Sunday, August 30, 2009

More handspun color blending samples

Here are some more of the small skeins of color blending samples I spun up. These are all made from combining blue, red & brown in various combinations on the drum carder. I have one more small bag of samples to spin but they will wait a bit..........have a pile of small samples to spin up of Ashland Bay Merino/Tussah Silk, Merino Multi-Color, and Merino Solid rovings. These are all from an order recieved this past week - it helps so much for customers to see what a particular colorway looks like spun up so I'll do samples whenever I have the time and extra fiber.

Towels finally off the loom

The simple towels are finally off the loom - even though it's my first love I'm not getting as much weaving time in these days, much more time spent dyeing and spinning. But the 12 towels are finally off the loom, washed & dried awaiting hemming. Some are striped with a border, like above, others are uneven checks following the same sequencing as in the warp. I don't usually use 6/2 cotton for towels, most the time it's 8/2 or 10/2, I really like these for a change, the 6/2 weaves up into a nice thick absorbent towel. I have a number of cones in what I'd call southwest colors so those will go on the loom after a few scarf warps.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Carding & Spinning Color Studies

I took a fiber blending class with Jill Laski, owner of Ashland Bay Trading Co., at Black Sheep Gathering in 2008. I spun up samples for my notebook but had extra that I decided I wanted to play with now. We spent a day blending wool on our drum carders using the primaries - red, blue, yellow and the printer's primaries - magenta, turquoise, gold. What a fun day, and what fun color combinations we came up with - the colors have so much more depth being blended; for example a purple has so much more depth to it being combined out of red and blue rather than being dyed solid purple to start.

The samples above were a study using 3 colors and blending them in different ratios: blue, purple and chartruese. The Ashland Bay official color names are Colonial Wool 'Bluebell', Colonial Wool or Merino Wool 'Purple' and Merino Wool 'Dijon'.

The samples below are a purple color study. The original purple (no sample) was made from Merino or Colonial 'Red' plus 'Blue'. The samples below show it carded with white, with grey, with black and with it's complement yellow.

I'm not sure what I'll do with all these samples yet - have yet to measure yardage on them. I'll combine them in a small project like socks, hat or fingerless gloves - if I need some more fiber I'll spin up a solid to coordinate with them.

In in the evenings I'm working on some other colorway samples - will post them once they are spun.

Oh what fun this could be since I'm a dealer for Ashland Bay Trading Co. and have a multitude of colors here in stock ready to play with - all the possibilities! I sell them in one of my etsy shops.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More handspun

This is some more handspun that I was working on at the fair last week. Janis of Dyelots gifted me with this ball of roving she created (the picture of the roving isn't great, took it at the fair, small camera wasn't set correctly). All kinds of fiber in it including some glitz. It spun up into a fun novelty yarn full of lumps and bumps, so totally unlike what I normally spin. I plied it with a black quilting thread. Still needs to be washed & blocked and then I'll see how many yards there are....will probably put it on the shelf for a bit to wait for the right project.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm back..........

I've spent the past 5 days demonstrating spinning at the fair - what a fun time although exhausting. I'd love to stay home all day today but need to get back to the fairgrounds this morning to help take down our display. This is some of the fiber I spun this week - my hand-dyed blue face leicester in the Harvest colorway. I spun a 2 ply fingering weight for socks. I think it turned out beautiful. This is one of the favorite colorways I dye - stock is currently available in the blue face leicester and a merino/tencel blend. I did some other spinning at the fair - one bobbin waiting to be plied with some thread, and then some blended colorways which I'll post when I finish up the small skeins.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Finally weaving, for a bit..............

I got a bit of time at the loom in this afternoon - worked on the towel warp after I sleyed the reed and tied on, it's been sitting for over a week partially warped........time at the dyepots takes away from weaving which is my first love. Anyhow, love the way the towels are turning out - the colors in my photo really don't look anything like it - they're very muted colors. So, 3 towels down, 9 to go........but it will be a while, county fair starts tomorrow so no loom time.

Corriedale Cross Roving

Here's the newest hand-dyed roving - Corriedale Cross from Friday's dye day - have anywhere from 8 oz to 3 pounds of a colorway for sale. The dyepots have been put away for a bit - starting tomorrow I'll be spending 5 days demonstrating at the, not political demonstrating but, not on a stationary bike with sweat oozing out from every pore on my body.........a spinning wheel and drop spindle! Will get back to the dyepots sometime after the fair when the temps permit. Today........most of it hopefully spent at the loom.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Merino Tencel Harvest handspun sample

Last night I spun up a little sample of the merino/tencel in the Harvest colorway - this is what it looks like. Unfortunately the sheen of the tencel just doesn't show in a photo - it's beautiful. It's going to be very hard not to stash some of this away for my own personal spinning pleasure. But first I'm going to spin the same colorway in Blue Face Leicester.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Merino, bamboo, tencel, oh my

Here are the fruits of yesterday's dye day. Above is merino/tencel roving that I dyed in the Harvest colorway. It is so beautiful - lovely colors with the sheen of the tencel. I have a small sample to spin up but I may have to squirrel away a bit of this for a scarf - I've got just under 3 pounds of it that is for sale. Below is a merino/bamboo blend in the Bering Sea colorway - it's also a to "dye" for colorway - it will be hard to resist keeping some of this 3 pounds. Since the weather is obliging for a couple more days I will definitely be dyeing tomorrow - corriedale cross roving this time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monday's dye day results

These are pictures of the superwash merino roving I dyed on Monday. There is anywhere from 1-3 pounds of a colorway - 14 1/4 pounds dyed overall. I did have a couple small pieces that I spun up samples of last night. I love the way both of them spun up. Big problem with doing all this dyeing is that I want to spin it all!!! But these will gradually make their way into my etsy shop for sale. I have a short dye day planned for today - just 3 pounds of merino/bamboo and 3 pounds of merino/tencel and maybe some silk scarves. The silk scarves will be getting a base dyeing upon which they'll either have another round of dyeing, shibori technique, or some surface design like stenciling, silkscreening or stamping.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I decided this past week was to be the week of finishing up some socks that have sat on the needles for months - I worked on these in the evenings here and there. The rainbow striped ones were knit from Wisdom Yarns Poems Sock - I did not enjoy knitting these at all which is why they were on the needles for months. The yarn split and the one time I needed to frog a few rows it was so sticky it was almost impossible to take out - argh. It's a shame since they have such beautiful colorways. But I am a fan of the Wisdom Yarns Poems in worsted weight - I've made numerous knit hats and fingerless mitts out of it and will make more in the future.
These socks were knit from Knit Picks fingering weight yarn in natural that I hand-dyed. By winding on a board I can create a self striping yarn including the 2" cuff in a solid color. These are men's socks. Always fun to knit my own hand-dyed.

Speaking of dyeing - yesterday I spent 8 hours outside dyeing superwash merino roving - 14 1/4 pounds. In the future I may set my limit at 10 pounds to lessen my back and foot pain from standing on concrete for hours. The goal is to have the last of the roving in the dyepot by 2pm on dye day since there's still more time waiting for the steaming process and rinsing, not to mention clean-up. So, a new deadline of no later than 1pm last roving in the dyepot for the future. Pictures to come of yesterday's dye day once I get the roving braided.

Today is lunch out with a fiber friend so no dyeing - I'm concentrating on picture taking of scarves recently woven so they can be tagged and ready for sale. Later this afternoon either weaving or weighing out the next batch of roving to be dyed.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A little loom time

I got a bit of loom time yesterday. I wound a 12 yard warp for towels, got it wound on the back beam and threaded through the heddles. All that's left is to sley the reed and tie on.....but that won't happen today. I'm doing something very unusual for me - towels in plain weave, I just wanted these very simple that would end up in a nice plaid or stripes. Generally the only time I use plain weave is when weaving chenille. I love structure and I love color and usually combine the two. The other unusual thing I'm doing is using 6/2 cotton, I always use 8/2 or 10/2 for towels. I picked up a large number of beautiful muted colors in 6/2 earlier this year so I wanted to give it a try for towels. I'm using a fibonnaci striping sequence: 34-8-21 (warp ends) and rotating the four colors throughout.

Temps look like they'll be good for dyeing this week - hopefully I'll get in a day or two of painting roving.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Instead of fiber today..........

Instead of playing with fiber today a friend and I played with peaches and make peach jam - 50 jars of peach jam from one lug I picked up on Wednesday. We made 4 batches of straight peach jam, then I happened to have bought a flat of blueberries so we replaced around 25% of the peaches with blueberries and made 4 more batches that way (the red looking jam). Some batches were regular jam, some lower sugar - both taste great! Hmm, might have to make some scones and clotted cream soon to give this jam a proper taste test.

On the fire front - not sure where the fires are that were sparked by the lightening in the big storm we had 2 nights ago but lots of helicopters going over our house - flight path is east - west. The copter with the bucket flew over yesterday evening, then the big copter at least 8 times. Today the big copter numerous times and just now the one with the bucket was flying so low it vibrated the house, started wondering as I was standing on the deck watching how close that bucket was to the chimney. Still not sure where they,re heading but I know it's not terribly close to us.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Handspun & Fire

Here's the handspun I just finished up, washed and blocked yesterday. It's from roving I bought from Shelly at Butternut Woolens, colorway Missouri Breaks - it's 80% merino, 20% silk. It was beautiful to spin and I love the finished product. I got 1697 yards. Now what to do with it...........maybe weave, maybe knit..........time will tell.

On another front - had a scare this afternoon. Came driving up to the house and heard tons of sirens, I mean tons. A few weeks ago when I heard sirens it was a car that had overturned but sirens this time of year always bring the worry of forest fire. I came up on the deck and didn't see anything but kept hearing more and more sirens coming from all directions - finally a plume of smoke very close to us. I kept watching and calling others to see if they had any clue where it was. Then the copter with the bucket arrived, looked to make maybe 2 drops and left, then another copter up higher flying in circles over our house watching for hotspots I'm sure. It turned out to be a grass fire on BLM property right behind us - way too close for comfort. Thank goodness for such quick response, was brought under control at 1/2 acre and is in the mop up stage, now as long as no embers fly and ignite elsewhere we're fine. Instant tension headache! Experienced one huge fire in our other house, the Biscuit Fire, over a half a million acres - don't need another. I said when we moved I wanted a house in the middle of an irrigated pasture built out of concrete with a metal roof............hmm, we sit on the top of a heavily wooded hill with ravines on each side - couldn't be a worse setting for fire......maybe next house.........

Finally back to the loom........

Finally back to the loom - I put this warp on July 24th (original post) and never got to weaving so yesterday I spent some quality time at the loom and wove the two scarves off. The first one I used a 8/2 forest green tencel weft, the second one a rust 8/2 tencel weft.

The temps look like they may come down a bit so I'm hoping to get some dyeing in on Thursday, we'll see what happens. Friday is peach jam making day.