AJ Knits






May 2012
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Episode 42: Alpaca and Ewe or “ “

  1. Production Scheduling

    1. Suddenly out of the blue my calendar has filled up with fibery events! Yay! During the winter there really wasn’t much to do but knit and surf yarn on the internet. Spring is here and even though it’s hotter than a 2.00 pistol it’s time to get back on the road!

      1. Events

      2. Production

      3. What’s in the Tea Pot

      4. Materials Sourcing

      5. Shipping

      6. After 5

  2. Events

    1. A day with Alpaca and Ewe

      1. A while back Gloria from Alpaca and Ewe invited me to a podcaster gathering she was having while her Alpaca’s were being shorn (sheared?). I drove down to Palestine and spent Sunday morning with Gloria and family, the Wool Junkies, CA Shearing, and Karen (who I never got a last name for but has a serious eye for fleece grading!)

      2. I got there about 9:30 and the shearing was already in progress. This was a really organized process. When I got to the barn all the boys were in the barn and in the pen. The C A Crew ( April, Pat, Willie and Connie) Had their shearing Table up and Various laundry baskets labeled for various sections of the fleece. The blanket went in one for sure, I’m hazey on the exact labeling on the others. I know the legs were separate as they were more coarse. As the baskets were filled they were sent over to Karen for grading. While the Alpaca was on the table the shearers trimmed toe nails, filed teeth, and checked for health issues. Gail also took the opportunity to treat for Meningeal Worm infections. The animals are sheared in color order from Lightest to Darkest so as not to contaminate the fiber.

      3. Fiber Sorting – I found Karen working on her sorting table fascinating. So I asked her a bit about how to become a certified fiber sorter. She had to take a 4 hr class and pass a test (later research tells me she had to pass with 80% or higher), then she has to sort 200 Huacaya and 50 Suri fleece over the next 2 years. I’m not sure who she’s taking her course or test from but the certification program I found online also requires NC state textile modules and webinars followed by a final written exam and a final assessment. WOW! She made it look easy!

      4. While all this was going on around me I was trying to soak it all in and still appear halfwise intelligent and not give into the urge to hug an alpaca while yelling “ooooooh FLUFFY” My favorite Q and A of the day Q: April, Do you shear sheep? A: NO Cover yourself in Vaseline, veg matter, wool and biting flies on a 90 degree day and see what you think. Plus sheep are shorn on the ground so your standing in poop. I’d rather shear a steer. If I’m ever blessed enough to be in a barn with April again I’ll ask about how exactly you shear a steer. She said something about it being for a show…. But still boggles the mind. Those cowmoons better look out!

      5. Many Many Many thanks to Gloria and her family for the hospitality and the invite. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed it. I hope to be able to return the favor someday!

    1. Coming up this weekend… The Great Lakes Fiber Show in Wooster! I’ll be there, the Wool Junkies will be there, some of my knitters from Knit group will be there, and I think some of the Algonquin Spinners and Weavers will be there! Fun should be had by all.

  1. Production

    1. Juno Regina By Miriam Felton

      1. I was casting about for something new to knit on when I saw this languishing in my project pile.

      2. Unfortunately I had to scrap my previous progress. I’m not sure what happened but it looks like a stole the needles leaving it on the cord of my interchangeables and from there I have no Idea but it looked as if the dog had chewed on it. Which of course could have happened but in reality I think it was just jumbles about, may have had a run in with B and came of the cord. It was a snarly mess. So I started over again. I’m through the 1st repeat of chart 2. I’ll throw in a life line and work through the second repeat. So far so good and I think it look much better than the attempt I scrapped. It’s a wonder what another year of experience will do…

    2. Vanilla socks – Nichol’s B-day or AJ can’t part with them.

      1. Nichol is my best friend from high school. She is usually running with me when I head up to Ann Arbor to visit Melissa. She saw melissa’s socks and has put in an order for a pair of her own; I went stash diving for this pair since she and I have similar color tastes. I pulled out a Conjoined Twins Flat in Purple Aqua grey and olive green. Sounds crazy but it’s really cool. I really love how this flat it knitting up. The socks are predominatly Aqua with purple stipes but have a green /grey spiral through the cuff that has worked it’s way into a thicker stripe on the leg. She doesn’t know I’ve cast these on yet. I may have to keep them for myself and but something for her B-day socks… Decisions Decisions.

  1. What’s in My Tea Pot

    1. It’s beastly hot here. I’m a die hard tea drinker but even I won’t drink tea in 90 degree weather unless of course it’s iced. So instead of reviewing a tea this week I decided to talk about that staple of summer iced tea.

    2. When it get's this hot I remember my grandmother putting out a jar on the porch for sun tea. Now a days we know that sun tea can be hazardous to your health. The water in the jar never gets hot enough to kill bacteria but can stay at a temperature that is warm enough for bacteria to breed. There are many people out there that say the suns UV rays kill the bacteria...yadda yadda. I personally don't take the chance. If you gotta have it. Make sure to clean and sanitze your jar. Remember that spigots can harbor bacteria, and only brew 3-5 hrs.

    3. Sweet tea... Sometimes I wish I was southern. Mostly for the sassy comebacks, the real butter in the food, and of course sweet tea. A good sweet tea is always made with simple syrup. I use 2 parts sugar to one part water. Boil the water and siolve the sugar in it. If I want peach syup I'll cheat and add canned peaches to syrup whilbe it cooks and sub out someof the water for someof the peach “Juice”. This is one of Nate's favorite things. I store my syrup in a seperate container in the fridge and use it to sweeten to taste.

  2. Materials Sourcing

    1. The cormo is off the wheel. Once again I had to learn to surrender to the fiber. The cormo wanted to be stripped down and spun woolen. The sweater pattern that I want to knit calls for a gauge of 4 stiches by 6 rows to the inch. I came out 4.5 stiches with a three ply before blocking. I washed the swatch and the yarn bloomed nicely. I really love the finished yarn. It would take finding something fantastic to make me not have a sweater from this. Though this fiber is a bit on the pricey side.

    2. I also fin ished about 4 ozs of mystery fiber from my christmas stash. What ever this wool was it was very longstapled and spun up really fine. I had the idea to hold singles double and n-ply for a monster 6 ply yarn but I coulb't fit it through the orafice and it kept catching on the hooks. The yarn swatched up well As a 6-ply, a 2 ply, and a N-ply. In the end I picked the 2 ply,. Ended up at 356 yds.

  3. Shipping

    1. Drop stitch Scarf by Lisa Buccellato found in the spring and summer 2012 issue of vogue knitting. Knitting this our of Cascade Ultra Pima.

  4. After 5


Direct download: Episode_42.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:48am EST


  1. Production scheduling

    1. I’m semi freshly back from camp KIP. I have so much to talk about regarding camp that I think it’s going to be an entire podcast. SO instead of launching into that now I’ll use this week to get caught up on what I’ve been doing and will recap Camp in depth next episode. I will say this. Camp Kip was absolutely awesome. I had an amazing time and I will be stalking Jackie so that I can do it again. If she woub

      1. Production

      2. What’s in My Teapotbb

      3. Materials Sourcing

      4. Shipping

      5. After 5

  1. Production

    1. Drop stitch Scarf by Lisa Buccellato found in the spring and summer 2012 issue of vogue knitting. Knitting this our of Cascade Ultra Pima.

      1. I think Last week I called this Pima Silk. I shocked my self when I wound the second skein and saw that it’s 100% Pima cotton. No silk… <huh>

      2. I finally have this chart for the most part memorized. Which maded me feel brave enough to pack this as my knitting for CAMP Kip. That lasted about ½ a chart repeat. No sooner did I settler into a chair to knit the conversation started and it was really good conversation so I lost my spot in the pattern. Then we decided it was too cold where we were and moved off in search of sun… again I lost my place in the pattern. At that point I put the scarf down. This wasn’t going to work.

      3. Now that I’m home I’ve picked it back up again I have about 3 feet of the six foot length done. I just wound the second ball of yarn. I’m getting antsy I _Really_ want to drop those stitches!

  1. What’s In My TeaPot

    1. Metropolitan Teas Ice Wine Tea

    2. I got this at Warm Glow Candles off of I 70 in Indiana. Not only did they have tons of yummy candkles, they had the best beef brisket I've had in a while and I found tea!

    3. A sweet offering from the originator of Icewine Tea

In recent years Canadian made Icewine has begun winning awards at prestigious wine shows the world over. To make the sweet flavorful treat, Vidal or Riesling grapes are plucked from frozen vines in temperatures below 17°F or -8°C. Brrr! Our fabulous Icewine tea blends real I cewine with premium high grown Ceylon black tea and100% natural flavors. Just like the real thing, our tea has started winning accolades from customers the world over!

    1. A touch alcholic but more floral than anything. Not as boozy as the rum tea. Sweet on its own and very yummy. I drank a pot on my own before bed. (And then paced the floor all night the black tea base packs a caffeine punch.)

  1. Shipping

    1. The Cotton Candy Merino is off the bobbins and came in at 342 yds of a fingering-ish yarn. I was immediately in love with this yarn so I finished and balled it to head to camp with me.

    2. The intent was to cast on the Wingspan by Maylin Tri’Coterie Designs after I realized how distracted I was going to be at camp this was just the ticket. Short rows with stitch marker telling me where to turn and all in garter! Just what the doctor ordered!

      1. I loved this pattern and I love the way my handspun looks knit up. But as with my last project knit with handspun I didn’t have quite the yardage I would have preferred to have had. My wingspan has 7 triangles and I had to unravel my swatched to finish and bind off. It does fit me but I think I would have preferred to add on a few more sections. I toyed with gifting it to my one of my more petite friends but the handspun is just too yummy.

      2. I will make another one. I keep looking at the ravelry page for this pattern and those projects done in swing knitting are calling my name… and I have some new stash to burn up.

  1. Material Sourcing

    1. I think I got more spinning done at camp than knitting.

      1. I brought the last chunk of the Nantucket to finish. I would call it about an ounce (It’s the fiber B found under the couch.) I this wasbv sweater I ordered 4 oz of Cormo from Herman Hills Farm in southern Ohio. The Cormo is lovely stuff but the pin drfting doesn’t seem to agree with me. This may just be something I need to get used to. I meant to spin this at camp but I ignored it.

      2. What got the most action was the PotLuck fiber from paradise fibers in the Party Colorway. I bought 16 oz of this to get a discount not knowing how much 16 oz really was in terms of spinning. I did 4 ozs a long ways back. I took the remaining 4 oz of the 1st ball as loaner fiber for anyone that wanted to use my wheel. The bright colors caught some eyes and I spent most of my time spinning this. I finished that ball the day after I got home. Now I’m looking the second ball thinking that I may just start on that. bbbb

        1. The last time I spun this fiber I stripped out all the color repeats and Navajo plied. That gave me a worsted-ish weigh yar with long color repeats. This time I left the roving intact, Pre darafted, and spun back and forth across the top of all the colors. With the difference I think I’d going to do some ply tests before I break into that second ball.

  2. After 5

    1. The house is standing. I didn’t get any panicked phone calls. I even came home to a clean house! Maybe I should leave more often.

    2. Joe took B to the Kindergarten Fair. This little event sounded pretty cool the was supposed to be a petting zoo, a clown, games an prizes. Joe unlike me is on time for everything. In fact he’s so on time that it sometimes border on rude. (45 minutes early for a job interview..) Joe and B got there before the clown and while the animals were still getting set up. Which brought B face to face with a tarantula. Who the heck brings a tarantula to a Kindergarten petting zoo? Needless to say he freaked and wouldn’t stay for the balloon guy and wouldn’t look at any more animals.

    3. As if the Kindergarten Fair weren’t emotionally scarring enough B also had a dentist apt. which is now required for entrance to kindergarten. From what I hear everything was going fine until joe got his big ol’ size 15 shoe on the pedal that starts the drill. The drill went off and scared everyone in the room and once again B was done. Though to tell the tale now B believes he is an expert at the dentist and proudly tells me about the watermelon paste the dentist put on his teeth.

    4. Last episode I recoded a bit on the new issue of vogue knitting the episode would have been an hour long so I kept it for this week…

      1. Vogue Knitting – spring and summer. Think Pink!

        1. I bought this issue for the drop stitch scarf. But I feel it’s worth picking up. Articles of note that caught my eye… A write up on Ysolda Teague she talks about how she became a knitwear designer. I love that her parents thought she was “depressed”. There’s also a series on finishing that started this month with “Finish before you start” which contains some good reminders that a poorly written pattern may be the first challenge in finishing. I like articles like this because it brings the tips I know but have managed to forget back to the fore. Like reading through a pattern to take a look at the sizing or to make sure everything makes sense. I hate when I look at the pattern and look at my stitches and I have no idea how to get from point A to point B in the pattern.

        2. This month also has cute spring knits.

          1. I could see my self swaning around pool side in the Summer Poncho by Sheri more. The pattern as written is tunic length in the front and knee length in the back. If I decided to cast this one I would look into making it ankle length and the same length in the front and back. Which would be a TON of knitting. But I’m pretty short at 5 ft 1 so it may be doable. Lace, panels, cabling, and drop stitch detail.

          2. I really like The Shaped Hemline sleeveless pullover by Vicki Square. This is in the running for Camp KIP Knitting. I’ve been looking at the summer tops in here and even though I prefer sleeves the A line body and collar are styles that I find appearing in my wardrobe over and over.

          3. The second runner up in my “summer top to Knit” race is Joan McGowan’s V neck Top with the leaf – lace band. Looking at the finished sweater it doesn’t look bad but the side close zipper spooks me… hmmmmmm.

          4. Think Pink… There isn’t one project in the Think Pink Section I wouldn’t consider. But I need another shawl like I need a whole in the head. Maybe the lace beret?

Direct download: Episode_41.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:21am EST