Monday, March 30, 2009

Handspun from a new spinner!

Once again I'm posting handspun that I haven't spun myself but it's so inspiring. Kat is a brand new spinner....she just learned how to spin on a drop spindle and then graduated to a wheel just a couple weeks ago - this is her first handspun on her brand new Lendrum wheel!!! Her handspun is from the superwash merino roving I dyed recently. As she was spinning she found a magazine cover that matched the roving perfectly so I wanted to share that too. I'm always looking for inspiration for colorways, I've used photos in the past for weaving inspiration but never for dyeing.........she's planted a seed......I'll be saving even more pictures out of magazines for my next dye day inspiration. Be sure to check out Kat's blog!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spinning merino/tencel

Thought I'd show what I'm spinning now - it's a merino/tencel blend. It's beautiful fiber though not the mindless spinning I was thinking I'd be doing this evening, finally had to stop because my hand was cramping. Tencel can tend to be very slippery so my hands aren't as relaxed while spinning.......the rest of me isn't as relaxed either. It's going to make a stunning yarn once plied. Not sure how many yards I'll get out of this 4 oz....if enough I may end up weaving a scarf.......I can picture crystal beads in the fringe. I was looking for something mindless to work on after much computer work over the weekend on a program handout rough draft and then today we finally decided it was time to do the taxes........not the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon but it's done for another year. Wasn't a nice day to be outside playing anyhow - winter has returned, very chilly and windy. Yoga will be very therapeutic in the morning.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you Lynnette for this award!!

Accepting this award means following some rules:
1. Copy the Kreativ Blogger award to your blog
2. Put a link to the person from whom you received the award
3. Nominate 8 other blogs and
4. Link to them
5. Then leave a message on the blogs you have nominated

I don't follow very many blogs but I'm passing the award on to:
Lynne at sockladyspins
Theresa at runamuckweaving

New Streaming Leaves Lace Scarf

I started the new streaming leaves scarf last night while watching The Changeling - this time using a handspun merino/silk blend that I spun up a few years ago. I like this version much better and am thinking I'll definitely pull out the first version, way too colorful, will find another project for that handspun at some point. Of course this will look much prettier once blocked and the lace pattern really shows up.
Oh, and I started opening up the comments section on my blog - not sure if that's a good thing or not but I get final approval before they post. :-)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chenille on the loom

Yes, I'm back to the loom - which is where I love to be! Yesterday afternoon I put on a black chenille warp for 5 scarves. I almost exclusively use 1300/yd chenille from Silk City Fibers, it's by far the best quality chenille around. This is the first scarf on the warp - it's a clasped weft technique using a lime green chenille along with the black. The remaining 4 scarves will be all black, but not for long. After coming off the loom one will get a couched design (on the sewing machine) of either a coordinating chenille or a novelty knitting ribbon/yarn. The other 3 will mostly probably get a surface design technique called discharge. I'll silkscreen designs on using a discharge paste, after it dries I hit it with the iron (well, not actually hit), the heat & steam will pull the dye out of the chenille. Black generally, but not always, turns out a gold color after discharging. Burgundy & rust have come out a brilliant gold, purple sometimes a lighter blue. I always test on a small sample piece before discharging on the actual scarf because occasionally it has turned out less than attractive.

On another note I've pulled out a third skein of handspun to try the streaming leaves scarf with - didn't care for the one I tried last night, maybe this one I'll love. I'm not ripping out the 'very colorful' one yet though, will let that sit on the needles for a while before deciding what to do.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Streaming Leaves Scarf revisted

Oh boy, decision time - as I look at the photo of the streaming leaves scarf I posted last night I think those stripes (naturally occuring in the spinning) are just too much. It doesn't look that bold in person though............will have to give serious thought today as to whether or not to continue with this project or pick a different handspun and start over tonight. I haven't knit so much that it would distress me to slide it off the needle and pull it out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Streaming Leaves Lace Scarf

Been lax about updating the blog but I haven't done much fiber wise to post. I've still been researching surface design for a guild presentation and knitting......started a new scarf last night. I picked up a new (to me) pattern at Websters in Ashland on Monday - it's Streaming Leaves Lace Scarf by Fiber Trends. I'm knitting it with some of my handspun that was plied with quilting thread. The color changes might be a bit busy but I think I'll like it anyhow...........I'm loving the process, the pattern is very fun to knit. It will look much nicer after it's blocked. Also been working on taxes - figured it's about time to get to them..........goal is to have them finished this week........hmm, may or may not happen if I get sidetracked by fiber or the beautiful weather that supposed to be arriving on Friday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

New in Etsy Shop

Check out my etsy shop for the newest listings. I'll be listing more superwash merino roving almost daily over the next 2 weeks, more new spring scarves to come too.

Finally finished plying

I finally finished plying the blue faced leicester I had been spinning - took the better part of two evenings to do it - plying is so very boring. This was roving I bought on sale last fall at OFFF from Dicentra Designs........I know, I know, I have no business buying any roving - I have a walk-in closet full of fiber to spin plus I dye my own, but I couldn't resist this at 50% off. It turned out more grass green than I was expecting but I like clue as to what it will be knit/woven in to will sit on the shelf and marinate for a bit. There are 860 yards in a size similar to fingerweight commercial yarn.
Yesterday I spent a lot of time shooting and editing pix of 20 scarves that will be up for sale, some locally, some on etsy. I was also doing research on surface design for a guild presentation in May. Need to start working on a presentation for the local chapter of the American Sewing Guild - they will be coming here to my studio in late April to learn about weaving/spinning - from what I understand these two arts/crafts are new to them. Hmm, I'm an expert at enabling I wonder who I can lure over to the fiber side.
Tomorrow I'll be teaching another drop spindle class at Llamas & Llambs in Jackonsville. These classes are always fun - it's so gratifying to see someone learn how to spin and really enjoy it. I'd say the majority of my students have kept with it - many buying wheels and for those that decided it's not the craft for them they didn't have to invest a lot of money to find that out....and they had fun in the class.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Braided Roving for Sale

Yesterday with the aid of the Hamilton Beach sweater dryers all the superwash merino roving was dried and then braided, coiled, weighed and tagged (each braid weighs approx 8 ounces). There were some beautiful colorways - I say were because today I was relieved of 7 pounds of it at my spinning group and I got to see 2 of them being spun - loved it! Of course a few of my favorites sold right away but I'll dye more. What's left will be moving into my etsy shop over the next couple of weeks........unless I get possessed and set aside a few of them for myself! So, if you're local and any of these colors interest you just give me a call or email so I can set them aside. And if you eventually see them in the etsy shop let me know before you buy, there's no need to pay shipping if you can pick it up.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Roving, finally dry..............

The roving is finally dry - well, almost dry. If the ends of 4 lengths hadn't been laying in a puddle of water on the plastic overnight it would have been totally dry. Those 4 lengths are on one of the electric drying racks.....they'll be dry within a couple hours. After dyeing on Friday the weather turned rainy so I knew the roving would never dry in the garage - it got moved into the sewing room on the big wooden drying racks with the ceiling fan overhead and the heat turned up. Then I pulled out the Hamilton Beach electric sweater dryers to start putting lengths of it on those - it dries so quickly on those. Another fiber friend told me about these racks a couple years ago - she got hers at Kmart and uses them for drying fleeces on. Of course, we don't have a Kmart around here so I checked WalMart, nothing there either so then I checked online. Well, WalMart had them on their website and they were on sale so I ordered two of them - they have each have 4 stacking mesh racks and a blower that blows air across all of them - great invention. I have actually used them once for drying sweaters. So first thing on the agenda today (after yoga class) is braiding all that roving, weighing it and tagging it for sale.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Exhausting Dye Day

Ok, so there are only so many good dye days in the winter since I have to work outside. Yesterday was one of them but I had less than 2 hours sleep the night before so I knew I couldn't tackle dyeing - did research on a guild program I need to give in May instead. So, today was it - the rains and cooler weather return tomorrow. Of course it was below freezing first thing this morning so I had to wait until mid-morning to set up. That and clean-up are the worst part - need to cart everything out, set up tables, mix dye stock that I'm low on, get the steamers going, etc. So, I set off to dye almost 20 pounds of superwash merino. Well, maybe 20 pounds is a bit ambitious when not starting at 8am like I do in the summer. Sam called around 5pm on his way home from golf asking if I needed anything from the store - I cried that I desperately needed help - still had several more lengths of roving to dye and I was far behind on getting roving that had come out of the steamers rinsed and hung - it was laying all over the driveway on the plastic it was wrapped in while steaming. I needed an extra set of hands if I wasn't going to still be out there in the dark. He got home carrying a bag of sushi for dinner and set to work. As I was still pulling roving out the steamer and rinsing other roving he was washing out all my dye squirt bottles, measuring utensils, etc. He put away tables, put away dyes and even coiled up that hose when we were done, a job I hate doing. As it was we didn't get in the house until after 7pm. He's the hero of the day. So here are the fruits of my labor - the earliest out of the steamer had dried quite a bit but it's going to take a while for it all to dry. The drying racks are in the garage now, as soon as they aren't dripping anymore they'll get moved in the house where there's heat.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Handspun handknit socks

Last night I finished a pair of handspun handknit socks. I have no clue what fiber this is - usually I'm very good at labeling my handspun but this time all the tag had on it was the weight & yardage - no fiber type. I used a couple of new techniques on this pair of socks that I learned recently from fellow sock knitters. First - I learned how to crochet a chain with waste yarn directly onto the knitting needle to start my sock from the top of the foot at the toe, knitting a short row toe, then picking up those stitches off the waste yarn and continuing the sock up to the cuff. In the past I had crocheted a chain with waste yarn and then knit into the chain - this was much easier - thank you Cheryl. Second - I received a worksheet to figure out how to make socks that will fit my feet perfectly - I measured all different areas of my foot all the way up to my knee and then figured out how many stitches to start with - this is a great technique for handspun which may be different than commercial yarns used for many patterns. I ended up using 46 stitches for these socks - they fit me perfectly - thank you Yolanda.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

China Red Scarf revisited.......

Here's a better picture of the red scarf as it's hanging to dry - the weave structure shows up much better off the loom.

China Red Scarf

Here's today project. Wound the warp and wove a scarf in two shades of red Bambu 7 (bamboo). Was even watching a movie and the Foodnetwork as I was doing it which was slowing me down. I'm posting a picture but it's very hard to see the pattern on the loom and before washing - it's a shadow weave undulating twill. If you look really closely you might be able to see the undulating design being created. I must have taken a dozen pictures using different light & angles trying to capture the weave structure in print. Now off to wash it so I can twist the fringe tomorrow.

Friday, March 6, 2009

New beaded scarves

Here are the latest scarves to get beaded fringes. All 3 came off one warp of 8/2 tencel - it was a variegated warp that I crossed with a different colors of 8/2 tencel weft. I first twisted the fringes and then beaded in-between them. I like the look, it doesn't scream beading but adds some sparkle.

I think I'm up to date now on what I've been doing, at least the things I can show pix of.....well, am still working on two different knitted socks, don't think I posted a picture of the ones out of handspun - will eventually get to it.

Scarves I wear

These are examples of another types of beaded fringes I've done in the past - all 3 of these scarves are ones I wear all the time. All three are hand-dyed. The green one goes from a blue-green at one end to the lime green at the other. The reds yellow one actually also has lots of blue and purple in it. I dyed enough for 2 scarves and just hated the warp afterwards - it hung in the studio for a long time before I wove it - after weaving I like the scarves so much I had to keep one for myself - it looks great with a red top and jeans. The other scarf in the purples/golds and also teal is one of my favorites - I also made matching earrings and a bracelet with the same beads.

Peacock Scarf

This is a scarf I wove a few years ago - it was part of a guild challenge, I recieved a little packet with a picture, a feather and some novelty yarn snippets in it that I had to use as inspiration for a project. What came of it was this scarf. This beaded fringe took a while to do but was well worth it. I ended up writing an article for Handwoven Magazine on it and it was published in the March/April 2006 issue. This scarf was sold quite a while ago.

Behind once again.............

Many days have passed since my last post - I have been busy, too busy to dump the pictures off the camera to show some of what I've been up to. We (a weaver friend/fellow guild member) have been working on the finishing touches for a guild program we'll be giving next Tuesday on the newer hi-tech fibers available to spinners and weavers. It's going to be a great program...........well at least in our eyes. I have been spinning and knitting in the evenings, twisting fringes on handwoven scarves and beading some of them. I'm going to post some pictures of scarves I wear all the time that I hemmed and beaded. Then another scarf with a fancy beaded fringe that sold a couple years ago. And then the beading I've just finished - I saw a new technique of beading the fringe by Susan of Thrums and decided to try it out - I like the result and it's something I don't have to decide ahead of time as I'm weaving - I can twist the fringe and then decide if it beads would enhance the scarf.

Here's what I'm spinning right now. I decided since it had been raining hard the beginning of the week I wanted something that looked like spring - wow is it ever colorful!
It seems that I can never figure out how to post several items in the order I'd like so this will probably be at the bottom of today's posting - oh well...........