Friday, July 13, 2007


I've just been away for a few days on a business trip. Actually, this one falls under the heading "it's a dirty job but someone's got to do it". Our division attended a two day meeting at our Estate wineries. Sunday was the jazz festival in the vineyard. Although it rained, the music was amazing and we lauched the new renovations to our Hillebrand property. This is the new Winemaker's Loft. On the lower level there is an outdoor room complete with fireplace for dining Al Fresco. Just add Johnny Depp and you've got yourself a night to remember! We enjoyed some beautiful sparkling wine - our award-winning Trius Brut and the new Trius Red 2005 vintage was served as well. This will be in short supply because the '05 harvest was small due to weather but oh boy is it amazing!

I've often pondered the similarities between wine making and fibre arts. As we toured our Peller property on Monday our head winemaker spoke about the vineyards and how they're doing (so far so good this year). We also learned about barrel aging. Some of the wine is aged in American Oak and some in French Oak. The nature of the wood imparts different qualities to the wine. American Oak gives the vanilla, buttery toasty tones and the French oak apparently imparts a stronger flavour profile. The barrels themselves are "toasted" and can have a light, medium or dark toasting which will in turn be transferred to the wine. Before I knew much about wine, I would read the labels and wonder if they actually added "tobacco, smoke, chocolate etc" to the wine. I have since learned that these terms are metaphors to help the consumer match the wine to the food. A wine maker will taste the juice and decide what kind of wine they wish to create. A crisp white to be enjoyed with patio foods will be aged in stainless steel while a bold, jammie red to pair with grilled meats needs some barrel-aging.

I find myself following a similar thought process with my spinning. I have been trying to work with different fibres to learn how the breeds and materials behave and translate into yarn. This roving by Pippi Kneesocks was marked simply 100% wool so I'm not sure what breed it was. This colourway was then spun into singles on my Schacht and then Navajo plied into a 3 ply. I decided to try and keep the colour progressions together by doing this. If I'd wanted a barber-pole effect, I would have double plied. The colour is called Strange Days and I highly recommend her roving. It's a dream to spin.

I also tried my hand at spinning some Alpaca. I will be making the Nagano Sakura Scarf from Knitty to enter into the 5 counties display this September. Our theme is Japan. I will not be felting this scarf but rather leaving it knit with the cherry blossoms applied. The pink yarn to make the blossoms is next. I spun this on my Kromski Sonata and it was my first time spinning to gauge. I wanted a worsted to chunky weight so we'll see how this works out. Hopefully I have enough.

In other news, I found my Rowan cotton 4 ply for Maritime. I had taken a gift box that had been designed to look like a leather-bound book and stored the yarn in it and put it back on my book shelf. Note to self: Nothing good comes from any sentence that starts with the phrase "Gee this will be a good hiding place for...".

I'm in the home stretch on Bonsai Tunic. I just have to finish the other side and then block. I hear bamboo really soaks up the water so I'll probably block using wet towels.

I'm also just in the first clue stages of the Mystery Stole pattern. This is shaping up to be a very pretty design. I guess there are a bizillion people who've joined. There may even be some press on USA Today. Hey - whatever promotes the craft!

In choosing a wine to pair with the MSK3 I decided on good old Yellow Tail Shiraz. Dark, delicious and extremely popular! Gee, could all of this wine consumption be partly to blame for misplacing my stash?


vanessa said...

your pippi handspun is divine.
glad you found your yarn :-)

Dr. Steph said...

That handspun looks yummy. And the stash hiding was hilarious.

Operakatz said...

I was searching on Starmore's Luskentyre (looking for anyone who had done or was working on the new version) and came across your blog just to find that you're part of the MS3 (well, I guess who isn't considering there are 6700 of us LOL) and that you too had done (or will be doing) the Tulip Baby sweater LOL

Six degrees of separation...

Also fun to see your Rheingold progress...your the first person I've found in blogland who's working on it and I've been tempted by that kit as well.

I think the pics of the new Luskentyre on the VY site truly don't do it any justice at all...

April said...

I think I'd go with a bottle of Firefly Ridge Syrah for the MS3. Very smooth, highly drinkable. Hmm ... on second thought, highly drinkable and lace might not be a good combination. :)