Friday, July 31, 2009

Back from the coast.........

Ok, so nothing new to report here in the fiber activities part of my life. We decided it was time to get out of this oppressive heat and over to the coast for 4 days. It's just amazing how temps here are well over 100 degrees but just 75 miles (at the most, I'm thinking) to the west it was in the 60's & 70's. Had a great time relaxing in the cool foggy temps with a bit of sun in the afternoons.

We camped out at Cape Blanco State Park in Port Orford - the most westernly lighthouse in the contiguous United States is located there. No tv, very little radio reception and no cell phone reception in the campground. Spent time gallery hopping in Bandon, tasting goodies in stores and had a wonderful meal of cioppino overlooking the dock - watched a small party boat come in unloading it's tuna - tons of tuna.

Now, I couldn't get totally away from fiber - took many magazines I was behind in reading over - Handwoven, Spin-Off and Piecework. Also worked on some socks that have been on needles for months and worked on drop spindling that shetland/merino I've been working on here and there.

Time to head off to work - FedEx just left here, think the box down near the garage doors is from UKI - full of 8/2 cotton. Also expecting UPS this afternoon with another order of superwash merino/alpaca in dark navy - it's a close out item and is a smokin' deal - am selling it for $13/pound. What I got in the last shipment sold out in one day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stepping Stone

Here's the stepping stone I made on Saturday in a class - it's from my 30 second drawing of a lotus blossom, guess if I had thought ahead of time I could have done better but I'm pleased with it. Next time I'll cut the glass tiles a bit smaller so they fill more of the background. I'd like to try another stone using found objects such as old keys my Dad had saved. Oh, and I'd love to do a birdbath too.......where will I find the time?! I'm not quite sure yet where this will reside, right now it's out front in among some plants......hmm, could use some fresh mulch out there.......will think about it when the temps come down below 100.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Felting Bunz Kits

This is what I've been up to today - putting together two different felting bunz kits. The top one is using Colonial wool, the bottom one is using Merino wool. Some wetfelters prefer merino, some needlefelters prefer colonial - I've tried both ways with each fiber and they both work equally as well. I just put a couple up for sale in my newer etsy shop for the Ashland Bay fibers.

The stepping stone class yesterday was great fun - my stone needed to cure overnight and then a sealer was to be added today by my friend who lives close to where the workshop was held, saves me an hour plus trip out and back today for a 10 minute process, I'll post a picture when I pick it up.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New warp on the loom.........

This is the painted warp that I got on the loom today. The left picture is looking at it from the back so the colors all show. The picture on the right is where I used some purple weft left on a bobbin to spread out the warp after tying on the front beam. Then the forest green weft and rust weft are colors I'm sampling to use for the scarves. I'll think on it but I'm leaning toward weaving one scarf with the green and one with the rust. The fiber is 8/2 tencel, I dyed it using procion mx fiber reactive dyes. The weave structure is a plaited twill, I've used this particular one before in scarves.

The weekend will be spent away from the loom, I'm taking a stained glass stepping stone class. I haven't played with glass in well over 20 years. It should be very fun and hopefully the studio we'll be working in is air-conditioned - the temp is forecast to be over 100.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New scarves being woven

Here is the painted warp I put on the loom late this morning. The warp is Sarafina from Henry's Attic which is 70% cotton and 30% rayon, it's a bit nubby in texture. This threading is out of the Carol Strickler 8-Shaft book and has a M's & W's threading and looks like 2 block twill. It is sett at 24 epi. The scarf on the right I used a lime green Bambu 7 for the weft. The second scarf (on the left) I'm using a navy Bambu 7 for the weft. I probably could have finished this warp off this afternoon but decided to quit for the day.

Bamboo scarves finished

Here are the two bamboo scarves finished. I knew the drape on the one with the black bamboo weft (foreground) would be incredible after washing but wasn't sure about the drape on the other one that I used a red purple tencel on (background) but it was just as lovely. I know tencel has beautiful silk like qualities but it was a bit thicker than my warp so I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I'm happy with both scarves!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Here are the sock yarns I recently dyed - merino/alpaca/nylon. I haven't knit with this yarn yet so I'll have to decide which one to knit some socks for me out of............the rest will end up in my etsy shop eventually.

On the loom today

I got a painted warp on the loom today and started weaving. This one is Bambu 12 (bamboo) in a plaited twill design sett at 30 epi. I paint my warps (all except wool) with Procion MX Fiber Reactive Dyes - they're so easy although rinsing out the warp after batching isn't always fun since this dye doesn't exhaust, usually several rinsings are necessary. I'm using the same Bambu 12 for the weft in black. I'm thinking for the second scarf on the warp I might use a deep purple tencel for the weft, will give it a try when I get there and then decide.

I did get the pictures taken of sock yarns that I dyed last week, will post them after I spend some time resizing them.

Finally, plying bobbin filled..........

Here's a picture of what I recently plied from the Butternut Woolens hand-painted merino/silk roving (original post June 16th). I really like it. I'm thinking it would be beautiful for a handwoven shawl to wear with jeans. Of course I still have another 12 ounces to finish up spinning and plying first!

Last night I spun a little sample of the Falkland wool in ecru that I was dyeing on Monday and Tuesday - it's my first time spinning Falkland, thought it might be good to be able to be knowledgeable about it since I'll be selling it. Oh my, it was so much fun to spin, it practically spun itself. It's soft and cushy once spun. It's going to be my new favorite fiber to spin.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Falkland Hand-dyed Roving

Here's a sampling of the Falkland roving I dyed on Monday & Tuesday. Sure am glad I finished that up because today it's way too hot to be outside working. There are anywhere from 1-4 pounds of colorways. All of these will eventually be making their way to my etsy shop over the next month.

I've been working on plying the last couple of nights - why does it seem like it takes forever to ply two bobbins??? I know I'm spinning thin's sooo boring to ply. Anyhow, one bobbin of plied yarn is full and I'll get it wound into a skein tonight.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


So, yes I did spend another day dyeing - got the rest of the Falkland roving dyed plus 3 more pounds of blue face leicester. Rather than bore everyone with yet another picture of roving on the drying racks I thought I'd post a picture of food! Local blueberries are in and are they ever yummy. Sam made this blueberry crisp - I cut my thumb on a can this evening so I'm disabled.........I measured everything out and Sam cut in the butter.........well, at least that's what was supposed to be happen, he actually molded it into one big clump! He's assured me this will be the best crisp ever - looks pretty good so I'm off to taste test it.

I've been on a roll.....

I've been on a roll lately dyeing I'll finish up dyeing the Falkland and dye a bit more Blue Face Leicester then I'll be putting away the dyepots for a bit. Temps are going to be heading up around 100 - too hot for me to be working outside all day. Yesterday I started out the morning dyeing very subdued toned down colors, my favorites, but then I decided to brighten it up a bit and went nuts with the color - should be some very fun roving to spin. My new propane double burner is great - took only 5 minutes to heat up the steamers as opposed to close to an hour with the small electric burners. Should have bought it last year when I kept seeing them on sale.
After today I'm hoping to get back to weaving for a while - I have many handpainted warps in tencel, rayon and bamboo waiting to be woven.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Roving for Sale

When I posted the bfl roving yesterday I had wanted to post these but blogger was being very tempermental - had a heck of a time getting that post up and it just wouldn't let me get another one done - some sort of error - things seem to be working fine this morning.

So the blue on the left (Blue Ice) and yellow in the center (California Sun) are both a merino/bamboo blend (60/40) - Blue Ice is sold. On the right is a merino/tencel blend called Lilac - some of that has made it up in the etsy shop, more to come, California Sun is available for sale but not up in the shop yet. These are all a dream to spin.

After yoga this morning today is dye Falkland Wool day - have around 20 pounds of it to dye, would love to get it finished up tomorrow but who knows - will be having visitors to watch dyeing, to dye and to shop the Ashland Bay fibers both days.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Roving ready to sell

Here's a sampling of the blue face leicester roving I've been dyeing - the amounts of each colorway range from 1-4 pounds. Some have already been posted in my etsy shop, others waiting to be posted over the next couple of weeks. If you see anything here you like that's not in the shop yet please let me know. I got myself a new double propane burner on a stand to use for my two big steamer/dyepots - will heat up so much faster than those small electrical burners......can't wait to try them out tomorrow when I'll be dyeing falkland wool.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Today's Dyeing

Ok, so I'm still dyeing the Blue Face Leicester - this is the results of today's dye day - didn't dye as much as yesterday - was beat and had two fiber friends over to learn how to dye their socks blocks.
The skeins in the center are merino-alpaca sock yarn. I wish the colors were more true to life - the chartreuse roving is so yummy as are the two in the top photo.

Blue Face Leicester Dye Day

Yesterday was another picture perfect day here - morning at the dye pots was in the 50's - high in the afternoon was in the upper 70's. I was working on Blue Face Leicester and will be doing so again today. Above is a colorway I woke up thinking about - the blue turned out a bit brighter than I expected so will have to continue to work on that formula. I can't wait to spin some of this - I have 4lbs in 8 oz lengths but then there's one 5 oz length for me to spin up for a pair of sox.
Above I was trying to get a nice rich brown colorway, this picture doesn't do it justice, it's beautiful. And the Lilac is the same colorway I did yesterday on the merino/tencel - color a bit brighter on the BBL.
And finally on the left is a colorway I'm loving - it was hard to take pictures where this was hanging to dry under the deck so the colors aren't quite right - but it's a very ominous colorway. And the center and right colorways are what I call Dye Day Surprise - I take what's left in the squirt bottles, combine similar colors and just play on the roving - these will not, and cannot, be repeated.
Today I'm going to be trying for a colorway that includes some deep wine colors - maybe a chartruese one too since I'm partial to that color. I'll dye until the BFL is gone, have 5 more skeins of sock yarn to dye too. Was originally going to spend the day dyeing again tomorrow but may have to take a break - standing on concrete for 8+ hours, even in good shoes, is killing my feet and back. I have 20+ pounds each of a corriedale cross, merino. wensleydale and falkland sitting here waiting to be weighed out into 8 oz lengths for dyeing and some superwash merino, more merino/bamboo and merino/tencel on order. Hmm, where will this all be stored??? Right now it's in 20 pound bumps that are very compressed and take up little space.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dye Day

Today was a dye day - the weather was perfect, sunny and around 70 - big change from the 100+ days we'd been having recently. I didn't get as much done as usual, late start plus found my stock solution jugs almost empty so had to make up new. Above on the left is 2 lbs of a merino/tencel blend in a lavender colorway (looks blue in the picture), in the center in yellows & golds is 2 lbs of a merino/bamboo blend and on the right in a light denim color is another 2 lbs of the merino/bamboo blend.
On the left and right is some black blue faced leicester - 2 lbs of it overdyed in reds & browns, an 1 lb of it overdyed in teals & browns. Since I still had some time I dyed 5 hanks of a merino/alpaca sock yarn in various colors. Hoping to get lots of dyeing in this week.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yarn Swifts

Just had to post a picture of the beautiful yarn swifts made by Garret Harvey Woodworking. I recently bought one and it's still sitting on the fireplace hearth as decor - I will use it but right now I'm just admiring it as a piece of art. Check out his blog to see more pictures.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

New etsy shop

My new etsy shop is now open - unlike my other shop that showcases items I handcraft this one is strictly for Ashland Bay Trading Co roving and yarns. This is just a sampling of what I've got in stock now at the studio. I've just started getting items up in the shop, more to follow here and there over the next month, please stop back to see what's new - If you're local and would like to come by to shop (and fondle the fiber) please give me a call or email to set up a time. If you don't reach me perhaps you'll reach one of my employees: Sam is shipping & receiving as well as weigher & packager of all fibers and Bailey is CEO - Canine Executive Officer..........although he doesn't really seem to be contributing much other than napping.

Don't forget to keep checking my original shop at As soon as I have some time for snapping photos new weaving will show up in the shop and this week with temps coming back down I plan to hit the dyepots so there will be tons of new hand-dyed roving for sale in the not too distant future.

On the non-fiber front - this morning I made two batches of fresh strawberry-rhubarb jam. And two days ago I made two batches of fresh blueberry jam.