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50 Cove St
Portland, ME, 04101
United States

(207) 780-1345

Located in the East Bayside area of Portland, Maine, we strive to provide an encouraging community for fellow fiber-lovers by offering classes and carrying supplies for weavers, spinners, wet felters, needle felters, and dyers.  Stop in and let us help you on your merry fiber way!  

PortFiber Blogginess

Casey and Julie's ramblings on spinning, weaving, felting, dyeing, and of life in Portland, Maine.

Blog Revival

Casey Ryder

It's time to revive this sucker!  I've been shirking my blog-writing duties and it has got to stop... or rather, start.  I wasn't feeling well this past Saturday so Julie took the reigns at the shop while I hunkered down at home in my PJs, surrounded by all of my various fibery projects.  So I thought I'd share just a couple of things I've been working on. 

First up, I've had this ball of handspun Jacob yarn since last March?!  Holy moly.  Blog posts don't lie and March 30, 2014 was when I wrote about my felting experiment with Jacob wool.  The felting didn't work out so well so I spun it up into some nice, squishy yarn and it's been sitting in my yarn cubby for a freaking year!  The shame.  I know I have other projects that have been hibernating for longer than that, but those will have to wait for future blog posts.  I decided the Jacob yarn was fated for the Zoom Loom and spent a good portion of my Saturday night working up little Jacob squares.  I've never tried out a twill square so that's currently on the loom.  I'm a big fan of twill, and I like the way it is working up on the Zoom Loom, but I prefer weaving plain weave on this little loom.  The rhythm seems more natural to me.

Handspun Maine Jacob wool woven on the Zoom Loom.

Handspun Maine Jacob wool woven on the Zoom Loom.

I spent this past Sunday in town with a good friend, eating food and doing some window shopping in various clothing shops and second hand book stores.  I loves me some window shopping.  We stopped at the Green Hand Bookshop on Congress Street and got lost in the stacks and stacks of lovely books.  I feel similar feelings in a bookshop that I feel in a yarn or fiber store.  I want to flip through all the books and feel how they feel and smell how they smell.  And I pull books out that I want to add to my bookcase at home and then I have this argument in my head: "Are you REALLY going to read this?  In the next year?!  Or is this just going to sit on you shelf?  But I LIKE this author and I've been wanting to read this book FOREVER!"  Then there's the overwhelming feeling that I'll never get to read all of the books that I want to read.  There are just so many!  There's just not enough time.  And I get stressed out!  Suffice it to say, I left without a book in hand.  The nay-sayer in me won out.  Well, not really the nay-sayer, I just made a mental note of the books I'd come back to once I had finished a couple of other books on my too-read list.  How sensible of me, right?

That little mind-battle got me thinking about my stash yarn and what I might cast-on next.  I've recently been on a sock kick, knitting socks from my stash yarns.  

Wild, tutti frutti socks complete!  That's what I'm calling them.  I don't remember what the yarn was, but I got it back in 2007 in South Carolina with my girlfriends when we were celebrating our graduation from UMF!  The other sock yarn in hand is Turtlepurl's self-striping yarn that I purchased while I was up in Halifax this past January.  See next photo.

Wild, tutti frutti socks complete!  That's what I'm calling them.  I don't remember what the yarn was, but I got it back in 2007 in South Carolina with my girlfriends when we were celebrating our graduation from UMF!  The other sock yarn in hand is Turtlepurl's self-striping yarn that I purchased while I was up in Halifax this past January.  See next photo.

Turtlepurl socks complete!  

Turtlepurl socks complete!  

I still have a skein or two in my stash intended for socks, but I decided to switch directions and instead wound a ball of handspun 2-ply BFL/Silk + Polwarth/Silk that I had spun for a knit-along last July.  You can see there's a trend here, yeah?  The fiber was dyed in the PortFiber colorway "Aurora" and the knit-along was on Bristol Ivy's Ravelry page for her In August, Away cowl.  Yes, I completely missed the deadline, but I cast-on Sunday night and stayed up late late watching Gilmore Girls and knitting away.  Nothing beats knitting with handspun and Bristol's patterns are always entertaining.  Clean lines, clear instructions, and a nice mix of simple structure with an interesting pattern or technique.  I'm loving how it's shaping up so far. 

Handspun BFL/Silk plied with Polwarth/Silk in the PortFiber colorway "Aurora." Pattern by Bristol Ivy:  In August Away.

Handspun BFL/Silk plied with Polwarth/Silk in the PortFiber colorway "Aurora." Pattern by Bristol Ivy:  In August Away.

Of course my mind is off and wandering, thinking about my next project(s).  I've got a little tiny 4-harness loom at home that I'd like to dress and try out some overshot patterns.  With my track record that won't happen until next April, but maybe putting it down in writing will light a fire under my butt!

Speaking of weaving, I just finished reading The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani.  It's a historical fiction novel about a young girl in 17th century Isfahan, Iran.  She is a gifted rug maker, but also... a woman... so you know, she gets the short end of the stick with that whole life-as-a-woman-in-the-17th-century.  (I could go off on a rant here, but I won't.)  Really interesting read that touches on the art of weaving and dyeing as well as life as a woman--arranged marriages, societal expectations, relationships with other women, loyalty to one's family, and loyalty to one's self.  I really enjoyed it.  Also, there are some pretty racy scenes... if it were a television series, it'd probably be on HBO.  So there's that...

That's all for now, I suppose.  I shall keep plugging along with my Zoom Loom and the "In August, Away" cowl.  And Julie will be writing the next blog post.  So stay tuned, my fibery friends :)