Monday, November 26, 2012

Some Progress

Fiddlehead mittens colorwork
Promised project info! I was making good progress on spinning my Southern Cross Fibre semi sold colors for my Fiddle Head Mittens (as you can see) but seem to have gotten bogged down with holiday activities. Thanksgiving week at the condo was wonderful - the weather very good and the ocean is always fascinating to me. It was a record year for numbers  - there were 21 at Thanksgiving. Dinner at my sister-in-laws. A three table meal! No pictures of the group or of the beautiful Children (there are now 3 with a forth arriving next month!) but I do have an ocean shot taken with my android tablet. You can see the grasses still flattened out from being washed over by the ocean during Sandy.
Thanksgiving Beach
Now I have my artificial tree dug out and the huge box is sitting in the living area. Lots of disrupted piles to go through too. Hope to get back to spinning soon - Happy Holidays all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What I need for a weekend away

What you need
I went away for a long weekend to the beach. It was a get together for weaving family and friends (although not everyone chose to weave). We had a great time! I discovered I need quite a list of tools for such a weekend. Believe it or not - I actually edited the original pile! It was billed as a weaving weekend so I brought my 16" Harp (folded up on the top right) and my brand new 10" cricket purchased at my local yarn store, Gosh Yarn It. I had borrowed and Easy Weaver loom to use in a demonstration, that came along so I could get that project finished and off the loom. I recently got that cute hand held  Hockett Loom (leaning up between the Pocket Wheel and the Harp) so of course that had to come. I recently started doing more spindling so my spindle basket with assorted spindles came. The little niddy noddy would be handy if I did some spinning with the bag of sample fibers unspun yet from Fiber Fallout on my lovely Pocket Wheel.  Couldn't leave home without one knitting project so a scarf in progress came along. This picture is main tools and doesn't include additional fiber, yarns, and other accessories!
The project on the Easy Weaver got finished thanks to my sister who did the rest of the weaving. I hemstitched and cut the project off the loom. It is waiting to be felted. I warped my Harp with the current Weaving Club project from Spunky Eclectic, the Cricket got a scarf warped and almost completely woven (I did finish it on Monday night). It now only needs wet finishing and maybe fringe twisting. I did spindle a little and knitted a little. The only tool that didn't get used was my Pocket Wheel but really, why not grab the tote that lives in and take it along just in case!!!!
Girls weekend
Morgan enjoyed the down time at this all girls weekend too!
Sandy damage
Our beach lost a lot of sand but on the whole we were so lucky. The dunes did what they were suppose to do and held back the majority of the waves.
Project info coming soon!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Frosted Almond Can't believe we are at the end of October already but then I am constantly surprised how fast time seems to be moving. I have been spinning for my FiddleHead mittens - fiber photo (all Southern Cross Fibre) in last post. So far the off white and the dark orange are finished. Today I will start on the dark green. I did get this picture of the off white in progress - I think it may be the colorway "Frosted Almond". I am not sure if it shows well in this picture but spun the yarn looks so much creamier than in fiber form. Some time ago I finished these 2 weaving projects - both from Spunky Eclectic Weaving Club. I have been slow to take pictures. The washcloths are just the size I like - not much bigger than my hand and I have really been enjoying using them. SE Club washcloths The towels washed up so nice I plan on weaving more soon. So many projects I want to do and never enough time! SE Club towels

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rhinebeck - it's wooly season!

Rhinebeck 2012 Sunday was a wonderful day at Rhinebeck (Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck NY) – I enjoyed myself so much! It was fun to have my cousin Elaine along for her first Rhinebeck trip. I go stay with her for MDS&W. It was lovely that she could join me this year for Rhinebeck. I took no pictures there, was sorry since it was such a spectacular day – sunny with a breeze that made the beautiful fall leaves float down but I enjoyed being there so much. The bus trip run by Gosh Yarn It! was fun, so nice to leave the driving to someone else. I did pretty well sticking to my no fiber or yarn rule as you can see by the picture above. Actually only bought the briar rose fiber in the basket. The lovely little bumps of semi solid fiber were given to me by David of Southern Cross Fiber! What a lovely surprise that was. I needed the basket to house my growing spindle collection. The latest was the lovely little .5 oz Golding that spins like a dream. Haven’t tried the Lucet yet but isn’t that bird’s eye maple lovely. A hat form and a 20 needle - needle felting thinger rounds off the grouping that came home with me. The Golding and the Lucet wanted close ups! Golding .5oz Lucet I even have a plan for my beautiful semi solids – Fiddlehead Mittens. Here they are with the SCF Batt Club from July 2012 “Banksia” that I will use for the background – now to just spin them all! Fiddlehead Mittens I loved chatting with people, seeing the beautiful knitted or crocheted items that people wore, meeting in person people I chat with on line. It was so much fun!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Baby Hats

Acorn hat I am so behind on taking pictures of my finished work never mind the fiber and yarn that is coming in every month I thought I would just jump in with 2 current projects. Baby hats are so satisfying to knit - they are quick even for a slow knitter like me. The project pictured at the start of my post is the hat from a free pattern by Rebecca Bright "Acorn Swaddle Sac and Cap". It luckily knit up fast in the worsted and bulky wt yarns I purchased at Gosh Yarn It! . I had started out making a "Leafy Newborn Beanie" for our niece Lauren's Baby shower. It is an adorable free pattern from Justyna Lorkowska. Well, something was off for me. I had some lovely green Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool purchased at Gosh Yarn It! Leaf Hat There were issues with laddering so I changed from my favorite double points to a cable needle which took care of the ladders (maybe it was because the hat was mostly pearl?) but ended up too big so was given to the 18 month old daughter of a co-worker. I will give this hat a go again, it is a sweet pattern. So happy the Acorn Cap came through for me!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Felting on a Ball!

Fall is always the beginning of the year for me, time to turn over a new leaf, to make resolutions! After falling off the blogging wagon I am climbing back on starting with felting on a ball. At this years Endless Mountain Fiber Festival I saw a demonstration, Making a Felt Hat on a Ball with Emily Rancier. I had seen Emily's creative hats before and I was inspired to give this felting method a try. It was so much fun! As I usually do, I like my results. Not quite finished yet - I need to find some finishing info but on the whole a very doable process.
I was lucky enough to get Kathy, a friend from my weekly Stitch & Spin group at Gosh Yarn It to model it for me. Thanks Kathy! Also thanks to Emily who not only provided a great demonstrated but patiently answered all my emails. I really need to take notes at demonstrations. Last weekend was Fiber Fallout where I took my first every spinning classes. It was so exciting to learn from my spinning heroes! I was lucky enough to have classes with both Judith MacKenzie and Robin Russo. I also got to see some stunning work Daryl Lancaster and chat with her. The weekend has me stuffed with enough information to work with until it occurs again in 2 years. It was a wonderful experience.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Busy, Busy!

So much going on this summer I have been lax in posting. Tour de Fleece has been occupying my time lately in addition to some traveling. I started out the first day of TdF at a conference in Baltimore. I just LOVE my little Pocket Wheel. Here it is in the window of my Hotel on the first day with a bit of Spunky Eclectic "Tossed Salad" on the bobbin and on the ledge - Also on the ledge some Hello Yarn "Smells of the Sea" waiting it's turn.
TdF First picks
Both of those fibers were finished as singles.
I did my second textured yarn - coils - utilizing the information provided in Spin Art by Jaycey Boggs
Photo 1 - 2012-07-13
This lovely yarn Southern Cross Fibre Polwarth "Bush Walk" is waiting for it's bath tonight.
TdF Day 16 001
That is just some of the spinning I have been doing and I haven't mentioned weaving which is going on too - with cousins last weekend in Virgina. It was a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sheep Sheep Sheep!

What a great time I had this year at what has become a traditional event weekend with my cousin, the lovely smiling woman next to the sign. For the first time since I have been going to MDS&W we spent time in the sheep barns. This made it doubly difficult to not by a fleece! Looking at the fleece on the hoof was so much fun - the variety is amazing. I am hoping participating in the Breed Study Club will give me a good foundation for buying fleece in the future. I do love the fleece that I have carded and prepped myself. So here are some of the lovely sheep I saw!
How can you resist those faces!
And look at this fleece!
It belongs to him right now:
And speaking of beautiful fleece!
I loved them all!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Aprils Breed study Finished

May has been so busy so far! I am having problems with my computer at home - not working with the card reader so that has slowed me down with posts. So, to start getting caught up - my finished Breed Study for April. I went all out for the first month and did 3 preps for each fiber. Neither of them had a lot of lanolin and were easy to scour. I clumped each breed in some bags and scoured.
April Breed Study Wensleydale
I always love spinning Wensleydale but this was my first experience with scouring it and the prep. I was surprised how short is was - due to 6 months growth I was told. It was so silky and lovely to touch! I combed, flicked and drum carded. Didn't like the drum carded stuff at all but I think I left too much "bad" stuff in - have to keep in mind - the sheep will grow more! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the combed prep (top sample) - perfect for the Wensleydale. I liked the flicked a lot too - I think I need more experience with flicking. I had to include a few washed but not prepped locks - this fiber just shines!
April Breed Study Romney
The Romney seems like an extremely versatile fleece. I combed, flicked and hand carded this one. My favorite was the rolags from the hand carding (middle sample) - so light and airy. Again, I think I would like the flicked fiber once I get more experience with the flicker, and combing was a nice prep for it too.
I do now have a small woven sample of each breed but no pictures yet. Both are nice but the drape and shine in the Wendsleydale sample is fantastic!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Sweater from scratch - dying & blending the wool

My finished batts:
My Batts
In an effort to get a red with depth I first kettle dyed the wool (the Corriedale Fleece I got at MDS&W in 2010 - my first fleece) with three colors of Greener Shades - Ruby red (main color), Fire Red and Black. This is the fiber on the left half of the below picture. The resulting color was good but there was not as much variety as I wanted so I dyed some more fiber with the Fire Red (top right corner) and some more with Amethyst Purple (bottom right corner). The main color was all carded first then I then drum carded the three together to blend the red of my dreams! Each little nest is about 8 grams main color, 4 fire red and 2 amethyst purple.
SFS 2 colors carded once

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Red Plum

This is the first fiber offering from Southern Cross Fibre's Batt Club. First David's picture of the first SCF Batt Club
September 2012 - Red Plum - 65% Mixed BFL/35% Tussah Silk about 650 yds 2 ply:
I spun the first bobbin on my Pocket Wheel but the slow ratio make it take so long I spun the second bobbin and plied on the Matchless and ended up with about 650 yards of this lovely 2 ply yarn
SCF Red Plum
Now I am trying to select the perfect shawl pattern for this yarn. I am thinking maybe something with beads.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fleece to Finish Breed Study Club

Wensleydale clean
My first Fleece to Finish breed study club from the Spinning Loft! Planned on posting pictures in order but couldn't help showing my favorite first - Close up of scoured Wensleydale.
Here is what I got in the first box (already had the Romney wrapped in netting ready for washing so just a sample here!).
First Fleece to Finish
Inside the notebook there are color coded pages to mount samples on, information about the 2 breeds for this month and some general club info.
Here are some close up of the Wensleydale and the Romney before scouring. The Wensleydale averages a little over 4 inches when pulled out and the Romney over 5 inches.
Wensleydale closeup
Romney Closeup
I got right to work over the weekend and got all the fiber scoured – doesn’t it look beautiful! As I already mentioned, I especially love the Wensleydale, very silky to the touch and so lustrous.
FTF April All scoured
Here is the clean Romney closeup:
Romney clean

By the end of the weekend I had all the Wensleydale prep done. No pictures of that so more in next post.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Where did March go?

After such a good blogging month in February - don't know what happened to blogging in March. I finished the month with a nice visit to my MD cousin which included a fiber event at Savage Mill and a get together with another friend for some weaving on rigid heddle looms.
Yay Weaving!
I finished the project last weekend and here it is being modeled by the recipient:
Susan's Cowl
Hope to get more posts in this month as I participate in a fiber stash down and start the breed study club.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Musicals as life philosophy

I love musicals - especially several of the older ones that I grew up listening to on (here I go really dating myself!) the Hi Fi record Player my dad built that took up one whole wall of the living room (a "folded horn" speaker system that he had big speakers to start with - my brother tells me they ended up being sold to a recording studio!). Dad use to have my brother, sister and me lay on the floor. He would start Ravel's Bolero, at almost normal sound level - not the very quiet beginning that it is suppose to be the beginning and be thrilled at the end, "Can you feel the floor vibrating?" he would ask as the music soared. He was very proud of his system! We also had several records of musicals among the varied musical mix.
From The King and I took "Whistle a Happy Tune" very much to heart. I found it so true and expanded it into any area that I feel unsure and anxious - just move ahead, act confident and before you know it you are fine. Speaking to a group of 60 people for the first time? Try this advice!
Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I'm afraid.

Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are....

Then there is a line in Pippin, from the song War is a Science that I love - "It's smarter to be lucky than it's lucky to be smart". I have always felt like a lucky person and really appreciate all the lucky things that have happened in my life! Although I do usually try hard to do my best, often it is luck that made the difference.

Another song that often plays in my mind is from South Pacific, You have to be Carefully Taught:
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

That one makes me sad. There is still a lot of careful teaching going on. South Pacific started on Broadway about 1949 - hate and fear is continues to be shared around in the world wrecking hancoc in a big way. Let's hope we are all lucky.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Boucle finished
Who knew Boucle was so complicated and time intensive to create! Not me until the Spunky Eclectic Boucle Challenge. There are three yarns needed - a core yarn lightly spun s wise (counter-clock wise), a fairly thin yarn more tightly spun z wise (clock wise)is used for the loops - Ply those 2 together s wise - then a third, thin binder yarn which has been spun tightly z wise to use as the binder. Then a second ply - the result of the first ply with the binder (third yarn) whew!
Boucle challange yarns
These are the yarns I used and the first ply result. For the core I used a three ply I spun from Southern Cross Fibre "Tendrils" (bottom). The 2 oz. skein was over spun so I ran it though the wheel again to take out spin (I think I over did that a bit), then my loopy yarn is Spunky Eclectic "Angkor Wat" (top middle) spun single. The yarn on the top left is the loopy and the core plied together. I chose to use a metallic thread as the binder (top right) The picture at the beginning of the blog shows that yarn plied with the binder.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Projects!

Don't we all love starting new projects! Now that my Christmas knitting is finally complete I have started a pair socks for me. I am so in need of socks - only one pair of socks left that don't have many mends. First up for socks is Carolyn Kern's TATU pattern knit out of my handspun Jacob "Tendrils" colorway from Southern Cross Fibre April 2011 Club which I spun as a 3 ply.
Tendrils 1
What beautiful fiber this was!
Next will be simple striped socks, again with Southern Cross Fibre yarn, using David's Toe up Cookbook. Again I spun 8 oz. of fiber, this n ply, so I can do tall tops. I am using Feb 2011 Club Polwarth "Wide Awake"
Wide Awake finished
Look at this lovely fiber, mid spin on my Matchless at my LYS, Gosh Yarn It!
TdF Day 6
This coming 3 day weekend will be picking fiber for more planned projects - love new projects!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hannah's Hat

Hannah in her hat2
Felted hat done! This hat will accompany my niece on her way to Korea. She is at the airport now, flies out in the wee hours on Valentine's Day. This is my first felted hat. Doesn't she look pretty in it! Hannah in her hat1 I have done a few French Press Slippers before but this is the first hat. I am doing one for myself next but a different pattern I bought from Lisa Cruse. I got the Katya hat pattern and plan on doing a lot of embellishment on mine. Hannah picked out the shape she wanted - couldn't find exactly the pattern to use the fiber I bought so I did a swatch, measured the shrinkage, measured Hannah's head and worked a pattern using that information.
Here are some pictures for scale, the knitted hat is Charlie's Blaze Hat. Before felting:
Hannah's hat pre felt
After Felting:
Hannah's Felted Hat size comparison
I love the effect of felting!