail holders before felting:

You can see that the Rabbit removed this from the washing machine before the stitches completely disappeared in the felting process, to allow the fabric to retain some drape.

The alpaca was lovely to work with and felted beautifully. Could knitting make the Rabbit look forward to winter? She is looking forward, at least, to wearing this.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In which the Rabbit arranges some flowers from the garden

Hip Hop Hooray! The Monarda are blooming! (Also the daisies, the salvia, the astilbe, the butterfly weed.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

In which the Rabbit felts yet more bowls

These are made with variegated Manos del Uruguay (left over from the felted clutches) around the rim; the rest of the bowls are knit from √Ālafoss Lopi. The two yarns behave quite differently during felting, hence the shape of the bowls.

In which the Rabbit reports on another couple of works in progress

OK, so the Rabbit is a little addicted to that baby sweater pattern. This one's for donation, probably to the local women's shelter.

The Rabbit is also working on an alpaca scarf for herself.

This will be felted, a la Leigh Radford's AlterKnits Felt. It's going to become the Shibori Cravat.

The Rabbit loves alpaca.

In which the Rabbit learns to spin

About a month ago, the Rabbit wandered into a local establishment called The Wagon Shed in search of roving (unspun wool that's been carded and that's ready to spin) to use in a wet felting project she was planning. There she encounted the redoubtable Kassy K. Wells, proprietor, spinner and weaver extraordinaire. Before the Rabbit knew it, she had signed up for spinning lessons and left the place, slightly dazed and without any roving. The Rabbit chalks this up to what The Yarn Harlot calls "wool fumes." (see, for example, here), which are well known to produce unpredictable effects in the susceptible. Anyway, a week later, the Rabbit returned, ready to learn to spin.

Spinning, dear reader, is difficult with paws. At first, all sorts of terrible things happened. The wheel went in the wrong direction, or the yarn got wound around parts of the wheel it wasn't supposed to. The yarn's width swerved wildly from thread suitable for knitting panty hose to extra-bulky. Huge, marshmallow-like fluff balls clogged the wheel's orifice (yes, it's really called that) and brought the entire operation to a standstill. The yarn got so twisted that Kassy had to stop spinning herself and, ever so gently, come and get things going again. But eventually the Rabbit started to get the hang of it.

The first week's yarn looked like this:

Here's a detail of that first attempt:

It's pretty uneven and overtwisted in spots—turns out that learning when and how to start and stop the wheel is pretty much the hardest part of spinning. But the thrill of actually making yarn was totally exciting and, the Rabbit fears, addictive.

Things were much easier the second time around. Here's the yarn from the second week, and a detail. The spinning is a lot more even this time.

At the end of the second lesson, Kassy gave the Rabbit some raw fleece to take home and wash. (I wish I had thought to take a picture of it, all full of hay and lanolin and sheep poop. It had such a fabulous barnyard smell.) The Rabbit loved washing the raw fleece, and kept wandering downstairs to the basement to fondle it as it dried, fantasizing all the while about where she would get the next raw fleece to wash. Driven crazy by the wool fumes, no doubt.

Here's how the fleece looked when it was washed and dried:

The next week, the Rabbit brought the washed fleece back to Kassy's to spin. First the Rabbit had to learn how to card—another challenge for one with paws. Then came the spinning: spinning this was a very different experience from working with the commercially processed roving. The carded fleece has more lanolin left in it, so the fibers have more grab. This is the result:

The little bumps are mostly from the inadequacy of the Rabbit's carding. Fortunately, she gets to have another go at it next week. In the meantime, she's researching all the fiber festivals within a three hour drive, dreaming of more raw fleece.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

In which the Rabbit gardens

Granted, most rabbits spend their time eating gardens, but the Crafty Rabbit, with the help of her thumb-bearing spouse, has been gardening up a storm: spreading manure and mulch, weeding, moving plants around. After six years, the garden is finally beginning to look like something.

That's astilbe around the water feature, with daisies and coneflower behind it. The clematis climbing up the deck railing looks like this up close:

And here's its sister (brother?):

In the back corner (the sunniest spot), there are lots more daisies, catmint, and butterfly weed:

Some impatiens in pots on the deck:

And some herbs:

The Rabbit says yum.