January 25, 2006

Woodworking? What Woodworking?

The Mysterious K has gone completely looney tunes. Otherwise, how do you explain this?


Yep, you’re looking at an entire frickin’ pound of roving. A pound. 8 oz. of a beautiful medium sage green, 4 oz. of a yummy navy, and 4 oz. of a rich variegated with hints of the navy and the sage and a few other colors thrown in for good measure. (Note to locals: Village Yarns & Teas now sells roving…although, thanks to TMK's kamikaze raid, they now have considerably less than they did. I have to admit it was rather fun to watch TMK's eyes grow wider...and wider...as she started to realize exactly how much a pound of roving is. It’s weightless, diaphanous fiber and air, girl; what’d you expect?)

And why, the sane and clear-thinking among you ask, would TMK purchase an entire frickin’ pound of roving when she doesn’t have a frickin’ spinning wheel? Because she frickin’ has one now, yo, thanks to Dear Reader and neighbor Melinda who left a comment saying she had a Louet TMK could borrow. So Saturday morning we went to Village Yarns & Teas and bought The Roving That Ate New York; Saturday night we picked up the wheel; the ever-handy TMK fixed a few things on the wheel that needed fixing; she predrafted some of the sage roving, all with great ambition and gusto…and spent the rest of the weekend knocked flat on her keister with the nastiest, juiciest cold I’ve ever seen. I had no idea spinning could ruin your health so fast. Somebody should’ve warned us.

(Okay, here’s a question for you spinners out there: What’s the difference between roving, top and sliver?)

As for me, now that I’ve been dumped in favor of a pile of dyed sheep fleece, I sulk and knit on. Apparently I was serious about wanting to, needing to, having to knit a mango scarf like Sedie’s because that day I left work at 4:30pm, swung by my LYS, and by 5:30pm had this on the needles.



At 5:31pm, however, I remembered I look like the walking dead in anything yellow or in the yellow family so this is on its way to the icy cold city streets of Ulan Bataar or the snow-plains of Pakistan.

Speaking of Dulaan, thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments about the MongoLEEa photos and for getting the word out that the photos were posted. I was especially tickled to get comments from readers in Scandinavia! Rumor has it there are more photos to come. I’ll post them as soon as I receive them.

Lastly, while still on the subject of service to mankind, I was especially impressed with this, which I found on the Lion Brand web site:

"Starting today, all Lion Brand patterns are offered in three versions. In addition to our standard version that includes images and text, each pattern is now available in two versions specially designed for members of the Lion Brand community who are visually impaired. Every pattern includes two new links at the top:

  • The first link formats the pattern to be read in large-format type or by text-to-speech browsers;
  • The second link formats the pattern so it can be read by devices that produce Braille.

We've also added color descriptions to all our yarns and added special features to patterns and the pattern directories that are not visible to sighted readers but that make it easier to understand the patterns when they are read by text-to-speech browsers."

Rock on, Lion Brand!

Posted by Ryan at January 25, 2006 10:18 AM

Jeez, terrible to be dumped for some sheep fleece, but at least it's lovely colours, and if TMK decides she likes both you and the roving, you're sitting pretty. Who else will knit up all the yarn that'll make? Just so long as she doesn't take up weaving!

Mary de B

Posted by: Mary de B on January 25, 2006 10:32 AM

I don't really spin yet, and I'm still a novice woodworker, but I have to say I'd be tempted to dump almost anyone for that gorgeous ball of soft fluffy green up there. Happy sigh.

Posted by: Rachel H on January 25, 2006 10:44 AM

That fiber is gorgeous.

Lion Brand has really stepped up. Good for them!

Posted by: Mindy on January 25, 2006 10:51 AM

Hooray for Lion Brand! Hooray for mango-scarf-wearing Mongolian children!
And once again, I am jealous enough of the activities of your SO to dump mine and steal yours. Buys you mata ortiz pottery, AND spins you yarn in easily the most gorgeous colors ever to dye a sheep? Not fair. Ask her if she'll trade you in on (what I assume (based on your long long relationship) is) a younger model.
Bummer about the juicy cold. Make her breathe some steam with eucalyptus oil in it - it will keep it from migrating from a head cold to a chest cold.

Posted by: Carrie on January 25, 2006 10:56 AM

Well, one step forward, two steps back for Lion Brand, I say. Did you all see their latest catalog? There is (I kid you not) a knitted wild west jacket, complete with fringe. Ugliest thing I've ever seen. And the shrug on the cover--paleeese. Not to mention they are actually marketing and selling a poster of a (what they must think is a) hunky guy with no shirt and tight jeans lounging with size 75 needles in his hands and looking (or trying to look) enticing. Egads! Have they no sense of the knitting market out there?

See it on this link:


But cheers for them on the Braille patterns, although considering some of their yarn (IMHO) you'd need to be blind to work with it...Sorry if I've offended anyone...

Please tell TMK, if she spins it, I will knit (for Dulaan! of course. Way to go TMK!

Mary B

Posted by: Mary B on January 25, 2006 11:01 AM

Let me see if I've got this right, Carrie: You want ME to ask MY partner if she will dump ME for YOU. Um...er...um...well, okay, I'll ask but I don't think you'll like the answer. To quote the song from "My Fair Lady," "she's grown accustomed to my face." :-)

MaryB, TMK has been spinning away! I haven't been at her house since Monday morning but I have been getting daily reports. The plan is to spin 4 oz. of the green and 4 oz. of one of the other two colors and ply the two together--which will be a neat trick since she has no idea how to ply. But a week and a half ago she didn't know how to spin either. (And, yes, I've seen that poster; I don't get it--but I suppose that doesn't come as a surprise to anyone.)

Posted by: Ryan on January 25, 2006 11:08 AM

Re: hunky(?) knitting guy. I have tell you, it's what appears to be a faux bear rug to his right that does it for me. ;-) TMK

Posted by: The Mysterious K on January 25, 2006 11:17 AM

Heck, I'm straight, and I don't get that poster either! I guess I think it's best to keep my men separate from my addiction??? Mary B

Posted by: Mary B on January 25, 2006 11:17 AM

I have that exact same variegated roving, 5 oz. of it, sitting on my worktable waiting for me to finish spinning the plain undyed Corriedale! I'm looking forward to seeing what TMK's handspun looks like.

Posted by: Alex on January 25, 2006 11:30 AM

And, Carrie. I'm flattered. Truly I am. But I'm still kind of in love with Ryan. I'm not quite ready to trade her in yet. Check back in 20 years or so. ;-) TMK

Posted by: The Mysterious K on January 25, 2006 11:45 AM

I would point TMK to the Knitters Review forums which has a very active, helpful and informative spinning section.

When fiber goes through the drum carder it comes off in "bats"

If the bat is compresed into a long skinny rope it is "sliver", this is most common with plant based fibers such as cotton, linen, and hemp.

If the bat is divided into strips it is "roving".

"Top" is a subset of roving that is combed so all the fibers are lined up in the same direction. This also gets rid of some of the shorter fibers. Top is always roving but roving is not always top.

Posted by: Jayme on January 25, 2006 11:45 AM

TMK: I'm available for a plying lesson, and awfully nearby. I'll teach for snacks.

Roving, top, and sliver: This SHOULD have to do with how the wool is prepared. Top is combed fiber, so it should be all very smooth and parallel, with the short fibers removed. Roving is normally a carded preparation, so the fibers will be all fluffy, but in a somewhat willy-nilly organization. Sliver, as near as I have been able to determine, is the Aussie/NZ word for any strip of spinnable fiber. However, wool suppliers and sellers are frequently very sloppy about what they call things.

Posted by: Melinda on January 25, 2006 11:46 AM

note to self.......refrain from future peeks at links offered by Mary B. when reading mossy cottage in the public library. Made a special kind of fool of myself!

Posted by: marylee on January 25, 2006 11:57 AM

Aww, none of this schmaltzy LOVE stuff, we're talking FIBER here! OK, TMK, I'm holding you to it. 20 years. But you have to save that multicolored roving for me!
(My poor husband, if he only knew...)
And Ryan, I was just asking to see if you were paying attention. Yeah, that's it. That's the ticket...

Posted by: Carrie on January 25, 2006 11:58 AM

See, I don't want TMK for her SPINNING (good lord, I can do that myself)--I want her for her WOODWORKING skills! I was so bowled over when I met John and fell for his wit and kindness and intelligence and dark eyes that I didn't bother to check out his woodworking/welding/plumbing abilities. Ladies, do not get carried away! Be practical when choosing a mate!

Posted by: Janine on January 25, 2006 12:26 PM

Ryan: after reading all of today's comments (so far, anyway,the day is still young)--well, are you starting to think you've lost control of the blog AGAIN???????? mary B

Posted by: Mary B on January 25, 2006 12:32 PM

Janine: You should know that Ryan occasionally loans me out for woodworking/carpentry projects. So, when you get back up here and find you need a shelf hung or something, I'm sure she'll let you "borrow" me.

On another note--how am I supposed to make a spinning wheel if I don't know how the heck they work?? ;-) TMK

Posted by: The Mysterious K on January 25, 2006 12:49 PM

That guy looks embarassed. As well he should - that's a ridiculous picture! I wonder who their marketing people talked to and came up with THAT?!

Posted by: Patti on January 25, 2006 01:00 PM

Yes, MaryB, yes. I've lost control of the blog AGAIN. Plus, apparently, of my entire life since TMK is being seduced away, and now she's going to be trotting around to different women's houses hanging shelves, spinning roving for them, and buying them Mata Ortiz pots. Wait 'til the next time she gets a cold, though. She'll come running back to me. I make a mean cup of tea.

Posted by: Ryan on January 25, 2006 01:13 PM

Good for Lion Brand! As the mother of a visually impaired kid, I find this totally awesome. Now I need to teach him to knit!

Posted by: Ranger Susie on January 25, 2006 01:19 PM

AHA! TMK *is* spinning. Good. This is how the world balances itself (and let me tell you I am learning ALOT about how the world balances itself after today!!)

glad to see the spinning bug is moving through her system. I bet if she googled "spinning wheel designs" she might get some of those online websites that show how to build one herself. THAT I would come and pay money to see (or sell popcorn.. on or the other)

BTW I like your Knitting Olympics button better. I think I'll yoink it for my blog if you don't mind :)

Posted by: anj on January 25, 2006 01:41 PM

I'd guess the Lionbrand poster was aimed at a demographic a bit younger than I imagine most of us are. And anyone who gets near me with knitting needles had better not be posing :)

Posted by: Robbyn on January 25, 2006 02:44 PM

Anj, yoink away! That's what TMK made it for. She even drew the ball of yarn!

And I agree with Patti who says the Lion Brand Guy looks embarrassed. I suspect he's thinking, "I hope to God this is not the highpoint of my modeling career."

Posted by: Ryan on January 25, 2006 03:00 PM

Gawd, that roving is gorgeous! I just want to dive onto the table and roll around in it!

Posted by: Diana on January 25, 2006 04:18 PM

Beautiful, beautiful scarf. So gorgeous it made me forget the roving.

Posted by: Kirsten on January 25, 2006 05:45 PM

My, what a big needle he has. Sorry. Yes. You lost control of the blog.

Posted by: Norma on January 25, 2006 08:03 PM

Ok, I have all the information about knitting for Mongolia. What a wonderful project!!! Who started it?

I'm going to put it on my blog and I'm going to spread the word here in Toronto. Thank you!

Posted by: Celtic Knitter on January 25, 2006 09:26 PM

It was a special kinda something watching TMK's eyes grow big as a ball of roving, wasn't it? Warmed my heart, truth be told. I woulda stopped her before she got herself too overwhelmed.

Melinda pretty much has it right with the roving definitions. The only thing I would add is: "Top" is the best of the best ( which is what TMK bought) . "Roving" can be top, but it's mostly just a long bunch of carded fibers. Great for making fuzzy yarns, though. "Sliver" is pretty much skinny top. And that's that.

See ya!

Posted by: Kim on January 25, 2006 10:53 PM

So, this maybe wouldn't be the best time to mention that you can find plans for *building your own spinning wheel*. Considering TMK's interest in woodworking, this sounds like a match made in heaven. Can you imagine? Shaping the tools for a hobby you enjoy, learning each and every single personality quirk of the wheel as it emerges from under patient hands?

I'm pea-freakin'-green with envy at the thought.

Posted by: perclexed on January 25, 2006 11:16 PM

Wonderful, unless TMK decides to knit, you've got a the best situation imaginable, unless of course her taste in colors are far removed from yours..Handspun without the spinning!

Posted by: Angie on January 26, 2006 03:43 AM

What she's got there is Top - so named because the combing process gets rid of all the junk and stuff that is less than the TOPS in quality.

And heck, a pound of fiber isn't even a sweater (well, it's a sweater for Frankie...)

She needs MORE!

Posted by: Amie on January 26, 2006 09:16 AM

Amie said what I was going to say - a pound looks like a lot, until you spin it up and find out you need at least another 8 ounces if you want to make an actual garment. But 8 ounces would make a super slick scarf and hat or hat and mittens.

I like spinning top best, it's the combed stuff.

TMK, try predrafting a little bit horizontally as well as vertically (if you aren't already). I've found that the stuff drafts more nicely into the twist when I've spread it out sideways so it's not sticking together that way either.

Posted by: CarolineF on January 27, 2006 05:33 AM

Hi Ryan, Love the scarf and the realization of the color choice. That's how some of my best gifts are made. How wonderful you and TMK can now share your fiber lust.

Posted by: Erica on January 27, 2006 11:37 AM
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