Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ashland Bay sample spinning

I finally finished up spinning samples of Ashland Bay Trading Co roving. Each time I place an order I spin up a little sample of any new color I've gotten. This way I can put a picture of how the roving looks spun up on my blog and have them here for those who come to buy in person can see and feel them. Now I'm ready to check out my roving stash and figure out what I want to spin many choices, not sure how I'll choose.

Knitting & Felting

These are the latest knit felted belt bags I've made. Two of them are special orders, one a birthday gift, the rest will hopefully be bought at some point. Above is a close up of the needlefelting I've done on the bags after they're felted. The grazing sheep bag was felted this morning - picture to come after it dries, not sure if I'll wait until I get the leather handles or not for the picture.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wool Bamboo Devore

Here's the second devore sample - the purple is 2/24 merino wool, the black is Bambu 12. The design isn't really a design, just a shape I cut out to make the stencil, it's a sample afterall.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Grazing Sheep Bag

This is a knitting project I started 2 nights ago. It's the grazing sheep bag that's knit and then felted, pattern from the book 'I Heart Felt'. I've been thinking about making it for quite a while, have had the book and wool sitting in a basket waiting but there was never time - now I'm making time in the evenings. I have made a few changes like making the bag a bit wider and making one of the sheep black instead of white, if I had some gray Cascade 220 I'd throw a few gray ones in there too, but I don't. I was thrown off getting ready to start when I kept looking at the graph and at the photo in the book and they didn't match. I went online looking for a correction to the book, no luck, other companies are great about putting these online. So, then I went on Ravelry to search for other knitters who have made the bag and found 28, all with tips and comments on errors in the book.

On the weaving front today. I did do another devore sample on the wool/bamboo scarf sample, it's drying now. I warped up the loom for a silk/tencel scarf that I will also do devore on, will weave a sample on the end of the warp to test it before working on the scarf. Half the scarf is woven, not sure if there's time for weaving tomorrow as I'll be out much of the day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Devore Sample

Here's the devore sample from the scarf warp from the previous post. I played with the color in my editing program so the burnout area would show well, there really isn't this much contrast, it's much more subtle but for photography purposes I needed the contrast. The sample turned out perfectly although I still question what happens to the rayon edges of the burn out area with use. One of my questions for Anne Fields from whom I took a seminar from at the ANWG conference last May. Her book was to be out this past fall but now not until April or May - I've got my copy pre-ordered on Amazon for as soon as it comes in.

The process is to burn out any cellulose fibers using Fiber Etch (Dharma Trading Co). There are recipes to make your own burnout solution, it's easier for me to buy it already made. Animal/protein fibers will not burn out. This sample is woven in merino wool and rayon.

Sett is determined by what is needed for a nice hand without being too sleazy after the burnout in the merino area (natural color). I was concerned about drape in the body of the scarf where the merino is joined by the rayon so I sett it just a tiny bit looser and it turned out just fine. So my total is 24 epi, in the burnout areas the wool is 12 epi.

Using plain weave is best, floats from other weave structures such as twill wouldn't work as well in the edge areas of the burnout. I wound the wool & rayon together on the warping board, then when it came to threading the heddles I put wool in harnesses 1 & 2, rayon in harnesses 3 & 4 - it was woven in plain weave, raising 1 & 3 together, then 2 & 4 together. The weft was the wool & rayon wound together on the bobbin (hint later) with ppi at 12.

After weaving I washed and let dry the sample to remove any spinning oils or dirt.

I made a quick stencil from freezer paper which works great because you can iron it onto fabric, shiney side down, and it will temporarily stick to the fabric.

I applied Fiber Etch with a stiff paint/craft brush working from the edges of the stencil in as to not let any seep under the stencil/freezer paper. It must be saturated very well. I turned the fabric over to touch up any areas on the backside that hadn't gotten saturated.

The fabric needs to dry completely, overnight is ok but best not to leave the Fiber Etch on any longer than necessary so I helped it along with a blow dryer.

Once dry, I laid the fabric down on a few pages of newspaper covered with a paper towel. Put a piece of aluminum foil on top of the fabric and iron, moving the iron constantly, using a setting appropriate for the fiber but NO steam. The burnout area will start to turn brown. When it starts to flake off if you rub it with your finger it's done. The Fiber Etch is nasty stuff - I worked in the garage with the door open wearing a mask and gloves, am thinking I need to find a respirator. All those little flakes & fumes are very nasty, you don't want to inhale them.

After all the burnout is done, wash the fabric out and let dry. The burnout areas are transparent.

I'm not sure what design will end up on the scarf, will think about that later. In the meantime I'm putting on another warp of wool with bamboo. I'm a little concerned about this wool, it's very thin and fragile, hopefully I won't have any problems with breakage in the weaving process. I'll try as many fiber combinations as I can for the guild program although I probably won't have nearly the amount of samples/finished pieces as usual just because I want to limit my exposure to the Fiber Etch.

Hint: when winding 2 or more yarns together on a bobbin sometimes one strand will be a bit looser than the other leading to problems on the edges while weaving. You can use a doubling stand, if you have one, or just use whatever you have, what I did. For an example: place one cone on the floor, put a chair with a slotted seat over it, put the other cone on the chair seat, pull the bottom yarn up through the center of the top cone and then wind them together on to the bobbin - the slight amount of twist keeps the two at the same length. I was hoping my kumihimo stand would work for this but the legs are too close together to get a cone on the bottom under the hole so I just used a little wooden box I have.

Phew........long post.................

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trying something new..........

I'm trying a new technique for me - devore, actually woven devore. I need to give a presentation to my weaving guild on it in April so I thought it best to get going. Yesterday I wove a scarf and sample piece using 2/18 merino mixed with a multi-color rayon flake in the warp and weft. I was concerned about drape since the sett is supposed to be for the wool areas where the burnout will occur - this means there are more total ends per inch than I would usually do since there is also the rayon flake. So, instead of a 12-15epi for this it has a 24 epi. I washed the sample piece last night and it's very drapey, good choice of fibers to mix together. Today I'll use a stencil and apply Fiber Etch in the design area which will burn out the rayon leaving only the wool. Definitely a good idea to try this out on the sample piece before the scarf. I'll post a picture of it after finished and dry. After I tackle this first try at it I'll start on other projects mixing other fibers together, I have several cones of yarn waiting to be wound into warps using silks, bamboos, soysilk, tencel and wool. The Fiber Etch burns out cellulose fibers not affecting protein/animal fibers.
And here's Bailey - he was thinking hard down in the studio yesterday helping me pick out other fibers to try with the devore technique. He has his doubts about this process..........

Monday, January 18, 2010

New things.......

Here's a picture of one of the items I was making before Christmas for gifts and for sale - Coffee Cozy's to keep from burning hands on hot take-out coffee cups. I'll have to try and get a better picture at some point - they're quilted using decorative stitches. These are stacks of different fabricways - I've made many more since then. They'll eventually be up for sale in my etsy shop after I get some time for picture taking.
I knit, felted and then needlefelted details on these santa ornaments. The pattern is in the book I (heart) Felt by Kathleen Taylor.
I have another fun gift item I gave for the holidays but need to open one of the leftovers up to take a picture - will come in the near future.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Been sewing.......

I've been sewing recently. This is the Standalone Bag that I finished up today. What a challenge - the directions were lacking so I ripped out stitches a number of times before I figured out what I was 'really' supposed to do. This is the large size, there's also a mini size. On this large size there is no closure planned but the mini pattern had it so I copied that pattern piece and put a magnetic snap closure on this with a button sewn on top for decoration. I'd love to make the mini but it will take a while before I have the patience to do another one. I bought the pattern only, already had this great gingko fabric in my stash. The gal who sells this pattern also sells kits with all the materials and finished bags (go for the finished bag if you're interested unless you like a challenge). She had a booth at OFFF this past September, also has an etsy shop.
Here's a side angle.
And here it is opened up - very cool that it stands like this. I'm thinking it will make a perfect knitting bag or drop spindle tote. The large pattern also had inside pockets. I made them, had them pinned in and then decided not to sew them on, I probably wouldn't end up using them.

Here's the other pattern I've been playing with sewing. The pattern was a bit too small so I blew it up on the copier in one direction. Now it's the perfect size for sock yarn and the socks in progress on the needles.......or anything else fun one wants to put it in.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I've been very lax with posting to my blog. I guess I just haven't been up to anything much worth posting. There's been all the end of the year bookkeeping and counting inventory which is very slow since I'm looking at every color of Ashland Bay roving and every colorway of my hand-dyed rovings thinking about how much I'd love to spin them all! But I do have to get back to work - I've got a guild program to start working on, it will be on woven devore, I've got 2 guild challenges, fingertip towels to weave for this year's exchange and then the rest of the things on my very long to-do list. But this week I've been doing some sewing - will get to a post on those things once I finish up....which will hopefully be today so I can get back to weaving.

This is my handspun from the garden party fiber from a recent post. This is a huge skein of 782 yards that came off my Majacraft plying bobbin. So, I pushed it, at the end I was having trouble getting the yarn to pull onto the bobbin I had it so loaded, finally I had to give up and leave a yard or two on the bobbins, it just wouldn't fit on. Lesson learned, don't try to get quite this many yards on one plying bobbin. I'm not sure yet what this yarn will become - another item on my to-do list is to either knit or weave with it before we put up the fair display in August.
Theresa knit a pair of socks using Zauberball, once I saw them I knew I needed some of this sock yarn. Never mind that I have two shelves filled with sock yarn, I couldn't resist. And it wasn't just this colorway I couldn't resist - I bought several others!
I'm anxious to start a knitted/felted project - perhaps I can get that going in the evenings and put aside the sample spinning (Ashland Bay fibers) for a bit. But first it's off to the sewing machine for the rest of the day............
On another note: Last night at the community concert we listened to a very fun trio - Casey MacGill's Blue 4 Trio. We love these community concerts that we started getting season tickets for a few years ago, we get to see all sorts of performances that we may not have ordinarily gone to see. These guys were very entertaining. Check out their site if you want to listen to some fun 30's-40's tunes, I just checked it out and listened to 3 tunes while posting on the blog, not sure how many play.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Spinning Blog

Check out the new blog of my spinning group, Warped, Twisted & Plyed; Ply Me To The Moon. We had a fun time on Tuesday talking about keeping track of our yardage this year to see how many yards we could spin. It's not a contest, just our usual spinning but keeping track of it. Having a goal of reaching the moon seemed like a grand idea until one spinner checked online for how many miles it was - yikes! It's even overwhelming just to think about how much we'd have to spin to make it across the country. So, we decided to reach high and keep the name and go for our goal of the it takes a few years, decades, centuries..........we'll have fun!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Garden Party Spinning........

Here's what I'm up to spinning wise right now. Above is a picture of fiber that's been run through a picker. A bunch of spinners all brought some fiber to a 'garden party' and threw it in a pile which was then put through the picker. We all got back the same amount of fiber we brought. Summer 2009's theme was pink/cranberry with some bit of other colors for some pop. Fiber content is who knows what - I do know from sheep there is corriedale and merino, there is angora bunny fiber, there is bamboo, there is mohair (from goats) but since we didn't ask what everyone was bringing it's really a big surprise.
This past Saturday I put it through my drum carder three times. Some of the spinners will spin it without carding and end up with lumpy bumpy fun yarn, some will put it through a carder just once. I wanted just a bit of texture but not much so I put it through the carder twice, then a third time adding some angelina sparkle in hot pink to give it some flash!
Here's what one of the batts looks like. As I spin I tear the batt into strips. I ended up with 12 1/2 ounces of fiber.
Here is the first bobbin almost filled - the color turned out beautiful, I love the little bits of yellow, white and black in it for interest and texture. I completely filled this bobbin and started on the second bobbin today. I'm able to fit half of the fiber (6 1/4 oz) on one of these big Majacraft bobbins. I'll ply the two bobbins together for a 2 ply yarn. I'm not sure how I'll use this yarn yet - will depend on how many yards I end up with. I'm spinning it a bit thicker than fingering weight. I wanted to start off the year working on this project since our display at the county fair this year will be a photo display of all the steps of the garden party and finished pieces of skeins of yarn made not only from the 2009 garden party but also from 2007 & 2008.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Beautiful Fabrics

Theresa made a comment in my last post about lack of 'true' fabric stores in our area. Here is one that used to be open here in Grants Pass, OR but has since closed. BUT Textile Connection is online and owns the building the fabric store was/is in so fabric is still there and she will open up by appointment so fabric can be fondled before buying. She's got an incredible selection of fabric from all over the world and the prices are very reasonable.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bailey and New Year's

Ok, so Bailey is just about as much of a New Year's party guy as we are -the look on his face at the thought of wearing the ridiculous tiara grandma brought over for him today says it all. And believe me it was tough getting this picture - he was ready to rip it to shreds. He was in a much better mood once he lost it and settled in to watch the Oregon Ducks play in the Rose Bowl.........they lost which was too bad but they were there so that was great.

On the fiber front - I really haven't been doing anything - I've been frittering and totally enjoying it (well other than lots of pesky bookkeeping I was behind on). I have done a bit of knitting and felting, but not much. And just today I broke out the wheel to spin more Ashland Bay roving samples. While spinning I'm dreaming of getting a Woolee Winder for one of my wheels. As soon as I'm positive it will be for the Majacraft Little Gem I'll get it ordered. May take a while to get it since Woolee Winder had a fire 3 days before Christmas but that's ok, I'm not in a rush. Am thinking about a sewing project, maybe hit the fabric store tomorrow for some cording.