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That’s different

I had a meeting with some friends of mine from Heaven Sent Food and Fiber the other day. They had asked if I would come up with some swatches and ideas for some patterns using their line of yarn.

I have been praying that I would just be able to know Gods will for me, now that the kids are done homeschooling. I’ve felt a little lost, and I know I have to do something. Opening my etsy shop is part of that, but It’s very slow getting started.

Coleen and Sue answered part of that for me. I am going to be designing for their yarn line, and I am very excited by that. They have developed a wonderful yarn line, and they are focused on quality. They have their own flock of Merino sheep, and the yarn those sheep produce is so soft and so much fun to knit with. I have one pattern ready to go, and three more in the planning/knitting stages.

Talking with them though, brought up another area they needed help with, their social media. They don’t have much of an on line presence. I am working with them to change that. I will be handling their media accounts. I’m really excited about the opportunity! I have been working the last two weeks just beginning to get my feet wet with it, and I think it will be a very interesting challenge! They are a great company, they just need more exposure. So I have been busy the last two weeks knitting samples and swatches, writing patterns, and reading reading reading. It’s been busy. Then I got my Christmas present early because Reagan will be having surgery after Christmas. Sean bought me a Kromski Harp loom. I love it so much. It is just beautiful and so much fun. I have warped a practice piece that was so ugly I cut it off, and a scarf that turned into a much shorter than expected table runner.

So, things are exciting here. I like being productive and having things that I need to do. I’m excited about the possibilities that I’ve been given.

Now I need to get to work!

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Yippee!

I️ sold my first couple of items off Etsy last week! I️ hope the purchaser loves them. Sending things I️ made out into the world is a little nerve wracking.

I️ finished knitting my swatches for some new knitting patterns. I️ needed ideas for a few projects, which wasn’t the hard part. I️ have an abundance of knitting ideas. I️ just couldn’t get them to translate into stitch patterns that looked right. So I️ ended up knitting all week and watching a ton of Netflix. I️ need to start planning in some exercise time. All that sitting made me feel sluggish.

Today I️ have a doctors appointment and an appointment to talk about the patterns I️ am designing with the yarn manufacturer. We are friends, so it’s not a high pressure situation. Just hoping they like some of the ideas. I️ also need to get more items photographed for Etsy this week, and listed. I️ think I️ am going to be busy.

The leaves are falling quickly here in Oklahoma. It’s getting chilly too. I️ love this time of year!

Swatching

Working on a few swatches for new patterns using Heaven Sent Food and Fibers merino/bamboo/silk fingering weight yarn. It comes in 300 yard skeins. It is absolutely buttery soft and the color is fantastic! I’m in love! 

Sharp!

I have been using a set of Indigo Hound Viking combs for quite a while, since soon after I started spinning. They work well, but weren’t quite handling the wool I am trying to prep for my Etsy shop.  So, when I spotted a set of Blue Mountain Handcrafts combs for sale on a Facebook group for a fraction (22%, I checked!) of a new set,  I had to grab them. 

I’ve looked at  these combs frequently because they are just so beautiful and well made . However, they command a high price, and there is a waiting list to get a set. You can’t even put your name on the list until January 2018! I knew I couldn’t afford them, so I have just admired them from afar.  I can’t believe now that I actually have a set and can admire them in person! It was such a blessing to have been able to get these! I’m so thankful to have them! 

Crazy!

Things have been bonkers here the last week.  I got back on my Trim Healthy Mama Eating plan for one. After my foot surgery in December I got really off track and gained back a lot of weight, but also lost a lot of muscle. I look and feel horrible. Finally the last few weeks I had just had enough and decided it was time to bite the bullet.  The sugar detox meant I was sluggish, headachey, and a little grouchy.  Mentally I am much better this week.  The new Trim Healthy Table cook book has helped a lot getting me to stay on track. New recipes are so much fun!

Then earlier this week I developed a urinary tract infection. As soon as that was feeling better, I developed a sore throat.  So just a little miserable all week… 

The biggest event though is we are getting an extended stay house guest starting today. 

My daughters best friend from Texas is coming to stay for three weeks while she attends classes for an accelerated CNA program.  Her mom is driving her up so I have been cleaning like a mad woman.  I clean a little every day, or a lot every day depending on the circumstances. 

Who am I kidding? The circumstances are there are five grown people living in this house, and 4 of them leave almost every day to work. I clean constantly, and it seems to make very little difference. The big change this week has been they’ve all been under death threats to keep things straight and neat. That’s helped some, but I don’t think I can keep up that kind of aggression.  I don’t like having to harp constantly.
So very little wool work to show for this week. I have a felting class on Saturday though, and I will blog about that as soon as possible! 

Fiberfest Friday

Today was a bit different for me. FIL took my drum carder off last night to try out what he is calling “Plan F” to get it motorized.  Since I didn’t have a drum carder, and no wool needed washed, I decided to spend the day spinning, plying and watching fiber videos.  I watched the Craftsy class called Fiber Preparation for Spinning. I enjoyed learning the teachers perspective on drum carder and wool combs. Very informative. She was also from Mebane NC, which is where we lived before we moved to OK. That was neat. 

After that was over, I watched you tube videos by BlueMountain Handcrafts. I really enjoy her style of presentation, and she’s very informative. 

I also did a lot of plying and yarn finishing 


All in all, it was a great day. I think I’m the future, every Friday will be Fiberfest Friday. It was a great way to end the work week. 

Zoom!!!

Ever since I have got back into the fiber arts, I have really been sad that we had to move my loom out of the house for a while. Until one of these kids move out, we just don’t have room for it in here. I really have had the urge to weave so bad though, and I have been looking at various looms online. I have requested a rigid heddle loom for Christmas, and I am keeping my eyes on the Craigslist and Facebook sales pages for my area, in case a smaller loom becomes available, but that doesn’t fix my “I Must Weave NOW!” urge.

So I started looking at pin looms.

Pin looms are small hand held looms that you wrap with yarn in three layers and then weave the last layer. You can find the vintage Weavette and Jiffy looms on Etsy or EBay, but Schact has released it’s own version of these little looms called the Zoom Loom, and ultimately, that’s how I decided to go. I had read that Schacts design made the little loom easier to use because of the scooped out edge on the inside of the loom that helps you get the weaving needle in the correct place. That seems to be true. That little scoop catches the needle and slides the needle up to the pins. I can see that if that piece of plastic was squared off it would be hard to get the needle to make that little step to get to the pins, as the weaving progresses.

There are lots of resources for using pin looms, because they were very popular in the 40’s and 50’s. There were many pattern booklets that can now be published for free on the internet because the copyright has expired, I suppose. One of the sites that I like the publishes these PDFs is eLoomnation I love the booklets that have different weaving patterns. Some of the clothing patterns are outdated, but might give adventurous fiber artists a jumping off point. Another site that has a lot of information about weaving with pin looms is Adventures in Pin Loom Weaving. Talk about just a treasure trove of information! I read a little bit there everyday as I try new patterns and techniques.

So far, my favorite yarn for weaving on the Zoom Loom has been hand spun. It is perfect for using up small bits that I made while sampling different fibers and blends. My absolute favorites were a Gotland 2 ply and a Gotland/Angora blend 2 ply. Both wove up just beautifully into the most wonderful little squares.

The least favorite so far has been a square I wove using a commercially produced cashmere that I got from deconstructing a sweater. It is two thin singles held together and knit as one. I had to double that to get close to an appropriate weaving weight, and it was still very delicate, and you had to be very careful that the weaving needle caught all the threads. The resulting square, while soft, was very thin as well. It just didn’t seem to be worth all the effort. Maybe I will spin that yarn into a plied yarn, set it, and then try again. I really did like the softness of it, just not the fiddlieness of the weaving.

All in all, this has been a lot of fun. It has satisfied my weaving itch, for now, anyway. I also think it will be helpful in my etsy shop, as I can spin up a sample of each of the fibers I have on offer, and then knit and weave a small square of each so potential buyers can see how the blend works up, for me, at least. I do a few squares in the evening while I am spending time with Sean after he gets home from work, and a few squares at a time quickly multiply into enough squares to make something. At least they will once I stop just playing with yarn and texture, and start working on an actual project! ]

If you have the urge to weave but no room for a loom, or if you just want to see if you might enjoy weaving, this little loom is just the ticket!

A New Wheel

We all know how expensive fiber arts equipment is. You don’t make a big purchase very often if you’re operating on a budget. When you do get a new piece of equipment, it is a big deal! I was so excited to find this little wheel advertised for sale locally on Facebook!

I bought my new to me spinning wheel from a young couple in Tahlequah. They had bought it to spin alpaca fiber on, as they owned a herd of alpacas (more on that later!). But the lady of the couple has moved on to pottery, and is no longer spinning. They were selling the wheel, a set of hand carders, some fiber and a tiny niddy noddy, all together.

When I asked them where they had bought the wheel, they said they had bought it from someone that had put the wheel together as a kit. I just assumed that meant, the previous owners had bought a spinning wheel and assembled it at home. The wheel was finished beautifully, and worked well. A part of the distaff was obviously missing, and she only had one bobbin, but since I was looking for a wheel to teach beginners to spin on, I thought she would do. I just feel in love with her.

I spent a lot of time searching the internet looking for clues to this distinctive little wheel before I gave up and turned to Ravelry. If you need to know where a spinning wheel originated, Ravelry is the place to find that information! I found two groups in particular to be very informative. The first is the Antique Spinning Wheels group, which is where I got my first clue as to the maker of this wheel. I posted there and was ultimately pointed to Hallcraft 2710 spinning wheels. At first glance, it did in fact seem to be one of these wheels, which were produced by a company in Ohio, as kits, and then sanded, finished and assembled by the purchaser. On closer inspection, though, the legs, the distaff, and some other little differences led me to believe that while we were in the right ball park, I needed to keep looking. The other group that I have began to stalk is the Working Wheels group. It is so informative, I find myself reading threads just to see what they are talking about, how they identify various wheels, and what to look for if I ever decide to buy another wheel.

So I did some searches on Hallcraft on Ravelry, and was led to 3 or 4 discussions that lead me to believe that what I actually have is a Jacob Plum wheel, produced by the Midway Mfg. Co. Also a kit, but the legs and distaff are exactly the same as the legs and distaff on my wheel. Even more amazing, someone had just bought the rest of Midways stock a few years ago, and had finished, stained and sold these wheels for $350! I contacted the woman that was selling the wheels, and asked if she might have the missing part of my distaff or bobbins left over. She did! So I bought two more bobbins, and a whole distaff since she obviously didn’t want to split up a whole distaff. The whole bunch plus shipping cost me about $65, which is a lot cheaper than having bobbins made would have been. The new bobbins are a tad shorter than the original,but they fit! So now I have a nice little wheel with three bobbins. I still need to buy and install actual spinning hooks, as I hate the cup hooks that had been installed on the flyer. Just need to wait for that next pay check!

Here you can see the difference between the two bobbins. The larger one is the one that came with the wheel, and has the distinctive double etched lines found all over this wheel. The smaller one is one of the newer bobbins I just bought. Those smaller ones actually work better on the flyer, but I think they will hold less fiber. I have a plan to solve that problem though!

All in all, I think this is a good wheel. She spins smoothly, and is small enough to be transportable. I was worried about the tensioning system, but there is actually quite a bit of play there. I can adjust it from barely taking up at all, to feeling like there’s a truck pulling the yarn in. It was a pleasant surprise! I’m really pleased to have her. Now I just need a spinning student!

Finally!

Got my Etsy store open on Wednesday. I was determined to have it done by the first week of September. I didn’t have as much to open with as I thought ,as Sean and I had to spend Labor Day weekend in Tahlequah, but it’s open! Now I just need to learn marketing and build inventory.’

Wednesday I woke up a little dizzy but didn’t think much of it. I hit the ground running. So after I got the shop open and started some lovely alpaca soaking for washing the next day, I realized I was getting really dizzy. By three, I was sick. I had vertigo, and it laid me out flat. I didn’t get out of bed except to stumble like a sailor on shore leave into the bathroom for two days.  I have never been as relieved as I was Friday morning to get up and only be a little bit dizzy.

By Saturday, I was better! We had board game day with the Three Rivers Board Game Group at Union Station. We had a great time; we played  Nightfall, Endangered Orphans of Condyle Cove, Jack the Ripper, Terraforming Mars, Welcome to the Dungeon, and Qwicks. All were lots of fun, and the food at Urban Station was fantastic, as always.

Later this week I am hoping to remeber to write a blog about my new wheel, and about the alpaca I acquired, both are just a delight to work with.

Busy, Busy, Busy

…but having so much fun! I can’t even call this work, except I am so tired at the end of the day.  I would really like to get my etsy shop open by the first of September, so I am “working” pretty consistently every day.  I had to develop a system to store processed fiber so I can find it easily when I get an order.  I’m now moving on to takingnshop pictures and writing descriptions.  That’s been a little harder than the processing. 
Another thing I did was dye a batch of Corriedale wool I had processed. I am going to offer it in Art batts, just to see how it goes.  I didn’t intend to do that, but I love the colors and textures, so I am going to try it.  We will see how it goes.

Art batts


The other exciting news here is that my Father-in-law is motorizing my drum carder. I have a Patrick Green Debs delicate deluxe, and it’s a great carder, but I also have an injured rotator cuff.  All the carding is causing me some pain. I don’t want to put money into a motorized carder when I love this one, so he’s tackling the project for me. My in-laws are so sweet! I really am blessed to have them as family. 

Hopefully the next time I update I will have opened my shop.  It is exciting, but I am really nervous about it! 

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