Two Ewes Fiber Adventures: A Podcast about Knitting, Spinning, Weaving, Crochet, Dyeing-- All the Ways to Play with Yarn and Wool

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A little knitting and crochet progress, and a lot of discussion about the complicated topic of consumption.  Climate beneficial wool cloth, thrift store finds, supporting local farmers and small dyers, and (gasp!) knitting from stash for a year are all part of the conversation.

Marsha has many things in progress (remember when she was a monogamous knitter?) but has been working exclusively on her Rodeo Drive Poncho.  She loves the Berocco Ultra Alpaca yarn and is enjoying the simple but elegant construction of the pattern by Staci Perry. 

Kelly worked on socks while recording, but other than that the only other project has been some negative crochet.  Ugh!  Due to a mistake that she still needs to figure out, she did the second half of the back panel and the second front both inside out. The shell pattern is markedly different on these new pieces of the cardigan--until you turn them over and look at the back.  But no one wants a sweater with two right fronts!  Ripping out has occurred so the offending pieces can be redone.  The sweater is her Curious Cobalt Cardigan, made using a Michele DuNaier pattern.

The closest Kelly has come to a Poncho Adventure is to wind one of her three skeins.  Stay tuned--she hopes to have more poncho progress for next episode.

Kelly talks about her experience at the Fibershed Wool Symposium 2016.  There is enough material for a regular segment on the podcast for quite a few more episodes. 

The mission of Fibershed is to "develop regional fiber systems that build soil and protect the health of our biosphere."  The Symposium followed a "soil to skin" framework and had panels of speakers from shepherds to clothing designers.  

One of the current projects is the climate beneficial wool Fabric CSA.  The wool is grown in CA, woven in CA by Huston Textile Co., and being offered for pre-sale.  Kelly bought some and will be receiving it in April.  She will have to do the wet finishing of the cloth since that part of the supply chain isn't available in the state. That makes her a "prosumer" of the cloth, participating in the production, as well as purchasing the product.

The project is one of three farm-to-fabric projects that Fibershed has completed in their work to identify supply chains for a local textile economy.

The conversation led the Two Ewes to a discussion about consumption,  consumer culture, the "buy local" movement, and a group of San Francisco residents that several years ago decided to give up purchases (other than food and other necessities) for a year.   The verdict?  It's complicated!

At Fibershed Kelly found out about an interesting KAL that they are hosting.  The pattern is Radiata by Emily Cunetto.  It is designed to be knit in any gauge of yarn that is local to the knitter, in other words, from their fibershed.  

Another event coming next weekend (Dec. 11, 2016) is a natural dyeing workshop using mycopigments from mycoflora.  That's mushrooms! The teacher is Alissa Allen and it is being held in Santa Cruz, CA in conjunction with the Santa Cruz Mycoflora Foray. 

Kelly's family got an additional dog on the day after Thanksgiving.  Nash is a yellow lab whose owner died.  He is 10 years old and is very well mannered.  He is fitting into the household very well. 

Marsha shopped for a rain jacket for Enzo so she could continue to take long walks with him in the Northwest rain. 

 

Direct download: Ep_56_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am PST

New projects this time for both Marsha and Kelly. Also lots of poncho talk and information about The Great Poncho Adventure.  The Ewes are making ponchos!  There are also two yarn giveaways announced this episode.

For photos and to subscribe to the podcast, visit the shownotes on our blog.

Marsha's Projects

Marsha has started her shawl with the NoCKRs yarns she got from Duren Dyeworks last year in commemoration of the retreat.   The pattern is Good Vibes by Nadia Crétin-Léchenn.  

She was ready to start her poncho with some Spirit Yarn, but decided that it was not the right yarn for the pattern.  Instead she is going to find some yarn that is better suited.  Late breaking news!  Marsha got some yarn for the poncho! The pattern she is using is The Rodeo Drive Poncho by Staci Perry.

Kelly's Projects

Kelly has made some progress on the crocheted Crazy Stitch Cardigan. It's a pattern by Michelle DuNaier.  She has started on the shoulder and is almost ready to start the second side of the sweater. 

She also had a project that was both started and finished since the last episode!  She made two pair of Helmikuu Boot Toppers (by Sunshine Ravioli) while on a camping trip.  The yarn was leftovers of Rowan Soft Tweed.  Each topper took less than a skein, so about 75 yards per topper.  It was great to use up these leftover skeins.

Yarn Giveaway

The Two Ewes have two giveaways this episode!  Thanks to Claire from The Woolly Thistle, (and the New Hampshire Knits podcast) we have three skeins of Blacker Yarns to give away:  Blacker Classic, Westcountry Tweed, and Blacker Swan.  All are DK weight, 50 g balls of yarn.  Go to the Ravelry group and answer the question in the Woolly Thistle Giveaway thread to be entered to win.  Thank you, Claire for supporting the podcast with these three skeins to give away to listeners!  Here are the skeins that will be given to one lucky winner!

The second giveaway is one of three GORGEOUS hand-dyed skeins Kelly bought from Countess Ablaze in England.  Kelly told The Countess that she was going to use one of the skeins for a podcast prize, so she included a free tote bag in the order.  So the lucky winner will win a skein of The Blue-Faced Baron fingering weight yarn in the color "This Ain't a Scene"  and a black Countess Ablaze tote.

"Advent-ewes"

 The Great Poncho Adventure has started!  It's a poncho-a-long.  Details are in the episode and in the Ravelry group.  Make a poncho, a ruana, a buttoned wrap or a cloak.  Start a new one or finish a work in progress.  If you post on Instagram use #ponchoadventure

Direct download: Ep_55_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:58pm PST

Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan is finished and the Two Ewes are celebrating!  Project planning has begun for Marsha's next blanket and Kelly is once again making progress on the handspun Funky Grandpa cardigan. Join us for a fun episode full of fiber adventures!

Marsha's Projects

The epic blanket is finished!  Marsha finished Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan and it is fantastic!  The pattern is Garter Squish by Stephen West although it was made to be bigger than the pattern.  Finished measurements are 6'8" x 5'7" and it weighs 5 pounds, 8 ounces.  This blanket contains the memories of her father Frank.  It was made from yarn that she used to make him a sweater many years ago.  It also contains the Spirit Yarn from destashes, the Goodwill, and yarns from friends (including our listener HockeyRachel).  This blanket is filled with good karma!

During the podcast we had another live bind-off.  Marsha finished another washcloth or dishcloth.  This one was the Atomic Washcloth pattern and she edged it with crochet while we were talking.

Kelly's Projects

Kelly is back to working on her Handspun Charlotte Cardigan.  She is using the Funky Grandpa pattern and knitting with early handspun from a sheep named Charlotte. She is now working on the second sleeve and is almost done.  Next is picking up the button band and selecting buttons from her button stash. Kelly talks about the joys of knitting with handspun and the importance of not waiting until your yarn is perfect or you have found the perfect pattern.

Kelly has also made progress on the blue crocheted cardigan that she is making.  The Curious Case of the Crazy Stitch Cardigan by Michele DuNaier.  The interesting construction is more curious than the stitch! 

"Advent-ewes"

Kelly purchased yarn from The Woolly Thistle St. Kilda Lace by Blacker Yarns is a blend of Soay and Boreray wool.  Yarn from sheep she had never heard of was just too much of a temptation!  For those interested in the two primitive breeds, here is a link:

Sheep of St. Kilda.  

Soay and Boreray Sheep Society

Claire of New Hampshire Knits podcast and owner of The Woolly Thistle interviewed a US shepherd at Rhinebeck who has Soay sheep in her episode number 52

While in the Woolly Thistle shop, she also found Manx and Hebridean yarns, both with mohair.  They are sock yarns (a bit on the heavy side of fingering weight) and will probably be part of some argyle socks for Robert.

Next episode check in to hear about a giveaway of some other varieties of yarn provided by the Woolly Thistle for Two Ewes listeners!

Marsha had another call from the Goodwill. (No, not on her phone, she just has a "spidey sense" about these things!)  It resulted in the purchase of 22 skeins of one type of yarn and several other skeins of a couple other brands.  Plus, she found some cones of wool and a cone of cotton/linen that she sent to Kelly.  Wow!

If you enjoy the podcast, share it with a fiber friend, or two!  Send them to the website or share the podcast link with them!  Help spread the word about the Two Ewes Fiber Adventures!

Direct download: Episode_54_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:44pm PST


There is knitting in the show, but we spend the first 15 minutes in non-fiber chit chat. Does that tell you how we feel about our knitting right now? We are both in a project low right now with long term projects and projects in transition phases. Finishing these items and the excitement of new cast-ons will come in time, but for right now we battle the long project blues.

Projects

Marsha continues to work on the Stephen West Garter Squish afghan she is calling Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan. She is working color twelve of fourteen and is ready to be done. It is hard to work on because it is getting so big and heavy. Definitely not portable! Marsha has been highly distracted by her new addiction...wash cloths! She as made WAHMingIt by Amber Perry, Spa Day Facecloth by Anne Mancine, Atomic Washcloth by Nanette Cormack, and is working on Ballband Washcloth by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. * As I was writing the show notes I realized that I made the Atomic Washcloth completely wrong. The peach color should be stockinette and the blue garter stitch. Oh well. It's a design feature. :-)

Marsha is planning for her next project. She is looking at shawl patterns to use the Duren Dyeworks yarn she purchased at the NoCKR's retreat. Javala by Cailliau Berangere and Asunder by Lisa Mutch are under consideration. Marsha is also inspired the the poncho discussion and thinks the universe is sending her a message because she found eight skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in navy at the Goodwill. Two possible poncho patterns are Easy Folded Poncho by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas and Mesa by Yumiko Alexander.

Kelly has finished the knitting on the octopus and decided to wash and block before stuffing and sewing. Sewing will be a loooooooong project with eight tentacles longer than sleeves, plus the underbelly. The NoCKRs shawl came back out long enough for Kelly to make a mistake and then proceed for two more rows. Now it is back in the bag awaiting a little tinking. Ugh! She did successfully start a new pair of socks just for knitting during the recording. So now there are two pairs on the needles--both from yarns she bought this month at Lambtown. The green, yellow and orange pair are Invictus Yarns and the red, gray, and yellow pair are Duren Dyeworks.

“Advent-ewes”

Marsha wants to learn more about crochet. She loves Kelly's sweater Latticework Cardigan by Michelle DuNair. She also loves Irene Floral Lace Cardigan by Vicky Chan and Cairo Jacket by Doris Chan. There is an afghan call Modern Blanket of Flowers that is gorgeous, plus an intriguing shawl by Esther Sandorf called Stash Buster Blarf.

Kelly will be attending the Fibershed 2016 Wool and Fine Fiber Symposium on November 19. The event has an interesting mix of talks-from fiber producers at one end of the fiber pipeline, to artisans and retailers on the other.

If you enjoy the show, tell a friend! Use your podcast app to share the episode.

 

Direct download: Episode_53.final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:27pm PST

Knitting a blanket, an octopus, and some wash cloths have been keeping the Two Ewes in stitches these days.  Fleeces, yarn, and fiber friends were in abundance at Lambtown last weekend.  In addition, two public pledges will keep the Two Ewes accountable for some future projects!  For photos to go with the links, see our blog!

Marsha's Projects

Marsha  continues to work steadily on her Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan but found she needed to take a break from it. She discovered washcloths!! She has made two from the pattern All Washed Up by Jill Arnusch and is almost done with Diagonal Knit Dishcloth by Jana Trent. Both are free patterns.

Kelly's Projects

All octopus, all the time!  Kelly has more than half of the tentacles finished and has been working mostly on this project.

She did finally get back to the Mesa poncho by Yumiko Alexander so she could finish it in time for her sister's birthday.  Finding buttons from the stash will finish it up!

There has also been some casting on/hooking on!  The Curious Case crochet sweater by Michelle DuNair and a new pair of striping socks. were both started during the weekend away.  The yarn for the socks is from Invictus Yarns and was purchased at Lambtown.

"Advent-ewes"

Lambtown in Dixon, California was great fun!  Quite a few Northern California fiber friends were also attending and Kelly talks about the fun they had, including watching the fleece judging and selecting fleeces.  The judge for the day was Maria Rooney, a Romney breeder at Silver Creek Lambscapes in Oregon. 

Kelly bought a skein of green and yellow striping yarn from Invictus Yarns, a skein of red, yellow and gray striping sock yarn and a skein of blue gray to finish the NoCKRs Shawl from Duren Dyeworks.  She also bought a smaller gauge punch needle for punch needle rug hooking from Wooly Walkers.  This will join some other equipment and supplies she got at Stitches 2015 and Kelly has publicly pledged to start a punch needle rug project before the end of November. 

Bees and Dogs

They are taking a lot of sugar water since they are a small foraging force and the food sources at this time of year are limited.  Kelly hoped to be able to take video of the weekend inspection, but the sun was too hot and the phone camera kept shutting off.  Maybe next time!

Marsha talked about how nice it would be to have video of her training to help her see mistakes more easily. Marsha and Enzo are learning a lot in their training classes.  Marsha is learning that she needs to practice more between classes!  She has also publicly pledged to do so!

Direct download: Ep_52_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:01pm PST

Beautiful Autumn days, ongoing projects, an Enzo the Poodle update, and some of our listeners' knitting are the topics of this episode.  Marsha is coming to you from Seattle, as usual.  Kelly is coming to you from a tin can somewhere on the Central Coast of California.  :-)  She forgot to plug in her microphone and was recorded through the not-so-good computer microphone.  Sorry for this rookie podcasting error!

Shortly after the last episode Kelly started to work on Opus the Octopus.  He was the perfect project for her conference knitting.  One sleeve of the Handspun Funky Grandpa was finished so that the needles could be re-purposed for the octopus, but that was the only other project she touched in the last two weeks. 

Marsha continues to work on Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan and has passed the halfway point. She'll be starting the ninth color of thirteen.  She gives her hands a break by working on her Havasu Falls Shawl

The Ewes share information about listeners' projects (including a beautiful shawl, a great poncho, a sweater,  sock yarn scrap pajama pants, a knit dress and others) and they talk about future knitting plans.  Kelly plans a second Edie tee shirt if she can find the yarn. A crochet sweater by Michele DuNaier is on deck next.  It is The Curious Case of the Crazy-Stitch Cardigan.  She'll be using a cobalt blue bamboo and cotton blend yarn, Valley Yarns Southwick from Webs. Kelly's final project in the planning stages is the Om Shawl, which is really a form of poncho! There are three colors of Neighborhood Fiber Company gray that will go into this poncho.

Upcoming Events:  Kelly will be attending Lambtown in Dixon, California on October 1-2, 2016. 

Direct download: Ep_51_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:56pm PST

Our monogamous knitting continues, but the wool fleece auction, bees, and planning for upcoming fiber events has kept life interesting!

Project Updates

Marsha continues to work on Frank's Spirt Yarn Afghan using the pattern from Stephen West called Garter Squish. She loves how the afghan keeps changing with each additional color. The afghan currently is about six feet wide and about 36" long. The afghan is no longer very portable, so Marsha is back working on the Havasu Falls shawl by Alison LoCicero. It's pretty good social knitting right now.

Marsha also washed the black Wensleydale-Cormo-Merino cross fleece she bought at The Black Sheep Gathering.

Kelly continues for work on her Funky Grandpa cardigan that she is calling Handspun Charlotte Cardigan because she is using handspun from a sheep named Charlotte. She reports on her experience of redoing one of the sleeves.

Kelly also discusses dyeing yarn for the her next project, Opus the Octopus by Cate Carter-Evans. She is motivated by the need to have a project for to work on while attending a conference. (Since recording Kelly has been on work conference travel and has made some good progress on the octopus!)

"Advent-ewes"

Kelly attended the Monterey County Fair and the wool auction. She sat in on the fleece judging, volunteer with set up, and attended the auction. She exercised extreme self-control and purchased only one fleece, but it is a beauty...a Santa Cruz Island fleece from Blue Oak Canyon Ranch! Here is a link to an article about these sheep to understand why we are so intrigued.

Marsha will be attending some events this fall and wanted to remind people about the terrific website called Knitter's Review that lists world wide fiber events. Nice to read about the events and dream. :-)

Bees

Kelly is so happy to report that she had a bee swarm in her garden! Check out her Instagram account at 1hundredprojects to see videos of the swarm and how Kelly got the swarm into the hive. So interesting. Kelly highly recommends the book Honeybee Democracy by Thomas Seeley and you can see a discussion of the book here. If you want to see a presentation of the research that was in the book, here is a really interesting video.

 

 

Direct download: Episode_50_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:42pm PST


Knitting monogamy and the fall semester have combined to reduce the yarn crafting of the Two Ewes this episode. Both are making progress on their Epic Adventures, though. View photos, and subscribe to the podcast at our Two Ewes Fiber Adventures blog!

Kelly has finished all the squares needed for the quilt that she started over 30 years ago. Now on to the sewing together!

Kelly also started a new sock project for meeting knitting. The Angler's Loop socks have an interesting cable pattern along the back of the sock. The pattern is designed by Andrea Mules.

Marsha has been moving along on Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan. The pattern is the Garter Squish by Stephen West. She is on the third color now and, at the moment, is knitting on this project exclusively.

 Marsha did something she never thought she would do. She bought a tie-dyed skirt! This is not your grandfather's tie-dye. She talked with the dyer about the technique (which includes dye removal as well as overdyeing) and is inspired to try some tie-dye.

Kelly attended the fleece judging for the Monterey County Fair Wool Show. The judge this year was Richard Jacobsen of Jacobsen Ranch. The fleeces in the show were spectacular, as usual! A "chrome" silver merino fleece caught everyone's imagination.

There are a few unusual entries this year. The most exciting was a Santa Cruz Island fleece.

This is a rare, heritage breed that had been feral on Santa Cruz Island. The Livestock Conservancy page links to a detailed and interesting article on the history of the breed by Lynn Moody. I don't know if she is the source of the fleece at the show. Here is an excerpt from the article.

"Jim and I acquired our starter flock of Santa Cruz Island sheep from Marion Stanley in July 2010. As an avid (though not particularly skilled) handspinner and knitter and beginning weaver, I was looking for a hardy, self-sufficient and fuss-free breed with nice wool, marketable to crafters and artists, and that were “endangered” and needed preservation and promotion. That these sheep were nearly indigenous in my adopted state of California, had an interesting history, and came from an environment similar to that of our ranch, were added attractions. I began this study wondering when exactly sheep were first brought to Santa Cruz Island–there seemed to be some conflicting accounts-and what kinds of sheep made up the ancestry of these unique and fascinating animals."

There were also Montadale and Oxford fleeces, not often seen at shows, and two Shetland fleeces. Although Shetland's aren't rare at wool shows, I haven't ever seen Shetland fleeces at the Monterey show.

The auction will take place on Labor Day, September 5, 2016. The fair opens at noon, but the wool area is open for pre-auction viewing starting at about 9 am.

If you have questions or comments and would like to email us, we are available at twoewesdyeing@gmail.com Or you can find us on Ravelry as "1hundredprojects" and "betterinmotion."

 

 

Direct download: Episode_49_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:49pm PST


Civil War Socks, two epic projects, and a few rants from the Two Ewes are on the episode this week!

Finished and Started

Kelly finished the Civil War Socks (pattern by Karin Timour) and they fit her husband perfectly. The choices of yarn color were made as a result of reading this Civil War discussion board post.

Marsha finished prepping the yarn for Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan and she has cast on. This will be a long-term project.

She is also continuing work on the Havasu Falls Shawl that she is making from a Freia gradient yarn.

Kelly has started working on her long-term project, too. It is a quilt top that she started while in high school. Since the last episode she has made progress on this quilt, which she is planning to use as a queen-sized bedspread. It is a hand pieced quilt in the "Split Rail" design and is made from sewing project scraps from her childhood and teen years. For example, one of the fabrics is from the "Swirl Skirt" that Kelly had in the 1970s.

Kelly has also started a Mesa poncho for her sister. She discusses the yarn structure and how that is affecting the knitting in an interesting way.

Fiber in the Wild

Marsha discusses an article about the resurgence of sewing from the New York Times (August 2, 2016). The article led her to the pattern for the Walk Away Dress.

Another NY Times article details the use of the crystals on the leotards of the US Gymnastics Team. This led Marsha to a rant about women's athletic uniforms in the Olympics, but don't worry, Kelly derailed her before she started in on the Beach Volleyball uniforms!

 

 

Direct download: Episode_48_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am PST

Spinning, dyeing moth-proof yarn, crocheting bears, and knitting handspun singles are adventures in this episode.  Kelly gives an extensive review of knitting with handspun singles so that spinners will know how to use their yarn without always plying it.  Marsha has been researching the meaning of the old-fashioned "moth-proofing" that was done to her spirit yarn.  We hope that both topics are interesting and helpful to you!

For show notes with pictures, see http://twoewesfiber.com

Marsha's projects

Marsha has not done too much knitting recently but she has made some progress on the Havasu Falls Shawl by Allison LoCicero and completed spinning 10 ounces of golden Shetland roving that she got at the Black Sheep Gathering. 

She has also been doing a little more over-dyeing in preparation for the the afghan project she is making with spirit yarn.  Detailed information about the preparations for this project (including the math that we discussed in the previous episode) is in the Project Page for Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan.  One of the colors came out lime green, as planned.  The other skein was meant to be coral but turned out gold.  The yarn was labeled as "moth-proofed" and Marsha has done some research about what that means.  The process includes treating the wool with a pesticide called Mitin ff, and may be the reason that the dye didn't adhere properly.   

Kelly's Projects

Kelly has started back up on the second of the Civil War Socks for Robert.  She has put a few more sections on the NoCKRs shawl, too, but it is now time to figure out how much yarn she will need to do the final repeats.  She has modified the New Beginnings pattern by Boo Knits in order to use two colors and wants to use all 800 yards, if possible.  Kelly has also continued in her addiction to crocheting bears for the Mother Bear Project!  She now has 13 bears to enter into the Knit/Crochet Along that the 2 Knit Lit Chicks are hosting on their Ravelry group.  To see pictures of the bears with the children in African countries take a look at the Mother Bear gallery!

Swatch-a-Palooza

Kelly has been doing a study of knitting with handspun singles.  She used a variety of handspun yarns and swatched them with a variety of needle sizes, documenting the process along the way.  She has posted her article, complete with pictures, here on the Two Ewes blog dated July 31, 2016.

Fiber in the Wild

Marsha's ears perked up when she heard NPR commentators say that Hillary Clinton should "stick to her knitting" as a strategy for her acceptance speech.  The Two Ewes weren't sure what that meant and speculated that it must be an old saying.  After recording, they found this link that helps to explain the meaning!

Direct download: Episode_47_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:38pm PST

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