October 31, 2008

Shop Update!

It's that time again...

Halloween update

Today there are five new dyed spinning fibers and one new handspun. I know some of you will be happy to see recreations of two popular past colors - After Twilight, and Inside the Glacier (called Glacial Glow in this update because it is just different enough to warrant a different name).

I'm also having a Harvest Sale!
Harvest sale
All orange items are 20% off to celebrate the season.
Hope to see you over at The Vildish Twist!

October 30, 2008

I could burst

I'll try not to, but I could.

I made yarn from raw fleece! Skeinlets of trial run amounts, yes, but YARN!

Now, Peter Teal would doubtlessly say something about how this really is unskilled labor and a child could do it and yaddayadda.

Screw it. I grin like a fool every time I look at my little skeinlets and I'm not going to hide that.

So! Here's how it went.
First, raw fleece got a bath. A painstaking process since I'm keeping lock formation for combing. 
first combing
The washing process went undocumented (this time) so our first photo is of the gray Romney drying on a mesh sweater rack. Exciting, no?

Next phase:
first combing
Combs. I borrowed these from Margaret and am working on getting a hang of combing before I buy my own set. So far, I'm really enjoying it. After an evening of work, my arm is tired, but the fluffy wool that comes off these combs is so inspiring that it keeps me combing. Let's hope that carries through the mumblemumble pounds of fleece I need to comb.

first combing
The fleece comes off the combs like this! FLOOF!!! This is a loooong piece of sliver pulled off through a diz and then rolled up into a handy ball.

first combing
I made three of them, all Romney. The white one is from a white fleece, but the two colored ones come from the same grey fleece.

Spinning from these floofballs was DREAMY. I loved the feel - the fluff, the structure, the luster of the singles (undocumented). And when finished?
first combing
The glow is from the sun setting, but this really is lustrous yarn.  I've been spinning worsted pretty strictly for this project, and I LOVE the result. The white yarn is veeery close to next-to-skin soft, but also has a great sturdy feel to it.  The grays will be outwear only fibers - this fleece was definitely a coarser grade than the white, but I think they will be abfab in a multicolor natural cardigan (the eventual goal). 

Next up will be a border leicester skeinlet!

October 27, 2008

Rhinebeck: The Haul

Finally finishing up my Rhinebeck summary here with the real takeaway: the goods.

I have no idea how it happened, but I left Rhinebeck with no new yarn. Seriously. 
But I did buy my fair share of fiber, that's for sure...

How about we start with the little stuff?
I completely fell for this glass button when I saw it. I have no idea what I'll use it on, but I couldn't not buy it. Pink, gray, white! PRETTY!

Peter Teal
I flipped through this book and learned a ton in thirty seconds, so I figured I should buy it. It rocks and has all you would ever want to know about woolcombing in it.

Working our way up...
The Haul
The spinning fiber haul. From left to right: silk caps, 4 oz cashmere and silk blend (swoon!!!), tencel, camel, and in the back 2 1lb balls of border leicester.

Okay, now for the really big stuff.
One beautiful gray Romney fleece managed to escape photography. It went from the fleece sale to Zeilinger's without having its portrait taken. It's lovely, though, I assure you.

And here are its friends:
Three lovely white Romney fleeces, with a range of crimps and staple lengths. All nice and fine. I can't wait to get them back from processing!!

And then, the belle of the ball:
Sue border leicester
I love this fleece. It's a border leicester from Sue Johnson and it is just plain gorgeous. The staple is a little shorter than I might have preferred (I'm holding up what may be the longest lock), but what do I know! I'm brand new at this! The colors vary hugely (I'm separating as I wash) and the luster is to die for.

Yay, sheep!!!

October 24, 2008

Real live knitting.

Proof that I do actually knit sometimes:
Back done!

That's the back of my Urban Aran cardigan, about a third of which I knit in the car one the way home from Rhinebeck. It's a wonder I didn't end up with some wacky zigzag shape considering how much my mind was still racing from the festival. But there it is: a back. Of the first sweater I'm actually knitting for myself. 

Elizabeth taught me to cable without a cable needle and miraculously it seems to have fixed the uneven cables that were tormenting me so. I'm definitely not commited enough to perfection to rip back to the beginning and redo the waist cables. No way, no how. But hopefully the version on the front will be better. 

I'm doing the sleeves two at a time - a first for me - and they feel like they are zipping along quite nicely. Then the front, and the dreaded zipper. Steeks don't scare me, but zippers? Shudder...

October 23, 2008

Rhinebeck: The Rockstars

This is potentially the geekiest post about Rhinebeck. Yes, it gets geekier than spinning wheels.

Since Rhinebeck '08 was my first big fiber festival but I've been reading the blogs for a while, it was inevitable that'd I'd be bowled over by seeing, in person, the celebs. 

And my response?
Heinous, crushing shyness.


Elizabeth, however, was quite the brave gal and got her picture taken with all kinds of rockstars.
Rhinebeck - E's photos

Rhinebeck - E's photos

Rhinebeck - E's photos


I made an effort...
Rhinebeck - E's photos
But you can probably tell from the look on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's face that the words coming out of my mouth make No.Sense. Seriously? I think I was blushing like crazy. Stephanie was very nice and patient and said something reassuring about "real human contact." But I was mortified.

Moving on!

Despite being the rockingest of rockstars, Jess and Casey of Ravlery (duh!) managed to be totally approachable and didn't trigger my celeb shyness.  
Rhinebeck - E's photos
Maybe it's that we have a dog and scooter in common (though Milo, unlike Bob, does not actually ride along on the scootscootscooter), or that the sun was washing out all of our faces or that they're just straight up nice people, but I had a great time talking with them. Next time I'm bringing Alex so Casey can have someone to talk code with. (like he had all this free time to burn! HA!)

Rhinebeck - E's photos
I think this must have been the point when I was offering my soul as thanks for Ravelry. 
By the way, how glamfabulous are MaryHeather and Jess? 

Many, many more rockstars walked among us at Rhinebeck, and by the end of the second day it started to feel normal to see them. That's probably a healthy sign.  Maybe next year my blushing and stuttering will ease off enough that I can have actual conversations with some of the people I so admire. Or maybe just let them shop.

Last post about Rhinebeck coming up: The Haul!

October 22, 2008

Rhinebeck: The Animals

Because it is, after all, a *Sheep* and wool festival. The various fiber-bearing animals that come to Rhinebeck put up with a lot during the weekend, so they deserve a post of their own.

rhinebeck! 017
Sheep aren't especially interested in humans. I don't blame them. They don't seem to enjoy shearing, so I'll deal with them turning their backs to me whenever I try to take a cute photo of them.

rhinebeck! 007
This blurry little dude was getting his diaper changed. Unreal. You should have heard the itty bitty little "baaaaa" that accompanied this photo.

rhinebeck! 068
These goats were way more personable than the sheep. And how can you not love that (mo)hair?

Wait... that's not a fiber-bearing animal!
That's my boy Milo. He deserves thanks too. He put up with a 9 hour drive (each way!) and he's really not a fan of the car. What a trooper. 
He also got along great with his new friend (Shana's 12 week old Havanese puppy, Rufus) even if Milo did occasionally overwhelm him with his enthusiasm.

Yay for Milo! Good job, little bud.

We interrupt this Rhinebeck recap...

... to announce an update to The Vildish Twist.

10-22 update

Spinning fiber aplenty and one new handspun yarn. 

Rhinebeck: the sweaters

Seriously? I have never seen anything like this. The density of fabulous sweaters at the festival was overwhelming. Everywhere I looked, fabulousness. About halfway through the fest I realized that I should, no, MUST knit my own fabulousness for next year. (because at this point I can't imagine *not* going back to Rhinebeck.) Hey, friends and family? Prepare for a drought of knit gifts. Vilde is going to knit for herself for a while.

Okay, that's extreme. How about this instead: I'll try to find a balance. I mean, what kind of knitter doesn't have a knit sweater of her own to wear at Rhinebeck? That's got to stop.

On to other people's sweaters.

My friends had much clearer heads about wearing their own knitwear to Rhinebeck, and there was much frantic knitting in the car on the way in.
Elizabeth (of The Needle Lady blog) finished her fab Bonnie on the way in on the first day. She literally seamed it up in the parking lot. That's timing, right there.

Rhinbeck - E's photos

Shana knit the button band to her Truffle Cardigan on the way in on Sunday:
Rhinbeck - E's photos

None of our pictures of Shana's cardigan do it justice, but E got the best shot:
Rhinbeck - E's photos

There were umpteen Tangled Yokes, tons of Must Have Cardigans, and February Lady Sweaters everywhere you looked!

Speaking of Februrary Lady, check out this adorable matching pair:
Matching February Ladies!
I don't know these knitters' names, but how awesome are they? Super cute.

Twist Collective made a big and well-earned splash this fall, and probably the most spotted TC pattern at Rhinebeck was Wisteria.

Rhinbeck - E's photos
Here is Cheryl aka yarnbee in her awesome Wisteria!

Speaking of Twist Collective, there was a TC celeb wearing this sweater which, if I understand correctly, will be part of the winter issue of the magazine.
Rhinbeck - E's photos
(in an upcoming post the identity of the celeb will be revealed!)
How gorgeous is that??

I kinneared a handful of sweaters...
Rhinbeck - E's photos
...including this awesome unidentified aran. (anyone know what it is?) And dudes! Kilt hose! 

Finally, we made a loooooooong (and massively stash expanding) stop at the Briar Rose Fibers booth.
Rhinbeck - E's photos
And got this photo of Chris's wonderful Urban Aran cardigan, knit in her dyed yarn. More to come about Chris and Briar Rose, but since it can't be said enough, I'll say it here: This woman is a dyeing genius. I love love love her work. And look! She's a great knitter too! 
When I grow up...

Stay tuned: more Rhinebeck posts come come. 

October 21, 2008

Rhinebeck: the wheels

One of the (many!) treats of the festival was oggling and treadling gorgeous spinning wheels.  I saw an antique Canadian, several nice vintage wheels, and all the new exciting wheels. 

I loved meeting Gilbert Gonsalves of the Robin Wheel line.

rhinebeck! 009
His wheels are, as you can see, STUNNING and I love that you can see a hint of his past life as a boat builder in how the wheels are styled.  I tried out one of the Robin wheels and the action was so incredibly smooth.  Dreamily smooth. Heavenly smooth!  Gilbert has a waiting list, but I think that if you were in the market for a double-treadle wheel with super easy action I think it'd be well worth the wait. And you know what else? He might be one of the nicest people I met at the festival, and that's saying a lot. There were a heck of a lot of nice people there.

I also sat down at the relatively famous Golding triple flyer wheel.

Goldin spinning wheel
Not only is it all fancified, it also FLIES! What speed, what fun.

But you all know that my first love is old wheels, and the highlight of the wheel-a-thon for me was meeting David of The Merlin Tree who makes the famous Hitchhiker spinning wheel but also restores old wheels. After a great conversation I've decided to send him my mother's wheel for a full restoration. I couldn't be more excited! It's time for the beautiful old wheel to come back to working life.  The process can take quite a while, but David told me that I'll have it within a year. Talk about worth the wait!

Rhinebeck, recovery.

So many moments from this past weekend feel like a dream...

Making a fool of myself in front of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. 
Meeting and chatting with Jess and Casey of Ravelry awesomeness.
Reveling in the gorgeousness of fiber everywhere.
The colors of the yarn, the colors of the leaves.
Amazing time with precious friends.


I'll be posting more about it bit by bit, as I sift through photos and stories. 

But here's an initial tidbit: I managed to come home from the weekend with no new yarn. How is that even possible??

Oh, yeah. Because I now own five more fleeces than I did on Friday.


More soon!

October 14, 2008


Gauge! (shakes fist at sky)

At this rate my mitten is going to be 10.5 inches long when it's done. That's a full inch longer than the already generously proportioned pattern.

So here we go again, folks. Remember the length debacle with my Dad's Norwegian sweater? Well guess what. This is the same wool! So the plan is to pop the whole package into the dryer when all is cast off. 

I should really know better at this point. I measured my stitch gauge and figured I had it made. And gauge slaps me in the face, for the umpteenth time. Sigh. 

In other news, I've been spinning.

Inside the Glacier Handspun
That's 290 yards of sport weight Falklands wool, in my Inside the Glacier color.

October 12, 2008

Ode to Two Colors

No, I won't actually write an ode to knitting in two colors. But I *do* feel like it! I've been head over heels for this project. 

What is this project?
mitten progress
Either I made a big mistake in this sleeve, or that's a thumb hole. 
Yes, I'm making mittens. And it'll be far from the last pair, given how much I'm enjoying it.

The pattern comes from Terri Shea's book Selbuvotter: biography of a knitting tradition.  I love the no-nonsense nature of the book and how much content she fits into the slim volume. 

I'm using my workhorse Dale of Norway Falk yarn and US 1 needles. The knit fabric has a fabulous firmness to it that will help the mittens actually function as hand warming devices! I had a little bit of gauge meandering at the beginning, but with a good wet block the whole thing should even out to an acceptably imperfect object. 

And: the needles.


I decided to mix things up a bit. I typically knit little tubular objects on two sets of addi turbos, but in the first Wollmeise sock club shipment Claudia included these stunning Holz & Stein wooden DPNs in 2.5mm. They were so lovely to behold that I decided to give them a go with this mitten project.

Did I mention swoon?
Yes, I'm knitting slower than I would on my turbos. The wood does grip the yarn, and something about the aesthetic of the turbo metal just makes me want to knit fast.  The Holz & Stein wood encourages me to savor each stitch.  The flex of the needles makes me aware of the different forces at work on the fabric and the smooth wood feels like a true luxury. 

Now I don't intend to sell of my pile of Addi turbos, but I do think I will reconsider my position on needles.  Fast is not necessarily the be all and end all, especially as I start savoring the process of knitting more and more.

October 10, 2008

Oh, right. I knit.

So I've been a little caught up in my spinning and dyeing. And fleece shopping. There hasn't been much time left for knitting, but I was missing it so I made some time. Here's the start of a little project:

Selbuvotter start

Oh, how I love knitting in two colors! I get such a kick out of watching the patterns unfold from my needles. 

October 6, 2008

The Vildish Twist

I'm excited to announce the opening of my Etsy shop, The Vildish Twist!

I am carrying fiber that I have dyed as well as my handspun yarn. I hope you'll come by and see me there, and thanks for all the wonderful encouraging comments on the blog! 

Here is some of what you'll find in the shop:
Opening day

I've had a blast in the process of getting shop up and running, and I can't wait to get back to my dyeing!

October 4, 2008


It's been a looooong day, so all I'll post for now is this:


and this:
also fleece!

Yep, I'm the proud new owner of two Romney fleeces. My head is spinning a little bit but I am ridiculously excited. It was a super fun, stimulating day and I feel lucky to be getting to know so many wonderful people in the fiber community! More later, but for now I need to go get some food in my belly!

October 1, 2008

The learning curve

Well, it seems that my beginner's luck has dried up. This week has been full of ups and downs, with a series of frustrating dyeing experiences.  As it turns out, the trouble I kept running into has more to do with the nature of two particular dyes (and the rate that they like to jump onto the fiber, or not) than anything I was doing. But a whole lot of roving ended up being kind of strangely colored while I went through the process of figuring this out.

Always learning.

I've been trying out some new things with my spinning. First, orange. 


And then a single ply:

Twilight in the swamp

I really like how the single ply turned out and that's definitely something I'll be doing more of, soon.

Also - there's going to be a pretty exciting (for me at least!) announcement here in the next few days, so watch this space.