Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I love my new shawl.........

 I love my new shawl woven from some of my handspun alpaca and silk, the weft was commercial  merino/tencel.  I've been wanting/needing a black shawl..........I was thinking solid black but I'm so glad I decided to use this handspun with all the silk colors in it. I can wear this with practically anything.  Now all I need is for fall and winter to come along as it's hot, hot, hot outside. I'd be quite ok skipping summer which would mean also skipping fire season..........

I put on a handspun warp for 2 scarves and wove the first one. Before weaving the second one I want to see how it feels after washing since I used some handspun weft. If I like it I'll use the same weft for the second scarf, if not I'll find something else. No waste of warp cutting of as the warp I tie back on will become the fringe of the next scarf. Those stripes in the warp aren't from separate skeins, that all one length of handspun blending from one color to the next.

Next up is another warp of handspun for scarves. I'm trying to pull together some items made of my handspun to use in our county fair display this summer. These won't be entered into the fair for judging, just part of our display that we sit in front of and demonstrate spinning during the fair.

So, interesting thing happened yesterday with my new laptop with Windows 10 on it - I lost all my favorites. It may have been a Microsoft update, or it may have been Norton which was running but somehow my favorites disappeared - ack!  Luckily it's not my main computer so it only had around 15 favorites on it for sites I visit regularly while away from home. I've had the laptop for a few months and there had been no issue until yesterday. Has anyone else had this happen?  Was there a way to retrieve your favorites?  And for the record I do not care for Windows 10 - Windows 7 has been great (we know Windows 8 was a bust for MS). Why mess with a good thing? I sure wouldn't have bought a new laptop just because of this new operating system except that my netbook bit the dust..........

PS - is anyone else watching Outlander? The season will be ending all too soon on July 9th.  I heard that Starz has picked up season 3 & 4 with 3 in the works already. I binge watched the first season on DVD when a friend loaned it to me this past winter - I 'had' to sign up for Starz so I could watch the second season as I couldn't possibly wait until it comes out on DVD. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

New handwovens in shop

I finally did a bit of photography work......dreaded photography work........so I could list a few items in my etsy shop.
The handwoven table runner using a hand-dyed warp.

A white chenille shawl - perfect for a wedding or any ole' time.

Another white chenille shawl using a seed rayon as weft to give a nubby or pearl like look

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Finally.....the alpaca and silk handspun

I spun this black baby alpaca and dyed silk yarn a while back. I started 2 different knitted shawlettes and took them out because they just didn't look right, then I started a crocheted scarf and didn't like that. Today I decided it needed to be woven, finally I got it right - it's going to look beautiful woven. It was close on having enough yardage - I only put aside a tiny bit in case of any broken threads which did not happen. I just wove it in plain weave to show off the handspun.....although my first choice would have been some sort of twill but I didn't have enough yardage since a twill needs to be sett closer, which would mean more warp ends. For the weft I'm using some commercial merino/tencel yarn I had gotten from Webs a while back - it's perfect. I can't wait to cut this off the loom and get it washed......it's not finished until it's washed. I'm thinking this will be for me as I've been wanting a black shawl to wear with many colors. It's a shame I couldn't capture the sheen of the silk in the photo..........

Here are what the batts I spun it from looked like.  And here's what the handspun looked like (3rd photo down) - I plied it with black thread.  This is pretty good for me - less than 2 years from batt to handspun to finished project........usually it sits in some form or another on the shelf for a while before being finished.

Now I'm looking at 2 different novelty handspuns that have been sitting on the shelf marinating for a few years thinking I'll weave some scarves out of them. I do need some new items made from handspun for our county fair display this summer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Just white..........

 I got some time at the loom this afternoon to sley the reed and tie on for these white chenille shawls. I'm using a white rayon slub for the weft on the first one.

I'm using a slightly off-white rayon seed yarn for weft on the second one. Remember I used almost all of the chenille for the warp and was hoping there would be no broken threads..........well, there almost was......I had one thread weakening where the fuzz was coming off leaving just thin thread so I put in a repair thread for around a foot and now am hoping that particular end isn't weak the rest of the warp.......looks ok so far.

The hope is that these sell - the last few times I wove white chenille shawls they sold immediately......brides seem to like them for a wrap with their gowns.......with that said watch these linger in the etsy shop..........

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Cutting it close

This afternoon I decided to wind a white rayon chenille warp for some shawls and boy did I cut it close. I had two 1 pound cones for warp for two shawls. I knew it would be close but I actually ran out and couldn't wind the last half inch of the warp. Not a big deal as a half inch doesn't make much of a difference.  I stuck the cones up on the raddle here on the back of the loom - very little left on them.  Not sure what the weft will be - I might have enough white chenille (different brand) to use for one but will need to triple check that.........I can always use some white rayon, it will make a lovely drapey shawl.

Blocking......a necesssary job

Yesterday I blocked two of the shawlettes knit a few months back - it's a necessary chore or the lovely lace design will be totally lost and the knit item will just look like a scrunchy mess. These are still pinned out, can't wait to unpin them and see how they turned out. These are holiday gifts for later in the year - I can show them as these two don't read my blog but once I start blocking other ones they will not be seen here as they are also gifts.  The shawlette I started last week is almost finished, the peachy one, I worked on it while riding in the car on our road trip.

Yesterday I also did another chore, a dreaded one...........weighing out a big order of roving to sell in one of my etsy shops. Sam helped me which makes the job goes three times as fast as just one person doing it - as he says, we have a 'process'. Then I spent much time on administrivia putting it into inventory and updating the etsy shop. So, glad to have that behind me........until I place the next order........or decide to call it quits on the roving side of my business.........

Happy Father's Day to all the father's out there. I miss my Dad terribly, we lost him in 2007.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Back in the nest........

We are back in the nest again.......yes, I realize none of you knew I was gone.  Hubby, Bailey and I took off on a road trip to visit friends in Northern Idaho and then on to visit family in Big Fork, MT. There was a lot of driving involved. We had a great time but alas, I took practically no pictures.........this trip was all about visiting.  So, the only pix I have to share is when I churned butter in Idaho - very fun and even more tasty.

Here friend Diane is demo'ing how I'm to churn the farm fresh milk

She turned the butter churn over to me and after much churning here is my butter sitting in resulting buttermilk

Here the buttermilk is draining off. I don't like the taste of commercial buttermilk, it's great for baking, but not for drinking. I tasted this farm fresh buttermilk and it was heavenly

And here's my butter -  probably around 1 1/2 pounds. I took it on to my next visit in Montana to share - believe me this was incredible tasting. If I had access to fresh farm milk at a reasonable price I'd be churning my own butter from now on......but the cost here is prohibitive as in $10-$15 a gallon.....if anyone reading this is local and knows of less expensive farm fresh milk in our area please let me know.

Today is all about catching up......or as I call it 're-entry'........which usually sucks. I'm hoping to get a warp on the loom in the next few days and get back to dyeing some silk shawls soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

First shawlette started

I started one of the shawlettes - it's called 'Pretty Basic' by Janina Kallio of StudioKallio.com  It's a no thinking knitting project. I've got 3 more repeats of this pattern and then I start a simple lace border. I may do the border as far as my handspun goes to make it bigger than the original pattern - I've got another skein of this. It looks like I missed a yarnover in the photo but I didn't - I had to go back and study it after seeing the photo, but no, it was just the end of the yarn laying underneath that hole that makes it look like it's missing - phew.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Two new projects to get started for evening knitting - both shawlettes. The one on the left is with commercial yarn in 5 shades of dusty purple. The one on the right is my handspun. I had also planned on starting a shawl using some of my other handspun - black alpaca with all different colors of silk mixed in but I started it today at my spinning group and it wasn't working so a new pattern needs to be found for that handspun.....need to think on that one for a while.  (photo not so good as I didn't feel like walking in the other room for the camera, used my cell phone instead)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

This and that........

Just back from 4 days on the coast - we left 64 sunny degrees late morning over there and 2 1/2 hours later pulled in the driveway back here in the valley to 100 degrees.   Phew - too early in the season to be this hot.........I have heard by mid-week the temps will come back down.

I didn't get much weaving done while on the coast but a little bit - a couple of green false damask towels.......

......and a couple of blue-grey false damask towels.......the rest of the warp will be there waiting for me whenever we get time to go back over.....which is not right now......

There's a fun rally & charm trail going on over on the coast to benefit the Coos Art Museum in celebration of their 50th anniversary. It's a quite impressive museum for a small town, I've seen some wonderful shows there.  I've collected around half the charms so far from area businesses/galleries/museums........I've got until the end of the year to collect them all.  It's been fun to visit places we haven't been yet on our travels.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ginkgo Shawl - Take 2

Take 2 on the ginkgo shawl - it dried in short order from the dry heat after blocking it this morning.  I like it enough to knit myself another one out of handspun.......after I spin the yarn. This one is really autumnal, another not so seasonal will be great. And I may put 3 ginkgo leaves in the border on it.  I'll definitely need to use a shawl pin with this in order to hold it so the ginkgo leaf will show.........I've even got a ginkgo pin I could use.........

Ginkgo Shawl

I wanted to finish the ginkgo shawl last night but just couldn't knit the last 2 rows and bind off - too tuckered out. So, this morning I did something so unlike me - I knit, usually knitting is reserved for evenings and knitting/spinning get-together's. I had a goal to get it blocked today as the temp would be 90 and very dry - the shawl will be dry in a matter of hours. I could have waited 'til the weekend when it's supposed to be 100 but then I won't want to be outside putting those blocking wires and pins in. I hope I love this shawl after it's blocked, I like it now but I want to love it. The ginkgo leaf is in the foreground, I guess I expected it to show up a bit more. I was picking autumn colors but I do wish I had picked colors closer in value. If I love this once finished I have plans to spin yarn to make another using plum and chartreuse.....unless I change my mind......which may very well happen......

This pattern is the Ginkgo Shawl by Connie Peng from yellowcosmo designs. It can be found on Ravelry and bought there.......I noticed it was $4 as opposed to the $6 I paid locally.....will remember to check on Ravelry first in the future. It was fun to look at others who have knit it and the color combinations they picked out. Some added more ginkgo leaves, which I loved. Some knit the leaf in a totally different color, loved that effect too. Ideas for the next one I knit...........