Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Preparation for SOAR

Ok, I am starting to lay out all that I need to take to SOAR with me. I have to take my really big duffle bag that I got in Hawaii earlier this year, in case I get to bring back another wonderful fleece. I lucked out last year cause my friend Alicia drove to SOAR and was able to cart some of my additional purchases back to Phoenix with her.

Now, do I need to take my swift? I have already decided that the drum carder and the combs can stay home, the ball winder is going as is the lazy kate and the niddy noddy.

I have 3 knitting projects and 2 books to read - that should be enough? Oh my gosh - the spinning wheel - I have to break it down and put it in the suitcase. Hand cards - yes, I need the hand cards.....

The cat isn't going. Hey, I haven't packed any clothes yet. Or my laptop. I wonder if I should pack my coat? I hardly used it last time.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stitch markers in action

Here are the stitch markers in action and I can already tell that I do not have nearly enough of them.

I have only added one repeat of the pattern on each side and have used all but two of my new stitch markers. They are very cool and easy to slip from one needle to another. They also hang on the right side all the time due to their size - added bonus.

So, I either have to make some more real quick - cause every 32 rows I will have to add two more markers, or go back to using the plain white ones (which I have 50 of).

I still have lots of the split rings and other findings - and it's not like I don't have a gazillion beads - I just don't care for the idea of mounting the beads on the head pins and then bending a loop. My experience is very limited and it's not as much fun as I want to have.

The other thing is that I don't think I like this yarn. I can see that the colors aren't going to give stripes as soon as I get some more stitches going on this. It would probably stripe nicely for a narrow scarf, but as soon as this gets a little wider, each color won't be even a single row stripe..

It's very soft, the silk and the wool give it a very nice hand - but the color changes are bugging me.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Stitch markers

How cute are these?

I balled up one skein of the dark grey polworth and silk, intending to cast on for a lace shawl and found that had no idea where any of my stitch markers are. I usually use the plain small white markers found everywhere. So, off I trot to Walmart - cause it's so close and I know where the craft section is - and while I was cruising the aisles I found these cute little charms for a bracelet.

A couple of split rings later and I have this darling set of stitch markers. I love the little teacups and teapots...

Guess what all my knitting friends are getting for holiday presents this year?

Isn't this the prettiest little pouch to put them in? A friend gave it to me recently and I have been looking for just the right thing to carry in it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Polworth and silk - half way done

This is the charcoal polworth and the dyed silk from a couple of weekends ago.

I've been spinning the silk for what seems like forever and finally got to start the plying yesterday.

1070 yards and 4 ounces so far with 4 more ounce to ply up. I think it's gorgeous - not at all what I wanted, but pretty nevertheless.

I was really wanting the silk to be dark saturated colors, but the violet was lighter than I thought it would be and the silk roving didn't get dyed in places in the middle of the roving. The Burgundy turned out to be a very red brown and the dark green is nice - but the violet really throws off my autumn colors plan. Don't know what I was thinking with that.

I will ply up the remaining and look for a beginners lace pattern for a lacy shawl to knit with this.

Or, it really looks like the long color repeats might be nice for a woven piece - I'd have to sett this closer than I've ever woven before, but it might be the incentive I need to get the Macomber set up for a warp.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bulky grey polworth

Here is 24 ounces - over 700 yards of very bulky light grey polworth. 6 skeins of 4 ounces which average 120 yards each.

This is about 6 wpi and was fun to spin once I let go of trying to control the size of the yarn and let the wheel pull it out of my hand.

I'm hoping that I have enough for a sweater or vest - I think I heard that it takes a pound of yarn for a sweater so I should have enough.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pulling a roving thru a diz from a drum carded batt

Pulling a roving thru a diz from a drum carded batt can give a great preparation to spin. Here is the roving started. I use one of those plastic marketing credit cards with a hole poked in it as a cheap diz.

This shot shows the diz threaded with the beginning of the batt.

I pull the fiber away from the drum, the diz usually comes with it.

I then push the diz back towards the drum while maintaining tension on the roving.

Repeat all the way across the drum. Sometimes some fiber is left on the drum - it can be lifted up with a utensil to be incorporated into the roving

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More polworth carded

I demo'd for about 4 hours yesterday at the Mesa SW Museum with some members of my Mesa Guild - The Telarana Weavers and Spinners.

I was asked to bring my drum carder and show how wool was/is processed. I brought along some more of the never ending grey polworth and between the children that stopped by and I, we managed to card up about 16 ounces.

Ruth and I experimented with dizing from the drum carder and here is the roving we produced from that.

I have already started spinning this on my Lendrum. It wants to be a bulky lofty yarn and I am having to concentrate to keep from spinning it finer.

This roving turned out so well, that I re-carded all the batts and pulled rovings from them all.

Finished plying the polworth laceweight

Woo hoo! I finally finished plying the polworth laceweight and it is beautiful!

This is 1500 yards of yummy grey yarn. It's a hefty 6.5 ounce skein - I was barely able to ply the whole thing onto my Louet S-10 bobbin.

The yarn is nice, but I don't think it's the best use of the polworth. This grist doesn't show off the softness of the wool as much as I would like.

I can put it against my neck and it's not itchy, but the cloudlike softness of the carded fiber is not evident.

I will probably knit this into a lacy shawl. I haven't knit any lace other than the feather and fan pattern, so this may be the opportunity to pull out some of the stitch patterns I have been dreaming over and see if I can find one with an easy repeat to memorize.

I hate reading charts or patterns. Much better if I can find a pattern I can remember.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

plying the grey polworth

Plying and plying and plying some more. The never ending cobweb weight polworth grey singles. This is 6.5 ounces of the light grey polworth that I purchased from Rovings.com at SOAR last year.

I have to ply this on my Louet S-10, even though the ratios on it are lower, because the bobbins are the only thing I have that will hold this entire ball plyed back on itself.

It filled the Majacraft bobbin to within 1/4" of the top, so I had to find something with a bigger bobbin to ply this onto.

This is not plyed tightly enough, I have to watch it very carefully to ensure that I have enough twist prior to letting it wind onto the bobbin. The singles are very stale to prevent tangling while plying from a ball, this makes it impossible to check for balanced plying by just looking at the way the yarn hangs.

I should have taken a piece for a sample before I started, but did not. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Light grey polworth

Here is the grey polworth from Rovings that I got at SOAR last year. It's a varigated grey washed fleece with a staple length of about 5-6". I fell in love with this and stood in line for an hour to pay for it.

I've spun quite a bit of it up. The down side to this fiber is that I can't quite make up my mind what to make of it. I have drum carded it, combed it, spun it thick, spun it thin and no matter what, it comes out beautiful. I use it in many of my batts and it blended well with every fiber I put it with All this sampling has not led me to a decision.

It is so fabulous that I feel that I should design something wonderful to make with it, but, I do get bored spinning the grey.

Here is 6.5 ounces that wraps to 35 wpi in a 2 ply. This is just the singles. I am trying to decide if I am going to ply it back on itself or find something to ply it with. Posted by Picasa

Two of the other monsters in the house

Here are my DP's cats.. Stormy on the top and Candy on the bottom.

Stormy is quite the b---h - terrorizing Cameo, Baker, Maggie - everyone but Matilda the Dachshund...

Candy is sweet most of the time, hence the name.

These two were adopted from a rescue organization and are about 1 year old now. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fiber animals

Here are my two fiber animals. Cameo is my 12 year old cat, she came to me a 4 week old ball of kitten fluff barely as big as my hand. I love her coloring, calico's have always been my favorite. I especially like her white belly and chest.

She does not like to be brushed, so I only have a very small bag of her fur. It's flyaway and soft like angora

And here is Madame Thatcher - Maggie for short. Notice the similarity in coloring? Yeah, I like it in dogs too. They are nothing alike in temperament though. Maggie is a typical dog, loves everyone, will do anything for attention. Cameo on the other hand will come to you when she wants something and otherwise prefers to be left alone.

Maggie is almost 2 years old. She was about 3 months old when she came to live with us. I used to have Mastiffs, and when I wanted a dog of my own again, I could not make up my mind between wanting a small dog that could travel with us or a big dog to love on and play rough with. The bulldog gives me both. She's not too big to travel with and will roughhouse until she drops.

She does not have spinnable fur though. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The wool from Sunday

Here is the merino top I dyed on Sunday - it's very dark and not pretty. The burgundy came out brown and the dark green looks muddy.

I will probably spin it up eventually, but it's not going to be one I pick up anytime soon.

I need to get a better camera, I can't seem to take a picture that gets the colors right. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New fibers

Here are two batches of fiber that arrived yesterday from an ebay purchase.

This one is a cotswold x - the staple length is a good 4-5" and this photo does not do the colors justice. It is a little coarser than I thought it would be and the luster of cotswold is not there at all. Not sure what I will do with it - perhaps blend it with the white romney, or spin it as a novelty yarn with the curls poking out.

This is a BFLxCotswold lamb fleece and again this photo doesn't show the colors as well as I would like. This is softer than the above and crimpy. The luster of cotswold is more evident in this fleece than the above one, but not at all what I am used to from cotswold.

I will look to see if I can post the ebay photos of these - the colors are represented much better there. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 02, 2006

Superfine Merino

Here is the remainder of the superfine Merino that I washed up during Sunday's effort. It did not wash up as clean as the first batch - but this batch was a much larger amount.

The first batch I washed was just a handful in the sink - this was outside in the wash tub.

I will have to comb it in order to spin it, as the drum carder and hand cards just nep it up.

The staple length on this is very short - less than 2 inches - that makes it hard to work with for me. Posted by Picasa

Hand painted silk

Here is the 4 ounces of silk I painted yesterday.

The cushings dyes I have are very old and I wonder if they are not performing correctly. I may have mixed the violet weaker than the other colors. I did use all three of these in the last dyeing day and made the mistake of not mixing the whole packet at once.

Next time I will mix up the whole packet of dye with water and just dilute enough for the weight I am dyeing that day.

Anyway, the burgundy did come out very brown and the violet is pinker than I think it should be, the color did not penetrate all the way to the center of the roving in some places. I am not sure if it will be what I want to use to ply with the charcoal polworth, I was looking for saturated color for that, but I like it and will spin it up. Perhaps I can ply it with the light grey polworth. I wonder which one the colors will pop better with? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday craze

For some reason my brain was racing with projects this morning.

I decided to wash up the rest of the superfine merino that Alicia gave me for the longest thread competition. I am going to comb the rest of it and practice again to see if I can get my yardage up. I have missed the deadline for this year, but the practice couldn't hurt.

While that was sitting in the wash water, I got out 4 ounces of tussah silk to dye. I hand painted it in dark green, burgundy and violet. I laid it out on a black plastic trash bag, then folded it up when I was done. I am going to spin this very fine to ply with that charcoal polworth that I have been spinning.

Then, since I already had the dyes out, I put about 4 ounces of superwash merino in a dye bath and just poured those same three colors in blotches into the wool. I made sure that it penetrated all the way thru and then covered it with another trash bag. I set those on top of a dog crate in the back yard in the full sun.

Then, while those were cooking, I carded up about 6-7 ounces of the light grey polworth. I thought I might do another 3 ply with the charcoal polworth and the silk. I started spinning the light grey and when I put it with the charcoal - I didn't like the tweediness. Oh well, I will finish spinning it - got to be something I can do with 6 ounces of grey polworth spun very fine.

I had to put the wool back in the sun for another day - the dye bath did not exhaust and some of the wool was still white in spots. I poured some more violet into it and set it back in the sun.

I need to buy some more vinegar - I used the last of it today.

The silk also has some undyed places in the center of the roving - I am not sure if I will try to re-dye it to hit those spots or just spin it the way it is.

Pictures to come.....

Purples and greens

I decided to work on the purple and green cotswold - blending it 50/50 with the white romney and this is how it turned out. This is only 6 ounces of the 32 that I have planned for this batch. I will work on the remaining batts over the next week or so - trying to get a few in each morning.

I think I will spin this up bulky, alternating colors in the single and then letting the plying determine how striped the final yarn will be. The anticipation of not knowing really how a yarn will finally look until the plying is done and the yarn is skeined up is part of the design process for me. Posted by Picasa