Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dreaming of Sheep

Poor blog, it's been more than a week again. I have so much knitting to do it's crazy, and I am working part-time from home again. This is good, I'll have money for fiber and yarn again! But it also means less time to blog and read my favorite knitting blogs. My two favorite bloggers haven't even posted since the last time I read, so apparently everyone is crazy-busy.

I'm working away on my self-designed sweater, halfway done with sleeve #2. Here I am trying on sleeve #1 and checking its length:

I love knitting top-down, in-the-round so much, I don't know when I'll be able to bring myself to knit a sweater in pieces again. It's fast, there's no purling, you can try it on as you knit, it's perfect.

I hope to have this sweater done by the end of this week and have the pattern done by the end of the following week. I also need to crochet a huge scarf, knit two sets of baby hats and mittens, and a knit a baby blanket. None of that is holiday knitting, by the way, which I am in denial about, but hell, it's only August.

The two sets of hats and mittens are actually from... *drumroll please*... my very first paid commission! I briefly had an Etsy shop last year but got no orders. Hardly even got any views. Then I took my kids to the farmer's market wearing the baby girl hats that I designed and people went nuts over them. One super-nice lady who bakes incredible bagels at the farmer's market said she'd like to commission some baby stuff sometime, and now it's happening! I'm so excited, and this has me working on re-launching my Etsy shop. That will be coming sometime in the next month or two. I've got a clear idea of what I want to do now, and I learned a lot from my previous Etsy shop's epic fail, so this time ought to go a whole lot better!

I still haven't gotten any alpaca fleece. I don't know what happened to the one lady I was talking to, but I serendipitously found a different lady who invited me to come out to her farm, buy Huacaya AND Suri alpaca fleece at a discount, and process it using her equipment. Dude! How incredible is that? I will be taking her up on that amazing offer as soon as possible. I can't wait to get my hands on the fiber and learn to process it!

Speaking of fleece, I recently read a wonderful book called The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes, which I cannot recommend highly enough. It was recommended to me by the very knowledgeable and very nice Deborah Robson on Twitter. She really did me a favor recommending this book. It fell into my hands at just the right time, a time in which I'm thinking about knitting locally, getting my fiber locally, spinning most of my own yarn, or buying mostly local or at least American yarn. The book is fascinating. If you want to know how wool becomes yarn and about the different types of wool different sheep breeds produce, I highly recommend this book.

Through reading it, I found the Bluefaced Leicester Breeders Association, which breeds what is so far my favorite breed of sheep. Through that website, I found a local Bluefaced Leicester breeder and reserved 2 lbs of fleece after she shears them next month. I am beyond excited. Maybe next year I'll get a whole fleece, who knows.

Soon I also hope to visit a farm right in my suburb and get some Romney wool as well. I've never knitted or even touched Romney wool, but after reading The Knitter's Book of Wool, I'm very intrigued, and it's practically in my backyard. Can't beat that.

After I finished that book, I picked up an equally wonderful, delightful book called Living with Sheep by Chuck Wooster. I have dreamed of having a few alpacas and a few sheep ever since I started knitting, and I half-expected this book to cure me of that. I expected it to scare or intimidate me into no longer having this dream, but no, I want it now more than ever. I feel so contented and warm and fuzzy (downright woolly!) while reading this book. The idea of having a few of these beautiful animals of my own just makes me so happy. Someday when we have the land and it's time to get some sheep, I'm going to re-read this book, because it is an excellent primer in raising sheep. He tells you everything a new shepherd needs to know, in an extremely pleasant, unpretentious, conversational tone. He uses words like "poop" instead of manure, and I find that refreshing (OK, and funny, too. I'm 10.). Whether you want to raise sheep someday or not, this is a really fun, informative read and I highly recommend it.

With that, I'll sign off for this week, since there's a 3-year-old looking at me who wants to play. I'm so happy to have my first commission and to be nearly done with my first sweater pattern. And even though it takes precious knitting time away, I'm grateful to be working part-time from home again, because I haven't been able to buy yarn in I don't even know how long, and that sucks for a knitter! Hopefully this part-time job will give me the little bit of extra money I need to realize my dream of eventually making fiber arts my part-time job.

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